Real Estate Agents Insurance Massachusetts Policy Information
Real Estate Agents Insurance Massachusetts. Real estate agents list, advertise, promote or arrange the sale of real property or land for a seller or locate properties to purchase for a buyer. The agent often helps negotiate the price and conditions of the sales transaction. Real estate agents traditionally work on a commission basis, but fee arrangements are becoming more common. A real estate agent enters into a contractual relationship either with a buyer seeking to purchase property or with a property owner seeking to sell or lease a property. Some states permit an agent to represent both the buyer and the seller in a transaction.
The agency may work only through employees or through independent contractors. The status of each must be determined since it may impact how coverages apply. Real estate agents may offer other services including insurance sales, mortgages, or valuations. In most states, real estate agents need to successfully pass an exam and maintain a license. Many states have reciprocal agreements allowing a licensed real estate agent to work in other states.
If you are a real estate agent, you are not immune from liability during the course of your business' operations, even if you work from home. A business owner's policy, or BOP policy, provides the protection you need to face lawsuits and claims against your business without sacrificing your business' reputation and finances. In your line of work, you likely face specific risks, including property damage, data loss, employee errors, and accidents. With a business owner's or real Estate Agents insurance Massachusetts BOP policy, you can mitigate those risks and protect your business' assets.
Real estate agents insurance Massachusetts protects your office from lawsuits with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
What Can a Business Owner's Policy Do For Your Business?
This real estate agents insurance Massachusetts combines three basic coverage types into one policy, making it easy to choose the coverage level that your business needs and stay protected without a lot of research into specific policy types. As a real estate agent, you likely know that you face inherent perils every day. You may damage a client's home while showing it, or a customer may walk into your office and trip over a throw rug. Finding the right level of insurance protection for your business while avoiding unnecessary coverage is a smart move and a big part of running a successful real estate business. With a BOP policy for your real estate business, you can enjoy the benefits of three necessary business insurance policies in one streamlined package. The most common coverage types included in most BOP policies are:
- Liability coverage. Protect yourself from liability in your own building or when you're showing properties to others with this type of coverage, which comes standard in most BOP policies. This coverage protects you from lawsuits arising from injuries caused to clients and employees during the course of operations. For example, if a client in your office for a meeting falls in your place of business and breaks a leg, this policy protects you from any liability claims arising from the event.
- Business property damage coverage. If your business or any of your furnishings and equipment are damaged due to a covered peril - such as a tornado or fire - then this policy helps you replace the lost items.
- - Loss of business income. When your business is forced to shutter its doors due to a covered event, this policy type pays for the lost revenue your business would have received if it were operational. For example, if the wind tears your roof off, forcing you to close for repairs, then the amount of income you lose as a result is payable under this type of insurance.
Do You Need A BOP Policy?
Most all small businesses need a BOP policy, at minimum, to ensure that their businesses are fully protected from potential perils. You should consider purchasing such a policy if any of the following apply to your business' particular situation:
- You have the potential to face a lawsuit or claim from someone else. For instance, if it is possible that a client could become injured in your office.
- You do business from a physical location. Whether you have an office downtown or you run things from home, a BOP policy is essential.
- You or your business own assets that could be damaged or stolen. This includes any furniture, equipment, or even digital information.
Other Real Estate Agents Insurance Massachusetts Coverages
Most standard BOP policies offer the coverage outlined above, but your real estate business may require additional coverage types. A seasoned insurance agent can help you identify the types of Real estate agents insurance Massachusetts coverage your business needs and help you bundle them with your BOP policy for all-around protection from every angle. Based on your situation, your agent may recommend:
- Professional liability insurance. This type of coverage is also called errors and omissions coverage for a reason. If your error or the omission of information when dealing with a client leaves a client with damages or losses, then you can be sued. Mitigate that risk with this type of coverage.
- Data breach coverage. You store sensitive data, and hackers want it. Consider data breach coverage to protect yourself and your clients from any loss that results from jeopardized data.
- Commercial auto insurance. You insure your personal vehicle for personal use, but if you use your vehicle in the course of business to drive between open houses or for other purposes, your personal policy may not be enough. Commercial auto insurance provides the most reliable means of coverage for the vehicle you use during the course of running your business.
In addition, if you employ other agents in your business or other employees in general, then you may be required by law to carry worker's compensation insurance on those employees. This insurance pays monetary awards to employees who become injured or ill due to a work-related cause.
No one package of business insurance fits each business, but a BOP policy is a start. Work with a licensed insurance agent to find the best level of coverage and coverage types for your individual needs.
Massachusetts Real Estate Agent's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is often minimal at the office location if most of the client contact is electronic or by mail. If clients visit the premises, they must be kept in designated areas that are well maintained with floor covering in good condition. The number of exits must be sufficient and well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks must be in good repair, with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slip and falls.
Off-premises exposures arise from sales visits, inspections, open houses, and similar work at customers' premises. Since both buyer and seller are often represented by different realtors, any damage that occurs during open house showings may result in disputes with customers, prospective buyers or sellers, or other realty firms as to who is responsible for damages. Hazards increase in the absence of controls regarding keys, the use of lockboxes, or other devices that permit easy entry, and record keeping regarding access and visits by agents from other realty firms.
Professional liability exposure is extensive. The exposure increases if the agency fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employees' credentials, education, and licensing, permits clerical workers to do tasks that only the professionals should handle, or if error checking procedures are ignored or are inadequate. Very serious losses may result from failure to document decisions and actions or to secure client approval. For services such as property management, the insured will have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the client's best interests.
Personal injury exposures include assault, battery, libel, and slander, and invasion of privacy. An important consideration is the status of employees vs. subcontractors as the relationships and contracts vary by agency. Contracts should be clear as to which services are provided by the agency to the subcontractors and the expectations the agency has of the subcontractor. If agents are independent contractors, any injuries they incur on premises are part of the premises liability exposure instead of workers compensation.
Workers compensation exposures include both office operations and off-site work for sales work, property showings, and similar activities. As office work is done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations. Travel may be extensive. Workers who travel offsite can be injured by slips and falls or in automobile accidents. Agents may show properties at unusual hours to prospective customers whom they may not know personally, posing a potentially serious risk from assault. The contractual relationship between the agency and any independent contractors helps determine the workers compensation exposure, although regulatory definitions of the employee may supersede the contract terms.
Property exposure is generally limited to that of an office, although there may be some incidental storage or an area for meetings. Ignition sources include wiring, heating and air conditioning, wear, and overheating of equipment.
Crime exposure comes from employee dishonesty, including risks to theft of customers' property. Realtors have access to customers' financial information. Potential for theft, directly or by means of identity theft, is great. Hazards increase without proper background checks, along with monitoring procedures and securing of all records to prevent unauthorized access. All job duties, such as ordering, billing and disbursing should be separate and reconciled on a regular basis. Audits should be performed at least annually.
Inland marine exposures consist of accounts receivable if the agency offers credit, computers and valuable papers and records for clients' information such as listings. Clients' records and approvals are typically originals that are difficult to recreate. A morale hazard may be indicated if the insured does not keep valuable papers and disks in fireproof file cabinets to protect them from smoke, water, and fire. Power failure and power surges are potentially severe hazards. Duplicates should be kept off-site to allow for re-creation following a loss.
Commercial auto exposure may be limited to hired and non-owned. The exposure increases if clients are transported to showings. If vehicles are supplied to employees, there should be written procedures in place regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained, and records kept in a central location.
Massachusetts Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you are thinking about starting a business in the Massachusetts, it's important that you have an understanding of the economic trends and commercial insurance requirements in the state before you set up shop.
Economic trends are important, as they indicate whether or not the area offers a strong economy that will be able to support your business. You also need to know what type of commercial insurance you'll need to carry so that you can plan accordingly and ensure that you are complaint with the law.
To help you determine if the Bay State is the right location for the business you are thinking about opening, below, you'll find an overview of MA's current economic trends, as well as the types of insurance policies you'll need to carry.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Massachusetts
Unemployment rate is a good indicator of a state's economy. The lower the rate, the more job opportunities there are, which is direct reflection of the health of businesses.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was 2.8% in December, 2019. That's 0.7% lower than the national average, which was 3.5% in December, 2019. This indicates that the state offers a strong workforce and that there are enough jobs to support the residents of the state.
While regions throughout the area are seeing business growth, there are certain areas in particular that are seeing more growth than others. This includes large metropolitan areas and the regions that surround them, including:
- New Bedford
Several industries are doing very well in the state of Massachusetts; however, there are particular sectors that are seeing more growth than others and are truly thriving in this part of the country. These industries include:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Commercial fishing
- Financial services
- Hospitality tourism
- Information technology
- Medicine and life sciences
If you are thinking about starting a business in any of these industries, chances are good that you will find the success you are looking for in the state of Massachusetts.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance regulates insurance in MA. Massachusetts mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Massachusetts 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, but employees in domestic service must be covered if they work at least 16 hours a week.
Massachusetts 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 Real Estate Insurance
Learn about small business real estate insurance coverages including liability and commercial property policies for realtors, mortgage companies and more.
For real estate professional liability policies, the insurance company agrees to pay amounts the insured is legally obligated to pay as damages because of a wrongful act. However, this insurance must cover the wrongful act.
The insurance company not only has the right to defend any suit brought against the insured, it also has a duty to do so. That duty, which can be very expensive, does not apply to suits brought for wrongful acts that this insurance does not cover.
What type of coverage is available for real estate agents who provide insurance advice? Any claim related to the sale or purchase of insurance is not covered. In addition, there is no coverage for any recommendations or advice regarding insurance or any failure to procure or maintain appropriate insurance.
Who is considered an insured under the Real Estate Agents and Brokers Professional Liability Policy? The named insured is an insured. The named insured is the entity or individual listed on the declarations. There can be multiple named insureds.
Any entity listed in the application as a predecessor organization is an insured. The named insured must be the entity's majority successor of interest with respect to the predecessor organization's financial assets and liabilities.
Are Real Estate Brokers Professional Liability policies written on an "occurrence" or a "claims-made" basis? Insurance is written on a claims-made basis, requiring that a claim must be reported to the insurer during the policy period or during the extended reporting period.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Business Income with Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, 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, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage abd Stop Gap Liability.
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