- Updated May 10, 2023
Risk management involves identifying, assessing, and minimizing threats that can affect a company's finances and reputation. Risks may stem from different sources, including human errors, weather, and legal liabilities. Being aware of potential risks and taking steps to minimize their impact is crucial.
A risk management program can aid a company in identifying the risks it faces and implementing measures to address each one. Adhering to a risk management plan can reduce the hazards of conducting business. Business insurance is often integrated into risk management programs.
How do you find the right type of business insurance? What types are there? What should you consider when selecting insurance? Who can help you?
This article will teach you how to manage risks with business insurance, identify potential risks, and align certain types of insurance with your business.
Before exploring business insurance, you should create a list of the risks your company may encounter. You could brainstorm with employees or generate a list on your own. The list should include employee and customer-related risks and uncontrollable factors like natural disasters.
After developing your list, you must evaluate the probability and potential impact of each risk. Assessing its likelihood and potential consequences can help determine whether your company can mitigate the risk independently, eliminating the need for business insurance to cover it.
Finally, decide how to manage your risks. You can follow any of the four common risk management techniques:
General liability insurance shields your business from claims arising from bodily injury inflicted upon someone else, damage caused to another person's property, and personal injury, such as libel or slander. This insurance policy serves as a safety net for your business, protecting you in case of unexpected incidents that can result in legal proceedings or financial losses.
Professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, provides coverage for lawsuits alleging that you have made an error in the services you provided. Professional liability insurance serves to offer protection for the costs involved in defending your business and any damages awarded, up to the limits of the policy.
This type of business insurance covers the building and equipment used in the operation of your business. It provides coverage for unexpected losses and damages resulting from events such as fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.
Workers' compensation insurance provides benefits to employees who suffer an injury or illness while performing their job duties. This insurance policy is mandatory in most states.
This insurance protects businesses from the risks associated with data breaches and other cyber security threats. Policies protect against losses resulting from cyber-attacks, network failures, data breaches, and other cyber incidents.
Business interruption insurance, also referred to as business income insurance, aims to financially support businesses in the event of a covered loss that prevents them from operating. Business interruption insurance can also help replace the income a business would have earned during the time they are unable to operate as well as cover rent, employee salaries, and utilities.
Any business in any industry can face claims that may arise during regular operations. Without liability insurance coverage, business owners may have to bear the cost of claims themselves, which can jeopardize their financial stability. Liability insurance provides financial protection in case of such claims, covering the costs of legal fees, settlements, and judgments.
Having liability insurance can show your clients and customers that you have insurance coverage in place, which can help establish trust and credibility. It can also reassure them that you can complete a job even if unexpected events occur.
A common example that highlights the importance of liability insurance, general liability in particular, for businesses is a slip and fall accident that occurs on your business premises. If a customer or employee slips and falls due to a wet floor or any other hazard, they could suffer bodily injury and property damage. They may hold your business responsible for the injury and file a claim or a lawsuit against your business.
Without liability insurance, your business may be responsible for paying medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. These costs could be substantial and lead to financial instability or even bankruptcy. However, with general liability insurance, your insurance company will help cover the costs associated with defending against the claim.
An example demonstrating the importance of professional liability insurance concerns a financial advisor who gives investment advice to a client. The client later claims that the advisor's recommendations resulted in financial losses. The client files a lawsuit against the advisor, seeking to regain the lost funds. Since the advisor has professional liability insurance, their insurance company helps cover the costs of their legal defense.
Commercial property insurance usually covers the replacement or repair of your company’s building, equipment, tools, inventory, furniture, and personal property. For instance, a small business owner experiences a fire that damages their property and destroys their inventory. Without commercial property insurance, they would have to cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding their property and replacing their lost inventory. This can be an overwhelming financial burden for a small business and could even result in the business shutting down.
The savvy business owner owns commercial property insurance. They can file a claim to cover repairs and inventory replacement, allowing them to recover from the loss and continue their operations.
Workers' compensation insurance is designed to assist employees who suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses in their recovery process. This type of insurance typically covers medical care and treatment, replacement of most lost wages if the employee has to take time off from work to recover, disability benefits, and death benefits (funeral expenses, for example).
Imagine you own a construction company. One of your employees falls off a ladder while on the job and is seriously injured. If you do not have workers' compensation insurance, then you might be responsible for paying all of the medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages. This could severely strain your company’s finances. If you have workers’ compensation insurance, then your policy can pay for the employee’s medical care and any lawsuits if they decide to sue you.
As our digital world continues to advance, businesses of all sizes, from global corporations to small family-owned shops that use technology to conduct their operations, face an increasing amount of cyber threats. With the complexity and sophistication of cyber threats evolving rapidly, every business must be prepared. This is where cyber liability insurance comes in. It provides coverage options that can help protect businesses from data breaches and other cyber security issues.
Let’s look at an example of cyber liability insurance in action. A small business that sells handmade products online experienced a data breach, resulting in the theft of customers' names, addresses, and credit card details. The business was unaware of the breach until customers started reporting fraudulent charges on their credit cards. The business had to spend thousands of dollars on notifying affected customers, providing credit monitoring services, and defending itself against lawsuits.
Because it did not have cyber liability insurance.
A cyber liability insurance policy would have covered all of the company’s expenses and efforts to restore its reputation.
Business interruption insurance can help cover your operating expenses if a covered loss forces your business to shut down. For example, imagine you own a restaurant that experiences a fire that forces you to shut down for several months while repairs are made. During this time, you have to continue paying your rent, utilities, and loan payments. You also have to cover your employees' payroll, even though your business is not generating any revenue. Business interruption insurance helps cover all of these expenses, giving you a fighting chance to get your business back on track as soon as possible.
Determine if you are legally required to carry certain types of insurance coverage. This can depend on various factors, such as your industry, state regulations, clients' requirements, and lender demands. Knowing what you need can help you look for appropriate coverage.
Business owners often wonder how much their required insurance policies will cost. When you're on a tight budget, insurance coverage can seem more like a burden than a necessity. Choosing a cheap policy could cost more in the long run. Cheaper policies often offer limited coverage that leaves the business vulnerable to common risks. Coverage gaps could result in expensive claims and legal fees that the business would be responsible for paying.
Choosing a high deductible could lower your premiums. However, you must know whether you can afford to pay that deductible if you need to file a claim. While it may seem like a good idea to save money on premiums, you might not want to put your business in a vulnerable financial position by setting a deductible that is too high.
If you want reliable business insurance coverage, then you should acquire it from a trusted insurance carrier. Evaluate potential providers’ financial ratings and customer reviews. You should aim to partner with a provider who can pay its debts, offer dependable coverage, and serve its policyholders.
Regular risk assessments are important for businesses to determine whether their insurance coverage is still adequate as their risk profile changes due to growth or other factors. Conducting these assessments can help identify any gaps in coverage and allow businesses to make necessary adjustments. With this proactive approach, businesses can ensure they have the right insurance policies at the right times.
Tips for performing occasional evaluations include:
You can save time and reduce headaches when you work with an insurance agent to create a risk management plan. Insurance agents should know what threatens businesses and how to deal with those risks. They can help businesses by analyzing potential risks, assessing their current insurance coverage, and recommending policies to mitigate those risks. They can provide industry-specific insights on risks and regulatory requirements that help build effective safety and loss prevention programs. Insurance agents sometimes assist with claims management and advocate for their clients in the event of a dispute with an insurance company.
In today's business landscape, managing risk with business insurance is essential for success and growth. Property damage, liability claims, business interruptions, and more can devastate an uninsured company. Regular risk assessments factor into selecting appropriate protection. With plenty of options to choose from, business owners can not blame unforeseen circumstances for destroying everything they have worked hard to create.