Insurance. It can sound like such a scary thing, but it really doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be really helpful and may be a legal requirement in some circumstances. If an entrepreneur has never had their own business before or never needed commercial liability it can be very overwhelming. It is important to note that home and auto insurance are usually considered separate policies than commercial liabilities and coverage. We caught up with KASE Insurance, who specialize in small business, manufacturing companies, commercial needs and have a big heart for startups. We spoke with the fun, dynamic yet extremely knowledgeable partners of KASE. Stanislav Kojokin and Arian Ebrahimi provided some phenomenal insight and provides various examples and stages of what type of insurance might be needed.
Q: Why should a startup get insurance?
A: Many startups believe that they are not big enough to need insurance and want to wait until more sales are generated or more assets are purchased. The reality is that having insurance should be in the budget from day one. As soon as a company starts operations and has customers, protection is needed.
Q: Even if a startup is an app (application) and NOT producing any tangible products, would they still need insurance?
A: If the startup is generating revenue, they need liability insurance to make sure they are protected. Even if the company does not have a tangible product, their customers could claim that they suffered a loss as a result of the professional advice or the completed operations of the start up, at which point the start up would have to defend itself.
Q: Are there certain legal documents that would classify a company as a startup?
Q: At what stage or point should a startup consider insurance?
A: It will be a great idea for you to consult with an insurance advisor before any of the following:
KASE Study #1: Start up company about to launch the beta version of their new product or software. Their client asks them to provide proof of insurance before signing a contract.
Insurance solution: Errors & Omissions Liability (E&O), Cyber Liability
Why is it important: This insurance coverage helps protect professional advice- and service- providing individuals and companies from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and certain damages awarded in such a civil lawsuit. The coverage focuses on alleged failure to perform on the part of, financial loss caused by, an error or omission in the service or product sold by the policyholder. These are potential causes for legal action that would not be covered by a General Liability Insurance Policy which addresses more direct forms of harm. Cyber/Network Liability can usually be added to an E&O Policy to protect your exposure of a network going down or private information leaking and causing financial damage.
KASE Study #2: The start up company has outgrown the co- working space, and is looking to move into the new private office. As a condition of the new lease agreement, they are required to provide proof of insurance to the new landlord.
Insurance solution: Commercial General Liability and a Commercial Property
Why is it important: Commercial General Liability covers bodily injury or property damage cause to a 3rd party. Commercial Property coverage protects a business’s own business property within the office. This policy can also cover the loss of use of the premises in the event of a covered loss such as a fire.
KASE Study # 3: You are trying to put a board in place made up of experienced industry veterans. One of the potential candidates is asking you if he will be covered under your company’s insurance policy.
Insurance Solution: Directors & Officers Liability (D&O) Insurance
Why is it important: Provides coverage for a loss as a result of a legal action brought for alleged wrongful acts in their capacity as directors and officers of the company
KASE Study # 4: You have hired employees to help you grow your start up.
Insurance Solution: Employment Practices Liability
Why is it important: Protect your organizations against employee suits for discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, failure to hire, etc. The key here is to remember: Even if you are in the right, it doesn’t mean you will not have to defend yourself.
KASE Study #5: Your business cannot operate without you the founder, or one of your key employees. Investors are concerned about the company’s future should something health related happen to that individual.
Insurance Solution: Key Person Insurance
Why is it important:
The insurance company will a lump sum of tax free money to the corporation. These funds can be used to compensate for the loss of sales or the cost to hire a replacement for key individual.
KASE Study #6: You want to attract and retain the right talent to help you grow your business and are in search of employee incentives.
Insurance Solution: Employee Benefits- Health coverage
Why is it important: Your employees will have piece of mind when it comes to health-related expenses should they have health related issues.
Q: What are common components that are included in insurance policies (specifically for startups)?
A: First and foremost, the startup should obtain a commercial general liability policy to cover their products and their completed operations. Depending on what the startup does, they may want to consider errors and omissions insurance as coverage for professional liability is typically excluded from a commercial general liability policy.
Q: Why does KASE insurance like working with startups?
A: KASE Insurance is a start up! We know the struggles startups go through in getting the attention they need. Startups are often neglected because of their small size and potential for failure so as a result, they are not usually getting the right attention from their insurance brokers. KASE Insurance prides itself in being an active resource for insurance and risk management for companies of all sizes.
Q: What are some of the common mistakes that startups can encounter if they don’t have insurance?
A: Many startups will consider insurance when their customer or a landlord is asking for proof of the coverage. At that point, the startup may be scrambling to find insurance and will likely purchase what is readily available to satisfy their contracts. With more time and attention, an insurance broker can shop the market and find a more suitable product for the startup to buy.
Now, please. Do yourself a favour and get some insurance and do not jeopardize your idea, team and dream.
A big thank you to Stanislav and Arian from Kase for lending their time, insight and knowledge to better prepare and protect fellow startups and entrepreneurs.