piece of paper that says "small business insurance"Insurance, in some form or another, has been around for most of human history; we speculate that it’s been around since before recorded history. Traditionally, this insurance was not often used to secure property; rather, it was used by businesses to ensure commercial ventures. Maritime insurance (Boats and Cargo) was particularly common.  Back in the early days, Lloyds of London (arguably one of the world’s oldest insurance brands) was, in fact, nothing but a coffee shop.  People of wealth would come and have a coffee and would agree to get together in a group and collectively pay costs if a ship was lost at sea, or moneylenders agreeing to cancel loans if shipments were lost, for an additional fee.

Insurance remains important for businesses today.   People often think of property insurance, when they think of business insurance which would cover such things as buildings, equipment, stock, furniture, fixtures, etc. Property insurance is essential for businesses because, without it, catastrophic loss will spell the end of your business. Depending on the nature of your business, we will customize a property insurance plan to cover you against the most likely hazards. 

Property damage isn’t the only thing that can cost your business money. When you’re transacting with the public, especially if you sell goods or products.  Even if you are not the manufacturer, you may be found liable if someone is injured as a result of the product or if it has done damage to someone else’s property.  Commercial General Liability provides coverage if you are sued as a result of the business, including something that happens on the premises, or off-premises.  As an example, an electrical contractor could install a light fixture and if found negligent, could be responsible if the building burns down.  Professionals such as lawyers, accountants, medical professionals and all manner of other professionals, Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance, sometimes called malpractice insurance or professional liability, can help if you make a mistake you’re found liable for in your professional work.  It extends coverage to your advice based on the professional services you provide.

When considering liability insurance, it’s important to remember that the insurance will generally cover all legal costs associated with liability claims made against you through a process known as subrogation. We’ll run an article on subrogation in the future – for now, what you need to know is even if the building owner has insurance, it will still be you at fault if you are negligent.

Many business owners get all of their income from their business, and a prolonged shutdown can cost them and their business everything. Fortunately, there’s business interruption insurance. This type of insurance is complex enough that we’ll dedicate a whole article to it in the future, but in essence, it covers your loss of profit (ie. NET Earnings) until your business is back on its feet following a disruption caused by a hazard covered by your insurance.

We live in the gig economy and a lot of people are running a home-based business. Some folks think that their home insurance covers their business activities but that’s not the case.  Not only would your business not be covered, if you have not advised your home insurance company about the business being run in the home it can invalidate your policy and if you have a claim of any sort (even not involving the business), your home insurance policy can be voided completely and you will have no coverage.,

You can sometimes purchase a Home Based Business insurance policy which can be added to the home insurance policy, but often you will end up needing to purchase a small business insurance policy.  It is very important to have your broker co-ordinate this policy with your home insurance company and when possible it is recommended that coverage be written with the same insurance company that provides the home insurance.  Our insurance company in Winnipeg can help you better understand what falls under home insurance and what doesn’t.

The nice thing about small business is that they will often qualify for a small business insurance package.  These policies bundle together a bunch of coverage’s into one policy and usually provide a significant number of frills and enhancements.  This type of coverage tends to be less expensive than purchasing standalone coverage.

We will also help find the best commercial insurance policy for you. There are so many advantages to getting insurance for your small business, but the key takeaway should be this: when things go wrong, you want your business to continue to operate. Risk mitigation is a key strategy for any business and good business insurance helps you mitigate risk and increase success.