Funeral Director Insurance Alaska Policy Information
Funeral Director Insurance Alaska. Funeral directors have the critical job of arranging and managing most aspects of funeral services, including preparing the decreased for their final resting place.
Funeral directors or morticians prepare deceased bodies for burial or cremation. The director will work with the family or friends of the deceased to plan services.
This may include transportation of the body to the funeral home for preparation and embalming, the sale of caskets, urns, and memorial items, funeral services at any location chosen by the client, transportation of the body, flowers, and family members to the cemetery or crematorium, notification to the local newspaper, and submission of any required documents with regulatory authorities.
Drive-through viewings and live streaming of funeral services are becoming more common.
Individuals may discuss their preferred funeral arrangements in advance with the funeral director, who may offer a pre-payment option. Purchase of a pre-need contract places a long-term fiduciary responsibility on the funeral director.
These businesses, which are frequently family-owned and managed, may help the deceased family with paperwork, arrange for the casket or urn the family has chosen, prepare the body by embalming and dressing it, and arrange for transport to the cemetery or crematorium.
Families who have recently lost a loved one can rely on these skilled professionals during a difficult time, and there is no question that funeral directors perform an invaluable service. Because funeral homes also, like any other commercial venture, face a rage of risks, it is crucial for them to take steps to ensure that their business can overcome any unforeseen circumstances that may come their way.
What kinds of funeral director insurance Alaska coverage may help achieve this goal? Read on...
Funeral director insurance Alaska protects your business from lawsuits with rates as low as $47/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do Alaska Funeral Directors Need Insurance?
Funeral directors need to invest in excellent insurance for a variety of reasons - to meet legal requirements and to satisfy lender conditions, but also simply to protect their business from devastating financial losses in the face of major perils.
Like any other business, AK funeral homes are vulnerable to threats that could damage or destroy their premises and the assets within it. Acts of nature, like wildfires, hurricanes, or earthquakes are examples of perils that can can cause extreme damage and immediately force you to close temporarily.
Theft, vandalism (which, in the worst cases, includes arson), and accidents are other perils that could lead to significant costs. Equipment vital to your business, such as cold storage, may also suddenly break down and need to be replaced or replaced.
Funeral homes also have to contend with significant liability risks. In this branch of commerce, employees may be exposed to hazardous substances such as formaldehyde, or to pathogens due to contact with deceased persons.
If you were to make a mistake in your work, a family who hired you to manage their loved one's funeral could also file a lawsuit, leading to massive expenses. Keep in mind that such claims can be filed even if you carried your duties out responsibly, and the lawsuit later proves to be groundless.
Only by carrying the correct funeral director insurance Alaska policies can businesses in this industry ensure that their company can survive these, and other, major threats - and that is why it is so important to evaluate your coverage carefully.
What Type Of Insurance Do AK Funeral Directors Need?
The precise insurance coverage that will optimally protect your funeral home from circumstances beyond your control depends on factors like the jurisdiction where you are based, the range of services you offer, and your number of employees.
This means, in essence, that no two AK funeral homes will have the exact same insurance plan. That is why it is vital to consult a reputable commercial insurance broker who is deeply familiar with your field.
Among the types of funeral director insurance Alaska coverage required are, meanwhile:
- General Liability: This broad form of liability coverage is essential to almost any business, as it will safeguard you against financial losses associated with third party bodily injury or property damage claims. Your attorney fees and settlement costs can both be covered.
- Professional Liability: Professional liability insurance for funeral directors serves the purpose of protecting you in the event that a client files a claim alleging professional negligence or harm. Even if such allegations are false, lawsuits are accompanied by massive legal costs if you are underinsured.
- Commercial Property: This type of funeral director insurance Alaska covers you if your commercial premises are impacted by varied perils, including acts of nature, theft, and vandalism. It will cover the costs of damage to your building as well as the assets therein.
- Workers Compensation: Were an employee to sustain an occupational injury or illness, these policies cover their medical expenses, whether short- or long-term. If they lose income due to related work absences, that, too, is covered.
While these kinds of funeral director insurance Alaska coverage are important, you may also require equipment breakdown insurance (to cover the costs of sudden equipment malfunction), commercial auto, and cyber security insurance, to name a few examples.
A commercial insurance broker will be able to advise you further, based on your individual circumstances.
AK Funeral Director's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is high as people entering the location to arrange and attend funerals are often in a fragile emotional state and may be unaware of their surroundings, or they may have physical impairments. The rooms and halls must be free of obstructions, and floor coverings must be in good condition. The number of exits must be sufficient and well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure.
There should be sufficient personnel to direct and assist, and they must be able to handle emergency situations. Parking lots and sidewalks must be kept free of ice and snow and must be in good condition. Lighting should be sufficient for the situation.
Visitors may bring food into a designated area, which needs to be kept clean. If there is a playroom for children, it must be supervised at all times. Additional security may be required for high-profile funerals.
Off-premises exposures include visits to clients' premises and conducting services at houses of worship, event centers, homes, and gravesites. Equipment used during services can pose a tripping hazard.
Professional liability exposure is high. While damage to a body is considered property damage, any improper handling can result in emotional distress to the family. The funeral director should comply with FTC regulations regarding itemization of prices for any services rendered.
There should be excellent documentation regarding identification and handling of the deceased and any personal effects. The family's wishes concerning all aspects of the body handling must be documented, signed, and strictly followed. There should be procedures on checking latches on the casket and on the hearse.
Should cremation or other services be outsourced, the funeral director should be sure there is adequate liability coverage in place from the outsource vendor. Arranging transportation of bodies over long distances could result in a body being unusable for open-casket viewing.
There may be allegations of breach of contract, discrimination, fraudulent misrepresentation, invasion of privacy, theft of the deceased's organs, and unfair trade practices.
Environmental impairment exposure is high due to the potential for air, surface, or ground water, or soil contamination due to the toxic and corrosive impact of the embalming fluid and waste materials such as blood. The director must adhere to all federal and state guidelines for proper disposal.
Workers compensation exposure can be high due to the handling of bodies. Common injuries include cuts, puncture wounds, slips, trips, falls, foreign objects in the eye, and back injuries from lifting and preparing bodies. Musculoskeletal injuries can result from working in awkward positions or massaging limbs or facial muscles into place for viewing.
The use of chemicals can result in serious eye, skin, and lung injuries. Some chemicals, particularly formaldehyde used in embalming fluid, are toxic. Employees must be fully informed as to the potential effects of any chemicals, including long-term occupational disease hazards, so that they can take action as quickly as possible. Embalming operations require employees to wear gloves and masks to prevent contamination from bodily fluids, particularly blood, which can transmit communicable diseases.
Adequate ventilation is needed to carry formaldehyde fumes outside. There may be repetitive motion injuries from ongoing work with embalming equipment due to vibrations. Those transporting bodies to and from the funeral parlor, cemetery, or crematory can be injured in automobile accidents.
Property exposure consists of offices, a retail display area for caskets, urns, and memorial items, body preparation area, and viewing rooms. Ignition sources include electrical equipment, heating, and air conditioning. If the funeral home is located in a converted dwelling, all heating, cooling, and electrical wiring must meet current codes.
Furnishings are highly susceptible to smoke, water, and fire damage. Caskets are often wooden and lined with fabric that will help feed a fire.
If embalming takes place on premises, the embalming fluid should be stored in small quantities and kept in an approved cabinet due to its corrosive and toxic nature. There should be adequate ventilation to prevent the buildup of chemical vapors, which can ignite.
Theft can be a concern, as the embalming fluid has become an attractive additive to marijuana. Security is important to prevent unauthorized entrance to the premises.
An on-premises crematory increases the exposure to fire due to the extremely high temperatures required to consume a body. There must be adequate clearances as the flue exits the chimney and controls in place to prevent overheating. Fuels used for crematory ovens include liquid petroleum, natural gas, or home heating oil. These must be stored in approved containers.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the funeral director offers credit, bailees customers, audiovisual equipment if services are live-streamed, computers for recordkeeping and online obituaries, special floater, and valuable papers and records for customers' and suppliers' information.
Bailees customers exposure is from taking custody of the body of the deceased and any personal items that accompany it, such as clothing or jewelry, plus personal items belonging to family and friends that are left in the funeral director's office or other designated area during visitations and the funeral.
Equipment used off premises to conduct the funeral, such as at a church or the deceased's home, should be covered with a special floater. Duplicates of all records should be made and kept off site.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty. Background checks should be conducted on all employees handling money. There must be a separation of duties between persons handling deposits and disbursements and reconciling bank statements. Regular audits should be conducted, particularly if prepaid policies have been sold.
Business auto exposures include transporting the body to the funeral home, then driving the hearse, flower car and other vehicles supplied to the family for funeral services. All traffic rules must be observed while vehicles travel in a funeral procession.
Additional services such as long distance body transport or emergency body pickup may be offered. All drivers must have the appropriate licenses and be aware of any local ordinances regarding funeral processions. Side trips should not be permitted.
MVRs should be ordered on a regular basis. Vehicles must be regularly maintained with documentation kept in a central location.
Garagekeepers liability exposure is moderate if the funeral director offers valet parking or places visitors' vehicles in line for funeral processions.
Funeral Director Insurance Alaska - The Bottom Line
To protect your business, employees and the people you help, having the right funeral director insurance Alaska coverage is essential. To see what options are available to you, how much coverage you should invest in and the cost - speak to a reputable commercial insurance agent.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Professional Services Insurance
Get informed about small business professional services insurance, including Professional liability, aka errors and omissions (E&O insurance), that protects your business against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client financial loss.
- Answering Service
- Armored Car
- Attorney Lawyer
- Background Music Services
- Business Consulting
- Chemical Engineers
- Civil Engineers
- Claims Adjuster
- Commercial Laundries
- Commodity Broker
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Credit Bureaus
- Debt Collection Agency
- Detective Agency
- Diaper Services
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Consultant
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Planner
- Financial Services
- Funeral Directors
- HR Consultant
- Inspection Bureaus
- Insurance Agents & Brokers Insurance
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Office Machine Repair & Maintenance
- Piano Tuners
- Project Management
- Safety Consultants
- Speakers Bureaus
- Temporary Staffing
- Tax Preparer
- Title Abstractors
- Valet Parking
Let's face reality. People today are claims conscious, resulting in a significant share of malpractice lawsuits against professionals.
Liability resulting from the rendering of or the failure to render professional services is excluded in most liability coverage forms. This means that a policy covering a account's or lawyers' office will cover liability arising out of the maintenance or use of the premises, but specifically exclude liability arising out of the rendering of a professional service or the omission of such a service.
In addition to the professions in which actual physical or mental injury may be caused to clients, certain other professions are exposed to claims for malpractice.
Claims may be brought against lawyers, accountants, architects, and similar professional persons for errors or omissions in their professional capacity. Errors & Omissions insurance pays damages that might be awarded to a plaintiff alleging professional negligence.
Professional liability policies are made available to such risks, and these policies provide essentially the same protection as is afforded under the physicians, surgeons or dentists professional liability policy.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Money and Securities, Special Floater, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also find AK local small businesses by General Liability Class Code and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.