This article is 10,000 foot view of the concepts vital to NY small business insurance.
First, let’s define what we mean by a NY small business. A small business can be one of many industry types, including but limited to: retail stores, gas stations, professional offices, coffee shops, hair salons, etc. Basically, we consider it to be any business you’d find on “Main Street” in your local town or village. We would not consider restaurants, contractors and manufacturing operations part of this grouping because of the unique exposures those businesses face.
NY Small Business Insurance Exposures
Building and Business Property Exposures
As it pertains to the majority of NY small businesses, the major building and business property exposures are from water, smoke or fire. Whether you own the building your business operates out of or you rent it, it’s good risk management practice to review the condition of your building every year. Make sure that electrical wiring is up to date and code, and watch for areas that water may be entering your building.
Crime Coverage Exposures
If you own a retail business, crime coverage is very important. It provides coverage for customers or criminals stealing your goods and for employee dishonesty. Employee dishonesty is often listed as a separate coverage limit so make sure you check your business insurance policy (probably either a Business Owners Policy or package policy) for the employee dishonestly coverage limit.
Inland Marine Exposures
Coverages such as accounts receivable, credit cards, computers, and valuable papers and records are included in the inland marine section of your NY small business insurance policy. It’s important to review these insurance coverages with your independent insurance agent because each will have it’s own sub-limit of insurance.
Premises Liability Exposure
The majority of small business liability insurance claims are the result of slips and falls due to public access to your premises. The more public access features you offer, the higher the chance of loss. Floor coverings must be in good condition, no frayed or worn spots on carpet, and no cracks or holes in flooring. Steps and uneven floor surfaces should be prominently marked. Sufficient exits must be provided and well marked with backup lighting systems in case of power failure.
It’s important to make sure that parking lots and sidewalks are in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. If the business is open after dark, especially late evening hours, adequate lighting and appropriate security for the area must be present.
Products Liability Exposure
Products liability results from bodily injury or damage resulting out of the use of your product. Take a coffee shop, for example. The cup of coffee is the product. If hot coffee is spilled on someone and causes a burn, that is what product liability provides coverage for. If the coffee on the floor results in someone slipping, then that is covered under premises liability (described above).
Automobile Liability Exposure
Auto liability exposures come from employees using their own personal cars to run business errands. In this case, your NY small business insurance policy needs to be endorsed with the Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability endorsement, which is NOT a standard feature of most small business insurance policies. It is generally a very inexpensive coverage.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Workers compensation insurance claims are the result of lifting, which can cause back injury, hernia, sprains, and strains. Slips and falls are also common claims. Employees should be provided with safety equipment, trained on proper handling techniques, and have conveying devices available to assist with heavy lifting. Managing the safety of a business can be the difference between workers compensation premiums that are negligible and a workers comp bill that cripples your business.
The Insurance Take-Away
NY small business insurance is going to be unique to each business because each business has different types of exposures.
At the Murray Group, we have a long history of working with all varieties of small businesses. That history gives us the unique experience and expertise to provide your business with the most appropriate coverage with the most competitive rate available in the market.
Ryan Hanley, CIC