What You Need — And How We Can Help
Starting your own company can be an exciting, yet complicated and overwhelming experience. And while you have probably spent most of your focus and energy on securing that first client, there are several legal tasks and types of insurance coverage that you are required to have in place before opening shop.
Your first step should be hiring a corporate lawyer to set up your agency as a legal entity. If you are setting up the agency as a partnership or corporation (anything other than a sole proprietorship) you should end up with the following documents in hand:
Articles of Incorporation — Declares the type of entity, state of operation, classes of stock, and number of shares.
Shareholders Agreement — Discusses the rights and obligations shareholders have in situations like the sale of the company, or sale of stock.
Corporate Bylaws — Guide by which the board operates
Next you will need the proper corporate and employee insurance coverage — some statutory, some necessary, and some voluntary. When considering employee insurance, understand that in order to attract and retain talent, you will need to create an employee benefits package that is competitive with industry standards.
- General Liability Insurance — If you are renting or leasing space, your landlord will require you to insure it against physical damage or potential lawsuits. A company that leases you a copy machine, printer, or computer will also require proper coverage.
- Workers' Compensation Insurance — This mandatory insurance, which reimburses employees for lost wages and medical expenses as a result of an injury sustained at work, is regulated differently from state to state.
- Short Term Disability Insurance — This insurance, which is required by some states, pays a percentage of an employee's salary if he/she becomes temporarily disabled due to sickness or injury, and cannot perform their job duties. To complicate things, some states require that you purchase the insurance directly from the state, while other states do not.
- Health Insurance — Before you hire that first full time employee you need to have a medical plan in place. Levels of coverage and mandates vary from state to state. Due to recent changes in health care, companies are often required to offer health insurance to freelancers and contractors that are working "full time hours."
- Professional Liability Insurance — Most, if not all, clients will require you to carry some level of this insurance. It protects you and the client from potential lawsuits involving copyright infringement, look-alike or sound-alike claims, false advertising, and others.
Necessary Insurance includes:
- Management Liability Insurance
- Long Term Disability Insurance
- Additional coverage within the Business Owner's Insurance package
- Key-person Life and Individual Life Insurance to fund Buy-Sell Agreements
Please see the rest of this web site for specifics on these insurance products.
Voluntary, but probably required to create a competitive employee benefits package:
- Group Dental
- Group Life, Supplemental Life, Spouse/Domestic Partner Life, Child Life
- Qualified Retirement Plan
Speaking of a Retirement Plan, you might want to call it a necessary benefit, as almost every employee will expect it to be part of the benefits package.
A Retirement Plan need not be expensive to maintain or difficult to administer. A little homework done ahead of time will cut down on the time required to get a plan up and running. There are several questions that you should ask yourself before going through the process of designing the plan, such as "Who do I want to offer the plan to?"
To see a list of some questions to ask yourself click here.
At this point your heart is racing and your blood pressure is through the roof. Don't stress, we'll get you the best deal in the market with the 4A's discounts. And you don't need to hire a bunch of different experts to get through this, because you have access to a team of experts at 4A's Benefits.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. You don't have to bite off all of these at once, and we'll hold your hand and make sure you make it to the other side with your sanity AND your hair.