Purchasing commercial insurance is a very important aspect of any lawncare or landscaping business. Properly protecting the business may mean the difference between the long-term success or failure of the business. Partnering with an experienced insurance professional is the first step towards securing the ultimate insurance package. For most businesses, time is precious. If your time is precious, partnering with an independent insurance agent is a great way for you to get multiple quotes from multiple carriers with little work on your end. Most independent agencies partner with 10 or more insurance carriers. This allows the independent agent to get quotes from multiple carriers instead of you have to call each one individually. An Independent agent shops for insurance so you don’t have to. Those independent agencies can also give your business insight about the carriers that they may not be able to divulge to you if they work for only one company. Here are four tips to help a business owner prepare for the next time they have to renew commercial insurance.
Make sure you are classified properly
There are more than 700 classification codes that differentiate businesses within similar industries. The lawn care and landscaping industry has as many as nine different classification codes. Some codes are for businesses that only cut grass. Another code is for a business that install sod and other shrubbery. Another code is for businesses that have employees who climb high into a tree with a chainsaw to cut off limbs while in the air. Each classification code has a different level of risk and they pay a different amount for insurance premium. If your business is classified improperly it can cost you an enormous amount in unneeded premium payments.
Consider Alternative Payment Options
Pay as You Go Workers Compensation Insurance Programs offer businesses the ability to pay premium in real-time based upon the amount of payroll from the previous month. A traditional workers comp policy requires a business to pay premium based on an estimate of the payroll from the previous year or the previous three years. For a landscaping business, man hours can fluctuate enormously from year to year. This may cause your business to over pay throughout the year for unnecessary premium. This discrepancy is usually fixed during the end of term audit, but even if you get a refund you still have had cash-flow tied up in premium throughout the year. This money is tied up in insurance premium instead of allowing the business to spend this money on more immediate business needs.
Implement a Safety Program
Safety programs are a great thing to implement in to any business for a number of reasons. First and foremost, a safety program is the right thing to do for the employees of the business. In the lawncare and landscaping industry, healthy employees are productive employees. Making sure your employees are safe will keep the employees happy and healthy, but it will also save your business immensely. Safety program will contribute to less injured employees. Less injured employees means less insurance claims. Less frequent and less severe insurance claims means a better experience modification rating and this rating is the number one thing a business has control over to keep the cost of insurance low.
Include a Return-to-Work Plan in your Safety Program
Including a return-to-work plan inside of a businesses safety program will contribute immensely to a positive experience modification rating. This is because when a business has a injured employee, limiting the amount of time the injured employee is away from work will limit the amount the insurance company has to pay for lost wages. Also, humans are creatures of habit. When an employee is injured they are taken out of their normal routine. The longer the injured employee stays away from the job, the more time they have to create new habits. The longer an employee stays away from work, the more likely they are to be on long term disability. This is the type of claim that can have disastrous effects on your experience modification rating. Getting your employees back on the job, even in a limited capacity, drastically increases the likelihood they will return to full=time employment. Talking with your managers and key employees about ways to get injured workers back on the job and back in to the company culture can have huge effects on employee morale.