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The statistics speak for themselves: according to the Small Business Administration, nearly 50 percent of all small businesses fail within the first five years of their existence.
At the same time, the success of small business is crucial to the success of the American economy. According to the July ADP National Small Business Report®, small businesses accounted for 39 percent of employment gains across all payroll groups for the month.
Despite new laws and regulations aimed at helping small businesses, however, U.S. entrepreneurs continue to face unnecessary obstacles to their success. These include heavy tax burdens and time-consuming regulatory red tape that put them at a disadvantage against competitors in less burdensome regulatory environments. As CEO of one of the nation’s largest insurers of small businesses, I sadly see evidence of this every day, both anecdotally and in the data.
There are three steps that could be taken to help small businesses survive and prosper during their early years:
There is good reason to think these changes would make a difference. Just look at some of the states with the highest rankings for friendliness toward entrepreneurs, including South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. They have lower taxes and lower levels of regulation than most other states, and their unemployment rates are lower than the national average, according to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.
Such business-friendly initiatives are not limited to what might be considered traditionally conservative regions. In New York City, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in partnership with the city council, created a one-stop office to help privately owned restaurants obtain permits and cut through municipal red tape. This successful effort assisted in the creation of over 6,000 food-services industry jobs.
As our communities work to overcome enduring obstacles to small business success, it is important that we also are aware of new and emerging risks – such as limited access to capital – that contribute to an even more challenging business environment.
In 2011, Travelers launched a small business advocacy project called “Small Business – Big Opportunity.” The campaign helps raise awareness about the challenges small businesses face across the country and offers solutions that can be put in place. Through the Small Business Risk Education program, we also are working with regional non-profit organizations to help minority- and women-owned businesses better anticipate risks to their businesses. Business owners enrolled in the program are made eligible to apply for microloans that can help execute their risk mitigation plans and, ultimately, grow their businesses.
The nation’s future depends on the success of small businesses. We need to take steps to support the engines of our national and local economies by creating a regulatory environment that enables small businesses to grow from start-ups to time-honored companies, creating jobs and supporting our communities along the way.
To think big, we first need to embrace small.
Jay Fishman is Chairman and CEO of The Travelers Companies, Inc. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the company regularly participates in matters of importance to the insurance and financial services industry, as well as the economy more broadly, through its public policy division, the Travelers Institute.
Travelers encourages homeowners to focus on their roofs this fall
With fall here, wind, rain, hail, and winter storms are ahead. To help your clients protect their property and belongings, we recommend they inspect their roofs for damage and undertake any necessary repairs. Travelers recently released specific steps your clients can take to help prevent potential damage:
Thu, 2nd October, 2014 - Posted by (0) Comment|
Published on September 1st, 2014 | by Silvana Aceto
CAA South Central Ontario.
Important Tips for Drivers During Back-to-school Season
As summer draws to a close and the classroom bell rings in the new school year, over 800,000 students across Ontario will ride the bus back to school. CAA South Central Ontario is reminding drivers to slow down in school zones and watch for flashing bus lights. Here are a few more quick tips for drivers, students and bus riders:
Back-to-school tips for drivers:
Always check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and behind your vehicle before backing up
Remember to slow down in school zones
Be ready to stop at all times as children may dart out between parked vehicles
Try to make eye contact with children waiting to cross the street
Remember to slow down in school zones
Come to a complete stop for school buses when red lights are flashing
Back-to-school tips for students:
Stop before stepping onto the road
Look in all directions before crossing the street
Listen for traffic
Walk, don’t run, across the road
Bus safety rules:
Be at the bus stop ahead of time
Stand back from the edge of the road in a safe location
Hold the hand rail when boarding or exiting the bus
Keep feet out of the aisle to avoid tripping others
Keep your head and arms inside the bus
Always follow the bus driver’s instructions
CAA School Safety Patrollers dedicate over 3.45 million volunteer hours each year helping their fellow classmates get to and from school safety. There are over 55 police services, more than 800 schools and over 20,000 elementary school students involved in the CAA School Safety Patrol program.
Tue, 30th September, 2014 - Posted by (0) Comment|
Today’s guest CAA(Ontario)post is courtesy of Toronto Police Constable Clint Stibbe, Traffic Services. Photo via Tim Alamenciak/Toronto Star.
It’s a sunny day and the roads are dry. You just left the office and are headed home after a stressful day at work. Then you hear it… the sound of a message arriving on your device, the sound of the office tracking you down. We want to be connected to our work and social environment so badly that we are risking the lives of all those around us.
The human brain in some ways is similar to a computer, but vastly different in others. A computer has a set of rules that it must follow, if it doesn’t follow those rules an error occurs and you must restart the task or program. As a driver you have a set of rules that you must follow, if you don’t someone could be injured or even die. You can’t restart the task or program. You could face charges and possibly even be sentenced to time in jail… all just to answer that message. When you answer that message or phone call and are operating a vehicle you are predisposed to making a mistake, and that mistake could be anything from failing to stop at a stop sign, or maybe making a wrong turn or, worse, getting in to a collision.
A number of years ago I was at the intersection of Martin Grove Road and Highway 409. I was responding to a collision and had my sirens and lights activated. Cars that had been southbound on Martin Grove Road had come to a stop to allow me to make a U-turn and proceed to the call. I saw a grey Suzuki Grand Vitara approaching the cars which had stopped for me.
I saw through the driver side window that the driver had a cellphone to her left ear as she was approaching the intersection. I was watching the vehicle as it approached and noticed that it had not started to slow down yet, but the vehicle was getting closer and closer to the stopped cars. Then, while the vehicle was still travelling at approximately 60 km/h, it struck a blue Mazda 323 from behind and the Mazda was sent down the road approximately the width of the highway.
I immediately went to the driver of the Suzuki and asked what had happened. I will never forget the answer. “Where did that car come from?” I was surprised by that statement to say the least.
I charged the driver with careless driving; she never disputed the ticket. As a result, the driver accumulated six demerit points and almost $500.00 in fines, increased insurance rates and a vehicle that was a write off.
Do you think that phone call or text you answer is really worth it? What if the person that was struck was someone you knew, one of your family or friends and they were injured badly or worse even died.
The average social cost of a fatality in Ontario is $13.7 million dollars.
I ask you, what is your life worth?
In this connected world we live in, I am asking you to break your connection to your device. Please drive responsibly and safely every day. Someone’s life depends on it.
Fri, 26th September, 2014 - Posted by (0) Comment|
Canadian Business Magazine article Sept 25 2014,
How usage-based insurance will change the way consumers drive.
Insurance companies are turning to telematics to monitor your good driving habits and lower your rates. And they may raise them if you’re bad
Auto insurance companies usually sell services, not physical things. But last year when Desjardins General Insurance Group introduced its usage-based insurance (UBI) program, Adjusto, the company had to make sure the device that collects and transmits data on driver behaviour would stay firmly in place under the car’s dashboard. UBI transmits information on a customer’s driving habits to an insurer who can then adjust premiums according to good—or bad—behaviour.
Number crunchers at Desjardins found themselves overseeing laboratory testing of the performance of the device’s strap in extreme conditions. “The actuary in charge of that program said he would never have thought that working with Velcro would ever be part of his job,” says Denis Côté, Desjardins’ vice president of marketing and marketing research.A UBI telematics device usually contains a transmitter, a GPS, an accelerometer and a gyroscope to determine position, mileage, speed, sudden acceleration and sudden braking. This information can be sent to a central database periodically or in near real-time. The “black box” itself may only be a temporary phenomenon, since telematics sensors will eventually be built into most cars. And telematics data in all forms is set to permanently reshape the auto-insurance landscape.
One of the first big Canadian insurance companies to offer UBI, with 50,000 customers signed up since May 2013, Desjardins is not alone in asking customers to trade in some privacy for better rates. Intact Financial and The Co-operators have since introduced programs, and other auto insurers are investigating, piloting or negotiating to acquire UBI technology. “I don’t think anybody can ignore it anymore,” says Paul-André Savoie, CEO and president of Baseline Telematics. He’s worked with more than 30 insurance companies, including Industrial Alliance, which launched its Mobiliz program targeting younger drivers in 2012. Savoie says there are already more than 160 telematics-based insurance programs in the world, covering six million private passenger vehicle policies.
Telematics service providers (TSPs) like Baseline sell not only the technology to collect and transmit data with an onboard device, but are able to layer factors like weather conditions, time of day, speed limit and even speed relative to the flow of traffic, and then process, analyze and deliver the data in a useful form on a computer screen or phone. Depending on the system and the policy, the insurer may learn that a driver braked hard 20 times last month, or it may learn that the driver braked hard 20 times at night on a remote highway while it was snowing. Regardless of the factors that are monitored, they are considered better indicators of risk than mere demographic factors such as age and gender. So far, Canadian insurers have been offering discounts, rather than charging premiums, an approach that’s likely to attract customers who are confident they are safe drivers.Many customers also get access to data, so they can improve their driving and therefore their discount. But some TSPs go further, collecting and analyzing additional information about what’s going on in the car, which can be used for things such as coaching drivers, improving fuel efficiency and providing alerts when vehicles go beyond specific geographic boundaries, a service called geo-fencing, which is important to car-share and car-rental companies. “We see ourselves playing an important role between the people who have the data and the people who want that data,” says Christopher Dell, director of product management at IMS, a TSP that offers a range of connected car technologies, including UBI, fleet management and roadside assistance.
Expo Insurance Brokers is proud to support the Air Cadet League of Canada, Ontario Provincial Committee in partnership with the Gore Mutual Insurance Company Foundation. A presentation on June 23 2014 from the OPC Chair Bill Cumming to Heidi Sevcik President and CEO and Sarah McLennan V.P. of Marketing / Broker Relations with Thomas Taborowski President of Expo Insurance Brokers. Thanks You Gore Mutual for supporting the Air Cadets of Ontario through the foundation and your Broker partners.
CANADA HOLIDAY OFFICE HOURS 2014
Closed Monday June 30th 2014
Open Tuesday July 1 2014.
Proud to Be Canadian. The Staff of Expo Insurance Brokers Inc.