Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Help Assessing Business Risk

No one dreams of the day they can pay insurance.  It is especially true when starting a business when your financial resources are at their tightest.  When your business ownership dreams come true you are dazed with all the bewilderment, excitement and anticipation that comes with any new adventure. The last thing business owners want to think about is the chance of failure or harm that could come to their business. The problem with all the optimism is that is can blind you from reality.  The reality of owning your own business is the risk involved.  The risks come with great rewards. Those rewards can be properly insured with the right commercial business insurance policy preventing the promise of success from being eliminated from a lawsuit or natural disaster.

When it comes to insurance coverage for your business don’t asses the risk on your own.  It is incredibly blinding at the start of any new adventure and the risks cannot properly be assessed without insight from a professional commercial business insurance agent.  When looking into insurance coverage for your business have at least two different insurance companies come in and address your insurance needs.  A risk analysis of your business by at least two outside parties will help to create awareness of what assets need coverage as well as what policies should be obtained.  

Insurance needs will vary greatly from one industry to another, one business to another and one entrepreneur to another. Here are a few different types of polices that can be offered to help cover all of your business needs and to prevent the financial demise of business.

One type of insurance coverage that is often seen in business is business owner coverage.  This policy is often referred to as a catch all policy.  The plan covers protection of damages caused from fires and other mishaps.  This policy offers a narrow degree of coverage in liability protection. 

Business owners can also purchase additional property insurance that offers protection above and beyond regular business owner protections.  Property insurance covers damage to the building that encompasses your business as well as the assets inside including the inventory, furniture and equipment needed to run the business.

In our society lawsuits come about for the most insignificant of reasons.  This is why it is so important that businesses cover additions liability insurance.  This policy will be the coverage that is needed to prevent financial ruin that comes from litigation over property, injuries that your product is held accountable for.  This is the policy that covers business owners from litigation against things such as a coffee that scorches a client or fan blade that cuts a babies finger.

Insurance against errors and omission is another part of business insurance coverage that is important.  This covers all service based industries against mistakes or harm caused from advice given.  Good examples of people that need this coverage are lawyers and doctors. 

When it comes to insurance for your business it is important to take the time to understand what is being offered and the reason the coverage is critical for your business.

For more information on business insurance throughout Livingston County, MI contact Cobb-Hall Insurance. We are experts in all types of insurance needs and look forward to helping you with all of your insurance needs. Check us out online at

Every Business Needs Commercial Insurance

Without a doubt the most important investment you can make for yourself and your business is to meet with a professional insurance agent to properly insurance your company.  Commercial business insurance helps to protect owners against financial loss that in turn could make the difference between bankruptcy and staying in business. One lawsuit can end your business and entrepreneurial dreams without the proper insurance coverage. 
No matter how small or large your business is, adequate commercial coverage is crucial.  A solid insurance policy and plan can prevent financial loss due to a myriad of issues that can arise within your business and industry.  Some of the most common losses that business experience are from theft, natural disasters, lawsuits and employee injuries.  All of which have specific policies that can be purchase to cover losses to your business.  Adequate insurance coverage allows business owners to regain their footing after a claim is made against the business.
When looking into business insurance coverage it is important to a have a basic knowledge of what there is available.  The three basic insurance policies that most businesses have are liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance and property insurance.  Liability insurance helps to cover loss due to any damages that are inflicted on someone else from the actions of your employees, products or business in general.  This type of policy will cover expenses and cost related to personal injury, property damage, customer injury and the lawsuits arising from such.
Worker’s compensation is required to own and operate a business.  This type of coverage protects the business and the employee if an injury or illness occurs on the job or from the job you are pursuing. This can be anything from covering medical related to expenses from an injury to an employee’s lost wages during an extended leave of absence.  This policy requires proof that the injury or illness sustained comes from the work that was done on the job or from the job.
When it comes to considering an insurance agent for your commercial business insurance needs you it is important that you work with someone with extensive experience.  As a new business owner you will not necessarily be able to know or predict the risks involved with your specific industry.  Working with an insurance agent that specializes in commercial insurance will aim to help you have coverage that meets your every business need. 
Remain informed throughout the process of purchasing coverage and policies. Ask your agent any and all questions before the need arises for you to make a claim.  You will want to make sure that you understand your insurance coverage so that you can comprehend what you are covered for as well as exactly what you are paying for.  If a claim is made against the policy you will want to be able to contact your agent immediately so that it can be looked into and processed as soon as possible.  When it comes to commercial business claims you will find that it is more complex than making individual claims and can take a bit longer to process. 
For more information on business insurance throughout Livingston County, MI contact Cobb-Hall Insurance. We are experts in all types of insurance needs and look forward to helping you with all of your insurance needs. Check us out online at

Protect Your Business Risks With Commercial Insurance

When it comes to protecting yourself and your business against the uncertainties in life it is good to know you can rely on commercial business insurance.  As the owner of any business no matter how big or small you will face risks that you didn’t even know existed before becoming an entrepreneur.  Before cutting the ribbon on your new business it is imperative that you meet with an insurance agent that specializes in commercial insurance coverage.  They will be able to help you identify and define the risks within your industry as well as your specific needs.

Insurance for your business takes the risks involved and transfers them to a third party that you pay for.  It works just like insurance policies that you have on your home and automobiles. The insurance company chooses a set amount of money to charge for policies depending on the amount of coverage that is needed and the determined likelihood that it will be needed. Business insurance is risk management for owners.  If a loss occurs the business owner will establish a claim with the insurance company and their losses will be covered.  Without this coverage a business owner would be on their own to cover the loss occurred which could possibly bankrupt your business.

When it comes to insurance for your business there are several types of policies to consider.  An insurance agent will help you determine exactly which insurance policies are specific to your business.  From commercial property damage to professional liability this article will provide you with a brief description on what each does to support your business.

Worker’s Compensation
 A worker’s compensation policy covers lost income as well as medical expenses to an employee if they sustain an injury or work related illness.  This policy pays to sustain the employee while hiring someone to cover the work that is in need of being done while the employee is healing. 

General Liability
General business liability insurance provides coverage against negligence, product defects, and damage to property.  General liability is important in today’s lawsuit happy climate.  The protection provided to the business is to cover lawsuit expenses, medical payment and any other expense occurred in 
preventing loss to your business.

Commercial Property Damage
Property damage insurance provides coverage and compensation to business owners in case of loss due to natural causes including from weather created issues, fire damage as well as theft.  The coverage not only covers the physical business property and structure but also loss of equipment and materials that allow your business to function and exist.

Professional Liability
When it comes to certain professions professional liability is a must.  This type of insurance is provided for consultants, attorneys, tax advisors and other service industries. If you give advice or offer services of technical advice professional insurance protects you and your business against lawsuits stemming from that advice. 

These are the four most basic types of coverage offered to business owners.  More in depth coverage may be needed or wanted.  This can be determined by consulting a local commercial business insurance agent. 
For more information on business insurance throughout Livingston County, MI contact Cobb-Hall Insurance. We are experts in all types of insurance needs and look forward to helping you with all of your insurance needs. Check us out online at

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

General Liability Insurance: 3 Costly Mistakes to Avoid

General liability insurance is an important aspect of running a business. Having this policy protects you from many of the common risks associated with business ownership, such as personal injury and property damage. But if you don't take the time to carefully review and learn about your specific coverage terms, you may end up learning the hard way that it's called "general" liability for a reason.

Insurance experts discussed some costly mistakes that small business owners frequently make concerning their general liability insurance, and what you can do to make sure your business is fully protected.

Thinking you don't need insurance

One of the worst assumptions a business owner can make is that he or she doesn't need any insurance coverage. While you may not have a lot of room in your budget, the price you'll pay for a lawsuit if something goes wrong is far greater than any monthly premium for basic liability insurance.

 "By not properly assessing their risks, small business owners may conclude that they do not need insurance," said Stephen Leveroni, executive vice president and general business practice leader at insurance and financial services firm The ABD Team. "Those that start in their homes may have the false assumption that their homeowners' insurance policy provides coverage [for their business]."

Leveroni also pointed out that structuring your company as a corporation, LLP or LLC does not mean you don't need a general liability policy.

"While [the structures of] these entities do help, they are not substitutes for liability insurance," he told Business News Daily.

Assuming your policy covers everything

While general liability coverage does address the most common business risks, it's not necessarily a catch-all for every possible scenario. Small business owners often assume that their policy automatically covers them if any issues arise, but those who have read the fine print — which many fail to do — know that this isn't the case.

"Insurance contracts are agreed-upon transfers of risk for a fee," said John Buckley, a partner with Ungaretti and Harris law firm. "Insurers, however, are careful about what risks they accept and what risks they exclude. Unprofitable, unpredictable and unmanageable risks are excluded by the insurers over time to reduce their risk and manage their portfolio more profitably."

Buckley advised speaking with a professional broker to help assess your business's specific risks and shape your general liability policy to best fit your needs.

Forgetting about cybersecurity

In an age where nearly every business has a Web presence, cybersecurity is an issue that will most likely affect you, regardless of your industry. Tech startups are usually hyper-aware of this risk, but non-tech businesses tend to forget that they're not outside the reach of hackers.

"Small businesses are of greatest risk for a breach due to their often limited budget, lack of security and thin staff," said Matt Cullina, CEO of business risk and identity management solutions provider IDentity Theft 911. "They're a growing target for hackers and thieves who know small businesses are especially vulnerable to exposures. Anything from a denial-of-service attacks, data lost to viruses or other security issues, or even something as simple as a hacked email can contribute to a costly, reputation-damaging situation."

In most cases, general liability policies will only cover you for reputational damage due to libel or slander. They don't directly cover losses due to data breaches and other exposures by third-party IT service providers. For this reason, it's important to consider a separate cyberinsurance policy on top of your general liability.

As your business grows, your insurance needs are going to change. The best thing you can do to keep your assets protected is revisit your general liability policy and modify it as necessary to cover your risks, Buckley said.

Original Source:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Choosing an insurance plan: 3 common mistakes

We focus too much on deductibles and not enough on overall costs.

FORTUNE -- Behavioral finance -- the study of why humans make irrational decisions about money -- has made its mark on the world of investing in a big way. Look at the way many companies now both enroll employees into their 401(k) plans and ratchet up their deferrals. Both are now frequently done automatically; if you don't want to participate or increase the amount you kick in, it's up to you to opt out. Similarly, there are many plans where target-date retirement funds have replaced money market funds, as the investment default.

Although some believe this is too "Big Brother," these tactics (the financial equivalent of hiding the broccoli in the mac and cheese) are a good thing. They point to success stats like the huge lift in participation rates when a plan automatically enrolls -- and how that alone can help employees stash away more for retirement.

But what about in the world of insurance? A few weeks ago, I wrote about my trip to the Wisconsin Business School at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. While there, I spent time with Justin Sydnor, an assistant professor in the Department of Actuarial Science, Risk Management, and Insurance who conducts much of his research in the field of behavioral finance. We talked about the none-too-rational mistakes humans make when shopping in this confounding field -- and how we can help ourselves through them.

Here are three biggies:

We focus on the wrong variables

Think about the last time you were asked to choose a health insurance plan. Whether you were shopping an exchange or your employer's menu, chances are there were many features to consider: co-payments, doctor availability, and deductibles. "It's very easy to focus on the features that turn out to not to be financially important while missing the ones that are," Sydnor says. Specifically, we have a tendency to focus too much on deductibles because of the large numbers associated with them. That can be a mistake.
Try this instead: If the first filter you apply when you're looking at policies is the deductible -- and you go for a low one -- you'll end up looking at a bunch of high-priced policies and miss the lower-priced ones altogether. Instead, Sydnor suggest narrowing the universe by first looking at factors that don't have a huge impact like the coinsurance rate and the health care providers you really want. By leaving the deductible comparison to the end, you'll get a policy that's better suited to your needs (and your wallet).

We don't do the math 

Premiums, whether you're talking about auto insurance or health insurance, are typically not presented as a yearly number -- but as a quarterly or monthly number. Deductibles, on the other hand, are presented as an annual number. And as Sydnor's research has shown, many people are so laser tuned to that factor they end up paying more in overall premiums than they save on deductibles. "If you pay $450 more in annual premiums and that gets you a $500 lower deductible, it's a $50 difference -- and you've paid the $450 up front," he explains. That's not a smart move. Even less smart: "We've seen cases where people will pay a $600 difference for a $500 lower deductible."

Try this instead. Look at the yearly premiums. If they're quoted in monthly increments multiply by 12. If they're quoted quarterly, multiply by four. (I know it sounds ridiculously easy, but far too many people don't go the extra step.) Then look at the spread between the difference in premiums and the deductible. "If the two numbers are close buy the high deductible policy," Sydnor says. "Otherwise, you're essentially paying up front for a reduction in deductible later."

We insure the wrong things

Have you ever bought insurance on your cell phone? Or taken out an extended warranty on a new electronic? Or opted for a low deductible on your car insurance because, you thought: "If I have a fender bender, I don't want to have to come up with $1,400 to fix my car." We do these things all the time -- Sydnor explains -- essentially spending money to protect ourselves against relatively small losses. At the same time we're ignoring much bigger financial risks. "We're not buying disability policies. Some homeowners aren't buying excess liability," he says. "If we took all the money we paid to cover ourselves for small risks and devoted it to unlikely but big ones, that would be a much better way to manage the risk in our overall lives."

Try this instead: If you can't afford to replace it, insure it. If you can afford to replace it, don't. "My general principal is that unless you have a really good reason to believe you are highly special and are, for example, going to destroy five iPhones, you're better off avoiding most coverage under $1,000 and focusing on the bigger risks," Sydnor says.

"Insure the things you can't replace by yourself like your house or your income and don't pay for extra insurance on the small things. That's what your emergency cushion is for."

Original Source:

Defining Business Insurance Policies

Insurance for General Liability:  All businesses should have at least basic general liability insurance.  This is true even if you run a home based business or consultant.  Liability insurance policies provide coverage for litigation and damages that are caused as a result of you, an employee, product or service.  This includes property damages as well injury to one’s person.

Insurance for Property: A property insurance policy should be purchased to cover your building as well as any business property including office equipment, tools and inventory. Separate coverage should be considered to protect against fire, theft, vandals and such. 

Interruption Insurance: This is a policy that can be purchased by business owners that covers the business in situations where there is an interruption that does not allow the business to operate.  This insurance protects the potential earning power of the business when service or products are unable to be provided. 

Auto Insurance For Commercial Vehicles:  As you insure a car for your personal benefit your work fleet also needs coverage.  Commercial auto insurance is used to insure vehicles that are used in the line of work from damage as well as collision.  When employees use their personal vehicles to complete business related tasks it is important the business owners have insurance that covers the business in case the employee does not have adequate coverage. 

Insurance for Workers Compensation:  Workman’s comp, as it is often referred to protect employees who suffer from work related injuries or who are hurt on the job. This insurance provides for a replacement of the employees’ wages as well as medical benefits.  Workers compensation protect the business owner and company from legal complications.  Providing workman’s’ comp benefits alleviate employers risks from future litigation arising from the incident.

Error and Omissions Insurance:  Also known as professional liability insurance the policy provides coverage for litigation and damage that is the result of services rendered improperly.  This coverage is different from general liability insurance.  Professional liability insurance is tailored to specific trades and professions.  Services professions such as lawyers, accountants, real estate professionals, insurance agents, hair salons, technology providers and more should all be sure to have adequate error and omissions insurance. 

Key Person Insurance:  Coverage under key person insurance provides compensation for any financial losses that come about from the death or incapacity of a key member in the business.  If one person is responsible for the majority of revenue brought in to the company this coverage is a necessity.  If one person’s work, knowledge, skill set or contribution is unique and consider irreplaceable without incurring loss or expense to the business; key person insurance can carry a business through a period of time and financial loss.

When it comes to insurance, policies, protection and coverage needs for your business it is wise to seek advice from a reputable business insurance agent.  An agent that is familiar with your industry is more likely to know the needs associate with your company providing the exact bundle of business insurance that is needed.  This also helps to ensure that you are not over insuring your company and in turn wasting valuable financial resources. 
For more information on business insurance throughout Livingston County, MI including Brighton and Howell, contact Cobb-Hall Insurance. We are experts in all types of insurance needs and look forward to helping you with all of your business and personal insurance needs. Check us out online at

Take Risks In Business But Not With Your Insurance Coverage

As you open a business no matter how big or small there are a ton of questions that run through your head.  I bet business insurance is one of those things that comes to mind. When it comes to owning your own business you will take a lot of risks and you will make a ton of mistakes.  Don’t let insurance coverage for your business be one of them. When it comes to insurance for your business there are a million questions you need to ask to ensure that you are substantially covered.

The first question you need to answer is in regards to equipment and goods used while outside of the actual business premise.  Your business insurance coverage should cover business equipment whether on site or in transit to a tradeshow.  You will want to make sure your coverage is all inclusive when it comes to where the equipment is located.

Question your insurance provider to make sure that you are covered under circumstances from theft to a flood.  It is important that the insurance policy for your business covers expenses that are man-made as well as natural occurrences.

Do you need to contact your insurance agent when you make upgrades to your equipment or your premise?  It is important to understand your policy and the intricate details.  If additions to the premise or upgrades in equipment need to be reported the agent for the insurance to cover them that it is essential that you address that before you make the purchase so that it is covered. 

With the policy that you have purchase does it cover replacing the building if it is fully destroyed? Are you required to build in the same spot or are you allowed to build in an area that is more suitable than the last one?  

Does your policy cover a loss of income if your office, warehouse or production site is destroyed?  What about if it is partially damaged or if your business is severely affected by the damage be it man-made or a natural disaster. It is dire that you completely understand the coverage that you purchase.

When considering purchasing a policy make sure that it covers in case of a breach of data.  When you take client information and payment via credit or check you need to make sure that your client’s information is protected.   Data protection is a newer policy to consider but is so important in the age of technology that we are currently living in. 

Questions are important especially when it comes to your business and the insurance plan that you have on it.  Your business is your source of income.  Income creates the means that support your family and livelihood. It has never been more important that when buying business insurance to understand what you are getting in return for the money you are paying. If you have any questions regarding the insurance coverage to your business ask your agent questions.  Your insurance agent is there to help you understand and to clarify your business insurance policy.

For more information on business insurance throughout Livingston County, MI including Brighton and Howell, contact Cobb-Hall Insurance. We are experts in all types of insurance needs and look forward to helping you with all of your business and personal insurance needs. Check us out online at