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Picture of Businesses in Downtown Gilbert, Arizona from www.swpremierins.comLately, I've been interacting with small business owners who haven't insured their businesses adequately or even at all. Just this week I helped a client who's had his family business for 30 years and never once did he have ANY insurance. No general liability, No professional liability, No Work Comp, Nothing at all. He is probably one of the luckiest persons I've come in contact with lately.

Commercial insurance is a growing focus in our agency, so many of our blog posts going forward will be written for our small business owners out there in our community. Having the right insurance for your business could literally be the difference between continuing your business or shutting the doors if a tragedy strikes your business.

Commercial insurance  can be very complicated; I'm going to do my best to keep these concepts simplified. As always, I recommend you seek the counsel of your insurance professional for your specific situation. If you don't have a professional agency then contact our office.

What kind of risk exposures does your business potentially face each day? This really depends on the type of business you have. In this post I'll discuss the 8 Liability exposures covered by the Commercial General Liability coverage form. Not all will apply to every business, nor will be available depending on the type of business you operate.
  1. Premises liability - If you have a location where people come to regularly then you need this coverage. Injury or damage due to the ownership, occupancy or use of the insured's premises.
  2. Operations liability - If you do an activity away from the premises then you need this coverage. Injury or damage due to activities in addition to the ownership, occupancy or use of premises; for example, employees of a building contractor away from premises constructing a house.
  3. Product liability - If you manufacture, sell, or distribute a product then you need this coverage. Injury or damage by a product manufactured, sold, or distributed by the insured.
  4. Completed Operation liability - If you have performed and finished work for someone then this coverage is for you. Injury or damage related to the insured's work it has performed and finished, including materials provided by the insured doing the work.
  5. Contractual liability - If you often agree to take on the liability of another business then you need, need, need this coverage. Liability assumed through a hold harmless or indemnity agreement.
  6. Independent contractors - If you hire independent contractors or subcontractors then you have exposure to this liability risk. Liability caused by the negligence of a contractor or subcontractor hired by the insured.
  7. Personal injury liability - While the other liability exposures listed above usually are "accidental" in nature, Personal injury claims are "intentional" acts.  Intentional torts against the person, such as assault, battery, false imprisonment, and false arrest.
  8. Advertising liability - If you advertise your services, products and goods then you need this coverage. This is for Financial Injury of another. Injury caused by an offense committed in the course of advertising the named insured's goods, products or services.
There you have it. All businesses face many, if not all, of these liability exposures daily. I've mentioned these very briefly here so it's imperative to read your policy to know exactly how your policy will perform in the event of a claim. If you have questions about your policy please contact your agent to review your risk exposures specific to your business. Each business is unique. If you don't have a competent, responsive insurance professional please contact our office. Our commercial insurance team has more than 20 years experience dedicated to just the needs of business owners.

Keep an eye out for future posts specific to the needs of our business community.

Author Richard Morris

Richard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families with all their insurance needs for over 23 years. Visit his website at to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter.
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