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Commercial Insurance

8 Ways to Know You Need to Purchase Business Insurance

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As of this year, there are an estimated 1.15 million small businesses scattered throughout Canada. Half of these are located in Ontario.

But if we fast-forward 10 years, statistics tell us nearly half of these businesses will have disappeared.

A variety of factors contribute to business survival, including number of employees, industry, economic fluctuations and leadership succession plans.

Often overlooked, however, is a business’s risk management strategy. This includes the strategic purchase of business insurance to protect the growing company from the inside out and the outside in.

In this post, we highlight eight key ways to know it is time to take out a business insurance policy for your small business.

Business Insurance Defined

The Government of Canada defines business insurance as “peace of mind.”

This definition may sound simplistic at first, but at its most fundamental level, this is precisely the role business insurance plays in safeguarding your company’s future.

There are many different types of business insurance to offer protection for various key aspects of your company. Business insurance can protect you and your employees, your materials and products, your company vehicles, your online activities and much more.

Different businesses need different types of business insurance. What type you acquire depends on the industry you work in, the size and scope of your operations, your net worth and even your local weather!

As a general rule of thumb, your business insurance policy should match your current needs, with a bit of room to grow.

8 Signs You Need Business Insurance

If you find yourself nodding while you read any of these 8 signs, please give one of our friendly and knowledgeable insurance brokers a call (contact information at the end of this post).

1. You set up a business website

Your business website is essentially your virtual workplace. This is especially the case if you have an online store (more about that in number 6 here), but even your blog and social media feed function as outgrowths of your business operations.

General business liability insurance will protect you in the event someone takes issue with content you post, images you use and advertising and marketing activities.

2. You hire someone to do work for you

Once you take on an employee, you open yourself up to a whole new level of risk. That employee may have an accident on the job or say or do something while working for you that harms someone or damages something.

For the former, workers’ compensation insurance provides protection for you and your employee. For the latter, professional liability insurance covers you for an employee’s (or your own) on-the-job errors that cause damage or harm.

3. You use your vehicle for your business

This is an area far too many business owners overlook to their personal peril.

What many small business owners don’t realize is that a personal auto insurance policy does not cover you if you have an auto accident while driving for work. Some insurers will even drop you if they discover you have filed a claim for a work-related incident under your personal auto policy.

For this, what you need is a commercial vehicle insurance policy. This way, you are protected when driving for work whether you use a personal vehicle or a business vehicle.

4. You carry raw materials or product inventory

Theft, vandalism and even natural disasters can wreak havoc with the raw materials or finished inventory you rely on to keep your business’s doors open. The same holds true for the basic equipment and supplies you use to do business, from your desk and office chair to your phones and computer equipment.

The type of business insurance you need to protect the premises can vary based on whether you are operating your business out of your home or out of a leased or owned commercial space. Commercial property insurance will protect the contents of that space, including raw materials, office supplies, equipment, furniture and finished goods.

5. You receive a new major order

Every business owner dreams of the day they receive their first large order that really solidifies their company’s place in their industry.

But in the glow of success, it is easy to forget this is also a time when you need to already have an active certificate of liability insurance in place to secure that new client.

6. You store confidential or personal customer data

If your website also functions as an online store, chances are good you are accepting and perhaps storing very sensitive customer data, including credit card or bank account information.

With the amount of online fraud activity today, it is smart to include a cyber insurance rider in your business insurance policy to protect you in the event of a data breach.

7. You have visitors to your business

Whether your company operates out of your basement or the office building down the street, you open yourself up to risk with each visitor that enters your space.

From trips and falls to property theft, you will want to have general liability business coverage in place to protect you if someone is injured or their property is damaged while they are visiting your business.

8. You act as an expert in your industry

Finally, in the litigious society we live and work in today, there is nothing to say someone won’t take issue with what you say or do, or your credentials to say or do it.

Errors and omissions insurance plus a professional liability insurance rider will protect you here.

Get in Touch

Contact us online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.

Click here to get a free business insurance quote now.

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Contractor Insurance: If You Don’t Have It, You Need It. Here’s Why!

new home under construction

If you own a home or a car, chances are good you have purchased some type of insurance policy to protect you from loss, theft or damage.

So it just makes good sense that you would want to put the same protection in place for your business! While the self-employment sector of the Canadian workforce continues to grow larger each year, this type of smaller business is also more vulnerable to setbacks ranging from theft or vandalism to natural disaster, lawsuits and personal setbacks.

Contractor insurance is a type of insurance product specifically designed and uniquely well-equipped to help your business handle the inevitable ups and downs of working as an independent contractor. In this post, learn what you need to know about contractor insurance, including how much you need and how to apply.

Mandatory Insurance Coverage for Contractors

Here in Ontario, you are required to register your independent construction company with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and retain certain mandatory insurance coverages.

This mandate extends to contracting businesses from very small to very large.

Not surprisingly, wading through the complex assortment of laws and regulations regarding contractor insurance can be a full-time job. After you get done sorting out which insurance policies you need, what they cover and what is still missing, then it is time to tackle tax accounting requirements, mandatory worker training, licenses, certificates and day-to-day business management.

This explains why so many independent contractors often feel like they are working themselves to death and still not getting ahead!

We want to make contractor insurance easy to understand and acquire so you can get back to your real job—managing and growing your business.

What Type of Contractor Insurance Do You Need?

Regardless of how small or large your company size is, you will need the same basic types of insurance protection.

Completed operations

Completed operations insurance protects contractors from client lawsuits that may occur months or years after the job is completed.

Customer disputes

Even a single dispute that evolves into a lawsuit can topple a small independent contracting business. Customer disputes can occur despite your best efforts, which is why you need insurance coverage to protect your business itself while the lawsuit progresses.

Equipment

As an independent contractor, you have invested heavily into the success of your company, right down to purchasing and maintaining the equipment and materials you use to do your job. If your equipment breaks down or gets damaged on the job site or en route, this is the coverage you need.

Business interruption

Business interruption can occur for many reasons. This insurance coverage protects your company if your income stream is halted due to insured events beyond your control.

Liability

This general term covers many exposures contractors face, ranging from injuries resulting from work that was performed to simple trips and falls on the job site. This type of contractor insurance is an ironclad necessity in today’s litigious society.

Business property

You need to protect your own business property just as you would your personal residence or vehicle. Materials, equipment, supplies and other assets housed at your business location or job site can be protected under a business property insurance policy.

Crime

Crime is another hazard of doing business today, and an increasingly serious one, at that. From workers with sticky fingers to strangers who see your job site-in-progress as an easy score, you can’t always control who comes by or what damage they may do. But you can control how much it impacts your growing business by adding a crime insurance rider to your contractor insurance policy.

How a Contractor Insurance Policy Can Benefit You

The obvious benefits of a contractor insurance policy are clear at this point: you don’t risk losing your business in the event other people or events intersect in a way that limits or interrupts the work you are doing.

But there are other, less-visible benefits of taking out a contractor insurance policy.

Customer trust

A major benefit is customer trust. When a new client contacts you to bid on a job, having contractor insurance in place can give them valuable peace of mind and increase the likelihood that you will get the job.

Peace of mind

Another major benefit is your own peace of mind. It’s hard to run a successful business from a place of fear, worry and stress! When you know that your best efforts are protected from unknowns such as climate change-related weather patterns and the actions of criminals, you can conduct operations with more confidence and courage.

Freedom to collaborate

Still another benefit that comes along with adding contractor insurance to your risk management program is the ability and freedom to collaborate on construction jobs knowing you are protected if something goes wrong.

As the Canadian Design-Build Institute explains, expert collaboration is a mainstay in an industry where technology is producing sweeping changes to how jobs are planned and executed. But without insurance protection, the blurred lines of responsibility that collaboration sometimes creates can become harder to navigate in jobs gone wrong.

Worker and personal protection

Finally, having a customized contractor insurance policy in place provides protection to those whose livelihoods depend on yours: your workers, vendors, staff and family.

Get in Touch

Here at Mackay Insurance Brokers, we have more than 165 combined years of personal, residential, auto and commercial insurance expertise. Our seasoned staff bring a customer-service-first focus to every consultation and every policy we write.

Chat with us online, email us or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552 to speak with a knowledgeable agent today.

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Do You Need Commercial Auto Insurance?

driver steering wheel

If you can’t imagine doing business without your vehicle, chances are good your livelihood would suffer greatly if that vehicle became unavailable due to an accident or loss.

Regardless of how many commercial vehicles you own (one or several), you need to protect them as valuable business assets.

Commercial auto insurance functions similarly to personal auto insurance in that you can select the types and levels of coverage that are the best fit for your business and vehicle types.

The goal of commercial auto insurance is to ensure your business vehicles are protected on the road and while garaged, whether your trips stay local or eventually cross borders.

In this article, learn the basics of commercial auto insurance and how it can protect the vehicles you depend on to do business.

An Overview of Commercial Auto Insurance Coverage

When most people think about commercial auto insurance, they often assume it’s designed only for large fleets of big trucks.

While this is one use for commercial auto insurance, it is far from the only use. In fact, if you have any vehicle that you use for commercial (business) purposes—even if you also use that vehicle personally—it is eligible for commercial auto insurance.

Commercial or business auto insurance offers the same basic types of protection that personal auto insurance covers:

  • Comprehensive coverage. Protection if your business vehicle is damaged by something other than a collision (e.g., vandalism) or if it is stolen.

  • Collision coverage. Protection if your vehicle is damaged or totaled in an auto accident.

  • Liability coverage. Protection if your vehicle causes damage to other drivers or vehicles.

  • Accident Benefits coverage. Protection if you are injured in a vehicle accident.

  • Uninsured/underinsured coverage. Protection if the other driver has no coverage or insufficient coverage.

Commercial Versus Personal Auto Insurance

It is quite common to be confused about what separates commercial (business) auto insurance from personal auto insurance. After all, they sound identical on paper!

The difference boils down to what you are using your vehicle for. Even if you use your vehicle for personal use as well, if you use it in your business too, it needs to be insured accordingly.

This holds true even if you don’t use your personal vehicle to do business frequently. One of the “declarations” you make when you buy car insurance is the percentage it is used for business driving.

So: what if you already have personal insurance and begin to use your car for business driving after you bought the policy? You need to call your broker. There is fine print in every car insurance policy that requires you to promptly inform your broker or insurance company of any “material change.”

This means that if you don’t report the use of your car accurately, you could find yourself paying for a policy but not having coverage when you have a claim. It just isn’t worth the risk.

If you are not sure if what you do with your vehicle is considered business driving, call your broker.  

How to Save the Most on Your Commercial Auto Insurance Policy

No one really gets excited about spending money on insurance. This is because purchasing insurance is not a luxury but a necessity. One terrible day on the road has the potential to make or break a business of any size, and that is a risk businesses can’t afford to take in today’s competitive marketplace.

But there are ways to pay less for your commercial auto coverage!

Here are some of the best methods to find discounts and savings on your commercial auto insurance policy:

  • Bundle your policy with other policies you hold with the same insurer. Some insurers offer loyalty discounts for customers who purchase more than one type of policy.

  • If employees drive your vehicles, look at applicants’ driving records as part of your screening process when hiring people. It’s simple: drivers with excellent safety records and no tickets on their record are less expensive to insure.

  • Choosing to install extra safety or risk management tools. These can range from in-vehicle alarm systems to driver monitoring systems, locked garaging to VIN etching, mandatory driver safety courses for your drivers, or daily mileage limits.

  • Check auto insurance coverage rates before investing in a new work vehicle. Just as with personal vehicles, in the business world, different types of vehicles may come with lower or higher premiums.

Give Us a Call

We are so honored that our owner and CEO, Bruce Mackey, was named 2017 Business Person of the Year by Quinte Business Achievement Awards (QBAA)!

Give us a call at 888-853-5552 or contact us online, and let us know how we can help with all your insurance needs in 2018!

Click here for a free, instant, online, no obligation auto insurance quote.

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How Business Liability Insurance Keeps Your Company Doors Open

business liability insurance

As of 2016, Canada is home to an estimated 1.17 million businesses. Nearly 98 percent of these are small, independently owned and operated businesses, of which half reside in Ontario and Quebec.

However, for every new Canadian business that opens its doors in a given calendar year, another one closes its doors for good. What is the reason for such a high rate of closure annually?

One reason is the lack of business liability insurance. In this article, learn more about how business liability insurance protects your company if you are found legally liable for events beyond your individual control as owner-operator.

4 Main Kinds of Business Liability Insurance

General liability

Let's say you produce a certain product. A customer uses it and gets injured. They pursue your company for damages. Here, general liability will protect your business if you have to go to court or pay out a settlement.

General liability insurance covers your company for four types of events: bodily injury, medical costs, property damage, and slander/libel.

Also, if your company runs as a sole proprietorship or a small partnership that does not afford you as the owner the protection of a legal corporate entity, general liability insurance can protect your personal assets if you need to sign for a business loan, if you have caused someone injury, or if either you or a business partner wishes to depart the company.

General liability can also include a number of specialty endorsements as may be required for your specific industry.

Umbrella liability

Now let's say you work in a high-risk industry. Court settlements, while rare, can and do bankrupt affected companies.

In this scenario, you may want to take out what is called an umbrella liability insurance policy to protect your company from damages over and above what a general liability policy will extend to cover.

An umbrella policy is especially beneficial if your company does business internationally, runs a fleet of company automobiles, or is involved in more than one type of industry.

Directors & Officers liability

Whether your company is for-profit or nonprofit, and regardless of its revenue or total number of employees, you’re probably governed by a board of directors. Here, while your directors and officers may do their utmost to protect your company from legal exposure, sometimes even their utmost may not be sufficient to protect them from personal liability.

In this situation, you may find it tough going to attract the kind of top talent you want represented in your board of directors—unless you provide each director and officer with the protection of Directors & Officers liability insurance.

With this type of policy in place, your directors and officers can continue to do their legal due diligence for your company without fear of reprisal on a personal level for actions they take on your company's behalf.

A Directors & Officers liability policy also covers your company both for financial losses and for payment of necessary legal costs incurred as a result of any action one of your directors or officers may take.

Errors & Omissions liability

Errors & Omissions liability is no longer recommended only for those companies that operate in very high-risk professions (i.e., accountants, lawyers, physicians). In today's litigious society, many businesses can benefit from having this protective policy in place.

Errors & Omissions liability insurance is designed to protect any individual acting in a professional capacity on behalf of your company. Here, a "professional" is considered someone who

  • has attended training to qualify for their role.

  • adheres to guidelines outlined by an industry professional association or organization.

  • operates under a set of provincial laws or regulations.

  • provides their services professionally on a fee basis.

A basic Errors & Omissions policy will provide coverage up to a moderate level in the case of a breach of contract, an incorrect appraisal, a delay in provision of services, a transmission of advice that was not true or complete, a design defect, and other similar situations.

Contact Mackay Insurance Brokers Today

At Mackay Insurance Brokers, we have proudly served our clients in the Belleville, ON, and surrounding areas for 35 years. When we first opened our doors, we had just a handful of clients. Today, our client list numbers well over 5,000 and is still growing!

Together, our professional staff has amassed more than 165 years of professional insurance industry expertise. As a fellow independent business, we remain committed to helping our clients obtain the most comprehensive and protective business liability insurance coverage at the most competitive rates.

To learn more and receive a free quote, you are warmly invited to contact us at 613-966-5740 (1-888-853-5552 long distance) or online.

Click here to get a free business insurance quote now.

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