Shopping for Business Insurance

By Kyle Niederpruem posted 17 days ago

  
SHOPPING FOR YOUR BUSINESS INSURANCE

Many solos may be unaware of professional business liability insurance – until it’s too late. There are many types of protection you can purchase, but what’s right for your business? Unfortunately, claims against PR firms are more and more common. Clients are more than ready to take legal action over billing, attorney-client privilege and copyright claims, and for work completed for high-profile public nuisance lawsuits where the financial stakes are high.

For most solos, you can find general policies for small businesses for under $1,500 a year providing up to $1 million in coverage. We found policies all over the board when asking our solo friends, with the highest coming in at just over $1,500.

Coverage is also known as professional liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance and errors & omissions insurance – all help protect those of us who provide professional services, including PR and marketing. It’s a deductible business expense and protects you in the worst of situations.
Here’s a tick list with some examples you might want to consider to protect your business assets.

SUBPOENA PROTECTION

If you’re called into court for a client, who pays? You will be out time and money for court time, depositions and production of documents. Some policies provide for this line item and others don’t. Here’s what an East Coast practitioner shared about her subpoena experience.

“Before I got business insurance, several years ago I was subpoenaed by a brand pharma over a product launch I did for my generic pharma client. It had nothing whatever to do with how I handled PR for the launch, but the brand was going after everyone, and my name was on the press release, emails and other materials. I worked with my client’s legal team to track down and submit my extensive launch documentation. They paid for my time, which cost them about $4,500 as I recall. My client eventually won the case against the brand, including damages, and I think my meticulous files helped.”

COMMERCIAL LIABILITY

Do you work from home? Do clients and other vendors come and go at your home like they would a public office? If so, what happens if someone is injured there and how are you protected from a claim? If you don’t provide public access at your home work place, you may want to skip this type of insurance. But if you do have a variety of people into your home for business purposes, it could be worth adding to your policy for an additional line of coverage. If you think your homeowner’s policy might cover such a scenario, best to check it out and make sure.

DATA SECURITY

Are you handling customer data for a client? Do you have access to proprietary databases with confidential information? Do your colleagues have business insurance – especially if you rely on a cadre of freelancers? If not, you can skip this.

Larger companies, and not just insurance firms and banks, are demanding this type of coverage from their vendors – no matter what. It’s expensive and losses can be significant.

Two years ago, I was asked by a large client in a template contract to add it on – at no small cost. I was able to make the case that there was zero contact, need or exposure for client data and the item was struck from our contract.

On the flip side, are you carrying insurance coverage in the event your work computers and systems are attacked? This is most commonly referred to as cyber liability insurance.

A brief explanation from Progressive: “First-party coverage covers damages you and your business suffer because of a data breach. This can include things like investigative services, business interruption coverage and data recovery. Third-party coverage covers damages if your customers or partners are affected by a cyber-attack on your business. This can include legal fees, settlement costs, security failure and media liabilities.”

TAIL COVERAGE

If you’d had a challenging relationship with a problematic client, you might want to also consider something called tail coverage. This extends a period to report claims after a policy has expired or been canceled – and will cover your business if the act transpired during the period of your coverage.

SMALL BUSINESS LIFE INSURANCE

What happens when you grow your solo practice and suddenly find you’re hiring FTEs? There’s another line you may want to think about. This extra coverage was shared with us by a Midwest practitioner who had expanded his business quickly.

“When we first hired full-time staffers, I quickly realized that these folks were more than just workers. They were an important part of company and our extended family. They relied on the income we provided as salaries. Beyond meeting payroll, though, it was important to me that they would be taken care of in the event that I ever became incapacitated or died. Our State Farm broker suggested a small business life insurance policy which would continue to pay those employees for a short time and help pay for the search to find a suitable successor to continue the business. Thankfully, we never had to use that policy but it did provide some much needed piece of mind.”

FOR A QUOTE AND OPTIONS

For a full list of companies where you can get quotes for your business and explanations of coverage, check this recent post from FitsSmallBusiness.com. You can also check more advice from financial and insurance planners here for the most common mistakes we all make.

Any tips for other solos on landing business insurance? Share your experience on our PRSA Independent Practitioners Alliance Facebook page. You might be able to provide a valuable tip to a colleague!
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