How Much Commercial Insurance does Your Small Business Need in Maine?

Are you a small business owner in Portland, ME looking to protect your assets? The last thing that you need is for disaster to strike and to learn that your policy limits are too low for you to rebuild the company. Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland can help you determine how much coverage your small business needs to survive a catastrophic event.

What is considered a small business in Maine?

By definition, a small business owner in Portland, ME is a someone who owns a company with fewer than 50 employees. Technically, sole proprietors are considered small business owners even though they are the only employee at their company. Even those who work from home should consider commercial insurance since homeowner’s policies tend to reject claims resulting from conducting business in the residence. Imagine the entire cost of medical bills for one of your clients resting on your shoulders because your homeowner’s insurance policy refused to cover a business-related slip-and-fall incident!

How much coverage do you need?

The amount of coverage varies by business. Many low-risk companies such as those primarily operated online may think they only need a minimal amount. Retail business owners might understand the exposure to loss that their customers’ foot traffic creates, and be more likely to want higher insurance limits. In reality, your liability limit should be at least $1,000,000 per occurrence – higher if  your business’ net worth exceeds that. Of course, Maine small business owners with employees also need to buy workers compensation insurance.

You have worked hard to establish yourself as the owner of your company. Do not let an incident threaten your financial stability. Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance today at 207-799-5541 for a Maine business insurance quote!

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.

How to Keep the Funds in Your Fundraising Event

 

You created a fabulous signature event for your non-profit. The stakes are high. Your budget – maybe your job – depends on its success. But you’ve done your homework. The board is jazzed. Volunteers, donors and the venue are ready. Publicity and social media are on point. RSVPs and reservations are rolling in.

Now all you need is good luck. Here’s how to stack the odds in your favor.

Your Programs Depend on the Event’s Revenue. Protect It

Insure the weather.

Does the forecast keep you up at night for weeks before your event? Believe it or not, you can insure the weather. A special insurance policy can reimburse you for lost revenue caused by stormy weather.

How does weather insurance work? Pick the amount of income you want to protect, and a “trigger”. For example, if it snows more than 6” at the event site, your insurance pays the amount on your policy.  It might cost a few points of revenue, but it’s better than a big loss if the weather makes everyone stay home.

Hire Out the Risky Stuff

Your non-profit is probably not in the business of tending bar, supervising a road race or shucking oysters. Do yourself a favor: hire a professional. One with their own insurance.

Don’t take on a lot of risk for a little savings. If something goes wrong, those savings are soon forgotten. But the injury or damage you caused to others – and to your reputation – could last a long time.

Protect Donations

Do you collect and store auction prizes and other donations before your big event? Don’t let a broken pipe, fire or theft erase the good they were intended to do. Add them to your insurance policy – and remove them after the event.  It doesn’t cost much, and can save a lot.

While we’re at it, make sure you have “money and securities” coverage and “employee dishonesty” coverage. Make sure your organization keeps the funds you worked hard to raise.

Love Your Volunteers

Your organization would be lost without them. You appreciate the heck out of them. Do you treat them that way? Would you leave them out to dry if they got in trouble from working your event? Does your insurance protect them against lawsuits for injury or damage they cause while volunteering? If not, fix that. Now.

What about board members? Committed directors are hard to find. Does your non-profit have Directors & Officers Liability coverage? Those with considerable assets are more likely to serve if they have protection from lawsuit. Don’t you owe that to them?

 

Talk to your insurance agent about your event. Explore the coverage we listed above. See what fits your budget. Better to explain to your board that you investigated insurance and chose not to buy it than that you never thought of it.

Noyes Hall & Allen helps Greater Portland non-profits manage their risk within their budget. That allows them to stay true to their mission and avoid financial catastrophe. If you’d like to talk to a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent, call 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

What is Commercial General Liability Insurance?

If you operate a business in Maine, you may be asked for a certificate of insurance to prove that you have liability coverage. Some people think about liability insurance when they first start their business; others don’t think of it until someone asks for proof.

What Does General Liability Insurance Do?

GL insurance protects your business’ assets against lawsuits for:

  • Bodily Injury caused by your actions, or that happen on your premises.
  • Property Damage  that you cause to the property of others.
  • Personal Injury, such as slander, libel or invasion of privacy.
  • Products and Completed Operations Liability – in case your product or work harms someone or their property.

How Much Business Liability Insurance Do I Need?

Liability insurance protects your assets. So, you should at least carry enough to protect the net worth of your business. You may also be required to carry a certain limit of liability coverage in order to perform work for a certain client. A $1 million per-occurrence limit is common. Higher limits are available, as are commercial umbrella policies, which provide even higher limits.

What General Liability Insurance Does NOT Protect Against

  • Professional Liability, such as improper design, malpractice, errors or omissions. You need separate Maine professional liability insurance to get this coverage.
  • Employment Practices Liability, such as wrongful termination, sexual harassment or employee benefits liability. You should purchase Maine Workers’ Compensation and Employment Practices Liability Insurance if you have these exposures.
  • Auto Liability. You should purchase  Maine Business Auto commercial vehicle insurance if your company owns vehicles. If your company owns no vehicles, you should add Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability coverage to your GL policy.
  • Pollution Liability. If your business uses pollutants, you should purchase separate insurance for this.

How Much Does General Liability Insurance Cost?

Rates vary, based upon factors including:

  • Type of business;
  • Your revenues or payroll;
  • How long you have been in business, and your qualifications;
  • Loss experience.
  • Whether you combine your business property coverage with your GL coverage.
If you have Maine business liability insurance questions, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent for prompt, professional answers.

Three Ways to Keep Epsilon Spammers from Phishing Your Money!

On March 30, Epsilon, one of the world’s largest email marketing companies, reported a breach of their system.  Epsilon sends more than 40 billion emails a year to consumers who register on one of their clients’ websites or who give their email addresses while shopping.

Have You Received an Email Like This One?

“Dear Valued Customer,
On March 30th, we were informed by Epsilon, a company we use to send emails to our customers, that files containing the email addresses of some [company name here] customers were accessed without authorization.”

Millions of people have. As of April 18, 2011, clients of more than 100 companies and brands have been hit, including big names like GlaxoSmithKline, Shell, Radio Shack, PacSun, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, J. Jill, Sears, Crate & Barrel, Walgreens and Abercrombie & Fitch.

According to Epsilon, the breach was limited to email addresses or customer names only; they report that no other personal identifiable information was stolen. Despite that, many security experts are concerned about the implications.

Having even a person’s email address and their spending habits or favorite brands may make it easier to craft a sophisticated phishing attack. For example, you could get an email that appears to be from a company you know and trust, asking you to log in and provide  information that may seem harmless. This nefarious technique is called “spear-phishing”.

Prevent Phishing Attacks

1.  Stay on guard – especially now. Be extra careful about where you click and what information you enter on a website.

2.  Scrutinize emails from any company. Look for typos and strange URLs. Look at the email address of the sender. Don’t click on those links!

3.  Call the company in question if you get a suspicious email,. No company should be asking you for sensitive information by email.

If you have questions about identity theft in Maine, contact Noyes Hall & Allen, a Maine Trusted Choice independent insurance agent. If you’re looking for Maine data breach business insurance, our business insurance specialists can help.  Call us at 207-799-5541.

Thanks to Steve Anderson for sharing these tips, which we’re sharing with his permission.