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Monday, July 17 2017
The Insurance Coverage You Didn't Know Your Winery Needed

Owning and operating a winery is complex and demanding. Wineries face just about every business risk imaginable as they grow grapes, blend wines, and sell their products in a variety of ways. Winery owners must manage everything from growing and harvesting delicate crops to the financial and legal implications of getting their wines to market. You likely need several business insurance policies and numerous special endorsements in order to be covered by a comprehensive winery insurance program. 

Risk vs. Reward

Your winery may be a family business passed down for generations, or a new venture that you’ve been dreaming of your entire life. Wineries and vineyards are complicated businesses with vast rewards and no shortage of risks. You wear many hats in order to run your business—from farmer, to scientist, to marketer, and many more—yet so many things are simply out of your control. 

Leaving the future of your winery to chance could be devastating. You need winery insurance to protect you from the financial losses that can accompany damaged crops, spoiled wine, lawsuits, and other unforeseen events that can cost you everything. 

Even a small winery must insure every step of the winemaking process. As you grow, harvest, ferment, bottle, and sell your wines, one unexpected problem can destroy your thriving business overnight. 

These are just a few of the things that can go wrong at your winery or vineyard:

  • Guests on your property or at an event slip and fall
  • Guests at your winery damage or destroy grapes, finished wine, or equipment
  • Grapes in transit are crushed
  • Leakage, spillage, or accidental mixing destroys wine in process
  • Insecticides used on grape crops drift on to neighboring properties
  • Contamination and product recalls
  • Winemaking equipment or agricultural equipment breakdown
  • Extreme weather or natural disasters
  • Wildfires, insect infestation, and plant diseases 

Wine that is in storage comes with its own set of risks, including:

  • Spillage or leakage
  • Fire
  • Theft or vandalism
  • Utility or refrigeration outages
  • Supply chain or logistics problems or delays
  • Transportation and trucking exposures, from poorly trained drivers to accidents and truck refrigeration breakdown 

Wineries Need Coverage For Every Area of Their Business

Every winery needs a customized package of property, liability, automobile, crime, liquor liability, and other winery insurance policies to protect them from financial loss. Talk to your independent insurance agent about the specifics of your winery operation, and your need for the following types of winery insurance or vineyard insurance. 

Property coverage for wineries: Wineries need business property coverage to protect

  • Buildings and their contents, including wine-making machinery and equipment 
  • Inventory and stock
  • Business interruption coverage to pay for ongoing expenses after a covered property loss

You can add endorsements to your winery property insurance policy in order to add more customized coverage. Talk to your independent insurance agent about your need for the following special property coverage designed for wineries.

  • Contract cancellation coverage that helps you pay for attorney fees, marketing expenses, and other related costs if you are unable to fulfill customer contracts (e.g., you cannot fill orders due to a supply shortage).
  • Tank collapse coverage pays for expenses related to processing water after a tank collapse.
  • Tank leakage coverage provides protection for leakage of completed or in-process wine from a tank or other container.
  • Mobile equipment coverage pays for damage to agricultural equipment (irrigation and harvesting equipment, etc.).

Crop insurance for wineries: Without viable grapes, you would be unable to produce wine, so protecting your grape harvest should be your first line of defense. Wineries need crop insurance for the costs of crop damage due to weather, vine infections, insect infestations, fires, floods, and other potential hazards. Crop insurance will not protect your grapes once they have been harvested, and certain perils such as earthquakes may be excluded from your crop insurance policy. You may need to purchase additional earthquake coverage if you live in an area where it is necessary. 

Coverage for wine in storage or in transit: Once your grapes have been harvested and your wines blended, you must take steps to ensure that your valuable product is protected no matter where it is. You may need different policies for wine that is stored on your property and wine that is stored offsite. Your agent can help you determine all of the coverage that you need. 

Wine that is in transit also needs coverage for physical loss or damage. Inland marine insurance for wineries protects against direct physical loss or damage to property or stock while it is being transported.

General liability insurance for wineries: General liability insurance provides broad protection for third-party bodily injury and property damage claims. If a guest slips and falls during a vineyard tour, or your wine causes a customer to become ill, your general liability policy pays for direct costs (medical bills, etc.) as well as attorney fees, court costs, settlements, and judgments if you are sued. 

General liability insurance also provides coverage for product liability, advertising liability, slander, and libel claims against your winery. 

Equipment breakdown coverage for wineries: Wineries need equipment breakdown coverage to protect against costs associated with the sudden and accidental breakdown of machinery and equipment. It pays to repair or replace the equipment as well as any business interruption costs that accompany it.

Contamination and spoilage coverage for wineries: Wineries need special coverage for product losses due to contamination. Contamination and spoilage coverage pays for certain losses if a batch of wine is spoiled or contaminated due to a refrigeration breakdown, utility interruption, or some other type of foreign substance. 

Liquor liability coverage for wineries: Any establishment that sells, services, or furnishes alcoholic beverages needs liquor liability insurance for instances of bodily injury and property damage that result from selling or serving alcohol. 

Special Events

Operations at a winery often extend far beyond growing grapes and making wine. Many wineries or vineyards invite the general public onto their grounds for tours, tasting, and other special events. You may run a year-round tasting room, host special tasting events, and even allow others to rent space on your premises for parties, weddings, dinners, and other events. 

Inviting the general public onto your premises to consume wine and food and engage in other activities heightens the risks for your business. And many of these events require other businesses and vendors to perform services on your premises as well. An event might require a caterer, musicians, a florist, and even additional workers that may or may not be employed by you.

If you host even small events at your vineyard or winery, you need to work closely with your independent insurance agent to ensure that all of the additional exposures are addressed with tailored winery insurance policies. What’s more, your customers and any vendors that they work with also need to have appropriate insurance (and show proof of coverage) in order to proceed with an event on your property.

Other Winery Insurance to Consider

Aside from major property and liability risks, wineries and vineyards likely need several other insurance policies to protect them from financial harm and unexpected events. Talk to your Trusted Choice agent about your need for the following.

  • Commercial auto insurance protects your fleet of trucks and any other vehicles owned by your winery. In addition, if employees drive personal vehicles for business use, you need hired and non-owned auto liability insurance.
  • Crime coverage protects your business if an employee or a group of employees engage in theft, forgery, or fraud that damages your business.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance is required for any business that has employees. It protects your workers, such as those who use operate heavy equipment or who harvest grapes in the vineyard, from the costs of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Cyber liability insurance protects your winery if you are the victim of a cyber breach. If your computer network or website is hacked and confidential customer or vendor information is exposed, the damage to your reputation and bottom line can be insurmountable. 
  • Some insurance companies offer a special policy for wineries called chemical drift insurance or pollution liability insurance. If you spray insecticides or other chemicals to protect your crops, those insecticides can drift onto neighboring properties and cause property damage or health problems for others. Chemical drift coverage can offer protection for physical injuries to people, crops, or animals as a result of chemical drift or overspray from your vineyard. 
  • Product recall coverage helps pay for costs related to removing recalled, damaged, or dangerous products from the marketplace. 
  • Employment practices liability coverage protects you if a current or former employee sues you for discriminatory employment practices.

How to Find Winery Insurance Tailored to Your Business

Like any business owner, winery and vineyard owners need a trusted advisor who can help them find the best insurance coverage to protect their livelihood from the many potential—and costly—problems that can arise. Whether it is dangers to the general public or your employees, or unforeseen events like fires, storms, and theft, you need the right combination of coverage that addresses whatever you might be exposed to.

At Harmony Insurance, we get to know you and your business. We work with multiple reputable companies who specialize in winery insurance.  Contact our office today to get started.

Posted by: Sheri Berthel AT 12:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 03 2017
What to Expect When Purchasing Your Trucking Insurance

It's not a secret that insurance is an expensive, but necessary, purchase. Insurance protects the most important component in a trucking business,  the truck. Purchasing insurance can overwhelm people, especially those new to trucking.

We at Harmony Insurance Agency work with truck drivers to protect their most valuable asset. That is to say, we understand the potential headache involved with calling an insurance agency. 

It is important to understand an insurance agent is not just an annual call you make when it is time to renew your policy.  An insurance agent is a partner. Here at Harmony Insurance Agency, we communicate with some of our clients on a weekly basis. It's your insurance agent's job to provide you with certificates, customer services, and advice. If you feel an insurance agent ignores you or brushes you off, then he or she may not be the right partner for your business.

1. An insurance agent will ask several questions.
Each question is for a reason. Most of the time we are fishing for potential discounts. We want you to have the lowest premium possible. Not only that, but as a potential partner we care about you and your business.

2. Turnaround time varies.
Insurance agents are in the business of finding you the best possible quote at the lowest price. It takes time to contact insurance companies, compare quotes, and problem solve. When you hear from our office, you can expect to have a great quote. You can contact the insurance agent while they're collecting quotes to hear the prices.

3. Insurance agents don't set the price.
Rates are calculated by various state governments and insurance companies, not insurance agents. We are searching for the lowest quote possible just like you.

4. We will always recommend physical damage.
Physical damage covers your truck in the event it needs repairs.  Collision, as its name implies, covers the repairs to a truck in the event of an accident. On the other hand, comprehensive covers the repairs to a truck in the event it is damaged by something other than collision with a vehicle or object, or if it is stolen.

5. If you don't understand something--ask!
We aren't born with a basic understanding of insurance. To become an insurance agent, we have to take a very long exam covering more information than we'll ever use. We've studied insurance for you. If we mention a coverage that you don't recognize, ask what it covers and why you need it. You might be surprised what you learn.

When you're ready to get insurance quotes, consider contacting Harmony Insurance Agency.

Posted by: Sheri Berthel AT 03:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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