In CNBC’s list of the “Top States for Business in 2010″, Iowa was ranked as the sixth best state, which touts the merits of conducting business in Iowa. Known as “The Hawkeye State”, Iowa has a diverse economy, culture, and landscape. Despite its rural reputation, a large percentage of the Iowa’s population lives and works in urban areas like the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids metropolitan areas. Today, the economy of Iowa is depending less and less on farming and agriculture, and now contains a mix of biotechnology, finance, and manufacturing companies, to name a few. If you are an owner of a business in Iowa, then consider the following when shopping for business insurance in Iowa.
Standard Business Insurance Coverages in Iowa
A business owners insurance policy in Iowa, generally referred to as BOP, is a comprehensive small business insurance package that includes multiple liability coverages in one bundle. A BOP combines two primary coverages in a single policy: property insurance and general liability. Covering a variety of different areas of liability in the Iowa territory, which includes buildings, equipment, and legal liabilities, business owners insurance in Iowa transfers risk away from the business owner to the insurance company. Some of the common claims that business owners insurance coverage protects you from may include: legal liability claims, professional liability claims, income loss, fire, dishonesty in employees, equipment malfunction and breakdown, personal injury, money and securities, valuable papers, and property claims. Depending on the individual risks an Iowan small business owner might face, additional components might be added to the original BOP coverage.
General liability insurance in Iowa is planned to protect small business owners from financial loss arising from negligent acts, omissions, or both, caused by you or your employees that may result in physical injury or property damage. Some of the more common types of exposures covered under general liability insurance include liabilities from products sold, accidents on the insured premises, and contractual liabilities. The damage or injury may be from negligence or unintentional. General liability insurance in Iowa might be a standalone policy or could possibly be combined with an additional policy.
A package policy is an insurance policy for the small business owner that combines two or more types of insurance into one policy, or package. A typical package policy in Iowa combines general liability insurance (described above) and commercial property (described below); although a package policy in Iowa can be designed to include practically any type of coverage, depending on the needs of the entity. A package policy is useful for the small business owner as it allows for a good deal of flexibility to tailor make a policy specifically for the individual needs and risk exposures of the business.
Commercial Property Insurance in Iowa exists to provide coverage for any type of Iowa commercial property, and includes, building, business or manufacturing equipment, inventory, furniture, supplies, valuable papers, and personal property. Commercial property insurance offers protection against a variety of perils, such as fire, explosion, windstorm, hail, theft, vandalism, lightening strikes, and natural disasters. This type of insurance in Iowa is recommended for many different small businesses, which may include manufacturers, retailers, not-for-profit entities, and service-oriented businesses.
Regardless of the type of business, if you have employees working for you in your Iowan business, workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage against employee occupational illnesses and work-related injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance in Iowa is a no-fault, state-mandated insurance system designed to pay benefits to workers who sustained injuries or an illness while on the clock. Because the state of Iowa requires businesses with employees to carry workers’ compensation, failure to carry it can render small business owners to harsh fines and civil penalties, or in some cases, cause a business to be liable for the cost of injuries suffered by their employees. Through workers’ compensation insurance in Iowa, workers receive medical care and lost wages coverage in lieu of the guarantee that the employee will not sue his employer as a result of the illness or injury.
Whether your business owns one vehicle or several, it’s necessary to be covered with commercial auto insurance in Iowa. Commercial auto insurance provides financial protection to business owners and their drivers in America’s Heartland region by giving them coverage for a company’s use of trucks, vans, cars, or other vehicles throughout the course of its operations. Commercial auto insurance covers damages and medical costs resulting from vehicle accidents, as well as vandalism and hail damage. Commercial auto insurance coverage includes several arrangements, which include vehicles leased, rented, hired, or owned by your company, in addition to employee-owned vehicles used for your business operations. For this latter reason, it’s recommended that companies purchase a commercial auto insurance policy if employees use their own personal vehicle for various business-related duties; this is referred to as non-owned commercial auto insurance.
Commercial umbrella insurance picks up where your commercial auto insurance, general liability, or other liability coverage ends. The existing liability policies for your Iowan business may have coverage limits, and may not cover all expenses should a catastrophic or unforeseen event occur; this fact in itself makes an umbrella insurance policy necessary for the prudent small business owner. Commercial umbrella insurance in Iowa is a vital source of protection that may fill in the gaps and covers certain exclusions in your primary business liability coverage. Umbrella insurance is an outstanding way to provide extra protection against property damage, bodily injury, or certain other liabilities.
Some Additional Business Insurance Coverages in Iowa to Consider
Errors and Omissions insurance policies protect Iowan businesses and individuals from lawsuits and claims made by clients or customers for negligent acts, insufficient work, errors, and oversights made in the course of doing business that resulted in a loss of income or productivity on the part of the customer or client. Errors and Omissions insurance in Iowa covers legal defense and court costs, along with settlements as specified on the insurance contract. Just like doctors need malpractice insurance, small business owners who provide services or consulting advice, either directly or through subcontractors, require errors and omissions insurance in Iowa.
Professional liability insurance exists to protect professionals, such as general contractors, accountants, and financial analysts, from being responsible for the entire legal cost of defending against a claim of negligence, failure to perform , error, or omission made by a client as well as damages awarded in said claim. The coverage focuses on financial loss on the part of the client from these types of alleged claims with respect to a product or service sold by the professional. Professional liability insurance in “The Hawkeye State” can also provide claim coverage, even if the legal actions turn out to be unwarranted. Professional liability insurance in Iowa is required by law in a variety of professional practices, such as legal and medical, but is also required by contract in other professions.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) in Iowa, whether in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids, provides small business employers with protection against allegations of wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, wage law violations, false imprisonment, libel, slander, emotional distress, mental anguish, negligent hiring and promotion decisions, and defamation claims. Employment practices liability insurance centers around the laws, acts, and protection brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act — all of which the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) enforces.
Fidelity Bonds in Iowa
Fidelity bonds are a kind of insurance purchased by a small business employer to protect against losses from certain crimes, including fraud, theft or embezzlement by one employee or a group of employees. Because restitution from employee dishonesty practices is generally unlikely due to the cash already being spent, fidelity bonds in Iowa represent a significant safeguard for an Iowan small business owner who would otherwise be required to absorb such financial losses. While it’s important to have safeguards such as screening your employees, internal controls, and careful supervision, sometimes it isn’t enough. Losses suffered from employee thefts of money, securities, or property are all covered under fidelity bonds insurance in Iowa. The three most common types of fidelity bonds are business service bonds, standard employee dishonesty bonds, and ERISA bonds.
Surety Bonds in Iowa
A surety bond is a binding agreement or contract among three parties: the principal, obligee, and surety (insurance company). It represents the guarantee the Iowan business will pay a specified amount should a party fail to meet an obligation, like fulfilling the terms of the contract. A surety bond in Iowa protects the recipient from potential loss should the contract not be fulfilled, while the surety company takes on the liability for nonperformance. A surety bond is usually required to obtain monetary compensation. A contractor may need to post a bond to secure work or qualify for licenses, while business owners might need a surety bond to guarantee payment of utility bills or state sales taxes. While it is typically used in the construction industry, surety bonds are also used by mortgage agencies, notary publics, new and used car dealers, health club owners, medical supply companies, and others. Because of the large range of small businesses that make use of and need bonds, there are many types and features of surety bonds in Iowa that provide a variety of guarantees.
No two small businesses are alike, whether they are in Cedar Rapids or Des Moines. That’s why it is important for every business in Iowa — whether a nail salon or consulting firm — to be protected with a sound insurance plan right from the start. By learning business insurance facts and understanding your unique exposure risks, you can build a perfect business insurance in Iowa policy.