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8 Business Insurance Tips to Avoid a Workplace Catastrophe

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Feb 28, 2017

Business Insurance for Natural Disasters and More in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburg, York, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.If your company has never been struck by catastrophe, consider yourself lucky! But that doesn’t mean that your luck will hold out forever. There’s always a flood, hurricane, explosion, earthquake, lightning, or terror attack waiting around the bend.

And you and your entire company must be ready for it. With wildfires destroying over ten-million acres last year and winter storms causing $3.5 billion in insured losses earlier this year, businesses cannot afford to assume that they will be exempt from a catastrophe that strikes without warning. Getting the right business insurance is an important first step, but there are many practical things you can do to be prepared and to lower the cost and impact of a disaster.

Consider the following as you prepare your organization for a disaster:

1. Prepare safety equipment, including:

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire-fighting equipment
  • Personal protective equipment that includes steel-toe and slip-resistant footwear, hardhats, eye protection, high visibility clothing, gloves, hearing protection, dust masks or respiratory protection
  • First-aid kits
  • Wireless communication equipment

2. Engineering controls

Escape paths, lockout tag-out controls, shut-off valves, guardrails, and exhaust ventilation that will minimize exposure to airborne hazards must be planned and inspected. Battery-powered emergency lighting, strategically placed, must be set up to go on immediately after you lose power.

3. Maintain emergency equipment

  • Check and test the emergency generator
  • Check fuel levels regularly on generators and fire pumps
  • Check all roof-mounted equipment to ensure that it’s securely connected
  • Check roof drains to make sure they are clear and able to handle heavy rains
  • Check the roof and make any repairs, no matter how minor

4. Provide training

Establish an emergency response team with participants from all parts of your organization. Then, conduct disaster management drills to ensure all members of the emergency response team and all other employees know their responsibilities. Conduct daily safety briefings that discuss hazards and controls. Identify and eliminate or control existing or potential dangers that you discover after any disaster. Job performance appraisals should be tied in with compliance on all employee training.

5. Secure your data

  • Copy your valuable papers and records, and put them in a safe place.
  • Make sure that back-ups of computer records are current and kept in a safe location off-site.
  • Confirm that any of your third-party vendors or cloud providers are also prepared for any natural or man-made disasters.

6. Work with your local government before a catastrophe hits

File a copy of your emergency response plan with local law enforcement officials, and provide them with new versions as you update them. Make sure that the local government’s emergency response team has contact information for your company. Give them updates whenever anyone on your team leaves the company or changes roles.

7. Patrol your facility during the emergency

As long as it’s safe to be there, your emergency response team should be patrolling the facility. The team should be concentrating on the following:

  • Make sure all equipment is functioning properly.
  • Repair any structural damage, if possible 
  • Correct any potential fire hazards 
  • Monitor the water pressure for your sprinkler heads.
  • Deploy sandbags if flooding seems imminent.

8. Emphasize workplace safety after the disaster

Once your business has resumed normal operations, it’s important to reinforce standard safety measures:

  • Ensure that your employees are using proper lifting techniques, and provide material handling equipment to keep manual lifting to a minimum.
  • Limit the amount of employee exposure to hazardous conditions. 
  • Minimize exposure to dangerous situations by rotating employees.
  • Make personal hygiene and sanitation your company’s priority, and give workers an area where they can clean up after each shift.

Get the Right Insurance Protection for Your Business - Contact Us to Learn More

Contact us for the right commercial insurance protection for natural disasters and other events.To learn more about preparing and protecting your business with the right types and amounts of commercial insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance, Disaster Recovery Plan

One or Both? Business Liability vs. Commercial Property Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Jul 07, 2016

Can you get away with business liability or commercial property insurance, or does you business need both? Contact American Insuring Group for all your business insurance needs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Experienced small-business owners know that it’s wise to expect the unexpected. Bad things often happen without warning.

Different insurance policies protect their businesses from surprises in different ways, and it’s important to understand the coverage that is included and the differences between the policies.

Comparing business liability and commercial property insurances is a good place to start! 

Business liability insurance protects you from lawsuits

Anything that your business is legally responsible for is called a liability. When you cause someone a loss, you are legally responsible for replacing the loss, usually with money. And that’s where lawsuits come into play. Business Liability Insurance helps you pay for the cost of lawsuits and other expenses for which you are legally responsible.

For example, let’s say you own a machine shop that mass produces parts for an automobile manufacturer, and one of your parts is recalled because it wasn’t made to specification. What happens now? You’re likely to be sued for your mistake or for negligence, which means you will need to hire lawyers and prepare yourself for the possibility of a lengthy trial. You could amass huge costs.

Since small businesses don't have that kind of money, they invest in business liability policies that offer insurance coverage that includes:

  • Attorney fees
  • Out-of-court settlements
  • Judgments from losing the lawsuit
  • Other court and legal fees

Business liability insurance also helps you deal with the responsibilities you have to the people who come into contact with your business:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Partners
  • Vendors

Types of commercial liability insurance

It's important for you to know that there are various kinds of business liability insurance that cover different types of lawsuits:

  • General Liability Insurance covers physical injuries, slander, libel, infringement, and property damage lawsuits when someone outside of your business sues you.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance covers lawsuits related to injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
  • Professional Liability Insurance, sometimes called Errors and Omissions Insurance, covers lawsuits related to your work. It typically pays for your legal expenses when a client claims your work was negligent.
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance covers lawsuits arising from wrongful termination, discrimination, or unpaid benefits.

Commercial property insurance protects your company’s physical assets

When you buy commercial property insurance, assets like equipment, computers, supplies, inventory, offices, and other business property are insured against loss or damage. Your insurance will repair or replace property that was damaged by the specific events that are outlined in your policy, which can include:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Some weather-related damages
  • Explosions

For example, a fire does serious damage to a building that houses tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of your equipment. Much of the equipment is lost and the building itself needs major repairs. You will need to replace furniture and the cleanup costs will be substantial. 

A commercial property insurance policy will cover all of these expenses, and if you add Business Interruption Insurance coverage to the standard policy, you can cover the income you would lose if your business has to shut down when it suffers too much damage to operate normally.

 

Bottom Line: You need BOTH commercial property and business liability insurance policies!

Small businesses need both business liability and commercial property coverage, because they work together to make sure you have enough money to pay your bills when an incident or loss threatens your business. Either a lawsuit or property damage could wipe out your company’s savings, put you in debt, and require that any new revenue go toward legal bills or repair costs. Meanwhile, your business suffers.

Buy both types of coverage and save! 

The good news is that as a small-business owner, you might qualify for a lower rate if you purchase these two policies together. This insurance bundle, often called a Business Owner's Policy (BOP), offers this discount to qualifying small businesses.

 

Get help for all your business insurance needs right here

Business-Liability-vs-Commercial-Property-Insurance.jpgTo learn more about business liability and commercial property insurance from our independent agents, contact American Insuring Group online, or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

As independent agents we're free to shop among lots of competing insurance carriers to find the best policy for your needs at the right price. Call or click today to get started!

Tags: Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance

Commercial Property Insurance for Money & Securities

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 19, 2016

Why you may need Money & Securities coverage on your Commercial Property Insurance policyImagine: you’ve just finished one of the most successful sales in your store’s history. As you’re closing and preparing to take your receipts to the bank for deposit, an armed robber confronts you and leaves with all of your cash. All of your hard work and thousands of dollars leave with him.

After the shock of the armed robbery subsides, you wonder if the loss is covered by your commercial property insurance policy. Unfortunately, if your policy does not include Money and Securities coverage, the answer is no. 

What is included in money and securities insurance coverage?

Money refers to currency, coins and bank notes but also includes regular checks, traveler’s checks, and money orders. Securities are instruments or contracts that represent money or property. Examples of securities are certificates of deposit, tickets, tokens and stamps. These would likely be excluded on a typical commercial property policy. So, if you own or operate a business in which you handle a significant amount of money each day, Money and Securities coverage is vital.

Money and securities coverage: inside and outside the premises

Inside coverage applies to loss of money and securities that occurs within your premises or a bank. Loss must result directly from theft committed by someone who is inside your business or the bank. The loss must result directly from disappearance or destruction.

Some examples:

  • A customer in your store steals cash and money orders from a cash drawer
  • A thief breaks into your office, smashes open a safe, and steals $5,000 in cash
  • A fire in your bank destroys a safe deposit box you rent that contains $1,000

In the second example, both the damage to the safe and the loss of cash would be covered by a commercial property insurance policy with inside coverage. Vaults, cash registers, cash boxes and cash drawers located inside the premises would also be covered if damaged or stolen.

Outside coverage applies to money and securities that are lost outside your premises. The loss must occur while the items are in the custody of a messenger or an armored motor vehicle company. In addition, the loss must result directly from theft, disappearance or destruction. Messengers are any employees that have care and custody of property outside the premises. This also means you, a relative of yours, or any of your partners. 

Some examples of outside coverage:

  • An employee of yours is mugged on the way to your bank to deposit $5,000 in cash. The mugger gets away with the cash.
  • One of your partners is robbed of a company laptop after leaving his office. The loss of the laptop, but not the loss of programs and data on the laptop, will be covered.
  • Two armored car drivers are entering their truck when they are ordered out of the vehicle by three armed robbers. The robbers drive off with the truck, which contains $10,000 of your money.

This coverage also applies to loss of or damage to other property outside the premises in the care and custody of a messenger or an armored vehicle company resulting directly from an actual or attempted robbery. Other property means property other than money or securities, not including computer programs or electronic data.

Exclusions to Money and Security Insurance Coverage

Money and Security coverage does not apply to losses resulting from theft by you, your company principles, or your employees. Thefts committed by employees can be insured under separate Employee Theft Coverage. Also excluded are losses resulting from voluntary parting with property or any money operated devices.

Contact Us for Help with Money and Securities Coverage Within a Commercial Property Insurance Policy

Contact us for a commercial property insurance policy complete with money and securities coverage. Serving business insurance needs in Reading, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.You’ve worked hard to make your business successful. Be sure to protect it thoroughly by including Money and Securities coverage. Contact us online or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for more details.

Tags: Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance, Money and Securities Insurance

Major Disaster? Have Business Interruption Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Mar 28, 2016

Sobering Statistics on Business Interruption Insurance

Business-Interruption-Insurance-350.jpgA recent national survey of small businesses yielded some sobering statistics. It found that 66 percent of these businesses do not have business interruption insurance—even though an estimated 25 percent of them will not be able to reopen following a major loss, such as a fire, a break-in, or a storm.

That same survey also revealed that three out of four small business owners do not have a disaster recovery plan, yet more than half of them admit that it would take at least three months for them to recover from a disaster.

 

Most small business owners are at risk of disaster, but they are least likely to have disaster recovery insurance or a plan in place to help them recover. About a third of the owners say it is not important for their business to have a disaster recovery plan, and they give interruption insurance a low priority.

Business interruption insurance can be as vital as fire insurance

It’s unlikely that anyone would ever consider opening a business without buying insurance to cover damages from fire or windstorms. But many small business owners don’t give serious consideration to how they would survive if a fire or other disaster damaged their business premises and rendered them temporarily unusable. A business that has to close down completely while their buildings are being restored may lose out to competitors. A quick resumption of business after a disaster is essential.

A few key points about business interruption insurance

  • Business interruption coverage is not sold separately but is added to a property insurance policy or included in a package policy. 
  • It compensates you for lost income if your company has to vacate the premises due to disaster-related damage that is covered under your property insurance policy.
  • Business interruption insurance covers the revenue you would have earned, based on your financial records, had the disaster not occurred.
  • The policy also covers any operating expenses that continue even though your business activities have temporarily stopped.
  • The price of the policy is related to the risk of a fire or other disaster damaging your premises.

 

A disaster could halt your business—even if your property remains undamaged

You have purchased a standard loss of business income policy, and you may think that you are totally protected from a disaster. Unfortunately, most policies do not cover utility interruptions—power, water, and communications--that originate away from your premises (for instance, the utility generating station may have been damaged or transmission lines could be down).

Losing these services for an extended period can be financially devastating. The first step is to evaluate the exposures facing your company. Will being out of power for hours or days adversely impact your operations and profits? If you come to the conclusion that it will, you should consider an endorsement that extends your coverage to include utility services interruptions.

Get back in business quickly with a Disaster Recovery Plan

In addition to the right insurance, a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) - a plan that describes how work can be resumed quickly and effectively after a disaster – is another element to ensure that a disaster doesn’t shut your business down. It consists of the precautions taken so that the effects of a disaster will be minimized and the organization will be able to either maintain or quickly resume critical functions. Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs; it may also include a significant focus on disaster prevention.

Plans vary from one type of business to another, depending on the processes involved, and the level of security needed. Disaster recovery planning may be developed within an organization or purchased as a software application or a service. It is not unusual for an enterprise to spend 25% of its information technology budget on disaster recovery.

Contact Us for Help with Your Business Interruption Insurance Needs

A DRP, along with business interruption coverage, constitutes the business continuity planning that could rescue your business after a disaster. Depending on your particular business, properly planning for your business interruption insurance needs can be complex, but the well-trained staff at American Insuring Group can help. Click here to contact us or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, commercial property insurance, Business Interruption Insurance, Disaster Recovery Plan

3 Types of Restaurant Insurance Coverage

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Aug 25, 2015

The best restaurant insurance for PA businesses in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Lancaster, PA and beyond.All businesses are at risk for some type of damage, liability or loss, and need to ensure that they have the right commercial insurance to protect themselves, their business, and their employees from those risks. 

Food service businesses – whether it’s a café, diner, or gourmet restaurant - are no different and actually present some unique risks that need to be addressed.

Often the most cost-effective way to protect a restaurant is with a Business Owners Policy (BOP) that is tailored specifically to the needs of the restaurant business. That's what we mean by  restaurant insurance.

Here are the Three Main Categories of Business Insurance for Your Restaurant

Restaurant Insurance Category #1: Property Insurance

Property insurance protects… well… property. That could include the actual building that your restaurant is located in if you own the property and all of the property within the building (whether you rent or own), such as equipment, dishes, food, and furniture. In the event of a fire, flood or other damaging event, property insurance allows you to replace those items so that you can resume business.

Many BOPs also include Business Interruption Insurance and Business Income Insurance. Interruption insurance helps you recover as quickly as possible by paying extra expenses caused by the interruption in your business —such as rent for temporary quarters.    Business Income Insurance helps pay for ongoing expenses – such as rent - incurred while your business is closed. 

As a food service business, you carry the added risk that your food could cause food poisoning or transmit a communicable disease, which makes a Food Contamination Endorsement Insurance a good idea for many restaurant owners. Typically, this endorsement helps pay for lost income if the business is shut down by a government authority, clean up expenses, food replacement, and additional advertising expenses required to restore your restaurant’s reputation.

Other property insurance coverages you may want to consider as a food service business owner include…

  • Spoilage
  • Mechanical Breakdown
  • Outdoor Signs
  • Burglary and Robbery
  • Employee Dishonesty

Restaurant Insurance Category #2: Business Liability Insurance  

Commercial liability insurance helps protect your business against lawsuits – from someone breaking their leg walking up your steps to claims of libel or slander. We live in a very litigious society, and you never know what your restaurant could be liable for. Remember the woman who sued and won the lawsuit against McDonalds because she spilled hot coffee on herself? Even if you win the lawsuit, the cost of defending yourself can seriously affect your bottom line. Liability insurance helps protect you and your business.

If your restaurant has a liquor license, you should also include a Liquor Liability Endorsement to help cover the cost of your defense in the event of a lawsuit and any damages awarded if you are found liable.

Restaurant Insurance Category #3: Workers Compensation Insurance

Worker’s Compensation Insurance is a type of small business insurance that is mandatory in most states and covers employees for work-related injuries. A typical "workers comp" insurance policy pays an employee lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to a work-related accident, while also protecting the employer against accident-related lawsuits. 

Need Better Restaurant Insurance?
We Can Help! 

Contact us for help in finding the best restaurant insurance in Pennsylvania and beyond.Whether you own a sandwich shop or an elegant restaurant, the independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group can help find the right insurance at the right price for your food service business. Because we're independent, we're free to shop around for the best deal among many competing providers of restaurant insurance based on your particular needs.

So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to Contact Us today.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Business Insurance Reading PA, workers comp, workers comp insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Pennsylvania Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, commercial property insurance

5 Business Insurance Questions for Every Small Business Owner

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Feb 26, 2015

Business Insurance Questions for Small Business OwnersSmart business owners know that insurance is important to protect their business and assets.  But, knowing which ones are right for your business can be a challenge.  No one wants to be caught without the right business insurance if something happens, and no one wants to pay for insurance that isn’t necessary. Here are six questions to ask to help determine what type of insurance you need to protect your business:

 

1.     Is it possible that someone could be injured or property damaged in the course of doing business with me?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Commercial Liability Insurance. Every business, even a home-based business, needs to look at liability insurance.  This type of policy provides insurance protection for bodily injury or property damage claims that you become legally responsible to pay. Standard policies include premises and operations risks that are common to the business owner or contractor. These policies also include product liability insurance and completed operations liability coverage. Medical payment insurance protection is also standard with most policies.

2.     Do I own a building or any business equipment or property – such as office equipment, inventory, or tools – to run my business?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Commercial Property Insurance. If you own a building or have business property  you should consider protecting those assets from fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage, etc. with Commercial Property Insurance.  Expanded coverage often includes water damage, sewer back-up, business interruption insurance, and more. A tailored property insurance policy usually pays on a replacement cost basis, which means there is no depreciation in the event of a loss. 

3.     Could someone sue me based on the business that I conduct with them?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Professional Liability Insurance.  This insurance, also known Professional Indemnity Insurance, is a type of commercial insurance that provides protection for an Error and Omission Insurance exposure. This type of insurance protection typically covers negligence claims arising from an alleged act or failure to act that caused harm to another. Doctors, lawyers, and most professionals have some type of Error & Omission Insurance (Professional Liability Insurance) exposure. 

4.     Do I use any type of vehicle to run my business?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Commercial Vehicle Insurance.   This is an insurance that covers owned and non-owned vehicles that employees, contractors, and business owners use to conduct business.  The vehicle could be a truck, a van, a limo, or even a sedan, depending on what that vehicle is used for and what it is equipped with. Standard vehicle insurance coverage includes bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection (including medical and lost wages expense), and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and physical damage to your vehicle including comprehensive and collision coverage. 

5.     Do I have any employees working for me?

If you answered yes, then you should consider Worker’s Compensation. Worker’s Compensation Insurance is a type of small business insurance that is mandatory in most states and covers employees for work-related injuries. A typical "workers comp" insurance policy pays lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to a work-related accident, while also protecting the employer against accident-related lawsuits. 

 

American Insuring Group provides all types of business insurance for small business owners in Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, PA and beyond. Contact us today.These five business insurance questions are a great starting point for any business owner, but you don’t need to go it alone.  The advice of a trusted and experienced independent insurance agent from American Insuring Group can help ensure that you obtain the right insurance at the right price for your business.  

Don't take a chance - contact us  at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, commercial property insurance

Business Insurance and Your New Year's Resolutions

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Feb 11, 2014

Did you remember business insurance when making your new year's resolutions? Here is why you should have.Be honest!  Did you make any New Year’s resolutions this year?  If you did, you weren’t alone.  According to Statistic Brain, 45% of Americans “usually” make New Year’s resolutions, and according to Constant Contact®, 53% make business-related resolutions. 

Statistic Brain found that losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution for 2014 – no surprise there.  And number two?  The second most popular resolution for 2014 is – drum roll please - getting organized.  Now if losing weight is on your list, there are many other organizations more suited to helping you than an insurance company (unless you want to know how weight could possibly affect your life insurance premiums).  However, a good insurance agent can help get your business organized.

Getting organized isn’t just about “A place for everything, everything in its place,” as Benjamin Franklin said.  It’s also about having everything you need so your business can run smoothly and profitably.  The right business insurance can help your business do just that - and protect it by minimizing financial risks associated with unexpected events.

Commercial Liability Insurance

First, you should consider liability insurance to protect your company’s assets in the event that someone gets hurt on your property or you (or one of your employees) cause property damage or injury.  Even if you doubt you’ll ever face a claim, we live in a litigious society; purchasing liability insurance is a wise and affordable investment.  There are a wide variety of commercial liability insurance options such as general liability insurance, product liability insurance, and error and omission insurance. 

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance is another insurance to consider.  It covers everything related to the loss or damage of company property due to events such as fire, windstorm and hail, smoke damage, vandalism, theft, and more. “Property” may include lost income, business interruption, and company papers, as well as equipment and buildings.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

If you use a vehicle – whether you own it or not – for any purpose other than driving to and from work, you should check your existing insurance policy to see if you need a commercial vehicle policy.  Standard vehicle insurance coverage includes bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, and physical damage to your vehicle including comprehensive and collision coverage. 

Worker's Compensation Insurance

Worker’s Compensation Insurance is mandatory in most states (including Pennsylvania), and covers employees for work-related injuries.  A typical "workers comp" insurance policy pays lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to a work-related accident and protects the employer against accident-related lawsuits.  

Business Umbrella Insurance

Finally, umbrella liability insurance is a type of commercial insurance that covers a small business for liability claims that exceed the underlying limits of liability coverage.  Umbrella policies are a type of commercial insurance that adds an extra layer of public liability insurance protection.  

Today is the time to review your business insurance needs. We help customers with all types of commercial insurance, from Reading, PA to Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Erie, Pittsburgh and points in between. Call us today for a no-risk analysis of your business insurance needs.Now is a Great Time to Review Your Business Insurance Needs

Whether “getting organized” is on your list of 2014 New Year’s resolutions or not, now is a great time to review your insurance policies to ensure that you have the right coverage to protect your business and allow it to run smoothly.  AIG would be very happy to help you with this resolution.  Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 to arrange a policy evaluation.  Then you can sit back and enjoy your well-ordered office space, knowing that it’s protected.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to call someone else if you want help losing weight!

 

Tags: Umbrella Liability Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Umbrella Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance

Commercial Property Insurance & Storm Preparedness Tips

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Nov 07, 2013

Having the right commercial property insurance is one important step to protecting your business, but creating an emergency response plan and other actions are key as well. Learn tips to protect your business.It's obvious that having the right commercial property insurance is key to protecting your business against unforeseen risks. But have you taken practical steps to reduce the potential impact of storms, floods, earthquakes, or other natural disasters beyond obtaining insurance?

By combining the right property insurance with responsible disaster planning you greatly increase your odds of weathering a disaster with minimal loss to your business.

While reducing your business exposure to major disruptions from natural disasters takes careful planning, it is not necessarily expensive. Having solid plans can make the difference between days vs. weeks of serious business disruption and loss of income.

Here are some tips to help your business recover more quickly from a natural disaster:

Perform a Risk/Impact Analysis & Create a To-Do List

Begin by creating a list of natural disasters that could impact your business. Rank them from high to low in terms of likelihood, and then separately by the amount of impact (harm) they could have on your business. Next, identify what can be done to address the more likely ones first. Of the more likely ones, address them in order of the potential harm they could cause your business.

Example:
If your business is in a flood plain or low lying area then your exposure to flood or water damage will be greater than if you are located on high ground. If a flood were to occur, how much damage could be caused? How long would it take to recover? Do you have expensive electronic equipment on the first floor or basement? Could it be moved to the second floor? Could you alter the landscape in such a way as to divert water away from your building so as to avert damage?

Example:
Are you in an area susceptible to damaging high winds, hurricanes, or tornadoes? Could a heavy snowfall of a foot or more cause damage or leaks to your roof that could ruin equipment or force portions of your office or factory to become unusable for a period of time? 

Create a Disaster Emergency Plan

Your emergency plan may not have to be elaborate. Even a simple, well-thought-out plan can be of tremendous benefit when needed. Be sure that your employees know their part in the plan, and have easy access to the documentation (I.e., to the portion of the documentation that applies to them or to their department). Among other details, your plan should include:

  • An evacuation plan and designated meeting location.
     
  • A list of cell and home phone numbers of managers and key employees.
     
  • A description of who is responsible for taking various actions, including identifying the point person(s) responsible for contacting the media, emergency personnel, key customers and suppliers, department heads, and employees.
     
  • A data recovery plan (consider backing up all data on the cloud daily so it can be accessed remotely even if your internal computer system is destroyed). Identify and rank the key types of data in terms of importance to your business continuity.
     
  • A description of how the business will perform certain key functions off site, including things that could be outsourced. Break it down by department (customer service, accounts payable, accounts receivable, production planning, manufacturing, distribution, I.T., etc.).

After you have completed the basic plan above, or at least an outline, consider contacting a disaster recovery specialist who can identify weaknesses in your plan, and suggest appropriate remedies.

Perform a Commercial Property Insurance Review

Your independent insurance agent can perform an insurance vulnerability analysis for all types of insurance coverage across your business that may be needed in the event of a natural disaster. This includes basic property insurance, business interruption insurance, spoilage insurance, inventory insurance, and other forms of expanded insurance coverage. Your level of coverage should not only be adequate for your current level of business, but also for the projected level of business to cover you properly until the date of the next scheduled insurance review (annual or otherwise).

Contact Us - We're Commercial Insurance Experts You Can Trust

When it comes to commercial property insurance and other types of business insurance, you can't do better than the independent agents at American Insuring Group. As independent agents, we work for you, not an insurance company. We'll identify the right combination of business insurance policies from many insurance carriers, and put together a plan that fits your needs and budget. See why more business owners in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie and beyond rely on us for all their commercial insurance needs.

Contact us today: (800) 977-1270 or (610) 775-3848

Contact us for all your commercial insurance needs: commercial property insurance, business liability insurance, commercial vehicle insurance, workers compensation insurance, umbrella liability insurance, and restaurant insurance. Serving Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, York, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, Erie, Pennsylvania and beyond.

Tags: Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Pennsylvania Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance York PA, commercial property insurance, Commercial Insurance Berks County

Business Insurance Reality Check: Is Your Business Vulnerable?

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Sep 25, 2013

Business Insurance questions to ask to determine risk and insurance coverage. Serving Reading PA, Berks County, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Pennsylvania and beyond with quality commercial insurance.Too Busy to Assess Your Risk?

Many small business owners are so busy these days that they have little time to slow down and properly analyze their risks and business insurance needs.  And it’s no wonder. Small businesses from Reading PA in Berks County, to Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, and all across the nation drive a significant portion of the country’s economic growth. However, they tend to be lean, which means the typical small business owner is wearing many hats and putting in long hours. Many are too busy to take the time to properly analyze risks, and to obtain adequate insurance protection to address the risks of their growing businesses.

Just How Big Can a Small Business Be?

Statistics available from the US Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov) indicate that small businesses employ more private sector personnel than mid-sized and large businesses combined.  In the US, small businesses are generally defined as manufacturing businesses with less than 250 employees, and non-manufacturing companies with under $7 million in annual receipts.

Engines of Economic Growth 

Small businesses are the engines of private sector economic growth, creating approximately 2/3 of new non-government jobs while generating over 40% of the private payroll in the US. Small businesses account for a similar proportion of total US high-tech jobs as well.

Questions Small Business Owners Must Ask to Determine Risk and the Right Level of Business Insurance Protection

Regardless of how busy you may be, busyness is no excuse for ignoring risks that could sink your business.  Here is a brief list of questions every business owner should answer as a first step in assessing risk and the need for stronger insurance protection:

  • Disability Insurance:
    Who will run my business if I become disabled permanently or for an extended period? Will my company have the financial resources to pull through this type of crisis?

  • Life Insurance:
    If I die will my business survive? Will my employees all lose their jobs? Will my family be able to keep our house and maintain a good lifestyle?

  • Key Person Insurance:
    What if a person who is vital to my business dies or becomes permanently disabled? Will my business have the financial resources to survive until a new person can be found, hired and fully trained, or will it set me back several years?

  • Workers Compensation Insurance:
    Are my employees properly classified for workers compensation insurance? Could my business survive a workers compensation insurance audit without undergoing major penalties for misclassifying employees? Is my workers compensation insurance coverage fully up to date to reflect my changing business needs and the expanded types of positions my employees currently hold?

  • Property Insurance and Business Interruption Insurance:
    Are my buildings, equipment, and other business property insured against the full range of potential risks? In the event of a claim that disrupts my cash flow for a prolonged period, will I receive compensation for the loss of income during that time, or merely for the cost of the damage to my business property?

  • Professional Liability Insurance:
    Am I covered if an employee were to cause harm to a customer or to their business, and a court found it to be due to negligence? How vulnerable is my business to various types of lawsuits?

 

Be Smart – Be Informed on Business Insurance

Our staff can properly address these and other business insurance questions. We’re a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency. That means we offer a range of business insurance plans from competing insurance companies. We’re well positioned to find the right business insurance coverage at a significant savings.

Contact us today at 610-775-3848, or click to Contact Us online.

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Restaurant Insurance & Hurricane Sandy: Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Aug 09, 2013

Among the Most Destructive Storms In US History

Restaurant insurance protection lessons from Hurricane Sandy: we provide smart restaurant insurance protection for businesses in Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, Erie, and beyond.Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive and deadliest hurricanes in United States history. Twenty-four American states and seven other countries were affected. Coastal towns once pulsing with beachcombers by day and clubbers by night were submerged within hours. Businesses were out of operation for much longer than ever anticipated and the damages sustained were astronomical.

Catastrophes of this magnitude are rarely expected, even in the world of insurance. Sewers backed up. Equipment broke. Food spoiled. Power was lost. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy we discovered insurance protection that proved critical for restaurant owners, including: sewer backup, equipment breakdown, food contamination, and loss of sales/ loss of income due to extended power outages.

Insuring Against Sewer Backup

We all know the quote from Jumanji: “A little rain never hurt anybody…but a lot can kill.” Well, a lot of rain can kill your sewer system. When more rain pours down than your sewer and pump can handle, raw sewage backs up and escapes in some less-desirable places, such as the bathroom faucet - need we say more? Unfortunately, most people do not realize that sewer backup is generally not covered under their personal or business insurance policies. This additional coverage is not only recommended, but can be invaluable to your business.

Equipment Breakdown

Equipment breakdown coverage is usually considered “optional” on an insurance policy. If just one of the primary machines in your restaurant breaks down, such as the air conditioner or water heater, you are probably not covered for fixing the equipment or for the loss of income sustained due to the failure. Be sure you are covered if 100 degree temperatures inside your restaurant due to an air conditioner failure turn away potential customers. 

Food Contamination

No matter how diligent you and your employees are, food contamination and food spoilage can strike anyone in the restaurant industry. If a machine breaks or your power goes out temporarily and food spoils, you will be held personally liable for the expenses incurred unless you are insured for this type of event.

Insuring Against Loss of Sales/ Loss of Income from a Power Outage

Hurricane Sandy not only flooded businesses, but also caused large-scale power outages. Is your restaurant covered for business income losses due to loss of power? There is a good chance the answer is no. Unless you have a best friend who sells generators and you specialize in candle-light dinners, power loss is never good. When power loss equates with income loss, you want to be sure you are covered.

Learn from Hurricane Sandy:
Get the Right Restaurant Insurance Protection

We all hope and pray that a disaster of this magnitude never again strikes our land and our loved ones. Yet, as we in the insurance industry know all too well, you can never be too prepared. As restaurant owners, it should be easy to grasp the importance of insuring against these four risks that Hurricane Sandy uncovered.

Peace of Mind and Protection from Uncertainty

By being properly insured, you will be protected if the big rainfall that surpasses the five-inch prediction causes your sewer to back up. If storm winds topple the power lines down the street and you aren’t prepared to play Pioneer Days with your customers, you will be covered. If your employee mistakenly undercooks the chicken for your famous chicken piccata dish, you will be covered. If your air conditioner works overtime and decides to take a siesta for a day, you will be covered.

Play it smart: contact us today to be certain that your restaurant business is fully insured! 

(610) 947-1270

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