“Risk Management” is one of the most frequented terms in business and with good reason; being a small business owner is synonymous with accountability and responsibility. Even if you are diligent in the way you operate your business and provide your customers with the best of quality goods and services, you are still subject to clients believing you are in the wrong. Which, should they choose to take action, can cripple a business. This is why business insurance is so important.
Identifying the threats to your business is half the battle. The real work comes with developing strategies to confront and minimize those risks. Then protecting yourself and your business with the right insurance.
Who Needs Business Liability Insurance?
General liability insurance is a must-have for every business. A common misconception is that an owner of a limited liability partnership (LLP) or an incorporated company is always protected from personal liability. But, just like a sole proprietorship or partnership, you may be personally liable if:
- You have signed a personal guarantee for a loan
- You have personally injured someone
- You have acted in an irresponsible or illegal manner
- You do not operate your business as a separate entity
What is Business Liability Insurance?
Business liability insurance protects your small business from negligence that may cause injury to others, such as a customer or employee. It also protects your company if someone is injured as a result of using your product or service. It will usually cover the damages from a lawsuit as well as the legal costs. Depending on your business needs, liability insurance may be purchased in many forms, some of which are outlined below.
Types of Business Liability Insurance
- General Liability Insurance protects your business from liability arising from negligence that may cause injury to others, such as a customer or employee.
- Product Liability Insurance for businesses selling manufactured or assembled goods.
- Professional Liability Insurance for professionals such as doctors, lawyers, architects, computer consultants, and realtors. Consult your local professional organization about what kind of liability coverage is needed in your province.
- Employee Insurance providing employee benefits such as medical, dental, and disability benefits. This will not only help keep your employees healthy, but will help keep them contented and willing to continue working for you.
- Business Interruption Insurance protecting against loss of revenue if your business is forced to close down.
- Business Disability Insurance protecting against loss of revenue if you, the business owner, become disabled or unable to run the business.
- “Buy-Sell” Life/Disability Insurance for partnerships. In the event one of the partners becomes disabled or dies, this insurance provides the surviving partner with money to purchase the disabled or deceased partner’s share of the business.
- Key Person Insurance to compensate for financial losses resulting from long-term disability or death of a key employee.
Looking for more information on insurance? The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) provides a number of online resources and education through their website visit http://www.ibc.ca/on/business/risk-management
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