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Commercial Insurance in Florida

Commercial insurance in Florida refers to all insurance policies covering businesses and business-related interests. Commercial insurance includes business-related health, life, auto, and property insurance policies. In Florida, all activities relating to insurance are regulated by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. There are over 2.5 million small businesses that contribute greatly to the state’s economy through the creation of jobs and the employment of Florida residents.

Small businesses within the state account for over 40% of all private sector employees. Business insurance can be purchased by large corporations as well as small and medium businesses for protection against unforeseen risks. Florida business owners can choose commercial insurance policies from a wide range of options, deciding based on need, risk, and budget. Commercial insurance companies can protect businesses including small businesses as well as large corporations from any unforeseen risks. Commercial insurance can also be useful in protecting specialty businesses. For example, liquor liability coverage could be purchased if your company handles alcohol.

Discuss your commercial insurance needs with a Florida-licensed and knowledgeable commercial insurance agent who is experienced in the types of commercial coverages that you are seeking to get and can offer to run a commercial insurance quote.

Why Do we Need Commercial Insurance in Florida?

There are a variety of benefits of commercial insurance, they include:

  1. Commercial insurance can be very useful in protecting your business from risks and damage caused by natural disasters. Some more common disasters that coverage can be purchased against include floods, tornados, and earthquakes. Taking into consideration the natural disasters that are more frequent in Florida such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

  2. Commercial insurance can also help businesses protect themselves from liabilities that may arise in the course of running the business. These liabilities could include protection against claims by customers or employees injured at the business premises, product liability, or personal injury. For example, small businesses in Florida having sufficient coverage could help ensure that you are not forced to pay out large commercial claims that could put you out of business.

  3. Commercial coverage is useful in providing extra protection for your employees. With the right commercial insurance policy, you can protect your employees from costs associated with work-related injuries, loss of income, medical payments, and even funeral expenses and compensation in the event of death.

  4. Commercial insurance can help reduce the financial losses to a business if an unforeseen incident occurs. Florida businesses handle a lot of the nation’s trade and in 2020 Florida was ranked 8th in the US with exports worth over $57 billion sent to over 200 countries. Having commercial insurance can ensure that if there is a mishap in the course of your production or exports, the business will not have to handle the repercussions of such incidents. Additionally, commercial insurance can cover a loss of income if your business is forced to temporarily close down to a power shortage or the breakdown of some machinery.

  5. Having commercial insurance may be a useful tool in boosting the credibility of your business. Having the right insurance coverages in place could help to allay any concerns customers and business partners might have while presenting your business as a well-run and well-prepared organization.

Commercial insurance protects Florida businesses and its employees on all fronts, based on the desired business purposes:

  • Property

  • Liability

  • Health

  • Life

To assess your business insurance needs in Florida and to get a commercial insurance quote, speak with a knowledgeable state-licensed commercial insurance agent with access to multiple insurers and premium finance options.

How Does Commercial Insurance Work in Florida?

Commercial insurance in Florida helps businesses to pay for liabilities and unforeseen risks that may occur in the course of running a business within the state. Some of these risks include property damage, legal liability, bodily injury, loss of income, and loss of use as well as other similar perils. Within the insurance industry, commercial insurance coverages are varied and extensive and it is usually expected that business owners only purchase coverage that is needed for the particular business being insured. Some certain types of insurance might be required by law while others are optional but might be required due to the type of business to be carried out. In Florida, only worker’s compensation (Workers Comp) insurance is required by law. State law may also provide guidelines and regulations for interactions between businesses and customers and in such situations failing to have insurance coverage might result in liabilities and more expenses incurred. If one of the perils that are covered in your commercial insurance occurs, you will only be able to claim up to the policy limits.

Contact a state-licensed insurance agent to find out more about commercial insurance coverage options. After deciding on what coverage to get, the agent can assist you with the purchase or you can find quotes online.

What is Commercial Insurance in Florida

With over 100 property insurers on the Florida market, commercial insurance coverage represents over 44% of all P&C insurance sold in the state. Out of the approximately $26-27 billion spent by Florida businesses on commercial insurance every year, the most frequently purchased coverages are to protect from Liability and Fire damage.

COMMERCIAL (P&C) INSURANCE IN FLORIDA

(at a glance)

Type of Commercial Coverage Commercial Coverage % of all Commercial P&C in FL % of all P&C in FL
Commercial Liability General Liability 28% 12%
Commercial Property Fire + Allied Lines 18% 8%
Commercial Auto Liability 12% 5%
Workers Compensation Workers Comp 11% 5%
Commercial Property Commercial Multiple Peril (CMP) 9% 4%
Commercial Transportation Inland Marine 6% 3%
Commercial Liability Medical Professional Liability 3% >1%
Commercial Auto Collision 2% >1%
Commercial Transportation Ocean Marine 2% <1%
Commercial Liability Product Liability 1% <1%

Note: Health and Life group insurance coverages are not included in the above breakdown.

What are the Types of Commercial Insurance in Florida?

There are a variety of coverage types that are available to businesses in Florida and they are divided into five major categories. They include:

  • Commercial Property Insurance

  • Business Liability Insurance

  • Business Continuity

  • Commercial Health Insurance

  • Commercial Life Insurance

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY Insurance in Florida

Commercial property insurance helps protect businesses, particularly the physical assets of your company from unforeseen perils and risks such as fire, vandalism, and theft. Commercial property can be any item that belongs to the business:

  • Real estate,

  • Company owned equipment

  • Commercial vehicle and any other types of transportation (trains, ships, and airplanes),

  • Product inventory, and more.

Across its 67 counties, Florida is home to nearly 3 million commercial real estate properties and finding adequate protection should be at the forefront of any forward thinking business owner.

Commercial property insurance can also help cover costs of repairs or replacement of damaged property while also compensating you for any loss of income you might incur while the property is being replaced or repaired. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Florida has 5 of the top 10 strongest commercial property markets, with Cape Coral, Port St. Lucie, North Point-Bradenton-Sarasota and Punta Gorda all included on this list. Commercial insurance can be bundled in different ways to ensure that you have coverage that is suitable to your business needs and appropriately protects the property of the business. Your coverage can be affected by a different number of factors such as the location of your business, the title you hold over the physical property, and the type and value of the property you choose to protect.

Alternatively, the main types of commercial transportation property coverages (depending on the mode of transportation) are:

  • Cargo Insurance

  • Commercial Auto Insurance

  • Hull Insurance

  • Inland Marine Insurance

  • Ocean Marine Insurance

Landlord or Lessor of Commercial Property

As a landlord or lessor of commercial property in Florida, you can purchase different types of insurance coverage including:

  • Office building insurance

  • Industrial building insurance

  • Warehouse building insurance

  • Emergency repair coverage, and

  • Flood insurance

As a business owner, most of these coverage types can be bundled together for a total package and this can enable you to take advantage of discounts and reduce the amounts that you will have to pay as premiums.

Discuss your commercial property insurance needs with a commercial insurance agent who is licensed in Florida and has experience working with property coverages needed by your business.

BUSINESS LIABILITY Insurance in Florida

In Florida, business liability insurance helps protect your business from liabilities that might be incurred due to legal complications caused by claims and suits filed against your business. With 2.8 million small businesses in Florida accounting for 99.8% of all businesses within the state. Having business liability insurance can help protect you and your employees from expensive lawsuits. The nine main types of business liability insurance are:

  • Product Liability Insurance - this coverage protects your business from claims made on the basis that damage was caused by the company’s products.

  • General Liability Insurance - this coverage provides general protection for your business against claims due to personal or bodily injury.

  • Cyber Liability Insurance - this covers claims that may arise due to data breaches or other computer-related security compromises.

  • Contract Liability Insurance - this coverage helps insure against lawsuits and claims against the company that arise from contract disputes.

  • Professional Liability Insurance - this coverage protects your business from liability due to errors or mistakes made by you or your employees. There are three main types of professional liability coverage:

    • 1. Malpractice Insurance: this is a type of professional liability coverage specifically provided to legal and healthcare professionals. It helps protect against lawsuits due to professional errors.

    • 2. Errors and Omissions (E&O) Liability Insurance: this insurance type provides protection against liability that arises due to wrongful advice or information given to a client which led to financial loss.

    • 3. Directors' and Officers’ Liability Insurance (D&O): This coverage type specifically provides protection for top-ranking executives within your business ensuring that claims that might arise against these sets of persons are duly covered. Although this policy insures specific individuals, it is not a personal policy as the beneficiary when claims are made remains the business.

  • Landlord Liability Insurance - this coverage protects landlords and property owners from risks associated with leasing properties to businesses.

  • Commercial Umbrella Liability - this coverage helps provide additional protection to your business by extending the coverage available for already covered perils or protecting against perils that are not already listed and protected by other coverage types.

  • Commercial Auto Liability - this coverage protects the business in case if the company owned commercial vehicle causes damage to others.

  • Specialized Liability - some business types face specific professional liabilities. For example, if the business is involved in manufacturing, selling, or serving alcohol, it needs Liquor Liability insurance (also known as Dram Shop insurance) to insure against liability claims if an intoxicated patron causes damage or harm to someone after leaving the establishment.

A Florida-licensed commercial insurance agent will be able to assess your business’ liability insurance needs and provide professional advice on the most optimal coverages. Then you pick the one that works better for the business.

COMMERCIAL HEALTH Insurance in Florida

Commercial Health insurance in Florida is health insurance provided by non-governmental agencies and organizations to individuals and groups within the state. With nearly 9 million adults employed full time in the state, small businesses in Florida provide jobs to less than half (approximately 3.6 million).

While all Florida employers with 50 or more full-time employees are considered large employers and must provide ACA-compliant group health insurance, small business owners also frequently choose to offer this vital coverage to the workforce. Contact a Florida-licensed insurance agent for more information on available coverages and the best packages to suit your business needs. Some examples of commercial health plans in Florida include:

  • Group Health Insurance - this is a form of insurance that the employer primarily sponsors. The cost of paying for premiums is shared between the employer and the employee (unless the employer chooses to pay the employees’ coverage in full). This plan provides coverage for each employee and may also be extended to the employee’s dependents. Self-employed business people in Florida can also apply for certain group health insurance plans such as the Florida group health insurance plan or the Florida guaranteed issue small group health plan.

  • Individual Health Insurance - Self-employed business persons can apply for an individual health insurance policy which will provide coverage for just the business owner.

  • Disability Benefits - Although this is not directly a form of insurance, disability income is available to persons resident in Florida as compensation after an injury that causes permanent or partial disability. These payments are targeted at assisting the subject with the payment of medical bills, and other expenses that may arise. There are two types of disability benefit payments available to Florida residents, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI payments are made based on the amount of work done and the work credits that have been earned prior to the injury. SSI payments do not however depend on work credits but are instead given on the basis of need to persons with low income.

  • Worker’s Compensation - this is a type of insurance coverage that helps injured employees cover the cost of medical treatment as well as lost wages for work-related injuries that lead to time off work. Worker’s compensation enables a company to cater for its employees at a lower cost than if they had to take care of each individual case.

Discuss your commercial health insurance needs with a Florida-licensed health insurance agent who has experience working with group coverage and has access to multiple insurers that offer such policies. A knowledgeable health insurance professional can make sure that you get the right coverage.

COMMERCIAL LIFE Insurance in Florida

There are two types of life insurance for commercial use:

  1. Life insurance coverage offered to the employees as an additional benefit to the job, and

  2. Life insurance that serves the purpose of protecting the business itself.

GROUP LIFE Insurance

Group life insurance typically offered to employees in Florida comes in the form of:

  • Basic group life insurance - which comes with a pre-set maximum limit (typically under $30,000), offers guaranteed acceptance, and is usually either partially subsidized or fully paid by the employer.

  • Supplemental group life - which allows the insured employee to get higher death benefit amounts but does not have a guarantee that the coverage will be approved. The approval usually requires filling out a health questionnaire.

Group and Supplemental life insurance is offered by 85% of employers nationwide.

Regardless of the business types, commercial life insurance encompasses insurance plans and agreements that ensure a business is protected in the event of death or injury to the key persons within the business. There are two most common ways that commercial life insurance may be used to protect a business itself:

BUY-SELL Agreements

A buy-sell agreement is a legal contract that details the manner in which an owner, shareholder, or partner’s interest in a business can be divested or reassigned in the event of a death or resignation. This agreement details how the company can apply life insurance benefits for the purchase of a departing or deceased partner’s interest. It outlines the conditions, beneficiaries, and the price at which a partner, owner, or shareholder may choose to or is obliged to sell the business interest. A buy-sell agreement will also establish the duties of a partner’s estate in the event of death. The two most common forms of the buy-sell agreement are redemption and cross-purchase. Under a redemption agreement, the business will be allowed to purchase the shares of a departing or deceased owner. A cross-purchase agreement empowers a remaining partner to acquire the interests of the deceased or departing partner.

KEY MAN Life Insurance

A key man life insurance policy provides coverage for a business against the possible death or permanent disability of an employee that is considered vital to the operations of the business. This policy provides a financial cushion to enable the business to continue operations while a suitable replacement is being sought. Beneficiaries of this policy could include the founder of the business, partners, and top-level executives. Although premiums are paid by the business in the name of a named beneficiary, in the event of a death or other itemized incident, the business will be the beneficiary and the insurance company will pay any claims to the business. Note that the key person will typically be required to provide written consent.

To find out more about commercial life insurance options and to see how it can benefit your Florida-based business, speak with a knowledgeable state-licensed and experienced life insurance professional who has access to multiple insurers and can offer insurance from different carriers for comparison.

BOP vs. CPP vs. GL

A Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) and a Commercial Package Policy (CPP) are similar in that they both combine different commercial insurance coverages into one umbrella policy. However, while the coverages in a Commercial Package Policy can be adjusted to suit your particular purposes, a Business Owner’s Policy has established coverages and combinations that cannot be adjusted. Due to its rigidity, a BOP might contain policies that are not required by your business. On the other hand, the flexibility of the CPP can allow you to only choose policies and coverages that are relevant to your business. On the other hand, a General Liability Policy specifically covers liabilities such as property damage by customers, customer injuries, and advertising injuries.

BUSINESS OWNER’S POLICY (BOP)

A business Owner’s Insurance Policy is a type of insurance that combines coverages of different insurance types under a singular policy. By combining the various policies, the business is able to save money as the cost of individual coverage could amount to more than the cost of the combined policy.

To determine the cost of your business insurance, insurance companies take into consideration a variety of factors including:

  • The number of employees

  • Company income/revenue

  • Location

  • Type of business

  • Claims history of the business

The main areas of coverage for a business owner’s policy are:

  • Commercial property insurance,

  • Business income insurance, and

  • General liability insurance

Property insurance coverage could be on a named perils policy or an all-risk/open peril policy. Coverage under a named perils policy will only extend to perils that are named on the policy document and this typically includes fire, wind damage, theft, and vandalism. All risk policies will cover all types of risks except those expressly excluded by the policy document. The protection of property by this policy does not include personal property but could also include a commercial auto policy for protection of company vehicles.

Business income coverage will provide coverage for situations where there is a loss of income occasioned by a disruption to your operations due to the occurrence of a peril covered by the policy.

General liability insurance protects your business from claims by third parties and other persons that an injury or property damage was caused by your business.

In addition to the three main coverage types, insurance companies in Florida could also include commercial auto insurance, electronic data insurance, and valuable papers and records insurance in the coverage provided by the Business Owner’s Policy.

COMMERCIAL PACKAGE POLICY (CPP)

A commercial package policy is an insurance policy that combines different insurance coverages into one single package particularly property and personal liability coverages. A CPP is particularly advantageous because it enables business owners to adopt a flexible approach to insurance purchasing the right policies to cover the business’ specific needs. By combining the different coverage types, the business can also save on the cost of premiums by paying less than if they had purchased separate coverages. Commercial package policies might be preferred to a business policy because you can customize the policy and extend coverage to commercial vehicles, commercial property and other aspects of your business.

Commercial package insurance policies in Florida typically include coverage for commercial property insurance, commercial auto insurance, and commercial general liability insurance but exclude worker’s compensation and life insurance policies. A commercial package policy is also more flexible than the BOP because it is customizable as opposed to the BOP which offers policies that cannot be changed.

GENERAL LIABILITY (GL) POLICY

A general liability insurance policy protects your business from liability or claims by third parties against your company due to accidents that occurred at the business. Liability claims may arise due to customer injuries or damages to property. Additionally, this insurance type can protect your business against libel and slander claims or claims against fraudulent or misleading advertising.

You can purchase different coverages under your general liability policy depending on what level of protection you desire. Some coverage types might limit protection to injuries and accidents that occur on the business premises while others might extend protection to injuries that might occur while you are out working in the field.

To get a commercial insurance quote and to discuss your business insurance needs with Florida-licensed commercial insurance agents who can offer insurance coverage options from multiple insurers. A knowledgeable agent will help you get the right coverage package to match the needs of your business.

How Much Business Insurance Coverage Do I Need?

The amount of business insurance you will need to purchase will be dependent on the particular requirements of our business. You should only buy insurance that will be sufficient to protect you and your business in the event of peril or unforeseen accident. If you purchase more coverage than what you can use, the business is wasting money. To determine the type of business insurance to get and the extent of coverage you need to purchase, you should contact a Florida-licensed insurance agent. A knowledgeable commercial insurance agent can assist you with a wide variety of insurance related services, such as:

  • Assessing needs and restrictions for your insurance

  • Reviewing your current policy to ensure that your coverages are reflective of your current needs and the insurance market. Note that the agent can assist you with an upgrade if this is required.

  • Researching the locally available plans that fit your needs and finding you better deals than what you might be able to access on your own.

  • Providing you with all available options for coverage.

  • Checking for available savings and bundling discounts

  • Explaining the differences between the various options and how these differences can affect your business

  • Assisting you with the entire application process.

The first consideration to make when considering what insurance to buy is to ask yourself what insurance types are required due to government or industry regulations. Although the State of Florida does not impose insurance for many sectors, the amount of risk and the huge impact that unforeseen perils can have on your business should ensure that you purchase adequate protection. You will also need to pay attention to the policy language to decide if you want to purchase insurance based on a named perils coverage type or open perils. Your claims experience will depend on the policy chosen.

Enlist the services of a qualified commercial insurance agent to go over your needs and to provide a commercial insurance quote.

What is Surplus Lines Insurance in Florida?

Surplus insurance in Florida refers to a type of insurance protection for risks that are difficult to ascertain and are usually not protected under standard commercial insurance policies. Due to the nature of the type of coverage provided under this insurance, it typically costs more than standard insurance. Additionally, surplus lines insurance in Florida typically has a service fee and premium receipts tax which must be paid by the subscriber. However, claims under this type of insurance are not protected by the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association. Contact your insurance agent if you require this protection for your personal or commercial insurance.

What is an Example of Surplus Lines Insurance?

Some examples of surplus lines insurance in Florida include:

  • Coverage against flood damage for coastal homes

  • Liability and hull coverage for your expensive boat or yacht

  • Liability insurance for high-risk businesses

  • Disability insurance for an athlete

What Purpose Do Surplus Companies Serve in Florida?

Surplus lines insurance helps Floridians cover risks that are uninsurable in normal insurance markets. Insurance companies may refuse to insure certain risks due to a lack of capacity or the high possibility of such risks. In situations where an insurance company declines coverage for a particular risk, you can search for surplus coverage to help protect against such risks. If you are in a high-risk business, surplus lines insurance might be the only possible option for you. Contact an insurance agent licensed in Florida for more information about commercial policies from surplus insurers.

Why Would Someone Place Their Insurance with a Surplus Lines Broker?

You may decide to place your insurance with a surplus lines broker due to an inability to find any other alternative protection for high risks or expensive coverages. Surplus lines insurance providers specifically aim at catering to high-risk or risks that are hard to determine and as a result declined by other insurance providers. Additionally, surplus lines insurance providers can be purchased from within and outside Florida.

The three main types of risks that are covered by surplus lines insurance are:

  • Unique risks - These are risks that are unusual or highly specialized for which other insurers might not have the appropriate rates or forms for coverage.

  • High capacity risks - These are risks with higher limits than other regular insurers are willing to undertake or provide coverage for.

  • Distressed risks - these are risks with certain unfavorable factors that make it unacceptable for most insurance providers to cover.

How are Surplus Lines Insurers Regulated in Florida?

The Florida Department of Financial Services is the body that regulates insurance within the state. However, the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO) was established by the Dan Roehrig Act in 1997 to regulate the affairs of surplus line insurers and to collect fees and taxes. The affairs of surplus line insurers in Florida are monitored by the FSLSO by:

  • Ensuring that all surplus line insurers maintain the state provided a minimum capital surplus of $15 million to remain in operation.

  • Ensuring that all surplus line agents and insurers within the state have a valid license and are members of the FSLSO association.

  • Ensuring that all surplus line insurers provide copies of the information for all surplus line policies or documents for review and recording.

  • Preparing monthly and quarterly reports of each agent’s business and surplus line policies.

  • Collection of all surplus lines taxes

  • Collection of a service fee of up to 0.3% of the total gross premium on each surplus line document or policy for the operation of the office.

  • Carrying out educational courses and awareness campaigns on getting licensed and purchasing surplus lines insurance.

What is Specialty Business Insurance?

In Florida, specialty business insurance describes the various types of business insurance that are not particularly covered under standard policies. Through specialty business insurance you can purchase coverage against other types of risks or for specific areas of your business that are not covered under your traditional policies.

Specialty insurance is typically useful for:

  • Insuring against high-risk business ventures or holdings

  • Protecting expensive equipment or specially procured items for special occasions

  • Protecting against high risks that other insurance packages exclude.

Most of the specialty business insurance policies have templates outlining what will be covered under the policy. Before you decide on what specialty insurance to purchase it is important that you clearly identify what your needs are. However, where you have needs that are not covered under the template or where a template does not exist for your particular area of interest, you can contact a state-licensed insurance agent for assistance.

Some examples of specialty business insurance policies include:

  • Flood Insurance - this insurance protects your business from damage occasioned by floods. Typical commercial insurance packages exclude flood insurance so it is worthwhile to purchase this type of coverage particularly if your business is located in areas that are prone to floods.

  • Identity Theft Insurance - This helps protect against heavy costs associated with identity thefts.

  • Commercial Renters Insurance - This type of insurance provides coverage for property rented by the business.

  • Marine Insurance - Boat insurance is useful for maritime businesses that involve the use of boats and other watercraft. It provides coverage for these various types of vessels owned and used by the business.

  • Directors and Officers Liability Insurance - this insurance type provides coverage for principal officers in a business as well as their dependents and spouses from losses due to lawsuits or other claims while serving the business.

  • Travel Insurance - this type of insurance protects your property and staff of the business during travel. As well providing coverage for any medical expenses incurred, lost bags or cancellation costs.

What is Business Hazard Insurance in Florida?

Business hazard insurance is a type of commercial insurance products that protects businesses in Florida from natural disasters like storms, fire, hail, and other similar perils. This insurance type specifically protects the property of your business whether rented or personally owned. Typical business policies might exclude protection for different types of hazards like earthquakes and floods so getting a business hazard insurance is important to ensure that you are not left vulnerable in the event that any of these hazards occur. Different hazards could cause varying degrees of damage to your business property. For example, although Florida was largely spared from the disastrous damages caused by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Hurricane Michael in 2018 brought winds of up to 160 mph, and 130 mph during Hurricane Irma in 2017.

You might be able to purchase a business hazard insurance policy as part of a Business Owners Policy. The Business owner’s policy combines different commercial insurance packages such as commercial property insurance and general liability insurance and business interruption insurance. Coverage against these hazards will be subsumed under the commercial property insurance policy. Business hazard insurance may also be included in a Commercial Property Policy. This policy provides coverage for the property of the business and will compensate the business in the event of a hazard.

Business hazard insurance is also not required but if your business is financed through loans and other forms of credit, your lender might require that you purchase a business hazard insurance policy. The amount of coverage you will have on your business hazard insurance and the cost of your premiums will be determined by a variety of factors including the location of the property, value of the property, age of the property, cost of replacement of the property as well as the type of repayment plan- actual cost or the replacement value. It is advisable that you discuss with a Florida licensed insurance agent before purchase to ensure that any policy you purchase adequately addresses your needs and to ensure that you get the best possible price.

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