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Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

Customer Service Week Highlight: The Accounting Team

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Every business has a “bottom line”. The last individual CommercialInsurance.net team we’ll showcase for Customer Service Week is our Accounting/Processing Team–the group that makes sure our books are balanced, and that we’re on track, financially, both for our benefit and that of our customers.

Whether it’s recording transactions, managing accounts and bond/policy paperwork, or coordinating benefits, payroll and licensing requirements for agents and other staff, the Accounting/Processing Team provides the behind-the-scenes structure at CommercialInsurance.net. While their duties aren’t customer-facing, the jobs performed by Accounting/Processing are crucial to the operations of our company, and they enable those in more visible service positions to focus on customer service, by making sure that the underpinning of what we do is functioning at its optimum level.

They’re the support behind customer service, and an integral part of the framework that allows us to assist our clientele the way we do.

What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Reasons Roofing Needs to Be Specifically Covered

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

If you’re a general contractor and do any amount of roof repair, you need to be upfront about it with your agent when discussing your insurance quote.

While it may be tempting to leave out references to the roofing aspects of your work in order to save a little money on your premium, doing so could result in coverage gaps that might leave you in the lurch if damage occurs and a claim is filed.

Some general liability insurance policies for general contracting may include coverage for limited roofing. However, if a customer sustains damages from roof leakage, and your policy doesn’t specify that roof work is covered, you could be on the hook for costs incurred.

Contact us today to find out what coverage you need for your business.

Handyman Insurance Basics

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

At CommercialInsurance.NET, we will assist you with obtaining general liability coverage for a variety of small businesses, including handyman insurance. Whether you own a janitorial or lawn care business, act as a general contractor, artisan tradesman, or landscaper, we can find policies to fit your needs, even if your business seems to change from day to day, as it often does for the jack-of-all-trades who works as a “handyman”.

On a daily basis we at CommercialInsurance.NET encounter folks looking to supplement their income by taking on small projects. Whether you are just fixing a screen door as a handyman, or completely remodeling a kitchen and bathroom as a general contractor, if you are entering someone’s home or place of business, you need a commercial general liability policy. This post will outline some of the reasons why handyman insurance is important.

You may ask yourself, “Why do I need Handyman Insurance? Why do I need a commercial general liability policy for such a small business?” No matter how small the project is, you are putting yourself at risk simply by being in someone’s home or on someone’s business property. For instance, the smallest caulking job can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage due to water leaks if done incorrectly. A fallen broom or tool instantly becomes a bodily injury hazard, to name another example. Handyman insurance is a way to manage these risks.

Now, you may say, “I’m always careful. I’ll never have a claim due to a mistake.” While this may be true, your handyman insurance doesn’t just protect you from your own errors, it protects you when someone blames you for property damage. For example, let’s say you’re repairing someone’s gutter after a storm, and before you leave your customer asks if you can tear off and repair some loose shingles on the roof. Because your handyman insurance does not cover roofing operations, you inform your customer that roofing repair needs to be done by a roofer insured for those operations, and you go merrily on your way. Several months later, you find out you are being sued because of water damage due to that customers’ leaky roof. Of course you will win in court because you always have a contract signed by the customer specifying the work you have completed, but wouldn’t you like to have a handyman insurance policy that will take care of those unnecessary court fees and attorney costs?

One of the most common questions we get from new customers is, “What information do I need to provide for a handyman insurance quote? Can I just get a price?” Even though your handyman service may consist of nothing more than a few small repairs a month, your general liability coverage is based on your location (every general liability policy has a physical location associated with it), estimate of gross receipts, and whether you have any partners, employees, or independent subcontractors working with you. Your agent will also have to confirm the answers for certain questions to confirm your eligibility. These questions usually reference operations like roofing, licensed trades, or work on high-risk properties such as medical facilities, schools, or very large mansions or estates.The process takes just a few minutes of your time, but it might be one of the most important investments you make in your business.

Call one of our specialists today at 1-877-907-5267 to get your same day quote for a handyman insurance policy.

Figuring Out the “Gig” Economy: What Constitutes an Independent Contractor?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

The rise in recent years of for-hire business models, like those used for driving services Uber and Lyft, and delivery services like Instacart and Postmate, have put the term “independent contractor” under the microscope.

High profile liability issues (like the class action lawsuit that former drivers are filing against Uber) are only one aspect of the confusion; not only do employers need to understand their obligations towards the different types of workers they hire, but aspiring entrepreneurs should have a handle on what kind of risks and rewards are associated with self-employment.

The IRS has suggestions for defining characteristics that determine whether or not a worker is an employee or independent contractor…

  • - Who controls details of how the work is done?
  • - Who is responsible for negotiating the business aspects of the worker’s job?
  • - Who provides the worker’s benefits? (Vacation, insurance, pension, etc.)

The most basic distinction, tax-wise, between an employee and an independent contractor is that an employer is generally held responsible for withholding income taxes from an employee’s wages, but not for those of an independent contractor. Workers who are hired as independent contractors are often called “1099s”, a reference to the year end tax form they receive. (As opposed to “W2 employees”, who fill out a W2 for their employers and have taxes withheld by them).

But there are distinctions between the two types of workers that have ramifications in the insurance world, as well.

While the IRS may accept your choice to classify a worker as a subcontractor who receives a 1099 from you at the end of the year, if that same worker is injured on the job, or the subject of a lawsuit, it’s the Department of Labor who will determine if the individual is an employee or a subcontractor, regardless of which tax form they’ve been receiving from you.

And if the decision is that they are truly an employee, instead of an independent contractor, you will be held responsible for all medical costs, lost wages, future lost wages, etc, regardless of who has been paying their employment taxes.

The “bottom line” is always a factor in business decisions, and while the short term benefit of not having to pay employment taxes may sway business owners towards a preference for classifying workers as independent contractors, the potential for liability and associated costs should motivate the final decision about how to categorize the people they hire.

In fact, insurance costs for standard employees may actually be lower than those for subcontractors in some cases, although rates will vary from business to business and state to state.

For the individual who is trying to determine what the best status for them would be, the same elements of cost and risk should be weighed.

While the freedom to regulate the amount and type of work taken is a great benefit, independent contractors should also remember that they will shoulder the responsibility for damages or personal injury, and weigh out those costs against the perks of self-employment.

Getting specifics about insurance coverage from anyone hiring you as a subcontractor is highly advised, and keeping a policy in place for yourself that covers you in case of injury or damages could help forestall future financial disasters.

Call one of our specialists today (1-877-907-5267) or use the orange quote box above to find quotes for both worker’s compensation and general liability policies for small business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs.

Jargon Speak

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

No matter the industry, we are seem to come up with a new foreign language.  We have certain catch phrases and acronyms that is widely used and understood by persons within that particular realm.  However, people outside that particular realm do not have the same understanding, which leads to mis-communication.

 

We in the insurance industry are very good at understanding acronyms since we use so much of them.  However, even after 30 years in the insurance industry, I am having to ask for clarification so I have to wonder how a lay person can possibly understand and interpret our language.  I am sure many of us speak a foreign language to them because these terms are so common to us, we do not consider they can be misinterpreted.  When talking with your agent, please ask what certain terms mean to you and your business.  We may forget acronyms and catch phrases are not an all encompassing language.  Please call one of our agents, and we will be happy to speak to you in plain talk.

 

Commercial Insurance.Net, LLC Advisor is not an attorney, accountant or certified financial planner and makes no representations or warranties to that effect.  Always check with your chosen professional as to statements made in this blog for your particular situation.