Posted on May 16, 2014
Commercial insurance in Louisiana is as varied and interesting as the people, food and culture of the great Pelican State. With a large tourist industry catering to the millions of people who visit for good eating in Cajun restaurants and fun times on riverboat casinos, Louisiana business owners face the need to have adequate commercial insurance to fully protect them from liability, injury to customers and employees and potential property damage from frequent storms and potential weather related damage. With fishing, petroleum, manufacturing and farming industries also needing asset protection, there are a wide variety of unique needs specific to every individual business that must be met.
Carefully considering company assets along with all the available insurance policies will help Louisiana businesses understand and make the right choices for coverage to suit their needs while also meeting their budgets.
Louisiana Liability Coverage
General liability coverage provides a safety net for Louisiana employers so that if they are sued for an unexpected accident, injury or property damage, their business investment and assets are protected from financial harm. The best way to determine the amount of coverage needed is to first evaluate any potential risk that the company may have. That way, specific perils can be insured at an adequate insurance amount to provide the most protection available.
Louisiana business owners have unique needs for liability insurance. With a large fishing and boating industry, companies within this industry would require watercraft liability insurance. This type of coverage will cover dock or pier damage, wrecked boat removal, cargo damage, collisions and even injury to passengers.
Because the heart of southern Louisiana features plenty of tourism and party going, this industry requires special liability protection as well. Event coverage policies provide insurance for specific events for a given time period so that any injuries or damage resulting from that event would be covered. Liquor liability insurance protects all those New Orleans businesses serving up cool drinks during Mardi Gras and all year round. This coverage can be added as an endorsement to general liability policies and will cover accidents related to the sale of alcohol. In many instances, liquor liability can be included with event coverage for a specific party or gathering.
Workers Compensation Coverage
All Louisiana employers must have workers compensation insurance to cover their employees in the event of work related injuries or illnesses. Companies may purchase their workers comp cover through private insurance companies, self-insurance or group self-insurance. The only time an employee would not be covered by workers comp is due to injury while intoxicated or intentional infliction of harm to himself. This coverage pays for employee medical expenses, lost wage replacement for temporary or permanent disability, and a death benefit and vocational rehabilitation if applicable or needed.
Commercial property insurance covers a wide variety of perils to help protect businesses from losing their buildings, inventory and equipment due to property damage or destruction. Most policies will list specific, named perils that are included in the coverage. Such events as fire, theft and explosion are examples of named perils. An all-risk policy provides property protection for perils that are not specifically excluded from the policy. Many Louisiana policies specifically exclude wind and hail damage and so in the case of an all-risk policy, that coverage would handle most other events but would not cover damage from wind or hail.
When a peril such as wind, hail or flood is excluded from a policy, most business owners will be able to purchase this valuable protection. It will either be added as an endorsement to an existing policy or a new policy will be written to cover these weather related conditions.
Commercial Flood Insurance
Business property insurance will not include flood damage in the policy. Louisiana business owners must purchase separate commercial flood insurance policies to make sure that buildings and personal property are covered in case of flooding. Flooding might occur from overflow of tides, rivers or lakes, clogged sewers or even mudflow.
The National Flood Insurance Program administered by FEMA provides flood insurance coverage for those communities located within flood plains that participate in the program. It offers companies the opportunity to purchase up to $1 million in flood insurance coverage - $500,000 for buildings and $500,000 for the contents. Those companies that rent space for their business operations may also apply for up to $500,000 of contents only coverage. Flood insurance through the NFIP is not available immediately. There is a 30- day waiting period and so the best time to apply and purchase is well in advance of a flood threat.
Wind Insurance for Louisiana
Many commercial property insurance policies in Louisiana do cover damage caused by wind and rain; however, certain high-risk areas in the state, especially after Hurricane Katrina, will require separate policies to cover damage caused by hurricanes and strong winds. When these events are covered in an existing policy, they may sometimes be subject to a different deductible.
It is always a wise choice to review existing policies to make sure that different types of weather related events are covered in the policy. Another reason to evaluate policies is to make sure that there is enough coverage to pay for the cost of repairing or rebuilding property in the event of significant damage or destruction.
Additional Information on Louisiana Insurance