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Summer has come to an end and right around the corner is high-season for many Florida companies. High-season extends from November thru April and for many that means increased business due to the snow birds and tourists returning for the warm weather. Businesses can expect to be serving a population that is nearly 22% larger during these months. The Florida winter season brings with it great reward for business owners, but not without risk. Preparing your business for the influx in population is imperative for a successful season.
Here are the top 5 ways to manage your company’s risk before high-season is here.
- HIRING PRACTICES. As business increases so will the need for more help. When hiring additional staff, business owners should be mindful that management will have less oversight over more workers than in slower times. Proper training will be required to ensure safety guidelines are being followed. Consider promoting a current employee to be an On-Call Manager and use when business needs demand. When hiring temporary employees keep in mind that there are a unique set of guidelines that need to be followed for these workers. Helpful tips can be found on OSHA’s website.
- PROPERTY LIABILITY. This may sound very basic, but keeping your property and place of business free of obstructions and hazards is very important to ensure customer and client safety. Confirming that all common areas are free and clear of debris, painting curbs, and repairing uneven sidewalks is the responsibility of the property owner and/or business. Any steps that lead into a business should be clearly marked so that customers do not trip and fall. Warning signs should also be posted wherever there might be a hazard to customers.
- DRIVING SAFETY. As the roads become more congested with tourists and seasonal residents, driving safely becomes increasingly more important. Employees, who drive company vehicles, whether new or old, should attend a safe drivers training course. Business owners will be held liable for their employee’s driving a company vehicle or even for driving personal vehicles for business purposes. It is also in the company’s best interest to conduct an extensive review of the driver’s history and to obtain a Motor Vehicle Report before hiring a new driver to take on the extra work during high-season. Training for new hires should not be under-valued; bringing awareness to dangerous driving behaviors like texting and driving or other distracted driving habits is a good way to help new drivers stay safe on the roads.
- SUBCONTRACTORS. The thought of High-Season approaching typically encourages businesses to finish up any last minute projects that summer did not allow time to complete. In doing so, many companies may recognize a need to hire out the work to a subcontractor. When hiring a subcontractor always ask for proof of insurance and make certain that the proper indemnification forms are being signed. This form will pass the liability from the contractor or company to the subcontractor. In the event the subcontractor or a patron is injured due to the job then the injury will be the responsibility of the subcontractors insurance.
- INCREASED REVENUE. With increased customers and business, many companies will also see increased profits. Since insurance premiums are based on projected annual revenue, be sure to meet with your insurance advisor as your business sales increase. Your agent can help you manage your risk and budget for any expected increases as your company grows. It is important to discuss any questions with your client advisor as soon as you experience a substantial change.
With all of the excitement and preparation that high-season brings we understand how easy it is to get distracted. We encourage you to evaluate your business for these 5 risks sooner than later. Find peace of mind in knowing you are mitigating your risk and reducing your liability by reviewing your insurance program with a trusted insurance advisor before November 1st. Gulfshore Insurance wishes you a successful and safe season.
Ryan Schmidt is a Client Advisor and Partner with Gulfshore Insurance. Ryan specializes in working with commercial clients, specifically Golf & Country Clubs and Community Associations. Comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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