Insureon CEO Ted Devine on KJFF-AM

Host: It’s small business week across the country. Today my guest is Ted Devine, and we’re going to be talking about the dos and don’ts of protecting your small business. Ted, thanks so much for joining us today.

Ted: No, thank you so much, Stewart, for having me.

Host: Ted, before we get started in the dos and don’ts, tell us your background in small business.

Ted: I’ve been working in small business for a long time. Actually, when I was 16 years old, my mom and I started a hockey store to pay for our family’s college, called Hockey, Etc. I ran that store all the way through college and then went on and graduated, worked as a partner in a big consulting firm called McKinsey. Couple of years ago got asked to run insureon, which is the nation’s largest small-business commercial online platform. We’ve got 40,000 clients. But at the end of the day we’re a small business – just like the clients that we serve. So we know all the trials and tribulations and it’s really important for us to make sure that all of our clients know that we’ve got their back.

Host: Interesting. So you learned from the hockey world how to fight for what’s right.

Ted: I did. That’s 100 percent right. You’ve got a good hockey team in your city.

Host: That’s right. We know what’s up. Apparently, we know what’s down, too. We’re already out of the playoffs. I appreciate that. Where are you based out of?

Ted: We’re based out of Chicago.

Host: So you’re a Blackhawks guy.

Ted: I am, but I do come down. I coach youth hockey as well. So we come down and play the Junior Blues as well every year. You’ve got a terrific city and I really, really like St. Louis.

Host: Good, good. Yeah, you sound like the perfect spokesperson for this cause you can talk it – you can talk it, buddy.

Ted: Thanks. Well, it’s important. Our clients are trusting us with – the thing that’s interesting for me sort of about what we do is the big companies, they’ve got other people’s money. They’ve got shareholders – GM’s got, you know, big balance sheets. If they have a loss – no big deal. For our clients, if our clients have a loss, it’s their personal balance sheets. It’s their kid’s college education. It’s their retirement. And so, it’s really important that small businesses understand and have somebody walk through what insurance coverage they need, whether it’s us or somebody else – not important. And then they get that protection so that if they do have a loss, they have the funds to get themselves back on their feet.

Host: You mentioned a little bit there why it’s important to have a backup plan, but let’s have some more detail there. Why should we have that?

Ted: Well, you know, with everything that’s going on around the world, whether it’s weather or other forms of unrest, risk keeps on going up every year. Now we’ve got all these forms of cyber computer risk as well, and data going all over the place. And, so, there are basically three or four types of insurance, Stewart, that all companies need to have thought through. One is called a BOP. It’s a package policy, a business owner’s policy that protects their equipment – if they’ve got computers, if they’re a contractor, their tools – that’ll protect those for them. The second is if they have, if they’re a consultant or an accountant and they actually give advice or hold client data, they need what’s called a Professional Liability coverage. And then third, if they have employees – customers and their employees are the most important assets, as it is with my firm. I mean, my customers and employees are everything. And they need to make sure they have Workers’ Compensation in case somebody gets hurt on the job. And make sure they get back on their feet.

Host: Can you tell us the story of where, maybe, a scenario came up, where somebody said, "Oh! A disaster will never happen to me!"

Ted: Ah. For sure. We get it every day. About a month ago, with all the storms, we had one of our clients call us. It was a small restaurant and they had purchased a BOP policy with us through our specialized restaurant desk – we’ve got a recruit that just does hospitality. That’s all they do. It’s one of the features of our firm. If you call us, you’re going to talk to somebody that pretty much just does your business area. And they were out of business for a week because of the storms on the East Coast, and they were struggling. What do we do? How do we get back to operational? We’ve got the guy where we get our meat. He’s out of business. So, even if I come up and running, what do I do? I don’t have a supplier. And thank god, our team had walked through what’s called Business Interruption and added an endorsement onto his policy so not only did he have the BOP, but he had a BI endorsement. We were able to cover all his lost profits, all his costs of getting his oven fixed so he could get back up and running and cover any losses that he had from his supplier. It’s really a great thing and two weeks later, he was back in business.

Host: But is it surprising to you, maybe, that I guess, in the country that we have right now, in small businesses, that these questions come up. I mean, you said this happens a lot, it’s "Oh, disaster never’ll happen to me." Maybe it’s too expensive, things like that. Are those common?

Ted: Very common. You know, I think out of the 40 million U.S. businesses that are under 10 employees, Stewart – so that’s the largest part of the U.S. economy right now. We think about half of them don’t have any insurance, or they’re underinsured. I mean, think about all the risks right now. A good example is all the cyber attacks and data and online, and a lot of times, someone will call us and say, "Listen, I’ve been attacked. My website’s down. Somebody tried to get my client’s data or they’ve got credit card numbers." And boy. If you don’t have what’s called a Cyber Liability policy, in that case, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. And, so, it’s just really important that people think this stuff through, get really good advice. It doesn’t cost that much money. I mean, the minimum premium on some of this stuff, Stewart, is $500. So, most of our clients pay between $500 and $1000 dollars per year. Which, if you think about protecting your business and your family, isn’t a lot of money.

Host: Yes, that’s great. We are kind of short on time today, but I do want to ask you about the Small Business Heroes program. What is that?

Ted: Thank you so much. It’s one of the things we’re most proud of. It’s our way to give back. And what we did when we got the firm is – we wanted a way to let all the small business heroes across the United States know that they have somebody in their corner. So once a week we give away a grant for a need. So the first one was a cancer survivor who wanted a color printer to expand her interior design firm. So we were able to get her the color printer, and our last one was a great lady who started a nonprofit to educate, do financial education for inner city kids in [Maryland]. She wanted an iPad to make those lessons more compelling, and we were able to give her that. And we give one away a week and it’s really a great thing.

Host: Wow. That’s big. And there’s a website dedicated to the thing.

Ted: Sure. There’s two ways to get a hold of both of those – one, just go to www.insureon.com and then search Small Business Heroes. You can go directly to smallbusinessheroes.com, and both of those, Stewart, are also available on Facebook.

Host: Ted Devine, thanks so much for the info.

Ted: No, thank you, sir. I really appreciate the time.

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