Tag Archives: small business

Business Insurance: Protecting Your Business’s Income

 

Insurance is generally purchased to protect against building loss, loss to contents or liability losses.

 

Unfortunately, it is the intangible exposures that we do not see and do not prepare for that ultimately can have the largest impact on our businesses.

 

Often the key to effectively recovering from a catastrophic event is loss of income coverage.

 

When making your insurance purchases, don’t forget to inquire about business income coverage. This coverage can insure against loss of earnings, rents and extra expenses you incur during the time it takes to restore your building back to its operational condition.

 

Added business income coverage can be obtained through optional endorsements. These endorsements can protect you from a business income loss that may have occurred due to an off-premises utility service failure or damage to a property of another company that you depend on to operate your business.

 

To have your business fully protected, business income coverage should be considered as part of your insurance package.

 

Contact the Reno Agency today at (269) 792-2232 to ask about this valuable coverage for your business.

 

 

Insurance for the Small and Medium Size Business Owner

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

 

Do you know what type of insurance your small business needs? If you are a small or medium size business and are wondering just that, watch this informative video created by Russell Productions in NYC, in association with the Insurance Information Institute, that explains insurance coverage for the small business owner.

For more information about business insurance for small businesses, click here to be transferred to the Insurance Information Institute’s website.

 

Starting a Business? Let Your Independent Agent Guide the Way

 

Grange Insurance Hi Res Version

 

 

 

 

Grange Insurance urges small business owners to lean on agents for success.

 

Since small businesses make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, they continue to be the pulse that keeps the U.S. economy ticking. Starting a business is part of living the American dream. However, if entrepreneurs do not take the proper steps when building their business, their dreams could very quickly become nightmares.

Columbus, Ohio based insurance company Grange Insurance provides a few tips for entrepreneurs to help guide them through the process of starting a business, highlighting the importance of working with an independent agent from start to finish.

1. First things first. Call your independent agent. Small business owners should loop their independent agents into the planning process as early as possible to ensure success, and to make sure they’re creating a solid business plan that will be appealing to insurance companies and potential funders.

“Securing insurance for a new business can be difficult for a variety of reasons, but without it, entrepreneurs are exposing themselves, their businesses, their employees and their potential customers to risks that can close down a business and financially break the entrepreneur,” said Peter McMurtrie, chief sales and marketing officer, Grange Insurance. “Agents can help you through the entire process to help you avoid those risks. Agents are oftentimes the best cheerleader when it comes to pitching the business idea to an underwriter. You want to make sure your agent is armed with everything possible to pitch your business in the best way.”

2. Create a detailed business plan. Starting a business requires a detailed business plan that extends beyond marketing. Failing to create a detailed business plan is a common pitfall when starting a new business, according to McMurtrie.

“Entrepreneurs oftentimes limit their business plan to what their product or service will be, and how they’ll make money,” said McMurtrie. “Small business owners are more likely to get coverage from an underwriter if they can outline a clear path of what the business will do, how it will be funded/operated, what potential liabilities/risks it may encounter and how those liabilities and risks would be covered.”

Independent agents can guide small business owners through this planning phase by helping to identify potential liabilities and risks to the business, such as bodily injury, products liability, business interruption and accidental breakage.

3. Continue to review your business insurance policy. As a small business evolves, so do its risks. Keeping your agent continuously involved in your business growth will help identify new risks that could have the potential to close doors before they become issues. McMurtrie recommends reviewing your insurance policy with your independent agency at least two times each year.

“While the current U.S. economy is a prime market for small businesses, business owners are exposing themselves to vulnerabilities that could shut their doors faster than they were opened if they do not take the proper precautions to protect their business,” said McMurtrie. “Agents and their carriers are knowledgeable of industry standards, trends and processes. They are instrumental in ensuring that small businesses get the coverage they need, ultimately helping entrepreneurs make their dream a reality.”

For more information about the available types of small business insurance, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com or call your independent agent today at 269.792.2232.

 

About Grange

Grange Insurance, with $2 billion in assets and in excess of $1 billion in annual revenue, is an insurance provider based in Columbus, Ohio. Through its network of independent agents, Grange offers auto, home, life and business insurance protection. Established in 1935, the company and its affiliates serve policyholders in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthcare Changes Ahead: Helpful Information

Are you wondering how the health care reform law (the Affordable Care Act) will impact you or your business? I have compiled a few resources to help you learn what to expect.

 

For Individuals:

HealthCare.gov

is an excellent source to learn about what will be changing and when you can expect those changes to occur. Here is a breakdown of the changes ahead for 2013 and beyond, as listed on http://www.healthcare.gov/law/timeline/full.html.

2013

IMPROVING QUALITY AND LOWERING COSTS

  • Improving Preventive Health Coverage. To expand the number of Americans receiving preventive care, the law provides new funding to state Medicaid programs that choose to cover preventive services for patients at little or no cost. Effective January 1, 2013.Learn more about the law and preventive care.
  • Expanding Authority to Bundle Payments. The law establishes a national pilot program to encourage hospitals, doctors, and other providers to work together to improve the coordination and quality of patient care.  Under payment “bundling,” hospitals, doctors, and providers are paid a flat rate for an episode of care rather than the current fragmented system where each service or test or bundles of items or services are billed separately to Medicare.  For example, instead of a surgical procedure generating multiple claims from multiple providers, the entire team is compensated with a “bundled” payment that provides incentives to deliver health care services more efficiently while maintaining or improving quality of care.  It aligns the incentives of those delivering care, and savings are shared between providers and the Medicare program. Effective no later than January 1, 2013.

 

INCREASING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CARE

  • Increasing Medicaid Payments for Primary Care Doctors. As Medicaid programs and providers prepare to cover more patients in 2014, the Act requires states to pay primary care physicians no less than 100% of Medicare payment rates in 2013 and 2014 for primary care services. The increase is fully funded by the federal government. Effective January 1, 2013.Learn how the law supports and strengthens primary care providers.
  • Providing Additional Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Under the law, states will receive two more years of funding to continue coverage for children not eligible for Medicaid. Effective October 1, 2013.Learn more about CHIP.

2014

NEW CONSUMER PROTECTIONS

A chain of blue paper dolls forms a circle with one orange paper doll
  • Prohibiting Discrimination Due to Pre-Existing Conditions or Gender. The law implements strong reforms that prohibit insurance companies from refusing to sell coverage or renew policies because of an individual’s pre-existing conditions. Also, in the individual and small group market, the law eliminates the ability of insurance companies to charge higher rates due to gender or health status. Effective January 1, 2014.Learn more about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • Eliminating Annual Limits on Insurance Coverage. The law prohibits new plans and existing group plans from imposing annual dollar limits on the amount of coverage an individual may receive. Effective January 1, 2014.Learn how the law will phase out annual limits by 2014.
  • Ensuring Coverage for Individuals Participating in Clinical Trials. Insurers will be prohibited from dropping or limiting coverage because an individual chooses to participate in a clinical trial.  Applies to all clinical trials that treat cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Effective January 1, 2014. 

 

IMPROVING QUALITY AND LOWERING COSTS

  • Making Care More Affordable. Tax credits to make it easier for the middle class to afford insurance will become available for people with income between 100% and 400% of the poverty line who are not eligible for other affordable coverage. (In 2010, 400% of the poverty line comes out to about $43,000 for an individual or $88,000 for a family of four.) The tax credit is advanceable, so it can lower your premium payments each month, rather than making you wait for tax time. It’s also refundable, so even moderate-income families can receive the full benefit of the credit. These individuals may also qualify for reduced cost-sharing (copayments, co-insurance, and deductibles). Effective January 1, 2014. Learn how the law will make care more affordable in 2014.
  • Establishingthe Health Insurance Marketplace. Starting in 2014 if your employer doesn’t offer insurance, you will be able to buy it directly in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Individuals and small businesses can buy affordable and qualified health benefit plans in this new transparent and competitive insurance marketplace. The Marketplace will offer you a choice of health plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards. Starting in 2014, Members of Congress will be getting their health care insurance through the Marketplace, and you will be able buy your insurance through Marketplace too. Learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • Simple comparison of two coverage options
  • Increasing the Small Business Tax Credit. The law implements the second phase of the small business tax credit for qualified small businesses and small non-profit organizations. In this phase, the credit is up to 50% of the employer’s contribution to provide health insurance for employees.  There is also up to a 35% credit for small non-profit organizations.  Effective January 1, 2014.Learn more about the small business tax credit.

 

INCREASING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CARE

  • Increasing Access to Medicaid. Americans who earn less than 133% of the poverty level (approximately $14,000 for an individual and $29,000 for a family of four) will be eligible to enroll in Medicaid. States will receive 100% federal funding for the first three years to support this expanded coverage, phasing to 90% federal funding in subsequent years. Effective January 1, 2014.Learn more about Medicaid.
  • Promoting Individual Responsibility. Under the law, most individuals who can afford it will be required to obtain basic health insurance coverage or pay a fee to help offset the costs of caring for uninsured Americans.  If affordable coverage is not available to an individual, he or she will be eligible for an exemption. Effective January 1, 2014.Learn more about individual responsibility and the law.

2015

IMPROVING QUALITY AND LOWERING COSTS

  • Paying Physicians Based on Value Not Volume. A new provision will tie physician payments to the quality of care they provide. Physicians will see their payments modified so that those who provide higher value care will receive higher payments than those who provide lower quality care. Effective January 1, 2015.

 

For Businesses:

The U.S. Small Business Administration is launching a new series to explain the basics of the law, what you need to do to comply, and how your business can benefit from new incentives. The first article in the series, written by Meredith Olafson, highlights three big things every small business owner should know about the Affordable Care Act.

About the Author

Meredith Olafson is Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. Small Business Administration where she oversees the agency’s education and outreach efforts around health care and the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act will help small businesses by lowering premium cost growth and increasing access to quality, affordable health insurance.   Depending on whether you’re a small employer or a larger employer, different provisions of the Affordable Care Act may apply to you as described below.

1.  Businesses with Fewer than 25 Employees- Small Business Tax Credits

The Affordable Care Act does not require that businesses provide health insurance, but it offers tax credits for eligible small businesses that choose to provide insurance to their employees.  To qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 35% (up to 25% for non-profits), you must have:

  • Fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees
  • Pay average annual wages below $50,000
  • Contribute 50% or more toward employee health insurance premiums

Beginning in 2014, this tax credit goes up to 50% (35% for non-profits) and is available to qualified small businesses who participate in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges.

2.   Businesses with 50 or Fewer Employees- Affordable Insurance Marketplaces

The Affordable Care Act does not require that businesses provide health insurance, but beginning in 2014, small businesses with generally 50 or fewer employees will be able to purchase coverage through SHOP , competitive marketplaces where small employers can go to find health coverage from a selection of providers.  The SHOP Marketplaces and Individual Marketplaces for those who are self-employed open on January 1, 2014. Open enrollment begins on October 1, 2013.  SHOP will offer small businesses increased purchasing power similar to that of large businesses.

3.  Businesses with 50 or More Employees- Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Federal government, State governments, insurers, employers, and individuals share the responsibility to reform and improve the availability, quality, and affordability of health insurance coverage in the United States. Employers are not required to provide coverage to their employees under the Affordable Care Act.   However, beginning in 2014, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees (or full-time equivalents) that do not offer affordable health insurance that provides a minimum level of coverage to substantially all of their full-time employees (and their dependents) may be subject to an employer shared responsibility payment if at least one of their full-time employees receives a premium tax credit to purchase coverage in an insurance Marketplace.  A full-time employee is generally one who is employed an average of 30 or more hours per week.

If you meet or are close to this threshold level of full-time employees, it’s important to understand how these rules may apply to you and how the employer shared responsibility payments could be triggered.   For more guidance on the employer shared responsibility payments, refer to this FAQ from the IRS.

Check back with the Reno Agency blog for more updates about the Affordable Health Care Act as they become available.

Why Your Business Should Implement a Health & Wellness Program for Employees

It’s the beginning of a new year, and with that brings the numerous resolutions that will be made (and broken) before the end of January. The number one resolution always seems to be, ‘get healthy’. And why wouldn’t you want to? There are many benefits to good health including taking less medications, less doctor/hospital visits, and oh yeah, lower insurance costs.

If you are a small business owner, answer this question: Does your company offer your employees a health and wellness Program? If no, why not? Health insurance premiums are always increasing it seems, and if you could offer a way to help maintain those premiums, or even lower those premiums, wouldn’t you consider a program such as this?

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides the why and how to implement a health and wellness program in your small business. Read an excerpt from the article, “Why and How to Implement a Health and Wellness Program in Your Small Business” below. For the full article, visit http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-cents/why-and-how-implement-health-and-wellness-progr

Tips for Implementing Health and Wellness Programs in Your Small Business

So how can you go about planning and implementing a program that makes sense for your business, with the limited resources available to you? Health and wellness plans don’t have to break the bank. With a bit of creativity there are many things you can do to keep employees health and happy.

Here are a few tips:

Talk to your employees. Find out what aspects of an employer-sponsored health and wellness plan they would value most. It could be discounted gym memberships, quarterly sponsored walks/runs, or employee-led healthy cooking workshops. maybe it’s just more awareness of free or low-cost preventative care options covered by your healthcare insurance plan.

Get ideas for your wellness program. This blog from former SBA guest blogger, Dawn Rivers Baker, offers some creative and engaging ideas for a low-cost or no-cost employee wellness program.

Get help structuring specific programs. The Centers for Disease Control provides some great online tools to help you design and structure your wellness programs. For example, CDC LEAN Works is a free web-based resource that can help employers design effective worksite obesity prevention and control programs, including an obesity cost calculator to estimate how much obesity is costing your company and how much in savings your company could reap with different sorts of workplace interventions.

Consult your healthcare insurance provider. Many now offer tools and resources to help employers develop programs. Familiarize yourself with the types of programs that make sense for your business.

Get help from small business assistance groups. Check in with your local Small Business Development Center or Chamber of Commerce. They may have resources or seminars that can help you build the right program for your business.

 

Another great read from the U.S. Small Business Administration on how to reduce the cost of health insurance can be found here.

Let’s start off 2013 with a commitment to live healthy! Make small changes, take small steps, and soon enough you will see big results.