Insurance Savings and News You Can Use
Join the Conversation!

Lower Restaurant Insurance Risk With 3 Safety Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 19, 2017

Reduce Risk and Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Cost With These Tips - for restaurant and club owners in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh and all of PA, NJ, and DE.As the owner of a restaurant, you have a lot of responsibilities – managing employees, advertising, pricing, and the list goes on.

But your most important responsibility should be safety – the safety of your employees, your customers, your property, and your business.

Restaurants do come with some unique safety challenges, but there are many steps you can take to make your restaurant a safer place to work and enjoy a delicious meal.

Better Restaurant Safety Means Fewer Claims, Lower Insurance Costs 

Every owner of a bar, tavern, club or traditional restaurant is interested in lowering his or her restaurant insurance costs. Here are some helpful tips to improve safety, organized for employees, customers, food handlers, and restaurant owners.

Safety Tips for Restaurant Employees

Food industry employees have a 60% higher rate of occupational injury or illness than workers in other industries, according to the National Safety Council. Injuries that required time off work are more than twice as frequent with food industry employees, and the risk of occupational death is 9.5 times higher for food industry employees.

The most frequent causes of injury are slips, trips, and falls. Other causes include burns, cuts, sprains and strains, and injuries resulting from repetitive motions.

Here are 4 tips to keep your employees safe in the kitchen:

  1. Keep floors clean and uncluttered. Clean up spills immediately, use floor cleaners with good grease-removal and slip-resistant properties, and post “caution” signs when floors are wet. Pay particular attention to the area around ice machines.

  2. Provide safety equipment/apparel such as oven mitts, anti-fatigue mats, protective eyewear, and cut-resistant gloves.

  3. Provide safety training including proper knife handling, lifting techniques, and the right way to use kitchen equipment.

  4. Follow manufacturer instructions on kitchen equipment, use protective gear, and properly maintain all of your equipment.

 

Tips for Customers and Anyone Who Prepares Food

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates there are 38.4 million episodes of foodborne illness in the U.S. every year. A study by the CDC found that the riskiest food prep practices include 1) not washing hands or changing gloves between touching raw meat or poultry and ready-to-eat foods, 2) not using a thermometer to check the temperature of cooked foods, and 3) working while ill (vomiting or diarrhea).

“Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent foodborne illness,” according to United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. “You can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness.”

Here are the four simple steps the USDA recommends during food prep:

  1. Clean – wash hands and surfaces often
  2. Separate – don’t cross-contaminate
  3. Cook – cook to the right temperature
  4. Chill – refrigerate promptly

 

Tips for Restaurant Owners

Between 2006 and 2010, nearly 8,000 eating and drinking establishments reported a fire every year causing an average of $246 million in property damage each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). More than half of those fires were caused by cooking equipment. Other causes were heating equipment, electrical distribution and lighting equipment, smoking materials, and 5% are intentionally set fires.

The National Restaurant Association offers these 6 fire safety tips:

  1. Install an automatic fire-suppression system in your kitchen, which will automatically (or manually) suppress the flames and shut down the fuel or electric supply to nearby cooking equipment.
  2. Have Class K portable fire extinguishers in the kitchen as a backup and Class ABC extinguishers in other areas of your restaurant.
  3. Keep an eye out for electrical hazards such as frayed cords and broken switch plates and repair them immediately. Schedule regular maintenance on your electrical equipment.
  4. The NFPA fire code calls for regular inspection of exhaust systems for grease buildup. Follow their guidelines based on your volume of operations.
  5. Keep your kitchen clean. Remove grease from exhaust hoods, walls, work surfaces, grills, vents, etc.
  6. Train your staff on how to use a fire extinguisher correctly, how to treat a grease fire, and how to properly handle flammable liquids. 

Better Safety Leads to Lower Restaraunt Insurance Costs

Implementing and enforcing safety practices and procedures at your restaurant is a great way to help ensure the safety of your property, employees, and customers. Unfortunately, even if you put every safety measure in place, accidents are bound to happen. One nasty lawsuit could set you back years or in some cases close your business.

Contact Us to Create a Safety Net For Your Restaurant!

That’s why you need a safety net - the right insurance for your restaurant, bar, nightclub, food truck, or any other type of food service business. The independent agents at American Insuring Group can help determine what type of restaurant insurance will best protect your restaurant while helping you get the best possible price. Give us a call at (800)947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or Contact Us Online to get started.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance

Hearing Loss Safety & Workers Comp Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 12, 2017

Hearing loss can impact the cost of workers compensation insurance. Contact us to lower your workers comp costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Allentown, PA, NJ, DE and beyond.Hearing is one of those things that many people take for granted … until it’s gone.

A Chronic Condition

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in American adults – following hypertension and arthritis. Hearing loss is even more common than vision trouble.

Approximately 11% of US workers have hearing difficulty, and about 24% of that hearing difficulty is caused by occupational exposures according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Hearing loss can also lead to miscommunication and accidents, potentially harming employees while driving up workers compensation insurance costs.

20 Million in Workforce Affected

There are more than 20 million people in the U.S. workforce currently experiencing hearing loss, and it’s affecting their jobs and costing businesses money. Any worker can suffer work-related hearing loss, but the top industries include construction, carpentry, mining, entertainment, military, and agricultural according to Healthy Hearing.

Impact of Hearing Loss

According to the CDC, Hearing loss can lead to miscommunications and depression. It has also been associated with cognitive decline and heart problems. Hearing loss can affect safety within the workplace, and the Better Hearing Institute found that workers with hearing loss are five times more likely to take sick days due to severe stress.

Epic Hearing Healthcare says, “… when workers have trouble following conversations, misunderstand what is being said, or pretend to hear things that they don’t hear, it can negatively affect the worker’s productivity and the company’s bottom line. Untreated hearing loss affects companies – whether through lost productivity or increased healthcare costs.”

Causes of Hearing Loss

The causes of hearing loss in the workplace include loud noises and chemicals that cause damage to the inner ear (ototoxic chemicals). When sound reaches 85 decibels or higher or if a person needs to raise their voice to speak to someone who is three feet away, noise is considered potentially harmful. Ototoxic chemicals include organic solvents like trichloroethylene, heavy metals like mercury and lead, and asphyxiants like carbon monoxide.

Approximately 30 million U.S. workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels or ototoxic chemicals.

How To Prevent or Minimize Hearing Loss

The good news is that much of this hearing loss is preventable. NIOSH has created a hierarchy of controls:

  1. Prevent or contain the escape of the hazardous workplace agent at its source (engineering control),
  2. control exposure by relocating the worker to a safe area (administrative controls),
  3. and control the exposure with barriers between the worker and the hazard (personal protective equipment).

Here are a few simple steps recommended by the CDC to reduce your employees’ risk for hearing loss:

  1. Use quieter equipment and keep equipment well maintained and lubricated.
  2. Put a barrier between employee and the source or enclose the source completely
  3. Increase distance between employee and source
  4. Reduce employee’s time in noisy areas
  5. Provide and enforce the use of hearing protection in noisy areas.
  6. Educate your employees about noise hazards

Here are tips to reduce hearing loss due to exposure to ototoxic chemicals:

  1. Use a less-toxic or non-toxic chemical
  2. Provide and enforce the use of gloves, eye protection, respirator and other protective equipment as appropriate.
  3. Follow all chemical safety instructions.

Hearing Loss Prevention Program Benefits

According to the CDC, “A successful hearing loss prevention program benefits both the company and the affected employee. Employees are spared disabling hearing impairments, and evidence suggests that they may experience less fatigue and generally better health. Ultimately, the company benefits from reduced medical expenses and worker compensation costs. In some cases, there may be improved morale and work efficiency.”

Contact Us For Advice on Reducing Workers Compensation Insurance Costs 

To learn more about workplace safety and ways to save on workers compensation insurance costs, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or Contact Us Online. We specialize in workers comp insurance for employers in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.

Our independent agents will shop and compare competing insurers to find a policy that meets your needs at the best price possible. Contact us today to learn more!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Workers Comp: 3 Keys to Effective Return-to-Work Programs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 05, 2017

Tips to reduce the cost of your return-to-work programs while reducing workers compensation insurance costsSome companies believe that taking the time to develop a return-to-work (RTW) program for injured employees costs more than its worth.

Some don’t think they have enough injuries to justify the cost of an RTW program, or they don’t think they have any “light duty” jobs available.

Some employers just don’t like the idea of paying an employee their full salary for doing light-duty work.

 

Studies Prove Return-to-Work Programs are Effective

But studies have shown that getting an injured employee back to work as quickly and safely as possible is the best approach for both the employee and the company. Return-to-work programs save employers on medical costs, lost time days, and workers compensation insurance costs. These programs can even reduce the number of lawsuits, wage replacement costs, and productivity losses.

The longer an injured employee is out of work, the less likely they’ll be to return to work and the more it costs the employer. Return-to-work programs reduce the length of claims and help injured employees recover more quickly.

RTW programs show that the employer cares about the well-being of the employer and wants to help them get back to work. And getting an employee back to work can help lift the injured employee’s spirits and the morale of their co-workers.

 

Keep Your RTW Program Simple and Cost-Effective

Despite common misconceptions, back-to-work programs don’t need to be costly or complicated.

First, you’ll want to work with your managers, supervisors, and insurance agent to ascertain if specific jobs are more prone to injuries, approximately how many injuries occur within your company each year, and how your injury stats compare with others in your industry.

Once you have this information, work with your insurer and possibly a trusted physician to develop a return-to-work program that fits your company.

 

Here are 3 Components of an Effective Return-to-Work Program:

  1. The Right Medical Providers
    You want to find medical providers who are on the same page as you. You want them to focus on what an injured employee can do, rather than what they can’t do, and you want the provider’s focus to be on safely returning the employee to work as quickly as possible.

  2. Communication
    Every employee should know that there is a return-to-work program in place and that it is followed. They should be familiar with the details of the program. And all employees should understand that the company’s goal is to return an injured employee to work as soon as it’s safe to do so – even if that means a light-duty job.

  3. Alternative Jobs
    You should have a list of light-duty jobs that may be appropriate for someone who is injured. Most companies have tasks that need to be done or activities that once completed could make other jobs easier or improve production, but these tasks or activities aren’t done because there isn’t time or manpower to do them. These tasks may be perfect for an injured employee. When the time comes, discuss the possibilities with the injured employee to see what would be a good fit with their abilities and their medical restrictions.

Taking the time to develop a return-to-work program for your company – no matter how big or small it is – can help your business reduce costs.

 

We Can Help You Lower Your Costs

Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents Specializing in Workers Compensation Insurance in Reading, Philadelphia, Harriburg, Altoona, Allentown, State College, Lancaster, York, PA and beyond. Contact Us.American Insuring Group can assist you in creating an effective return-to-work program that works for you and your employees.

Our Independent Agents can also help lower the cost of your Workers Compensation Insurance. So give us a call at (800)947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online to start saving.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs

5 Truck Driver Safety Tips to Lower Truck Insurance Cost

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 29, 2017

Lower your truck insurance costs with these safety tips. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Harrisburg, PA and beyond with affordable trucking insurance from reliable carriers.You have a great deal of power behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer. It's your responsibility to drive safely. As a bonus, if you do, then you'll also enjoy lower truck insurance costs.

Sobering Trucking Statistics

Truck engines have 300-400 more horses than a passenger vehicle and 900-1,800 more feet/pound of torque, and tractor trailers can weigh 20-30 times more than a passenger vehicle, according to the Truckersreport.com.

Plus, tractor trailers “are taller with greater ground clearance, which can result in smaller vehicles underriding trucks in crashes,” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IHS). And tractor trailers have more blind spots and take 20-40 percent farther to come to a complete stop than passenger vehicles, according to IIHS.

With great power comes great responsibility. “About 98 percent of all semi accidents result in at least one fatality,” TruckAccidents.org reports. “Most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants,” according to IIHS. In 2015, IIHS reported that 3,852 people died in large truck crashes – 16% were truck occupants, 29% were car occupants, and the rest were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.

Here are 5 Important Safety Tips for Truck Drivers:

  1. Be Alert – Give the road your full attention and be aware of what is going on around you. Know who is in front of, behind, and next to you at all times. Try to anticipate potential dangers and always leave enough space to allow for safe braking and unexpected actions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends, “If you are driving below 40 mph, you should leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length. For a typical tractor-trailer, this results in 4 seconds between you and the leading vehicle. For speeds over 40 mph, you should leave one additional second.”

Being well-rested is key to staying alert.  The hours-of-service regulations, which puts limits on when and how long you can drive, were put into place to help ensure that you remain awake and alert while driving. Don’t compromise safety; follow these regulations.

  1. Watch the Weather – Weather is one of the most significant factors that affect driving safety. Knowing what to expect can help you be better prepared. A wet road requires more room to stop, so slow down and keep an even safer driving distance between you and the car in front of you in bad weather. And pay attention to the temperature as rain can quickly turn to treacherous ice when the temperature drops.

If you don’t feel safe in the current driving conditions, stay parked. Know your limits and don’t be a hero. Nothing is worth risking your life for.

  1. Pick a Lane – The chance of an accident increases every time you change lanes, so pick a lane and stay in it whenever possible. If you do need to change lanes, do so carefully. Be aware of your blind spots and carefully check your mirrors.

  1. Plan Your Travel – If possible, avoid traveling in high-volume traffic at peak times. Allow time for regular breaks to stretch and recharge. Watch the weather to see if you can expect any dangerous conditions and make sure that your truck is equipped with supplies for all driving conditions. Check your rig and your load before starting.

  1. Maintain Control – Remember that your vehicle is bigger and more powerful than most of the vehicles around you and that it won’t stop or take a turn the way a smaller vehicle The best way to maintain control is to control your speed.

No matter how “hot” your load is, nothing is worth risking your life for. And an added benefit is that fewer accidents mean lower truck insurance premiums!

How to Save on Trucking Insurance

A Trusted Choice Independent Agency for PA Truck Insurance. Contact us to save.To learn more ways to save on truck insurance, give contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Our independent agents will save you money by comparing lots of competing trucking insurance carriers. Our independence gives us the freedom to shop. We shop, you save!  Call or click today.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Business Insurance

4 Common Misconceptions About Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 22, 2017

Affordable PA Restaurant Insurance in Allentown, Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.You’ve worked hard perfecting your recipes, hiring the right people, finding the perfect location, and creating a successful business.

So why wouldn’t you do everything you can to protect all that sweat equity, including getting the proper insurance for your restaurant, bar, or nightclub?

Perhaps it’s because while most restaurant owners know they need insurance to protect their business, it’s easy to make bad decisions based on a lack of information, thereby exposing your restaurant and your personal assets to risk.

 

Here are 4 common misconceptions about restaurant insurance: 

Misconception #1. You Can’t Get Blood From a Stone

You may think that if you don’t have a lot of money that you simply cannot get sued. The truth is that no matter how big or small your business is or how much money you have, if a settlement against you is awarded, the courts will do everything they can to collect that money. They may seize your equipment, your bank account, and sometimes your personal assets.

 “While formal business structures like an LLC are an important first step toward safeguarding your personal assets, there’s a common misconception that incorporating will automatically protect you from all personal liability,” according to Huffington Post. “However, there are still several situations where you can be personally liable.”

One example the Huffington Post offers is, “If your actions injure someone, you can still be personally liable. This is because an LLC or corporation can protect you from personal liability for contractual lawsuits, but not against tort lawsuits. This is the reason that most professionals such as doctors take out a good professional liability insurance policy.”

Misconception #2. Nobody WIll Sue Me

We live in a very litigious society. No matter how careful you are, there is always a chance of being sued. Even if it’s a bogus claim that is dismissed, legal fees may be more than your business can afford. According to Rocket Lawyer, “The threat of a lawsuit is very real: over 100 million cases are filed in US state courts every year.”

Misconception #3. Insurance is Just Too Expensive

Do you have enough in savings to cover your restaurant if a customer or employee sues you? Probably not! A lawsuit can be costly. “Hiscox claims data for small and mid-sized businesses (under 500 employees) indicate that one in five will face employment charges with an average cost to defend of $125,000, which includes expenses such as attorney’s fees and settlement costs,” according to the Insurance Journal. “For those that did have insurance coverage, the average deductible cost was only $35,000, compared to the $90,000 balance paid out by their insurance company.”

Ask any restaurant owner who has been sued and did not have the right insurance, and they’ll tell you that the cost of insurance is worth the protection. Ask any restaurant owner who has been sued and had the right insurance, and they’ll tell you that the cost of insurance is worth the peace of mind. 

Misconception #4. I Only Hire a Few Employees, so I don’t need Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Each state has its own laws about which employers are required to provide Workers’ Compensation insurance to their employees. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, “Workers' compensation coverage is mandatory for most employers under Pennsylvania law. Employers who do not have workers' compensation coverage may be subject to lawsuits by employees and to criminal prosecution by the Commonwealth.”

 

Protect Your Future with Affordable PA Restaurant Insurance

Trusted Choice Independent Agents Specializing in Affordable, High Quality Restaurant Insurance in PennsylvaniaDon’t put your restaurant at risk. Trust the experienced Independent Insurance Agents at American Insuring Group to separate fact from fiction. You'll be confident knowing your restaurant is protected with affordable, high quality restaurant insurance.

Get started by calling us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Business Insurance

Nail Gun Safety and Workers Compensation Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 15, 2017

Nail Gun Safety Tips - Avoid Injury and Lower Your PA Workers Comp Insurance Costs.Contractors and handymen, do you remember the days before nail guns? When you had to use a hammer to nail something.

Today, you probably can’t imagine doing your job without a nail gun! They’ve probably made your job a lot easier, and, unfortunately, more dangerous, which can lead to increased workers compensation insurance claims and higher insurance costs.

According to the CDC, nail guns are responsible for approximately 37,000 emergency room visits every year. Sixty-eight percent of those injuries are work-related. Severe nail gun injuries can even cause death.

7 Risk Factors for Nail Gun Injuries

The CDC has identified 7 major risk factors that can lead to nail gun injury:

  1. Unintended nail discharge from double fire

  2. Unintended nail discharge from knocking the safety contact with the trigger squeezed

  3. Nail penetration through lumber workpiece

  4. Nail ricochet after striking a hard surface or metal feature

  5. Missing the workpiece

  6. Awkward position nailing

  7. Bypassing safety mechanisms

Nail Gun Safety Prerequisite: Know Your Triggers!

Before we can discuss ways to avoid nail gun injuries, it’s important to understand the different types of nail gun triggers.

There are two controls with every nail gun: a finger trigger and a contact safety tip on the nose of the gun.

  1. Full sequential trigger – This is the safest type of trigger. The controls need to be activated in a very specific order for the gun to fire, and nails can’t be bump fired – also called bounce nailing. Bump firing or bounce nailing is using a nail gun with a contact trigger held squeezed and bumping or bouncing the tool along the workpiece to fire nails.

  2. Contact trigger – This type of trigger fires a nail when the safety contact and trigger are activated in any order. A nail will be fired each time the safety contact is pushed in if you keep the trigger squeezed. Nails can be bump fired with this type of trigger. Contact trigger nailers are prone to double firing, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

  3. Single sequential trigger – To fire this type of trigger, controls must be activated in a specific order and nails cannot be bump fired just like the full sequential trigger. However – unlike the full sequential trigger – only the trigger must be released to fire the second nail.

  4. Single-actuation trigger – This trigger will fire a single nail when the safety and trigger are activated in any order just like the contact trigger. To shoot the second nail, you can release the trigger, move the tool and squeeze the trigger again without releasing the safety again. Nails can be bump

 

6 Ways to Avoid Nail Gun Injuries

The CDC offers six steps to help avoid nail gun injuries:

  1. Use full sequential trigger nail guns, which reduce the risk of unintentional discharge and double fires especially with inexperienced employees.

  2. Provide safety training to both new and experienced employees that covers topics such as how triggers differ and the leading causes of injuries and how to avoid them.

  3. Establish nail gun work procedures specific to your company that address risk factors.

  4. Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety shoes, high-impact eye protection, etc.

  5. Encourage reporting and discussion of injuries and close calls to draw attention to possible risks, so they can be avoided and to ensure that your employees are getting medical care when needed.

  6. Provide first aid and medical treatment. Sometimes, what seems like a minor injury can be more severe. For example, materials such as nail strip glue or clothing can become embedded, which can cause infection.

Play it Safe with Proper Workers Compensation Insurance!

Trusted Choice Workers Compensation Insurance Independent Agents Serving Reading, Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, PA and beyond.It is your responsibility to provide the safest workplace environment for your employees. The fact that it also reduces your workers’ compensation costs is just icing on the cake!

To learn more about saving on workers compensation insurance, give American Insuring group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online. Our independent agents are ready to get you solid coverage options at a great price. Call or click today.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Insurance, Nail Gun Safety

Hurricane Harvey & Lessons on Flood Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 08, 2017

Lessons on Flood Insurance from Hurricane Harvey. Contact us for PA flood insurance quotes and protection.We’ve all seen the devastation Hurricane Harvey has caused in Houston. People being rescued by boat. People without power or safe drinking water. Homes that were flooded or completely destroyed. It is heartbreaking. And so many without a flood insurance as opposed to a standard homeowners insurance policy!

Yes, many of those Houston residents are about to face another devastating blow as they discover that their homeowner's insurance doesn’t cover damage caused by floods. Only flood insurance covers flood damage, and in Houston’s Harris County, only about 15 percent of homeowners have flood insurance!

Up to $9.5 Billion of Residential Damage Covered by Flood Insurance

CoreLogic - a provider of consumer financial and property information, analytics and services - estimates the total residential loss from Hurricane Harvey will be $25 to $37 billion – for both insured and uninsured. An estimated $6.5 – 9.5 billion will be covered by insurance. Despite the fact that Houston lies in the projected path of many storms, 70 percent of flood damage caused by Harvey will not be covered by insurance.

On Their Own Without Flood Insurance

This means that thousands of people affected by Hurricane Harvey will be financially responsible for rebuilding their homes and their lives. Families with flooded basements, water-soaked furniture and walls, etc. without flood insurance will have to dig into their savings or take out a loan to get their homes back to normal. Some will probably be forced to sell their homes.

Flood Insurance is Not Mandatory

How did this happen? Flood insurance is not mandatory regardless of where you live. Homeowners who purchase homes in a Special Flood Hazard Zone using federally-backed mortgages must have flood insurance, and sometimes mortgage lenders financing a property in the designated flood zone will require it. However, about 1.2 million properties (approximately half) in the Houston-Sugarland-Baytown area are not in a designated flood zone. Since flood insurance isn’t required in those areas, many homeowners who aren’t forced to purchase flood insurance decide not to.

Almost No Federal Help For Home Damage 

Now, if you’re thinking the Federal government will take care of everything, think again. Forbes says, “According to longstanding U.S. disaster relief policy, homeowners get almost no federal relief for reconstruction. This was made painfully clear after Katrina when much of the destruction was not covered by insurance. Many Louisiana homeowners, especially among the poor, were unable to rebuild and abandoned their properties.”

FEMA Loans

FEMA does offer low-interest loans to most homeowners who are affected by federal disasters and don’t have flood insurance. Those loans will need to be paid back, and for some, it will be like carrying two mortgages.

A Lack of Flood Insurance Participation

as the images of the devastation fade from their minds. Despite the damage caused by Katrina, Sandy, and other large storms in the U.S., only about 12% of U.S. homeowners have flood insurance.

Berks County Flood Insurance

And Berks County has experienced its share of natural disasters including damaging winter storms, flooding, tropical storms (Agnes in 1972), hurricanes (Sandy in 2012), earthquakes (2003 and 2007 in Flying Hills), hailstorms (May 2014) and tornadoes (as recent as June 2017).

Get Educated on Flood Insurance Options for Home and Business

The devastation of Hurricane Harvey serves as a reminder that if protecting your family or your business is a priority, you need an experienced and responsible insurance agent who is willing to educate you and advise you of all the risks – not just flooding but other risks you may not even consider.

Contact American Insuring Group Help with Flood Insurance  

We're a Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agency. We'll help you save on flood insurance in PA.The goal at American Insuring Group is to make our customers bulletproof regarding all their insurance protection, including flood insurance.

Don’t wait until something happens and it’s too late -  give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or Contact us online today! Our independent agents are standing by to help.

Tags: Flood Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Hurricane Harvey

Food Truck Insurance and Risk Management

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Oct 02, 2017

Contact us to reduce risks for your food truck business with the right insurance. We serve Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Lebanon. Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.More people are getting into the food truck business than ever before. Food trucks offer a more affordable and flexible option for first-time entrepreneurs. Plus, many restaurateurs are adding food trucks to increase brand awareness and to cash in on the current growth of the food truck industry.

Food Truck Business Quadrupled in 5 Years

Food Trucks are the fastest growing channel in today’s foodservice industry. The projected food truck revenue in 2017 is expected to be $2.7 billion – compared to $650 million just five years ago - according to Foodtruckoperator.com.

Food Truck Business Risks

Like any business, food trucks face potential risks. Here are 3 main risks to consider:

  1. Vehicle Risk – Food trucks are exposed to many of the same physical risks a restaurant faces such as fire, flood, and general wear and tear with the addition of automobile accidents.

  2. Operator Risk – The people operating the vehicle are subject to many of the same risks a restaurant faces such as falls, cuts, and burns.

  3. Liability Risks – Customers can suffer an injury such as slips or falls along with food-related illnesses. Plus, food trucks have the added liability that sometimes occurs with automobile accidents.

How to Protect Your Food Truck Business

It is your responsibility to protect your business, employees, and customers by managing these risks. There are steps you can take to prevent some them such as thoroughly screening anyone who will be driving your vehicle, following food safety guidelines, and being aware of any possible hazards both in and around your truck. Unfortunately, there will always be certain risks you don’t anticipate or can’t control. One lawsuit or one accident that you aren’t prepared for can mean the end of your business and all the hard work and financial resources you’ve put into it.

Gain Additional Protection with Food Truck Insurance

That’s where food truck insurance - which addresses risks related to most businesses and risks unique to food trucks – can help. Also, most landlords, event organizers, and venue owners will require you to have certain types of insurance. For example, most will require at least $1 million in general liability insurance. They don’t want to be held responsible for damage to your vehicle or injury to your customers. 

7 types of insurance you may want to consider for your food truck business:

  1. General liability helps cover legal expenses, fines, and penalties if someone sues you.

  2. Workers compensation (WC) insurance is required by many states. Within Pennsylvania, WC is mandatory for all employers with one or more employees (with a few exceptions). But with a food truck, you may find yourself traveling to other states. The National Federation of Independent Business offers a state-by-state comparison of workers’ compensation requirements.

  3. Property damage insurance protects your property from damage caused by collision, theft, fire, vandalism, and other damage while your vehicle is parked. Property is divided into two separate categories: your food truck with any attached equipment and the contents of your vehicle.

  4. Auto liability insurance covers you for injury or property damage to others if there is an accident while you are driving the vehicle.

  5. Food spoilage coverage protects you from the costs associated with the loss of food and beverages due to spoilage. Food can quickly spoil with a prolonged power outage or an equipment breakdown, and you certainly don’t want to serve your customers spoiled food.

  6. Food contamination coverage may help recover certain expenses if the health board shuts down your food truck after a food-borne illness outbreak. Contamination can be caused by mishandled or improperly stored food, employees may unknowingly transmit a virus or bacteria to the food, or the food may even be contaminated when you receive it.

  7. Umbrella insurance, which goes above and beyond your general liability and auto liability limits, may be required for large contracts.

 

Getting the Right Insurance for Your Food Truck Business

Contact American Insuring Group for help in obtaining the best food truck insurance at the right price for your needs.It may sound complicated and perhaps a bit overwhelming, but the independent agents at American Insuring Group can walk you through your options and help you determine the best food truck insurance for your operation. Contact us online or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

We'll compare competing insurance providers to determine those that offer the best protection at the best price to meet your needs. Contact us today to get protected and to start saving on food truck insurance!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Business Insurance, Food Truck Insurance

The #1 Factor Affecting Workers Compensation Outcomes

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 16, 2017

Reduce Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud by Building Trust. Serving Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Trust… What is trust? Merriam Webster defines it as “one in which confidence is placed” or “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

But what does trust have to do with workers’ compensation claims? EVERYTHING!

Studies have found that the biggest single factor that determines the success or failure of a workers’ compensation insurance claim is trust between the injured employee and his or her employer. And that trust (or lack of trust) begins as soon as the claim is reported (often before).

Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud is Rare. Surprised? 

Now, you may be thinking that there are so many cases of Workers Compensation Insurance fraud that you can’t trust anyone. We have an interesting statistic for you: studies show that only 1 to 2 percent of all workers' compensation claims are fraudulent. That means 98 to 99 percent are legitimate. So, yes there should be a thorough investigation of every claim, but you should also give your employees the benefit of the doubt. After all, trust is a two-way street.

How to Build Trust

Here are two areas that employers should focus on when trying to develop trust, plus one magic question that can help lead to a mutually successful claim.

#1. Work on The Employee / Supervisor Relationship

Research has shown that a supervisor’s response to an injured worker at the moment the claim is reported is key to building trust, and once trust is lost, it’s very difficult (if not impossible) to get it back.

If the supervisor responds with blame or anger by saying something like “What did you do to cause the injury?” there will be an immediate lack of trust. Perhaps even worse is expressing apathy with something like “You’re not hurt; get back to work.” Both of these show a lack of trust in the employee and puts them immediately on the defense.

If the supervisor responds positively by taking every workers’ compensation claim seriously and by showing genuine concern for the employee’s well-being, trust is built. And with trust you will have a significantly better claim outcome.

Supervisors should continue to leverage that trust by following up with a call or a visit to the hospital the day of the injury to let the injured employee know how sorry they are that he or she got hurt and how eager they are for the employee to return to work. Follow this up with a get well card signed by the supervisor and the injured employee’s co-workers. Again, say something like, “We’re so sorry that you got hurt. We look forward to seeing you back at work.”

The supervisor should continue to solidify that trusting relationship over time with weekly conversations reaffirming that they care about the employee’s well-being. These discussions also allow the supervisor to assess the attitude of the injured employee, how their medical treatment is going, and how their transitional duty job (if there is one) is going.

#2. Work On The Employee / Insurance Adjuster Relationship

First impressions are crucial. If you present a positive reaction to an injured employee during the first interaction, it’s much easier to build that trust. The adjuster should avoid using insurance jargon, such as “adjudication” and avoid calling the injured worker the “claimant."

And remember that this is probably the employee’s first workers comp insurance claim, so they probably don’t understand the process, what is going to happen, or what they need to do. It’s up to the adjuster to guide them through the process as a trusted advisor. If the injured employee believes their rights are not being protected, they will call an attorney, which often makes a claim even more complicated and more costly.

#3. Ask The “Magic” Question

One of the most powerful questions you can ask an injured employee is, “Do you think you will be back to work within four weeks without any restrictions?” If they say no, ask them why and offer additional resources and support. If they answer yes, they’ve set the expectation in their mind, which will drive them back to work more quickly. This question helps builds trust and should be asked with every Workers’ Compensation claim.

This may sound like a lot of work, but if you want to resolve workers’ compensation claims quickly and minimize your workers’ compensation insurance claims costs, these are necessary actions.

Contact Us To Learn More About Workers Comp Insurance 

A Trusted Choice Independent PA Workers Comp Insurance AgencyTo learn more about saving on workers compensation insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Our independent insurance agents are motivated to help you save on the best workers comp plans from reliable insurers.Best of all, as independents we are free to shop among lots of competing insurance providers, so you can be confident of getting a great price on the right coverage!

For helpful tips and plenty of insightful blog posts on the topic, visit our Workers Compensation Insurance page.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Workers Comp Insurance Fraud? Try This

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 03, 2017

Tips for Investigating PA Workers Compensation Insurance FraudThe majority of workers’ compensation insurance claims are legitimate, and if an employee is injured on the job, they are entitled to the medical care and indemnity benefits stated in the workers’ compensation statutes. Unfortunately, there are also a number of fraudulent workers’ compensation claims every year.

Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud Statistics

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates that workers’ compensation insurance fraud costs the insurance industry $7.5 billion every year, which in turn drives up the cost of workers’ compensation premiums. This doesn’t even take into account the cost of replacing the “injured” employee, training a new employee, overtime, and even a decrease in employee morale and productivity.

“Workers’ comp fraud is a large crime in America today,” according to the Coalition Against Fraud Insurance. “Scams are forcing premiums higher — draining business profits and costing honest workers their pay and jobs.”

Tips for Investigating Workers Comp Insurance Claims

Yet, many employers don’t investigate workers’ compensation claims properly. There is one simple thing every employer can and should do immediately following an accident or injury: collect written incident reports from the injured employee and any witnesses.

The injured employee should provide a written description of the incident including details of the accident, what caused the injury, the nature and scope of the injury, and what the employee thinks could be done to prevent the accident from happening again because.

Here’s why:

  1. Immediately following an incident, the employee should be able to recall the accident or injury more accurately than they could months or years later.

  2. Having the details of the accident in writing will discourage the employee from embellishing the details later, and having documentation of exactly which body parts were injured, limits the employee’s ability to add additional body parts to the claim at a later time. Tales do tend to grow taller on down the line.

  3. Often, if a claim is questionable, the adjuster will take a recorded statement from the employee. A written report allows them to compare the two reports to look for deviations. In this interview, the adjuster may also ask if the employee has any prior claims, accidents, and any prior injuries to the same body part.

Keeping the WC Claims Process Honest

The bottom line is that knowing that an employer has the details of the incident written in the employees’ own words goes a long way to help keep an injured employee honest.

Obtaining a written report from every witness immediately following the incident will help provide additional information about the accident and the extent of the injuries. Employers should be cautious of any accidents that have no witnesses or that the only witnesses are friends of the injured employee.

The employee’s supervisor or someone familiar with the work process should review the reports to confirm the accuracy of the information, and those reports should be given to the workers’ compensation adjuster. The employer should also provide information to the adjuster about any previous workers’ compensation claims, any other accidents or injuries the employee has incurred in the past, and any strenuous activities, sports, or hobbies the employee participates in.  

Create a Standard Protocol for Investigating Workers Comp Accidents

Having an established protocol for investigating accidents can help ensure that the proper steps are taken each time. It’s important that you react quickly to an accident or injury, capture the details quickly, and take the right actions to investigate the claim. Doing this will help limit the ability of dishonest employees to exploit legitimate workers’ compensation claims and help you keep workers’ compensation costs down.

How to Get the Best PA Workers Comp Insurance Coverage

Contact us for tips in preventing WC insurance fraud and for the best WC insurance protection in PA.To learn more about protecting your company against WC insurance fraud or your workers compensation insurance coverage options, you can reach us via our Contact Page or call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Our independent agents are ready to help you get affordable insurance protection. We'll drive down your cost by comparing prices and coverages among lots of competing WC insurance carriers. Don't delay - contact us today and start saving!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, WC Insurance