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Concealed Weapons and General Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Oct 14, 2016

Don't shoot yourself in the foot - consider your concealed weapons policy!

Tips for forming a concealed weapons policy and commercial liability insurance. Serving Reading, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond with quality general liability insurance for businesses for over 25 years. Contact us today.As a small business owner who allows customers and visitors on your property, you assume the responsibility of providing a reasonably safe environment for them. This responsibility includes warning them about any concealed dangerous conditions. In states with “concealed carry” laws, you might need to post warnings that your sales clerks are armed.

But what if one of your employees, legally carrying a concealed weapon, negligently (or deliberately) shoots a customer who is on the premises conducting business, and the client subsequently sues you for the injuries? Will your Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL) policy cover this incident?

Obviously, you would have to be found legally responsible for the injuries for the CGL to pay. And, while your liability might be debatable, you will be brought into any lawsuit by the injured customer. At that point, your insurer will be compelled to defend you unless there is some clear-cut exclusion in the general liability policy that would apply to the shooting occurrence. And that’s not likely.

 

What's the right policy for minimizing risk and protecting employees and customers?

Even though it’s probable that your business liability insurance policy will cover you against such claims, it could be a smart move to minimize this type of risk by being pro-active. For instance, requesting an exemption from the scope of the concealed-weapon law will give you the authority to ban weapons in the workplace. Make it your company’s policy for all present and future employees that guns are not allowed on the premises. That would eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit…wouldn’t it?

What if your employee is attacked?

Think about your employee being attacked and beaten at work after you have forbidden him from carrying a weapon. Looking at this from his perspective, couldn’t that employee file suit claiming that he was unable to defend himself because of your weapons ban? The injured worker could assert that he sustained a bodily injury and that you, as his employer, are legally responsible for those injuries.

The workers’ compensation exclusion and the employers’ liability exclusion in the general liability policy would need to be considered, but if the injury to the employee is not work-related - in other words, not arising out of and in the course of employment - the exclusions won’t apply. In that case, your general liability policy would respond with a defense since there is no exclusion in the policy to prevent such a response. But, of course, the duty to pay the claim would depend on your liability being established in a court of law.

Suppose you don’t ban weapons and one employee shoots another?

If one of your staff carries a concealed weapon to work and shoots a fellow employee, and it results in a claim against you, will an insurance policy provide coverage? Once again, the first thing to consider is workers compensation. CGL does not apply to any of your obligations under a workers’ comp law, or to bodily injury to one of your employees arising “out of and in the course of employment.”

If the shooting injury did not arise out of the employment, the general liability policy would respond to a claim against you, but if the injury arose out of the employment, you could look to workers’ compensation for coverage. But what exactly is "out of and in the course of employment"? State workers’ comp laws have yet to define this. It may have to fall to the courts to make this determination.

Properly screen employees during the hiring process

The list of potential problems that concealed weapon laws pose for you as an employer is quite long. Good risk management calls for preemptive actions. Banning weapons from your premises is a good start. And instituting hiring practices (pre-employment screenings, etc.) that yield levelheaded employees who won’t resort to violence to settle disputes is also necessary. All business owners can learn to live with concealed weapons laws, but none can afford to ignore them.

Contact Us for Your Commerical Liability Insurance Needs

Contact us about commecial liability insurance and your concealed carry policy.To learn more about Commercial General Liability Insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. As an independent insurance agency, we'll compare pricing and coverage among many competing carriers to get you the right commercial insurance at the right price. Contact us today!

 

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance, Pennsylvania Business Insurance

Business Insurance in the Event of a Death or Disability

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Sep 17, 2015

Do you know your business insurance needs in the event of death or disability? We're a PA business insurance agency who can help. Serving Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.When you start a business, you’re full of hope and dreams. The last thing you want to think about is what would happen to your business if you, a co-owner, or a key person within the business were to become disabled or – God forbid – die.

But, as a business owner it is your responsibility to think about these things and plan how you will protect your business, your employees, and your family in the event of one of these tragedies. In order to do that, you need to ask yourself these two questions and then get the proper business insurance to meet your needs:

What will happen to my business and family if I die or become disabled?
What will happen if certain key employees die or become permanently disabled? 

Here are 4 Types of Business Insurance to Consider:

Disability Buy-Out Insurance

You may think that if something were to happen to you that your family could jump in and run the business or hire someone to handle the day-to-day management of your business. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. Usually, they don’t have the skills or the where-with-all to make that happen. So, it’s important to create a buy-sell agreement - a contract that would allow remaining owner or owners to buy a deceased, disabled, or retired owner’s share of the business (at a pre-determined agreed upon price). A properly structured and funded buy-sell agreement will ensure that your business partners know exactly what needs to be done and that your family is fairly and promptly compensated.

There are several ways to fund this type of agreement in the event of such a tragedy. You (or your remaining partners) can use cash (assuming you have access to enough cash), pay in installments from current earnings (which could become a financial burden to the business for years to come), take out a loan (assuming you could obtain a business loan after an owner’s death or disability), or use disability buy-out insurance (the only way to guarantee that the cash will be available when needed).

Business Overhead Insurance

If an owner were to become disabled, this insurance would reimburse the business for overhead expenses – such as salaries, taxes, employee benefits, rent, mortgage, utilities, etc. – for one or two years. This often means the difference between a business surviving or closing until the owner can get back on his or her feet.

Individual Life Insurance

What if you or one of the owners were to die? What would happen to your business? You might assume that your family or remaining owners could sell or liquidate the business to ensure their financial security. Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually work. First, who wants to think about selling a business while grieving for the loss of a loved one? Second, when the family is forced to sell the business quickly, they may have to sell at a discount or during market conditions that make the business less attractive. In other cases, the business may be worth very little without the proprietor or partner. Individual life insurance can protect your family by providing funds to cover debts, ongoing living expenses and future plans, in the event that something happens to you. Life insurance can also be structured to fund a buy-sell agreement.

Key Person Insurance

This is another essential component of a smart business continuation plan. Key person insurance is life or disability insurance purchased by the business on an employee/owner that is essential to the running of the business. It is payable to the business. When a key person dies or becomes disabled, insurance can help make up for lost sales or earnings or cover the cost of finding or training a replacement.

Need Help Finding the Right Business Insurance?

Contact us for help in finding the best PA commercial insurance for your business in Philadelphia, Reading, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Don’t take chances. It’s your responsibility for protecting your family, employees, and your business. Make sure that you plan for the unexpected with the right business insurance and individual life insurance.

Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848; we can help you determine the right insurance to protect your assets. As independent insurance agents, we'll shop among competing insurance providers to find you the right insurance at the best price. Call or click today.

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Key Person Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance, Pennsylvania Business Insurance, Life Insurance, Business Overhead Insurance, Disability Buy-Out Insurance

Home-Based Business Insurance Needs

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 21, 2015

Home business insurance tips. Serving home-based businesses with insurance for over 25 years. We offer commercial business insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Every home-based business should be protected by commercial insurance. But the growth of the internet and other technological advancements –such as social collaboration tools and communication apps -  have changed the way many of us do business today and significantly influenced the number of small businesses  nationwide.  In addition, the low start-up costs; the reduction in the cost of commuting, meals, and other expenses; the flexibility; and the savings realized from not maintaining a “storefront” are creating more home-based businesses. Sometimes home-based business owners forget that their homeowner's policy is unlikely to cover them for liabilities that can occur in their business.

In 2014, there were 28 million small businesses in operation.  Approximately half of the small businesses today are home-based businesses.   The SBA reports that most of these home-based businesses are operating as sole proprietorships; others are s-corporations and partnerships, and the majority of them are service oriented.

But a home-based business is still a business.  Owners need to understand the financial risks and responsibilities associated with this type of business, including how to protect that enterprise with the right business insurance for businesses run out of the home.  It’s important to understand the differences between personal and commercial insurance liabilities and not assume that your personal insurance policies will always cover your home-based business insurance needs. 

Here are five things every home-based business owner needs to consider protecting with the right business insurance.

  1. Home and Property Insurance – Most home owners’ or renters’ insurance policies only cover up to $2,500 for business property losses or damages.  They also tend to exclude business-related liability claims and provide no provisions for any downtime associated with a property loss.  Therefore, if you run your business from home, you may want to consider a business owner’s insurance policy, general liability insurance, business property insurance, and business interruption/continuation insurance.  You may qualify for a homeowners' policy endorsement that modifies your standard policy.
     
  2. Auto Insurance – If you own or lease a vehicle almost exclusively used for business – whether it’s a small 10-year-old sedan or a large customized van complete with everything needed to groom a giant Greyhound - make sure your business name is listed as the principal insured. If your business involves transporting people, you should consider commercial vehicle insurance for the higher liability limits and special provisions that are available.
     
  3. Life Insurance – If your home-based business is a partnership, you may want to consider Key Person life insurance to ensure the organization’s future.  If one partner dies the other partner (s) can use the life insurance payout to buy out the partner’s heirs, pay off outstanding loans, and continue operations. When considering key person life insurance, be sure to think about staff beyond the business owner. This type of coverage typically focuses on any person without whom the business would cease to exist.
     
  4. Health Insurance – Without health insurance, one extended stay in the hospital could mean the end of your business.  Today, it’s much easier for small businesses to acquire health insurance – HMOs, PPOs, EPOs and other group plans.  With the new Affordable Care Act, you may even qualify for a tax credit or subsidy if you purchase coverage through the new healthcare marketplace and failure to purchase health insurance could result in a tax penalty. 
     
  5. Income InsuranceWorker’s Compensation insurance and disability insurance isn’t reserved for large companies.  If you have just one employee, many states require that you purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect your business from claims relating to work-related injuries and to protect the employee’s income.  If your family relies on your income to survive, you should also consider Workers’ Compensation and/or disability for yourself, to ensure that you continue to see an income even if you are injured or become ill and can’t work. 

 

Getting the Right Business Insurance for Your Home Business

There are also insurance “packages” available -known as Business Owners Policies (BOP) - that usually include property, business interruption, and liability insurance. 

Contact us to learn more about business insurance for home businesses.The agents at American Insuring Group can help you determine the best commercial insurance for your home business. Contact us or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. As independent insurance agents, we're free to shop among many competing insurance companies, so we can find you the best deal on quality business insurance protection. Call or email today to learn more!

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Small Business Insurance, Home Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

I Don’t Need Commercial Vehicle Insurance. Or Do I?

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Mar 04, 2015

Who needs commercial vehicle insurance?

Tips for determining if you need commercial vehicle insuranceIf you own a fleet of vehicles that are used exclusively for your business or you own a freight truck or delivery truck, you probably understand that you need commercial vehicle insurance on those vehicles.  But what if you have one vehicle that you use to deliver pizzas?  What if you use your personal vehicle to drive to job sites or to meetings?

Any vehicle being used for business or commercial purposes is technically a commercial vehicle, which means it needs to be insured by a commercial vehicle insurance policy.  This includes any vehicle used for the pickup or delivery of goods and any vehicle used to transport people for business.

You may also need commercial vehicle insurance if your vehicle is…

  • Registered or titled to a:
    • Business
    • Corporation
    • Partnership
    • Rented or leased by others
    • Equipped with:
      • Snowplowing equipment
      • Cooking or catering equipment
      • Bathrooms
      • Altered suspensions
      • Hydraulic lifts
      • Racing equipment

Bottom line: If you own or use any type of vehicle for business purposes, you need a good commercial auto insurance policy to protect yourself, your employees, and your business!

Commercial vs. Personal Car Insurance

It is true that the premiums for commercial vehicle insurance are generally higher than premiums for personal vehicle insurance, but there’s a very good reason for that - the risk of covering any vehicle used for business purposes is higher than the risk of covering cars used for personal purposes. This is the main reason car insurance policies for commercial purposes differ from personal policies.

Types of commercial auto insurance include:

  • Business auto insurance
  • Truck insurance
  • Cargo insurance
  • Pickup truck insurance
  • Tow truck insurance
  • Van insurance
  • Dump truck insurance
  • Non-owned/hired liability insurance

Many of the common types of personal car insurance coverage also apply to commercial auto insurance, such as:

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Medical payments
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist

 But, commercial car insurance policies are better suited to cover:

  • Your business and its assets
  • Your employees or other drivers you hire to drive your company cars
  • The higher risk of operating certain commercial vehicles

 

DON'T RISK IT!

If you carry a personal car insurance policy, and you file a claim for an incident that occurred while driving for business purposes, you may find that your car insurance company will not pay on that claim. A good commercial auto insurance plan can save you from a financial disaster, regardless of whether you're an independent contractor or the CEO of a multi-million dollar company.

How is my commercial vehicle insurance rate determined?

Your commercial auto insurance rate depends on several factors. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Age and personal driving record of all drivers (driving history is one of the biggest factors in determining your rate)
  • License type of all drivers
  • Vehicle make and model including its safety rating, age, and history
  • Type of cargo the vehicle carries
  • Number of passengers the vehicle transports
  • Annual mileage

The nature of your business and how your vehicles are used will also affect your rate.  As with personal vehicle insurance, the lower your risk, the higher your savings will be. Other factors include:

  • The limits of your coverage
  • Any optional coverage you purchased
  • Your deductible
  • Your credit history

Contact us for help in obtaining the right commercial vehicle insurance protection. We serve Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, the LeHigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, Pennsylvania and beyond.The best way to determine if you need commercial vehicle insurance and what type of coverage is best for your business is to speak with an experienced independent insurance agent.  Call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or email us to learn more about commercial vehicle insurance.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

10 Safety Tips to Reduce Injuries & Workers Comp Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 17, 2015

10 Safety Tips to Reduce Workers Comp Insurance CostsOn average, thirteen Americans are killed on the job every single day of the year and nearly 4 million workers are seriously injured on the job each year.  Under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment.  Furthermore, employers “MUST provide their workers with a workplace that doesn’t have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards.”  

Good for Employees and Good for Workers Compensation Insurance Rates

Obviously, this is the right thing to do, but the fact is that providing a safe work environment also helps the employer by providing more healthy, happy, and prosperous employees; lower absenteeism; and lower workers’ compensation costs. 

Safety Training Applies to Every Job

Safety is probably top of mind in industries such as construction where more than 20% of the fatalities in 2013 occurred.  But working in an office also comes with its share of hazards, such as slipping and falling, misusing equipment, stacking and lifting, and poor lighting.  Whether your employees sit behind a desk inputing data all day or climb 100 foot poles to work on electrical wires, all employees should receive workplace safety training appropriate to the type of job they perform. 

Here are 10 Training Guidelines for Safer Employees and Lower WC Costs:

  1. Educate new employees about company safety and health policies and emergency procedures.
     
  2. All employees should be trained on the specific hazards of their jobs.
     
  3. Retrain employees when equipment or processes change and when employees change jobs or return from a long absence.
     
  4. Adapt training to your audience.  Different people learn in different ways, so use a variety of teaching methods, such as hands-on, lecture, discussion, videos, etc.
     
  5. Consider reaching out to local organizations, such as fire departments or medical facilities to help you with training.
     
  6. Educate management about key workers’ compensation concepts and how workers’ compensation expenses impact the business.   
     
  7. Arrange small-group employee training events to allow for discussions.
     
  8. Include information about who a worker should contact in the event of a work-related injury and what their responsibilities are if they see an injury occur.
     
  9. Ensure that workers sign off on an in-service acknowledgement showing they have received training.
     
  10. Check out OSHA’s website - https://www.osha.gov/dte/index.html - for training courses, educational programs and training materials.  OSHA offers a wide selection of training courses and educational programs to help broaden worker and employer knowledge on the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of safety and health hazards in the workplace.

Lower your workers comp insurance costs with better safety training and the right insurance. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, PA and beyond.Get the Right Workers Compensation Insurance Protection

To further protect your company and your employees, contact Amerian Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to learn more about business insurance options, including worker's compensation insurance and more.

 

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

Pet-Friendly Workplaces: Benefits, Risks, and Business Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Dec 01, 2014

Is a Pet-Friendly Workplace Right for Your Business? Understand the Benefits, Risks, and Business Insurance Needs.

Know the benefits, risks, and business insurance protection needed for a successful pet-friendly workplace. Offering quality business insurance for over 25 years to Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley, Erie, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Thirty-nine percent of households have dogs, so it’s no surprise that more companies – including Google, Etsy, and Build-A-Bear Workshop – are allowing employees to bring their dogs to work.  After all, Congress has been dog friendly since the 19th century.  And, according to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers, 17 percent of Americans work at pet-friendly companies. What are the benefits? What are the risks? Does your business insurance adequately cover the risks? You should know the answers to these questions before implementing a pet-friently workplace policy.

Pet-Friendly Workplace Benefits

Offering a “bring your pet to work” policy can definitely have its advantages.  It has been shown to lower employees’ stress levels and absenteeism; boost morale and create a more positive work environment; improve job satisfaction, which improves retention; encourage people to work longer hours; attract new employees by standing out among the competition; and offer opportunities for exercise and non-work-related interaction among employees. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites dozens of animal experts who report that pets can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as increase opportunities for exercise and socialization.

Pet-Friendly Workplace Risks

If you’re considering opening the doggie door on your business, there are a few things you should consider.

  • If you lease your workspace, make sure the landlord allows pets.
  • If any part of your business involves the handling of food or beverages or offering personal care services, such as day care or elder care, check licensing bureau regulations.
  • An animal allergy may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. If you ignore or don’t make reasonable accommodations for an employee who is allergic to animals, you could open your business to potential ADA liability.
  • People who are afraid or uncomfortable around pets can also create possible ADA liability. A former mail room clerk from Foodarama Supermarkets in New Jersey brought an ADA claim in which she alleged that her former supervisor occasionally brought his house cats to the office, despite the fact that the employee had previously informed him of her condition as an ailurophobe (a person who is afraid cats).  Although courts are reluctant to find liability under strict liability statutes or under ADA accommodation laws, an employer could still face the expense of defending such a suit if they allow pets in the office.
  • A pet can bite another employee, customer, or delivery person.

  • A pet can damage or destroy property, such as carpets, computers, and other office equipment and furniture, or even “eat your presentation."

Business Insurance and Other Ways to Keep Your Business Out of the Doghouse

  • Have open discussions with your employees about concerns, such as allergies, accidents, etc., and how you will accommodate them.

  • Create and enforce a comprehensive written pet policy.
  • Require that employees prove that their pets will respond to basic commands, such as “sit” and “stay.”
  • Limit the number of pets allowed in the workplace at one time.
  • Enforce a zero tolerance for aggressive pets that growl, bark, chase, or bite.
  • Establish pet-free zones.
  • Require that pet owners show that vaccinations are up to date and that pets are licensed and free of parasites and insects.
  • Require proof, in writing, that pet owners have sufficient home owners’ or renters’ insurance to cover damage caused by their pet and carefully check exclusions.  Some policies have a business-pursuit policy exception and some exclude certain breeds, such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. 
  • Consider indemnification in case your business gets sued.
  • Ensure that your business insurance will cover any liability associated with pets in the office. 

Contact us for the right business insurance to support your pet-friendly policy.Contact Us for the Right Business Insurance Protection to Support a Pet-Friendly Workplace

A pet-friendly workplace isn’t right for every business, but if you decide that it could be a good fit for your company, your first step should be contacting the independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. We offer business insurance protection from competing insurance providers. We'll help you find the right policy at the right price. Contact us today.

Tags: Builders Insurance, Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Accident Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

Business Insurance & More: 4 Tips to Keep Your “Baby” Safe

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Protecting Your Baby - Business Insurance and Beyond

Protect your business with the right commercial insurance. After all it&squot;s your "baby"! We can help you get great business insurance at great rates. We serve Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, PA and beyond.Business insurance is important because if you’re a small business owner, chances are good that you have a lot of heart, sweat, and maybe even a few tears invested in your business. Sometimes, your business becomes your “baby” – something that you want to protect from danger, just like you protect your family.  Aside from getting good commercial insurance coverage, how do you go about protecting “your baby” from outside threats, such as fire, flood, or theft? 

Preparation is the key.  It determines if and how quickly a business can recover from a set-back.  Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t prepare and don’t have a plan to protect their business from outside threats.  Start your plan NOW with these four tips:

1. Keep Your Eyes Open
You should monitor your place of business for suspicious activity 24/7. Security cameras can be used for two purposes: investigation and deterrence. Surveillance cameras are a cost-effective way to keep an eye on your business even when you aren’t there.  Some security cameras have DVR or remote monitoring capabilities, which allow you to watch, record and/or play back video.

Types of security cameras include…

Infrared (IR) security cameras

Dome cameras

Pro box cameras

Pan tilt zoom cameras

Hidden cameras

Click here for security camera basics.

2.  Be Armed with Alarms
Many commercial codes regulate smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) protection. Depending on the size and layout of your business, consider upgrading or adding smoke and CO detectors to ensure that you and your employees are properly alerted in case of an emergency. If your business is home-based, remember that the National Fire Protection Association a smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. 

3. Protect Your Company Files
The loss of certain data could force your business – particularly if it is a small business – out of business. All essential paper documents, such as employee files, leases, insurance and tax documents should be kept in a fire-resistant and waterproof safe.  No safe is foolproof; however, they do give a degree of protection to your paper documents.  Here are some tips about buying a safe from SentrySafe, the nation's largest safe manufacturer.

Today, it’s simple and inexpensive to back up electronic files, so that you can access them even if your entire office building was under water or engulfed in flames.  Electronic files should be backed up daily to an external hard-drive, a CD, a DVD, and/or a USB Flash drive that is stored somewhere outside your business, or - better yet - backed up online.  This way your files are still accessible if one of your computers is damaged or stolen.  There are several online backup services that will automatically backup your data on a regular basis without your lifting a finger. 

4.  Safeguard your Computers
Cyber security isn’t only a concern for big corporations, like Target and Home Depot.  Small businesses can be just as vulnerable, so you need to keep operating systems, web browsers and anti-virus packages up-to-date. Don’t put off those update reminders that pop up on your screen; it’s important to update them regularly to prevent malicious software attacks on your computer and network.  Cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can’t be ignored.

Implementing these four safety measures can help provide peace of mind that your “baby” is safe and allow you to focus on your business and your customers. 

Learn more about your business insurance options and pricingThe right business insurance can also help provide peace of mind (you might even sleep as sound as a baby!), so contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to find out how insurance can provide additional protection for your “baby.”

Tags: Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County

Substance Abuse and Workers Compensation Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Sep 10, 2014

The Cost of Substance Abuse in the Workplace

The cost of substance abuse in the workplace is staggering. Consider the impace on workers compensation insurance costs.The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) estimates that drug abuse in the workplace costs business owners $81 billion annually.  

Studies show that substance abusers miss work more often, use more sick leave, and arrive late more frequently than their coworkers.  Substance abusers are more likely to injure themselves or others and file more workers compensation insurance claims. 

 

Double the Worker's Compensation Insurance Cost

It’s estimated that substance abusers cost employers twice as much in medical and workers compensation claims as their drug-free counterparts.  And finally, substance abusers are considerably less productive than their drug-free co-workers. 

Although Pennsylvania does not have a state law that regulates, requires, or prohibits drug testing or any drug-free workplace programs, companies that implement a drug-free workplace initiative can improve their bottom line, increase productivity, and develop healthier employees.  A program may include supervisor training, employee education, drug testing, and/or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). 

The Cost of a Drug-Free Workplace Initiative

The cost of a drug-free workplace will vary depending on the size of your initiative, your response level, and available community, state, and federal resources.   Costs may include policy development, employee education, management training, employee assistance, and drug testing. 

However, a study of the economic impact of a drug-free workplace initiative in Ohio found significant improvements in job-related performance:

  • A 91 percent decrease in absenteeism
  • An 88 percent decrease in problems with supervisors
  • A 93 percent decrease in mistakes in work
  • A 97 percent decrease in on-the-job injuries

Risks of NOT Implementing a Drug-Free Workplace Initiative

The cost of implementing a drug-free workplace program should be weighed against the cost of not implementing a program.  For many small businesses, one serious accident or one troubled employee can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and jeopardize the future of that company. 

How to Create a Drug-Free Workplace Initiative

  • Drug-free workplace policy - Establish written policies and procedures that prohibit the abuse of alcohol or illegal use of drugs. Ensure that all employees and potential applicants read and understand the policy and that compliance with the policy is a condition of employment.  The US Department of Labor has a “Drug-Free Workplace Policy Builder” at http://www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/drugs/screen1.asp.

  • Supervisor Training – Supervisors closest to the workforce should be trained on your drug free workplace initiative and their role in its implementation.   They should also be taught the signs, symptoms, behavior changes, and performance problems associated with drug or alcohol abuse and what to do when they see those signs.

  • Employee Education - An employee education session should describe the impact that alcohol abuse and drug use has on the workplace, provide information about addiction and the major drugs of abuse, and include your company’s drug and alcohol policies.

  • EAP – An Employee Assistance Program is a worksite-focused program designed to identify and resolve productivity problems associated with personal problems, such as alcohol and/or drug abuse, which often includes counseling and referral programs.

  • Drug Testing – A drug and/or alcohol testing program may detect or deter drug and/or alcohol use or abuse.  Drug testing works best when used in conjunction with the other initiatives listed above.

Additional Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/implementation/topics/substance-abuse.html

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - http://www.niaaa.nih.gov

National Institute on Drug Abuse – www.drugabuse.gov

Contact Us to Improve Your Bottom Line

Contact us to lower your workers compensation insurance costs. We serve Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.A drug-free workplace initiative can create a healthier workforce and improve your company’s bottom line, including lowering your workers compensation insurance claims and costs. 

For more information about controlling your workers’ compensation insurance costs, contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

Professional Liability Insurance - What Every Consultant Needs

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Aug 12, 2014

Do you need professional liability insurance? Learn why general liability insurance is insufficient protection for consultants.With the current sluggish economy, more and more companies are turning to business consultants to help cut spending, maximize productivity, and develop more cost-efficient practices.  Business consulting services come in a variety of shapes – from sales and marketing consulting to technology consulting – and sizes - from working out of a home office to working in a large consulting agency. 

Subjectivity, Risk and Professional Liability Insurance

If you’re one of the estimated 400,000 consultants in the US, it doesn’t matter what your specialty is, where you work, or your level of expertise - the advice you provide usually contains an element of subjectivity, which is open to allegations of negligent acts, errors, or omissions.  In the event of a lawsuit, legal fees and damages paid – whether a consultant is at fault or not – can quickly add up, so it’s important that you protect you and your business from potentially catastrophic litigation with Professional Liability Insurance (PLI), sometimes referred to as Professional Indemnity Insurance, which is a sub-category within Commercial Insurance. 

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

PLI is a type of commercial insurance that provides protection for Error and Omission exposure, sometimes referred to as errors and omissions insurance. It protects you from negligence claims arising from an alleged act or failure to act that caused harm to another party.  This type of claim is not covered by more general liability insurance policies. 

Why Isn't General Liability Insurance Enough?

General liability insurance policies only cover bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury. Some forms of insurance cover employers, public or product liability. Professional Liability insurance covers legal claims that cause harm that isn’t covered by these other general policies, such as negligence, misrepresentation, violation of good faith and fair dealing, and inaccurate advice.

Professional Liability Insurance and Larger Consulting Contracts

If you decide to work with a larger corporation, PLI may be required to secure a contract. By acquiring this type of coverage in advance may be viewed as being prepared and better qualified to operate in the big leagues where the more lucrative consulting engagements are typically found.

Learn More About Professional Liability Insurance

For more information about professional liability insurance and other forms of commercial insurance, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610)775-3848.

 

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Workers Comp Insurance & Job Classifications - Avoid Costly Mistakes

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jul 09, 2014

ob classifications and how they affect workers comp insurance premiums. Contact us to avoid costly mistakes. We offer workers comp insurance protection for businesses in Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Adams County, Lehigh Valley, Erie, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Worker's compensation insurance, job classifications, job risks and insurance premiums are all related. Job classifications, which are based on specific ratings and descriptions for all types of jobs, are determined by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), the insurance industry’s ratings bureau.  There are more than 600 different job classifications, and more are being added all the time, so it isn’t surprising that 30-35 percent of businesses have classification errors. But have you considered the potential impact on your business insurance costs that an erroneous job classification can bring?

Workers' Compensation Insurance and Risk-Based Job Classifications

Why should you care?  These ratings, based on an estimated level of risk, help determine how much Workers’ Compensation premiums you will pay for each job classification.  The following misclassifications are examples of mistakes that can significantly increase your Workers’ Compensation premiums:

  • An administrative assistant who sits at her desk all day is classified at the same job risk level as a tree trimmer who spends most of her day swinging through the trees.
  • A dispatcher who spends most of his time on the phone is classified at the same job risk level as a driver who spends most of his time behind the wheel of a tractor trailer full of flammable materials. 

How can you avoid misclassifications?

  • Review your NCCI Classifications
  • Don’t use the same classification for everyone in your company.  Classify each worker individually.
  • Ask your insurance agent how jobs are being classified.
  • Read your policy.
  • Don’t let the insurance agent copy from an old policy from year to year. Things change; your business changes. 

Contact us for help with proper job classifications for workers compensation insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Don’t wait for your workman's compensation insurance premiums to skyrocket to discover something is off kilter.  For more information about job classifications and controlling workers’ compensation premiums, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance