Benchmark Commercial Insurance Services, Inc.

Regardless of the size of your business, the following is a partial list of coverages which should be considered when protecting your operation. Benchmark Commercial Insurance Services, Inc. specializes in providing custom tailored packages of these coverages for you.

Liability Policies

Commercial General Liability Insurance

One of the key concepts of liability coverage is that it is comprehensive in nature. What this means is that the policy (insuring agreement) covers all hazards within the scope of the insuring agreement that are not otherwise excluded. It is likewise comprehensive in that it provides automatic coverage for new locations and activities of your business, which come about after policy inception and throughout the policy term. Commercial General Liability (CGL) is the standard commercial liability policy used to insure a business.

Premises and Operations

The Premises hazard exists when there is ownership or occupancy of property (the premises). A customer may have a premises claim against the Insured if the newly waxed floors caused the customer to slip and fall.

The Operations hazard exists when activity in addition to occupancy of property exists. Most of our customers have this exposure rather than Premises. A carpenter may be negligent and cut the electrical wiring, causing Property Damage to the building.

Products and Completed Operations

Products hazard arises from the manufacturing or selling of a product such as an air conditioner. A compressor that our Insured sold and installed for the client may have been defective and caused a fire damaging the building.

Completed Operations is a hazard that remains after the contractor has completed the job. In the air conditioner example above, if the compressor was improperly installed and later caused fire damage due to the improper installation, any resulting injuries or Property Damage would be said to emanate from the Completed Operations hazard.

Advertising Injury

This coverage includes libel or slander; invasion of privacy; misappropriation of advertising ideas or style of doing business; or infringement of copyright, title, or slogan, all in the course of advertising the Insured's goods or services. Some of the newer policies do exclude copyright infringement so make sure to check with your agent.

Fire Legal Liability

Provides Property Damage coverage to property leased or rented to the Insured. If the Insured rents a building and by negligence on the part of the Insured, fire damages the part of the building that is leased by the Insured, Fire Legal Liability coverage limit would apply.

Premises Medical Payments

Provides Medical Payments for persons, other than the Named Insureds, for Bodily Injury suffered on the premises, even though the Insured was not negligent. The difference between Medical Payments and Premises Liability is negligence. You do not need to be held negligent for the insurance company to pay a medical payment claim. This allows the company to pay small nuisance claims without the need for costly legal expenses.

CGLs generally exclude claims arising from the rendering or the failure to render professional services, and most professional exposures are more appropriately covered by a separate policy. Malpractice insurance (sometimes called "professional liability" or "error & omissions coverage") might be available for.

Cyber Liability For Website Owners and Developers

One of the most overlooked coverage’s for the new internet business is media liability. For any business who has a website, whether you are a technology account or not, you need to insure against media, publishing, advertising, patent and copyright infringement liability.

  1. Combined Content and Errors, Omissions & Negligent Acts Coverage
  2. Personal Injury
  3. Copyright Infringement
  4. Trademark Infringement
  5. Unauthorized Access — including theft of customer’s credit card data.
  6. No Punitive Damages Exclusion (where allowed by law)
  7. 60 Day Automatic Coverage for Wholly-Owned Entities Created or Acquired during the Policy Period
  8. Universal

Umbrella

A form of liability insurance protecting policyholders for claims in excess of the limits of their business automobile, general liability and workers compensation policies, and it may also provide coverage for exposures not covered by the primary policies.

Excess Liability

A form of liability insurance protecting policyholders for claims in excess of the limits of their business automobile, general liability and workers compensation policies, and it will not provide coverage for exposures not covered by the primary policies.

Pollution Insurance

Provides protection for the liability exposures that may result from damage, injury and clean-up costs caused by pollution. This coverage is excluded in the standard Commercial General Liability. Contractors and Painters will also have Lead Paint and Asbestos exclusions. Pollution contamination and clean up costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most businesses have a pollution exposure and don't realize it. Worse than that are the businesses that have a pollution exposure and don't insure it. For some businesses the need for pollution coverage is painfully obvious. Gas Stations, recyclers, remediation contractors, dry cleaners, property owners, are just a few.

Directors & Officers Liability Insurance

Protects officers and directors of a corporation against damages from claims resulting from negligent or wrongful acts in the course of their duties. Also covers the corporation, the officers and directors for expenses incurred in defending lawsuits arising from alleged wrongful acts of officers or directors.

Professional Liability Insurance (Errors & Omissions Ins.)

If you provide advice or charge fees for a professional service, you need Professional Liability to cover Errors & Omissions in your judgment. Do you develop or write software code? General liability does not protect you if your software fails to perform or malfunctions. Professional Liability provides that exact coverage. Many businesses over look Professional Liability Insurance and buy General Liability Insurance thinking they are adequately covered. That is almost always not the case.

Employee Benefits Liability Insurance

Employee Benefits Liability is simply an endorsement you add to your general liability insurance policy. It covers insured’s in the event they make an error in enrolling an employee in company sponsored employee benefits programs such as group health, medical, dental etc. This coverage is often overlooked. If you have a benefits program for your employees it is highly recommended you consult with your agent to see if you are in need of adding this endorsement to your general liability policy.

Representations & Warranties Liability Insurance

What is a representation or warranty?

A representation or warranty is made in writing by a seller in a business transaction.

Generally, representations are statements of past and existing facts; warranties are promises that existing or future facts are or will be true. These representations and warranties provide the buyer with information essential to the decision to implement the transaction.

What are some of the typical representations and warranties of sellers in a transaction?

Representations and warranties are found in a transaction document (e.g. the purchase & sale agreement) and will vary greatly depending upon the nature of the transaction. Some of the more common representations and warranties of sellers found in such documents relate to:

  1. Financial statements
  2. Accounts receivable
  3. Taxes
  4. Employee benefits
  5. Intellectual property

For example, a representation or warranty relative to financial statements may provide assurances regarding the quality and accuracy of these statements. While the accounts receivable representation or warranty may offer line-item support to the more general representations regarding the financial statements as a whole.

Media Liability Insurance

Media Liability Insurance, which protects the insured against claims arising out of the gathering and communication of information, is critical to any media organization. The variety of claims being asserted against the media, and the size of jury verdicts against media organizations, are constantly on the increase. According to data released by the Libel Defense Resource Center, the median jury award against media organizations in 1990 was $500,000; in 1997, it was $2.3 million.

Although the First Amendment provides important defenses to the news media, the costs of vindicating those defenses in court can be staggering. In addition to defense expenses, jury awards against news organizations can be significant, and the size of the average award is increasing. According to the Libel Defense Resource Center, in 1990, the median jury award against a news organization was $550,000; in 1997, it was $2.3 million.

Liquor Legal Liability

Coverage where the basis for legal liability is a dram shop, liquor control, or alcoholic beverage law. The laws vary, but most provide that the owner of an establishment, which serves alcoholic beverages, is liable for injury or damage caused by an intoxicated person if it can be established that the liquor licensee caused or contributed to the intoxication of the person.