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Business Newsletter - January 2019

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2205 Point Blvd., Suite 200 | Elgin, Illinois 60123
847-741-1000 | www.lundstrominsurance.com | Fax 847-428-8857


"Serving you, your business and your community since 1956"

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Vol. 27 No. 1


Understanding the Role of the Insurance Professional


Today, businesses are vulnerable to a number of risks associated with property and liability. Consider what might happen if your business were to experience a weather-related disaster, a burglary, a product lawsuit, or a temporary interruption in business operations. Would you have the resources necessary to recoup your losses?

In many cases, businesses can be protected from such risks through insurance coverage. When considering risk management and insurance, business owners must ask themselves the following questions: What are the primary risks involved in running my business? What is the dollar value of potential loss to my business? How much protection does my business need?

Due to the variety of insurance products available, your insurance professional can provide you with valuable information to help you obtain the appropriate coverage you need to protect your business.

Risk Analysis Services

A professional insurance agent is trained in risk analysis, which involves evaluating risk exposure to measure the potential loss to your business. With your specific business and property in mind, your agent can recommend appropriate insurance coverage and perhaps reveal risk exposures you may have overlooked. Insurance professionals are knowledgeable about the insurance options available in your state. With this expertise, your agent can suggest options from a vast menu of risk-management products and ensure that you are in compliance with all mandatory regulations. Your insurance professional can also amend a basic policy by adding endorsements, which alter or expand the coverage provided under a basic policy. The insurance program developed by your agent will be tailored to your business's unique needs.

Your insurance professional can also recommend non-insurance strategies to help you manage risks before they become losses. When appropriate, your agent may suggest that your accountant and attorney be consulted regarding the legal and tax implications.

Other Services Provided

Besides developing risk management strategies, your insurance professional and your insurance company may provide other important services. These may include the following:

  • Legal defense. Unfortunately, it is impossible to prevent certain situations or predict the reactions of others to business actions, products, or services. Mistakes can be made just as easily as clients can make false accusations. Liability insurance, particularly for property damage and bodily  injury, generally includes legal defense at no additional charge when the policyholder is a party to a lawsuit that involves a claim covered by the policy. The legal defense provision greatly reduces the potentially high costs of litigation to the policyholder.
  • Rehabilitation services. Insurance companies that issue workers compensation policies may provide access to extensive rehabilitation services for policyholders. Generally, these services help injured workers return to employment and, in some cases, help train them for new jobs.
  • Inspection services. Certain insurance policies may provide for property inspection by the insurance company's specialists as a part of the policy agreement. For example, since many cities require businesses to conduct regular inspections of the steam boilers in commercial buildings, boiler and machinery insurers generally provide this service.
  • Loss control services. Some commercial insurance policyholders may qualify for consulting services from the insuring company's loss control department. This department is staffed with engineers and safety experts who specialize in inspecting business premises, identifying possible risk exposures, and recommending potential solutions.
  • Claim management services. Agents and commercial insurers often provide claim management services to help the policyholder obtain loss analysis after an insured event occurs.

Insurance, with all its varied forms, can be complicated. Now that you better understand the role of the insurance professional, give us a call so we can help you protect your business or recommend non-insurance strategies to help you manage risks before they become losses.

 

Securing Your Business: Inside and Out


Crime is often random in occurrence, and there's no way of knowing who will be the next victim. Despite this fact, you may think it will never find its way to your company. Regardless of the type of business you own, workplace security is essential. Fortunately, there are actions you can take that may help make your business more resistant to crime. Here are some recommendations to help secure your business from the inside out:

  • cameraLights—Bright indoor lighting may enable the police or others in the area to notice suspicious activity that may be occurring inside. With this in mind, try not to allow window displays to block the view from the street.
  • Strategic placement of goods—To prevent a thief from working efficiently, position valuable products or money around the office (rather than all in one place), and keep them far away from exits. Alarm system—The best type of alarm is one that silently alerts the police station or a private security agency directly. However, even an on-site alarm that rings loudly can help scare off burglars or attract the attention of someone nearby.
  • Card access system—With this system, employees are given cards that enable or restrict their access to various areas of the business. Card access, which is used mostly by larger companies with many employees, may prevent break-ins after hours, as well as internal theft.
  • Video surveillance—While cameras may not succeed in preventing a burglary, they may be useful in identifying and convicting criminals.

Outdoor Protection

  • Quality doors and locks— Consider purchasing steel doors and deadbolt locks that resist kicking, drilling, and beating, which may hamper a criminal's efforts.
  • Smart landscaping—To help minimize and eliminate easy hiding spots for burglars, try not to surround your business with trees and shrubs.
  • Lights—Make sure that lights illuminate each possible entrance to your building, including doors, windows, and large vents. Protect the lights with clean plastic coverings and connect them to an emergency power supply.
  • Alarm decals—Even without an alarm, a sticker with the name of an alarm company may trick a burglar into believing that you do.

All too often, it takes an actual burglary to encourage business owners to consider preventative measures. Ideally, improving workplace security should take place before you find yourself a victim of crime. In addition, consider increasing your protection by obtaining the proper crime insurance coverage. Take time to protect your business and get proper insurance coverage before a burglary occurs. For a review of the options available, please stop by or call us.

 

For Your Information


Legal Aid

Whether you are an entrepreneur, or a seasoned professional, as a small business owner you may not always know where to turn for sound legal advice. If you are looking for a resource to answer questions about legislation that may affect your small business, or would like advice about starting a small business, check out the website www.sba.gov/business-guide.

Are You Being Scammed?

You may not consider purchasing office supplies risky, or is it? Unfortunately, many employers fall prey to scam artists posing as their regular suppliers, or pay phony invoices for as much as ten times higher than usual. For more information on how you can help protect yourself, and avoid becoming a victim of trickery, check out the online small business section of the Federal Consumer Information Center at www.pueblo.gsa.gov.

Protect Your Work

Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are three types of protection for intellectual property offered by the U.S. government. Patents protect inventions and their improvements. Trademarks include any word, name, symbol, or device used to identify a particular good or service. Copyrights protect literary, artistic, and musical works. For more information on how you can protect your unique business ideas, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office at www.uspto.gov or the United States Copyright Office at
www.copyright.gov

 

Weathering the Storm: Is Your Business Covered against Mother Nature?


No matter where your business is located, various forms of severe weather can pose a serious threat to your property. Whether from a hurricane, tornado, flood, or blizzard, inclement weather may leave a trail of widespread damage. Sometimes, the damage to a building and its surrounding property is minor; at other times, it may be catastrophic. In any event, it is important to understand the coverage provided by your property insurance and to inquire about the need for additional insurance, according to the specific risks of your business.

In general, most property insurance will cover damage resulting from common weather occurrences, such as winds associated with thunderstorms, tornadoes, or hurricanes; lightning; hail; and snow, sleet, or ice. Your policy may pay up to specified limits for weather-related losses to your property, including structures; permanently installed fixtures, machinery, and equipment; outdoor fixtures; items you use to maintain or service the building, such as appliances; and additions under construction. However, it is important to note that a peril-specific deductible (windstorm or hurricane, for example) may apply.

Some weather-related risks or natural disasters are often excluded under standard property insurance coverage because they generally affect those in specific geographic locations only. Give us a call to see if separate coverage for any of the following potential hazards is available in your area:business insurance
     • Earthquakes

     • Volcanoes

     • Landslides and mudslides

     • Tidal waves

Another common exclusion from property insurance that can affect all businesses, regardless of geographic location, is damage caused by flooding. To be protected in the event of a flood, you must purchase a separate flood insurance policy through your insurance agent.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that not all property insurance policies are the same; limits and exclusions may apply. To further protect your business from weather-related occurrences, consider obtaining business income insurance, also called business interruption coverage, which is designed to replace the income your business would generate under normal circumstances in the event of a disaster or other covered peril. Should your business be forced to close for a period of time or be incapable of operating at full capacity because of damage resulting from a covered weather incident, this insurance can provide funds to help cover critical expenses and lost profit until the business is up and running again.

We can help you identify the most important areas of property coverage for your business and assist you in updating your property insurance policy, if needed. For more information, please give us a call.

 

Did You Know?


Technology and Customer Empowerment

According to a recent study sponsored by Vlocity, Salesforce and Deloitte Digital, traditional insurance offerings combined with a good product at a reasonable price and fast claims service is no longer enough to bring competitive advantage. Instead, winning firms are using customer-centric IT while better collaborating with their distributors. Respondents were able to offer valuable perspectives on how insurers view their customers, how they are adapting to an evolving market and what their priorities are.

Late Payment of Invoices

In the latest edition of the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer for Western Europe survey, more respondents than last year (58%, up from 56% a year ago) reported having experienced financial distress on their business due to late payment by their B2B customers. Nearly 42% of the total value of B2B receivables of the businesses were paid late. Late payment from B2B customers is reflected in a longer DSO, which may adversely impact liquidity, increasing trade risk.

Confidence in Economy Up

The Paychex Business Sentiment Report shows the sentiment among business owners when it comes to the overall business outlook and the U.S. economy. Since the last report in July 2018, it is trending up. Other topics business owners continue to be optimistic about are access to capital, up 3 points; ability to make capital investments, up 3 points; ability to raise wages, up 2 points; and ability to fill open positions, up 1 point. 

 

An Environmental Issue: Something in the Air?


Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a growing concern for many companies. Whether you're a business owner or building owner, it's important to take potential IAQ problems seriously. If your workers or occupants have complained about air quality, they could be among the millions of individuals who the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates are at risk for IAQ-related illnesses.

If left uncorrected, air quality problems could prove costly for your business, resulting in lost productivity, increased absenteeism, and decreased employee morale. In addition, you should be aware that if a serious problem arises, employees could turn to litigation.

New Buildings Are at Risk

The major causes of unhealthy indoor air include the following: 1) poorly designed, operated, and maintained air conditioning and ventilation systems; 2) unintended or poorly-planned use of buildings; and 3) air pollutants that may arise from building materials, pressed wood products, furnishings, cleaning supplies, paints, adhesives, copy machines, photography and print shop chemicals, and pesticides. Even new or remodeled buildings can still be at risk.

To make your workplace environmentally safe, here are some steps you can take:

  • Keep a record of all reported health complaints.
  • Be alert for clusters of similar health problems. Contact your state or local health authorities to discuss the symptoms and possible causes.
  • For help with identifying, correcting, and preventing IAQ problems, visit the EPA's website at www.epa.gov.
  • Contact the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at www.cdc.gov/niosh or a health hazard evaluation.
  • Hire a professional company to conduct a building investigation that has experience identifying and solving air quality problems similar to yours.

By meeting IAQ problems head-on, you'll be taking action that will not only help control potential health hazards, but will also contribute to a safer and more productive work environment.



Copyright © 2019 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
The content of this newsletter is taken from sources that are believed to be reliable.
However, this newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal, financial, or professional counsel.


 



 
2205 Point Blvd. Suite 200 | Elgin, IL 60123
p 847.741.1000 | f 847.428.8857