CoverWallet Launches Scholarship!

CoverWallet’s Small Business Scholarship is aimed at students in undergraduate or graduate programs, as well as those students who will be attending such programs in the coming year.

Students must submit a short essay highlighting their favorite local business and the risks they face. We want students to take an entrepreneurial mindset and consider the challenges of running a business.

To determine your eligibility and apply, click here.

Top 10 Workplace Injuries & How to Protect Your Business

Workplace Injuries

Thousands of employees are injured while working every year, ranging from minor injuries to severe or life-threatening ones. In a recent workplace safety index, it was determined that businesses spend in excess of a billion dollars every week on disabling workplace injuries. These direct costs include worker’s compensation increases, medical expenses, and loss of wages.

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to provide a safe work environment for those you employ. Educating yourself on the most common types of workplace injuries and ways to prevent them is the first step to making that responsibility a reality.

If a Small Business Employee Gets into an Accident, Who Has to Pay?

Car accident insurance

Business owners are generally not alright with having to pay the tickets their employees get when driving a company vehicle. Unless there is a written agreement in place, the business may have to pay the ticket if it was issued against the company’s vehicle. On the other hand, if a speeding ticket was issued against the driver, then the driver would generally have to pay it.

Who is liable for an accident?

If an accident occurs when an employee is driving a company car, it’s key from an insurance perspective to establish which party was liable. A core part of this is determining if the employee act within the scope of employment. In other words, did the employee get into an accident while taking care of business related issues or was he driving the car for his own personal use?

Nebraska Considering Workers Compensation Opt-Out, Though Significant Value to Businesses

workers compensation safety

No matter how diligent and careful you are as an employer, if you have employees working for your business then there is always the risk of someone suffering from a work-related illness or injury. You can avoid these nasty unforeseen events costing you large sums of money by taking out a good Workers Compensation insurance policy.

Workers Compensation insurance helps to ensure that employees who are injured at work or fall ill due to the nature of their work receive wage compensation and have their medical bills covered, thus saving employers from potentially expensive lawsuits. The insurance is compulsory in most U.S. states, though requirements vary by number of employees and industry. A bill to give businesses the right to opt out is currently under consideration in Nebraska.

The Largest Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurers in the U.S.

infographic

The insurance market is so large right now, it’s probably a bit hard to get a real grasp of just how ridiculously huge it is. The U.S. insurance market in particular is the largest in the world, with annual revenue that hit a whopping $1.2 trillion in 2011 and has continued to exceed that benchmark annually. For perspective: the entire U.S. GDP is around $19.4 trillion. If the U.S. insurance market were its own country, it would be 14th or 15th largest country in the world, jockeying for position with Spain.

Who are the top players in this arena? The National Association of Insurance Commissioners highlights some interesting P&C industry insights in its breakdown of market share by group and state. The American International Group (AIG), for example, has over $450 million more direct premiums written for fire insurance than any competitor, while maintaining the number 1 spot in that category in nearly half of all U.S. states. Which is to say, if anyone’s looking for fire insurance, they’re quite often going with American International Group. Certainly impressive for a company founded in China in 1919.

Only 29% of Business Have Adequate Cyber Insurance, Though Data Breach Cost $36K

Data breach insurance

With the global cost of cyber crime estimated to be between $375 million and $575 million annually, cyber insurance is big concern for today’s businesses (1). But the cyber insurance industry is still relatively new and many businesses are without adequate coverage against data breaches and other cyber risks.

If your business accepts credit cards and online payments or deals with sensitive personal data, then it really needs to mitigate the risks associated with data storage by investing in a tailored cyber insurance policy. Risks come not just from computer hackers but also from natural disasters (which can wipe out databases) and human error.

But research by the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers has shown that only around 29% of US businesses have proper cyber insurance coverage. Even among the big companies coverage is low, with only 40% of Fortune 500 companies having a cyber insurance policy in 2015. This is despite the fact that 43% of companies have experienced a data breach, according to the Ponemon Institute.

What Small Business Owners Can Learn from Chipotle’s Data Breach

Chipotle

Chipotle is no stranger to the public spotlight. The popular food chain spent the past eighteen months trying to rebuild trust with their customers after a series of food safety scares, including an E. Coli outbreak. Just when they were starting to see their bottom line move in a positive direction, Chipotle has once again made headlines.

On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Chipotle released a statement on their website notifying customers of a potential data breach. According to their official statement,

“We want to make our customers aware that we recently detected unauthorized activity on the network that supports payment processing for purchases made in our restaurants.”

They go on to encourage customers to review their credit card statements for any suspicious behavior. Those that need to be concerned include customers that purchased food using a credit card at one of their locations between March 24, 2017, through April 18, 2017. The biggest concern these customers face is that a hacker potentially stole their credit card information.

Majority of Small Businesses Lack Disaster Recovery Plan, Unable to Recover

small-businesses-disaster

Have you ever considered what would happen to your business in the event of, for example, a fire that destroyed the business premises? Or a flood or tornado that caused irreparable damage to your assets? Disasters such as these are not particularly pleasant things to think about, but effective planning against such events could mean the difference between a natural or man-made disaster temporarily inconveniencing and permanently destroying your company.

Having an effective disaster recovery plan is important for all businesses who want to protect themselves against unforeseen occurrences, but especially so for small businesses who are particularly vulnerable in the event of a disaster. According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, 25% of businesses that experience a major disaster never open again. Businesses with electronic data are even more at risk, with more than 90% of those unable to access their data for one week going out of business within 12 months.

98% of Business Owners Don’t Know Company Value, Issue in Purchasing Insurance

small business fire

There are millions of business owners who do not know the value of their business. A 2014 IBISWorld report notes that just 2% of business men and women in America know the exact value of their ventures. For the remaining 98% (about 200 million), generally small businesses, it seems they either do not see the need to value their business, or do not have the means to do so.

Knowing the worth of your business is absolutely important. Not only is the information useful when you put the business up for sale, it also helps you determine which insurance plan best suits the business. And talking about insurance, getting the right plan for your business is vital. With the wrong insurance plan or no insurance at all, you could incur huge losses should something bad happen.

A Change in Mindset: Approaching Small Business Startup Risks

fasttrac

Although many small business risks can be mitigated through insurance, a fair number of risks are best handled through a change in strategy or mindset. For new entrepreneurs, the passion and excitement going into a new venture can at times get in the way of making the best decisions for the business. Michele Markey, Vice President of Kauffman FastTrac, shared with us her deep insight on some of the biggest risks new entrepreneurs face, and some sound methods they can use to help mitigate those risks.

Markey is no stranger to what it’s like to be a new entrepreneur who thinks they have it all together. As a sole proprietor for her own business, Markey explains that  her efforts certainly looked like success from the outside. “But the fact of the matter is,” she explained, “I was not working smart. I was working really hard, earning a decent income. By all kind of outward signs, I was very successful but I equate it to digging a swimming pool with a shovel.”