EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated Sept. 21, 2022.
A few years ago, staff at USAA kept hearing the same question: “Do you offer small business insurance?”
So, in January 2021, USAA gave its members what they wanted and created coverage available in 30 states underwritten by USAA.
Traditionally focused on providing military members and their families with personal lines of insurance, such as auto, life and home policies, USAA began helping people in 1922. It knows how to listen with a goal of pinpointing each person’s insurance needs — then tailors a policy to meet those needs.
Effective and efficient insurance coverage means protection from financial setbacks, so it makes sense that USAA members should have it for their small business. In fact, entrepreneurship has become a growing career choice among those with a military affiliation. According to the Small Business Administration, veterans are 45% more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans. Plus, military spouses are choosing to launch businesses, in part, to overcome ongoing employment challenges that can be presented with frequent PCS moves.
Larry Williams, VP of USAA Small Business Insurance, says it is a trend that is likely to continue as the pandemic nears its third year.
“We’re seeing a growth of small businesses coming out of the global pandemic. Plus, the percentage of veteran-owned businesses seems to be increasing at faster rates than the general population,” Williams said. “We’re really excited as we go toward our next 100 years to have launched these new small business policies. We’re leaning into our mission of offering a full suite of competitive products for the military.”
Does every military or veteran entrepreneur need small business insurance?
Yes, says Sean Scaturro, director of insurance advice at USAA. He’s seen some owners thinking they’re too small to worry about it. For example, a photographer might think, ‘It’s just me. What could go wrong?’ Scaturro believes it’s probably the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make. Protect your financial well-being, no matter your size, Scaturro advises.
“You almost have to be a little cynical, to be able to evaluate risks you could face,” he said of small business owners. “And if we can’t be cynical enough ourselves, we’ve got to pick up the phone and speak to an expert who can evaluate all of the threats. USAA answers questions from business owners and also asks questions that a business owner doesn’t always know to ask.”
They need to consider the size of their business; how it’s structured legally; how many, if any, employees; current earnings; assets; liabilities; potential hazards; and potential expansions.
Williams knows it can be hard to find the time to analyze all the details: Business owners work all day because they’re building what they created. Then many take care of families for a bit in the evening and return to managing their business afterward. Investigating USAA coverage is one of the tasks they can complete then — or anytime.
“We see quite a bit of our members interacting with us after hours. We’ve sold policies all throughout the night, which is probably when they finally have time,” Williams said.
Visiting usaa.com/smallbusiness makes it easy. Answer a handful of questions, and the business owner learns what insurance options are available.
Doing so isn’t a one-and-done deal, though.
“It is very important that small business owners reevaluate their business with some regularity,” Williams stressed. “Make sure that they don’t have any changes that are complicating their policies. Maybe they added a new location or they’re selling a new product or they’re offering a new service.”
Owners should think about how their business has changed — or will soon change — at least once a year. Next, they should check in with their insurance agent and adjust their policy to match their business plan.
Williams grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, learning at a young age that small businesses are “the driver of the economy,” he emphasized. When a small business owner is also connected to the military, he feels an even greater pull to assist them.
“I want us to provide protection of their American dream as they put their lives on the line to protect ours,” he said. “It’s very personal to me that we’re there for those members when they need us most.”
Visit usaa.com/smallbusiness to get started.