Protecting small businesses in the Bay State
Small businesses are flourishing in Massachusetts, where they number more than 650,000, or 99.5% of all businesses in the state. This adds up to 1.5 million employees—or 46.1% of all employees in the private sector—and that number is growing every year, with more than 36,000 net new jobs created in 2015.
Small business owners in Massachusetts also enjoy some of the highest incomes in the country, with self-employed individuals in an incorporated business earning a median income of $60,670—the third-highest in the nation—and those in an unincorporated business earning a median income of $30,754, the sixth-highest in the nation. Because so many people depend on small businesses for their livelihood, it's essential for small business owners in Massachusetts to protect themselves with a comprehensive business insurance policy.
Top industries covered by Hiscox in Massachusetts
With an in-depth knowledge of numerous industries, Hiscox can tailor each small business's insurance policies to meet their specific needs. More than 86% of businesses in the construction industry are small businesses, so it's no surprise that Hiscox insures numerous handypersons and electricians. Other professionals in Massachusetts who commonly insure with Hiscox include janitors, lawn care providers and IT consultants.
From other business's storefronts to private homes to prestigious corporate offices, a handyperson in Massachusetts will serve a wide variety of clients in a range of settings. The everyday risk of handling others' personal property can benefit from 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 repair or improvement project.
Most handypersons choose to be covered by 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 toolbox, falls, and breaks an ankle. The policy will cover the costs of the client's medical care. Because it protects against property damage, it will cover the costs of items that may be broken if, for example, an employee knocks over a valuable lamp or painting. And because it protects against personal damage, the business will be protected if, for example, an employee on his lunch 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.
Janitorial and cleaning services
From cleaning services that specialize in residential homes to janitorial businesses that focus on commercial buildings, Massachusetts's cleaning professionals face certain 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, 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 if, for example, a client slips on a freshly mopped floor 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 knock over an expensive antique while dusting a shelf; 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 then sues the business for slander.
Lawn care service providers
Whether they serve commercial customers, residential homeowners or both, a lawn care provider in Massachusetts 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 businesses to potential liability. For all of these reasons, Hiscox provides custom insurance that can fit the specific needs of each Massachusetts 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 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 starts talking to a coffee shop employee about a client in a false and unflattering way, and that client subsequently hears about this discussion and sues for slander.
Because they work every day with delicate personal and business information—as well as high-end equipment—the numerous IT consultants working in Boston and beyond can benefit from the protection of a comprehensive small business insurance policy.
One essential protection can come from professional liability insurance, also called errors and omissions insurance, which safeguards businesses that provide professional services. This policy would protect an IT consultant if, for example, they review a client's website security in order to implement new procedures, the client's website is later hacked ,and they lose revenue because the site is down. The client make might make a claim of faulty work, but even if the IT consultant hasn't made a mistake, Hiscox would appoint a lawyer to defend the business against the claims if necessary.
General liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage, would also protect an IT consultant if, for example, they accidentally break a desk when visiting a client’s office. And a business owner's policy, which combines general liability insurance and business property insurance, would cover damage to the IT consultant's property or equipment, such as if a laptop gets stolen or an office is flooded by a burst pipe.
With work that brings them directly inside clients' homes and businesses, electricians in Massachusetts face a level of risk every day from clients who might sue for slip-and-fall accidents, personal injury, property damage, and more. While the majority of an electrician's jobs will go smoothly, a reliable insurance policy can prevent headaches and drains on the business's time and finances in the future.
That's why most electricians choose the protection of general liability insurance, which protects against claims of bodily injury or property damage. This would protect the electrician's business if, for example, an electrician is rewiring an office space and, despite warnings, an office worker trips and falls over the electrician's equipment; the insurance policy would cover the costs of the injured worker's medical care. The policy would also cover the costs of property damages incurred if, for example, an electrician is drilling into a client's wall, hits an existing wire, and sparks a small fire. And because it protects against claims of personal injury, the general liability insurance policy would also cover claims incurred if the electrician's assistant is overheard gossiping about a client in a false and unflattering way, and the client hears about it and subsequently sues for slander.
More professions we insure in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Small Business Insurance
Hiscox offers Massachusetts small business insurance to professional services companies. We customize your coverage according to your business needs – no more, no less. 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 customer comes into a real estate office on a rainy day and slips on the tile floor, breaking their arm. The store owner is liable for the medical costs associated with the customer's injury, but could be protected by a general liability insurance policy.
- Property damage/data loss: An HR consultant has a client company's payroll records on their laptop. The laptop is damaged and the data cannot be recovered. The consultant's general liability policy could cover the costs associated with recreating the lost data.
- Make-up spill: A make-up artist went to a bride's home to do the bridal party's make-up before the wedding. She spilled liquid eyeliner on an expensive carpet, staining it. The bride's parents sued for the cost to clean the carpet. General liability insurance protects beauticians and cosmetologists against third party claims of property damage, bodily injury and related medical costs.
Learn more about general liability insurance costs for your business.
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:
- Slander: A property manager was overheard talking to a tenant about the building's owner. The property manager made comments that were negative and untrue. The statements were repeated to the owner of the building, who sued the property manager. Professional liability insurance protects property managers against claims of negligence and will appoint an attorney to defend them, if needed, even if they haven't made a mistake.
- Protection even if you haven't made a mistake: 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.
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 marketing consultant leaves a work laptop at the office. Overnight, a thief breaks into the office and is captured on video stealing the laptop. A Business Owner’s Policy could cover the cost the replace the stolen laptop.
- An IT consultant’s server is damaged and it cannot be repaired. The cost to replace the server could be covered by the consultant’s Business Owner’s Policy.
Learn more about business owners insurance.
Key Massachusetts laws and conditions driving increased business liability rates
The federal government guarantees a baseline level of protection for employees in every U.S. state. Employers with at least 15 workers must guarantee freedom from employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion and disability. Those with 20 or more employees must guarantee freedom from age discrimination, and those with four or more employees must guarantee freedom from discrimination based on citizenship status.
Massachusetts's employment discrimination regulations apply to all businesses with just six or more employees and, in addition to prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, mental or physical disability and age, also prohibit discrimination based on ancestry, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity and active military status.
And more protections for Massachusetts workers are constantly being added: In 2018, Massachusetts passed several new employment regulations, including the Act to Establish Pay Equity, which restricts employers from asking candidates about their salary history; the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires employers to accommodate the needs of pregnant people and new birth parents; and a landmark paid family medical leave act, among others.
All together, these numerous protections open the door for not only additional employment discrimination lawsuits, but also the 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. While all 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.
Massachusetts workers compensation laws
Workers compensation requirements in Massachusetts are some of the most stringent in the nation. In Massachusetts, every employer must obtain workers compensation for themselves and their employees, no matter how many employees they have or how many hours those employees work.
The only exceptions are for domestic employees, who must work at least 16 hours a week to be covered under a workers compensation policy, and for members of an LLC or LLP or for sole proprietors of an unincorporated business. Corporate officers who own at least 25% interest in the corporation may also request to exempt themselves from workers compensation coverage.
Employers may obtain workers compensation insurance from a commercial provider such as Hiscox, or they may apply to self-insure with the Workers Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts. Employers who fail to secure required workers compensation insurance are subject to a stop work order (SWO) and minimum fines of $100 per day, including weekends and holidays, that begin on the date that the SWO was issued. These fines continue to build up until the business secures insurance coverage and pays the fines, and employers who are issued SWOs may face criminal charges, one year in prison, and/or up to a $1,500 fine.
How can Hiscox help your Massachusetts business?
At Hiscox, we tailor each insurance policy to fit the needs of each individual business. Whether it's liability insurance, a business owner's policy, workers compensation insurance or beyond, you can be confident that your business will be protected. 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.
- Customized insurance. With Hiscox, you'll never be stuck with a one-size-fits-all policy.
- Claims responsiveness. When a covered claim is reported, Hiscox will immediately assign a dedicated claim specialist to assist you.
- Worldwide coverage. A Massachusetts business insured with 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 Massachusetts 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
Scott, Hanover, Massachusetts
“New business owner and happy with Hiscox so far.”
After 30 years working as an EMT for the city ambulance service, I retired and transitioned my part-time/casual photography business to full-time. Along with other issues to address, I knew I would need a business owner's insurance policy. I was referred to Hiscox through a fellow photographer who had good things to say about his experience with Hiscox over the years. I initially called the same insurance agent that I deal with for my car insurance. I have been quite happy with them dealing with my car insurance for about 40 years and although they did put together a quote for a BOP, I did not feel that they were confident in knowing what I needed for my small business. I had to make suggestions and even with that, they had to "look into it". When I called Hiscox, the agent seemed confident and (without any prompting from me) addressed all the areas that I felt needed to be addressed. As I said, I am new at this and so far have only just purchased the policy. I have not had any other interactions with them yet but thus far I am happy with their service.
Joseph, Lowell, Massachusetts
"My service feedback with Hiscox"
Rep that I spoke with was very helpful, suggested I have not just liability on myself also on the property my clts come into.
Dave, Middleboro, MA
“Easy, quick and cheap! It was very easy and quick to obtain the professional insurance I needed.
The website was straight forward and the reps I spoke to on the telephone were very nice and informative. PLUS it was much cheaper than what my local agent would offer.”
"Perfect for a small business. It was quick and easy."
Carol, Boston, MA
“Needed Liability Insurance as a contractor”
The process is simple and uncomplicated as it should be. Enter information and payment, and documents received within minutes.
For your convenience, we offer Massachusetts small business insurance across the state. Our products have been approved by the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, and are underwritten by Hiscox Insurance Company Inc., an Illinois insurance company whose license number is 622240000.
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 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 DC. 520 Madison Avenue, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10022.