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Going green on the road may help reduce auto insurance costs, building and maintaining a green home can decrease homeowners insurance and now maintaining green habits can help with business owners insurance. Insurers have been increasing incentives for business owners who choose to go "green" or adopt more eco-friendly business practices and infrastructure. Businesses who adopt green practices often provide better profitability and have lower risk. This allows business insurers to offer discounts on the premiums for business insurance to these customers.

How To Make Your Business More Earth FriendlyOne of the pioneers of green coverage is the Firemans Fund, which began offering green coverage in 2006. They describe their reasons for policy discounts for green businesses as follows:

"Our customers find that going green improves cash flow, operating income and asset values. For example, green hotels see higher occupancy, and real estate properties rent faster and at higher rates."

Other insurers may look at the safety aspect of non-toxic, no-fume paints and wall coverings, LED lights, green fleets, paperless office systems, and low use electrical appliances.

There are a variety of options for small businesses that will reduce their carbon footprint, while saving money in insurance and operating costs. According to MSNBC.com, chemical manufacturer DuPont saved over $3 billion over two decades by reducing carbon emissions. Smaller businesses can also benefit from reduced energy costs by taking simple steps like shutting off lights and computers when they're not in use.

Green Building Coverage and Discount - For those businesses with LEED compliant structures and buildings, insurers offer discounts on property insurance. The discount varies from insurer to insurer, but those participating insurers increases each year. As of 2010, the Insurance Information Institute stated 22 different companies were offering discounts up to 10% for green initiatives.

Green Fleet – For businesses operating commercial auto organizations or offering company vehicles, insurers often offer discounts for both existing vehicles and for upgrading a fleet with hybrid automobiles in the event of a loss.

Turn off the lights – It may sound simple, but companies that make a conscious effort to reduce energy bills by turning off the lights, keeping appliances turned off when not in use and shutting down electronics at the end of the day significantly reduce energy consumption. This not only helps the environment, but also reduces their costs in the form of lower energy bills.

Use renewable or high efficiency heating and cooling systems - this doesn’t mean small businesses should install wind farms next to the downtown office, but small changes can add up to make a big difference. If your businesses' heating and air-conditioning systems require repair or replacement, install high-efficiency units. You can also install high-efficiency rooftop units; seal existing ductwork; install a geothermal heat pump; and install programmable zone thermostats.
 
When insurers began offering green discounts several years ago, many thought that it was merely a marketing hype than an actual change. That was nearly ten years ago. Today, more and more business insurers are offering some premium benefit for "going green." These discounts can be expected to become a regular part of insurance premiums and a real aspect of business plans that can make a big difference to the bottom line.


By Matt Reynolds - Google+
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