Monitor Your Employees as You Would Your Kids

“Employees who act out often need some one-on-one attention”

It became obvious that this division needed another team member. The revenue generated by the division warranted another part-time employee who could also help with another division.

This Friday, both Sally and Brenda will be in one of our offices together, reviewing workflows while informing each other of their own workflow and software tricks.

We will eventually regroup and have a “family meeting” to share our plans of adding another team member, which will help Sally and Brenda focus on their best skills: customer service.

We’ll be moving the rating and processing functions to our new employee, mirroring what we do in our other divisions.

Our agency has found that the more we treat your employees like family members, the more they reciprocate with quality work and a positive attitude.

As with your family, not everyone will be happy all the time. Keep an eye out for changing behaviors and address them as soon as reasonably possible.

What Amount of Renters Insurance Coverage Do I Need?

When you shop around and get some bids for renters insurance, they might come in with different coverage amounts and different premiums. It can seem challenging to read and understand the basics of the policy to ensure you have the proper coverage, but it’s actually easier than you may think. Learn how to dissect your policy so that you can make the best decision for your circumstances.

How much coverage you need is actually a multi-pronged question because in your policy, you get several different types of coverage. Those types cover different situations and perils (or losses) that could occur and cost you money. Here are the general categories of coverage that are included in a standard renter’s policy.
Personal Property. This covers the cost to replace your clothes, furniture, electronics, and all your other personal property items.
Loss of Use. This covers your living expenses if your rental unit is uninhabitable. This includes items like hotel costs, food, and other costs incurred as a result of your being displaced from your rental unit.
Liability. This covers if you are sued by another party that is financially injured as a result of the peril that occurred related to your home.
Medical of Others. This covers the medical costs of others who were on your property with your permission.

Each one of the above categories will have a maximum amount of coverage that the policy will pay in case there is a loss, so let’s discuss how much coverage you may need for all of them.

Personal Property – A typical renter may have $15,000 to $25,000 in personal property, but of course, that depends on the renter. For example, if you are a management consultant renting a second residence in New York City, and you have expensive clothing, extensive electronics, high end furniture, and so on, you could easily have $50,000 to $100,000 worth of personal property in your rental unit. This means you need to think through how much coverage you really need in case a fire destroys all your belongings. And if you have expensive artwork or antiques with high values and want them to be covered, you need to discuss that with your agent to make sure you are paying for the appropriate amount of insurance. If you don’t have the right insurance, you’ll be out of luck if there is a loss.

Loss of Use – This is pretty straightforward to determine because if there is a loss, your insurance agent and/or an adjuster will review your current rental amount and lifestyle and that will form the basis for what coverage you need. The insurance agent can go over this with you as well as any other options you may have for extra coverage.

Liability – This is a more important one to think through and consider because there are some important options here. A normal renters insurance policy might have $25,000 of liability coverage, according to the Texas Department of Insurance , but that might not be near enough. As you get wealthier and/or if you have a higher paying job, that increases the risk that you might be sued if, for example, someone slips and falls while visiting your home.

If you do get sued, $25,000 is not enough coverage. That won’t even cover your own lawyer’s bills at $350 an hour! A typical homeowners policy has $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage. Many people get an excess liability policy, called an Umbrella Policy, that bumps that coverage to over $1,000,000. And this is only about $250 per year, so if you have some assets and/or a good job, it’d be in your best interest to get an Umbrella Policy.

Medical of Others – This is usually governed by a standard amount of coverage that the insurance carrier offers. And that standard amount is probably fine because they’ve looked at their past claims and determined the most sufficient amount to cover most situations. Talk to your agent about this issue and make the best choice for yourself.

In thinking through how much coverage you need, the most important items are to make sure you have enough coverage in place for your personal property and for liability protection in case you get sued. It’s really not very expensive on an annual basis to have a little extra protection to ensure you are properly covered. So review your existing policy, your situation and belongings, and get the right coverage that fits for your life’s circumstances.

Find Your Hazards

Everyone knows that business insurance is certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s hard for many business owners to actually provide a targeted estimate of what kinds of specific coverage they need for any kind of complex operations. Insurance companies will often meet a businesses halfway in coming up with calculations that work, but a better and more detailed knowledge of what’s currently going on will help those who have to negotiate and sign onto new business insurance policies.
Keeping Current On Operations

Businesses that have more than one location or more than one corporate vehicle may need to do more research in figuring out what’s in use when a policy is written. It may be that a previously used building is sitting empty or there are fewer drivers on the road than there used to be. Understanding these current needs will help write a policy that’s more effective and less bloated by extra premium costs.

Assess Operations for Likely Liabilities

Another way to get more proactive about writing business insurance is by taking a closer look at everything that happens on a daily basis and evaluating where there may be a coverage gap. For example, the business may not need more security insurance, if workers already operate in a controlled environment, but they may need more kinds of worker coverage for tougher or more dangerous jobs. Even seasonal or climate changes can make some jobs more difficult, with heat stress or seasonal storm risks creating business hazards. In addition, businesses have to look at the vast range of areas where lawsuits may be involved in order to get coverage that won’t leave them exposed if some legal challenge comes up.

Utilizing Government Regulations

Many business owners don’t like to think about OSHA rules or other regulations, but looking at these kinds of laws also provides relevant guidelines for writing business insurance. Of course, all business operations should be compliant. Along with compliance, though, business owners can look at the types of dangers that are covered in OSHA regulations in order to understand how a certain industry may need its own insurance coverage, not to use insurance as an alternative to safety, but again, to get more exact coverage that fits the needs of the business.

These strategies can help a business save money on insurance costs, while giving leaders a better idea of how business processes are working and whether they are as efficient as they should be.

Why Did My Home Owner’s Insurance Go Up?

Homeowner’s insurance provides coverage for your house and contents. In states like Texas, homeowner’s coverage starts high and goes higher. Texas had the highest homeowner’s insurance in the nation in 2010, according to Shawn Nordstrom in a November 2010 article at Live Insurance News. States regulate homeowner’s insurance, approving the policy language and rates. One solution to rate increases suggested by Forbes.com and similar money-management websites is to shop around for your homeowner’s coverage. High price does not necessarily give you better insurance.

Type of Policy

Homeowner’s insurance comes in three basic types. HO-1 is too basic, and some states and companies no longer use the form. It covers 11 items or perils and no others. HO-2 includes the 11 basic perils and 6 more for a total of 17 perils. HO-3 provides better coverage for the home and contents and is more expensive than the HO-2. HO-3 covers 17 perils and any others it does not specifically exclude. Exclusions might include flood, earthquake, war and nuclear accident. Some states use variants of these numbers, with form policies approved by the state insurance commission. The more inclusive the policy, the more it costs.

Risk Factors

Your homeowner’s policy costs will go up based on certain risk factors. Premium calculations are based on location, sometimes down to the county or city, and the distance from a fire hydrant. So, if those risk factors changed in the past year, you could see a premium hike. The Federal Trade Commission reports that auto and homeowner’s insurers use credit scores for determining insurance costs too, because better credit scores represent more stability and less risk, according to Realtor.com. If your credit scores have decreased, your homeowner’s insurance premium may increase.

When and Why You Need Event Insurance

Event planners are often puzzled over whether to purchase event insurance, and if they do, exactly what they need to insure. Whether it’s an intimate cocktail party or a black-tie benefit, an indoor or outdoor event, a passive or interactive experience, some things are always out of your control. BizBash Florida dug deep into the insurance arena to clarify what event insurance is needed, who needs it, what it covers, and how to get it.

What is event insurance? Insurance associated with events covers and protects planners in several specific areas. Nick Sirianni of Chicago’s Aon Corporation, an insurance and risk management agency, explains, “event insurance provides general liability for specific events.” Planners can purchase additional coverage that protects them from such things as liquor liability and event cancellation.

· General Liability insurance protects a company and all parties involved in the event-the planner, venue, caterers, etc., for losses due to bodily injury or property damage caused by the insured’s employees or agents. Venues and agents will usually require liability for $1,000,000.

An unlimited number of your vendors and venues may be provided with certificates of insurance naming them as additional insured in the event of a loss.

Occasionally a vendor will request a waiver of subrogation, which prevents your insurance company from recovering any funds from the vendor if the claim was due to the vendor’s negligence. A separate premium applies.

· Liquor liability insurance is sometimes necessary, especially if you are in a venue in which the bartenders are not covered or if you directly employ any part-time bartenders.

Liquor liability covers arising from causing or contributing to the intoxication of a person; the accidental furnishing of alcoholic beverages to a person under the legal drinking age or under the influence of alcohol, or any statute, ordinance, or regulation
relating to the sale, gift, distribution, or use of alcoholic beverages.

· Cancellation insurance will protect you in case of unforeseen situations such as inclement weather, including hurricane, if a
venue is deemed unusable, or something else that requires you to cancel an event. This helps you cover many of the costs
and deposits already paid.

· Third-party damage insurance covers damages to a location while it is under your control, protecting you from having to pay
for repairs.

· Hired/Non-owned Auto Liability provides liability coverage for vehicles rented specifically for the event, and auto-related injury
to third parties or damage to their property. Hired auto physical damage covers damages to vehicles you rent.

· Worker’s compensation provides medical benefits and salary compensation to your employees for injuries sustained while
in your employment. “It is mandatory in the state of Florida and event planners should be aware of their legal obligation and requirements, ” says Marie Anello, vice president of Kahn Carlin & Company Inc. in Miami.

· While not as likely as someone getting injured at an event, terrorism insurance is an option to be aware of. “In this day and
age, terrorism insurance should be considered, depending on the type of event being held, since it is specifically excluded
under policy forms unless purchased,” Ms. Anello says.

Why you need Special Event coverage. In a society where litigation runs rampant, it’s always best to protect yourself from ever having to deal with those worst-case scenarios, especially if you’re the one in charge.

“An event planner is like a general contractor: They’re at the top of the chain of responsibility and need to protect themselves in case someone has an accident and sues the venue or host and tries to bring them in as well,” says John Jennings, underwriting manager for Missouri-based M.J. Kelly Company.

Javier Velarde, owner of Triton Productions in Miami Beach, agrees to the importance of covering yourself.

“We did an event, and at the end of the night, a guest was drunk and had your basic slip and fall,” Velarde says. “He sued everyone-the venue, the production company, the company throwing the event, everyone. Luckily, we were covered, and the insurance company settled.”

It’s not just for your own protection. Many venues and vendors won’t do business with a planner or company that doesn’t have insurance.

Choosing the best policy. With so many terms flying around in the world of insurance-“liquor liability,” “general liability,” “additional insured”-it’s hard to know what is right for you. Most companies and planners purchase general liability, which provides broad coverage for such incidents as people slipping and falling or a faulty product passed out in a gift bag.

You can then consider the importance of including other coverage at an additional cost. Your safest bet is to purchase personal insurance for yourself. Some planners request that the client for whom they’re planning the event add them to their company policy as additionally insured. But in the long run, that may not be enough.

“If they add themselves to the company policy, it only protects them if the company itself is involved in the accident. If the planner is negligent about something and the company wasn’t involved, it won’t protect the planner. I would recommend they get liability for themselves,” says Jennings.

Stacy Stern, president of the Special Events Group in Boca Raton believes in covering all her bases, and does both. “Ideally, the corporation should list the planner as additionally insured and all vendors should list her as insured,” says Stern. “Vendors have to list me. Otherwise, I won’t work with them.”

How to get it. The first step is to call your own insurance agent and find out if you’re already covered, and for what. In some business policies, event coverage is automatic. Be sure the insurance carrier is financially stable and has a well-defined program for special events insurance.

Remember that things like liquor and weather are add-ons, and you are responsible for informing your insurance agent if you plan to serve alcohol at an event.

“The client may need commercial liquor liability coverage or host liquor liability, depending on their role in an event,” says Steve Russell of Agency Marketing Services in St. Pete Beach. Russell also recommends that the insured obtain a copy of the policy in advance, to verify that all coverage is taken care of before the event takes place. Many companies also opt to get a onetime event policy separate from the one that covers their day-to-day business. This effectively isolates the event, so that any incidents that occur do not affect the planner’s regular insurance plan. The best bet for planners is to purchase blanket coverage for all events. Then you need only inform your agent whenever you are having an event, instead of drawing up a new policy for each one individually.

Cost. Prices will always vary. General liability cost is based on the type of event, its duration, and the number of people attending. But after tossing around different scenarios with insurance experts to determine the general-liability cost of insuring a black-tie benefit for more than 500 people, including liquor and live entertainment, we estimate a price range of $400 to 600 for the typical $1 million policy. Certain additions, like a policy covering a terrorist attack, can be added with a 1 to 2 percent surcharge.

No matter the size of your event or how well prepared you are, you never know when the worst-case scenario could become your reality. According to Velarde of Triton Productions, it’s the small things that cause the most problems if you’re not properly covered. So even the most basic coverage policy could prove to be a big help in the long run. Having the proper insurance can make the difference between a minor bump in the road and a complete detour.