As the owner of a real estate agency, you have worked hard to build up your business, establish your reputation in the industry, and attract clients. But in order to continue to grow your business, you need a risk management plan that allows you to take calculated risks.
Keep reading for tips that can help you create a comprehensive risk management strategy, and to learn more about the coverages that can catch your real estate or title business when your best laid plans don't offer enough protection.
Risk Management Tips for Real Estate and Title Businesses
As a real estate professional specializing in selling real estate, managing property, or appraising property, you are well aware of how many external influences can affect the growth of your business. Between the fluctuating market and working with clients and sellers, there are a lot of variables in play at any given moment. So if an accident happens or a natural disaster strikes, you will have another situation to content with! And without the appropriate safety measures (including business insurance coverage) in place, your business could be hard-pressed to keep its doors open.
Unfortunately, accidents, property damage, and liability lawsuits are all too common today, which is why a solid risk management plan is imperative to every small business's survival. To make sure your business is prepared to handle the unexpected costs of lawsuits and other liabilities, here are four business protection tips you can implement immediately.
#1: Assess your liability risks.
Assess your liability risks.
Because you regularly work with clients and invite visitors into your office, your business is exposed to third-party bodily injury risks. For example, when someone enters your business and is injured on your premises, they could sue you for medical expenses and related damages. As these kinds of accidents are usually unpredictable, it's best to have a General Liability Insurance policy in place to cover the costs of defending your business in court and settlement expenses.
As a real estate agent, you also help your clients make one of the biggest investments most will ever make. And since your homebuyers trust you to give them sound advice on that investment, things can get sour if they feel you led them astray. To address the risk of a disgruntled client suing your business for the services you delivered, be sure you have adequate Professional Liability Insurance (or Errors & Omissions Insurance). If a client alleges your real estate business was professionally negligent, made mistakes or oversights, or failed to perform professional duties, your insurance policy can cover lawyer's fees, court settlements, and more.
To ensure you have adequate coverage limits, conduct a risk assessment well before you will need either policy. In the case of E&O Insurance, your policy needs to be active both when an incident occurs and when a claim is filed in order to receive coverage. This is why most real estate companies purchase a Professional Liability policy and keep it active as long as their business is open.
#2: Prepare for emergency situations.
Prepare for emergency situations.
Liability lawsuits aside, your business could take an unexpected financial hit in the form of property damage, theft, or loss. To protect the business assets you rely on to conduct your services — from laptops and computers to files, office space, and furniture — it's best to have a plan in place in case disasters strike. For example, to prevent property loss due to a fire, you may consider storing important files in fireproof cabinets. Also, you may consider keeping backup copies at a secure location away from your office.
Insuring your business essentials against loss or damage due to fire, burglaries, and tornadoes is also a wise safety measure. That way, if an unexpected disaster destroys your equipment and your office space, your Property Insurance policy can offer the funds you need to replace your items and make repairs to your space.
#3: Protect your employees.
Protect your employees.
In the relative safety of your real estate or title office setting, an accident may seem like a remote possibility. However, your employees can suffer work-related injuries in unexpected ways. If they lift heavy file boxes, they could throw out their backs. Hours typing at their desks can lead to repetitive motion injuries. And if your real estate agents show property at odd hours alone, they could face bodily assault should someone attack them.
To ensure your employees are safe while performing their work duties, take a proactive stance on their wellbeing. This may include safety training sessions that teach basic self defense techniques or proper lifting strategies for heavy items. You may also consider investing in ergonomically designed furniture. Additionally, proper Workers' Compensation Insurance can cover the cost of your employees' work-related medical expenses when an incident does occur.
#4: Understand your coverage.
Understand your coverage.
Ensuring your business benefits from its insurance policies means you must read the fine print. Not all insurance policies are created equally. Each comes with its own deductibles, exclusions, premiums, limits, and conditions. So before you ever sign off on a policy, take the time to thoroughly read it, and ask questions if you need to. When it comes time to file a claim, you want the assurance that your policy will provide the protection you think it does.
If you are new to the world of business insurance, our insureon agents are happy to advise you and answer any questions about our real estate business coverages.
Business Protection Plans for Real Estate and Title Agencies
Risk prevention is only half the battle when it comes to protecting your business. The next step is creating a plan that addresses those accidents, incidents, and lawsuits that you can't prevent. For situations outside of your control, you can count on your business insurance to bear the financial burden of unforeseen events.
To make sure your business can weather a financial hit as a result of liability lawsuits, property damage, or employee injuries, get a business insurance quote today. Depending on your business protection needs, we may be able to send you competitive quotes in minutes.