Water Damage Prevention

Water-Damage-Prevention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water damage issues can affect more than just walls and ceilings; it can also affect your business’ bottom-line. Depending on its severity, water damage can result in a loss of inventory due to a flood or it can even halt your business entirely. It’s important to note that from damaged hose connections indoors to frozen pipes bursting in the winter, water damage issues can occur year round.

To ensure your business is protected and that proper safety measures are put into place, here are some tips to aid in water damage prevention.

 

Tips for Preventing Water Damage.

  • Properly insulate pipes so that they don’t get exposed to our harsh winter temperatures. This helps protect pipes from potentially freezing and ultimately cracking.

 

  • When the temperature drops below freezing, allow both hot and cold faucets to trickle in order to protect against frozen pipes occurring and potentially bursting.

 

  • You can also open cabinetry to expose pipes to warmer temperatures within your place of business.

 

  • If you’re going away over the winter months and plan to close your business down, drain all of your pipes and turn off the water supply to ensure that excess water doesn’t freeze and burst the pipes. Alternatively, maintain the heating to minimize the chance of freezing. This will also help protect your pipes from cracking.

 

  • If your business has a dishwasher, ice maker, or any other appliance that uses water, be sure to check hose connections to see if they are secure and that there is no cracking.

 

  • Regularly check older appliances for rust or leaks. Over time, older appliances can produce condensation which can lead to rust and leaks in supply hoses.

 

  • Regularly check gutters, eaves and downspouts for debris and clean when needed so that water can drain. Also, make sure that your downspouts are extended and pointed away from your foundation and aren’t connected to the sewer system or footing drains.

 

  • Fix any damaged or deteriorated roofing panels or materials so that water doesn’t seep through cracks.

 

  • If your building has a basement area, be sure to install a sump pump to prevent ground water from entering. Be sure to check it regularly to ensure it is properly functioning.

 

  • Take steps to prevent sewer backup such as installing a backwater valve or back flow device, checking and maintaining your sewer lines, and being conscious about what you put down your drains – no bulky items, oil, grease or fat.

 

 

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.

 

Protect Your Small Business with These 5 Tips

small-business-liability

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to purchasing insurance coverage for your small business, the process can feel somewhat tedious and at times a little confusing. To ensure that you are getting the right coverage for your small business without blowing your budget, here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for or purchasing insurance coverage:

 

Use an Independent Broker.

Find an independent insurance broker that focuses on small businesses, who you can trust, and who makes the process as simple and stress-free as possible. Independent brokers have access to a variety of different insurance companies so they can shop around to find the best price and coverage for your needs.

 

Purchase the Right Coverage.

Make sure you have both the right type of coverage and the right amount of coverage. Depending on your business, you should consider coverages such as Property, Business Interruption, Crime, Equipment Breakdown, Liability and more. Look for package policies based on your industry as they will generally include all of the coverages you need but without all the guesswork.

 

Ask Questions.

Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Most people don’t fully understand what insurance coverage their business needs or even how insurance works. As a small business, you should ask your broker about coverage types, payment options, cancellation terms, and ways to reduce your premium. This one goes both ways, as you should also make sure to answer all questions as honestly as possible when filling out the quoting form. This will help prevent any issues with a claim down the road.

 

Be Aware of Factors that Affect Premiums.

It can be confusing trying to understand how your insurance premium is calculated and why you might be paying more than a neighbouring business. Insurance premiums for small businesses are based on a variety of factors, but some of the more significant ones include: Revenues, Operations, Business Location, Past Claims, and Coverage Types and Limits.

 

Extend Your Risk Management Procedures Beyond Insurance.

Purchasing insurance is only one piece of the risk management puzzle. Take steps to protect your assets and liabilities with proper security measures, staff procedures and more. You should also make sure to keep good records of property, purchases, accidents etc. In the event of a claim, good records will help verify your loss, making the process easier. In the event of a lawsuit, they could help defend your business.

 

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.

What Legal Structure is Right for You and Your Business?

small-business-owner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most important aspects of starting a new business is choosing what type of legal structure your business will have. The structure will determine your legal responsibilities, taxes and personal liability among other things. The most common types are sole proprietors, partnerships and corporations. Below is an overview of each type and some potential advantages and disadvantages of each.

 

Sole Proprietorship
In a sole proprietorship, you are the only owner and there is no legal distinction between yourself and your business activities. All profits and losses are yours alone.

Pros:

  • Simple and inexpensive to start up and discontinue
  • You have sole control over your business and reap 100% of the profits
  • Low regulation

Cons:

  • You have unlimited personal liability for the activities of the business. This means that creditors could go after your personal assets.
  • You are limited by your own ability and assets to raise capital
  • The operation of your business is solely dependent on you

 

Partnership
In a partnership, you and the other partners combine financial resources and share in the profits and losses associated with the business.  It’s important to write a partnership agreement that outlines the partnership structure and the rights and responsibilities of each party. You can also be a limited liability partner meaning that you aren’t involved in the management of the business and are only liable for the debts to a certain extent.

Pros:

  • Easy to create
  • You share the financial start-up burden among partners
  • You share the responsibilities and liabilities of the business

Cons:

  • All partners are still personally liable for any debts or other liabilities of the business
  • All partners are financially responsible for decisions made by another partner
  • There is potential for conflict between partners and it can be hard to dissolve the partnership

 

Corporations
This is the most common form of a business organization and it separates the business as a legal entity from the owner, protecting the owner’s personal assets from the business.  The corporation is owned by shareholders and they appoint directors to be responsible for running the company.

Pros:

  • Limited liability for the owner as the business is now a separate legal entity
  • Ability to raise capital through the sale of stock
  • Potential financial benefits such as tax advantages

Cons:

  • More complicated and expensive to start up
  • Strictly regulated
  • More reporting and filing requirements

 

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of each structure, including tax implications visit here. If you have any questions regarding how each structure would affect your insurance policy or if you have any other questions, the brokers at Bullfrog Insurance are here to help.

Why You Should Have Your Insurance Broker Review a Contract

Small-business-insurance-contract

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re a contractor or sub-contractor, you will likely find yourself signing contracts for clients or a project manager. Likewise, if you own a retail business or operate any type of office, you are probably required to sign a contract with your landlord.

Many business owners don’t realize that contracts contain insurance and indemnity requirements. Once you sign on the dotted line, you’ve made a commitment to abide by those requirements, regardless of whether or not they make sense for your situation. Whether it’s a two or thirty page document, you should always have your insurance broker review prior to signing it. Here are some of the reasons why:

 

What coverage is required?

A contract will usually state what type of coverage is required for you to have and in what amounts. This could range from property insurance, liability insurance, equipment breakdown, business interruption or even construction insurance. It’s not uncommon to see cookie-cutter contracts that ask for just about everything. If there’s something not applicable to your business or a limit that seems too high for your exposure, your broker will identify this and you can ask for it to be removed or altered so you’re not forced to pay for coverage you don’t need. Your broker can also quote increases in coverage or additional types of coverage, so that you’re fully aware of the extra cost going in.

 

What insurance clauses are required?

In addition to the type of coverage required, there are often specific insurance clauses that are outlined in a contract. At a basic level, these can include naming specific parties as Additional Insured’s, a Waiver of Subrogation, Notice of Cancellation of your insurance policy, Products and Completed Operations coverage being maintained for a certain period of time after the project is complete, and many others. Some of these clauses may cost extra and most will need to be approved by your insurance company. Similar to above, if you identify these ahead of time, you can request unreasonable requirements be removed or amended or at least determine whether or not your current insurance company can comply.

 

Lastly, having your insurance broker review your contracts will help them better understand your business and operations, ensuring that you have the right coverage in place. If you need help reviewing insurance requirements or want to learn more about the clauses above, contact us at Bullfrog Insurance today.

Distracted Driving and Your Business

Distracted Driving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether it’s texting, talking on the phone or using any type of hand held technology device, you know you shouldn’t be doing it while driving. Cell phones have been proven to be one of the most common distractions for drivers in recent years and in response, all provinces in Canada have some type of legislation regarding cell phone use while driving.  If you own or operate a business where employees do deliveries or operate a vehicle for business related purposes and they cause an accident while they were using a hand held device, you could be held vicariously liable.

Protect your business with a zero tolerance policy for using hand held devices while operating a vehicle. What steps can you take to achieve this? Here are some tips:

 

Tips for creating, and enforcing, a zero tolerance policy.

  • Take the time to write up an employee policy, outlining firm conditions for phone usage while driving and related consequences for not following the conditions. Based on the laws in your jurisdiction, you might want to institute a complete ban or allow only hands free usage.

 

  • Encourage employees to ensure they have all the information they need prior to leaving for their destination, such as proper directions and not feeling pressured to answer their phone or respond to a text message immediately during the trip.

 

  • Make sure any violations are documented and dealt with accordingly in order to establish that you are serious about implementing the policy.

 

Running the day to day operations of your company is complicated enough. Manage your risk ahead of time with the steps above and protect yourself from undue stress and potential financial consequences. 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. Contact us today for more information.

Preventing Loss at Construction Sites

Small Business Insurance Contractors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In recent years, construction companies, tradesman, and rental businesses have been applying stricter security measures while on construction sites. The reasoning behind this? This call for stricter security is the result of an increase in tool and equipment theft that continues to riddle construction sites.

 

As theft continues to be on the rise, it is important to ensure safety protocols and theft management programs are in place to protect tools and equipment. It is also important to make identification easy, so you can prove ownership in the event your tools and equipment are stolen and end up at a pawn shop or in police custody. To assist in developing successful security measures, here are some helpful tips and recommendations to protect your tools and, in return, your business’ bottom-line.

 

Tips & Tricks for Preventing Loss.

  • Keep all tools and materials in a locked area and out of plain sight, when not in use.
  • Paint tools and equipment in bright and distinctive colours to distinguish items and make identification easy.
  • Stamp all tools and equipment with a specific identification number or keep a record of their serial numbers in a safe place.
  • Keep a record of all tools and equipment you own and ensure that the list is kept up-to-date.
  • Make it a priority to keep the jobsite clean and free of unsupervised equipment.
  • Store all flammable liquids and products in approved safety containers.
  • Take photographs of all tools, equipment and materials, ensuring to capture serial number on these items as well.

 

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.

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