Protect your inventory with commercial insurance

We all know how important it is to carry the appropriate level of insurance to protect our assets, and the same is true when covering the value of your inventory. Business owners understand that one serious loss to their work-flow can wipe out years of hard work. The team at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. are here to help you find the right insurance to cover all aspects of your Fort Myers, FL area business, including inventory. 

Be sure to obtain the right level of commercial insurance

Inventory protection can make a huge difference in how well your business is able to bounce back after experiencing a loss. When you are obtaining your policy, be sure to work with a professional agent that understands the nuances of commercial insurance. Inventory valuation can be tricky to determine, as it is constantly fluctuating. When you have a busy season coming up, your inventory levels will be a lot higher than they are during the slower months of the year. Some people make the mistake of valuing their inventory at the time that they obtain their policy. This can lead to serious problems if you get your policy during one of your slow months. Be sure to look at the levels of inventory that you carry all year long, and determine the highest level as your insurable value. This is yet another reason why it is helpful to work with a professional agent that is able to guide you through the process. 

The team at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. are here to help business owners in the greater Fort Myers, FL area obtains the insurance that provides the appropriate protection for their inventory and overall business. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to review your commercial insurance needs. 

How to Choose Commercial Insurance in Fort Myers

In order to run a successful business in the state of Florida, you will likely be required to have some sort of viable commercial insurance. Commercial insurance is also a great investment for your business, as it protects that business from large out-of-pocket expenses from unexpected emergencies.

Here are some of the characteristics for the commercial insurance policy that you should look for to protect your business in Fort Myers.

  • General liability insurance – This kind of insurance will help you if your business gets sued for property damage or personal injury. You will be covered for accidents that occur on your business grounds or if there is an accident that occurs because of the use of your goods or services.
  • Attorney’s fees – Certain kinds of commercial policies can be modified to include all attorneys fees in case there are legal processes that you have to go through.
  • Property insurance – This is a more comprehensive policy to cover accidents that happen on your property. If you are in a high-traffic area, then you may have to get specialized property insurance in order to cover everything that could happen.
  • Workers comp policies – This is a very important kind of business insurance that protects the business if an employee is hurt on the job. In Florida, most businesses with warehouses or large amounts of inventory are required to have Worker’s Comp. policies.

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. provides commercial insurance for businesses in Fort Myers, FL and surrounding areas. If you need to protect the business, key employees or a commercial estate, make sure that you give the dedicated experts at SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. a call or an email today.

What Does a Commercial Insurance Policy Cover?

Commercial insurance comes with a wide range of policy options that are put in place to protect a business from financial loss. Every commercial operation experiences its own set of risks; therefore, every commercial insurance policy must be tailored to fit a particular business’s needs. We live in a litigious society where a simple lawsuit against your Fort Myers, FL business could render it bankrupt.

Every commercial entity in Fort Myers, FL isn’t required to have commercial insurance except when it has employees or own vehicles that are used for commercial purposes. From the inception stage, a business faces risks from every angle, which makes commercial insurance coverage with SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. the perfect way to protect your investment.

Our commercial insurance coverage will help you cover the following:

Liability charges

If your business is held responsible for personal injuries and property damage towards a third party, then commercial insurance will cater for the cost of defending you and resolving the lawsuit.

Property

In case your commercial business property is lost or damaged, commercial insurance will cover the cost of repairs or replacement.

Workers

If employees suffer work-related injuries and illnesses, commercial insurance covers medical treatment, disability, and even death benefits.

Company vehicles

This part of your coverage functions just like the standard auto insurance. It covers company vehicles and drivers for personal injury, property damage, collision, comprehensive, liability, third party bodily injuries, and much more.

Loss of income

In the event of a disaster or a catastrophic event, your business operations are likely to be interrupted, which could lead to loss of income. Commercial insurance covers business expenses such as employee wages and rent.

By helping you get the right coverage, SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. is able to help your business avoid major financial losses. Contact us today for any commercial insurance needs.

 

How Should I Insure My Home-Based Business?

Residents of Fort Myers, FL are required by law to have two types of commercial insurance on their home-based businesses if applicable. The first type is commercial vehicle insurance if a business owner has a car, truck, or van that is used for purposes pertaining to the enterprise and that is driven by him or herself or by employees. The second type is workers’ compensation insurance that will provide the insured with benefits in the event that his or her employees need time off  work due to injuries sustained on the job. The number of employees required to necessitate coverage will vary from one to six, depending on the type of industry you are in. 

What Type of Business Do You Run?

Each home-based business has its own particular set of risks that you will want to be insured against. Your homeowners insurance may provide, to a limited extent, some coverage, but a general liability policy will help protect you in the event that a customer is injured on your property, if you are sued for copyright infringement or reputation damage, and if losses occur to somebody else’s property for which you are held responsible.

A professional liability insurance policy can help take care of costs related to mistakes made by your business, and commercial property insurance can provide indemnification benefits for damages that occur to your own property. In addition, product liability insurance is there to assist in covering costs related to lawsuits pertaining to products your company produces.  

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. is Here To Help You

SWFL Insurance Agency Inc. has experience providing Fort Myers, FL residents with the commercial insurance options they need to effectively run their businesses. We can answer any questions you may have about insuring your home-based business, and we welcome you to contact us and to schedule an appointment today. 

Commercial Insurance and Business Tax Deductions

Small and micro businesses in Fort Myers, FL worry regularly about operating costs and keeping budgets tights to maintain new profits. These controls are critical to be successful in the first years of operation, especially when the owner and employees depend on the business to earn a paycheck. However, in the scrutiny of cost justification, many companies defer or do without liability coverage and commercial insurance. And this can be a big mistake.

Not only does commercial insurance represent critical financial protection from possible liabilities, it can also be a very valuable tax deduction for the business. According to the Internal Revenue Service, commercial insurance can be a viable tax deduction. The key factor in the IRS’ perspective, per the federal tax code, is that the expense claimed as a deduction needs to be "ordinary and necessary" for the business. While commercial insurance can represent a valuable liability protection it also needs to be obtained in a policy form that is clearly for the business only. Personal liability coverage is not allowed and can be a big mistake in a tax audit if found to be declared in a misleading manner by the business owner and tax filer.

According to the experts at SWFL Insurance Agency commercial insurance represents a critical safety net for new small businesses. It provides the means to fend off potential liability risks when a new company does not yet have the resources to fully stand on its own. And SWFL Insurance Agency has seen multiple businesses in Fort Myers, FL have to resort to bankruptcy without insurance protection. And that can be a sad ending for an incredible amount of work, energy, sacrifice and more. To avoid this kind of abrupt ending and enjoy viable tax deductions for a business at the same time, contact the staff at SWFL Insurance Agency to find out more.

 

Your Business Just Got Sued – What Should You Do?

If you are a small business owner and you worry about being sued, you are not alone. An organization called Faces of Lawsuit Abuse found that 75% of small business owners worry about being a target of an unfair or frivolous lawsuit. Small business owners in America pay an aggregate total cost of about $20 million per year to defend against tort lawsuits. Klemm Analysis Group reports that 52% of all civil lawsuits are against small businesses. For the average small business, which makes about $1 million per year, $20,000 per year will be used for legal expenses to defend against lawsuits.

Three Steps to Take If You Are Served Legal Papers in Austin, TX

1) If you are served legal papers that inform you that you are being sued, accept them. It is better to deal with this type of negative event right away, rather than to try to hide from it.

2) Contact your attorney before making any statement about the case to anyone (including your own workers).

3) Contact your agent at Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX, to discuss the coverage you have and to inform them of the potential liability, so that they can work with you and your attorney to reduce your exposure. 

Hopefully, you already had an annual review of your insurance coverage and the coverage is adequate. This is why it is critical to regularly review your commercial insurance coverage with your agent. Very often these lawsuits, especially ones that are frivolous, happen unexpectedly.

Summary

If you own a small business, the chances of being sued are very high. It is best to be proactive in order to prepare for this eventuality. Small businesses do not have the resources to easily defend themselves when compared to major corporations that have permanent in-house legal staff. 

Be sure to discuss the potential risks with your insurance agent at Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX and ask about umbrella coverage, which is used to insure a small business against some of the extraordinary risks, such as lawsuits.

Beware of the AOB…..Assignment of Benefits….Avoid this at all cost.

   

“What is an Assignment of Benefits?”

“An Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is a contract between you and a contractor (such as a plumber, water remediation firm, roofer, etc.) where you give the contractor control of your claims benefits. They file a claim for their services and direct the insurance company to pay them directly.

What’s in it for the contractor?

Once you sign an AOB, you lose control of the direction of your claim. The contractor takes control, and can submit whatever they like to your insurance company, sometimes billing the company two, three, four, five times the going market rate for their services, and sometimes including work that was never performed. You don’t see this, and you can’t verify what they did.

What are the potential pitfalls in signing an AOB?

  • You have committed to this contractor, and you have little to no recourse if you’re not satisfied with their work.
  • You can no longer comparison shop if you are not satisfied with their work. Even if they walk off the job with their work incomplete, they can still claim compensation from the insurance company which gets deducted from your benefits.
  • Both you, and the contractor, are still bound by the terms and conditions of the policy, and if the contractor violates those terms and conditions, those actions could potentially jeopardize coverage for your entire loss.

What’s in it for the contractor?

This is where the age old mantra of “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” comes into play.  Has the contractor done any of the following?

  • Solicits a job from you unannounced for damages you didn’t even know were allegedly present?
  • The contractor is offering you something for nothing, such as a free roof or kitchen.
  • Wants to start work immediately and advises you to delay contacting your insurance company?
  • Offered to “take care of” your deductible.

Any of these issues could potentially lead to a fraud investigation which could jeopardize your coverage.

Possible Litigation:

As mentioned above, there is no standard for what the contractor can submit to the insurance company, and if the company questions the scope and/or the pricing submitted by the contractor the company can be sued directly by the contractor.  And while you may not be a party to this lawsuit, more likely than not you will end up being a witness.

What should you do if you have a claim?”

Contact your insurance agent to report the claim.  He can guide you through the process.  Some insurance carriers will have contractors that they have vetted and will recommend.

This article is compliments of Federated National and SWFL Insurance Agency.

Questions or need a Homeowners or Property coverage quote, call 239-265-9577 or email joshw@swflagency.com.  We are Your Insurance Answer People in SWFL.

A Heads Up to Small Businesses….What are the most common claims and their cost?

“Despite experiencing these types of events, the survey found that many small businesses aren’t filing claims for them. Insureon cites the following possible reasons for this trend:

  • They don’t have insurance or don’t have the right policy to cover the claim.
  • The cost of the incident is less than their deductible, so they deal with it out of pocket.
  • They worry that filing a claim will cause their premiums to go up.
  • They prefer to handle the matter on their own rather than wait for resolution from an insurance company.

As a result, many small business owners are choosing to let their carrier know about an incident, but don’t file a claim. Instead, they pay for the incident out of pocket to prevent higher premiums in the long run. But how does the cost of a claim stack up against the cost of coverage?”

“According to The Hartford, the 10 most expensive types of claims (and the cost per incident) are:

  • Reputational harm: $50,000
  • Vehicle accident: $45,000
  • Fire damage: $35,000
  • Product liability: $35,000
  • Customer injury or property damage: $30,000
  • Wind and hail damage: $26,000
  • Customer slip and fall: $20,000
  • Water and freezing damage: $17,000
  • Struck by object: $10,000
  • Burglary and theft: $8,000

In comparison, the median price that most small businesses pay for coverage is:

  • $428 per year for general liability insurance
  • $920 per year for professional liability insurance

Compared to a $20,000 bill for a customer slip-and-fall accident, most business owners would probably rather pay $428 for general liability per year, plus their deductible, to pick up the tab.

How do the most expensive claims compare to the top incidents small businesses experienced in 2016?” Read more…at PropertyCasualty360.com.

For a review of your business insurance risks and a competitive proposal for coverage, call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 or drop an email to joshw@swflagency.com. www.SWFLAgency.com

Sooo You Operate a Business from Your Home…Note to Self…My Homeowners Policy will not cover My Business Property or Liability.

     Most people often believe that their existing Homeowners, Condo or Renters insurance  Policy will cover any loss or damage to their business equipment, furniture and supplies in the event of Fire, Theft or other catastrophe, when in fact, those policies usually explicitly exclude coverage for any business exposures on their premises.

The Home Business Policy, can solve this problem.  However, is not intended for all types of home businesses. It is specifically targeted for over 100 retail and services risks operated from the insured’s residence and presenting minimal product liability, professional liability and/or off-premises exposures.

Policy Benefits:

  • Provides coverage for over 145 classes of small retail & service-type home-based businesses
  • Affordable Premiums
  • General Liability coverage up to $1 million
  • Loss of business income protection up to 12 months available
  • Broad coverage with on premises theft included
  • Carrier is admitted and A.M. Best “A+” rated
  • Up to $100,000 (varies by state of risk) comprehensive coverage for business personal property both on and temporarily off premises

Popular Business Classes Include:

  • Residential Inspection Services
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Insurance Agents
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Teacher/Tutors
  • Photographers
  • Accounting Services
  • Bakers
  • Computer Consultants
  • Interior Decorating
  • Jewelry (Costume)
  • Art Gallery / Art Studio
  • Crafts

Call us today to discuss your business and obtain a premium proposal.  Policies start at $150. Only takes a few minutes.

SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.

8595 College Pkwy. Suite 160, Fort Myers, FL 33919

 239-265-9577

Commercial Insurance for Your Business in Fort Myers, FL

Commercial insurance coverage is similar to home insurance. It covers certain kinds of damage and protects from financial disaster after a physical disaster has struck. However, state requirements vary from state to state and the coverage available for your business might be different from what you imagine it to be. Perhaps your business has changed over the years and you need different coverage altogether. Whether you are a new business owner or an experienced veteran of the commercial world, we recommend you contact us at SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. for the latest rates available for your commercial property. We have independent agents who can compare the coverage and rates of several insurance firms to provide you with the information you need to make the best choice possible in your commercial insurance coverage. We offer online quotes as well as face-to-face discussions to help you. It’s our goal at SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. to get you the insurance coverage that works for you.

Your business is important to you, so make sure you have the commercial insurance coverage that your business needs. You know your commercial property, and we know commercial insurance regulations, so together we can find the best coverage to serve you. We would be pleased to review your present coverage to determine any circumstances under which your insurance coverage needs might have changed. Things happen; it’s wise to be prepared as much as possible in case of unfortunate events so you can have a smoother recovery for your business with fewer difficulties. We find the most affordable rates and the options for more extensive coverage should you need it. At SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc. we proudly serve the Fort Myers, FL area.