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Toolbox Talk: Safe Lifting to Reduce Contractor Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 28, 2023

Follow these safe lifting tips to save on Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, PA and beyondWorkplace accidents are a significant cause of higher Contractor Insurance costs, so it stands to reason that reducing the number of workplace accidents (and subsequent injuries) will help lower your Contractor Insurance costs. One way to reduce the number of injuries is with Toolbox Talks – informal group discussions that focus on a specific safety topic. 

Since back injuries are a significant concern in the construction industry, a toolbox talk that focuses on safe lifting can be helpful. "Back injuries account for almost 20% of all nonfatal injuries and illnesses with days away from work in construction," according to the Center for Construction Research and Training. "Work-related back injuries and illnesses are caused mainly by repeated lifting of materials, sudden movements, whole body vibration, lifting and twisting at the same time, or bending over for long periods of time." 

And these injuries are costly. The Center reports, "Among all reported injuries in the construction industry, low-back claims are the most frequent and make up the largest proportion of claims costs and days away from work. The prevalence of back injuries among construction workers is probably even higher than the BLS numbers indicate since many injuries are underreported in the construction industry." While you can't eliminate back injuries, you can substantially reduce them with a Toolbox Talk that focuses on safe lifting. 

Two Types of Controls to Prevent Lifting Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified two types of controls for preventing lifting injuries – administrative and engineering. Engineering controls involve designing workstations to minimize lifting hazards. Examples of this type of control include positioning a work table to avoid long or awkward reaches, using a device to move heavy objects, and redesigning tools. 

Administrative controls include properly training workers, which is what a Toolbox Talk should focus on. 

Proper Lifting Technique

Grainger offers the following steps for safe lifting:

  1. Stand close to the load with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. One foot should be slightly in front of the other for balance.
  2. Squat down, bending at the knees (not your waist). Tuck your chin while keeping your back as vertical as possible.
  3. Get a firm grasp of the object before beginning the lift.
  4. Slowly begin straightening your legs, lifting slowly. Never twist your body during this step.
  5. Once the lift is complete, keep the object as close to the body as possible. If the load's center of gravity moves away from your body, there is a dramatic increase in stress to the back's lumbar region. 

If you need to set the object below waist level, use the same procedures in reverse order. 

Additional Lifting Tips

  • Take your time
  • Lift smoothly, avoiding jerky movements
  • Stretch before lifting heavy objects
  • Store heavy materials at waist height when possible
  • Have heavy materials delivered as close to the final destination as possible
  • Before lifting, determine the best place to grip the material
  • Ensure your intended path is free of clutter and slipping hazards
  • Use carts, forklifts, or dollies when appropriate
  • Ask for help from another worker 

NOTE: "Back belts are not recognized by OSHA as effective engineering controls to prevent back injury. While they may be accepted by individual workers because they feel as if they provide additional support, the effectiveness of back belts in the prevention of low back injuries has not been proven in the work environment." 

Save More on Contractor Insurance!

Another way to save on Contractor Insurance is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group, who specializes in Contractor Insurance. We can ensure you have the best coverage for your specific needs. And as independent agents, we will compare the cost of that coverage with several insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for solid coverage.

So call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to start saving on Contractor Insurance costs today!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Safety Programs

7 Common Restaurant Insurance Myths That Could Cost You

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 21, 2023

Avoid these restaurant insurance myths and save on insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Reading and throughout PARestaurant Insurance can be complicated; however, the right insurance can protect you, your restaurant, and your employees. You don't want any gaps in coverage, but you also don't want to pay more than you need. Unfortunately, seven common restaurant insurance myths often cause one or both of these to happen. 

7 Common Restaurant Insurance Myths

MYTH 1: A general liability policy or umbrella policy will cover me.

FACT: General liability insurance helps protect your business "premises" from exposure (risk), such as trip and fall hazards. However, it does not protect your business if you serve too much alcohol and an injury occurs, an employee gets hurt, or your catering van is totaled. 

Commercial Umbrella Insurance offers additional coverage on liability claims on your existing insurance policies. If a claim exceeds your policy's limit, it provides a buffer or safety net. It does not provide primary liability coverage. It only goes into effect when a claim exceeds the policy's limits. 

MYTH 2: I'll be paying for coverage I don't need.

FACT: Restaurant Insurance should not be one-size-fits-all because every restaurant is unique. American Insuring Group specializes in Restaurant Insurance, so we know what questions to ask you to ensure that your risks are covered without having the insurance coverage you don't need. 

MYTH 3: I don't need Workers' Compensation Insurance.

FACT: Most states, including PA, require employers to carry WC for their employees. The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "Workers' compensation coverage is mandatory for most employers under Pennsylvania law. Employers who do not have workers' compensation coverage may be subject to lawsuits by employees and to criminal prosecution by the commonwealth." This includes both full and part-time employees, even if they are family members. There are very few exceptions.

MYTH 4: You can skip commercial auto insurance.

FACT: This is true only if you or your employees NEVER use a vehicle for business. However, your personal auto insurance will probably not cover injuries or damage if a vehicle (owned by the business, you, or someone else) is being used for business purposes.

MYTH 5: Only big restaurant chains get sued.

FACT: According to the Zebra, 36% to 53% of small businesses are sued annually, and the average liability suit costs at least $54,000. Furthermore, SCORE reports, "The financial hits of litigation can be far more damaging to small businesses than to large ones, which often staff in-house legal counsel and devote a portion of their budget to legal defense."

MYTH 6: Small restaurants are safe from cyber-attacks.

FACT: Forbes reports that 43% of cyber-attacks are targeted at small businesses. "If you're still in denial about the chances of your small business becoming a victim, 61% of all SMBs [small to medium-sized businesses] have reported at least one cyber-attack during the previous year," Forbes states. "Despite the staggering numbers, 91% of small businesses haven't purchased cyber liability insurance. This truly reflects how unaware and unprepared small business owners are to deal with security breaches." 

MYTH 7: Restaurant insurance is too expensive.

FACT: The right insurance policy protects your business, provides peace of mind, and can be extremely affordable. Without insurance, one significant accident or lawsuit could put your restaurant out of business, making insurance a smart investment. 

How to Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Understanding Restaurant Insurance is the best way to ensure you have the right insurance without gaps or paying for coverage you don't need. As Restaurant Insurance specialists, the American Insuring Group can help. Plus, as independent agents, we compare the cost of your coverage among many insurance companies to help you get the right coverage at a great price!

So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to start saving on Restaurant Insurance today.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance

Avoid Collisions With Deer to Lower Truck Insurance Costs: Here's How!

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 14, 2023

Deer-Accidents-and-Truck-Insurance-1000More accidents mean higher Truck Insurance, so it's crucial that all truck drivers understand potential hazards and how to avoid them. One hazard common to all drivers is deer and other animals. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there was an upward trend in deaths from collisions with animals from 1975 to the mid-2000s, which has leveled off in the past few years.

In 2020 there were 202 deaths from collisions with animals, reaching costs as high as $1 billion annually in damages nationwide. While smaller vehicles often experience more damage when colliding with large animals, commercial trucks are not immune. Collisions with animals can result in injuries or death, damage to trucks and cargo, lost time, and loss of revenue.

Sometimes collisions with deer and other animals are unavoidable, but there are steps truck drivers can take to minimize the risk and the damage caused by these collisions.

Know where there is higher risk.

Deer sightings can occur just about anywhere, but there are certain areas and times that have a higher risk.

  • According to the Insurance Information Institute, the top five states in 2021-2022 for the likelihood of animal-involved claims from a collision are West Virginia (1 in 35), Montana (1 in 44), South Dakota (1 in 51), Michigan (1 in 51, Wisconsin (1 in 54), and Pennsylvania (1 in 57). Therefore, drivers in these states should be more vigilant.
  • Watch for the yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer, which indicates an area of high-level deer activity. When you see one of these signs, you should be extra alert.
  • According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, deer are most active during the dusk to dawn hours.
  • Autumn (November – the peak, October, and December) are a deer's breeding season, and they may be less aware of their surroundings.
  • In May and June, one-year-old deer begin to disperse to new areas.
  • Less populated states and regions tend to have higher animal populations.
  • Long stretches of isolated highways tend to have a higher risk of an animal darting in front of a truck.
  • Rural highways built along creeks, rivers, and lakes attract deer.
  • Heavily forested areas have higher animal populations.
  • Areas where farmers are harvesting crops, can cause deer to run onto a road.
  • During hunting season, deer are more likely to bolt in front of an oncoming vehicle.
  • If you travel a route regularly, watch for a pattern of areas with higher activity of deer and other animals.
  • Deer tend to travel in packs, so if you see one deer, chances are there are more nearby, and you need to remain on high alert.

Drive Safely

  • Stay alert.
  • Continually scan the road for signs of animals and activities.
  • Use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. Light can reflect off an animal's eyes, revealing its location.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Drive the posted speed limit.
  • Never drive impaired.
  • If driving on a multi-lane road, stay in the center lane to give you more time to respond if a deer runs onto the road.
  • Don't tailgate. Allowing space between you and the vehicle in front of you provides a broader field of vision and more reaction time, enabling you to break rather than swerve if a deer runs in front of you or the vehicle in front of you.

Know what to do if a deer does come into your path.

If a deer or other animal crosses your path, try to stay in your lane and avoid the urge to swerve. Swerving can cause you to lose control and increase the chance of colliding with another vehicle or ending up in a ditch. Plus, deer can be unpredictable, and swerving may put the deer right in your path. It's better to hit the deer than risk veering off the road, overturning your truck, or hitting another vehicle.

Sometimes, using your horn can frighten the animal and keep them off the road.

If a collision is imminent, remove your foot from the brake because braking hard may cause the front end of your vehicle to go down, causing the animal to fly over your hood and towards your windshield.

How to Save on Truck Insurance

At American Insuring Group, we go beyond providing you with affordable truck insurance. First, we carefully analyze the needs and risks associated with your business. Then, we match you up with the best trucking insurance policy based on a careful analysis of many competing insurance companies. The result? You get the high-quality commercial insurance coverage you need at a very affordable price.

Get a free quote today by calling (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips, Safety Programs, Commercial Auto Insurance

8 Tips for New Workers Comp Managers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 07, 2023

Tips for WC Managers to Save on Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Erie, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Allentown, Reading and throughout PAWithin small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the role of Workers' Compensation manager is often given to someone who has other roles within the business and little to no experience with WC. Unfortunately, Workers' Compensation can be complicated, and mistakes can be costly. So, if you find yourself in the role of WC manager, here are eight tips to help.

  1. Know What Your State Requires -Your state will determine whether or not you are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance, the WC regulations you need to follow, and how you can purchase the insurance. Click here for a state-by-state comparison and links to the entities responsible for Workers' Compensation. And remember, even if you are not required to purchase WC insurance, it may be worth having.

  2. Understand WC Basics – You need to know what WC does and doesn't cover, what WC classification codes and experience modifiers are, etc. Check out these 10 PA WC FAQs.

  3. Know How Workers' Comp Premiums are Calculated - Your Workers' Compensation premium is based on the following formula: WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100. Understanding this calculation helps you 1) ensure no errors are made and 2) see where you can save money on WC costs.

  4. Understand the Effect of Safety on WC Costs – According to The Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau (PCRB), your experience rating is based on past claims and helps determine your experience modifier, which is an adjustment of your annual premiums based on the likelihood that you will file a claim. The safer your workplace, the fewer claims you will file, which lowers your experience modifier and what you pay for WC insurance.

  5. Realize That Timing is Crucial – Injuries should be treated immediately and reported promptly. Failure to report an injury promptly can jeopardize investigations, increase potential litigation, violate state law, and increase the cost of the claim. You must also manage WC claims (see below) to ensure quicker resolution.

  6. Consider a Return-To-Work Plan – The sooner you can get an employee safely back to work, the better. Studies show that returning to work after an injury is essential for recovery and can help reduce your WC costs. One way to get an injured employee back to work sooner is with a return-to-work program (RTW). An RTW is designed to get injured employees back to work as quickly as possible (based on their doctor's recommendation). That could mean the injured employee returns to modified duties or a temporary position to accommodate any limitations caused by the injury.

  7. Manage WC Claims – An employer's role does not end with filing a WC claim. Managing a WC claim is key to a quicker resolution, which includes ongoing communication with the injured employee, their medical team, and your insurance company during the claims.

  8. Learn How to Read a Loss Run Report - Loss Run Reports list the date of each loss and claim, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. Insurance companies use this information to determine how risky your business is to insure, which can affect your premium. Therefore, you should check that the information is accurate, and you can use the information to lower insurance costs and improve other areas of your business.

  9. Protect Your Business from WC Insurance Fraud – Most injured employees are honest; however, some employees commit Workers' Compensation fraud, costing companies billions of dollars every year in rising insurance premiums, production delays, and training costs. Protect your business from WC insurance fraud by recognizing the warning signs of fraudulent claims.

  10. Review Annually - Your insurer will conduct an annual audit, and so should you. It's an opportunity to check for errors and provide any updates.

Bonus Tip: SAVE by Working With the Right Insurance Company

Each business has particular needs, and American Insuring Group specializes in commercial insurance for small to medium-sized businesses. In addition, we offer cost-effective Worker's Compensation insurance from various competing insurance companies. We'll work hard to get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and your business!

Get a free quote today by calling (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Toolbox Talk to Lower Contractors’ Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Dec 27, 2022

Use these tips to save on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, York, Lebanon, PA and beyond.To lower Contractors' Insurance costs, you need to reduce the number of accidents and subsequent claims. In other words, you need to create safer worksites. Unfortunately, construction sites are filled with hazards - power tools, heavy equipment, etc. – and potentially unsafe conditions. 

Toolbox Talks, defined by Harvard as "an informal group discussion among employees of an individual department that focuses on a particular safety issue," is one way to create a safer worksite and lower Workers' Compensation (and other) costs. You can choose many safety topics for your Toolbox Talk, but one crucial topic is "How to Recognize and Report Unsafe Conditions." 

First Step

First, you must create a workplace where employees feel comfortable reporting potentially unsafe conditions. Here's why. 

Studies have found that nearly 50% of employees did not report a safety issue to their supervisor. The reason? Some employees didn't feel comfortable reporting a potential issue – some even felt it was unsafe. In addition, some employees didn't feel it was their responsibility or that nothing was done when safety hazards were reported in the past. 

It is your responsibility to develop a culture of safety, to encourage your employees to report potential issues, and to make them feel safe doing so. It is in your best interest and theirs because it can minimize accidents and injuries, create happier, more engaged employees, and help prevent litigation and lawsuits against your company. 

Furthermore, ensure you have a straightforward process for reporting potentially unsafe conditions that you communicate to your workers. 

Most Common Hazards on a Construction Site

The following list includes the four most common workplace hazards according to Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 500 deaths could be prevented each year if the hazardous conditions leading to the Fatal Four were improved, making it a great place to start a Toolbox Talk about Recognizing unsafe conditions.

  • Falls – Fall-related accidents are the most common cause of construction-related fatalities. This includes slipping or tripping, leading to falls and falling off ladders, roofs, scaffolding, etc.
  • Caught-In or -Between – Examples of this type of hazard include cave-ins, being crushed between shifting objects or being pulled into or caught in machinery equipment.
  • Struck-By – According to OSHA, this type of injury "is produced by forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment."
  • Electrocution – OSHA states, "Electrocution results when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy." It can occur when workers are exposed to burns, electrocution, arc flash, fire, or explosions.

OSHA offers an in-depth training program regarding these four Hazards. 

Recognizing Unsafe Conditions

Many accidents related to these and other hazards are preventable by increasing awareness and showing workers how to recognize unsafe conditions. Here are a few unsafe conditions workers should be aware of:

  • Spills that aren't cleaned up
  • Clutter
  • Over-stacked loads
  • Glare or shadows
  • Unprotected edges
  • Lack of signs cautioning workers about unsafe conditions, such as slippery surfaces
  • Insufficient fall protection
  • Unstable or unavailable scaffolding
  • Faulty or unsupportive ladders or ladder misuse
  • Failure to routinely inspect the equipment
  • Poorly maintained equipment
  • Frayed or damaged wires
  • Unprotected power lines
  • Power supplies that are not grounded
  • Someone inspecting or repairing equipment that is not de-energized
  • Using too many extension cords
  • Lack of proper lockout/tag-out procedures
  • Insufficient communication regarding safety
  • Lack of appropriate PPE
  • Lack of adequate safety training
  • Lack of the right equipment to move heavy materials

 Call Us to Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs!

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors' Insurance, so we can ensure that you have the right insurance coverage to protect your business. In addition, as independent agents, we can ensure you pay the lowest premium for that coverage. Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start saving on Contractors' Insurance today.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

How to Keep Restaurant Customers Safe and Lower Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 17, 2022

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Cost in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Erie, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, York, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call Today!COVID has undoubtedly brought the importance of health and safety to the forefront of every restauranteur’s mind. The good news is that creating a safer restaurant has many benefits for restaurant owners and managers, including lower Restaurant Insurance costs. 

That’s why we often discuss tips to keep restaurant employees safe, such as proper training and appropriate PPE, in this blog. However, prioritizing customer safety is just as crucial to the health and well-being of your restaurant. A sick or injured customer can increase your Restaurant Insurance costs and affect your restaurant’s reputation and bottom line. 

Here are some important tips for keeping your customers safe and your restaurant prospering. 


Keep Your Restaurant Clean

Cleanliness in restaurants has always been important to customers. For example, consider these 2016 (pre-COVID) statistics from Jolt.

  • 66% of people are unwilling to revisit a restaurant with bad food hygiene. 
  • 75% of people are unwilling to return to a restaurant implicated in a food poisoning or hygiene incident unless it has changed ownership. 
  • 75% of consumers will not visit a restaurant with negative reviews about its cleanliness. 
  • Restaurants are the most negatively affected business by negative reviews about cleanliness, even above hotels and doctor’s offices.  

Dirty restaurants can also lead to food-borne illnesses, which can lead to lawsuits, damaged reputations, and more. Therefore, you must regularly sanitize and clean your entire restaurant, including the kitchen, dining room(s), bathrooms, and takeout station, using food-grade cleaners on surfaces that come in contact with food. 

Practice Fire Safety

Fires are one of the biggest potential disasters for restaurants. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that between 2010 and 2014, an estimated average of 7,410 structure fires in eating and drinking establishments were reported to U.S. fire departments per year, causing annual losses of three civilian deaths, 110 civilian injuries, and $165 million in direct property damage. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to the safety of your customers that you practice proper fire safety, including the following:

  • Installing fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers and a fire-suppression system
  • Providing fire safety training for employees
  • Conducting regular maintenance on restaurant equipment

 Provide Adequate Training

The turnover rate for restaurant employees creates a serious challenge for restaurant owners, including proper training. However, safety training is essential to the health and well-being of your customers and your restaurant.

  “Your kitchen is only as safe as your employee who has received the least amount of training,” WebstaurantStore aptly states. “For this reason, investing time in training your employees is one of the most effective ways to make your restaurant safe.” 

Employees need to be regularly trained on the following:

  • Good hygiene, such as the importance of hand washing and where, when, and how to wash hands properly.
  • Food safety, including preventing cross-contamination and how to handle allergens.
  • How to operate restaurant equipment safely to avoid fires, food contamination caused by equipment failure, etc.
  • Fire safety, such as knowing how to put out a grease fire, using a fire extinguisher, etc.
  • General safety procedures, such as the proper use of PPE, avoiding slippery floors, etc. 

Additional Safety Tips

  • Tell employees to stay home if they aren’t feeling well to avoid the spread of Covid, colds, etc.
  • Provide safety signage where appropriate.
  • Use contact-free technology, such as touchless credit card readers and mobile ordering.
  • Set up hand-sanitizing stations 

Reduce Your Restaurant Insurance Costs the Easy Way

Keeping employees and customers safe is a crucial step to lowering insurance costs.

Working with an experienced independent insurance agent is another way to reduce insurance costs. The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance, so we understand your unique challenges. We'll be sure to get you the right coverage for your business. In addition, as independent agents, we work with many different insurance companies to help you find the lowest premium for that coverage. 

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to start saving on Restaurant Insurance!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Are You Over-Insured on Your Commercial Truck Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 10, 2022

Guidelines for the right truck insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Lebanon, Allentown and elsewhere in PennsylvaniaCommercial Truck Insurance is essential to protect you, your business, and your commercial vehicle(s). However, many truck owner-operators and small fleet owners who come to us are over-insured, paying for insurance they don't need and producing a higher premium than necessary.

 Why? Perhaps it's the frightening statistics that cause this to happen. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2020, there were 4,444 fatal crashes involving large trucks

and 108,000 injury crashes involving large trucks or buses. Furthermore, the FMCSA reports that the average cost of property damage-only crashes was $15,114, the cost per non-fatal injury crash averaged $195,258, and the average cost of fatal crashes was well over $3 million per crash. 

Without the right insurance coverage, one significant accident could quickly put you out of business. Still, there is no reason to carry coverage for risks your business is not exposed to.


What is Commercial Truck Insurance?

Commercial Truck insurance is a commercial auto policy designed for the "for-hire" motor carrier industry. That includes semi-trucks & big rigs (tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers), car haulers, flatbed trucks, cargo trucks, long-haul trucks, light trucks, etc. 

Typically, there are three types of coverage you may need.

  • Required Coverage - The FMCSA requires you to have commercial auto liability insurance between $750,000 and $5,000,000, depending on the type of cargo transported.
  • Specialized Coverage addresses specific needs. Examples of specialized coverage include physical damage, trailer interchange, etc.
  • Non-Trucking Coverage protects things that are not directly related to the transport of cargo, such as bobtail insurance and occupational accident coverage 

The cost of Trucker insurance varies depending on your needs. The following factors affect how much you pay:

  • Driver's age
  • Driving record
  • Age and condition of your equipment
  • Where you are driving
  • State requirements 

3 Types of Truckers' Insurance You May Not Need

Everyone's insurance needs are unique, and you should always discuss your risks and needs with an experienced insurance agent. However, these are the three most common types of insurance coverage we see truckers paying for that may not be necessary. 

  1. Commercial General Liability – This is NOT Commercial Auto Liability Insurance, which, as mentioned above, is required by the FMCSA. Commercial General Liability covers liability for individuals visiting your place of business. If you are an independent owner-operator, you probably operate out of your home and, therefore, do not have individuals visiting your business site.

  2. Non-Owned Auto Liability - Non-owned auto liability covers liability on personal vehicles that are driven for business. If you don't have employees or you don't ask your employees to use their personal vehicles for business, you don't need Non-Owned Auto Liability.

  3. Hired Auto Coverage – Similar to Non-Owned Auto Liability, Hired Auto Coverage applies in contractual relationships and covers accidents involving vehicles your business does not own and uses for business purposes. 

How To Ensure That You Are NOT Over-Insured

While most policies may look alike, the companies from which you buy them are not alike. Here's what to look for:

  • An experienced carrier that knows the trucking industry
  • An insurer with adequate reserves to pay claims
  • An independent insurance agent who can explain your coverage clearly (don't buy what you don't understand)
  • A carrier which is providing optimal coverage at a fair price 

We Can Help You Save on Commercial Truck Insurance!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Truckers' Insurance, and as independent agents, we compare the cost of your coverage among competing insurance companies to find the perfect fit at the right price to meet your specific needs. 

Start saving on Commercial Trucking Insurance today by contacting us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online. We happy to assist you with all of your insurance needs!

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance

6 Common Workers' Comp Insurance Myths

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 03, 2022

Learn the Facts About Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg and throughout PAThere are many myths or misconceptions about Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Insurance that can end up costing business owners time and money. So let's set the record straight on these myths once and for all. 

What is Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance?

Most states, including PA, require employers to carry WC for their employees. The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "If you employ workers in Pennsylvania, you must have workers' compensation insurance -- it's the law." This includes both full and part-time employees, even if they are family members. There are very few exceptions. 

If a worker is injured in the workplace or becomes ill because of their work environment, Workers' Compensation (WC) helps cover medical costs and lost wages if the employee cannot work. In Pennsylvania, it doesn't matter who or what caused the injury. If the injury or illness occurred during the course of their employment with you, WC would pay those expenses. 

WC also limits an injured employee's right to sue an employer directly for damages that injury or illness causes. 

Most Common Workers' Compensation Myths

MYTH 1: You don't need WC coverage for your business.

FACT: In Pennsylvania, if you employ even one person, even if that person happens to be your brother-in-law, you probably need to carry WC coverage for that employee. The only exceptions are If ALL employees fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Federal workers
  • Longshoremen
  • Railroad workers
  • Casual workers
  • Persons working out of their own homes or other premises not under the control of management
  • Agricultural laborers making less than $1200 per calendar year
  • Domestic workers who have not elected to come under the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act
  • Sole proprietors or general partners
  • Those who have been given an exemption by the Department of Labor and Industry due to religious beliefs
  • Executive officers who have been granted exclusion by the Department of Labor and Industry
  • Licensed real estate salespersons or associate real estate brokers affiliated with a licensed real estate broker or a licensed insurance agent affiliated with a licensed insurance agency, under a written agreement, remunerated on a commission-only basis and qualifying as independent contractors for State tax purposes or Federal tax purposes under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. 

If a business does not qualify for one of these exceptions, it must carry Workers' Compensation Insurance for its employees. Failure to do so can result in the employer being required to pay back any costs paid by the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund or a work-related injury or illness, including interest, penalties, and fees. An uninsured employer may also face civil and criminal risks that can result in fines and imprisonment. 

MYTH 2: Your company must be at fault for Workers' Comp to pay.

FACT: As mentioned above, Pennsylvania WC is a no-fault system. Regardless of the cause of the injury - a faulty machine, a mistake made by an employee, etc., if the injury occurred in the course of their employment, WC will pay. 

MYTH 3: An injury must happen on-site to file a WC claim.

FACT: If an employee is injured while driving to a meeting, at a work conference, etc., while conducting business for you, you can (and should) file a WC claim. 

MYTH 4: All work-related injuries are covered by Workers' Comp.

FACT: In Pennsylvania, Workers' Compensation claims can be denied to employees whose injuries are caused by the use of illegal drugs or alcohol intoxication. 

MYTH 5: Your role ends once the WC claim is made.

FACT: When an injury occurs, you are responsible for submitting the claim form and supporting documentation promptly; however, your responsibilities don't end there. 

You also need to manage the WC claim, continue cooperating with your insurance carrier, help ensure the claim is resolved quickly, keep in touch with the injured employee, and consider return-to-work options when appropriate. 

MYTH 6: A minor injury is not worth reporting

FACT: Injuries that initially seem minor may become more severe and require additional medical treatment. Not reporting work-related injuries can keep your employees from receiving proper care and put your WC policy at risk. 

Reduce Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Cost

Understanding these common myths and working with one of the experienced independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group can help ensure you get the best coverage at the lowest cost. Our independent agents shop the market to help you save on the proper insurance protection for your business.

Contact us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

7 Policy Review Tips to Help You Save on Contractors' Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 26, 2022

We'll help you review your contractor insurance policy in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, York and anywhere in Pennsylvania

As a busy contractor, it may be tempting to simply renew your Contractors' Insurance without reviewing it first. However, failure to review your insurance can result in paying more than you have to or being underinsured. Taking a few minutes to review your current policy, evaluate your current needs, and discuss it with a trusted insurance agent can make all the difference. 

While every business faces certain risks – employee injuries, property damage, etc., it could be argued that contractors face many challenges unique to the industry. For example, the construction industry is currently facing rising material costs, supply chain issues, a shortage of skilled laborers, increased risk of cybersecurity exposures, and more. 

Furthermore, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,764 U.S. workers suffered fatal work injuries in 2020. The private construction industry accounted for 21.2% of those deaths. The construction industry fared better in non-fatal injuries but still experienced 174,000 injuries out of 2.7 million total non-fatal workplace injuries reported by the private sector. 

The right insurance will help protect you financially from those risks, but to ensure you have the right insurance for your business, you need to take the time to review your policies before renewing them. 

The best time to start the renewal process is three to four months before your current policy's expiration date. This gives you time to review your policy, gather information, determine if there are any changes in your insurance needs, and compare the cost of your coverage. 

7 Insurance Review Tips:

  • Identify any changes to your business, such as…
    • Did you increase or decrease the number of employees?
    • Have you added, replaced, or sold any vehicles or equipment?
    • Did you add or change your location?
    • Has your business structure altered in any way?
    • Has your payroll changed?
    • Has the classification code for any of your employees changed?

  • Review your current policy. Is all the information correct – payroll, classification codes, experience modifier, etc.?

  • Run a loss run report. Loss Run Reports list the date of each loss and claim, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. This information is used to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay or even if an insurance company will issue or renew a policy for your business. In addition, you can use the information to lower your insurance costs and even improve other areas of your business.

  • Research industry trends. Factors such as litigation, a recession, or the availability of materials can affect your risks and coverages. Knowing what challenges you may face can help ensure you have the right insurance coverage.

  • Work with an insurance agent who specializes in Contractors' Insurance. American Insuring Group specializes in insurance for small to medium-sized construction companies. We start by taking a close look at your business and then recommend the proper types of coverage to protect you, your business, your employees, and your assets.

  • Ask about discounts and how you can lower your premiums. Some insurance carriers offer a discount for the following:
    • Combining policies
    • Paying your premium upfront (rather than monthly payments)
    • Paying by electronic funds transfer
    • Allowing them to access your driving data via an electronic logging device (ELD)
    • Installing certain safety features (burglar alarms, sprinklers, etc.)

  • Compare the cost of your coverage with several insurance companies. The good news is that, unlike many agencies that sell only one insurance brand, American Insuring Group is a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency. That means we are free to offer not just one but more than 25 competing brands of insurance to ensure you pay the lowest rate for your insurance coverage.

 Who to Call for the Best Rate on Contractors' Insurance

Whether it's general contracting insurance, construction insurance, contractor workers comp, carpentry, HVAC, handyman, or any other type of insurance, American Insuring Group has you covered!

Contact us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start saving on Contractors' Insurance costs today!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance

How Can Your Restaurant or Bar Lower Liquor Liability?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 19, 2022

Buy Liquor Liability and Restaurant Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania

It’s that time of year – Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, followed quickly by St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a busy time for restaurants, and it’s also a time when Restaurant Insurance is more crucial than ever! And if you serve alcohol, Liquor Liability Insurance should be part of your insurance portfolio, especially if your business operates in one of the thirty-five states with dram shop liability statutes – such as Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. 

What is the Dram Shop Liability Statue?

“Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “This is one death every 50 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion.” 

In an attempt to prevent drunk drivers from hitting the roads, many states have increased DUI penalties, raised sales taxes on beer and liquor, and/or tried lowering the legal drinking age. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have also instituted dram shop liability laws that allow individuals who are hurt by drunk drivers to sue the bar or restaurant that served the alcohol to the drunk driver. 

Justice Guardians describe Pennsylvania’s dram shop liquor liability as follows: “Under the state’s Liquor Code, any licensed establishment that sells alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron can be held liable for injuries caused by that patron after they leave the premises.” Those injuries can be caused by fights, falls, car accidents, etc. Justice Guardian also states, “Courts in the state [PA] have almost unanimously considered this liability to be ‘negligence per se.’ That means victims probably won’t have to prove the vendor was negligent in any way other than serving alcohol to a visibly-intoxicated patron.” 

How Can You Lower Liquor Liability?

Prepare for larger crowds

If you expect larger than normal crowds – like on Superbowl Sunday – have extra servers and bartenders working to help track alcohol consumption and consider hiring security to control unruly or intoxicated customers.

Establish a Policy Regarding Liquor Service

Have a written policy that clearly states you have zero tolerance for serving minors and directions on how and when to refuse service. You should also have an incident reporting system in place.

Be Prepared to Refuse Service

Your servers have the right to refuse alcohol to anyone who appears intoxicated. And yes, we realize that the more drinks you sell, the more you make, but is it worth the hassle of a lawsuit or a hit to your restaurant or bar’s reputation?

Card Everyone

If caught serving alcohol to minors, you will lose your liquor license, so ensure that your servers card everyone.

Train Your Staff

Staff should know and understand your liquor service policy, know how to measure alcohol correctly, so they don’t over-serve a customer, and be able to identify the signs of intoxication.

Provide Water

Medical News Today states, “When a person hydrates by drinking plenty of water, it can give their liver time to metabolize the alcohol in their body, as well as spacing out the alcoholic drinks they consume.” Therefore, providing water, even if they don’t ask, can help minimize the risk of intoxication.

Serve Food

Medical News Today also states that eating before drinking can slow the processing of alcohol, and eating while drinking may help customers drink slower. You may consider keeping pretzels or chips out for customers to snack on or offering discounted food specials.

Provide Alternative Transportation

You never want to let an intoxicated person behind the wheel of a car. At the very least, you can display the phone numbers of transportation services available or try to partner with Lyft or Uber to offer discount rides. You may even want to call a taxi for an intoxicated customer. It’s a small price to pay for the safety of your customers and the public (not to mention the cost of a lawsuit).

Purchase Liquor Liability Insurance

Suppose, despite all of your best efforts, you get sued for serving alcohol to someone who has caused damage or injury. In that case, Liquor Liability Insurance is your safety net (and may be required by your state or financial institution if you serve alcohol). Liquor Liability Insurance typically covers legal costs, settlements or judgments, repair costs, and medical bills. 

How to Save on Liquor Liability Insurance

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance, so they understand your unique challenges and can help protect your business with the right insurance coverage. As independent agents, we compare rates among multiple insurance carriers to ensure you pay the lowest premium for Liquor Liability Insurance and all your commercial insurance needs.

Contact us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Liquor Liability Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance