5 Simple Steps to Save Money on Business Insurance

money in the handsBusiness insurance is a necessity for all business owners. Though the expense can’t be tied directly to revenue, it has to be budgeted as one of the costs of doing business. To help make these costs more manageable, follow these five simple steps:

Buy a Package Policy
It may be less expensive if you purchase a package policy, such as a Business Owners Policy (BOP), rather than individual coverage spread around to different service providers. A package policy provides standard coverage and limits of liability that are appropriate for typical small-to-medium-sized businesses.

Develop a Relationship with your Agent or Broker
Your insurance professional has a wealth of  information that can help you protect your business from unexpected disasters. But you need to keep him or her informed about any major changes in your business. This includes major purchases, expansions, changes in hiring, or the nature of your operation. Also, get your agent’s advice in terms of disaster planning. Ask what you can do to reduce risks like fire or work-related accidents, as well as the best procedures to have in place in the event of a major catastrophe.

Your business is one of the most valuable assets you are protecting, so work with someone you trust and feel comfortable opening up your business to so they can have all the information they need to make the best recommendations possible.

Ask About Ways to Prevent Losses
Implement your insurer’s risk prevention recommendations. These may include making changes to operational functions such as workplace safety, disaster preparation, or human resource intervention, but these changes have been recommended to decrease costs.

Choose a Higher Deductible
Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. The higher the deductible, the less you will pay for the policy. Evaluate your cash flow situation before determining what a comfortable deductible amount would be

Let Your Broker Do the Work
Prices vary from company to company, so let your broker do the work. They will be able to compile a list of companies who specialize in your type of business. They will present you with different options so you can compare prices and get a feel for the types of services each company will provide. Working with a strong broker like NEC will ensure the company you choose is financially stable so you’ll know your protection is secure.

Give yourself time to do the research you need. Having the right coverage and a well thought out disaster plan can save you money in the long run and keep you operational during any type of claim process.

To work with an insurance agency that has the experience you need to provide you with the best coverage at the best rate, contact Joe Bosse, President, at 636.271.2481, or jbosse@NECins.com.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

Three Mistakes a Good Leader Can Make

G.WashingtonAs a business owner with employees, sometimes it’s difficult to take the emotion out of the process and be an unbiased leader. Because all money going in or out is yours, it can be difficult to let go and allow our employees to do the best job possible and work to their full potential.

Here are the top three mistakes good managers make:

  1. Lack of Proper Boundaries: There are times when a good leader wants to be considered ‘nice’ by their employees.  This niceness can get in the way of productivity and employees can feel that the business owner isn’t really in charge. When employees don’t feel there is  definite leadership, some will take advantage; but good employees may view these lack of boundaries as a threat to the viability of the business. Articulating and defending clear boundaries is a skill and can become a habit with practice.
  2.  Adding Value: A good leader will allow their employees to rise to the challenge. If you ask an employee to complete a task and step in too quickly with suggestions, they won’t experience the same ownership of the project as they will if they complete it entirely on their own. If their plan is workable, allow them to implement it and learn from their personal mistakes.
  3. Ignoring Yourself: A good leader doesn’t forget about their own personal and professional growth. Just because you are the business owner, it doesn’t mean that your personal career becomes stagnant. Make time to continuously learn more about business ownership and your industry. Let your employees see you as a role model for professional development.

Want to become a better leader resulting in better results? Check out NEC’s BizAssure program for more information or contact Joe Bosse, President at 636.271.2481 today.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

Do You Know What Business Insurance You Really Need?

Are You Prepared Question Ready Evaluation AssessmentEven though most small business owners consider their business their main source of income, only about one in ten understand what it takes to fully protect their livelihood with the proper business insurance.

If a disaster occurred tomorrow, are you confident that you could get your business operational in time to financially survive?  The first place to start is to protect your assets.

Check to ensure your coverage protects assets including:

  • Fire and other damage- covers your building, business contents, and inventory for specified events including fire, storm, explosion and earthquake.
  • Accidental damage- covers accidental loss or damage to your business’s property.
  • Burglary- covers theft of your inventory or equipment following forced entry at your business premises.
  • Glass- covers the replacement costs of broken glass or signage at your premises.
  • Equipment failure- covers the cost of repairing or replacing mechanical or electrical equipment after accidental failure which results in damage.
  • Goods in transit- covers goods in transit for loss or damage caused by collision, fire, derailment or theft.

But there is more to business insurance than protecting physical assets. Public liability claims can run into the millions and it is important to consider what would happen to your income if your business was suddenly out of action following a claim.

Other coverage necessary to protect your business includes:

  • Business Interruption- helps ensure your businesses can survive periods of trading disruption by covering the loss of profits caused by an interruption to the business following an insured event.
  • Public and Products Liability- covers legal liability to third parties for personal injury or damage to property caused by an occurrence connected with your business.
  • Fraud- covers loss of money or goods as a result of an act of fraud or dishonesty committed by an employee.
  • Security Breach – covers loss or liability for a data breach including your personal data and that of your clients or customers.
  • Cash- covers loss of money kept in your building, in transit or at your residence.

A common mistake made by business owners is renewing their policies without accounting for growth or enhancements in their business. Research says that only 63 per cent of small to medium businesses believe they have adequate insurance.

Don’t leave yourself, your business, or your family unprotected. Contact NEC Insurance for an Insurance Health Checkup today at 636.271.2481 or contact Joe Bosse,President for more information.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NEC is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, risk prevention, and financial services.  Contact us today for more information at 636.271.2481 or visit NECins.com.

 

Has the New Year Brought on New Business Risks?

New year 2015 diggits on sport track. Good start, growing busineThe only constant in life is change. It happens in your business every year and if you don’t pay attention you may find yourself with new and increased risks which you are not adequately protected. On the other hand, if you’ve seen a decrease in revenues or streamlined overhead, you may have decreased your business risk exposures and may be paying for more coverage than you actually need.

A Commercial Insurance Checkup is recommended at least once a year. And Q1 is a perfect time to do it. You’ll review what you currently have based on your current needs and make the adjustments that could be critical to your business. A Commercial Insurance Checkup examines aspects of your business such as:

Changes in Property Exposures

Your property exposures should be updated frequently. This includes taking into account:

  • Increases and reductions of inventory
  • New and upgraded real estate—or a decreased physical footprint
  • Changes in your physical plant and equipment values

Business Income Insurance Coverage

If your Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) includes business income coverage, it’s important to have your policy reflect your true revenues and risks. Otherwise, you’re either underinsured—or paying more than you need.

The Special Needs of Business Growth

Growing businesses don’t just get bigger, they become more complex. As your business evolves, you’ll want to create a comprehensive risk management strategy. In addition to insurance planning, this should include loss control efforts—such as safety training and equipment, strong employee programs, business contingency planning, and IT safeguards.

Believe it or not, simple things like picking a new name for your company, making improvements to your property or expanding your product or service line can affect the types and amounts of insurance you need to protect your business.

Contact Joe Bosse, President today at 636.271.2481 to schedule your Commercial Insurance Checkup or visit www.necins.com for more information on how our BizAssure tools can help you plan for the future.


NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Three Tips to Help Your Business Grow for 2015

As this year comes to a close, you may already be thinking about what you can help your business. The economy is stabilizing, the employee landscape is changing, and companies are looking for a competitive edge. Here are three tips to help your business grow for 2015:

  1. Get the Money You Need – now that the worst of the latest recession is over, banks have more money to lend and are once again open to discussions. This is the time to get the money you need to:
    ♦   Expand by buying a company, expanding your product or service line, or hiring new employees
    ♦   Refinance higher rate loans with loans at the current, lower interest rates
    ♦   Establish a line of credit for you temporary cash flow challenges
  2. Outsource Rather than Hire – Consider outsourcing to independent consultants in areas outside your core business. Don’t take on additional overhead for a fluctuating or part-time position. Outside consultants provide you with perspective and advice gained from best practices of a variety of industries and may be able to provide unexpected insight.
  3. Stay Lean – Before expanding into a new product or service; test the waters. Sample testing is still the most cost-effective way to expand your business. Don’t expand on a hunch. Testing allows you to determine what products or services your clients and customers need, and most importantly – what they’ll pay for.

The last five years have been challenging for small business. Now that the economy is improving, you’ll have better opportunities to help your business grow if you position yourself correctly. For answers at your fingertips, learn more about NEC’s BizAssure program, or contact Joe Bosse at 636.271.2481. You’ll have access to experts from a variety of areas that affect your business every day.


NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Does My Commercial Insurance Cover the Damages Resulting From a Riot?

In light of the recent looting and violence experienced in Missouri and across the country, the question on the minds of business owners is “Does my commercial insurance cover the damages resulting from a riot?”.Does Your Insurance Cover the Results of a Riot

The National Underwriter’s Commercial Property Coverage Guide defines a riot as any tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons mutually assisting one another in execution of a common purpose by the unlawful use of force and violence resulting in property damage of any kind. And in most cases, the answer is Yes, according to a spokesperson for the Missouri Insurance Coalition, Merchandise stolen and property damage would typically be covered.

It is recommended however, that temporary repairs be made to commercial property to prevent further damage such as additional water damage in the event of rain. This ongoing damage may not be covered. Any expense incurred for these temporary repairs is refundable providing you have receipts for the materials and/or labor costs.

Businesses forced to close due to a disturbance of this type may only be able to recover lost revenue if they have an additional business interruption insurance policy. Without this type of policy, lost revenue may not be recoverable.

Though the costs of recent riots and looting in our area have just begun to be assessed, it is obvious that business owners who are fully protected will have a better chance of financially surviving this event. For a free evaluation of your current business protection, or more information contact Joe Bosse, President, NEC Insurance at 636.271.2481, or jbosse@necins.com.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

How Much Protection Does a Hold Harmless Clause Provide?

macro gavelA hold harmless clause is a legal statement in a contract that defines exactly what a party will do if a lawsuit arises from the contract. It is a positive, proactive statement, stating that one of the parties will indemnify and agree not to sue if a negative or unexpected event happens in the course of carrying out the business outlined in the contract. The one party agrees to hold the other party harmless.

Exceptions

While the hold harmless agreement is legally enforceable and will generally be upheld in a court of law, there are exceptions to the agreements and instances where the hold harmless agreement may be nullified by the courts. If one of the parties was negligent, the hold harmless agreement probably will not apply, as the agreement assumes that the party is acting in a normal manner without being negligent. Matters of public policy are usually exempt from hold harmless agreements.

Insurance Considerations

All of the hold harmless agreements and disclaimers may still not protect you from a lawsuit. Even if you are not liable for damages, someone can still sue you because they believe you are responsible. Liability insurance is critical for these situations. A general business policy should protect you if a lawsuit arises from business activities. Be certain to have enough coverage to protect all of your business assets, and consider an umbrella liability policy if you need further protection or your business activities place you at an unusually high risk.

For more information about a  NEC Insurance’s umbrella liability policy, contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Five Tips to Make your Employee Performance Review Less Stressful & More Productive

Performance Review Conducting an employee performance review can be stressful even when an employee is doing great. It’s always hard having a face-to-face with employees in a situation where confrontation may occur.

However if you’ve kept the lines of communication open throughout the year, nothing you say throughout the employee performance review should come as a surprise. If you only discuss growth opportunities on an annual basis, employees may not remember the specific instances you are referring to, and the learning opportunity is lost.  If you use the employee performance review process correctly, it can be a valuable tool that improves job performance, motivates your employees and facilitates an honest conversation about the employee’s future.

Here are Five Tips to Make Employee Performance Reviews Easier:

  • Do your homework. Hopefully, you have an employee handbook that outlines employee expectations and describes your company culture. Don’t count on your memory for specifics, refer to the handbook if it’s relevant. Make sure to tell your employee the areas in which they excel as well as areas where they need improvement. Create a Review Form for each job classification that has measurable standards so that employees are all being measured against the same benchmarks. TIP: Have each employee fill out a self-evaluation so you can see how they think they’re doing.
  • Be specific. Leave general feelings about performance and ability out of the review. Stick to the facts. Don’t say, “You seem like you don’t care”. Instead, say, “I’d like to see you take initiative and offer your own ideas about how to improve the process.” TIP: Throughout the employee performance review make sure you document all the specific tasks or behaviors that need improvement in the event termination is necessary at a later date.
  • Be honest about positives and negatives. You aren’t helping your company or your employee if you gloss over the negatives and only focus on the positives. Unless your employee is performing well below average, spend more time on their positive traits if possible. You want your employee to feel the employee performance review process was a positive experience. TIP: Go over the review with a spouse or friend before you deliver it. They can help you determine how balanced your review will be.
  • Encourage feedback. Don’t do all the talking. Emphasize that the review should be a conversation. (However, if you don’t want the person to talk until the end of the review, say so at the beginning.) Ask the employee if they need clarification on any points you made or actions you requested. TIP: If the employee is too shy to talk, ask specific questions about each of the employee performance review points to get the conversation started.
  • Focus on the future. Make sure the employee knows what you expect to happen by specific milestones, and ask them to share ideas on how to improve. TIP: Provide them with one or two obtainable goals and a deadline so you can easily monitor their progress.

For more information about employee performance reviews, ask about NEC Insurance’s BizAssure program or contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Rieva Lesonsky, GrowBiz Media

 

Do Foreign-Born Workers Pose Unique Safety Challenges?

Foreign Born WorkersProtecting all your employees from injury is a top priority for employers, however protecting a culturally diverse workforce creates a unique set of challenges. As an American employer, what are you legally required to do? What are the most effective and affordable methods of training a diverse workforce in safety practices?

The good news is that there are resources from employers across regions and industries to help.  Safety and medical professionals are spreading the word about the best way to adapt the safety culture within their professional communities. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has funded many projects to develop specialized safety training resources, drawing upon labor organizations and research centers. There are resources available, if you search for them,  which will help you maintain worker safety, provide medical care for multi-cultural workers, and provider service lists for translation and interpreting.

Safety First. Recovery Fast

As a group, these workers are at greater risk of work injury than U.S.-born workers, even if they are working the same jobs because of:

  • Limited experience
  • Language communication barriers
  • Less formal education
  • Cultural differences

When employers and employees don’t speak the same language, the need for customized safety training is obvious. However, even those foreign-born workers who seem fluent in English may also be at higher risk and require specialized training due to cultural differences such as:

  • The worker’s country of origin may not promote worker safety as a high priority. And those workers could be unaware that they can legally demand a safe workplace.
  • He or she may be unaware that U.S. employers and safety professionals are required by law to comply with many government safety requirements.
  • Even though foreign born workers can speak fluent English, they may have limited capacity to read English. This may result in their inability to participate in any written training programs.

Without the proper safety training and injury response methods to protect your entire workforce, you may be exposing yourself to an unfamiliar business risk.  To control these risks, develop the process you need to make sure all your employees, including those from different cultures , remain as injury-free as possible on the job, and are medically treated to return to work safely and quickly.

For more information about culturally diverse training programs, ask about NEC Insurance’s BizAssure program or contact Joe Bosse at jbosse@necins.com, 636.271.2481

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.

Reproduced from Work Safe: An Employer’s Guide to Safety and Health in a Diversified Workforce.

How Much Money Can an Employee Wellness Program Save Your Company?

healthA true employee wellness program can improve employee morale which in turn impacts productivity and improves your spreadsheet. According to national research, 70-75% of health care costs to an employer are directly related to lifestyle-related illness, disease or conditions. The CDC says it’s as high as 90% of all medical claims. The financial impact of an employee’s poor nutrition, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and substance abuse is staggering.

A serious, well-executed and permanent wellness program can provide your company with:

  • 28% reduction in sick days
  • 26% reduction in health care benefit claims
  • 39% reduction in workers’ compensation claims
  • 30% reduction in disability claims
  • Plus the intangible benefits of improved morale

Employee wellness programs that are just talk or purely education typically don’t work. Programs that are management-supported, multi-faceted, and long-term will yield positive results. Here are the seven basic steps to a successful employee wellness program:

  • Get senior management buy-in and support. Everyone needs to be involved.
  • Create an internal wellness team from all levels of employees.
  • Survey the needs and interests of your employees and build a program around those.
  • Develop an operating plan for a focused wellness program.
  • Choose appropriate interventions suited to your environment.
  • Create and maintain an environment that supports your program.
  • Track your results and revise your program as needed.

It’s no surprise that it takes time and money to implement a strong employee wellness program. However, it’s been proven that your return-on-investment is greater than the cost. Studies show that your reduction in absenteeism equates $5.07 in savings per $1 spent and your reduction in medical costs comes to $3.93 per $1 spent.

Once you have a good employee wellness plan in place and operating, you can move toward the last step in cutting health care costs – and that is to connect employee wellness to insurance premiums. You can’t offer premium discounts based on employee health. But you can offer incentives, inducements or reductions in premiums that are tied to measurable, verifiable targets such as Body Mass Index, cessation of tobacco use, regular exercise, cardio health and cholesterol levels.

Remember, educational programs alone don’t work. You need action steps that can be implemented by all levels of employees to really get a strong ROI.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.