Insurance Savings and News You Can Use
Join the Conversation!

Business Insurance Tip: Reduce Vulnerability to Theft

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Aug 20, 2015

Business insurance tips for protecting against theft. Serving the business insurance needs of Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lebanon, Berks County, PA and beyond.While business insurance is your safety net for financial loss from theft, it's better to minimize the chance of your business becoming a victim of theft in the first place.

Unfortunately, most businesses become victims of theft at some point.  In fact, the most serious thefts can drive them out of existence.

Business owners and their managers need to first acknowledge that it can happen and then take the necessary steps to prevent it…or at least to minimize the loss.

Insuring Against Four Types of Theft

There are four types of theft: burglary, robbery, theft by employees, and identity theft. Each of these has its own set of challenges and preventive measures. Check with your independent insurance agent to be sure your commercial insurance coverage adequately protects you against each of these categories of business theft.

#1. Insuring Against Burglary:
Unlawful Entry with Intent to Steal

Burglars enter your business when no one is there. They mainly target your cash, merchandise and equipment, but they may also commit a host of other felonies.

Thieves like to work in the dark, so visibility is your first line of defense here. Bright interior lights deter illegal entry, especially if your building can be seen from the street. Exterior lights, protected with metal cages, may discourage them from approaching at all. This is a good start, but there are other equally important steps you can take to prevent a break-in:

  • An alarm system with motion detectors
  • Steel doors with dead bolt locks
  • A see-through fence (i.e., chain link)
  • Windows with safety glass and locks
  • Padlocks on overhead doors

#2. Insuring Against Robbery:
Taking Cash or Valuables from a Person

If your business deals in cash or smaller valuables, you are susceptible to being robbed. This could happen either by force or the threat of force. To keep it from happening at all, there are things you can look for and actions you should take:

  • Keep cash to a minimum
  • Post signs indicating the maximum amount of cash on the premises
  • Be alert – look for signs of danger
  • Recognize potential hiding places near your business
  • Provide bright lights and good visibility to deter robbers

Being robbed will be traumatic. Your managers and employees need to be trained to react properly if all preventive measures fail. Here are some guidelines to remember during and immediately after a robbery:

  • Cooperate with the robber
  • Obey orders quickly
  • Don’t argue or fight
  • Don’t use a weapon
  • Don’t chase or follow the robber
  • Call the police

#3. Insuring Against Employee Theft:
An Insidious Crime

Business owners don’t want to believe that a trusted employee is stealing from them. As a result, most of this theft goes undetected. It is estimated that businesses may be losing as much as forty billion dollars each year to this crime. It is crucial that you work with your accountants regularly to spot the following signs:

  • Changes in sales and inventory without a corresponding increase in profits or cash flow
  • Shipping records that are not consistent with inventory
  • Unauthorized changes in paperwork or established procedures

As a business owner, you need to be aware that loyal employees may steal, as do well-paid executives and workers who have been with you for many years. Encourage all employees to report their suspicions and concerns. Tell them what to report and how to do it. Work diligently with your accounting staff to catch inconsistencies early.

#4. Insuring Against Identity Theft:
Not Just a Consumer Problem

Business identity theft is growing, and the consequences are enormous. It affects your entire business, including employees, customers, and suppliers. Identity thieves can tap into your credit lines, change your contact information, then order supplies or obtain credit cards. They can also go after your customers. Defend against them by doing the following:

  • Securely lock up any paper data and shred it when it’s outdated
  • Make sure networks are password protected and have a firewall
  • Install security software on any mobile devices that contain confidential company data

Protect Your Business From Theft - Get the Right Commercial Insurance

Contact us to obtain business insurance to protect against all types of theft: burglary, identity theft, employee theft, and more.If, in spite of all these measures, your business is still a victim of theft, the right business insurance can help.

Don't wait until your business takes a hit. Be proactive: Call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to contact us.

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

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

3 Easy Tips for Buying Business Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Tue, May 13, 2014

 

Commercial insurance buying tips from American Insuring Group, serving Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, and Harriburg PA with business insurance for over 30 years.If you’re a small business owner, chances are good that you have a considerable amount of time, money, and – let’s face it – sweat and tears invested in your business.  Although it is generally not required by law (unless you are an employer), business insurance is a great investment in your business because it protects your business assets and minimizes financial risks in the event of unexpected catastrophes.   

But how do you know what types of commercial insurance are best for your business?  Or how much coverage you need?  As a business owner, you probably wear many hats, but an insurance expert hat is probably not in your wardrobe!

Here are three basic things to consider when buying business insurance for your company:

  1. Determine Your Risks – The insurance company will determine the level of risk it’s willing to accept when issuing a policy and may decide to provide all or just a portion of the coverage you request.  Your broker will then offer a policy that includes a premium and a deductible.  Premiums depend on a number of risk factors, such as your location, proximity of fire protection services, and your type of building structure, in addition to the amount of coverage you want to purchase.  A higher deductible will probably lower your premiums, but it will also increase your financial risk. It’s important to determine the level of risk you’re willing to take.

  2. Keep it Simple: Consider a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) – You can purchase insurance separately or as a package called a Business Owner’s Policy.  A BOP usually covers property, general liability, vehicles, business interruption, and other types of coverage common to most types of businesses.  BOPs simplify the insurance buying process and typically save you money.  But, it’s important that you understand what is and isn’t covered by a BOP.  Unique risks may require additional coverage. Your independent insurance agent can help clarify your options and help you identify your needs.

  3. Review Your Insurance Coverage Annually – As your business grows, so do your liabilities.  As you purchase or replace new equipment or expand operations, you may need more coverage.

Contact us for help with all your business insurance needsThe Small Business Administration (SBA) says, “Finding a good insurance agent is as important as finding a good lawyer or accountant.”   At American Insuring Group we're interested in your needs, we understand the risks associated with your business, and we can help you get the right commercial insurance for your business needs. 

So give us a call at (800)947-1270 or (610)775-3848 or use our online quote system to get a free business insurance quote.

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, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

12 Ways to Avoid Electrically-Related Worker's Comp Claims

Posted by David Ross on Mon, May 05, 2014

Get the right worker's compensation insurance to cover electricians. By American Insuring Group, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley and beyond with affordable, high quality workers comp insurance.Electrically-Related Worker's Comp Injuries

Electrical hazards cause more than 200 electrocutions (death by electric shock) and 4,000 workplace injuries each year, costing businesses millions of dollars in Workers’ Comp claims, fines, medical costs, litigation, lost business and equipment cost.  “While electrical hazards are not the leading cause of on-the-job injuries, accidents, and fatalities, they are disproportionately fatal and costly,” according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). 

The good news is that most electrically-related injuries and the resulting workers’ compensation and fire-related rebuilding costs can be avoided with a comprehensive electrical safety program. That's good news for electrical contractors and other businesses whose employees perform electrical maintenance and installation services.

12 Ways to Avoid Electrical Injuries and Reduce Worker's Compensation Insurance Claims

Whether you’re in an office, a warehouse, or a manufacturing facility, there are things you can do to avoid electrical injuries and costly worker's comp claims:

  • Avoid using electrical equipment in unsuitable conditions, such as a wet or dusty workplace.
  • Ensure electrical panel doors are freely accessible and unblocked by furniture or clutter.
  • Tuck cables and cords away so they don’t create tripping or slipping hazards.
  • Place electric cords where there is air circulating to prevent overheating.
  • Keep electrical cords away from heat sources, such as radiators and space heaters.
  • Ensure that the electrical load of equipment such as computers, printers, scanners, faxes, shredders, and telephones is spread over several circuits.
  • If you are using extension cords as a permanent source of power, consider having additional circuits installed.
  • Plug office electronics into a surge protector.
  • Ensure grounded (3-prong) appliances and equipment are plugged into grounded outlets.
  • Avoid spilling beverages on electronics, and if it happens, be careful, as electrically powered devices may become live to the touch if they become wet.
  • Pull on the plug, not the cord, when unplugging equipment.
  • Get rid of old, unsafe or poorly maintained equipment, such as old coffee makers, radios, lamps, and space heaters.

Improve Electrical Safety in your Workplace

ESFI offers the following steps:

Step 1: Awareness

What does electrical safety mean to you?  The How Do You Know? video modules demonstrate how safe electrical practices are vital to everyone in your business.

Step 2: Assessment

Are you confident that your company's electrical safety program is up-to-date and comprehensive?  Evaluate your program with ESFI's Electrical Safety Self Assessment. It's an easy to use tool that will help you review and analyze your company's electrical safety practices related to facilities, personnel, and procedures.

Step 3: Improvement

Once you identify areas that need to be addressed, what's the next step?  ESFI has compiled a library of safety resources and links to help you find the information you need.

Worker's Compensation Insurance - Do You Have the Right Coverage?

Get the right worker's comp insurance from American Insuring Group. Call today.Following these suggestions will help ensure the safety of your employees, reduce workers comp claims, and avoid fire-related business costs. 

However, even the best laid plans sometimes fail.  When that happens you need to have the right insurance to protect your business from those unforeseen incidents.  Contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for help in obtaining the right worker's comp insurance to properly cover your business from loss.  We can help you with all your business-related insurance needs.

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

Food Safety and Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Get the right restaurant insurance to protect against food-related illness claimsWorking in the food service industry often means hard work and long hours.  You also face many unique challenges, including the responsibility of ensuring that the food you serve to your customers is safe.  As any restaurant owner knows, a foodborne-illness can cause the loss of thousands of dollars and, in some cases, your entire business. 

The National Restaurant Association estimates the average cost of a foodborne illness outbreak at more than $75,000.  This doesn’t even take into account the human cost. Does your restuarant have the proper insurance to handle such an occurence?

Millions of people become sick each year and thousands die after eating contaminated or mishandled foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 2011 that contaminated food caused 47.8 million illnesses a year in the United States (that includes food eaten at home and other places besides restaurants).

Ten Factors That Often Cause Food-borne Illnesses, According to the CDC:

  1. Improper cooling of foods — the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks.
  2. Advance preparation of food (with a 12-hour or more delay before service).
  3. Infected employees who practice poor personal hygiene.
  4. Failure to reheat cooked foods to temperatures that kill bacteria.
  5. Improper hot holding temperatures.
  6. Adding raw, contaminated ingredients to food that receives no further cooking.
  7. Foods from unsafe sources.
  8. Cross contamination of cooked food by raw food.
  9. Improper use of leftovers.
  10. Failure to heat or cook food thoroughly.

Here are five steps you can take to minimize foodborne illnesses in your restaurant and decrease the risk of an insurance claim:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Thoroughly wash all produce, since it is often served uncooked.
  3. Maintain a temperature at or below 40°F in your refrigerators to minimize bacterial growth.
  4. In order to kill any bacteria present, cook foods to the minimum recommended internal temperature and sustain that temperature for at least 15 seconds.
  5. Clean and sanitize all food contact surfaces, such as countertops, cutting boards, utensils, pots, and pans.

Have the Right Restaurant Insurance When All Else Fails

If, in spite of all your efforts to keep your food safe, your restaurant does experience an outbreak of a foodborne illness, there’s only one thing that can save you – the right insurance.  One option you may want to consider adding to your basic policy is business interruption insurance to help your business stay afloat if you’re forced to shut down for any length of time.  Another good option is food contamination coverage, which covers your restaurant from financial loss and helps rebuild your restaurant’s reputation.

Don't Leave it to Chance: Contact us Today

Get the right restaurant insurance. Providing restaurant insurance for small businesses in Berks county, Philadelphia and Montgomery county, Allentown and the Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Lancaster, PA and beyond.You’ve worked hard to establish your restaurant business. Don't leave things to chance. Be sure you can survive any potential issues with a comprehensive restaurant insurance policy tailored specifically to your business.  The agents at American Insuring Group understand your unique challenges. Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.   

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, 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, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance York PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County

Small Business Insurance Costs and the Affordable Care Act

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Apr 22, 2014

Business health insurance cost predictions under Obamacare (AFA) according to the Center for Medicaid ServicesHow Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Small Business Health Insurance Costs?

You would have to be living on a desert island or under a rock not to have heard of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).  But with all the partisan arguments about how wonderful or – conversely - how awful this new law is, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.  So, as Sgt. Joe Friday said, we’ll try to stick with "just the facts, ma'am."

Affordable Care Act Facts:

FACT: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. 

FACT: On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court rendered a final decision to uphold the health care law.

FACT: Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace began October 1, 2013 and ended March 31, 2014

That’s probably where the “facts” end.  The stated intent of the ACA was to offer affordable health insurance to every American.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, the ACA “puts consumers back in charge of their health care. Under the law, a new ‘Patient’s Bill of Rights’ gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health.”  Few would argue with the value of the law’s stated goals, which are summarized as follows on the HHS website: “All together, these reforms mean that millions of people who were previously uninsured will gain coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”

What Impact Will the Affordable Care Act Have on Small Business Insurance Costs?

The full repercussions of the ACA on small businesses and their health insurance costs – and whether it’s truly “wonderful” or actually “awful” - won’t be known for several years; however, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which spearheaded the implementation of the law, presented a report to congress with a few predictions.  In the interest of “sticking with the facts,” CMS’s report states, “There is a rather large degree of uncertainty associated with this estimate. The impact could vary significantly depending on the mix of firms that decide to offer health insurance coverage.”

CMS: 2/3 of Small Businesses to See Increased Costs

A recent Small Business Association poll found that 96 percent of small businesses said their health insurance premiums have significantly increased over the past five years, with average monthly insurance costs increasing from $590 per employee in 2009 to $1,121 in 2014.  CMS’s research indicates those rates will continue to rise.  The CMS report states that the new rules, such as requiring that insurers offer guaranteed health coverage and insurance renewal options to small employers and preventing insurance companies from varying their rates based on a company’s industry or the age of its employees, will most likely drive up the price of insurance for many small businesses. 

The report estimates that 65 percent of small businesses are expected to experience increases in their premium rates, while only 35 percent will see a reduction. Businesses with exceptionally sick or at-risk workers will benefit most from the new provisions.  The effect on large employers is expected to be negligible, since many larger companies run their health insurance programs in house. 

What Can You Do to Control Your Business’s Health Insurance Costs?

Affordable Care Act and Your Health Insurance: Get our free fact sheet and get the information you needAmerican Insuring Group can help you navigate through the complexities of the new ACA rules and ensure that you get the best health insurance premiums available.  Contact an agent at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for more information about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

Want to learn more? Download our free report: 10 Things You Should Know About Health Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act

Tags: Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Harrisburg, Small Business Insurance, Small Business Insurance Reading PA, Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Berks County, Health Insurance Philadelphia, Health Insurance Lancaster

Key Person Life Insurance and Million Dollar Legs

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Feb 06, 2014

What do Legs Have to do with Key Person Life Insurance?

WLearn why key person insurance may be right for your business. We insure large and small businesses in PA, including Reading, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Hershey, York and beyond. Call for the best advice on key person life insurance.e’ve all heard stories about celebrities insuring various body parts for ridiculous sums of money - most famously, Betty Grable’s legs were insured for a million dollars. Why would anyone insure such a thing? The fact of the matter is, her studio made a lot of money off of Betty Grable’s appearances, and a large part of her appeal were her fabulous gams. If her legs had been marred in any way, her ability to sell movies and posters would’ve been greatly reduced.   

Now, think about this.  Are there any parts – such as key person - of your business that, if lost, would significantly impact your bottom line?

Who is a Key Person?

A key person in your company is like Betty Grable’s legs. That person could be one of your executives, your best salesperson, your gem of an office manager who keeps things running smoothly, or an old hand who knows where all the skeletons are buried (figuratively, of course!). A key person is any employee who, if he/she suddenly passed away or became unable to work, would cause your business to struggle. Look around your office – who couldn’t your business afford to lose?

The Vulnerability of Small Businesses and the Need for Key Person Insurance

Getting Key Person Life Insurance is especially vital for small businesses, both because they generally have a thinner line between success and failure, and because they have smaller workforces. A giant firm with offices all over the country may not have any employees who are irreplaceable; since they are all tiny cogs in a giant machine with many redundancies, while a small company with only a few employees has less overlap in responsibilities.

With a small workforce, employees often have unique and specialized knowledge and connections that may not be easily replaced. Also, for businesses just starting out, if one of the partners has an accident, the poor fledgling company would be doomed to fail unless there was some kind of cushion. That cushion could be a Key Person Life Insurance policy.

Grieve without the Worry

Of course, the loss of any employee’s life - regardless of how essential they were to your business - is an awful thing to contemplate. A Key Person Life Insurance policy can allow you to grieve, without the worry of how you’re going to be able to keep the company afloat until you find or train a replacement.

Is Key Person Life Insurance Right for Your Business?

Is key person insurance right for your business? Call us for answers.If you have people who are as valuable to your business as Betty Grable’s legs were to her, contact American Insuring Group at (610) 775-3848 or (800) 947-1270 for information on Key Person Life Insurance policies for your business!

Contact us to learn more about Key Person Insurance. We serve Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, and all of Pennsylvania and beyond with quality business insurance at affordable prices.

Tags: Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Key Person Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance York PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County, Life 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

4 Ways to Lower Workers Comp Insurance Costs by Keeping it Honest

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 12, 2013

Control workers compensation costs. Buy the right workers comp insurance from us. Serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, and beyond with high quality workers compensation insurance coverage.The Washington Post reported in April that federal workers compensation costs have roughly doubled since 1995, with 8.8 million Americans receiving disability benefits to the tune of $260 billion per year. Over a quarter $ trillion annually - that's a trully staggering figure.

The Post went on to claim that much of the increase may be due to the changing demographics of an aging population. Whether you buy that explanation or not, many employers fear that some employees are cheating on workers compensation insurance and staying away from work longer than legitimately needed.

Workers Comp 101: How Much Should You Trust Your Employees?

Let's face it, as with almost everything in life, things are seldom black and white. Seemingly good and honest employees sometimes do dishonest things when they feel threatened or insecure. Workers compensation can be an area where a good employee is tempted to stretch the limits of a workers compensation insurance package if your internal company policies are not balanced in such a way as to help keep the system honest and balanced.

Incentives and Disincentives to Return to Work: How Do Your Workers Comp Policies Stack Up?

Many view our national unemployment policies as lacking the common sense checks and balances required to filter out waste and abuse. Fair enough, but have you analyzed your own policies by the same yardstick? A well-balanced set of policies is one that properly provides for the needs of employees during a disability while also achieving the checks and balances that keep the system honest by removing disincentives to return to work, and removing incentives to stay out longer than legitimately needed. And that insurance principle applies as much for a small business as for a larger one.

Here are some things to consider when striving to keep your workers compensation policies properly balanced:

  • How long will you hold a job open while an employee is out on disability? Is there a defined limit? Obviously a reasonable but limited time period should be the goal. In today's job market, fewer are willing to gamble with finding a new job should they exceed the period that their current position will be kept open for them.

  • What percentage of an employee's salary is collected during a workers compensation event? If your policies are too generous then the incentive to stay off longer increases.

  • Do you allow benefits to accrue while an employee is away from work? For example, will sick time and vacation time continue to accrue? If so, should the policy be changed?

  • What about high-end benefits? If you offer special benefits such as a company car or other benefits directly related performing on the job, then consider placing them on hold until the employee returns to work.

A Workers Compensation Lesson from Ronald Reagan?

Regardless of your politics, President Ronald Reagan had a principle that served the US well in dealing with foreign policy, and one that President Barack Obama recently quoted: trust but verify. Yes, we would like to trust all employees to do the right thing when it comes to workers compensation insurance benefits. However, given that things are rarely black and white when it comes to human behavior, it is wise to craft your company polices in such a way as to verify that your hard-earned dollars spent on workers compensation costs are being wisely used and not wasted.

Need Help with Workers Compensation Insurance? 

We're here to help. We're an independent insurance agency with the resources to find the right workers comp insurance to meet your needs and budget. Click to contact us today to learn more, or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

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

Disability Insurance: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

Posted by David Ross on Tue, May 28, 2013

Are you rolling the dice on disability insurance? Get the facts and get protected. Contact us for help. Serving Reading PA, Berks County, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, and beyond.According to a May 2013 report by the non-profit Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), there is a sharp mismatch between the high value employees place on their ability to earn a living vs. their financial preparedness to handle a disability that would threaten their income as evidenced by having adequate levels of disability insurance.

Most are Ignorant of the Real Need for Disability Insurance

The report titled “Disability Divide: Employer Study” is based on a 2012 survey of over 500 human resources professionals. The key findings, as reported by the Insurance Word Blog, are as follows: 

    • ¾ of HR professionals surveyed said employees viewed their income-earning ability as their most valuable financial resource, ahead of medical insurance, their homes, and retirement savings. However, only ¼ said employees considered it “very important” to prepare for potential disability, and a similar portion felt their employees were prepared to handle the financial hardships of the loss of income due to illness or injury.
    • A prior CDA survey of over 1,000 wage earners yielded similar results, with most respondents stating they are most likely to agree with the statement, “I never really thought about” preparing for a potential disability.
       
    • The HR experts surveyed generally felt that employees should begin planning for disability early in their careers even though most don’t begin until age 40 or older, if ever. According to statistics, approximately 100 million members of the US civilian workforce have no private disability insurance.
       
    • Most of the HR experts as well as the wage earners dramatically underestimated the likelihood of incurring a disability during their careers.

 

Surprising Disability Insurance Statistics

The post goes on to quote some surprising statistics from the CDA’s Personal Disability Quotient calculator:

    • An average 35-year old male office worker who is a non-smoker and has no health history issues has a 13% risk of incurring a long-term disability prior to retirement.

    • For women with the same profile the risk is higher: 18% or nearly 1 in 5. Those surveyed had estimated their risk at only 1-2%.
       
    • The 35-year olds noted above, if earning an average of $50,000 per year, are likely to earn approximately $2.4 million on average by the end of their careers.

    • Clearly, the contrast between the risk of losing millions in income and the lack of disability insurance is striking!

 

Key Takeaways

Americans are much less protected against income loss than in the past due to several factors, including:

    • The relative lack of solid pension plans
    • Much lower savings rates
    • Home mortgages with higher balances
    • Rising college education costs
    • Given the poor economy, the much greater likelihood of the need to continue to support children beyond their college years

What to do About Disability Insurance

Given these facts, the only wise course of action is to acquire the proper level of disability insurance to cover the gap between your current savings and the funding that would be needed to cover your financial needs during a long-term disability. If you are a business owner, the risks of inadequate disability insurance may be even greater due to the financial consequences of being unable to work.

We’re Here to Help if Needed

If you have questions on how to determine the right level of disability insurance you need to protect both you and your loved ones, then please contact us at 610-947-1270, or Contact Us online.

Tags: Health Insurance Reading PA, Health Insurance Allentown, Health Insurance Harrisburg, Small Business Insurance, Disability Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Berks County, Health Insurance Philadelphia, Health Insurance Lancaster