Monthly Archives: September 2017

Business Insurance Explained

If you have just started a new enterprise or have been asked to look after the company’s insurance renewals, business insurance can at first seem a daunting proposition. After all, much of the language and industry jargon such as endorsements, indemnity levels and excess periods can at first appear alien.

Then there is the question of knowing what covers to get.

With the responsibility of ensuring that the business activities and property are completely covered from risks that the firm might face, a new small businessman may well also be confused by the plethora of covers, plans and policies that are available today.

Business insurance is however fairly simple even for newbies, if you break it down from the top.

There are basically two types of risk that a business may face in daily operations, these being business property risks and business liability risks.

All business insurance policies contain elements of the two risks either separate or combined under a single plan. If you need cover for business buildings and premises contents, you will need property insurance. If you need cover for the work you do, you will require liability insurance. Most businesses need elements of both.

Business property buildings insurance protects all risks to a business premises covering loss,material damage and consequential loss to all buildings, outbuildings, fixtures and fittings on the premises. The premiums are calculated on rebuilding costs of the business property and will also contain elements of public liability to protect a business against claims from the public of for example, a wall falling on a passer-by.

Property contents insurance covers loss or damage to the contents of the business premises. Business contents policies typically have provision to cover items such as furniture, tables and desks, computer equipment, telecommunications equipment, business electronic equipment, data, tools, machinery, stock, high risk stock, raw materials, fabricated, assembled, manufactured or stored goods and anything used in the daily operation on the business premises. Freight, cargo and goods in transit cover options provide insurance for the businesses property away from the premises.

Business property insurance polices are typically marketed by the type business property they provide insurance for. For example office insurance, shop insurance, hotel insurance and pub insurance are popular commercial property insurance schemes which contain all the relevant covers for each use of the property type.

Much commercial property is either rented or leased, in particular offices and shop space. Business insurance provides specialist cover for property owners of these types of premises with a let property insurance policy, which is tailor-made for business landlords.

Liability Insurance protects a business against all liabilities that the enterprise might be liable for as it carries out its daily actions. Liabilities are events which occur that could lead to claims against the proprietor, trader, owner, partnership or company. Liability insurance cover protects the company profits against all damages and costs incurred resulting from the claim.

Business Liability Insurance includes Public Liability Insurance, Employers Liability, Products Liability, Directors and Company Officers Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Public Liability protects the business profits against claims from members of the public and this cover forms the basis of a standard business insurance contract.

If you employ staff you will require by law Employers liability insurance which protects your business against claims resulting from accidents and injuries to paid employees and sub contractors whilst anywhere at work.

If you sell or provide goods or parts your business will need Products liability insurance.This cover is usually automatically included in for example, a shop insurance policy.

Nearly all business insurance polices sold, in particular those online, are what is known as combined business insurance or trade packages that have been specifically designed for particular trades or professions. Find one that is suitable for your particular company by carrying out a search for your trade, service or profession insurance. These combined business insurance policies contain all the covers you will need in your line of work, ensuring that if a claim against your company is made, you will be covered.

The company owners or directors can also purchase Directors & Officers Insurance or D & O insurance as it is often called, which covers them personally against both civil and criminal liabilities resulting from business activities.

Additionally professional services should purchase Professional Indemnity insurance which covers the service against the liability of any advice that might be given professionally and later turns out to be negligent.

Business Insurance quotes from top brands and providers, offering the cheapest prices and excellent cover, only take a minute to compare at leading business and commercial insurance comparison site UK Commercial Insurance.

Bad Faith and Insurance Claims

Florida is a state prone to hurricane damage on a yearly basis because of its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Ocean, along with the hurricanes and tropical storms that regularly form in these bodies of water. Because of this, Florida has some of the highest insurance claims in the country.

When a person insures their home and other personal property, they tend to assume that since they have paid faithfully, their insurance claim will be honored without any problems. However, some insurance companies do not always act in good faith and will make an already stressful situation more complicated by unfair insurance practices.

What is Bad Faith?

After filing your Florida insurance claim, your insurer may tell you that your policy is ambiguous or open to having several possible meanings, or that the policy does not cover the type of property for which you are filing a claim. Another reason your claim may be denied is because the insurance company may claim that the property was not damaged, the damage resulted from the negligence of the owner or the damage resulted from another reason not covered by the insurance policy.

Insurance companies are required to act in good faith and in a timely manner during this process. Unfortunately, at times, an insurer will delay the payment or resolution of a claim or even violate Florida state laws. When this happens they are acting in bad faith.

Some types of bad faith an insurer might engage in can include unfair settlement claim practices or a refusal to insure for discriminatory reasons.

Unfair claim settlement practices can mean that an insurance company is:

•Failing to adopt or implement standards for the proper investigation of claims,
•Misrepresenting facts or insurance policy provisions,
•Denying claims without conducting a reasonable investigation,
•Failing to properly explain policy information, or
•Failing to pay any undisputed amounts of full or partial benefits in a prompt or timely manner.

It is illegal for an insurer to refuse to insure and individual based on their race, color, creed, marital status, sex or nationality. Additionally, an insurer cannot deny an individual based on where they live, their age or where they work.

There are several laws within the Florida Revised Statutes that relate to bad faith insurance claims and illegal business practices.The main statutes regarding bad faith include:

Florida Statute § 626.9541(1)(i) – Engaging in unfair claim settlement practices;

Fla. Stat. § 626.9541(1)(o) – Illegal dealings in premiums;

Fla. Stat. § 626.9541(1)(x) – Refusal to insure for discriminatory reasons;

Fla. Stat. § 626.9551 – Requirements to have a certain agent or insurer not permitted;

Fla. Stat. § 627.7283 – Return of premium for cancelled insurance policies required.

What should you do if your insurance company denies your claim?

If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith in regards to an insurance policy claim, the first step many take is contacting a knowledgeable insurance attorney. An insurance attorney can help you decide the proper steps to take when dealing with an insurance company acting in bad faith.

Your insurance attorney may suggest that you file a civil suit against your insurer for damages. When you file a suit for damages you may be able to receive the full benefits of your policy, court costs and attorney fees.

With capable legal counsel and a firm understanding of how your insurance company is required, by law, to act, the property damage claims process in Florida will be much easier to handle, increasing your chances of a favorable and fair outcome.

Michael Germain is a Tampa, Florida insurance law attorney that helps his clients understand their legal options and the best path to pursue when dealing with unfair practices committed by insurance companies. Michael Germain is knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s insurance laws and always fights aggressively for the best interests of his clients even if this means taking a case to court against the biggest insurance companies.

Life Insurance FAQs

Buying the right type and the right amount of life insurance can be a confusing process, especially if you are just beginning to research the best life insurance policy for you and your family. There are many questions to consider and there isn’t a one-policy-fits-all answer. Although you will definitely want to discuss all of your options with a reputable insurance agent who will provide recommendations based on your specific needs, here are some life insurance FAQs to get you started:

How much insurance do I need?
The amount of life insurance you need depends on your individual circumstances and may need to be modified several times during your life as your family grows and your assets increase. The general rule of thumb is that your insurance equals six to eight times your annual gross income. However, there are many important factors to take into account:
• The number of individuals who are financially dependent on you
• Income sources and amounts other than your salary earnings
• Whether you are married and, if so, your spouse’s annual gross income
• Whether you have any special insurance needs, such as mortgages, estate planning, college funding, etc.
• The amount of death benefits payable from an employer-sponsored insurance plan and social security

What is term insurance?
Term life insurance provides protection for a specific period of time, and it only pays a benefit if you pass away during the term. Term insurance is a popular option because it is generally inexpensive when you purchase it at an earlier age and benefits can be used to pay off outstanding debts.

What is whole insurance?
As long as you pay the premiums, which will be higher than term insurance, whole life insurance remains in effect throughout your lifetime. Whole life insurance policies are especially beneficial if you want to use your insurance as collateral for loans or receive cash payments while you are still living.

What is universal insurance?
Universal life insurance gives you permanent insurance protection, but it is more flexible than whole life insurance because it allows you to select the amount of protection that best fits you and your family. You can increase or decrease your universal coverage as your insurance needs change, and have more control over the amount and frequency of payments.

Whom can I name as a beneficiary?
Your beneficiary is the person or persons for whom you will want to provide financial support when you pass away, and is typically a spouse, children, or other relatives. However, remember that you may need to update your insurance policy as circumstances change. For instance, if your spouse becomes unable to handle financial matters or you get divorced, you may need to review and modify the beneficiary designation on your policy.

Can I name my estate as beneficiary?
The short answer is yes, but it may not be the best option for a variety of financial considerations. For example, many state laws dictate that life insurance benefits paid to an estate must go through a probate process before your beneficiaries can receive the proceeds of your policy. You will want to speak with your legal advisor to discuss the financial implications of naming your estate as your beneficiary.

Do I have to take a medical exam?
Medical exam requirements vary depending on the life insurance company, but most will require some form of exam to obtain an objective evaluation of your health. As you might imagine, the results of a medical exam will influence the type and amount of insurance for which you are eligible. One of the most important health factors is whether or not you smoke cigarettes. Due to the increased mortality risk associated with smoking, smokers almost always pay higher premiums and, in some cases, may be denied life insurance coverage.