Business

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Commercial Property & Casualty

    • Who needs Commercial Property and Liability Coverage?

      Any firm or sole practitioner who:

      • Leases space for business purposes
      • Owns a business property
      • Has office property or equipment
      • Has employees
      • Provides company cars to partners/employees
      • Handles client records or property
      • Handles firm or client cash/funds
      • Has clients visit their business premises
    • What Is Commercial Property Insurance?

      Commercial Property Insurance helps you recover when certain disasters jeopardize your business assets and real estate. Covered events might include fire, windstorms, theft or vandalism. You can even use the payout from your Commercial Property policy to repair or replace items such as:

      • Computers
      • Furniture
      • Inventory
      • Equipment

      Many Commercial Insurance policies also include Business Interruption Insurance. This policy covers up to twelve months of lost income when certain events force you to put your business operations on hold. For example, if a fire destroys your workplace, Business Interruption Insurance can pay for the ongoing costs of keeping your business afloat when it can’t generate revenue.

    • What Does Commercial Property Insurance Cover?

      Commercial Property policies may cover:

      • If you own the space, you can select a policy that covers the physical location of your business in its entirety. If you are renting, you might look for a policy that only covers the contents of the space.
      • Personal business property:This coverage provides protection for the furniture, inventory, supplies, and equipment owned by your business. Sometimes the property is covered even when it is somewhere other than your primary place of business. For example, if you take a laptop to an offsite meeting and damage it, Commercial Property Insurance can pay to repair or replace it.

      Some policies limit coverage during certain events, such as a major workforce reduction, a merger or an acquisition. They also do not typically cover intentional or criminal acts.

    • What is General Liability Insurance?

      General Liability is a standard insurance policy issued to businesses to protect them from liability claims in the case of a third-party lawsuit — i.e., a lawsuit initiated by someone other than an employee of your company. The lawsuits covered by General Liability Insurance primarily relate to physical injury and property damage and protect the company as a whole, as well as the individuals who represent it.

    • What Does General Liability Insurance Cover?

      General Liability policies can cover a broad range of events. If you are sued by a third party for one of these covered events, the policy pays attorney fees, court costs and witness expenses. It may also cover settlements, judgments and any court-ordered compensation up to stated policy limits.

      Using a restaurant owner as an example, here is a list of the events a GL policy typically covers:

      • Bodily Injury: covers medical expenses, loss of services, funeral expenses and court-ordered compensation when your business is found to have injured a customer or another non-employee.
      • Property Damage: pays to repair or replace damaged property when your business is found to be responsible for the damage.
      • Completed Products: covers situations when a customer claims your product or service caused physical harm or property damage.
      • Contract Liability: protects small businesses that enter into certain contracts, like a building lease, when they typically assume a degree of liability.
      • Personal and Advertising Injury: covers damages that may arise from copyright or brand infringement, unlawful eviction, libelous or slanderous material, malicious prosecution and privacy violations.
      • Liquor Liability: While this insurance will not cover a business that manufactures or sells alcohol as its primary function, it may cover alcohol-related accidents when you serve alcohol at a business event (like the holiday party).
      • Medical Expense Coverage: differs from Bodily Injury coverage in that it provides compensation for small, immediate expenses when a non-employee is injured by your business.
    • What is Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

      This coverage pays compensation and other benefits required of the firm by the workers’ compensation law or by the occupational disease law of any state listed in the policy. Coverage applies to bodily injury by accident and by disease arising out of and in the course of an employee’s employment.

  • Employee Benefits

    • What is a benefit broker?

      Organizations of all sizes struggle to find a balance between cost considerations and a strategy-based approach to benefit planning.  That’s why finding a good broker to create a competitive benefit plan can directly affect employee acquisition, retention, productivity and training.  The best benefit brokers understand that cost is just one aspect in offering your employees the right benefits for the best overall value while maintaining compliance with ever-evolving employment laws and regulations.

    • What is the best way to control the health care costs for my company?

      To achieve cost-containment and savings on health care expenditures, it takes a careful plan design, carrier negotiations, evaluation of alternate funding strategies and employee education.

      When you are looking to balance costs with attracting talent, it is critical to know what other employers in your region, size range and industry are doing when it comes to offering health care coverage.  Benchmarking data is far more critical when comparing your plan with national or carrier data.

  • Alternative Risk Financing

    • What is captive insurance?

      Captive insurance is an alternative risk financing mechanism. It may be set up as a single parent captive, group-owned captive, sponsored or rental captive.

      Regardless of the type of captive, they all have certain elements in common:

      • A separately incorporated and managed entity
      • The entity has its own capital at risk
      • The insureds are sophisticated

      Without these common elements, you should seek a commercial insurance program or some form of self-insurance.

    • What types of risks can be insured in a captive?

      If a company has three basic components of a risk — exposure, peril, and hazard — it technically can be insured, although some commercial insurers will opt not to insure. A captive insurance program understands the insurance definition of risk and the difference between underwriting risk and other types of risk. This is very important in making sure you have insurable risks in your captive insurance program.

    • How does a captive contribute to the process of managing operational risk?

      A company definitely expects its commercial insurance program to help them stay in business. A captive program can complement a commercial program by focusing on operational risks in the event of catastrophic types of losses. You can have both the commercial and captive program complementing each other, both having a role to play in the process of managing operational risk. If the captive can meet or exceed the insured’s expectations of its commercial insurer or help reduce the cost of services or products, then a captive may be a better alternative to a commercial program.

    • Is captive insurance just another form of self-insurance?

      For taxable entities, it should not be. There are distinct differences between the ways an insurance program is taxed vs. a self-insurance program.

      Because of the current tax laws in the US and other countries where captives do business, insurance companies are allowed to deduct their cost of losses in the period they are incurred, whereas self-insurers have to wait and can only deduct the cost of losses when they are paid.

      Well-constructed captive insurance programs:

      • Reduce or eliminate the disruption from insurance market cycles
      • Reduce the amount of regulatory costs
      • Result in lower losses than commercial insurance
    • Is a captive a cost-effective mechanism for financing risk?

      Captives become cost-effective when:

      • It has appropriate expense loads (relative to the amount of premium)
      • The insured are net investors not borrowers
      • It provides access to appropriately priced excess insurance

      Another important factor to consider is whether or not there are tax issues — specifically, do the insureds get a tax deduction for the premium paid to the captive? For taxable insureds, the cost effectiveness is tied to whether or not the captives allow for the acceleration of the deduction of losses paid.

       

  • Surety & Bonds

    • What is a surety bond?

      A surety bond is a contract between three parties — the principal (contractor), the surety (Insurance Carrier) and the obligee (the project owner or entity requiring the bond). The surety financially guarantees to an obligee that the principal will act in accordance with the terms established by the bond.

    • How much does it cost to get a surety bond?

      The cost of your surety bond will vary depending on the type of bond and the amount of bond coverage you need. Surety bond premiums usually range from 1-15% of the total contract or bond amount. For example, if you get quoted a 2% rate on a $50,000 bond, you will pay $1,000 for your surety bond.

    • Why am I required to purchase a surety bond?

      You may be legally required to purchase a surety bond due to your job type or where you work. Many government entities mandate the use of surety bonds for certain industries as a preventative protective measure for consumer interests. Oftentimes bonds are required before business owners can get a license to operate in a certain city or state.

      Since bonding regulations are established by both state and municipal entities, be sure to research all regulations for your industry. With the current increase in bonding regulations across virtually all industries, we urge new business owners to reach out to us directly by phone or email.

    • Can’t I just buy an insurance policy?

      No, unfortunately. Bonds and insurance are two completely separate means of financial protection. Insurance is basically a risk-transfer tool between two parties where individuals exposed to similar risks contribute premiums into a pool. Surety bonds act as three-party risk-mitigation contracts where financial loss is not expected.

      Surety bond premiums typically cover only the costs of qualifying services and underwriting processes. Unlike insurance policies which act as a retroactive protection, bonds work as a type of credit where the principal is on the hook for claim payments in the event of default. As a result, bonds encourage professionals to act appropriately in order to avoid claims.

    • Why become bonded if I’m required to pay for claims?

      A false misconception about surety bonds is that they are a form of insurance. Surety bonds are instead a form of credit whereby principals are required to provide payment for claims.

      The primary benefit of obtaining a surety bond is that they will rarely require the principal to provide collateral, which can act to free up capital. Payments made by principals for bond premiums are usually less than the principal could earn if they were to make conservative investments with the capital made available. This makes surety bonds more attractive than alternatives such as posting cash or obtaining a letter of credit.

  • Risk Control & Claims Management

    • What do risk and claims consultants do?

      Our claims consulting professionals assist in the pre- and post-loss design and implementation of strategies that reduce the financial impact of events. Extending significantly beyond the traditional scope of broker claims support, Atlas has developed a range of solutions that contribute to casualty and property risk management programs.

    • What are the benefits of working with our Risk & Claims Consulting Unit?

      Atlas is proud to offer the largest Risk & Claims Consulting group in State of Hawaii. Our diverse team includes five Risk Consultants with 20+ years of experience each and two Claim Consultants with 30+ years of experience.  For our clients, that adds up to over 100 years of knowledge and skills, as well as the benefit of having one or more consultants working on their behalf.

    • How do Risk & Claims Consultants benefit Atlas clients?

      While insurance carriers solely focus on loss trend drivers, Atlas adds to that the benefits of leadership, advocacy, direction of insurance carrier services and OSHA/HIOSH compliance support.

      Think of an Atlas Consultant as your trusted navigator, as well as your #1 Advocate, whether managing Insurance Carriers or Regulatory Agency support.

    • Can Risk & Claims Consultants financially benefit companies?

      Absolutely. We achieve and communicate results in economic terms, presenting you with ongoing financial advice on further opportunities for sustainable improvements. We also support your continuity and resilience goals and maximize the return on your insurance investment with effective claims advocacy. Overall, you will benefit from improved cash flow and reductions in collateral and claims administration costs.

    • Do you charge for your Risk and Claims Consulting Services?

      Normally our services are included in our commission structure.  However, if the need is greater or we do not represent the company’s insurance provider, we can offer fee service at an hourly rate of $125/hour.

    • What types of designations, education and background do your consultants have?

      • Workers’ Compensation Specialist (Workers’ Compensation Attorney)
      • Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU)
      • Property & Liability Specialist
      • Certified Safety & Health Professional (CSHP) – State of Hawaii/HIOSH
      • Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
      • Construction Health & Safety Technician (CHST)
      • Certified Forklift Instructors
      • Certified First Aid/CPR Instructors

Categories

  • Commercial Property & Casualty
  • Employee Benefits
  • Alternative Risk Financing
  • Surety & Bonds
  • Risk Control & Claims Management

Questions

  • Who needs Commercial Property and Liability Coverage?

    Any firm or sole practitioner who:

    • Leases space for business purposes
    • Owns a business property
    • Has office property or equipment
    • Has employees
    • Provides company cars to partners/employees
    • Handles client records or property
    • Handles firm or client cash/funds
    • Has clients visit their business premises
  • What Is Commercial Property Insurance?

    Commercial Property Insurance helps you recover when certain disasters jeopardize your business assets and real estate. Covered events might include fire, windstorms, theft or vandalism. You can even use the payout from your Commercial Property policy to repair or replace items such as:

    • Computers
    • Furniture
    • Inventory
    • Equipment

    Many Commercial Insurance policies also include Business Interruption Insurance. This policy covers up to twelve months of lost income when certain events force you to put your business operations on hold. For example, if a fire destroys your workplace, Business Interruption Insurance can pay for the ongoing costs of keeping your business afloat when it can’t generate revenue.

  • What Does Commercial Property Insurance Cover?

    Commercial Property policies may cover:

    • If you own the space, you can select a policy that covers the physical location of your business in its entirety. If you are renting, you might look for a policy that only covers the contents of the space.
    • Personal business property:This coverage provides protection for the furniture, inventory, supplies, and equipment owned by your business. Sometimes the property is covered even when it is somewhere other than your primary place of business. For example, if you take a laptop to an offsite meeting and damage it, Commercial Property Insurance can pay to repair or replace it.

    Some policies limit coverage during certain events, such as a major workforce reduction, a merger or an acquisition. They also do not typically cover intentional or criminal acts.

  • What is General Liability Insurance?

    General Liability is a standard insurance policy issued to businesses to protect them from liability claims in the case of a third-party lawsuit — i.e., a lawsuit initiated by someone other than an employee of your company. The lawsuits covered by General Liability Insurance primarily relate to physical injury and property damage and protect the company as a whole, as well as the individuals who represent it.

  • What Does General Liability Insurance Cover?

    General Liability policies can cover a broad range of events. If you are sued by a third party for one of these covered events, the policy pays attorney fees, court costs and witness expenses. It may also cover settlements, judgments and any court-ordered compensation up to stated policy limits.

    Using a restaurant owner as an example, here is a list of the events a GL policy typically covers:

    • Bodily Injury: covers medical expenses, loss of services, funeral expenses and court-ordered compensation when your business is found to have injured a customer or another non-employee.
    • Property Damage: pays to repair or replace damaged property when your business is found to be responsible for the damage.
    • Completed Products: covers situations when a customer claims your product or service caused physical harm or property damage.
    • Contract Liability: protects small businesses that enter into certain contracts, like a building lease, when they typically assume a degree of liability.
    • Personal and Advertising Injury: covers damages that may arise from copyright or brand infringement, unlawful eviction, libelous or slanderous material, malicious prosecution and privacy violations.
    • Liquor Liability: While this insurance will not cover a business that manufactures or sells alcohol as its primary function, it may cover alcohol-related accidents when you serve alcohol at a business event (like the holiday party).
    • Medical Expense Coverage: differs from Bodily Injury coverage in that it provides compensation for small, immediate expenses when a non-employee is injured by your business.
  • What is Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

    This coverage pays compensation and other benefits required of the firm by the workers’ compensation law or by the occupational disease law of any state listed in the policy. Coverage applies to bodily injury by accident and by disease arising out of and in the course of an employee’s employment.