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Small business insurance in the Sunshine State
Florida boasts some impressive small business statistics, currently housing 2.5 million small businesses that employ 3.3 million people across an enormously eclectic range of industries. To put that into context, small businesses make up 99.8% of businesses in the state and employ 42.2% of its available employees — a testament to both small businesses’ integral role in any community and to Florida’s business-friendly legislature. However, despite the success of many small businesses in the state, if you’re thinking of starting or growing your small business in Florida, there are still certain areas of increased liability of which you need to be aware to proactively protect your business.
Key Florida laws and conditions driving increased business liability rates
Florida prides itself on being business-friendly, boasting no state income tax and relaxed regulations favoring common business practices. For example, Commercial Liability Insurance is not required for small business owners in Florida like it is in other states. Even though regulations in the state are relaxed, Florida is known to be especially litigious, and courts tend to reward large sums of money to plaintiffs. As a result, many small businesses in Florida purchase multiple forms of insurance, even though it is not a legal requirement.
Florida Workers Compensation Laws
The state of Florida requires employers with four or more employees, full-time or part-time, to provide workers compensation insurance to their employees. According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB):
- Construction businesses with one or more employees and non-construction industry employers with four or more employees (full-time or part-time, including corporate officers and LLC members) must carry coverage.
- Agricultural businesses with six or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal employees who work for more than 30 days must carry coverage.
- Sub-contractors are responsible for providing coverage for their workers, but primary contractors are responsible for ensuring that the sub-contractor is covered.
- Out-of-state employers must immediately notify their carrier that they have employees working in Florida, carry a Florida workers compensation policy, or include Florida in the out-of-state policy.
According to the same source, corporate officers and members of an LLC are considered corporate officers or employees, but they can exempt themselves from insurance coverage. Sole owners and partners of companies that are not in construction are not considered employees unless they want to be. Approved businesses can self-insure themselves.
Top Industries in Florida
Hiscox covers businesses in all of Florida’s most prominent industries and has policies that are tailored to the specific needs of each of those industries. Some of our most popular coverage products in Florida are those that are tailored to businesses providing massage therapy, contracting, landscaping, life coaching, and real estate services.
Hiscox covers all types of massage therapists, including acupressurists, acupuncturists, and spa owners. If a client decides to file a claim because he or she suffered an injury during a massage session or develops chronic pain as a result of a massage therapist’s mistake, Hiscox’s professional liability and general liability insurance options can protect them and their small business.
Professional liability insurance can support a business in the unfortunate event that the therapist, trainer, or instructor has made a mistake — even if it wasn’t their fault. This could include a pain or an injury suffered by a client during a muscle-stretching exercise or deep tissue massage that was not recognized at the time by either party. Professional liability insurance also protects against the loss of personal information, such as digital storage of customer information, medical history, or financial information.
If your practice employs more than four employees in Florida, then the business is required to obtain workers compensation coverage.
Home service contractors
Home service businesses with one or more employees in Florida are required by law to obtain workers compensation coverage. It is important to find out if your business falls within the state’s definition of a construction company, unless you are the sole proprietor of the business.
Home service contractors in Florida obtain general liability insurance tailored for artisan contractors/subcontractors, HVAC contractors, landscapers, miscellaneous contractors, painters and plumbers. General liability insurance covers these practitioners against bodily injury, personal injury, and property loss. This type of coverage could also help cover medical costs in the event that a client trips over a tool or ladder and injures themself.
It is important to remember that general contractors who employ four or more employees are required to obtain workers compensation coverage.
Lawn care professionals
While landscapers can turn a boring lawn into a beautiful gardenscape complete with stone walkways, fountains and more, it is rigorous work. These businesses often work with multiple employees who pull weeds, plant flora, install fountains and stone walkways, and help with a variety of hauling and digging tasks, which is why it is critical for these professionals to obtain proper insurance to protect them from bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury costs. As such, it is important to remember that landscapers with four or more employees are required to obtain workers compensation coverage in the state of Florida.
If a customer falls due to a hazardous landscaping site in progress, general liability insurance from Hiscox could help cover the medical bills incurred by the customer. If a ladder or tool goes through a customer’s window and causes property damage, this insurance could also cover its replacement.
A life coach — much like mentor — provides advice to enhance the lives of their customers. If a client is not satisfied with a service, or advice is taken the wrong way and results in a financial loss, professional liability insurance could support the business if the grieved customer files a claim.
While conducting seminars and presentations for prospective customers, life coaches often use a team to help set up projectors, computers, white boards, marketing collateral, and other items. In this case, a life coach in Florida should obtain general liability and professional liability insurance, as well as workers compensation for teams of four or more. These types of insurance would help cover the costs of claims filed in the event of customer dissatisfaction, loss of digital and physical materials needed to set up a seminar or presentation, and injuries suffered by potential clients visiting an office or meeting space owned by a life coach and their small business.
Real estate agents
As realtors frequently travel to showcase homes to potential buyers, they often obtain commercial vehicle insurance. In addition, real estate insurance, from Hiscox, can be used to help protect valuable physical materials such as signs, brochures, business cards, billboards, media storage, and other marketing and advertising collateral that Realtors use to showcase homes to potential buyers.
Realtors in Florida may also seek both general and professional liability insurance if they find themselves cleaning and organizing a space before the arrival of potential homebuyers. While professional liability insurance protects realtors from claims, such as buyer’s remorse or wrongful (housing) discrimination, general liability helps cover costs that are incurred if a client slips in the realtor’s office, or property damage occurs during an open house.
Real Estate Businesses in Florida, like yours, who use four or more employees are also required by the state to obtain workers compensation coverage.
More professions we insure in Florida
Florida Small Business Insurance
For a small business in Florida, or anywhere else in the world to succeed today, it has to be nimble and adjust to the changing times. We think the way you buy small business insurance should be held to the same standards. That is why we are the first US insurer to offer small business insurance direct and online. At Hiscox, we do not believe in offering one-size-fits-all insurance policies. We customize small business insurance policies to your needs. Hiscox small business insurance products offered in Florida include:
General Liability Insurance for Florida
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: It is raining outside and a client hastily enters a spa and slips on the floor, which does not have a wet floor sign. The client sustains injuries and makes a claim against the spa owner. A general liability insurance policy could cover the client’s medical costs, including any lost wages, that result from the injury.
- Property damage/data loss: A consultant is working in a new client’s office when they accidentally spill coffee on the server. The machine is damaged beyond repair and valuable data is lost. The consultant’s general liability insurance could cover the cost to replace the server.
- Personal injury: A tax preparer is overheard talking about a client in a false and unflattering way. The client finds out about the conversation and sues for slander. The tax preparer’s general liability policy could cover the defense costs as well as any settlement or judgment.
Learn more about general liability insurance.
Professional Liability Insurance for Florida
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 personal trainer creates a workout plan for a new client. After a few weeks of following the workout plan, the client begins to experience some pain related to an injury sustained years before. The client failed to mention the injury but sues the personal trainer anyway for negligence. A professional liability insurance policy could protect them, including defense costs.
- Negligent acts: A photographer is hired to take photos for a 25 year anniversary, but forgets to take pictures of key family members. The client may make a claim against the photographer regarding failure to fully deliver the services agreed upon. Professional liability coverage could cover the claim and pay for an attorney to defend the photographer if necessary.
Learn more about professional liability insurance.
How can Hiscox help your Florida business?
One-size-fits-all insurance policies are a thing of the past! At Hiscox, we work to build deep understandings of the risks in each of the industries we serve in order to provide YOU solutions that are tailored to fit the unique needs of your business.
In addition, we offer a range of benefits designed to let you take the next step with your business while we worry about the risks:
- Flexible payment options: Managing your cash flow can be tough. Take advantage of our monthly payment option (with no fees) to help you take control of your future.
- Tailored insurance. We offer you the ability to custom build your own insurance plan to meet the needs of your business and save you money.
- Claims responsiveness. When a covered claim is reported, we will immediately defend you, even if the claim has no basis, and, if necessary, appoint an attorney.
- Worldwide coverage. Does your business provide services all over the globe? Hiscox has you covered so long as the claim is filed in the US, a US Territory, or Canada.
Get a fast, free quote now and get that Hiscox confidence behind your Florida business. If you prefer, 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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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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