What You Need to Know About Directors and Officers Insurance in Massachusetts

A board of directors deciding if their organization needs directors and officers insurance

Managing a corporation is complex and comes with various risks. Directors, officers, and condominium trustee boards are held responsible for decisions they make on behalf of their companies. This can lead to errors, mistakes, and poor choices, resulting in the company leaders getting sued. Directors and officers insurance is special professional liability insurance that covers past, present, and future leaders.

Shareholders, employees, customers, and others can also sue the directors or officers of a business. Therefore, anyone in these positions in the company requires coverage regardless of the size of the organization they lead.

How the Massachusetts Insurance Policy Works

The board of directors in any corporation represents the best interest of the shareholders in their organization. Failure in doing so may lead to lawsuits that will not be covered under a standard general liability policy.

Massachusetts state laws protect nonprofit board members who serve voluntarily for specific situations. However, such members must still work closely with a qualified attorney if such lawsuits are filed.

Policy Options and Additional Coverage

There are certain limitations and exclusions that the directors and officers face with this insurance policy. So it would help to talk to your agent, who will help you determine the most suitable policy to use in consideration of the unique needs of your corporation.

Also, try to include additional coverage that caters to cyber-attacks. Malicious attacks have been on the rise, and many businesses in Massachusetts will likely fall victim to such attacks. So buy D&O insurance to keep your board of directors safe and enhance your company’s reputation.

Protect Your Decision Makers With Directors and Officers Insurance in Massachusetts

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is a top local independent insurance agency in Massachusetts. We provide quality insurance coverage that suits your unique business needs at affordable prices, so talk to our top-rated customer care desk for all your insurance questions. Contact us here and engage experts today.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Hurricane Season

Business owner standing in her office

How do you prepare your business for hurricane season? A hurricane can happen at any time. But they mostly occur in June and November. If you operate a business along coastal regions, you may experience severe damage due to a hurricane.

Being prepared will help you get back on track faster after the hurricane. Here are steps to minimize interruptions and keep your employees safe.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Hurricane Season

1. Employee Evacuation Plan

The safety of your employees is important. So make sure you have an employee evacuation plan. Give team members emergency roles to perform during the hurricane. It is also a good idea to train your employees and even perform flood drills to ensure your employees are prepared.

2. Create a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan is necessary to minimize interruptions during a hurricane. You should have an emergency communication protocol and confirm all employee contact information. 

3. Get Insurance Coverage

As a business owner, you should obtain the best insurance coverage available before a hurricane. If you don’t have insurance coverage, it’s never too late to get some. Make sure your coverage meets your business needs, including flood insurance and business interruptions. Work with the insurance agent to ensure the policy meets those business needs. 

4. Back Up Your Data

Your business has documents, records, and files that you have to secure and protect. You should regularly back up your data and store it in a safe facility. It should be possible to access your data remotely in case of an emergency. 

5. Back Up Your Power Supply

A backup generator will ensure you keep your essential systems during the storm. A backup supply will also help you run your business sooner after a storm. 

Vargas and Vargas is a premier independent insurance agency, and we put our customers first. That includes helping you prepare your business for hurricane season. We offer customized insurance coverage to meet your specific needs. We are here to answer all the questions you may have about insurance, so contact us today.

5 Reasons to Use an Independent Agent for Business Insurance

two co-owners of a small business smiling as they manage the business

Every business owner needs multiple insurance covers. From health policies to general liability business insurance, entrepreneurs must protect themselves, their employees, and customers from unforeseen accidents. Using an independent agent for business insurance comes with many benefits that direct writers cannot offer.

1. Better Premium Deals

Independent insurance agents are usually knowledgeable about business insurance policies in their states. This, combined with their networks of insurers, makes them a valuable asset to your business. They can help you get the best premium deals at discounted prices. Since they are bound by law to serve your interests, you are assured that they will give you a variety of options that offer you maximum protection at lower costs.

2. Tailored Risk Assessment

Most independent insurance agents are trained risk assessment and management experts. They can therefore assess the potential areas of liability in your business and correctly advise you on the premiums that can protect you. They are also familiar with the latest business liability regulations. As such, they can guide you on any risks that need to be covered in your business. Direct writers may not offer such tailored risk assessment services, leaving your business inadequately protected. 

3. Multiple Coverage Packages

Getting insurance policies from multiple insurers can be quite a hassle. Unfortunately, most direct writers specialize in specific policies. This is unlike independent agents, who often provide a one-stop-shop for all your business insurance needs. When you combine multiple premium coverages, you will have more room to negotiate the best rates for your entire insurance package.

4. Excellent Customer Service

Once you purchase your insurance from a direct writer online, you might never hear from them again. When you choose an independent agent for business insurance, on the other hand, your agent is just a call away. They will keep in touch and offer you after-sales customer care services by continually assessing your business whenever necessary. They will also inform you of the latest premiums that you might need, giving you room to revise your business insurance cover as you deem fit.

5. Hassle-Free Claims

Nobody likes the hassles of filing for claims because of the paperwork and long procedures involved. An independent insurance agent will save you from all these hassles by following up on your claims and handling the entire process on your behalf. They will also guide you on the correct claim estimates based on your cover.

Using an independent agent for business insurance can save you and your business a lot of money, time, and stress. They can handle all your insurance needs and give you room to focus on more productive activities.

If you are looking for licensed and experienced insurance experts who will place your interest before those of insurance companies, then contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance. Our premier local independent insurance agency has independent insurance agents who will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price and answer all your insurance questions. Contact us today to get the best insurance premiums for your business.

Changing Your Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Virtual Work: How to Protect Your Business

When employees shift to working from a remote location, the scope of the normal rules become complicated and confusing. Several legal nuances arise when employees work remotely, especially regarding cybersecurity and injuries to both employees and clients. Despite the notable perks of allowing employees to work from home, there are potential liabilities to consider. That’s where modifying your business’s workers’ compensation coverage for virtual work may come in.

man videoconferencing with co-workers as he works from home

There are measures that you need to take to minimize the liabilities and to ensure that your business and employees working from home are protected. These include:

  • Ensuring the employees’ homes are safe for business
  • Designating a dedicated work area
  • Ensuring their homeowner policy is updated
  • Protecting their devices from intrusion
  • Creating a telecommuting policy and informing the employees that telecommuting is a privilege
  • Reviewing your insurance

Most business owners believe that the homeowner’s insurance policy covers them, but it is not always the case. Therefore, it is important to review your insurance policy as a way of protecting your business. 

How Extra Coverage Can Help Protect Your Business

Additional business insurance policies can also help in covering potential lawsuits, workplace injuries, and office assets.

You need to obtain the right home-based business liability coverage and extra protection besides your workers’ compensation coverage. Business liability insurance is meant to protect your remote employees. The right coverage for your remote employees is vital in mitigating your business risks.

Accidents occur during work, and they can easily occur in the home. Along with ensuring your workers’ compensation coverage for virtual work is up to par, you need to ensure your employee’s work environment is safe. Employees working from home have the same compensation benefits as those working from the office.

You might need extra coverage in your business’s insurance policy to protect its assets, such as laptops. This is because your existing insurance policy may not cover losses relating to damages at the employee’s home.

Also, it’s important to verify that your employees’ home insurance adequately covers your employees who are working from home. Therefore, you need to modify the employee’s insurance policies and the coverage policies of the business.

You may be held liable for injury to anyone other than the employee in the home office. In this regard, it is important to confirm with your insurance company whether your public liability insurance covers home offices.

How You Can Get Started

Vargas & Vargas Insurance is one of the premier local independent insurance agencies — we work for our clients and not the insurance company. We will customize your insurance coverage to your specific needs at the right price, and we are here to answer all of your insurance questions. Contact us today to get the right protection for you and your business.

What You Need to Know About Business Interruption Coverage and COVID-19

a carpentry business owner considering his insurance options during COVID-19 restrictions

Most businesses throughout the country have experienced some type of financial loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have chosen or been forced to temporarily close your business, you are likely searching for ways to replace your lost income in order to avoid a permanent closure, particularly if you have not been allowed to reopen yet. Although business interruption coverage applies to many events that have a similar impact on the operations of your business, it is unlikely to be a solution to interrupted business and revenue.

What Is Business Interruption Coverage? 

Business interruption insurance is a type of specialized coverage that can be added to your regular commercial insurance policy. It is intended to serve as an additional layer of assistance for businesses that must temporarily stop operating as the result of a specific event, such as a fire or natural disaster.

Business interruption insurance generally serves as a temporary replacement for income, which can be used to keep the business from being forced to permanently close after such an event. The coverage is typically used to allow the business to continue paying employees and bills until it can reopen. 

Can Business Interruption Coverage Be Applied to COVID-19 Closures?

Unfortunately, most business interruption coverage policies cannot replace the income that is lost as a result of closures related to COVID-19. Many business interruption coverage policies include a clause that specifically excludes pandemics, as the policy is intended for closures that include physical damage to the business. Although business interruption insurance policies exist to cover sporadic closures, they generally do not have the funds to replace the massive amount of income lost by nearly every business in the country during the pandemic.

However, not every insurance company excludes pandemics. We highly recommend reaching out to your insurance provider for more information about specific policies regarding COVID-19. Talking directly with your agent is the best way to get your questions answered accurately. 

At Vargas & Vargas Insurance, we prioritize providing the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the various types of insurance coverage available and how they can apply to unprecedented circumstances. Contact us today to learn more about the insurance policies we offer or to request a quote.  

3 Recommended Commercial Insurance Changes for Companies Switching to Remote Work

An increasing number of businesses are considering a permanent shift to remote work for their employees. The change is taking place in different industries, especially the technology industry. When a business switches to remote work, its potential risks and liabilities change. If your small business is considering changing to a remote workforce as a long-term strategy, start with a review of your business’s commercial insurance policies. This will help you identify potential gaps and changes in coverage that need to be addressed.

woman on a video conference while working from home

Some of the insurance implications that may arise under conventional insurance policies include:

1. Employers’ Liability and General Insurance

Coverage for your employees’ potential injuries depends on the categorization, where the injury took place, and the activity undertaken at the time of injury. Your business needs to ensure that the definition of covered employees under the employers’ liability insurance includes all employees to which the company may be found liable. Also, you need to ensure that the coverage consists of all places where your workers are located.

2. Property Insurance

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased focus on different aspects of property insurance. While transitioning to a remote workforce may create less loss as a result of property damage, you may have more devices and equipment spread across different locations. Therefore, you need to make sure that property being used by workers in remote locations is insured.

3. Cyber Insurance

The switch to work remotely can make your business more susceptible to schemes of social engineering and hacks. When your employees work from home, they adapt to different modes of communication and may create new vulnerabilities in your system. But you need to do more than allow your IT personnel to increase security in remote working environments. Consider adding more coverage, such as cyber insurance, to protect your business’s data, systems, and hardware. Your business needs to make sure the coverage matches the risks.

For more assistance choosing the right commercial insurance policies during changes to your business, contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance today. We’re here to help.

What You Need to Know About the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act

entrepreneur working at home in her kitchen due to COVID-19 and reading about the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act

The forced indefinite closure of many small businesses throughout the nation has caused many owners uncertainty about their ability to retain employees and successfully reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act, which was passed on March 27, provides emergency funds to qualifying businesses with a maximum of 500 employees. 

What Is the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act? 

The Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act is a $377 billion package of grants and loans intended to help keep small businesses across the nation functional during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program, the largest section of the act, provides small businesses with loans that are to be used to continue paying employees while businesses are closed. These loans may be obtained immediately through over 800 SBA-certified banks and credit unions. Other aspects of the act include:

  • Entrepreneurial assistance.
  • Emergency EIDL grants.
  • Small business debt relief. 

Paycheck Protection Program

Under the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act, the Paycheck Protection Program will provide loans to qualifying small businesses. The amount can be as great as 250 percent of the business’s total monthly payroll. It provides temporary funds to cover employees’ salaries, tips, and benefits. In doing so, the act hopes to minimize the financial difficulties that both employees and the small business will face in the coming months. 

Other Elements of the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act

The act also includes several billion dollars in funds that may be used to grant immediate relief to qualifying businesses. This section allows for:

  • Up to $10,000 through the EIDL program.
  • The provision of counseling, training, and other services to struggling businesses.
  • The provision of sick leave.
  • Easier access to other loan programs.

Many small businesses will need to adjust how they handle their finances in the coming weeks and months in order to successfully reopen and stay open. However, the emergency funds provided by the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act make it easier to pay bills and employees. By keeping employees paid throughout the pandemic, businesses keep their employees’ financial struggles to a minimum and increase their likelihood of returning instead of searching for new positions.  

Do I Need Professional Liability or E&O Insurance in Massachusetts?

In a nutshell, Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance is a professional liability insurance policy created to protect professionals, employers, and employees from claims of inadequate work or negligence. Here in Massachusetts, it’s a useful policy for professionals who work with contracts, finances, investments, and other risks. 

group of professionals conversing and looking at a file

In other words, if your organization could get sued for giving bad advice, or even making an honest mistake on paperwork, E&O insurance is for you. Choosing the right coverage can be complicated, so Vargas & Vargas is here to help.

Businesses That Should Have Professional Liability Insurance

Examples of organizations that should always have professional liability or errors and omissions insurance are:

  • Realtors and real estate agents
  • Insurance agents
  • Investment specialists and stockbrokers
  • Retirement planners
  • Funeral homes and funeral directors
  • CPAs and contracted bookkeepers
  • Homebuilders
  • Some businesses in the manufacturing sector
  • Medical professionals

How E&O Insurance Works

Let’s imagine you own a small retirement planning firm in Massachusetts. You have two fully licensed employees. During the flu season, you and one employee are both out sick for a whole week, leaving a single employee to run the office. She’s an excellent employee. You trust her, and so do your clients.

However, the workload is too much, and your good employee makes a few honest mistakes. She provides inaccurate projections to one family and accidentally gives them the wrong answers for what their whole life insurance policies will be worth in a year. Of course, she does this all via email, and your clients have proof of her statements.

All is well until next year when those customers come back to complain they were given the wrong information! They were expecting to have much better results from their investments. They get together and hire a lawyer to sue your business.

This is when your errors and omissions coverage comes into play. It will cover your court costs (up to the limits on the policy). If you need to hire a lawyer and end up paying the difference to these clients, E&O has you covered.

Does My Business Have Enough E&O Coverage?

You’ve worked hard, and your business is growing. Congratulations! It’s probably time to review all of your commercial policies, including your Business Owners Policy (BOP), commercial liability, and errors & omissions coverage. Get in touch with us today to speak with a Massachusetts licensed insurance agent. We’d love to review your policies and get you a free quote. 

How to Read Your Declarations Page(s)

Have you ever read an insurance contract? Not many have.

However, this voluminous document has everything you need to know about your insurance coverage and is essential in the event of a claim.

There is a short cut: The Declarations Page.

This document outlines and summarizes your insurance coverage. And it’s easy to read and only a few pages. It’s also key to determining if you have adequate coverage at an affordable price.

Policy Number and Policy Period  This is the top of your policy.  If you need to speak to your Independent Insurance Agent about your policy, you should direct your attention to this section at the outset of your conversation.

The policy period also helps for you to mark your calendar so you can be reminded of your annual review.

Maybe your credit score is improved or maybe your kids are grown. These are just a couple examples of life events that can occur that warrant an annual insurance review.

In addition to lifestyle changes, there is the likely possibility that insurance carriers have revamped their policies. You may be eligible for new discounts or more competitive pricing.

Coverages and Premiums.  The different coverages of your policy are presented line-by-line with the attendant premium in the right column, or in some cases, the discount in a line item, such as a security device.

The coverages are accompanied by the coverage limit. For your homeowner’s policy for example, the dwelling limit will show what your house would cost to be replaced. Notice your liability limit. This coverage limit should never be lower than the value of your home.

Total Annual Premium.  Down at the bottom of the page is the TOTAL PREMIUM for your Insurance Policy.  Usually this will show as an annual number, although that may be different depending on your payment plan for the policy.  You can also see different payment options for your premium; some insurance plans give you discounts depending on the frequency of payments. 

These declaration pages will help when it’s time to review with your independent agent. Know your coverage, know your renewal date so you can discuss with your agent if your coverage is maximized and your premiums are competitive.

Please read our other blogs related to annual insurance review suggestions.

You can reach us by calling 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.

Managing Growth

Growth can sneak up on us.  Whether it’s your family or your business, one day you realize you’ve grown larger than when you started. 

  • Two cars when once there was one.
  • Five employees when previously you had two. 
  • A new spouse when you once lived alone. 

Growth is a good thing, it’s the keeping-up-with-growth that’s difficult.  Unless you’re organized and prepared, then growing becomes easy-peasy.

One area we often overlook, when growth occurs is whether it sneaks up on us or we prepare for it, is with our insurance.

Here’s where your Independent Insurance Agent comes in. We help your growth spurt feel smooth, organized, and best of all, prepared for any happenstance.

We often advocate that our clients undertake an annual review with us to see what coverages best suit their needs with natural changes over time. This helps to ensure quality coverage at an affordable cost whenever possible.

Our facility as your Independent Agent is there for you to advocate and manage when the “growth” word pops up.  Not only can we find the right insurance coverage for your new larger family or business, but we can help you control the costs of that insurance. 

Call us today so we can discuss all of your wonderful growth opportunities and reduce any growing pains so you experience the best possible insurance solutions.

You can reach us by calling 617-298-0655 or text us at 617-409-0329 for a free, no-obligation annual review. Click here to Visit our Contact Us page.