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Top 3 Construction Business Risks and How to Minimize Them

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 19, 2020

Construction Worker on RoofEvery business comes with its share of risk, and a contracting business is no different. If anything, contractors face more than the average risk. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize or even eliminate many of those risks. Plus, Contractors Insurance acts as a safety net when, despite your best efforts, something does go wrong.

Your first step is to identify potential risks, so here are three of the top risks that contractors need to be aware of and tips to minimize those risks:

  1. Injuries

Construction worksites are full of potential hazards, making construction one of the most dangerous occupations. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 20% of private-industry worker fatalities are in construction.

However, it isn’t just workers who pose a risk. Non-employees, such as vendors and clients, are often unfamiliar with safety rules, and can also be injured on construction worksites.

Minimize Risk of Injury

OSHA has identified the four biggest construction hazards – called the Fatal Four - as falls, electrocution, caught-in, and struck-by. These four hazards were the leading causes of death in 90% of all construction fatalities.

To minimize the risk of injury, develop and enforce a safety program, and all employees should receive proper safety training.

  1. Equipment Damage or Loss

Tools and equipment are one of a contractor’s most vital assets. From something as small as a hammer to as big as a backhoe, you need them to get the job done. If a hammer is damaged, lost, or stolen, it can be quickly, easily, and fairly inexpensively replaced with a quick trip to Loews or Home Depot.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for larger equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, tower cranes, dump trucks, etc. These items are just as vital to get jobs done but not as easy – or inexpensive to replace. If one of these items is damaged or stolen, it can put a serious crimp in your schedule… and your bottom line.

Minimize Risk of Theft

More than 11,000 pieces of heavy equipment were reported stolen in 2016, according to Construction Business Owner. Thankfully, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of theft, such as enforcing a theft-prevention policy, securing your job site with fencing, locking up all of your tools, and securing heavy equipment.

Minimize Risk of Damage

Employees should be well-trained in the proper use of heavy equipment and how to use them safely. It’s also essential that you take the time to read the equipment’s owner’s manual and adhere to factory recommendations. There should be a preventative maintenance program in place, and all equipment should be inspected before use – every time.

  1. Faulty Work

You can be held liable for construction defects in completed projects or those that are not up to code. And a client can seek reimbursement if you have not complied with local, state, and federal building regulations. This not only hurts your bottom line but can also harm your business’s reputation.

Minimize the Risk of Faulty Work

To minimize this risk, review the contract’s terms and policy coverage, implement a quality control program, and understand and comply with building codes and regulations.

Insurance: Your Safety Net

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a piece of expensive equipment is damaged, or a smart thief gets through your anti-theft measures. Repairing or Replacing that equipment can cost your business tens of thousands of dollars. The right insurance can help cover those costs.

Commercial Property Insurance

Your commercial property policy typically covers tools and equipment that are lost or damaged. It may also cover your lost income if you are unable to continue work without the damaged equipment. However, Commercial Property Insurance typically does not cover equipment that is mobile, in a vehicle, or stored at a job site.

Builders’ Risk Insurance (Aka Inland Marine or Course of Construction coverage)

Builders’ Risk Insurance typically protects structures, materials, and equipment that are in transit, onsite, or in a temporary location. Some policies also cover additional costs such as lost sales if construction is delayed.

License and Permit Bond

A License and Permit Bond guarantees that a business will operate in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations. If there is a mistake, this bond will cover damages your client claims.  However, unlike other insurance policies, you are responsible for paying back anything your provider pays for the claim.

Protect Yourself with the Right Contractors' Insurance

Save on Contractor InsuranceUnderstanding these three risks, minimizing them, and having the right insurance is vital for a healthy bottom line and the success of any contracting business.

Because the American Insuring Group specializes in contractors’ insurance, we can help you with all three. Plus, as independent agents, we can ensure that you get the best price by comparing quotes and coverages from multiple insurance companies. So don't delay. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, commercial property insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Builders Risk Insurance

4 Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employers

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 12, 2020

save_property_insuranceAs an employer, you may look at Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance as a necessary evil, but the truth is Workers’ Compensation Insurance provides many benefits to employers as well as employees.

It is required by law for the majority of employers in Pennsylvania, and savvy employers understand the value of having Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry defines Workers’ Compensation as “mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance” that compensates employees who suffer a work-related injury for medical treatment and lost wages. The goals of WC are to 1) create safer workplaces, 2) promptly treat and compensate injured employees, and 3) reduce litigation costs.

In Pennsylvania, any employer with at least one employee who could be injured or develop a work-related disease is required to provide Workers’ Compensation for its employees, with very few exceptions such as federal workers, longshoremen, railroad workers, domestic workers, and some agricultural workers.

Here are 4 Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employers:

Regulatory Compliance

If an employee suffers a compensable work-related injury and the employer does not have Workers’ Compensation Insurance, the employer will be required to reimburse the state for not only direct costs of the injury, but also interest, penalties, attorney fees, and fees under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

An uninsured employer can also face the risk of civil litigation by the injured employee and the risk of criminal charges by the state.

Financial Benefits

By complying with the commonwealth’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance requirements, a business avoids the reimbursement costs stated above. Workers’ Compensation Insurance also protects employers from direct lawsuits by injured employees, eliminating the risk of costly legal fees and potential settlement.

Prevent Lawsuits

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does not allow employees to bring lawsuits against employers for work-place injuries if the employer provides Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Any form of litigation can have negative effects on a business. It can drain your company’s finances, time, energy, and resources. Litigation can also affect your relationship with your employees, customers, vendors, investors, etc.  A lawsuit can tarnish your company’s reputation and has been known to lower a company’s value and sales, and even force companies out of business.

Protection for a Vital Asset – Employees

Workplace injuries have far-reaching effects on employers’ costs, including lost productivity, retraining costs, and more. A safer work environment and fewer injuries are better for everyone – employer and employee alike.

Workplace injuries can cause negative physical and psychological effects on employees – both in and out of the workplace.  A serious injury can change an employee’s life forever, creating chronic pain, limited abilities, depression, and anxiety. One study found that anxiety affected more than 50% of injured workers and more than 25% experienced depression.

Fewer injuries mean lower Workers’ Compensation costs. That saving has become a great incentive for smart employers to create safer workplaces for their employees. To save on WC costs, many employers have developed safety programs and provide safety training.

Another Workers’ Compensation cost-saving measure employers often implement is a return-to-work (RTW) program. The goal of such a program is to get an injured employee back to work as quickly as possible, even if that means working part-time or having lighter duties. An RTW program benefits employees by improving morale, helping them retain social connections and skills, and providing financial security.

How to Save on Workers’ Compensation

Since Workers’ Compensation is required by law for most employers in Pennsylvania, you might as well embrace these benefits. However, that doesn’t mean you should pay more than necessary.

Give the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We’ll help you save on Workers’ Compensation costs by carefully comparing policies from multiple providers to ensure you get the right policy at the best price!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs

4 Tips to Avoid Theft in Your Business

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 05, 2020

secure_businessEvery business is at risk of a theft occurring. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your assets, such as Commercial Property Insurance.  However, that should not be your first line of defense. Your first step should be to minimize the risk of a theft, with Commercial Property Insurance acting as your safety net if those steps aren’t enough.

According to Small Business Trends, nearly 9% of small businesses experienced a burglary or theft in 2016 with an average cost of $8,000 per incident. Burglary and theft can have a serious impact on your bottom line. Protect your assets by lowering your risk with these four tips:

Install a Security Systems

Security systems – alarms and cameras – have become very affordable, and the capabilities of the new technology are incredible. Today, it’s easy to keep an eye on both internal and external threats from your smartphone, PC, or tablet.

The more security you have, the better chance you have of avoiding problems. Often, the presence of a security system is enough to deter thieves and vandals.

Here are a few security measures to consider:

Closed-Circuit television cameras (CCTV) allow you to watch what is happening at your place of business in real-time, both during and after hours. Plus, they can capture images and record what is going on when you aren’t there. They’re a great way to protect your property, valuable items, and your employees. You can even keep an eye on employee productivity.

Place cameras in strategic locations, so you can identify faces of both customers and employees, and store the footage off-site.

Alarm Systems let you know when there is a disturbance at your doors, windows, or outside your place of business when you aren’t there.

Fire Alarms – You should install a smoke and heat detector that have both automated triggers and can be manually pulled.

Make Sure Everything is Secure

Strong locking systems should be installed everywhere. Valuables and cash should be locked up, with a safe being your best option. But remember, the best lock in the world isn’t going to keep someone out if you don’t lock the doors.

Often, businesses (and individuals) are victims of crimes of opportunity. Thieves will typically go where the pickings are the easiest, so they’ll look for unlocked doors or open windows. Make sure everything is locked up securely before leaving the building. This also applies to company vehicles and heavy equipment.

And make sure the keys to those locks are secure. The more people who have keys to your business, the greater risk there is of burglary, so limit the number of keys issued. Keep track of keys issued to employees or anyone else, and make sure employees leave their keys when they leave your company.

You may want to consider installing an access control system so that you can limit access to different people.

Hire Wisely

Safewise reported that 64% of all small businesses fall victim to employee theft. Before hiring anyone, run a thorough background check on them, especially if they will be handling cash or sensitive financial information. SCORE recommends being alert to key indicators of potential employee theft, such as suddenly working late all the time, drug and alcohol abuse, and evidence of compulsive gambling.

Other steps SCORE recommends to avoid employee theft include close supervision, the use of purchase orders, controlled cash receipts, informal audits, managing inventory, and providing a way for employees to report theft.

Purchase the Right Commercial Insurance

If, despite all your best efforts, burglary or theft does occur at your business, the right insurance can help provide reimbursement for loss or damage. If you want the right insurance at the best price, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

We will be happy to review your policy to ensure you receive the best coverage, AND we'll compare the cost of that coverage with offerings from other insurance companies to ensure you get the best price on solid insurance protection. Contact us today to learn more!

Tags: Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, commercial property insurance

How Can Business Interruption Insurance Save Your Business?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 29, 2019

Business_Interruption_Insurance (2)Do you have Business Interruption coverage for your business? No? Let me ask you this… What would you do if there was a fire in your building, and you were forced to shut down while repairs were made?

If your business is shut down, you probably won’t have customers. If you don’t have customers, you probably won’t have any income to pay yourself or your employees. According to FEMA, nearly 40% of small businesses never reopen following a disaster.

That’s where Business Interruption Insurance can help.

What is Business Interruption Insurance?

Business Interruption Insurance (Aka Business Income) is typically an endorsement that can be added to most Commercial Property Insurance policies. It protects your business income that is a direct result of a loss, damage, or destruction of your property that is covered by your Commercial Property Insurance.

Additional Coverage to Consider

Extended Period of Indemnity

Some policies include a 30-day extension beyond the standard period of restoration; however, you may need more than the 30-day extension. Sometimes, it takes a while to get a business up and running following an extended closure. Therefore, you may want to consider buying an extended period of indemnity option endorsement, which increases that 30-day extension in multiples of 30, up to 720 days.

Extra Expense Coverage

If your property is damaged, you may incur additional expenses to keep your business running. Those expenses could include the cost of moving to a temporary site, leasing equipment, paying overtime, etc. Extra Expense coverage pays for expenses that are above and beyond your normal operating costs but are required to keep your business running after your property is damaged.

Service Interruption Coverage

One in four companies experience a power outage at least once a month, according to Bloom Energy, and it’s estimated to be costing the U.S. economy $150 billion annually.

If a utility company – such as electrical, gas, water, telephone, etc. – experiences damage to a property that is not on your premises but causes an interruption in your business operations, or an actual financial loss, Service Interruption Coverage may kick in.

Contingent Business Interruption (CBI)

CBI covers your business income loss that is a result of loss, damage, or destruction of properties owned by suppliers of goods and services that you need to run your business. The damage must be the type of damage that your Commercial Property Insurance policy covers.

Leader Property Endorsement

This endorsement helps protect your business if an off-premises facility within a certain distance of your property incurs property damage that affects your business. This endorsement is good for restaurants that rely on the customers coming from another venue, such as a casino, stadium, or amusement park.

Interruption by Civil or Military Authority

If a civil or military authority denies you access to your property, this type of policy may cover lost business sustained during the time you are denied access. This type of thing can happen during a hurricane, winter storm, flood, etc.

 

How to Save Big on Business Interruption Insurance

Sometimes it’s hard to think of every risk that your business may face, and insurance policy verbiage can be complicated. This is why an experienced insurance agent is vital if you want to understand your risks and options and protect your business.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Commercial Insurance. They can not only ensure that you have the right coverage they can also ensure that you pay the lowest price for that coverage by shopping among many competing providers for you. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

 

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, commercial property insurance, Utility Service Interruption Insurance, Business Interruption Insurance

What You Need to Know About Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 22, 2019

save_restaurant_insuranceWhen it comes to Restaurant Insurance, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every restaurant has different assets that need to be protected, different risk factors, and different types of liability. And every restaurant owner has different levels of comfort when it comes to those risks and liabilities.

Restaurant Insurance can be very complicated if you aren’t familiar with the risks, your different insurance options, and typical exclusions. Here is some basic information about Restaurant Insurance to help ensure that you get the best insurance for your needs.

Insurance Coverage Your Restaurant May Need

With all the different types of insurance coverage available today, including some rather odd ones like chicken insurance and alien abduction insurance (we kid you not!), it’s best to start with the basics and add additional coverage IF you need it. Here are three basic types of coverage every restaurant owner should consider.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance

CGL protects your business from bodily injury, personal injury, or property damage caused by your restaurant or on your restaurant’s premises. For example, if someone is injured after falling on your property or becomes sick after eating your food, they can sue you. Commercial Liability Insurance will pay for your legal expenses such as attorney fees and judgments against your restaurant. 

It’s important to consider your risks and determine if your CGL policy will cover it or if it is an exclusion. For example, if you serve alcohol to a customer who then causes a car accident upon leaving your restaurant, you could be held liable for any damage or injury caused by the accident. Most CGL policies won’t cover you in that situation, but Liquor Liability Insurance will.

Property Insurance

Property Insurance protects many of your assets, such as your building and your equipment from fire, storm, or theft damage. It may also include Business Interruption Insurance that covers lost income if damage forces you to close your restaurant temporarily.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Pennsylvania, if you have one or more employees – whether they are full- or part-time, you are probably required to carry WC Insurance for each of your employees. WC covers medical expenses and lost wages if your employee is injured on the job. It also protects you against lawsuits filed by an injured worker.

Those are the basic coverages, but depending on your situation, there may be other types of insurance to consider. For example, if you use a vehicle for business, you should have Commercial Auto Insurance for that vehicle, whether it is owned or leased or even if it belongs to an employee.

An insurance agent who specializes in Restaurant Insurance can help you identify any additional risks and determine the best way to cover those risks.

How is the Cost of Your Restaurant Insurance Determined?

Every restaurant is individually underwritten based on the circumstances of its establishment. You will be asked many questions when you apply for insurance, and insurance companies will do some of their own research before quoting you a price. Your costs will be based on how much risk or liability you restaurant poses, the value of what you need to protect, and the level of your coverage.

To determine your risk (how likely you are to make a claim), insurance companies will look at your loss history, years in business, hours of operation, whether or not you sell alcohol and if so, how much, activities within your restaurant, such as entertainment, ID checkers, etc.

To determine the value of what you need to protect, they will look at the size of your property, the volume of your sales and payroll, the type of property, etc.

The level of coverage will be based on several things, including lease requirements, lender requirements, and how comfortable you are with risk.

When you talk to your insurance agent, be open and honest about the operation of your restaurant. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a situation where you don’t have enough coverage or any coverage when you need it.

How to Save Big on Restaurant Insurance

Because American Insuring Group’s agents have experience in Restaurant Insurance, we can help identify risks that are typical for restaurants as well as risks unique to your establishment to ensure that you have the right coverage to protect your assets. As independent agents, we can check with several companies to ensure that you get the best price for that coverage.

Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online and let us show you how we can lower all your Commercial Insurance Costs!

 

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, commercial property insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Workers Comp Costs, Musculoskeletal Disorders, and Ergonomics

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 15, 2019

Ergonomics_Workers_Comp_CostsWhen it comes to increasing workplace safety and reducing Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs, your mind may immediately go to improving safety among construction workers, drivers, or maybe factory workers. These occupations are notoriously dangerous. We often hear about a worker breaking his or her leg after a fall or sustaining a concussion after being struck by something.

These are legitimate safety concerns. But there is another threat to safety that many employers overlook – workplace ergonomics, which can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and be just as costly to employers.

MSDs are injuries, pain, stiffness, tingling, burning, cramping, or discomfort in the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, and ligaments. The disorder can affect your neck, shoulders, arms, legs, feet, hands, and the upper and lower back. Examples of MSDs include muscle sprains, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendinitis.

This disorder can be caused by acute trauma like a car accident, but bad ergonomics, such as repetitious motions, vibrations, and awkward postures, can also cause MSDs.

If your employees work in a relatively safe work environment, such as an office, you may not spend much time thinking about how you can improve safety to lower your Workers’ Comp costs. If the majority of your employees work in environments where other types of injuries are more prevalent, you may dismiss the impact of MSDs on Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs.

You may want to re-think either of those attitudes.

The Cost of Workplace MSDs

An estimated 126.6 million Americans are affected by MSDs, according to Science Daily. That’s one in two adults. The cost of the disorder is estimated at $213 billion every year.

And workplaces are not immune to the impact of the disorder. According to ErgoPlus, MSDs account for almost 400,000 injuries every year, account for one-third of all WC costs and result in 38% more lost time than the average injury or illness.

MSDs often result in chronic pain, disability, and mobility issues. The World Health Organization reports that MSDs are the second largest contributor to disability worldwide. The direct cost of MSDs in the workplace is about $20 billion, but the indirect costs, such as lost productivity, product defects, etc. can be much higher.

Employers and employees can work together to reduce MSD risk factors by understanding ergonomics and taking steps to minimize the risks

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of increasing efficiency and reducing discomfort by helping the job fit the worker instead of trying to fit the worker to the job. It can involve engineering controls, such as improving the design of tools or workspaces or automating certain processes. That could mean providing workers with ergonomically friendly accessories such as adjustable tables or chairs, footrests, or lumbar support.

Administrative controls can include actions such as job rotation, reviewing injury logs, and providing employee education, such as discussions on MSD risk factors, how to be mindful of postures, and how to avoid awkward positions.

Reduce MSDs in the Workplace

The first step to reducing MSDs is to learn how to recognize the risk factors, which include highly repetitive tasks, high-force loads that increase muscle effort, and awkward or sustained awkward postures.

ErgoPlus offers this advice to help reduce the risk of MSDs:

  1. Maintain a Neutral Posture by keeping the body aligned and balanced when sitting or standing.
  2. Work in the Power or Comfort Zone, which means lifting close to the body between the mid-thigh and mid-chest.
  3. Allow for movement or stretching if you’re working for long periods of time in a static position.
  4. Reduce excessive force
  5. Reduce repetitive or excessive motions
  6. Minimize contact stress, which is caused by continuous contact or rubbing between sharp or hard objects and body tissue
  7. Reduce excessive vibration
  8. Provide adequate lighting

Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs

Whether you work in a highly dangerous or a relatively safe industry, your workers can be affected by musculoskeletal disorders, which costs both you and the injured worker big time. Learn to recognize ergonomic risk factors and how to reduce the risk of MSDs to improve the safety of your workplace and the well-being of your employees and lower your Workers’ Compensation costs.

Another way to save on WC costs is to work with an agent who can help you identify potential risks and has experience with Workers’ Compensation Insurance, like the independent agents at American Insuring Group.  Why not give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online?

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, workers comp, Commercial Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

What do Ototoxic Chemicals, Hearing Loss and Insurance Have in Common?

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Dec 10, 2019

chemical_hearing_loss_insuranceKeeping workers safe helps businesses save money with lower Commercial Insurance costs, higher productivity, higher employee morale, and more. There is one hazard in many workplaces that is easily overlooked – Ototoxicant chemicals.

Exposure to Ototoxicant chemicals can cause hearing loss or balance issues, even if workers are not exposed to loud noises. The risk of hearing loss increases when workers are exposed to both ototoxicant chemicals and elevated levels of noise. One study found that “exposure to organic solvents along with exposure to loud noise on the job, and smoking each increased a worker’s risk of hearing loss by 15-20%.”

Depending on the dose of the chemical, the length of exposure, and the noise level, the hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. According to the CDC, chemicals tend to affect the more central portions of the auditory system, which not only make the sound less loud but also distort words, making word-recognition more challenging.

Plus, any health and safety professionals are concerned that hearing losses caused by ototoxicants can go undetected because many hearing tests don’t indicate the cause of hearing losses.

Hearing loss can cause accidents, increasing the number of workers’ compensation claims, which could have a direct result on how much you pay. Plus, employees can file a complaint with OSHA if they believe their working conditions are “unsafe or unhealthful,” and you could be held liable for an employee’s hearing loss.

Who is at Risk?

Ototoxic chemicals can be found in pesticides, solvents, metals, and pharmaceuticals. Hearing loss can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption of the chemical. 

According to the CDC, workers in manufacturing, mining, utilities, construction, and agriculture are more likely to be exposed to ototoxic chemicals. Activities that often add a high level of noise exposure along with the exposure to ototoxicant may include:

  • Printing
  • Painting
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing occupations in subsectors such as machinery, petroleum, fabricated metal, and more
  • Firefighting
  • Weapons firing
  • Pesticide Spraying

Prevention of Hearing Loss Due to Ototoxic Exposure

Your first step should be to identify if there are ototoxicants in your workplace. Ototoxicants include toluene, styrene, carbon monoxide, acrylonitrile, and lead. Review Safety Data Sheets for ototoxic substances.

“When specific ototoxicity information is not available, information on the chemical's general toxicity, nephrotoxicity, and neurotoxicity may provide clues about the potential ototoxicity,” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states. “Most chemicals that are known to affect the auditory system are also neurotoxic and/or nephrotoxic. Information on whether a chemical produces reactive free radicals could also give some clues about the agent's potential ototoxicity.”

If you can replace the hazardous chemical with a less toxic chemical, that can reduce your workers’ exposure to ototoxicants. If that is not possible, use engineering controls to limit exposure. Controls can include enclosures and isolation to both ototoxicants and noise. Good ventilation also helps control exposure to hazardous chemicals like ototoxicants.

You should also provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees who are at risk of exposure. Avoid absorption into the skin with chemical-protective gloves, aprons, arm sleeves, etc. Also, provide hearing protection if workers are exposed to high levels of noise.

OSHA also requires that employers provide health and safety information along with training for employees who are exposed to oxotoxic and other hazardous materials.

More Ways to Lower Your Commercial Insurance Costs

Creating a safer work environment will help you save on Commercial Insurance costs, such as Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance. Finding the right insurance agent can also help you save on Commercial Insurance costs.

American Insuring Group specializes in Commercial Insurance, and as independent agents will check with several companies to ensure that you get the best price on all your Commercial Insurance needs.  Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to see if we can help lower your Commercial Insurance Costs.

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

Do You Have the Right Restaurant Insurance Coverage?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 24, 2019

AIG Cook with questionmarksWhether you are a new restaurant owner or have been in business for decades, Restaurant Insurance can be complicated. You probably have lots of questions, such as what insurance do I really need to protect my business and what insurance can I do without.

There aren’t any cookie-cutter answers to these questions because every restaurant has different types and levels of risks, and every restaurant owner has different levels of risk they are comfortable with.

Here are 7 Tips to Help You Get the Right Insurance for Your Restaurant:  

Understand What Factors Affect Your Insurance Rates:

Many factors go into the cost of your restaurant insurance. Some you have control over and some you do not. Understanding which factors can affect the cost of your insurance allows you to make informed business decisions.

For example, if you’re thinking about serving alcohol at your restaurant, you can go to your insurance provider to determine just how much that decision would increase your premiums. Maybe you determine that the increased revenue will be worth the increase in your insurance premiums, or maybe you determine that it is not. The bottom line is that you made a sound business decision because you had the facts.  

Here are ten factors that can affect the cost of your insurance premiums:

  1. Years in business
  2. Location
  3. The volume of your sales, payroll, and square feet
  4. Type of property
  5. Lease requirements
  6. Loss history
  7. Activities
  8. Hours of operation
  9. The sale of alcohol
  10. Level of coverage

Make Sure Your Restaurant is Properly Classified

Your restaurant’s classification will affect both your Workers’ Comp Insurance as well as your General Liability Insurance costs. If you own a diner that is only open from 6 am to 2 pm, you want to make sure that you are not given the classification of a bar that stays open until 2 am. There are more risks for a bar staying open until 2 am, and you will pay a higher premium due to those risks.

It’s in your best interest to be honest with your insurance agent about the type of restaurant you own. For example, if you neglect to tell him or her that you serve alcohol, and someone who was served alcohol at your restaurant causes an accident, you may not be covered. One nasty lawsuit against your restaurant could easily put you out of business without the proper protection.

Ask About Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Most businesses in Pennsylvania are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance for their employees. Most insurance carriers require a 25% estimated premium upfront. If you have a lot of employees, that could do some serious damage to your cash flow.

Pay as you go Workers’ Compensation Insurance allows you to pay your premium each month based on your actual payroll rather than an estimate. Pay as you go is particularly helpful for new restaurants that don’t yet know how much their payrolls will be. Pay as you go WC Insurance also eliminates the need for audits.

Don’t Assume That You Do Not Need Commercial Auto Insurance

If you have a vehicle that either you or your employees use for your restaurant, you will need commercial insurance coverage. Even if your employees use their vehicle to run errands like making bank deposits, you may still be held liable if they are in an accident. A non-owned auto policy can help cover your restaurant in that situation.

Consider Cyber Liability Insurance

Just because you are a small business doesn’t mean that you are not at risk for a data breach. In fact, according to Small Biz Trends, 43% of cyber attacks still target small businesses. According to IBM, the average total cost of a data breach in the US is $3.92 million. Of course, this number is skewed due to the really big data breaches like Target experienced, but even having a few of your customers falling victim to a data breach could cost your business thousands of dollars, along with your reputation.

Ask About a Business Owner’s Package (BOP)

A BOP bundles your insurance policies together. Most insurance companies like to bundle your policies because it means more business for them, and bundling policies usually means a discount for you as well.

Bundling with one company also helps ensure that there are no gaps in your coverage, and it could speed up the processing of any claims you have to file.

Understand the Difference Between a Captive Agent and an Independent Agent

A captive agent only represents one company. The agents at the American Insuring Group are all independent agents, which means they can compare the cost of your coverage with several different companies. Often, this means lower premium payments for you.

How to Save Even More on Restaurant Insurance

Perhaps the best way to save on Restaurant Insurance and still ensure that you have enough coverage to protect your restaurant is to work with an insurance agent who is familiar with your industry and its risks, like the independent insurance agents American Insuring Group.

We specialize in Restaurant Insurance and will compare pricing and coverage among lots of insurance companies to find you the very best deal. Don't delay - call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

4 Types of Insurance Every Subcontractor Should Consider

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 17, 2019

AIG 2 construction workersIf you get hired as a subcontractor, don’t assume that the general contractor’s Contractors Insurance covers you. As a subcontractor, you are NOT considered an employee of that contractor, and Contractor’s Insurance rarely covers subcontractors. Often, injury or damage caused by a subcontractor is specifically excluded from contractors' insurance policies.

And we don’t have to tell you how dangerous your occupation is. The chances of you or one of your employees injuring themselves or causing damage or injury to something or someone else is not out of the range of possibility.

In fact, according to Safety + Health magazine, a construction worker has a 75% likelihood of experiencing a disabling injury and a 1-in-200 chance of being fatally injured on the job. And don’t think because you own a small company that you’re immune to these statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Nearly half of all deaths on construction sites occur in companies with ten or fewer employees or among those who are self-employed.”

While there are no laws that require you to purchase insurance as a subcontractor, you can see why it’s the smart thing to do. Plus, many contractors will require that you have certain types of insurance to work with them.

4 Types of Insurance Every Subcontractor Should Consider:

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance

CGL is one of the most important insurance products for any business. CGL protects your business if you are liable for property damage. It covers the cost of medical and legal expenses and damages if you are found liable. One serious lawsuit can put you out of business if you don’t have the right protection.

Here are three examples of situations where CGL can help:

  • Someone visiting your job site trips and falls over materials and is injured.
  • An employee leaves the water running in the sink of a customer’s home and causes damage to the home.
  • Someone walking by your job site is hit by flying debris and dies.

As a subcontractor, you have two options: you can ask the general contractor to add you as an “additional insured” to their CGL policy, or you can purchase CGL on your own. Most general contractors will require that you purchase your own CGL policy and will very likely include this requirement in your contract and ask you to provide proof of insurance. When you talk to your insurance agent, make it clear that you are purchasing CGL is a subcontractor, not a general contractor.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If you are a sole proprietor and are injured on the job, would you have enough money to cover medical expenses? As s a sole proprietor would you be able to continue to provide for your family if you were unable to work for a month or two due to a worksite injury? Workers’ Compensation Insurance will help pay your medical expenses and even lost wages until you are back on your feet.

If you have employees, most states required (with a few exceptions) that you have Workers Comp for each of your employees. WC covers medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs if an employee is injured or killed on the job.

Another benefit of workers’ comp insurance is that it covers legal costs if the injured employee were to sue your business.

Commercial Automobile Insurance

If you use a vehicle (which, of course, most in the construction industry do) to conduct business such as transporting materials, equipment, or employees, you should have commercial automobile insurance to help protect you in the event of an accident that causes bodily injury, loss of life, or property damage. 

A personal auto policy may not be enough as certain types of vehicles can be excluded from those policies, and it may not offer high enough limits.

Builders Risk Insurance

Builders Risk Insurance (Aka Course of Construction or Inland Marine Coverage) covers a building under construction along with materials related to the project. It typically provides coverage for damage caused by fire, wind, theft, lightning, hail, explosion, and vandalism. Standard exclusions include events such as an earthquake or employee theft.

We'll Help You Find the Contractor Insurance That's Right for You!

An insurance agent (like those at American Insuring Group) who specializes in Contractors Insurance can help ensure that you have the right insurance to protect your business. The independent agents at American Insuring Group will compare the cost of that coverage with several insurance companies to ensure that you get the best price on the protection you need! Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Builders Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance

5 Ways to Lower Your Workers Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 10, 2019

AIG business man pushing cost buttonWorkers' compensation coverage is mandatory for most employers in Pennsylvania, and according to the PA Department of Labor & Industry, “Employers who do not have workers' compensation coverage may be subject to lawsuits by employees and to criminal prosecution by the commonwealth.”

Although it may be a necessity, there are ways to lower the cost of your Worker’s Comp Insurance premiums. To lower your WC costs, you need to understand how your premium is calculated.

How is Your Worker’s Compensation Premium Calculate?

A simple formula is used to calculate your Workers Comp premium for each employee:

RATE x (PAYROLL/100) x EXPERIENCE MODIFIER = PREMIUM

RATE:

The rate is determined by an employee’s classification code, which is based on how likely that worker is to be injured on the job. The same classification code is given to employees in the same industry who perform similar functions. It’s no surprise that pilots, drivers, and construction workers – considered among the most dangerous jobs – have a higher rating than an office worker.

PAYROLL:

This number is derived from a projection of your payroll for the current period of your Workers’ Compensation policy.

EXPERIENCE MODIFIER:

Your modifier is based on your company’s loss history – how many WC insurance claims you have submitted - compared to the average loss history in your industry. A company is issued an experience modifier of one if their loss history is average. If your company’s loss history is better than average, you will receive a lower modifier. If your company’s loss history is worse than average, you will receive a higher modifier. The lower your modifier, the lower your insurance premiums.

5 Tips to Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Costs

Review Your Classifications

A classification error can cost you a lot of money. For instance, if your administrative assistant has accidentally been assigned the classification of a roofer, you’re going to pay a higher WC premium for that employee than you need. A roofer is more likely to be seriously injured on the job; therefore, the classification code of a roofer will be significantly higher than that of an administrative assistant.

To make sure you aren’t making any costly classification mistakes, it’s a good idea to have your insurance agent review any classification codes you aren’t sure of.

Create a Safer Work Environment

Fewer insurance claims result in a lower experience modifier, which results in lower WC premiums. How can you make fewer claims? Create a safer work environment. Your business should have a documented safety program that is enforced and embraced by all of your employees.

A small reduction in your experience modifier can result in a significant reduction in your WC premiums.

Plus, in Pennsylvania, employers can receive a 5% Workers' Compensation premium discount by forming and maintaining a workplace safety committee that meets state-established requirements for certification.

Maintain a Substance-Free Workplace

An employee who uses drugs or alcohol while on the job can cause injuries to both themselves and their co-workers. Make it clear from the time you interview a potential employee that you have a zero-tolerance for substance abuse.

One way to do that is requiring a pre-employment drug test, and depending on how dangerous a work environment is, random drug testing for all employees.

Establish a Return-to-Work Program

The longer a claim remains open, and an injured employee is off the job, the more it costs the employer. A return-to-work program gets employees back to work once they are medically ready. That could mean reduced hours or reduced duties that are approved by the injured worker’s physician.

Find Out If You Can Join a Group

In some states, employers that have been in business for a while and have a better-than-average safety history can get a group rating by joining a recognized group, which results in lower WC premiums.

How to Save EVEN MORE on Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance!

American Insuring Group specializes in Workers Compensation Insurance, so we can guide you through the process and provide suggestions for additional ways to save on your Workers’ Comp Insurance. As independent agents, we have the advantage of working with lots of insurance companies, giving you more ways to compare and save! Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

 

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs, WC Insurance, Safety Programs