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Protecting small businesses in the Old Line State
Maryland has more than 581,000 small businesses that make up 99.5% of all businesses in the state. These businesses employ 1.1 million employees—or just over half of the state's private workforce—and with more than 21,000 net jobs created in 2015, that number is growing every year.
Maryland also boasts a high percentage of minority-owned small businesses—more than 200,000, or over a third of all small businesses in the state—and owners of incorporated businesses enjoy a median income of $53,626, the eighth-highest earning state in the nation. But with strict workers compensation regulations and costly fines for failure to comply, it's essential for small business owners in Maryland to safeguard their investments with a comprehensive small business insurance plan.
Top covered industries in Maryland
Maryland's small businesses are found in a wide range of industries, and Hiscox has the in-depth knowledge needed to tailor small business insurance policies for businesses in many different fields. Some of the Maryland business owners who most frequently insure with Hiscox include those who work in the insurance, cleaning, photography, personal training and business consulting industries.
Hiscox knows the insurance business inside and out. An insurance agent can feel confident with Hiscox's small business insurance coverage. Just as an insurance agent makes sure that their clients are protected against risk, Hiscox makes sure that insurance professionals are protected against risks associated with being a small business owner in Maryland.
Typically, insurance agents obtain the protection of professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, which protects businesses that provide professional services against claims of professional negligence. This policy 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, the agent's assistant forgets to purchase the policy, and the uninsured client is later involved in an accident and demands that the insurance agent pay for the loss of the vehicle or medical care.
In addition, general liability insurance can protect an insurance agent against a third party's claims of damage to property, bodily injury and associated medical costs, such as a claim from a client who slips and falls 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 business equipment and property against damage from fires, storms, burst pipes and more.
Janitorial and cleaning services
Whether they specialize in residential or commercial buildings, Maryland's janitorial and cleaning services face specific risks every day. They handle delicate and expensive items, they use harsh chemicals, they work on site at customers' offices and homes, and they operate cleaning equipment owned by clients. Even baseless liability claims can strain a business's time and assets. Hiscox specializes in providing tailored business insurance coverage that protects cleaning professionals from potentially litigious situations.
Janitorial and cleaning services will typically want 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 if, for example, a client trips over a cleaner's supplies and sprains an ankle; even if the client's injuries don'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 be cleaning a client's home without realizing that their bleach bottle cap wasn’t secured tightly. Bleach subsequently leaked on the client’s new carpet, leaving obvious stains. In this case, general liability would pay to have the carpet repaired or replaced. 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.
Whether they take photos for weddings, corporate clients or the news, photographers in Maryland operate at a level of risk every day. They have to liaise with clients, navigate challenging environments, and get the perfect image—all while managing their valuable equipment.
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 photographer is unable to get every shot that the client requested or if a faulty memory card prevents the photographer from delivering the promised photographs.
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 a camera bag and sues to cover associated medical costs or if the photographer's assistant is heard gossiping about a high-profile client, who subsequently files a libel or defamation lawsuit.
In addition, a business owner's policy, a combination of general liability insurance and business property insurance, can help protect the investment that photographers make into their professional equipment. For example, if a photographer's portable hard drive sustains water damage at an event, a Hiscox business owner's policy could provide coverage for the damaged equipment and help cover the cost of data recovery.
Whether they train clients for competitions, help them recover after injuries, or simply help them get in shape, personal trainers in Maryland know that there are risks that come along with any fitness regimen, from injuries sustained during workouts to physical damage from equipment or chronic pain that starts after a session is over. While these risks are inherent to any type of physical training, they may prompt a litigious client to file a claim against their personal trainer.
Professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, protects businesses that provide professional services against claims of professional neglect. This insurance offers protection even in cases where the personal trainer hasn't made a mistake, such as if an older client happens to suffer chest pain, has to be rushed to the hospital after a session with a personal trainer, and subsequently files a claim alleging that the personal trainer caused his heart attack and mental anguish. Not only will a Hiscox professional liability policy provide an attorney to defend against such claims, if necessary, but it will also cover the costs of any subsequent payments for medical care.
In addition, the physical nature of a personal trainer's business can benefit from the protection of general liability insurance, which covers claims of bodily injury or property damage. This would protect the personal trainer's business if, for example, a client brings their laptop to the gym, and it is damaged by an errant free weight.
With services that might include maintaining confidential information, offering managerial advice, and recommending operational strategies, the job of a business consultant in Maryland is a sensitive one, so it can benefit from comprehensive small business insurance coverage.
Professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, can cover claims against businesses that provide professional services, 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 make some changes to increase productivity, the client does not implement the recommendations exactly as specified, and productivity subsequently drops instead of improving, the client may decide to sue. But a Hiscox-obtained defense attorney would defend the business consultant against this baseless claim of negligence.
General liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage, is also helpful for business consultants. If the consultant accidentally knocks over an antique figurine while visiting a client's office or if a client slips and falls while visiting the consultant's office, general liability insurance will cover the costs of property repair or medical care.
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 by a fire or burst pipe.
More professions we insure in Maryland
Maryland Small Business Insurance
If you have a professional services business in Maryland, you’ve come to the right place. We currently offer a range of small business insurance coverage, which includes professional liability insurance and general liability 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: At a trade show, a booth designed by a marketing consultant falls down, injuring one of the client's sales reps who is in the booth at the time. The consultant's general liability policy could cover the costs associated with the sales rep's injuries.
- Personal injury: A temporary paralegal hired by a divorce attorney is eating lunch at a local restaurant with a friend. They are having a conversation about one of the attorney's clients who is in the midst of a messy divorce. The conversation is overheard by the client's ex-wife, who uses the information she hears to extract a larger settlement in the divorce. The client sues the attorney for slander, but a professional liability policy could protect them.
- Defamation and slander: An educational consultant was hired to help a family obtain special education services for their child. The director of special education at the school the child attends was difficult to work with. At a local conference, the consultant was overheard making disparaging comments about the director, and word got back to them. The director sued the consultant for slander and defamation. General liability insurance protects education consultants against third-party claims of defamation/slander, property damage, bodily injury and associated medical costs.
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:
- Negligence: The client of a home healthcare aide is hospitalized with an infection, which the client's family says was caused by wound dressings that were not changed frequently enough. The family sues the aide. The costs could be covered by the aide's professional liability insurance policy.
- Protection even if you haven't made a mistake: A property manager is sued by a tenant who claims they were illegally evicted from their apartment. Even if the manager didn't make a mistake, they could be covered by a professional liability policy for defense costs, as well as any settlement or judgment.
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 recruiter leaves his work computer in his car while driving to a company offsite meeting, where it gets broken into. A business owner’s policy could cover the cost to replace the computer and get the recruiter back up and running.
- There is a fire in the strip mall where a retail store is located, forcing the store to shut down for a week due to smoke damage. 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 Maryland laws and conditions driving increased business liability rates
Across the United States, the federal government guarantees a baseline level of protection for employees. Businesses with at least 15 employees must guarantee freedom from discrimination against employees based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion and disability. Employers with 20 or more employees must guarantee freedom from age discrimination, and employers with four or more employees must guarantee freedom from discrimination based on citizenship status.
Maryland's employment discrimination regulations also prohibit discrimination based on ancestry, genetic information, marital status, gender identity, and sexual orientation. These additional protections open the door for additional employment discrimination lawsuits and a growing number of retaliation lawsuits in which plaintiffs claim that an employer has disciplined them, fired them, or unfairly passed them over for a promotion because of their involvement in a discrimination complaint.
Like most states, Maryland is an "at-will" employment state, meaning that employers can terminate employment at any time and for any reason, but fired employees can still sue for breach of contract if, for example, they have a written contract promising job security. Maryland also recognizes implied employment contracts, such as if an employee handbook states that employees will only be fired for good cause.
These laws are in place to protect employees, but they also represent a litigation risk for employers. While all business owners will do their best to mitigate these risks through careful management practices, all small business owners can use the additional peace of mind obtained through a comprehensive insurance policy.
Maryland workers compensation laws
In Maryland, every business owner with one or more employees must obtain workers compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions. Sole proprietors can choose to exclude or include themselves in their policy, and agricultural employers who have fewer than three full-time employees or whose annual payroll for full-time employees is below $15,000 are exempt. Other exempt employees include agricultural office workers, independent contractors on farms (other than migrant laborers) and owner-operators of large tractor-trailer vehicles.
Maryland businesses can obtain workers compensation insurance through a commercial provider, like Hiscox, or through Maryland's state-administered fund, the Chesapeake Employers' Insurance Company. Businesses can also apply to become a self-insured employer with approval from the Workers' Compensation Commission. Self-insuring employers must provide a security of, at minimum, $100,000 (usually higher), and assessments include a percentage of the employer's annual payroll, among other fees. If self-insured businesses file for bankruptcy, they are still required to pay compensation for injuries or death sustained by an employee while their self-insured policy was in place.
Employers who fail to secure required workers compensation insurance are subject to a fine of up to $10,000, and if the business is a corporation, the corporation's officers can be held personally liable for the fine.
How can Hiscox help your Maryland business?
At Hiscox, you'll never be stuck with a one-size-fits-all insurance policy. We make sure each client's coverage meets their unique needs, whether it's liability insurance, a business owner's policy, workers compensation insurance or beyond, and we offer a range of benefits:
- Flexible payment options: Our no-added-fee monthly payment schedule can help you manage a growing business's cash flow.
- Tailored insurance: With Hiscox, you'll never pay for coverage you don't need.
- Claims responsiveness: When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claims representative to assist you.
- Coverage for contracts: Our insurance coverage satisfies most standard contract insurance requirements.
- Worldwide Coverage: A Maryland 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.
- Passion for service: Agents knowledgeable about your business concerns will provide you with excellent service—4.7/5 people surveyed recommended us.
Get a fast, free quote now, and get the protection you need for your Maryland 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
Michael, District Heights, MD
"I applied for Commercial insurance directly from my desk. I did not have to leave work or take extra time. Excellent. Convenient and easy. Price was excellent.”
Charles, Baltimore, MD
"Get fast same day service from Hiscox. The agent went over everything on the phone. She listened to me, and helped me to get the best coverage for my business without having a great number of forms to fill out. I did not need to wait for days to get coverage, and I saved money."
Sherman, Baltimore, MD
Hiscox is a great company. They were very helpful when I got my personal training insurance.
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"Hiscox makes it easy to independently evaluate their services and just as easy to follow up and close the deal. I found their information clear and to the point and easy to follow up on."
Our products have been approved by the Maryland Insurance Administration and are underwritten by Hiscox Insurance Company Inc., a Chicago, Illinois, insurance company whose license number is 1614.
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.