Understand Commercial Insurance Better with Tina Ford, Commercial CSR

Starting a business, whether it’s home-based or a brick-and-mortar storefront, is an exciting time, but it’s important to ensure you’re properly protected by the right commercial insurance coverage. With the surge of small businesses operating out of homes and garages since 2020, it’s vital to be aware of the different types of coverage available to best protect your investment.

Tina Ford, CSR

At Lelieart Insurance Agency, commercial CSR Tina Ford knows firsthand how important it is to have the proper insurance coverage. Tina’s pre-insurance background was in fire and water restoration. Here she witnessed the importance of insurance in protecting businesses. Leaving the restoration world and jumping into the culinary arts, she graduated from pastry school (her garden keeps her busy these days) and worked in restaurants before deciding she wanted a more stable career. This led her to work for Leliaert. Applying her background in restoration services, she acts as a claims liaison in the office.

“Being in the restoration business has helped because people have specific questions about re-build and water mitigation, things like that,” Tina said. “And I can answer those questions.”

Property insurance is a critical coverage to have, especially for those who own real-estate or have equipment that’s vulnerable to damage or loss. Property insurance can help cover the cost of repairs or replacements in the event of a fire or water damage. As a claims liaison at Lelieart Insurance Agency, Tina is well-equipped to work with clients to file and follow-through with their restoration claims.

Tina shared with us a few important coverage options for businesses big and small.

Commercial Property Insurance: Commercial property insurance is a type of insurance that protects businesses from financial loss due to damage or loss of their physical assets. This type of insurance is tailored to cover the specific needs of businesses, from small shops to large corporations. It provides coverage for property damage caused by natural disasters, theft, or accidents, ensuring businesses are not left out-of-pocket if something unfortunate happens. Commercial property insurance typically covers buildings, equipment, inventory, fixtures and furniture, among other assets.

“Property coverage has increased across the board,” Tina explained. “Cost of materials are going up and then the rate goes up. We’re focused on building evaluations. What we do is go back through, check out building materials, recent updates and that gives us a more accurate number to work with.”

General Liability Insurance: This type of insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that may occur on your business property, or as a result of your product or service.

“If you go to sell a craft show and someone gets hurt, personal liability won’t extend there,” Tina warned, which is an area where general liability insurance can assist but may not be top of mind. 

Cyber Insurance: With the increasing integration of technology in businesses, cyber insurance is becoming more important than ever. Cyber attacks, network failures and other technology-related incidents can all be costly, and cyber insurance can help cover those losses.

Habitation and Hospitality Policies: This type of insurance not only protects your real-estate investment, restaurant or hotel, but also covers any incidents that may occur while someone is on your property. From guest injuries to property damage, habitation and hospitality insurance has you covered. It’s helpful to think of this insurance as an extra layer of protection for your property and guests.

“One of the biggest things that’s tripping our hospitality group up is accurate sales numbers,” Tina shared.

“So, because of the pandemic, most of our carriers dropped sales numbers down, to kind of meet what they thought was going to happen. We knew we weren’t having as many people dining in and business was slower. Now, insurance companies have implemented those receipts back and sometimes they’re not the accurate number. Sometimes they’re much lower than the actual receipts. Then when an audit is completed, they are hit with a large additional premium due. Clients need to make sure they’re keeping up on that; we do. We’ll say, ‘Hey, we need your updated numbers,’ but it’s up to them to give us the updated numbers.”

Beware: Businesses that fail to report accurate numbers can potentially face a non-compliance charge or an additional 25-50% charge by their carrier.

How Leliaert Insurance Agency Can Help

At Lelieart Insurance Agency, we understand each business is unique, which is why we work closely with our clients to determine the best coverage options to fit their needs. We also offer building evaluations, where we can go back through and check for accurate building and policy evaluations to ensure our clients have the right coverage in place.

We know that commercial insurance can be overwhelming and confusing, which is why we’re committed to making the process as easy as possible for our clients. Our office can be reached via text message or landline call, and we can help immediately with any insurance questions or concerns. Additionally, we can send customers their insurance policy information and photos via text message for easy access.

Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, it’s important to ensure you have the right commercial insurance coverage to protect your investment. Contact us today to learn more about comprehensive options.