Popular Brands and Types of Commercial Auto Insurance

Does your business utilize a car, van or truck for any reason? What you may not realize is that commercial auto insurance is a necessity for a huge range of different businesses, even ones who don’t realize it at first. You don’t have to be in the trucking or transportation industry to need this kind of protection. With that said, as you begin to search for the right type of coverage, it’s important to know where to turn and who to work with.

Many of the biggest names in the world of individual consumer insurance also provide commercial auto and commercial trucking insurance. That includes the big boys of the insurance world, companies with names that everyone recognizes, such as Geico, Progressive, Nationwide and All State. Many businesses immediately flock to these big providers because they recognize the brand name, and have a level of comfort and trust with them.

Just as with regular consumer insurance for your car or home though, there are also many smaller providers, including localized providers that may serve only one state or region. The benefit to going with one of these companies is typically the level of service you receive, or perhaps a very specialized form of coverage which is a great match for what you’re doing. You may sacrifice some of the cost savings though you receive with bigger brands, as the small guys just can’t compete with that scale of pricing.

For commercial auto insurance, there are also specialized providers who deal with very narrow and unique types of coverage which other companies may not offer. For example, owners operator insurance may not be offered by every company which offers a more generic commercial auto insurance plan.

You may have to look a bit harder to find a company which offers a really smart type of plan for your refrigerated truck, for instance, or for your log hauling vehicle. If you’re a local delivery or service company, you may also want to think about a local provider, so they’re as familiar with your turf as you are, and the unique demands you face.

The most important aspect of choosing from all of the best commercial auto insurance companies is to find the type of coverage or plan which is as closely aligned to your business, what you do, how you do it, and what you drive, as possible. From there, look for a great price, and a company with a solid reputation so you know you can depend on them.

Ultimately, there are many different brands and companies to choose from. Just make sure you protect yourself, your investment and your company with the right kind of commercial auto insurance before you need it and it’s too late.

Commercial Insurance Claims at the Zoo

So the word is out: a child makes his or her way into the gorilla arena at the zoo; there is a ten minute interlude; the zoo decides to shoot the animal in order to protect the child. The result is one dead gorilla, one safe child, two grateful parents and scores of relieved but grieving zookeepers.

What follows next is something that can only be explained as sheer pandemonium! The public outrage and outcry is currently at a level that is rarely seen. Poor child? Poor parents? Poor zoo? Or poor gorilla?

If surface appearances mean anything at all, at the rate the comments are being posted everywhere on social media, the gorilla has actually been deemed the genuine liability victim with the most votes of sympathy.

This article is in no way about to conform to society’s norms and vote any which way except to confirm that it sure is good that the institute of commercial and personal insurance is a vibrant force in today’s business and personal world. Without doubt, insurance claims and lawsuits are about to follow, spurring more interest and debate about something that to many is a clear cut, open and shut case of cause and effect.

In general, brushing up on some tips at home before getting into your family car and driving off to the zoo is a very good idea.

• Never allow children to irritate the animals. Knocking at glass enclosure windows or bars, making fun of them in any way or doing anything that would cause them to become irritated can lead to the animal getting angry and behaving violently or dangerously.

• Never lift a child above safety guards that are installed in order to prohibit contact with caged animals. Unfortunately, doing so is only flirting with danger. Accidents do happen even though we would all wish them to vanish in thin air. And there have been cases where children have involuntary been dropped to face the ferocity of wild zoo animals.

• Keep an active eye on children at all times. Children will be children and wild animals will be wild animals. As the gorilla scenario clearly paints, no matter how impossible it appears, little ones can and do find a way to enter what may seem like an impossible entrance way and an all-too risky encounter.

• Train kids to ask for help from the right type of people in the event they find themselves astray in the zoo. Authorized zoo workers, police officers and women who are with other children are the safest type of people a lost child should go to for help. Parents should compensate for a small child’s lack of your contact info knowledge by attaching a phone number prominently on clothing.

Notwithstanding the noisy commotion posted in the media coverage, a zoo can be the best place for a family to spend quality time with loved ones – not something to be taken lightly in life!

Property Managers Need Professional Liability Insurance

Calling all property managers! Your job involves a lot of responsibility and stress. By acquiring the right type of professional liability insurance coverage, you can rest assured that you are protected from the associated risks.

Read these true examples to emphasis the points.

Insurance Claims

1) A real estate developer hired someone as a property manager for the new apartment building complex he had built. Unfortunately, as the months past, many units still were yet to be occupied. Although the heavy construction underway in the vicinity was the real cause of vacancies, the owner blamed his manager for the situation and brought a lawsuit against him, alleging that he did not perform job duty as required and subsequently caused a loss of business income.

2) Two different management companies were fighting to win a contract from a large firm. In the course of commercial negotiations, the first company alleged that their competitor had a black business management record. Upon hearing this news, the large firm awarded the contract to the first company. The second company filed a lawsuit for slander against the first company as a result.

3) After a Hispanic family bought and moved into a condo within an association, they were informed that they were not permitted to park in more than one space. When they did use two parking spaces, they were issued parking violations. The Hispanic family called a meeting between others with ethnic backgrounds and determined that there were unfair practices put into place. A discrimination lawsuit was filed as a result.

4) The water pipe at an apartment complex developed a leak. This resulted in water trickling into a unit. The property manager summoned the repair man immediately, but he arrived only hours later after significant damages from a flood had already been incurred. The property manager became fed up with the repair guy who habitually showed up late for jobs. He told the man that he was fired. The repair man brought a wrongful termination lawsuit against the property manager, claiming that he had let him go from his job because he did not like him.

5) A University student moved into a rental apartment complex. That was when the trouble began: motorcycle gangs as guests, wild parties, noise and complete havoc! The property manager gave the student due warning that if he did not cease the late-night merry-making, he would have him evicted. The property manager’s words seemed to have no effect and the partying continued. The property manager started the eviction procedure and had the student’s possessions confiscated. The university student began a lawsuit, alleging wrongful eviction.

Insurance for Hotels and Other Lodging Businesses

From accidents and injuries to damage of property, there are many potential issues that need to be covered by insurance. Here are the main considerations.

Protecting your property

What is a lodging or accommodation business without actual lodging facilities? When you’re in the lodging business, your physical property is the most fundamental part of your business, and it needs to be protected against damage. Property insurance is a key part of your insurance package, and it should cover you against any deliberate damage, such as vandalism, as well as unavoidable damage caused by weather.

Remember, even a small, home-based lodging operation, such as a bed-and-breakfast or even a vacation rental property, still needs to be covered under commercial property insurance. The limits will vary from one business to the next, but essentially, you want to be covered for the worst-case scenario, so ensure that all property and furniture evaluations are as accurate as possible.

Terms you must know: Replacement Cost or ACV

When insuring your commercial property and the items within it, you need to understand the difference between replacement cost coverage and actual cash value (ACV) coverage. The former covers the current costs of replacing all lost items, whereas the latter covers the actual cash value of all the property or items lost. Property value depreciates, and the cost to purchase replacement property or items inflates; this can create a significant gap between cash value and replacement costs. ACV rarely provides business owners with the coverage they need. Replacement cost coverage might be more beneficial, but you need to understand both coverage types to ensure you get the best coverage for your needs.

Artwork and Collectibles

Standard property insurance might be enough to cover basic losses, but when it comes to expensive, hard-to-replace furniture, artwork, and other interior finishes and furnishings, you will typically need another layer of protection. Standard coverage generally places limits on the replacement costs of such items.

It should be noted that, while replacement cost coverage is typically the more prudent choice, when it comes to antiques and collectibles, consider covering them for the actual cash value. These items are difficult to replace, and the cash value of these items often appreciates over time; as a result, replacement coverage might leave you at a loss, or it may simply leave you stuck with your insurance company while they decide what constitutes a reasonable replacement. In general, insurers will always try to minimize their claims payouts.

Business Interruption

What happens if your lodging business is temporarily unable to provide lodging? This is not an uncommon occurrence; severe weather or building wear could lead to long-term repairs and maintenance that leave no room for guests. This loss of revenue is often not covered by standard property insurance.

By adding business interruption coverage to your insurance package, you will be protected during those periods of time when you are unable to carry on business as usual. Knowing you have this protection will give you the peace of mind you need to maintain your business as needed while re-assuming the operations.

Catastrophic Risks

Get to know the landscape and weather around your business, and talk to your insurance provider about what risks are automatically covered in your property policy; you may be surprised to find that certain catastrophic risks require extra coverage. Occurrences such as floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mudflow are typically considered catastrophic risks, and they may require special insurance. It often depends on geography; while some risks are not common in one part of the country, they can be very tangible somewhere else.

Liability Insurance

While planning for some of the more specialized coverages that lodging businesses need, don’t forget to protect yourself with a good general liability policy! Any number of things can go wrong with guests staying at your hotel, inn, or other lodging business, including injury, stolen guest property or illness caused by the food you serve. A general liability policy will protect you against claims of property damage, bodily injury, or personal injury to your guests.

Remember that legal and litigation costs can add up to millions of dollars and can seriously impact the ability of your business to succeed.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Do you use vehicles for commercial purposes related to your business? Perhaps to transport or pick up maintenance supplies, or as a shuttle service for guests? Keep in mind that such uses-however limited they may be-are not covered by your personal vehicle insurance, so commercial vehicle insurance is an absolute must.

We hope that you find these insights helpful, and that your lodging business is thriving.

Do Software Developers Need Indemnity Insurance?

It is a fact that software development is one of the fastest growing industries at present. At the same time, it is among the newest as well. As a result, businesses in this industry risk falling into many different legal traps. One of the methods for protection is the purchase of indemnity insurance. Find out how effective and reliable it is.

Cover Basics

Indemnity insurance covers your professional liability. More specifically, it protects you in the case of negligence, error or omission. Most policies available in the market offer more comprehensive coverage which includes loss of documents, defamation, libel and slander and unintentional copyright infringement.

It is easy to understand how such a policy works. If you develop a financial software programme for a client and his business incurs a loss because of an error in the code leading to inaccurate calculations, the client will make a claim for compensation. The policy will kick in to provide the compensation. In this way, your business will not suffer a financial loss.

Indemnity vs. Product Liability Insurance

Traditionally, indemnity insurance has been reserved for service businesses while product liability is used for covering product manufacturers and sellers. Typically, software is considered to be a product, but for the purposes of liability insurance it must be regarded as a service. It does not matter whether you develop applications on commission for clients or offer readily developed applications for sale in the market. This is because product liability policies cover damage to physical assets and bodily injuries only. At the same time, it is highly unlikely for a software application to cause these kinds of issues. Usually, users incur some sort of financial loss.

Proper Protection

As a software developer, you will certainly require an indemnity cover. The question is how to get the right one. As a start, you need to look for a policy which offers comprehensive protection. You should be cover against all possible claims which can be made against your business. It pays off to do some research on this. Check out what other companies in your industry get claims for.

Virtually all policies nowadays offer legal protection. This means that the cost of legal defence is covered by the policy. You have to check whether this amount is part of the total cover amount. If this is the case, you will have less money available to pay the actual compensation.

You should definitely work with experts in indemnity insurance in order to get proper protection for your software development business.

3 Major Advantages of Using an Insurance Broker Vs An Insurance Company

When looking to purchase insurance, it can be confusing as to what company is the best to buy your insurance from. If that isn’t bad enough, you also have to decide whether or not to buy your insurance from an insurance broker or an insurance company. There may be differing opinions when it comes to this because people have had different experiences.

Below are 3 major advantages of using an insurance broker vs. using an insurance company:

  1. Insurance Brokers have the ability to offer you an entire host of insurance products for you to choose from. An agent does business with one company, so they are only able to offer you what their company has available. Insurance products can vary considerably from one insurance company to the next. With a broker, having the ability to choose from many different products allows you to choose a policy that is adequate enough for your particular profession. For example if you are a software developer, then you can get insurance that fits the needs of a software developer, or a telecommunications company etc.

  1. A broker is licensed to provide advice. Insurance companies (and their agents) can only provide general advice on the specific product(s) in which they offer. A broker has to have extensive training (minimum industry requirements apply) and experience to be able to provide advice and broking services, so you can have that peace of mind that they really know what they’re talking about in terms of the insurance policy that will adequately cover you.

  1. Brokers also analyze the type of business that you’re in. It is their responsibility to look at that business and determine what coverage is adequate and endeavor to source a policy in the market that provides the most appropriate cover available. This does not happen when dealing direct with an insurer or an insurance agent. With an agent, you are given options and it is up to you to determine what coverage is adequate for your business. They do not have a responsibility to ensure that you’re not going to lose your home if you get sued for making a mistake in your profession.

It is easy to see what the advantages are regarding the insurance broker vs. insurance agent debate. The broker really does have your best interest at heart. That is why insurance brokers look after over 80% of business owner’s insurance needs in Australia. They have great reputations for making sure that their clients have what they need.

So if you’re searching for professional indemnity insurance, look for it from an insurance broker. You get better service, better treatment, and you have more policy coverage choices.

Insurance Regulatory Bodies and Legislation

The insurance industry in Australia has many industry specific regulatory requirements. These can be divided into three areas:

Prudential regulation of insurance companies in order to ensure that they have sufficient assets to satisfy all legitimate claims.

• Financial services regulation of all those advising and dealing in insurance products.

• Contractual regulation so as to ensure that there is a reasonable balance between the interests of insurance companies and all of those that they insure.

Three main bodies regulate these areas within the insurance industry:

Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA)

• Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

• Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

The prudential aspects of general and life insurance are regulated by APRA; matters relating to advice or disclosure of insurance products sold are regulated by the ASIC; and the ACCC has a regulatory role with respect to market competition and anti-competitive conduct by companies.

An outline of each regulatory body is provided below:

APRA – Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

APRA oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, friendly societies and most members of the superannuation industry. APRA is funded largely by the industries that it supervises and aims to establish and enforce prudential standards and practices designed to ensure that financial promises made by institutions are met within a stable, efficient and competitive financial system.

ASIC – Australian Securities and Investment Commission

The ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. The ASIC is an independent Commonwealth Government body that is required to ensure that Australia’s financial markets are fair and transparent, supported by confident and informed investors and consumers.

ACCC – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

The ACCC promotes competition and fair trade in the market place to benefit consumers, businesses and the community. It also regulates national infrastructure services. Its primary responsibility is to ensure that individuals and businesses comply with the Commonwealth competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws.

The ACCC enforces the Trade Practices Act 1974 (renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 on January 1, 2011). It is designed to protect consumers in their dealings with business and provides a framework for:

• consumer rights

• how businesses should act when selling goods and services to consumers

• steps consumers can take to resolve a problem or complaint

• how to shop safely to reduce the chance of a problem arising

For further information on our regulatory requirements, please refer to a Financial Services Guide.

4 Reasons for Purchasing Cyber Liability Insurance Coverage

Data modern day is not recorded in physical files or kept inside a locker of a highly guarded facility; rather it is stored on computers and on clouds that can be successfully cracked by a person residing in another continent. If a company’s electronic network comes under attack, a business not only faces the risk of losing sensitive information (like customer’s credit card numbers) to skilled hackers but also the risk of losing its customers by losing their trust and its reputation as a consequence. All this is harmful for the company’s profitability. Cyber Liability Insurance is a stand-alone policy that is designed to protect businesses against such attacks and the cost and penalties incurred during the whole process.

Penalties and Investigation Costs

If the data related to the credit information of your customers is lost to a hacker then in that case your business could be facing severe penalties by law enforcing authorities. Under the agreement of merchant services, a business would be responsible for paying the investigation cost, reassurance cost of credit card and the fraud carried out on stolen credit cards. These costs can reach thousands of dollars even for a small and medium sized business. Cyber Liability Insurance covers you against those penalties and costs.

Cost of Rebuilding Reputation

A company’s reputation is its most valuable asset. A breach of a company’s electronic network can harm its reputation which may result in decreased sales. Insurance covers the cost of hiring a PR firm to restore the company’s image in the minds of customers and also compensates the firm for the loss that the company has faced because of a cyber attack.

Risk Management Services

Big business firms already have a risk department that works on reducing the risks faced by the business, so that the probability of such an event can be reduced. But small and medium sized businesses mostly do not have a proper risk management team. By purchasing Cyber Liability Insurance, your IT related risks would be assessed by your insurer in order to accurately price the policy. This assessment report can also shed light on how you can better manage your cyber related risks without really having an in-house risk management department.

Compensation for Interruption Caused by Cyber Attacks

You may be thinking that a cyber attack may temporarily halted your business activity, so it would be covered by Business Interruption Insurance policy; however a Business Interruption Insurance only covers your business when a damage to physical property occurs. In case of damage to your networking systems, the Business Interruption Insurance will not cover you. Cyber Liability Insurance needs to be purchased in order to be compensated for the income lost due to cyber attack.

Angelic Blues

I am not superstitious nor do I have many idiosyncrasies about death. I know a lot of people do, but not withstanding, I don’t give a hoot about what happens with my body at that stage. I wholeheartedly subscribe to cremation and I am a registered organ donor, so take what you will before I become combustible. This leads me to my story concerning a minister who founded a church on the South Side of Chicago in the late ’30s. He must have been a persistent sort because he stayed with it and experienced the growth of his congregation by leaps and bounds. He passed away in the late ’70s. The church had grown, but wasn’t prosperous enough to build a monument to him. It was the height of ridiculousness that he was buried in a segregated cemetery. The church congregation continued to grow with his successor. After twenty-some odd years after his death, they were able to move him to an “equal opportunity cemetery”, which would not accept him right after he died. Given the location of this holy ground, one would have a hard time believing they would not accept his remains back then. A real travesty in my mind, because we are all created equal. Even before they dug him up, they had started construction in a mausoleum to honor his life and work.

I’m not sure what they expected after twenty plus years, but when he was unearthed he was a little soggy. The burial vault sprung a leak. His face and head were pretty much gone, but his white suit was primarily in tact. I have the photos in my file. The funeral director and church hierarchy were aghast. They brought suit against the vault manufacturer but not right away. Being the insurance rep for the carrier that insured the vault manufacturer, I got a real blistering earful from the current pastor. The funeral director was pretty upset too. By the way, they did move him to his new surroundings and had quite a ceremony within spitting distance of the mausoleum they had constructed. The church felt cheated because of his decayed state. The funeral director said he would lose business because his future clients were very upset. He explained that his condition upon being unearthed put them under a bad sign. Some might use the word spooked. The hierarchy of the church felt they might lose patrons because of this shameful situation.

They eventually filed suit, but before they did, they made a demand of $60,000 for the church and $100,000 for the funeral home. There were two strong considerations mitigating against them. Illinois law provides no protection, rights, or status for remains. The burial vault had a warranty that provided for the replacement of the vault with a similar one, and nothing more. There also was a question of coverage for a variety of reasons. When did the vault fail? The vault was sold in the late ’70s and no manufacturer can be held accountable for a defective product after 20 years.

The case was denied in writing to the church and the funeral director. The case was eventually dismissed by a judge through a directed verdict.

When I was out interviewing the funeral director and the pastor, they did their best to intimidate me with no appreciable success. I had a pretty good idea before I went out to interview them that the case was going to be denied. However, the carrier wanted the whole story before making their final determination about the merits of the case. I let them blow off steam and it seemed to me they were getting a lot off their chests. In retrospect ,I believe they had an idea their gambit wasn’t going to be successful, but they persisted anyway. I always say, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” By filing suit I think they were hoping to get a nuisance settlement, which would have been a fraction of what they were asking. The way I heard them tell this lurid account of anguish would suggest that hyperbole is alive and well.

The Different Types Of Commercial Insurance Brokers

To the average man or woman on the street, the world in which commercial insurance brokers live and operate will be little more than a mystery. The field of insurance in general is still barely understood by laymen and women, and with commercial insurance being one of its most specialised branches, this effect is felt several-fold.

Few people seeking to take out this type of insurance will be aware, for instance, that there are several types of commercial insurance brokers on the market, each with its own specific ways to operate, strengths and limitations. At best, most of these men and women will be aware of the existence of the main, larger insurance companies, with the countless smaller operators being known to only a minuscule portion of the overall demographic, mostly through research or word of mouth. Yet, on occasion, these alternative types of commercial insurance brokers may actually be more suited for what an individual or business is after than the more ‘mainstream’ alternatives; it is with that in mind that the present article seeks to introduce prospective clients to the different types of commercial insurance companies available, so that they may assess which will best suit their specific situation.

Insurer-Owned Brokers

Insurer-owned companies are perhaps the most widespread and prolific sub-section of the commercial insurance market, and many of the most popular and best-known commercial insurance brokers fall under this category. As the name indicates, these outfits are owned by large insurance companies, who typically dictate their standards and practices. In certain countries, this model was considered the industry standard for commercial brokers for decades; it has, however, recently begun to lose ground, as the effectiveness of these types of outfits began to dwindle. Nowadays, many experts make a case for the model being outdated, and it is predicted that insurer-owned commercial insurance brokers will continue to lose market space in years to come.

Broker Networks

Broker networks comprise several small commercial insurance brokers, all of which share resources, assets and market opportunities between them. In its ideal form, this is considered to be a beneficial model for companies that choose to join one of these networks, with many of them advertising better commissions for individual brokers and service conditions for the companies as a whole; however, adhesion to this type of network remains uneven between countries.

Consolidated Brokers

Consolidated commercial insurance brokers result from one company assimilating, buying out or otherwise consolidating any number of smaller ones, in similar fashion to a corporate merger. At one point, these types of companies were the most common type of commercial insurance brokers in certain markets, with consolidations happening as frequently as once a week. The practice has significantly lost steam since then, however, mainly due to the fact that the exact benefits to be reaped from consolidation processes are not always clear. This has caused many brokers to sour on the practice, and much like insurer-owner brokers, it is thought that this type of brokerage firm may lose even more ground in years to come.

Independent Brokers

The fourth and final type of brokerage firm are independent brokers, that is, brokers which are not associated with either of the three types described earlier in this article. These tend to be smaller, often family or owner-run companies, with smaller and more personalised client bases, and frequently focused on more specialised or less explored areas of the field. Customers resorting to an independent broker can expect a more personalised service, with a higher rate of face-to-face interactions and more time devoted to each case. This type of company is less prevalent in the modern landscape than any of the previously listed ones, but there are still a few independent commercial insurance brokers left, and they tend to attract a small yet loyal customer base.

These are, in broad strokes, the main types of commercial insurance brokers available to customers. It is, therefore, up to each individual to work out which business configuration would be most suitable to their specific needs, in order to avoid disappointment down the road.