6 Tips for Taking Advantage of the Summer Slow Down

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Time goes by so fast! It’s now August and the summer is almost coming to an end. As your staff are finishing off their summer vacations and the business has slowed down, it’s a great time to take a breather and plan ahead for the coming months or catch up on some items.

Here are a few tips that you and your small business can implement and take advantage of before business begins to pick up again in the fall:

 

Review Invoices.

Make sure invoices are paid on time so that clients are happy and that there is no negative financial impact to your business. Instead of having only one individual who can sign off on cheques and authorize them, include another individual on this team so that there is always someone on staff with this responsibility.

 

Mid-Year Review.

The year is now halfway over and even though your fiscal year may not be in tandem with the calendar year, the summer provides an opportunity to review business objectives to see what is on track and/or what requires more attention.

 

Team Building.

As things may be slower around the office, it’s a good time to bring your staff together to discuss how they feel they can improve professionally on an individual basis, as a team and as a small business. From discussing these topics over a fun activity, perhaps trendy axe throwing competitions or even a team dinner, it allows for all staff to be open-minded and willing to offer constructive insight.

 

Online Reviews.

Potential new clients may be looking online for a company that offers the services/products that your small business provides; grab their attention, and business, by ensuring you have customer reviews available online. By having reviews and testimonials from your customers available online, whether through your business’ Google Plus page or another site such as Glassdoor, it provides potential and future clients with a window into what your business offers and how successful it is at providing it. You can request reviews from past and present clients/customers.

 

Community Involvement.

Small businesses rely on their communities, whether online or offline, to support their business endeavour and allow it to flourish. As things may have slowed down at the office or store during these summer months, it’s a great opportunity to head out to local events to spread the word on your small business. From attending street festivals and handing out information, to being a sponsor for an event that hits your target base, to even ramping up conversation on your social streams, staying connected with your community is important and will render positive results.

 

Take a Break!

With only a few weeks of summer left, treat yourself to some rest and relaxation. Although as a business owner it may be difficult to take a step back from your small business for a few days, it will give you the recharge needed to come back to work with more energy and with fresh new ideas on how to grow your small business. Avoid the burn-out!

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

Travel Tips for Adventuring Abroad

 

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While planning your next vacation or overseas trip can be exciting, its important to keep your safety and well-being a top priority during your organizational process. By taking some extra time prior to your trip to plan for the unexpected and to ensure all documentation required is in order, you are helping protect yourself from potential risk or a wrench being thrown into your plans.

 

Often overlooked, here are some important tips and items to consider when traveling abroad or across the border:

 

Keep Your Wallet and Valuable Items out of Sight.

Take precautions when venturing out on your vacation to ensure you don’t become the victim of a pickpocketing crime. Whether it is keeping valuable items in a money belt or in a buttoned up pocket, protect yourself and your items by keeping them safe and secure from unwanted attention. For an extra layer of protection, don’t store important items on the outer pockets of knapsacks and avoid using fanny packs as they may advertise the fact that you are carrying valuable items.

 

Check the Visa Requirements for the Countries You Will Be Visiting.

Whether you have a Canadian passport or you are a temporary resident who is currently living in Canada, it’s important to verify if there are specific Visa requirements for the country you will be visiting during your travels. Its important to check these requirements early on in your travel planning process in order to ensure that you have ample time should you need to request your Visa weeks prior to your travel dates. Canadian passport holders can check Visa requirements to their destination countries by visiting the Government of Canada website: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

 

Check Travel Health Notices Before International Travel.

Before you head out to your international adventure, make it an important step to check the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website to see if there are any notices posted for your destination. This website, which is regularly updated, informs Canadian travelers of the various health risks, and recommended measures, that they may experience when visiting specific countries. Fore more information or to see if your international destination poses a current health risk: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices

 

Keep a Scanned Version of All Important Documents.

From your passport, to your visas, to your travel insurance policy and contact information, be sure to scan all documents and store them somewhere safe online, such as emailing them to your personal email address. Should an unfortunate situation occur and you end up losing physical copies of your important documents while on your travels, having an online version ensures you are not left in the dark.

 

Heading out for a Weekend Trip to the U.S.? Make Insurance a Priority.

Although your brief trip across the border may seem harmless, without the proper travel health insurance, an unexpected slip and fall may end up costing you a great deal of money. By equipping yourself with the right travel health insurance, you can ensure that you wont have to experience financial implications due to a medical event across the border.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or would like to speak to a travel insurance specialist regarding an upcoming trip, our travel insurance partner, SecuriGlobe, is here to help you out. Representing up to 14 of Canada’s largest insurance providers, you can have the peace of mind in knowing you are getting the best travel insurance advice and policies available in Canada.

Safety 101: Emergency Response Plan

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With fast-moving wildfires continuously spreading across British Columbia, many are claiming 2015 to be the worst wildfire season in a decade. Bringing with it a path of destruction, these fires are an unfortunate reminder that a fire can break out anywhere and at any time.

When it comes to your small business, it is important to remember that it is also susceptible to fires and numerous potential hazards. Whether it is an overloaded circuit, over used and deteriorating electrical cords, heat producing equipment or electrical appliances left plugged in at the end of the day, there are a host of factors that can cause a fire in the workplace. The first step in protecting your employees from injury, and your small business from property loss, is to ensure an emergency response plan is in place.

Not sure where to start or what to include in your small business’ emergency response plan? Click Here or on the image below to download a basic version of an emergency response outline.

 

Emergency Response Plan Outline

Emergency-Response-Plan--Link

 

It is important to modify and fill in the document to reflect your business and how it is conducted. As some industries may face more risks than others, there are additional sections that may need to be added to your small business’ emergency response plan.

In addition to your emergency response plan, the items below should also be completed/indicated and reviewed on a regular basis:

 

  • Exit locations are clearly marked
  • Emergency procedures should be posted on each floor
  • Review emergency procedures on a regular basis with all employees
  • Conduct fire drills on a regular basis with all employees

 

Keep in mind that all aspects of your emergency planning should take into account the type of business you run and the nature of your workplace/worksite. For example, assembly area procedures will differ between a contracting business that works on different job sites, versus a retail business where the location is constant.

As the owner/employer you should be ensuring that a properly tailored emergency response plan is in place and up to date, whether it is run by you or an appointed member of management. If you have questions on developing your response plan or any other aspects of risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance agents are always available to assist.

Seasonal Contractors: The Importance of Carrying Insurance Year-Round

 

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If you are a seasonal contractor, such as a roofer or a landscaper, the summer months are the peak of your busy season. You are probably trying to work as much as possible, knowing that in a few short months you’ll shut down for another season or the number of jobs will be radically reduced.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you may know that it’s very difficult to buy insurance for your business for a few months out of the year as most companies insist on selling you an annual policy. This might seem unnecessary given that you aren’t operating your business over the winter. However, an annual policy actually provides some very important protection for you.

 

Business Property.

If your insurance policy is covering any business property such as tools or equipment, it’s important to maintain this coverage year-round. Even though your tools might be kept at home or in a storage unit over the winter, they could still be lost or damaged due to fire, theft, water damage and/or more.

 

Products & Completed Operations Liability.

The Commercial General Liability portion of your business insurance policy should include coverage for ‘Products & Completed Operations Liability’. Let’s look at an example. Say you complete a project in August and cancel your insurance policy in October. In November, someone is hurt as a result of the work you did on that project in August. Since the injury occurred in November, after you had cancelled your policy (including your coverage for completed operations), you would have no coverage against a claim of bodily injury. Furthermore, many contracts require that the contractor carry continuous completed operations liability insurance for a certain period after a job is completed (usually 12-24 months).

 

Premium & Payment Implications.

Insurance companies don’t like to see a pattern of buying and cancelling insurance policies. Since you need to disclose your insurance history when applying for a new policy, they will recognize lapses in coverage and may require you to pay a higher price, and/or pay your full premium up front and make it fully retained, which means that no refund would occur in the event of cancellation, regardless of the reason. Keep in mind that they are charging you a premium heavily based on your type of operations and your estimated revenue, not the number of months you are operating for. Also, keeping continuous coverage will allow you to pick up a job over the winter if the opportunity presents itself, without having to worry about arranging insurance coverage.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss your current policy with a broker, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Bullfrog Insurance offers quick, easy and affordable insurance coverage for contractors. Contact us today for a free quote!

5 Common Small Business Insurance Myths

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There are often many misconceptions regarding small business insurance, especially when it comes to whether or not existing personal insurance policies protect your small business against potential claims. To help clarify what is and what isn’t covered, here are some common business insurance myths demystified. We have also included a few other ‘top’ myths, which are worthy of being debunked!

 

1. MYTH: Your Home Insurance Policy Will Protect Your Home Business in the Event of a Claim.

Don’t make the assumption that your existing home insurance policy will cover your home-based small business in the event of any type of claim; it won’t. Although your existing home insurance policy may offer very limited coverages, and may even give you the option of purchasing an extension for your business, it is highly recommended to get a separate policy for your home-based business so that you are properly covered in the event of a claim.

 

2. MYTH: You Don’t Require Additional Insurance Coverage If You Use Your Personal Vehicle for Work Purposes.

This really depends on how you primarily use your vehicle and what type of usage your auto insurance policy is based on.  If your auto insurance is rated for personal use only and you got in an accident on route to a regular delivery for work, you may run into issues getting your claim covered.  It is important to note that personal auto insurance policies may automatically exclude coverage for vehicles while being used for business purposes.  You should always talk to your insurance broker if you are going to be using your vehicle for work, and determine whether or not you need to change your rate class or purchase a commercial auto policy.

 

3. MYTH: Damage Caused by a Flood Is Automatically Covered by Your Business Insurance Policy.

First, keep in mind that ‘flood’ refers to the overflowing of a body of water, which is different then regular water damage (for example, a sink overflowing) or sewer back up. Coverage for flood damage is not a standard insurance coverage, even under what’s commonly referred to as an ‘All Risk’ policy. Flood is purchased as a separate add-on coverage to your policy and comes with a higher deductible then your other coverage. The cost for flood coverage on a business insurance policy is usually minimal, but it can be more if you are in a high risk flood zone. Make sure to check your policy or ask your broker to be sure you are covered for flood damage.

 

4. MYTH: Small Businesses Should Always Look for the Best Deal.

Purchasing the ‘best deal’ or cheapest insurance premium may mean that your business is not adequately protected for all potential risks. As premiums are calculated based on the exposures a business faces and the coverages it needs, buying a policy based on the lowest premium provided is not necessarily a good thing. Always be sure you are getting the coverage you need, while not blowing your budget; Bullfrog can help you with that.

 

5. MYTH: Using A Broker Will Add a Huge Additional Fee to Your Premium. 

This is a common misconception. Insurance brokers work on your (the clients) behalf to find your business the best rate based on your small business’ needs. Rather than get an insurance quote from just one insurance carrier, brokers are able to provide you and your business with quotes from multiple carriers. You also get to use the brokers expertise in ensuring your are getting the right coverage that your business needs.

 

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss your current policy with a broker, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Bullfrog Insurance also offers affordable insurance coverage on tools, equipment and materials. Contact us today for more information.

The Guarantee and Bullfrog Insurance Partner to Offer Online Insurance Coverage for Canadian Small Businesses

in-the-press

AS SEEN ON: Canadian Underwriter

Toronto – July 8, 2015

The Guarantee Company of North America (The Guarantee) has teamed up with Bullfrog Insurance to provide a faster and simpler way for Canadian small business owners to obtain small business insurance.

Called Bullfrog Insurance –“insurance without the bull”— this new online portal was designed to allow business owners to purchase a policy that is tailored to their industry and meets their budget. Small business owners in the Canadian marketplace no longer have to fill out long, tedious forms and wait days, even weeks, to receive insurance quotes for their small business.

“Small business owners today are part of a very competitive marketplace and struggle to find time to get the insurance they need without being tied up in a rather consuming process” says Glenn Woodard, National Vice-President, Corporate Insurance, The Guarantee.

As small business owners usually find themselves confused over what coverage they need, Bullfrog Insurance ensures businesses are getting the right coverage based on the industry in which they operate. Should owners have any questions, there are experienced Bullfrog Insurance brokers they can reach through online chat or by phone.

“The online process is simple and you can select your business category from a drop-down menu so you know you are getting a policy that is specific to your line of business,” says Sam Natur, CEO & President, Bullfrog Insurance. “You get the coverage you need with the security of knowing you aren’t over or under insured. Bullfrog Insurance is going to flip the commercial insurance market on its head. It’s just what small businesses need in today’s marketplace.”

Initially launched in Ontario, Bullfrog Insurance has now expanded to include two other provinces, British Columbia and Alberta. With more expansion plans in the works, you can expect to see Bullfrog Insurance partnering with insurers like The Guarantee to cater to small businesses across Canada.

“One policy at a time, we will make it easier for Canadian small businesses to prosper while being protected from potential risks that could halt their growth,” added Woodard. “We are very excited to be part of a program that is the first of its kind in Canada and that can provide Canadian small business owners with the right risk protection and ease they deserve.”

For more information, visit http://bullfroginsurance.com/

About The Guarantee
The Guarantee Company of North America is a leader in specialty insurance and surety within the North American marketplace. We offer in-depth knowledge and expertise in niche segments, including the surety industry, corporate insurance, transportation industry, credit, and customized personal insurance. For more information, visit theguarantee.com.

About Bullfrog Insurance
Bullfrog Insurance is a licensed Canadian insurance brokerage that is dedicated to providing commercial insurance for small business enterprises. Working with many of Canada’s best insurance companies, we offer small business owners a fast and simple way to quickly and easily shop for the right insurance coverage to protect their business from unforeseen losses. For more information, visit bullfroginsurance.com.

Media Contacts
Tina Kenny
Bullfrog Insurance Ltd.
416.644.1201
tina@bullfroginsurance.com

Linda Domenichini
The Guarantee Company of North America
416-223-9580 ext. 11351
linda.domenichini@theguarantee.com

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