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Protecting Small Business Owners in the Constitution State
Nearly half of all workers in Connecticut's private sector are employed by small businesses, which make up 99.4% of all businesses in the Constitution state. These more than 342,000 small businesses employ more than 735,000 people, and that number is growing steadily every year. In 2015, small businesses created 7,344 net jobs.
Small businesses are especially lucrative in Connecticut. The median income of a self-employed individual in an incorporated business in Connecticut is $61,776—the second-highest in the nation, behind only the District of Columbia—and the median income of a self-employed individual in an unincorporated business is $30,812, the fifth-highest in the nation. With this kind of income on the line, it’s particularly important for small business owners to protect themselves with a comprehensive small business insurance policy.
Top industries Hiscox covers in Connecticut
Thanks to an in-depth knowledge of many different industries, Hiscox is able to provide custom-tailored insurance policies to small businesses in a wide range of fields in Connecticut. Some of the most common small businesses owners in Connecticut who are insured through Hiscox include lawn care providers, carpenters, barbers and hair stylists, photographers and handypersons.
Lawn care service providers
Whether they serve residential homeowners, commercial clients or both, a lawn care provider in Connecticut might use sharp tools near clients, operate heavy equipment on private property, and handle harsh chemicals—all activities that bring a heightened risk of bodily injury and property damage that can expose lawn care businesses to potential liability. For all of these reasons, Hiscox provides custom insurance that can fit the specific needs of each Connecticut lawn care business.
Most lawn care businesses will choose the protection of general liability insurance, which offers several essential benefits. It protects against bodily injury, so if a client trips over a garden hose and twists an ankle, the policy will cover the costs of the client's medical care. It also protects against property damage, so if an employee is working on a client's lawn and accidentally cracks a window, the policy will cover the costs associated with repairing or replacing the glass. And because it protects against personal injury, the business will be covered if an employee is on a break and is overheard on a phone call talking about a client in a false and unflattering way—and that client subsequently hears about the conversation and sues for slander.
Whether they build kitchen cabinetry or custom furniture, carpenters in Connecticut 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 costs incurred if, for example, the carpenter, while hanging cabinets for a kitchen remodel, drills into the wall and hits an electric wire, causing a small fire. 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.
Barbers and hair stylists
As part of the beauty industry, barbers and hair stylists interact directly with clients in a very personal way every single day. While this may be the very reason a hair stylist chose to enter the beauty business, it also carries certain risks, including client claims of emotional distress, bodily injury, personal injury, treatments gone wrong, and property damage. Even when these claims do not have a factual basis, they can drain a hairstylist's time and assets and be an unnecessary source of stress.
Professional liability insurance, which may also be called errors and omissions insurance, protects in the case of lawsuits claiming that a business has negligently performed its services. For a hairstylist, a case like this might arise if a hairdresser leaves a color treatment on a client's hair for too long and the client suffers scalp burns and hair damage; the client may decide to sue for emotional distress and bodily injury. Professional liability insurance would cover the costs of a resulting claim and appoint an attorney to defend the hairdresser if necessary.
Connecticut hair stylists can also benefit from general liability insurance, which protects in the case of lawsuits claiming property damage, slander, and bodily injury, which may occur even in the case of accidents in which no individual is at fault. For example, if a client brings their laptop to the salon and an employee accidentally trips over it and breaks it, a general liability policy could cover the subsequent claim.
Whether they shoot for weddings or for corporate clients, photographers have to liaise with clients, navigate challenging environments, and get the perfect shot—all while managing their valuable equipment. Altogether, all the excitement that comes with a photographer's job can come at a heightened risk.
Photographers can find peace of mind by securing reliable professional liability insurance coverage, also called errors and omissions insurance, which covers claims against businesses that provide professional services. These claims might arise, for example, if a difficult client claims to be dissatisfied with a photographer's work or if a damaged hard drive prevents a photographer from delivering all of the photographs they promised.
General liability insurance, which protects against a third party's claims of bodily injury or property damage, provides another layer of protection. A photographer might face claims like these if a client trips over their camera bag, falls, twists an ankle, and sues to cover associated medical costs or if the photographer's assistant is heard gossiping about a client, who subsequently files a slander or defamation lawsuit.
In addition, a business owner's policy, a combination of general liability insurance and business property insurance, is an excellent way to protect the investment photographers have in their professional equipment. For example, if a photographer's camera bag falls off of a table and onto a concrete floor, damaging a lens and a portable hard drive, a Hiscox business owner's policy could provide coverage for the damaged equipment and help cover the data recovery cost.
A handyperson in Connecticut will serve a wide variety of clients in a range of settings, from prestigious corporate offices to neighborhood shops to private homes. Dealing with others' personal property every day brings a heightened liability risk that you can protect against with custom, comprehensive small business insurance, and an insurance policy inspires confidence in clients when they're deciding which handyperson or company to hire for a home or business repair or improvement project.
Most handypersons choose the protection of general liability insurance, which offers several essential benefits. Because it protects against bodily injury, the handyperson's business will be protected if, for example, a client trips over the handyperson's ladder, falls, and sprains a wrist; the policy will cover the costs of the client's medical care. Because it protects against property damage, it will cover the costs of, for example, refinishing a hardwood floor that an employee scratched while on the job. And because it protects against personal damage, the business will be protected if, for example, an employee on his coffee break 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.
More professions we insure in Connecticut
Connecticut Small Business Insurance
Hiscox can help you if you have a small business in Connecticut. Our Connecticut business insurance coverage includes professional liability insurance, general liability insurance, and business owner insurance. 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: A prospective client comes to a job site to see the work a finish carpenter is doing. While there, the client trips over one of the carpenters tools and is injured. The carpenter’s general liability insurance policy could cover the costs associated with the injuries sustained by the client.
- Property damage/data loss: An IT consultant is installing a new network at a client’s office. While transferring the data from the old server to the new one, several important files are corrupted. The client sues the consultant for the financial implications of the lost data. A general liability policy could cover these costs, protecting the IT consultant.
- Personal injury: At a travel convention, two travel agents were overheard making disparaging remarks about an executive at a nearby convention center. The conversation was overheard and got back to the executive. He sued the travel agents. General liability insurance protects travel agents against third-party claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs and property damage.
Learn more about 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:
- Protection even if you haven’t made a mistake: A long-time client of a therapist confesses that they have developed romantic feelings toward the therapist. The therapist tells the client that it’s no longer appropriate to continue to treat the client and recommends a new therapist. The client is hurt, and files a claim of sexual impropriety against the therapist. Even though the therapist did nothing wrong, their professional liability policy could protect them, including the costs to defend against the allegations.
- Negligence: A programmer creates a new website for an ecommerce customer. On the day the website goes live, a bug causes it to crash, and it is down for three days before the problem can be fixed. The client sued the programmer for the lost income during the three days the site is down. A professional liability policy could cover these costs and protect the programmer.
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:
- A graphic designer’s home office is damaged by fire. The damage to a high end computer caused the fire out is not covered by their homeowner’s insurance, but it is covered by their business owner’s policy, which replaces the computer and lets the designer get back to business.
- The office above a credit counseling agency is flooded by a burst pipe and the water leaks into the office below, damaging several desks, chairs, and computers. The insurance agency’s business owner’s policy could cover the cost to replace the damaged furniture and equipment.
Learn more about business owners insurance.
Key Connecticut laws and conditions driving increased business liability rates
Nationwide, employers with at least 15 employees must guarantee freedom from 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.
Connecticut's labor laws go even farther to protect employees from discrimination. Employers with three or more employees are required to guarantee freedom from discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, pregnancy (including breastfeeding and related medical conditions), disability (including physical, mental, intellectual, and learning), genetic information, age, gender (including transgender status and gender identity and expression), sexual orientation, and marital or civil union status.
Like most states, Connecticut 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. In Connecticut, an employment contract may be written, oral or even implied—the idea that an employer has acted in a way that created an impression of job security.
And employment laws in Connecticut are continually evolving. In 2019, the state began considering laws that would raise the minimum wage, limit non-compete agreements, restrict employers from being able to speak on certain political or religious matters, require time off on election days, require sexual harassment training, and more. While these regulations are in place to protect Connecticut's workers, they also open the door for potential lawsuits, so it's essential for small businesses in Connecticut to safeguard against potential litigation risks through small business insurance coverage.
Connecticut workers compensation laws
Connecticut's workers compensation requirements also go above and beyond those in other states. While many states only require employers with a certain number of employees or with a certain baseline payroll to carry workers compensation insurance, the National Federation of Independent Businesses reports that all Connecticut businesses with one or more employees—including full-time, part-time and contract employees—must carry workers compensation insurance.
There are a few exceptions: Corporate officers and members of LLCs are automatically included in workers compensation insurance but may choose to opt out; sole proprietors and single-member LLCs may purchase workers compensation insurance but are not required to; and partnerships do not have to cover themselves but must provide coverage for employees. In addition, employers or workers who work in or around a private home for 26 hours or less per week are also exempt.
Businesses may purchase workers compensation insurance from a commercial provider like Hiscox, or approved businesses may self-insure. Businesses that are found to have failed to obtain workers compensation insurance coverage will be issued a stop work order, which prevents a business from operating until it provides proof that it has corrected the issue. In addition, the state Workers Compensation Commission issues a fine of $300 per fine, per worker, per day that a business is found to be in violation—an amount that can quickly add up.
How can Hiscox help your Connecticut business?
At Hiscox, you'll never be stuck with a generic insurance policy. Instead, we ensure that each client's coverage—whether it's liability insurance, a business owner's policy, workers compensation, or beyond—meets the specific needs of each individual business. We also offer a range of benefits:
- Flexible payment options. Our no-fee monthly payment schedule can help manage a small business's cash flow.
- Tailored insurance. With Hiscox, you'll never be stuck with a one-size-fits-all insurance policy.
- Claims responsiveness. When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claim specialist to assist you.
- Worldwide coverage. A Connecticut 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, and Canada.
Get a fast, free quote now, and get the coverage you need to protect your business. If you have questions, you can call us an 1-866-283-7545 and speak with a Hiscox licensed agent, Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET.
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All of our insurance products have been fully approved by the Connecticut Insurance Department 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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