Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


  Contact : 336-992-5664

All Posts in Category: Business Insurance

Employee Performance Reviews

Employee Performance Reviews

But I thought I was doing so well!

I’ve been here for 30 years. You’re just telling me this now?

Susan comes in late every day, and she’s never been written up. What gives?

Let’s face it: If you’re a business owner or a manager, employee performance appraisals can be uncomfortable. No one likes to receive a “surprise” evaluation that they’re not performing well. What’s more, if you ignore a small issue with an employee now, it could eventually snowball into a bigger problem later… at worst, it could result in an employment lawsuit.

5 WAYS TO ADDRESS POOR PERFORMANCE WITH AN EMPLOYEE

Having an established and documented employee performance review can help your business avoid costly discrimination lawsuits. If an employee is underperforming, here’s how to handle it.

  • Be direct and honest. First things first: A poor performance review should never come as a “surprise.” Good managers address poor performance directly when it happens—and always with transparency and empathy.
  • Be consistent. Consistency is key to avoiding claims of discrimination. Make sure you’re holding all your employees to the same standard. For example: If you discipline a low-performing employee for being late, don’t look the other way if a high-performing employee comes in late. (Related: Are you covered when an employee claims harassment or discrimination?)
  • Keep it objective. Hold your employees to an objective standard that they know and have agreed to—for example, an attendance policy or employee handbook. Ensure there’s a legitimate business reason for discipline and avoid the temptation to provide overly subjective feedback.
  • Write it down. Document every action you take during the disciplinary process, including verbal warnings. Writing it down gives you credibility and lets the employee know the specifics of how to improve their performance and what consequences are at stake if they don’t. For serious or final warnings, ask your employee to sign and date the document and add a space for them to comment with feedback.
  • Know when to ask for help. If you feel over your head, reach out to a trusted mentor who has handled employee conduct issues before. And if things get really complicated, contact a human resources or legal professional who knows the ins and outs of employment law.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MY BUSINESS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT LAWSUITS?

Imagine a worst-case scenario: An employee sues your business for sexual harassment or discrimination (for example, on the basis of age, sex, race or disability). Unfortunately, these types of lawsuits do happen and even if the allegations are found to be groundless, responding to charges like these can cost thousands of dollars.

You can help protect your business by adding Employment Practices Liability (EPL) coverage to your business insurance policy. Most standard EPL insurance policies offer a measure of protection against lawsuits brought against your business by employees alleging wrongful acts (sexual harassment or discrimination) or wrongful termination. You can purchase and add the coverage to your business policy as an endorsement. Learn more about our custom solutions for business insurance.

Read More
Data Breach

5 Things to Know About Small Business Data Breaches

A data breach is not something that just happens to mega retailers – small businesses are also at risk. From customers’ credit card numbers to employee tax information, it’s likely that your small business handles sensitive data on a regular basis. (Learn how to keep data safe in this related blog post.)

All it takes is one convincing phishing email or a stolen laptop for that sensitive data to get into the wrong hands. Here are five surprising things to know about small business data breaches – and how you can protect yourself.

DATA BREACHES: WHAT SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS SHOULD KNOW

  1. They affect any business, large or small: In 2020, almost a third of data breaches involved small businesses, according to Small Business Trends. Larger businesses might have the money and resources to help them recover, but smaller companies face greater challenges in the recovery process.
  2. They’re costly. If several records are compromised, you could easily be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. These expenses can include legal fees; costs to upgrade or replace your POS system (depending on the source of the breach) or even a forensic examination. Some of the more serious small business data breaches have led businesses to close. For those that do stay open, it can be costly to repair the damage to their reputation and restore customers’ trust.
  3. They have multiple causes.  Small businesses can experience a data breach in a number of different ways. In 2020, 70% of breaches were caused by external sources. Phishing scams top the list. Phishing is a tactic scammers use to contact others by email, phone or text– acting as a legitimate institution – to lure them into providing sensitive data.  Another popular method for hackers is to install spyware to get into your system to steal private information.
  4. They can take a while to detect. The complexity of today’s technology combined with the sophistication of many hackers can make a data breach fly under the radar for weeks or even months. It can be hard for a small business, lacking the resources that many big businesses have, to uncover a breach.
  5. If it happens to you, take action and alert those involved. It’s important to let your customers and employees know what’s going on. Be transparent and be prepared to address any questions from affected individuals. Several states even require that businesses contact any individuals whose private, nonpublic information is exposed through a data breach. For trusted advice, read this guide to data breach response for business owners from the Federal Trade Commission.

PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS WITH BUSINESS DATA BREACH COVERAGE FROM ERIE

Having the right data security procedures in place can help reduce the risk of small business data breaches – but a data breach can still happen.

Here’s the good news: A business insurance policy from ERIE can help protect you with specialized coverage to get things back to normal.

Read More
Workers Compensation

What to Know About Workers’ Compensation and Working from Home

In the midst of this pandemic, you may have found yourself among the 63 percent of Americans working from home. A recent Gartner poll predicts that 48 percent of workers will continue to work remote at least part time even when it’s safe to physically return to work again.

Of course, working from home has pros and cons. It also raises serious questions like what would happen if an employee becomes injured while performing work at home.

Workers’ compensation (often shortened to workers’ comp) laws and requirements vary by state, but generally, any business that has employees must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It helps cover medical care and lost wages for an employee who is hurt at work.

With many employees working from the kitchen table or the home office, it helps to know how workers’ compensation can kick in. (As always, talk to your local ERIE agent for questions about your specific policy.)

WILL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVER AN EMPLOYEE IF THEY GET INJURED WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?

If an employee is hurt on work premises, they’re typically covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation policy. Workers’ compensation provides coverage for injury or disease employees sustain in the course and scope of employment. It applies regardless of negligence, with workers’ compensation laws varying by state.

Most telecommuters are still covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation coverage, whether full-time remote workers or temporary due to pandemic stay-at-home orders.

“It’s important to remember that workers’ compensation insurance isn’t tied to a building,” says Leo Heintz, vice president of commercial products at ERIE. “It follows you wherever you go, subject to the policy conditions, while you’re at work.”

WHAT ARE COMMON INJURIES THAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN WORKING FROM HOME?

Common injuries telecommuting office workers experience include carpal tunnel syndrome; back sprains and strains; and slips, trips and falls. The injury or disease typically has to arise out of a work-related activity to be covered under workers’ comp.

“Injuries are possible even if you have a desk job,” Heintz said. “That’s why it’s important to practice the same good ergonomic activities at your home office as you do when at your regular office. Simple things like good posture and remembering to take time and stretch, or getting up and walking around, can make all the difference.”

Read More
Erie - COVID-19

8 Things ERIE is Doing During COVID-19

When Erie Insurance opened for business in 1925, our co-founder H.O. Hirt inspired us with his motto: Never lose the human touch.

Well… these days, the “human touch” looks a lot different. But that spirit is still alive in us at ERIE, where we’re still here for you and the communities we serve.

Check our COVID-19 Information Center for the latest news and announcements. For questions about your specific policy, review our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

In case you missed it: Here’s a recap of what we’re doing to help.

HOW IS ERIE INSURANCE HELPING CUSTOMERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS?

We’re providing financial relief, flexible payment options, community support and more. Here’s what to know.

  1. Customer dividends, mailed directly to you in May: Most people are doing the right thing by staying home and not driving. We’re following suit by doing the right thing, too. ERIE is providing $200 million in dividends directly to our personal and commercial auto insurance customers, pending regulatory approval. This immediate relief represents about 30% of related auto insurance premiums over a two-month period, or 5% of your annual premium. There’s no need to call your ERIE agent or request a check – it will be mailed directly to you. Learn more about our customer dividends, announced April 21, 2020.
  2. Lower auto insurance rates for long-term relief: In addition to the dividends mentioned above, we’re lowering auto insurance rates for personal and commercial customers for long-term, steady and stable relief. Pending regulatory approval, rate reductions will vary by state and will be based on individually purchased policies and coverage options. Once approved, premium adjustments will take effect at the time of renewal and the estimated total will provide an additional $200 million in financial relief to ERIE customers. Learn more about our rate reductions, announced April 9, 2020.
  3. Flexible payment and billing options: Your local agent can help you with updating coverages. Agents and ERIE’s Customer Care teams may also be able to assist with delaying payment dates, adjusting installments, changing pay plans and waiving penalties and fees. In addition, some billing requests including deferring payments and nonpay cancellations can also be requested through erieinsurance.com/help or through your ERIE Online Account.
  4. Contact-free life insurance coverage: For a limited time, Erie Family Life is offering applicants a path to life insurance coverage without the requirement of a paramedical exam. The option to waive the exam is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The waiver provides Erie Insurance customers the ability to obtain life insurance without in-person interaction. The offer is available for applicants up to age 55 and policy face amounts up to $500,000. Learn more about the paramedical exam waiver, announced March 24, 2020.
  5. Expanding identity recovery services to extended family members living elsewhere: Social distancing directives result in many people staying connected virtually, which may result in increased exposure to cybercrime. ERIE offers identity recovery coverage with all ErieSecure Home® bundles and as an add-on to our Home Protector policies. Through August 2020, we’re extending support services to assist in recovering from a possible identity theft at no additional cost to include our customers’ extended family members, including those not residing with the policyholder. This includes:
    • Adult children (26 or older), their spouse and their children
    • Parents, including stepparents and legally adoptive parents
    • Siblings, including step-siblings and adoptive siblings
  6. Gift card reimbursement coverage: From your favorite lunch spot to that funky art gallery, our local small businesses make our hometowns feel like home. We rely on them daily – and now, they need us. So go ahead and stock up on gift cards, worry-free. Pending regulatory approval in several states, Erie Insurance is adding gift card and gift certificate reimbursement coverage to the company’s ErieSecure Home® policies. The additional feature, included at no additional cost, would reimburse customers for remaining balances on gift cards that can no longer be used at independently owned and operated local businesses due to business closures.Learn more about our gift card coverage, announced April 16, 2020.
  7. Giving back to our hometown: Erie Insurance provided a lead gift to support the Erie Community Foundation’s new COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund recently established in our home city of Erie, Pennsylvania. This fund will directly support 501(c)(3) organizations in Erie County, Pennsylvania that are providing support to those in need, administering care for children, serving elderly populations who are most vulnerable and helping those suffering hardships and job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  8. Giving back to our agents and all the communities we serve: Our agents and employees are stepping up to thank first responders, healthcare workers and others on the front lines. To boost that, we’re making nearly $2.5 million available to agents and branch offices to support their charitable work in local communities.

For 95 years, we’ve been standing by our customers in times of hardship and catastrophe. These times are unprecedented, but our mission hasn’t changed. From 1925 to today, our mission to “do the right thing” still drives every decision we make.

Read More
COVID-19

Support Your Local Businesses Right Now

COVID-19Even when we’re told to maintain social distance, we need each other more than ever.

As the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, it’s essential to follow public health guidance from experts such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local government to keep your distance and slow the spread. (Read more about how ERIE and our local agents are maintaining our commitment to serving you in our message on COVID-19.)

Beyond the health impacts, though, there’s also a community impact. Right now, things might feel lonely or uncertain – even scary. And that’s especially true for small business owners – in particular, those that have been instructed to close their doors.

From your favorite lunch spot to that funky art gallery, our local small businesses are a beloved part of what make our hometowns feel like home. We rely on them daily – and now, they need us. If you’ve got a little extra to spare in these uncertain times, here’s how you can help out your local small businesses.

HOW TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS

  1. Buy local whenever you can. When it comes time to stock up on pantry staples, think about supporting that mom-and-pop shop first. The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) has fascinating data about how locally owned businesses generate larger “local economic multipliers.” Your support might make a bigger impact than you think.
  2. Order takeout or delivery from your favorite local restaurants. Extra perk: No dishes.
  3. Buy gift cards or gift certificates. Many places accept contact-free payment online or over the phone. Stock up now and treat yourself to a night on the town when this all blows over. For places you rely on regularly – for example, your hair salon – buy an extra service or two now if you can, since you know for sure you’ll use it in the months ahead.
  4. Buy gifts for friends or family. Is it crazy to think about starting your holiday shopping in the spring? You’ll thank yourself later – and, hey, it’s something to pass the time! (Read our list of tips for safe online holiday shopping.)
  5. Leave a generous tip. With lower customer volume, servers and bartenders might be making less than usual. If you have it to spare, throw a few extra dollars their way. (And don’t forget to tip the delivery driver!)
  6. Buy merch or other gear. We get it – you can only order so much takeout, especially if you’re not getting your usual number of steps in. Think about buying a coffee mug, T-shirt or ball cap to show some local love. Buying merch can especially help touring musicians, who might have had to cancel shows in the interest of public health.
  7. Tune in to live streams. With bars, restaurants, and other gathering spaces closed, gig workers like musicians might be out of work. Show your support with a like and comment on your favorite local band’s livestream. (And if they have a digital tip jar, send a few dollars there just like you would at the corner bar.)
  8. Take an online class. Personal trainers, yoga instructors, and fitness pros might be out of work, too – and we all know it’s important to keep moving when you’re stuck at home. See who’s streaming and consider throwing them a digital tip as a thank-you. (Laundry piling up? Read our list of 7 must-know hacks to clean fitness gear.)
  9. Buy some cool art. Websites like Etsy make it easy to search by location and find artists in your community – and you might be going stir-crazy to freshen up your space, anyhow. Some local artists might be doing “draw-alongs” or other livestreams. Add them to the list of folks who would appreciate a digital tip, too. (Keeping the kiddos occupied with art projects of their own? Read our list of 5 stylish ways to display children’s artwork.)
  10. Leave a positive review. If you’re short on cash, boosting a local place’s reputation is worth its weight in gold. While you’re at home, type up a couple good comments for your favorite spots to leave on social media or search engines. (Get other ideas to pass the time in our list of 21 ways to beat cabin fever.)
  11. Check with your local chamber of commerce or small business association. Local groups might be planning events, discounts, or promotions unique to your area. Get connected and see what’s happening in your neighborhood.
  12. Pay it forward. If you’re fortunate to have some steady cash flow right now, remember that others might not. Consider treating the next person in line behind you – or making a donation to a charity that helps the less fortunate in your community.
Read More
Small Business Week

Small Business Week – May 3-9

Small Business WeekEach year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes the powerful contributions of America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs with National Small Business Week.

This year’s National Small Business Week runs from May 3-9, 2020, and will include plenty of opportunities for small businesses of all kinds to share the message.

IDEAS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS WEEK

Need some inspiration? Here are five ways your business can participate in Small Business Week.

  1. Celebrate your customers. Every time someone walks through your doors, they’re making a choice. The relationship between a small business and its customers is something special—and something big companies just can’t match. Show your appreciation (while also driving sales) through a customer appreciation event or Small Business Week sale. Spread the word on social media and build buzz with surprise giveaways for fans and followers.
  2. Team up with other small businesses. Remind the local community how small businesses have helped shape their town by partnering with other business owners to celebrate and promote the week. Hand out coupons for the store up the street and have them do the same for you. Get creative finding ways to encourage locals to visit one small business after another.
  3. Think big with local professional organizations. Find out what your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organizations are up to for this year’s Small Business Week and see how you can get involved. Not much happening? Get involved yourself and help get something going this year. Find out what they’ve done in the past and see how you can help make this year even better.
  4. Celebrate SBA Award Winners. During Small Business Week, the SBA will be announcing the winners of several awards, including Small Business Person of the Year, which is awarded for each of the 50 states, plus D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Take the opportunity to celebrate your favorites as they’re announced and take to social media to share the stories of the small businesses that inspire you.
  5. Say hello to your local ERIE agent. Your local ERIE agent knows small business because they are a small business. If you haven’t had your coverage reviewed recently, now is a great time to speak with an independent professional who understands exactly where you’re coming from. Check in to talk coverage (or just say hi).

Talk to your local ERIE agent to make sure you have the right business insurance you need this Small Business Week and for many Small Business Weeks to come. Reach out today – from one small business to another.

Read More
Font Resize