Protecting Small Businesses in the Centennial State
Small businesses have a big impact in Colorado, where more than 611,000 small businesses make up 99.5% of all businesses. All together, these businesses employ 1.1 million people, or 48.6% of all employees in the private workforce, and this number is growing every year. In 2015, Colorado's small businesses created 30,730 net jobs. Nearly 6,000 new small businesses opened in Colorado in 2016, placing Colorado among the top 10 states for new establishments.
All this growth is due, in part, to the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network, a state-supported resource that helps existing and new businesses grow and thrive in the state. But every business faces risks, so it's essential for Colorado businesses to consider protecting themselves through a comprehensive small business insurance policy.
Top covered industries in Colorado
Thanks to Hiscox's in-depth knowledge of many different fields, small businesses from a wide range of industries can find small business insurance coverage with Hiscox. Some of Hiscox's most commonly insured small business owners in Colorado include those in the accounting, janitorial and cleaning, business consulting, carpentry, and insurance industries.
Whether they specialize in business accounting or have private clients, accountants in Colorado handle sensitive financial data every day—and they can have a huge impact on their clients' financial wellbeing. Fortunately, mitigating the litigation risk associated with an accountant's work can be as simple as securing a comprehensive insurance policy.
Most accountants will choose the protection of professional liability insurance, which is also known as errors and omissions insurance. This policy would protect an accountant even in cases in which they haven't made a mistake, such as if they make a recommendation to improve a business's finances, but the client ignores that recommendation, suffers a business loss, and blames the accountant for not making the recommendation clearer.
General liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage, would protect an accountant if, for example, a client slips and falls in the accountant's office. And a business owner's policy, which combines general liability insurance and business property insurance, would cover damage to the accountant's property, such as if the accountant's office is damaged in a fire.
Janitorial and cleaning services
From janitorial businesses that focus on commercial buildings to cleaning services that specialize in residential homes, Colorado's cleaning professionals face specific risks every day. They work on-site at customers' offices and homes, handle delicate and expensive items, use harsh chemicals, and operate cleaning equipment owned by clients. Even baseless liability claims can strain a business's assets, so Hiscox specializes in providing tailored coverage that protects cleaning professionals from potentially litigious situations.
Most cleaning professionals choose the protection of general liability insurance, which protects against a third party's claims of bodily injury or property damage. Protection against bodily injury might be needed, for example, if a client slips on a freshly mopped floor, falls, and suffers an injury; even if the incident doesn't seem to be the employee's fault, the cleaning business can still be held liable for the cost of the client's medical care. In another scenario, an employee of the cleaning service might knock over an expensive antique while dusting a shelf, and the customer may demand that the cleaning service pay for the cost of repairing or replacing the item. General liability insurance also protects against claims of personal injury, such as if an employee is overheard gossiping about a client, who subsequently sues the business for slander.
With services that might include maintaining confidential information while offering managerial advice and recommending financial plans and investment strategies, the job of a business consultant in Colorado is a sensitive one, so it can benefit from a range of small business insurance policies.
Professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, covers claims against businesses that provide professional and personal services, such as a business consultant. It offers protection even in cases in which the business consultant hasn't made a mistake, such as if a business consultant advises a client to change an internal process to increase productivity, but the client does not implement the recommendations exactly as specified. When productivity subsequently drops instead of improving, the client sues the consultant in an attempt to recoup the financial loss. A Hiscox-obtained claims specialist will deal with this baseless claim of negligence.
General liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage, is also helpful for a business consultant who might frequently travel to client companies' headquarters, branch offices, or clients' homes to discuss plans and strategies. If the consultant accidentally knocks over an expensive vase while visiting a client's office or if a client visiting the consultant's office trips, falls, and sustains an injury, a general liability insurance policy will cover the costs of medical care or property repair.
Business consultants can also benefit from a business owner's policy, which combines general liability insurance and business property insurance. It can cover damage to property or equipment, such as if laptops, webcams, phones, or printers are stolen or damaged.
Whether they build custom furniture or kitchen cabinetry, carpenters in Colorado face unique risks, no matter how cautious or experienced they are. Working on-site at clients' homes and businesses, dealing with others' personal property, and using hazardous professional equipment all bring a heightened liability risk that can benefit from custom, comprehensive small business insurance, and an insurance policy inspires confidence in clients as they decide which carpentry business to hire for a project.
General liability insurance is one of the most important types of coverage for a carpentry business to have. Because it protects against bodily injury, the carpenter's business will be protected if, for example, a client trips over the cord of the carpenter's electric drill and falls, breaking their wrist; the policy will cover the client's medical costs and protect the carpenter in the case of legal action. Because it protects against claims of property damage, it will cover the costs incurred if, for example, the carpenter damages a home's hardwood floors while installing custom shelving. And because it protects against personal damage, the business will be protected if, for example, one of the carpenter's employees is overheard gossiping about a client in a false and unflattering way, and the client subsequently hears about the discussion and sues for slander. In those cases, the policy will cover the resulting claim and pay for a defense attorney when necessary.
Hiscox knows the insurance business inside and out, so an insurance agent can put their trust in Hiscox to find the small business insurance policies that can protect insurance professionals against the risks associated with being a small business owner in Colorado.
Typically, an insurance agent in Colorado will want the protection of professional liability insurance, or errors and omissions insurance. Professional liability insurance would protect an insurance agent if, for example, a client instructs the agent to purchase a policy and gives the agent a check for the premium, but the agent's assistant forgets to purchase the policy. If the uninsured client is later involved in an accident, they may demand that the insurance agent pay for the loss.
In addition, general liability insurance can protect an insurance agent against a third party's claims of damage to property, bodily injury, associated medical costs, such as a claim from a client who slipped and fell in the insurance agent's office. Insurance agents can also benefit from a business owner's policy—a combination of general liability and business property insurance—which can protect your business equipment against damage from fires, burst pipes, and more, making it easier to recover from accidents and natural disasters.
More professions we insure in Colorado
Colorado Small Business Insurance
Hiscox can help you if you have a professional services business in Colorado. We currently offer a range of small business insurance coverage, including professional liability insurance, general liability insurance and more. We offer Colorado small business insurance across the state. Hiscox small business insurance products include:
General liability insurance, known as Commercial General Liability (CGL), protects your business from another person or business’s claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to property. Some examples of what could be covered are below:
- Bodily injury: An interior designer invites a prospective client to their home office to review color and fabric samples. The client trips on the steps and breaks their arm. The designer has a general liability insurance policy which could cover the costs of the client’s injuries.
- Property damage: An IT consultant is performing maintenance on a client’s server. The temporary assistant he hired to help with the project spills a cup of coffee on the server, damaging it beyond repair. The consultant’s general liability insurance policy could cover the cost to replace the server.
- Defamation and slander: A marketing consultant posts on social media on behalf of a client. The post includes what is supposed to be a lighthearted reference to a competitor, but there is a typo in the post that changes the meaning. The resulting post is quite derogatory, and the competitor sues. The consultant’s client sues them, but they could be protected with a general liability insurance policy.
Learn more about how much general liability insurance costs.
Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance), covers another person’s claims against businesses that provide professional and personal services. Some examples of what could be covered include:
- Negligence: A personal trainer suggests a new exercise to a client. The client fails to disclose to the trainer that he had back surgery recently and the new exercise causes back pain. The client sues the trainer. A professional liability insurance policy could protect the trainer, even if they didn’t make a mistake.
- Copyright Infringement: A graphic designer creates a logo for a client in the technology space. Several months after the client begins to use the logo, they receive a cease and desist order from a large corporation in another industry, stating that the logo infringes on their copyright. The client sues the designer to recover the costs to redesign the logo and reprint their marketing materials. The designer is protected by a professional liability policy, which could cover their costs.
Learn more about professional liability insurance.
Business owners policy (BOP) is a combination of general liability and business property insurance. BOP is often used to provide balanced coverage for small businesses who also want to protect their own business equipment. Some examples of what could be covered are below:
- An IT consultant’s server is damaged when there is a power surge, and it cannot be repaired. The cost to replace the server could be covered by the consultant’s Business Owner’s Policy.
- There is a gas leak in the strip mall where a retail store is located, forcing the store to shut down for a week. A business owner’s policy that includes business interruption coverage could protect the retailer from the costs associated with the loss of business.
Learn more about business owners insurance.
Key Colorado laws and conditions driving increased business liability rates
In every U.S. state, all employers with at least 15 employees must guarantee freedom from employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, and disability. Employers with at least 20 employees must guarantee freedom from age discrimination, and employers with at least four employees must guarantee freedom from discrimination based on citizenship status.
Colorado goes above and beyond this baseline level of protection, requiring employers with even just one employee to guarantee freedom from employment discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, sex, pregnancy, religion, disability (including physical, mental, or learning), age, sexual orientation, and transgender status. In addition, employers with at least 25 employees may not discriminate against couples who are married, plan to marry, or are in a civil union with one another.
Like most states, Colorado is an "at-will" employment state, meaning that employment can be terminated at any time for any reason. But fired employees can still sue for breach of contract if their employment contract promises job security, and Colorado recognizes implied employment contracts based on oral promises, statements in an employee handbook, or employer conduct that creates an impression of job security.
These regulations all work together to protect Colorado's workforce, but they also allow for potential lawsuits alleging wrongful termination, discriminatory hiring, or retaliation—when a worker claims that an employer has disciplined them, fired them, or unfairly passed them over for a promotion because of their involvement in a discrimination complaint. While most business owners will do their best to mitigate risks like these through careful management practices, all small business owners can obtain the additional peace of mind through a comprehensive insurance policy.
Colorado workers compensation laws
According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, all employers in Colorado are required to carry workers compensation insurance for employees, both full- and part-time. Exemptions are allowed for casual maintenance or repair work performed for a business for under $2,000 per calendar year; for certain domestic, maintenance, or repair work performed for a private homeowner for less than full time (40 hours or 5 days a week); and for licensed real estate agents and brokers who work on commission. Certain independent contractors and drivers are also exempt.
Businesses may purchase a workers compensation insurance policy through a provider like Hiscox, or they may obtain a permit to self-insure through the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation. However, self-insurance is only permitted for employers who regularly employ 300 or more employees in Colorado or who are a division or subsidiary of a parent company that has a minimum of $100,000,000 in assets.
Penalties for failing to obtain workers compensation insurance can be severe and include penalties of up to $250 per day for the first violation and from $250–500 per day for any subsequent violations. Businesses found to be in violation may also be issued a stop work order, and an employer who fails to maintain workers compensation insurance can be sued in court for negligence by an injured worker.
How Hiscox can help your Colorado business?
At Hiscox, you'll never be stuck with a one-size-fits-all insurance policy. We work with each individual client to ensure that their coverage—whether it's liability insurance, a business owner's policy, workers compensation, and more—meets their specific business's and industry's needs. We also offer a range of benefits:
- Flexible payment options: We offer you the option of making monthly payments (with no additional fees) to help you manage your cash flow.
- Tailored insurance: We specialize in businesses like yours and tailor coverage to the risks in your field.
- Claims responsiveness: When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claims representative to assist you.
- Worldwide coverage: A business insured through Hiscox is covered for work done anywhere in the world, as long as the claim is filed in the U.S., a U.S. Territory or Canada.
Get a fast, free quote now, and get the protection you need for your Colorado business. If you have questions, you can call us at 1-866-283-7545 and speak with a Hiscox licensed agent, Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET.
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Our products have been approved by the Colorado Division of Insurance and are underwritten by Hiscox Insurance Company Inc., a Chicago, Illinois, insurance company.
This information is provided to assist you in understanding the coverage we offer and does not modify the terms and conditions of any insurance policy, nor does it imply that any claim is covered. Coverage is subject to underwriting and may not be available in all states.
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