A Risk Management Process for Your Auto Body Shop, Part 2

We’re back, just like we’ve promised! Last week, we discussed the first half of a strong risk management process  for your auto body shop. In that blog we discussed how to identify, assess and evaluate exposures in the workplace. We know that you have been eagerly awaiting the last two steps. We hope that your guesses were spot on!

This week, we have the remainder of the list. Let’s kick things off at number four:

#4: Control. For those risks that could not be avoided, how can you control the risks in your shop? There are plenty of ways, including: Improved safety features (cameras, fences, extra lighting, locks, etc.), new procedures and policies, safety guidelines, extra training, and more. Also, an effective means of control is to put a safety team in place that will help create procedures and training of employees in the workplace. Finally, set a goal for your business and consider whether the achievement of that goal will carry along with it a safety bonus for the company or that particular department.

#5: Monitor. And now, you monitor. If you and the safety committee continue to monitor what you have already done, you can ensure that all is going as smooth as possible. This would include the review of all incidents in the shop to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to avoid or mitigate the incident from happening again. This is the secret to an effective risk management plan! As long as you continually assess your plan, you may be able to make the appropriate changes or take the right action to avoid any deficiencies or loop holes.

…Did you guess the last two correctly? We sure hope so!

Now, do you know what the best part about this list is? Our agents at Wolpert Insurance are here to help you with it! We do not want to see you struggle to manage your risks properly—we want to help keep your business in the clear. By speaking with our garage insurance agents, you will soon see how easy it is to identify and monitor the risks in your shop—and everything in between.

If something does go wrong, you will have Wolpert Insurance standing behind you. With coverage you can count on, you will have the peace of mind that you deserve. For expert guidance and advice, please reach out to us by calling 800-299-6819. We would be happy to help!

*

A Risk Management Process for Your Auto Body Shop, Part 1

As the owner of an auto body shop, you are no stranger to unique risks.  In fact, risks in your shop can take many forms—from customer-related to employee safety risks.  While it may seem tough to pinpoint them all, it is essential that you do your best. Of course, you have garage insurance in place for the worst case scenario but preventing a claim is much better in the long run—the last thing you need is a rising premium!

Over the next couple weeks, we will show you FIVE STEPS that will help you manage the risks in your shop. This week, we have the first three:

#1: Identify. To identify, you may want to sit down with your business partner, managers and even employees. Brainstorm the risks that your business faces, both internal and external. Risks may include: auto theft, damage to inventory, employee injuries, customer fraud, stormy weather, and more. Once you are aware of those risks, you have completed the first step.

#2: Assess. Next, you will want to asses these risks as a whole. If this seems like a tough process, do not worry! Our agents at Wolpert Insurance are here to help you with this. We can help you determine which risks are the most probable in your shop. You may want to list these from highest to lowest risk, if possible.

#3: Evaluate. Once you have assessed your risks from most to least probable, it is time to figure out whether the identified risks can be avoided, reduced, or mitigated (especially the high-risk ones!) Ask yourself the following questions about each: Is there a way to avoid this risk? How can we reduce this risk? Is there a policy that needs to be in place? Is there NO solution for this risk?

Are you excited to hear what comes NEXT? Be sure to tune into our agency’s blog next week. We will share the two remaining steps! Can you guess what they are?

Key Person Coverage for Your Shop

Does your shop have a key employee? This employee may be your business partner, manager or even YOU! Defined by Investopedia, a key employee is “an employee with a major ownership and/or decision-making role in the business. Key employees are usually highly compensated. They may also receive special benefits as an incentive both to join the company and to stay with the company.” In short, key employees literally are the key to continued success!

Our question to you is this: How could you not protect a key employee with the right coverage?

If something were to happen to this key person, whether a major medical illness, disability or even death, what would happen to your auto shop? Would their loss affect your business? Your finances? Having key person life insurance is critical to avoid a financial disaster. At Wolpert Insurance, we can offer a Split Dollar life insurance plan.

This is a plan to purchase the required personal life insurance at a lower cost through the sharing of premiums by an employer and employee. This will not only help you retain key persons with a fringe benefit, but will also allow you to recover its contributions to premium payments once the policy is surrendered—or in some cases, as a result of a death claim.

There are plenty of advantages to a Split Dollar Plan, including:

•    Taxes may be saved by using corporate dollars
•    You receive life insurance coverage
•    You can recover its premiums paid to the policy

If you are interested in learning more about this type of coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to our agency. At Wolpert Insurance, we are here to guide you through the intricate details of garage insurance. It is our goal to have your garage and auto body shop—and your employees—as protected as possible.

*

The Importance of Umbrella Insurance on Your Garage Insurance Policy

Is your auto body and repair shop under an umbrella yet? Let’s face it: When you own an auto repair business, the chances of an accident or injury are pretty high! Liability issues are everywhere—in and outside your shop. Garage insurance experts, such as ours at Wolpert Insurance, understand that these risks must be managed and included within your program of insurance when appropriate. This is why we stress the importance of an umbrella insurance policy on your garage insurance plan.

Many of you may be wondering: What is umbrella insurance, exactly?

It is a policy that protects your business from liability claims that go above and beyond the liability limits of your standard garage insurance. It is called umbrella insurance for a reason! It will literally shield your business from a financial storm, making sure to protect you even when your liability insurance is exhausted.

We already know what you are thinking next: What does umbrella insurance cover?

It can cover a variety of liability issues, from bodily injuries on your shop’s property to those occurring in an auto accident. In the auto repair business, umbrella insurance is critical to avoid the loss of thousands or even millions of dollars.

Whether you are located in Massachusetts or the New England area, we encourage you to visit us at Wolpert Insurance. Our agents are experts in this niche industry and we have the solutions for your shop. To learn more about our umbrella and excess liability insurance policies, please call 800-299-6819. We look forward to safeguarding your garage!

*

Garage Shop Owners: What Is Succession Planning?

As the owner of a garage and auto body shop, you have a number of responsibilities. While you may be focused on your trade and the work that comes with it, it is important to not forget about the logistics. This week, we would like to take a moment to discuss succession planning and what it means for your business.

So, what is succession planning?

Succession planning is the act of creating a structure for transferring business from one owner to the next. In essence, it brings together a number of critical players in the business, from the owners to partners to key employees and even advisors.

Why is succession planning important?

Succession planning is important; especially at the very beginning of business stages (remember the three that we discussed last week? It begins with an examination of financial, operational and even personal issues within the business. Once all three are looked at, the end result is a succession plan. The benefits of this are endless, including:

•    Improved operations (day-to-day and overall)
•    Boosted profitably and overall growth
•    Stronger relationships between everyone involved

At the heart of succession planning, there is also a buy-sell agreement. It is important that the person who is determined to take over the business has the proper funding and plan in place. A buy-sell agreement can help create a smooth transfer and transition for those who will remain active in the business.

As you can see, ensuring a smooth transition is critical as garage shop owner. Sure, you may only be getting started and are not thinking so far in advance, but planning in advance is STILL important. If you have any questions or concerns about succession planning or even buy-sell agreements, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Wolpert Insurance. We have a highly-educated staff ready and waiting to answer all of your garage insurance questions and concerns.

*