Protect your greenhouse business against the worst scenarios

Photo: Hortica

Think back to when you opened or took over the management of your greenhouse. More than likely, you decided to do this because floriculture and horticulture bring you joy. You produce plants, flowers and crops that improve the lives of customers and know that when your inventory leaves your business, it has a lasting impact. Ornamental plants enhance the appeal of customers’ properties, fresh-cut flowers and unique houseplants bring homes to life and enhance customers’ well-being, and food crops help nourish customers – indoors. like outside.

The sad reality of owning a greenhouse, however, is the liability risks your business faces whether you serve customers in person, offsite, or online. It is almost impossible to control unforeseen incidents, but you can prepare for them. The following hypothetical examples show how general liability and cyber liability insurance coverage can be invaluable to your business.

Situation 1: slip and fall on the spot

When watering plants in your garden center, it is common for water to drip onto the ground. You wipe it down, place a cone for the safety of your customers, and go for the rest of your day. But you can’t control the customer who ignores this cone and slips and falls looking for a plant.

Or what about the temps you hired? You may not have had time to fully train them on your security procedures and they continue to develop their awareness and attention to detail. Carrying the product from the back of the greenhouse to the front for a demanding customer, they might forget about the pipe they were moving when the customer asked for help. The employee trips over it on his way to the garden center and is injured.

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Slip, trip and fall accidents are the most common type of general liability claim across all industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 2,140 non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2020 among employees in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production, 590 were due to slips, trips and falls.

No matter who slips or how it happens, the complications can be very costly for you as a business owner.

Situation 2: Damage to the customer’s vehicle on site

A customer picks up his order of bulk mulch, along with several large cement planters. They need the order placed in the bed of their truck on a busy Saturday morning. While assisting the customer, one of your employees backs into the tailgate of the truck with your front loader as he attempts to pull out of the congested parking lot. It causes damage to the customer’s vehicle.

Your employee had the best intentions, but accidents still happen. It is now your responsibility.

Situation 3: Offsite damage to customer property

Your business offers customers weekly fresh flower delivery and indoor plant care plans. One of your clients leaves six months a year for his second home in Florida. Meanwhile, your employees are watering one of the large planters in the client’s house every week. Unfortunately, the planter leaked throughout the winter months and was only caught when the client returned in the spring. The leak has caused extensive damage and the carpet needs to be replaced.

Leaks do happen, but in this case, an unfortunate incident has been compounded by the customer’s living situation – and now it’s a perfect storm of liability for your business.

Situation 4: Offsite injuries caused by your product

You had a scrumptious promotion for Mother’s Day. Succulents were delivered to one of your customers as a gift by her son, and as she took the containers out of the box, one of them broke. The client’s hand was cut by a shard of ceramic.

This didn’t happen on your property – and you can’t control what happens in transit – but unfortunately this is another example of a problem that could be a liability for you.

Situation 5: Cyberattacks

While on break, your employee clicks a link in their inbox while using one of the company’s main computers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t safe and instead of receiving a free gift card, the employee opened a Pandora’s box of cybercrime.

Technology benefits your business in many ways, but it can also put you at risk, with a cyberattack occurring every 39 seconds. And according to Cybersecurity Ventures, more than half of all cyberattacks are against small and medium-sized businesses. Phishing attacks, ransomware, and fraudulent identity theft can all disrupt your business with the click of a mouse.

Protect your business from life’s uncertainties

Although it can be nerve-wracking to think about worst-case scenarios, it’s important to understand how to protect yourself. General liability insurance coverage and cyber liability coverage provide a safety net to help protect your business.

General liability coverage protects your business (up to the limits of your policy) if you are found legally liable for injury or property damage caused by your operations, products, accidents on your premises or incidents at customers (depending on your policy covers and conditions).

Here are three types of general liability coverage important to your business:

  • Product protection coverage: General liability insurance can cover you and your property if someone is injured or something is damaged by your product.
  • Material damage coverage: If your business often requires you to be onsite at a customer’s location, you may need coverage for property damage for which you are legally responsible.
  • Chemical Application Coverage: You can help protect your business against losses from chemical drift, accidents while transporting chemicals, or damage while spraying.

Meanwhile, cyber liability insurance can help cover:

  • Cyber ​​extortion
  • Data recreation
  • Work interruption
  • Responsibility for Security and Privacy

Paying the full cost of a liability lawsuit out of pocket or suffering the consequences of a cybercrime can be disastrous for a business. Contact your insurer to ensure you have adequate general liability coverage for your business, and seriously consider adding cyber liability coverage if you haven’t already. Working with your insurance provider to find the best liability coverage can help protect you against the worst-case scenarios and give you peace of mind.