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Minimize Risk of Sprains and Strains and Lower Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 22, 2022

Buy Affordable Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Pittsburgh and in all of PA. Contact us.Sprains and strains – known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) - are costing construction companies millions of dollars every year in higher Contractor Insurance costs, lost workdays, and sometimes the permanent loss of good workers.

MSDs include back, shoulder, knee, and other musculoskeletal problems. They are one of the most common injuries in construction, accounting for one-third of all lost workday injuries and half of all workers' compensation claims, according to Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America.

In fact, approximately 30% of construction workers report lower back pain. For those workers over 55, that rate increases to 60%. Arthritis and joint pain are also common issues with construction workers – especially as they age. In addition to age, obesity, smoking, and poor physical fitness can increase the risk of an MSD-related injury. Working with the pain of an MSD-related injury reduces productivity and can lead to a disabling injury that permanently ends a construction worker's career.

The high number of MSD-related injuries probably comes as no surprise since construction involves a lot of heavy lifting and carrying of heavy objects. The three main risk factors for MSD-related injuries are excessive force, repetitive motion, and ongoing awkward work position. While you can't eliminate all MSD-related injuries, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk.


Here are 20 tips to minimize the risk of MSD-related Injuries:

  1. Plan jobs to require minimal manual handling of heavy materials by making cranes, forklifts, etc. available to workers

  2. Use hand trucks, wheelbarrows, etc. when possible.

  3. Provide mechanical aids – such as pneumatic lifts and conveyors where possible.

  4. Make materials easily accessible – between knee and should height.

  5. Store materials close to where they will be used.

  6. Seek help to handle heavier loads.

  7. Use handles to carry loads when possible.

  8. Ensure that walkways are level and clear.

  9. Wear appropriate PPE, such as knee or shoulder pads.

  10. Use ergonomically-designed tools.

  11. Provide stretching and warm-up exercises before work begins each day.

  12. Whenever possible, encourage workers to sit or stand erect and not stretch or lean forward to perform tasks.

  13. Encourage healthy lifestyles.

  14. Provide a footrest, floor mat, and/or adjustable chairs where a worker has to stand for a long time to allow them to change positions frequently.

  15. Develop a safety training program.

  16. Train workers to identify and avoid injury hazards.

  17. Train workers on proper lifting techniques, such as standing close to the load, bending knees, and assuring a good grip.

  18. Train workers on things to avoid, such as simultaneously lifting and twisting, rushing, reaching overhead, throwing heavy materials.

  19. Train workers on proper material handling, such as appropriate warm-ups, appropriate PPE, and personal risk factors.

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

Yes, we realize we listed training several times. That's because proper training is crucial to preventing any workplace injuries, including MSD-related injuries.

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs

Sometimes despite your best efforts, employees are injured on the job. Workers' Compensation helps protect employers and ensures that injured employees are well taken care of.

The experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group will find the right coverage at the lowest cost. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and discover how we can help you save on all of your insurance needs!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Business Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Employees Working Remotely

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 15, 2022

We Provide Affordable Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Allentown, Erie, Lancaster and throughout PAThe COVID pandemic created a shift in the number of Americans working from home and has caused some gray areas for Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Statistics show that in the last five years, the number of people who work from home has risen by 44%, with approximately 62% of employees between the ages of 22 and 65 working remotely at least occasionally. Plus, 16% of companies worldwide are now 100% remote.

There are advantages to working from home for both employees and employers:

  • 77% of remote workers believe they are more productive when working from home.
  • 75% of employees working remotely do so because there are fewer distractions at home.
  • 69% of millennials say they would give up certain work benefits for a more flexible working space.
  • 64% of recruiters say that the ability to offer a work-from-home option helps them find high-quality talent.
  • 74% of workers say that having a remote work opportunity would make them less likely to leave a company.

However, working from home does create challenges when it comes to Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

What is Workers Compensation (WC)?

The PA Department of Labor & Industry defines WC as a “mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance which ensures that employees disabled due to a work-related injury or disease will be compensated for lost wages and provides necessary medical treatment to return them to the workforce.” Failure to carry WC coverage can result in a $2,500 fine, up to one year imprisonment, and more.

WC covers any injury that “arises out of and in the course of employment.” So, any injury that occurs while an employee is performing work-related activities during working hours may be a valid WC claim. Where that work is performed is irrelevant; it can be outside or inside the workplace. However, the injury must be “work-related” to be considered a valid WC claim.

Workers' Compensation Challenges

Determining whether or not an injury is work-related becomes more challenging and finding witnesses to verify what occurred is nearly impossible for injuries that occur to employees working remotely.

Plus, one of the best ways to lower WC costs is to file fewer claims. When employees work in your facility, there are many steps you can take to create a safer work environment to minimize the risk of injury. However, when employees work remotely, you have little to no control over their work environment.

5 Steps to Reduce Liability for WC Claims

  1. Create a written statement that establishes policies relating to employees working from home, including defining the employee’s work duties and expectations regarding communication and status updates.

  2. Clearly define work hours and determine how you will track hours virtually.

  3. Provide home workspace guidelines. For example, show them how to include proper lighting in their workspace to avoid eyestrain and create a workstation to mitigate the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

  4. Review home offices to eliminate potential hazards, such as loose cords or overloaded electrical outlets.

  5. Establish cybersecurity processes. While this isn’t directly related to WC, it can help minimize a data breach or cyberattack liability risk because 54% of IT professionals consider remote workers to pose a greater security risk than traditional workers.

Review Insurance Policies

Any significant changes should warrant an insurance review to ensure you have the right coverage. For example, purchasing new equipment may require additional insurance, decreasing the number of employees could lower your WC costs, and allowing employees to work from home can create different liability issues that need to be addressed.

Save Now on Workers Compensation Insurance!

To ensure you have the right insurance at the lowest cost, call one of the experienced, independent agents at American Insuring Group today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

11 Types of Commercial Insurance for SMBs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 08, 2022

Commercial Insurance for Small Business in Philadelphia and throughout PAOwning a small business can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it also comes with its share of risks that can impact the success of your business – employee injuries, fires, lawsuits, thefts, and the list goes on.

The good news is that there is insurance to help your business recover from just about any catastrophe. Unfortunately, research shows that many U.S. businesses are completely uninsured, and 75% of U.S. businesses are underinsured by 40% or more.

Whether you're opening a new business or have been in business for years, it's important that you understand the potential risks your business may face, what insurance policies are required (by law, contracts, landlords, etc.), how financially prepared you are in the event of an unexpected incident, and what types of commercial insurance are available to you. Only then can you make an educated decision about which insurance policies are right for your business.

11 Types of Commercial Insurance to Protect Your Business 

  1. Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance – CGL is relevant to any business and helps protect your business from financial loss that results in property damage, bodily injury, libel, slander, lawsuits, and settlements or judgments.

  2. Commercial Property Insurance – If your business has property or physical assets, property insurance helps protect them against loss or damage due to events such as fire, hail storms, civil disobedience, and vandalism.

  3. Workers' Compensation (WC) InsuranceIn Pennsylvania (and most other states), WC is mandated for nearly every business with employees. If an employee is injured on the job, WC helps pay lost wages, disability payments, death benefits, and medical costs and helps protect your business against employee lawsuits.

  4. Business Owner's Policy (BOP) – BOP is relevant to most small business owners – especially home-based businesses. It combines all of the typical insurance coverage – General Liability, Commercial Property, and Business Income Insurance - into one, simplifying the process and often saving you money.

  5. 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.

  6. Cyber Insurance -Small or medium-sized businesses are involved in 43% of all data breaches, and 61% of all small and medium-sized businesses report experiencing at least one cyber-attack in the previous year. Cyber Insurance helps cover your business' liability for data breaches that involve sensitive customer information, such as credit card numbers, driver's license numbers, and health records.

  7. Commercial Vehicle Insurance – If you use a vehicle for any business – such as delivering food or transporting products – Commercial Vehicle Insurance helps cover bodily injury or property damage claims if the vehicle is involved in an accident.

  8. Product Liability Insurance – If your business manufactures, wholesales, distributes, or retails a product, Product Liability Insurance can protect you against financial loss resulting in malpractice, errors, and negligence.

  9. 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.

  10. Commercial 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.

  11. Professional Liability/Indemnity Insurance (Aka Errors and Omissions Insurance)– If your business is sued due to a mistake made in a professional service your company provides, Professional Liability helps cover legal costs.

There are also insurance policies specific to unique risks in certain industries, such as Liquor Liability Insurance for restaurants and bars that serve alcohol, Builders Risk Insurance for contractors, and Bobtail Insurance for truckers.

We Offer The Best Insurance For Your Business

Every business is unique, which is why working with an experienced independent insurance agent is the key to obtaining the right insurance for your business.

So give one of the professional agents at American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.  

As independent agents, we will also compare the cost of your coverage with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price for the right coverage.

Tags: Commercial Liability Insurance, commercial vehicle insuarance, Commercial Insurance, commercial property insurance

3 Facts About Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Dec 27, 2021

Restaurant Insurance Facts to Help You Save on Restaurant Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania

Restaurants are filled with potential risks, but the right Restaurant Insurance helps protect your restaurant from those risks. Here are four facts about commercial insurance to help ensure that you have the RIGHT insurance for your unique insurance needs.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance Isn't Enough.

CGL is a complex insurance policy that helps cover legal liability costs associated with incidents caused by your services, business operations, or employees. CGL typically covers bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, advertising injury, and medical payments.

Restaurants face many risks. An employee can fall and injure themselves. A customer can get sick from food consumed in your restaurant. A delivery vehicle can be in an accident. And the list goes on… Unfortunately, not all liability issues are covered by a CGL policy, and often additional coverage is required.

For example…


      • In Pennsylvania, "any establishment or licensed individual who gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be legally held responsible for injuries and damages that person might cause." Typically, CGL doesn't cover this type of liability; however, Liquor Liability insurance does cover claims involving alcohol.CGL is also not designed to cover employee injuries.

      • In Pennsylvania, Workers' Compensation (WC) insurance is mandatory for most employers. WC covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees injured on the job and limits employees' ability to sue your business for negligence related to the injury. Employers who do not have workers' compensation coverage may be subject to lawsuits by employees and criminal prosecution by the commonwealth.

      • Recently, restaurants have been hit hard by data breaches. According to QSR, "Cyber criminals have found a rather easy and profitable target within the restaurant food chain vertical. With point-of-sale systems distributed across hundreds, if not thousands, of locations—these attackers find it all too easy to penetrate and maintain a presence, harvesting customer PII and credit card data." Furthermore, according to Bluefin, the average cost of a data breach in 2019 was $1.99 million. And typically, CGL has limited or no coverage for data breaches, which is why Cyber Insurance is crucial.

It's also important to remember that the limit (the most an insurance company will pay if a claim is filed) can vary significantly. An experienced insurance agent can help you determine the appropriate limit for your needs. 

Insurance Covers the Food You Prepare and Serve.

Restaurants face a unique risk – food contamination and food poisoning. While smart restaurant owners do everything possible to minimize the risk of food contamination, it is still a risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in six Americans (48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of food-borne diseases every year.

Despite your best efforts, food can be mishandled or improperly stored before reaching your restaurant. As a result, you might unknowingly serve contaminated food to your customers, causing food poisoning. Food contamination coverage can help reimburse you for expenses, such as loss of income due to a shutdown, advertising to help your business restore its reputation, etc.

You could also experience an extended power outage and lose everything in your freezer. Food spoilage coverage - which typically covers risks such as prolonged power outages, equipment breakdown, etc. - can help reimburse you for the cost of lost food.

There are Ways to Save on Restaurant Insurance Costs,

The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can reduce the cost of your insurance without lowering your coverage. Here are eight tips:

        • Focus on Safety
        • Improve Security
        • Hire Wisely
        • Pay Upfront
        • Increase Your Deductible
        • Carry the Right Coverage
        • Bundle your policies
        • Review Your Policies Annually

Final Tip to Save on Restaurant Insurance Costs – Work with an Independent Agent!

As independent agents, the agents at the American Insuring Group compare the cost of your coverage with many insurance carriers to ensure that you get the best price.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance

10 Tips to Minimize Litigation Risk and Lower Contractors Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 18, 2021

How to Minimize Litigation Risks to Save on Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia County, Berks County, Lehigh Valley and throughout Pennsylvania

Contractors Insurance is designed to help protect your business from various risks, including the risk of liability. A contractor can be sued for a variety of reasons – breach of contract, defects, employee and customer relations, project delays, etc. – and no business is immune to these risks.

According to a Small Business Administration (SBA) survey on the impact of litigation on small businesses, 36-53% of small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) were involved in filed civil lawsuits, resulting in $3,000 to $150,000 in legal costs for actual litigation. The survey report also states, “The impact of litigation on businesses goes well beyond the purely financial impact of legal fees and damages. Most small business owners are invested personally in their businesses; litigation causes not just financial loss, but also substantial emotional hardship, and often changes the tone of the business.”

Taking steps to minimize liability risks is just good business. Here are nine tips:

    1. Identify Potential Risks – Contractors are surrounded by potential liability risks, and the first step to reducing those risks is to identify them. Take time to look at your overall business practices and potential hazards at each project.

    2. Avoid accidents, including the Fatal Four – Every employer is obligated to keep employees safe, which can be a challenge in an industry like construction where hazards loom around every corner. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019, and about 20% of fatalities in private industry were in construction. OSHA identified four hazards responsible for 63.7% of construction worker deaths in 2016, known as the “fatal four.” All workplace safety risks should be addressed, and starting with the fatal four – falls, struck by an object, electrocutions, caught-in/between - is a great place to start.

    3. Understand Safety Laws – The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was created to help ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers. The result is a set of standards that businesses are required to follow by law. For example, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided for any employee working at an elevation of six feet or more in the construction industry.

    4. Understand Labor Laws - Fair Labor Standards Act mandates are designed to protect workers in the U.S. All businesses are required to follow these mandates, which include the establishment of minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards.

    5. Avoid Delays – Delays are often unavoidable in the construction industry, and they are one of the most common disputes between construction companies and clients. Even if there is nothing in your contract about penalties for delays, common law usually applies, which could force you to compensate your client for loss of rent, storage fees, moving costs, etc. Proper planning can help minimize the risk of delays.

    6. Provide Quality Work – Shoddy work not only damages your business reputation it can also result in a costly lawsuit. Avoid construction defects, including defects in the design, workmanship, and or materials used, by drafting well-crafted contracts, fulfilling the contract terms, performing and documenting periodic inspections, etc.

    7. Hire Subcontractors Wisely – When something goes wrong – someone is injured, there’s a crack in the foundation, etc. – the general contractor is often held responsible. Therefore, only hire subcontractors you trust and have a reputation for quality work. Draft a comprehensive contract and ensure they have appropriate insurance.

    8. Communicate – Good communication – with employees, subcontractors, and clients – is key to the success of any project. Employ communication techniques, such as choosing a suitable communication method, being an active listener, and keeping communication professional at all times.

    9. Consult a Specialist When Appropriate – If you or your employees don’t have the knowledge or experience to perform a specific task, hire someone who specializes in that task.

    10. Document – With each project, have a comprehensive contract AND thoroughly document any potential hazards, inspections, accident reports, etc.

How to Purchase the Right Insurance

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit. Thankfully, the right insurance can help minimize the impact of any lawsuit.

The agents at American Insuring Group understand the unique risks contractors face, and – as independent agents – they compare the cost of your coverage with several companies to lower your premiums.

Give one of our contractor insurance specialists a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance

Hazardous Materials and Commercial Truck Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 11, 2021

Hazardous Material Truck Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster and throughout Pennsylvania

Operating large trucks imposes many risks – accidents, theft, fire, and more - but Commercial Truck Insurance is designed to help protect you, your business, as well as other drivers. For example, Commercial Automobile Insurance provides protection if a third party is injured in an accident. General Liability coverage provides protection if a third party's property is damaged. Cargo Insurance provides protection if your cargo is lost or damaged.

However, if your truck is carrying hazardous materials, you're looking at a whole new level of risk, and additional insurance may be required to protect you from those risks.

Hazardous Materials

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines hazardous materials as "those materials designated by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation as posing an unreasonable threat to the public and the environment."

That can include hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature material, and more. Examples of hazardous materials include some battery-powered equipment, corrosives, dry ice, flammable solids, toxic substances, patient specimens, flammable solids, explosives, gases, etc.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, from 2016 to 2020, there were a total of 84,854 highway hazardous materials incidents, 34 highway hazardous materials fatalities, 623 highway hazardous materials injuries, and $286,837 in highway hazardous materials property damage.

Insurance Options

In addition to standard trucking insurance policies, truckers have additional options to protect them - some are required by law.

        • Transportation Pollution Liability – Sometimes called Environmental Insurance, Transportation Pollution Liability Insurance provides protection for materials being transported, shipped, or delivered. For example, if a cement truck rolls over and its contents end up polluting a stream.

        • Trucking Umbrella or Excess Liability — With limits up to $50,000,000, Trucking Umbrella or Excess Liability Insurance provides additional liability coverage beyond your primary liability limits on policies, such as General Liability or Commercial Auto Liability Policies.

        • Hazmat Hauler's Liability — Often required by a contract, Hazmat Hauler's Liability Insurance provides liability coverage for incidents not related to an automobile accident, such as delivering the wrong materials or products.

        • Single Deductible Endorsement — A deductible is the amount of money you agree to pay out of pocket when you make an insurance claim. Typically, if an accident causes damage to your tractor, trailer, and cargo, you could be looking at three different deductibles. A Single Deductible Endorsement allows you to have one deductible; thereby, saving out-of-pocket expenses.

        • Loading & Unloading — Hazardous materials create risks even when they aren't being transported. Loading & Unloading coverage helps protect cargo when it is being loaded and unloaded from your truck.

        • Medical Payments— Offering an added level of protection for medical bills in the event of an accident, Medical Payments Coverage pays medical and other expenses for drivers and passengers, regardless of fault.

        • Truckers Downtime Insurance – Like Business Interruption Coverage, Truckers Downtime Insurance (typically added to your physical damage policy) helps cover lost income if you cannot use your truck due to a covered loss.

        • Loan or Lease Gap Coverage – If your truck or trailer depreciates faster than what you financed it for, Loan or Lease Gap Coverage pays the difference between the actual cash value and the unpaid balance on your lease or loan if your vehicle is totaled.

        • Truck Rental Reimbursement — Just because your vehicle is damaged in an accident doesn't mean you have to stop working. Truck Rental Reimbursement coverage (typically added to physical damage policy) covers a large part of the cost to rent a replacement vehicle.

How to Save on Trucking Insurance

Not all insurance needs are alike, and not every trucker or fleet owner needs the same coverage. American Insuring Group specializes in Truck Insurance and can ensure that you have the insurance that fits your needs. Plus, as independent agents, we compare coverage and pricing from multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premiums for quality coverage.

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

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, commercial vehicles

5 Tips to Minimize the Risk of Back Injuries in the Workplace

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 04, 2021

Avoid Back Injury, and save on workers comp insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie and throughout PA

Back injuries account for nearly 20% of all injuries and illnesses in the workplace, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and those injuries are costing businesses billions of dollars in lost productivity, Workers' Compensation Insurance costs, and more.

What Causes Back Injuries?

Back Injuries can happen in an instant or develop over time. Here are five common risks for back injuries:

      • Repetitive Motion
      • Poor Physical Condition
      • Incorrect Lifting
      • Poor Posture
      • Inactivity

    How to Minimize the Risk of Back Injuries

Most back injuries are preventable. Here are five tips to minimize the risk of back injuries.

 

Modify Repetitive Tasks


Repetitive tasks or maintaining the same posture for long periods can strain your body, including your back. There's even a name for it – Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). If you have a task that you need to do repeatedly, try to modify that task to alleviate some of the strain on your back.

For example, lift-assist tools can help if you need to lift on the job repeatedly, and blue-tooth headphones can help if you are constantly on the phone.

     Lift Properly

Improper lifting can cause back injuries. Before lifting anything, determine the size and weight of the load and get assistance or use a mechanical lifting device if needed. Here are five proper lifting tips from Princeton University:

    1. Warm up
    2. Stand close to load
    3. Bend your knees
    4. Grip the load
    5. Lower load in reverse

Notice Your Posture

Poor posture puts unnecessary stress on muscles, joints, and ligaments in different parts of the body. Even if you work in an office and sit behind a desk most of the time, bad posture can cause back injuries. To maintain good posture throughout the day, make sure your workstation is set up correctly and that you take regular breaks.

Here are six tips from Albert Einstein College of Medicine:

    1. Adjust your chair so that your thighs are horizontal with the floor, your feet are flat, and the backrest supports your lower back. If your feet do not rest comfortably on the floor, use a footrest.
    2. Adjust your keyboard or chair height so that, while you're typing, your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, and your wrists are straight.
    3. Adjust your computer monitor so that the top of the screen is at your eye level.
    4. Use a document holder so your papers can be kept at the same level as your computer monitor.
    5. Make motions such as typing and stapling with the least amount of force possible.
    6. Adjust the window blinds or lighting, so there is no glare on the computer screen.

     Stay Healthy

A healthy body performs better, is less likely to be injured, and heals more quickly; therefore, keeping healthy can help you avoid and minimize the severity and recovery time of back injuries. Healthy habits include…

Staying hydrated. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink about 15.5 cups of water per day and women should drink about 11.5 cups of water per day.

Staying active by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.

Eating healthy by focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk; including a variety of protein foods; limiting saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and sugar consumption; and staying within your daily calorie needs.

Listen to Your Body

If you listen, your body can tell you a lot and help you prevent a multitude of injuries, including back injuries. If you feel pain or tenderness, stiffness, difficulty standing, muscle spasms, bruising, etc., your body is telling you that something isn't right. If you continue to try to "work through the pain," you may be causing more injury.

Lower Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

Minimizing the risk of back injuries is one step toward lowering Workers' Compensation costs. Another step is working with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in WC insurance.

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

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

Commercial Truck Maintenance Schedules Lower Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 27, 2021

Commercial Truck Maintenance Schedules Lower Truck Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, and throughout PAWe're all about saving you money on your Commercial Truck Insurance, but there's one step you can take that goes beyond just lowering your insurance costs - a commercial truck maintenance schedule. We understand that most truck drivers and fleet owners face challenging delivery schedules and don't have a lot of time on their hands.

But time spent on regular truck maintenance can help save time in the long run, reduce frustration, lower costs, and increase safety. Here's how!

Fewer Breakdowns

Even minor issues can cause truck breakdowns if ignored, and small issues can quickly become more significant - causing more downtime and higher repair costs - if not addressed immediately. Taking time to make a repair when it is discovered helps keep your truck moving. A breakdown on the road can be dangerous to the driver and can cause late shipments.

Higher Customer Satisfaction

An unexpected breakdown can cause late, inconsistent, or unpredictable delivery times that may force businesses to look at another trucking company that delivers consistently and on time. Regular truck maintenance results in fewer breakdowns and more reliable deliveries.

Safer Trucks/Fewer Accidents

The weight, height, and size of trucks make them more dangerous than smaller vehicles. Trucks need more time to stop, have larger blind spots, are more likely to roll over, and can cause more damage than a smaller vehicle. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2019, 5,005 large trucks were involved fatal crashes, and 118,000 were involved in accidents that resulted in an injury. Furthermore, the NSC reports that while large trucks accounted for only 4% of all registered vehicles and 7% of total vehicle miles traveled, they accounted for 10% of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2019.

Regular maintenance helps make trucks safer. For example, braking deficiencies will sometimes allow a truck to stop during routine driving situations but may fail in an emergency when hard braking is required. Safer trucks lower the risk of accidents and make our roads safer for all drivers

Lower Operating Costs

Maintenance schedules help improve your bottom line in several ways.

  • More minor repairs – which can be caught during a maintenance check – are typically less expensive than major repairs.
  • Well-maintained trucks can lower fuel costs.
  • Fewer accidents mean lower insurance costs.
  • Late shipments caused by unexpected breakdowns can lead to the loss of customers.

Compliance With Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states, "the motor carrier must either inspect, repair, maintain, and keep suitable records for all vehicles subject to its control for 30 consecutive days or more, or cause another party to perform such activities. The motor carrier is solely responsible for ensuring that the vehicles under its control are in safe operating condition and that defects have been corrected."

Having a Commercial Truck Maintenance Schedule helps ensure that you are following FMCSA regulations.

How to Create a Commercial Truck Maintenance Schedule

Metalphoto of Cincinnati offers tips to establishing an effective preventative maintenance program that includes the following:

  1. What you need to implement a fleet preventative maintenance plan
  2. How to establish a baseline
  3. How to determine maintenance intervals
  4. Advice on fleet maintenance software
  5. A preventative maintenance service checklist
  6. How to develop a driver inspection and reporting system
  7. How to track metrics and monitor for success 

How to Save Even More on Commercial Truck Insurance

Don't stop with a maintenance schedule if you want to save even more on commercial truck insurance. Work with an insurance agent who understands your unique risks and challenges. American Insuring Group has been helping truck and fleet owners with their Commercial Truck Insurance needs for years. And, as independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to get you the lowest price.

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

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Physical Damage Truck Insurance

Protect Your Restaurant Against Lawsuits To Reduce Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 20, 2021

Protect Your Restaurant Against Lawsuits To Reduce Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, York, Allentown, and throughout PennsylvaniaCertain types of Restaurant Insurance are designed to protect your business in the event of a lawsuit. Here's what you need to know about lawsuits and your insurance options.

How Likely is My Restaurant to Be Sued?

There's no doubt we live in a litigious society. According to the U.S. Financial Education Foundation (USFEF), it's estimated that over 40 million lawsuits are filed every year in the U.S. And small businesses aren't immune to lawsuits. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 36 to 53% of small businesses are sued every year. Let's take a moment to let that statistic sink in... Approximately half of all small businesses are sued in any given year.

And it costs those businesses big time. The SBA reports that lawsuits that go to trial can cost $3,000 to $150,000 to resolve. Thankfully, most cases are settled out of court; however, they still cost the business time, legal fees, business reputation, and sometimes a settlement to the plaintiff.

How to Protect Your Restaurant From Lawsuits

"Business owners who've had to pay legal damages say the costs nearly put them out of business," SCORE reports and advises, "Take the right steps to reduce the financial repercussions on both your personal and business finances should litigation become necessary. Incorporate your business in a way that shields your personal finances from any legal claim, and obtain the right business insurance coverage to protect your company's finances."

To determine what insurance coverage you need to protect your restaurant, you have to identify potential risks.

Here are four areas of liability you need to consider: 

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance helps protect your restaurant against customer injuries (for example, a customer slips and falls in your restaurant), customer property damage (a waiter spills soup on a customer's laptop), and advertising injuries, such as libel, slander, and copyright infringement. CGL typically covers legal fees, medical expenses, and judgments.

Every restaurant should carry General Liability Insurance, and it is required for most commercial leases. However, it is important to remember that General Liability Insurance does NOT cover employee injures. For those injuries, you need Workers' Compensation Insurance, which, in PA, is mandated for almost every employer.

Liquor Liability Insurance helps protect restaurants that serve alcohol. According to Pennsylvania's Dram Shop Law, "Any restaurant or licensed individual who gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be legally held responsible for injuries and damages that person might cause."

Here are some examples:

  • If you serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated and they get into a car accident, you can be held liable for any damages or injuries.
  • If you serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, starts a fight, and injures someone, you can be held liable.
  • If you serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated, and they fall and are injured, you can be held liable. 

Liquor Liability Insurance helps cover legal costs and settlements if you are sued under the PA Dram Shop Law. 

Product Liability Insurance protects you from lawsuits that result from illnesses caused by the consumption of your food. The sad fact is that you can do everything possible to ensure food safety in your restaurant. Still, unless you have control over the entire supply chain, you could unwittingly end up serving contaminated food.

Commercial Vehicle Liability helps protect restaurants that use a vehicle for commercial use. Typically, a personal auto insurance policy will not cover damage caused while operating the vehicle for commercial use. That can mean a company-owned vehicle used for deliveries or even trips to the bank. If your delivery drivers use their own vehicle, you will also need non-owned vehicle coverage, and if you offer valet service, you'll need valet service insurance.

How to Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

The agents at American Insuring Group have years of experience assisting restaurants with their insurance needs. They understand your business and know what questions to ask to ensure you have the right insurance coverage. And as independent agents, they check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest rate for that insurance coverage.

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

5 Tips to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 13, 2021

Ways-to-Lower-WC-Costs-800Pennsylvania law mandates that every employer (with very few exceptions) provides Workers' Compensation Insurance for their employees.

The cost of this insurance is based on several factors, such as payroll, work risk, and work history. The National Academy of Social Insurance reports the average cost of WC insurance in PA in 2018 was $1.35 per $100 of payroll.

The good news is that there are many steps employers can take to lower Workers' Compensation Insurance costs. Number one is creating a safer work environment because fewer claims mean lower WC Insurance costs. Here are five additional tips to help lower your Workers' Compensation costs.

Immediately Report Injuries

PA law requires that workplace injuries be reported promptly, and reporting injuries quickly also provides many benefits to the employer.

  • A delay in treatment can worsen the injury, thereby extending recovery time and increasing days out of work.
  • It's harder to investigate a claim, determine compensability, and identify fraudulent claims that are not reported promptly.
  • If an employee reports an injury and the employer delays the claim, it can create distrust in the injured employee and other employees.
  • It's the law. Employers are required to file all WC claims within 21 days.

Communicate with Injured Employees

Regular communication helps maintain good relationships by letting injured employees know that you are concerned about their well-being and recovery and that they are valued employees. Failure to do so can cause an unhappy worker (which can extend to un-injured employees), and unhappy workers are more likely to hire an attorney. Regular discussions also help keep employers apprised of an injured employee's medical status so they can get them back to work as quickly and safely as possible.

Get Injured Employees Back to Work as Quickly and Safely as Possible

Getting injured employees back to work – even in a limited capacity – benefits both the employer and the injured employee. Here are the benefits of a return-to-work program, according to SHRM:

  • Increased productivity.
  • Reduced costs due to overtime pay as other workers fill in.
  • Reduced administrative costs associated with filling the position with temporary help.
  • Controlled workers' compensation claim costs.
  • Reduced short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) costs.
  • Reduction in absenteeism and days away from work.

Employees benefit from an RTW program because:

  • They maintain some or all of their earnings.
  • They retain their skills and are productive contributors to the organization.
  • They are likely to return to their pre-injury jobs more quickly.
  • They maintain social connections and sense of purpose with their work routine.

Analyze

One way to lower your WC costs is to improve your loss history. One way to improve your loss history is by analyzing a loss run report – a report issued by your current insurance provider that shows your company's claim activity.

Loss Run Reports provide a great deal of information, such as the date of each claim, a description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. Insurance companies use the information from these reports to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay or even determine if an insurance company will issue or renew your policy.

Use this information to lower your insurance costs. Here's how:

  • Is the information accurate?
  • Are there common injuries that you can minimize?
  • If you have a high number of claims from one individual or new hires, can you improve safety training?
  • If you have a lost-time claim higher than the average 20-25%, can you improve your return-to-work Program?
  • If you discover a pattern of long reporting times, can you provide additional safety training for managers?
  • If you see a large number of litigated claims, could it be a lack of communication, a bad business culture, or disgruntled employees?

Create a Wellness Program

Healthier employees lead to happier, more productive employees, fewer days away from work, and lower workers' compensation costs. A Duke University Medical Center analysis reported that obese workers filed twice as many WC claims, missed 13 times more workdays from a workplace injury or illness, and incurred seven times higher medical costs than non-obese workers.

Indiana State Department of Health reported, "Workers' compensation costs for a smoker averaged $2,189 compared to only $176 for a nonsmoker." And one study found that "smokers are absent from work for sickness as many as 6.16 days per year on average, compared with 3.86 days for those employees who never smoke."

A wellness program can help improve your employees' lives and your Workers' Compensation costs.

Lower Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

Work with one of the experienced and trusted agents at American Insuring Group. We work with more than 25 competing insurance carriers to find the best insurance value to meet your specific situation.

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

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