How can I be sure my company is protected?
It is vital for every company to carry adequate business insurance to protect it from the many problems that can arise that are outside the business’ control. The precise kinds of business insurance that a company should have will depend on the nature of the company’s activities and other factors. Failure to have enough 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 varieties of insurance designed to protect commercial operations.
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 mentioned that even a sole trader who trades informally may have to have 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 travel to, from and between jobs may be required to have commercial insurance for that vehicle.
Although commercial insurance is an important protective measure for all sizes of Windsor businesses, in many ways it is even more essential for smaller companies 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 important to have the right level of insurance coverage.
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, certain types of work environment issues, and the termination process. Employers have to have this coverage to protect themselves from claims made by job candidates, existing workers, and past employees.
The kinds of claims that are most commonly seen are those arising from the following issues:
- sexual discrimination or harassment
- racial or religious discrimination
- wrongful termination of employment
All staff of a business, as well as the directors and other executive officers, are insured under EPLI policies.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Worker’s compensation insurance is a special type of coverage designed to aid both employers and their staff. Many accidents occur in the workplace, and where these result in injury to any employee, the staff member can apply for restitution from the employer’s insurance provider.
For staff, it is important to appreciate that claiming from the compensation insurance provider is not the same as taking a lawsuit against either the employer or the insurance provider. In fact, the scheme is designed to pay compensation without resorting to the courts, and workers who make claims under the scheme must give up 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 companies from a wide range of liabilities. Essentially, it provides coverage to businesses when third parties apply for compensation due to injuries or damages caused by a business, its products, or by the negligence of its workers.
For instance, a general liability insurance policy for a retail outlet will protect the firm from claims by customers who were injured while on the premises.
It will furthermore protect the business against claims that a product it sold caused damage to property or injuries to people through an inherent design flaw or a malfunction. The retail outlet may be able to seek redress from the product manufacturer. Nevertheless, 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 usually provides coverage for legal expenses involved in any lawsuit, medical expenses, and substantial damages or injury payouts.
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 Windsor company owns or leases. This includes land, buildings, plant and other items. The most common claims received under commercial property insurance policies are as a result of fire, theft and natural disasters. In some cases, equipment is covered separately from buildings with a commercial contents insurance policy.
Business owners should be careful to scrutinize the policy carefully to be certain there is enough 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 may provide for replacement of damaged or stolen machinery, or other company equipment. Others will give financial compensation based on the current value of the property being claimed for.
Many enterprise owners need this coverage to allow them carry on trading with the smallest delay following a loss. Consequently, it is probably best to apply for a policy that covers replacement rather than one that provides for 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 protection required, and expensive policies could prove hardto finance in some firms. Having said that, if a business is hit by any disaster that means it may not trade until the missing or damaged items have been replaced, it is probably sensible to spend the extra money on an insurance policy that will let them get back in business as fast as possible.
Business entities are obliged by law to have certain types of insurance protection. For example, it is a legal obligation to carry insurance on commercial vehicles. Other kinds of insurance coverage are not mandatory, but it is unwise to decide to trade without proper coverage.
Insurance policies can be intricate, and some company owners may be uncertain of whether or not they are fully insured for all possible scenarios. If that is the case, they could talk to 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 extra cost to a business that uses a broker to arrange business insurance.