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Top 10 Small-Business Insurance Claims February 18, 2019

coffee-spill-insurance-claims-business002There’s a common mentality among insurance policy holders: “It’s a fail-safe, but I probably won’t need it.”

Perhaps it’s denial, or perhaps it’s part of a natural self-preservation mentality. For whatever reason, many assume insurance is “for the other guy.” Someone else may need to make a claim someday, but I probably won’t.

While it’s good to take steps to reduce the likelihood of claims, it’s also good to know that many small businesses do indeed rely on their insurance coverage for incidents. In fact, a study by financial services company The Hartford revealed that 40% of small businesses incur property or liability losses each 10-year period.

What types of losses are businesses experiencing? Here are the top 10 insurance claims they make (and some tips on how to avoid them).

  1. Theft: The top reason for small- business claims is burglary and theft. Some of these crimes are committed by outsiders. Others are the result of dishonest employee activity. Strong, consistent security measures and employee accountability can reduce the chances of these claims.
  2. Water: Coming in second is damage caused by water from roof leaks, snow, ice, and frozen pipes. To minimize the risk of water damage, inspect roofing and plumbing features and perform maintenance regularly. 
  3. Wind: Hail and wind damage are frequent culprits when it comes to small-business damage. These elements can destroy equipment, buildings, and commercial vehicles. To protect assets, store vehicles and equipment indoors as much as possible.
  4. Fire: Don’t underestimate the destructiveness of this force. Fire can cause major property damage and even wipe out a business. Always follow fire safety guidelines to ensure warning, extinguishing, and evacuation measures are up to date and fully operational.
  5. Accidents: Customer slips and falls take the number five slot. Some businesses are more vulnerable to this risk than others. To minimize risk, keep interior and exterior walkways free of ice, water, debris, and damage.
  6. Injuries/Damage: In addition to slips and falls, customers sometimes sustain other injuries or damage to their property. Establish protocols for creating a safe environment to reduce the chances of these occurrences.
  7. Liability: Businesses that sell products run the risk of product liability claims. Perform proper testing before releasing anything to the public. Ensure consumer warnings and warranties are worded appropriately.
  8. Objects: Some claims are the result of injuries caused by moving objects. Customers or employees may be struck by falling products, mobile equipment, or vehicles. Again, solid safety protocols can help keep your work environment accident-free.
  9. Libel: A third party may sue a business for reputational harm. These claims resulting from libel and slander suits don’t account for a huge proportion of claims, but they still make the top 10. Businesses should use caution when mentioning anyone in media reports or marketing efforts in order to reduce the likelihood of libel claims.
  10. Vehicles: Auto accidents complete the list of top small-business claims. To prevent these, small-business owners can enact a vehicle safety program. Proper training and qualifications for commercial vehicle operators is key.

Is your business prepared for these incidents? Do you have the appropriate policies in place? If you’re unsure, contact your insurance provider to review your policies and make sure your company is covered.

 

This article and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The publisher will not be responsible for errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use.  Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

 

Estate Planning Seminar February 12, 2019

 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

10:00am – Noon OR 5:30pm-7:30pm

Forward Bank (1001 N. Central Ave., Marshfield)

 

Attorney David J. Eckert from Eckert Law, LLC will present on:

• Basics of an effective estate plan
• Protecting assets when needing a nursing home
• Avoiding probate
• The effect of new Wisconsin legislation and regulations on nursing home planning

 

Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Everyone is welcome, bring a friend or family member!

 

RESERVE YOUR SEAT: Call 715-389-6489 or email marisa.steinbach@ceterais.com

 

**Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisors LLC. Cetera is not affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. Investments are: *Not FDIC/NCUSIF insured *May lose value *Not financial institution guaranteed *Not a deposit *Not insured by any federal government agency. For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consults a tax or legal Advisor. Neither Cetera Investment Services, nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice. 715-387-1122

 

How Couples with an Age Gap Can Plan for Retirement January 29, 2019

couple with age gap riding a bike, taking a selfieFrom Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, marriages with age gaps have transcended generations. 

In many marriages, spouses are aged one year apart or less. According to the 2013 U.S. Current Population Survey, this is true for roughly one-third of marriages. In around 10 percent of marriages, however, one spouse is 10 or more years older than the other. That may not seem significant, but some sources say the number of May−September romances is increasing, and with this increase comes the need for better financial planning. 

When spouses have significant age differences, the question of when to retire becomes more important. Will the couple retire at the same time, or will the younger spouse continue to work while the older spouse retires?  

This can affect the psychological dynamics of the relationship as well as the couple’s finances. Couples with an age gap, for example, may have different income levels and investment needs (with one spouse working and one spouse retired). How should assets be allocated to protect the spouse who needs a growing nest egg as well as the spouse who is worried about market volatility? A balance must be found to keep the older spouse’s current needs with the younger spouse’s extended time horizon.

Additionally, these couples must understand the rules for withdrawing assets. For example, required minimum distributions (RMDs) from retirement accounts are typically calculated based on the Uniform Lifetime Table. But if your spouse is 10 or more years younger, instead you must use the Joint Life and Last Survivor Expectancy table, which will result in smaller RMDs (and lower your taxable income). 

There is also end-of-life planning to consider. If the older spouse has children from a prior relationship, it is important to have a strong estate plan that balances the younger spouse’s financial needs with the desire to leave children an inheritance.

To strike a balance among all of these needs, consult with your financial professional to develop a personalized retirement plan.

Questions? Contact a Forward Investment Services advisor!

 

This article and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The publisher will not be responsible for errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use.  Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Forward Bank is Sharing the Love with Local Charities & Non-Profits January 24, 2019

Local charities are a key component in keeping our communities strong. They fill unique and important niches in helping us all with the educational, spiritual, cultural, social and health aspects of our lives. To provide a consistent donation stream for our local charities on behalf of our customers, we’ve created the Charitable Money Market Account (CMMA). Since its inception we’ve given over $841,000 to 200+ worthwhile organizations!

Forward Bank CMMA - Hannah Center

“The Board, Management and Staff at Forward are dedicated to maintaining strong and healthy communities through charitable giving and volunteering. Our customers see the important role that charitable organizations play in our communities, and they find ways like the CMMA program to support them,” said Bill Sennholz, CEO/President at Forward Bank.

To open and maintain a CMMA, all the customer needs to do is open the account, designate a participating non-profit organization, school, or church, and keep a balance in their account throughout the year. At the end of the calendar year, Forward Bank will make a donation to the designated charity on behalf of the customer based on their average account balance.

 

Open a CMMA today to start saving for YOURSELF and your favorite CHARITY!

Sara Blume & Bob Houts (School District of Owen-Withee)

GET – Checking Account with these features:

  • No minimum deposit to open
  • No monthly fee
  • No minimum to earn interest
  • Free online banking
  • Fee debit/ATM card
  • Free direct deposit
  • Free bill pay

 

SAVE – Earn interest at a competitive rate similar to a savings account with the convenience of a checking account. Check out current rates.

GIVE – Forward will make a donation to a charity on your behalf based on your average balance – no money is taken from your account.

 

Open your CMMA at a location near you or open it online!

 

How to Change Your Life Insurance Beneficiary January 16, 2019

If you have dependents, such as children or a nonworking spouse, you probably have a life insurance policy. We hope you do. But it is important to remember that as your life circumstances change, your policy needs to change as well.

Happy couple with children

When you purchased a life insurance policy, you named at least one beneficiary (the person or people who will receive the proceeds of the policy in the event of your death, usually a spouse, child, or another relative for whom you would like to provide).

While you chose the amount of the life insurance benefits and the beneficiary when you purchased the policy, you may be able to alter them during your lifetime, depending on the designation type you chose at the time of policy issuance.

Specifically, when you purchased your policy, you probably chose the type of beneficiary designation: revocable or irrevocable. A revocable designation allows you to change beneficiaries after the policy is in force, while an irrevocable designation does not allow you to do so without the consent of the beneficiary.

Most policies have a revocable beneficiary designation.

Why would you want to change your beneficiary designation? A variety of circumstances can warrant this action.

You might want to change a beneficiary if the life circumstances of the person or people you support have changed. Perhaps you have had a child or adopted one. Perhaps someone in your family has died, and you do not need to support that person (or you need to support that person’s children). Perhaps you have divorced. Perhaps a child has reached adulthood and no longer needs your support.

Because there are so many variables that can affect your policy, it is a good idea to review your personal circumstances each year to determine whether a change needs to be made.

If it does, changing your beneficiary designation is usually an easy task. Simply contact the insurance company and ask how to proceed.

 

This article and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The publisher will not be responsible for errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use.  Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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