Small businesses reveal top risk concerns for 2014, Slip/Falls top list

From an article in the online publication Insurance Business America

by Caitlin Bronson | Aug 07, 2014

2014 represents a key turning point for small businesses in the risk arenas of cybersecurity, healthcare affordability and terrorism. However, workplace safety is the number one concern of small business owners this year, a new report from insurance holding company EMPLOYERS reveals.

The survey was conducted from a nationally representative sample of 502 small businesses with fewer than 100 employees, EMPLOYERS said. Participants were asked about their concerns and personal preparations for risks ranging from professional liability to terrorism events.

Workplace safety dominated as both employers’ top worry and top risk management focus—something that should spark attention from producers looking to better service clients in the coming year.

“Small business owners realize they have to protect their most valuable assets—their employees, said Stephen Festa, Chief Operating Officer of EMPLOYERS. “Employee injuries can carry a significant cost, not only in terms of medical and workers’ compensation expenses, but also in terms of lost productivity and potentially lower workplace morale.”

Festa noted that most small businesses accurately cite slips and falls as the most common workplace accident, accounting for nearly a quarter of all nonfatal workplace injuries according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, roughly four out of five employers said they were not most prepared for such incidents.

Instead, just 21% of respondents said they were prepared to handle a slip and fall incident. Employers felt they were similarly unprepared for the damages caused by motor vehicle accidents, contacts with objects and equipment, fire and exposure to harmful substance or environment.

Acts of violence were the risks employers felt least prepared to deal with, with 29% of survey respondents citing it as the event for which they were least prepared.

Other risks on the minds of small businesses this year include professional liability, cyber security, natural disasters and terrorism. Roughly a quarter of respondents said professional liability and cyber security risks were their biggest worry, with natural disasters and terrorism hovered near the bottom of employers’ risk management priorities.

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