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What Restaurant Owners Need to Know About Umbrella Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 21, 2022

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

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

What are Policy Limits?

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

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

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

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

 What is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

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

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

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

Who Should Purchase Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

Small to medium-sized business owners often don't think they will be involved in a lawsuit. However, according to a United States Small Business Administration (SBA) study, 36 to 53% of small businesses are involved in litigation every year. Furthermore, "Owners mentioned that the payment of damages nearly put them out of business, which affected them for a long period of time as they worked to rebuild the business and recoup their losses."

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

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

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

How to Get the Best Rate on Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

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

Tags: Umbrella Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Umbrella Insurance

Take the Mystery Out of Contractors' Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 14, 2022

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

 Risk Management

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

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

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

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

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

Transfer Risk With Contractors' Insurance

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

 Types of Contractors Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 How Much Does Contractors Insurance Cost?

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

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

Start Saving on Contractors Insurance Today!

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

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

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

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

Posted by David Ross on Mon, May 09, 2022

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

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

Am I Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

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

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

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

Consider this:

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

 How Do I Purchase Workers’ Compensation?

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

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

 How Can I Lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Contractor Insurance Can Protect Your Business

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 30, 2022

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

Risks in Contractor Industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Insurance Protects Your Employees

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

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

How Insurance Protects Your Assets

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

How Insurance Protects Your Business

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

How to Get the Right Contractors Insurance for Your Business

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

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

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

10 Tips to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 23, 2022


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

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

10 Tips to Save on Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BONUS Workers' Comp Savings Tip

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

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

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

How to Protect Your Restaurant From Cyber Threats

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 09, 2022

Protect your restaurant from cyber threats and reduce restaurant insurance costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown and throughout PA.

Restaurant Insurance –specifically Cyber Liability Insurance – is a great way to protect your restaurant from risks, such as data breaches. However, avoiding any risk is always preferable, as data breaches can have a negative impact on your restaurant – lost production, damage to reputation, and of course, higher insurance costs.

Unfortunately, many small business owners – including restaurant owners – have misconceptions regarding cybersecurity and cyber liability insurance. For example, many assume that firewalls are enough protection, that third-party vendors are fully responsible for data breaches, that general liability insurance will protect them in the event of a data breach, or that cyber liability insurance is unaffordable.

According to Cybersecurity Magazine:

  • 43% of all data breaches involve small and medium-sized businesses.
  • 61% of all SMBs have reported at least one cyberattack during the previous year.
  • 40% of the small businesses that faced a severe cyberattack experienced at least eight hours of downtime.
  • 43% SMBs do not have any cybersecurity plan in place.
  • 83% of small and medium-sized businesses are not financially prepared to recover from a cyberattack.
  • 91% of small businesses have NOT purchased cyber liability insurance.

Cyber liability losses can happen any time anywhere and cost your restaurant big time. However, Cyber Liability Insurance can help.

Top Cybersecurity Threats

These are the top five cybersecurity threats that restaurant owners and managers need to know.

  1. Hackers – Hackers frequently target restaurants because they often have poorly secured systems. Often, hackers target POS systems, which typically do not have the same security measures as desktop computers.

  2. POS Malware – Malware – short for malicious software – is an intrusive software designed to damage and destroy computers. Examples include viruses, worms, spyware, adware, and ransomware. Many POS devices run on Windows, which malware can run on.

  3. RansomwareMacAfee defines ransomware as “malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. A user or organization’s critical data is encrypted so that they cannot access files, databases, or applications. A ransom is then demanded to provide access.”

  4. Insider Threats – A common misconception is that all cyber threats come from external sources; however, many threats come from “insider threats” – current or former employees either intentionally or accidentally. According to Forbes, “In 2020, 36 percent of data breaches reported were caused by internal malicious actors.”

  5. Wi-Fi Security – Many customers today expect free wi-fi at restaurants and bars. Still, it’s crucial that you secure your Wi-Fi with firewalls to protect your customers and your restaurant’s security. It’s also important to have separate Wi-Fi access points for customers rather than the POS or business network.

Cybersecurity Tips for Restaurants

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to minimize cybersecurity risks.

  1. Pay Attention to Devices Connected to Wireless Network – Use the latest operating system because older systems often have security loopholes, install antivirus protection and malware detection software, and limit access to your devices with a PIN or passcode.

  2. Train Employees – Train your staff only to use your devices for business and educate them on phishing so they don’t click on suspicious emails or attachments.

  3. Analyze Third-Party Vendors – If a third-party vendor has access to your customers’ payment information, ensure that they are PCI compliant and take adequate security measures. If a vendor has access to your employee’s information, confirm how they protect and store that information.

  4. Store Passwords Properly – Experts recommend that you use an online password manager, such as Dashlane or LastPass, to store your passwords securely.

  5. Background Check Employees – In U.S. restaurants, employees often take credit cards from customers to process their payments. Unfortunately, dishonest employees can use that credit card information to make unauthorized charges; therefore, it’s essential that you do your best to hire the most honest employees, and a background check can help.

  6. Give Each Server a Unique Identifier – Provide a unique identifier to each employee to log into your POS system, so you can track patterns and identify potential issues.

  7. Use a Firewall to Separate Devices -Configure your firewall correctly to help keep malware-infected devices from infecting other devices.

The Right Cyber Insurance Helps When All Else Fails!

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a data breach occurs, and that’s where Cyber Liability Insurance can help. It helps cover financial losses caused by data breaches and other cyber events.

As Restaurant Insurance experts, American Insuring Group can help ensure you have the right coverage at the lowest cost. Start protecting your business today by calling our independent insurance pros at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance

Refrigerated Truck Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 02, 2022

Refrigerated Truck Insurance tips for truckers in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Lancaster, York and everywhere in PACommercial Truck Insurance is designed to help drivers, fleet owners, and managers manage risk. Whether that risk is an injured employee, a totaled vehicle, or damaged cargo, insurance can help ease the financial burden. Damaged (spoiled) cargo is a particular concern for companies that operate refrigerated (or reefer) trucks, which is where Refrigerated Truck Insurance comes into play.

The refrigerated transport market was estimated at $14.8 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $23.1 billion by 2027. One report stated, “The refrigerated transport market is gaining momentum, owing to the escalation in globalization that has led to the growth of trade and a surge in demand for frozen and packaged food across the globe.”

Today, refrigerated trucks transport fresh and frozen food, medicines, flowers, fine art, cosmetics, and more and have become essential to the transportation industry.

But before we talk about refrigerated truck insurance and how it can protect your business, let’s take a look at the fascinating history of refrigeration and refrigerated trucks.

History of Refrigerated Trucks

Back in the 1800s, people in the meat-packing industry were trying to figure a way to transport meat across long distances via the railroad without the cargo spoiling. Entrepreneurs experimented by fitting boxcars with bins filled with ice and removing doors to allow winter temperatures to keep cargos cold, but few experiments proved successful.

In 1867, William Davis developed the first patented refrigerator railcar for meat-packer George H. Hammond. The meat was suspended from metal hooks on the roof with ice and salt below it. However, the height of the meat caused many boxcars to derail. That same year, J.B. Sutherland developed a refrigerator car with ice tanks at each end of the car, along with ventilator flaps to create a downdraft of cold air. However, the ice needed to be replaced once a day, and the meat became discolored as it came in contact with the ice.

A few years later, Joel Tiffany – a Swift and Company (meat processing plant) engineer – and Andrew Chase developed refrigerator railcars. Both of these cars stored ice on the roof and dropped cold air down while warm air was ventilated out through the floor. The meat was held on the bottom of the boxcar to avoid derailments. This was the best option to date and helped meat-packing companies boom. However, the issue of melting ice that could quickly spoil the meat continued to be a problem.

It wasn’t until the late 1930s that Frederick McKinley Jones built the first automatic, ice-free air-cooling unit for trucks. It was shock-proof and could withstand the jolting and vibrations caused by long-distance trucking. At first, the air conditioner was placed under the truck, which quickly became clogged with mud. Simply moving the unit to the front of the truck above the cab solved that problem, and Jones patented his truck air conditioner in 1940.

Refrigerated Truck Insurance

Jones’s invention changed the food industry and, for the first time, allowed for the transportation of perishable items, such as meat, over long distances. Food production facilities could be located anywhere, and fresh and frozen foods became available to more people.

However, mechanical breakdowns still occur, and trucks can be involved in accidents. If refrigerated cargo isn’t consistently kept at a specific temperature, it can spoil. Refrigeration Truck Insurance typically includes liability and physical damage along with reefer breakdown insurance (Aka refrigeration unit breakdown coverage) to cover spoiled cargo due to refrigeration unit breakdowns. If you operate one or more temperature-controlled trailers that transport perishable goods, you need the unique coverage refrigeration truck insurance provides.

Here's How to Save on Truck Insurance

The best way to save on commercial truck insurance is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group. Not only do we specialize in trucking insurance so we can assure you have the right coverage, but as independent agents, we compare the cost of that coverage among competing insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest rate.

So 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, Physical Damage Truck Insurance, Cargo Trucking Insurance, Refrigerated Truck Insurance

5 Toolbox Talk Topic Ideas for Spring

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 26, 2022

Use these toolbox talks to save on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania

Want to save on Contractors Insurance and other operating costs? Create a safer work environment. Want to have higher employee morale and lower employee turnover? Create a safer work environment. Want to develop a healthier business and bottom line? You guessed it - create a safer work environment!

But how do you create a safer work environment? One crucial step is providing effective toolbox Talks (Aka safety meetings).

What Are Toolbox Talks?

are short safety meetings that “help workers recognize and avoid unsafe working conditions.” Typically, these meetings are short (10-30 minutes), informal, onsite meetings held at the beginning or end of a shift or workday that focus on a different safety topic each time.

Often, these meetings are held monthly. However, an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) report found that companies that hold daily toolbox talks reduced total recordable incident rates (TRIR) by 85% compared to those that held monthly meetings.

Successful toolbox talks are not monologues but interactive meetings that provide useful information and allow workers to ask questions, provide feedback, and participate in the discussion. After all, they’re the ones actually doing the work.

And don’t forget to document every meeting – the topic, date, trainer, employees present – and keep it on file. “One of the most frequently cited OSHA standards maintains that it’s the employer’s responsibility to train employees regarding all workplace hazards and their appropriate safeguards,” the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states. “Documentation is the only way to prove to OSHA that this training has been completed…”

Toolbox Talk Topic Ideas for Spring

There are many topics you can address at Toolbox talks, but they should of course be timely and relevant to your workers. Here are five topic ideas for spring: 

  1. Hail Safety – If you live or work here in Berks County, PA, you probably remember the hailstorm of 2014. As the local TV station said, “It all started May 22, 2014. Storm clouds appeared out of nowhere and then chunks of ice rained down over Berks County.” Thousands of cars and homes were damaged by the storm, which reminded us all just how dangerous Mother Nature can be. Any storm can be dangerous to someone working outside, and hailstorms come with unique hazards that employees working outside should be aware of.

  2. Heat Exhaustion - As the temperature continues to rise, so do heat-related illnesses among construction workers. Heat exhaustion is the most common heat-related illness and can occur when a person is exposed to high temperatures for several days without adequate fluids. According to the CDC, “From 1999 to 2010, 8,081 heat-related deaths were reported in the United States” and “Almost all heat-related deaths occurred during May–September (7,621; 94%) …”

  3. Heatstroke – Left untreated, heat exhaustion can become heatstroke, which is the most severe heat-related illness. It is a serious and life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Therefore, workers should be trained on the risks of heat-related illnesses and how to avoid those risks. They should also be able to recognize the signs and know how to treat them.

  4. Protective Outerwear – Wearing the right protective outerwear for different seasons and for different tasks helps keep workers safe. Workers should understand what type of protective outerwear is needed to keep them safe.

  5. Protecting the public – If construction occurs in an area that is frequented by the public, extra precautions – such as barriers or safe walkways - need to be taken to avoid accidents that can cause injury to people passing by.

Lower Contractor Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

In addition to creating safer worksites, working with the right independent insurance agent can also help lower Contractors Insurance costs. The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and work with many insurance companies to find you the lowest premiums.

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

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

What is the True Cost of A Workers' Compensation Claim?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 19, 2022

How to calculate the true cost of a workers comp insurance claim in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA or elsewhere

If Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC) protects your business and employees in the event of a workplace injury, you may wonder why does this blog spends so much time on safety issues? It's simple. Workplace injuries and WC claims can cost your business – both directly and indirectly and both monetarily and non-monetarily. Therefore, creating a safer work environment helps lower workplace injuries and WC Claims and their associated costs.

Let's take a look at the actual cost of injuries and WC claims.

Administrative Costs

It takes time to process a Workers' Compensation claim. You need to…

  • Report incident to the appropriate party
  • Complete and file injury/illness report
  • Stay in contact with the WC carrier
  • Stay in touch with the injured employee
  • Establish a timeline for return to work
  • Return the employee to work
  • Continue leave or terminate when an injured employee is unable to return to work

You could find yourself – or an employee - spending a significant amount of time meeting with the insurance companies and/or lawyers until the claim is closed.

Hire Replacements

Depending on the severity and nature of the injury, you may need to hire and train a new employee to replace the injured worker. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it takes on average 42 days to fill a position at an average cost of $4,129. Furthermore, research shows "it takes at least 1 to 2 years before an employee is 'fully productive.'" Therefore, even after you've hired a new employee, it could take two years for them to be as productive as the injured employee. 

Decreased Productivity

Immediately following an accident, work may slow or completely stop as you take care of the injured worker, investigate the incident, and possibly take temporary safety measures to ensure it doesn't happen again. Depending on the employee's role, you may need to find someone to replace them before work can resume. Finally, research shows "the aftermath of a workplace fatality can have long-lasting effects on other employees' emotional health, productivity, and safety." Furthermore, "the death of a coworker can affect all employees, regardless of whether they witnessed the incident, worked in the same department or were close with the deceased worker."

 Legal Action

Not all Workers' Comp claims are legitimate. If you believe a claim is fraudulent, you may decide to take the case to court, which will cost you additional time and legal costs. In addition, if you lose the case, you could end up paying more than if you had settled.

Increased WC premiums

One of the most significant effects a WC claim can have on a business is increased WC premiums. Depending on the nature of the claim and resulting costs, one claim probably won't affect your WC premiums.

However, your premium is based on the following formula: WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100. Your experience modifier compares the history of your losses to what is typically expected in a class similar to your company. It is based on the following:

  • Number of Claims
  • Cost of Claims
  • Frequency of Claims
  • Severity of Claims
  • Closed vs. Open Claims
  • Claims History of other businesses in your industry
  • Years in business
  • Number of employees
  • State minimums
  • If your experience modifier goes up, your premiums go up.

Lower Workers' Comp Costs

Bottom line: fewer claims mean lower costs. Another way to lower insurance costs is to work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. We're free to shop and compare pricing, so you save!

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

Plan For The Worst With Business Interruption Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 12, 2022

Business Interruption Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Reading and elsewhereRestaurant Insurance can include different types of insurance policies, such as Property, Liability, and Workers' Compensation Insurance. Then there are the specialty coverages, such as Business Interruption Insurance. Each type of insurance is designed to protect your business from a different risk, whether your business is in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or points in between.

  • Property Insurance typically covers your building, equipment, stock and inventory, and even outdoor signs if they are damaged under a covered event.

  • Liability Insurance typically covers your restaurant for instances of slipping and falling, food sickness and choking, excessive alcohol consumption, delivery accidents, and more.

  • Workers' Compensation Insurance pays medical bills and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job.

The end goal of insurance is to help your business recover from an unexpected disaster, such as a fire or storm. And yet, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), about 25% of businesses don't reopen following a disaster. That is probably due – in part – to the fact that many business owners don't plan for contingencies to keep their business going if a disaster forces them to close temporarily. That's where Business Interruption Insurance can help.

What is Business Interruption Insurance?

Business Interruption Insurance (Aka Business Income coverage) can help with operating expenses incurred when a business is temporarily closed due to a covered event, such as the following:

  • Employee payroll
  • Mortgage, rent, and lease payments
  • Lost income
  • Taxes
  • Loan payments 

Business Interruption Insurance usually does not cover the following:

  • Broken items
  • Undocumented income 
  • Utilities

Typically covered events include theft, fire, wind, lightning, or falling objects. However, events such as nuclear accidents, war, and pandemics are not usually covered under a Business Interruption Insurance policy. Bottom line: if there is no physical damage, Business Interruption Insurance will NOT likely kick in. Also, damage caused by floods or earthquakes is typically covered by a separate policy.

Usually, Business Interruption Insurance is not a stand-alone policy but part of a Commercial or Business Owner Policy (BOP). It is generally triggered when a claim is made to a Commercial Property Insurance policy when property damage occurs.

Options and Endorsements to Business Interruption Insurance

You can design a policy that fits your specific needs with additional options and endorsements. Here are some options:

  • Contingent Business Interruption – if property owned by someone else - such as a supplier, buyer, provider, or driver – is damaged and causes a reduction or termination in your earnings

  • Extra Expense Insurance - will cover anything beyond the regular day-to-day operating expenses necessary to keep a business solvent after a covered event, such as renting temporary space during restoration, paying overtime, hiring new employees, and leasing equipment

  • Utility Services Endorsement - if the disruption of essential utility services – such as electric, gas, or water – disrupt operations of your restaurant

  • Civil Authority – If a civil authority – such as state, local, or federal government -prohibits access to your restaurant due to physical damage to an adjacent or nearby property owned by someone else

How Much Wil Business Interruption Insurance Cost?

Business Interruption Insurance's coverage and the cost are unique to every business. The best way to determine the right coverage is to use your restaurant's gross earnings and projections to estimate future profits. In addition to the amount of coverage, the cost depends on factors such as the number of employees, restaurant location, and prior claims experience.

To get the best rate on Business Interruption – or any type of Restaurant Insurance – work with an insurance agent who understands the unique challenges restaurant owners face, such as the agents at American Insuring Group.

As Restaurant Insurance specialists, not only can we ensure you purchase the right insurance to protect your business, but as independent agents, we also compare the cost of that coverage with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premiums.

Call The Insurance Experts Today!

Prepare for the unexpected by by acquiring the right business insurance protection. Call the experts at American Insuring Group today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Business Insurance, Business Interruption Insurance