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Navigating Large Loss in a Small Business

Having your own business can be an extremely rewarding endeavor. All businesses encounter risks, but successful ones know how to approach those risks in a calculated and strategic fashion. However, even calculated decisions sometimes cannot predict situations that lead to financial loss.

Specifically, business losses occur when operating expenses exceed the revenue earned during a certain period. A wide range of variables can lead to business loss, such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and legal troubles.

Types of Large Losses

Generally, large losses in business can result from situations that inflate operational costs. Typical scenarios include the following:

  • Natural disasters: Disasters are a major source of loss for businesses and consumers alike because they inflict serious damage on tangible assets like buildings and equipment. Such disasters include wildfires, floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes.
  • Fires: Fires are also a significant cause of business losses because of their destructive nature. Without protection and prevention measures, fires can destroy a business’s buildings, documents, equipment, and other essential assets.
  • Cyber-attacks: In today’s digital age, cyber-attacks are a significant problem for everyone. They can involve the breach of confidential information, such as client lists, proprietary operational information, financial accounts, and passwords. Importantly, cyber-attacks can lead to legal liability as well.
  • Market Forces: Volatile market forces are also a major type of large loss, such as economic downturns and recessions.
  • Legal Liability: Businesses must deal with a significant number of laws and regulations. Non-compliance can often lead to hefty fines, and the threat of litigation can result in significant damages awards against businesses.

Dealing with Large Losses

Recovering from large business losses involves rigor and taking a methodical approach to learning lessons from adversity. Combatting business losses requires identifying the cause of the loss and determining a strategic approach to preventing and mitigating future situations. Strategies business owners can implement include:

  • Planning for Emergencies: Many people consider natural disasters and similar emergencies to be “unforeseen risks.” A savvy business owner understands that such disasters are an unfortunate reality. Establishing a response plan that outlines procedures for handling such scenarios can effectively mitigate the consequences of a natural disaster.
  • Insurance: A comprehensive business insurance policy will cover certain losses, such as property damage, cyber-attacks, legal liability, or other conditions that would otherwise disrupt business operations.
  • Redundant Systems: Risks such as natural disasters and cyber-attacks are significant threats to important data and documents, especially as we move towards paperless operations. Important documents and data must be backed up to minimize the financial risk and potential liability from data loss and cybersecurity breaches.
  • Security: Establishing strong security measures is an effective countermeasure to the threat of loss due to theft. Hiring security personnel, installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and monitors, and installing security software on computer devices and networks are all important steps for preventing loss due to theft. Although security can be expensive upfront for some businesses, it can be a vital long-term cost-saving measure.

Your Partner in Recovery

Business owners cannot afford to be unprepared in the event of a large loss. That is why taking steps such as those outlined above is crucial to creating and maintaining a smooth and profitable business. If you have questions about the types of insurance policies and coverage solutions available for your operation, contact one of our local agents. Our team is here to prioritize your interests.

Spring Maintenance for Your Home & Car

Spring Maintenance for Your Home

As spring rolls around, many homeowners should consider revitalizing their homes through post-winter maintenance. Winter can often damage a home, including its exterior, plumbing, and climate control systems. In anticipation of winter, try adding the tips below to your spring maintenance checklist.

HVAC Maintenance

During warmer seasons, air conditioning is more than just a luxury; it is a home essential. Therefore, HVAC maintenance is an essential part of spring home maintenance. Replace air filters to maintain and improve air quality. This also prevents strain on your HVAC system. Importantly, make sure your air vents and ducts are free from dust and allergens that may have built up during the winter.

Check Plumbing

A crucial part of a good spring home maintenance routine involves inspecting systems that may have been damaged during the winter, such as outdoor faucets and hoses. Freezing temperatures can lead to significant damage to plumbing systems. Repairing and replacing them can save you costly repairs down the road.

Additionally, water damage from rain and melting ice can lead to major problems such as mold growth and water damage. For many homeowners, turning to a professional to address major issues can be worth the expense.

Lawn and Garden Care

Many homeowners consider their lawn to be the crown jewel of their home. After a harsh winter, rain and snow can lead to slow growth and damage. As spring arrives, you can maintain a beautiful lawn using fertilizer treatments and weed killer.

After winter, lawns can be covered with leaves and debris, which can be removed by raking. Shrubs and hedges can have dying branches that can be removed by pruning to give a lawn a renewed look.

Spring Car Maintenance

Winter can affect cars and homes alike. Car owners should implement the following measures as part of their routine spring car maintenance.

Inspect Tires

Well-maintained tires are crucial to help keep your car running smoothly and safely. Temperature differences during the winter can lead to issues involving tire pressure. Extreme weather conditions can also increase wear and tear on tread and tire sidewalls. Rotating and replacing tires on a regular basis can help maintain your car’s performance.

Remove Pollen

It is vital to keep your car free from pollen, as with time, the pollen will have a detrimental effect on vehicle paint. Remove the pollen with water, not a soft cloth, as sweeping it off with a cloth can cause more damage to the finish.

Check Fluids

Lubrication and coolant systems are a significant part of a well-running car. During winter, oil, coolant, and brake fluids can become old and dirty, which can lead to inefficient and even dangerous problems for a car, especially if the car has not been used often. Inspecting and replacing these crucial systems is vital to ensuring your car is in working order.

Electrical Systems

Temperature differences can also majorly impact your car’s battery and electrical systems. Car owners can order voltmeters and portable battery chargers online to check for electrical problems as part of their routine car maintenance for spring.

Our Agents Will Spring into Action to Assist You

Spring is a chance for home and car owners to look forward to a new year. Spring cleaning and maintenance do not have to be a chore. If you are worried about damage to your home, our agents are available to assist you with insurance solutions to address your needs. Get in touch with your local agent today so you can breeze through your spring maintenance plans.

Flooding: What Damage Can It Do to My House?

“Welcome to the neighborhood!” one of our neighbors called while we were standing in the front yard of our new home. On any other day, it would sound like a normal greeting. But on that particular day in June 2014, my husband and I wryly laughed at their joke. Our neighborhood had just flooded ‒ […]

Sharing the Road: The Do’s & Don’ts for Cyclists & Drivers

Streets and roads are not the exclusive domain of motor vehicles. In some areas, it contains cyclists as
well as pedestrians. Prioritizing safety for everyone is paramount. Increased awareness of cyclists’
presence fosters a culture of mutual respect and caution. We can create a safer and more inclusive
environment by respecting all road users and advocating safety measures.

The Do’s for Cyclists

Cyclists should heed the following tips to prevent accidents:
 Wear proper safety gear: Always wear a helmet and reflective clothing to increase visibility and
protect yourself in case of accidents.
 Follow traffic laws and signals: Obey traffic signs and signals, including stopping at red lights
and yielding to pedestrians and vehicles when necessary.
 Use hand signals to indicate turns: Signal your intentions by using hand signals to communicate
with drivers and other cyclists, making your movements predictable and reducing the risk of
accidents.
 Look out for pedestrians: Be mindful of pedestrians crossing the road or using designated paths.
Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and give them ample space when passing to ensure
everyone’s safety on the road.

The Don’ts for Cyclists

Cyclists should take proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of injury in a traffic incident:
 Avoid riding against traffic: Always ride in the same direction as the traffic flow, staying on the
right side of the road. Riding against traffic increases the risk of collisions and confuses drivers.
 Don’t assume drivers can see you: Even if you have the right of way, never assume that drivers
see you. Make eye contact with drivers to help them anticipate their actions and avoid
accidents.
 Avoid distractions like headphones: Stay focused on the road and your surroundings by
avoiding distractions like wearing headphones or using electronic devices while cycling. Being
alert and attentive can help you react quickly to potential hazards and prevent accidents.
 Don’t ignore traffic signals: Respect traffic signals and signs, including stop signs, red lights, and
yield signs. Ignoring traffic signals increases the risk of accidents and undermines cyclists’
credibility as legitimate road users. Always adhere to traffic regulations to ensure your safety
and the safety of others on the road.

The Do’s for Drivers

Due to the unique dangers associated with driving a car, drivers must take special care to facilitate
safety on the road. To optimize road safety, drivers should follow these tips:

 Respect cyclists’ space on the road: Give cyclists enough room to maneuver safely and avoid
driving too closely behind them. Treat cyclists as you would any other vehicle on the road.
 Yield to cyclists: Yield to cyclists at intersections, especially when turning right or left. Be patient
and allow cyclists to pass through before proceeding.
 Give cyclists ample space when passing: When overtaking cyclists, provide them with sufficient
space by moving into the adjacent lane if possible. If not, ensure a safe distance of at least three
feet when passing.
 Look out for pedestrians: Watch for pedestrians crossing the road, especially near intersections
and crosswalks. Yield to pedestrians and give them the right way to ensure their safety.

The Don’ts for Drivers

The risk of injury when driving a car is associated with speed, vehicle weight, and driver behavior.
Drivers should avoid the following to prevent accidents:
 Don’t drive aggressively around cyclists: Be patient and respectful when sharing the road with
cyclists. Avoid aggressive maneuvers such as tailgating or sudden lane changes that could
endanger cyclists.
 Avoid distractions like texting while driving: Keep your focus on the road and avoid distractions
like texting, making phone calls, or adjusting the radio while driving. Distracted driving increases
the risk of accidents involving cyclists and other road users.
 Don’t drive after consuming alcohol: Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Impaired driving significantly impairs your ability to react to unexpected situations, increasing
the likelihood of accidents with cyclists and other vehicles.
 Don’t park in bike lanes: Respect designated bike lanes and avoid parking or stopping in them.
Blocking bike lanes forces cyclists to merge into traffic, increasing their vulnerability to
accidents. Always look for designated parking areas to avoid obstructing cyclists’ paths.

Sharing the Road for Safer Streets

Understanding and accommodating each other’s needs can prevent accidents and promote harmony on
our roads. Unfortunately, accidents might happen despite your best efforts to maximize your safety.
That’s where personal insurance comes in. Our agents are here to help by providing personal insurance
products and solutions tailored to your needs. Call your local agent today to ensure your safety and
peace of mind on the road.

Am I Covered If I Buy a New Car on the Weekend?

It’s a Saturday afternoon and life is looking up. After weeks of searching for a new vehicle, you’ve finally settled on the right car. You completed the test drive, negotiated a good price, agreed on a trade-in value and signed all the paperwork. Now, with keys in hand, it’s finally time to drive off the lot. […]

Term vs. Whole Life Insurance: Which Do You Need?

Life is always changing – which is why it’s important to review your insurance needs and make sure your coverage is keeping up with your life. Whether you’re entering adulthood or nearing retirement, you may have a need for life insurance… but understanding which policy is best for you can be confusing. Let’s talk term […]

The Thoughtful Choice of Life Insurance for Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, we are all looking for the right gift to express how grateful we are and how much we owe to our mothers. While nice and sweet, the traditional flowers and chocolate are very general expressions of our gratitude for our mothers. Sometimes, a pragmatic and practical gift can surprise and delight. The gift of life insurance speaks to the protective instincts of a mother, so it can help alleviate their concerns for the well-being of those who depend on them.

Protection for Expecting Mothers

Life insurance can address the concerns of mothers expecting a new child. A life insurance policy aims to protect family members from the financial losses and burdens of someone who passed away. A comprehensive life insurance policy provides coverage for the following:

  • Income Replacement: In the unfortunate event of the mother’s passing, life insurance can replace lost income, ensuring that her family can maintain their standard of living.
  • Debt Repayment: Life insurance proceeds can be used to pay off outstanding debts, such as mortgages or student loans, relieving financial burdens for surviving family members.
  • Childcare Expenses: Life insurance funds can cover childcare expenses, ensuring that the child receives the care and support they need, even in their mother’s absence.

Options for Stay-at-Home Moms

The contributions of a stay-at-home mother cannot be understated. They provide meaningful and valuable care to their families. While many stay-at-home moms might not earn a traditional income, their loved ones can still benefit from life insurance coverage. Life insurance accomplishes this in the following ways:

  • Financial Value of Household Duties: Stay-at-home moms perform a multitude of tasks, including childcare, household chores, and meal preparation, which would incur significant expenses if outsourced. Life insurance can provide funds to cover these costs in the event of the mother’s passing.
  • Grief Counseling and Support Services: Life insurance benefits can cover the cost of grief counseling and support services for the surviving family members, helping them cope with the emotional aftermath of losing their loved one.
  • Future Financial Security: Life insurance can provide a financial safety net for the surviving spouse and children, allowing them to maintain their lifestyle and pursue future goals and aspirations.

Benefits for Mothers in All Lifestyles

Mothers in different stages of life stand to benefit from the protection that life insurance offers. Whether your mother is balancing the demands of developing her career and raising a family, enjoying retirement, or beginning a new adventure, their care is invaluable to our lives. Accordingly, life insurance is a critical resource to ensure mothers’ peace of mind and secure their families’ well-being.

Our Commitment to Your Family’s Future

Life insurance is an essential element of planning for the future. The ease and sense of security it brings can vastly outweigh the emotional difficulty of thinking about worst-case scenarios. That is why life insurance can be an invaluable gift to mothers from all walks of life. To learn more about the benefits of life insurance, contact your local agent.

How to Protect Your Bike from Theft

Whether you’re a hardcore biking enthusiast or more of a casual cruiser, riding your bike is a great way to enjoy the outdoors – and a healthier way to get around, too. After each ride, it’s important to remember to lock your bike up so thieves can’t steal it. Close to two million bicycles are […]

Strategies to Combat Employee Theft

Employee theft is a major issue that many business owners must unfortunately confront, damaging employer-employee trust and creating an intolerable financial burden on operations. Taking proactive measures to prevent and address instances of theft is crucial to protecting the business community. On average, workplace theft results in a staggering $50 billion in losses each year.

The Alarming Scope of Employee Theft

The growing prevalence of employee theft is very concerning. Twenty-five percent of businesses have reported losses exceeding $1 million due to employee theft. Statistics also reveal that 37.1% of all employee theft involves employees at the management level. Furthermore, instances of theft committed by an employee have risen to a whopping 37.5%, based on self-reporting statistics. Sadly, one-third of business bankruptcies are caused by employee theft.

Further studies have shown that employees are more likely than non-employees to steal from their employers, constituting 44% of theft-related losses at retail businesses and other stores. Implementing stricter and more effective protection measures is crucial to prevent financial harm to businesses and innocent employees who depend on their jobs with the employer.

Preventative Measures for Businesses

To mitigate the risk of employee theft and protect the business’s financial integrity, business owners can take the following steps toward implementing secure business operations:

  • Establish Clear Policies and Procedures: Develop comprehensive policies outlining acceptable behavior, ethical standards, and consequences for theft or fraud. Clarifying these policies and their consequences is a strong step toward deterring theft.
  • Screen and Train Employees: Conduct thorough background checks on potential hires to identify any red flags or prior criminal history. By implementing screening and training measures, you can create an environment where suspicious activity can be spotted and addressed before a theft occurs.
  • Implement Strict Access Controls: Restrict access to sensitive areas, financial records, and valuable assets to authorized personnel only. Utilize surveillance cameras and access control systems to monitor employee activities and deter theft.
  • Promote a Culture of Transparency and Accountability: Encourage open communication channels where employees feel comfortable reporting suspicious behavior or concerns. Conduct regular audits and reviews of financial transactions to identify discrepancies and address them promptly.
  • Reward Ethical Behavior: Recognize and reward employees who demonstrate honesty and integrity in their actions. Offer incentives for reporting instances of theft or fraud, fostering a culture of accountability.

Seek Professional Guidance

Despite implementing preventative measures, businesses may still be victims of employee theft. In such cases, seeking professional guidance is crucial to navigate the legal and financial implications effectively. Legal professionals, financial advisors, and insurance specialists can be powerful resources in the fight against employee theft.

An elemental part of dealing with the aftermath of employee theft is choosing the right business insurance policy. Your local agent can be a reliable partner in helping you select and understand the ins and outs of a business insurance policy that covers employee theft and similar losses. With an effective insurance policy, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your business interests have additional protection. To learn more about your business insurance policy options, reach out to your local agent today.

Beyond the Walls: What is Dwelling Coverage and How Much is Enough?

Dwelling coverage is the portion of your homeowner’s insurance that protects the physical structure of your home from common hazards. This includes not only the livable area of your house but also attached structures like your deck, porch, or garage. Since it covers anything that’s considered to be legitimately part of your home’s structure, it also […]