Why You Should Ask for Proof of Insurance as a Business Owner

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Today’s world has become more concerned over lawsuits than ever before. As a result, it is extremely important to confirm that someone whom you have contracted work to carries valid liability insurance.

Regardless of your business, you will probably come across situations where proof of insurance should be requested. For example, if you are a contractor, you might hire an electrician to complete wiring for you or a plumber to install the plumbing. If you are retailer, you might hire a company to power wash your windows or to perform snow removal in your parking lot.

 

Why you should ask for proof of insurance:

  • If a contractor causes some type of property damage while working for you and does not hold the necessary insurance coverage, you may be held legally responsible to pay for it.
  • If a contractor causes bodily injury to someone else while working for you and does not have insurance, you may be on the hook again.
  • Someone who carries liability insurance is likely to be more professional and responsible than someone who does not.

 

What you should look for:

  • Ask for a certificate of insurance showing proof of liability insurance. If they have insurance, their broker should be able to easily provide this.
  • Confirm that the coverage is valid by looking at the policy’s effective and expiry date.
  • Confirm that the policy covers the person or business in question by checking the name on the certificate.
  • Confirm that there is coverage for Commercial General Liability for a minimum limit of $2,000,000 per occurrence.
  • You can also ask to be listed on their liability policy as an ‘Additional Insured’. Talk to your insurance broker for more information on when this would be appropriate.

 

Asking for proof of liability insurance is an important practice in ensuring your business is not financially drained through the fault of someone else. For questions on this or any other aspect of liability insurance, you can contact us at Bullfrog Insurance. We are here to help!

Insurance & Your Home-Based Business

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Do you currently run a small business out of your home? Do you have a home office set up for the business or store any inventory for this business inside your home?  If your answer is yes to any of these questions, and if you currently rely on your home insurance policy to cover potential risks to your business, you may not be covered in the event of a claim. Also, if you haven’t disclosed your business operations (even if it’s just a home office) under your home insurance policy, you not only risk no coverage for your business assets, but you risk voiding your home insurance coverage all together.

No matter the size of your small business, anyone who runs a business out of their home needs to have separate insurance coverage that is specific to the business. Depending on your industry or business segment, you can either obtain the necessary business coverage as an extension of your existing home insurance policy or obtain a separate insurance policy altogether.

Here are some recommended types of Business Insurance coverage if you currently run a small business out of your home:

 

Business Property Insurance.

This coverage protects important and/or high value items that are specific to your business, such as laptops, tablets and inventory. If something were to happen to these items while in your home, such as theft, fire, water damage etc., you would claim them under your Business Insurance coverage. If you take these items to job sites, trade shows or away from your home, you should make sure your policy includes an extension for property in transit and at other locations.

 

Business Liability.

This coverage protects you in the situation that a suit is brought against you for third party damages or injuries relating to your business. For example, if clients and/or customers visit the premises and if they unfortunately slip or get injured, this coverage would protect your small business from damages.

 

Errors & Omissions (E&O).

Do you work in real estate or does your job involve filling out legal forms? If you make a mistake on a form, you could be facing a lawsuit. Likewise, if you work in any professional capacity where you give advice, such as an accountant, consultant, architect, counselor and more, a client could allege financial loss from your advice. E&O coverage protects you in such cases.

 

If you currently run your small business out of your home and don’t have a separate business insurance policy, it is in your best interest to call your broker and inform them. If you have any questions regarding this or if you want to know what your options are, the licensed brokers at Bullfrog Insurance are available to help!

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of an Incident Reporting System

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An incident (or accident) reporting system is important for small businesses to have in place no matter your industry. However, some types of businesses are more susceptible to unusual events or injuries occurring, especially those that treat clients (doctors or physiotherapists for example). Nevertheless, any business that has a physical premise could experience an incident where someone can get hurt on their property.

The primary purpose of an incident/accident reporting system is to document, through the completion of a form, the specific details surrounding an incident/accident while it is still fresh in everyone’s mind. If the individual injured is a patient, a staff member or a visitor, a report should be filled out regardless. The information contained in the report might be useful down the road in the event of a lawsuit or liability issues associated with the event. Say for example, one of your customers slips and injures themselves while at your business. One year later they could decide to sue you for their injuries and it will be a lot harder to remember the exact details of the incident if you have no documentation.

A reporting form should be made readily available to all staff and they should be encouraged to fill it out as soon as possible, usually right after the injured person is looked after so that attempts of remedying the situation may be documented as well. The completed form should be kept on file for as long as possible. Recommended items the form should contain include:

 

Date and time of the incident;

Injured person’s name, address, date of birth and any other relevant information;

A description of the incident and any resulting or possible injuries;

A description of any treatment given to the person on the scene (i.e. first aid) and details on whether they sought further treatment (i.e.: hospital or physician visit);

Name, contact information and brief statement from any witnesses to the incident;

Any other details of the incident that the person completing the form deems important;

Name and signature of the person completing the form, including the date they completed it.

 

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.

How Are Insurance Premiums Calculated?

 

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We understand that you don’t like whipping out your credit card to purchase insurance coverage since it’s something you buy and hope that you’ll never have to use. What makes the process even more painful is when you discover that a neighbouring business is paying less than you!

There are many different factors that insurance companies use to calculate premiums, and they vary depending on the type of business you’re in. The following are some of the more common indicators to help you understand how your insurance premium is calculated and why it might differ from another small business.

 

Revenue. 
This one is simple – the more money you’re making, the more business you’re doing, the more potential there is for a loss to occur.

 

Operations. 
Depending on what your business does or the products it sells, there may be a lower or higher likelihood of a loss occurring. For example, if you manufacture explosives, your products have a much higher likelihood of injuring someone then if you manufacture books. Similarly, if you run a café, your exposure is less then someone who runs a bar serving liquor.

 

Location. 
Where your business is located can have a significant impact on the premium for your property insurance (contents, stock etc.). Are you located on a flood plain? In an earthquake zone? In an area with a high rate of sewer back-up or hail claims? Insurance companies track geographical information and claims by postal code to help determine rates. They also pay attention to your fire protection, such as how close the nearest fire hydrant and responding fire hall are to your business, and your building construction, such as what type it is, how old it is and whether or not it has sprinklers. If your business is in a remote area, there’s a greater chance that a fire would cause a total loss, hence higher rates are charged.

 

Claims.
While business insurance policies don’t generally offer a claims-free discount like your home insurance policy might, insurance companies still take your past claims into account. For business insurance, they will generally look at frequency of claims, for example, 2 claims in 3 years or 3 claims in 5 years may give them a red flag and affect the rating that they offer. 

 

Coverage Limits. 
This is often the most determining factor in premium calculation. How much property do you need insurance for and what liability limit do you want or need? In addition, are there any specialized coverages which your business requires? Keep this in mind when comparing with your neighbour.

 

At Bullfrog Insurance, our goal is to make purchasing insurance as efficient as possible by working with multiple carriers to find you the best quote. Please contact us if you would like to speak with one of our licensed brokers about obtaining a quote or about how any of the factors above may impact your premium.

Buying The Right Insurance For Your Small Business

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Running your own small business can be exciting and stressful all at the same time. With so much going on, it’s important not to forget that your insurance coverage should be a vital part of your business strategy. If something happens and you don’t have proper coverage, there might be little left to worry about.

Here are some tips for finding the insurance you need without blowing your budget:

 

Use a broker.
A brokerage has access to a variety of different markets so they can shop around to find the best price and coverage for your needs. A brokerage also does the work for you by making sure the insurance company is reputable and financially stable.

 

A good relationship.
You need to be able to trust the company and the people that you’re dealing with. Do they understand your business and your needs? Do they communicate information in a way that’s understandable and convenient for you? Do they respond to your questions and requests quickly? You want to feel confident that they’ll be there when you need them most.

 

The right coverage.
It’s important to make sure you have both the right type of coverage and the right amount of coverage. Working with a company that can help you identify these items and not over-sell you is important. If you have questions, make sure to ask and make sure you feel like you’re getting a straight answer. Also, make sure to fully disclose your operations and answer all questions as honestly as possible to prevent any issues with a claim down the road.

 

As an insurance brokerage geared towards small businesses, Bullfrog Insurance understands the importance of each of these items. We work on your behalf to get the best rates for your business and to make sure the process is as painless as possible.

 

 

New Year = New Opportunity to Review Your Risks

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The first few weeks at the beginning of the new year is a great opportunity for businesses to conduct a yearly review and to also review their current insurance policy. Within a year, significant changes to your business can occur.  Whether it was growth in the number of new employees or the inclusion of new equipment, it is important that your insurance policy is updated to reflect and cover these changes.

If changes need to be made to your policy or if you are unsure if changes need to be made, you can easily call Bullfrog Insurance or your broker to find out.

Here are some helpful tips to consider in order to ensure that your business, and its risk protection, is off to a great start.

 

Make a list of new insurable items.
Over the past year, has your business purchased any new equipment, inventory and contents? Have you added a second location? These are changes that should be included in your policy.

 

Added a vehicle to your business?
It’s key to know that your personal auto insurance policy will not cover your vehicle when used for business. If you use the vehicle for business related services such as delivery or making house calls to offer a service, you need a separate auto policy for the vehicle to be insured and covered should a claim unfortunately occur.

 

Hired more employees or added new activities to their job outline?
As you hire more staff or expand job activities to suit the growing need of your business, you should always check that you have appropriate coverage. For example, if you are a contractor, you should make sure you disclose all new activities to your insurance broker to ensure your liability coverage will protect you.

 

You are a start-up working out of a home office.
Working out of a home office doesn’t mean that your business is automatically insured through an existing home insurance policy. Should any claims be made toward the location without a proper business insurance policy in place, the claim may not be paid and your business will take a financial hit.

 

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.

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