For our first Tent Talk episode of the new year, we welcomed Ross Graham of Food Liability Insurance Program to the show. Ross is a licensed insurance agent and strategic partnership manager focused on helping businesses find the coverage they need at an affordable price. In or conversation with Ross we talk about all things risk management at the farmers’ market and how to protect vendors and market managers.

Finding the right coverage

A few years ago, it was difficult for farmers’ market business owners to find appropriate insurance coverage. Through conducting some market research, the team at Veracity Insurance observed that for niche groups like farmers’ market businesses, general business insurance policies were either too expansive, expensive, or just ill-fitting. Rather than continuing to provide a one-size-fits-all policy, Veracity Insurance created the Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP) specifically for small food business owners.

FLIP specializes in insurance coverage for farmers’ market vendors and managers as well as food trucks, commercial kitchens, private chefs and caterers. By tailoring policies specifically for these types of businesses, FLIP is able to provide lower rates than most insurance providers because their policies aren’t packed with coverage small food business owners don’t need.

In addition, FLIP is entirely online! There’s no need to fax in forms or meet with an adjuster in person. Policy holders will also avoid receiving stacks of forms in the mail. Since launching FLIP, Veracity Insurance has estimated they’ve saved 15,000,000 sheets of paper across all their insurance programs!

Managing markets and managing risk

In addition to all their on-site responsibilities, farmers’ market managers have to be aware of the potential liability risks they face. Bodily injury, ADA compliance, and vendor relations are just the tip of the iceberg. The full list is enough to keep market managers up all night! Luckily there are simple steps you can take to reduce these risks.

“Things are going to happen that are out of your control and insurance is there to remove some of that risk,” says Ross. In addition to finding the right insurance coverage, here are additional things market managers can do to protect their business:

  • Incorporate your farmers’ market business.
  • Require your vendors provide proof of insurance and include your farmers’ market as additionally insured.
  • Become familiar with your insurance policy, current laws and read up on The Farmers Market Legal Toolkit.

Protect yourself as a vendor

Farmers’ market vendors can also be susceptible to accident or misfortune. If something were to happen to your warehouse full of product or expensive kitchen equipment, it could be incredibly detrimental to business. FLIP’s most common claim received is for lost or stolen property.

So what can a vendor do to make sure they are covered in case of an accident? Ross says it’s paramount to understand the ins and outs of your insurance policy. “The devil’s in the details and you don’t want to be surprised about what is or what isn’t in your policy once it’s too late.”

Here are a few other simple steps vendors can take to reduce risk:

  • Make sure your farmers’ market booth is safe. Wash your hands regularly, clear walkways for shoppers, and make sure you have weights on the legs of your pop-up tent.
  • Get inventory insurance for wherever your product is stored. If you move your product to a new warehouse, make sure the new address is listed on your policy.
  • Document, document, document – if something happens at the market, make sure to fill out that incident report!

Where can I listen to Ross’ full episode of Tent Talk?

There are many ways to listen to Tent Talk. You can stream directly from our website or by clicking the player below. You can also easily listen on a mobile device via iTunesStitcher, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any episodes!

Do you have a farmers’ market question you’d like us to answer on air? Got an idea for a future episode topic? Is there someone you think we should interview? Please let us know!

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