Insureon CEO Ted Devine on KSIS-AM

Host: Well, good morning, you’re on NewsTalk 1050-KSIS, online at KSISradio.com, and powered through your smartphone via RadioPup. And we are going to get the opportunity to talk about small business here today. Seems like small businesses have really become a big, big, big part of our wonderful world that we live in, and we’re going to be talking about the dos and don’ts of protecting your small business and we are doing so with Ted Devine, who is with insureon here this morning. He’s the CEO and business expert who’s going to talk about the state of small business in America. Good morning, Ted, how are you today?

Ted: Good, Doug, how are you?

Host: Doing just fine. Well, before we get into the nuts and bolts of things – small business, this is small business week, actually.

Ted: Yup.

Host: A lot of people are getting a lot more recognized. Especially when you think about Thanksgiving, you know – you now have that small business Saturday that takes place. So finally, the attention is being given to small business that should have been going all along.

Ted: Now that’s exactly right, Doug. It’s really part of the heroes of the U.S. economy. There’s 40 million small businesses across the U.S. It’s the only part of the economy in the last 15 years that’s actually growing. It’s growing at about 5% a year – whereas companies that are larger are actually shrinking. And so if you think about being able to put people back to work, decrease the unemployment rate, increase people’s income so they can pay for their kid’s education, small businesses are a huge part of what’s really important for the economy now, and in the future.

Host: Now, here today, we’re specifically going to be talking about the insurance of this. And I know that there’s a lot of topics in reference to how are small businesses going to be coping with the changes that are ahead. So why don’t you talk about – what does a small business need to know here this morning?

Ted: Perfect. So all small businesses need to make sure they’ve thought through their insurance needs, as they do their business plan, and as they operate. And there’s three basic types of insurance that are critical to think through. One is called a business owner’s policy – called a BOP – which protects any small businesses and the equipment and the assets that they have. So if they have computers, if they’re a contractor and they’ve got tools and equipment to do their work, a BOP will cover that. So, very important to understand that that’s out there for them. The second is, if they’re a consultant or an accountant or a web firm designer, and they’re giving advice, so they’re holding client data, it’s really important that they think through their professional liability that they may be exposed to. So if they lose the data or if they get sued because they gave advice that the client doesn’t like, a Professional Liability, or E&O package will cover them for that. And then, third, if they’ve got employees, it’s really important that they have Workers’ Comp, cause their employees and their customers are their most important assets, as any company – it is with us. We want to make sure that all of our employees are protected in case they get hurt on the job.

Host: Well, let’s talk a little bit about personal liability. Talk about that with us.

Ted: Sure. So, the most important thing as a business owner – you know, I started my business career at age 16 when my mom and I started a hockey store to pay for my and my sister’s college, right? So we’ve been in this, doing this a long time. The most important thing to do from a protecting your personal balance sheet is on the legal / structural side, which is – you need to incorporate, you need to have some form of a formal government alignment – legal alignment – that makes sure that you separated your personal assets from your business assets. That includes a separate bank account, that includes good board governance and record keeping around having a board of directors and minutes, et cetera. Insurance is an important element of that, though, Doug, because any small business – it’s actually their balance sheet at risk. A GM or a Ford: these big companies – which are terrific and important – but they’ve got other people’s money. They’ve got shareholders and debt holders, so, if they have a loss, you know, no big deal. For our clients, our 40,000 clients across the United States, if they have a loss, it’s their balance sheet at risk. If they go out of work, and they can’t run their consulting firm or their mobile food truck or their landscaping firm, or their janitorial firm, it’s their kid’s college education that’s at risk. Or it’s their retirement that’s at risk. And, so, making sure the insurance is thought through, whether it’s with us or with somebody else, it’s really, really important for the small businesses around the country.

Host: Obviously there’s lots to keep up with, and sometimes I wonder how small businesses actually do it. One of the things that I know that you look at – you mentioned the fact that the bigger companies, they’ve got lots of things on their beck and call, but what do small businesses do in the contingency that something happens?

Ted: Sure. So the most important thing there is, Doug, is to have a plan. So you have to – living through this a bunch with clients – you got to have a plan, and a contingency plan that talks about how you’re going to reach out to your customers, who you’re going to call first, and often, it’s very gratifying to us. We’re the first call of a lot of our clients, who are in essence saying, "Help." And it’s when we really earn our money. As part of that contingency plan, one of the most important elements is to make sure that all of our clients have, and all the listeners out there, have something called Business Interruption Insurance. Whether it’s part of their BOP or an endorsement that they’ve added. What that does, Doug, is it covers them for any lost profits that they incur as they’re offline, whether it’s a storm or an event. It also covers them for the cost of getting the business back up and running, and it even covers them if one of their suppliers is offline. So, if you’re running a restaurant and you can’t get vegetables or meat, so you can actually operate your restaurant, it’ll cover you for that. So having business interruption insurance as part of your BOP or an endorsement is really important as part of your contingency plan.

Host: Now, a program that came out was called the Small Business Heroes program. I know our time is getting shorter, but tell us a little bit about this program.

Ted: Sure. Sure, Doug. It’s the best part of our firm. Every week we give away a guest $500-ish to a small business hero across the country. It’s our way to give back. And our first one was to a cancer survivor who, she wanted a color printer so she could better serve her interior design clients, and we were able to give her that. And all our clients do, or anybody, any of your listeners, do is just go to smallbusinessheroes.com, or go to Facebook: Small Business Heroes. You can apply for your wish and once a week we give those out, and it’s just a magical, magical thing to be able to call a small business hero and say that we’ve got something to help you grow your business.

Host: Well, of course people may want more information, quickly – how do you get that?

Ted: Sure. You go to insureon.com, or 1-800-655-1714.

Host: Good. Well, we appreciate your time and thanks for talking with us.

Ted: Thank you so much, Doug. I really appreciate it.

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