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Avoiding risky business

Risk By definition, insurance is a transfer of risk. Sometimes, however, you don’t really know you need insurance or you may not know what kind of insurance you need until a loss occurs.

There is so much happening in our economy – one can easily to be overwhelmed. Businesses are still closing and downsizing - and I am sure by now everyone has heard of the disastrous situation in Haiti. I came across this article in Business Week recently:  “Four Legal Pitfalls Loom in 2010” And, ironically, the author discusses many of the same subjects that I have addressed over the past year.

Here are the highlights:

  1. Employee Lawsuits – this subject was addressed in my previous blog “Businesses beware!” However, what I find very interesting is the increasing number of lawsuits – in 2008 they were up 9 percent, in 2009 they increased 15 percent over the prior year and they are expected to be even higher in 2010. With these types of numbers, this issue can be a serious threat to a business owner. Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) is still a fairly new coverage and it is not commonly added to insurance policies. It only takes one lawsuit of this nature to get your attention – especially when you learn you have no coverage for it.
  2. Immigration Audits – while this is not really an issue that insurance can assist with, it is an issue that can be corrected with good recordkeeping as well as an employee handbook addressing procedures.
  3. Improper Insurance – I think this subject wins for my “Theme of 2009.” I actually blogged about this five times over the past year with “Don’t be a copycat," “It’s not raining – why do I need an umbrella?”, “Are you a gambler?” “You have enough insurance - really?” and “'Tis the season to keep your business healthy.”  I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I am still amazed at how many business owners make changes in their business and don’t discuss the changes with their insurance agent.
  4. Internet Security - The hot button or the buzz word, if you will. This subject comes in a close second with three blogs addressing it -“Protect your customers,” “The risks of social media” and “Does your business have e-risk.” More and more people are doing business online than ever before. Businesses are utilizing the Web with Facebook and Twitter to market their business. This is an area that business owners really want to be careful with and should have solid controls in place not only to protect their clients, but also their own business trade secrets.

Last but not least, I want to mention Haiti. The devastation that they have faced is truly shocking and heartbreaking. It is absolutely amazing what damage an earthquake can do. Which brings me to "When disaster strikes are you ready?" Make 2010 a year that you start off on the right foot. If you don’t have any insurance for your business, contact your agent to find out what you need to get a policy started. If you haven’t seen your agent in a while, call and set up an appointment to review your insurance.

You might be surprised what you learn about your policy when you review it.


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This post used the disaster in Haiti not once, but twice to sell insurance and pimp not one, but TEN of your own posts, each of which is its own shameless pitch for insurance. This post is inexcusably beyond the pale.

My intent with this blog is to educate about insurance. I realize that each blogger has a different approach, but mine is not to self-promote or to use a disastrous situation to sell insurance. However, it is typically a disaster that serves as an opportunity to educate people about insurance. I hope readers appreciate this - and will find more professional ways of communicating their concerns if my blogs seem inappropriate.

This is not the first time you used a disaster in this manner. When a tornado destroyed Parkersburg and killed six people, you took it as another opportunity to sell insurance. I would love to hear an established blogger's take on the "education" you provide in the wake of deadly disasters. http://www.iowabiz.com/2008/05/are-you-prepare.html

Honest promotion is fine, but great content is the greatest form of promotion. Look at the posts of past IowaBiz writers like Mitch Matthews, Nathan Wright and current writers like Joe Kristan, Drew McLellan, Timothy johnson and Tom Vander Well. They each developed a huge following, independent of IowaBiz, through their own insightful and charismatic posts.

Putting aside your inexcusable exploitation of deadly disasters, telling your readers post after post after post to contact an insurance salesman undermines your credibility and trades on the goodwill your other IowaBiz writers have worked so hard to develop. I invite you to reread your posts and judge for yourself the value of your content.

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