3 Types of Insurance Your Business May Not Need

Let’s face it; insurance agents aren’t normally in the business to tell you what types of a commercial insurance policy you don’t need.  In fact, many of our clients tell us that they often felt uncomfortable talking with former agents for fear they’d over sell them on coverage.

At Cleary Insurance, we’re all about risk management: determining where your risks are, and how to best mitigate them through several methods, one of which is carrying insurance.

So in this spirit, we’ve taken a look at some coverages that you should examine closely before jumping in. And if you ever need advice, just give us a call.

Cyber Liability Insurance

In the digital age, information has never been so accessible—and vulnerable. Online hackers threaten many businesses and companies, and Cyber Liability Insurance may provide protection against these types of attacks.

Commercial Insurance Policy_Keyboard

Heinan Landa, a contributing writer for the Boston Business Journal, highlights some alarming facts in one of his articles:

“According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, one-in five-small businesses falls victim to cybercrime each year, and of those businesses 60-percent will fold within six months of an attack.”

This threat and its detrimental effects are formidable, and certain precautions should definitely be pursued. However, is the danger sizeable enough to necessitate the investment of an entirely new insurance policy?

It all depends on the type of business in question (and the exact nature of information stored). For instance, if a business handles sensitive and private information, then owners might consider one of these cyber liability coverages.

Commercial Insurance Policy_Lock and Key

On the other hand, consider if your existing insurance can be formatted to cover your needs. If you do not handle customer data, then your Errors and Omissions policy may cover certain company claims.

It is crucial to double check obtained insurances to verify if further coverage is truly required. And as always, it is imperative to remain proactive: invest in secure servers, establish standard processes for passwords and file sharing, and educate employees about cyber-safety.

Employee Dishonesty Insurance

As much as business owners like to trust their employees, there’s always the chance of theft or other crimes. Employee Dishonesty Insurance serves to support owners against such occurrences.

Commercial Insurance Policy_Boardroom

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides some startling statistics on crime resulting from employee dishonesty:

“The median loss is around $140,000, and small businesses, those with less than 500 employees, suffer as much as $100,000 more in losses than larger companies. Employers only discover these losses an average of 10 percent of the time, and the losses that are discovered result in the employer regrouping nothing more than 40 percent of the time.”

It’s no wonder why small businesses in particular see a need for this type of insurance.

However, employee dishonesty is not offered in most commercial insurance policies and would be considered a secondary coverage. It’s all up to the owner; are there already measures put in place to monitor the activity of employees? Does the size of the business necessitate this extra insurance? If you are at all unsure, don’t hesitate to contact a Cleary agent to discuss the matter further.

Product Liability Insurance and other Industry-Specific Policies

Business owners who do not require Product Liability Insurance can easily avoid it. Product Liability Insurance applies to businesses that make, distribute, or sell a product, protecting you from any losses related to a product defect. Therefore, if an owner’s business does not function in this way, there’s no need to invest in this type of insurance.

There are other industry-specific policies that could be thrown in front of you, but easily avoided, such as Boiler and Machinery, Commercial Auto, and so on. It may seem simple enough, but contact one of our representatives if you feel like you’re signed up for more than you need.

ACA Repeal and Replace Efforts Unsuccessful in U.S. Senate

In the early hours of July 28, Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ended when the Senate fell short of the 51 votes required to pass the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA). Called the “skinny repeal bill,” it would have eliminated the individual mandate penalty and temporarily repealed the employer mandate penalty and medical device tax along with providing states flexibility on certain ACA requirements. Earlier in the week, separate votes on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (the Senate’s alternative to the American Health Care Act) and the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (the “repeal and delay” option) also failed. Both parties have indicated next steps may include bipartisan efforts to fix the ACA and stabilize the market. Specific plans and a timeline have not been discussed yet.

Republican leadership in Congress or the Administration may also pursue other ways to dismantle, replace or reform the ACA including regulatory action, regulatory non-enforcement or other options, as outlined in our March 30 Update.
ACA Remains the Law of the Land

The ACA remains the law of the land. Ongoing compliance with the law is required unless and until official guidance to the contrary is issued. We encourage employers and broker partners to use Your ACA Roadmap to receive a personalized snapshot of annual responsibilities. Visit www.YourACARoadmap.com for more information.

To stay up to date on the evolving state of health care reform, we encourage you to bookmark www.InformedonReform.com, including the Repeal and Replace Update webpage, where we continuously update information as it becomes available.

Brought to you by Cigna Health Care Reform Consulting and Communications

Massachusetts Construction Classification Premium Adjustment Program (MCCPAP)!

Presented by Michael Regan

The Massachusetts Construction Classification Premium Adjustment Program (MCCPAP) applies to employers who are eligible for workers compensation experience rating and have exposure in any of the enumerated construction classifications. The MCCPAP may reduce an employer’s workers compensation premium. The calculated credit is applied to all of the employer’s workers compensation classifications.

The basic premise for the credit is that contractors who pay “prevailing” or union wages are at a workers compensation premium disadvantage to those that don’t; even though the work is the same and the exposure the same.

For example, a carpenter in North Adams has the same work exposure as a carpenter in Boston. But, the wages are higher in Boston then in North Adams. The MCCPAP helps to level this variance for Workers Compensation premium purposes.  In fact, I have seen credits of over 20% applied to some of our account which is a major cost savings.

A contractor may apply for the MCCPAP at the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Rating bureau website, www.wcribma.org.   If a credit is calculated the Bureau will notify the insurance carrier on behalf of the employer and the credit would be automatically applied.

Interest Rates and Their Effect on Investing

As a result of the prolonged Federal Reserve’s involvement in stimulating the economy, interest rates are and have been at extreme lows. Over the course of the next five to ten years, the Fed is expected to pull back its control in a way which will allow rates to increase, having an inevitable effect on the markets as a whole.  As a result, portfolios heavy in bonds may experience poor performance in the market during periods of rising interest rates. When rates in the open market are offering higher credited rates to lenders, investors tend to sell their existing debt, resulting in falling prices. Longer term debt is particularly more sensitive to interest rate risk, and this, as well as debt quality, will all want to be considerations when discussing with clients and/or prospective clients

Likewise, rising rates can have a negative effect on the Consumer Cyclical sector, as the fact that the general public will tend to have less discretionary spending money due to more expensive borrowing and potential price hikes. However, investing in bank equities can be attractive in anticipation of these times, as they are able to finance out at more profitable margins.

Four Reasons to Love Your Mortgage

1.     It’s probably the cheapest way to borrow  –  The interest incurred is tax-deductible and the rate should be low as the loan is secured by your home.

2.     It creates leverage – A mortgage can be compared to opening a margin account at a brokerage because it can increase your assets with borrowed money.  The difference is your mortgage lender can’t demand it’s money back if your home price drops.

3.     It’s a back-up source of funds for emergencies – If you have some equity built up, consider setting up a home-equity line of credit.  Large medical bills or repairs can be funded by borrowing against the equity you have built up.

4.     It makes inflation your friend – Like other hard assets, real estate tends to hold its value when inflation picks up. With a mortgage, you get double the protection.  The payments on a fixed rate mortgage stay constant even with rising inflation, which means in the future you are paying with less valuable dollars while the value of your home could be increasing.