business owners insurance

Tornadoes Can Strike in Seconds. Are You Ready?

By The Hartford, reposted with permission

Tornado season is upon us and could bring more storms in the months ahead. In fact, the U.S. experiences the most tornadoes of anywhere in the world.1 Last year alone 1,197 tornadoes tore through the country, costing over $1 billion in property damage.2
While we can’t prevent tornadoes, we can help you craft a safety plan and prepare. And know that if a tornado has damaged your property and you need to file a claim, we’re here to help you online or by phone (800 243 5860).
Before a Tornado
Designate a Shelter
The best shelters are sturdy, windowless spaces with room for you, your family, and pets.
A basement is ideal, though any low level, windowless room works, including closets, hallways, interior stairwells, or a bathtub if you have a heavy blanket or mattress as cover.
Create an Emergency Kit
Be sure your kit includes:
Food & Water Icon   Food and Water for 72 hours, such as canned soup, granola bars, or shelf stable goods, plus a can opener
Whistle Icon   Whistle or horn to attract attention should you become trapped
Flashlight Icon   Battery or generator powered lights to conserve mobile phone power
First aid kit Icon   First aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic, and essential medicines
Radio Icon   Battery or crank radio because cell towers may be down
Money Icon   Important documents, including copies of your ID, insurance information, Social Security cards, a small amount of cash, and other legal documents, such as wills
Pet food Icon   Extra pet food if needed
During a Tornado
Know the signs of a tornado:
  Dark green or sickly looking sky
  Large hail
  Low clouds, especially if they’re rotating
  A roar often compared to a train whistle
If you hear or see these signs, or there’s a local tornado warning, shelter with family and pets.
If you’re far from that shelter, try to find a sturdy community building, such as a church or office building nearby.
If you’re in a vehicle and can’t find shelter, stay inside, and cover your head.
After a Tornado
  Use your horn or whistle, or another implement to attract help if trapped.
  Check your structure’s integrity. If you see cracks, rubble, or fallen beams, exit until it’s deemed safe to return.
  You may need shelter. If so, text "Shelter" and your zip code to FEMA (43362).
  Avoid downed powerlines. Even if they look inactive, wires may still carry a live current.
  Avoid using lighters or flames. Even if you don’t smell gas, there may still be a leak.
  Use generators safely. Vent generators outside. Carbon monoxide poisoning comes fast and can be deadly.
  Monitor the radio. Stay informed and safe by tuning your radio to reliable local news or emergency services.
File your claim with The Hartford
We want to help you get your life back on track as fast as possible. We’ll be there after a disaster – and anytime you need us. You can reach us 24/7 online or at our toll free number 800 243 5860.
Thank you for your business.
Steve Deane Signature
Steve Deane
Chief Claims Officer

Please reach out to the WisMed Assure team at, complete this online form or call 608.442.3810 to explore your insurance options.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as insurance advice related to your specific policy or situation. Please consult with a qualified insurance advisor or professional before making any policy decisionsFull disclaimer and contact information.

Small business claims that can be surprisingly expensive

By Society Insurance Human Resources, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

While running a small business, there’s a decent chance that throughout its course you’ll have to file some sort of insurance claim (often unexpectedly). Whether due to fire, theft, on-site injury or other incident, some experts estimate that 75% of small businesses faced an insurance-worthy incident just last year. Combine that with the fact that around 40% of small businesses are uninsured, and the bigger picture of how disaster affects the bottom line becomes much clearer. But it doesn’t have to completely end your operations. Arming yourself with knowledge and a comprehensive business insurance policy are your first lines of defense against disaster.

Here we’ll go over common types of small business insurance claims, how they affect businesses, and what you can do to prevent them. After all, being proactive is smarter than being reactive. 

Fire Insurance Claims

Fires are a common and costly insurance claim, especially in the restaurant industry. According to the National Fire Protection Association, around 8,240 fires occur at restaurants per year which, on average, result in two deaths, 115 injuries, and over $245 million in property damages. Most restaurant fires occur due to faulty equipment in the kitchen, which is why Society Insurance continues to highlight the  importance of proper maintenance through cleaning and awareness of hazardous materials.

Here are some tips to mitigate your risk of fires:

  • For restaurants: ensure routine maintenance and cleaning of grease traps and ducts is completed
  • Conduct inspections that uncover faulty outlets, frayed wires, and other common electrical hazards
  • Ensure all fire extinguishers are up-to-code and are utilized properly
  • Install a sprinkler system that will protect you in the event of a fire


Injuries in the workplace, whether affecting customers or employees, is another common small business insurance claim. Slips and falls in particular are extremely common, making up about one third of all workplace injuries and accounting for the majority of worker’s compensation claims. In the experience of Society Insurance, slips and falls are both the most common insurance claims as well as the most costly. 

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) estimates that slips, trips and falls cause around 700 fatalities per year in the U.S. Meanwhile, the National Safety Council finds that one workplace injury happens every 7 seconds. 

It’s no secret that accidents happen, but the vast majority of them are preventable by taking the proper precautionary measures. Here are some measures you can take today:

  • Stay on top of housekeeping
  • Ensure that equipment is maintained properly and in a timely manner
  • Keep floors clean and with proper signage when wet
  • For restaurants: train employees on proper cutting utensil/equipment techniques
  • Use the proper ladder and use it correctly


Theft and burglary are common small business insurance claims. Business owners big and small are acutely aware that some people will try to take advantage of them, whether by employee theft, cybercrimes or your standard shoplifter. 

But no matter the source, losses due to theft can have a serious impact on the bottom line of small businesses. While you’re never 100% secure, keeping quality physical and cyber security best practices in place, hiring trustworthy employees, and implementing secure opening and closing routines will minimize your risk of theft and burglary. 

Water Damage

No matter what geographic climate your business is in, it is always susceptible to water damage because it can occur in a variety of circumstances, even ones that are out of your control. Water damage will almost certainly put a halt to business operations, take time and money to fix, and if you ignore the problem or cut corners, you might wind up with structural damage or mold. 

Here are some helpful tips to stay proactive and mitigate your risk of having water damage:

  • Conduct routine equipment inspections on appliances that have water lines
  • Ensure all employees know where the water main is so they can turn it off in the event of a burst pipe
  • Invest in water detection devices that sound an alarm when an abundance of moisture is present
  • Insulate pipes and disconnect outdoor hoses during winter months
  • Maintain the rooftop
  • Clean gutters at least twice per year

Our Speed & Skill Saves You Time & Money

In the event of a disaster that halts your business operations, it’s of utmost importance for you to have small business insurance to protect your assets. Our dedicated claims specialists can quickly assist you in the claims process. Whether it’s sending a claims professional to investigate an accident, locating the nearest repair shop or using one of our many cost containment programs, Society helps take care of the details so you can get back to business.

Please reach out to the WisMed Assure team at, complete this online form or call 608.442.3810 to explore business owners’ and other insurance options.

Reposted with permission from Society Insurance

Winter 2023 Issue

Long-term care insurance – but what if I don’t need it?

By Tom Strangstalien, Insurance Advisor

We all know the risks of a long-term care event devastating our family’s finances as well as our mental and personal well-being. Roughly half of those who reach the age of 65 will require some form of long-term care assistance during their lifetime.

Read more…

Rising health insurance premiums

By Chris Noffke, GBDS, CSFS, Vice President of Employee Benefits

Health insurance premiums are constantly on the rise. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “U.S. health care spending grew 2.7 percent in 2021, reaching $4.3 trillion or $12,914 per person.” Everyone from employees to employers are feeling the squeeze of high-cost premiums.

Read more…

Exercise your financial muscles to get financially fit

By Mark Ziety, CFP®, AIF®, Senior Advisor, WisMed Financial

“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” This ancient advice from Proverbs illustrates the importance of financial fitness.

Read More…

Medicare questions to ask

By Mary Krueger, Medicare Specialist

Before enrolling in Medicare, there are several decisions Medicare recipients need to make regarding their existing coverages or changes in their health insurance needs.

Read More…

Small business claims that can be surprisingly expensive

By Society Insurance Human Resources, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

While running a small business, there’s a decent chance that throughout its course you’ll have to file some sort of insurance claim (often unexpectedly). Whether due to fire, theft, on-site injury or other incident, some experts estimate that 75% of small businesses faced an insurance-worthy incident just last year.

Read more…

How to prevent floods from damaging your business

By Society Insurance Team, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

The continued impact of extreme weather events isn’t lost on businesses: according to one report, businesses can expect to see roughly $13 billion in flood damage in 2022. Tornados, derechos, and severe thunderstorms all threaten billions in damage, but with spring just ahead, let’s focus on how you can protect your business from the threat of flooding.

Businesses everywhere are susceptible to flood damage—so how can they prepare? Below, we’ll cover five flood-readiness essentials that your business should consider.

Use Natural Landscaping Techniques Around Your Business

Large paved areas such as surface parking lots collect water, and only have limited areas for drainage. Plus, if your community is flooding, these drains in your parking lot may be overwhelmed to a point where they aren’t helpful. Surrounding your building with a variety of shrubs, natural grass or bushes can help absorb excess water during floods.

Rain gardens, for example, are a type of landscaping that collects runoff rainwater. They can divide parking lots, flank walkways or be embedded into grassy areas. Additionally, incorporating an appropriate mulch into landscaping around your business can help protect your business’ foundation and exterior by slowing and absorbing water.

A rain garden divides a street and a walkway. Photo via EPA


Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clear

You should clean your gutters twice a year, and spring is one of the best times to do so. Cleaning your gutters ensures they’re clear of debris that could prevent proper drainage. If your gutters aren’t clear, water can collect on your roof or in the gutters themselves, weighing them down and potentially causing costly damage to your building. 

Don’t forget that directing your downspouts and drains away from your business’ foundation is just as important as clearing your gutters of debris. When high volumes of storm water is draining from your gutters, it should be diverted away from your building. If it pools at the base of your building, it can cause significant damage to your building’s foundation. 

Flood-Proof Your Building’s Most Susceptible Areas

The lowest point of elevation in your building should ideally be above the highest point expected in a flood. By learning your building’s base flood elevation (BFE), you can identify the areas of your business that are most vulnerable to floods. From there, you can determine what flood-proofing techniques will be most beneficial depending on your property’s level of risk.

If there are important areas below your BFE, dry floodproofing techniques can involve impenetrable barriers, plates or coatings that prevent flood water from entering your property. On the other hand, wet floodproofing is a technique where highly-durable areas are designed to allow water through, in effect creating a path of least resistance in order to protect your property. 

Dry floodproofing (top) and wet floodproofing (bottom) shown in a residential setting. Illustrations courtesy of FEMA. 

Shore Up Your Foundation

Floods or torrential rainfalls can cause significant damage to your foundation. Water is incredibly powerful; when it seeps into your building, it can expand existing cracks and displace walls. Overall, when a building is subjected to flowing or standing water, the structural integrity can be damaged, leading to burdensome repair or rebuild costs.

Use caulk and other sealants to ensure the locations where pipes enter your building are sealed. Consider hiring a contractor to assess and restore existing damage in your basement or foundation before spring thaws or floods. 

Use Water Detection Devices

Water detection devices can monitor moisture levels around your building. If there’s flooding, they can alert you to areas where water is seeping in so you can triage these places and protect anything that could be damaged before it’s too late.

Be Prepared to Weather the Storms

Spring is a time of new beginnings but it’s also a time of risk: melting snow unable to be absorbed by the still-frozen ground, heavy seasonal rains, and other environmental factors can lead to Spring floods. Being prepared for these risks can be the difference between a profitable spring and a summer spent recovering from it.

Contact Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director, at 608.442.3718 for a quote or with any questions.

Reposted with permission from Society Insurance

What is Inflation Guard?

By Society Insurance Team in 2021, reposted with permission from Society Insurance

In 2021, we’re seeing a unique economic environment. Supply chains have been affected by the pandemic and a few industries experienced weather-related setbacks. This, along with the new challenge of a labor shortage, is not allowing supply to keep up with demand, which leads to inflation.

Lumber is a relevant example and a commodity that has a significant impact on the cost of claims. The cost of claims in 2021 is significantly more than the cost of claims in recent years. This increase may subside quickly, however, economists believe inflation will persist.

What is Inflation Guard?

Inflation Guard is the automatic annual increase in property values on an insurance policy to keep up with rising costs of construction. It provides carriers with adequate premium to pay for losses and provides policyholders with protection against coinsurance penalties if a coinsurance requirement exists. Many insurance carriers apply an annual 4% Inflation Guard increase. If values don’t keep up with the pace of inflation, insurance premiums will eventually have to take a steeper spike upward.

What is Coinsurance?

Coinsurance language in a policy gives an insurance company the right to reduce the amount of a claim payment if the amount of insurance purchased was inadequate.

What Does This Mean for Policyholders & Insurance Agents? 

Policyholders could be underinsured at the time of total loss and find themselves with significant out-of-pocket costs in order to return to normal operations. If a partial loss occurs and the carrier imposes a coinsurance or underinsured penalty, the policyholder would also experience out-of-pocket costs. If the above occurs, there may be errors and omissions lawsuits against the insurance agent.

Does Society Insurance Include Inflation Guard in Policies?

Society Insurance does include Inflation Guard and does not include coinsurance or underinsured penalties in their policies. This provides protection for both policyholders and agents from some of the challenges in managing property values. Maintaining adequate values on insurance policies is critical. Inflation Guard – and annual conversations between insurance agents and policyholders – can fend off trouble.

Contact Brian Fowler, WisMed Assure Account Director, at 608.442.3718 for a quote or with any questions.

Reposted with permission from Society Insurance