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How Pre-Employment Tests Can Lower WC Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 16, 2021

How to Use Pre-Employment Tests to Lower WC Costs in Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere.Workers’ Compensation Insurance (WC) is designed to protect employers and employees from financial loss when an employee is injured on the job or becomes ill from a work-related cause.

It bears repeating that WC is meant for WORK-RELATED illnesses and injuries.

But consider this, according to AARP, more than 19 million working Americans between the ages of 21 and 64 have some physical limitation that could affect their ability to perform certain tasks. According to the CDC, the most common type of disability (one in seven adults) affects mobility, and with age, disabilities become more common.

That means there’s about a 10% chance that a potential new-hire could have a pre-existing impairment – knowingly or unknowingly - that could put them at risk for an injury.

While that person should still be able to get whatever benefits they are entitled to, his or her employer should not be responsible for paying for an injury caused by a condition the employee had before they were hired. But how would you know if a potential hire has a pre-existing impairment? A pre-employment human performance evaluation (HPE)!

The Americans with Disabilities Act allows employers to physically and medically evaluate their workers at all stages of their employment. After an individual is offered a job, the employer can make the job contingent on several things, such as a background check, drug test, and pre-employment testing.

Keep in mind that The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cautions, “Pre-employment tests need to be selected and monitored with care; employers run the risk of litigation if a selection decision is challenged and determined to be discriminatory or in violation of state or federal regulations. Tests used in the selection process must be legal, reliable, valid, and equitable, and HR professionals need to stay aware of any developing trends.”

What is a Pre-Employment Human Performance Evaluation?

The pre-employment HPE (also called a pre-placement test) is a standardized test often conducted in a physical therapy or occupational medical clinic. It helps companies get an overview of the prospective employee’s overall health status and make better choices when hiring new candidates.

An HPE can do the following:

  1. Assure employers that the prospective employee is physically able to perform a job safely
  2. Protect employers from WC injury claims that are not work-related, but the result of a pre-existing impairment
  3. Protect employees from injuries while performing jobs they should not be doing due to a pre-existing impairment
  4. Protect the employees’ co-workers

According to Concentra, a national health care company, information commonly collected during this test includes:

  • A review of the workers’ medical and occupational history
  • A medical exam
  • An evaluation of functional tasks such as lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling

The test can also be used to establish a baseline so an employer can monitor any changes in the employee’s health over time and use it for future reference in the event of an injury. This information often shows that only part of an employee’s injury is caused by his or her current work.

For example, an HPE may reveal that a worker has a 5% impairment in his or her shoulder. If that employee is injured and is determined to have a 7% impairment, the employer would only be responsible for the additional 2% impairment under Workers’ Compensation insurance.

Employers don’t want to pay for injuries or illnesses that were not caused on the job, and a pre-employment HPE – that follows all legal requirements – can help minimize that risk.

Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs!

Another way to save on WC costs is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group. We specialize in WC insurance, and we're independent agents, which frees us to quote lots of competing insurance providers so that you get the right coverage at the best price.

Call 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, Return-To-Work Programs

Don’t Leave Your Restaurant at Risk: Discover Insurance Coverage Gaps

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 09, 2021

Discover Your Restaurant Insurance Gaps so Your Business is not at RiskEvery restaurant owner or manager knows that accidentally omitting even one key ingredient from a recipe can have a devastating effect. The same is true with Restaurant Insurance. Leaving one gap in your insurance coverage could have a disastrous effect on your restaurant.

Restaurants often face unique risks that other businesses do not, which may require additional layers of insurance coverage. Therefore, you must look at possible risks to determine if there are any gaps in your insurance. In this case, ignorance is definitely NOT bliss.

How to Discover Gaps

The best way to determine if there are any gaps in your insurance is to work with an insurance agent who specializes in Restaurant Insurance. They understand the unique challenges and risks inherent in the restaurant business. They know the right questions to ask to ensure that you don’t have any coverage gaps.

Here are a few key questions to consider:

  1. What property – building, signs, equipment, etc. – do you need to cover?

  2. What types of liability might you be open to during the course of doing business?

  3. Do you transport anything off the property?

  4. Does Workers Compensation cover you, the owner?

  5. What types of events – fire, theft, spoilage, etc. – does your Commercial Property Insurance cover?

  6. What are the limits and deductibles that apply to each type of situation?

  7. What would happen if you had to close your restaurant for a period of time because of a fire, flood, etc.?

  8. What would happen if one of the suppliers or wholesalers that you depend on could not deliver?

And as your business changes, so should your insurance coverage. For example:

  • Have you invested in a food truck to expand your reach, which could open your restaurant up to additional liability risks?

  • Have you become a farm-to-table restaurant, which means a shorter supply chain that could place more responsibility for your restaurant's quality control measures?

  • Did you start using an outside delivery service, which takes some of the control out of your hands?

Also, having the right insurance policies isn’t always enough. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with the limits and deductibles on each of your policies.

Common Gaps

Most restaurants understand the need for General Liability, Workers’ Compensation, Commercial Property Insurance, and - if they sell liquor – Liquor Liability Insurance, but here are five often-overlooked Restaurant Insurance gaps:

  1. Cyber Insurance – If you accept checks or credit cards as payment, you have personal information that can put your business at risk for a data breach. Your website and social media sites can also make you a target for cyberattacks. Cyber Insurance helps you recover losses associated with a cyberattack.

  2. Equipment Breakdown – Every restaurant has equipment – fryers, stoves, refrigerators, etc. Equipment Breakdown coverage helps cover the cost of repairing or replacing equipment after a covered incident.

  3. Business Interruption – What if you had to close your restaurant for a period of time while repairs are made after a fire? Could you handle the loss of income that would result? Business Interruption Insurance, which helps cover that loss, is often included under your Business Owner’s Policy but make sure you are comfortable with the amount of coverage and duration of that coverage.

  4. Personal and Advertising Injury –Personal and Advertising Injury Insurance protects you from third-party lawsuits claiming non-physical personal injury, such as libel, slander, copyright infringements, etc. It is typically included in Commercial Liability Insurance; however, every restaurant has different needs. Make sure the coverage in your Liability Insurance is adequate.

  5. Reputation Damage Insurance – There are so many ways your restaurant’s reputation can be damaged – a cyber-attack, a food-borne illness, an alcohol-related accident, etc. Reputation Damage Insurance can help cover losses associated with this type of event.

The Right Insurance Agent Can Make a Big Difference!

American Insuring Group specializes in Restaurant Insurance. Our agents are experts in eliminating the gaps in your Restaurant Insurance. Plus, as independent agents, we will compare prices among many insurance companies to make sure you get the best price on quality insurance protection.

So, call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online!

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

Lower Contractors Insurance Costs by Lowering Your Experience Rating

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 19, 2020

Here's How to Lower Your Contractors Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster and Throughout Pennsylvania.Want to lower your Contractors Insurance Costs? Lower Your Experience Rating.

Your construction company’s experience rating helps determine your Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs and is based on your company’s WC claim history compared to other companies similar to yours.

You can think of a lower experience rating as a reward for having a safer work environment or perhaps as an incentive to create a safer work environment. The bottom line is that a lower experience rating results in a lower insurance premium.

The Experience Rating

The Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau (PCRB) describes your experience rating as “a systematic, mathematical method of modifying future premiums.” It 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.

You qualify for an experience rating if your audited payroll or other exposures over a three-year period, multiplied by the current PCRB lost costs by classification, add up to $10,000 or more.

The experience rating is continually being updated based on a sliding three-year experience period, which according to PCRB, “assures a stable historical record for the individual employer, while also using the most recent available loss experience of the employer.” This means improving workplace safety and minimizing claims can change your experience rating and the premiums you pay.

What if your insurance premiums are less than $10,000? The merit rating plan enables businesses to receive a 5% discount or surcharge depending on their loss history, which provides financial incentives for small businesses to operate safer workplaces.

The following factors affect your experience rating, which determines your experience modifier:

  • Number of Claims
  • Cost of Claims
  • Frequency of Claims
  • Severity of Claims
  • Closed vs. Open Claims
  • Claims History of other businesses in your industry
  • Years in business
  • Number of employees
  • State minimums

The following formula then determines your WC premiums:

WC Premium = Class Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100

So, you can see how a lower experience modifier can lower your WC costs.

NOTE: The experience rating formula places more emphasis on loss frequency than it does on loss severity. Therefore, a business with many small losses can end up with a higher experience modifier than a company with fewer, but more severe, losses.

Tips to Lower Your Experience Rating

It comes as no surprise that the number one tip to lower your experience rating is to reduce the number of accidents in your workplace. How do you do that?

  1. Institute a Workplace Safety Program
  2. Engage management and employees in safety protocols
  3. Properly train employees and management on safety
  4. Identify and mitigate hazards
  5. Provide employees with proper PPE
  6. Have adequate staff levels
  7. Inspect and maintain all equipment

The Insurance Information Institute offers this advice, “Review, respond, and improve. Promoting workplace safety is an ongoing process. You should review and improve your program—especially in response to accidents or ‘near misses.’ Employees should always be encouraged to report newly identified hazards or workplace incidents so that you can respond appropriately.”

The other thing you can do is get injured workers back to work as quickly and safely as possible with a Return-to-Work program.

Here's How to Save on All Your Commercial Insurance Needs

American Insuring Group specializes in Contractors Insurance and in all types of commercial insurance. Our independent agents will compare the cost of your coverage among many insurance companies to help you get the best rate on all your Contractor Insurance needs.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

Safety Hazards Can Be Found in Any Workplace

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 12, 2020

Improving workplace safety can help lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, Erie, Lancaster, and in counties throughout Pennsylvania.We often discuss how improving workplace safety can help lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs, and we typically focus on very hazardous industries, such as construction. But every workplace has its share of hazards that can cause employee injuries.

The National Safety Council reports that a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. What may surprise you is the three most common types of injuries that keep workers away from work are sprains, strains, or tears; soreness or pain; and cuts, lacerations, or punctures. The three most common workplace injuries resulting in lost workdays include overexertion, contact with objects or equipment, and slips, trips, and falls.

While these types of injuries may be more prevalent at construction sites and other obviously dangerous workplaces, they can happen at just about any worksite – even a seemingly safe office setting. For example, an employee can lift a heavy box of office supplies improperly and experience overexertion. Or someone can fail to clean up spilled coffee in the breakroom, causing someone else to slip and fall.

Minimizing accidents can help lower your WC Insurance costs because there is a specific formula for determining the cost of your WC insurance:

Premium = (Payroll/$100) x Class Code Rate x Experience Rate Modification

Your experience rate modifier, often called MOD, is a numeric representation of your claim experience. The number is based on how your claims compare with other companies with a similar classification of employees. Employers with fewer than average and less severe accidents than average will have a lower MOD, which will help lower the cost of WC Insurance.

Whether you are looking at employees in a highly hazardous occupation like construction or a less hazardous occupation like an office setting, minimizing workplace injuries can help lower WC and other costs. The first step to lowering injuries is to identify and assess potential hazards.

Here are the types of hazards you should look for:

Safety Hazards are unsafe working conditions that can potentially cause illness, injury, or death, such as spills that aren’t cleaned up, frayed cords, and confined spaces.

Physical Hazards include exposure to extreme temperatures, the sun, radiation, or loud noise.

Chemical Hazards include dangerous chemicals in any form (solid, liquid, or gas) and can occur during the use, transfer, or storage of those chemicals. Potentially dangerous chemicals include cleaning products, pesticides, gasoline, paints, etc.

Microbiological Hazards can include exposure to mold, sewage, airborne illnesses, insects that bite or sting, poisonous plants, animal feces, etc. This is one of the most commonly overlooked hazards.

Electrical Hazards include damaged equipment, overhead powerlines, improper grounding, overloaded circuits, etc. Even improperly used extension cords can become a safety hazard to employees.

Ergonomic Hazards can be found in uncomfortable workstations, repetitive movements, poor body positioning, or anything that puts a strain on an employee’s body. These can be the most difficult to spot because the strain isn’t always noticed immediately. Discover more about minimizing ergonomic hazards here.

Organizational Hazards is a broad category that includes workplace violence, high stress, excessive workplace demands, lack of respect, or sexual harassment. It can also include housekeeping hazards, such as blocked fire exits, cluttered desks, and over-stacking loads.

Here's How to Save a Bundle on Workers’ Compensation Insurance!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. We'll make sure that you get the right coverage at the best price. That's because we're free to shop the market for you, unlike those single-brand agencies.

So call us today to start saving at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

8 Restaurant Safety Tips to Lower Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 05, 2020

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs and Workers’ Comp and Liability costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie and throughout Pennsylvania.The best way to lower Restaurant Insurance Costs – particularly Workers’ Comp and Commercial Liability – is to create a safer restaurant for everyone –employees, customers, vendors, etc.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in the U.S. in 2018. The total cost of those injuries was $170.8 billion, which included wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, etc. However, it did not include the lower employee morale and productivity workplace injuries cause.

Here are eight restaurant safety tips to help lower costs.

1. Have your kitchen exhaust hood system degreased by a professional every six months.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 7,410 structure fires in eating and drinking establishments reported to U.S. fire departments every year between 2010 and 2014. Cooking equipment was the cause of 61% of those fires. Grease build-up can cause fires that often spread into duct-work, exhaust systems, vents, and fans.

2. Have your fire suppression system checked by a professional every six months.

A properly working fire suppression system can extinguish flames in just a few seconds; thereby, preventing extensive and costly damage.

3. Ensure employees wear proper PPE.

This includes appropriate gloves (dishwashing, cut-resistant, and freezer), oven mitts, aprons, and anti-slip shoes.

4. Invest in anti-fatigue mats.

Anti-fatigue mats provide a cushion between feet and floors and relieve the strain caused by standing for long periods and help prevent slip-related injuries. In addition to minimizing strain and injuries, anti-fatigue mats can help boost employee morale and improve productivity.

5. Provide ongoing safety training for all employees.

OSHA states, “Regular training helps employees learn how to avoid hazards, keeps lines of communication open between you and your employees about hazards you may not be aware of, and lets employees know that you are serious about promoting sound safety policies and work practices in your restaurant.”

Training should include identifying hazards; preventing burns, cuts, slips and falls, ergonomic hazards, and injuries from robberies and assaults: and dealing with emergencies and injuries.

6. Have your employees take alcohol awareness training classes.

If your restaurant serves alcohol, you should have all servers take alcohol awareness training classes. In Pennsylvania, your restaurant can be held liable for damage caused by a customer served or sold alcohol while visibly intoxicated. The right training can teach servers about responsible alcohol consumption and how to protect customers, employers, and themselves.

7. Train your employees on safe food handling.

Every year, foodborne disease causes 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths in the U.S., and the restaurant industry is responsible for a significant number of those illnesses and deaths.

An NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) report found the cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak ranged from

  • $3,968 to $1.9 million for a fast-food restaurant,
  • $6,330 to $2.1 million for a fast-casual restaurant,
  • $8,030 to $2.2 million for a casual-dining restaurant, and
  • $8,273 to $2.6 million for a fine-dining restaurant

Those outbreaks ranged from a 5-person outbreak with no lost revenue, lawsuits, legal fees, or fines, to a 250-person outbreak, with significant lost revenue, lawsuits, legal fees, and fines.

The NCBI’s conclusion is, “The cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak to a restaurant can be substantial and outweigh the typical costs of prevention and control measures.”

8. Give American Insuring Group a Call Today!

As independent agents and specialists in restaurant insurance, the agents at the American Insuring Group will compare prices and coverage among multiple reputable insurance companies to ensure that you get the right insurance at the best price!

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp costs, Business Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Choosing Appropriate PPE for Construction Workers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 21, 2020

Use proper PPE to minimize injuries, and lower your Contractors Insurance costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie and throughout PA and the US.Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help protect your greatest asset – your employees, minimize injuries, and lower your Contractors Insurance costs.

The idea of wearing PPE is not new. It dates as far back as ancient times when soldiers wore protective head and face gear and body armor during battle. However, it wasn’t until the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in the mid-1930s that PPE was required on a large-scale construction project.

The industry norm at the time was that one worker was expected to die for every million dollars spent on a construction project. At a cost of $35 million, that meant 35 workers were expected to die while constructing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer on the project, refused to accept that and made safety a priority, spending $130,000 on an innovative safety net and requiring the use of PPE such as fall protection safety belts, glare-free goggles, and hard hats. A total of eleven – not 35 - workers lost their lives on that project and ten of those fatalities occurred during a single accident when a 5-ton work platform broke off and fell through the safety net.

The use of PPE continued to be optional on most construction sites for several decades until the creation of OSHA in 1971. Today, OSHA requires employers to protect workers from workplace hazards that can cause injury or illness, including providing and requiring the use of appropriate PPE.

Determining Appropriate PPE

The first step to determining what PPE is needed is to perform a hazard assessment of the worksite. A few common hazards include the following:

  • Sharp edges
  • Falling objects
  • Flying sparks
  • Fluctuating temperatures
  • Chemicals
  • Noise

The next step is to determine the appropriate types of PPE needed to protect workers from those hazards. OSHA recommends exceeding minimum standards. PPE should fit properly and be well-maintained.

Employees must also be trained in the proper use of PPE, including the following:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to properly put on, take off, adjust and wear the PPE
  • The limitations of the PPE
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE

Training must be documented, and if a previously trained employee is not “demonstrating the proper understanding and skill level in the use of PPE,” they should receive additional training.

Types of Protection

The following are types of protection typically needed at construction sites:

  • Head Protection – Construction workers should wear hard hats when there is a potential for objects falling from above, bumps to the head from fixed objects, or accidental head contact with electrical hazards. Those hats should be inspected regularly and replaced as needed.

  • Eye and Face Protection – Construction workers should wear safety glasses or face shields when exposed to any electrical hazards and when they are in danger of having flying particles get in their eyes. For example, during welding, cutting, grinding, and nailing.

  • Hearing Protection – Construction workers should wear earplugs or earmuffs when exposed to loud noises, such as around the use of chainsaws or heavy equipment.

  • Foot Protection – Construction workers should wear safety-toed footwear that has slip-resistant and puncture-resistant soles.

  • Hand protection – Construction workers should wear gloves that fit snuggly and wear the right gloves for the job. For example, heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work, welding gloves for welding, and insulated gloves and sleeves when exposed to electrical hazards.

Use Insurance as Your Safety Net!

Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents

Just like the safety nets used during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the right insurance can act as a safety net when - despite all of your efforts - an accident does occur.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance. We work hard to get you the right insurance protection at the best possible price because we compare rates and coverage among many competing providers.

Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

 

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, workers comp insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Safety Programs

20 Eye-Opening Stats to Help Improve Worksite Safety

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 14, 2020

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Cost by Learning from These Statistics. Serving Philadelphia, Berks County, PA and Beyond.Most contractors understand that fewer workplace injuries create lower employee turnover, higher employee morale, lower Contractors Insurance costs, and a slew of other benefits for both employers and employees.

But do you ever feel like you’re beating your head against the wall when you try to explain the importance of workplace safety to your workers?

Too often, younger employees feel invincible, and older employees become complacent, so it’s up to you to make them understand the importance of safety and the impact a lack of safety can have on them and their families.

One surefire way to do that is with cold, hard eye-opening facts and stats like those below.

20 safety facts to share with your employees

  1. One out of every ten construction workers is injured on the job every year.
  2. There is an average of two deaths every day in the construction industry.
  3. Non-fatal injury rates in construction are 71% higher than any other industry.
  4. Every year, one in five work-related deaths are in construction.
  5. Another way to say it - nearly 20% of all work-related deaths were in the construction industry.
  6. Over a 45-year career in the construction industry, there’s a 75% likelihood that a worker will experience a disabling injury and a one in 200 chance that an employee will die due to a workplace injury.
  7. 60% of construction workplace accidents happen during an employee’s first year on the job.
  8. OSHA’s “Fatal Four” - falls, struck by, electrocutions, caught-in/between - caused 58.6% of construction worker deaths in 2018.
  9. Eliminating deaths caused by the “Fatal Four” would save 591 construction workers in the U.S. every year.
  10. Falls account for the largest number of “Fatal Four” deaths (33.5%).
  11. Of all the industries, construction has the most fatal falls, representing 51% of all falls nationally.
  12. Fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA standard following OSHA Inspections.
  13. Struck by object injuries account for 11.1% of “Fatal Four” deaths.
  14. Electrocutions account for 8.5% of “Fatal Four” deaths.
  15. Caught-in/between injuries account for 5.5% of “Fatal Four” deaths.
  16. In 2018, construction workers between the ages of 35-44 were more likely to experience a non-fatal injury (19,410) in the U.S.
  17. In 2018, construction workers between the ages of 45-54 had the highest number of fatal injuries (228) in the U.S.
  18. While older workers are injured less frequently than their younger co-workers, their injuries tend to be more severe and take longer to recover from.
  19. Between 2003 to 2016, construction companies with fewer than 20 employees accounted for 56.6% of the industry’s 5,155 fatalities.
  20. Not a statistic, but a fact – the majority of construction work-site injuries and deaths are avoidable.

Act Now to Save on Contractors Insurance!

Another way to save on Contractors Insurance is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors Insurance. We understand your needs, so we can ensure that you have the right coverage, and we check with many competing insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest rate on that great coverage. Give us a call now at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

 

These statistics were gathered from a variety of sources, including the following:

  • OSHA
  • Safety + Health magazine
  • National Safety Council
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Big Rentz
  • The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

Social Media Risks for Restaurants and How to Mitigate Them

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 07, 2020

Reduce Social Media Risks and Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, PA and elsewhereSavvy restaurant owners understand the importance of Restaurant Insurance to protect them from risks, such as lawsuits and property damage. However, many forget to protect their businesses from the risks associated with social media.

Social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. offer many benefits – building brand awareness, engaging customers, soliciting feedback, keeping customers informed, etc. – but they also come with risks.

Here are some of the risks every restaurant owner or manager should consider and some tips to mitigate those risks.

Social Media Risks

Here are a few of the more common social media risks; however, it is by no means all-encompassing. You should assess the potential risks to your restaurant and take action to avoid them.

Data Breaches

Norton defines a data breach as “a security incident in which information is accessed without authorization.” In 2019, there were 2,013 confirmed data breaches, and it cost businesses over $2 trillion, according to Varonis. Experts predict that number will increase to $6 trillion annually by 2021.

Facebook is currently the most popular social media platform, with more than two billion users. In 2019, Facebook admitted that it had not properly secured the passwords of as many as 600 million users since 2012. In 2019, Facebook had 540 million user records exposed on the Amazon cloud server, and over 267 million Facebook usernames, Facebook IDs, and phone numbers were exposed in 2019.

Cybercriminals will try to access information on your computer any way they can, including weaknesses on social media platforms.

Loss of Reputation

Information – both accurate and false – can spread like wildfire on social media platforms, and a restaurant’s reputation can be damaged or destroyed just as quickly. The damage can be intentional or accidental, and it can come from a customer, an employee, or even the restaurant itself.

A customer can post a negative review. An employee can post something inappropriate about your restaurant on their profile. You can inadvertently post something that damages your restaurant’s reputation.

Brand Hijacking

Brand hijacking (or brandjacking) occurs when a third-party acquires or assumes your online identity in an attempt to ruin your reputation or to steal customers or potential customers. While the primary objective of brand hijacking may not be financial, it will most likely result in some kind of financial loss to your restaurant.

Liability Issues

Sometimes social media mistakes – Aka “advertising injuries” - can lead to lawsuits. For example, you could be sued for posting copyrighted content without permission, posting content that defames someone or something, posting someone else’s words or likeness without their permission, or copying someone else’s advertising.

How to Mitigate Risk

You can’t eliminate risks associated with social media platforms, but you can minimize them with these tips.

Create a Social Media Policy

Create a policy that clearly defines what employees can and cannot do on every social media platform. Share guidelines, best practices, and posting procedures. Include information about creating a secure password, avoiding spam and phishing attacks, acceptable types of content, etc.

Limit Social Media Access

Don’t grant every employee in your restaurant access to your restaurant’s page. You’ll probably have more posts, but you also open yourself up to more risks. Put one person in charge of social media posts who has been trained and educated on social media best practices. Consider how much access you allow other employees and track who has access to what.

Train Your employees

Ensure anyone who has access to posting on your restaurant’s page has proper training, including what they can and can’t share, how to utilize tools to ensure security, how to recognize unsafe links, etc. 

Talk to Your Employees

You can’t always control what your employees say on their personal social media platforms, but talk to them about the risks social media can pose to your restaurant and how to avoid those risks. And ensure they understand your restaurant’s social media policy.

Secure Your Technology

Ensure that any computer used by employees to post on social media is armed with adequate security software that continually checks for malware, viruses, and other cyber risks.

Restaurant Insurance Can be Your Safety Net!

When all else fails, the right insurance will act as a safety net to protect your restaurant. The independent agents at the American Insuring Group can help you get the right insurance for your restaurant at the best price by comparing the costs of your insurance among many insurance companies. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance, Restaurant Safety

5 Benefits of Prompt WC Insurance Claims Reporting

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 25, 2020

Promptly filing your workers comp claims can help lower your WC insurance costs.You’ve purchased the appropriate Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance, as required by Pennsylvania law. That’s a significant first step to protecting your employees and your business, but there’s more to a healthy WC program, including the prompt reporting of injuries and claims.

We understand that you have a lot on your plate and may wear many hats, but not reporting a claim promptly can have a negative impact on your WC program, your business, your injured employee, and your worker's comp insurance costs.

5 Reasons Prompt Reporting of Workplace Injuries and WC Claims is Crucial to Your Business

Preserve Evidence

When an injury occurs, it’s essential that the injury is investigated as quickly as possible, or you could risk losing crucial evidence. Therefore, as soon as an injury occurs, someone should document details of the injury, investigate to try to determine how the injury occurred, interview the employee and any witnesses, and of course, ensure that the injured employee receives appropriate medical attention.

Lower Cost of Claims

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) found that the median cost of WC insurance claims that were reported between one day and two weeks were “significantly lower,” and the cost rose as the time it took to report a claim rose. The bottom line is that delayed reporting can increase WC claim costs up to 51%.

Better Medical treatment

When an injured employee receives prompt medical treatment from competent, in-network healthcare providers, they are more likely to receive a proper diagnosis and effective treatment to heal faster.

Plus, even seemingly minor injuries can escalate into more significant issues if they are not immediately looked at by a medical professional.

Quicker Return to Work

The sooner you can get an injured employee back to work safely, the better it is for everyone – the injured employee, co-workers, and your business. Having a return to work program can shorten the length of time an injured worker is out of work by an average of 3.6 weeks, according to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.

Health providers who are familiar with treating workers’ compensation injuries will focus on facilitating an early return to work for the injured employee. The sooner the injury is reported, the sooner that process can begin.

Decrease in Litigation

Promptly reporting an injury and keeping in touch with the injured employee throughout the claim process helps reduce employee’s fears and makes them feel as if their employer cares about them and is treating them fairly. According to NCCI research, this all translates to a lower chance of litigation.

Fraud Prevention

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), “Workers’ compensation claimant fraud and medical fraud are significant contributors to our nation’s annual $30 billion insurance fraud problem.”

Prompt reporting of an injury helps ensure 1) the injured worker receives proper medical treatment, 2) the injured worker feels they’ve been treated fairly, and 3) allows a better investigation of the incident. All this helps minimize fraud.

Quicker Closure

The longer a claim remains open, the more resources you have to use. Promptly reporting an employee injury can get an employee back to work and the claim closed more quickly.

Safer Workplace

When an injury is reported and investigated quickly, you are more likely to recognize safety issues, correct them, and ensure the safety of your employees.

One More Step: Lower Workers Compensation Insurance Costs

If you want to learn more about how to get the lowest cost on WC Insurance and other commercial insurance, give the independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We shop and compare competing insurance carriers to get you the best rates on quality insurance protection. Call today.

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

9 Tips to Reduce Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 17, 2020

Obtain affordable restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Scranton, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Reading and beyond by following these tips.If you want to protect your restaurant, you need the right Restaurant Insurance coverage, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay a higher price for that coverage.

Here are nine smart tips from the independent agents at American Insuring Group to help you lower your insurance costs.

 

Focus on Safety

Having a safety program in place, along with proper safety training and enforcement, will create a safer restaurant and fewer claims, and restaurants with fewer claims are rewarded with lower insurance premiums. Check out our blog for tips to help you create a safer restaurant – from fire prevention to knife safety.

Improve Security

Insurance is all about risk. Lower the risk – whatever that may be fire, injuries, or theft – and you’ll lower your insurance costs. Here are a few security measures to consider:

  • Security alarm systems
  • Access control systems
  • Video surveillance cameras and video monitoring
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Fire sprinkler systems

Hire Wisely

Employees are one of your biggest assets and probably one of your biggest costs, but there are steps you can take to help lower insurance costs related to employees. For example, if an employee is going to drive one of your commercial vehicles, check their driving record before hiring. An employee with a bad driving record will increase your commercial auto insurance costs.

Also, make sure all of your employees are assigned the correct PCRB classification codes. These codes - based on the probability of an employee getting injured on the job - are used to calculate your Workers’ Compensation premium. If an employee is assigned a classification code meant for someone in a more dangerous job, you’ll end up paying more for WC Insurance. On the other hand, you don’t want an employee assigned a classification code for a less dangerous job, or you could find yourself without coverage when you need it.

And finally, make sure that you promptly let your insurance company know if you hire a new employee, or an employee leaves your restaurant.

Pay Upfront

If you’re making payments throughout the year on your insurance instead of paying the full balance upfront, you’re probably paying more than you have to.

Increase Your Deductible

If you increase the amount of your deductible – the amount you need to pay if a claim is made before the insurance company kicks in - you can lower the cost of your premiums. However, you must ensure that you have money set aside to pay that higher deductible if you have to make a claim.

Carry the Right Coverage

You don’t want to have coverage you don’t need, but then again, you don’t want to have gaps in your coverage that end up costing you more when you try to make a claim. The experienced agents at American Insurance Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance, and can help you determine the best coverage for your restaurant at the best price.

Bundle 

Typically, when you buy anything in quantity, you pay less, and the same is true with insurance. You probably need several types of insurance – WC, liability, maybe commercial auto, etc. If you purchase several or all of your policies with one insurance company, you will often pay less.

Review Your Policies Annually

You have a lot on your plate, and insurance is probably not something you want to spend a lot of time on; however, Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said, “change is the only constant in life.”

And that is certainly true in the restaurant industry – you may have purchased a new vehicle, decreased your staff, started serving alcohol or delivering food, or any number of things that could affect your insurance coverage and costs. Therefore, it’s essential to make time to review your policies every year to make sure you have the right coverage at the best rate.

Work With an Independent Agent!

The independent agents at the American Insuring Group will check with many insurance carriers to ensure that you get the best price on quality insurance protection. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, commercial vehicle insuarance, Restaurant Insurance Costs