Insurance Savings and News You Can Use
Join the Conversation!

David Ross

Recent Posts

4 Steps to a Speedy Workers’ Comp Insurance Claim

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 13, 2019

workplace_safety_lower_insurance_300Despite all of your best efforts to create a safe work environment, accidents do happen on worksites – whether it’s a restaurant or a construction site or even an office, and you should be prepared.

Knowing what to do when someone injures themselves in the workplace can help ensure that the injured employee gets immediate medical attention and that any Workers’ Comp insurance claims are processed quickly and accurately. You should have a process in place, and all managers and supervisors should be trained in that process.

Here Are Four Steps That Should Be Included in the Process:

Take Care of the Injured Employee

Your employee’s welfare should be your first priority. As soon as an injury occurs, determine the appropriate medical treatment. If it’s a serious injury, call 911 immediately. If it isn’t a serious injury, take the injured employee to a medical care facility.

Some insurance carriers offer a 24/7 injured employee hotline that has registered nurses who can provide medical guidance. If your Workers’ Comp insurance carrier has a hotline, all managers and supervisors should be aware of that number.

Survey the Scene of the Accident

Once the injured employee has received appropriate medical care, survey the scene. If it’s a severe injury, any equipment involved in the incident should be secured, and the area where the incident occurred should be cordoned off with cones or tape until the local police and/or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are finished with their formal investigation.

Even with minor injuries, surveying the scene could reveal what caused the injury. For example, if an employee falls because of a wet floor, that area can be cleaned up to avoid further accidents.

The purpose of an investigation isn’t to lay blame but to determine the root cause of the accident, so it doesn’t happen again. In that same example, if a faulty refrigerator caused that wet floor, the appliance can be fixed to avoid any additional injuries.

Collect Information

A manager or supervisor should then gather details about the incident. Write down the details of the accident – where it happened, how it happened, etc. – and any medical treatment the injured employee received. Also, talk to anyone who witnessed the incident and document what they share and their contact information. 

Complete the Incident Report

Before the details of the injury fade from memory, the incident report should be completed. OSHA requires employers to maintain records of all work-related injuries using its Injury & Illness Record-keeping Forms and to notify OSHA if the injured employee needs to be hospitalized.

Any Workers’ Compensation claims should be filed within 24 hours of the incident. 

If the injury is fairly minor but still prohibits the injured employee from performing his or her regular tasks, you may also need to consider if a transitional or modified job may be appropriate. The longer an employee is out of work, the harder it is to go back and the more it costs you. A return-to-work program can help keep injured employees off of long-term disability and save you money.

You may also want to take a look at your safety program. Did an employee not receive proper training? Was a safety procedure ignored? What can you do to help ensure this type of accident doesn’t happen again?

Want to Save on All Kinds of Commercial Insurance?

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in commercial insurance, including Workers’ Compensation. We can help ensure that you have the right coverage and – as independent agents who can compare costs with several companies – that you get it at the best price!  Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

Should Your Company Initiate a Workplace Safety Program?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 06, 2019

Save_Workers_Comp_Insurance_300We often discuss safety and how it can help businesses save on Workers’ Compensation Insurance, but the only way that can happen is with a company-wide culture of safety. Too often, employees ignore the importance of safety and members of upper management don’t understand the benefits of developing a safe work environment.

It takes more than lip-service or a few signs on the wall to develop an effective workplace safety program that results in fewer workplace injuries, fewer WC claims, and lower Workers Comp costs. It takes a plan, commitment, enforcement, and company-wide buy-in, but the effort is worth the results.

Benefits of a Workplace Safety Program

As an insurance company, we focus on the reduced Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs that a safe work environment can bring to a company, but developing, implementing, and enforcing a workplace safety program provides plenty of other advantages and makes good business sense.

According to OSHA, a study of small businesses that registered with the Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia found a statistical correlation between workplace safety and health and the survival of a small business. The report found that businesses that failed within one to two years of start-up had an average injury rate of 9.71 while businesses that survived more than five years had an average injury rate of 3.89 in their first year of business.

Here Are a Few of the Other Benefits of a Workplace Safety Program:

  • Lower medical expenses
  • Reduced paid time off
  • Reduced litigation
  • Reduced disaster mitigation
  • Compliance with regulations, laws, and standards
  • Reduced training costs
  • Reduced recruitment and hiring costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved financial performance
  • Positive public image
  • Higher employee satisfaction

Do you need more proof that a safety program is a smart business move? OSHA’s Safety Pays program allows you to assess the impact of occupational injuries and illnesses on your profitability. The program uses your profit margin, the average costs of an injury or illness, and an indirect cost multiplier to project the amount of sales you would need to cover those costs.

How to Develop a Workplace Safety Plan

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), there are six critical elements of an effective safety management program:

  1. Management Commitment– From the CEO to the mailroom clerk, everyone within the company needs to understand the importance and benefits of a safe work environment and be willing to do what is needed to create that safe environment.
  2. Employee Involvement – Examples of employee participation include participating in joint labor-management committees, developing safety rules, and reporting hazards.
  3. Worksite Analysis – One of your first steps to creating a safe work environment is to identify potential hazards.
  4. Hazard prevention and control – This means correcting all current and potential hazards, ensuring that all parties understand and follow safe work practices, that appropriate personal protective equipment is provided, and that administrative controls are followed.
  5. Training – All employees and managers should be trained on safety procedures, including potential hazards and how to avoid them, individual responsibilities, OSHA’s requirements, what to do when an injury does occur, etc.
  6. Communication – Consistently communicating with all interested stakeholders is vital to a successful safety program. That communication should be in the form of safety meetings, informal discussions between supervisors and employees, posters and bulletins, newsletters, and a safety suggestion box.

Want to Learn More About Safety in the Workplace?

Check out American Insuring Group’s informative blog. From electrical safety to fire safety and everything in between, you’ll find plenty of resources to help you create a safer workplace. Then give one of our independent Workers’ Compensation Insurance experts a call to save big! Call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online

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

Commercial Liability Insurance for Farmers Market Vendors

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 22, 2019

Liability-Insurance-for-Farmers-Market-Vendors-300As the “buy local food” movement continues to gain traction, the U.S. is experiencing an increase in the number of farmers markets across the country.  According to the Farmers Market Coalition, there were less than 2,000 farmers markets in 1994, which has grown to more than 8,600 markets today.

Many vendors have discovered that farmers markets are an easy and economical way to sell everything from produce and honey to cheeses and meats to prepared foods such as jams and pickled items and much more. As with any business endeavor, being a vendor at a farmers market opens you up to liability issues, so you need to make sure you have the right commercial liability insurance to protect yourself.

Farmers Market Vendor Liability Exposure

The two most common types of liability for farmers market vendors are general liability and product liability. General liability involves risks associated with injuries caused by trips and falls, unsecured tents, etc.

Product liability is associated with the food that you sell. The most common product liability issue is food borne illness, but violations in state health regulations – regardless of whether a consumer is harmed or not – can result in a claim.

The good news is that there is plenty you can do to minimize your liability risks and the costs associated with them. Here's how ...

5 Tips to Protect Your Farmers Market Vendor Business

Safety Training

Knowing how to handle and prepare food safely will help minimize your exposure to product liability, and food safety training for all employees might even lower your insurance premiums. Training should include why cleanliness (of hands, tools, prep space, etc.) is so important, how to prevent food cross-contamination, safe food temperatures (see below), and food allergies.

Keep Produce Clean

If you’re selling produce, it’s essential to make sure it is as clean as possible at all times regardless of where it came from or how it was grown (organic, pesticide-free, etc.). Thoroughly clean everything before setting up shop and continue to clean it throughout the day as it is exposed to dust, insects, and people.

Know Your Produce

Consumers are becoming smarter and more particular about the food they’re eating. If you’re selling produce, you should know your product – where it was grown, what (if anything) your produce has been treated with, and whether or not it is organic, pesticide-free, or GMO-free. You’ll need to be able to answer those questions if a consumer asks.

Pay Attention to Temperature

Temperature is one of the most critical elements of food safety. If you want to help ensure the safety of your customers, keep inspectors happy, and keep your insurance costs down, you need to follow food safety temperatures  – during preparation and storage.

The temperature danger zone is between 41 and 135°F. The longer food sits in that temperature range, the higher the risk of bacteria.

Maintain and keep your refrigeration equipment clean, and regularly check to ensure that it is keeping your food properly chilled.

Purchase the Right Insurance

Many farmers markets will require you to have general liability insurance to protect your business and the market. Even if they don’t, it’s a smart business move. Despite all of your best efforts, accidents do happen. Without the proper protection, one lawsuit from someone who trips and falls at your stand or gets sick after eating your food could mean the end of your business.

The farmers market may also require that you add the market and/or the municipality as an “additional insured.” An additional insured enjoys the benefits of the policy you purchase. There may be an extra fee for an “additional insured.”

Want to Ensure You Get the Best Price on Insurance?

Contact one of the experienced agents at the American Insuring Group. Not only do we specialize in Commercial Liability Insurance to ensure that you get the right coverage, but as independent agents, we can compare the cost of that coverage with multiple carriers to ensure you get the best price. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Want Faster Workers Comp Claim Resolution? Don’t Annoy Your Adjuster!

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 15, 2019

Quick-WC-claim-resolution-300Filing a Workers’ Compensation Insurance claim is probably not one of your favorite things to do, but it’s essential when a worker is injured on the job. If you want to make sure the Workers’ Comp claim gets processed as quickly as possible - saving you both time and money - don’t annoy your adjuster.

Adjusters are busy too – juggling 150-200 claims every day - and would like to see your claims processed as quickly and smoothly as possible.  The best way to make that happen is to provide them with what they need in a timely manner to make their job easier and avoid annoying them.

Here are Four Things That Are Frequent Annoyances to Workers’ Compensation Adjusters:

Not completing the Injury Form Correctly

The first step in any WC claim is completing and submitting the injury form. All of the information on that form – social security number, birth date, type of injury, etc. - is relevant to the adjuster and helps them process the claim more quickly. If you leave a field blank, they have to interrupt what they’re doing to contact you for the information.

If you want your claim processed more quickly, gather the information in advance and fill in every field on the form accurately. Make sure names are spelled correctly, the date of the injury is correct, etc. This first report is vitally important, so double check everything before submitting it, and remember if you leave a field blank, someone else could fill it in with information you don’t like.

Not Reporting a Claim Right Away

As soon as an injury occurs, start the process of gathering information to submit the claim as quickly as possible. Submitting a claim days after an injury occurs could force an adjuster to rush through the process and make mistakes. The quicker you can get it in, the more thorough the adjuster’s investigation will be, which results in more accurate and ethical decisions regarding the claim without penalties, leakage, or delays.

Also, adjusters will prioritize claims that include lost wages, so let them know upfront if that applies to your claim. They understand that any delay in the claim is another day of potential wage loss. Providing this information up front allows them to determine if the claim is compensable and get your employee back to work on light-duty as quickly as possible, which helps keep your claim costs down.

Not Knowing the Details of the Injury

Immediately after an injury occurs, begin gathering facts and witness statements to understand exactly what happened. Send all the information you gather to the adjuster and be prepared to answer questions about the incident if they contact you.

Witness statements can be crucial in determining the validity of a claim, and adjusters will compare those statements with the employee’s recount of the incident. If they see any discrepancies, they will research further, which could prevent payment on a false claim; thereby, minimizing leakage and helping to keep your WC costs down.

Not Working With Them

Adjusters are experts regarding the compensability of WC claims. They have been trained and certified to make WC decisions, but you are the expert regarding your employees and the type of work they do. Your input is crucial to ensuring an accurate investigation.

When an adjuster emails or leaves you a voice mail with a question, reply as quickly as possible. Also send anything you receive related to the claim to your adjuster as quickly as possible including bills and medical information.

If you want to save time and money and help ensure your Workers’ Compensation claims are processed as quickly and accurately as possible, keep these four things that annoy WC adjusters in mind.

Want to Learn More About Saving on Workers’ Compensation Costs?

Although Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required for most businesses with employees, that doesn’t mean you can’t get more bang for your buck! Start saving by giving the Workers’ Comp experts at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

National Food Safety Month and Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 08, 2019

food-safety-restaurant-insurance-300As a restaurant owner, your number one priority should be ensuring the safety of the food you serve. Beyond the human element of food safety, foodborne illness can result in negative publicity, huge fines, possible jail time, lawsuits, and higher Restaurant Insurance costs.

In 2016, there were 5,353 cases of food borne illnesses in the U.S. attributed to sit-down dining establishments, 4,139 to fast food restaurants, and 3,116 to catering or banquet facilities.

September is National Food Safety Education Month making it the perfect time to focus on food safety in your restaurant. 

What is a Food borne Illness?

The FDA defines food borne illness as “a common, costly, sometimes life-threatening – yet largely preventable – public health problem.” The two most common food borne pathogens that cause food borne illness are bacteria (Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli) and viruses (norovirus or hepatitis A).

Anyone can get a food borne illness, but pregnant women, young children, and older people have weaker immune systems, which means they are at a higher risk.

Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening illness. The most common symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms can include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, aches, and fatigue.

Tips to Prevent Food Borne Illness

Pay attention to these three areas - Cleanliness, keeping certain foods separated, and cooking and storage temperatures – to prevent food borne illness:

Cleanliness

Eliminate illness-causing germs by keeping everything in your kitchen clean. That includes food, utensils, cutting boards, work surfaces, and your hands.

  • Wash fruits and vegetables, poultry, eggs, or bagged produce marked “pre-washed.” Cut out damaged or bruised areas on fruits and vegetables and rinse under running water (without bleach, soap, or commercial produce washes). Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush fruit and vegetables with a paper towel or clean cloth.
  • Wash all utensils, cutting boards and surfaces after each use with hot, soapy water, and frequently wash dishcloths in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Wash your hands frequently including before, during, and after preparing food, after using the bathroom, and after handling garbage. Use plain soap and water to wash your hands thoroughly, including the backs of your hands, under nails, between fingers, etc. Then rinse and dry with a clean towel.

Keep Certain Foods Separated

Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from other foods while storing and during preparation. Use different plates, utensils, and cutting boards for cooked and raw foods. Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and another for produce and other foods that won’t be cooked before consumption.

Pay Attention to Storage and Cooking Temperatures

Bacteria that can cause food illness multiply the quickest between 40°F and 140°F, so keep your refrigerator at to 40°F or below and your freezer to 0°F or below. Put perishable food in the fridge within two hours. Foods exposed to temperatures above 90°F should be refrigerated within one hour. Thaw or marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

Using a food thermometer, cook food to the right internal temperature.

Pay attention to these three areas, and make sure that your staff is adequately trained on food safety to avoid food borne illness. Your customers and your bank account will thank you.

Want to Save More on Restaurant Insurance?

Another way to save on restaurant insurance is to work with an independent agent like the experienced agents at the American Insuring Group who can compare your restaurant insurance costs with several companies to ensure that you get the best price on your Restaurant Insurance. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Masonry Contractors: How to lower Contractor and WC Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 01, 2019

masonry-construction-insurance-300Construction is one of the most hazardous occupations today, and masonry contractors are no exception. According to Masonry Magazine, masonry construction is one of the high-risk specialty trades with a nonfatal injury rate of 191.5 per 10,000 equivalent full-time workers.

Creating a safer work environment for those tradespeople helps you avoid OSHA fines, increase employee morale, keep workers on the job, and lower your Contractor Insurance and WC costs.

About the Work

Masonry is a physically demanding job, and masons often work in fast-paced environments. Lifting heavy materials and standing, kneeling, and bending for long periods of time can be strenuous on workers. Plus, masons often work outside where it can be muddy, dirty, and dusty.

Common hazards for masonry contractors include the Occupation Health and Safety’s (OSHA) top four causes of construction fatalities  – falls, struck by, caught in/between, and electrocutions, along with cuts, heat exhaustion, exposure to noxious chemical, lifting and moving heavy objects, and overexposure to dust.

Here are four of the most common hazards masonry contractors face and ways to minimize those hazards:

Slips, Trips, and Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of nonfatal work injuries that result in days away from work are the result of slips, trips, and falls. Construction workers are at risk for fatal falls from height by more than seven times the rate of other industries, according to the National Safety Council.

Masons are often required to use ladders and scaffolding to complete their work, which adds to the risk of falling and injury or death. 

Here are five ladder safety tips to avoid falls:

  • Inspect ladders for defects before using
  • Place the ladder on a stable and level surface
  • Use three points of contact at all times (one hand and two feet/two hands and one foot)
  • Don’t lean, stretch, or make sudden moves while on a ladder
  • The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface

Here are five scaffolding safety tips to avoid falls:

  • Scaffolding should be erected by someone who is properly trained and qualified
  • Inspect scaffolding before using
  • Use proper fall protection
  • Fully plank the equipment
  • Use guardrails

Electrocution

The CDC reports that there were 82 electrocutions or 0.8 electrocution fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers in 2015. To avoid electrocution, know the location of overhead and underground power lines to avoid accidental contact, inspect all tools including extension and power cords for damage before using, ensure that all electrical equipment is properly grounded or double insulated, and protect cords from foot traffic, forklifts, and other equipment.

Lifting Injuries

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace, and this type of injury often takes a long time to heal. The main causes of these injuries are the weight of objects, awkward postures, high frequency and long-duration lifting, inadequate handholds, and environmental factors.

Here are five lifting safety tips:

  • Use mechanical means to move heavy materials such as forklifts whenever possible
  • When manually lifting a heavy object, place it close to your body at the “power zone” height – mid-thigh to mid chest
  • Bend at the knees, not the waist
  • Turn by moving the feet rather than twisting at the waist
  • Take regular breaks

Heat Illness

Masonry contractors can become ill or even die while working in extreme heat or humid conditions regardless of their age or physical condition.  To help prevent heat illness, OSHA recommends that employers provide workers with water, rest, and shade and monitor workers for signs of illness.

Implementing a culture of safety from the top to the bottom of your organization, providing safety training, enforcing safety processes, and providing proper equipment and PPE can help reduce the number of injuries on your worksite and improve your bottom line. 

Is Your Contractors Insurance Too High?

If you think your Contractors Insurance is too high, contact one of the experienced agents at the American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We specialize in both Contractors and WC insurance and will compare your insurance costs with several companies to ensure that you get the best price.

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

5 Situations When Contractor’s Workers’ Comp Claims May be Denied

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 25, 2019

save-contractors-insurance-300Since the passing of the Pennsylvania Workmen’s Compensation Act in 1915, most contractors with employees are required to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance by law. The purpose of Workers’ Compensation insurance is to protect both employee and employer when an employee is injured on the job - regardless of who is at fault.

Workers’ Comp covers medical costs, disability payments, death benefits, and lost wages to the injured employee and protects employers from direct lawsuits by injured employees. Failure to have Workers’ Comp Insurance can lead to lawsuits by employees and criminal prosecution.  

While Workers’ Compensation Insurance is meant to cover work-related injuries and illnesses that prevent an employee from doing their job, there are some things Workers’ Compensation Insurance will not cover.

Here are Five Situations When Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefits Could be Denied:

Off-Site Work Injuries

The primary purpose of Workers’ Compensation is to protect employees who are injured on the job; therefore, any injuries that are not work-related and occur off a job site are not covered, but you would be surprised how blurry the line between on and off job site can become.

If an employee is injured on their lunch-break and they are not on a job site, the injury is typically not covered under Workers’ Comp. However, if the employee is injured while picking up lunch for their boss or while in an employee lunchroom, it usually is.

Typically, Workers Comp also covers employees who are injured at events such as parties or picnics hosted by the employer.

Workers’ Comp generally does not cover employees who are injured while driving to or from work unless they are driving a company car, doing errands for the employer, traveling on business, or regularly travels for work.

Company Rule Violations

If an employee is injured while violating a company safety rule or any other act the employer has prohibited, they may be ineligible for Workers’ Compensation depending on the level of misconduct. Sometimes that employee’s medical costs and lost wages are covered under WC, but does not allow the employee to sue the employer.

Breaking the Law

If an employee is injured while breaking the law, any Workers’ Compensation claims may be denied.

Under the Influence

If an employee is injured while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, which impairs their motor skills, any Workers’ Comp claim could be denied – regardless of what the company policy is. When an injured employee goes to the doctor for a work-related injury, employers have the right to ask for a drug and alcohol test.

Self-Inflicted Injuries

The majority of Workers’ Compensation claims are legitimate, but as with anything else, there are dishonest employees who may purposely cause their own injury to collect on a claim. Although Workers’ Comp usually does not take fault into account, a claim based on a self-inflicted injury may be denied.

Security cameras throughout a job site can often help determine whether or not Workers’ Compensation insurance should cover an injury.   

Are You Paying Too Much for Workers’ Compensation?

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. They will work hard to ensure that you get quality Workers’ Comp Insurance at the best rates by comparing your costs with companies who are competing for your business.

Let us help you save money while still protecting your employees and your business by giving us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

Recent Disasters Have Homeowners Wondering if They are Protected

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 18, 2019

best-homeowners-insurance-300Recent disasters both near, like the flooding in Berks County, and far, like the destructive fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral, has many homeowners wondering whether they have enough Homeowners’ Insurance to protect their assets.  

The time to answer that question is now, not after a disaster when it’s too late.

 

Here are Three Questions Every Homeowner Should Ask:

How Will I Replace My Home if it is Completely Destroyed?

Homeowners insurance is meant to protect your personal property (furniture, electronics, clothing, etc.) and your home. You must make sure you have enough coverage to rebuild your life if everything is destroyed.

When determining the amount of coverage needed, some homeowners purchase the minimum amount of insurance required by their lenders. This is rarely (if ever) enough to rebuild your home if it is destroyed, let alone replace everything inside it.

Some homeowners base their coverage on the real estate value of their home rather than what it would cost to rebuild. Again, this amount of coverage is rarely if ever enough to rebuild your home and replace the contents within.

These misconceptions and mistakes in property descriptions along with rising construction costs and home improvements after the purchase of policies have resulted in about 60% of all U.S. homes being underinsured by an average of 20 %, according to Consumer Reports.

It’s essential that you talk to an experienced insurance agent to help you determine the amount of coverage that is right for you.

Here are three additional coverages you may want to consider for your home:

An Extended Replacement Cost policy provides additional insurance coverage of 20% or more over the limits of your policy, which can be crucial if there is a widespread disaster in your area and the cost of construction increases.

Ordinance or Law Coverage – If you need to rebuild your home, you may be subject to new and sometimes stricter building codes, which could increase the cost to rebuild.

Flood Insurance – Flood damage is usually not covered under a standard homeowner’s policy, and there was a time when only people living in high-risk flood zones purchased additional coverage for flooding. In recent years, people who never experienced flooding in their homes before are experiencing it now, and they have little or no insurance coverage to help with the cleanup and repairs.

How Will I Replace My Possessions if They are Destroyed?

Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover your home’s contents, but it’s essential to understand the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value. Replacement cost policies pay what you need to replace a damaged or destroyed item; whereas actual cash value pays what the item is worth at the time it is damaged or destroyed.

For example, if there’s a fire in your home and your 10-year-old kitchen appliances are destroyed and need to be replaced, an actual cash value policy will pay you what those 10-year-old appliances were worth when they were damaged, which is probably not enough to go out and buy new appliances to replace the damaged appliances.

How Will I Pay for Living Expenses If I Can’t Live in My Home?

Where will you live if your home is temporarily inaccessible or needs to be completely rebuilt? You might have a friend or relative who would take you in for a little while, but for many families, that is not a viable option.

Coverage for additional living expenses will cover part or all of the cost of hotels, meals, and other living expenses you would incur if you were displaced due to an insured disaster. It would not cover regular expenses like your mortgage or groceries.

Taking the time to answer these three questions now will help ensure that should a disaster strike, you will be financially prepared.

How Can You Protect Your Home and Family From Disaster?

The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can provide a free insurance review to discuss your potential risks and how to protect you from those risks. Plus, as independent agents, we will check with lots of insurance companies to make sure you get the best price on that coverage. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Homeowners Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Homeowners Insurance, PA Flood Insurance

4 Tips to Handle an Angry Workers’ Compensation Claimant

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 11, 2019

best-workers-comp-rates-300Sometimes when an employee is injured on the job and files a Workers’ Compensation Insurance claim, they can become frustrated and take it out on their employer. It isn’t right, but it happens. Sometimes no matter how hard you work to keep things civil, you’ll find yourself facing an angry employee.

 

 

Here are four tips to help diffuse a tense situation (many can be helpful in other situations, not just WC claims):

Do Not Take it Personally

If you do your best to do a good job for your injured employee and he or she still lashes out at you, it’s important to remember that not everything is about you. You need to understand that when an injured employee becomes angry, there are often mitigating circumstances that you will never know. They may be in pain; they may be confused; they may even be scared. Do not take their anger as a personal attack on you and how you are handling their claim.

Stay Calm, Listen, and Be Patient

Staying calm and patient is easier said than done when an employee is blasting you about their WC claim, but it’s essential if you want to diffuse the situation. Before you can resolve any issues with them, you need to try to get them calmed down.

You do that by staying calm, not raising your voice or using a sarcastic tone, and remaining objective. Otherwise, you will irritate the worker even more, and nothing will be resolved.

Let them know you are listening to them by using phrases such as “I hear what you’re saying.” It may sound corny, but it can help calm an angry employee. Don’t interrupt them. Sometimes they just need to vent or want to know that they’re being heard.

Once they calm down, you can focus on answering questions and coming up with solutions.

Empathize

Remember, this can be a scary time for an injured worker. They probably aren’t familiar with the process of filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, and they may be worried about how they’re going to take care of their family or if their injury will ever heal. Try to put yourself in their shoes and not only sympathize but empathize.

WC claimants want to know that you understand what they are saying and what they are going through and that you are willing and able to help them resolve their issues.

Some people have a hard time apologizing even when they know they’re wrong. Imagine how difficult it would be to apologize to someone when you know you are right, and they are wrong! If that sounds like you, swallow your pride and realize that your goal is to diffuse the situation. If an apology will get that done, do it! You can genuinely say you’re sorry for the confusion, or you’re sorry for what they are going through.

Offer Solutions

Most injured employees do not have experience handling Workers’ Compensation claims, but you do, so instead of arguing with them about how wrong they are, try to explain what is going on calmly. Let them know what is being done to resolve their issue or how they may be able to help resolve it.

Don’t talk so fast they can’t catch what you’re saying and don’t use a lot of jargon they may not be familiar with. This will only frustrate an angry employee further.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, find someone who does and get back to the injured worker promptly.

People can be irrational at the best of times. Throw in a little uncertainty and a little fear, and you have the potential for a nasty situation. If you find yourself dealing with an injured worker who is angry, use these tips to help diffuse the situation and resolve the issue more quickly.

Get the Best Price for Workers’ Compensation Insurance

American Insuring Group specializes in Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and we can make sure that you get the best price by comparing the cost of coverage with several insurance companies that meet your needs. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

Restaurant Liability Insurance to Protect Your Investment

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Aug 06, 2019

Restaurant-Liability-InsuranceThere is no denying that we live in a litigious society, and restaurants are not immune to lawsuits. In fact, the very nature of the business often makes them more vulnerable to lawsuits. Don’t believe us?

The 1993 case of a woman suing McDonald’s (and winning $2.86 million) after spilling hot coffee on herself is still fresh in many business owners’ minds. But it doesn’t end there. Check out Eater’s article “The Five Pettiest Lawsuits Against Fast-Food Chains” where you’ll read about Starbucks getting sued for putting ice in iced drinks and Subway being sued for 11-inch sandwiches.

That’s not to say there aren’t genuinely legitimate lawsuits. Someone slips and falls on a spill that wasn’t cleaned up, or someone gets food poisoning from food that was improperly prepared at a restaurant.

The bottom line is that every restaurant is at risk of being sued. Which is why restaurant owners must take steps to 1) prevent those lawsuits and 2) protect themselves with the right Restaurant Liability Insurance in the event of a lawsuit.

How to Prevent Lawsuits

You may not be able to prevent every lawsuit – freak accidents do happen – but there is a lot you can do to prevent most of them. Here are six tips:

  1. Train your employees well including safety and customer service
  2. Create a culture of safety
  3. Maintain consistent processes and quality in your food prep
  4. Treat all employees with respect
  5. Hire a good attorney
  6. Insure your business properly

Liability Insurance to Protect Your Restaurant

General Liability Insurance

This type of insurance, required by most landlords and lenders, covers you when a customer is injured at your restaurant, when there is damage to a customer’s property, or if there are advertising issues such as slander, libel, and copyright infringement.

When a customer is injured – such as slipping, falling, and breaking a leg on your property - general liability insurance covers legal fees, medical expenses, and any judgments imposed against your restaurant. It does not protect your employees; that’s where Workers’ Comp Insurance comes in (see below).

When a customer’s property is damaged – such as a server spilling coffee on a customer’s laptop – general liability helps pay for legal fees, replacement costs, and out-of-court settlements.

When you cause an advertising injury, general liability insurance covers copyright infringement and defamation - both libel(written) and slander(spoken).

Liquor Liability

Serving alcohol increases a restaurants liability issues, and most General Liability Insurance Policies do not cover it, so if you sell alcohol at your establishment, you need to have Liquor Liability Insurance. Pennsylvania is one of 43 states with some type of dram shop law.

According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, “Generally, dram shop laws establish the liability of establishments arising out of the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons or minors who subsequently cause death or injury to third parties (those not having a relationship to the bar) as a result of alcohol-related car crashes and other accidents.”

In other words, if you serve alcohol to someone who then injures someone else or damages someone’s property, you could be held liable. Liquor Liability Insurance helps protect your restaurant from this type of liability.

Product Liability Insurance

Food poisoning is every restaurant owner’s worse nightmare. The fact is that you can train your staff how to handle food safely and have proper processes in place to avoid food contamination, but you can’t control how the food is handled before it arrives at your restaurant. Therefore, food poisoning can still occur, and customers can still sue you for it. Product Liability Insurance helps protect your restaurant from those lawsuits.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ Comp is required for most businesses in Pennsylvania that have employees. It covers medical expenses, lost wages, and disability or death benefits for an employee who is injured on the job. But did you know that WC also covers legal costs if the injured employee sues you over the injury?

When reviewing your insurance needs, make sure your restaurant is protected from all potential risk – including liability.

How to Get the Best Price on Restaurant Liability Insurance

The independent agents at American Insuring Group understand the specific needs of restaurants. We will compare the cost of your coverage with several competing 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.

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