Top Risks for Small Construction Businesses

The construction industry is rife with entrepreneurs and small businesses. The allure of being your own boss, creating dream homes, and building beautiful architecture is undeniable. However, the industry itself poses several risks that can jeopardize an entire operation if not managed appropriately. Below are the most prevalent risks threatening construction businesses.

Seasonal Slowdowns

For the construction industry, there are only two seasons: winter and construction. Once the weather begins to turn, construction contracts slow to a trickle. This is because everything becomes harder and more hazardous in wintry conditions. Frozen soil is harder to penetrate, snow conceals dropped tools, and freezing winds make scaffolding work unpleasant and dangerous. Even for businesses in warmer climes, an economic downturn can result in a dearth of contracts. Construction companies have to prepare for the slow season by setting aside earnings from the busy season to help compensate for the decrease in income.

Workplace Injuries

Even with proper safety precautions, accidents can still occur on construction sites. While construction workers are the most likely to be injured, third parties can be as well (such as clients visiting work sites). When accidents happen, the injured party can hold the construction company liable for medical costs and court expenses. To help mitigate these issues, business owners should invest in Worker’s Compensation Insurance as well as General Liability Insurance. In fact, many states require it as a prerequisite to own and operate a construction company.

Damaged Equipment

Construction professionals cannot work without the right tools and equipment. While some tools are easy to replace, others take time and money. This can delay projects and harm a construction company’s reputation. Investing in Property Insurance can help alleviate the cost, but it is best to prevent damages in the first place. Business owners can ensure this by training workers on the proper use, maintenance, and storage of equipment.

Protecting Your Investment

Starting and operating a successful business is the ultimate goal for entrepreneurs. However, without proper risk management, a construction company can quickly fall into ruin. The Reilly Company can help your business manage construction risks with the proper insurance policies and coverages. To learn more, contact us today.

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What Every Business Needs to Know about Cybersecurity Insurance

In the aftermath of the Equifax data breach (see our earlier post here), many businesses are scrambling to find out more about their cybersecurity insurance. Do they have enough coverage? What happens in the event of a breach? Investing in appropriate coverage is smart, but it can only mitigate some of the financial risk associated with cyber attacks. For example, there is not much cybersecurity insurance can do about the hit to a company’s reputation after a breach or the associated loss of business. Below are several other facts about cybersecurity that businesses need to know.

Businesses Cannot Insure Against All Risks

Investing in cybersecurity insurance is one way companies can manage their risk. However, there are so many cyber threats that to insure against them all would be cost prohibitive. Instead, businesses should focus on the threats most likely to affect them. They should also take a top-down approach: identify what digital assets are most important and afford them the most protection. From there, businesses can measure the remaining threats and insure accordingly.

Cyber Insurance Has Its Limitations

Like many other types of insurance policies, cyber insurance has exclusions and limitations. As mentioned above, it is not suitable for dealing with damage dealt to a business’ reputation. It is also inadequate for covering the loss of intellectual property. Business owners need to familiarize themselves with their policy’s weaknesses and invest in supplemental insurance if necessary.

The Wording of Cyber Insurance Policies Matters

Some cybersecurity insurance policies include coverage that overlaps with other standard business insurance policies. Businesses need to dig into their policies to make sure they have the coverage they need for the cyber threats most likely to happen to them. Cyber insurance policies should do more than provide financial recompense. After a cyber attack, businesses will need a legal and PR response at the least.

However, sifting through dense insurance policies can be confusing and no business wants to leave itself exposed to cyber threats. The Reilly Company can help business owners identify their specific threats as well as which cyber insurance policy would benefit them most. To learn more about protecting your business from cyber threats, contact us today.

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Wearable Technology to Reduce Construction Incidents and Claims

Every construction company needs insurance. Investing in coverage is a smart business practice and can protect a company in the event of costly claims. However, many employers want to reduce workplace accidents or prevent them altogether. Because of this, many within the construction industry are turning to wearable technology to manage risks. Reducing workplace hazards has the added bonus of reducing insurance costs as well.

How the Tech Works

There are a few options for wearable tech available on the market. One such example is a product construction workers can wear on their belt. The product contains sensors that keep track of all workers. The system alerts the supervisor of any trips or falls on the site.  It also has a locator button for emergencies such as injuries. This allows employers to find and assist their injured employee in a rapid manner. Reducing the time to treatment can improve the outcome of the injury by decreasing the severity of the damage as well as recovery time.

The product uses a mesh internet system to stay connected with all workers across the construction site. Such a system allows construction managers to know how far an employee fell, where they fell, and what other employees were in the vicinity. This information is invaluable from a claims perspective, as the data is not subjective.

Similar products exist in vest form, but they serve the same purpose. The primary benefit of wearable technology is its ability to improve workplace safety as well as reduce the response time for injuries. This allows contractors to maximize their project management and employee productivity. Employees can learn from the devices as well. For example, a worker who receives frequent warnings about lifting too much weight may change his workplace habits to avoid injuries due to strain.

The Reilly Company understands that managing risks on construction sites can be difficult. That is why we strive to help businesses mitigate their risk by investing in proper insurance coverage. To learn more about reducing risk for your construction company, contact us today.

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Cyber Insurance Vital to Risk Management

Business owners can handle risk management in a couple of ways. They can reduce their exposure to risk as well as invest in insurance to protect their assets against risk exposure once it occurs. Reducing contact with known risks can reduce insurance rates as well. A company’s best line of defense is to mitigate risk to avoid expensive insurance claims; however, it is unrealistic to assume a claim will never happen.

Failing to invest in insurance is an ill-advised business practice and poor risk management. While many business owners do not intentionally overlook insurance, many are not aware of the coverage they need. For example, many businesses lack the proper coverage for cyber incidents. This is an issue as cyber insurance is necessary to controlling cyber threats. Technology in the workplace will continue to flourish, as will the associated risks. Businesses that collect customer data such as medical records or credit card numbers face a heightened risk of cyber attacks as they possess highly sought after and lucrative information.

Employee Negligence Limits Insurance Protection

More often than most would like to admit, employees fall for cyber tricks that result in a data breech. Some insurance policies only go into effect for unauthorized breeches. If a breech occurs due to employee negligence, the policy may not provide coverage. Smart business owners will train employees to recognize threats and risks as well as how to avoid them. Some examples include:

  • Never leaving laptops open and unattended
  • Creating strong passwords
  • Recognizing phishing email scams

Businesses need to consider all angles of exposure for effective risk management. The Reilly Company can help businesses identify the unique risks to their industry and develop a proactive strategy to defend against them. To learn more, contact us.

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Top Tactics to Manage Construction Risks

All businesses come with a certain degree of risk—some more than others. For example, the construction industry faces much more risk than a standard desk job. Loss of finances, personal injury, and property damage are just some of the upfront hazards construction companies face. After completing a project, construction businesses may experience other claims such as building defects. While these hurdles are part of doing business in the construction industry, there are several ways companies can reduce their risk.

Contract Hierarchy of Documents

Because of their length, construction contracts are prone to inconsistencies. In the event that an issue goes to court, both parties often have documentation backing their position taken straight from the contract. Without establishing a contractual hierarchy, disputes are more likely and the litigation process will be lengthy. Clarify such matters before finalizing a contract to avoid conflicts that a court cannot easily resolve.

Limitation of Liability

Most design professionals such as architects and engineers include clauses that limit their liability in regards to their services. Many project developers sign these agreements not realizing the designer may be responsible for significant economic loss later in the project. The developer will not be able to recoup the loss caused by the designer’s negligence due to this clause. Developers should read over these agreements carefully and consider the risk before signing it.

Construction Insurance

Insurance is vital to a successful construction company. Insurance flows between general contractors and subcontractors with policies providing additional coverage. However, in response to increased risk, insurance companies added endorsements. These endorsements can limit the effectiveness of additional coverage. Due to these complexities, construction companies should invest in a knowledgeable agent to ensure they have proper coverage. The Reilly Company can help your business navigate the intricacies of construction insurance. To learn more, contact us.

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Executives Falling Behind on Risk Management

Most executives are aware of the risks their business faces, but they are failing to keep pace with them. One study found that 70 percent of executives believe the risks to their company are greater in number and more complicated than in previous years.

Meanwhile, only a quarter of those executives felt their risk management plan was robust enough to handle the threats to their business. This highlights the disconnect many business owners experience when it comes to business challenges and how to handle them.

Strategic Planning and Leadership

This growing issue is likely the result of failing to incorporate risk management into strategic planning for the company. If executives do not see how risk management advances company goals, it is hard to see its value. Slowly but surely, risk management drops in priority.

A lack of leadership for risk management is often another part of the problem. Less than half of surveyed executives reported having a designated senior staff member to manage risk. Given the increasing complexity of business threats and challenges, companies need dedicated managers to evaluate risks and develop solutions. Without risk management leadership, it falls on individual departments to handle hazards to their section. This results in multiple methods of managing risks with varying degrees of effectiveness.

It can be difficult for business executives to overhaul their risk management strategies. They may feel overwhelmed or unsure where to start making changes. The Reilly Company can help businesses navigate these necessary modifications. Contact us to learn more about how our risk management solutions can help advance your company.

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Common Misconceptions About Flood Insurance

Homeowners and business owners alike have concerns about water damage related to flooding. This is especially true if they live in an area prone to flooding. However, there are numerous myths circulating about flood insurance that add further confusion to this type of coverage. For example, many individuals think of flood damage as a total loss, but the average flood claim is around $30,000. Below are some of the most common myths about flood insurance.

Only People Living in a Flood Plain Can Buy Flood Insurance

While mortgage companies may require people who live in a flood zone to purchase flood insurance, these individuals are not the only ones who can buy this kind of coverage. Almost anybody who wants flood insurance can obtain a policy. In general, properties in flood zones are more expensive to insure than those that are not. Even renters can obtain flood insurance to protect their belongings.

Flood Insurance is Only Necessary for Properties in Flood-Prone Areas

While properties in flood plains need flood insurance, all buildings face a certain level of flooding risk. About 25 percent of flood claims come from individuals who do not live in a flood plain. Property owners should take a hard look at the risk of flooding in their area and investigate what flood insurance options are available to them.

Individuals with Homeowners Insurance Do Not Need Flood Insurance

This myth can cost homeowners big time in the event of a flood. Homeowners and umbrella policies do not cover damage related to floods. If an individual lives in an area prone to flooding, they should invest in flood insurance. The one exception to this rule is storm damage. If a storm tears off a portion of a house’s roof, homeowners insurance covers the subsequent water damage.

Learning about your flood risk and if you live in a flood plain are vital to determining if you need this type of insurance. These factors also affect how much coverage you will need. To learn more about flood insurance, contact The Reilly Company.

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Stopping Theft Before it Occurs on Your Construction Site

Theft is a growing problem for construction sites. From equipment to materials, construction businesses experience $1 billion in losses on a yearly basis. The issue extends beyond the physical loss of resources. Companies have to pay to rent or replace stolen equipment and tools, the associated costs with downtime while waiting for supplies, and a potential increase in insurance premiums for numerous claims all add up over time. Construction companies can mitigate much of their risk by taking the following steps.

Keep Job Sites Lit Even During Non-Work Hours

Proper lighting is a major deterrent for most would-be thieves. If they can get in and out without being seen, your job site is a prime target. Thieves are much less likely to strike if there is even the potential that someone is watching them.

Resupply on an As-Needed Basis

Having piles of supplies that workers will not need for weeks to come is a security risk. Thieves often scope out their targets ahead of time. They will make note of supplies that go untouched for long periods. This means businesses need to establish good lines of communication with their suppliers and project managers to avoid delays.

Invest in the Proper Construction Insurance

There are two types of insurance employers should consider when it comes to theft. The first is Builder’s Risk Insurance. This type of policy provides coverage for numerous issues, including theft. However, this does not include employee theft. If construction companies lack the manpower to oversee and remain in contact with all of their job sites on a regular basis, they should consider employee theft coverage.

While having these policies cannot undo the damage and delays caused by theft, it can help reduce the associated costs. The Reilly Company can help your construction company navigate the many types of insurance options available to you. To learn more about reducing your risk with construction insurance, contact us.

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Managing Your Small Business Risk

Small businesses face a variety of risks. To protect yours, it’s crucial to identify the risks specific to your organization, then develop a strategy for managing them. Below are some common risks small businesses face as well as how to attenuate them.

Cybersecurity

A data breach is much more than a violation of your and your customer’s privacy. Depending on what the hackers access, they could harm your business beyond recovery. Cybersecurity insurance has come a long way to keep up with modern cyber threats. Business owners should protect their company from on-site and remote cyber threats.

Business Interruption

Business owners cannot predict when this type of risk will occur. Business interruptions are usually the result of a natural disaster or unforeseen events that force business owners to temporarily close or set up shop elsewhere. Business interruption insurance exists for these types of situations. Business interruption policies provide coverage for loss of income as well as expenses related to operating the business.

Liability

Businesses face a variety of potential lawsuits as part of their day-to-day operations. Some examples include slander or accidental injury. Following best practices can help reduce the likelihood of such a lawsuit, but it does not provide protection in the event of litigation. There are numerous types of liability insurance that provide coverage to reduce this risk.

Protecting your company is vital to remaining in business. Without the right insurance policies and appropriate coverage, it is easy for threats to overwhelm a company. The Reilly Company can help you decide which policies are best for your small business. We will help you identify risks to your company as well as develop strategies for managing them. To learn more, contact us.

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Can Cybersecurity Protect Your Business Against Attacks?

In the early days of cybersecurity, IT professionals divided businesses into those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked. As technology improves and hackers hone their skills, this outlook has become bleaker. Now, IT security specialists view companies as those who know they have been hacked and those that do not.

While it is unlikely that every business in existence has experienced a data breach, the threat is real. Of the plethora of risks businesses face on a day-to-day basis, cyber incidents represent the third largest of them all. Victims are as varying as their attackers are. Large corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and even government organizations are prone to attacks. These cyber aggressors could be hacktivists for a specific social cause, individual attacks for fiscal gain, and more.

Protecting Against Cyberattacks

The situation is not as dire as many in cybersecurity make it seem. Businesses do not need to revert to non-technological forms of communication and data storage, but they do need to protect themselves. The easiest way to do that is with cybersecurity insurance. Unfortunately, many businesses neglect this type of insurance until it is too late.

The first step to managing cyber risk is acknowledging it requires attention and resources. If a business neglected cybersecurity in the past, they need to make it a priority now. This does not just mean preventing cyberattacks. Businesses also need to have a plan in place in the event of a successful breach.

Common Sense Measures

Beyond investing in cybersecurity insurance, businesses should also make sure they are engaging in best practices. Holding cybersecurity training for employees, discouraging sharing passwords, and changing passwords on a regular basis are simple measures employers can take to reduce the likelihood of a security breach. More often than not, hackers obtain their information from unsuspecting employees. If employees know the signs of a scam or suspicious email, they can take the appropriate steps to contain the threat.

Cybersecurity is a multifaceted issue that can be difficult for businesses to navigate. The Reilly Company can help your business understand what cyber protection policies are available to them as well as what type of coverage best suits their needs. To learn more, contact us.

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