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10 Common Construction Site Hazards

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 25, 2022

Avoid these construction site hazards, and save on construction insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley and throughout PAOne of the best ways to lower Contractors’ Insurance (and other) costs is to create safer worksites. But unfortunately, construction sites are filled with many hazards. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “About 20% (1,061) of worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2019 were in construction – accounting for one in five worker deaths for the year.” 

Fortunately, you can take steps to minimize risks, and the first step is to identify potential hazards. 

10 common construction site hazards and tips to reduce their impact on your business: 

  1. Falls from heights – “In 2019, there were 401 fall fatalities out of 1,102 total fatalities in construction,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Falls are a hazard found in many work settings, but construction has the most fatal falls out of all industries and represents 51% of all falls nationally.” Some causes of falls include unsecured scaffolding or ladders and a lack of guardrails or safety nets.

  2. Being struck by moving objects - Construction sites are filled with many moving objects – vehicles, equipment, materials, etc. Being struck by an object is one of OSHA’s Fatal Four, accounting for approximately 10% of all construction worker deaths. Poor lighting, too little space to maneuver, and working too closely can cause injuries from moving objects.

  3. Slips and trips – According to the CDC, “27% of the 888,220 nonfatal work injuries resulting in days away from work in 2019 were related to slips, trips, and falls.” Slips and trips can be caused by wet and slippery surfaces, uneven surfaces, etc. Most are easily prevented.

  4. Noise – Loud noise can cause a significant distraction and permanent hearing loss.

  5. Vibrations – Using tools such as drills, jackhammers, and chain saws can cause Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). “About 2 million U.S. workers are exposed to hand-arm vibration, and as many as half will develop HAVS, one expert says,” according to Safety and Health Magazine.

  6. Manually moving materials and equipment – Incorrectly lifting, moving, and handling materials or equipment can cause severe injuries, such as Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSDS).

  7. Asbestos – While asbestos only becomes a problem when damaged, it causes an estimated 255,000 deaths annually, according to the National Library of Medicine.

  8. Electricity – Electricity is an essential part of any construction worksite, but it can also cause severe injuries and even death. Electrical accidents can occur from contact with overhead or underground power cables, damaged tools or equipment, inadequate wiring, overloaded power boards, and improper insulation.

  9. Airborne materials – Invisible and fine dust material caused by cutting concrete, woodworking, and more are prevalent at construction worksites, and prolonged exposure to it can lead to illnesses such as asthma, lung cancer, emphysema, etc.

  10. Excavation/trench collapse – Collapses are all too common on construction sites. In 2020 alone, at least 21 workers died in trench collapses. The leading cause is inadequate cave-in protection.

 4 Tips to Minimize Risk

You can take steps to minimize the risk of injury caused by any of these hazards. Some are specific to the threat, such as providing adequate cave-in protection to avoid collapses or implementing a lockout tagout system to prevent electrical injuries. 

Below are four steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of many hazards:

  1. Training – Safety training helps employees recognize and avoid potential hazards at the workplace.
  2. Proper PPE – To create a safer work environment, appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats, safety glasses, and gloves must be provided. In addition, employees need to be trained on the proper use of PPE.
  3. Work Area management – Work area management includes keeping pathways clear of debris and hazards, providing safety nets or guard rails where needed, ensuring that equipment and tools are kept in a secure area after use, and ensuring spills are immediately cleaned up, etc.
  4. Proper maintenance – Equipment that is regularly repaired and maintained in excellent condition helps avoid injuries.

Lower Your Contractors Insurance Premiums

Creating a safer worksite and working with the right insurance agent can lower contractors insurance premiums. The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in contractors insurance and check with multiple insurance companies to get you the right coverage at the lowest price.

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

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

Manage Risk to Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 18, 2022

Lower your restaurant insurance costs in Philadelphia and throughout PA, including Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, York, Pittsburgh, Erie and more!Restaurant Insurance helps protect your business from accidents, lawsuits, data breaches, and more. However, one lawsuit or severe accident can go far beyond financial losses. They can tarnish your restaurant's reputation, cause stress and sleepless nights, interrupt business, lower employee morale, and so much more. 

So, wouldn't it be better to eliminate those accidents, lawsuits, and data breaches before they occur? While it's impossible to eliminate all risks (which is why the right insurance is crucial to any restaurant's success), you can significantly minimize many risks with these tips. 

Train Your Employees

We all know the high turnover rate restaurants experience, so it's no surprise that many restaurant staff are undertrained. However, undertrained employees can lead to accidents, lawsuits, and even higher turnover.

 "One of the primary reasons restaurant employees look for new jobs is that they want more mentorship and training (in the case of younger workers) to help them take their careers in hospitality to the next level," US Foods reports. "Handing a new staff member your employee handbook and expecting them to master a role isn't enough. Empowering your employees to feel like they have the necessary knowledge and training to be good at their job will make a world of difference for your restaurant."

Ongoing training should include safety procedures that cover recognizing and avoiding common restaurant injuries - such as lacerations, slips and falls, burns, sprains, etc. – to help lower Workers' Comp Insurance. Training should also include good customer service, food allergies, etc., to help lower Liability Insurance. And finally, employees should be trained on topics such as theft and fire to help lower Property Insurance.

When all else fails, Workers' Compensation, Liquor Liability, General Liability, and other types of insurance act as a safety net. 

Maintain Facility and Equipment

QSR magazine points out, "The foundations of delivering outstanding customer service start with a well-maintained kitchen." A well-maintained kitchen requires routine maintenance and regular cleaning. 

Routine maintenance helps keep your equipment running better and helps minimize the risk of injuries caused by an equipment malfunction. In addition, maintaining your equipment helps reduce the risk of breakdowns, which can cause business interruption, food spoilage, fires, and accidents. Click here for a restaurant equipment maintenance checklist. 

Keeping your restaurant clean helps prevent fires, accidents, and food cross-contamination. Keeping your restaurant clutter-free also helps reduce accidents. 

Utilize Technology

Many small to medium-sized business owners – including restaurant owners - believe they are immune to data breaches, but the reverse is true. "63% of SMBs report experiencing a data breach in the previous 12 months," according to Hashedout, yet 43% lack any cybersecurity defense plan. Technology, such as anti-virus software, password protection, properly securing WiFi networks, etc., has made it possible to minimize those risks. 

Another risk that can be mitigated with technology is theft. There are 2.5 million burglaries annually in the U.S., and 34% of the burglaries that happen each year affect small businesses. In addition, one survey found that "internal employee theft is responsible for 75% of inventory shortages and about 4% of restaurant sales. That totals between $3 and $6 billion annually." 

Security cameras and alarm systems can help deter criminal activity, such as theft and vandalism. Check out "Five Ways Restaurants Use Technology to Secure Their Business." 

Property and cyber insurance help soften the financial blow when these precautions don't work. 

Start Saving Today on Restaurant Insurance!

Get the lowest rate on restaurant insurance and all of your insurance needs by working with the highly qualified independent agents at American Insuring Group. We research and compare the cost of your coverage with multiple insurance companies to make sure you pay the lowest premium possible for the quality coverage you need.

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Alcohol and Workers' Compensation Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 11, 2022

Alcohol use can affect workers comp insurance coverage in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading and throughout Pennsylvania.In Pennsylvania, Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC) is based on a no-fault liability premise, which means a workplace injury is covered by Workers Comp regardless of who is at fault. However, there are a few exceptions, such as the "intoxication defense."

"This is a relatively new defense. The Workers' Compensation Act, when originally drafted and enacted, had no intoxication defense," Rothman Gordon Attorneys states. "It was not until 1993 that the Intoxication Defense was added as a part of a nationwide trend of cracking down on drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

A string of drunk driving offenses established that because a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit (currently .08) established a presumption of intoxication, employers argued they could establish the same presumption in the workplace."

Furthermore, "Pennsylvania is the only state that does not oblige the employer to prove intoxication was the proximate cause (a material contributing factor) of the accident."

Today, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act states, "In cases where the injury or death is caused by intoxication, no compensation shall be paid if the injury or death would not have occurred but for the employee's intoxication." However, it is important to note that the burden of proof is with the employer.

Over time, alcohol can affect job performance and threaten the health and safety of all employees and the security of your equipment and facilities. So, what can an employer do to protect itself and its employees regarding the use of alcohol? 

Create a Policy

Set a clear, legal, and enforceable written policy regarding the use of alcohol that includes enforcement, punishments, and drug and alcohol testing policies. Ensure that you have written confirmation that each employee understands the policy. 

Pay Attention to Employees

Pay attention to how your employees are acting. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management states, "Even though you must not try to diagnose the problem, there are many signs that may indicate a problem with alcohol…" Those signs include the following:

  • Unexplained or unauthorized absences from work
  • Frequent tardiness
  • Excessive use of sick leave
  • Patterns of absence such as the day after payday or frequent Monday or Friday absences
  • Frequent unplanned absences due to "emergencies" (e.g., household repairs, car trouble, family emergencies, legal problems)
  • Missed deadlines
  • Careless or sloppy work or incomplete assignments
  • Production quotas not met
  • Many excuses for incomplete assignments or missed deadlines
  • Faulty analysis
  • Relationships with co-workers may become strained
  • The employee may be belligerent, argumentative, or short-tempered, especially in the mornings or after weekends or holidays
  • The employee may become a "loner"
  • The smell of alcohol
  • Staggering or an unsteady gait
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • The smell of alcohol on the breath
  • Mood and behavior changes such as excessive laughter and inappropriate loud talk
  • Excessive use of mouthwash or breath mints
  • Avoidance of supervisory contact, especially after lunch
  • Tremors
  • Sleeping on duty

Document Reasonable Suspicion

SHRM states, "Concerns that an employee is under the influence often come from co-workers or even clients or vendors before a supervisor or manager notices." If you receive a complaint or suspect an employee is under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) at work, you need to document it properly. SHRM suggests the following steps:

  1. Receive complaints
  2. Observe the Employee
  3. Remove the Employee from Safety-Sensitive Areas
  4. Document Observations
  5. Assess the Situation
  6. Meet With Employee
  7. Prepare Transportation
  8. Send the Employee for Testing
  9. Wait for Test Results
  10. Respond to Employee's Refusal to Take the Test
  11. Respond to Negative Test Results
  12. Respond to a Positive Test Result

Workers' Compensation Benefits

If you suspect the use of alcohol caused a workplace injury, you can fight the claim; however, the burden of proof is on you as the employer. Policies regarding alcohol must be established and enforced, everything must be well documented, and a thorough investigation with evidence is crucial for successful denial of claims.

Here's How to Save on Workers' Compensation Costs!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in WC Insurance and are dedicated to helping you save on WC and other insurance costs. As independent agents, we shop the market, comparing rates and coverages among competing insurers. We shop so you can save!

So, 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

5 Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 04, 2022

Save on PA Truck Insurance by Avoiding Common Causes of Truck Accidents. We provide insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, and throughout Pennsylvania.If you want to reduce Commercial Truck Insurance costs, lower the number of accidents. It’s simple but not always easy. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2019, 118,000 large trucks were involved in accidents that caused injuries. And often, due to their size and weight, accidents involving trucks are more serious. For example, in 2019, 5,005 trucks were involved in fatal accidents.

The good news is that many of these accidents are preventable. The first step to preventing accidents is identifying the most common causes of truck accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver error is the cause of 94% of vehicle accidents. Other causes include failure or degradation of the vehicle’s components and the environment (slick roads, weather, etc.).

5 Common Causes of Accidents

Distracted Driver

The CDC reports, “Nine people in the United States are killed every day in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.” A distraction takes attention away from driving and takes your eyes off the road, takes your hand off the wheel, or takes your mind off driving. Unfortunately, drivers can be distracted by many things – changing the radio station, arguing with a passenger, or even reading billboards.

You can’t eliminate all distractions, but you can eliminate the most common cause of driver distraction – electronic devices, specifically cell phones. According to the CDC, “At 55 miles per hour, sending or reading a text is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.”

As an owner or fleet manager, having and enforcing a distracted driving policy is crucial to minimizing the risk of distractions. If you are a driver, turn on the “Do Not Disturb” feature on and pull over to a safe place to use your cell phone.

Speeding

We get it… You have tight schedules to keep and face many things (traffic, road construction, etc.) that can mess with those schedules, but driver safety should always come before deadlines. The NSC reports, “Speeding was a factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2020, killing 11,258, or an average of over 30 people per day.” With the additional weight and size of a truck, speeding becomes even more dangerous because it takes trucks longer to stop, and when they do hit something can cause more damage.

Poor Driver Training

As we mentioned earlier, driver error is the cause of 94% of vehicle accidents, but you can minimize that risk by providing ongoing safety training to your drivers. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that implementing a driver safety program will help keep drivers safer and potentially:

  • Decrease the risk of motor vehicle collisions and traffic violations
  • Minimize exposure to liability risks and legal costs
  • Reduce insurance premiums and workers’ compensation claims
  • Lower vehicle repair bills and replacement expenses
  • Protect business operations and brand identity

Fatigue

You may be on the road for a while, not get enough sleep at night, or any number of other reasons that can cause fatigue. NHTSA estimates that in 2017, 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes led to an estimated 50,000 people injured and nearly 800 deaths. Whenever possible, avoid this hazard by getting adequate sleep, checking any medication you take to see if any cause drowsiness, and avoiding driving during peak sleepiness periods (midnight to 6 am and late afternoon).

Weather

Weather is unpredictable and can change on a dime. Therefore, drivers must monitor the weather and prepare for potential hazards. If you find yourself on slick roads, slow down, keep more distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, keep your turn signals on longer, and turn on your headlights. Here are additional tips for dealing with dangerous weather.

How to Save on Commercial Truck Insurance Costs

Safer drivers mean fewer claims, which translates to lower Truck Insurance costs. Working with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group also translates to lower Truck Insurance costs. As independent agents, we compare pricing and coverage with multiple insurance companies so you pay the lowest premiums for quality truck insurance protection.

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

Tags: truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips, Physical Damage Truck Insurance

Lower Workers’ Comp Costs By Preventing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 28, 2022

Tips to reduce waste, fraud and abuse to save on Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Lebanon, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, and throughout PA.In most states, including Pennsylvania, almost all employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance. WC helps cover lost wages, health care expenses, disability payments, death benefits, and permanent injury payments (such as the loss of a body part) when an employee suffers a work-related injury or disease. It also helps protect your business against lawsuits related to the injury. 

How is Your WC Premium Calculated?

Your Workers’ Compensation premium is based on the following calculation:

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

Your experience modifier compares the history of your losses to what is typically expected in a class similar to your company. It is based on the following:

  • 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 lower your experience modifier, the lower your premiums. Unfortunately, WC fraud, waste, and abuse can raise your experience modifier and increase your WC premiums. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports, “workers’ compensation insurance fraud alone costs insurers and employers $30 billion a year.”

 What is WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse?

The first step to minimizing WC fraud, waste, and abuse is the ability to recognize each.

  • Fraud – According to the PA Department of Labor & Industry, “An employee commits fraud by knowingly and intentionally receiving wages while collecting total disability benefits or receiving partial disability benefits in excess of the amount permitted while receiving wages.” Examples include faking an injury, inflating an injury, and reporting an injury that happened off the job. Employers and medical providers can also engage in fraudulent WC activities.
  • Waste – WC waste occurs when an injured employee overutilizes WC benefits. An example of WC waste is an employee who injures their back on the job and continues to see a chiropractor after full recovery.
  • Abuse – WC abuse occurs when an employee who is injured on the job expands their symptoms to receive additional benefits. For example, an injured employee may falsely report symptoms to prevent them from participating in a return-to-work program.

 Signs of Possible WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

There are a few common signs of WC fraud, waste, and abuse that you can watch out for:

  • No witnesses to an incident
  • Conflicting diagnoses
  • Refusing treatment
  • Not reporting injury immediately
  • Inconsistent or suspicious recount of the injury
  • A history of WC claims
  • A history of frequently changing physicians, jobs, and addresses
  • An injury that occurs right after a weekend, strike, or holiday
  • The inability to reach an injured employee
  • A post-termination claim
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Financial problems
  • An unwillingness to cooperate in the injury investigation

 11 Tips to Prevent WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News offers the following tips to “keep claims above board”:

  1. Create a fraud-free work environment by having a strong policy against fraud.
  2. Establish a culture of safety.
  3. Hold regular safety meetings.
  4. Institute sound hiring procedures by screening potential employees.
  5. Communicate regularly with injured employees.
  6. Follow proper WC reporting and investigating procedures.
  7. Educate employees on WC fraud, waste, and abuse and their consequences.
  8. Make it easy to report injuries
  9. Use surveillance equipment
  10. Implement a drug testing policy
  11. Choose credible medical providers that have WC experience.

 Lower Your Workers Compensation Insurance Premiums:

In addition to preventing WC fraud, waste, and abuse, another way to lower Workers’ Compensation Premiums is to work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. Our independence gives us the freedom to shop the market to find the right insurance to meet your specific needs at the best price.

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

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

What Restaurant Owners Need to Know About Umbrella Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 21, 2022

Umbrella Insurance Tips for PA Restaurant Owners: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, York, Lebanon and throughout PennsylvaniaThe right Restaurant Insurance helps protect your restaurant from losses, such as injuries, property damage, and lawsuits. For example, if your delivery van is involved in an accident, commercial auto insurance covers the cost of legal bills, medical expenses, and property damage up to your policy's limit. Another example is if a customer falls and injures themselves while in your restaurant, general liability insurance helps pay for medical expenses up to your policy's limit. 

One key phrase in those examples is "up to your policy's limit." 

What are Policy Limits?

A policy limit caps how much an insurance company will pay when you file a claim. The amount of that cap is determined when you purchase your policy. 

With general liability, professional liability, and errors and omissions insurance, there are two types of policy limits:

  • Per-occurrence limits determine the maximum amount a policy will pay for one particular incident.
  • Aggregate limits determine the maximum amount a policy will pay for all claims within a policy period.

 Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society, and one significant lawsuit settlement that is higher than your policy's limit could put you out of business. Typically, you do have an option to increase your limits on each policy, but that can become costly, which is where commercial umbrella insurance helps.

 What is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

Commercial Umbrella Insurance offers additional coverage on liability claims on your existing insurance policies. If a claim is higher than your policy's limit, it provides a buffer or safety net. 

For example, let's say a customer slips and falls in your restaurant, hits their head, and experiences a debilitating injury. They sue your restaurant for medical expenses, lost income, and other costs, and you agree to a $2.5 million settlement. If your general liability policy limit is $2 million, you will be responsible for paying the difference. In this example, $500,000. Would that have a negative effect on your finances? Could your restaurant survive this type of lawsuit? 

Commercial Umbrella Insurance does not provide primary liability coverage. It only goes into effect when a claim exceeds the policy's limits. 

Who Should Purchase Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

Small to medium-sized business owners often don't think they will be involved in a lawsuit. However, according to a United States Small Business Administration (SBA) study, 36 to 53% of small businesses are involved in litigation every year. Furthermore, "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."

 A Forbes article offering litigation prevention and mitigation tips states: "On Insurance. Get it! … If something does go wrong, your insurance may be able to limit your exposure and risk." 

To determine if you should purchase Commercial Umbrella Insurance, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there a chance that I can get sued?
  • Do I have enough funds to cover a lawsuit if it exceeds my insurance limits?
  • Do I want to pay less for higher coverage amounts (instead of increasing individual policy limits)?

How to Get the Best Rate on Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

If you need more help determining if Umbrella Insurance is right for your restaurant and ensuring that you get the best rate on all of your insurance needs, give the independent agents at American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Umbrella Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Umbrella Insurance

Take the Mystery Out of Contractors' Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 14, 2022

Learn everything you need to know about contractor's insurance from our agents serving Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, and the entire state of PennsylvaniaContractors' Insurance helps protect your business from risk, and let's face it… as a contractor, you face many risks every day. An employee or client may fall and injure themselves on a job site. A piece of heavy equipment might be stolen. A hacker may steal your data. Any one of these things could put you out of business… IF you aren't prepared.

 Risk Management

The first step in preparing is called risk management. Risk management is identifying and evaluating the risks your business may face and determining procedures to minimize the impact of those risks. Effective risk management helps provide confidence, streamline operations, enhance safety, and protect your business. 

Here are four steps to developing a risk management plan for your construction company (Click here for more details):

  1. Identify Risks
  2. Prioritize Risks
  3. Determine Responsive Strategies
  4. Create a Risk Management Plan

 There are many ways you can and absolutely should minimize the risk of something happening. For example, you can create safer workplaces, provide proper training, and ensure PPE is used appropriately. But unfortunately, despite all of your best efforts, accidents happen, equipment gets stolen, and data breaches occur.

 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, there were 1,102 fatal injuries in the construction industry (both private industry and government). Furthermore, "These deaths represented 20.7 percent of total workplace fatalities in the United States (5,333)." It is estimated that $300 million to $1 billion of construction equipment is stolen every year. 

Transfer Risk With Contractors' Insurance

In step three above – Determine Responsive Strategies – one strategy is to transfer risks to an insurance company. For example, if a piece of equipment is stolen, insurance will pay to replace that equipment in exchange for premiums and deductibles. This takes much of the financial risk off of our business.

 Types of Contractors Insurance

The best way to determine which types of Contractors Insurance is right for your business is to work with one of the agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors' Insurance. Here is a brief description of the types of insurance that may be recommended.

General Liability Insurance – If your business is sued, general liability insurance will pay legal fees, settlements, etc.

Workers Compensation Insurance – In most states, including Pennsylvania, most employers are required to provide Workers' Compensation Insurance - which covers medical costs and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job - for their employees.

Commercial Property Insurance - Property insurance helps protect against property loss or damage due to events such as fire, hail storms, civil disobedience, and vandalism.

Builders Risk Insurance - Builders Risk Insurance helps replace materials, tools, and lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.

Commercial Auto Insurance - Commercial Auto Insurance helps cover bodily injury or property damage claims if one of your company's vehicles is involved in an accident.

Inland Marine Insurance - Inland Marine Insurance helps cover damages that occur while a building is under construction.

Professional Liability Insurance ((Aka Errors and Omissions Insurance) - If your business is sued due to a mistake made in your company's professional service, Professional Liability helps cover legal costs.

Umbrella Insurance - Insurance liability policies include a limit (the maximum amount an insurer will pay if a claim is filed). Commercial Umbrella Insurance helps cover the difference if a claim exceeds a policy's limit.

Cyber Insurance - Cyber Insurance helps cover your business' liability for data breaches that involve sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, driver's license numbers, and health records

Pollution Liability Insurance - Pollution Liability Insurance protects your business if you're held liable for a pollution incident on a worksite.

Gap Insurance – Often overlooked, Gap Insurance helps cover the cost difference to pay off a lease balance when the vehicle's value is less than the leasing company's payoff in a total loss accident.

Business Income Coverage/ Business Interruption – If you are forced to shut down your business after experiencing covered property damage (such as fires, storms, etc.), Business Income coverage can help replace lost income.

 How Much Does Contractors Insurance Cost?

Regardless of the specific type of insurance, several factors can significantly impact those insurance costs. Those factors include the following:

  • Claims History:
  • Nature of Work and Risk:
  • Liability Limit:
  • Loss Type

Start Saving on Contractors Insurance Today!

t's easy to lower your premiums by working with one of the agents at American Insuring Group. Our agents specialize in Contractors' Insurance and – as independent agents – we compare the quality and cost of your coverage with multiple insurance companies to find the policy that's right for you!

Don't Delay - start saving today by calling us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractual Risk Transfer

What Truck Drivers and Fleet Owners Need to Know About WC Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, May 09, 2022

Workers Compensation Insurance Tips for Truck Drivers and Truck Fleet Owners in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster and throughout PACommercial Truck Insurance – including Workers’ Comp Insurance - is designed to help protect your business financially in the event of an accident. This is good because we all know that trucking can be a dangerous and expensive industry. 

According to the National Safety Council, in 2020, 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, and 107,000 large trucks were involved in crashes resulting in an injury. Furthermore, the Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports, “The estimated cost of police-reported crashes involving trucks with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds averaged $91,112 (in 2005 dollars).” 

Am I Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

In Pennsylvania and many other states, every employer (with very few exceptions) is required to carry Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance. WC covers medical expenses, disability payments, death benefits, and lost wages in a work-related injury or illness. Therefore, if you employ drivers – whether it’s delivering food locally or cargo across the country – you are required by law to carry Workers’ Comp for those drivers. 

The requirement for owner/operator drivers is a bit grayer. According to the Department of Labor and Industry, “If an insured utilizes owner/operators and is part of a trucking operation, proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage may be required.” If you aren’t sure if you are required to carry Workers’ Comp insurance, speak with the WC experts at American Insuring Group or check on the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation website. 

However, even if you find that you are not required to carry WC insurance, you may want to consider purchasing it. “Insurance experts and many attorneys, in fact, say that allowing owner-operators to opt-out of coverage is simply asking for trouble,” Layover.com states. “Owner-operators who run without some type of medical coverage risk financial devastation if they are injured on the job.” 

Consider this:

  • If you’re on your spouse’s medical insurance, work-related illnesses and injuries may not be covered.
  • Even if they are covered, if you’re injured and can’t work, you’re looking at lost income, which is something WC insurance covers but medical insurance typically does not.
  • If you are killed in a work-related accident, WC pays death benefits to provide financial support to your family.

 How Do I Purchase Workers’ Compensation?

Fortunately, purchasing Workers’ Compensation insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can help. Here are typical questions we may ask when you’re requesting a quote:

  • What is your company’s name and type of business entity?
  • What is your FEIN or SSN?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • How many owners does your company have?
  • What are your liability limits?
  • Do you have a DOT number?
  • What type of vehicle(s) do you need to be insured?
  • What is the driving radius of your trucker(s)?
  • Is the driver hauling their own goods?
  • Does your operator(s) do loading and unloading?

 How Can I Lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs?

There are many steps you can take to lower your WC and other insurance costs:

  • Hire the most qualified drivers
  • Provide safety training
  • Develop a positive culture of safety

Don't Miss Out on the Easiest Way to Save on Commercial Truck Insurance!

Another way to lower all your Commercial Truck Insurance costs is to work with an independent agent at American Insuring Group. We will carefully compare truck insurance coverages and costs among many competing carriers to ensure you receive the right coverage at the lowest cost.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, truck insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Trucking Insurance

How Contractor Insurance Can Protect Your Business

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 30, 2022

Contractor Insurance Tips to Protect Your Business in Philadelphia and throughout PAPeople often refer to Contractor Insurance as a safety net, but I ask you to stop and think about this accurate but often-overused analogy. In a circus, a safety net is used below performers who are walking across a tight rope or acrobats flying through the air high above. If they fall, the safety net could save their lives. Likewise, the right Insurance can protect the life of your business.

Risks in Contractor Industry

Every business is open to risk, and the construction industry is more so than many other industries. According to a report published by the Center for Construction Research Training, in 2019, 79,660 nonfatal injuries were reported in the construction industry. Furthermore, "… it was consistently higher than all industries combined… Construction injuries were also more severe, as they typically caused more missed workdays than injuries in all industries."

And these injuries were not confined to larger construction companies. That same report states, "the injury rate among construction establishments with 11 to 49 employees was five times the rate for establishments with 1,000 or more employees."

These injuries are costing companies billions of dollars every year. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports, "The total cost of work injuries in 2019 was $171.0 billion. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $53.9 billion, medical expenses of $35.5 billion, and administrative expenses of $59.7 billion." Individually, that translates to $1,100 per worker, $1.2 million per death, and $42,000 per medically consulted injury. Do you have enough money to cover those kinds of costs without jeopardizing your business? Probably not!

Another risk all businesses face is lawsuits. According to a Small Business Administration (SBA) study, 36 to 53% of small businesses were involved in lawsuits, and when a case goes to trial, it costs companies $3,000 to $150,000 to resolve. So how would a lawsuit affect your bottom line?

Then there is theft. Construction equipment theft results in $300 million to $1 billion in losses each year (and that's an old statistic). Studies show that construction equipment is an easy target for thieves because:

  • Equipment is often left at unsecured sites when not in use
  • Many sites are located in remote locations
  • Equipment is easily accessible
  • There are no standardized PINs or serial numbers, making equipment challenging to track.

Could you easily replace a $75,000 bulldozer without affecting your business? Probably not!

Here is a brief description of various types of insurance that can help protect your employees, your assets, and your business.

How Insurance Protects Your Employees

Without employees, you could not get the job done, so it's a good idea to take care of your employees and consider them an asset. In Pennsylvania (and most other states), all employers are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance, which covers lost wages, medical expenses, disability expenses, and funeral costs for employees who are injured on the job.

Failure to carry Workers' Compensation coverage for your employees can lead to a $2,500 fine and up to one year in imprisonment for each day the employer fails to maintain WC coverage. Felony convictions can result in a $15,000 fine and up to seven years imprisonment for each day the employer intentionally violated this requirement. Furthermore, you may be responsible for paying all benefits awarded by a Workers' Compensation judge.

How Insurance Protects Your Assets

  • Inland Marine Insurance helps cover damages that occur while a building is under construction.
  • Commercial Property Insurance protects your physical assets from fire, storms, theft, etc.
  • Commercial Vehicle Insurance protects against bodily injuries and property damage if one of your vehicles is involved in an accident.
  • Builders Risk Insurance helps replace materials, tools, and lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.

How Insurance Protects Your Business

  • General Liability Insurance protects your business from liabilities, such as bodily injury and property damage claims.
  • Professional Liability Insurance protects your business if a client sues you for design errors or omissions.
  • Pollution Liability Insurance protects your business if you're held liable for a pollution incident on a worksite.
  • Cyber Insurance helps protect your business from data breaches.

How to Get the Right Contractors Insurance for Your Business

The best way to get the right Insurance for your business is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors Insurance. They understand your unique risks and know the right questions to ask.

Plus, as independent agents, they will compare the cost of your coverage among competing insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price on your premiums. So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance

10 Tips to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 23, 2022

10-tips-to-lower-Workers-Comp-Insurance-costs

Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance is mandated by Pennsylvania (and most other states) for all employees. WC was designed to protect employees injured on the job by providing lost wages, medical expenses, disability expenses, and funeral costs. As a no-fault benefit, WC also helps protect your business from direct lawsuits by employees injured on the job. Failure to comply can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges and fines.

However, just because it is mandatory doesn't mean that there aren't steps you can take to lower your WC costs.

10 Tips to Save on Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

  1. Vet Employees – Employees can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability. Every employer hopes they hire an honest worker, but did you know that 95% of businesses encounter problems with employee theft. When hiring a new employee, conduct background investigations and reference checks. Also, if you're hiring a driver, check their driving record. You may also want to include a pre-employment drug testing policy.

  2. Develop a Safety Program - Providing a safe and healthy workplace benefits employers with lower Workers' Compensation Insurance costs, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and better employee morale. A workplace safety program can lower expenses, reduce paid time off and litigation, provide higher employee satisfaction and a positive public image, and much more. According to OSHA, a study of small businesses found a statistical correlation between workplace safety and the health and survival of a small business. The study found that companies that failed within one to two years of start-up had an average injury rate of 9.71, while businesses that survived more than five years had an average injury rate of 3.89 in their first year of business.

  3. Provide Appropriate Training - OSHA states, "Training in the safe way for workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back over and over again in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, lower insurance premiums and more."

  4. Use the Right Job Classification Code – Every employee in Pennsylvania is assigned a PCRB classification code to help determine WC rates. These codes are based on the level of risk each employee faces. For example, if an office worker is assigned the code for a construction worker, they will be considered more of a risk, and you will pay higher WC premiums for that employee. Ensuring all of your employees are correctly classified can help save you on WC costs.

  5. Work With Your Medical Team – PA Workers' Comp laws allow employers to create a list of designated health care providers. When the list is properly posted, injured workers must seek treatment for the work injury or illness with one of the designated providers for 90 days from the date of the first visit. By carefully researching the physicians you include on that list, you can help ensure your employees get the best treatment and that you don't pay more than you have to for WC premiums. In addition, building a relationship with those physicians can further expedite WC claims.

  6. Develop a Return-to-Work Program - The longer an injured employee is out of work, the less likely they'll return to work and the more it costs the employer. Return-to-work programs reduce the length of claims and help injured employees recover more quickly. Return-to-work programs save employers' medical costs, lost time days, and workers' compensation insurance costs.

  7. Design an Injury Response Protocol – If an employee is injured, the quicker they get treatment, the better chance they have of making a speedy recovery. Therefore, you should have an injury response protocol in place that employees understand.

  8. Manage Claims – Properly managing WC claims helps you avoid liability and fraudulent claims, resolve claims more quickly, and lower WC costs. WC claim management includes an injury reporting process, investigations, ongoing communication, etc.

  9. Investigate Injuries - Every workers' compensation insurance claim should be investigated because it's imperative to make accurate and legal assessments related to primary liability.

  10. Review Your Loss Run Report – A Loss Run Report lists the date of all of your business's losses and claims, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. You can think of it as a credit report or report card for insurance companies. They use the information in the report to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay for insurance or even if an insurance company will issue a policy or renew a policy for your business. Conversely, you can use the information to lower your insurance costs and improve other business areas.

BONUS Workers' Comp Savings Tip

Work With a Trusted Independent Insurance Agent – The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers' Compensation Insurance. We can answer all of your WC questions, help you control loss, and lower your premiums!

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

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