If you own a small business in the Wyoming , this information will help you understand Wyoming Commercial Liability insurance and protect your business and your personal assets from legal claims and settlements that can spell financial ruin. Whether you work in Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie, Gillette, Rock Springs or anywhere else in the Equality State, having sufficient commercial liability coverage is an important part of any small business plan in Wyoming.
Fast Facts About Wyoming Small Business
A small business is defined as any company with fewer than 500 employees. Small business is vital to Wyoming’s economic well-being, accounting for over 96% of all state employers. Of Wyoming’s 60,855 small businesses in 2008 (the latest data available), 17,461 were small employers, accounting for more than 65% of the state’s private-sector jobs. Another 43,394 were sole proprietorships with no employees.
Source: SBA Wyoming Small Business Profile 2011.
About Commercial Liability Insurance for WY Businesses
Commercial liability insurance (also called business liability insurance and commercial general liability insurance) protects your Wyoming business from financial loss resulting from claims of injury or damage cause to others by you or your employees. A policy typically covers:
Bodily Injury – physical damage to a person other than an employee at your place of business and injuries caused by you or an employee at a client’s home or work place.
Personal Injury – libel, slander, copyright infringement, invasion of property or privacy, wrongful eviction, false arrest and similar acts that cause damage to a person’s reputation or rights.
Property Damage – damage done to another person’s property by you or an employee in the course of conducting your business.
Advertising Injury – losses caused by your advertising
Legal Defense and Judgments – costs to defend against real and frivolous suits and judgments up to the limit of your coverage. Note this generally does not include punitive damages for negligence or willful misconduct.
Wyoming Minimum Business Insurance Requirements
Commercial Liability Insurance is not mandatory for businesses operating in Wyoming. Wyoming is a modified comparative fault state. A plaintiff must be no more than 50% at fault to seek damages and recovery is reduced based on degree of fault. There is no cap of personal injury awards in Wyoming. The statute of limitations for personal injury with negligent conduct and for product liability is 4 years. Accidents and lawsuits (legitimate and frivolous) do happen in Wyoming. If you own property or other valuable assets you would be wise to invest in sufficient commercial general liability coverage for your Wyoming small businesses.
How Much Wyoming Commercial Liability Insurance Should You Carry?
Each situation is unique, but as a general guideline, the type of Wyoming business you operate or products you manufacture should determine how much Wyoming commercial general liability insurance you need. A good rule of thumb for most small businesses is between $500,000 and $1 million. However, if yours is a high-risk business such as the building trades or has a high volume of interaction with the public such as a restaurant or retail business, you should consider increasing your coverage. Note that if you operate out of your home, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance has limited coverage for business liability and loss.
How Are Premium Costs Assessed
Wyoming commercial liability insurance premiums are based on a number of factors including the types of service or products you provide, the number of people you employ, how long you’ve been in business, and your claims history. Coverage is typically capped at a specific dollar amount for your policy period.
Other Insurance to Consider for Your Wyoming Small Business
Wyoming requires that all employees working in any industry deemed hazardous must be covered by workers compensation insurance. These industries include mining, utilities, construction, manufacturing and wholesale trades. Other businesses can elect whether or not to provide workers compensation. Sole proprietors with no employees are not required to carry workers compensation. Contact the Wyoming Department of Services for details of exemptions and compliance.http://doe.wyo.gov/
Wyoming requires that all drivers carry minimum automobile insurance. If you use your car or truck for business, it is recommended that you purchase a commercial vehicle policy.
The SBA is an independent agency of the federal government created to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns and maintains a District Office in Casper. Get the link to the Wyoming SBA at http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-list/
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
This is an organization of insurance regulators from the 50 states, District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. NAIC provides a forum for the development of uniform policies when appropriate. It also offers an online form for filing complaints, reporting suspected insurance fraud and downloading key financial information about insurance carriers at http://www.naic.org/cis.
Insurance Information Institute (III)
This organization’s mission is to improve public understanding of insurance – what it is and how it works. Visit III at http://www.iii.org.