Whether your Little Rock business is celebrating years of service, or your Fayetteville company just opened, Arkansas provides many opportunities for the established commercial entity to the brand new alike. Perhaps you are looking for a new provider, or you have just begun researching the types of insurance you need for your business. Either way, finding the right business insurance policy is a must for any company.
Before you search for business insurance quotes, however, there are several factors to consider.
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How Arkansas Does Business
According to market analysis and census data:
- The economy of Arkansas produced $106 billion of gross domestic product in 2010. Six Fortune 500 companies are based in Arkansas, including the world's No. 1 corporation, Walmart.
- According to CNBC, Arkansas currently ranks as the 20th best state for business, with the second-lowest cost of doing business, fifth-lowest cost of living, 11th best workforce, 20th-best economic climate, 28th-best educated workforce, 31st-best infrastructure, and the 32nd-friendliest regulatory environment. Arkansas gained 12 spots in the best state for business rankings since 2011.
- Civilian aircraft was the primary export from Arkansas in 2011 in terms of market share, worth approximately half a billion dollars. Poultry, cotton, rice, graders, ammunition, organic chemicals, steel, and shock absorbers are also important exports from Arkansas.
- With more than 33,000, construction companies make up the most number of businesses in Arkansas.
- Small businesses totaled 241,316 in the state in 2008. Of these, 51,035 were employers, and they accounted for 48.6 percent of private-sector jobs in Arkansas. Small firms made up 96.8 percent of the state’s employers.
What is Business Insurance?
Business insurance includes a broad range of policy options designed to protect your Arkansas business from financial loss. Every commercial operation has its own inherent set of risks, requiring any business insurance policy to be custom made for that company. Many factors, from the size of your company, to the number of workers you employ, the materials they handle and whether you have business vehicles, will determine the specific coverage you need to mitigate risk and protect your company’s financial goals.
What Does Business Insurance Cover in AR?
Most Arkansas insurance providers will offer you several options from which to choose as you build your business insurance policy. Some may not apply to your specific business, while others you would not want to do without. The options you see may include:
- General liability insurance: This can help pay for injuries or property damage another person may experience while visiting your business. It can help pay for anything from their medical treatment to your court costs and legal fees should you face a lawsuit stemming from the injury or damage.
- Professional liability and malpractice insurance: Can help protect professionals against loss due to negligence, wrongful acts, and advice and services that lead to another person’s loss or injury.
- Product liability insurance: This can help manufacturers against faulty products and damage, illness, injury or death that may occur from using their product.
- Property insurance: Can help pay for repairs to your commercial business property due to fires, severe weather events, theft and vandalism.
- Commercial vehicle insurance: This can help pay for repairs to or replacement of any car, truck or van you use for business purposes.
- Loss of income: Can help pay your business expenses such as rent and employee wages if you can’t operate your business due to a covered reason.
- Key person insurance: This can help cover the loss of income that may result from the head of the business or other key personnel becoming incapacitated or passing away.
- Cyber-crime insurance: This option can offer protection for risks due to Internet use and online communications.
- Records retention policies: Can help cover costs associated with the loss of important data and financial records.
- Specialty coverage: Insurance that covers various specific business risks, such as those of landlords, farmers, and commercial operations that put on one-day events, such as seminars or concerts.
Am I Required to Carry Certain Business Insurance?
Arkansas state law requires most employers to carry the following types of business insurance:
- Unemployment insurance: This type of insurance, which works more like a tax as employers pay it directly to the state of Arkansas, is mandatory for any business that employs one or more people. Few entities, such as churches, are exempt.
- Workers' compensation insurance: Most businesses in Arkansas with three or more employees are required by law to have workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees. There are exceptions to the three-or-more requirement, so employers with fewer than three employees should check with authorities before assuming they do not fall under the workers’ compensation laws.
- Professional liability insurance: Arkansas requires some professionals, such as attorneys and accountants, to carry minimum standards in liability coverage. Be sure to check with authorities on the amount of liability insurance your firm may need.
Employers that do not carry these types of required insurance may face fines, penalties and legal action by the state.
What About Insurance for My Employees?
As a business owner, you know the value of having a healthy, loyal staff. One way many employers attract the most experienced and reliable employees in Arkansas is by offering a comprehensive employee insurance and benefits package. The most common types of insurance policies for employees include:
- Health insurance: These plans can cover hospital visits, doctor visits, surgeries, prescriptions and possibly vision and dental. As the employer, you will cover a portion of the premium, while your employees pay the rest.
- Life insurance: If your employee dies, this benefit will provide financial payments to the employee's named beneficiaries; these benefits can help that person's family to cover funeral costs and ongoing living expenses. Some policies even offer you, the employer, compensation for the death of a key employee.
- Disability insurance: You can choose to offer short term and/or long term disability insurance. In the event that your employee is injured or has a lengthy illness, this benefit provides payment during the period of time your employee cannot work.
- Retirement benefits: The most common type is a 401(k) which allows employees to deduct a certain amount of each paycheck to put towards retirement savings. Some businesses choose to match that deduction amount up to a certain percentage.
How Can I Save on Business Insurance in Arkansas?
The quotes you will receive for the business insurance policies you need will vary from one Arkansas insurance company to another. The amount of coverage you need, how many people you employ, your annual revenues, your risks, and a host of other factors will determine the quotes you see for annual insurance premiums.
Business insurance can seem quite costly at first, but protecting your commercial interests from known risks is a must. There are ways you can avoid paying more than you should for business insurance, however, including:
- Work with an insurance agent experienced in business insurance policies who can compare rates from several sources.
- Increase your deductibles; you take on a bit more financial risk in the event of a claim, but pay lower premiums.
- Request discounts based on safety measures you have implemented. If you drug-screen your employees or institute safety and emergency plans, you may find discounts on your insurance premium quotes.
- Bundle your insurance plans together under one insurance company whenever possible.
- Pay your premiums annually instead of monthly or quarterly.
Where Can I Find Business Insurance in AR?
Part of being a successful, financially savvy business owner is delegating tasks to those most qualified for the job. You wouldn't ask your receptionist to fix your plumbing, and neither should you trust your insurance needs to anyone but a qualified agent.
Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options best suited for your business, and even assist you in filing a claim. These agents have years of experience working with Arkansas insurance providers and business owners alike, enabling them to find you a number of quotes with only the best coverage options at the most affordable rates. Contact a Trusted Choice agent near you to find out how you can obtain the perfect business insurance package that meets your commercial needs and budget.