Software Developer Insurance Alaska Policy Information
Software Developer Insurance Alaska. Software developers of customized products analyze their clients' software needs, work closely with the clients' internal computer staff and end users, program and test the final product. They may also advise or arrange for the purchase of the appropriate hardware, networking peripherals or similar items.
One of the cornerstones of successful businesses is the software that helps it run smoothly and efficiently. If you operate a business that develops software, then you need to be aware of the specific liability risks that can affect your business and your assets if you are ever found liable for a data breach - an event that can potentially devastate a business that is not properly insured.
In addition to coverage for possible breaches in data, software businesses, like all businesses, must also insure themselves against other perils that come along with business ownership and potential claims that may arise from the use of the software that your company develops. There are a wide range of professionals and businesses who should consider software development business insurance for the what-if's involved in the business. These include software developers, IT project managers and consultants, application service providers, system designers, website developers, hardware installation experts, and computer programmers, among others.
Software developer insurance Alaska protects your tech business from lawsuits with rates as low as $57/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
How is Software Business Insurance Different from Other Types of Insurance?
If you are familiar with the software industry, then you likely understand the process of securing contracts for the development of certain projects. Some contracts specifically address issues of indemnity. For instance, if a product that you design results in a glitch that causes the loss of revenue and business for the company that contracted you to make the software, then you are held liable for that loss. However, with the right type and level of software developer insurance Alaska protection in place, you are protected from the fallout of your responsibility, and claims arising from such losses will not put your business at financial risk.
Insurance for software businesses provides a safety net that lets you confidently conduct business. This valuable coverage can pay for legal claims and awards against you, and it can help you maintain your business without a financial setback. Some types of software developer insurance Alaska coverage to think about as a development company that can help you mitigate your inherent risks are fairly straightforward and standard, while others are industry-specific. By finding the right mix of both when working with a seasoned insurance agent, you keep your business on the right track and moving forward.
Some specific types of coverage that can protect your business from claims and related loss include:
- Data breach coverage. When customer data is breached, stole, lost, or compromised, this coverage can help you address the legal fallout, covering expenses so that your liability doesn't negatively impact your business operation. It can also help you to meet any legal regulations that are imposed on your business, since it may be a required coverage type, based on the software you develop.
- Commercial property insurance. Protect the AK facility in which you do business and any collateral you have in the business with this type of insurance.
- Loss of business coverage. If you are forced to close down operations for a covered peril, then this coverage helps to replace the income lost, enabling you to continue operation.
- Worker's compensation. AK state regulations mandate the purchase of this type of coverage for all non-owner employees. It pays monetary compensation and medical costs for employees who become ill or injured due to a work-related event.
Other Software Development Coverages
Limiting your liability and mitigating the risks involved in the operation of your software development business is a tricky matter. Working with an agent who understands the software development niche can help. Agents generally recommend the following types of software developer insurance Alaska liability coverage for businesses like yours:
- Professional liability coverage. Errors and omissions policies or professional liability policies covers damages that arise if your performance fails to satisfy the client's expectations. Oftentimes, this type of insurance is purchased with a copyright infringement rider.
- General liability. If an accident happens on your property, this type of coverage pays for medical bills and associated costs.
- Business owner insurance. This type of policy, sometimes called a BOP policy, combines the above general liability and property coverage into one.
General liability insurance: Accidents happen and this software development policy can protect you if you're held responsible. If a client slips and falls while on your property, you're accused of libel or slander, or you cause damage to someone else's property, this insurance can provide compensation to the damaged party or cover your legal defense and fees.
Business owner insurance: Commonly referred to as a "BOP," this combines general liability insurance with property damage coverage.
These policies are essential in a number of situations. Some possible scenarios where software developer insurance Alaska liability coverage can be a godsend include:
Your network management team takes on a gig to upgrade a business' infrastructure, but they miss the deadline because of management breakdown issues. This results in the client losing money, and the client files suit against the service provider as a result.
You are a software vendor who provides software and hardware for a business to record its employee hours. A glitch in the system you install results in employee hours failing to properly record. The system overpays some employees and underpays others. The time clocks require replacement, and claims are filed against you.
You sell a defective computer system to a store; the system does not have the right security precautions on board, and a hacker eventually hacks the database and steals credit card data belonging to customers. The store files a claim against you.
Alaska Software Developer's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is minimal since most client contact is done electronically or by mail. Off-premises exposures arise from sales visits, training sessions, and installation of software or hardware at the customer's premises. There should be policies and training regarding acceptable off-premises behavior.
If the developer works on the client's computer, the client's property could be damaged, either the actual hardware or by corrupting code on the existing software. Personal injury exposures arise from breach of confidentiality as employees dealing with clients have access to their records.
Professional liability and errors and omissions exposures are extensive but vary by the type of software and its intended use. If the customized software is essential to the business's operation or used to provide safety services, the errors and omission exposure will be higher as there may be long-term consequences.
Workers compensation exposure is limited to that of an office, although there may be significant off-site work. As 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. Back sprains and strains can result from lifting and other material handling if there is any moving of computers or related equipment.
Property exposures consist of an office operation, as well as any incidental storage and areas for service work on computers. Ignition sources include extensive electrical wiring to support computers and servers, heating and air conditioning systems, wear, and overheating of equipment. Fire, smoke, and water can cause significant damage to equipment. Fire protection should consist of chemical applications instead of water.
Although computer equipment can be included as part of the business personal property coverage, more complete protection is available under a computer or EDP policy. A detailed emergency plan should be in place since downtime is not an option. Extra expense coverage is needed more than business income due to contract deadline dates and should be purchased as a part of the EDP policy. The concentration of electronic equipment may be targeted by thieves. Appropriate security controls should be taken including physical barriers to prevent access to the premises after hours and an alarm system that reports directly to a central station or the police department.
Equipment breakdown exposures are typically moderate. Climate control is essential to proper computer function, and breakdown of the air-conditioning units may cause serious loss. There is also significant potential for direct or indirect loss due to computer breakdown or damage by power surges and power failure, affecting hardware, data, and media. Coverage may be addressed under either an EDP or equipment breakdown policy.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty and computer fraud. Developers may have access to private financial information of their clients, especially for billing purposes, and represent a target item for identity theft. Hazards increase in the absence of proper background checks and monitoring of the insured's workers who may have such access.
Inland marine exposure includes accounts receivable if the programmer offers credit, computers, and valuable papers and records for customers' information. A computer or EDP policy is critical since it covers hardware, software, and media. There should be frequent backup and off-site data storage. Typically the developer works at the client's premises, presenting transit and off-premises exposures.
There is a high risk of theft, both of portable hardware such as laptops and handhelds and of the software programs. Extra expense is an important option to purchase because of the need to quickly return to operation after a loss and meet contractual obligations. Information used to document the programming is not software and must be insured as valuable papers or its digital equivalent. All contracts, documentation, software design, copyrights, and patents, on paper, disks or other media, should be duplicated and the duplicates should be kept off site.
Business auto exposure may be limited to hired and non-owned. There will likely be extensive off-premises work by sales representatives, programmers, and technicians. The developer may have a fleet of private passenger vehicles, require that employees use their own vehicles, or may use rental vehicles. If vehicles are provided 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.
Choosing The Right Policy
Regardless of the precautions you take to avoid these scenarios, things happen. Be sure to protect your AK development company with the most comprehensive software developer insurance Alaska policy possible. Protect your company and its assets by talking about your situation with your insurance agent, who can craft a policy that is custom tailored to your software business' particular needs.
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 Information Technology & Internet Insurance
Learn about small business IT technology insurance policies that help protect IT businesses, consultants & subcontractors from the unique risks that small tech businesses face when they work.
- Application Development
- Computer Electronic Repair
- Computer Programming
- Computer System / Network Developer
- Cyber Liability
- Data Breach
- Internet Business
- IT Consultant
- Online Store
- Software Developer
- Technology Services
- Website Design
Some the more popular IT businesses do IT contracting or freelancing work. These businesses have specific risks they face, and can have huge exposures to uncommon risks. Even if the business is very careful, a small oversight or mistake can lead to a large and expensive lawsuit.
For information technology companies, like some of the more popular ones listed below, data security is paramount:
Application Development (Mobile & Web), Business Intelligence / Data Mining Businesses, Computer Installation & Repair, Computer Programming, Computer Retail Store, Data Analysts, Architects & Scientists, Database Administrators, Frontend Developers, Hosting, IT Business Consulting, IT Project Management, IT Staffing, IT Training, Information Technology Consulting, Life Sciences & R&D, Network Architects, Network Security Consultants, System & Network Design, Technical Writing and Web Site Development.
The IT business segment has a critical need for professional liability and errors and omissions coverage. If coverage applies, the insurer has several rights and duties such as providing a legal defense against claims and suits brought by parties claiming damages. The insurer is permitted to investigate all claims to determine whether they are covered by the policy and they may choose to litigate, deny or settle claims.
Most policies providing coverage for electronic data liability, computer professional liability, and computer errors and omissions are claims-made contracts.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Business Income with Extra Expense, Equipment Breakdown, Computer Fraud, Employee Dishonesty, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Errors and Omissions Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Nonowned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Earthquake, Flood, Real Property Legal Liability, Forgery, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Directors and Officers Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also 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.