Are you sure you have insurance coverage for every important piece of your business?
If you have Business Property, Commercial Auto, and Workers’ Compensation insurance solutions in place, you may be thinking that you’ve got all the important stuff covered – buildings and their contents, customers, and employees – with your current policies.
However, while these coverages are essential, if these are the only policies you have in place, then you may be missing out on protecting one of the most critical elements of your business: You!
At HUB International, we are very sensitive to the fact that your reputation, your livelihood and your assets are closely tied to both the ups and downs of your company. While competition, finding good employees, and attracting new customers are constant areas of pressure you face every day, a lawsuit of any kind could be the biggest threat to everything you have worked to achieve. That’s why our insurance specialists are such strong advocates for securing the proper liability insurance policies. Coverages such as Commercial General Liability, Professional Liability Insurance, Employment Practices Liability, and Commercial Umbrella Insurance provide an invaluable way to both protect yourself and safeguard your investment, should you, your employees or your products or services cause any type of loss to a third party, including property damage, bodily injury, or illness.
The liability coverage you will need depends on the type of business you are and the perceived risk associated with it. Also, it’s valuable for business owners like you to know that there are many nuances to liability insurance and requirements can change based on specific contracts, projects, or situations. That is why this form of coverage requires help from an experienced team of insurance professionals, and, as important, ones that are local and familiar with the business environment in your area.
Since the 1890s, HUB International has been serving the liability insurance needs of businesses throughout Massachusetts. With a century of industry experience, we believe we know more about the insurance needs of this area’s businesses than any other privately owned, independent insurance agent. That’s why contractors, consultants, restauranteurs, property managers, manufacturers, human services providers, attorneys, architects, engineers, farmers, web designers, and many others trust HUB International for all their commercial, professional, and employee liability insurance requirements.
While we can only make an informed coverage recommendation after we personally get to know you, your business, and your unique risks, we wanted to share information about some of the best liability insurance choices for most of the businesses we work with:
Commercial General LiabilityProfessional LiabilityEmployment Practices LiabilityCommercial Umbrella
Commercial General Liability (CGL)
Even in today’s age of technology and virtual everything, there aren’t many people, if any, who can make a living with no human interaction. Whether it’s with employees, contractors, customers, vendors, or others, you can’t do business without relationships, communication, and transactions. This is exactly the reason you should prioritize having Commercial General Liability insurance coverage in place. Any one of these individuals or other companies could claim that your business, your employees, your services, or your products caused them injury or loss. And we all know what usually comes next – legal action.
While it may be difficult to imagine this ever happening to you or your company, here are just some of the scenarios that businesses can be held legally responsible for:
A customer or visitor who gets injured while on your business property
A liquor-related incident that happens at a company picnic or office holiday party
An office fire that does damage to another company’s property
A wrongful eviction
A copyright infringement, copying another company’s style of doing business, or using similar advertising concepts
Whether you need to defend yourself against claims of property damage, bodily injury, libel, or slander, your CGL policy is designed to cover you for many of the associated costs, such as medical and legal expenses, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorney fees.
Professional Liability Insurance (or Errors & Omissions)
Many businesses could benefit from the added layer of protection that a Professional Liability Insurance policy offers. While your general liability insurance covers many accidents that involve your company, it doesn’t cover financial losses suffered by clients based on your professional services or advice. In the past, many thought professional liability policies were only for those involved in legal and medical professions, but today, individuals in most industries need it. No matter how many times you dot your “i”s or cross your “t”s, there’s so much going on in the daily operations of your business that you cannot be sure you are going to catch every error or oversight. Many businesses are sued each year over professional mistakes, real or perceived, and the cost of litigation can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention what a lawsuit might cost you and your business in time or reputation damage.
Here are some real-life scenarios in which the business owner has been held responsible:
An engineer failed to do a final check of calculations before approving the start of construction leading to a failure of load requirements
A medical assistant misplaced a lab report and thus the results never got to the doctor
A tech consultant provided a client with proprietary software that had an error
A real estate agent hired a contractor who made a critical mistake on the seller’s home
In any of these cases, having professional liability insurance would have protected the business if sued for negligence or personal injury as well as provided for defense costs. Professional Liability Insurance also protects you both when your company performs insufficiently and when you’re not at fault. If you regularly advise clients, this is a coverage type that you absolutely should consider.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)
EPLI claims make up a significant portion of the lawsuits filed against companies and the associated costs are rising in part due to the length of time it takes to resolve an EPLI claim, as much as 18 to 24 months in some cases. Common claim areas include wrongful termination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, breach of contract/misrepresentation, harassment and emotional distress, and discrimination based on age, gender, religion, race, or disability. Here are a few EPLI claims scenarios that can lead to a lawsuit against you and your company:
A 60 plus sales representative is fired for not meeting sales quota, but the company never documented performance
Requiring female employees of a company to take a strength test for career advancement that only men are able to pass
Not notifying a job applicant before a credit report is requested as part of an application process
Giving an intern work that would normally be done by an employee and promising the intern a paying job at the conclusion of their internship
With an EPLI policy, your company would be reimbursed for the costs of defending a lawsuit in court as well as for judgments and settlements. Plus, the policy covers legal costs, whether your company wins or loses the suit. No matter the outcome of a legal case, when you’re sued by an employee, it can have long-term effects on you and the company culture. This makes it even more important to work with an insurance agency that is highly competent in handling these challenging events and that will help you minimize the likelihood of these problems in the first place. Our risk management services can support you in finding the best way to educate your managers and employees in areas such as hiring practices, employee handbooks and corporate policies, and documentation of employee disputes so that it is clear what your stance is on impermissible behaviors.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
Every business liability insurance policy will have a coverage limit, so if you are on the higher end of the risk scale and already have secured commercial general liability insurance, then it is probably a good idea to discuss the option of a Commercial Umbrella policy with your HUB International advisor. This will increase coverage limits and can give you the confidence that you will be covered in situations where your existing coverage won’t provide for all your costs. Commercial Umbrella Insurance has served as a safety net for employers like you in cases such as:
An employee making deliveries used a company vehicle and hit another vehicle, causing serious injuries to all four passengers in the other car
A customer was seriously injured using an inflatable pool slide that had not been tested for certain safety standards
A contractor’s ladder fell on the head of a guest in the customer’s home causing extensive injuries
An electrical fire that destroyed a commercial building was traced back to the electrician’s work
In many cases like these, judgments can surpass the limits of your general liability policy and leave you paying the difference out of your own pocket. But with a commercial umbrella insurance policy in place, you can have peace of mind that you are covered for even the most devastating issues.
As one of the area’s largest, privately owned, independent insurance agencies, HUB International can ensure you get the best liability insurance for your specific needs at the most competitive rates. You can also contact us anytime with your business liability insurance questions, to review your current policies, or for help making an informed decision about protecting the most important part of your business – you.
If you are ready for a more personal relationship with a trusted insurance agent who is always looking out for you, then call us today at 833-GoCallHUB or stop into either of our two convenient Massachusetts offices.
HUB has partnered with a wide variety of top-quality insurance carriers to provide you with access to these additional liability coverages as well: