General Liability Insurance Providers
If you were to make a list of all general liability insurance providers, you'd end up with a list hundreds of companies long, since most every insurance company writes some form of general liability insurance for their commercial customers. General liability insurance is an insurance company's favorite type of insurance because there are rarely claimed. In many cases, a business will operate for decades and pay premiums each and every month without fail.
Another great benefit, at least to the insurance company, is that almost any company can justify general liability coverage, and almost every business needs it. Compare those attributes of the general liability insurance market to say, car insurance, where every day there are a great deal of auto accidents, and more claims, paperwork, and more occurrences to investigate. General liability insurance starts to look like an excellent business, doesn't it?
While there may be many different companies that sell this insurance must have, that doesn't mean all are worth your business, and evaluating an insurance company is as important as having insurance in the first place.
Is Your Insurance Policy Worth Its Salt?
General liability insurance isn't an insurance that is “set and forget” so to speak, and although many companies purchase general liability insurance solely to comply with state or local laws and ordinances, general liability insurance is an insurance you'll be happy to have should you ever need it.
The limits of general liability insurance have been tested in recent years, with a number of high profile court cases resulting from disputes over what general liability does and does not cover. Most of these cases were between insurance companies and construction businesses, where it was affirmed by the courts that errors that lead to significant damages were “business risk” and not to be covered by general liability, and other cases were materials used in homes were not the liability of the builder, nor the insurance company, but the maker of the materials.
The cases, as you can imagine, only further blur the line between what is and what isn't general liability. That is why businesses are slowly turning to “all risk policies” where they pay more in premiums for protection from every event. “All risk” is inclusive, involving every possible loss, and is generally legally sound and permissible for virtually any claims against insurance that are not from intentional fault of a business, the owner, or employee.
Work with a Solid Company
Standard and Poor's is one of the world's largest financial rating companies, and one of the most active and important companies when it comes to measuring an insurance company's financial strength. Standard and Poor's evaluates their books, finances, and risks and assigns a rating on each insurance company's financial strength. Generally speaking, any insurance company rated A or better (the scale goes as high as AAA) is said to be financially sound and capable of making payments on claims during long periods of recession, or in the event of a large hit to their portfolio. Often, this rating is also tied to their ability to raise cash through borrowing or other financing methods.
Financial strength, however, is just one piece of the pie. Whenever possible, seek first to work with a company that specializes in your industry. For example, a number of seasonal product distributors offer general liability insurance tailored to the industry's needs. Other insurance companies work solely with food service or restaurant businesses, and target specific areas of interest. A restaurant owner, for instance, may want heavy liability insurance for bar sales but smaller liability for other risks.
Chances are good that you'll never, ever need to file a general liability claim. But chances are also good that you'll be glad you had general liability insurance should you have to make a claim, and even happier when the company who insures you is accountable for protecting your business.