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Safe Truck Driving in Any Weather

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 09, 2023

Safe truck driving can save on truck insurance in Philadelphia, Erie, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Reading, Allentown, State College, and anywhere in PA and surrounding states.Knowing how to prepare for and drive in any weather is crucial to lowering Commercial Truck Insurance costs. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), “On average, there are over 5,891,000 vehicle crashes each year. Approximately 21% of these crashes - nearly 1,235,000 - are weather-related.”

Bad weather comes in many forms – rain, snow, sleet, fog, wind, etc.; however, any can affect driver capability, vehicle performance, visibility, pavement friction, traffic flow, and more. Approximately 70% of weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement. Rain causes 46%, snow and sleet cause 18%, icy pavements cause 13%, and fog causes 3% of weather-related crashes, according to the FHWA.

Tips for Safe Driving in Any Weather

Monitor the Weather

Always know what type of weather is predicted and monitor weather conditions, as they can frequently change. This way, you can prepare for whatever comes your way without being caught off guard.

Inspect Your Truck

A pre-trip inspection checklist is crucial (and is the law for CDL vehicles) to your safety at any time, but it is particularly vital in bad weather. According to Smart Trucking, the minimum DOT Pre-Trip Inspection requirements include the following:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment

Prepare Your Truck

In addition to the pre-trip inspection, take steps to prepare your truck if you know there is a good chance that you are heading into bad weather. For example, chains for your tires, anti-gel for your fuel tank, balancing the load correctly, etc., can decrease the risk of accidents or other issues in treacherous weather.

Watch Your Speed

“The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) reported that 23 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers were traveling too fast for conditions,” according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA recommends that you “reduce your speed by 1/3 on wet roads and by 1/2 or more on snow-packed roads (i.e., if you would normally be traveling at a speed of 60 mph on dry pavement, then on a wet road, you should reduce your speed to 40 mph, and on a snow-packed road you should reduce your speed to 30 mph).”

Allow for Adequate Stopping Distance

“The average stopping distance for a loaded tractor-trailer traveling at 55 mph (in ideal conditions) is 196 feet, compared with 133 feet for a passenger vehicle,” according to the FMCSA. On slippery surfaces, a truck needs even more stopping distance. Therefore, to avoid collisions, you must adjust the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you based on weather conditions, road conditions, visibility, and traffic.

Improve Visibility

Rain, fog, snow, etc., can significantly decrease visibility. Do what you can to improve visibility and ensure other drivers can see you by clearing your windshield and windshield wipers, cleaning off and turning on your headlights, etc. Blind spots are always a concern for truck drivers, but bad weather conditions can make it even harder to see vehicles in your blind spots. Therefore, be even more careful when changing lanes in poor visibility.

Carry a Survival Kit

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst! A survival kit can help keep you safe and/or get you back on the road. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to survival kits. Think about emergencies you may run into, and consider what you or your truck may need. Here are some suggestions:

  • Nonperishable Food
  • Bottles of water
  • Extra clothing
  • Winter clothing, such as hats, gloves, etc.
  • Blankets
  • Medication
  • Warning flag
  • Snow shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Portable phone charger
  • Ice cleats
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand and feet warmers
  • Safety vest
  • Cash
  • Wheel chocks

How to Save More on Truck Insurance

At American Insuring Group, we go beyond providing you with affordable truck insurance. We carefully analyze the needs and risks associated with your business and match you up with the best trucking insurance policy by carefully analyzing many competing insurance companies.

The result? You get high-quality Commercial Truck Insurance coverage at a very affordable price. Get a free quote today by calling (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

Mental Health in the Workplace and Workers' Comp Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 02, 2023

Mental health can impact workers comp costs. Contact us to save on Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, and throughout PA.Many businesses focus on physical health and overlook the impact mental health can have on their employees, the success of their business, and Workers' Compensation Insurance costs. However, one in five U.S. adults (22.8%) experience mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The Cost of Mental Illness in the Workplace

In the workplace, mental illness can negatively impact employee morale, performance, communication, productivity, and physical capabilities. It can also increase absenteeism and employee turnover. Untreated mental health concerns cost businesses $60,000 annually and $105 billion nationwide, according to Modern Health.

Mental illness also impacts our physical health and can cost businesses even more. "People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions," NAMI reports.

Work and Mental Health

As of October 2023, 134.82 million Americans worked full-time, spending about one-third of their lives at work. An employee's work environment can have a positive or a negative effect on their mental health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports. "All workers have the right to a safe and healthy environment at work. Decent work supports good mental health by providing:

  • a livelihood;
  • a sense of confidence, purpose, and achievement;
  • an opportunity for positive relationships and inclusion in a community and
  • a platform for structured routines, among many other benefits."

Satisfaction at work can also improve recovery, confidence, and social functioning.

On the other hand, "Poor working environments – including discrimination and inequality, excessive workloads, low job control, and job insecurity – pose a risk to mental health," WHO reports.

Workplace mental health risks include the following:

  • Excessive workloads
  • Understaffing
  • Long or inflexible hours
  • Being over or under-qualified for a job
  • Unclear job role
  • Lack of control related to job
  • Unsafe physical working conditions
  • Negative organizational culture
  • Limited support
  • Violence, harassment, or bullying
  • Discrimination or exclusion
  • Job insecurity
  • Inadequate pay
  • Lack of investment in career development
  • Conflicting home and work demands

Tips to Improve Employee Mental Health

If you want to improve employee morale and production and lower absenteeism, employee turnover, and Workers' Comp Insurance costs, there are steps you can take to improve employee mental health.

  • Properly train both managers and workers in mental health literacy and awareness
  • Increase employees' options regarding when, where, and how they work
  • Ensure health insurance that focuses on employee mental health and provides low out-of-pocket costs for depression medication and counseling
  • Include employees' input in decisions
  • Look at your business culture, including diversity and inclusion policies
  • Make mental health tools – brochures, self-assessments, clinical screening, counseling, etc. - available to employees
  • Host seminars that cover depression and stress management

Are You Paying Too Much for Worker's Compensation Insurance?

Worker's Compensation Insurance is a type of small business insurance that is mandatory in most states, including Pennsylvania. It covers employees for work-related injuries. A typical "workers comp" insurance policy pays lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to a work-related accident while protecting the employer against accident-related lawsuits. 

At American Insuring Group, Ltd., we offer cost-effective Worker's Compensation Insurance from various competing insurance companies, so we can get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and your business!

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

Construction Worksite First Aid

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 25, 2023

Create a first aid program and save on Contractor and Construction Insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, York, and across the state of Pennsylvania. Creating a safer worksite is every employer's responsibility and one of the best ways to save on Contractor Insurance. At a minimum, you should follow all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety standards to avoid penalties and minimize the risk of injury. However, construction worksites are hazardous by nature, and injuries are always possible.

One of OSHA's safety standards is medical and first aid to help ensure that injured employees receive the best medical care as quickly as possible. "First aid refers to medical attention that is usually administered immediately after the injury occurs and at the location where it occurred. It often consists of a one-time, short-term treatment and requires little technology or training to administer," OSHA states. "First aid can include cleaning minor cuts, scrapes, or scratches; treating a minor burn; applying bandages and dressings; the use of non-prescription medicine; draining blisters; removing debris from the eyes; massage; and drinking fluids to relieve heat stress."

First Aid Assessment

Every job site is different; therefore, every site should be assessed to ensure proper first aid is available. First, identify and mitigate potential hazards. At the same time, identify the types of injuries possible and the first aid that may be required for those injuries. Develop your first aid program based on that assessment and OSHA's standards and regulations. Continue to reassess throughout the project as job sites, conditions, hazards, and first aid needs can change.

First Aid Training

OSHA states. "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, hospital, or physician that is reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to the worksite, which is available for the treatment of injured employees, a person who has a valid certificate in first-aid training from the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the American Red Cross, or equivalent training that can be verified by documentary evidence, shall be available at the worksite to render first aid."

But what is considered "reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to worksite"? "Medical literature establishes that, for serious injuries such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding, first aid treatment must be provided within the first few minutes to avoid permanent medical impairment or death," OSHA states. "Accordingly, in workplaces where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes…"

One way to ensure that you follow OSHA's standards and provide prompt medical attention for injured employees is to have at least one employee trained in first aid on each worksite (regardless of the location of the closest medical facility). That training should include basic first aid, CPR, and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Additional training may be required depending on your assessment of potential injuries on the worksite. And don't forget to have those individuals recertified as needed.

In addition to at least one worker trained in first aid, all workers should understand their role in worksite first aid. They should understand the hazards and potential injuries. They should also know the protocol if someone is injured and requires first aid, including who to contact, where to find that person, how to explain their location, and where first aid kits and emergency equipment are located. And finally, they should know not to administer first aid themselves unless they are trained because they could cause more harm than good.

First Aid Kits

What good is someone trained in first aid if they don't have the tools and supplies they need to treat an injured worker? One or more first aid kits should be readily available on every worksite. The contents of that first aid kit should be based on the first aid assessment and the worksite size. OSHA's recommendation for "the minimally acceptable number and type of first-aid supplies for first-aid kits" for a small worksite of two or three workers includes the following:

  • Gauze pads (at least 4 x 4 inches).
  • Two large gauze pads (at least 8 x 10 inches).
  • Box adhesive bandages (band-aids).
  • One package gauze roller bandage at least 2 inches wide.
  • Two triangular bandages.
  • Wound cleaning agent such as sealed moistened towelettes.
  • Scissors.
  • At least one blanket.
  • Tweezers.
  • Adhesive tape.
  • Latex gloves.
  • Resuscitation equipment such as a resuscitation bag, airway, or pocket mask.
  • Two elastic wraps.
  • Splint.
  • Directions for requesting emergency assistance.

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Bill the Easy Way

Keeping workers as safe as possible and ensuring proper medical treatment is available is a smart business move.

So is working with the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. We will perform an in-depth review of your business to ensure you have the right contractor or construction insurance and compare the cost of that insurance among many competing carriers to ensure you get the best price for the right coverage!

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

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

5 Steps to Choosing the Right Landlord Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 18, 2023

Follow these 5 steps to save on Landlord Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Lebanon, and throughout Pennsylvania.How to Choose the Right Landlord Insurance

If you rent out a property – whether a single-family house or a 50-unit apartment complex – the right Landlord Insurance can help protect your property and so much more.

Homeowner's Insurance vs. Landlord Insurance

"A standard homeowners insurance policy insures your home's structure (house) and your belongings in the event of a destructive event, such as a fire," the Insurance Information Institute (III) explains. "In addition, homeowners insurance policies are generally 'package policies.' This means that the coverage includes not only damage to your property but also your liability—that is, legal responsibility—for any injuries and property damage to others caused by you or members of your family (including your household pets)."

One of the biggest mistakes many new landlords make – especially if they're renting out a single-family home – is to assume their homeowner's insurance policy will protect them if the rental property incurs damage or someone is injured on the property. Insurance is all about risk, and renting your home to someone else increases risk; therefore, most standard homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage or injuries if you rent your property to someone else.

That is where landlord insurance comes in. Landlord Insurance is a type of homeowner's insurance that covers damage to your rental property and helps protect you against any lawsuits related to the property. Your coverage may vary, but Landlord Insurance typically covers property damage caused by risks such as fire, lightning, windstorms, vandalism, etc. It also helps cover liability claims, legal expenses, and sometimes loss of rental income.

Because insuring a rental property involves more risk, landlord insurance is typically about 25% more expensive than standard homeowners insurance; however, it is essential to protect your property from damage and yourself from lawsuits. 

5 Steps to Choosing the Right Landlord Insurance

  1. Determine Your Property Type - There are many types of properties you can rent out, such as non-owner-occupied residential homes, condos, multi-unit properties, apartment buildings, multi-use properties, and commercial properties.

  2. Understand the Types of Landlord Insurance – There are three basic types of landlord insurance:
    • Dwelling Fire Insurance Policy – Each policy is unique, but this type of insurance typically covers damage caused by fire, vandalism, wind, hail, etc.
    • Business Owner Policy (BOP) – BOPs typically cover property damage and general liability.
    • Commercial Packages Policy (CPP) – This type of insurance is typically best for larger complexes with 150 units or more.

  3. Choose Additional Coverages
    Beyond the basic property damage and liability protection most standard Landlord Insurance policies provide, you may want to consider one or more of these additional coverages:
    • Flood
    • Sewer and water line backup
    • Rent guarantee (Aka tenant rent default)
    • Pet
    • Loss of income
    • Builders risk
    • Umbrella liability insurance

  4. Choose Your Settlement Option
    • Replacement Cost Value (RCV) – If you choose RCV and make a claim, you will be reimbursed based on how much it will cost to replace, repair, or rebuild at today's costs.
    • Actual Cash Value (ACV) – If you choose ACV and file a claim, you will be reimbursed at the current value, factoring in depreciation and normal wear and tear.
    • Modified Replacement Cost Value – "If you own an older home or one that is historically or architecturally significant, you may have to purchase dwelling insurance that comes with modified replacement value coverage," US News explains. "Let's say you own a home built in 1892, and it includes the original ornate crown molding, lath and plaster walls, and custom stained glass. Whether your home is damaged or completely destroyed, modified replacement cost value coverage focuses on functional replacement rather than accurate restoration. You will only receive as much money as it takes to rebuild or repair with current-day materials, including standard molding, drywall, and modern fixtures."

  5. Set Your Policy Limits – Most insurance policies have a limit – the most they will pay if you make a claim. Anything above that limit will be paid out of your own pocket. You may want to lower your limits to save on premiums, but you must ensure you can cover the difference. Or, you may want to increase your limits to ensure you are covered for just about any event.

Work With an Experienced Independent Insurance Agent

Landlord Insurance can be complicated, but the experienced agents at American Insuring Group can help you find the right insurance for your specific needs. Plus, as independent agents, we will compare the cost of your coverage with multiple insurance companies to ensure you get the best price and the right coverage!

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

Tags: Landlord Insurance, Homeowners Insurance

Driver Fatigue and Commercial Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 11, 2023

Avoid driver fatigue and save on commercial truck insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and throughout PennsylvaniaDriver fatigue could be costing your company higher Commercial Truck Insurance costs and so much more. Why? Because fatigued drivers mean more accidents (see below), and the average cost of a large truck crash with a fatality is $3.6 million, and a crash with injuries is $200,000, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

So, if you want to lower Truck Insurance and other administrative costs, retain good drivers, and make our roads safer for everyone, you need to address the issue of fatigue with your drivers.

What is Fatigue?

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), “Fatigue describes the feelings of tiredness, sleepiness, reduced energy, and increased effort needed to perform tasks at a desired level.”

“In addition to the dangers of falling asleep behind the wheel, drowsiness has serious effects on a driver’s attention, judgment, decision-making, coordination, vigilance, and reaction time,” according to the Sleep Foundation. “Drowsy drivers may find themselves weaving back and forth between lanes. They may have trouble maintaining the right speed and keeping an appropriate distance from other vehicles and may be unable to react in time to avoid an obstacle. A significant proportion of drowsy driving accidents involve a single driver driving off the road or into another lane at high speed.”

Statistics on Driver Fatigue

If you don’t believe driver fatigue is an issue, consider the following statistics:

  • According to the Truck Safety Coalition, 65% of truck drivers report that they often or sometimes feel drowsy while driving, and nearly half of truck drivers admit that they had fallen asleep while driving in the previous year.
  • According to Fatigue Science, the principal cause of 13-40% of trucking accidents is fatigue.
  • “In the United States alone each year, there are approximately 100,000 fatigue-related motoring accidents per year, resulting in 71,000 injuries and 800 tragic, largely preventable deaths,” Fatigue Science states.
  • Fatigue Science states, “The total cost of trucking accidents involving driver fatigue is approximately $20 billion per year. This includes costs such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost productivity.”

Causes of Driver Fatigue

Time of Day – According to the NSC, “People are physiologically programmed to sleep at night and be awake and active during the day.” Therefore, it’s no surprise that drowsy driving crashes typically occur at night or early morning.

Driving Long Hours – Our ability to focus on a task is limited. Driving for long periods can cause fatigue and affect performance.

Sleep Deprivation Experts recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Not getting enough sleep can cause a lack of alertness, excessive daytime sleepiness, impaired memory, and more.

Sleep Disorders – The Sleep Foundation reports50 million to 70 million people have ongoing sleep disorders. The most common among them are insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy.” Sleep disorders cause daytime impairment in functioning and more.

Medications – Many medications - such as antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure, and anti-anxiety medications - can make you drowsy and impair your ability to drive safely.

Lifestyle Factors – Certain lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, etc., can contribute to fatigue.

Medical Conditions –Lyme disease, HIV, heart disease, emphysema, depression, MS, Type 2 diabetes, and more can contribute to fatigue. 

Tips to Minimize Driver Fatigue

  • Get enough sleep
  • Get screened for sleeping disorders
  • Try not to drive for more than eight to ten hours a day
  • Take regular breaks every two hours
  • Eat healthy and avoid heavy meals and fatty foods that can make you feel drowsy
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that make you drowsy
  • Avoid driving between 12 and 6 am and between 2 and 4 pm if possible
  • Maintain good posture
  • Stay hydrated
  • Take a nap if possible. Even ten minutes can make a difference.
  • Recognize the signs of fatigue – headache, blurred vision, frequent yawning, etc.
  • Don’t rely on “tricks,” such as turning on loud music, smoking, or opening the windows, which may give you a temporary boost but won’t fight fatigue in the long run.

Lower Commercial Truck Insurance Costs

Understanding and minimizing the risk of driver fatigue will help reduce the risk of accidents and help lower Commercial Truck Insurance and other costs. Another way to lower Commercial Truck Insurance Costs is to work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. We compare rates among competing insurance providers to get you the right policy at the best price.

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

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

Common Workplace Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 04, 2023

Avoid Workplace Injuries and Save on WC Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Lebanon, Harrisburg, and across the state of Pennsylvania. Call us.The best way to lower Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance costs is to create a safer work environment, thereby reducing the number of injuries and the number of WC claims. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 2,607,900 nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the private industry in 2021 and 5,190 fatal injuries.

"The total cost of work injuries in 2021 was $167.0 billion. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $47.4 billion, medical expenses of $36.6 billion, and administrative expenses of $57.5 billion," according to the National Safety Council (NSC). "This total also includes employers' uninsured costs of $13.8 billion, including the value of time lost by workers other than those with disabling injuries who are directly or indirectly involved in injuries, and the cost of time required to investigate injuries, write up injury reports, and so forth. The total also includes damage to motor vehicles in work-related injuries of $5.4 billion and fire losses of $6.3 billion."

One way to minimize these costs in your workplace is to create a safer work environment. First, you need to understand the most common causes and the most common types of injuries. Then, you can take steps to eliminate those causes and minimize injuries.

Most Common Causes of Workplace Injuries, Accidents, Illnesses, and Fatalities:

Falls, slips, and trips – Falls, slips, and trips can result in sprains, strains, bruises, fractures, cuts, etc. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 18% of nonfatal work injuries that resulted in days away from work in 2020 were related to slips, trips, and falls.

Transportation incidents - According to the CDC, 1,038 U.S. workers died in work-related crashes involving motor vehicles (22% of all deaths) in 2020.

Overexertion and bodily reaction – Common activities that can cause overexertion and bodily reaction injuries include lifting, pushing, turning, carrying, and throwing. According to the NSC, in 2020, overexertion and bodily reaction were the second leading nonfatal injury or illness event involving days away from work, representing 22% of all such injuries.

Contact with objects and equipment – According to the NSC, "Prior to 2020, contact with objects and equipment was the third leading cause of injury and illness involving days away from work and accounts for 16.7% of cases in 2020."

Exposure to harmful substances or environments – This can include exposure to electricity, radiation, noise, extreme temperatures, harmful substances, etc. "Because of illness cases related to COVID-19 (coded as Other diseases due to viruses, not elsewhere classified [n.e.c.]), the leading cause of work-related injuries and illnesses involving days away from work in 2020 was exposure to harmful substances or environments," according to the NSC. Still, exposure to harmful substances or environments was the sixth-ranked cause before 2020.

Fire and Explosions – According to the NSC, in 2020, 1,770 workplace injuries resulted from fire and explosions.

Most Common Workplace Injuries:

  • Ligament Sprains and Tears
  • Tendon and Muscle Strains and Tears
  • Herniated Discs
  • Repetitive Use Injuries
  • Cuts, Lacerations, Punctures
  • Lacerations
  • Bruises and Contusions
  • Broken Bones
  • Neck and Back Injuries
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Burns
  • Electrocutions

Tips to Minimize the Risk of Workplace Injuries:

  • Conduct Regular Risk Assessments
  • Conduct physical assessments for demanding roles
  • Provide safety and wellness training
  • Hire qualified workers
  • Hire enough workers
  • Keep workspaces clean and walkways clear
  • Post proper signage
  • Provide adequate lighting
  • Practice good equipment and vehicle maintenance
  • Provide appropriate PPE
  • Require employees to dress appropriately for their roles
  • Discourage employees from taking shortcuts
  • Understand Safety Standards and Regulations
  • Consider workplace ergonomics to reduce the risk of Repetitive Stress Injuries

Lower Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

Understanding the most common causes and types of injuries and taking steps to minimize the risk of those injuries is one way to lower WC costs.

Another way is to work with the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group, Ltd. We offer cost-effective Worker's Compensation insurance from various competing insurance companies. We'll work hard to get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and your business!

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, Safety Programs

Lower Contractors Insurance Costs With These Winter Safety Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 28, 2023

Follow these winter safety tips to save on Contractor and Construction Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, Harrisburg, Allentown, and across the state of PA.The right Contractors Insurance helps protect you, your business, and your employees; however, minimizing the risk of injuries, litigations, property damage, etc., helps keep your insurance and other administrative costs down. We all know construction sites are filled with safety hazards and risks, such as working at heights, falling objects, excessive noise, electrical hazards, etc.

“In 2020, construction laborers saw their highest annual fatal injury count (308) in the last 5 years,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). “Construction laborers accounted for almost a third of all fatal injuries in construction and extraction occupations in 2020, the highest proportion since 2016.”

Winter weather - such as extreme cold, frigid winds, snow, and ice - adds to the year-round hazards. We were lucky to have a mild winter here in the northeast last year, but experts predict lots of rain/sleet and snowstorms this winter. Therefore, it would be wise to hope for the best but prepare for the worst when keeping your worksites safe this winter.

Construction Site Winter Hazards

To properly mitigate any risk, you need first to consider potential hazards:

  • Extreme cold
  • High winds
  • Icy roads and surfaces
  • Snow and ice on scaffolding, equipment, etc.
  • Frozen pipes
  • Downed powerlines

Along with the potential result of those hazards:

  • Slipping and falling
  • Loss of dexterity
  • Loss of alertness
  • Cold stress (cold-related illnesses and injuries)

Winter Safety Tips for Contractors

Watch Weather Forecasts. There are plenty of weather apps today, so you can keep an eye on the weather forecast to ensure you don’t send your workers out in dangerous conditions, such as a blizzard.

Remove Snow and Ice From the Worksite. Before work begins, a supervisor should survey the worksite to determine any potential hazards. Snow should be removed from the worksite to prevent slips and falls, and salt or sand should be applied to melt ice.

Require Proper Clothing and Gear. The right clothing can help protect your workers. Wearing layers is always a good idea so workers can adjust what they’re wearing as the weather changes. The “layering system” consists of three layers – the base layer to regulate your body temperature and wick away moisture from the skin, the mid-layer to provide insulation, and the outer layer to protect you from the wind and snow.

Based on weather conditions, workers should also wear heavy-duty work boots with good traction, appropriate coats, warm socks, gloves, hard hat liners, and eye protection.

Provide Heated Breaks When temperatures are particularly frigid, workers must limit their exposure to the elements. Provide a heated area, such as a heated trailer or a tent with a portable heater, where they can take breaks and escape the elements.

Avoid Caffeine According to BC First Aid, to prevent frostbite and hypothermia, you should “avoid caffeine and alcohol, which hinder the body´s heat-producing mechanisms and will actually cause the body´s core temperature to drop.”

Recognize the Symptoms of Cold Stress. Anyone who has to work in a cold environment may be at risk of cold stress. Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature, and eventually the internal body temperature,” according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur, and permanent tissue damage and death may result.” Cold-related injuries include hypothermia, frostbite, chilblains, and trench foot.

OSHA reports the risk factors for cold stress include the following:

  • Wetness/dampness, dressing improperly, and exhaustion
  • Predisposing health conditions such as hypertension, hypothyroidism, and diabetes
  • Poor physical conditioning

OSHA provides this “Cold Stress Guide,” which lists the symptoms of the different types of cold stress and what to do if any of your workers experience them.

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Bill the Easy Way!

At American Insuring Group, we do more than provide you with affordable contractor and construction insurance. We perform an in-depth review of your business. Then, we compare the costs and types of liability insurance for contractors among many competing carriers, providing you with multiple contractor insurance quotes and our recommendation on the best choice for your business. 

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

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

How to Keep Your Rental Property Safe and Your Landlord Insurance Low

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 21, 2023

Tips to Keep Landlord Insurance Costs Low in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading, and throughout PA.Your rental property is a significant investment, and the right Landlord Insurance can help protect that investment. There are steps you can take to help keep your rental property safe, thereby keeping your insurance and other costs down, attracting better tenants, and avoiding unnecessary headaches and hassles.

8 Tips to Keep Your Rental Property Safe

1. Install Fire Extinguishers

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), A fire department responds to a fire every 23 seconds in the U.S. at a cost of about $328.5 billion annually. Fire extinguishers can put out about 80% of all fires, yet less than half of Americans own a fire extinguisher. Install portable fire extinguishers in public spaces and each unit within your rental property and ensure they are easily accessible. Also, remember to regularly inspect the fire extinguishers to ensure they are in good working order.

2. Install Smoke Detectors

In Pennsylvania, landlords are required to provide smoke unless there's a fully automated sprinkler system. Smoke alarms save lives and money. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, "38% of residences had an operable alarm during a fire, but these fires accounted for only 8% of total property loss." Install smoke detectors, but also remember to inspect them regularly, and although legally it is the tenants' responsibility, consider replacing the batteries regularly.

3. Install Flood or Moisture Detectors

Flood or moisture detectors can alert you to small leaks before they cause damage and become more expensive repairs. And they can quickly alert you if you have a bigger problem like a burst pipe.

4. Install Adequate Lighting

Installing adequate lighting along walkways, entries, and public areas like hallways and lobbies can help prevent vandalism and theft. Good lighting can also minimize the risk of falls, reducing the risk of a lawsuit.

5. Secure Doors and Windows

Keep your tenants safe and reduce the risk of vandalism and theft by ensuring that all doors and windows are secure. Every window and door should have a lock. All individual units should have a deadbolt. Entry and exit doors should be made of steel or solid wood core. If your property is in a high-crime area, you may want to consider installing security bars on the windows.

6. Install Security Cameras

Security cameras have become more affordable than ever, and installing security cameras outside or in public areas can help protect your property. However, it's important to understand the laws in your area regarding the use of security cameras.

7. Screen Your Tenants

Screening helps ensure that you get tenants who are less likely to engage in vandalism or criminal activity or damage your property. Experts suggest having tenant screening criteria, such as no smoking, adequate income, no history of violent crimes, etc.

8. Get the Right Landlord Insurance

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, an injury or property damage occurs. It's best to consult an experienced insurance agent to ensure you have the right landlord insurance to protect your property. For example, did you know that if a rental unit is vacant for an extended time, you may be required to purchase Builder's Risk Insurance because the risks associated with a vacant property are different from those of an inhabited property; therefore, your regular landlord insurance policy may not cover the damage. 

Do You Have the Right Insurance for Your Rental Properties?

Landlord insurance is essential for protecting your rental property; however, you don't want to overpay for insurance coverage. The independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group compare rates and coverage from competing insurance companies to find you the right policy at the right price!

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

Tags: Small Business Insurance, Landlord Insurance

5 Surprising Tips to Lower Commercial Truck Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 14, 2023

Contact us to save on trucking insurance in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, and throughout the state of Pennsylvania.Your Commercial Truck Insurance premium is based on your level of risk. In other words, insurance companies want to know the likelihood that you will have an accident, injury, lawsuit, etc., and make an insurance claim. To determine your level of risk, they look at several factors – your drivers, your vehicles, where you drive, etc. – to determine how likely you are to make a claim. The lower the risk, the lower the premium.

You can take many obvious steps to lower truck insurance costs, such as driver safety training, increasing your deductible, bundling policies, etc. Still, there are also a few ways that may surprise you.

5 Surprising Tips to Lower Commercial Truck Insurance

1. Maintain Good Credit:
In addition to the obvious factors, such as previous claims, insurance companies also consider how you conduct your business. Although controversial, many consider companies with good credit to be responsible and less risky.

“An insurance score, also known as an insurance credit score, is a rating computed and used by insurance companies that represents the probability of an individual filing an insurance claim while under coverage. The score is based on the individual’s credit rating and will affect the premiums they pay for the coverage,” Investopedia explains. “Low scores reflect higher risk, so a high score will result in lower insurance premiums. Conversely, a low score will result in higher premiums.”

2. Pay Your Bill Promptly:
Insurance companies don’t want to waste resources by sending out late reminders. Being consistently late with payments won’t help lower your insurance premiums. Furthermore, if you make a claim while you are delinquent on payments, you may have a battle collecting on the claim. Always pay your insurance bill on time, or consider setting up automatic withdrawals. Or even better, pay your bill in full to enjoy even more savings.

3. Maintain a Clean DOT Safety Rating:
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – the granter of your safety rating, “A safety rating is an evaluation of a motor carrier’s compliance with the safety fitness standard.” Your rating may be Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. “Your DOT safety rating is a critical company asset that must be protected at all costs,” Trucksafe Consulting explains. “Failing to do so can result in increased insurance costs, lost business, and even a company-wide out-of-service order.”

4. Hire Safe Drivers:
Your drivers can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability. Unsafe drivers increase operating costs (including insurance premiums), increase turnover rates, and can damage your business reputation. Data shows that “the best drivers can reduce costs by more than 12%, but the worst drivers can increase costs by more than 13%.” 

Tips for Hiring Safe Drivers

  • Hire experienced drivers
  • Review motor vehicle records
  • Contact previous employees
  • Review DOT Safety performance
  • Conduct pre-employment drug testing
  • Require a road test
  • Keep detailed records

5. Choose the Right Commercial Truck Insurance Agent

An experienced insurance agent specializing in Commercial Truck Insurance can help ensure that you get the right insurance, that you aren’t paying for insurance you don’t need, and that there are no gaps in your coverage. An independent insurance agent will check with several insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium.

Lower Your Commercial Truck Insurance Rate

At American Insuring Group, we go beyond providing you with affordable truck insurance. We carefully analyze the needs and risks associated with your business. We match you up with the best trucking insurance policy based on a careful analysis of many competing insurance companies.

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 Auto Insurance

Save on Workers' Compensation Costs With Transitional Work

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 07, 2023

Contact us for ways to save on Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Allentown, Erie, Lancaster, and throughout Pennsylvania.Transitional work – part of a return-to-work program - can help lower Worker Compensation Insurance rates and provide many additional benefits.

What is Transitional Work?

Transitional work allows employees injured on the job to get back to work more quickly and safely. Transitional work is a temporary situation that acts as a "transition" until they can return to their full work duties. The transitional work must always be within the injured employee's physician's restrictions, or you risk aggravating the injury.

3 types of transitional work

  1. Alternate or Light Duty – With this type of work, the injured employee does less physically demanding work than their regular job.
  2. Modified Duty – With this type of work, the injured employee continues to do his regular job but with engineering modifications to the employee's workstation.
  3. Work Hardening – With this type of work, the injured employee performs their regular job but slowly increases the difficulty level until they reach their pre-injury work level. This may mean working reduced hours.

What Are the Benefits of Transitional Work?

Studies show that getting an injured employee back to work as quickly and safely as possible benefits the employer, the employee, and even co-workers.

Benefits of getting an employee back to work for the employer:

  • Claims are resolved more quickly
  • Reduced WC claim costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Retention of experienced employees
  • Reduced accidents
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Lower training costs
  • Reduced overtime pay
  • Reduced administrative costs
  • Decreased number of grievances and arbitrations
  • Improved employee morale and employee relations
  • Shows employees that the employer cares about the well-being of its employees

 Benefits of getting an employee back to work for the employee:

  • Maintained employment relationship
  • Minimizes loss of physical fitness
  • Maintained skills
  • Maintained pension plans, medical benefits, and group life insurance
  • Maintained vacation and sick day benefits
  • Maintained social connections and a sense of purpose
  • Focuses on abilities rather than disabilities
  • Quicker recovery time

How to Develop a Transitional Work Program

"Unfortunately, too many employers see a transitional duty program, also known as a return-to-work program, as a 'make work' situation for both the employer and the injured employee," Michael Stack from the Workers Comp Resource Center explains. "This approach to a return-to-work program often frustrates both employer and employee."

While transitional work needs to be tailored to each individual's work tasks and physical abilities, it should not be quickly thrown together to respond to a crisis. Employers should develop a transitional duty program before it is needed.

Transitional Work Program Tips:

  • Create a written return-to-work (RTW) program
  • Communicate the RTW program to all supervisors, managers, and employees
  • Develop detailed job descriptions for every employee - A detailed job description is an essential tool for a physician to determine whether an injured worker can return to work in either a full or modified capacity.
  • Create a list of less demanding tasks that need to be done, such as filing, answering phones, training, or inventory.
  • Keep the transitional work as close to the employee's original job duties as possible
  • Review the transitional work with the injured employee and address any concerns or issues
  • Consult with the treating physician as needed
  • Let your insurance agent know when the employee returns to work

Lower Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs!

At American Insuring Group, Ltd., we offer cost-effective worker's compensation insurance from various competing insurance companies. We'll work hard to get you the best price on quality insurance to protect your employees and business.

Call us 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