Wedding Planners take note: lack of business insurance could stifle your income

Posted by Matt Simon on Jan 19, 2017

As a wedding planner, you understand even with the most careful planning and attention to detail, situations arise that are completely out of your control.

But it's your job to make sure your clients focus on their big day, while you sweat the details and work to anticipate any mishaps that could occur.

Unfortunately, you can't predict everything and sometimes, bad things just happen.

However, one step you can take now is to protect your business from any fallout of these unforeseen events by putting the right insurance policies in place.

But buyer beware...

A one-size fits all insurance plan could end up costing thousands, or even millions of dollars, at a time when you need your insurance protection the most.

The fact is, many small business owners think all insurance is the same.  They purchase an 'off-the-shelf' policy because it appears to have all the coverages they need, it's cheap, and most of all, it's easy. 

But is your small business just like every other small business out there?  Or even the same as every other wedding planning?  Do you have unique services that set you apart?  Do you offer benefits to your clients that many others don't?

Unless your business is exactly the same as every other small business, you shouldn't expect an insurance policy that's exactly the same.  You deserve a policy that's as unique as you and your business... and quite frankly, you should accept nothing less.

That’s why it’s important to work with your independent Insurance Advisor who can help you determine your risks, what types of coverage will fit your specific business needs, and how to accomplish all of this within your budget.

What are your business risks?

Risks are everywhere for wedding planners, and those risks could be devastating to your financial well-being. Some of the risks that you may be exposed to include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Identity theft and access to customer information
  • Lawsuits
  • Slips and falls
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Weather events (like snow, ice or hail)
  • Vendor issues (i.e. the company who is setting up all the place settings on your tables is a no-show)

And this list only scratches the surface... most wedding planners face additional risks or threats to their business that need to be thoroughly considered and addressed before a loss ever occurs.

What types of insurance do you need?

Commercial Property Insurance

Weather is hugely unpredictable in Ohio; we’ve had our share of catastrophes from hail events to the aftermath of hurricanes that made their way through The Buckeye State leaving a path of wreckage. 

When fire, theft, wind, hail, lightning or other disasters strike your business, you need to be prepared for what you can control (essentially, how can you respond to help mitigate further damage), and have a plan in place to recover financially from those risks that you can’t control.

A Commercial Property Insurance policy will cover the building you're located in, as well as the contents of your building, including light fixtures, office equipment, furniture, computers and more.

For example, a circuit breaker malfunctions and starts an electrical fire. The fire spreads through the entire building, burning your possessions and the building entirely.

A Commercial Property policy would cover the damages to the building, as well as the replacement cost of the damaged contents.

Commercial General Liability Insurance

Every wedding planner in Ohio must have a Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance policy. This coverage would protect you when lawsuits or financial losses occur.

A typical CGL policy provides coverage for claims of bodily injury or other physical injury, personal injury (libel or slander), advertising injury and property damage as a result of your products, premises or operations.

For example, one of the wedding guests falls at the reception and needs medical attention. Although you're not responsible for the safety of the guests at the reception, you're still named in a lawsuit by that guest.

Could you end up paying for the injuries the guest suffered?  What about the legal costs you'll incur to settle the claim?

Not to worry.  If you have the right CGL policy, your insurance company would cover the costs of the medical expenses, as well as legal fees you may require.

As a safeguard against liability, CGL enables you to continue your normal operations while dealing with real or fraudulent claims of negligence or wrongdoing. CGL policies also provide coverage for the cost to defend and settle claims.

Professional Liability Insurance

In Ohio, Professional Liability Insurance, also known as Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance, is liability insurance designed to protect those individuals and businesses providing professional advice.

It protects you if a client claims that the services you provided (or failed to provide) were negligent and caused harm.

For example, one of your many responsibilities to your client was to reserve the one and only band the bride wanted for her wedding day.  When you call to confirm a few days in advance of the wedding, you discover that you reserved them for the wrong weekend.

And since it's prime-time wedding season, the band is already booked the Saturday of your client's wedding, and you're left with no alternative but to book the only DJ that's available on such short notice.

Of  course, your client is furious and files a lawsuit as a result.

The right Professional Liability Insurance policy would cover your attorney costs, and any judgment that might be rendered against you.

Additional insurance coverage options all wedding planners should consider

Commercial Auto Insurance would protect you and your employees (if you have any) while you're driving all over the place to create the experience of a lifetime for your clients.

Maybe you own vehicles in the name of your business.  Maybe you and your employees just use your own personal vehicles.  Doesn't matter whether the business owns the vehicles or not, you still need Commercial Auto Insurance because at some point, you will be driving a vehicle on behalf of your business.

A Commercial Auto Policy can be used to insure vehicles for:

  1. Liability – this would protect you in the event of an at-fault accident where you, or any employees, caused injuries to others while driving a company vehicle or their own personal vehicle
  2. Physical damage to the vehicles you own if they’re involved in an accident, stolen or vandalized
  3. Or both Liability and Physical Damage

Inland Marine Insurance is an important policy for wedding planners as it protects businesses on the move. An Inland Marine policy will protect your tablecloths, candles, tables & chairs, decorations and numerous other items you accumulate over the years that you're in business.

Since these items are very often away from your physical business location, they're not covered by your Commercial Property policy.  However, with a properly structured Inland Marine policy, you can cover all of these items on your insurance policy so if the weather, a fire or even a major windstorm strikes on that magical day, you're not left stranded trying to gather the funds necessary to recreate all the items you spent years accumulating.

Privacy Liability & Data Breach Insurance has gone from a little known option in the insurance world to an absolute must-have given the number of data breaches, and the costs associated with even a small breach.

Consider the amount of personal information you collect, store and use in your business.  This information could be in digital format, hard-copy, or both.  Now imagine opening your doors to many of the most unscrupulous individuals for the next six months, and allowing them to access and use any information they want.

Sounds crazy, right?

But this is exactly what’s happening in our digital world.  Breaches occur to the largest, and smallest businesses… no one is immune.

A data breach often goes unnoticed for months, and by the time it’s discovered, the personal information stolen has already been used to wreak havoc on the victim’s identity and finances.

It’s really not a matter if your business will suffer a breach, only a matter of when.  Without Privacy Liability & Data Breach Insurance, you’re on your own to navigate the increasing number of local, state and federal regulations you must comply with, in addition to the legal costs and damages you’ll suffer.

Conclusion

This is only the beginning to the insurance coverages that Ohio wedding planners need to consider. However, if you have these policies in place, you can form a solid foundation of protection for your business.

Finding the best insurance policy for wedding planners in Ohio, and figuring out the types of coverage needed to protect your business, can be confusing, time consuming and difficult.

However, the right insurance protection is still critical to the success of your business.  Without it, you're one claim away from being out of business.

And remember, not all policies are created equal.

You probably wouldn’t go to your eye doctor instead of your dentist if you were having a toothache, right?  Just because they’re both doctors doesn’t mean they have the same skillset.

Just the same, you need an Insurance Advisor that understands your industry, your risks of loss, and how best to protect you and your business.

We can help.

We know the industry, we understand your needs, and we work with multiple insurance companies so we can deliver the insurance solution that’s perfect for your business, and your budget.

In addition, we can also provide you several services that will help position your business for the best insurance premiums offered by the nation’s strongest insurance carriers.  Specifically, we can:

  • Provide you with data security resources designed to help keep your data, and your network, safe
  • Perform a data breach risk assessment of your business to help identify areas of weakness, and offer solutions to mitigate the exposures
  • Offer safety manual material so you can mitigate your risks of a claim occurring, reduce the number of employees being injured on the job, and comply with OSHA requirements
  • With your help, implement a 'Safe Driver Program' to reduce the likelihood of an auto accident, and then leverage this program to obtain additional Commercial Auto premium discounts for you
  • Review our 86-point 'Property Inspection Checklist' to help you prevent claims to your building that you're capable of controlling

The bottom line is, when you have confidence in your business insurance, you have greater peace of mind knowing that you can keep working to generate revenue, even when disaster strikes. 

To get started on your customized solution, contact one of our Licensed Advisors, or Request a Proposal and we’ll get to work right away.

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