Why Work With an Independent Insurance Agent for Commercial Auto Coverage?

Why Work With an Independent Insurance Agent for Commercial Auto Coverage?

In this Internet age, it’s incredibly easy to purchase insurance online – directly from the carrier and without ever having to leave your screen. When you’re in charge of insuring a fleet of commercial vehicles, this option is surely tempting. You don’t have much time, and purchasing insurance direct online will save you both time and money, right? It’s probably not as simple as that. Sure, the DIY approach might save you some time upfront, but how much do you really understand about the process? You’re an expert in your business, so you should be working with an expert in the insurance field to get the coverage that best fits your needs. 

You Get More Options

When it comes to your carrier and coverage options, there is a clear benefit to working with an independent agent. Whether you’re running a trucking company or a business with commercial vehicles, you’re already busy around the clock. You don’t have time to scour the internet for the best insurance. Instead of having to shop around on your own, your agent will do that work for you and provide you with choices, so you can get the coverage that is best for exactly what you need. 

They’ve Done This Before 

A good agent knows their stuff. They have assisted numerous clients with purchasing commercial auto insurance for their business vehicles, so they understand the ins and outs of the process. If you try to go it alone – especially if it’s your first time purchasing insurance for your business – you may find yourself lost or confused, without anyone to give advice. Using an agent ensures that you have someone taking care of you who knows what is going on at all times and can explain it to you in plain terms. And if you have to file a claim? Your agent’s support and expertise will be even more invaluable in such a potentially stressful time. 

It’s a Personal Relationship 

This can be one of the greatest advantages of working with an independent agent rather than purchasing insurance directly from a carrier. When you purchase coverage on your own, you may do it online and never speak to a real human. If you call the carrier, you will likely be connected to an employee in a call center. While it is possible to have a good experience with one of these employees, you won’t be able to build a relationship in the same way that you can with your own personal agent. Independent agents specialize in building an insurance portfolio just for you, so we understand the unique needs and challenges of your business in a way that a direct representative of a carrier may not. For your commercial auto insurance needs, the advantages of working with an independent insurance agent are clear. 

How to Create a Culture of Safety in Your Business

How to Create a Culture of Safety in Your Business

When you think of “workplace culture,” you probably picture casual Fridays or volunteering as a group. Having a positive workplace culture is certainly something that benefits businesses and helps with employee retention. But what some people forget about is that a “culture of safety” is an equally important type of workplace culture.

What Is a Culture of Safety?

Essentially what this phrase means is the attitude of all members of a company – from the bottom to the top – towards safety in the workplace. Cultures of safety can be positive or negative. In a negative culture of safety, workers, managers, and anyone in between do not respect the recommended safety measures. As a result, more accidents happen in a workplace with a negative safety culture. In a positive safety culture, everyone respects and obeys the safety rules and regulations without complaint, and less accidents and workers compensation claims happen. So how do you create a culture of safety in your business? Here are some helpful tips.

Engage in Continued Education

Safety meetings are a great occasion to maintain your employees’ safety education. It’s normal for people to forget what they learned the first week on the job in orientation safety training. If your employees’ work includes a significant physical aspect, the safety meetings are a great opportunity to review proper physical operations such as how to lift heavy objects or how to safely operate large machinery and equipment.

Look Into Near Misses

It may not have actually hurt anyone or resulted in a workers comp claim, but a near miss could be a full on accident next time. If an almost-accident occurs, put on an investigation to look into its cause and determine what could have prevented it. Then observe these new safety practices to reduce the possibility of that near miss becoming something more serious.

Reward Employee Reporting

In a positive safety culture, employees feel comfortable reporting safety concerns or hazards to management. Going along with this, the management must take the reports seriously and work to correct the situation. It can be important to reward employees who step forward about concerns they see on the ground, Often, these individuals are in the best position to notice safety hazards and as such should be listened to as a valuable safety resource.

Every business should work to create a positive safety culture, but accidents may still happen. Ensure your operation has the best insurance coverage to reduce losses in the event of an unfortunate accident or injury. Talk to your agent today to make sure your business is protected.

When Do You Need Commercial Auto Insurance? The Answer Might Surprise You

When Do You Need Commercial Auto Insurance? The Answer Might Surprise You

For some, it’s an easy question. You need commercial auto coverage when your business owns company vehicles – whether it’s one or an entire fleet. However this is not the only instance in which a commercial auto policy is recommended. If you often use your personal vehicle for work purposes, besides commuting, you just might need a commercial auto policy, too.

You Do Not Always Need a Commercial Auto Policy

As we previously stated, simply driving your own car back and forth to work is not a situation where you need to consider commercial auto insurance. Neither is giving rides to coworkers or taking your car out on a coffee run for the office.

What Kind of Use Might Necessitate Commercial Auto Coverage?

However, if you use your personal vehicle to transport tools or equipment to a job site, you should be considering a commercial policy. This is especially true if the tools and equipment are expensive and their damage or theft would put your company at risk. Another instance in which you might consider commercial auto coverage is if you use your own car to travel long distances for work, or to transport clients. Even a teenager who delivers food with his own car poses a liability to his company.

It Is Different for Rideshare Drivers

There is a slight exception in the case of rideshare drivers working for companies such as Uber or Lyft. Most commercial auto policies do not offer the coverage rideshare drivers require for their unique needs, although some insurers have started offering rideshare insurance.

It All Depends on Frequency

If you only occasionally use your own vehicle for work purposes, it is likely you will only need personal auto insurance. On the other hand, if your use of your own car for business needs is frequent and ongoing, you should talk to your agent about your options.

Commercial Auto Policy or Modified Personal Auto Policy?

Your insurance agent is equipped to advise you on whether you truly need a commercial auto policy for your own vehicle. Commercial auto coverage can be expensive, but it may be possible to modify your personal auto policy to take occasional business use into account. Otherwise, your independent agent can shop the market to find you the best quotes for commercial auto insurance.

Preparing Your Business for the Event of a Flood

Preparing Your Business for the Event of a Flood

Just like your home, your business can flood and potentially experience extensive damage. However, your business has a completely different set of risks than your home does. After a flood in your place of business, you could experience loss resulting from damage to records, inventory, equipment, and technology as well as other valuable property and assets. You also face a potential loss of business income in the time it takes to restore your facility – not to mention the cost of debris removal, cleanup, and restoration. Business owners can mitigate risk by developing a flood disaster plan and, of course, by having the proper insurance coverage in place.

Flood Damage Is Serious Business for Your Business

Flooding can be caused by many events, including heavy rainfall, overflow from rivers or ponds, or a breach in a levee or dam. Often, flash floods can occur with almost no warning. In regards to damage, floods do more than simply make everything wet. Flooding can cause structural and electrical damage. The flood water itself often contains sharp debris like metal or glass fragments or hazardous, unsanitary matter, and this water can contaminate anything it touches. Of course, if employees are present at the time of the flooding, their lives can also be in great danger.

Ask Your Agent About Available Insurance Coverage

Most standard commercial policies do not cover flood damage. However, some carriers offer coverage that is specifically tailored for business floods. The majority of these policies are provided through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The NFIP only covers commercial property, so you will need to ask your agent about adding flood-specific business interruption coverage to protect your operation against loss of income.

Create a Comprehensive Workplace Flood Disaster Plan

One of the most important ways you can prepare your business for the event of a flood is to keep copies of your insurance documentation and other vital documents in a location that will be safe from any potential flood damage; you can even keep these documents off site if you are able. In addition to important documents, you will want to keep a backup list of all employees’ contact information. The next step is to assess the risks your building faces – check all walls and seams for cracks, move valuable items from bottoms floors if possible, and consider installing a sump pump to help prevent water from getting inside your building. Finally, in the event of an emergency during work hours, you will need an evacuation plan that all employees are trained in.

In the Event of a Flood…

You will be grateful that you have insurance to lessen the impact of the damage. Reach out to your agent today to find out more about your options to get covered.

Utilizing Social Media for Your Small Business

Utilizing Social Media for Your Small Business

Social media can be an incredibly useful tool for small businesses. Whether you are looking to connect to your customer base or generate sales, knowing how to properly utilize social media is a skill you should be developing. We put together some tips for small business owners who are looking to grow their online presence.

Know Your Goals

What is the purpose of your social media page? When asked this question, some common answers small business owners give include: to generate leads, build brand awareness, engage with customers or community, drive traffic to the business’s website, and increase sales. These are all great goals, and the next step is to determine what social media platform is the best fit for achieving your specific set of objectives.

Determine Who Your Audience Is

Spend some time reflecting on the age, gender, interests, and goals of the people who frequent your business. Who are they, and what are they seeking? Answering these questions will help you determine where to post content and what kind of content to post. When you take the time to think it out, you are able to offer a social media experience that is truly customized for the audience you have – or the audience you are seeking.

Choose a Platform to Focus On

You’ve determined the purpose of your social media page, and you figured out exactly who your audience is. With this in mind, start thinking about what kind of content your audience is most likely to engage with, and choose one or two platforms to focus your efforts on. The most important thing is to post quality content and to post often, so limiting yourself to one or two platforms will make success easier to achieve.

Different social platforms have different purposes, and each is dominated by a specific type of interaction or content. Facebook prioritizes post interaction, meaning the more people comment and like, the better your posts will do. Facebook features a wide range of content types, including video, photo, and text. In contrast, Instagram is a platform that is overwhelmingly image-driven. Posters may caption their photos or videos, but the text is not emphasized in the same way it would be on Facebook. Another popular social media platform, Youtube is surprisingly versatile. Although it features exclusively video content, with comments optional, content from Youtube (or another video platform such as Vimeo) can be shared to multiple other social media platforms.

Regularly Interact With Your Followers

The best way for businesses to build a trusted following on social media is through interacting with followers regularly and respectfully. This could be anything from liking customers’ posts that mention your business to responding to messages or inquiries in a timely manner. Down-to-earth interactions such as these keep your audience engaged and help them to think of you less as a business and more as a friend.

It’s also important to note that more time should be spent on interacting with customers than on promoting products or services. This may sound strange, but customers are actually more likely to unfollow a business that posts promotional material too often. By maintaining human interactions and getting on your customers’ level, so to speak, you can grow to better understand them. Your familiar presence online will also drive them to visit you in person.

Learn to Automate or Delegate

There is a number of programs available that make the work of operating social media for a business easier. These programs will keep track of all your content and let you schedule it at one time to be automatically posted for days or weeks to come. If you are running a larger operation and are active on several social media platforms, an automation system would be especially beneficial, but it can be used by smaller operations as well.

The busiest business owners should consider delegating the task of posting or even using a third party such as an agency to handle social media. If you are keeping your social media management internal but don’t have a designated social media coordinator, rotate team members through the position of poster from week to week. This can keep the content fresh and helps your team learn new skill sets.

Keep Your Business Insurance Updated

No matter how many followers your page has, the unexpected can still happen to your business. Make sure you have all the coverage you need by regularly reviewing with your insurance agent.