Essential Considerations for Returning to Work - Video & PDF

Webinar Summary:

Recently, Governor Murphy sketched out the benchmarks New Jersey will have to reach before the COVID-19 lockdown can be lifted. The stay at home order will remain in place until further notice, but the Governor said he expects the timeline for reopening to be measured in weeks, not months.

Returning to work will bring new legal and practical challenges for employers in all industries. The New Jersey Agents Alliance and its Member Agencies are pleased to invite you to a complimentary webinar by Clark Hill and HR/Advantage Advisory Services and hope that you will join us for an engaging discussion on the following topics:

  • Safely returning your employees to the workforce
  • Relevant federal and state guidance
  • Best practices for dealing with vulnerable workers, refusal/reluctance to work, and employee anxiety
  • COVID-19 positive workers and claims of workplace exposure
  • Why it’s important to formulate your workplace policies now
  • How we can help

Please share any questions that you may have about your returning workforce when you register.


two red road signs, one says good and one says bad

What Separates The Worst & Best Business Insurance Providers?

Business insurance is essential if you'd like to operate a legal business.

Insurance is something that many people are familiar with as most need it for their vehicles and homes.

Medical insurance is also common, and many are provided coverage by their employer. Business insurance, on the other hand, isn't necessary for anyone besides business owners.

When you start a business, you must get the best business insurance. This ensures that your company and employees are protected.

In most cases, you'll be obligated to get it before you can operate. However, with so many options and the power of marketing, figuring out what makes a good insurance provider can be difficult.

Keep on reading to learn more about what makes the best business insurance providers stand out above the rest.

What do the Best Insurance Providers do?

Insurance plays a major role in the sustainability of many individuals and businesses.

They're responsible for providing people with services whenever they suffer from negative events. These events typically force them to stop doing things they'd regularly do.

For example, a business that suffers roof damage may have to stop operating until they repair it. Another example would be a homeowner that has to leave their home because it flooded.

While these are common issues that people go through, insurance providers cover much more than that.

Depending on the insurance you get, you'll get a maximum amount of coverage that will cover damages and fees until that point. So if your insurance provides $50,000 of medical expenses, you'd be able to stay in a hospital and receive medications until your expenses pass $50,000.

Business insurance focuses on covering employees and a company's property.

If an employee is injured because of a work event, the business insurance will pay for their medical expenses. This insurance will also cover property damages similar to that of homeowner's insurance.

Employee insurance (workers' compensation) is often included within a business insurance policy.

However, some providers will separate them so they can earn more money. This coverage allows employees to continue receiving money and treatment when they're out of work.

Continue reading to learn more about what the best insurance providers offer.

Provide Customer Service

The main thing that separates the best insurance providers from the worst is customer service.

When it comes to getting insurance, you'll want a provider you know you can trust. Unfortunately, many providers do whatever they can to avoid giving compensation to those that are insured.

You'll find that the worst insurance providers are those that don't have 24/7 customer support lines or they take too long to respond. When an emergency occurs, it's difficult to contact them because they don't offer many options to their policyholders.

With the best insurance providers, you'll be able to contact them whenever you need as they'll offer several contact methods and 24/7 support. Some companies will offer exclusive contact options – such as a phone number or email – for their policyholders.

This lets them guarantee service to those in need.

Provide Coverage

Most people choose an insurance provider based on their coverage options.

Some insurance companies offer several types of insurance. For example, an insurance provider that offers auto, homeowner's, and business insurance.

Although a provider may offer different types of insurance, the most important thing to look at is how much they cover.

Some of the worst providers will offer several types of insurance to get more customers. While doing this, they'll offer low coverage at high premium rates.

When you see an insurance company that offers a large sum of coverage for lower rates, you'll know they're one of the best providers. However, you'll have to compare several providers to determine which one would be best to meet your needs.

Follow Processes & Procedures

While it would be nice to explain your situation to an insurance provider and get a check instantly, that's not how insurance providers work. Instead, they'll employ several procedures to determine whether you need compensation.

This process helps people find out who is a good insurance provider because you'll know if they're trying to help you. A provider's procedures will vary depending on their business model and the type of insurance.

When it comes to bad insurance providers, they may do something like come by the scene where the damages/accident occurred for a short period. Leaving abruptly isn't a good sign because it may be that they're trying to downplay the event, concluding that you don't need compensation.

A good insurance provider will immediately respond to your call and may send someone to check out what happened.

The person they sent will ask you and others about what happened and collect evidence. If they don't send someone to meet you, they'll ask you to send evidence to them.

The best insurance providers don't try to argue with their policyholders. They also aren't biased towards people that pay higher premiums, so you can expect the same customer service if you pay for lower coverage.

Get The Best Business Insurance Today

Whether you currently own a business or would like to start one, you'll need to get a good insurance policy. Business insurance is all about keeping a business operating and helping employees get back to work when they've been injured.

By getting the best business insurance, you can cover your business without breaking the bank. With affordable rates and large coverage, you won't have to worry about unexpected expenses. If your property is damaged or an employee gets hurt, you'll get help.

Contact us today to learn more about our insurance options. We can answer any questions you may have!


female business owner holding up and open sign

What Types of Commercial Insurance Does My Small Business Need?

Believe it or not, roughly 99.9 percent of the businesses operating in the United States are small businesses.

Those small businesses serve almost every industry you can imagine. However, they all have one thing in common: they need commercial insurance.

The risks that each small business faces differ based on their industry, their location, and their size.

There are some policies that almost every business needs to be fully protected.

Before you can invest in coverage, you need to understand the types of commercial insurance available to you.

Here are some absolute must-have policies every business owner needs.

General Liability Insurance

Accidents happen all the time and you can never predict how bad they’ll be.

If a client or customer gets injured on your property, they can sue you for the cost of any medical treatments and expenses incurred from their recovery.

If their personal property gets damaged because of your work, you could also be liable for those repairs.

General liability insurance helps protect you from those lawsuits.

If something happens and your business gets sued for damages relating to a qualified incident, your insurance policy helps pay for the legal fees and settlement amounts.

Keep in mind that it only covers you up to the limit of the policy.

You must pay any remaining expenses out-of-pocket.

Ask your insurance agent about your risks and let them help you determine how much coverage you really need.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Unfortunately, your personal car insurance policy isn’t enough to protect you on the road if you’re using your car for business purposes.

Worse, the insurance company may deny a claim entirely if they find out you’re using the car for business.

That’s where a commercial auto insurance policy can help. It protects you and anyone who uses the car for business.

It’s not a substitute for traditional car insurance.

If you’re using your personal vehicle, you’ll need both policies to stay fully protected and you’ll want coverage for every commercial car in your fleet.

Property Insurance

Owning your business’s building is a huge investment. If something happens, you’re responsible for the full cost of repairs.

Property insurance protects everything inside the building, the building itself, and the grounds the building is on.

If someone vandalizes your property or a fire tears through the first floor of the building, the policy will help cover the damage.

This is one of the types of commercial insurance that can help keep your operating budget in good shape.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

As an employer, you’re responsible for your employees’ safety anytime they’re at work or performing work-related duties off-site.

If they’re injured as a result of their duties, you’re responsible for paying for their medical treatments.

Workers’ compensation coverage helps protect you and your employees if they’re injured on the job.

The policy covers the cost of their medical treatment and even provides them with a portion of their regular income during recovery.

It’s also a legally required policy for most businesses that hire even part-time employees.

The best thing you can do is invest in a policy before you hire your first employee.

This way, you’ll have protection from the very beginning.

Business Interruption Insurance

What would happen to your business and your employees if you had to close your doors for a few months?

Chances are that it is hard to stay afloat or encourage your employees to stay and not start looking for a new job immediately.

Business interruption insurance helps cover the loss of profits, pays for your employees’ lost wages, and makes it easier for businesses to survive the temporary closure.

It’s a great supplement to property insurance which would help cover the cost of the physical repairs.

Location-Specific Insurance

Property insurance doesn’t cover every type of damage and different locations face different risks.

For example, if your building is next to a major waterway or on a floodplain, you’ll want to invest in commercial flood insurance.

If your building is near a fault line, you may want to invest in earthquake insurance. It all depends on where you’re located.

The best thing you can do is discuss your concerns with your insurance agent.

They’ll be able to look at the risk factors for your building and find the right supplemental policies to keep you safe.

Data Breach Insurance

Almost every business stores some sensitive information on computers.

This can be anything from credit card numbers to clients’ personal contact information.

Unfortunately, that information isn’t always secure.

If someone were to hack into your computer system, that information could get intercepted.

Cybercrime is on the rise and businesses of all sizes are at risk every single day.

In fact, more than 20 percent of small businesses get hacked every year.

Data breach insurance helps protect you from damage caused by cybercriminals.

It gives you the resources you need to recover that sensitive information and establish better safety measures against future attacks.

Life Insurance

As a business owner, the success of your company is on your shoulders.

You’re in charge of its growth and future plans.

Think about what would happen if you weren’t around to make sure it succeeds.

Would the company have enough capital to survive on its own merits?

Would your family and loved ones still have the resources they need to make ends meet?

Life insurance policies allow you to protect both your loved ones and your company’s future.

If you pass away, the policy can give your beneficiaries the money they need to preserve your legacy.

Get the Right Types of Commercial Insurance

Every business is unique.

They face different risks and have different needs.

That means that the types of commercial insurance right for your business may not be the same as others in your industry.

Contact us to schedule an appointment with our experienced insurance agents.

We’ll help you find the best coverage options for your business and your needs.


buying business insurance

7 Tips for Buying Business Insurance for Startups

Each year, more an average of 627,000 new businesses open their doors. No matter what industry they’re in, they all need comprehensive business insurance in place.

Buying business insurance can feel complicated, especially for new business owners. Luckily, it’s easier than you think! You just need to focus on your business’s needs, your budget, and your overall concerns.

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t panic. Here are a few simple tips to help you find the best coverage for your new business.

1. Figure Out Your Business’s Risks

Every business has unique risks based on its location, the industry, and its size. This means you can’t just buy a general business insurance policy and deem it “good enough.”

You need to sit down and think about the risks your business faces each day.

For example, if you provide services to clients off-site, you’ll want additional liability coverage to protect your team while they’re working. If you use a car for business purposes, you must invest in commercial auto insurance to protect yourself on the road.

Once you have a list of risks, look for insurance policies that protect against those risks. You can always ask an insurance agent for advice on the best policies for your needs.

2. Shop Around with Multiple Providers

When you’re first starting out, it’s tempting to buy the first insurance policy that fits your needs and your budget. Doing so isn’t always in your best interest.

You need to shop around with multiple providers to find the best options for your business.

Insurance providers offer different types and amounts of coverage at different prices. This means you could end up paying more for less coverage if you go with the first provider you find.

When in doubt, shop around.

Get quotes from different providers and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you speak to their representatives. Remember, you need to make an informed decision and if the provider isn’t willing to answer your questions thoroughly, they will not be helpful if you need to file a claim.

While shopping around, don’t be afraid to ask about discounts on coverage. Some providers offer discounts if you’re buying multiple types of insurance through their agency. They won’t advertise this — you must ask when getting quotes.

3. Go Through Each Policy in Detail

Once you have a few quotes on-hand, take the time to go over each policy. Look at the types of coverage and coverage amounts each policy provides. If there’s anything that’s unclear, call the provider and ask for clarification.

You need to know what each policy covers and what they don’t. If there are gaps, you can then keep shopping for more comprehensive coverage or can invest in supplemental policies to keep your company safe.

4. Buy More Coverage Than You Think You Need

When shopping for insurance, it’s easy to think the minimum amount of coverage is more than enough. After all, your business could be up and running for years before you have to file a claim.

However, you never know when you’ll need to use that coverage.

Depending on the type of incident you’re dealing with, that small amount of coverage may not be enough. This means you’ll have to pay the rest out-of-pocket, putting a strain on your business’s operating budget.

If you can, buy more coverage than you think you’ll need. This way, you’ll have coverage, no matter how big or small the claim is.

5. Always Pay Attention to the Deductible

No matter what type of insurance you buy, you’ll always have to pay some amount out-of-pocket if you file a claim. This amount is your insurance deductible and it will vary from provider to provider.

Typically, the smaller your deductible is, the higher your monthly principal payment will be. You can lower your monthly insurance payments by increasing the deductible. This can help you get higher quality coverage without increasing your monthly spending.

Just be careful. The last thing you want to do is make the deductible so high that you can’t afford to pay it when you need to file a claim.

Think about your overall budget and choose a deductible that’s reasonable for your financial situation.

6. Don’t Choose Coverage on Price Alone

When it comes to business insurance, you often get what you pay for. This means choosing the cheapest coverage may not be the best decision for your business.

Look at the price as a single factor when reviewing quotes and coverage options. Use it to guide your decision, but don’t base that decision solely on price alone.

Consider the total coverage amounts, the reputation of the insurance provider, and how comfortable you feel when you speak with the insurance agent. Remember, the agent is your main point of contact whether you’re filing a claim or reevaluating your coverage options.

You want to choose a provider that fits your needs and your budget, but they need to be one you’re confident in working with.

7. Reevaluate Your Coverage Needs Annually

Your business will change over time and so will your insurance needs. Unfortunately, the policy you buy when you first open for business may not be enough after a year or two.

The best thing you can do is to review your coverage needs every year.

Call your insurance agent and discuss your business’s growth and your changing concerns. If you have huge developments throughout the year, let your agent know as soon as they happen.

No business owner wants to file a claim only to discover that they’re under-insured.

Buying Business Insurance Doesn’t Have to Be Tough

As a business owner, you want to protect your new business completely. Buying business insurance is the best way to protect your finances and your company.

Take the time to think about the coverage you need, how much you’re willing to pay, and what you want the policy to do.

Once you’re ready, contact us and discuss your company’s unique insurance needs. Our dedicated agents will help you find the best policy for your business, whether you’re just starting up or have been in business for a few years.


Flooded-home-with-animals

Commercial Flood Insurance for NJ Property Owners

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused $70.2 billion in economic damage to New Jersey. Thousands of businesses were closed for renovations, and hundreds never reopened.

Most of these businesses weren't prepared for a storm of this severity. Many of them didn't have commercial flood insurance to help recoup their losses. With no money to rebuild, they were forced to shut down.

Don't let that be you. Floods can happen anywhere but are more common in coastal states like New Jersey.

If your business doesn't have flood insurance, now is the time to get it. Continue reading to find out what flood insurance is, what it covers, and why it matters.

What is a Flood?

A flood is what happens when water accumulates where it isn't supposed to be. This can be from rising tides or overflowing river banks. It can also occur when drain systems get clogged and a lot of rainfalls.

What is Commercial Flood Insurance?

Commercial flood insurance protects businesses against flood damage. It can help cover the costs of building damage or loss of company assets if a flood occurs.

How important is it to have? It could be the difference between permanently closing your doors or rebuilding. It is an invaluable protection for your company, especially if you're in a high-risk flood zone.

Types of Commercial Flood Insurance

There are three types of commercial flood insurance available. The first two are the most commonly used. The third option is an add-on for businesses at a high-risk of flooding or with more than $500,000 in assets.

Standard Policy

The standard policy is for businesses in high flood risk areas. It is also for companies in undetermined risk areas.

With a standard policy, businesses must insure their building and it's contents under two separate policies. Each of the two policies can be for up to $500,000. Deductible options range up to $50,000 per policy.

Preferred Risk Policy

If your business is lucky enough to be in a low-to-moderate flood risk area, it qualifies for a preferred risk policy. These policies have the lowest premiums. It also allows for the building and contents to be insured on the same policy.

Supplemental Policy

Supplemental policies are an extra coverage option for anyone with commercial flood insurance. Most companies don't need it.

Your company might need it if they're in a high-risk flood area. Companies whose building and contents are worth substantially more than $500,000 could also use a supplemental policy.

Does Regular Commercial Insurance Cover Flooding?

No. This is a common misconception that costs New Jersey business owner's fortunes. Regular commercial insurance policies don't cover flooding.

These policies might cover certain water-related damages, however. Usually, you're covered from any water damage that comes from above but not from below.

This means you'd be covered if snow caused your roof to cave in. You wouldn't be covered if a storm surge caused waters to enter your first floor.

How Much Does Commercial Flood Insurance Cost?

The price of commercial flood insurance varies based on certain factors. Your building's age, height, and condition are large factors. The value of assets insured may also affect cost.

The greater the risk of flooding, the higher the insurance premium. Someone in a moderate risk area will pay less than someone in a high-risk area.

The company itself will be a factor. Different companies may have different rates. They might place a higher emphasis on one consideration over another, which can affect the price.

Whether you buy flood insurance through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NIFIP) or a private insurer is another consideration.

How to Choose a Commercial Flood Insurance Policy

When purchasing flood insurance, there are two ways to go about it. You can buy the insurance directly through FEMA's program, or you can go through a private insurer.

If you're looking to buy commercial flood insurance for your business, you want to know how to choose the right policy. Look at the key considerations below to get a better understanding of how to choose the right policy.

  • What flood zone is your company in?
  • What is the value of your assets?
  • Which companies serve your location?
  • Do you need a company that offers supplemental coverage?
  • Which companies offer the best rates for the coverage you need?
  • Do you prefer to work with an insurance agent in person or are you fine with doing business over the phone?
  • Is it possible to work with the same private insurer holding your other insurance policies?

You'll also want to look at online reviews when finding an insurance provider. If you've never worked with a company before, seeing how other customers were treated is the next best thing.

You can search online to find real customer testimonials and reviews. If you find nothing during your online search, you should be wary. Little to no online presence is a huge red flag for scams.

Things To Know About Flood Insurance

Most businesses should have flood insurance. Even in low-to-moderate flood risk areas, this insurance policy can help protect the future of your business. There are a few things you need to know about these policies, however.

  • You must have flood insurance for thirty days before you can receive coverage
  • Flood insurance doesn't cover earth-related disasters (even if there is flooding involved)
  • Policies cover items based on the actual value, including depreciation
  • Flood insurance doesn't cover any damage sustained before the flood

For More Information

Still have questions about commercial flood insurance? Looking to start a flood policy for your business? Contact us today and one of our associates will be happy to assist you.


a home workstation

Neither Here Nor There: Should I Have Home Office Insurance?

Whether you work from home part-time or you run your entire business out of your home, you may want to consider getting a separate insurance plan to cover any potential losses.

You may wonder if you need home office insurance, or if your current homeowner's policy covers everything you need.

Read on to learn more about this specific type of insurance and whether you need it.

It's crucial to know that your important information and assets will safe in an emergency.

Homeowners Insurance Basics

Most insurance companies will cover your home's structure and will pay for repairs for specific types of damages.

Yet, if you use part of your home to work or run a business, there are definitely some limitations.

Each policy is different, but most policies will offer you very limited coverage to any of your property used for business purposes.

In fact, this coverage limit is usually as low as $2,500 and could be even lower for specific items such as computers.

If you use a separate structure such as a garage or shed for your business, traditional homeowner's insurance likely won't cover damages.

And, when it comes to sensitive information or business records, that won't be covered either.

For many business owners, lost revenue can be detrimental.

If you lose revenue as a result of your home becoming damaged or uninhabitable, traditional homeowner's insurance will not reimburse you.

It's also important to note that you won't get liability coverage for your business under a traditional homeowner's policy.

If there's bodily injury or property damage, it won't be covered unless you have a separate home office insurance policy.

What Home Office Insurance Covers

When you get a separate home office insurance policy, it will cover a variety of things for your business.

Most importantly, it should cover things like your business equipment.

Equipment refers to anything from computers and copy machines to your smartphone.

Most standard homeowner's insurance policies have a monetary coverage limit on the contents of your home.

If you have vital business equipment that you use at home, we recommend a separate policy.

It's important to note that your business equipment will only be covered when it's used inside your home.

For example, if you take your laptop with you and it gets damaged on a job site, your policy may not cover it.

You may be able to add a supplemental policy to cover the things you take off-premises.

As a business owner, you should also have a form of general liability coverage.

If someone comes to your home and gets injured, this should help to cover their medical expenses and protect you from a lawsuit.

Perhaps you use your vehicle to conduct business.

If you do, you must make sure that your vehicle is also covered under a separate business policy.

And, if you sell a physical product from your home, consider opting for product liability coverage.

This insurance will protect you if customers claim the product has what's known as "nonperformance."

It may also cover you if someone gets injured because of using your product.

Other Important Things to Consider

While your property and your liability are both crucial to a good home office insurance policy, there are a few other components you may want to add.

These items can be optional, or they may be required depending on several factors.

If you have a large business or live in a specific jurisdiction, you may have to enroll in these other coverages.

The coverage you need may also depend on how much revenue you get from your business.

When you offer services, you must have some professional liability coverage.

This protects you and your clients and can be a real life-saver for many business owners.

Professional liability insurance protects you if a client says they've suffered damages through your actions as a professional.

This insurance protects your personal assets and can also help to pay for your legal defense.

Make sure you go in-depth with your agent to make sure you have the right level of coverage and limitations.

You may also need errors and omissions insurance.

This applies if you're getting paid to give someone professional advice. If someone says that they suffered damages because of your advice, this insurance should protect you.

Disability insurance is another important aspect of home office coverage.

If you become disabled and cannot work or lose income, the policy may provide you with some compensation.

And finally, business interruption coverage is another thing to consider.

This covers any lost revenue if you have to suspend business activities due to flooding, a fire, or other forms of disasters.

Protect Yourself and Your Business

Now that you're aware of what is covered by a home office insurance policy, it's easy to see why it's a crucial part of working from your home.

Whether it's your laptop or a customer complaint, having separate insurance will keep you protected.

Talk to an insurance agent who understands the nuances of this specialized insurance.

When you enroll in a policy, you'll have the peace of mind you need to operate your business in confidence.

For all your business insurance needs, be sure to contact us today for more information and we'll be happy to provide you with a quote.


business people shaking hands

How Much General Liability Insurance Do I Need?

Owning a business means considering all the details that keep it afloat. If you want your business to thrive, you must always protect it with a quality insurance plan.

Since the insurance coverage you need can vary, it's important to get to know what sort of protection is included under each policy. This will let you customize your business insurance to your needs.

Here's what you should look for in a general liability insurance plan.

1. Workers' Compensation Insurance

Once you hire employees, you are legally required to maintain a workers' compensation insurance policy.

Having one of these insurance plans protects everyone involved. Your employees don't have to worry about whether or how they will pay for their medical bills if they get hurt at work, and you won't have to worry about your business being ruined by expensive lawsuits.

When you talk to some business insurance providers, they'll let you know how much insurance you need for your business to be properly covered. It's a matter of both the size of your business and the work that happens at your business. If you work in a risky field or setting, consider a larger and more comprehensive plan.

2. Car Insurance for Any Vehicles That You Use

If you use work vehicles, always make sure you have plenty of work vehicle insurance.

This will protect you if your employees get into a wreck while on the clock. The amount of car insurance that you need will vary based on the vehicles you have, how many people will use them and in what nature.

3. Protect For Damages to Your Property

When you operate a business, you are always at risk for damages to your property. This could mean anything from weather-related to damage to the cost of office repairs.

The value of the plan you get is contingent upon the property value of your workplace. Always thoroughly check the specific types of property damage instances that are covered, so that your plan protects you from all risks.

4. Insurance Clauses That Make Up for Downtime

There are certain situations that can cause your business to go through downtime.

This could result from construction or remodeling work that you need, or you could lose access to your office or resources for circumstances out of your control.

If you don't have the resources or cash flow of a larger company, downtime can be hurtful to your business.

business insurance plan is like a safety net for your small business, so it's important that you purchase the policy that will be helpful to you in that regard.

The insurance plan you get can provide you some cash flow to help you during this gap, and can also provide you temporary infrastructure if you get displaced from your office building.

5. Liability Insurance to Help if You Get Sued

Personal injuries make up some 96 percent of all civil litigation, so you always need to be protected against these sorts of liabilities.

If someone gets hurt when they visit your property, they may have grounds for a lawsuit, from which an insurance plan will be necessary to protect you. You'll want to be prepared to get the insurance company involved when you are gathering records of the injury and engaging in settlement talks.

Since lawsuit payouts can be costly, having your insurance plan active every day is essential.

6. Protection From Advertising Claims

Today's society is very litigious, so you must have insurance that covers you from false advertising and other marketing-related claims.

You may get sued by customers who feel mislead and claim false advertising, or you may get taken to court by another business that thinks you infringed upon their intellectual property. These sorts of cases require a response whether or not you are guilty of these issues, so you will always want to have an insurance plan that will pay your lawyer fees.

7. Industry-Specific Insurance Protection

There are always certain types of business insurance that help you with industry-specific liabilities and protections.

For instance, medical malpractice, libel and construction liabilities are very specific and require policies that account for variables within those industries. Think about the industry you're in when you're looking to sign up for a business insurance plan.

Shop Around for the Best General Liability Insurance

Buying a general liability insurance plan is your best bet if you want your business to stay protected.

Because the area of business is so vast, you must dive into some research to know the exact protections that you will need. Above we've laid out a few of the most common types of business insurance, so you can use these points of information to guide you as you shop around.

There are plenty of insurance professionals that can help you find the right plan for you, so you can consider these points to get the help you are looking for.

We're the best in the biz and would happily help you find whatever kind of business insurance you need.

If you need help or have some questions, you can get in touch with us in a few different ways.

You can contact us online by using the web form, or give us a call at (732) 383-7158.


the outside of a sears store that is closing

Sears Reaches $3 Million Life Insurance Benefits Settlement

Just a decade ago, Sears was a retail giant that led sales for consumer products in several markets.

It was the store people shopped for their hardware, clothing and almost any other need. So, it came as a shock when Sears filed for bankruptcy just last year.

After declining sales and a jeopardized market position, Sears simply couldn't cut it. They couldn't find a way to compete against Amazon's new era of online retails.

Why would their customers journey out to an actual store when they could have everything they need sent to their doorstep with just a few clicks?

It was indicative of the way the industry as a whole is headed.

The more that online retailers earn new market space, the older retailers lose business and face bankruptcy. Sears may not be the last mega-store to go out of the business.

But, it is the first to hold up its end of the bargain and give its employees their life insurance cuts (after some battling in court).

To learn more about the trial that ensured Sears retirees got their life insurance, keep reading below.

Sears Filed for Bankruptcy Last Year

It's no secret that the retail industry has been struggling to survive for a while.

Online retailers like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy have reached a point of efficiency which traditional ones could only dream of. They know how to make sure their employees work hard, and they reap in billions of profits for it.

Sears was just one of the first to feel the brutal effects that the internet has had on the retail industry. It filed for bankruptcy when it had $6.9 billion in assets and over 700 stores across the United States. There was money in the bank for the company to use to keep going forward.

Yet, its leaders realized that there was no way for them to survive what was coming.

The brand had lost its allure, and they were already paying employees the minimum wage. The wounds Sears was losing revenue from were simply impossible to heal.

So, the company's leaders filed bankruptcy, hoping to recoup losses. Yet, they tried to recoup losses by holding back what was rightfully Sears' retirees. They canceled the life insurance plans of several former employees in an attempt to cut back on losses.

An Earlier Deal Prevented Them From Cutting Policies

Yet, former employees fought back.

They recognized that there was an injustice done to them when they could no longer collect on their life insurance policies. They filed a lawsuit against the company, and a team of lawyers got to work holding Sears' leaders accountable.

They found that a prior lawsuit obligated Sears to pay their employees their life insurance policies.

They found that Sears gave up its right to stop making life insurance payments as part of a 2001 lawsuit about the same thing. It could only stop making payments if the company totally liquidated.

And since Sears' leaders were working on recouping lawsuits — the company wasn't totally liquidated. Because of some clever legal research and arguing, the company was required to set up an account for life insurance beneficiaries.

There is $3 million in it for qualified applicants.

The New Fund Isn't Official... Yet

Although the deal was made, it has yet to be approved by a judge.

Sears' leaders are working on setting up the account, and representatives for retirees are confident that they will approve the deal. And once it's approved, it'll be time to collect.

Yet, since the company remains in dire straits, and is still bankrupt, there are stipulations.

Not everyone will get a piece of the fund, and those that do may not get as much as they want. Keep reading below to learn more about the fund, and what you can expect out of it.

It is For Beneficiaries of People Who Died After March 15

The stipulation on the life insurance fund is that it is only for people who were qualified to receive it after March 15.

If your loved one passed away before then, you may not be eligible to collect from the Sears life insurance fund. This date was selected since it was when Sears canceled its life insurance program.

Yet, just because you fall short of the March 15 date doesn't mean you won't get life insurance payments. This date only applies to people eligible to receive from the life insurance fund. If a loved one was on Sears' life insurance policy and passed away before March 15, you may still collect from it.

If you're having difficulty collecting life insurance as a beneficiary, be sure to reach out to a lawyer. They'll make sure you get what you deserve!

Current Applicants Could Get Cents on the Dollar

Just because there was a fund set up to ensure people receive their life insurance payments doesn't mean nothing's changed.

In fact, since Sears is now a bankrupt company, beneficiaries could end up with less. Sears had hundreds of employees, and now there is only $3 million to go around between them.

Yet, getting something is still better than nothing. Once this fund runs out, there may be nothing left to get. Sears' future is too uncertain to say anything for sure.

Even if you won't get as much as you expected, still apply for the fund if you believe you're eligible. Your loved one wanted to leave something behind for you and you deserve it.

We Know What Matters

Picking a life insurance company for your family means picking someone you can trust.

Several people believed that they could trust Sears before the company went bankrupt. Now, they must fight for what is rightfully theirs.

We stand right beside them, too.

As an insurance company, we understand what actions like Sears' hurt the industry. It harms the invaluable trust insurance companies have with their clients, and we believe beneficiaries should get what they deserve from Sears.

And if you want an insurance company that guarantees beneficiaries will receive what they're owed, contact us.

We work tirelessly to provide top-of-the-line insurance coverage for everyone and work with clients to ensure they're satisfied with our policies.


male construction worker holding his knee

Is Workers' Comp Insurance Mandatory for Small Businesses?

You have your business up and running and now all you have to do is hire employees. Before you accept applications you will need to do a little paperwork, including some for workers' comp insurance.

Depending on what kind of business you’re running and how many employees you have, you may or may not be required by your state to get it. There is a little gray area in there that we will go over.

Here is a quick guide on everything you need to know about providing your employees with workers' comp insurance.

Watch our video summary below:

1. What is Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Workers' compensation insurance is a policy you buy that can pay for your employee's medical expenses if they are hurt on the job. So, if one of your employees slips on a wet floor in your retail business and throws out their back they would file a workers' comp claim.

This claim will cover their medical expenses as well as compensate them for any wages they miss out on while they're out of work. They carry this out no matter if you're at fault because you forgot to put up a wet floor sign or they're at fault because they didn't read the sign.

2. Why Does Your Business Need it?

Most states require small businesses to have workers' compensation insurance. You must read up on the laws of your state to find out if you need to have it or not. If you need to get it and you don't have it, you can get into hot water.

Not only would you be required to pay for your employee's medical bills out of your own pocket but you would most likely get hit with a hefty fine.

3. Am I Required by Law to Have it?

Again, the law varies from state to state with this so you must check. It depends on the number of employees you have and what sort of business you run.

Generally, if you have five employees or more, you must have it, but certain businesses can opt-out if the employees are:

  • Business owners
  • Independent contractors
  • Volunteers
  • Farmers
  • Employees of private homes
  • Railroad employees
  • Temp workers

There is also an exception regarding family-owned businesses. If you don't have any employees working for you that aren't also family then you may put off getting workers' comp insurance until that changes.

This law varies from state to state, so you must check before you opt-out.

4. What Injuries Does it Cover?

Workers' compensation insurance covers any employee who injured while on the clock. So, if one of your drivers get into an automobile accident while running deliveries, they can still be covered even though they weren't at your establishment when they got hurt.

Workers' comp will also cover illnesses that spawn from the workplace. If one of your employees is hospitalized because they inhaled some toxic chemicals while working and got sick, it will cover them.

Other things that it may cover is lost wages, the cost of retraining if they were out for a long time, living expenses if they have a permanent disability and can't go back to work, and benefits to their family if they have a fatal accident on the job.

5. How Much Coverage Does Your Business Need?

The amount of coverage that your business will need depends on the number of employees you hire, the level of danger that they will be exposed to while on the job and if you have any history of accidents on the job prior.

To give you an example, jobs such as construction will need a higher amount of coverage than office jobs. This is because construction companies usually have more employees and there is more risk for danger.

This being said, the business owner for the office should still take out a small policy even if their employees aren't in a lot of danger. A tiny risk is still a risk and company health insurance rarely covers workplace accidents.

6. Where Can You Get a Policy?

You will need to get your workers' comp insurance either through the state or through a private provider. It depends on the laws set by your state.

If you can go through a private insurer, do your research. Read reviews to find a great provider who can handle the job. It costs nothing to talk to a company so call several to compare quotes.

7. What Isn't Covered?

Workers comp policies cover what the state requires them to cover. It's a lot, but not everything. It may not cover a lawsuit that came from an employee's own negligence.

For example, an employee who got into an accident from driving the company's car while under the influence of alcohol may not be covered. You may need to take out employer liability insurance to cover instances such as these.

Getting Workers Comp Insurance For Your Small Business

When you're opening up a new business, you may need to get workers' comp insurance before you hire employees. It will cover them if they are injured on the job. It's required by most states and if you don't have it you may have to pay a fine.

Don't let an employee accident catch you off guard. Be ready with workers' compensation insurance.


male and female business owners reviewing information on a laptop

What is Commercial Insurance? A Guide for Beginners

If you're a new business owner and are just learning the ropes, you probably have a lot of questions.

After all, there is a lot to learn.

Chances are, one of those questions will be, "What is commercial insurance?"

Most people know how car insurance or homeowners insurance works, but if you're new to owning a business, you probably won't know much about commercial insurance.

Commercial insurance is a broad term and encompasses many insurance policies available to businesses. Keep reading for a breakdown of common commercial insurance policies and the benefits of each.

What is Commercial Insurance?

Commercial insurance works similarly to personal insurance.

Business insurance exists to protect your business from financial loss caused by specified events. There are different policies that come into play depending on the circumstances of the loss.

Overall, commercial insurance protects businesses from liabilities such as lawsuits from third-parties, like customers or those they entered a contractual relationship with, lawsuits from clients, injuries to employees or customers, and damage or theft of business property.

As technology advances, new types of insurance have come into play, such as cyber liability insurance, which protects businesses from liability when data breaches leave customer information exposed.

Businesses with employees are usually required by state law to carry workers' compensation insurance. Otherwise, choosing whether to purchase insurance is up to them.

The exception to this is contractual liability. When businesses enter contracts with other entities such as landlords, they often commit to carrying commercial liability insurance.

What Commercial Insurance Looks Like

Commercial insurance policies have many commonalities with personal policies. You will find similar language and conditions for coverage in both types of policies.

Let's look at some examples:

Policy Limits

Each policy and type of coverage will have a limit. This is the limit of how much money the insurance policy will pay in the event of a loss.

There is usually a limit per claim as well as a limit per policy overall. For example, there could be a per claim limit of $1 million and an aggregate policy limit of $2 million.

Most commercial liability insurance policies have a $1 million limit.

Deductibles

Some commercial liability insurance policies have a deductible, while others don't. If you have a deductible, that means you must pay your deductible amount before insurance pays the rest of the claim.

Some insurance companies will pay the claim in full and allow you to reimburse them for your deductible if they are paying a third party.

Coverages/Exclusions

The first section of your policy, after the insuring agreement, will tell you what the policy covers.

After your coverages, come the exclusions. These are things the policy won't pay for or conditions that exclude coverage. For example, all liability policies exclude coverage if you harm another party intentionally.

Types of Commercial Insurance

As we mentioned before, commercial insurance is a broad term. Technically, commercial insurance simply refers to insurance available to businesses.

In reality, there are a handful of specific commercial insurance policies that all businesses should have.

Sometimes, commercial insurance is used synonymously with general liability insurance, but for the sake of accuracy, let's break commercial insurance down by some of its common policies.

General Liability Insurance

Although sometimes used interchangeably with commercial insurance, general liability insurance is not the same thing.

General liability insurance has specific coverages and does not cover all potential losses. General liability insurance covers you if someone is injured by or on your property because of you or your employees' negligence.

It will also cover damage to others' property that you cause. These policies also include coverage if you commit personal or advertising injury, which includes defamation.

If you are sued by a third party for any of these reasons, your policy will pay for all legal and court fees incurred. The insurance company will either pay the claim, defend you or offer a settlement.

Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance policies are similar to personal property insurance policies.

You'll need this coverage to protect your buildings and their contents from theft and physical damage. Natural disasters and fires can cause devastating financial loss.

Business property policies can also include additional coverages such as business interruption, loss of use, and business personal property.

Workers' Compensation

Workers comp insurance provides coverage and benefits for your employees if they are injured on the job.

Not only will it cover their medical expenses, but it will also help them with lost wages if they miss time from work because of their injury. In exchange for these benefits, your employees lose the right to sue you.

Errors and Omissions

This coverage is especially important for those in the tech industry but it's also common for professionals like lawyers and insurance agents.

Errors and omissions coverage protects you from lawsuits over a mistake you made. We all make mistakes, and that's why this coverage is important to have.

If your mistake affects your client, they might sue you. This coverage will cover the cost of the lawsuit.

Cyber Liability Insurance

This insurance protects you when a data breach affects you or your clients.

This is a newer type of insurance that can help cover the cost of data breaches and the costs associated with recovering from them.

Buying Commercial Insurance

Now that you know the answer to the question, "What is commercial insurance?" it's time to shop for a policy.

Your insurance agent will help explain the coverages necessary for your business and provide you with a quote. Contact us today to speak to an insurance expert in our office.