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7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Contractors Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 24, 2022

Follow these tips to save on Contractors Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Erie, Pittsburgh, Allentown and all throughout PA Have you ever thought about why you purchased Contractors Insurance? It may have been to protect your business, equipment, employees, and more. It may have been required – by law, a customer, etc. Whatever the reason, everyone wants to get the most they can out of their insurance.

Check out these 7 tips to discover how to get the most out of your insurance coverage.

Identify Risks and Determine Response Strategies

First, you need to identify your risks, determine which could have the most significant impact on your business, and decide on your response strategies, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Avoidance – If you determine that a project is too risky or your business is not equipped to handle the risk, you may decide to decline the project or change the scope of the work.
  • Transference – Sometimes, you can transfer the risk to a supplier, subcontractor, or insurance carrier.
  • Mitigation – Mitigation is the act of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something. For example, providing a safer worksite will help mitigate safety risks.
  • Acceptance – Sometimes, you may be willing to accept a potential risk and develop a contingency plan as a workaround. 

Mitigate Risk

Mitigating risk – and thereby reducing the number of claims – is one of the best ways to lower insurance (and other) costs. American Insuring Group offers many blogs to help, such as 10 Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips, How to Minimize and Protect Your Construction Company from 3 Top Risks, and Choosing Appropriate PPE for Construction Workers. 

And the good news is that mitigating risk also leads to more productive employees, happier customers, a better business reputation, and a healthier bottom line. 

Understand Your Insurance Policy

We realize that most people do not find reading their insurance policy a fun activity, but it's a must if you want to get the most out of your coverage. You need to understand what your policy does and does not (exclusions) cover so that you can compare any gaps with your response strategies and available cash flow. You may need to purchase an additional policy, add an endorsement to extend your coverage, or consider an umbrella policy to increase your current policies' limits. 

You should also understand your deductibles and ensure that you have enough available cash flow to cover those deductibles if you make a claim. 

Combine Policies

It is tempting to shop around and find the lowest premium on each of your policies, but you will often find more savings by combining your policies with one company. The independent agents at American Insuring Group will compare the cost of your policies with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premiums. 

Review Your Policies Regularly

You know the old quote, "There is nothing permanent except change," and this is certainly true in business. You may buy or sell a piece of equipment. You may increase or decrease the number of employees. All of these changes can affect your insurance coverage and premiums; therefore, regularly reviewing your policies is the only way to ensure that you have the right coverage at the lowest cost. 

Advertise Your Insurance Coverage

Advertising your insurance coverage – on your website, social media profiles, truck advertising, etc. – shows that you are a professional and can help get more customers. You should be happy to provide your customers with a certificate of insurance as proof that you have insurance coverage that will pay for any injuries, damage, etc. 

Work With an Experienced Insurance Agent and Save!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and can ensure that you have the right coverage for your needs. Plus, as independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price for that coverage!

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

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

10 Restaurant Safety Blogposts to Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 17, 2022

Tips to Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie and all over PennsylvaniaCreating a safe workplace helps protect your business, maintain a good reputation, and lower the cost of Restaurant Insurance and other expenses. Safety should be a priority in any industry, but perhaps more so in restaurants where many potential hazards exist - sharp knives that can cause injuries, hot fryers that can trigger fires, food that can become contaminated, etc. 

If you want your business to succeed, you must be diligent about creating and maintaining a safe restaurant. So here is – as they say – the proof in the pudding:

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, there were 93,800 nonfatal injuries and illnesses in full-service restaurants, with about one-third requiring at least one day away from work.

  • According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 7,410 structure fires per year in eating and drinking establishments between 2010 and 2014. These fires caused average annual losses of three civilian deaths, 110 civilian injuries, and $165 million in direct property damage each year.”

  • According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 48 million cases of foodborne illness occur in the U.S. every year, resulting in about 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Furthermore, between 2006 and 2007, about 66% of foodborne disease outbreaks reported were associated with restaurants. 

How Does a Safe Workplace Benefit Your Restaurant?

Creating a safe restaurant protects and benefits everyone - your restaurant, employees, customers, and the community.

Here are a few of the benefits to your restaurant:

  • Improves your bottom line. Experts report that safety and health management systems reduce injury and illness costs by 20-40%, and employers can save $4-6 for every dollar they spend on safety and health programs. Plus, of course, fewer claims mean lower WC premiums.
  • Increases productivity. Fewer injuries lead to lower absenteeism and turnover and higher employee morale.
  • Saves time. It takes time to repair or replace damaged equipment, hire and train new employees, etc. 

Employees also benefit from a safe workplace with less pain and suffering, less stress, and better quality of life for themselves and their families. Finally, safe workplaces benefit your community by creating attractive employment opportunities and restaurants people want to frequent. 

How to Create a Safer Restaurant

There are plenty of things you can do to create a safer restaurant, and American Insuring Group is here to help! Here are ten blogs devoted to restaurant safety. Check out these and more blogs about safety and Restaurant Insurance.

  1. 8 Restaurant Safety Tips to Lower Insurance Costs

  2. How to Prevent Fires in Restaurants

  3. A Clean Kitchen Can Reduce Restaurant Insurance Costs

  4. 5 Tips to Minimize the Hazards of Commercial Deep Fryers

  5. 6 Knife Safety Tips for Restaurant Owners

  6. Minimize Food Delivery Risks for Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

  7. PPE to Lower Insurance and Other Operating Costs in Restaurants

  8. 3 Food Safety Tips to Reduce Risk and Insurance Costs

  9. Slip-Resistant Shoes Help Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

  10. Food Allergies and Restaurant Liability Insurance

The Fastest Way to Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

Call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover how our independent agents can help you lower your Restaurant Insurance costs. They compare costs among many competing providers to help you get quality coverage at the best price. Call today.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

7 Workers' Compensation Insurance Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 10, 2022

Use these tips to save on Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster and throughout PennsylvaniaMost states – including Pennsylvania – require nearly all employers to carry Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance, but shopping for WC insurance can be frustrating. American Insuring Group is here to help simplify the process and ensure you have the right coverage at the lowest cost.

What is Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of purchasing WC Insurance, let's discuss what it is and how your premium is calculated. We will focus on PA WC, but many other states are similar (see first tip below).

The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "The workers' compensation system protects employees and employers. Employees receive medical treatment and are compensated for lost wages associated with work-related injuries and disease, and employers provide for the cost of such coverage while being protected from direct lawsuits by employees."

In Pennsylvania, whether you have one employee or one hundred employees, full or part-time employees, or your employees are family, you are probably required to have Workers' Compensation Insurance. There are few exemptions, such as railroad workers, federal employees, domestic servants, etc. Failure to provide WC for your employees can lead to significant fines, lawsuits, and even criminal prosecution.

Your Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation premium is based on the following formula:

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

Here are seven tips for purchasing WC Insurance to ensure you have the right coverage at the lowest cost.

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.

Provide Your Existing Policy

If you already have WC coverage, keep your policy handy. Providing information – such as your employees' class codes, your experience modifier, and loss run reports – from that policy can help expedite the process.

Choose the Right Classification Codes

As shown in the formula above, the classification code will affect your WC premium. Classification codes are based on the likelihood of an employee being injured on the job. For example, the classification code for an accountant or someone with administrative responsibilities will represent less risk than a classification code for a driver or contractor. Typically, the more risk of injury, the higher your WC costs.

You don't want to misclassify an accountant as a driver because you'll pay more than necessary for your WC coverage. On the other hand, you don't want to misclassify a driver as an accountant because if caught during the annual audit or a claim, you may be required to pay the outstanding amount owed and/or severe penalties.

Monitor Your Payroll

When purchasing WC coverage, your annual payroll will be estimated based on your current circumstances, which of course, can change. When your insurance carrier conducts its annual audit, you may receive a credit or a bill based on the actual payroll. Monitoring and reporting your payroll throughout the year can help improve your business cash flow.

Ask About Discounts and Credits

Yes, your WC premium is based on the formula above, and most of the components of that formula are out of your control. However, you may be entitled to discounts and/or credits for lowering risk with workplace safety or formal training programs.

Review Annually

Your insurer will conduct an audit each year, and so should you. It's an opportunity to check for errors and provide any updates. Reviewing your loss run report – a report issued by your current insurance provider that shows your company's claim activity for the policy period - may also help lower your WC insurance costs.

Work With a Workers Comp Expert!

Working with an independent agent with experience in Workers Compensation insurance at American Insuring Group is a great way to lower your WC costs. We will compare costs and options among competing worker's compensation insurance carriers to be sure you get the right insurance at the best price.

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

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

Umbrella Vs. Excess Liability and Truck Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 03, 2022

We Offer Quality Umbrella Insurance, Excess Liability Insurance and Truck Insurance for Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, and throughout PA.Most truck owners and fleet managers understand the importance of Truck Insurance to protect their business, employees, vehicles, etc. For example, Primary Liability Insurance (Aka Trucking Liability Insurance) helps cover the cost of injuries to other people or damage to other vehicles in the event of an accident. General Liability Insurance helps protect your business from the cost of lawsuits. Cargo Insurance helps cover the loss or damage to cargo in transit. And the list of truck insurance options goes on.

Every truck and fleet has unique insurance needs, and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to Truck Insurance. That is why working with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group is crucial to business success.

Two types of insurance available to truck owners and fleet managers that are often used interchangeably are Umbrella Insurance and Excess Liability Insurance. The two are similar but slightly different. Let’s start with definitions provided by the International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI).

IRMI Definitions

Excess Liability Insurance — (1) A policy or bond covering the insured against certain hazards and applying only to loss or damage in excess of a stated amount or specified primary or self-insurance. (2) That portion of the amount insured that exceeds the amount retained by an entity for its own account.

Umbrella Liability Policy — a policy designed to provide protection against catastrophic losses. It generally is written over various primary liability policies, such as the business auto policy (BAP), commercial general liability (CGL) policy, watercraft and aircraft liability policies, and employers liability coverage. The umbrella policy serves three purposes: it provides excess limits when the limits of underlying liability policies are exhausted by the payment of claims; it drops down and picks up where the underlying policy leaves off when the aggregate limit of the underlying policy in question is exhausted by the payment of claims; and it provides protection against some claims not covered by the underlying policies, subject to the assumption by the named insured of a self-insured retention (SIR).

A Comparison of Excess Liability and Umbrella Liability

Those definitions are a good place to start, but let’s dive a little deeper and simplify them simultaneously. Both are designed to provide additional protection on claims. Both are additions to underlying policies designed to protect against particular risks and specific losses and are only triggered when the underlying policy line of insurance has been exhausted.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance is an example of an underlying policy. Every CGL policy has a financial limit. For example, if you have a $1 million limit on your policy and get sued for $1.2 million, you (not the insurance company) will be responsible for paying the difference. Either an Excess or Umbrella policy may help cover the difference.

Every policy also has a unique scope of covered risks and specific losses. If a loss occurs outside of those covered risks, insurance will not pay, and the financial responsibility will fall to you. However, an Umbrella Liability policy may provide protection against some claims not covered by the underlying policies. An Excess Insurance policy will not. An Excess Insurance policy is focused on financial limits and does not expand the terms or scope of the underlying policy.

If you are a driver with just one truck or a business with a small fleet, you may think either type of insurance would be a waste of money, but consider this: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports, “The average cost of a large truck crash involving a fatality is $3.6 million per crash.”

Is Umbrella Liability or Excess Liability Insurance Right for me?

As we said earlier, every business’s insurance needs are unique. The best way to ensure you have the right insurance at the lowest cost is to work with one of the experienced, independent agents at American Insuring Group. We compare policies from multiple insurance companies to ensure you get the right protection at the right price!

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

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance

Understanding Your Builders Risk Insurance End Date

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 27, 2022

Knowing when your builders risk insurance ends can be a key to avoiding surprise costs. Get the best rates on all types of contractor insurance, including in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania.There are many types of Contractors’ Insurance designed to protect your business from unforeseen circumstances. However, one type of insurance that is somewhat unique to the construction industry is Builders Risk Insurance. 

What is Builders Risk Insurance?

Builders’ Risk Insurance - also called Course of Construction Insurance or Inland Marine coverage – is a temporary insurance policy that helps protect a renovation or new building while under construction. It typically covers a building, structure, materials, tools, and equipment on a job site, in transit, or stored elsewhere during construction or renovation. 

The following perils are typically covered under a Builders’ Risk Insurance policy:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Vehicle accident 
  • Weather events, such as hail or lightning

Some Builders’ Risk policies also include the following perils:

  • Costs incurred by delayed construction, such as lost rental income or loan interest
  • Removal and disposal of pollutants
  • Damage to temporary structures
  • Changes required to meet environmental standards 

The following perils are typically NOT covered under a Builders’ Risk policy:

  • Wind
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Employee theft
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Mechanical breakdowns
  • Terrorism
  • Faulty work or materials
  • Contractual penalties 

When Does Builders Risk Insurance Coverage End?

Most insurance policies have an insurance policy period that includes an effective and expiration date. Simply stated, those dates indicate when coverage from that policy begins and ends. However, the end date of a Builders’ Risk Insurance policy can be a little more complicated. 

Because the value of a structure being built or renovated increases over time, Builders’ Risk insurance factors this changing value into its pricing. Due to this unique situation, there are times when an expiration date may change. 

  1. The owner of the property takes over

If an owner (such as the original property owner, bank, or purchaser) takes over the project (regardless of how complete the project is), the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy you purchased becomes invalid. 

  1. The Project Is Abandoned

If the contractor walks away from the site with no intention of completing the project, the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy becomes invalid. 

  1. The Property is Being Used for Intended Purpose

If all or part of the property is being used for its intended purpose during construction, the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy becomes invalid. 

  1. The Project has been Completed for 30 Days

Once an occupancy permit or other completion confirmation has been issued, the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy becomes invalid. 

Once the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy has expired, other types of insurance are available to protect the property, which are often less expensive. For example, property insurance can be purchased when the property is being used for its intended purpose or when the project has been completed for thirty days, which is typically less expensive than Builders’ Risk Insurance. On the other hand, if a property has been abandoned, there is more risk for damage such as decay, vandalism, break-ins, and arson. Therefore, insurance to cover the property will be higher than Builders’ Risk Insurance.

Need Help With Builders’ Risk Insurance?

If you have questions about Builders’ Risk Insurance or any type of Contractors Insurance, be sure to speak with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group.

Not only do we specialize in Contractors Insurance, but as independent agents, we also compare multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for the coverage you need.

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

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Builders Risk Insurance

7 Common Mistakes Restaurants Make When Filing an Insurance Claim

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 20, 2022

Properly filing a restaurant insurance claim can help you save on restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, PA and elsewhere.Savvy restaurant owners purchase Restaurant Insurance to help protect their business, but insurance policies and claims can be complicated. The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can help you navigate your insurance options, policies, and claims.

However, it’s helpful to understand and avoid the most common errors restaurant owners make when filing an insurance claim:

Not Understanding Your Policy

Your insurance policy states explicitly what “perils” it does and does not cover. It can be extremely frustrating to discover something you thought was covered isn’t when you go to make a claim (not to mention the time wasted making a claim while also trying to recover from the incident).

Therefore, you need to read and understand what your policy does and does not cover, so you can either fill the gap or have a plan in place if an uncovered event occurs. Ask your insurance agent to clarify anything you’re unsure of. 

You should also know your policy’s deductible – the amount you must pay before insurance kicks in on a claim. If you decide to increase your deductible to lower your premiums, make sure you have enough available cash to cover that deductible if you need to make a claim. 

Finally, it’s crucial to understand if your policy values damaged property according to an actual cash value (factors in depreciation and normal wear and tear) or the replacement value (does not factor in depreciation and normal wear and tear). If the damaged property is valued according to actual cash value, you need to be prepared to pay the difference out of pocket. 

Not Filing a Claim Promptly

If someone is injured in your restaurant or your oven is damaged by fire, call your insurance company immediately. Waiting to file the claim can make the process more difficult or even lead to having the claim denied. A good rule of thumb is to file a claim within the first 48 hours of an incident, but the sooner, the better.

Not Working with Insurer

Don’t think of your insurance adjuster as the enemy. Be professional, polite, and cooperative, and promptly provide whatever documentation they request. Failure to cooperate may provide grounds to deny a claim. However, don’t be afraid to ask questions or even appeal an estimate if you have reasonable proof that the lost property is undervalued. 

Not Documenting Damage and Claim

You will need proof of damage to receive a payout, so immediately record the time and date of the incident and take photos and/or videos of the damage. Also, document your communication with your insurer – keep a record of mailed correspondence and emails along with the time, date, and substance of verbal communications. 

Disposing of Damaged Items

You may think photos will be enough when filing a claim, but you should also keep the damaged property as physical evidence until the claim is closed. 

Admitting Fault

Never admit fault if someone is injured in your restaurant. There are too many frivolous lawsuits, and you may not honestly know the cause of an incident until it is investigated. In addition, accepting responsibility will make it difficult for your insurer to defend you if there is a lawsuit. Plus, some policies don’t allow you to assume fault without the insurer’s consent. With these policies, admitting fault can lead to a breach of contract, denial of a claim, or termination of coverage.

 Paying Claims Out of Pocket

You may be tempted to pay the medical costs of someone injured in your restaurant. However, your insurance policy will not reimburse you for payments made out of pocket and could even result in a denied claim. 

Want to Save on Restaurant Insurance Costs?

Work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. We can answer any of your questions, and – as independent agents – we compare pricing and coverage with multiple insurance companies to make sure that you pay the lowest premium for your insurance coverage!

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

The Key to Lowering Workers’ Comp Costs is Good Communication

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 13, 2022

Good communication can reduce accidents and help you save on Worker's Compensation insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lebanon and throughout PA. Contact us today to learn more.Good communication is key to lowering Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance costs. Unfortunately, many business owners are under the false impression that communicating with injured employees can cause WC claims and increase the cost of those claims. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Lack of communication and miscommunication in the claims process can cost your business more. For example, injured employees typically hire a lawyer – not to get more money but because of inadequate communication with their employees. For example, one study found that “46% [of injured employees] said they hired attorneys because they felt the claim had been denied when, in fact, it had not yet been accepted into the process.” And the truth is that WC cases that involve attorneys often cost more. 

An injured employee may be worried about their injury, recovery, and how they will continue to support their family. In addition, they may be in pain or facing unfamiliar medical treatments or medication. Plus, WC claims can be complicated. This can result in a scared, stressed, confused, and possibly angry employee. If the injured employee understands that you are concerned about their well-being and are willing to help them through the WC claims process, you become an ally (rather than an adversary). The only way to accomplish that is through good communication before, during, and after a workplace injury. 

Workers’ Compensation Communication

Good communication should be part of the onboarding process of new employees:

  • Foster a Positive Culture of Safety – From the start, you need to create a culture of safety that emphasizes safety as a core value of your business.
  • Foster Ongoing Communication – Employees need to know that it is safe for them to report safety concerns and injuries without fear of retaliation.
  • Provide WC Information – Employers should provide all employees with information about WC, including how to report an injury, what type of injuries are covered, who to contact if they have questions, a list of designated medical providers, etc.
  • Training – All employees should receive ongoing safety training to minimize the risk of injury and to know what to do if an injury occurs. Supervisors should receive training regarding Workers’ Compensation in addition to safety training. CFO advises, “Supervisors are often in the best position to shape workers’ initial expectations about what should happen, post-injury.”

Good communication is also crucial when an injury occurs:

  • Seek Appropriate Medical Attention – When an injury occurs, your first priority should be to ensure that the injured employee receives appropriate medical attention.
  • Thorough Investigation – Every time an injury occurs, a thorough investigation of the incident should occur. The investigation should include interviews with the injured employee and any co-workers who witnessed the incident.
  • Documentation – Every incident should be well-documented while everything is still fresh in everyone’s mind. 

Ongoing communication during the claims process is critical for a timely resolution:

  • Designate one employee to be the primary contact point for injured employees. That employee should be patient, kind, understanding, and familiar with the WC claims process.
  • Provide written and verbal information about the claims process, what the injured employee should expect, etc.
  • Regular communication (at least every other week) throughout the recovery process allows employers to monitor the recovery process, update the injured employee on the progress of the claim, and answer any questions or concerns the injured employee may have.
  • Communicate Genuine Empathy and Trust. Regular informal phone and in-person conversations and get-well cards show the employee that you are concerned about their well-being.
  • Discuss Return-to-Work Assignments. Communicate to injured employees that you are concerned about their well-being and that you are looking forward to them returning to work when it is medically safe to do so. Discuss the possibility of light-duty or transitional duty opportunities with medical providers and the injured employee. 

The Key to Lowering Workers’ Compensation Costs

Good communication should begin with your insurance provider. The independent agents at American Insuring Group listen carefully to better understand your needs, so we can ensure that you get the right workers' compensation insurance coverage at a great price!

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

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

Brake Safety Week Tips for Fleet Managers and Drivers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 06, 2022

Follow these truck brake safety tips to help you reduce accidents and save on truck insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Erie, Pittsburgh, Allentown and throughout Pennsylvania.The best way to lower Commercial Truck Insurance costs is to minimize the risk of accidents, including brake failure. A U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study found that the most common vehicle equipment-related cause of truck crashes was brake failure, accounting for 29.4% of all truck crashes in the study. 

Brake failure can result from defects, poor maintenance, or a driver’s actions. For example, overusing brakes can affect brake performance. While not all brake failures are avoidable, many are, which makes a focus on brake safety key to minimizing the risk of accidents.

CVSA Brake Safety Week

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week - August 21-27 – focuses on brake safety. It is “an annual commercial motor vehicle brake-safety inspection, enforcement, and education initiative conducted by law enforcement jurisdictions in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.” 

According to data from last year’s Brake Safety Week, “brake systems and brake adjustment violations accounted for 38.9% of all vehicle out-of-service violations, the most of any category of vehicle violations.” 

The following are two of the goals of Brake Safety Week. Both can help minimize the risk of accidents and help lower Commercial Truck Insurance costs:

  • Encourage proactive vehicle maintenance in advance of the week.
  • Remind drivers and motor carriers about the importance of proper brake maintenance and vehicle pre-trip and post-trip inspections. 

According to CVSA, if you are stopped during Brake Safety Week, inspectors will perform the following checks:

  • Look for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system, non-manufactured holes (such as rust holes and holes created by rubbing or friction), and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake.
  • Listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines, and ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90-100 psi (620-690 kPa).
  • Check for S-cam flip-over and measure pushrod travel.
  • Check that slack adjusters are the same length (from the center of the S-cam to the center of the clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size.
  • Inspect required brake-system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices.
  • Ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer, and inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleed-back system on the trailer.
  • Capture and provide data on brake hose/tubing chafing violations – the focus of this year’s Brake Safety Week.

Brake Safety Tips for Owners/Fleet Managers:

  1. Ensure drivers receive appropriate safety training
  2. Develop a culture of safety
  3. Take time to spec the best brakes for your vehicle and drivers’ needs
  4. Develop inspection checklists
  5. Conduct routine daily, weekly, and monthly inspections
  6. Perform regular maintenance on all vehicles
  7. Customize maintenance to brake type – hydraulic, air, or exhaust.
  8. Properly grease components
  9. Monitor mileage on your brake systems
  10. Replace brake shoes and other parts regularly
  11. Use Telematics Data to detect hard braking, speeding, and other hazardous driving behaviors.

Brake Safety Tips for Drivers:


  1. Perform pre- and post-trip inspections
  2. Watch air pressure levels
  3. Monitor your driving to ensure you are driving at safe speeds and maintaining safe following distances.

Lower Your Commercial Truck Insurance Costs

In addition to ensuring safer vehicles and drivers to minimize the risk of accidents, another way to lower Commercial Truck Insurance costs is to work with one of the experienced independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group.

Not only do we specialize in commercial truck insurance to ensure you have the proper coverage, but as independent agents, we also check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for reliable coverage.

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

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips

What Contractors Should Know About Professional Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 30, 2022

What contractors should know about professional liability insurance for contractors in Philadelphia, Newark, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster PA and elsewhereThere are many types of Contractors Insurance to help protect your business in the event of a lawsuit. Insurance is a crucial part of protecting your business. According to Forbes, 36%-53% of small businesses are involved in at least one litigation in any given year, and 90% of all companies are engaged in litigation at any given time. 

General liability insurance helps protect you if you are sued for injuries (other than employees), property damage, libel, and slander.

However, a customer can also sue you for making a mistake, missing a deadline, negligence, or undelivered services. Typically, general liability insurance does not cover this type of lawsuit.

 As they say, “To err is human,” but unfortunately, while “to forgive is divine,” not everyone forgives when a general contractor makes a mistake – actual or perceived. And one lawsuit can cost you a fortune in legal fees and settlements or judgments (if the court sides with the plaintiff) or even put you out of business.

 Thankfully, there is Professional Liability Insurance to help protect your business from this type of lawsuit.

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

Professional Liability Insurance goes by many names, such as Errors and Omissions and E & O insurance. Professional Liability Insurance protects your business if you face a lawsuit claiming you made a mistake in your professional services - whether or not you actually made a mistake.

 Some local and state laws, contracts, or customers may require Professional Liability Insurance. However, even if it isn’t required, it’s a good investment as one lawsuit can put you out of business. According to an SBA study, small businesses reported that legal costs for litigation ranged from $3,000 to $150,000. Furthermore, “Most companies used business assets to pay the damages,” and “owners mentioned that the payment of damages nearly put them out of business, which affected them for a long period of time as they worked to rebuild the business and recoup their losses.”

 Professional Liability Insurance helps protect your business from claims of the following nature:

  • Errors
  • Omissions
  • Negligence
  • Violation of good faith and fair dealing
  • Misrepresentation
  • Inaccurate advice

 Professional Liability Insurance covers the following costs (up to the policy’s limit):

  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs
  • Administrative costs
  • Settlements or judgments

 Professional Liability Insurance does NOT typically cover:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Fraudulent, dishonest, or criminal acts
  • False advertising
  • Employee injuries or illnesses
  • Discrimination or harassment
  • False advertising
  • Patents and trade secrets
  • Any services not specified in your policy

 How Much Does Personal Liability Insurance Cost?

Every business is unique, so the cost of Professional Liability Insurance varies.

 Factors that can affect your Professional Liability Insurance costs include the following:

  • Business size
  • Location
  • Claims history
  • Coverage limits

 You can help keep the cost of Professional Liability Insurance down by doing the following:

  • Properly training employees
  • Providing quality work
  • Drafting well-crafted contracts that set expectations
  • Fulfilling the terms of the contract
  • Keeping schedules realistic
  • Providing quality workmanship
  • Hiring reliable and competent subcontractors
  • Performing and documenting periodic inspections
  • Keeping communication professional and reasonable
  • Ensuring everyone working on the project is adequately insured

 How to Save on Professional Liability Insurance

If you aren’t sure if you need Professional Liability Insurance, reach out to one of the agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors Insurance.

We understand your unique needs and can help ensure you have the right coverage. As independent agents, we will compare the cost of that coverage with several insurance companies to ensure that you pay the lowest premium for that coverage.

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

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Professional Liability Lawsuit

Do I Need Commercial Auto Insurance for My Restaurant?

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Jul 27, 2022

Get the Proper Auto Insurance for Your Restaurant Business in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading, Wyomissing, Lancaster, Harrisburg and throughout PA.Insurance – including Restaurant Insurance - is all about risk. The higher the risk of a claim, the higher the cost of the insurance.

The same is true of auto insurance, and let’s face it, driving can be risky. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, there were 5.24 million police-reported crashes in the U.S., which caused 2.28 million injuries and 38,824 fatalities (a 6.8% increase over 2019).

 A vehicle used for commercial purposes is considered a higher risk because it may be driven more often or by more than one driver. Therefore, if you own a vehicle used for commercial purposes – making deliveries, visiting customers, etc. – your personal auto insurance may not cover damages caused when you or an employee uses your vehicle for commercial purposes. 

3 Auto Insurance Options

Personal Auto Insurance

A personal auto insurance policy covers property damage, bodily injuries, and legal expenses. While some personal auto insurance policies include limited coverage for business use, this type of policy is typically limited to accidents that occur during personal use, such as commuting to and from work and other travel unrelated to your job/business. In addition, a personal auto insurance policy typically insures the owner and one or two immediate family members only. 

Commercial Auto Insurance

A commercial auto insurance policy covers vehicles owned by a business. It covers vehicles used to drive customers or employees, perform a service you’ve been paid for, transport goods, and other business uses. Like personal auto insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance covers property damage, bodily injuries, and legal expenses. It also typically includes additional insureds, such as employees, and covers different types of vehicles, larger claims, and more complicated legal issues.

 Hired and non-owned auto insurance (HNOA)

HNOA insurance provides coverage for vehicles your business does NOT own but uses for commercial purposes, such as running business errands, picking up supplies, and visiting customers. This includes your employees’ vehicles used for business purposes and vehicles you rent or lease to use for business purposes. HNOA insurance can be purchased as a rider to your general liability insurance or as a standalone policy. It’s important to note that HNOA does NOT cover damage to your own property – only third-party liability costs.

 How to Lower the Risk of an Accident

Studies show that 98% of auto accidents are caused by human error. The following are the top six human driver errors:

  1. Failure to wear a seatbelt
  2. Excessive speeding
  3. Distraction/in attentiveness
  4. Incorrect assumptions about other drivers
  5. Tailgating/not leaving enough space between vehicles
  6. Not checking traffic before pulling out or crossing lanes 

The fewer accidents you or your employees are involved in, the fewer insurance claims and the lower your auto insurance costs. Here are five steps to minimize the risk of an auto accident:

  1. Check employee driving records before allowing them to drive a vehicle for business purposes
  2. Provide safe driving training
  3. Research vehicle safety records before purchasing, renting or leasing a vehicle
  4. Create and enforce a policy for employee cell phone use while driving
  5. Download the National Safety Council’s FREE online Safe Driving Kit

How to Lower Your Auto Insurance Cost

The best way to lower the cost of your insurance is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group.

We will help determine the best type of insurance for your needs and then – as independent agents – check with multiple insurance companies to ensure that you pay the lowest premium for that insurance.

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Auto Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs