Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


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All Posts in Category: Business Insurance

Business-Insurance

Business Risks You May Not Think About

Risk control consultants are the preventative care professionals of business insurance. They can help you detect potential hazards to your business’s well-being and help you understand what actions you can take to keep things healthy.

Good news: Qualifying customers who have business insurance with ERIE have access to customized risk control services. That’s just one more way we’re looking out for you.

Learn more: How an ERIE Risk Control Consultant Can Help You

Bob Kupris, a commercial insurance veteran with more than 30 years in risk control, leads ERIE’s team of risk control consultants. We asked him for an insider’s perspective on what consultants look for – and the surprising things they find.

RISKY BUSINESS

To get things started, let your ERIE agent know that you’re interested in focusing on risk control for your business.  ERIE’s professional consultants can offer many resources to help, including a walk-through for  businesses who qualify. . They’re looking for ways for you to mitigate risks by identifying potential loss exposures and providing information on solutions to control and/or eliminate them.

ERIE’s consultants have specialized areas of knowledge –property, commercial auto, workers’ compensation, products liability and construction/contracting – to better meet customers’ needs.

Their keen eyes are quick to spot things you might expect, such as fire protection. However, there are a few less obvious risks Kupris says are equally as common and – in some cases – on the rise.

SURPRISING CULPRITS

You know the ins and outs of your business better than anyone. So, what might a risk control consultant be able to see that you might not?

Here are a few surprising trends risk control has noticed:

  • Lack of commitment from management. Maintaining a hazard-free workplace is the law, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. What’s more, it’s more likely to happen if owners and managers make it a priority. A recent OSHA study found that non-fatal workplace injuries cost businesses more than $125 billion a year.With that in mind, Kupris says the first thing he notices is management controls to determine the commitment to workplace safety. “It’s one of the most important things we look at,” he said. “Companies that have management support tend to have better safety records and also tend to be more productive.”
  • Data breaches caused by your company. According to the Insurance Information Institute, credit card fraud and employment-related fraud are two of the top five ways consumers fall victim to identify theft. It’s the area of risk Kupris says he’s seen grow the fastest. Having iron-clad cyber security safeguards against hacks and the right coverage is the best way to prevent your company from experiencing, or potentially causing, a data breach.Related Reading: Is Your Business Data Secure?
  • Employees distracted behind the wheel. In ERIE’s 2018 distracted driving study, it was discovered that in fatal car accidents caused by distracted drivers, 61 percent were generally inattentive. Kupris says drivers of commercial vehicles are no exception to this scary statistic and he’s seen a spike in commercial auto claims, which can affect your insurance rates and everyone’s safety. Does your business employ a no cell phone policy for your drivers?If your drivers have to use GPS, is it hands-free?

THE ERIE APPROACH TO RISK CONTROL

Providing preventative plans to these risks and more is where ERIE’s risk control consultants shine. Here are some examples of the most unique support in the industry they provide to commercial customers, at no additional fee:

  • All the tools in their toolbox. For qualifying ERIE customers,consultants offer a wide range of risk control services, including OSHA Outreach Training Programs, customized written safety programs and disaster planning resources from The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

  • Support that isn’t just for the big guys. ERIE offers follow-up consultations to help businesses, regardless of whether they’re the biggest fish in the pond. “Many insurance companies won’t go out on something small,” Kupris said. “But at ERIE, we don’t operate that way.” If you want follow-up assessments or training for your business, ask your agent how ERIE can help.
  • A close working relationship with your ERIE agent. “It’s really a joint effort,” Kupris said. “ERIE agents really take a genuine interest in their customers and our team of consultants. That’s something you don’t always see at other places.”
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Duane Long - Monte Long

Duane Long + Monte Long

We provide Property, Casualty and Life insurance for personal and commercial needs.
Individual: Home, Auto, Life, etc. … Business, Prop., Casualty, WC, etc.

See https://www.facebook.com/DuaneLongInsurance/ for local news!

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Umbrella Policy

Why Should I Consider a Business Umbrella Policy?

As a proud business owner, it’s your job to consider the “what-ifs” for your business. Of course, you don’t want to think about the worst… but in order to be prepared, it’s a necessity. No matter how careful or cautious you and your employees are, accidents do happen – and sometimes they can be serious.

 

If you experience a catastrophic accident, things can get costly… and fast. That’s where your ERIE agent and ERIE’s Business Umbrella Policy can help.

 

Why Do I Need a Business Umbrella Policy?

This specialized policy can kick in with extra financial protection against a legal judgment for a covered loss. Business umbrella liability offers a cushion above and beyond the limits of your commercial general liability, professional liability, business auto liability and employer’s liability insurance.

 

Business umbrella insurance could help you when facing a serious and costly claim, for example:

 

  • One of your drivers causes a very serious accident and a suit is filed against your business.
  • A fire starts at your owned location and damages several other buildings in the surrounding area. A suit is filed against your business for the resulting damage.
  • Your business gets sued because a customer is injured by a product he or she purchased through your business.
  • A competitor claims you made false or malicious statements about their business in public or in an advertisement and decides to take legal action.

 

A major claim, like those mentioned above, could threaten the very existence of your business. And if a claim is serious enough, it could even have the potential to put your own personal assets — like your home and your retirement account — at risk.

 

What Erie Insurance Offers

ERIE’s Business Umbrella coverage offers your business $1 million or more of extra protection above your primary Erie Insurance policy’s liability coverage.

 

ERIE’s business policies also give you access to a variety of resources including:

  • Coverage for legal costs to defend a covered claim.
  • Assistance from a risk control consultant who can recommend measures to help you identify, manage and reduce your business’s risks (Learn more about our risk control services.)
  • Access to online disaster planning and business continuity tools through the Institute for Business and Home Safety’s “Open for Business” program.

 

Business umbrella insurance is probably more affordable thank you think.

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Buy-Sell

Business Owners: Protect with a Buy-Sell Agreement

Business Owners: Protect Your Hard Work with This Important Agreement

If you’re a small business owner, you know what hard work means. It means sacrifice. It means connecting to people in the right way at the right time—often during the early morning, in the evening and on weekends. It means putting your business before anything else (even, at times, family). It means being your brand and being on, all the time.

That kind of significance carries extra weight that business owners don’t always realize. What happens when a partner unexpectedly has to file for bankruptcy? Or becomes disabled? Or worst of all, passes away?

Here at Erie Insurance, we’ve seen a number of unfortunate happenings that have affected businesses just this past year—from a 49 year-old business owner who was hit by a car while training for a marathon; to a 25-year old who passed tragically after a car accident; to another who unexpectedly suffered a heart attack.

These are stories of independent insurance agents who represented ERIE—people we partnered with to help customers find customized solutions right for them.

Like all small business owners, ERIE’s agents are committed to doing business in their local communities. They volunteer across numerous organizations, provide jobs and advocate for their customers to help them find the best insurance for them. And also like most small business owners, they are missed by many when they unexpectedly pass.

Because they are independent business owners, we encourage our agents to have a plan in place for when they retire and which can be used if life does not go as planned—something that provides guidance for what they want their business to become.

As your insurance advisor, they most likely advocate that you have a plan in place as a business owner, too, particularly a buy-sell agreement funded by life insurance.

Here’s some information to help you with the conversations about buy-sell agreements and tips for putting one in place:

 

  • What it is: A buy-sell, or buyout, agreement is a legally binding document that determines how ownership should be handled should a co-owner unexpectedly leave the business, whether through death, disablement or other unexpected circumstances.
  • What they should include: A good buy-sell agreement should include a current business valuation clause that allows an expert to assess the value of the business if needed. It should also include who can and can’t be a buyer and how any sale of ownership will be funded—i.e. through proceeds from life insurance, credit or cash.
  • How life insurance can help: When co-owners own life insurance policies on each other that name themselves as beneficiaries (a cross-purchase agreement), life insurance can help pay for a partner to buy the portion of the business that lost an owner if that person passed away. Without this funding, a partner may not be able to afford to buy the portion of the business they’ve worked so hard to build. Instead, the ownership may transfer to the previous owner’s spouse, family member or even a bank or lender associated with the partner who passed. There are also entity agreements designed for LLCs and c-corporations where the company owns the insurance and the buy-sell agreement stipulates the company will buy the deceased owner’s shares.

Consult appropriate, legal, accounting and business professionals and talk to your local ERIE agent today about how life insurance can help you in building this important plan.

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Insurance-Adjuster

What is an Insurance Adjuster?

Most of us know what an insurance company is. But just what is an insurance adjuster?

Sometimes it’s not clear who adjusters are and how they’re trained for the job. (After all, how many colleges offer “insurance adjusting” as a major?)

To get some answers, we went behind the scenes with Chad Smith, a property claims specialist at Erie Insurance who handles large losses. Read on to learn more about him and all the important ways he helps Customers in their time of need.

In your own words, what is an insurance adjuster?
To me, an insurance adjuster is someone who has a great deal of responsibility and accountability. An adjuster owes that not just to the company he or she represents, but to the customers who’ve experienced a loss.

At Erie Insurance, adjusters are the ambassadors of the company. People don’t really see how an insurance company works until they have a loss, and we represent that.

What kind of background do you need to become an adjuster?
More often than not, you need to have a college degree. I have a business degree, but insurance adjusters can pursue other fields as well. I would also recommend adding computer and math classes to your coursework.

How did you become an adjuster?
ERIE hired me as an adjuster shortly after graduating from college. I went through a few months of training that included both classroom and field training. I was tested on information and then spent some time out in the field with seasoned adjusters and appraisers to learn about what they did first hand. Because I work directly for an insurance company, I don’t need a license to be an adjuster. However, the rules vary by state.

What kind of skills do you need as an adjuster?
Being people-oriented is a must. You need to be able to empathize with the Customer by putting yourself in their shoes. Honesty and integrity are essential in establishing trust.

Because of the way the field is evolving, you need to be really comfortable with technology or be willing to learn it. To grow as a professional adjuster, you have to move beyond in-house training and pursue professional insurance designations like the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Claims (AIC).

What is a normal day like?
There really is no normal day. And that’s one reason why I love my job!

In order to handle it, you have to structure your days to a certain degree, but also maintain flexibility. I might plan to make calls all morning—but if I get an urgent claim, I need to reorder my day. I’m always busy.

What hours do you work?
I usually start early and end late. Sometimes I work weekends. I enjoy a lot of freedom with this position—and I’m available almost 24/7 because that’s how you provide great service. You can’t be stuck in the traditional nine-to-five, Monday through Friday mindset as an adjuster.

What’s the most memorable claim experience you’ve had?
Over the years, I’ve had many. One that stands out is working during the 2011 tornado catastrophes in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. ERIE was the first insurance company on the scene. There was a lot of damage, but I was able to respond quickly and help Customers affected by the tornadoes. The fast response was made possible by the way ERIE set up its catastrophe team units. Some people I spoke to said neighbors with other carriers hadn’t even heard from their adjusters yet. It was extremely gratifying to help ERIE’s Customers when they really needed it.

What’s the most gratifying part of your job?
Knowing in my heart that I did the best I could for ERIE and for the Customer on every claim that I handle. I remember one claim we had to deny; even still, the Customer sent me a card thanking me for how polite and helpful I’d been during the process. Everyone should receive the same level of service, regardless of the outcome.

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/what-is-an-insurance-adjuster

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Business Risks

4 Overlooked Business Risks Covered

The success of any business depends on hard work and ingenuity. Should disaster strike, business insurance helps protect the effort and money you’ve invested in your business. But because businesses are so diverse, you should consider a variety of optional coverages too. These extras are added to your business insurance policy as endorsements. Here’s how endorsements can help cover four common business risks.

1. Data breaches: Any business that has personal or medical information about its customers, tenants or employees is at risk for a data breach. Most states have breach notification laws that not only require a business owner to inform any affected individuals (customers) of a data breach but also specify the manner and period in which the business owner must inform customers. Here are coverages you may want to consider:

  • Data Breach Response ExpensesIt could cover the expenses you incur when notifying affected individuals of a breach per state laws.
  • Data Breach Liability Coverage: It could cover damages that you are legally obligated to pay when your customers’ nonpublic personal information that is lost, stolen or accidentally released is used fraudulently. It also covers the cost to defend lawsuits seeking damages.

2. Employment practices liability: These days, hiring, firing and day-to-day employee management can be risky business. You’d like to think that your employees would never dream of filing a claim or suit against you or your business for discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment or sexual harassment. Unfortunately, it does happen. Responding to claims or suits like these will require time and money.

With Employment Practices Liability Coverage, you will not have to face an employment claim on your own. It can help protect you against liability damages and cover defense costs.

3. Professional liability: You’re expected to have technical knowledge or training in a particular area of expertise or perform certain services according to the standards of your profession. If you fail, you could be held responsible for any harm that you caused to another person or business. Professional liability coverage can provide you with protection for claims arising from negligent business or professional practices.

4. Identity theft: As a small business owner, your personal credit may be tied closely to your business. Having your own identity stolen, could jeopardize your credit and affect your business operations. ERIE’s Identity Theft Recovery coverage can be added to a business insurance policy and provide coverage1 for:

  • Certain legal fees, such as those incurred while defending any civil suits brought against you by creditors or collection agencies.
  • Lost wages.
  • Credit reports and postage, phone and shipping fees related to resolving identity theft and fraud.

Your business needs protection provided by a company and insurance adviser that you can trust.

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