Monthly Archives: May 2017

Commercial Insurance

If you operate or are responsible for any type of business entity or commercial enterprise, in order to obtain the right insurance for the company you will need to find and compare suitable commercial insurance quotes. A quote is an offer of certain defined insurance covers in a policy for a monetary price.

Quotations can be obtained from numerous sources including locally from specialist high street insurance brokers, over the phone from insurance companies or brokers, or from the many online companies and comparison sites offering all types of insurance cover.

A commercial insurance quote forms a legal offer and is the basis of the contract of insurance between the proposer and the underwriting company. The information you provide on the quotation form is used to calculate both the premium quoted and the levels of cover offered on a policy. The quote data a company provides will be used to complete the policy documents. It is therefore very important that when applying for commercial insurance quotes that the information you supply about your business activities is correct and truthful.

Most companies offering quotes will agree to honour the price offered for a period of thirty days or one month following its issue. When obtaining a quote, regardless of the source, ensure that you retain the reference number which will enable you to either take up the or recall and revise the offer at a later time. Prices offered can fluctuate and a premium offered one week may not be available the next.

Quotes and premiums can be obtained for all business types and all business and commercial risks for both business liability and property insurance, either separately or combined in what is known as a package.

Commercial property insurance will typically provide cover for buildings and contents of business premises of varying types and sizes. For example a shopkeeper would be interested in covering his glass shop front and shop stock whilst a small draughtsman business would require a price for covering the business office equipment. For this reason quotes for a business are often given by insurance companies for packaged policies that are property specific, such as shop insurance quotes or office insurance quotes.

When looking for cover search for companies that offer quotes for your particular type of building. Let property buildings only insurance quotes are available for landlords who just want to cover the buildings, fixtures and fittings. Equally commercial property tenants and lease-holders can obtain quotes that only cover the contents, stock or liabilities.

Liability quotes can be obtained with either combined property insurance packages or as a standalone quotation for individual business liabilities. The most popular liability products quoted for are public liability insurance, employers liability insurance, product liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.

Commercial liability quotes are widely available online for most trades and professions. Packages often offer all risks cover and if you are looking online most systems allow you to pick and choose various liability coverage options

The Different Types Of Commercial Insurance

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.

Understanding Commercial Insurance

If you own or manage a business, either large or small, you will require some type of insurance to protect your company against the various risks and potential multitude of claims, that your business will face.

Commercial insurance or Business insurance as it is commonly known, is a complicated area of underwriting and because all businesses are different, and face different risks depending upon the nature of the company, various packages and combined policy covers have been introduced by insurance companies and commercial broker schemes, to make the process easier.

An example of a small business insurance package which is commonly sold online is the Tradesman’s insurance package, which includes all elements of cover required by a small business or self employed trader such as basic liability covers and theft of tools.

Other small business insurance packages that are trade specific and can often be obtained online are available for shopkeepers, offices, surgeries, hotels and guest houses, restaurants, public houses and builders.

Large companies will be offered what is known as a commercial combined policy which has many different elements of cover which can be combined to make a bespoke policy for the enterprise. Most large companies will require some degree of risk assessment before the policy is underwritten, which may often include a visit to the business premises or site, and for this reason these types of larger business usually employ the services of specialist commercial insurance brokers.

Business Risks

The largest risk that a business faces is from liability to others, and the potential costs and damages a company could face if a claim was made against it.

All companies are required by law to have in place liability cover, called Employers liability insurance or EL, to protect their staff against all potential risks and accidents  while in the workplace.

Business liability insurance is usually sold as a package and will always include Public Liability, often just known as PL, which protects the company against claims from the public whilst on the business premises.

A further type of liability insurance called Product liability is also available to companies under a commercial liability policy which protects the company against claims made for design or manufacturing faults in the product.

Company directors can also protect themselves against liabilities with Directors and Officers insurance (D&O) cover.

Property Damage

Most business large and small will have premises that need protection against buildings perils such as fire and flood and commercial property insurance is available to cover all buildings insurance risks. Similarly commercial contents insurance for business premises is available which covers office and business equipment including files and data processing against the common perils. For companies that carry stock, this type of business contents insurance can be extended to cover risk such as deterioration and damage.

For the small businessman who works from home these covers are often available with strict limits of indemnity, as a bolt on to a standard home buildings and contents policy. This type of cover is often effective for self employed people with just a computer and a home office.

Business Contingency Cover

One of the largest problems faced by a business is that of how to continue in business should the worst occur, for example a fire that destroys the premises. In order to deal with this Insurance companies have devised a cover called ‘Business Interruption Insurance’. Based on your previous years annual turnover, this protection insurance covers your company against all losses caused by interruption to trading due to any of the perils mentioned on the policy and will pay out on a indemnified basis for the period of cover agreed in the policy. Most policies will also offer some type of alternative trading accommodation to enable you business to continue whilst the premises are being repaired.

Additional Commercial Risks

Because commercial insurance is designed to cover all classes of business, there are many various trade or business specific covers available which can be added to a combined policy. Examples of these covers include loss of licence to trade, glass cover, goods in transit cover, book debts, commercial vehicle insurance, hauliers cover, warehouse cover, engineering insurance and plant inspection services, and theft by employees.

Outside of most combined policies are additional risks more often sold under separate policy covers, that should be considered to protect your business against all eventualities.

Examples of these are, Commercial Legal Expenses insurance cover which protects the company against claims made by employees for unfair dismissal and allows you to bring cases against suppliers.

Various protection policies are also available for businesses including Keyman insurance which provides cover against the loss of key people within your organisation. Business mortgage protection provides a monthly payment for business premises should you suffer and accident or sickness. Group ASU policies are also available to protect your staff and employees.

Purchasing Business Cover

Purchasing commercial risks insurance can be a daunting experience for the uninitiated small business owner and unless the risks are straightforward and can be underwritten online, it is advisable for all companies to approach the services of a local or regional commercial insurance broker. Insurance Brokers will not only be able to assess the complete range of risks that your business is exposed to, and provide the correct levels of cover, they will more often than not have a unique local knowledge of the risks involved and will be able to negotiate premiums that reflect the nature of the risks. Furthermore, in the event of a claim, and as most businesses will be faced with claims at some point in their trading life-cycle, the broker will handle all the settlement negotiations with the insuring company and allow you to continue what you do best – running your business.

Do You Need Commercial Insurance

When it comes to insuring vehicles, individuals usually purchase personal auto insurance, while businesses buy commercial insurance policies. But whether or not you should have commercial auto insurance varies greatly depending on how you use your vehicle. Individuals who engage in certain business-like activities with their car should definitely contact their insurance company to check to see if they need to purchase additional insurance. Additionally, any small business owners who have employees drive vehicles as a part of the job need to look into commercial auto insurance as well.

What Do You Use Your Personal Vehicle For?

Any personal vehicle that is used sometimes for business purposes probably needs commercial vehicle insurance. While it is true that some personal auto insurance policies may cover damage that occurs during business to an extent, you need to check with your insurance provider. Make sure you are dealing with a well-qualified independent insurance agent who understands your needs and has experience in dealing with both commercial auto and personal auto insurance issues. If you are unsure whether or not your policy covers your automobile, your best option is to utilize the wealth of knowledge that your agent holds. Bring your policy to your agent and ask them to review the your policy and coverage with you. Don’t leave your coverage to chance.

If you use your car or truck for any sort of business activity, you should consider purchasing commercial insurance for the vehicle. Do you deliver pizzas or other food with your personal car? What about delivering newspapers? Are you an event photographer that uses your own car to carry equipment? Any catering company, door-to-door consulting service, day care van service, real estate agent, or landscaping and garden service should definitely look into commercial auto insurance policies.

Businesses Need Commercial Insurance

Any vehicle that your business owns, leases, or rents, needs to be covered under commercial vehicle insurance. It’s required in most states to cover any financial responsibility if you or an employee is at fault in an accident. Basically, if you or your employees drive company vehicles or personal vehicles to conduct business, you also will most certainly need commercial vehicle insurance. A benefit of commercial auto policies is that they allow you to list anyone that you employ as a driver, an option you don’t always have with a personal auto policy. This way, any listed employee who needs to drive your vehicle can, without getting into issues that may come up should that person get into an accident.

Truckers in particular need to look into commercial truck insurance. Because trucks are much bigger vehicles and require special training to drive, truckers are held more liable for damages. They need to make sure they’re covered under a commercial policy.