Commercial Insurance for Maine Business Start-Ups

Commercial insurance is requisite for any business in the modern world, including start-ups. In fact, new businesses or start-ups have the most to lose if things go south. Therefore, it’s vital to protect yourself in the best possible way – including getting commercial insurance. In Maine, this type of coverage is not mandated, but if you are serious about running a successful business, you need to get it.

Purchasing commercial insurance might be the difference between death and survival  for your start-up. If you are planning to open a new business in The Pine Tree State and need coverage, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in Portland, ME is the place to look. We offer the following commercial insurance coverage options for start-ups:

  • General Liability Insurance for Start-Ups. GL pays for losses arising from settlements, claims, or lawsuits that your start-up may face due to injuries or property damage caused to third parties.
  • Professional Liability Insurance. Many creative and tech startups would face disaster if sued for copyright infringement, programming error, printing mistakes and other gaffes. Professional liability insurance protects you and your reputation by defending you and paying damages you might owe.
  • Property Insurance for Start-Ups. This covers physical assets owned by your start-up. This includes your investments in inventory, structures, equipment and company vehicles (commercial auto insurance). Damages caused by wind and hail storms, fire, smoke, collision and vandalism fall under this category.
  • Flood Insurance.  Flood damage isn’t covered by business property insurance. That’s why you need flood insurance for your start-up. Remember that flooding can occur anywhere, anytime. It helps to be covered from the resultant losses.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance. In Maine, if you have employees, you’re required to provide workers comp insurance. Your employees are an essential part of your business. Ensure that they are taken care of in case of an accident that results in injury, disability, or missed work.

Other coverage options are available, but these are the most important. Commercial insurance is the best way to make sure that your business doesn’t go under after an unfortunate event. For more information on commercial insurance from Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in Portland, ME, call us at 207-799-5541, or visit our website to get the answers you need.

Why Isn’t it Cheaper to Buy Higher Property Insurance Deductibles?

 

Recently, a very smart guy asked on Twitter:

“why does it cost $19 a year to reduce my deductible from $1,500 to $1,000, but I only save $25 a year to increase it from $1,500 to $5,000? Shouldn’t deductible affect premium linearly?”

Another very smart guy responded with the snark that insurance often inspires:

 

 

Insurance Can Seem Illogical

Insurance is a big budget item. It costs a lot to protect your home, condo, car and other stuff (we won’t even start on medical insurance).

Insurance seems even more expensive because most of us don’t have claims very often. The average person has 3 or 4 auto accidents in their driving lifetime, and a home insurance claim every 12 years.

Insurance Is Mostly Math – and Math is Logical

The key concept of insurance is that everyone pays a fixed amount each year to avoid paying a huge and uncertain amount if something terrible happens. The money paid by the many goes to the few who have losses.

The typical fire claim is about $45,000. Liability claims average about $22,000, and water damage $9,000. Any of those would be a financial catastrophe for many Americans. Better to pay a fraction of that each year in predicable installments.

Insurance rates aren’t random. Insurance companies submit their rate requests to state insurance departments for approval. Those requests are accompanied by data about loss payments and current projections produced by math nerds called actuaries. The math can be heavy, and the results hard to understand.

So, Why Aren’t Deductible Costs and Savings Linear?

You might think that increasing your deductible by $1,000 should save twice as much as a $500 increase. That’s because you’re thinking about yourself, and your experience. The insurance company thinks about everyone’s claims, not just yours.

Most Claims are Small

While the average insurance claim is big, most claims are small. For every $100,000 fire claim, there are dozens of $1,500 ones. Think about it: every larger claim exceeds a smaller deductible, but not every claim reaches the larger one.

 

Example

Here’s an example of 3 deductible scenarios using 8 typical claims:

 

What happens when the deductibles increase to $2,500?

The insurance company sees that they pay 24% more on policies with $1,000 deductibles compared to $2,500 deductibles, so they offer a corresponding discount in their rates.

What if the deductibles were $10,000 instead of $2,500?

An individual or business owner might look at those figures and say “I’m taking a lot more risk with a jumbo deductible, so I should get a big discount”.

But the insurance company pays only 19% less, despite the $10,000 deductibles vs. $2500. The insurance company’s risk of claims payments isn’t linear, and so neither are the deductible savings. That’s why you don’t save as much when you buy a much larger deductible.

Logical, no?

Do you live or own a business in Southern Maine? Have questions about your personal or business insurance?  Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of several of Maine’s top insurance companies. We can help you choose the most cost-effective property insurance deductible. We’re independent and committed to you.

2017 Auto Insurance Winners & Losers – and Why it May Not Matter

 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) released its annual market share report last week. It ranks US insurance companies by total sales. Some household names grew substantially. Other familiar brands lost big. Should Maine insurance consumers care? Should it affect your buying decision?

US Auto Insurance – a $230 Billion Industry

There’s plenty of competition for your insurance dollars. That’s why GEICO spends more than $1 billion a year on advertising, more than any other auto insurer. Was their big spending worth it? GEICO grew by more than $2 billion in premium last year. That’s more than twice the industry’s 2.5% growth in 2017.

Which Car Insurers Won and Lost in 2017?

Besides GEICO, Progressive grew by more than $1 billion in auto premium. USAA, Auto-owners and AAA rounded out the top 5. Allstate was the biggest loser. They shed almost $1 billion in auto insurance sales. Nationwide and Farmers weren’t far behind (ahead?). State Farm and Hartford rounded out the bottom 5, each losing almost $400 million of auto insurance premium.

Does it Matter Who Won?

Yes, and no. Growing companies can invest in new systems and even more advertising. Shrinking ones must cut costs. They might lay off claims adjusters or close offices to reduce expenses.

The winners and losers in the NAIC report have one thing in common. They’re all large insurers that write business countrywide. But many Maine consumers prefer to insure with smaller, regional insurers. Companies like Concord Group, Hanover and MMG Insurance have big market shares in Maine. New England insurers like these offer local claims and underwriting. They sell through local agents who provide advice and advocacy to their clients. They fly beneath the NAIC’s national radar.


Related: GEICO vs. Agent or Broker – Insurance Buying Tips


When Too Much Growth is Bad

Growth is good. But if an insurer grows too fast, bad things can happen:

  • Bad Service – an insurance company adding lots of new customers usually hires lots of sales people. If they don’t increase their claims and service staff by the same percentage, customer service can deteriorate. That can mean slower claim settlements, longer telephone hold times and inexperienced agents to give you advice.
  • Rate Increases – There are 2 easy ways to sell more insurance in the short run: sell it cheaper than the next guy; or relax standards to let more business in. Then it catches up. Pretty soon, they realize they haven’t charged enough premium to pay claims and expenses. They have to increase everyone’s rates to pay claims.

Is the Best Insurance Company One You’ve Never Heard Of? 

In Maine, many dependable, financially sound insurance companies don’t advertise. They have competitive rates. Their premiums don’t rise and fall dramatically. They settle claims fast and fairly using local adjusters.

How do you find these insurance companies? Contact a local independent agent like Noyes Hall & Allen in South Portland. We offer a choice from several top insurers and help you find the best fit and value. Want to get insurance quotes yourself? Get up to 5 Maine auto insurance quotes in 10 minutes from our web site. If you live outside southern Maine, look in your area for an independent agent like us. We’re independent and committed to you.