What is business insurance all about?

It is essential for every Kenwood business to carry enough business insurance to protect it from the many issues that can arise that are outside the company’s control. The precise kinds of business insurance that a company should have will depend on the nature of the company’s business and other factors. Failure to have sufficient insurance protection could put a company at risk of facing severe financial payouts, and could even result in the company going out of business. This article looks at some sorts of insurance designed to protect commercial operations.

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Employment Practice Liability Insurance

The coverage provided under employee practice liability insurance (EPLI) protects a commercial operation when issues arise that affect the employment process, particular types of work environment issues, and the termination process. Employers need this coverage to protect themselves from claims made by job candidates, existing employees, and past employees.

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The types of claims that are most commonly seen are those arising from the following issues:

  • sexual discrimination or harassment
  • wrongful termination of employment
  • racial or religious discrimination

All workers of a firm, as well as the directors and other executive officers, are covered under EPLI policies.

The Many Types of Commercial Insurance

Commercial insurance is a loose term that refers to insurance policies that are especially tailored to meet the needs of commercial operations. It should be understood that even a sole trader who trades informally may require some form of commercial insurance to avoid issues with the law, or with dissatisfied customers. For example, a window cleaner who uses a motor vehicle to journey to, from and between jobs may be required to have commercial insurance for that vehicle.

Although commercial insurance is a vital protective measure for all sizes of businesses, in many ways it is even more essential for smaller businesses with limited resources. The private assets of owners and directors of smaller firms are often less protected than those of big business owners, making it even more essential to have the right level of insurance coverage.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance is often a part of, but not the same as, commercial insurance. It is a type of insurance that applies specifically to the actual physical property that a firm owns or leases. This includes land, buildings, machinery and other items. The most common claims received under commercial property insurance policies are to do with fire, theft and natural disasters. In some cases, equipment is covered separately from buildings by means of commercial contents insurance policy.

Enterprise owners should be careful to scrutinize the policy carefully to be certain there is sufficient protection. Every policy will differ in its specifics, but there are some general things that need to be taken into account. For example, some policies can provide for replacement of damaged or stolen machinery, or other company assets. Others will give financial compensation based on the current value of the property being claimed for.

Many company owners need this coverage to enable them carry on trading with the minimum delay following a loss. Consequently, it is probably best to look for a policy that covers replacement rather than one that offers just the value (depreciation will be taken into account) of property.

Clearly, the premiums of a commercial property insurance policy will depend on the level of coverage required, and expensive policies could prove problematical to finance in some firms. Having said that, if a firm is hit by any disaster that means it cannot trade until the missing or damaged goods have been replaced, it is probably best to spend the extra money on an insurance policy that will let them get back in business as soon as possible.

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Worker’s compensation insurance is a specific type of coverage designed to help both employers and their workforce. Many accidents occur in the workplace, and where these result in injury to any workers, the staff member can apply for restitution from the employer’s insurance provider.

For workers, it is important to appreciate that claiming from the compensation insurance provider is not like taking a lawsuit against either the employer or the insurance issuer. In fact, the scheme is designed to pay compensation without resorting to the courts, and workers who make claims under the scheme must forego their right to sue.

This type of insurance benefits employers by protecting them from costly lawsuits, which often result in very high payouts. It also helps to get the difficulties resolved much more quickly. The most common claims under the scheme are for loss of earnings, and the reimbursement of medical expenses.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance protects businesses from a wide range of liabilities. Specifically, it provides coverage to companies when third parties look for compensation due to injuries or damages caused by a company, its products, or by the negligence of its staff.

For instance, a general liability insurance policy for a retail outlet will protect the company from claims by customers who were injured while on the premises.

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It will also protect the business against claims that a product it sold caused damage to property or injuries to people through a basic design flaw or a malfunction. The retail outlet may be able to look for redress from the product manufacturer. Nothwithstanding that, in most jurisdictions, the outlet will be the entity that is sued by the victim, which is why this type of coverage is important.

General liability insurance normally provides coverage for legal expenses involved in any lawsuit, medical expenses, and substantial damages or injury payouts.

Summary

Business entities are obliged by law to carry certain types of insurance protection. For example, it is a legal requirement to carry insurance on commercial vehicles. Other sorts of insurance coverage are voluntary, but it is unwise to decide to trade without proper coverage.

Insurance policies can be complicated, and some enterprise owners may be uncertain of whether or not they are fully protected for all possible scenarios. If that is the case, they could speak with an independent, experienced and licensed broker. Brokers are paid commission by insurance providers, and they fund that commission out of their profits, so there is no added cost to a company that uses a broker to arrange business insurance.