There are many types of business insurance cover available out there for business owners. Unfortunately many entrepreneurs, particularly small business owners seem not to know the positive impact insurance can make on their businesses.
Particularly in a developing country like Nigeria, insurance knowledge is low. Ask someone whether he has a life insurance policy he will tell you he doesn’t need one. It is God that protects.
But is it not said that Heaven helps those who help themselves? Insurance is and should be an important element in both our personal and business finances.
What Is Insurance?
Generally speaking, insurance is a hedge against unforeseen negative events that can occur in our personal or business lives. It is a hedge because the insurance company offers you a compensation or reimbursement in the event that you suffer a loss or damage covered by an insurance contract.
The primary goal is to restore you to the position you were before the uncertain event happened. People take insurance covers on their lives, their properties, assets, children education and businesses.
Here we are talking about Business Insurance.
Business insurance is a term which describes the various types of insurance designed for business owners and their companies. These types of insurance help the business owner to manage risks arising from the day to day operations of his business.
Every business owner should have a general understanding of what coverage are available and how they can benefit his business. The specific policies and level of coverage will depend on the type and size of business you run.
You really don’t need to know all the details, any way. That’s why you have insurance agents or brokers. It’s their job to help you analyze your business, identify the risks and recommend appropriate insurance policy to buy.
Very Important is this…
Insurance is an essential cost of doing business. However, this cost is relatively cheap when you compare to the impact a potential liability will have on your business.
Considering that a single claim can completely decimate your business, taking relevant insurance covers is a smart thing to do.
Types of Business Insurance Covers
Now let’s take a look at the most common types of business insurance cover an entrepreneur can take to protect himself and his business in the ordinary course of his daily huzzle.
The first 4 are foundational.
Every business, irrespective of type and size should have these foundational business insurance.
#1. General Liability Insurance
This is the most common of the types of business insurance. It covers the basic needs shared by all types of businesses. Things like bodily injuries sustained in your business premises property and damages caused by your employees are covered by this policy.
General Liability Insurance policy can cover hospital expenses and legal fees arising from injuries and property damage for which your company is liable.
Note: This policy does not cover injuries sustained by employees in the work place. Cases like workers’ injuries are covered by the second type of business insurance, Employee Compensation Insurance.
#2. Employee Compensation Insurance
This policy covers liabilities arising from employee injuries while at work. The insurance cover will usually provide for medical care, death or permanent disability benefits to employees who sustained bodily injuries while carrying out their duties.
If your business is a hazardous one or involves the use of machinery and equipment, taking this policy will save you a lot of cost and debilitating litigation when the unexpected happens at the workplace.
As a matter of fact Employee Compensation Insurance is a statutory requirement in many countries. So this is one of the compulsory insurance coverage you must take if you are an entrepreneur, employing a minimum of 5 workers.
#3. Professional Liability Insurance
Also known as Error and Omission Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance protects professional employees in the work place against liability arising from professional advice they honestly give to customers.
Expert advice given by you or your staff may not always lead to the desired results. If your advice is inaccurate, false, negligent or fails to deliver on agreed outcome it may leave you open to liabilities. This will usually happen if your client suffers financial damages and blame you for the losses.
Professional Liability Insurance is important for professional practices or business owners who provide expert advice. Accountants, Lawyers, Engineers and other professionals in practice will benefit from this insurance cover.
Others are real estate agents, insurance agents, digital marketers, financial advisers, business and investment advisers, coaches and consultants.
#4. Property Insurance
This is a cover that provides protection against most risk to business properties. Occurrences like fire, burglary, theft, and natural disaster (like weather) are covered here. But it may not offer compensation against damages arising from flooding.
#5. Commercial Auto Insurance
Official vehicles are prone to accidents and other form of road hazards more than personal vehicles. The Commercial Auto Insurance is a liability and physical damage protection for vehicles that are used for business purposes. It covers cars, trucks, and vans.
This type of business insurance is not just suitable for industrial concerns. If you use cars to run official errands, make deliveries or carry tools, your business will benefit from a commercial auto insurance.
#6. Business Interruption Insurance
Business Interruption Insurance policy offers protection against loss of income that a business suffers when disaster occurs.
It’s usual for business owners who have taken property insurance to feel that a BIS is not necessary. They think the two policies cover the same thing.
They are not.
A business interruption insurance ensures that you don’t suffer loss of income even if the disruptions extend a long period of time. Disasters that a BIS policy cover may include break-in, fire, flood, tremors and other events that may need some waiting time for the owners to rebuild their business.
7. Product Liability Insurance
This type of business insurance cover offers business protection against losses customers may suffer directly from the use of the company’s products. The insurance company takes care of the claims if someone suffers injuries by consuming your products or the product you supplied damages or causes bodily harm to a property or an individual.
Consider buying a product liability insurance if your business….
- manufactures, services, repairs, or re-purposes products
- commissions the making of a product and your name appears in it (white labeling)
- you use material from a supplier who is no longer in business or cannot be traced
- imports products
Product liability insurance can take care of the legal fees and cost of compensation if somebody sues your company for damages or injury suffered due to the use of your product.
#8. Home Based Business Insurance
Home Owners’ Insurance policy may not cover business assets if you are working from home. In this case, it is wise to take a home based business insurance policy as an additional cover. A home based business insurance will offer protection against your equipment and inventory.
This type of business insurance is particularly suitable for entrepreneurs who are starting out from their homes.
Doing business is an attractive option but it comes with a lot of risks. Insurance companies exist to help you carry some of this risks. Your business need insurance.
If you don’t have any, contact an insurance agent today to review the options.
As I pointed out earlier, these types of business insurance namely General Liability, Property, Professional Liability, Workers’ Compensation and vehicle Insurance are foundational. This means that they are very important for business operations.
That’s why in some countries, it is statutorily required for business owners to take some of these insurance policies if they want to remain in business.
In Nigeria, the The Insurance Act 2003 provides for the following compulsory insurance policies. Any one who ought to have any of these policies but fails to do so faces defined penalties.
- Motor Third Party Insurance
- Employee Group Life Insurance
- Healthcare Professional Indemnity
- Insurance of Public Building
- Insurance of Building under construction
- Employers Liability Insurance (this replaced the workmen compensation Act now known as Workers Compensation Insurance)
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