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Showing posts from December, 2007

Avoiding annual audit headaches

Many small business owners have encountered the annual audit headache so common among those with commercial insurance policies. Every year they are either visited by an auditor sent by the company or receive the audit request info sheet directly. Many of those business owners usually end up paying an additional premium due to information submitted during the audit process. With a little careful planning it is possible to avoid this. At renewal time review sales and payroll figures to be used in the upcoming policy year for their general liability and workers compensation policies with the agent. Afterwards, during the policy period, it is desirable to revisit your payroll and sales figures to see if they are tracking with the amounts set at the beginning of the policy year. If you see a trend upwards in either amount, it is a simple call to make to your agent requesting that the amounts be increased towards your revised target. The amount of the increase you would pay can usua…

Annual policy review-stand pat or increase coverage?

Every year small business owners receive their renewal policies, either through the mail or delivered by their agent. As is usually the case, we all tend to look at the bottom line, price, and then maybe peruse the actual coverage provided. While keeping an eye on the bottom line is something all prudent business owners do, it's equally important to carefully review in detail your business insurance policy on an annual basis. The policy may provide coverage for your building, contents, specialized equipment, etc. Have you taken the time to check on current property values in your area? Has the replacement cost of your building possibly increased? Also, while the limit of your contents coverage was sufficient last year has increased sales caused an additional increase in your stock? What about your liability limit? While the limit might have been good enough in the past has your recent increase in sales also expanded your exposures? Any new products introduced? These are …

Managing risk through pre-planning

The importance of safety on the job obviously cannot be overstressed. One factor in the determination of the successful completion of a project is a loss free experience. Specifically I'm referring to losses in terms of worker safety as it relates to workers compensation. Quite obviously we go into a job hoping that our employees are able to perform their tasks without any man hours lost to trips to the hospital. While this is self evident, worker safety is not something accomplished without thorough preparation before the start of the job, training of employees in proper safety methods, and active follow up and review during the actual job itself. Before a project starts, most likely at the bid stage, it is a good idea to thoroughly review the job and break it down into stages and address the specific actions necessary on the part of the employees to complete each particular stage. Each stage should be reviewed and the proper execution of tasks should be mapped out in caref…

Proactive approach needed to mitigate workers compensation costs

The last post I discussed the upcoming workers compensation rate decreases in the State of Delaware. Just as important to the small business owner is the implementation of a few extra steps that could go a long way to help keep their work comp costs down. Emphasizing safety on a daily basis to your employees is an important first step. Make it a daily topic, either in conversation, emails, or by posting helpful safety tips in prominent work spaces. Another way is to make employees involved in the safety process. Advise your employees that whomever goes the longest during the year without a work related mishap involving workers compensation, will be rewarded with a bonus at the end of the year. If they all succeed then make sure everyone is rewarded. Those businesses that have struggled with large workers compensation premiums due to a high loss frequency can especially appreciate this. Compared to the extra premium paid out, a small bonus paid to diligent, safety conscious emp…