6 things you need to know about voluntary benefits

You can offer voluntary benefits to your employees.

You can offer voluntary benefits to your employees.

If you have a small business, you’re probably trying to make heads and tails of group health insurance. Which may be easier said than done. One aspect of group health insurance that you might be thinking about is voluntary benefits. What exactly are voluntary benefits? Should you offer them? How does it work? We’ll explain six things you need to know about voluntary benefits.

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6 Group Health Insurance Terms You Need to Know

We'll explain 6 group health insurance terms.

We'll explain 6 group health insurance terms.

If you’re worried about choosing a group health insurance plan, you’re not the only one. Finding the right health insurance plan for your employees can be especially tricky, and all of the terms involved in healthcare don’t make the choice any easier. Figuring out health insurance lingo like premiums, coinsurance, copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums can seem like learning a new language. In many ways it is, but we’ve broken down some of the basic terms to give you a starting point. So, let’s start your group health insurance 101.

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6 tips for choosing a group health insurance plan for your small business

It's important to evaluate each plan when you're choosing Atlanta group health insurance.

It's important to evaluate each plan when you're choosing Atlanta group health insurance.

f you’re a small business owner in the Atlanta area, you might be considering getting group health insurance for your employees. But there are a lot of options out there – and we mean a lot. Which begs the question, how does a small business owner go about choosing a group health insurance plan? We’ve got six tips to help you evaluate and choose Atlanta group health insurance for your small business.

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What is short term vs. long-term disability insurance?

You can offer disability insurance to your employees as a benefit.

Even though Georgia isn’t one of the states that require employers to have long or short-term disability for their employees, offering them as benefits still give you a leg up on the competition when hiring great people. But how exactly do short and long-term disability work? What are the differences? And how can you use them for the benefit of your business?

Short-term disability insurance

Short-term disability lets an employee get paid a portion of their wages if they’re unable to work for a while. It makes sure that an employee can still cover their living expenses if they have a serious illness or injury. We’re talking about injuries from a car accident vs. a small burn or lung surgery vs. a cold. The latter of these can usually be taken care of through sick leave and not consistent monitoring from a doctor.

Some other conditions that can be covered by short-term disability are:

  • Back problems
  • Arthritis
  • Pregnancy leave and childbirth

Short-term disability coverage can last anywhere from 9 weeks to two years, depending on the policy. However, short-term disability payments usually won’t kick in until about a week or two after the employee is unable to work. These payments are made weekly and again, depending on the policy, could pay out a flat rate of about 40-60 percent of the worker’s wages, or it could start out at 80 percent of the worker’s salary and taper off to 40-60 percent.

Once short-term disability runs out for an employee, it may be time to move them into a long-term disability plan if they still can’t come to work.

Long-term disability insurance

Long-term disability is an extended version of short-term disability. This benefit would cover any type of injury or illness that keeps someone from working for over one or two years (you guessed it – depending on the policy).

First, long-term disability usually covers 50-70 percent of an employee’s salary. The typical length of long-term disability is 5 – 10 years, but a worker can claim disability as long as they are disabled or until they’re 65 and social security benefits kick in.

Conditions that are usually covered by long-term disability are:

  • Cancer
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (such as severe tendonitis or fibromyalgia)
  • Nervous system disorders (like epilepsy or a stroke)
  • Severe car accident injuries

Additionally, due to recent regulations regarding mental illness as a disability, severe, long-term mental health issues that prevent a person from working can also qualify as a disability.

Some details can still be a little fuzzy when you’re deciding whether to offer short-term disability insurance, long-term disability insurance, or both to your employees. It’s important to consider your industry, your budget, and the size of your business when including benefits in your company offerings. Our insurance agents are experts at figuring out the particular details of what will fit your business. So, give us a call at 404.352.0304 or fill out our online form to start getting customized quotes on benefits that could be crucial to your business!

What does an employee need to claim disability?

To claim disability, the employee will need a letter from their doctor to confirm their injury or illness. Georgia law also states that if you do offer sick leave or disability benefits, the employee must work for your company for more than 30 hours a week.

From there, a lot of things are left up to the employer to decide regarding taking disability leave. Some employers require the employee to work for them for a certain amount of time before being eligible for the benefit. Some employers require that the employee use all of their sick days before they qualify for disability. Some employers require full-time status or even additional paperwork for the employee to claim disability.

When you apply for short and long-term disability insurance, your carrier may also place certain exclusions on pre-existing conditions or conditions where disability won’t really help the employee’s condition. So, it really just depends on how you would want it to work for your individual business.

How is disability insurance different than workers comp?

Workers comp is specifically different from disability benefits because the former takes care of injuries or serious illness that happens at work or due to work-related activities. Disability benefits are for injuries that happen outside of work but are still severe enough to put someone out of commission for a while. They’re a great benefit to offer, but unless you’re in:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
  • New York, or
  • Rhode Island

you’re not required by the national or state government to offer long and short-term disability. There are massive benefits for your business should you choose to offer disability benefits, though.

Why should I offer short or long-term disability?

Companies that offer disability insurance and even other group benefits have major advantage when they’re hiring and retaining talent. According to certain studies:

  • 57% of job seekers consider employee benefits as a determining factor in whether they take a job or not.
  • 84% of employees that are satisfied with their benefits are also more satisfied with their jobs and more loyal to the company.
  • 80% of employees would actually prefer more benefits over a raise.

Employees are also likely to be less stressed, and thus, more productive if they know that they would be taken care of should something happen. You may even be eligible for a tax deduction for offering group benefits.

So, why wait to improve your business from the inside out? Connect with one of our insurance experts today, so that they can get to know you, your business, and what will make your employees the happiest! Just give us a call or fill out our online quote form to get in touch with our team.

 

Sources:

https://www.patriotsoftware.com/payroll/training/blog/difference-short-term-long-term-disability-insurance-coverage-qualify/

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-long-term-disability-insurance-1918178

https://www.officevibe.com/blog/10-statistics-compensation-benefits

Atlanta group health insurance: HMO plans and PPO plans

Two options for Atlanta group health insurance are HMO plans and PPO plans.

Two options for Atlanta group health insurance are HMO plans and PPO plans.

If you’re a small business owner in Atlanta, you might be considering offering group health insurance for your employees. Unfortunately, all the terms, abbreviations, acronyms, and so on can be bamboozling. In considering what sort of plan you want to offer, you’re wondering what the difference is between an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plan and PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans. Well, apart from having different letters, that is. Anyways, we’ll explain what HMOs and PPOs are and why they’re different.

What is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan?

One type of Atlanta group health insurance is offering an HMO plan to your employees.

Basically, the Health Maintenance Organization creates a network of healthcare providers that work with them. These providers have agreed to be paid set amounts for the services they provide. This means that the HMO is able to keep costs fairly low for people who are on these plans, making it an affordable health insurance option. The premiums and copays (fees for visiting a doctor or specialist) can be more affordable than those of a PPO plan.

However, there’s a catch:

Remember how we mentioned the network of healthcare providers? If your employees are on an HMO insurance plan, they can only go to doctors who are in that network in order for expenses to be covered. They can’t see a doctor who is out-of-network unless it’s a complete medical emergency.

So, employees could see lower costs as far as premium, copay, and out-of-pocket expenses, but they lose the flexibility of being able to see whichever doctor they please.

Another thing about HMO plans is that the employee will most likely to be required to choose a Primary Care Provider from the network provided. This doctor will become their doctor, who they’ll go to for check-ups, when they get sick, and so on. And if there’s ever a time that they need to see a specialist, the Primary Care Physician would refer them to a specialist in-network. (The referral is a must – kind of like a Golden Ticket.) The specialist’s care would be covered after the copay and deductible are met by the employee.

So, HMOs could work for your employees if they’d rather pay lower premiums and they’re okay with being limited to choosing doctors in the network. Generally, HMOs can work for people who don’t need more than basic care in the form of checkups, vaccinations, and so on.

(We can help you get the Atlanta group health insurance that’s right for your business. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.)

What is a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan?

Another Atlanta group health insurance option is to offer a PPO plan to your employees.

A PPO plan also consists of a network of healthcare providers, and these providers have agreed to offer set rates for their services to members. However, the employee would have the option to go to a doctor or hospital that’s out of that network. (Although choosing one of the in-network providers will most likely cost less.) Basically, you can go to any doctor, in-network or out-of-network.

These plans offer more flexibility and options as far as doctors go, but the premiums can be higher, as can the copays. (But, like we mentioned, choosing an in-network doctor can help save money.) These plans usually require enrollees to pay a co-pay when they visit a provider, and there may be an annual deductible that needs to be met before insurance will cover certain claims. There are more options with these plans and it can be easier to see a provider when away from home or if there’s an urgent medical situation.

Another way that these plans offer more flexibility is that the employee doesn’t have to choose a primary care physician and don’t need a referral to see a specialist. They can just go without needing a primary care physician to act as a liaison. If you offer a Preferred Provider Organization plan as group health insurance for your small business, employees would most like to be able to keep their current doctor, which is helpful if they wouldn’t want to switch.

So, PPOs can provide more flexibility and choices for your employees since they don’t have to visit an in-network health care professional, but they’re often a little more expensive. It’s a trade.

And that’s the difference between an HMO plan and a PPO plan. When selecting Atlanta group health insurance for your small business, it’s important to consider what your employees would prefer and how the plan will help them get the care they need. Your employees need group health insurance that will work for them.

If you’re looking for small business health insurance, we can help. We’ll go over your options for Atlanta group health insurance and help you find the right benefits package for your employees and your business. We can also help you get workers’ comp insurance, general liability insurance, and more. Get started with your Atlanta business insurance quotes by filling out our online quote form or calling us today.

Sources:

https://www.humana.com/all-products/understanding-insurance/what-is-hmo

https://www.humana.com/all-products/understanding-insurance/hmo-vs-ppo

What are the requirements for workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia?

Georgia has set requirements for workers' compensation insurance.

Georgia has set requirements for workers' compensation insurance.

You may have heard the term “workers’ comp” thrown around a lot, especially in Atlanta where a lot of industrial and unconventional industries thrive. But what exactly is workers’ compensation insurance? What does it cover? Why does your business need it? We’re here to help you answer all these questions and more.

So, What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Although many of us don’t like to think about Murphy’s Law (whatever can go wrong, will go wrong), it’s nice to be prepared for it. Worker’s compensation is a state-mandated way that a business can cover an employee’s medical bills and part of their wages if they’re hurt or made sick at work. It can even cover death benefits in a very worst-case scenario.

It may seem like the type of insurance that you’ll never use as an employer, especially if you promote workplace safety as a number one priority. However, you can think of it as a way to protect your business as well. Workers’ comp claims provide an alternative to an employee lawsuit. When someone gets hurt or sick as a result of working, the last thing anyone wants to do is go through a lengthy legal process. So, by simply filing a workers’ compensation claim, you and your employees know that there is a system in place to take care of everyone should an accident happen.

What Kind of Workers’ Comp Coverage Do I need in Georgia?

Since workers’ compensation laws are determined by the state, the amount of workers comp. coverage you need will vary. The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) outlines the requirements and minimum amount of coverage that business owners would need across our state.

Workers' compensation can help your employee if they get hurt on the job.

What Are the Requirements for Workers Compensation in Georgia?

So, for Georgia, these are the minimum requirements that the WCA lists:

1. You must have three or more employees in the same business to maintain your coverage.

2. You must post both the Official Notice regarding workers compensation and the Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker where every employee is able to see and reference them.

3. You must keep a record of all employee injuries. If an employee has to be out of work for more than a week, the employer has 21 days from the notice of injury to file a report with the Board.

4. You must get your coverage from an authorized insurance carrier or get the Board’s approval to self-insure.

(But to be completely honest, self-insuring can be a total pain considering some of the start-up costs are a $250,000 minimum deposit to the WCA AND the fact that you’ll be covering an employee injury out-of-pocket.) Luckily, you’ve got experts right here get you the best rates on authorized workers comp carriers! Call 404.352.0304 today for a free quote tailored to your Atlanta business.

5. You must establish a “Panel of Physicians” who can provide medical treatment to an injured employee.

6. You must be able to pay the medical costs of the employee directly to the treatment provider within 30 days of being billed, and you must reimburse the employee for mileage to receive treatment if your employee files a mileage claim.

7. You have to issue weekly payments the injured employee for lost work time within 21 days of the incident.

How Much In Workers Compensation Do I Need to Pay in Georgia?

So, exactly how much in wages do you need to pay an injured employee? The usual rate that the WCA states is about two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wages. There are also minimum and maximum amounts of workers’ compensation that are paid. The range of weekly compensation can be anywhere from $50 – $575/week.

Sometimes, the WCA also limits the dollar amount or amount of time that an employer pays for workers compensation. For example, the cap on paying TTD benefit payments is about 7 years (with no dollar amount), while the cap on paying TPD benefits is an amount of $134,050. The specifics of what these acronyms mean are pretty tricky but can be found on the WCA website or in your workers’ compensation notices.

They also list regulations for, again, the worst-case scenario of death benefits. In the event of employee death, an employer must pay a maximum of $7,500 in funeral costs and $575 per week to the family of the deceased until the payment total reaches $230,000.

How Can I Prevent a Workers Compensation Claim?

There are a few ways to make sure that a workplace accident doesn’t turn into a workers’ comp claim. As an employer, it’s your job to make sure that all of your employees know the safety measures to follow, are trained on these safety measures, and that you investigate any incidents that may have resulted from not following safety practices. (And not only will this help keep your employees safe, but it can also help you lower your workers’ comp premiums.)

It may also be a good idea to implement a Return-To-Work program at your company, where an employee may return to work with modified duties according to their injury.

In general, you want to make sure that your employees trust you and the company they work for to take care of them in a worst-case scenario. Your workers should know that if they’re injured, they can not only feel safe in filing a workers compensation claim as soon as possible but that they will be taken care of if an on-the-job accident happens.

Whether you’re in a high or low-risk industry, our insurance experts are here to learn about your business and what type of workers compensation plan will work for your Atlanta business. Fill out our online quote form or call us today at 404.352.0304 to speak with an agent about how you can get the best rates on the perfect workers’ comp plan for your business.

10 tips for organizing your Atlanta home office to boost productivity

Check out these tips for setting up your home office.

Check out these tips for setting up your home office.

If you work from home or have a home-based business, you’re going to need a sweet space to work from. You’ve got a lot to do, but working from home is great – you’ve got your pets, comfort, and the best commute ever. However, it can also be very distracting, which is why it’s important that your space allows you to be productive and allow you to be the best “you” you can be. Check out the following tips for organizing your home office to boost your productivity.

10 tips to organize your home office to boost productivity.

1. Stake your claim and have your own space.

In order to get everything done that needs to get done, you’re going to need your own space. Your home office should be somewhere that you can settle down and work. Find a place where you can work well that will be free from distractions. You may need to find your own room and stake a claim, declaring it to be your space where you can focus.

2. Don’t let clutter take over.

If you work at home, the tendency could be that “home” and “work” blend together. You might have some dishes on the chair over there, maybe some cleaning stuff from when you wiped down the kitchen on the desk, perhaps some of the kids’ toys scattered over the floor… And then there’s the work clutter – papers, files, office supplies, and whatnot…

So, overall, there’s a lot of stuff.

Anyways, it’s really important that you have a space free of clutter. Chaos tends to draw the eye…and the mind is quick to follow. It’s much easier to focus when you have a clean, organized space that isn’t filled with clutter and distractions that will send your mind off in a thousand directions.

Pro tip: Keep all of the electrical cords from your computer, phone, and other gadgets out of the way and store them safely. Don’t overload power strips or outlets. This beats having a huge clump of electrical cords taking up room on the floor, and it can also help you prevent an electrical fire.

3. Have a to-do list for each day.

Being at home might make it tricky to get into the “work” mindset. Make sure to equip your home office with an agenda, planner, or notepad to keep track of what needs to get done and when. You can create a to-do list for each day so that you keep track of your goals.

And crossing things off on a list is extremely satisfying and fun.

4. Dress in real-people clothes and have a routine.

While it’s extremely tempting just to schlep down to the home office in your pajamas, getting dressed in “real people” clothes can help you get in the right frame of mind to work. Yes, pajamas are amazingly comfortable, but they also make you feel sleepy.

Try too start your mornings consistently and develop a routine. Take a shower to freshen up, get dressed, eat breakfast, dance around the kitchen to your favorite music, then settle down to work – or whatever works for you. This helps your mind get ready to kick into work-mode.

Another tip is to start and end your day at the same time. It helps to have consistent hours so that you get used to a routine. That way you don’t end up with an unbalanced work week where you work ten hours one day and three the next.

5. Make sure your office is comfortable.

It makes sense to make your home office a comfortable space – you’ll be spending a lot of time there, after all! Okay, moving a bed and pillows into the office might be going too far, but make sure you’ve got a nice, comfortable chair and place to work. Your computer station should be set up so that you can sit comfortably and work without straining your body.

Your home office should be a comfortable place to work.

6. Put your desk by a window.

You might worry that having the desk by the window would be distracting, but give it a try. The natural sunlight streaming into the room will help your body keep track of what time it is. Your internal clock is a real thing, and if you’re easily able to see and feel the sun as it moves through the sky you’ll be able to feel the day progressing. You can even decorate the area outside the window with plats and such to give a peaceful, distraction-free view that will give you something pretty to look at.

If you don’t have windows, brighten up your space by hanging artwork over the desk. It’s nice to be able to look at something other than just paint. Paint is boring. If you can, get lighting that allows you to control the brightness. Yellow-cast lights tend to be ideal because they’re comforting. They’re not oppressively bright, but they’re not too dim, either. Anyway, don’t let your office be a dark, dim hole, but don’t flood it with too-bright light.

7. Make sure your space is functional and designed with purpose.

Before you start decorating and rearranging your home office, you also need to consider exactly what kind of work you’ll be doing and what’s needed to get the job done. From there, you can make decisions about what sort of storage you’ll need, what equipment you need, and how best to organize everything.

Many home offices aren’t the biggest, and you can work with that with some creative planning. Utilize the vertical space in the room with tall bookcases or cubbies for storage. Once you’ve established exactly what needs to go into the office, you can plan accordingly. Try to keep things off your desk by using shelves, or invest in vertical file folders to sit on your desk. This will help you keep your workspace clear and clean.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice the aesthetic appeal of the room. Your space should be your space. It should be comfortable and welcoming – a place that you’re content to settle down and get to work.

8. Consider what color to paint the walls.

Why not go the whole hog and paint the room? Choose a color that works for you. Some people like yellows, lime greens, or oranges because they’re energizing and cheery. Others like calming shades like pale blue or aqua. Bottom line: choose a color that’s going to help you work. As crazy as it sounds, colors can have a profound effect on your mood.

9. Have a designated area for breaks.

You’re also going to need a space separate from your office where you can take breaks and clear your mind. It’s healthy to have a change of scene during the workday – your brain uses a lot of energy, so it needs a rest from time to time. Have a “break room” of your own at home. Maybe it’s the kitchen, where you can make a cup of coffee and have a light snack. Maybe it’s the living room, where you can retreat and give yourself fifteen minutes to read a book, work on a puzzle, or listen to the radio.

Getting up to stretch and take a mental break is good for you. When you settle back down to work, you’ll be recharged and reenergized.

10. Take care of your eyes.

Staring at a computer screen is not your eyes’ favorite thing to do. The light emitted from a screen is hard on them, and as a consequence, it’s easy for your eyes to get strained if you’re spending a lot of time on the computer. Try to schedule your time so that you can take breaks from the computer. Even if you have to get up and walk a lap around the house, give your eyes a break.

It’s also a good idea to avoid putting your computer directly under an overhead light. That only increases the glare from the screen, which will not make your eyeballs happy.

11. PRO TIP: Make sure you’re insured.

You’ve probably got a lot of business-related equipment in your office. It’s really important to make sure that you’re properly insured. Computers and such are very expensive, so you need to check out your home insurance policy to see if it covers any business-related items. If you have a full-blown home business, you need to make sure that you’ve got the right home-based business insurance.

Speaking of insurance, we can help you get the insurance you need, whether that’s home-based business insurance, home insurance, or auto insurance. Our team of insurance experts are pros at helping Atlantans save on their insurance by shopping their rates. You can compare pricing and coverage options by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.

How to protect your Atlanta business from phishing scams

We've got tips to help you avoid online phishing scams.

We've got tips to help you avoid online phishing scams.We’ve all heard horror stories of businesses getting hacked and customers getting their personal information stolen. Chances are you’ve also heard the story of the Google Docs phishing scam that tricked people into allowing hackers access to their accounts and contacts. Online scams and hacks don’t just affect personal email accounts – businesses are susceptible, too. One online scam you need to be aware of is called phishing.

No, it has nothing to do with fish. But you’ll see the reason for the name in a moment.

Anyways, we’ll explain what phishing is and how to keep your business safe from it.

What is phishing?

Phishing is pretty diabolical. A hacker pretends that they’re a reputable entity, such as your bank, and tricks people into giving up their personal information (passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security Number, or business information.) They try to get you to give them access to things they shouldn’t have access to. There’s even a type of phishing called spear phishing in which the hacker specifically targets their victim by impersonating someone they know.

Anyways, if your business gets caught up in a phishing scam, the results could be disastrous. If one of your employees gets phished, the hacker could grab your business financial information, customer personal information, or sensitive business documents. A breach could mean lost business, a tarnished reputation, lost income, and legal nightmares. Even more unnerving is that the breach could go unnoticed, meaning that the damage carries on.

But enough doom and gloom. The good news is that there are ways to prevent phishing.

How to prevent being phished.

1. Talk to your employees about email security.

It’s important that everyone knows not to send personal or financial information using email. You don’t want someone to respond to a fake email with sensitive information. Besides, emails can be hacked.

2. Raise your eyebrows at emails requesting personal information.

Legitimate organizations like banks or government agencies won’t ask for sensitive information by email. They have more secure ways of contacting people. And remember what we said about spear phishing. Even if you “know” the person who sent you the email, don’t send your business or personal information to them. Their account may have been hacked or someone could be pretending to be them. Give the person a call if they absolutely need personal information…and if they act really confused, break the news gently that they may have been hacked.

Protect your business from phishing scams.

3. Take note of poor grammar, typos, and dire threats.

Think about it:

Would a bank or another reputable, distinguished organization ever send an email to you, the client, with typos and poor grammar? Probably not. Similarly, these organizations wouldn’t resort to threatening to shut down your account, for example, if you don’t verify your information or take another action. They just don’t do that sort of thing.

4. Monitor your business’s bank statements and finances.

Keep tabs on your financial information and bank statements and look out for anything unusual. It’s best to catch problems early and get in touch with the bank ASAP if something doesn’t seem right.

5. Don’t let your cybersecurity get lax.

Be sure to keep your firewalls and anti-virus software current. New threats appear all the time, and hackers are pros at using the weaknesses in security to muscle their way in. Keep your cybersecurity updated.

6. Caution your employees about social media.

Hackers know how to use social media, too. Unfortunately, they oftentimes use it to gather intel so that they can raise their chances of successfully tailoring their attack to their victim. Social media has its good points, but it’s crucial to be careful while using it.

7. If there’s a link, don’t click.

If you get an email that seems suspicious, don’t click on any links or attachments that might be included, especially if you don’t recognize the source. When in doubt, don’t click. Delete the email and clear you Junk folder – don’t let that thing sit around on your computer. The same goes for any spam message you receive.

8. Tell your employees how to recognize secure sites.

If you ever have to send sensitive information online, make sure that the website is secure. You’ll see https:// in the URL. You can also verify the security certificate by clicking on the lock icon.

9. Go with your gut.

When an email makes you feel skeptical, it’s probably not legitimate. Follow your instincts. Don’t mess with anything that gives you weird vibes.

10. Consider cyber liability insurance.

You may want to think about cyber liability insurance for your business. Cyber insurance was created to fill in the technology-related gaps (for example, lost income from a data breach) left by general liability insurance. If you store your clients’ personal information and depend on your computers, you may want to ask your agent about cyber insurance when you’re deciding what types of insurance your business needs.

 

So, that’s the basics of phishing and how to prevent your business from falling prey to it. Don’t let your business be a victim of a phishing attack that could hurt you.

If you want to save money on your business insurance, we would be happy to help with that. We can help you shop for the best insurance at the best rate, and we’ll take the time to understand your business and the risks you face so that we can help you create a customized insurance plan. All you have to do to get started with business insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Sources:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/phishing-symptoms.aspx

https://www.antiphishing.org/resources/overview/avoid-phishing-scams

How much does Atlanta commercial property insurance cost?

There are several factors that affect the cost of your commercial property insurance.

There are several factors that affect the cost of your commercial property insurance.

Perhaps you would rather not think about what would happen to your business if a fire hit or you had to weather a winter storm. We get it – there are way more fun things to be thinking about than doom and gloom. But since you’re a business owner and understand that things rarely go as planned, you’re here, reading about property insurance. You know that you need to protect yourself from loss, but you’re probably wondering how much property insurance costs.

And that’s a great question, but the only problem is that it’s a little complicated.

There are a few things that influence the cost of commercial property insurance. We’ll explain some of the factors that go into determining your commercial property insurance rates.

Here we go:

1. The construction/material of your building.

When an insurance company is looking at the commercial property insurance for your business, they’re going to want to figure out how flammable your building is. Insurance companies don’t really like fire because it tends to be very destructive. Anyways, the material your premises is made of influences how flammable your business is, as certain materials are easier to catch on fire and burn.

The building material is so important that the Insurance Services Offices (ISO) has created a system of categories to describe the structure of a building for insurance purposes. The “Classes” as they’re called go from 1 – 6, with 1 being the most flammable and 6 being the least.

Here are the general categories:

  • Class 1: Frame
  • Class 2: Jointed Masonry
  • Class 3: Non-combustible
  • Class 4: Masonry, Non-combustible
  • Class 5: Modified Fire Resistive
  • Class 6: Fire Resistive

The reason we explain this is that the higher up on this list your building is, the less likely it is to catch fire – and if it does, you’ll probably be facing less damage because the material is more fire resistant. And all of that can translate to lower insurance rates.

2. What kind of work you do.

Your insurance rate depends on what kind of business you have and what kind of work you do.

To illustrate, let’s compare an auto repair shop with a retail store. The auto shop does welding and stores many chemicals and flammable liquids. The retail store, on the other hand, only has clothes. The auto repair shop is more likely to face a fire, so they’ll probably pay more for their insurance.

Bottom line, some things are more likely to burst into flames. And that affects your insurance rates.

Pro tip: Depending on your business, you may be able to get your property insurance in a business owner’s policy to save money.

3. Your building’s defenses against fire.

Bear with us as we talk about fire some more.

The more defenses your building has against fire, the better your insurance rates. Protecting your building can come from without (your local fire department) and within (fire controls installed in your building.)

As far as external protection from fire, the ISO has come up with a way to rank the quality of the fire department near you (as well as other fire control measures.) They score it on a scale from 1-10, with one being the best and 10 being the worst. To come up with this number, they evaluate the quality of your local fire department, the available water supply, the effectiveness of your alarm system, and the strength of the communication system.

Of course, the insurance company isn’t just looking at your fire department. They’ll also look at your building’s firefighting tools. Do you have fire doors? Sprinklers? Fire extinguishers? An alarm system? These things can help minimize damage from a fire, something that insurance companies like to see.

You’ve probably noticed a pattern here:

The more protected you are from fire, the lower your insurance rates are likely to be. So, you might want to brainstorm how you can protect your business from fire.

4. Your business’s risks.

Now, this may surprise you, considering what we’ve discussed thus far:

Insurance companies aren’t only concerned with fire when they’re considering the cost of business insurance.

They’re also looking at other exposures, or risks that your business faces. They’ll look at your location to see how susceptible you are to natural disasters and man-made hazards. (For example, they might look at your area’s crime rate.)

We can talk about factors that affect property insurance rates until we’re blue in the face, but the best way to get a truly accurate idea of how much your commercial property insurance will cost is to get a business insurance quote. Our business insurance experts would be happy to help you save on your rates by shopping around for your insurance. All you have to do to get in touch is fill out our form or give us a call today.

Source:

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/commercial-property-insurance-rating-4083201

What do I need to know about Atlanta hired and non-owned auto insurance?

If your employees drive their own cars for business use, hired and non-owned insurance can protect your business.

If your employees drive their own cars for business use, hired and non-owned insurance can protect your business.

The phrase “better safe than sorry” could have been written with commercial insurance in mind, especially when it comes to vehicles being driven for business purposes. Sure, there’s commercial auto insurance to protect you against risks involving your business’s vehicles.

There’s just one problem:

Commercial auto insurance only covers vehicles owned by your business, not those owned by your employees or those you rent. For many businesses, this is a pretty significant risk.

But not to worry:

We’re going to tell you all about a possible solution – hired and non-owned liability insurance.

What is hired and non-owned liability insurance?

Hired and non-owned insurance will protect your business if your employees ever drive their own vehicle for business purposes (that’s the non-owned portion) and if you or your employees ever have to rent or borrow a vehicle to use for business purposes (that’s the hired portion.)

Your business could be found legally liable if one of your employees is driving a car that your business doesn’t own for business purposes and gets into an accident. But hired and non-owned insurance would save the day.

Does my business need hired and non-owned insurance?

You might be wondering if hired and non-owned is really necessary. What about the employee’s personal auto insurance? Why does your business need extra insurance – the employee was the one who caused the accident, after all, wouldn’t their insurance pay? Well, the employee’s auto insurance could provide primary coverage if they’re driving their car for business purposes (unless they’re delivering or carrying goods, like pizza. More on that later.)

You may want to consider hired and non-owned liability insurance for your business.

But there’s an important Catch-22:

Your employee may not have enough insurance to cover the entire cost of the claim (remember, lawsuits get expensive very quickly.) And if that happens and the accident exhausts the employee’s personal auto insurance, guess who’s on the hook for covering the rest of the claim?

Yep. You got it – your business.

So, if your employees ever have to drive their own cars or drive a rented vehicle for work purposes, you might want to consider getting this coverage. Sending your employees out on errands for your business or having to rent a vehicle on a business trip may seem harmless at the time, but these scenarios can quickly become disastrous. Your business could be found liable for any accidents that happen while the employee was “on the job” for you.

If you already have commercial auto insurance, you can just add hired and non-owned coverage to your policy. If you don’t, no problem – you may be able to get a stand-alone policy or add it to your general liability.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that the vehicles being covered by your hired and non-owned insurance cannot be owned, registered, or contracted in your business’s name or on your behalf.

Why it’s important to clarify what your employee’s personal auto insurance covers

Each auto insurance policy is different in the way they treat driving for business purposes. Most will exclude driving to deliver goods (or people) for a fee – so pizza delivery and flowers are out. Anyways, it’s important that your employees talk to their insurance provider and explain exactly what they will be using the car for.

How can I reduce my business’s risk?

Of course, it’s best to never have to use your insurance at all. There are a few things you can do to lower the chances of having a major problem on your hands.

1. Set up policies that explain your expectations for safe driving: You can create and implement policies about speeding, texting and driving, seatbelt use, and other safety measures. There are many benefits of being a safe driver, after all.

2. Have standards for the personal vehicles used for your business: Your employees’ vehicles should be safe and well-maintained.

3. Review your drivers’ records: It’s important to make sure that your employees are good drivers.

4. Check your employee’s personal auto insurance: It’s a good idea to make sure that everyone’s adequately insured.

5. Have guidelines for renting cars: Make sure your employees know what to do if they have to rent a car for business.

So, there’s some food for thought about hired and non-owned auto insurance. Remember, it’s important to cover the gaps in your business insurance. If your employees drive their own cars, this is definitely something to consider when you’re thinking about what kind of insurance you need for your business.

Commercial auto doesn't cover any vehicles that aren't owned by your business, but hired and non-owned auto insurance does.

If you want to get quotes for business insurance, we can help. We’ll help you shop for the best coverage at the best rate. All you have to do to get business insurance quotes is call us or fill out our online form. We would be happy to speak with you about your insurance.