Link To Guest Website: https://www.tbhr-law.com/
Title: “How To Take Stock Of Your Risk During Reopening”
Guest: Mark Furman – Tarlow Breed Hart & Rodgers
Interviewer: Jonathan Freedman – MAGE LLC
Click here to read the transcript
Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs. I’m Jonathan Freedman and our next guest needs no introduction Mark Furman, Director of Tarlow breed, Hart, Rogers, always a pleasure to have you on Radio Entrepreneurs.
Mark Furman (10s):
Great to be here. Jonathan, always a pleasure to see you.
So a lot going on in the world lot, going on the business realm, and you always want to give our listeners something to think about as business owners, as entrepreneurs, as business people, or what are we seeing that we should be concerned about in the marketplace? So
Mark Furman (29s):
The world is reopening thankfully, and I think this is a good time for business owners to take stock of what I call risk risk. You know, I think it’s a great time to look at their insurance coverages, things that are covered and what are the holes in their coverage and what would be the cost of filling some of those holes. And it’s, it’s important to anticipate bad stuff that can happen. You know, entrepreneurs are very focused on making their company successful and occasionally they forget to kind of look at the downside.
Mark Furman (1m 23s):
So let me, let me just give one example, relatively inexpensive coverages that are available for employment practices insurance. So in the event, there was a claim of discrimination or, you know, harassment, you may get coverage through those relatively inexpensive, as I say, and very important, keep in mind that the Massachusetts commission against discrimination as issued awards of substantial six figures for emotional distress damages.
Mark Furman (2m 3s):
So employees can recover not only for loss wages and attorney’s fees, but emotional distress damages. And another benefit of these policies is of course ensuring the cost of defense. So even when there’s a meritless case is, you know, Jonathan, the costs of defense are enormous and very quickly they can. And so cover your downside would be my my message, you know?
Jonathan (2m 42s):
Yeah. It’s interesting mark that you bring it up at this time because I would imagine a lot of businesses probably as they went through, you know, a little downturn at the beginning of the pandemic, probably cut costs and looked at insurance policies and employment practices and probably said, huh, what do we need that for? We’re not seeing employees, we’re not interacting with them as much as, as we did. We’re not certainly seeing them in a traditional sense. And I would imagine a lot of businesses as they look to cut costs, probably cut insurance policies. So, you know, and that’s why it’s the sort of look at that and say, well, where are we at today versus where we were through through the pandemic? Interesting timing,
Mark Furman (3m 19s):
You know, there are new employment law issues that have arisen as a result of the pandemic. You know, we’re going to have situations where people don’t want to be vaccinated and the employers decide they have to be vaccinated. If they’re going to work from the office and people are going to raise religious objections, they’re gonna raise health reasons not to take the vaccine. And, and they’re just going to have a philosophy against vaccines in general. And so it’s, this is a lot of new ground. We have a United States Supreme court.
Mark Furman (3m 59s):
That’s very sensitive to religious Liberty issues and has struck down many rules as they relate to religious practices over the last year during the pandemic. So I just see this as a, a place where there is increased risk for claims, which is why I mentioned it. And I think there’s a lot of bang for the buck companies get from that, you know, I’ve seen him prior circumstance where maybe there are recessions that as employers look to cut costs and they focus on insurance.
Mark Furman (4m 40s):
And, and so, you know, I’ve had cases where manufacturers, for example, cut out product liability coverage, and then a catastrophic injury or death occurs and they don’t have any coverage for it because it’s based upon it would be covered by a product liability, fall policy. So
Jonathan (5m 11s):
I think a good, a good message that you point out mark is sorta to go through that checklist of insurance that you may have historically had. And through the pandemic may have either, either eliminated or cut back on and, and establish, you know, do a full review and establish whether or not your coverages are adequate for where your business is at today.
Mark Furman (5m 29s):
Right? And business owners are not going to dissect, you know, these very long policies, but they need to have a insurance advisor who is not just a seller of insurance, but who analyzes the coverage, understands the wholes talks to the, the owner about the holes so that a decision can be made about risks. The company’s willing to be here, but you don’t want to be a risk that is going to destroy what you’ve spent years, if not decades building and, you know, death claims are an example of, or catastrophic injury claims or example of, you know, claims that can really bankrupt the company.
Mark Furman (6m 24s):
If they’re not adequately insured and in a time of decrease revenue, when challenges, particularly in certain sectors, hospitality, retail, an emotional distress award with back pay front pay attorney’s fees, it gets you in the seven figure range can be terrible for companies and some of the employment laws, you know, you don’t end up with a corporate shale, meaning the owner can be personally liable for certain under certain employment laws, such as the way Jack, which requires mandatory triple damages and attorney’s fees in personal life bility as well as corporate liable.
Mark Furman (7m 18s):
So I don’t want to pour cold water on growth and the excitement of building a business, but step back and just consider, you know, your downside and whether you’re adequately protected. So another,
Jonathan (7m 38s):
Oh, always a good suggestion. And insurance always seems like a lousy investment until you need to use it.
Mark Furman (7m 44s):
Exactly. Exactly. So another issue is, you know, maybe take a look at the terms and conditions under which you sell products or byproducts. This is another really overlooked area because people assume everything is just boiler plate, but it’s not the sides that determines, you know, let’s say you buy a product, you have your terms and conditions, and the seller has their terms and conditions, which one controls.
Mark Furman (8m 24s):
Well, you know, there’s a gazillion cases about how all that works and companies don’t smaller companies typically don’t pay attention to that. But those terms and conditions in which one’s controlled, determined in the event is a problem how it gets resolved, arbitration or litigation. They can include waiver of jury trials. It can decide whether you’re gonna, if you’re in Massachusetts, you’re going to have to litigate in California or Arkansas instead of in Boston.
Mark Furman (9m 6s):
And they’re going to decide which law applies and law is not the same all 50 states. So it’s worth, this is a, this is an area where lawyers can help taking a look at, you know, talking to them about your business, the risks, again, the risks, and whether there’s anything that can be done in terms of terms and conditions. I see terms and conditions that were put in place around the time of companies started, or within a year or two after now, it’s 25 years later and they’re operating on the same terms and conditions
Jonathan (9m 48s):
And they haven’t done a revisit. They’d, haven’t done an analysis of where they’re at. And I think it’s a really good point that in, in light of the pandemic, as well as people may have shifted their marketplaces, they moved geographies may have changed and maybe shelling to clients that they weren’t current prior, prior to the pandemic selling to. So always, always Sage advice, always good guidance, mark, you know, you always bring us something topical and, and something that business owners can use. Very practically speaking, mark Fermin. If people want to get in touch with you and discuss, you know, how they might mitigate risk and various contracts and agreements that they have in place, what’s the best way for people to reach out to you and to, to make sure that you’re on the team.
Mark Furman (10m 27s):
I can be reached at (617) 218-2025. That’s my direct line or M Ferman, F U R M a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan (10m 42s):
Mark Ferman, Tarlow breed heart. And Roger’s always great to have you on radio entrepreneurs, always great to get your insights and get you thinking about what entrepreneurs and business owners ought to look at. And we appreciate your time today on radio entrepreneurs.
Mark Furman (10m 54s):
Nice to be with you, Jonathan.
Jonathan (10m 57s):
And we’ll be right back with another segment on radio entrepreneurs.
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