Plan for the financial future of your small business

Today we are talking about financial planning for your small business and the role that insurance should play in that plan.

If you own your own business, you already know how important it is to protect what you have worked so hard to build.  Insurance is asset protection and too many owners overlook these key policies:

  • Loss of business income coverage.  This enables you to cover payroll and pay your bills if your business is unable to operate as usual.
  • Employee benefits coverage.  Coverage and benefits that help you hire and retain employees.
  • Key Person Insurance.  Is there one person who is so key to your business that without them the entire business would crash and burn?  If you answered yes, then you need this coverage.
  • Life insurance.  This is a must for family-owned businesses. It can take the stress and financial strain off of grieving family members and ensures that the business can continue to function.
  • Cybersecurity.  Protect yourself and your clients from hackers and data breaches.

David, Philip, and Kathy are experts in ensuring that Hudson Valley small businesses have the tools they need to protect their livelyhood.

We are Hudson Valley Agents.  A full-service independent insurance agency that believes in keeping things local.

#insurelocal  #BOP  #HudsonValley

 

Stress relief for small business owners

Lower Your Small Business Stress for a Happier Holiday Season

The holiday season is once again upon us and if you are a small business owner, you’re likely nervously hoping for a safe and successful season of robust sales.

Since November is Stress Awareness Month and the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, we thought we’d give you a few tips to ease your anxiety while protecting your business.

  • Review your current business owner’s insurance to make sure the coverage for your business contents and your liability are up to date and will cover you if you have a loss.  Some people just ‘let it ride’ as their businesses grow and when a loss happens, they might find they aren’t insured for an appropriate amount.
  • The same for your building if you own the property.  Make sure your coverage reflects your real replacement costs. And check with your tenants to ensure that they are also carrying adequate liability insurance.
  • Make sure your signs and plate glass windows are covered. Many business owners don’t know to insure them specifically because they might not be covered by a general business policy.
    One of our clients had a bar and nightclub open next to her luxury retail store where she had more than 40 linear feet of plate glass as part of her storefront.  She confessed to lying awake some nights wondering if that was the night she’d receive ‘the call’.
  • Consider adding a central station burglar and fire alarm system that will notify the fire, police, or monitoring agency. Maintain fire extinguishers annually and consider installing an automatic sprinkler system. Not only will these help protect your business, you’ll receive credits that will lower your insurance premium significantly.

It may seem like a lot of work, but if you work with your independent insurance agent, he or she can help you navigate through it and find you the best coverage at the best price.

In closing, we’d like to wish everyone a joyful, safe, and successful holiday season from all of us at Hudson Valley Agents.

And relax. We’ve got you covered.

(P.S. If not, give us a call!  We’re really good at this.)

#shoplocal  #smallbizsaturday  #insurelocal

Even artists need insurance

“Art is literacy of the heart”- Elliot Eisner

Today’s blog post was written by Philip Bender-Tymon

Where Creative and Covered Meet
Creative individuals, artists, and freelancers are noticing a new trend in their business dealings with clients.  Many who work with corporate clients, or at institutions or spaces where work is either created or installed on-site, are now being asked to carry general liability insurance.
In today’s lawsuit-prone society, it makes smart business sense for formerly free-spirits to carry at least a basic liability insurance policy.
Say you are a sculptor and your installation at a gallery falls over, seriously injuring a patron. If that patron sues and you have a policy in place, the insurance company takes over the lawsuit, hires the lawyers and conducts proceedings and settlements (if any) on your behalf.
Situations like that are exactly what’s driving requests by gallery owners, government agencies and corporations to request what is called a Certificate of Insurance – or COI – as a proof of insurance coverage.
And fortunately, it’s not expensive.
A variety of options are available for covering anything from a one-day event for as little as $40 to a 12-month policy that might only cost a couple hundred dollars.
Talk to your independent insurance agent about what coverages are available to protect you.
You’ll sleep better – and so will your clients!
#insurelocal  #liabilityinsurance  #HudsonValleyAgents  #WaldenNY  #HudsonValley

Defeat fraud, insurance-style

Identity theft and computer-based scams are on the rise.  And thanks to the Internet, more of our private data has become much easier for criminals to find.

The 2017 Insurance Fraud Study  found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. Consumers in 2016. Over the past six years, identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion.

You cannot always catch these criminals in the act, but you can help reduce the financial impact if you should ever become a fraud victim yourself.

Did you know that insurance carriers offer Identity Theft protection as an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy? Some even include it in their base package premium.

Coverage limits can range from $10,000 to $1 million to help you recover faster and easier.  You can also purchase Identity Theft insurance as a stand-alone policy.

As an actual victim of identity theft, I spent more than $10,000 (in 1998 dollars) on lawyers, documentation, fees, and postage – not to mention lost billable work hours.

Business owners can also protect their business and themselves from fraudulent and other criminal activity through their business and commercial liability coverages.

The Employee Dishonesty endorsement provides coverage for employee theft of money, securities, or property. Other Commercial Crime coverages are available for fraudulent acts including (but not limited to):

  • Forgery or alteration of checks, drafts, promissory notes, or other monetary instruments.
  • Theft of money and securities on and off premises
  • Robbery or safe burglary for loss or damage to property other than money or securities.
  • Computer and funds transfer fraud (Cyber Crime)
  • Money orders and counterfeit money received as payment

These commercial coverage endorsements are fairly inexpensive to add to your policy, but they can be a life and/or business saver when needed.

Talk to your insurance agent today and make sure you have the tools you need to protect what matters most to you!

#insurancefraud  #cyberliabilityinsurance  #insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents

National Insurance Awareness Day

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word insurance as, “A thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.” and Merriam – Webster defines insurance as, “A means of guaranteeing protection or safety.”.   Insurance is our business so we have always defined it by the protection it provides our clients as well as ourselves but not everyone sees insurance the same way.  Today’s blog post is about increasing awareness of what insurance does for you.  We’ll do our best not to speak in the same tired cliches our industry is known for and offer you a fresh perspective on what many think of as a boring industry.

When we asked our staff what aspects of insurance they most wished our clients were aware of they told us this:

Dave Jr, owner of Hudson Valley Agents,  would like our clients to be aware of the fact that insurance “Is highly regulated by the state of NY, that is why it is less expensive in many other states”.  That explains the enormous difference in the cost of auto insurance from state to state.  For questions on this topic, please send an email to davejr@hvagents.com

Kathy would like her commercial clients to know that properly cancelling your policy, rather than allowing it to lapse due to non-payment, will make it easier for you to re-insure with that company again and it can save you money in the long run.  For questions about insurance for your business, please email Kathy at kathy@hvagents.com

 

Ashley handles our personal lines.  She would like her personal auto insurance clients to know that rental car coverage does not mean that you can rent a car while you are on vacation and your insurance will pay for it.  Rental car coverage means that your insurance company will pay for a rental car if your own car has been damaged in an accident.  For questions about personal home or auto insurance, please contact Ashley at ashley@hvagents.com

Philip wishes more business owners were aware of the differences between personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance, and Hired/Non-owned coverage.  If you or your employees routinely travel to deliver goods or services there are policies that protect them and your business should there be an auto accident while en route to a delivery.  Ensuring that you have the proper coverage will save you a headache later on and the coverage is affordable too.  For further information on this, please contact Philip at philip@hvagents.com.

Insurance impacts our lives in so many ways, it is important to understand what your policies cover and what they do not.  We are always happy to share our knowledge, so if you have questions about your insurance, please do not hesitate to contact us, we are always happy to be of service!

#insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents  #NationalInsuranceAwarenessDay

 

What happens when you put 200 insurance agents into 1 room?

What happens when you put 200 independent insurance agents into one room?  They learn from one another and they teach the insurance industry a thing or two.

Everyone is back from the annual SAN Group meeting in Worcester and excited to put their new knowledge to work. Dave Jr and Philip spent their time taking classes,

Speaking to representatives of insurance companies,

They acted silly

And they found some insurance history too-

The insurance industry is always evolving to meet the ever changing needs of their insureds and the independent agents who serve them.  Annual meetings like this help new agents, like Philip, get one on one time with companies and that benefits our clients and our agency.  It also allows insurance companies to learn about changes they need to make from the people who know the needs of their clients.

Our partnership with the SAN Group allows us access to insurance companies that many other agencies are unable to work with.  This partnership allows us to better serve our small businesses with insurance coverage that best fits their insurance needs and budgets.

Are you a small business owner in need of insurance coverage?  Philip, David, and Kathy are ready, willing, and able to give you a free quote!  Call (845-778-2141), click, or just stop by our Walden office today.

#independentinsuranceagency  #HudsonValleyAgents  #insurelocal  #businessinsurance

 

Does your business need a commercial umbrella policy?

 

If you always carry an umbrella with you you are automatically protected from unexpected rain or snow storms, and that is always a good thing.  If your business has a commercial umbrella policy from Hudson Valley Agents then your business is protected from the unexpected and that’s a really good thing!

A CGL (commercial general liability) policy is one part of your BOP (Business Owner Policy) covers these 3 things:

  • Property damage liability & bodily injury liability coverage
  •  Advertising injury & Personal injury
  • Medical payments

A CGL will usually only pay out up to $1,000,000 and that may or may not cover you in the event of a lawsuit.  If you have a commercial umbrella policy that 1 million can become as high as 5 million!

A commercial umbrella policy will not cover things like:

  • Pollution Liability
  • Liquor Liability
  • Directors & Officers Liability

If you have questions about BOP’s, CGL’s, Commercial Umbrella coverage, or Commercial Auto insurance, please contact Kathy or Dave Jr at 845-778-2141.  #insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents  #HudsonValley  #businessinsurance  #assetprotection

 

Meet our staff – Kathy Livingston

Every office should be lucky enough to have someone like Kathy Livingston.  Kathy has been with Hudson Valley Agents since they opened their doors in 1990 and we hope she stays until at least 3220!

This isn’t Kathy’s first bio-blog (& it won’t be her last either!), so this time we had to give her questions that she was not expecting:

1- How long have you lived in the Hudson Valley?  40 years

2- What is your favorite place to visit in the Hudson Valley?  The Christmas Tree Shop & Mt Alvernia

3- How long have you been in the insurance biz? 26 years

4- What’s your favorite song?  It’s a hymn “Go make a difference”

5- What’s your favorite movie?  Romeo and Juliette

6 – If someone made a movie of your life who would play you? Sally Field

7- What is the best part of your day at HVA? When people thank us for saving them money and taking good care of them

Kathy is our office manager, and single-handedly runs our commercial lines.  Stop by our Walden office and say Hi one day, find out why we are the Hudson Valley’s best independent insurance agency!

#employeeappreciationday  #insurelocal  #HudsonValleyAgents

 

 

Welcome to the HVA family, Philip Bender-Tymon

Please join us in welcoming Philip Bender-Tymon to the HVA family!  Philip is an Ulster county resident with firm ties to his community, he is currently the Director of Communications for the Kingston Uptown Business Association and his husband is a local business owner.  Philip has an extensive background in communications and problem solving, and is looking forward to putting those skills to work for our clients.

We were worried that Philip might find the world of an independent insurance agency a little slow compared to his previous life in corporate America, but he assures us that this is not the case,”I’m having a way better time meeting one-on-one with current and future clients and helping them to protect the things they love and treasure.  Not having to set my alarm to 4 a.m. for a conference call to China is a huge bonus.”.

You can contact Philip at our Walden office, 845-778-2141 or via email philip@hvagents.com.  Remember  to eat locally, shop locally, play locally, and insure locally with Hudson Valley Agents!

#welcometothefamily  #HudsonValleyAgents  #insurelocal

Top 5 New Year’s resolutions in the Hudson Valley

There are only 4 more days left in 2016, and for that we are thankful!  2016 has been the year from hell for most of America and we find ourselves looking towards 2017 with hope and a little bit of nervous laughter.  2017 will be welcomed in with hearts filled with the hope that this will be the year we actually keep our New Year’s resolutions.

Making resolutions for the new year is something we have all done and 2017 will be no exception.  An impromptu poll of Hudson Valley residents (we asked our friends and family members) shows that these are the 5 most popular Hudson Valley New Year’s resolutions:

1- Lose 10 pounds

2- Save money

3- Live your best life

4- Shop locally more often

5- Become more organized

Hudson Valley Agents can help you keep 3 out of 5 of these resolutions!

  • Saving money on your insurance is easy, call, click, or stop by for a free quote on all of your insurance needs.  We work with many insurance companies that offer competitive rates and many of them are located on the east coast.
  • We love to shop local and we really love to insure local!  We work with several Hudson Valley-based insurance companies as well as companies based in New York state.  We also offer affordable insurance coverage for small businesses throughout the state.  You can always #insurelocal with us!
  • Organizing your insurance policies is easy with our free app for iPhone and Android users!  Finding your policies, making claims, making payments, even finding your car in a crowded parking lot just became a whole lot easier.

#HudsonValleyAgents #NewYearsresolutions  #insurelocal