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Business Insurance

5 Tips for a More Secure Workplace

By | Business Insurance | No Comments


Protecting your business in the Bay Area used to mean locking the doors at the end of the day. That’s still important, of course, but now a security breach can extend beyond your physical assets to include software, systems and sensitive data. And, if customer information is compromised, you may lose the most important asset you have — their trust.lockandkey

 

How can you protect your business? Here are five tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration and others to help you stay secure, both physically and digitally.

 

  1. Manage and assess your risk. What valuables do you need to protect? What about data? What losses would impact you most? The answers to these questions can help you form a plan.
  2. Control physical access to your workplace. Establish procedures for distributing keys and how you keep track of them. Secure valuable information or equipment in a locked area with access only to those who use it. Customers should be able to access your office only in one monitored entrance.
  3. Don’t forget about controlling digital access. You wouldn’t give every employee a key to your safe, so take similar precautions when it comes to access to computers, networks and sensitive data.
  4. Be proactive. Set up automatic software updates for your most important systems. Require your employees to change passwords at regular intervals for additional security. If you provide a wireless network, make sure it is secured, and preferably encrypted.
  5. Consider other measures. It’s easier than ever to install cameras and monitoring systems that allow you to check on your facility at any time. Of course, there also are companies that will monitor your office and alert you to any issues. Cybersecurity insurance is relatively new and can provide some protection if your systems are compromised, but find out exactly what is included in the policy. Remember, even if you purchase coverage, you’ll still need to keep your data as secure as possible.

 

We here at Harrington Insurance hope you find these tips helpful, but keep in mind that we’ve only scratched the surface! We encourage you to dig deeper and thoroughly investigate potential solutions to help ensure your office and data have the right level of security for your particular needs.

Crop Insurance Harrington Insurance Agency, San Jose CA

Always Time to Think About Crop Insurance

By | Business Insurance

It May be Warm, but Now Is The Time To Think About Crop Insurance

In December 1990, California experienced its worst freeze since 1937, enduring two weeks of unusually cold temperatures, including four straight days below freezing in many parts of the state. It destroyed the following year’s citrus harvest, resulting in damages in excess of 1.5 billion dollars (not adjusting for inflation). A less severe freeze in 2007—in Merced Country, temperatures reached 21 degrees two days in a row—caused half a billion dollars in damage to the state’s crops.

This year, a third disaster was narrowly averted during a six day freeze, thanks to preventative measures taken by farmers. The ingenuity of crop growers is not to be underestimated, as shown by their ability to overcome the freeze. But there’s always another freeze around the corner. It isn’t a matter of if, but when the next catastrophe will strike.

Federal crop insurance does provide aid to farmers, but its budget has been cut by 12 billion dollars over the past five years , and proposed amendments to the Farm Bill—which recently failed to pass and is back to square one—would cut benefits further. As it is, most crops are only partially covered, and some are not eligible for federal protection at all.

Obtaining crop insurance through your insurer is one way to cover the ever-expanding gap between losses and what the federal government will cover in the event of the next inevitable freeze.

Deciding How Much Business Insurance Is Needed

By | Business Insurance

What is the Proper Amount of Business Insurance?

The desire to minimize the costs of insurance premiums is perfectly understandable. Your business might be having a rough year, or perhaps you’re trying to pay for a major expansion. It makes sense. What you don’t realize is that you’re potentially leaving yourself on the hook for thousands of dollars in out of pocket losses. The reason why is something called a co-insurance clause.

Say you cover your building and the equipment it contains for a total insured value of $700,000. But you’ve purchased a great deal of expensive equipment over the years, or the building has been improved, so its current value is actually higher. One day, a fire breaks out, and damages are estimated to be $500,000.

This is when the co-insurance clause comes into play. Commercial insurance policies typically mandate that a business must be insured for a given percentage of the current total monetary value. This figure is usually between 80 or 90 percent, but can be as high as 100%. The business in the above example is insured for $700,000, but after the fire is assessed to have been worth $1,000,000. In this case, the policy mandated at least 80% coverage of the total value of the company, but it was only insured for 70% of the current value. This is in violation of the co-insurance clause, and so the policy owner will only receive 70% of their insurance claim—in this case, $500,000 x 70%, or $350,000.

If the policy owner had covered the business for $800,000, then they would meet the 80% coverage requirement of the policy, and thus would receive 100% (not 80%) of their claim, or $500,000.

Hopefully, this example illustrates how important it is to maintain proper coverage of your business, and how devastating failing to do so can be to your livelihood. Scrimping on your insurance coverage to save money is a hazardous cost-reduction measure. Have a discussion with your insurance agent, and assure that your business is adequately covered.

Tenant Landlord Insurance Harrington Insurance San Jose CA

Insurance for Tenants and Who Covers What

By | Business Insurance

What Type Of Insurance is Needed as A Tenant?

The relationship between tenant and landlord can be, at times, difficult to understand, and the murky circumstances of insuring a tenant’s improvements on a leased business property is a prime example of this. A lessor may choose to keep things simple by dictating that they will insure the structure and property, while the lessee insures the removable property that they store and install within the business—but it’s the improvements that cannot be removed—wiring, cabinetry, plumbing—that can potentially cause a headache.

Who is Responsible for What?

If the respective party’s responsibilities are not carefully delineated in the rental agreement, and catastrophic damage to the property occurs, it can be difficult after the fact to assess who is responsible for replacing what. While the landlord may have insured the basic structure, all the improvements within it may not be covered under the landlord’s policy. Additionally, disagreements about whether the lessee or lessor owned the improvements within the building only further confound the issue. In the meantime, without the contents of the business that were destroyed, it may be difficult or impossible for the business owner to secure the funds necessary to restore the interior to the condition necessary for the business to operate.

Read Your State Laws

A great deal of case law has been devoted to this issue, as many disasters similar to the one described above have occurred. The currently established legal precedents vary widely from state to state, and so it is impossible to give a generalized answer as to who is responsible for what. The simplest resolution is simply this: Within the rental contract, the responsibilities of the two parties should be outlined explicitly. It should be indicated what improvements are owned by each party, and what obligations each party has in maintaining insurance policies on the property and its contents. A lessor may specify that they will insure the structural shell, while the lessee is responsible for everything therein, or the lessee may be required to only insure removable contents within the structure, with the lessor covering everything else. Or one party or the other may take sole responsibility.

The main issue is that insurance responsibilities should be negotiated and clarified before a catastrophe occurs, rather than having to rely on the ruling of a court after the fact. With over 40 years’ experience in this type of insurance, Harrington Insurance can help you navigate these waters at the best price. Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help!

Church Business Insurance Harrington Insurance Agency, San Jose CA

Finding Insurance for a Church

By | Business Insurance

Insurance for a Church is not an easy find

Insuring a church is vastly complicated, and is only becoming more so. A great deal goes into providing even the most basic of services. The range of circumstances requiring insurance is easily underestimated, and doing so can lead to financial ruin. Property, buildings, equipment, automobiles, employees, volunteers, travel… all of these are important parts of the functioning of a church, and they all require insurance in order to properly protect a church’s financial well-being.

Before consulting with an insurer, if your church has a governing body or is part of a larger diocese, contact those in charge, as a specific insurance agency may already have been chosen. Smaller organizations and independent churches should seek out an experienced commercial agent. While it is tempting to contract with a well-meaning congregant who is experienced in auto or home insurance, doing so can lead to serious oversights, due to the complexity of insuring a church. Contracting with a commercial agent is a must.

We are here to help!

At Harrington Insurance, we understand the specific needs of your institution. We have 41 years experience insuring churches and will make sure nothing is missed in your coverage that could be costly in the future. We don’t want you to worry about what kind of coverage your choir robes need, or what kind of liability you need to consider when hosting financial classes. We’ll take care of those things, and let you focus on your ministry. We’ll find you the best deal to save you money, and be there along the way.

For a church, insurance coverage breaks down into two broad categories: property and people. The actual church is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to church property: gathering halls, parking structures, living quarters for clergy, automobiles, equipment, even valuable or irreplaceable artifacts must not be overlooked.

When looking into insuring church property and buildings, have an agent make an assessment of the current value. The amount of a mortgage or the price last paid for the property may be far smaller than the current value. Is the structure historic, or contain a great deal of expensive installed equipment (pews, audio-visual systems, appliances)? All of these factor into the assessed value of the property.

What Type of Coverage Do I Need

When discussing coverage of property with an agent, make note of what their coinsurance policy is. If you insure the property for too little, your submitted claim will be heavily penalized. If you insure your church for 250,000 dollars, and then later submit a claim for 100,000 dollars in damages (due to fire or some other occurrence), and the insurance company determines that the total value of the property is 500,000 dollars—twice what you insured it for—then the amount of your claim will be halved, and you will only receive 50,000 dollars. If possible, in your insurance policy, negotiate an “agreed value” with the insurer—this eliminates the potential for coinsurance penalties.

Make sure that your church property is covered for all circumstances that are likely in your area. Separate coverage for flood, earthquake, or hurricanes may be necessary, and not covered in your primary policy. Ensure that your policy covers accidental damage, such as burst pipes or fires. Insuring systems that are costly to repair or replace—boilers, furnaces—is also a wise idea. You must also decide whether you want to insure the property for the replacement cost, or the actual cash value of the property. If the church is older, the latter choice is advisable. Consult with your agent, and ask questions.

When it comes to insuring the people affiliated with your church, the situation is even more complex. For employees, there is the need for workers compensation and health insurance. For the larger corpus of all of those who act on behalf of the church—not just clergy, but the church board, volunteers, etc.—there is the need for liability insurance for allegations of injury, employment discrimination, sexual abuse, car accidents, legal defense costs, and so on.

Do NOT rely upon the kindness of your congregation. It may be hard to imagine a member filing a costly claim against you, but even the most sympathetic of church members may not be able to afford not filing a claim against your church for damages resulting from physical or emotional injury. Insure yourself—literally and metaphorically—against all possibilities that may arise.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment on our Facebook page, email us at info@harringtoninsurance.com, or call us at 408-264-240.

What You Need to Know About Life Insurance and Accelerated Death Benefits

By | Life Insurance, Life Insurance

How does Life Insurance & Accelerated Death Benefits Work?

Life insurance policyholders may have the option of adding ‘riders’ to their policies to cover particular circumstances. One of these riders known as an ‘accelerated death benefit’ may be useful in cases of a serious and life-threatening disease.

With the addition of this rider, the policyholder may be able to draw on the death benefit in advance to pay for medical care. It’s important to note that this only applies in cases of severe illnesses such as terminal cancer, or another disease requiring extensive medical intervention.

When the death benefit is drawn on in advance in this manner, it’s important to be aware that the amount due to beneficiaries upon death will be reduced. In cases where the policyholder recovers from the illness, he or she is not generally required to pay back the benefit. However the value of the benefit will have decreased by the amount previously drawn on it.

In some cases of an accelerated death benefit riders, insurance providers only charge extra for it if it is actually utilized. In other cases, insurers may charge extra for the rider. This is something that should be checked with the life insurance agent when taking out the policy, or when taking the option of adding a rider to an existing policy.

Contact Harrington Insurance Agency in San Jose, CA today if you any insurance needs that need to be met.

Quality Insurance is a Good Investment for your Quality Staff

By | Business Insurance

Protecting Your Business with Insurance is Good Investment

Property insurance coverage protects your investment in the physical assets of your business. If disaster strikes, insurance compensation can help make sure that business capital that has been earmarked for business development does not have to be spent to repair buildings and replace inventory that has been damaged or lost.

Making Sure Your Most Important Assets Are Protected: Your Staff

The people who work in your business are another vital asset. Are you investing in this important resource? Offering your workers benefits, such as health insurance, can reduce the number of sick days, and allow staff to address any health issues. Offering things like discount gym memberships can help retain the best employees, and keep them motivated.

It’s far more cost-effective to retain good staff than to have to hire and train new staff. A business that provides a supportive working environment, offers employees a career path and rewards workers for their contribution to business success is able to retain a team of motivated, productive workers.

Using financial tools like business insurance to protect your company’s investment in physical assets helps to ensure that your business can continue, despite setbacks like fires and other mishaps. Investing in your company’s human assets is another valuable way of ensuring business continuity.

Contact Harrington Insurance today so we can set up your staff with quality benefit packages.

Fraud and Workers’ Compensation Insurance

By | Workers' Compensation

What you need to know about fraud with Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Most businesses in California are required by law to have workers’ compensation. Despite this mandate, some businesses try to avoid paying for the proper coverage. There are three basic types of workers’ comp fraud.

Three Basics of Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Some businesses commit fraud by improperly classifying their workers. Just because an individual provides a service for your business, does not mean he or she is an employee. Independent contractors are one instance of this – people under this title do not have to be provided insurance. Before you label a worker as such, however, it is vital you ensure the term correctly describes his or her relationship with your business.

Another way a business might attempt to minimize the cost of workers’ comp premiums is deducting the amount from their staff members’ paychecks. This is illegal in the state of California. Doing so can get you fined, and even open the way for a legal suit by your employees.

Other businesses simply fail to obtain coverage altogether, which could result in serious financial burden. Should an accident occur on the premises and it is discovered that you do not have the proper insurance; your business could be held responsible for paying medical benefits and lost wages to the affected worker. The labor board may even close your business until the right insurance is obtained.

Do not risk the financial future of your business. Contact our agency today to ensure you are adequately insured.

The Rules of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

By | Business Insurance, Workers' Compensation

Employees or Independent Contractors?

In California, all employees must have workers’ compensation provided to them by their employers, according to the Department of Industrial Relations. Just because an individual completes a job for your business, however, does not mean he or she is always an employee. Depending on the details of your professional relationship, he or she could be labeled an independent contractor.

To determine how to classify your workers, consider the following:

  • Do you control the work that is done by the individual?
  • Do you determine how the work is done?
  • Is the service the individual provides related to your business’s primary purpose?
  • Do you provide the equipment or work area?
  • Does the job performed by the individual require a high level of expertise?
  • Do you pay the individual by the hour?
  • Is the position the individual holds a permanent role in your business?

While there is no legal definition for independent contractor, answering “no” to more than one of the above questions may mean the worker is a contractor. It is of course, important to clarify the situation – getting it wrong could be costly.

As the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement automatically categorizes all workers as employees unless evidence proves to the contrary, it is vital you ensure you are classifying your workers correctly. One of our agents would be glad to assist you in obtaining coverage for your eligible workers.

Helping Your Employees with Workers’ Compensation Insurance

By | Business Insurance, Workers' Compensation

Having Workers’ Compensation Insurance will Benefit Your Employees Greatly

The Golden State has one of the highest populations in the United States. As such, it also boasts a large workforce. As a business owner, you know a great percentage of the cost of doing business comes from employee salaries. Workplace accidents could also lead to an increase in costs. Insurance is available to help businesses provide compensation to injured workers. But as well as having workers’ compensation insurance in place, you might also want to create policies to help staff members return to the office more quickly after being injured, saving you time and money on hiring a temporary replacement.

  • You could adjust the job duties to make allowances for the employee’s health.
  • Modifying work procedures could also help.
  • You may want to consider allowing employees that were previously full-time to take on a part-time schedule.
  • Changing the workstation could make completing their previous job easier.

Incentives for Businesses with Workers’ Compensation Insurance

California encourages businesses to make adjustments that allow injured workers to return to their jobs sooner. For businesses with at least 50 employees, a 15 percent discount may be available on weekly permanent disability benefits to employers who work with employees after accident on getting back to work. How much importance do you place on minimizing an employee’s time off after an accident?

Contact Harrington Insurance Agency in San Jose, CA for your personalized workers’ compensation insurance policy for your business!