State provides new insurance resources for small businesses

Last updated on May 4th, 2022 at 01:38 am

To help small-business owners in their search for insurance, the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has created a new website that assesses some of the insurance coverages they need to consider for their companies.

Some types of coverage are required by law; others simply make good business sense.

“Understanding the different types of business insurance policies can be overwhelming,” said Commissioner of Insurance Sean Dilweg. “Yet the more you know, the better prepared you are to make the right choices.”

The insight available at the new website (oci.wi.gov/smempins.htm) includes:

Health insurance. Providing health insurance for employees is by far the single most expensive benefit offered by employers and is one of the greatest challenges many small businesses face. As small-business owners know, health insurance is extremely important to most employees and is therefore a very powerful benefit in recruiting and retaining good employees. Small employer health insurance is available in Wisconsin from a significant number of insurers and managed care plans.

Worker’s compensation insurance. All employers in Wisconsin, with some very limited exceptions, are statutorily required to have worker’s compensation insurance or be licensed to self-insure for worker’s compensation coverage. Worker’s compensation insurance covers reasonable and necessary medical costs and disability income benefits for employees with job-related injuries and death benefits to dependents of employees whose death is job related. There are over 300 insurance companies licensed to write worker’s compensation insurance in Wisconsin.

Property and liability insurance. Property insurance protects the contents of your business against fire, theft and other perils. Liability insurance protects your assets in the event you or your employees negligently cause bodily injury or property damage to another. Many insurance companies have packaged property and liability coverage into what is commonly called a business owner’s policy (BOP). It allows small business owners to obtain broad coverage with affordable premiums.

Auto insurance. Whether your business owns one car or a fleet of vehicles, automobile insurance protects your business for damage caused to other people or property by your vehicle, as well as damage to your own vehicle. If you’re shopping around for auto insurance, you may want to ask for an insurance quote from several companies before deciding which provider to choose.

The Web page includes consumer buying tips, consumer publications for small employers, a glossary of insurance terms and commonly used acronyms. Also included are links to Web sites that assist business owners in making important decisions about various insurance issues. The small employer Web page can be found at oci.wi.gov/smempins.htm.

Publications such as “Consumer’s Guide to Insurance for Small Business Owners,” “Consumer’s Guide to Worker’s Compensation Insurance for Employers,” “Consumer’s Guide to Commercial Liability Insurance” and “Health Insurance for Small Employers and Their Employees” can be ordered free from the agency by writing to OCI Publications, P.O. Box 7873, Madison, WI 53707-7873, calling 800-236-8517 or visiting the OCI Web site at oci.wi.gov.

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