How to Find the Small-Business Insurance That's Right for You

by Susan Johnston on August 31, 2012
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No matter what type of business you run, you need to protect it from potential lawsuits, the loss of a key employee, and other calamities. An earlier post covered five common types of insurance to consider, but depending on the nature of your operation, you may need other types of policies, too.

For instance, if you hire employees, it’s a good idea to consider Employment Practices Liability Insurance “to protect against possible hiring or mis-hiring aspects,” says Dusty Farber, senior vice president of advanced strategies at CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services and a former small-business owner.

As your business grows, Farber also suggests looking into life and disability insurance for owners and officers. “If an owner or a key officer dies or has a serious long-term disability, it can affect the potential success of the company going forward,” he explains. “Companies have gone under or had to be sold because of inadequate insurance.”

Of course, insuring a small business isn’t cheap, so Farber recommends finding a full-service insurance agency that works with small businesses of your size rather than working with several different agents. If you work with multiple agents, you may wind up paying for overlapping policies. Or worse, you could have gaps in insurance coverage, because none of your agents understand the big picture of your business’ needs.

“You could set up individual relationships — have a life insurance agent, a property and casualty agent, a health insurance agent — and then you have to spend a lot of time managing those relationships,” Farber explains. “None of those are interwoven into a strategy, those three or four agents may not ask the right questions.”

Meanwhile, an agency that offers multiple lines of insurance “will work with the owner and look at how those offerings fit together and at the same time look for ways to manage the cost collectively, looking for overlapping coverage,” he says.

The other benefit of working with a full-service agency? “Most agents and agencies offer discounts for packaging up those multiple products,” Farber adds.

Susan Johnston is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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