July 2021 – Non-Admitted Carriers – The Option When No Insurers Will Cover You


SOME BUSINESSES are finding fewer insurers willing to write their policies for certain types of coverage that are seeing rapidly rising claims costs, particularly in liability lines as well as property insurance in areas with exposure to natural catastrophes.
When no insurers that are licensed in California are willing to write a policy, we as your agent have to go to another market made up of insurance companies that are not licensed or regulated by the state.
It’s called the surplus lines (or “non-admitted”) market, and it can be a valuable alternative for insurance buyers.
As insurers get more selective writing some risks, it’s important for you as an insurance buyer to understand this market.

Why use a non-admitted carrier?

The most well-known non-admitted insurer is Lloyd’s of London, famous for insuring insurance companies and celebrities’ or sports figures’ body parts and global sporting events. Often non-admitted insurance companies are located in other states or domiciled abroad, like Bermuda or another tax-haven country.
Unlike licensed insurance companies, non-admitted companies do not have to obtain approval from state regulators for the policy forms they use or the rates they charge.

 

 

Since they are not regulated by the state, non-admitted insurers can offer creative coverage options and they can quickly and easily introduce new types of insurance that businesses need.
Some types of policies that are standard today, such as cyber insurance and employment practices liability insurance, got their start in the non-admitted market.
State laws typically permit a broker to obtain coverage from a non-admitted insurer only if at least a few standard insurance companies refuse to offer coverage. However, most also have coverage options that are not available in the standard market.
When someone needs one of the latter coverages, no rejections from licensed companies are required. An example might be liability insurance for contractors who demolish buildings.

Risks

There are risks to purchasing insurance in the non-admitted market. Policies may provide less coverage than do standard policies, or there may be restrictions on when coverage applies. Policies should be reviewed carefully. Also, because the insurers can charge whatever they feel is appropriate, premiums can be higher than you may expect. The policies may also be exempt from state laws regarding notices of cancellation and non-renewal.
Also, in every state but one (New Jersey), non-admitted policies are not backed by a guaranty fund. Guaranty funds cover claims left unpaid when an insurer is unable to pay for them. If a non-admitted company becomes insolvent, the policyholder has no recourse.

The takeaway

Despite the risks, the non-admitted market serves an important function, giving buyers a place to get needed coverage that would be otherwise unavailable.
Those who think they may need to tap this market should consult with us to find the right coverage at an acceptable price.


July 2021 – Construction Coverage – Builder’s Risk, Excess Liability Rates Climbing Fast


INSURANCE RATES are rising rapidly for contractors, particularly for builder’s risk and excess liability policies as the cost of claims continues to increase dramatically.
While rates for builder’s risk have been averaging 10 to 20%, pricing for excess liability and umbrella coverage has in some cases doubled from the year prior.
Both lines of insurance have seen steep and unexpected losses in recent years, resulting in some insurers leaving the market and others becoming stricter in their underwriting and choosier about which builders they are willing to extend coverage to.
If you’ve been in the market for these lines of insurance, you know that it’s become more difficult to secure similar policies to those you may have had in years past. Here’s a look at what’s going on.

Builder’s risk

According to Construction Executive magazine, rates are going up between 10% and 20% for builder’s risk policies. There are a number of factors affecting rates:
• The cost of claims has increased, primarily because of the cost of rebuilding after a loss event due to the rapidly rising cost of materials, in particular lumber, the prices of which have tripled in the last year.
• The increasing cost and frequency of natural disasters. Projects that are near areas at high risk for natural catastrophes like brush fires, hurricanes, tornadoes or flooding, are all seeing higher rates and/or difficulty in securing coverage.
• Some insurers have also left the market, leaving fewer players willing to write this risk, which has driven up pricing.

Insurers are tightening eligibility guidelines and restricting how much they will cover. Some insurers are getting more selective and demanding that their insureds take extra precautions before they are willing to bind a policy.

Some of the more common demands include requiring:
• Video surveillance systems on worksites.
• Guards to patrol worksites at night.
• The installation of fencing and lighting.

One of the biggest pinch points is policy extensions, which are needed when projects go beyond the time expected to complete them.

Due to the issues mentioned in the bullet points above, policy extensions for ongoing projects have been difficult to secure, according to a report by WillisTowersWatson. The problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted many construction projects across the country and required more companies to seek out extensions for their builder’s risk policies.

Excess liability

Renewals for excess liability and umbrella insurance have been running 50 to 100% higher than in 2020, according to a recent report by Marsh LLC. Excess liability and umbrella coverage kick in after a claim breaches the limits of a primary general liability policy or auto liability.

The drivers: Increasingly large jury awards and the spiraling cost of liability claims, particularly for commercial vehicle accidents. Commercial auto insurance rates have also been climbing as the cost of auto injury and property claims continue to rise due to the increasing cost of repairs and medical costs for injured third parties…

Those claims are covered by primary auto and general liability insurers, but because more claims are exceeding limits, excess liability carriers are increasingly on the hook for those high-dollar claims. Like in the builder’s risk segment, this has resulted in fewer insurers willing to write new policies.

Those that are willing to write new business or renew policies have imposed stricter underwriting terms on the policies they are willing to accept.
Additionally, according to Marsh, primary and excess insurers are limiting the overall capacity extended to an individual buyer by capping per-project aggregate limits.

The takeaway

With the volatility in the marketplace, we recommend that you reach out to us early – and months before your policy is coming up for renewal – so we can work with you to make sure we can secure the coverage you need.


July 2021 – Workers’ Compensation – New Changes to X-Mods, Classification Rules


INSURANCE COMMISSIONER Ricardo Lara has approved a regulatory filing that will change the premium threshold for employers to qualify for an experience modifier (X-Mod).

The approval was part of a larger regulatory filing the Workers’ Compensation Rating Bureau made to also change expected claims costs, eliminate a few class codes and make new rules for companies that operate multiple enterprises.

The approved filing also updates expected claims cost rates for all 500-plus worker class codes that are used to calculate workers’ comp rates. Here’s a rundown of the changes:

X-Mod change

Currently, the minimum premium an employer must pay annually to receive an X-Mod is $9,900, but that is falling to $9,500, starting Sept. 1. That means any employer that has an annual premium of $9,500 starting on that date will be “experience rated.” The X-Mod is a number used by insurance companies to either discount or increase the premiums you pay for workers’ compensation insurance. It is based on your company’s workers’ comp claim history and reflects the most recent three years.

Multiple enterprises rule

The new rules make changes to what is known as the “multiple enterprises rule,” which applies to companies that have two or more operations that perform work that is classified differently. In those cases, the distinct operations must be classified under the multiple enterprises rule.

In the new rule, separation is the key requirement. If distinct operations are physically separated, each distinct location shall be separately classified.

Separation can be separate operations:
• Located in separate buildings,
• Located on separate floors of a building, or
• Separated by walls if they are on the same floor.
However, if two or more of the distinct operations are not physically separated, they must be assigned to the highest-rated classification applicable to the operations conducted in the common workspace.

The rule also addresses personnel that may float between multiple enterprises, performing different types of work at each operation.
Under the rule, such an employee’s work may be divided into two classifications. If you plan to classify them this way, make sure to keep accurate and complete records supported by time cards or time book entries that show how much time they spent performing each distinct work task for each entity.

If the employer fails to keep those records, the entire pay of the worker will be assigned to the highest-rated classification applied to any part of the work they perform.

Classification changes

There are also changes being made to some construction classes.
The 8110 – Stores Welding supplies classification is being eliminated and covered operations will be reassigned to 8010 – Stores hardware, electrical or plumbing supplies. Also, the iron or steel erection classes 5057 and 5059 will be eliminated, as well as subclasses 5102(3), 5040(2) and 5040(3).

Operations in those eliminated classifications will instead be assigned into one of two consolidated classes:
• 5040 – Structural Iron or Steel operations, or
• 5102 – Iron, Steel, Brass, Bronze or Aluminum Erection – non-structural.


July 2021 – Masks for Vaccinated Staff No Longer Required


THE CAL/OSHA Standards Board has approved changes to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard that greatly loosen workplace restrictions that were implemented last year to protect California workers.

The biggest news in the changes is that workers who have been fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear face masks as protection or physically distance, regardless of the vaccination status of co-workers.

After the decision, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order enabling the revisions to take effect without the normal 10-day approval period by the state Office of Administrative Law. They came into effect when the office received the changes.

The main changes Here are the main changes affecting employers in California:

Physical distancing and barrier requirements – These are eliminated regardless of an employee’s vaccination status, except where an employer determines there is a hazard and for certain employees during major outbreaks.
Testing – Fully vaccinated employees do not need to be offered testing or be excluded from work after close contact with someone who has COVID-19, unless they have symptoms. Employees who are not fully vaccinated and exhibit COVID-19 symptoms must be offered testing by their employer.
Masks – Vaccinated workers are not required to wear face masks generally. For unvaccinated workers, masks will be required indoors or when in vehicles, with limited exceptions.

Employees are not required to wear face coverings when outdoors regardless of vaccination status, except for certain employees during outbreaks.

Document vaccination status
– Employers must document the vaccination status of fully vaccinated employees if they do not wear face coverings indoors.
No mask retaliation – Employees that choose to, are explicitly allowed to wear a face-covering without fear of retaliation from employers.
Respirator availability – Employees who are not fully vaccinated may request respirators for voluntary use from their employers at no cost and without fear of retaliation from their employers.
Businesses that need help in securing N95 respirators for unvaccinated employees can find distribution locations for state-provided N95 respirators here.
Review rules – Review the Interim Guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
Ventilation – Employers must evaluate ventilation systems to maximize outdoor air and increase filtration efficiency, and must evaluate the use of additional air cleaning systems.

What remains

Parts of the Emergency Standard still in effect include:
• Employers must maintain an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program that includes:
» Identifying and evaluating your employees’ exposures to COVID-19 health hazards.
» Implementing effective policies and procedures to correct unsafe and unhealthy conditions.
» Allowing adequate time for handwashing and cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects.
• Employers must provide training to employees on how COVID-19 is spread, infection-prevention techniques, and information regarding COVID-19-related benefits that affected employees may be entitled to under state or federal laws.
• Employers must bar from coming to work employees who have COVID-19 symptoms and/or are not fully vaccinated and have had close contact from the workplace if that close contact is work-related.


April 2021 – Risk Management – Supply Chain Disruption Lessons from Pandemic


BESIDES THE health and economic devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has left in its wake, it has also caused supply chain disruptions that have affected a number of industries.

The fallout for companies of all types illustrates the fragility of most businesses’ supply chains. The pandemic has left retailers with half-empty shelf space because product manufacturers couldn’t keep operations going due to raw material or personnel shortages, while a number of carmakers and other manufacturers have had to suspend operations because of a global semiconductor shortage.

But it’s not only large companies that suffer, and small businesses are especially vulnerable. That’s why it’s important that you have in place a solid plan for averting and dealing with disruptions to your supply chain if you rely on materials and inputs from outside vendors.

Here’s what you can do to manage this growing risk.

Understand your supply chain

Start by identifying risks in your supply chain and develop ways to mitigate them.

FOUR MAIN EXTERNAL SUPPLY CHAIN RISKS

  • Flow interruptions – Problems with the movement of goods and materials.
  • Environmental risks – Economic, social, political, terrorism threat and weather-related factors that affect facilities and infrastructure. The pandemic falls into this category.
  • Business risks – Problems caused by factors like a supplier’s poor financial or general stability, or the purchase or sale of supplier companies by other entities.
  • Physical plant risks – Problems at a supplier’s facility. For example, a key supplier could have a machinery breakdown and/or regulators may shut the facility down.

 

Develop a plan

The best way to manage a supply chain disruption is to prepare for it. Start by undertaking a business impact analysis to prepare your company.

Form a team of key personnel to:

  • Identify alternatives to key suppliers. One option is to contract with an alternative vendor in advance, so you can certify them and ensure they can ramp up if you lose a critical supplier.
  • Model the impact of disruptions on your production and inventory for the four supply chain risks listed to the left. Think about how non-delivery of a key item
    would affect your operations.

Using that information, you can build contingencies for supply chain failures:

  • Plan for how you would respond to all “what if” scenarios that could affect your operations. Be realistic about assessing your capacity to respond to these scenarios.
  • Create a contingency plan for failure of any supply chain pillars. Identify the points at which you would need to execute risk-mitigating measures, like sourcing from other vendors or using new distribution channels.
  • In advance, amass a contingency management team that will bridge the divide between your departments during disruptions. This team must include senior
    staff who are influential with top company decision-makers.
  • Make sure your supply chain is flexible enough to deal with risks. Look at opportunities to address current supply chain bottlenecks; investigate alternative transportation network configurations or production systems.

 

The final backstop: insurance

You can address supply chain risks with business interruption insurance or contingent business interruption insurance.

Business interruption insurance.
This coverage, which is often included in a commercial property policy, covers lost profits after a company’s own facility is damaged by an insured peril.

Contingent business interruption insurance. This is often a policy rider that you can purchase. It covers lost profits if an insured peril shuts down a critical supplier, part of the transportation or distribution chain, or a major customer.

This coverage is triggered if there is:
1. Damage to property that prevents one of your suppliers from making products or delivering them.
2. Damage to property that prevents your customers from receiving your products.


April 2021 – Social Engineering Crime – Business Compromise Scams Growing Fast


BUSINESS COMPROMISE scams that use both technology and a human touch to steal funds from businesses are growing as criminals engage in social engineering tactics to dupe unsuspecting employees.

Businesses have lost millions of dollars to social engineering scams, where attackers impersonate a company president or executive who is authorized to approve wire transfers to trick employees into transferring funds into a fake client or vendor account.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, in 2019 U.S. businesses were hit with an estimated 23,775 e-mail compromise scams that
resulted in aggregate losses of $1.7 billion. Figures for 2020 are not yet available.

Vishing – or voice phishing – attacks have been growing. The FBI in January warned of an increase in vishing attacks targeting employees working remotely in the COVID-19 pandemic, and of the heightened risks companies face when network access and broadening of online privileges may not be fully monitored.

 

How to train employees

Providing practical employee phishing training is key to keeping your company safe. The following are activities and tips to help you train employees to stay vigilant.

Remote workers should be vigilant in checking internet addresses, more suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, and more assertive in verifying the caller’s identity with the company, the FBI recommends.

When training staff, you should:

  • Explain what vishing and phishing is, how it happens, and what risks it poses on a personal and company level.
  • Explain the different types of phishing attacks.
  • Train your workers in identifying signs of phishing attacks, like e-mails with poor spelling and grammar, incorrect e-mail addresses (for example BobS@ Startbucks.com), and fraudulent URLs.
  • Train your staff in recognizing phishing links, phishing attachments, and spoofed e-mails. Additionally, your employees should know what steps to take after they identify a threat.
  • Conduct simulations that send employees fake phishing e-mails. The results should be shared with them to show how they fell for the scam and the damage that being duped into clicking on a malicious link can cause.

 

Insurance

As vishing and business e-mail compromise scams increase, more employers are seeking to add coverage in their commercial crime policies.
Typically, these policies have been used to cover losses for internal theft, but lately, about 50% of claims are for losses related to phishing and fishing scams.
The price of social engineering coverage varies by risk and limit, but it can often be added to a crime policy as a rider.
One thing though: social engineering coverage will often have lower limits than a typical commercial crime policy. This is because of the risk of much larger financial losses than a company could expect from internal theft or white-collar crime perpetrated by an employee.

 

ADVICE FROM THE FBI

  • Consider instituting a formal process for validating the identity of employees who call each other.
  • Restrict VPN connections to managed devices only (meaning not on employees’ personal devices).
  • Restrict VPN access hours.
  • Employ domain monitoring to track the creation of or changes to corporate brand-name domains.

April 2021- Cyber Insurance – As Attacks and Costs Mount, Rates Climb Higher


CYBER INSURANCE rates are going to increase dramatically in 2021, driven by more frequent and more severe insured losses, according to a recent industry study.

The report by global insurance firm Aon plc predicted that rates would jump by 20% to 50% this year due to two main factors:

 

1. Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent

While publicly disclosed data breach/privacy incidents are actually occurring less often, ransomware attacks are exploding in frequency.

Ransomware incident rates rose 486% from the first quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2020. The comparable rate for data breach incidents fell 57% during the same period. The incident rates for the two types of events combined rose 300% over the trailing two years.

 

2. The costs of these attacks are growing

The average dollar loss increased in every quarter of 2020. Ransomware attacks were particularly severe – many of them resulted in eight-figure losses. Others may grow to that level as business interruption losses are adjusted and lawsuits against insured organizations proceed.

The combination of more frequent and more costly losses is a
recipe for higher rates.

Cyber insurance rates continued increasing in 2020, with rises of between 6% and 16% in the last four months of the year. In January 2021, most of the top 12 cyber insurance companies told Aon they were planning more drastic rate hikes. Nearly 60% reported that they would be seeking rate increases of 30% or more during the second quarter. None of them expected increases less than 10%.

 

New underwriting criteria

When insurers evaluate cyber insurance applicants, they will be particularly concerned with the organization’s overall cyber risk profile, its cyber governance and access control practices, and its network and data security. Prior loss history will be less important because the frequency of attacks is growing so quickly.

Some insurers may also cap how much they will pay for ransomware losses, or even exclude them entirely. They may also increase the waiting periods before coverage begins to apply.

 

WHAT BUSINESSES CAN DO

To improve your chances of getting more favorable pricing and coverage, the report recommends that you focus on:

  • Reducing the risk of cyber losses.
  • Measures to keep data private.
  • Building an internal culture of cybersecurity.
  • Preparing for ransomware attacks and disaster recovery planning.
  • How your contracts and insurance will respond to a supply chain security breach.
  • Understanding primary and excess coverage terms and
    communicating primary terms to excess insurers.

April 2021 – Stimulus Plan Expands Business Assistance


THE $1.9 TRILLION American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that President Biden signed into law on March 11 contains a number of provisions intended to help small businesses and other organizations hurt by the pandemic.

Foremost, it includes additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to struggling businesses, and a number of special grants to companies in industries that have been especially hard hit, including restaurants, movie theaters, concert spaces, and museums.

The measure also includes provisions extending a number of tax credits to employers affected by the pandemic, in order to make it easier for people laid off during the health emergency to access COBRA coverage after they lose their jobs and their health coverage.

ARPA opens up a new opportunity for businesses that have been hurt by the pandemic to access financial aid to keep their doors open and stay viable. Many of the programs build on ones introduced earlier in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and extended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA).

PPP extended

The law authorizes another $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans to small firms and other organizations that have been hit by the pandemic.

These loans are forgivable if 60% of the funds are used on payroll and the rest pays for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, personal protective equipment or certain other business expenses.

While the legislation set the deadline to apply for March 31, the deadline was extended until June 30 after Congress passed supplemental legislation.

Other assistance

There are a number of other provisions of the new law aimed at providing financial aid:

  • $10 billion for state governments to help leverage private capital and make low-interest loans and other investments to help their small businesses recover.
  • $15 billion to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants program to be given to small businesses in underserved areas, especially minority-owned enterprises.
  •  $29 billion for financial relief grants to restaurants. The maximum grant size will be $5 million for restaurants and $10 million for restaurant groups. The Small Business Administration will administer these grants.
  •  $15 billion will be added to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants program, which was launched by the CARES Act. More funds will be made available to
    museums, theaters, concerts, and other venues that had to shut down due to COVID-19-induced restrictions. This program has not yet launched.

Tax credits

Originally enacted under the CARES Act and CAA, the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) lets certain employers take advantage of a tax credit for qualified wages paid to employees.

The CARES Act capped the ERC at $5,000 per employee for 2020. The CAA, passed in late 2020, expanded the ERC to apply to qualified wages made between Jan. 1 and June 30 this year. It also increased the maximum amount of the credit to $7,000 per employee per quarter.

The new stimulus law extends the ERC through the end of this year. That means that eligible small firms can take a tax credit of up to $28,000 per employee for 2021.

Who is eligible: Businesses that were either fully or partially suspended as a result of COVID-19-related government orders that restricted their ability to operate and generate sales. Also, any business that has gross receipts that are less than 80% of gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in 2019.

ARPA also makes eligible for the tax credit for any start-up businesses that also suffered revenue losses as a result of the pandemic. In addition, ARPA extends through September the availability of paid leave credits to small and midsize businesses that offer paid leave to employees who may take leave due to illness, quarantine, or caregiving due to the pandemic and any closure orders.

Employers that offer paid leave to workers who are sick or in quarantine can take dollar-for-dollar tax credits equal to wages of up to $5,000.


December 2020- EMERGENCY REGULATIONS – COVID-19 Workplace Safety Rules Take Effect


THE CAL/OSHA Standards Board has approved new emergency regulations that will impose strict rules on employers to implement safeguards in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the workplace.

The sweeping rules extend the reach of protections to employer-provided housing and transportation, as well as THE CAL/OSHA Standards Board has approved new emergency regulations that will impose strict rules on employers to implement safeguards in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the workplace.

The sweeping rules extend the reach of protections to employer-provided housing and transportation, as well as imposing new reporting requirements on employers who have workers that contract the coronavirus. The new rules took effect Nov. 30, so employers need to ramp up immediately to comply with them.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW REGULATIONS

  • Physical distancing and mask-wearing are required unless it is not possible to Wear masks on the job. If physical distancing is not possible, the employer would have to explain why.
  • Employers must provide face coverings and ensure they are worn by employees over the nose and mouth.
  • At fixed work locations where it is not possible to maintain physical distancing, the employer shall install cleanable partitions that effectively reduce aerosol transmission between employees.
  • Employers must implement cleaning and disinfecting procedures for frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, equipment, tools, handrails, handles, controls, bathroom surfaces and steering wheels.
  • Employers will be required to have a written COVID-19 prevention program. Cal/OSHA will allow the program to be incorporated into an existing injury and illness prevention plan or be stand-alone.
  • Employers must identify and evaluate COVID-19 hazards with participation from employees, and then correct those hazards.
  • Employers must investigate cases among their employees. If they discover one of their staff has contracted COVID-19, they must notify all employees at a worksite who might have been exposed, within one day. Workers who may have been exposed must be offered COVID-19 testing at no cost.
  • Employers must report coronavirus cases in their workplaces to local health authorities.
  • Employers must maintain medical records related to COVID-19 and provide those records to the local health department, the California Department of Public Health, Cal/OSHA, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (upon request).
  • Employers must implement a system of record-keeping to track all COVID- 19 cases in the workplace.
  • Employees with COVID-19 symptoms may not return to work until at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, and not until after 24 hours have passed since the employee had a fever of 100.4 or higher and after all symptoms have passed.

There are even rules for disinfecting and cleaning employee housing and  transportation if the company provides them. The regs also include provisions that are beyond the scope of workplace safety regulations, such as requiring employers to maintain employees’ earnings, seniority and benefits when they are off work because of COVID-19.

Key takeaways

The new rules took effect Nov. 30, so you will need to immediately prepare.  You should:

  • Prepare for new record-keeping requirements,
  • Write COVID-19 prevention program guidelines,
  • Implement testing protocols according to the
    regulations, and
  • Prepare policies and procedures for notifying affected staff and others of possible COVID-19 exposure.

December 2020 – COVERAGE ISSUES – Your New Year Insurance Checklist


AS 2021 gets underway and while you’re making New Year’s resolutions, you should also resolve to review the state of your business’s insurance program.

The best way to do that is to start by reviewing your enterprise’s activities in the past year and how they may affect your insurance policies in the new year. What you find as you go through the following checklist may surprise you.

Did your operations change last year? Workers’ compensation and commercial general liability (CGL) insurance premiums are based in part on the type of work your business does.

If your business changed, the insurance company may revise how it classifies your operations when it audits your records. This could cause your premiums to increase; inform the company now to avoid a surprise later.

Did your payroll and sales change? These premiums are also based on the amounts of your payrolls and sales. Employment practices liability insurance premiums are based on the number of employees.

If you had a good year and these numbers increased, expect to pay additional premiums at audit time. Conversely, if both shrunk, ask your insurer to reduce its estimates so you can get the return premium now.

Did you acquire, form or sell any businesses? CGL policies typically provide short-term coverage for some newly acquired or formed entities. After 30 or 90 days, that coverage disappears unless you report the new entities to the insurer.

Workers’ comp policies do not automatically cover a new entity. If your business and the new entity have common ownership, you may be able to add that entity to your policy, but you must report it to the insurer.

Did your properties change? Did you buy or sell any buildings? Lease new ones? Add on to or upgrade any buildings? Buy new equipment? Make sure your insurer knows about these changes.

Some property insurance policies provide limited automatic coverage, but only for 30 days or so. Also, the amounts of insurance on your properties should reflect the cost of replacing them. If your building is 30% bigger than it was this time last year, you may be underinsured.

Did your auto schedule change? If you have sold, replaced or added any vehicles, make sure your insurance company has an up-to-date list of all vehicles. Do you need new or additional insurance? Could you afford to pay for legal costs, settlements, penalties, lost income and recovery measures if you were sued over a network data breach or suffered a ransomware attack? If not, you may need cyber insurance.

Could a client sue you for alleged errors or omissions in your work? If so, you might need professional liability insurance. Also, you may need greater amounts of general liability and automobile liability insurance, especially if you work for other firms. They often require their vendors and contractors to carry high insurance limits. You may need a commercial umbrella liability policy for additional amounts of insurance.

The takeaway

You’ve worked hard to build your business, and your work
deserves protection. By using this checklist, you will get a good
start on protecting what you have while you work in 2021 to
make it grow.