Specialized Business Insurance & Risk Management Blog

Found a Negative Online Review of Your Commercial Business? Here’s How to Respond


Respond to a Negative Online Review of Your BusinessA negative online review of your services could discourage other prospective clients from hiring your commercial business.  In a study by Dimensional Research, 88 percent of respondents said they “have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.”  Not so good for your bottom line.  Don’t panic just yet, though – a quick response coupled with some TLC (tender loving care) can help turn a negative review into a positive.

A bad review can happen to even the most reliable service businesses, whether it’s from a dissatisfied client (warranted or not) or a sneaky competitor using a fake name.  Monitoring both social media and service review websites helps you gauge customer satisfaction and your reputation.  It also enables you to showcase your company values to the World Wide Web and do damage control if an online user writes a less-than-stellar review.

Below we provide some helpful response tips for maintaining a positive reputation when an unexpected bad review is written for the world to see.

Step 1: Breathe

Your passion as a business owner makes any feedback more personal.  While it’s normal human response to get defensive, staying positive will get you the best outcome.  Remember, “the customer is always right” (even if they’re wrong).

After seeing a nasty review, collect your thoughts first and then respond in a professional way.

Step 2: Show You Care

It’s important to remember that other prospective clients browsing the web will read your reply.  To make a personal connection with the reviewer, send a private message first, if possible, before posting a public reply.  A thoughtful, prompt response communicating a solution to resolve their complaint can restore your reputation.  Offering a refund or discount on their next purchase doesn’t hurt either.

For example, a reviewer complained about a delay in your cleaning or janitorial service.  Although this delay may have been due to an unavoidable situation, such as an unexpected equipment malfunction or bad traffic, this is the chance to highlight your company values, not to backlash.  Your reply could include an acknowledgement of their complaint, a statement that reinforces your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, and how you will rectify the problem or who to contact for resolution.

Step 3: Take the Good with the Bad, and then Learn from It

Comments about your business on review sites, both positive and negative, can be used to improve your product or service.  Make it a learning experience.  For example, incorporate negative reviews into your employee training with steps to prevent future issues.  Highlight positive reviews to keep up the good work.

Rectifying a negative online review doesn’t end with these steps, however.  If given another chance, make sure the client’s next experience with your business meets or exceeds expectations.  Follow up with them after service to see how it went.  By being responsive and showing you care both online and offline, you can help influence other prospects into becoming clients.

How did you handle a negative online review?





How to Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More Efficiently


Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More EfficientlyAccording to a recent study by The Hartford, four out of ten small businesses will experience a property or general liability claim within the next ten years.  Knowing which steps to take when an unexpected situation happens, including theft, property damage, and injuries, can save you a lot of headache and time.  To get fair resolution of a claim through a more efficient process, prompt response and preparation are required.

Below we’ve detailed the steps that will help you move along the claims process more smoothly.

Before an Incident

Following a risk management plan, including safety procedures, can help prevent a claim from occurring. However, even the most careful businesses can face loss or damages.  For this, preparation is important to ensure you’ll be covered financially.

  • Review your insurance policies so you know exactly what is covered and if these terms fit your business needs
  • In case of a claim, store your insurance policy, including policy number and expiration date, and the contact information of your insurance provider in a safe place

Reporting a Claim

Failure to report theft, property damage, injuries, or other incidents right away drags out the claims process and, if evidence is lost, could compromise how much you’re covered financially.

  • Contact law enforcement to file a police report and request a copy of the report
  • Contact your insurance company to have a claim filed immediately
  • Have a surveillance camera or digital camera readily available for documenting evidence to support your claim
  • Make a list of any stolen or damaged items for your insurance company
  • For any damages, get multiple estimates for repair costs and confirm with your insurance provider when repairs can be made

After a Claim is Filed

Save all copies of the evidence, police reports, and claim information.  When you can, communicate in writing for documentation.  After the claim is filed, there are more steps that may need to be taken to get fair resolution.

  • If you have a business interruption insurance policy, document the length of time your operations are shut down (e.g., from building fire damage) and income lost during that time period for later compensation
  • Ask your insurance provider for a cash advancement if money is needed to get your operations running again before the claim is settled
  • Follow up routinely with your insurance provider to keep track of progress

At NIP Group, our dedicated claims expert reviews each claim routinely to ensure they are being handled properly and promptly.  Through a customer-focused network, we’ll update you about the status of a claim, assist you with loss control, and work directly with the carrier to get you fair and fast resolution.

To get comprehensive coverage specific to your business risks and responsive claims handling support, check out NIP Group’s commercial insurance programs by visiting http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/.

Related Articles:

Will Your Insurance Carrier Be Able to Pay Your Claim?  Here’s One Way to Tell




5 Ways to Save Money on Your Business Insurance Bill

Save Money on Business Insurance

A few simple and quick actions could put more money into your business.  The components that influence the cost of your insurance bill, including your business risks and coverage selection, can be controlled to lower your premium without compromising the quality of your coverage.  With a lower premium to pay each year, there’s more money for you to continue growing your business.

Here are five simple ways to save money on your insurance bill without sacrificing coverage:

1. Implement Safety and Loss Reduction Practices

Control workplace hazards and maintain the working condition of your commercial equipment and vehicles to keep your insurance premium low (and avoid injuries).  With a lower risk of a claim, the lower your premium will likely be (see item #3).

2. Bundle Your Policies with One Carrier

Bundling multiple lines of insurance coverage through one carrier usually comes at a lower cost than purchasing each policy individually through various carriers.  A Business Owners Policy (BOP), for example, can benefit small and medium-sized businesses because it packages major liability and property risks into one insurance plan for a lower premium.

3. Ask About a Claims-Free Discount  

Your carrier may reward you with a discount on your insurance plan if your business hasn’t had a claim in years.  To get this cost benefit, avoid filing small claims that can be paid out of pocket.

4. Increase Your Deductible

A higher deductible can lower the premium you pay annually.  It’s always good to have money set aside, however, in case an unexpected claim does occur.

5. Talk to Your Insurance Broker 

Choose a knowledgeable agent that can help you get the best coverage for you and your business.  Your broker can answer questions about different coverage options and available discounts.

Following these five tips can help you save money to continue growing your business.  At NIP Group, we get businesses custom-tailored insurance coverage at a competitive premium rate to better fit your operational and financial needs.  Visit nipgroup.com/programs or contact your broker to find out how you can save money without compromising the quality of your insurance coverage through NIP Group.




TMPAA Announces 2013 "Program Marketing Campaign" Award Winners

Three Member Agencies Score Highest in Competition Co-Sponsored by the IMCA

Wilmington, DE — The Target Markets Program Administrators Association (TMPAA) announced at their Mid Year Meeting in Baltimore that 20 entries were received for the third annual marketing campaign competition. TMPAA’s co-sponsor, the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA) has sponsored its own marketing and communications “Showcase Awards” for 55 years. IMCA provided a panel of independent judges that reviewed all TMPAA member entries for both creative design and marketplace impact.

The winning member agencies were Venture Insurance Programs from West Chester, PA, K&B Underwriters from Reston, VA and MiniCo Insurance Agency from Phoenix, AZ. Venture’s entry was for its “Suite Life” campaign in support of its hospitality program. K&B Underwriters’ entry featured its multi-media campaign in support of its “DigniCARE” senior living facilities program. And MiniCo’s entry was the launch of its new “Family of Products” campaign featuring a branded icon supporting four of its specialty insurance programs. All three Award of Excellence winners supported their entries with impressive marketplace metrics that achieved desired upfront marketing objectives.

David Springer, TMPAA President, presented the winning award plaques at the recent Mid Year Meeting. The semi-annual association meeting attracted 600 agency, carrier and vendor members. Springer commented, “The TMPAA was thrilled to continue the creative competition in partnership with IMCA. We hope to have even more entries in 2014.”

Additionally, Springer announced that two other member agencies were named runners up in this year’s competition – GMI Insurance from Valley Forge, PA and Willis Programs of Portsmouth, NH.

The Association’s recent Mid Year Meeting was held in Baltimore, MD, May 6-9. Complete details of this event are now on the TMPAA website. The 13th Annual TMPAA Summit is scheduled for October 21-23 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Program Administrators / MGA’s interested in learning more about the TMPAA and the Program Marketing Awards can visit the Association website at www.targetmarkets.com, or contact Ray Scotto, Executive Director, at (877) 347-5700 or ray.scotto@targetmkts.com.

Services To Be Considered While Insuring Interior Landscapers

Interior Landscapers (also known as Interior-Scaping) offer many services to their customers that all come with their own unique risks. When choosing a business insurance policy for an indoor landscaping client, it is very important to note all of the activities that they partake in. Doing so will enable an insurance agent to find a policy that grants total protection to their clients and lowers the landscapers’ risk of getting caught in a coverage gap.

With 20 years of service in the industry, the team at InteriorScapePro has been able to build a scope of the types of services typically offered by these operations:

Most Common Services:

  • Preparation of indoor grounds including:
    • Planting
    • Edging
    • Mulching
  • Installation of trees, shrubs, flowers, etc.
  • Installation of irrigation systems beneath the floor
  • Application of fertilizers

Other Common Services:

  • Nursery Operations
    • Retail or wholesale
    • Growing of ornamental plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs
  • Snow removal

Less Common, But Still Performed Services:

  • Indoor patios
  • Retaining walls
  • Masonry
  • Concrete and cement pouring

Interior Landscapers offer an array of services outside of those commonly known. It is important to note the exposures that landscapers are involved with in order to build them an insurance policy that offers effective risk management. Due to this wide range of services, they need a program that is tailored to their industry to ensure the best protection their business can get.

For more information on interior landscaping insurance, visit InteriorScapePro.

Exposures In Indoor Plant Maintenance and Landscaping

Interior LandscapingThe interior-scape industry consists of indoor plant maintenance and indoor landscape installation contractors. It is in many ways very similar to landscape contracting, save the fact that all work takes place indoors instead of outside.

Operationally, the two industries function in a very similar way. However, by moving work from outdoors to indoors, the risks and exposures change quite a bit. There are some risks that indoor landscaping contractors need to keep in mind that differ from the more conventional outdoor jobs.

Being Indoors Means More People
Doing work inside means there are going to be more people around the work site. This is especially true in commercial buildings like offices or hotels. Hotels are an even greater risk because of the presence of families and children in the complex. It’s simple math, the more people who are around, the higher the chance that somebody could get hurt. Interior landscaping contractors need to keep passers-by in mind during all work activities.

Slip and Fall Risks
If plant maintenance and watering is done poorly, water can seep out onto floors. Indoor flooring, like tile, patio stone, and hardwood, tends to be a lot more slippery when it gets wet than surfaces that would be utilized outside. Slippery surfaces combined with the presence of more people means a greater risk to the contractor of a third party falling and getting injured.

Working in Tighter Proximity
Working inside inherently raises the risk of causing accidental damage around the work site. Anything and everything on a job site can cause damages to the property around it: power tools, building materials, or machinery.

For example, a load of materials is being carried on a pallet and the stack comes loose and it falls onto the floor. Outside, this situation would only mean a mess to clean up as materials are typically placed on surfaces that can’t be damaged, like grass or mulch. Inside, dropping a load off of a pallet can cause a lot of damage to the floor or anything else that gets in the way.

As can be seen by the above examples, although the only difference between interior-scaping and landscaping is their location, landscaping indoors comes with different and sometimes greater risks than landscaping outside. This being the case, it’s not recommended to use a conventional landscaping policy to cover indoor landscapers and plant maintenance contractors. Utilizing an insurance program like InteriorScapePro, which was built from the ground up for indoor plant maintenance and landscaping contractors, will provide greater protection and lessen the likelihood of coverage gaps.

For more information on indoor plant maintenance and landscaping insurance, visit InteriorScapePro.

TMPAA Welcomes New President, David Springer

David Springer is the President and CEO of the NIP Group. NIP Group is a specialized business insurance and risk management intermediary ranked among the 100 largest in the United States. NIP Group has more than 150 employees headquartered in Woodbridge, NJ. Prior to joining NIP Group Mr. Springer held senior positions with AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. and Prudential Insurance Company.

I embrace the opportunity to serve as the Association’s 6th President and look forward to driving the TMPAA on its path of growth and expanded services for members of the group. The TMPAA is fortunate to have a wealth of extraordinarily talented members and it is the collective influence of this forward thinking group that drives the innovative spirit to provide even greater benefit to our membership. In the recent past our group has implemented a new Certified Programs Leader Certification in connection with Target University, completed its second annual Program Business Study, and retooled both the Association website and commercial site, “Target Programs.” I expect to be busy in helping to expand the current set of Program resources, and want to thank our outgoing President, Jeremy Hitzig for the tremendous job he has done over the past two years.

– David Springer

NIP Launches InteriorScapePro Business Insurance Program for Indoor Landscape Installation and Plant Maintenance Risks

NIP Programs, a division of NIP Group, Inc. and a leader in the design and management of specialty insurance programs, has introduced InteriorScapePro, a business insurance program targeting owners and operators of indoor landscaping installation and plant maintenance businesses. NIP Programs is a leader in the design and management of specialty business insurance programs, ranked among the top 100 in the nation.

“InteriorScapePro is the first of our many program launches for the new year,” says Donna Jantzen, President of NIP Programs. “Indoor landscaping and plant maintenance contractors carry unique exposures that differ greatly from those of outdoor landscaping risks.” She adds, “Standard landscaping business policies are bound to leave gaps in coverage. InteriorScapePro bridges these gaps, providing better security to our insureds and a greater value to our brokers. NIP’s deep experience in serving the insurance and risk management needs of a variety of business types enables us to deliver the appropriate coverage, at prices sure to be appreciated by our insureds, and all with exceptional support for our broker partners.”

The InteriorScapePro program offers standard business coverages, such as General Liability, Business Auto Liability, Property, Inland Marine, Umbrella Liability, Crime, and Workers’ Compensation, along with a variety of special coverages including Workmanship Error Endorsement, Pesticide or Herbicide applicator coverage, a Limited Pollution Liability Extension, and more. InteriorScapePro is underwritten in partnership with a carrier partner that’s been rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best.

Says Jantzen, “InteriorScapePro was built from the ground up to provide the most competitive and comprehensive coverage on the market.” She adds, “We’ve taken a very close look at the state of the industry; and by combining our research, the needs of our broker partners, and our more than 20 years of expertise in these classes, we’ve developed a product that provides stellar coverage, service, and value.”

NIP Programs provides independent brokers and their clients with custom-tailored coverage and stability through all market cycles. Backed by A.M. Best “A rated” insurance carriers, NIP’s InteriorScapePro offers a terrific product at an affordable price, while delivering the industry’s best claims-paying ability. For more information on the InteriorScapePro program or to obtain a Broker Kit, contact Andrew Behrens at (800) 446-7647 x 245 or via email at abehrens@nipgroup.com. Submissions can be sent to NIProSub@nipgroup.com or faxed to (732) 791-4097.