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Women-owned businesses better protected than male-owned counterparts

This information was provided by the Independent Insurance Agents of America

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--New research released this week by the Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA) offers some encouraging news for women who own and operate home-based businesses: they are almost 10 percent less likely than their male counterparts to experience devastating business losses that are not covered under their insurance policies. Why? Women entrepreneurs are almost 10 percent more likely to carry comprehensive business insurance to protect them from loss due to theft, property damage, or expensive liability claims.

With this encouraging news, however, comes a word of caution. Although the study indicates they may be more "insurance savvy" than their male counterparts, women in-home business owners are still particularly vulnerable to financial risks caused by inadequate or non-existing insurance coverage because they make up a large and growing percentage of people working out of their homes as entrepreneurs.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that 300,000 women start home-based businesses every year. And, the National Foundation for Women Business Owners estimates that women in-home entrepreneurs currently employ an estimated 14 million Americans. With increasing independence due to technology and growing income and tax benefits, that number is sure to climb.

"While many entrepreneurs have enjoyed success building in-home businesses, 60 percent of these firms--both women and men-owned--are still vulnerable to major losses because they are not properly insured," said Jeanne M. Heisler, CPCU, CIC, CLU, CPIW, president of the Ronan Agency, Inc., an independent insurance agency located in Brick, New Jersey.

"While nearly 64% of men-owned in-home businesses are at high risk, 56% of women in-home business owners neglected to purchase insurance to protect their business."

Alarmingly, many entrepreneurs do not even realize they don't have the proper insurance. Of the business owners without adequate coverage, 44% said they didn't buy business insurance because they mistakenly thought they were already covered. But again, overall, women (40% at risk) are slightly more informed than their male counterparts (47% at risk).

Women entrepreneurs are also more likely than men to purchase business insurance after experiencing a loss. While 62 percent of male in-home entrepreneurs who have experienced losses in the past still lack the insurance they need to protect against future losses, only 45 percent of their female counterparts do.

Why do women home-based entrepreneurs outpace men when it comes to protecting their business assets? Heisler feels that it can be partially explained by identifying women's financial priorities. "Nearly 50 percent of women said that protecting their family, property and home was their number one financial goal. It makes sense that protecting an in-home business is simply an extension of that priority." Heisler added.

The research also found that women who own their own business are more likely to seek out the services of an expert. "While financial self-reliance is an integral aspect of American women's financial management style, they recognize the need for professional advice when planning and protecting their personal, family and business financial futures," said Heisler.

IIAA recommends that home-based entrepreneurs seek information on protecting their business assets from an experienced, professional independent insurance agent who will help them protect against liability, loss of income and property damage. While levels of coverage and premiums depend on the risk associated a particular business, a comprehensive commercial policy can cost as little as $150 a year. Less comprehensive policies can cost even less.

Founded in 1896, IIAA is the nation's oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents, representing a network of 280,000 agents and agency employees. Independent agents offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents offer all lines of insurance--property, casualty, life and health.

This information reprinted with the permission of the Independent Insurance Agents of America. For more information about the organization, you can visit their web site.

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