If you have a business insurance policy in Alberta, you’ve taken the first step to protecting yourself and your business from any unforeseen risk of any kind of loss or damage. However, as your business changes and grows, your insurance needs to be reviewed. Business owners need to recognize when it’s time to review and update their Alberta business insurance policy.
While it might seem unnecessary, or you might think that it will be too expensive, every business owner should update their business insurance. This is the best way to avoid inadequate coverage or unexpected limitations that will cost you more money in the long run. Here are nine key moments you should update your commercial insurance policy Alberta business owners need.
1. You’ve added an online element to your business
If your business has been established as brick and mortar operations, but you have decided to add an online element to attract more customers, the nature of your business has changed. This is a significant milestone in your growth.
Technology provides you with the ability to expand your reach, but it also introduces some new threats and risks to your day-to-day business operations. Suddenly you have a larger database of confidential client information that requires protection. You can now put your clients at risk of cyber-attacks, making them and your company more vulnerable to crimes such as identity theft.
If you don’t take the right precautions to secure the information and private information is stolen by cyber hackers your business is on the hook to cover any damages or losses suffered by your clients. Insurance to cover cybercrimes and breaches is a must for the modern Alberta business.
2. You’re experiencing growth
While growth is a goal for most business owners, as your company grows and changes, the policy you started with more than likely won’t cover that growth. A review of your policy to discuss your growing business with your broker will help address anything not covered so you can expand your policy accordingly.
3. New products and services
The introduction of new products and services can impact your Alberta business insurance policy. Changes are positive for your business success, but if you don’t keep your broker up to date on them, your coverage will more than likely not cover many aspects of your business expansions.
Business insurance policies are based on your business’s value and operation set up when you arrange the policy. That’s how brokers ensure you have suitable coverage for your needs. Any change to your business — even if it seems small and insignificant — can significantly impact the type and amount of coverage you require.
Upgrades impact your business value, which in turn affects how much insurance coverage you need. Always notify your broker of any changes, no matter how small, to ensure you have adequate coverage to reduce the risk for losses.
4. Employee expansion
Hiring more employees is another reason to update your policy. The number of employees can in certain businesses be a rating factor used by insurance companies to determine the annual premium.Your current policy is limited to the people hired at the time the policy was arranged. Therefore, all staffing changes should be reported to your broker as soon as possible.
5. Business space changes
Whether you move to a new location, add a new site, or even undergo renovations at your current location, your commercial insurance coverage is limited to the original location as it existed when you opened your policy. Any changes to your business space must be reported immediately, so your policy terms can be updated.
6. New or amended contracts
If you have entered into new agreements or signed new contracts with your suppliers, you should discuss those agreements with your broker. Details in your contracts could leave you open to risks and liabilities not covered by your current policy.
7. Vehicle use
If you have been using a new vehicle, your personal car, or purchased vehicles for business use, you require commercial vehicle insurance. Without it, any accidents that occur while conducting business by you or your employees won’t be covered by your business insurance policy.
8. Technology and equipment upgrades
As your business expands, you might require new equipment or introduce new technology to improve efficiencies. While this can help your business become more successful, it presents new risks, even if it strictly relates to things such as theft, damage, or vandalism.
Your policy will have a limit for coverage, often listing specific equipment included when the policy was first arranged. As well when technology or equipment breaks down, it interferes with day to day operations. If the equipment is included in your business insurance policy, you can be covered for lost time due to inoperable equipment. If you don’t report the new equipment, your business suffers the losses of downtime and replacement.
9. Structural or ownership changes
Ownership plays a crucial role in any commercial business insurance policy. Whether you have become the new owner or partner in the business or have changed ownership by adding a partner or transferring ownership to someone else, your policy will need updating.
Your Alberta Insurance Policy Update Checklist
If you are ready to start updating your business insurance regularly, use this checklist to make sure you are prepared:
- Make a list of questions for your broker based on your existing policy and anything that you might want to change.
- Make a list of business changes to share with your broker.
- Put together information to review with your brokers, such as expenses and paperwork, equipment, past claims, an updated employee list, new vehicle information, or new addresses
These steps will help you prepare for your meeting so you can get the best possible coverage for your business.
Coverage is subject to policy wording, terms, conditions, and deductibles. Protection is limited to the perils, coverage, exclusions, and limits shown on the policy.