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Protecting small businesses in the Peach State
Small businesses have a big impact in Georgia, where the state's one million small businesses make up 99.6 percent of all businesses. That number is growing due to Georgia's commitment to helping small businesses. The Georgia Department of Economic Development offers numerous opportunities for growth and provides assistance with licensing, export, suppliers, certification, federal grants and more.
These growing small businesses employed 1.6 million people, or 43.2% of Georgia's private workforce, in 2015, when Georgia's small businesses created more than 73,000 new jobs. But with stringent workers compensation regulations and an increasingly litigious business environment—it’s essential for small business owners in Georgia to protect their investments through comprehensive small business insurance coverage.
Top covered industries in Georgia
Small businesses in Georgia's diverse set of industries can find coverage with Hiscox, which tailors each insurance plan to the specific needs and risks of each business. Some of the Georgia business owners who most frequently insure with Hiscox include those who work in the personal training, cleaning services, lawn care, business consulting and cosmetology industries.
Personal trainers in Georgia might specialize in helping clients get in shape, or they may train clients for competitions or help them recover after injuries. As personal trainers know well, a lot can go wrong when training clients, whether it's an injury sustained during a workout, physical damage from equipment, or chronic pain that starts after the session is over. The risks that come along with any fitness regimen may prompt litigious clients to file a claim against personal trainers, even when they have done nothing wrong.
Professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, covers claims against businesses that provide professional and personal services, such as personal trainers. This insurance offers protection even in cases in which the trainer hasn't made a mistake, such as if an older client happens to suffer chest pain and has to be rushed to the hospital after a session and subsequently claims that the trainer caused his heart attack and mental anguish. Not only will a Hiscox professional liability policy provide an attorney to defend against such claims, but it also covers the costs of any subsequent payments for medical care.
In addition, the physical nature of a personal trainer's business can use the protection of general liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage. This would protect the personal trainer's business in the case of slip-and-fall claims, which can be all too common in a hectic gym environment.
Janitorial and cleaning services
From factory floors to clients' kitchens, Georgia's janitorial and cleaning services keep Georgia's businesses and homes shipshape, but working on-site at homes and offices, handling delicate and expensive items, operating cleaning equipment owned by clients, and using harsh chemicals all bring a level of risk. And because even baseless liability claims can drain a business's assets, Hiscox specializes in providing tailored coverage to give cleaning professionals peace of mind and protection against potential litigious situations.
General liability insurance, which protects against a third party's claims of bodily injury or property damage, is the most common policy used by janitorial and cleaning services. This insurance could cover this scenario: A client trips over an employee's mop and breaks an ankle; even if the client's injuries aren’t the employee's fault, the janitorial business can still be held liable for the cost of the client's medical care. Another case might arise if an employee is cleaning an executive's office and accidentally and cracks an antique desk with a vacuum; the client may demand that the cleaning service pay for fixing the desk. 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.
Lawn care providers
In Georgia, a lawn care provider might operate heavy equipment around homes, use sharp tools near clients, and handle harsh chemicals—all activities that bring a heightened risk of bodily injury and property damage that can expose lawn care providers to potential liability, regardless of whether they serve commercial customers, residential homeowners, or both. For all of these reasons, Hiscox provides custom insurance that can fit the specific needs of each Georgia lawn care business.
General liability insurance is one of the most important types of insurance for a lawn care business to have. It protects against bodily injury, so if a client trips over a lawn care professional's tools and cuts open their hand, 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 damages the façade of the client's home, the policy will cover the costs associated with repairing the brick or siding. And because it protects against personal injury, the business will be covered if an employee is overheard talking about a client in a false and unflattering way and the client subsequently hears about the discussion and sues for slander.
With services that include offering managerial advice, maintaining confidential information, and recommending financial plans, the work of a business consultant in Georgia is particularly sensitive, so it can benefit from several different 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 business consultants, and it offers protection even in cases in which the business consultant hasn't made a mistake. For example, if a business consultant advises a client to update an internal process to increase productivity, but the client does not implement the recommendations exactly as specified and productivity subsequently drops instead of improving, the client decide may decide to sue. A defense attorney obtained by Hiscox would defend the business consultant against this baseless claim of negligence.
General liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage, provides additional peace of mind for consultants who spend a lot of time traveling to company headquarters, branch offices and clients' homes to discuss plans and strategies. If the consultant accidentally knocks over an expensive vase while visiting a client's office, general liability insurance will cover the costs of replacing the vase.
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 laptops, webcams, phones or printers that are stolen or damaged.
Beauticians and cosmetologists work directly with clients, in deeply personal ways, every single day. While this may be part of the beauty industry's appeal for cosmetologists, it also carries certain risks, including client claims of emotional distress, bodily injury, personal injury, treatments gone wrong and property damage. Even when these allegations don't have a factual basis, claims like these can be stressful and detrimental to a cosmetologist's business.
Professional liability insurance, which may also be called errors and omissions insurance, offers protection against claims that a business has been negligent in performing its services. In the cosmetology industry, a case like this might arise if a cosmetologist's assistant uses the wrong chemical treatment on a client who subsequently suffers an allergic reaction and has to take time off of work to seek medical treatment; the client might sue the cosmetologist for emotional distress and loss of wages.
Georgia cosmetologists can also benefit from general liability insurance, which protects in the case of lawsuits claiming property damage, slander or bodily injury, which can arise even in the case of accidents that are no one's fault. For example, a cosmetologist performing hair and makeup services for a bridal party in a client's home might have an equipment malfunction that starts a small fire. Even though the fire could not have been prevented, the client can still sue for property damage and emotional distress, but a general liability policy would cover the costs of the claims.
More professions we insure in Georgia
Georgia Small Business Insurance
Hiscox offers a range of business insurance coverage for small business owners in Georgia in need of the right insurance for their business, tailored to their needs. Hiscox small business insurance products available in Georgia 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 client slips on the steps up to their tax preparer’s office, breaking their ankle. The tax preparer is legally liable for the client's medical costs and time from lost work. General liability insurance could cover the claim up to the policy limits.
- Property damage and data loss: A marketing 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 consultant is overheard talking about an advertising firm’s client in an unflattering and incorrect way. The client learns of the discussion and sues the advertising firm for slander. A general liability policy could cover the subsequent claim, up to policy limits, and pay for an attorney to defend the firm if necessary.
Learn more about general liability insurance.
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:
- Dissatisfied client: A family counsellor is working with a wife, husband and teenage son. The couple is on the brink of divorce, and the son has been neglecting school and acting out. The problems worsen, and the family stops treatment. A few days later the son leaves home to move across the country to live with a distant relative, and the husband claims that situation was caused by the therapist. Professional liability insurance could protect you if such a claim is made.
- Negligence: A photographer is contracted to photograph a couple’s 50th anniversary. When uploading the photos to a computer the photographer’s memory card fails causing him to lose all of the pictures taken. The couple makes a claim against the photographer for failure to deliver the services agreed upon. A professional liability insurance policy could protect the photographer against claims of negligence, even if he didn’t make a mistake.
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:
- Office insurance for fire and business interruption
- Electronic data loss insurance
- Hired of non-owned vehicle liability insurance
- Commercial crime insurance to cover the dishonesty of employees
Learn more about business owners insurance.
Did you know?
Across the country, the federal government requires all employers with at least 15 employees to 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.
State protections are a little stronger in Georgia, which requires freedom from age discrimination from employers with at least 15 employees and prohibits gender-based wage discrimination at all businesses with more than 10 employees.
Like most states, Georgia 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 Georgia recognizes implied employment contracts. In other words, if oral promises, statements in an employee handbook or employer conduct create an impression of job security, a fired employee can sue for breach of contract.
Of course, careful business practices can mitigate the risk of wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuits. But a lawsuit can be costly even if there is no basis, so all small business owners can use the protection and peace of mind of a comprehensive insurance policy.
Georgia workers compensation laws
According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, any Georgia business with three or more employees—including regular full- and part-time workers—is required to carry workers compensation insurance.
However, there are exceptions. As many as five officers of an incorporated business may choose to waive coverage on themselves; however, officer exemptions do not reduce the number of employees counted in the "three or more employees" rule. On the other hand, sole proprietors and partners in an LLC are considered to be employers, not employees, so they have to opt in to workers compensation coverage.
In addition, contractors who subcontract any part of their work may wish to obtain workers compensation insurance, as they can be held liable for coverage for a subcontractor's employees if the subcontractor lacks coverage.
Georgia small businesses can obtain workers compensation from a commercial provider, such as Hiscox, or self-insure by becoming a member of the Georgia Self-Insurers Guaranty Trust Fund. This process includes a $500 application fee and an initial assessment fee of $8,000 with an annual assessment that can range from $2,000 to $8,000; members must also provide a security that will vary depending on the company's financial status and risk level but is a minimum of $250,000.
Employers who fail to obtain workers compensation coverage face a civil penalty of $100 to $1,000 per violation, and any employer who willfully neglects to maintain workers compensation coverage may face misdemeanor charges, which bring a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and/or a year's imprisonment.
How can Hiscox help your Georgia business?
At Hiscox, there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all insurance policy. Our expertise across a variety of industries helps ensure that each client's coverage—from liability insurance to a business owner's policy to workers compensation and beyond—meets their particular needs. We offer a range of benefits:
- Flexible payment options. Our monthly payment schedule, which comes with no added fees, can help you manage your cash flow.
- Tailored insurance. With Hiscox, you'll only pay for the coverage you need.
- Claims responsiveness. When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claims representative to assist you.
- Worldwide coverage. A Georgia 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.
- Claims responsiveness. When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will appoint an attorney if one is required.
Get a fast, free quote now and get the protection you need for your Georgia 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.
Hiscox Customer Reviews
Steven Bryan, Evans Georgia
"Great company and customer service"
It was awesome customer service and support was great and I got the coverage I needed. After talking to several other companies I finally found in a small professional fitness magazine. I had never heard of Hiscox before then and I have been in the industry over 25 years. Thanks for all the help.
Rebecca, Atlanta, Georgia
"Great Customer Service I felt like my Agent really Cared about my needs."
Fast, Easy, Friendly, & Knowledgeable
"Outstanding customer relations."
The agent was eager (but not too much) to serve by providing information and making suggestions. Answered questions; clarified the various sections. Responded immediately the next day. Very respectful. Gave reasons for including or excluding versions sections
Lewis, Atlanta Georgia
"My service feedback with Hiscox"
Very good policy was received in a very timely manner.
I have never had a problem with this company. They are just awesome!
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.
Administered by Hiscox Inc., a Delaware corporation that is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C. 520 Madison Avenue, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10022.