Is summer your busy season? For many types of businesses, summer ushers in a wave of new customers and increased earnings. Travel, retail, restaurant, construction, outdoor and tourism industries, we're looking at you! However, increased activities and changing weather patterns can also introduce a new set of challenges and risks for your business.
Nobody wants to cash in their high-season earnings on a lawsuit or a claim from an unexpected summer risk. Navigate the most common insurance risks you're likely to face this time of year and ensure your business is adequately protected.
Recognizing Summer Risks
The summer months bring longer days, warmer weather, and often a surge in business activities. However, this season of growth can also usher in a unique set of risks that could potentially impact your business. Recognizing these risks is the first step towards protecting your business and ensuring smooth operations.
Increased Foot Traffic
With the arrival of summer, many businesses in the retail, hospitality, and food service sectors see an increase in customer volume. This influx can heighten the risk of accidents, such as slips and falls, which could potentially lead to liability claims.
Taking Business Outdoors
Summer is synonymous with outdoor events and activities. Businesses may host outdoor sales and events or expand their operations to outdoor settings (like restaurants adding patio dining). While these activities can boost your business, they also introduce new risk factors or increase existing risks for property damage and third-party injuries.
The rise in temperatures can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses among employees, particularly for those in construction, landscaping, or other outdoor occupations. These situations could potentially lead to workers' compensation claims.
Severe Weather Conditions
Depending on your location, summer might bring severe weather conditions like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, or thunderstorms. These weather events can cause significant property damage, business interruption, and in some cases, liability issues.
While not solely a "summer-season" risk, the vacation season often sees an uptick in cybercrime as employees may let their guard down while working remotely or neglect to implement proper cybersecurity measures in their haste to prepare for time off.
Essential Insurance Policies for Summer
Understanding the risks unique to the summer season is essential, but knowing how the right insurance policies can help manage these risks is equally crucial. Below are some key insurance policies that become particularly relevant during the summer months:
General Liability Insurance
With increased customer volume and outdoor activities, the risk of third-party injuries or property damage escalates. General liability insurance is designed to protect your business by covering legal costs, medical payments, and any settlements if someone gets hurt or their property is damaged because of your business operations.
Commercial Property Insurance
Summer can bring about a host of severe weather conditions, from hurricanes to wildfires. Commercial property insurance protects your business by covering the costs of repairing or replacing your business property if these weather events damage it.
Business Interruption Insurance
Severe weather conditions could also force your business to temporarily shut down, leading to significant revenue loss. Business interruption insurance can compensate for lost income during the shutdown period, helping your business recover more quickly.
Workers' Compensation Insurance
Workers exposed to high summer temperatures, especially those in outdoor occupations, could be at risk for heat-related illnesses. Workers' compensation insurance ensures that if an employee suffers a work-related injury or illness, their medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages are covered.
Cyber Liability Insurance
As employees might work remotely during the vacation season, the risk of cyberattacks or data breaches may increase. Cyber liability insurance helps cover costs associated with a cyberattack, including data recovery, customer notification, and even legal costs or settlements from customer lawsuits.
By equipping your business with these insurance policies, you can ensure that you're covered against the most common summer-related risks. It's always a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable insurance broker who can tailor your coverages to your business's specific needs.
Special Risks for Seasonal Businesses
While all businesses face certain risks during the summer months, some sectors see a significant increase in their operations during this season, leading to unique risks.
Businesses offering tourism services, such as hiking, boating, or sightseeing tours, are usually in full swing during the summer. These operations come with inherent risks, such as injuries to guests or property damage. Carrying General Liability Insurance is a must for anyone operating in the tourism industry. Consider adding specific coverage for any unique risks related to their activities.
Landscaping and Gardening Services
The summer is prime time for landscapers and gardeners. With employees working outdoors, these businesses face a heightened risk of heat-related illnesses. Additionally, the use of heavy machinery could lead to accidental property damage. Having a comprehensive Workers' Compensation Insurance policy, as well as General Liability Insurance, is crucial.
The construction industry often sees a surge in projects during the summer months. This can lead to an increased risk of on-site accidents and project delays due to severe weather conditions. Construction businesses should review their coverage to ensure they have adequate protection, including Contractor General Liability, Tools and Equipment, and Builder's Risk coverage.
Outdoor Event Planners
From weddings to corporate retreats, event planners are in high demand during the summer. However, this also exposes them to risks such as event cancellation due to inclement weather, property damage, or injuries at the event site. Special Event Insurance can provide coverage for these and other event-related risks.
Seasonal businesses might need to adjust their insurance coverage to account for the increase in operations and risks during the summer. Discussing these changes with an insurance broker who understands the specific needs of seasonal businesses is advisable.
Extra Tips to Safeguard Your Business
While having the right insurance coverage is essential, proactive risk management can go a long way in protecting your business during the summer months. Here are some strategies and best practices for businesses to consider:
Prioritize Employee Safety Training
Training your employees on safe work practices is crucial, particularly for those working outdoors in high temperatures. This can include understanding signs of heat-related illnesses, the importance of regular hydration, and wearing protective clothing.
Conduct Routine Maintenance Checks
Regularly inspect your business premises and equipment to spot potential hazards before they result in accidents. This can be particularly important if you're expecting increased foot traffic or if your business equipment is more heavily used during the summer months.
Have an Emergency Response Plan
Develop a comprehensive emergency response plan for severe weather conditions. This should include a plan for evacuating your premises, protecting your property, and communication strategies to keep your employees and customers informed.
Don't Neglect Cybersecurity Measures
Ensure that your employees are aware of the increased risk of cyber attacks during the vacation season. This can involve training on spotting phishing attempts, securing their devices while working remotely and adhering to company data handling and security guidelines.
By implementing these strategies, you may be able to reduce the likelihood of accidents and potential insurance claims. Remember, prevention is often the best policy when it comes to managing risk.
Remember, insurance isn't just a cost -- it's an investment in the continued resilience and prosperity of your business. Take the time to review your insurance policies with a qualified broker to ensure you are adequately prepared for the summer season. Then enjoy the sunny and profitable days ahead, knowing your business is well-protected.