Sihle Insurance Group Offers Insurance Tips to Startups

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Entrepeneurs starting a new business in Florida need to learn all they can about the various types of insurance they need to manage the myriad of risks they will face.

Because of fluctuating property values, building and personal property coverage limits must be reviewed frequently and updated as needed. When property increases in value, you don’t want to be under insured.

With more than 250,000 new businesses incorporating in the state of Florida every year, many new entrepreneurs focused on getting their enterprises going may be unaware of the importance of selecting the right kinds of insurance, and the appropriate levels of coverage, to help them sleep well at night.

The experts at Sihle Insurance Group have identified these important insurance related tips to consider. This is by no means a complete list, but it's a start:

  •     Entrepreneurs should pull together a comprehensive listing of all their business property, even if they think some items might not require insurance, and leave nothing out. That way, when they discuss their insurance needs with their agent, they'll get the best professional advice on what items need what levels of coverage.
  •     Yes, there is something called employee dishonesty or theft insurance. Approximately 75% of all employees steal at least once, based on a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimate. One in three business failures are a direct result of theft by employees, the chamber research showed. Sad, but true.
  •     Because of fluctuating property values, building and personal property coverage limits must be reviewed frequently and updated as needed. When property increases in value, business owners don’t want to be under insured.
  •     Contrary to popular belief, homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies do not generally cover home-based business losses. Depending on the risks to the business, the CEO may want to add riders to their homeowners’ policy to cover normal business risks such as property damage. Some may need to purchase additional insurance to cover professional and product liability.
  •     If a business keeps some customer property on the premesis, owners should be sure to request bailee or personal property of others coverage, otherwise they may not be covered.
  •     And what about income insurance? Yes, there are policies that protect businesses from loss of revenue that results from a fire, storm, or other covered event. This coverage can be vital to businesses. "Could you afford to re-open without this protection?" asks Ken Sihle, president of Sihle Insurance Group.
  •     When buying liability insurance, businesses should plan for the worst case scenario. No one knows what the cost will be of defending a claim resulting from bodily injury or property damage for which the business is legally liable. "Talk to your insurance agent about limits appropriate to protect your assets based on your industry. A few extra dollars invested in the premium can increase your protection by millions of dollars," says Sihle.
  •     Remember that general liability insurance does not cover professional liability claims. These may be claims for which the business is legally liable, although they did not cause bodily injury or property damage. Professional liability claims result generally from errors or omissions by service providers, consultants and others hired to accomplish specific tasks that fail and cost the client money. "If you are a service provider, ask your agent about E&O insurance. (Many insurance agents have E&O for obvious reasons)," Sihle advises.
  •     If the business accepts credit card payments or keeps electronic files on customers or employees, owners should make sure that they have protection for data breaches. 72% of data breaches during 2011 were from organizations with less than 100 employees. The costs can be staggering including notification costs, penalties and fines or possible class action lawsuits.
  •     Of course, there are the mandatory types of insurance a business must have depending on state requirements, including workers compensation insurance, bonding, and depending on where the business is located, disability insurance. At present, disability insurance (also known as partial wage replacement insurance) for eligible employees for non-work-related sickness or injury is required only in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.
  •     "A BOP (business owner’s policy) combines many essential business insurance coverage types under one policy. This is essentially a bundling of various types of coverage that may be more cost effective for you, but again, consult with your agent," Sihle says.

Founded by Gerald Sihle in 1974, Sihle Insurance Group offers a comprehensive array of commercial, business, homeowner, personal, employee benefits, bonds and specialty lines of insurance. Sihle is headquartered in Altamonte Springs, with sales and service offices in Deland, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tampa Bay, Lakeland and Vero Beach. More expansion is planned in 2012. Sihle Insurance Group is consistently included in Insurance Journal’s list of Top 100 Property/Casualty Independent Agencies and its list of top Commercial Lines Leaders.

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