“Over the past few years, as Behnke & Co. and ASA have been partners, I've received numerous calls concerning various insurance questions and concerns. I thought I'd share a few of the most frequently asked questions that I've received, along with the responses that I've provided.” -- Jeff Hudgins
Q: What additional business exposures should I be insuring beyond the typical property damage and liability coverage?
A. Everyone seems to make sure their buildings, contents, vehicles, workers and liability exposure is covered. However, other things can be forgotten or not emphasized, such as Employment Practice Liability in cases of wrongful termination, discrimination or harassment, and Director and Officer's Liability. A recent survey indicated a dramatic rise in privately-held companies being sued by stockholders, customers or vendors for the upcoming year. Each of these situations can lead to fighting costly lawsuits that threaten your company's profitability.
Q: What can I do about the escalating price increases that we've seen in the past few years?
A: My first suggestion would be to make sure you're doing as much as you can to reduce your company's losses. This is the one thing you can control, and which can add to your leverage in minimizing renewal increases. If an insurance company feels like they can make money writing your insurance, they're more likely to offer renewal pricing that'll keep you as their customer. Your agent should be providing you with optional quotes to make sure you're getting the best program available. Lastly, if you have had good loss experience, increasing your deductibles will not only lower your premiums, but also show the company that you're taking a proactive approach to containing costs. Therefore, everyone wins.
Q: It's easy to talk about reducing losses. But how can I really do that?
A: Beyond some very unique situations, there are some items that come up on a very regular basis just because of the nature of your operations. I've listed some areas on the chart below, along with some suggested ways to address them.
-- Back injuries due to lifting
-- Employee slip and falls
-- Delivery accidents
-- Wrongful termination
-- Provide annual or semi-annual lifting technique training and have all new employees trained as a matter of policy
-- Make sure the warehouse is maintained and that all stock is properly stored on shelving.
-- Make sure you're doing MVR check on new drivers and an annual check for current drivers.
-- Implement annual defensive driver training.
-- Consider GPS tracking devices, helping you to monitor speed and driving patterns. Employment Liability
-- Implement use of a written employee policy handbook, and provide a copy to all employees. Have each employee acknowledge in writing that he/she has received and understood the contents of the handbook.
-- All evaluations, reviews, disciplinary actions and termination procedures should be documented in writing.
-- Have written application and hiring procedures in place.