What to do in the event of an accident?

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1.  Don’t leave the scene.

2.  If vehicles are operable, move them to the shoulder, out of the way of oncoming traffic.

3.  Call for medical assistance if there are any injuries.

4.  In many areas, you have to call the police.  Get the officer’s name, badge number, police station address, and phone number.

5.  Ask when the accident report will be filed, its case and report number, and how you can get a

6.  Get personal information for each party involved in the accident–name, address, phone number,
and insurance information (company name and policy number).

7.   Get the make, model, color, and license plate number for each vehicle involved.

8.  Take careful note of the date and time of the accident, the street and city, weather and road conditions, direction and speed you and other drivers were going, and how the accident occurred.  This may help when you call the insurance agent/company to file the claim.

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Business Insurance Checklist

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Chances are your business insurance needs have changed over the past year or so, just as your company has. Here is a brief checklist of what items to review:

Business protection, property, and liability coverage

A fire, vandal, or big storm can wipe out your business in minutes. A bigger risk: being sued. According to the Trial Lawyers of America, nearly 20 million civil lawsuits a year are filed in this country at an estimated price tag of $300 billion in legal fees and settlement costs (“State Court Caseload Statistics 1995”, National Center for State Courts, 1996). Make sure your assets are covered.

Questions to ask:

  • Do I have business continuation coverage?  If so, is it adequate?
  • If my facilities were destroyed, would I be able to recover?
  • Is my liability-related coverage up to date?
  • Do I own a good umbrella policy?

Medical Coverage
Continuously rising costs have made health care the wild card of your company’s planning strategy. Three points to consider:

  • Health care is a key factor in an employee’s decision to come on board and stay.
  • Costs being what they are, unless you are a big corporation able to self-insure, you probably cannot afford to go without.
  • Health care is an area undergoing rapid, innovative change. There are ways to control costs.

Questions to ask:

  • Is our coverage meeting our needs, or is it leaving us and our employees dangerously exposed?
  • Are our deductibles as high as we can comfortably afford?
  • Are we aware of all the options available to us as a company, especially the recent developments designed to maintain quality health care services while controlling costs?

Key Executive Life Insurance

Your key people are your greatest assets. Insurance on their lives can reimburse the company for loss of services if a key person dies. If you don’t have key person coverage on your most valuable people (that includes you), you ought to at least explore its advantages. If you already have this valuable insurance, it may be time to review it.

Questions to ask:

  • Are all key players covered, including the owners?
  • Are amounts right in proportion to the value of each key person?
  • Do we need to change names on policies where a key person has left?
  • Do you know how much cash value you have in each policy?

Disability insurance
If you, a partner, or a key employee become disabled, the loss to the company would be just as great as if he or she died. In fact, it could be worse, because that person would still require an income.

Questions to ask:

  • Do I have adequate disability insurance on myself?
  • Do we have coverage on our key employees to help meet our responsibilities to them if they become disabled?
  • Business succession or buy-sell plan and the insurance coverage needed to fund it.
  • If you don’t have such a plan, perhaps now is the time to implement one.

This isn’t needed so much for the business’s sake, but for that of your family to help ensure that they’ll get the best price for the business if anything happens to you.

Questions to ask:

  • If we do have a plan already, is it current?
  • Is adequate life insurance in place to fund the buy out?
  • Does it involve a disability purchase, along with the disability insurance needed to help replace my salary or income if I become ill or injured?

Deferred Compensation
Enables you to send dollars ahead for the future. This is an attractive incentive for select employees as well as for you. By deferring a current raise today, for instance, you can potentially get the a tax break for yourself. Plus, you will be providing for your own future.

Questions to ask:

  • Am I fully aware of all the advantages and benefits of a deferred comp plan?
  • If there is a plan in force, am I taking maximum advantage of it?

Qualified Retirement Plan
Many small businesses shy away from the idea of a pension plan, but there are a number of options, including Profit Sharing Plans, Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs) and the SIMPLE Plans.

Questions to ask:

  • Is our retirement plan up-to-date?
  • Does it reflect our company’s unique needs and situation?
  • Am I aware of all our options, especially in light of legislation that makes it easier for business owners to install a workable qualified plan?
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