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Business Insurance Glossary

Bonds:  A three-party contract in which one party, the surety, guarantees the performance or honesty of a second party, the principal (obligor), to the third party (obligee) to whom the performance or debt is owed.

Builders Risk: A property insurance policy that is designed to cover property in the course of construction. There is no single standard builders risk form; most builders risk policies are written on inland marine (rather than commercial property) forms. Coverage is usually written on an all risks basis and typically applies not only to property at the construction site, but also to property at off-site storage locations and in transit. Builders risk insurance can be written on either a completed value or a reporting form basis; in either case, the estimated completed value of the project is used as the limit of insurance.

Business owner’s policy (BOP): A business owner policy packages all required coverage a business owner would need. Often, BOP’s will include business interruption insurance, property insurance, vehicle coverage, liability insurance, and crime insurance . Based on your company’s specific needs, you can alter what is included in a BOP. Typically, a business owner will save money by choosing a BOP because the bundle of services often costs less than the total cost of all the individual coverage’s.

Commercial Auto Insurance: Commercial auto insurance protects a company’s vehicles. You can protect vehicles that carry employees, products or equipment. With commercial auto insurance you can insure your work cars, SUVs, vans and trucks from damage and collisions.  If you do not have company vehicles, but employees drive their own cars on company business you should have non-owned auto liability to protect the company in case the employee does not have insurance or has inadequate coverage.  Many times the non-owned can be added to the BOP policy.

Data Breach/Cyber Liability: If the business stores sensitive or non-public information about employees or clients on their computers, servers or in paper files they are responsible for protecting that information.  If a breach occurs either electronically or from a paper file a Data Breach policy will provide protection against the loss.

Directors and Officers Insurance: This type of insurance protects the directors and officers of a company against their actions that affect the profitability or operations of the company. If a director or officer of your company, as a direct result of their actions on the job, finds him or herself in a legal situation, this type of insurance can cover costs or damages lost as a result of a lawsuit.

EPLI (Employment Practices Liability Insurance): A type of liability insurance covering wrongful acts arising from the employment process. The most frequent types of claims covered under such policies include: wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. In addition, the policies cover claims from a variety of other types of inappropriate workplace conduct, including (but not limited to) employment-related: defamation, invasion of privacy, failure to promote, deprivation of a career opportunity, and negligent evaluation. The policies cover directors and officers, management personnel, and employees as insureds. The most common exclusions are for bodily injury (BI), property damage (PD), and intentional/dishonest acts. EPLI policies are written on a claims-made basis. The forms contain “shrinking limits” provisions, meaning that insurer payment of defense costs—which are often a substantial part of a claim—reduce the policy’s limits. This approach contrasts with commercial general liability (CGL) policies, in which defense is covered in addition to policy limits. Although EPLI is available as a stand-alone coverage, it is also frequently sold as part of a management liability package policy. In addition to providing directors and officers (D&O) and fiduciary liability insurance, management liability package policies afford the option to cover employment practices liability (EPL)

Fiduciary Liability: The responsibility on trustees, employers, fiduciaries, professional administrators, and the plan itself with respect to errors and omissions (E&O) in the administration of employee benefit programs as imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). 

Flood: Coverage for damage to property caused by flood. May be available by endorsement to an all risks policy or to a difference-in-conditions (DIC) policy. Normally, the coverage provided is subject to a per occurrence sublimit, an annual aggregate limit, and a separate deductible. Coverage may also be available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

General Liability Insurance: Every business, even if home-based, needs to have liability insurance.  The policy provides both defense and damages if you, your employees or your products or services cause or are alleged to have caused Bodily Injury or Property Damage to a third party.

Inland Marine/Equipment Floater: Property insurance for property in transit over land, certain types of moveable property, instrumentalities of transportation (such as bridges, roads, and piers, instrumentalities of communication (such as television and radio towers), and legal liability exposures of bailees. Many inland marine coverage forms provide coverage without regard to the location of the covered property; these are sometimes called “floater” policies. As a group, inland marine coverage forms are generally broader than property coverage forms.

Professional Liability Insurance: This type of insurance is also known as Errors and Omissions Insurance. The policy provides defense and damages for failure to or improperly rendering professional services.  Your general liability policy does not provide this protection, so it is important to understand the difference.   Professional liability insurance is applicable for any professional firm including lawyers, accountants, consultants, notaries, real estate agents, insurance agents, hair salons and technology providers to name a few.

Property Insurance:  If you own your building or have business personal property, including office equipment, computers, inventory or tools you should consider purchasing a policy that will protect you if you have a fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage etc.  You may also want to consider business interruption/loss of earning insurance as part of the policy to protect your earnings if the business is unable to operate.

Umbrella: A policy designed to provide protection against catastrophic losses. It generally is written over various primary liability policies, such as the business auto policy (BAP), commercial general liability (CGL) policy, watercraft and aircraft liability policies, and employers’ liability coverage. The umbrella policy serves three purposes: it provides excess limits when the limits of underlying liability policies are exhausted by the payment of claims; it drops down and picks up where the underlying policy leaves off when the aggregate limit of the underlying policy in question is exhausted by the payment of claims; and it provides protection against some claims not covered by the underlying policies, subject to the assumption by the named insured of a self-insured retention (SIR).

Worker’s Compensation: Worker’s compensation provides insurance to employees who are injured on the job. This type of insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to those who are injured while working. In exchange for these benefits, the employee gives up his rights to sue his employer for the incident. As a business owner, it is very important to have worker’s compensation insurance because it protects yourself and your company from legal complications. State laws will vary, but all require you to have workers compensation if you have W2 employees.  Penalties for non-compliance can be very stiff.