Posted on May 16, 2014
Illinois companies enter the marketplace with the goal of making profits while at the same time minimizing costs. Strategic planning to budget for expenses and to handle unexpected issues as they occur is the hallmark of successful business management. But how do companies handle lawsuits, natural disasters or employee injuries? Business can be unpredictable and so, leveraging risk by carrying commercial insurance is the only way companies can successfully handle the storms of life that could leave the uninsured financially devastated.
Understanding insurance options through education and expert assistance allows companies to obtain the right amount of coverage that will meet their business needs. Illinois only mandates that all employers carry workers compensation insurance, but in order to implement a protective business strategy, business owners must take that coverage as a foundation for protecting employees and supplement it with other insurance to handle liability issues and potential property damage as well.
Illinois Liability Coverage
Companies dedicate vast amounts of time and resources in growing their businesses, but just one accident can easily put that investment at risk. General liability insurance policies protect companies from a broad range of possible accidents and liability issues. They cover property damage caused by theft, vandalism and fire as well as bodily injury claims from products, services or negligence.
In addition to standard business liability coverage, additional options can be added to policies to customize them for each company's particular needs. For employees alleging discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination, employment practices liability insurance handles the cost of defending those claims as well as judgments or settlements. For companies that need extra coverage due to large assets or high risk industry, umbrella liability policies add extra policy limits between $1 million to $5 million above standard policies.
Workers Compensation Coverage
When employees get sick or injured while on the job, workers compensation insurance provides benefits to cover their medical costs and replace lost wages. Illinois is a no fault state, which simply means that workers comp benefits are paid regardless of fault.
All Illinois employers are required to maintain workers compensation coverage. The state also mandates that all businesses:
· Post a notice of worker rights along with the name of their workers comp insurance company;
· Keep records of work related injuries and report accidents that involve more than 3 lost work days;
· Never harass, discriminate or discharge an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim;
· Never charge employees for employer required insurance premiums or benefits.
Without commercial property insurance, business owners put their building, inventory and equipment at risk each day. Should there be a fire that wipes out inventory, business liability insurance might not be enough to handle the cost of replacement. This is where commercial property can give added protection to cover losses related to fire and theft and help keep companies afloat when natural disasters or accidents strike. Most standard business property insurance will cover the business building and all of its contents including furniture, equipment, computers and inventory. Adding extra coverage for business interruption can also be a wise choice for companies in Illinois. When bad weather leaves roads and businesses closed, this added coverage will help pay the bills until the company can reopen again.
Commercial Flood Insurance
Flooding is a statewide concern for residents and businesses in Illinois. Most commercial property insurance policies do not include coverage for flood damage. Separate policies must be purchased to cover damage caused by flooding to buildings. With the average commercial flood claim costing $85,000 according to FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, most businesses need the added protection that flood insurance provides. The NFIP offers coverage amounts up to $500,000 for buildings and $500,000 for building contents. Those companies that rent their office space can purchase "content only" coverage as well.
Tornado and Extreme Weather Coverage
Tornadoes and severe winter storms are regular occurrences in Illinois each year. Most commercial insurance policies will cover losses related to weather, but it is important to review your current policy or make sure new policies include coverage for potential weather related events. To be thoroughly protected, business insurance policies should provide coverage for ice, snow, wind, lightning, hail, fire, tornado or roof/building collapse - all events that can occur in Illinois.
Additional Information on Illinois Insurance