Posted on May 17, 2014
Commercial insurance is all about reducing risks for businesses. Companies work hard to build their business by creating and distributing products or services, hiring employees and growing profits. But when the unexpected occurs, uninsured businesses face the potential of having to pay out of pocket for an accident or damage. Maybe a customer injures himself using company products or an employee damages a client's property. Perhaps someone accuses a business of false advertising. Whatever the issue, many companies face lawsuits and claims for events they might be held financially responsible.
Learning about the various types of available business insurance will help Alaska business owners make the right decisions about coverage that will fully protect their assets and business investment.
Alaska Liability Coverage
When a company is sued for bodily injury or property damage, general liability insurance helps to handle that claim. Legal defense fees, medical expenses and lawsuit awards can all add up to large amounts of money. Uninsured companies would be required to cover all expenses on their own, while those business owners with adequate amounts of liability coverage would have financial security since their insurance policy would handle these expenses.
Commercial contractors in Alaska are required to carry general liability coverage with minimum policy limits of $20,000 for property damage, $50,000 for injury or death to one person, and $100,000 for injury or death to two or more.
Workers Compensation Coverage
Workers compensation insurance coverage is required for all Alaskan employers with one or more workers. Exemptions to the workers comp requirements include sole proprietors and partnerships, part time babysitters, harvest workers, commercial fishermen, taxi cab drivers, contract entertainment, professional hockey coaches and players.
Workers comp pays medical expenses and wage replacement for the work related injury or illness of employees.
Every Alaska business needs business property insurance. This valuable coverage protect from financial losses that occur to business buildings, equipment and inventory when it is damaged, lost, stolen or destroyed. Most businesses will want to customize their coverage to suit their particular needs. Depending on the business location, property insurance can cover losses from fire, lightning, wind, hail, explosion, riots and theft.
Many property policies are written to cover specific perils named on the policy. If a policy states that it covers wind, fire and hail damage, then the policy will only insure the property for damage caused by those weather related events. An all-risk policy provides more comprehensive coverage in that it will cover all perils except for those specifically excluded from the policy.
Separate property coverage is also available for earthquakes, floods, business income and even glass breakage. Depending on the location of the business, these conditions can usually be added to a standard property insurance policy by endorsement. If not, then a separate policy must be written.
Commercial Flood Insurance
Flood related damage is quite common in Alaska. Many business property owners are not aware that commercial property insurance does not cover flooding. Separate policies are needed to fully protect businesses from flood damage, and they should be purchased before a flood event because there is a 30-day waiting period for these policies to go into effect.
The National Flood Insurance Program offers coverage to businesses in participating communities with limits up to $500,000 for buildings and another $500,000 for building contents. It may be purchased from the Alaska business owner's insurance agent or broker who handles the commercial property policy.
Wind & Hail Insurance for Alaska
Weather events related to snow, wind and hail cause damage each year to Alaska residents and businesses. Most commercial insurance policies will include these events in their coverage. Businesses should always check their existing policies to make sure that common weather related conditions are insured. If not covered, wind or hail may usually be added as an endorsement to the policy. Otherwise, a separate policy may be purchased for full protection.
Additional Information on Alaska Insurance
Additional information about commercial insurance in Alaska is available by calling (907) 465-2515 or by visiting the website of the Alaska Division of Insurance at http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/ins.