Below are some Frequently Asked Questions by our clients. If you would like to submit a question of your own, please email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agents are there to help you. At the most basic level, any agent should be able to answer all of your questions about insurance, provide you with a thorough assessment of your insurance needs and offer you a choice of insurance products to meet those needs. Also, any insurance agency should provide you with prompt, quality service in the case of a claim. Just as important is the level of professional confidence and personal comfort you feel with the agent. Many people stick with the same insurance agent for decades, even generations. It helps to find an agent you can get to know and trust. At Gilbert’s we look to become a trusted advisor with the ultimate goal of reducing your losses and premiums.
Your business may not possess all the following types of property, but you can use this list to make sure that you have considered all the property categories and any insurance coverage that may be warranted:
To establish the amount of insurance you need on each, your Gilbert’s agent can help you review the types of property you own and their uses.
Business income insurance may reimburse you for ongoing expenses such as utility bills while your business is closed due to a property loss. This coverage also provides your loss of net income that you would have earned if a covered cause of property loss had not occurred. This coverage may also cover losses due to down time or extra expenses needed to restore operations (such as additional property rental expense).
Most business policies include a "coinsurance" clause stipulating what percentage of the total value of your property must be insured to be fully reimbursed for a loss, even a partial one. (Most losses are partial.) If you insure for less than that amount, your insurance company may impose a "coinsurance penalty" on your claim.
Here's how coinsurance works:
Let's say you have a building insured that you believe would cost $100,000 to replace and a coinsurance penalty in your policy of 80 percent. You insure the building for $80,000, thinking you have fulfilled the coinsurance clause. A fire loss causes $60,000 worth of damage, so you submit a claim. Your insurance company subsequently determines that the replacement cost of the building is actually $150,000. To determine how much to pay on the claim, the insurer divides the amount of insurance you purchased ($80,000) by the amount you should have purchased (80% of $150,000 or $120,000). The result (two-thirds of $60,000 is $40,000) is the amount of your claim the insurer will pay.
Thus, even for a partial loss within the monetary limits of your policy, you will receive only two-thirds of the amount claimed. If the building had been insured for at least $120,000, the insurer would have reimbursed you for the full amount of the loss.
No business can afford to be unprepared for a lawsuit. Liability insurance protects your business assets when the business is sued for something the business did (or failed to do) that contributed to injury or property damage to someone else. Liability coverage extends not only to paying damages but also to the attorneys' fees and other costs involved in defending against the lawsuit-whether valid or not. Usually excluded from both types of liability insurance policies are suits by customers against a business for nonperformance of a contract.
As a business owner with employees you should consider Employment Practices Liability coverage (EPLI). This coverage protects the business if employees allege wrongful termination, racial or gender discrimination, or sexual harassment.
Fiduciary Liability coverage is protects the business and the trustees of a retirement plan in the event an employee sues for fiscal mismanagement.
Directors & Officers coverage protects the company and its board of directors and officers in the event they are sued due to fiscal mismanagement.
Remember that all insurance premiums are based on the risks involved. The insurance company evaluates the situation to determine the risks-or potential for losses-and bases its rates on the results. Therefore, deliberate steps you take to lower your risks not only can help safeguard your business but also may make you eligible for lower insurance rates. Consider these steps:
Consider using the services of a risk manager. Gilbert’s Consulting can advise you of any safety regulations you may have overlooked or not been aware of and talk to your employees about safety practices.
Make sure your employees know how to lift properly and use all necessary safety equipment, such as goggles, gloves and respirators. • Learn how a claim should be properly managed from start to finish.
Educate employees about workers compensation and how it works. Contact your Gilbert’s agent to set up an employee meeting.
Make sure your claim is reported as quickly as possible.
Have a designated Panel of Physicians, which will direct the care on an injured employee for the first 90 days.
Understand how your Experience Modification works. Again, contact your Gilbert’s agent for review of your experience mod.
Ask your Gilbert’s agent to educate you on how your Premium Audit works and discuss any potential savings that can be achieved.
In the event you have employees working and living in another state please call your Gilbert’s agent and review the circumstances. In most cases your current policy can be amended to provide coverage for multiple states. However, in monopolistic states, such as Ohio or West Virginia, you must purchase a separate policy directly through the state.
An audit may require you to show proof that sub-contractors had their own insurance coverage. The sub-contractors' certificates of insurance will prevent you from being charged for their exposure.