Protect Yourself Against Negligence
Operating a business comes with many demands, responsibilities, and of course, risks. Aside from the personal risks you may take to get started or stay afloat, there are also hazards that may be present for your customers in doing business with you. Accidents and mistakes are a part of life, but in business, negligence can quickly become serious and may even threaten your very success and survival. Rather than leaving life up to chance, it is important to opt for the right Liability coverage to protect you, your employees, and your business against negligence and ensure any damaged or injured customers can be compensated without negatively impacting your business.
Depending on your industry, there are many different forms of Liability coverage. It can be daunting to try to determine what is essential for your business. Our team of licensed commercial insurance agents understands the unique risks present for many different entrepreneurs and industries. Through a collaborative and consultative approach, they can help you figure out what protection is best for your business and keep you covered against even the worst-case scenarios. Contact us today to speak with a member of our team and discover how your business can be properly protected against negligence.
Commercial General Liability
Every business owner needs to consider the general risks just by being in business. Commercial General Liability is an essential coverage that each business owner should carry to protect themselves and their business. It covers potential lawsuits involving damages or injuries caused in the course of daily operations. This can range from a slip-and-fall in your office or storefront to slander in an advertising campaign.
Commercial General Liability can pay for a range of damages and injuries, as well as the associated costs. This includes the cost to hire an attorney or legal representation and even covers lost income for any time spent in court or gathering documents for the case. Most business owners make every attempt to be conscious of potential hazards and mitigate risk of injury to their customers. Even with a tight ship and stringent policies, things can still go wrong, and when they do, you can turn to your Commercial General Liability coverage to protect you against negligent acts.
Some damages and injuries caused in the course of business can be extremely costly. From someone falling and becoming permanently injured to severe damage to expensive property, negligence can come with many unforeseen expenses. With a Commercial Umbrella, you can be prepared for these extreme circumstances by carrying excess liability coverage. Umbrella policies often start at $1,000,000 and will go above and beyond any other commercial liability coverage you carry. This means if you carry $1,000,000 in General Liability, you would have $2,000,000 total with your umbrella for high-cost losses.
While extreme scenarios aren't necessarily common, they aren't unheard of. Serious circumstances can accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions if the injured person is unable to work, becomes permanently disabled, or passes away due to complications. Legal representation alone can be quite costly just to battle false accusations of negligence, and you never want to risk a disruption to your operations without the right protection. With a Commercial Umbrella policy, you can be prepared for the absolute worst-case scenario and ensure that your business stays solvent after an extreme loss.
Most businesses have some kind of auto exposure. Whether you use commercial vehicles for delivery or maintenance, or simply have staff using their personal cars for work tasks, there is most likely some kind of liability for your business on the road. Commercial Auto coverage provides Liability protection for negligent acts committed while driving or operating a vehicle. This includes injury and property damage, which can be quite costly in car accidents.
Commercial Auto Liability coverage comes in two primary forms: Owned and Non-Owned Auto. Owned Auto coverage will provide Liability protection specifically for the cars you own that are registered in the name of the business. These can be equipment transportation vans, delivery trucks, or your own daily driver if you purchased it under the business. Non-Owned Auto covers liability caused by any vehicle not owned by you or the business that is used for daily operations. This is common for things like food delivery services, running bank deposits, or commuting as a group to meetings or other business activities. On a Commercial Auto policy, you can usually opt for both if your business has dual exposure.
Contractors face unique risks in their line of work, especially with certain job sites and heavy machinery. If someone is hurt on your job site during the course of your work, you can be deemed liable for their injuries. With Contractors Liability, you can be protected against negligence during the project. This will cover the cost of medical expenses for the injured person and can also cover legal defense in the event you are sued for any damages. Contractors Liability can even extend to actions by your employees in the event they cause damage to property, such as the job site itself. This can be an additional essential safeguard for your clients so they can be compensated for delays or damages that affect their daily operations during renovations, reconstructions, or new builds.
Beyond the physical hazards, negligence can also occur due to errors or mistakes during the design or construction phase of a project. Contractors Liability protects you and your business in the event there is something wrong with the way a project is executed, including errors and omissions. The best laid plans may not always go right, and Contractors Liability covers the financial impacts caused by poor designs, incomplete implementation, or missing construction elements. It also protects you in the event of a contract dispute where the client is arguing the quality or details of the finished product. Even if there are no obvious signs of negligence, disputes can still happen due to miscommunications or misunderstandings about client expectations, so Contractors Liability can be essential in protecting your interests.
Remember, negligence is failing to use a degree of care considered reasonable in a given circumstance. Even with Contractors Liability coverage, it is always important to still hire qualified subcontractors and industry professionals to support every project and make every effort to fully execute the job to the highest standards. This will help mitigate questions of subpar workmanship executed by your hired staff.
In the digital age, there are many conveniences for business owners to take advantage of. Most offices operate on a paperless platform, using methods such as e-signature and secure online payments. What happens if your server or web-based software is compromised? With Cyber Liability, you can rest easy knowing that even if your electronic data is hacked or maliciously destroyed, you have the means to recover.
Cyber Liability is critical for any business operating on the web, using email, or maintaining client or employee information on a shared network. There are many essential steps each business owner should take to make sure the data they keep and share is securely protected, but even with the best antivirus software and encryption, cyber attacks can still happen. If a breach hits your business, you are legally obligated to notify the potentially affected clients, and you will likely need to investigate the issue to fix security flaws. This can all add up quickly, not to mention the loss of potential customers who may feel unsafe providing their personal information to you. By carrying Cyber Liability, you can have the coverage you need to make things right and recover from a hack.
Directors & Officers Liability
Running a successful business takes a concerted team effort. In many industries, there are directors and officers responsible for a range of big picture items and even daily operational tasks. In the event a decision or action negatively impacts customers or shareholders, you want to make sure this administrative body is properly protected. Whether justified or groundless, Directors & Officers Liability coverage can protect your management team if a claim is made against them for damages or injuries.
Directors and officers of any business have the duty to carry out what is best for the company, and in doing so, they are expected to make executive decisions regarding a variety of things. From marketing tactics to product expansion, a managerial team sees the big picture and makes every effort to create sustainable growth based on past data and current trends. Unfortunately, even the best intentions can fall flat in practice, which may lead to unhappy customers or financially impacted shareholders. If one of your directors is personally sued because of a business decision they made, you certainly don't want them to be left unprotected or unrepresented. Directors & Officers Liability covers the legal defense fees and settlements associated with lawsuits or wrongful allegations.
Employment Practices Liability
No matter the business, every workplace should be welcoming and safe for its employees. Business owners strive to provide fair environments that are inclusive and full of opportunity for their staff. Despite this common goal, some businesses may experience accusations of poor employment practices, which could result in serious financial repercussions. Employment Practices Liability protects an organization against claims of sexual harrassment, wrongful termination, discrimination, wage and hour disputes, and invasion of privacy, whether they are true or not.
It is essential for every business owner with staff to carry Employment Practices Liability, even if they have exceptional employment standards. Stringent hiring practices and diligent recordkeeping are important elements of any successful human resource department, but these steps unfortunately cannot completely eliminate the risk of one of these allegations. This coverage applies to wrongful acts committed by your staff as well, such as an employee sexually harassing a coworker or a manager firing your receptionist because of their religion. If an employee feels their legal rights as a worker have been violated, a lawsuit could easily arise and have a major financial and professional impact on your business. Employment Practices Liability covers the expenses associated with a lawsuit even if the allegation is untrue, so you can continue to operate despite potential claims of misconduct.
In business, there may be equipment or actions that can produce pollutants. If there is a spill or unexpected incident, the released toxins can be quite damaging to the local environment and residents in the area. Damages or injuries arising from pollution caused by a business can be quite costly since they often affect more than one single person or family. Environmental Liability covers the expenses incurred by the affected individuals and also pays for the cost to clean up the contaminated area.
Independent contractors and industrial businesses are especially vulnerable to lawsuits of this nature. In a construction job, there are many potential hazards, from chemicals and waste produced in the build phase to the development of mold or asbestos post-construction. These exposures can be detrimental to a business in the event a lawsuit arises, so it is important to understand the potential risks and plan accordingly before you start a job. In some cases, proof of Environmental Liability may be required by the client or agency before contracting the project so that they can ensure they are not responsible for these risks. By opting for Environmental Liability coverage, you can protect yourself while demonstrating care and consideration for your client and your work.
Errors & Omissions
As an experienced and educated professional in your field, you have gained the insight necessary to comprehensively consult and guide your clients toward their goals. Depending on your area of expertise, an error could cause serious repercussions for your client. This in turn could result in a lawsuit and cause a severe financial burden to you. By opting for Errors & Omissions coverage, you can ensure that professional mistakes you make in your line of work do not inadvertently put you out of business.
Errors & Omissions, also known as Professional Liability, offers protection for you and your business in the event you fail to meet a certain standard or expectation with your services. As a trained and experienced professional in your field, there is a certain level of care and consideration that must be upheld with every client. People seek professional support for many reasons, and often come to a professional with expectations of how they will be treated and cared for. Most of the people you do business with will take your word for fact, and even with clear communication, mistakes, misinformation, and simple misinterpretation can still happen.
Even the most knowledgeable professionals with extensive industry experience still make mistakes, which is why it is critical to carry Errors & Omissions coverage as a professional in a range of industries. Depending on the nature of your profession, these losses could be quite significant and therefore expensive. Errors & Omissions coverage will pay for the costs associated with a lawsuit, including a settlement for any negligent acts. No matter how long you have been in your industry, this coverage is critical to keep you protected against both true negligence and false accusations.
For employees, working for a company that offers benefits is often much more enticing and fulfilling. People like to feel taken care of and are much more likely to stay with a company that meets their personal needs as much as their professional ones. In many businesses, there is at least one person or in some cases a team of people that are responsible for the management of these employee benefits in the organization. Retirement plans require a high degree of care and those responsible are often carrying a fiduciary responsibility to properly manage those funds. Fiduciary Liability is essential in the event a fiduciary inadvertently hurts an employee's potential retirement fund through misconduct, mismanagement, or more serious breaches of responsibility like theft.
As wonderful as employee benefits are, they can often be complex and difficult to manage. Proper recordkeeping, documentation, and oversight are critical at all times. Even the most diligent fiduciaries may still make decisions that negatively affect employee benefits. In well-organized and conscious businesses, these mistakes will be the exception rather than the rule, but it is still important to carry the right protection for when they happen. Fiduciary Liability can provide that protection and peace of mind for your fiduciaries knowing they are covered in the event they make a mistake. Your fiduciaries have earned their title in most cases because of a level of trust and responsibility, and it is only fair as an employer to offer the right coverage to protect them against potential errors.
It is worth noting that Fiduciary Liability is different from an ERISA Bond. An ERISA Bond covers the employee so that they can recoup losses to their retirement plan that were caused by the fiduciary. Fiduciary Liability covers the fiduciary themself in the event they are sued for a mistake or misconduct when managing a retirement fund. While both are very important, they serve distinct purposes and complement each other with the protection they offer. Depending on the nature of your business, it may be practical to opt for both coverages to ensure your staff are all properly protected in the event of a problem.
Garagekeepers Legal Liability
As a nation bound to the road, local auto shops and mechanics provide a truly essential service. Drivers rely on their skill and expertise to keep them safe on the road and maintain or fix their car so it goes mile after mile without a hitch. Some repair work or maintenance may take a few days, which requires the owner to leave the vehicle in the care of the auto shop. If the car is damaged while in your professional care, you certainly don't want to be left to cover the additional costs to fix it. Garagekeepers Liability offers protection for losses that occur during the course of service so that you can take care of your client no matter what happens.
Garagekeepers Liability covers damage or loss to property that is in the care, custody, and control of an auto shop. In other words, auto shops have a unique exposure since they keep their clients' cars on their property for repair or maintenance. There are a number of factors that could result in damage or loss of the vehicle, including inclement weather, accidental damage from repair equipment, or theft. No matter the cause, it is your responsibility to take the utmost care of the customer's vehicle while it is in your hands, and if something happens to it, you want to be able to cover it without question. Garagekeepers Liability gives you the ability to easily repair or replace a car damaged while in your control and ensures your business is protected against potential claims or lawsuits.
Whether you operate a full-blown pub or serve alcoholic beverages at your restaurant, there is always some risk in serving liquor. Even if you don't overserve your customers, alcohol can still inhibit people's decision making skills and reaction time. If someone you have served gets into an accident and causes damages or injuries to themself or someone else, it could mean very serious and expensive consequences for your business. Liquor Liability protects you and your business in these circumstances by covering expenses related to damages or injuries caused by the people you served.
Liquor is a common element of many industries, most typically in hospitality or food service. No matter the setting, serving liquor creates a unique exposure for business owners. Liquor Liability covers the negligent acts of the people you serve alcohol to. This coverage can be carried year-round as part of your risk management plan for routine liquor sales to protect against claims involving an intoxicated patron.
It is of vital importance to make sure your staff are all appropriately licensed and trained to serve alcohol because of the many risks it poses for your patrons and for your business. Even with the necessary precautions, your customers are individuals who make their own choices, and they unfortunately may choose wrong. If they decide to get behind the wheel and end up hurting someone, this decision could still be traced back to your business. If they act recklessly and cause damages to others, you could be held financially responsible for their dangerous behavior.