General Liability vs. Professional Liability: The Difference?

General Liability vs. Professional Liability: The Difference?
Business professionals bear the burden of responsibility in two distinct arenas: general liability and professional liability. Both types of coverage are necessary to secure sufficient protection for your business. Here’s the difference:

General liability offers protection against costs associated with property damage, medical expenses, settlements, and slander.

For example, if a customer comes into your store, slips, falls, and sues your business for his medical costs, your general liability insurance will pay for these expenses. Another general liability situation would be a contractor who causes damage to a client’s home and is sued for repair costs.

Professional liability protects your business against claims that you did not do your job properly. In other words, any time you offer a professional opinion or perform a duty, you are professionally liable for the results and are vulnerable to lawsuits.

For example, an accountant who offers tax advice might be sued by a client who loses money after taking that advice. Another company might be sued after failing to file important documents appropriately.

Professional liability insurance is also called Malpractice Insurance and Errors and Omissions Insurance. When business owners hear these terms, they may assume this coverage is necessary only for doctors and similar professions. However, even an honest clerical mistake can be considered an error in professional services and result in a lawsuit.

To fully protect your business, consider holding both types of policies. Your insurance agent can help you determine the coverage that is best for your operations.

Up-Skilling for the Future: Look for These Essentials

What qualities do you seek in potential employees?

Although it is difficult to predict what the jobs of the future will be, it is possible to identify some of the proficiencies and abilities that will be required in future work settings.

Here are some of the key skills 21st-century employers are looking for in employees and job candidates.

Critical thinking and complex problem-solving: The jobs of the future call for people who can analyze, evaluate, and apply the power of technology to difficult problems and projects.

Social-emotional intelligence: Formerly considered a “soft skill,” the ability to read people’s reactions and be sensitive to the motivations and triggers of others, whether they are coworkers, customers, or strangers, is now an essential workplace attribute.

Cognitive flexibility and creativity: More and more employers are looking for people who are comfortable with ambiguity and can use technology to connect dots and create new ideas.

Lifelong learning/Self-initiative: In the brave new world of tomorrow, successful workers will chart their own destinies. Employers should be looking for individuals with initiative and drive to grow, learn, adapt to new realities, and push beyond their comfort zones.

Cross-cultural competencies: Those who know how to adapt and adjust their communication/collaboration style will have an advantage when working across time zones and with different cultures.

New media literacy: The world of videos, blogs, podcasts, and social media has influenced how we communicate and consume information. Job candidates need to be fluent in digital and social media forms of communication.

It’s unlikely any candidate will be strong in all of these areas; but focusing on these qualities will help you identify those with the greatest potential for the future.

Give a Man a Fish or Teach a Man to Fish?

Are you delegating or training? A delegator is someone who assigns tasks and allocates responsibilities. A trainer looks for ways to give employees additional responsibility; helps them acquire the skills, confidence, and capabilities to succeed; and supports them as they progress.

Managers must do both; but training must happen before and during delegation so employees are equipped to handle their assigned tasks.

It’s true that training is a time-consuming endeavor that entails ongoing monitoring and mentoring. But when you assign someone a task without providing sufficient guidance, coaching, and support, you set them up to fail.

How can you establish a successful system of training and delegating? Before investing in a training regimen, look for those who are truly motivated to move up in the organization and then identify their areas of interest. The next step is to create a development plan for them that zeroes in on the skills they need to advance. Focus on giving them assignments that call for those skills, as well as tasks in areas they might want to explore.

Structure the experience so that they are able to work their way up to more complex and challenging tasks. Be aware that people often need a nudge to focus on their weaknesses.

Keep in mind that taking on employees as apprentices requires effort. Your own productivity may suffer temporarily as a result of the time you spend mentoring others. But when you make this kind of training a regular part of your job, you multiply yourself and ultimately increase your team’s productivity. As the saying goes: teach a man to fish…

How to Plan for a Workplace Evacuation
Your insurance is in place, but is your business logistically prepared should a disaster hit? If you needed to quickly evacuate your workforce, could you do it safely? Do your employees know what to do in an emergency situation?

Too often, small-business owners consider evacuation plans and other disaster-preparedness measures to be tasks that are solely for large corporations. The 2013 Staples’ Business Safety Survey revealed that more than half of small-business employees said they were not prepared for severe emergencies or that safety plans were not often communicated.

The truth is, small businesses are usually at an even greater risk than are large businesses, due to a lack of resources. To protect your people and assets, use the following four-step guide for evacuation planning.

1. Create

Create a pan of action to safely and efficiently evacuate your building. Designate evacuation routes and exits (primary and secondary) for employees. Also designate evacuation wardens. These are employees who have the authority to order an evacuation. Choose one person to be the lead warden and appoint others who can act if that person isn’t available. A good rule of thumb is one warden for every 20 employees.

Once the evacuation routes are established, mark them clearly. Make sure they are well lit and easily accessible. Don’t forget about employees who will need assistance.

The final part of the evacuation should be a regroup plan. Where will everyone meet once they are outside? Designate this location and establish a system for accounting for everyone as they arrive.

2. Communicate

Of course, the best-laid plans are worthless if no one knows about them. Write down the plan. Distribute it to all employees. Keep a master copy on file.

Post maps of the building with evacuation routes clearly marked. Make sure all emergency exits are clearly marked.

Review evacuation procedures with employees to ensure everyone is familiar with the proper protocols. Make this standard training for all employees. As part of their training, include how to assist those with disabilities or special needs during an evacuation. Include basic medical rescue duties as well.

3. Conduct

Once your employees are aware of your evacuation procedures and are trained on how to execute them, practice. Conduct drills regularly to prepare employees for the real deal. Conduct training frequently to ensure new employees have all the necessary information and seasoned employees don’t forget it.

4. Consult

What about after the evacuation? If a catastrophe closed your doors for a few days, do you have a plan in place to reopen them?

To prepare for what you may encounter after an evacuation, consult with your insurance agent. Make sure you have proper coverage in place to protect your business from a disaster. Understand your coverage and review your policy each year with your insurance carrier to make necessary adjustments as your business changes and grows.

Additionally, keep all insurance information in a safe place so you can access it in case of an emergency. Reach out to your insurance provider as soon as possible after an incident to expedite any claims.