What is General Liability Insurance?

If you operate a business in Maine, you may be asked for a certificate of insurance to prove that you have general 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, starting at a few hundred dollars a year. Yours will depend on many factors, including:

  • Type of business or operation;
  • Your revenues or payroll;
  • How long you have been in operation;
  • Personal qualifications and licenses;
  • Prior claims;
  • Whether you combine your business property insurance with your GL coverage.

Business Liability Insurance Questions?

If you have Maine business liability insurance questions, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent for prompt, professional answers. We offer a choice of many of Maines top business insurers. We also have access to dozens of specialty insurers. That means we can help you find the right fit for your organization and budget. Call us at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

Business Insurance Inspection in Maine: What to Expect

Business insurance inspection is common in Maine. Commercial insurance companies routinely inspect businesses that they protect. Inspections allow them to make sure that they insure businesses that fit their guidelines and that their policyholders are adequately protected.

Is a Business Insurance Inspection Mandatory?

Inspections are expensive for insurance companies. They only perform them when they feel it’s necessary. Often, one of three conditions can cause an underwriter to order an inspection on your business:

  • You recently switched insurance to a new company. The new company wants to make sure that your business meets their underwriting requirements.
  • You recently had a claim. The insurance company may want to make sure that you have repaired any property damage or addressed the cause of a liability or workers comp claim.
  • Your business has expanded or moved. Businesses change, and so do their exposures to loss. Insurance companies inspect periodically to keep up.
  • The insurance company hasn’t inspected in several years. Things can change, even if your business stays about the same size and in the same place. The insurance company wants to make sure that your policy stays up to date in case they have to pay a claim.

inspectorCan I Opt Out of a Business Insurance Inspection?

Every insurance policy is a contract. Each policy has an “inspection clause”, which gives the insurance company the right to inspect your business with reasonable advance notice. If you refuse, it’s a violation of the contract. The insurance company can cancel your business insurance as a result.

Does the Insurance Inspector Need to Get Inside my Business?

Almost always. There are two types of insurance inspections: exterior only; and interior/exterior. The company underwriter decides which report to order based upon what they insure, your claim history, and other factors. Unless your property is a rented apartment building, the inspector will probably want to see all the areas.

What Does an Inspector Look For?

Insurance Inspector Should

Some inspectors are employees of the insurance company, but many are independent contractors. During a routine inspection, the inspector looks for features of your property or operation that can affect insurance claims. Items they typically inspect include:

  • Condition of roof, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and similar systems.
  • General property condition, paying particular notice to maintenance and general housekeeping.
  • Special hazards such as commercial cooking, chemicals, pollutants and machinery.
  • Controls and PPE to protect workers.
  • Dimensions of structures, so they can estimate the cost to rebuild them.

What Happens During a Business Insurance Inspection?

The inspector sends their report to the insurance company underwriter. If no deficiencies are noted, you will probably not hear from anyone. If the underwriter has concerns, they will ask you to address them. It’s important to pay attention and respond to these. Failing to do so can cause insurance price increases, or even policy cancellation.

If you have a question about Greater Portland Maine business insurance,  contact a Noyes Hall & Allen agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer you a choice of Maine’s preferred property insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

3 Tips for Buying Portland Maine Business Insurance

Portland Maine business insurance doesn't have to be complicated

Buying Portland Maine business insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. If you own a business, it’s important to protect your asset with commercial insurance. These policies can protect your building and vehicles against liability, theft, fire and more.

Whether you just started a business or need to upgrade your existing commercial insurance, the team at Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance has put together this short list to help you get started. 

1. Find a Reputable Business Insurance Agent

Working with a friendly and reputable local insurance agent takes the hassle out of buying a new commercial insurance. They will ask you some questions to get a better understanding of what coverage you need.

Many Maine people prefer to do business locally. A good local agent knows the area, and what Maine’s unique hazards and opportunities. They can help you compare quotes, understand your coverage and bundle your policies. Check their online reviews to help you choose. 

2. Compare Several Quotes

It’s smart to compare three or more quotes during the commercial insurance buying process to find the right one. Go over each in detail with your reputable agent, asking questions for clarification as needed. Policies will differ on price and coverage so be sure to understand what you’re getting and for what price.

Fortunately, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance offers a choice of 10 of Maine’s top business insurance companies. That means we can do the shopping and comparison for you, with one stop. 

3. Bundle Your Business Insurance Policies

If you need more than one type of insurance, consider bundling with one insurance company. For example, insuring your business vehicles and your property with the same company can simplify billing and save on your premiums.  

Own a Portland Maine Area Business?

Have insurance questions? Contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of  many insurance companies and have served the local business community for almost 90 years. We’re independent and committed to you. 

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.

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.