Approximately 96% of enterprises in Alberta are defined as small businesses, which together inject about $100 billion each year into the economy. Truly the backbone of the province, small businesses have taken a large hit this year. In order to keep people employed and the economy running, there have been many supports for small businesses launched by the provincial and federal governments.
Most recently, in June the Government of Alberta announced a one-time payment to businesses with fewer than 500 employees that were forced to close during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Capped at $5,000, the relaunch funding is worth up to 15% of monthly sales revenue, according to CBC.
More assistance for business owners includes the deferral of the business education property tax for six months by the province, and payments on income tax balances or instalments can still be deferred until Sept. 30, with a deadline of Sept. 1 for returns due in June, July or August. Commercial tenants in Alberta are currently protected from rent increases and eviction from non-payment of rent through the Commercial Tenancies Protection Act.
The federal government has provided the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to business owners, which makes available a subsidy to employers who have seen a drop in revenues in order to allow them to re-hire or keep workers on staff and move them back to regular operations. The Canada Emergency Business Account provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits provided they meet certain criteria, and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program helps commercial tenants with rent relief.
Small business insurance providers have indicated there may be ways to help their commercial clients on a case-by-case basis. Small business owners who are not be able to pay their premiums due to the slowing down of their business should give their provider a call. Providers may offer such assistance as payment deferrals of up to four months, no penalties for non-sufficient funds, and no cancellation of policies for non-payment.
Workers Compensation Coverage (WCB) in Alberta
Large employers saw their WCB payments deferred until 2021, while small- and medium-sized businesses saw theirs lessened by 50%. Every business owner in Alberta outside of a family farming business is required to have injury coverage for their employees through the Workers Compensation Board of Alberta.
Small Business Insurance Options
Every small business is different, and small business insurance is designed to provide a number of options for owners. When we help you select your policy, we’ll ask a few targeted questions to point us directly to the coverage you need. This will ensure you can concentrate on growing your small business and supporting your employees.
General Liability Insurance
Commercial general liability insurance is an essential part of any business insurance policy. It is your way of ensuring you, your company, and your employees can stay operational if something goes wrong. Without liability coverage, you would be on the hook to pay if your business’s actions — or lack of appropriate actions — caused property damage, injury, illness, death, or other losses.
Business Interruption Insurance
Business interruption insurance provides compensation for financial losses resulting from unexpected circumstances that cause temporary or long-term interruptions to your business operations. Examples of such situations include, but are not limited to:
- Power outages and blackouts
- Fire damage, either at your facilities or at the facilities of a key business partner or supplier
- Property damage, either at your facilities or at a location that you need to access as part of your business operations
- Loss or destruction of important intellectual property and proprietary goods or information
- The illness, injury or death of a key principal
- Equipment failures, breakdowns, sabotages, or thefts
This type of coverage also helps finance temporary operational headquarters, if you need to set them up to carry on with your business while your primary location is being repaired.
Business owners are aware that one thing business interruption insurance doesn’t cover is pandemics. When Alberta went into quarantine due to COVID-19, tens of thousands of businesses locked their doors, and many have remained locked. Unfortunately, business interruption insurance does not provide coverage for loss of business or supply chain disruption due to situations such as a pandemic. This was a stressful discovery to have to make, and businesses had to pivot quickly in order to do what they could to stay afloat.
Some say there is a possibility that pandemic insurance could be developed in the very near future, however it would require a large number of businesses to sign up for policies in order to make it affordable. Others believe pandemic insurance is not a product the industry should invest in, as companies who provide it are more than likely to go bankrupt should another pandemic occur … which is a near-inevitability, say experts.
Small business owners should always ensure to have a comprehensive cyber insurance policy. Also known as CPM, an acronym for the three essential levels of protection it offers, cyber insurance is specifically designed to protect organizations and businesses from financial losses resulting from online criminal activity. “CPM” stands for “cyber, privacy, media,” reflecting the three spheres in which these policies work to protect businesses.
More Small Business Insurance Options
As mentioned, there are many ways you can customize your small business insurance. Depending on your situation, additional options include:
- Commercial property insurance
- Commercial auto insurance
- Contract surety bonds and commercial surety bonds
- Contractors’ insurance
- Oil and gas insurance
- Fidelity coverage
- …and much more
Lane’s Insurance offers a complete range of policies and coverage options for just about every imaginable situation. We are pleased to serve homeowners and residents throughout Alberta. Contact us at: