Top risks for your horticultural business

Added June 16, 2021
People looking at plants inside a greenhouse

Your business faces unique hazards every day—at your facilities, on jobsites, and online. Here are, in no particular order, the top nine risks for horticultural businesses like yours, as compiled by our staff. We’ve also included information about the business insurance coverages that can help protect you against losses caused by those risks.

Property damage

You can suffer property damage at your business as a result of many different types of events, including:

  • Severe weather 
  • Equipment failure
  • Natural disasters
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

Property damage can have a wide-ranging impact on your business, and the resulting impact can also lead to crop loss and halt your daily operations. The time and cost to fix the damage and get your operation running again can be devastating to your bottom line.

Commercial property insurance is designed to help protect you from losses caused by property damage. Commercial property coverage not only applies to your buildings and greenhouses, but also your equipment contained in those structures—including boilers, generators, coolers, irrigation equipment, and environmental control computers.

With commercial property insurance coverage, you can also get help to cover:

  • Crop, stock, and inventory losses—including possible assistance against future incomes losses if you can’t plant your next crop as a result of damages
  • Equipment breakdown or repair 
  • Loss of business income

Cyberattacks

Any business that relies on technology—including for storing business records, receiving and sending emails, and conducting online sales—is a possible target for a cyberattack. The most common types of cyberattacks include:

  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Fraudulent impersonation
  • Hacking
  • Insider threats

You can take measures to help prevent cyber risk at your business, but cyber liability coverage provides another layer of protection. This coverage is usually offered as part of a professional liability insurance policy. Here are some losses cyber liability coverage can help you cover:

  • Cyber extortion
  • Data re-creation
  • Business interruption
  • Security and privacy liability

Business interruption

You never want to experience an unexpected halt to your operations. When your business is shut down, temporarily halted, or not producing at full capacity, you lose money. Business interruption coverage can help you recover lost business income, cover payroll, and even assist you if you have to move your business to a temporary location. This coverage is usually packaged with another policy, such as property or casualty insurance. In addition, you first need to have a covered claim that then triggers your business interruption coverage.

Employee injuries

Injuries can be caused by both the physical strain of everyday work and isolated incidents. Repetitive work increases the likelihood of the former, while working on uneven surfaces or using heavy equipment, tools, or ladders are examples of things that could increase the likelihood of the latter.

You should take a proactive approach to safety at your workplace. But keep in mind, even when you have the appropriate safety measures in place, accidents still happen.

Workers’ compensation insurance helps pays for medical expenses and lost wages when one of your workers is injured in the scope of their employment. It can also help protect your business from litigation. In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is legally required if you employ a certain number of individuals.

Workplace environment issues

Risks in the workplace environment include:

  • Accusations of discrimination
  • Wrongful termination
  • Unfair hiring
  • Sexual harassment

Because your work can also take place at jobsites and at customers’ homes, there’s additional risk at play because you may have limited oversight at these locations.

Employment practices liability coverage—as part of a professional liability policy—can help you at your facilities and on the jobsite. Ask your insurance provider for details.

Non-employee injuries and property damage

You might damage a fence or run over some ornamental plants while working on a jobsite. Or, you could leave out a hose or electrical cord that causes your customer to trip, fall, and injure themself. Accidents like these are common in our industry, and the associated costs to you can add up quickly.

A general liability insurance policy covers losses to non-employees caused by your services, business operations, or employees. It also covers losses due to negligence that harmed someone else or their property. 

Auto accidents

Making deliveries, transporting equipment, and driving to the jobsite involve risks. We all know the road is an unpredictable place, and you can be involved in an accident through no fault of your own.

Commercial auto insurance protects your vehicle and your assets if someone is injured in an accident or if something is damaged. This coverage can help protect any vehicles you own, rent, or lease. It also provides coverage if you or your employees drive your own vehicles for business purposes or drive company cars for business and personal purposes.

Much like your personal auto insurance policy, this coverage can help you cover costs for:

  • Bodily injuries
  • Property damage
  • Collison/comprehensive repair
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorists
  • Medical payments

Errors and omissions on the job

Unfortunately, mistakes happen. For instance, a landscaping project your company develops could lead to flooding in your customer’s basement. It’s not intentional, but that doesn’t matter to your customer. They want payment for the damage and to cover the replacement cost of their waterlogged items.

Professional liability insurance is important to have in instances like this. This coverage helps protect you from claims of negligence, errors, or mistakes related to your work. You may be more familiar with the term errors and omissions insurance, which is a type of product liability coverage.

The unexpected, unforeseen, and unlisted

Severe auto accidents, lawsuits, and injuries can cost you and your business a lot of money. Are you prepared if something unusual and catastrophic happens involving your company?

Umbrella coverage can help pay for those claims when they run higher than your liability limits. Think of it as extra insurance. This is especially important for your business if you experience a large financial claim or judgment against you.

Your business is unique—your insurance coverage should be, too

The primary risks you face at your business might be different than those listed here. As such, your insurance coverages should address and help cover those risks. Discuss your situation with your insurance provider.

If you need assistance, our representatives at Hortica are available to help you. We only serve the horticultural industry, and we understand the risks you face. We can provide you with a business insurance package that makes sense for you, your employees, and your business. Contact us.

Related links:

If you suffer a loss from any type of risk, follow these five tips when reporting your claim to help get your claim started, processed, and settled more quickly. 

Your business insurance policy should evolve as your operations and risks change. Our insurance renewal checklist can help you analyze where your business has changed.

You can reduce your workplace risks by cleaning up your property, inspecting your equipment, and reviewing your safety procedures. Learn more tips here.

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