Here at HIG, we’ve been helping local businesses in Fall River, Somerset, and along the South Coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island with their business insurance needs for more than 100 years. Over the course of that time, we’ve seen how the business world has changed, and have worked to make sure our insurance offerings evolve with it.
We sat down with HIG partner Chris Hadley to go over some of the biggest risks and questions that business owners today have. Read along to learn more about what your business needs to be fully protected.
Q. What are some business insurance options that can protect a company when it comes to slips and falls?
A. “Slips and falls are a pretty big concern for businesses, especially in the winter time. We see this come up a lot when businesses don’t properly salt an entrance or sidewalk. We also see issues with this when people mop floors during business hours. That can be a big risk, even if you put up ‘Wet Floor’ signs. Luckily, a business owners policy (BOP) includes liability protection, which covers a company’s responsibility for any harm it may cause to others. Your BOP covers medical or legal expenses resulting from an accident, like a slip or fall, which happened on your property.”
Q. What kind of income protection does a business have if it’s shut down from a fire?
A. “Most BOP’s have business interruption coverage. If your business experiences a covered loss, like a fire, water damage or another catastrophic event that requires your business to close for a period of time, the actual loss of income you experience would typically be covered during the period of restoration. Business interruption coverage also picks up any extra expenses incurred from setting up in a new location. For example, if you’re a doctor or dentist and you open a temporary office while yours is being restored, the extra expense of renting the space and buying or renting equipment would be covered in this scenario.”
Q. What can a business do to protect themselves from lawsuits related to things like wrongful termination?
A.“Many business owners policies now have Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) to cover this. EPLI provides coverage for wrongful acts related to the employment process. The most typical situations are wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. It’s a security policy that pays for legal defense costs and/or any punitive damages. HIG has definitely seen our fair share of these types of claims coming from clients, so we have a discussion about EPLI coverage with anyone who has employees.”
Q. A topic that has been in the news recently is that of employee embezzlement. What can a business owner do to protect themselves from this?
A. “Many BOP’s have an option to purchase what’s known as employee dishonesty or crime coverage. This insurance coverage can protect a business owner from financial losses resulting from fraudulent acts performed by an employee such as theft, computer fraud, embezzlement, wire transfer fraud, etc. Your independent insurance agent will be able to help you determine how much of this coverage your unique business needs.
Q. Cyber Security has been top of mind for business owners for many reasons in recent months, but most recently with the WannaCry attack — what can business owners do today to protect themselves from a data breach or cyber attack?
A. “This is an enormously important topic these days with all of our business insurance clients. We recently had a client come in who had added an online purchasing option to their website. I suggested adding on data security coverage, which is an additional coverage that can be added onto your BOP, since their website was now taking credit card information. They decided to go with my recommendation and added on the coverage, which was very fortunate, because six months later they were the victim of a data breach. It’s one of those coverages where you don’t realize how important it can be until you experience a loss first hand.
Data Security Coverage protects your business if it becomes the victim of a cyber hack. One of the biggest benefits comes if you have credit card data that is stolen. This coverage will protect individual customers and your business by notifying all affected individuals and setting up credit card reporting and monitoring for each customer who is impacted, which can be a serious cost for a business to take on themselves. Business owners should know that credit card data isn’t the only thing cyber criminals are after, however. If they hack your computer system, they can also steal sensitive, personal information, like social security numbers, which is another way that this coverage can be helpful. Individuals who are impacted by your business’ data breach are eligible for identity restoration case management in addition to credit monitoring.
Data Security Coverage will also cover any damages that were done to your computer or computer systems, and includes a professional forensic IT review to research and determine any vulnerabilities in your computer system. It also covers cases of extortion, which have been happening recently like with the WannaCry ransomware attack. It’s not that expensive to add on, especially when you weigh the cost a business could face without this coverage, so we definitely advise any business that uses computers to purchase this additional coverage.”
When it comes to insuring your business, you never want to leave things to chance. A Business Owners Package is a great option for small to medium sized businesses because it combines your major property and liability risk into one comprehensive package, saving you time and money on your total insurance program. While many of the coverages we’ve discussed today are included in most BOP’s, your independent insurance agent can go over policy specifics and limits to make sure your unique business has the protection it needs.