Small Business Owner Debate: CGL Versus Self Insure
January 16, 2018
For just a few dollars a day, you can purchase Commercial General Liability insurance, and avoid the potential pitfalls that can hurt your business temporarily or even entirely derail it, should a serious claim occur.
Most people like you and I, will get up, dust ourselves off and continue walking before anyone has a chance to notice that we fell to the ground. However, not everyone thinks that same way. As an owner of a business, if your negligence causes property damage to a third party, or someone is injured on your premises, you can be held liable. Might not seem like a big deal, but each business is unique and not all businesses mirror one another. Not only would your insurance policy respond and pay the claim if you were found to responsible, but your insurer would represent you (your business) and defend you in court as part of your insurance contract under your policy. Yes, that is correct! Your insurer covers the defense costs which alone can be an extreme expense. By handling this for you with either their legally retained council or through the hiring of the contracted council that has the expertise required for whichever area your policy is responding to. You can feel relieved to continue running your business, and not having to leave your business operation short-handed or even close altogether to deal with the claim against you.
You might ask, what sort of claims can happen to a small business owner that would jeopardize the viability of my business, or think that this simply will never happen to my small business. Well, getting back to what we said before, not everyone thinks the same way as you or takes responsibility for their actions. Many people look to blame someone else and seek compensation for damages or injuries they incur.
Therefore, the simplest of claims that can be made against all businesses is your typical trip/slip and fall. It does not matter if you own a restaurant, run an office, have a retail store or manufacture cabinets. Everyone is responsible for all persons that visit their establishment intentionally or unintentionally. And situations stemming from recently mopped floors to aisle blocking items, uneven floor tiles, or ripped carpets are all the responsibility of the owner to ensure the safety of anyone on their property. It does not matter if an uninvited guest inadvertently mixed up an address for an appointment and walked into an area of a business that even has a warning sign. You as the owner are responsible and liable to protect not only your employees but the public as well from potential hazards.
Give one of our Erie Mutual Insurance agents the opportunity to review your business and its unique aspects and come up with an insurance solution and risk management plan for your overall operations.
Article Written by George Nikolaidis
Erie Mutual Insurance Manager (Underwriting and Loss Prevention)