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How to file or renew your Workers Compensation exemption in Florida

To save money on workers compensation insurance, some officers will exempt themselves.  Since WC is based on payroll, this will reduce the premium of your policy.  However, it also means you will not be covered if injured. For the state of Florida, the website to file for an exemption is: https://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/wc/employer/Exemptions/default.htm Choose your industry based on whether you are in construction or non-construction and follow the steps to either apply for or renew your exemption. If you started the process to exempt yourself and receive a request for additional information from the state, you may click on “modify an application” and complete this process on the same page.  Sometimes a contract will require all owners to be included and will not allow you to exempt yourself, if this is the case you may also revoke your exemption on this page.  To check the status of exemptions, the website is: https://dwcdataportal.fldfs.com/Exemption.aspx You will see that there are different search options to find the exemption, to see all of the exempt officers listed for the company, pick the company or Federal Employer ID Number Once you find your company listed on the website, it will show a listing of any officers that are exempt, it will show the effective and expiration date of the exemption and the scope of business. Near the end of the termination date, the exempted officer will receive an email reminder to renew the exemption. Make a habit of checking on your exemption status when you get your WC renewal offer.  If you forget to renew your Florida workers comp exemption, it could cost you during your audit.

What is a Reciprocal Insurance Exchange Company?

Recently one of our Partner Companies, Tower Hill Insurance Group, started a new insurance company called Tower Hill Insurance Exchange.  The plan is to transition their current customers from Tower Hill Signature and Tower Hill Preferred to this new company. Why? There are three main reasons that they are doing this: The Florida Property Insurance Market is in dire straits. Currently, there is an increase of fraudulent activity. Shady contractors, public adjusters and attorneys are taking advantage of loopholes in insurance policies and Florida laws.  Here is an info-graphic from the FAIA to explain more (Click Here). Even though we have not seen any major hurricanes in a few years, the companies are paying more in property claims than ever before (although most of the payments are going to attorney fees) Many Florida Property Insurance Companies have either stopped accepting new policies, non-renewed a large portion of their customer base, or put major limitations on underwriting guidelines to stop growth. Citizens (State Insurance company of “last resort”) is growing faster than any other property insurance company in Florida. Insurance Policies are not intended to be maintenance policies. Yet, some consumers are using contractors, public adjusters and attorneys to get a free new roof when the roof has aged and needs replacement.  I get it.  Roofs are expensive…especially at today’s inflation rates. However, this is like having your auto mechanic file a claim to your auto insurance companies when they wear out. But I digress. What is a Reciprocal Insurance Exchange? A Reciprocal Insurance Exchange has 3 parts: The Advantages of a Reciprocal Insurance Exchange Subscriber Savings Accounts – Once the company makes an underwriting profit (spends less than it makes), the subscribers will begin to share in the profits.  Although they won’t get a check each year, they will receive any funds from the account when they cancel their policy (sold property, went to another company, etc.). More Transparency – As a Subscriber, you will be notified of the financials of the Exchange. No, you won’t know what neighbors filed a claim, but you will know the financial health of the company. Mindset of the Policyholder – Since the policyholder is an owner, it is believed it will decrease unethical decisions by policyholders.  Better maintenance decisions on their home.  Less likely to file frivolous claims. Less likely to be fooled by shady contractors that knock on their doors. They know bad decisions affect their premiums and chances of getting an underwriting profit. At least, that is the hope. The Disadvantages of a Reciprocal Insurance Exchange Subscriber Surplus Contributions are non-refundable. In the beginning, the company will be charging 10% of the annual premium as a Subscriber Fee. If you cancel your policy midterm, you will get a smaller refund that you would get with most admitted insurance companies. Although Tower Hill Insurance Exchange is not one of these, some Reciprocal companies can offer assessable policies. This means they can charge additional premiums if operating expenses were higher than expected. Fortunately, Tower Hill Insurance Exchange policies are non-assessable. If you have any additional questions about the Tower Hill Insurance Exchange, visit the THIE page.

Understanding Your Small Business Liability Insurance Cost

As a small business owner, understanding your small business liability insurance cost is essential for safeguarding your investment and ensuring the financial stability of your enterprise. With various factors influencing the cost of liability insurance, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of how these costs are determined and how you can reduce them. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through a comprehensive guide that will help you make informed decisions about your small business liability insurance cost. Key Takeaways Breaking Down Small Business Liability Insurance Costs Complexities often surround the sphere of small business liability insurance. Grasping the factors that sway the cost of insurance allows you to judiciously choose the coverage necessary for safeguarding your business. Some of the elements that can affect your business insurance costs include: These factors can play a significant role in determining your insurance cost. Certain types of small business insurance, including commercial property insurance, employee health insurance, general and professional liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and business interruption insurance, might qualify for tax deductions. To reduce your small business liability insurance costs, consider bundling policies with a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP), comparing quotes from various insurance providers, and maintaining an exemplary claims history. General Liability Insurance Cost Factors The cost of general liability insurance can be influenced by several factors, including your industry, business location, and claims history. Your industry plays a significant role in determining the cost of insurance, as certain industries may face higher risks or a greater probability of malpractice lawsuits, leading to higher premiums. Your business location can also impact the cost of insurance, as businesses in areas with high crime rates or substantial foot traffic may face increased premiums for coverage against theft or customer accidents. Policy limits and credit scores can also affect the cost of general liability insurance. Higher policy limits typically result in increased insurance costs, while a high credit score can lead to reduced insurance rates. Comprehending these factors and their impact on your general liability insurance costs enables you to choose the coverage and policy limits that best suit your business judiciously. Professional Liability Insurance Cost Factors Professional liability insurance costs can be influenced by several factors, including: The coverage limits you select for your professional liability insurance will have a direct impact on the cost of your insurance, with higher coverage limits generally resulting in higher premiums. The deductible amount also plays a role in determining the cost of your professional liability insurance, as higher deductibles can lead to lower premium costs, while lower deductibles may result in higher costs. The risk level of your business is another factor that can influence the cost of professional liability insurance. Insurance companies may impose higher premiums for industries or businesses with higher risk or a history of claims, while lower-risk industries or businesses with no claims history may be offered lower insurance rates. Taking these factors into account allows you to comprehend the cost of professional liability insurance better and select the coverage that fits your business’s specific needs. Commercial Property Insurance Cost Factors Commercial property insurance costs can be affected by factors such as: The average small business insurance cost of commercial property insurance for small businesses can range from $57 per month to $800 per year, depending on factors like coverage limits and the size of the business. Higher property values generally lead to higher insurance premiums. Comprehending the factors that sway commercial property insurance costs allows you to judiciously choose the coverage that best fits your business needs. Consider the value of your business property, its location, and any potential risks when choosing the appropriate commercial property insurance coverage for your small business. Types of Small Business Liability Insurance Policies There are various types of small business liability insurance policies available, each designed to protect your business from specific risks and liabilities. These policies include: Selecting the appropriate type of liability insurance is vital to guarantee your small business’s financial stability and continuous success. Understanding the different types of liability insurance policies and their role in protecting your business enables you to judiciously choose the coverage that best fits your needs and budget. General Liability Insurance General liability insurance, also known as general liability insurance coverage, is designed to protect your business from legal and settlement costs if a third party initiates legal action against you for bodily injury, property damage, or copyright infringement. The cost of general liability insurance varies based on factors such as your industry, location, and claims history. For most small businesses, general liability insurance is a critical component of their insurance portfolio. It offers protection against unforeseen incidents and helps maintain the financial health of your business. While selecting general liability insurance, considering the unique risks your business faces and choosing a policy with coverage limits that sufficiently address those risks is vital. Professional Liability Insurance Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance, protects businesses that provide advice or services from claims of: This type of insurance is particularly important for businesses in industries such as consulting, financial services, and healthcare, where the potential for costly claims is high. Business insurance companies play a crucial role in providing coverage to these industries. The cost of professional liability insurance is influenced by factors such as industry type and coverage limits. In selecting the appropriate professional liability insurance policy for your business, consider the specific risks tied to your industry and the potential financial impact of a claim. Select a policy with coverage limits that reflect the level of risk your business faces, and consult with an insurance agent or broker to help you navigate the insurance market and find the best policy for your needs. Workers’ Compensation Insurance Workers’ compensation insurance is a form of insurance that provides financial coverage to employees who suffer injuries or contract illnesses while in the course of their employment. This type of insurance is mandated by law in the majority of states and is essential

Guide to Insurance on Second Home: Protecting Your Vacation Property

Imagine owning a beautiful vacation property by the beach or a serene cabin in the mountains. As delightful as it sounds, it comes with the responsibility of ensuring the safety and protection of your second home. Insuring your vacation property is as important as insuring your primary residence, if not more so. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of protecting your vacation property, highlighting the unique risks associated with insurance on second homes, crafting the right coverage, managing rental property considerations, and partnering with the right insurer. Whether it’s a beach house or a ski chalet, understanding the intricacies of insurance on second home ensures that your investment is safe and sound. Let’s embark on this journey to protect your valuable asset while also finding ways to save money on premiums. Key Takeaways Understanding Second Home Insurance Needs Insuring a second home is not the same as insuring your primary residence. Second homes often face unique risks, such as theft and damage due to their location and usage patterns. Consequently, they require a separate home insurance policy tailored to address these challenges. Gaining insight into the necessity of an extra insurance policy and the coverage disparities between primary and secondary homes is a key step to protect your valuable assets. The journey to securing suitable insurance for your second home entails recognizing the distinct risks tied to vacation property ownership and deciphering the coverage variances between primary and secondary home insurance policies. This process empowers you to make a well-considered decision and safeguard your investment. Identifying Unique Risks Associated with Second Homes The risks associated with second homes differ from those of primary residences due to factors like location, occupancy, and potential hazards. For example, a beach house might be more exposed to natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding, while a log cabin in a remote mountainous region might face risks from wildfires and snowstorms. These distinct security risks underscore the need for meticulous evaluation of the specific dangers your second home might face, such as: Recognizing these risks enables you to customize your homeowners insurance policy to offer suitable protection for your second home, making it essential to choose the right homeowners insurance policy, including considering an umbrella insurance policy for additional coverage. Decoding Coverage Differences Comparing primary and secondary home insurance policies reveals important differences in coverage. Here are some key differences to consider: When appraising coverage differences, it’s pivotal to take into account limitations and exclusions. For instance, secondary home insurance policies may offer a covered perils approach, providing protection against a limited number of named perils as stated in the policy. Furthermore, liability protection plays a significant role in covering medical and legal expenses incurred by guests who have experienced injury while visiting your vacation home. Deciphering these coverage differences enables you to make well-considered decisions about the most suitable insurance policy for your second home. Crafting the Right Coverage for Your Vacation Property Creating a customized insurance policy for your vacation property involves considering aspects such as: These factors, along with your unique requirements, will help you determine the right coverage for your second home. To guarantee extensive protection for your vacation property, it’s important to assess extra coverage options hinging on your property’s location and potential risks. Balancing the full cost of coverage against the actual value of your property is also an important aspect to consider when crafting the right insurance policy. Evaluating Additional Coverage Options Depending on the location and potential hazards associated with your second home, you may need to consider additional coverage options. For example, if your vacation property is located in a flood-prone area or an earthquake zone, you might need to add flood insurance or earthquake insurance to your policy. To determine the need for additional coverage options, consider factors such as risk factors associated with the property, type of property (rental or personal use), and the desired level of protection. Meticulously assessing these factors and seeking advice from your insurance provider can guarantee your second home is sufficiently protected against all conceivable risks. Balancing Full Cost vs. Actual Value When determining coverage amounts for your second home insurance policy, it’s essential to understand the difference between full replacement cost and actual cash value. Full replacement cost coverage reimburses the cost to replace damaged or stolen property without accounting for depreciation, while actual cash value coverage calculates the claim payout based on the item’s original cost after accounting for depreciation. Selecting full replacement cost over actual cash value offers the advantage of providing the full cost to replace the item regardless of its age or condition, without considering depreciation. Although full replacement cost coverage may be pricier initially, it may prove beneficial when making a claim. Balancing the total cost against the actual value can guide you towards a well-considered decision on the coverage amounts that are optimal for your second home. Financial Aspects of Second Home Insurance Grasping the financial aspects of second home insurance is vital to protect your investment while avoiding unnecessary expenditure on premiums. The cost of second home insurance can vary based on factors such as location, property type, and coverage needs. Estimating the cost of insurance and identifying smart ways to save on premiums can help you strike the right balance between protection and affordability. Examining factors that affect the cost of second home insurance, such as the presence of security measures and location-related risks, can help you make well-informed decisions regarding coverage and premiums. In this section, we will delve into methods for estimating insurance costs and tips for saving money on premiums. Estimating Insurance Costs To estimate the cost of insurance for your second home, you can use online home insurance calculators provided by insurance companies or financial websites. These calculators typically require information about the property, such as location, size, and value, to generate an estimate of the insurance cost. Additionally, considering factors such as the age and condition of the home, as well

What is the difference between a Hip and Gable Roof?

The main difference between a gable and hip roof is that a gable roof has two sloping sides that meet at a ridge, while a hip roof has four sloping sides that meet at the top of the roof. Gable roofs are more common than hip roofs, and they are typically less expensive to build. However, hip roofs are more energy-efficient and provide better protection from the elements. Here is a more detailed comparison of the two roof types: Hip Roof Gable Roof What’s considered better for home insurance purposes? A hip roof is better for home insurance than a gable roof and is a discount with most companies. This discount can vary between 5-10% of the “wind portion” of your home insurance premium. Here are some of the reasons why a hip roof is better for home insurance: If you are looking for a roof that will provide you with the best possible protection from the elements and the best possible value for your home insurance, then a hip roof is the best option. What if I have both Hip and Gable? Will I still get a discount? Many homes are built with a mixture of hip and gable roof designs.  This is trendier and more appealing to home buyers than a home that is all hip or all gable.  Although each company is different in determining if a hip roof discount can be applied, most insurance companies require 90% of your roof to be hip. The best way to determine this may be to get the linear measurements of the exterior of your home.  If the roof slopes down in over 90% of the exterior walls, then your home will likely qualify for a “hip roof credit”.

Trucking Insurance – Coverages to consider

Trucking companies typically need several types of insurance coverage to protect themselves, their employees, and their cargo. Some of the most important types of insurance for a trucking company to have include: It is important for trucking companies to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent or broker who can help them determine the right types and amounts of insurance coverage they need to adequately protect themselves and their business.

Insurance Premiums Are Rising — Here’s What You Need To Know

Businesses are reopening across the nation and a sense of normalcy is cause for celebration. But you might want to hit the brakes on the festivities when your insurance renewal arrives. Sticker shock: The new normal is far from business as usual. While businesses waited for supply to catch up to demand, other calamities didn’t wait — instead, they kept coming. Extreme weather events, variant spikes, international port delays, protests, business and travel reopenings, worker shortages, war and inflation all added to the strain. Like the classic “I Love Lucy” scene where Lucy crams candies into her mouth in response to the increasing speed of the conveyor belt, insurance has been trying to keep up with the frantic pace of catastrophic events. The result is what’s known as a hard market. What does that mean for you and your business? A “hard market” means competition and high prices Insurance is in a hard market, which means rates are rising and insurance companies are becoming more selective about what client liability they’ll accept. In the wake of the pandemic, the industry is experiencing an unusually high number of claims, from property damage to liability lawsuits. Insurance companies are also fielding lawsuits on all sides, either defending their clients or protecting themselves from clients suing them. While the courts are busy interpreting the meaning of insurance policies in these extraordinary times, the insurance companies are refining their policy language and exclusions to limit the risk they’re forced to absorb. For you as a business owner, insurance probably feels overwhelming already, even without the unusually high price tags you’re currently facing. Now is an ideal time to get professional guidance and seasoned advice on choosing commercial insurance that’s going to respond when you need it. As the pandemic has taught us all, the difference between a good safety net and a bad one can be the determining factor between a strong, resilient business and bankruptcy. Inflation Rising inflation means increasing insurance premiums in response to the economic climate (also complicated by a pandemic backlash). In addition to supply chain woes, the worker shortage continues as the cost of labor and materials skyrockets. Weather events rack up annual catastrophic losses putting reserves and reinsurers in a tight spot. The cost to repair or replace things is much higher, and premiums reflect that shift. Social inflation and the hardening market Social inflation is on the lips of many agents (and lawyers) because it’s been a driving factor in increased insurance costs. Social inflation is an industry term that refers to the rising cost of litigation, a widening lens on liability and jury verdicts resulting in higher awards. Some lawsuits, for example, have fetched jury verdicts of over $10 million (known as “nuclear verdicts”), which have only exacerbated the hardening market. With that kind of money at stake, more plaintiffs are taking their chances at trial or countering rather than accepting initial insurance settlement offers. Paying it forward, in the case of insurance, means passing higher costs to the consumer. Supply chains are also hardening the market Thanks to the pandemic, you’ll never be in the dark about supply chains again. In the early days of COVID, limited access to paper products and electronics cleared the path for supply chain discussions. Suddenly the interrelated economy became part of normal dinner table conversation. Can’t get a laptop for months? It’s the supply chain. Toilet paper shortage? Thank the supply chain. Right now we’re experiencing a bit of 2020 all over again. Supply chains are again the talk of the town, only this time the problem is even more significant. Shipping container shortages, gridlock at international ports and outrageous shipping charges have created ripples in the downstream supply chain, affecting insurance rates. The supply chain and social inflation might even send certain types of insurance into a supply shortage of their own as insurance companies depart riskier markets. That means more competition with fewer insurance companies to absorb particular risks. It’s no longer a buyer’s market. What types of insurance are affected? The short answer is all types of insurance are being affected. But here are a few that might be harder to secure: We’re your secret weapon in a hard market Independent agents serve their clients’ best interests, not the insurance company’s. Even in a hardening market, we will search for insurance that fits your needs and budget. We know which insurance companies are poised to take on your industry risk and which ones aren’t worth trying. It’s important that we have enough time to shop around for you. If you’ve got a few dings on your record, you might need to pay more for coverage or go with a lower-rated carrier. We can help you market your business to make it appealing to insurance companies. For example, if you have a history of injury claims but have been proactive about employee safety training, we can help you present that info to an underwriter in the best possible light. Going it alone or rolling the dice on an AI-recommended policy won’t get you a personalized approach. Vying for the cheapest policy is tempting, but a cheaper policy can also mean more exclusions and less coverage. And those are the policies that tend to go radio silent when you need help handling a claim. Call us for a coverage review If you have concerns about an upcoming insurance renewal, be proactive and give us a call. We understand your frustrations about higher insurance prices and can help you get the coverage you need at an affordable price.

Why should I talk to an insurance agent and not just buy my insurance online?

While buying insurance online can be convenient and may offer a wider range of options to choose from, talking to an insurance agent has several benefits: In short, talking to an insurance agent can provide you with a personalized and expert service that can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

The amount of life insurance you need depends on several factors, including your current financial situation, your future financial obligations, and your family’s needs. To get a rough estimate of the amount of life insurance you need, you can consider the following: It’s important to speak with a financial advisor or an insurance agent to get a more accurate estimate of the amount of life insurance you need based on your specific situation.

Benefits of a Commercial Package Policy vs. a Business Owners Policy

Businesses typically need general liability and property insurance, so many business owners opt in when presented with a business owners program (BOP). It’s straightforward and offers bundled discounts, but it doesn’t provide much wiggle room. Like a “no substitutions” lunch special, you take what you get and find yourself dressing up the bland parts with a side dish (which adds to the bill). Suddenly your lunch special isn’t such a deal. The same goes for a BOP. Insuring business risk exposure can get tricky — and expensive — especially when your risk exposure doesn’t fit in the box. If your risk liability spills over the usual lines, you might be better off going for a commercial package policy (CPP) for better insurance coverage, customization and overall savings. Click here to learn more about Benefits of a Commercial Package Policy vs. a Business Owner’s Policy.