4 Common Commercial Insurance Myths

How does a myth start? It begins with a truth that gets distorted as information passes from one person to another. Unfortunately, like most topics, commercial insurance isn’t an exception when it comes to false information. Myths crowd the judgment of business owners, leading to purchasing coverage based on wrong facts. The results? Misinformation is likely to lead to inadequate coverage or no coverage at all. 

The good news is that if you are in Cypress, TX, and its environs, InsureUS is here to set the record straight to help you cut through the noise. Behold the facts to common myths about commercial insurance. 

Myth #1: Home insurance covers home-based businesses

Home insurance just covers the aspects of your home. And even if it covers your home-based business, it’s only to a small extent. That said, you need business insurance to protect your home-based business from risks like liability claims, cyberattacks, and other perils. 

Myth #2: Your small business doesn’t need commercial insurance

If you hear anyone tell you that your small business doesn’t need commercial insurance, run in the opposite direction. Regardless of the size of your business, it would help if you had commercial insurance since risks can strike any business, whether small or large. 

In fact, small businesses need commercial insurance more since they are hard-pressed for resources. One minor catastrophe may wipe out your small business within minutes. And since you have limited finances to bounce back, getting off the ground may border the impossible. 

Myth #3: General liability covers all risks

While general liability is pivotal for your business, it doesn’t cover your business against all risks. General liability covers your business against third-party claims arising from bodily injury, property injury, and advertising injury you cause. That said, you need other commercial insurance coverages to cover the other facets of your business.

Myth #4: Commercial insurance covers flood damage

Typical commercial insurance covers many aspects, but flood damage isn’t one of them. As such, if your business is located in a flood-prone area, you need a separate flood insurance policy. 

Still have more commercial insurance myths that need debunking? An insurance agent can help you get the facts right. If you are in Cypress, TX, partner with InsureUs to help you get it right with commercial insurance from the word go.  

PPP loans and taxed expenses

The IRS issued guidance in November clarifying the tax treatment of PPP loans that have not been forgiven by the end of the year the loan was received:

  • Businesses are not taxed on the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan, so the expenses are not deductible.
    This means that the taxpayer sees neither harm nor benefit, since the taxpayer has paid nothing out of pocket.
    Here is how this looks on your tax return, according to bench.com:
    A C-corporation receives $100,000 in a PPP loan, uses the money entirely on payroll and qualifies for loan forgiveness.
    The $100,000 won’t be listed as taxable income on the tax return.
    BUT, the tax deduction the business would normally get (about $21,000) won’t be allowable. So, surprise — you have an extra $21,000 tax liability (assuming 21 percent corporate tax). You did receive a net $79,000 from the program, which you have already spent, but which you might not have had otherwise.
  • Businesses are encouraged to file for forgiveness as soon as possible. If a business believes a PPP loan will be forgiven in the future, expenses related to the loan are not deductible, whether the business has filed for forgiveness or not.
  • If a PPP loan is expected to be forgiven but it is not, the business WILL be able to deduct expenses.
    According to the CARES Act, a forgiven loan amount won’t be included in taxable income.

How to repay an Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Wondering how and when to pay back an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)? You’re not alone.
Administered by the federal government’s Small Business Administration, EIDLs were part of a relief package Congress passed to help small businesses and the self-employed experiencing temporary losses in revenue due to COVID-19. The EIDL is different from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.
The loan is a 30-year loan at a 3.75 percent interest rate (2.75 percent for nonprofits), with payments deferred for a year (though interest still accrues). Many businesses also received an EIDL grant of up to $10,000, which was forgivable.
Although the SBA hasn’t sent statements or payment stubs yet, you can still start paying the loan off, and there’s no prepayment penalty if you decide to pay in full.
You can find your balance and current payoff status by registering with the SBA’s Capital Access Financial System (CAFS) at https://caweb.sba.gov/cls. You’ll need your SBA loan number, found in your closing documents.
Start by clicking “Not enrolled” under the SBA Account Login heading in the left-hand column on the home page and then choose “Borrower” for user type. Most of the form is self-explanatory, though here’s one hint: When entering your phone number, the country code for the United States is “1.”
After successfully registering, log back in and find your loan by clicking “Borrower Search” on the blue bar at the top of the page. The loan information page will show your loan number and status, the principal balance, and the payoff balance, among other info. It also shows you when your next installment is due and for how much, and how much interest the loan has accrued.
This page also includes a link to pay.gov, where you’ll make payments. This is a much simpler form than at CAFS–you’ll need your SBA loan number again, along with bank account information.

The office after COVID-19 will look and feel different

Our experiences inside grocery and retail stores and restaurants have changed dramatically over the past few months, with many changes likely permanent–plexiglass dividers at checkout and contactless purchases, for example.
But what about the office? What will it look like after the quarantines ease and more workers return to the office after months of remote work?
Touchless technology and air purification systems will likely be the norm, along with separate entrances and exits. A number of design and architectural websites suggest that buttons and handles will be replaced by innovations like foot-activated call buttons for elevators and methods of entering and exiting office restrooms that don’t include handles.
Desks will be spaced farther apart and may feature sneeze guards, and offices may install more motion sensors to turn on lights and faucets. Going even further, companies might rotate staff schedules.
According to Forbes, a hub-and-spoke office model may become more common–a company’s headquarters serves as the “hub,” while the “spokes” are used for smaller teams and are in a variety of geographic locations. The hub is no longer the base where everyone shows up each day.
Other ideas include the elimination of a single office refrigerator in favor of smaller fridges by department, and grab-and-go meals in cafeterias for the foreseeable future instead of self-service hot bars. Self-cleaning surfaces are likely to become the norm as well.

Can I sell my products and services on Facebook Marketplace?

Four years after its quiet beginnings, Facebook Marketplace has become a major player for people buying and selling products. But is it a viable place to earn a serious income, and what about offering services?
Like Craigslist, it’s free to sell on Marketplace–a draw for anyone accustomed to paying fees to sites like eBay and Amazon. However, those two platforms have far larger audiences and are typically the go-to sites for sellers looking to do higher volume. In addition to the difference in audience reach, you can’t list more than 150 items per day on Facebook Marketplace.
Etsy, Mercari, Rakuten, Shopify and Bonanza are also popular platforms with established audiences. And while Marketplace trends toward local sales, users can offer shipping options. Sellers can use Facebook ads to boost their listings.
Marketplace listings are not just about garage sale used products. People sell pre-made outdoor sheds, for example.
What about using Marketplace to offer your services? For now, it’s a no-go.
Facebook’s Commerce Policies says services may not be listed, and its list of 14 examples includes things like photography, electrical, plumbing, cleaning, financial services and lawn care services, among others.
However, you can still create a Facebook page for your business and list your services there, as well as direct potential customers and clients to your website. With a Facebook page, you can communicate with customers right on the page or via Messenger.
A Facebook page adds a credibility factor for services such as light construction or home repair and remodeling. Businesses can also display photos of their work.

How bad has 2020 been for insurance? Look at the numbers

If you live in Oregon, Washington or California, you may no longer be able to get insurance to cover damage from wildfires. Insurance losses from recent wildfires are adding up to be some of the largest on record.
Insurers are moving to raise rates and refuse policy renewals in regions with high fire risk, according to Moody’s Investor Service.
As of late July, losses from wildfires in the western U.S. were estimated to be $8 billion, the third highest on record. However, no one knows how high the total will go, according to Moody’s.
That number is just more pain piled on insurance losses as flash floods, tornados and hail caused another $20 billion in insured losses from natural disasters in 2020.
But that isn’t the full total for storm-related costs. The $20 billion number was calculated before hurricanes.
Analysts project that Hurricane Laura caused $9 billion in insured losses; Isaias caused about $4 billion in insured damage and Hanna caused about $250 million.

Understanding opportunity costs

In the thousands of little decisions we make every day, the costs are probably minimal. The difference in cost between taking a bologna sandwich or a turkey sandwich to work for lunch is trivial.
But the difference between a bologna sandwich for lunch and a lunch at a pricey restaurant starts to get our attention.
This is what economists call an opportunity cost.
The bologna sandwich costs a little more than a buck. The lunch at Swells Restaurant costs $40. That choice – the opportunity cost — is $39.
We could even think of the opportunity cost as much higher.
If we buy a $40 lunch every day during a 260-day work year, we would spend $10,400. If we brought a $1 sandwich to work, we would spend about $260. The opportunity cost is $10,140.
You could say that we had the opportunity to do something else with that $10,140 but instead, we bought lunch at Swells.
For some, buying lunch at Swells would be a low opportunity cost if they were negotiating million-dollar contracts at lunch.
For others, this would be a wildly inappropriate way to spend their money. That $10K could be the difference between an emergency savings account or an investment in an IRA for retirement. But one thing is for sure: The money can’t be in two places at once.
Opportunity costs can be dramatic when you look at big ticket items like cars and mortgages, or in savings and investment.
Suppose we did take that bologna sandwich to work every day for a year and banked the $39 per day. We’ll round up our savings to $10,000 for this example.
Now we have a choice. We can keep our $10K in a regular savings account at an interest rate of .01 percent. We won’t make any money, but we have the advantage of having the money handy for emergencies. On the other hand, we could invest the money in an IRA and expect a return of 5 percent or 10,500. Over 30 years, that would accumulate a balance of close to $50,000.
So, we could say that lunch every day for a year at Swells cost $40,000.

Are you uninsured or under-insured?

Life comes at you fast. In your youth at the peak of your health, in middle age, at the height of responsibility, what if an accident or illness took you off the family map? We all know it can happen and few think it will.
As a matter of fact, about 40 percent of people have no life insurance at all. Of the people with life insurance, about half are underinsured.
But the cold fact remains: What happens to your family if you die? Will they be able to afford the house? How will their lifestyle change? Who will support the family? How will they support the family?
Life insurance answers many of those questions — and it answers them affordably.
The least expensive form of life insurance — term insurance — is very inexpensive. A healthy 30-year-old can get $250,000 of insurance for about $15 per month. The earlier you buy term insurance, the less expensive it is and many policies don’t even require a health check.
Many people have life coverage at work, but this should be reviewed because it may not be enough. Primary breadwinners should have coverage equal to six to 10 times their annual incomes. Term policies usually cover only your working life.
Whole life is another kind of life insurance. Unlike term policies, it covers you for life, as long as you make payments. It also has the benefit of building cash value. Although most experts say it shouldn’t be considered an investment, if you get a big policy at a young enough age, and keep it until retirement, you could have a nice nest egg to tap into at retirement. Whole life policies can also be cashed in by your Power of Attorney for some part of the face value if you enter a nursing home, for example. It could be considered a small inheritance. Whole life policies usually require a medical exam and are unlikely to cover smokers.
Many websites compare costs of life insurance options.

Small business responds to Covid-19 crisis

So, now what?
Their stores closed. The offices vacant. Their income limited.
Small business had to answer the question of what they can do right now.
And, for the most part, they did.
About 92 percent of small business owners reinvented themselves, according to Small Biz Trends.
Digital technology was the answer for many small businesses.

  • 58% created new online delivery channels.
  • 40% created a new virtual service.
  • 36% made a new offline delivery channel.
  • 31% created a new product.
  • 19% worked for a new customer group.
    Small restauranteurs and stores selling unique goods all could have had a website presence, but many owners were too busy to make it happen before the coronavirus crisis. When lockdowns happened, they had to set those up.
    Virtual services are not just for schools. Trainers, chefs, music teachers all have tried to involve local customers in virtual classes. While they might find new customers, the same services also find they compete with existing businesses online.
    For some, new products have helped. Some small manufacturers began making the things most in demand: masks and sanitizers, for example. Breweries made sanitizer. Pillow companies made masks and medical scrubs.
    For some it has worked. Fifty-one percent of businesses that did a pivot say they have increased business against forecasts. But small businesses are still facing issues with skills and staffing for new skills, as well as a lack of money.

2020 has been bad. But not the worst.

Let’s hope that no one looks back at 2020 and thinks: Those were the good old days. That implies there are going to be worse days.
Still, as bad as 2020 has been, there were countless really bad years in recorded history. There have been so many bad years, how do we really choose? If we choose death as a yardstick, we really should narrow that down. Do you want death by war, disease, bad policy, starvation, drought, or what? Or maybe we choose sheer brutality. Tons of choices there. Or, how about choices that seemed okay at the time, but had long-lasting terrible ramifications? Maybe, natural disasters?
Here are four really bad years plucked out of history for their general awfulness:

  • Disease and Natural Disaster Award: 1300s. In 1315, Europe’s warm period of prosperity ended with a bang. Possibly because of volcanic activity, winters became brutal and summers cold and rainy. Crops failed. About 80 percent of animals died of infections. Famine took hold. Life expectancy was about 29 years. Cannibalism, infanticide, and mass starvation were characteristics of a 60-year period in that century. As for disease, 1348 was a banner year. The terrifying black death visited not just on struggling Europe, but also the world. In 18 months, up to 200 million people worldwide died. Bodies were unburied in the streets where animals tore them apart. Survivors lived in fear, stench, and desperation with no understanding of the Plague and no way to fight it.
  • Political Chaos, Disease, Social Unrest Award: 1919. In the economy, inflation and unemployment skyrocketed after World War I. Influenza killed 500,000 Americans. The bloody summer of 1919 was filled with race riots, with 500 wounded and 38 dead in five days of violence in Chicago. Across the country, 76 black Americans were lynched. A million workers went on strike, affecting the steel and coal industries, and even the Boston police force. Bombs were mailed to federal officials and fear gripped the nation.
  • Dashing of Hope Award: 1968. Mass demonstrations for civil rights both buoyed and frightened Americans. A sense of positive change was in the air. But the worst moments were yet to come: The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. The riots at the Democratic National Convention in August shook the nation.
  • Cruelty Award: 1943. In Germany, systematic deportation of Jews to extermination camps was well underway. Everyone knew about it. No one stopped it. In the U.S., 240 instances of interracial battles in cities and military bases terrorized communities. But, according to historian Matt Delmont, public awareness of atrocities did not prevent them from continuing.