Business Insurance Services

Insurance is seen by most people as a necessary evil. It's complex, opaque, and requires a lot of trust in your advisor. No two businesses are the same: an early-stage or growing business requires a different set of solutions than a larger firm with dozens or hundreds of employees and complex finances. Furthermore, most insurance advisors - about 90%, in fact - specialize in family insurance only. Insurance is not a commodity: it is important to have someone on your side who understands your needs.

As a former mid-size business owner, Chris Coulter knows first-hand how unhelpful insurance advice can leave a business exposed to unexpected risks, and is committed to helping other business owners avoid the same pitfalls. He has also learned several ways by which entrepreneurs can preserve and protect their wealth through strategic use of insurance.

On this page, we have included information about the common challenges that business owners face throughout the life cycle of their organization, and the types of insurance policies that are most appropriate to address those challenges.

“In short, Chris makes insurance suck less. Chris revamped our benefit plan to appeal to our employees’ need for flexibility and reduced our overall cost. He helped devise a strategy to protect the business as it grows and helped create a long-term exit strategy for myself and future business partners.”

Greg Q, CEO & Founder, Commercial Interior Design Firm

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Start-Up Phase

This is usually in the first 5 years of a business when the company is using start-up capital to build something sustainable. They are often in the R&D phase of the product and service they offer.

The new business incurs a lot of expenses with not a lot of income coming in at first. The owner has likely put his/her personal assets on the line (house, investments) to help finance the business.

One of the primary insurance needs of growing businesses is the protection of assets and family. Owners of startups and small businesses are in a vulnerable position, as both their business and their family's income depends on them being well and able to work.

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Growth & Profitability Phase

This is when the company starts making money. They start to scale operations. They ramp up to maximize growth and profitability. With profit comes taxes. Depending upon the year, profits can be significant. You’ll want to leave money in the company to increase retained earnings and you’ll likely want to start taking some money out of the business.

If you bonus or dividend out the money to an owner, you’ll likely be paying the highest marginal personal income tax rates. If you leave passive income in the business and invest it, you’ll be paying the highest corporate tax rates.

Insurance-based strategies exist that will not only protect you, your business, and your family, but will also minimize your taxes while contributing to your wealth over the long-term.

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Succession Planning & Exit Strategy Phase

This is a definitive plan to start transferring capital to your personal assets and ownership of your business to a successor.

Doing so strategically and proactively can minimize your taxes payable and being able to utilize your Small Business Capital Gains Exemption. Plenty of time is required to do this properly and to maximize the full value into your hands personally. Ensuring you conform to the passive income requirements is critical to this.

The sooner you devise a transition or succession plan, the easier and more rewarding the entire process will be. Also, having a strong plan in place early on will increase your company's value in the long run. Essentially, you want to be planning for the day your business can run without you.

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Legacy Phase

At this stage, you’ve stepped back from the business. You’re not taking a salary but likely only dividends. You’re living comfortably, and thinking about the financial and social legacy you’d like to leave. There are many ways to ensure that the wealth you have accumulated is distributed according to your wishes, instead of going to the government.

Your pension should have a “Terminal Funding” element. Your TFSA should be maxed out. You could consider setting aside an annuity to pay for your monthly expenses. You should estimate how much capital gains you have left on your assets and what the taxes payable will be upon death. You can also allocate funds for your favourite charities through a permanent insurance policy. You can also set up legacy accounts for your children and grandchildren.

The Finish Line Group can help ensure that your taxes are minimized, your retirement is comfortable, and the wealth you have worked hard for is sustained across generations.

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