August 31, 2017
Adequate insurance coverage is, in many cases, a legal requirement for a business. Even if it’s not for your company, proper coverage remains a risk management imperative. But that doesn’t mean you have to take high insurance costs sitting down.
There are a wide variety of ways you can decrease insurance costs. Just two examples are staying on top of facilities maintenance and improving the safety of those who work there.
For starters, have an electrician check your facility. Can the building’s electrical system handle the load at peak times? Are there circuits at risk of being overloaded?
Also look at installing a sprinkler system (or upgrading your existing system if needed). Some insurance carriers provide premium discounts for installing fire prevention equipment such as sprinklers. And check your fire extinguishers. Are they well maintained and the right type? The type of extinguisher you need for an electrical fire isn’t the one you need for a kitchen grease fire.
Many municipalities offer free or low-cost fire safety inspection services. Your local fire department may be able to recommend steps that not only reduce hazards, but also reduce insurance premiums.
And don’t forget to consider how much maintenance you’re actually obligated to perform. Renting or leasing real estate, rather than owning it directly, is often less costly because the property owner may be responsible for much of the upkeep. Ownership has its advantages, of course, but it also brings potential liability with it that has to be insured against.
Employee injuries can drive up insurance and workers’ compensation expenses. Inspect your floors and other high-traffic areas for slippery spots, lack of nonslip surfacing, ice buildup or other hazards. Also eliminate clutter, poor carpet installation, loose steps and handrails, and anything else that could potentially generate a slip and fall claim.
Additionally, consider asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a courtesy inspection. Doing so may help you avoid potential penalties as well as prevent injuries and other incidents that would raise your premiums.
Opportunities for savings
Yes, buying the right array of insurance policies is a cost of doing business. But you may have more control over these expenses than you think. We can help you assess your insurance costs and identify opportunities for savings.
If you’re among the families with less exposure to estate tax liability post-TCJA, it’s time to adjust your estate planning strategy to concentrate on reducing income taxes. If state income taxes are a concern, one tool to consider is an incomplete nongrantor trust.
Family businesses often depend on their founder to maintain the company’s success. But eventually that owner will have to depart the business. Depending on the circumstances, the family itself may be thrown into chaos. A solid succession plan can help prevent this.
If you’re thinking about giving holiday gifts to employees or customers or throwing a holiday party, be sure to consider the tax consequences, both for you and for the recipients of your generosity.