General liability insurance policies offer financial protection from a host of potential liability risks, but policies themselves do little to actually prevent accidents from happening. If you run a business in Massachusetts, here are some steps your business can take to reduce the risk of potential accidents -- and the likelihood that it has to file a claim against its general liability coverage.
How Can My Business Reduce the Risk of Having a General Liability Insurance Claim?
1. Keep Parking Lots and Sidewalks Clear of Snow and Ice
Winter in Massachusetts is long, bringing several months of snow and ice. During winter, be sure to keep any parking lots and sidewalks that your business’ customers and vendors use free from snow and ice. Shovel surfaces multiple times a day when necessary, and use rock salt liberally to reduce how slippery walkways are.
Keeping parking lots and sidewalks free of snow and ice should help reduce the likelihood of someone slipping on the way to or from your business. A fall on ice could result in serious injuries, and it may lead to a sizeable personal injury lawsuit against your business.
2. Promptly Clean Up Spills
Similarly, make sure any spills are promptly cleaned up. Spills may not be as slippery as ice, but customers and vendors can still slip on them -- especially when a spill is in an innocuous place and people are in a hurry.
If someone does slip, fall, and get hurt because of a spill, your business might be held responsible for the incident. After all, there may be good chance an employee caused the spill in the first place. Minimize the risks spills pose by quickly cleaning them up whenever they occur.
3. Develop and Implement Safety Protocols
Developing and implementing safety protocols can protect your business against general liability claims in two ways.
First, well-designed safety protocols will make your business a safer place to work. This ought to have a direct impact on the chances of customers and vendors being injured, which reduces the likelihood that your business will face a general liability coverage claim.
Second, official safety protocols might help your business develop a defense if it is involved in a general liability coverage claim. If a qualifying lawsuit is filed against your business, having a record of the safety protocols your business follows -- and evidence that they were followed in the incident in question -- might help prove that your business took reasonable steps to reduce the risk that customers and vendors faced.
4. Work Only with Insured Vendors
In most cases, any third party can file a general liability suit against your business. This typically includes both customers and vendors. While businesses normally can’t require customers to carry their own insurance, your business can elect to work only with vendors who have their own insurance policies.
Working with vendors who maintain their own insurance coverage can help reduce the likelihood that they file a claim against your business’ general liability insurance coverage. For, if they have their own insurance coverage, there may be less incentive to seek compensation from your business.
To begin working with only insured vendors, simply make this an official company policy and request proof of insurance from the vendors your business works with. Vendors shouldn’t have trouble furnishing certificates of insurance or copies of their policies.
Make Sure Your Massachusetts Business Has Robust General Liability Insurance
Even with these measures in place, your business may one day face a general liability claim or lawsuit. Make sure your Massachusetts business has robust general liability insurance in place in case it does. An independent insurance agent can help you select a policy for your business.