insureon CEO Ted Devine on WTKS-AM

Host: Small businesses, they’ve always been considered the backbone of America – and the backbone of the American free enterprise system. And yet we seem to have more and more obstacles thrown in our way by, well, an administration that shall remain nameless… what’s the status of small business right now? What can people do to avoid the pitfall, shall we say?

Ted: So, you’re exactly right, Bill. There are 40 million small businesses across the United States with less than 10 employees. They’re the only part of the U.S. economy that’s growing – they’re growing at about 5% a year. All the other segments of the economy are actually shrinking.

Host: Is that right?

Ted: Yes. Yes, sir. It really is. When people say it’s the backbone of the economy – it truly is. What we try to do is, we’ve got 40,000 clients across the united states. What we’re trying to do is make sure they’ve got the proper insurance coverage and corporate structure, so that they can get their company started, and then operate and give back to their families. Cause, really, the great thing about small business is it’s not a big corporation with a big balance sheet – it’s the janitors and the nurses and the doctors, the consultants that are actually – they make the economy grow and pay for their kids’ college – which is a great thing.

Host: Ain’t that the truth. Ted, here’s a worry that my wife has, who owns a small business, as do other people. She has insurance through her late husband, from Belstream here. The person who works with her, at least one of them’s retired military – she has insurance there. They’re so worried now that that could get cancelled for Obamacare – that it keeps them up at night.

Ted: The whole implication of Obamacare and all the new health regulations that are voluminous need to be really combed through by all small-business owners to make sure that they’re protected. It’s a very state-specific thing, so I can’t comment on this individual situation – but making sure that they’re getting the proper advice. All of our clients talk to a licensed agent who specializes in that industry. I don’t know, what industry is your wife in?

Host: It’s property management.

Ted: Oh, great! In our case, you’d be talking to our construction and our contractors and our property management real estate group. And that’s all they do is serve those type of clients.

We’ve got our business segmented into several different industry groups so that people are always talking to the right specialists.

Host: Well, that’s a big help!

Ted: Yeah, I know, it’s really helpful. Cause if you’re working with nurses and doctors and allied health, there’re different risks than if you’re help[ing] a construction worker or someone in lawn care, which is different than trying to help somebody who’s setting up a consulting firm.

Host: Ted, what are some of the biggest pitfalls in what small businesses make, especially a lot of, I think, people start a business that it’s going to be the gravy train. And that they don’t get the proper training and information that they really need. They don’t have the five-year plan, as it were.

Ted: Yeah. For sure. That’s so smart of you. You need to have that plan. You need to have a clear value proposition about how you’re going to serve customers. Most small businesses fail, though, because they don’t have enough funding – so you need to make sure you have a well thought out funding strategy in case things don’t go as well as you thought. It’s very important that they have the proper insurance – that’s not just because that’s what we do. Small businesses, it’s your wife’s personal balance sheet at risk. It’s your family’s income at risk. It’s your kid’s college at risk. It’s not some big amorphous company in the sky that has corporate money and shareholders that can fund a loss. So if you have a loss – lose property, get sued because you make an error, an honest mistake – you know, you could be out of business without the proper insurance coverage. It’s your personal balance at risk, and so that’s why talking to our specialists, or specialists like ours, and making sure you’ve got the right protection is really important.

Host: And how would they find you, Ted?

Ted: Sure. We’re on the web at insureon.com, we also have a wonderful program, we’re also on Facebook and the social channels as well. But we’ve got this wonderful program, called Small Business Heroes – and it’s smallbusinessheroes.com – and every week, we give out a grant to a small-business owner across the country to help them run their business better. Our first one was to a cancer survivor designer who wanted a color printer for her design firm, so she could grow her business. We were able to give her that printer and we do one of those a week as a way to give back.

Host: How nice. And when someone decides to expand, what are some of the biggest pitfalls there, or what should they look out for?

Ted: First, as you grow, you’re gonna make sure you need to have the proper Workers’ Comp coverage so that, and again, these laws vary by state, so if any of your employees get hurt they’re protected. As you grow in size, it’s also very important you have Business Interruption

Insurance, Bill. So, in case there’s a windstorm or a flood, or some kind of damage that would shut you down; or, as importantly, one of your suppliers down, that you get covered for all the profit that you lost, and the cost in getting you back up and running right away. So, those are two coverages right now – that as you expand and go online, it’s very important to get some form of Cyber Insurance in case your website’s attacked.

Host: Some good advice for us, especially as we’re in hurricane alley, and we’re just starting hurricane season here – we haven’t been hit in about 34 years. We’re way overdue, so that is good advice.

Ted: Well, knock on wood, and hopefully this isn’t the year!

Host: Isn’t that the truth. And what do you consider a small business, Ted? At what point does it become a medium or large business?

Ted: We use a guideline of 25 employees and less as small. We do that because most of the insurance companies do that. But half of our clients are one- and two-[man] shops. And we love them. We’re built to be able to handle them very efficiently. With the specialized desks that I mentioned – so that we can make sure that everybody gets the treatment that a big company would get.

Host: All right, Ted, come see us.

Ted: All right. Thank you sir.

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