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Safe Lifting Tips to Avoid Workers Comp Insurance Claims

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 14, 2014

Reduce workers' comp insurance claims with these safety lifting tips. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond with affordable, high quality workers compensation insurance.A Leading Cause of Workplace Injury

OSHA reports, “Lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace.”  This is particularly true in the healthcare industry.  Improper lifting can cause back sprains, muscle pulls, wrist injuries, elbow injuries, spinal injuries, etc. 

Sharing the following smart lifting practices with your employees will not only help improve the health of your employees, but also help reduce the number and cost of lifting-related workers’ compensation insurance claims.

There are several factors that contribute to lifting injuries:

  • Weight of Objects
  • Awkward Postures
  • High-Frequency and Long-Duration Lifting
  • Inadequate Handholds
  • Environmental Factors

Avoid Workers Comp Injuries - Follow These Safe Lifting Tips.

Here are some tips from OSHA to help your employees avoid injury from lifting:

  • Limit the weight you lift to no more than 50 pounds.  When lifting heavier loads, use two or more people to lift the load.
  • Use ramps or lift gates to load items into trucks rather than lifting them by hand.
  • Use your legs instead of your back when lifting an item from a low location.
  • Avoid twisting, especially when bending forward while lifting.  Turn by moving the feet rather than twisting the torso.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and keep the load as close to your body as possible.
  • Break down loads into smaller units and carry one in each hand to equalize loads.
  • Rotate tasks so employees are not exposed to the same activity for too long.
  • Take regular breaks and split tasks into shorter segments.
  • Move materials from containers with poor or no handholds into containers with good handholds.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment to avoid finger injuries and contact stress.
  • Adjust work schedules to minimize exposure to extreme temperatures.
  • Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration in excessive heat.

More Safe Lifting Tips

For more information about safe lifting techniques, go to https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/electricalcontractors/materials/heavy.html#awkward

Be Prepared for the Unexepected with Quality Workers' Comp Insurance

Contact us for all your workers compensation insurance needs.Following these tips will help ensure the safety of your employees and reduce workers’ comp claims; however, injuries may still happen. 

The right workers' compensation insurance will protect your business from these unforeseen incidents. 

Contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.  We can help with all of your business-related insurance needs, including workers’ compensation.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

3 Easy Tips for Buying Business Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Tue, May 13, 2014

 

Commercial insurance buying tips from American Insuring Group, serving Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, and Harriburg PA with business insurance for over 30 years.If you’re a small business owner, chances are good that you have a considerable amount of time, money, and – let’s face it – sweat and tears invested in your business.  Although it is generally not required by law (unless you are an employer), business insurance is a great investment in your business because it protects your business assets and minimizes financial risks in the event of unexpected catastrophes.   

But how do you know what types of commercial insurance are best for your business?  Or how much coverage you need?  As a business owner, you probably wear many hats, but an insurance expert hat is probably not in your wardrobe!

Here are three basic things to consider when buying business insurance for your company:

  1. Determine Your Risks – The insurance company will determine the level of risk it’s willing to accept when issuing a policy and may decide to provide all or just a portion of the coverage you request.  Your broker will then offer a policy that includes a premium and a deductible.  Premiums depend on a number of risk factors, such as your location, proximity of fire protection services, and your type of building structure, in addition to the amount of coverage you want to purchase.  A higher deductible will probably lower your premiums, but it will also increase your financial risk. It’s important to determine the level of risk you’re willing to take.

  2. Keep it Simple: Consider a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) – You can purchase insurance separately or as a package called a Business Owner’s Policy.  A BOP usually covers property, general liability, vehicles, business interruption, and other types of coverage common to most types of businesses.  BOPs simplify the insurance buying process and typically save you money.  But, it’s important that you understand what is and isn’t covered by a BOP.  Unique risks may require additional coverage. Your independent insurance agent can help clarify your options and help you identify your needs.

  3. Review Your Insurance Coverage Annually – As your business grows, so do your liabilities.  As you purchase or replace new equipment or expand operations, you may need more coverage.

Contact us for help with all your business insurance needsThe Small Business Administration (SBA) says, “Finding a good insurance agent is as important as finding a good lawyer or accountant.”   At American Insuring Group we're interested in your needs, we understand the risks associated with your business, and we can help you get the right commercial insurance for your business needs. 

So give us a call at (800)947-1270 or (610)775-3848 or use our online quote system to get a free business insurance quote.

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Food Safety and Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Get the right restaurant insurance to protect against food-related illness claimsWorking in the food service industry often means hard work and long hours.  You also face many unique challenges, including the responsibility of ensuring that the food you serve to your customers is safe.  As any restaurant owner knows, a foodborne-illness can cause the loss of thousands of dollars and, in some cases, your entire business. 

The National Restaurant Association estimates the average cost of a foodborne illness outbreak at more than $75,000.  This doesn’t even take into account the human cost. Does your restuarant have the proper insurance to handle such an occurence?

Millions of people become sick each year and thousands die after eating contaminated or mishandled foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 2011 that contaminated food caused 47.8 million illnesses a year in the United States (that includes food eaten at home and other places besides restaurants).

Ten Factors That Often Cause Food-borne Illnesses, According to the CDC:

  1. Improper cooling of foods — the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks.
  2. Advance preparation of food (with a 12-hour or more delay before service).
  3. Infected employees who practice poor personal hygiene.
  4. Failure to reheat cooked foods to temperatures that kill bacteria.
  5. Improper hot holding temperatures.
  6. Adding raw, contaminated ingredients to food that receives no further cooking.
  7. Foods from unsafe sources.
  8. Cross contamination of cooked food by raw food.
  9. Improper use of leftovers.
  10. Failure to heat or cook food thoroughly.

Here are five steps you can take to minimize foodborne illnesses in your restaurant and decrease the risk of an insurance claim:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Thoroughly wash all produce, since it is often served uncooked.
  3. Maintain a temperature at or below 40°F in your refrigerators to minimize bacterial growth.
  4. In order to kill any bacteria present, cook foods to the minimum recommended internal temperature and sustain that temperature for at least 15 seconds.
  5. Clean and sanitize all food contact surfaces, such as countertops, cutting boards, utensils, pots, and pans.

Have the Right Restaurant Insurance When All Else Fails

If, in spite of all your efforts to keep your food safe, your restaurant does experience an outbreak of a foodborne illness, there’s only one thing that can save you – the right insurance.  One option you may want to consider adding to your basic policy is business interruption insurance to help your business stay afloat if you’re forced to shut down for any length of time.  Another good option is food contamination coverage, which covers your restaurant from financial loss and helps rebuild your restaurant’s reputation.

Don't Leave it to Chance: Contact us Today

Get the right restaurant insurance. Providing restaurant insurance for small businesses in Berks county, Philadelphia and Montgomery county, Allentown and the Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Lancaster, PA and beyond.You’ve worked hard to establish your restaurant business. Don't leave things to chance. Be sure you can survive any potential issues with a comprehensive restaurant insurance policy tailored specifically to your business.  The agents at American Insuring Group understand your unique challenges. Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.   

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Stuff Happens - Is Your Business Insurance Backing You Up?

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Dec 18, 2013

How Much Commercial Insurance Protection Do You Need?

Free business liability insurance guide: 7 Things You Must Know to Protect Your BusinessIf you’re considering starting or have already established a business, you may be wondering, “Do I really need any special liability insurance for my business?”  Establishing and growing a business is hard work.  It’s an investment of time and money, and it’s important to protect that hard work against unforeseen circumstances.  Even though we may not want to think about it, like Forrest Gump said, “stuff” happens. Even if you work from home and think your home owner’s insurance covers you or if you’ve filed as an LLC to protect your assets, your business may not be as safe from catastrophic loss and possible bankruptcy as you think.

Business Insurance When You're Unable to Work

What if you become sick and can’t work?  What if one of your customers sues you?  What if a fire forces you to shut your business down for a period of time?  Have you thought about how you will protect your finances, your business, and your employees?  The right insurance can help protect these very important assets.  Here are four major categories of business insurance protection you, as a business owner, need to consider. 

Business Liability Insurance (A.k.a. Commercial General Business Liability)

Liability insurance helps protect your company if someone gets hurt on your property or if you or an employee causes property damage or injury.  Liability insurance also protects you as a tenant if you cause damage to a property you rent, and it covers claims of false or misleading advertising, including libel, slander, and copyright infringement.  This insurance helps cover medical and legal defense costs and settlements if you are successfully sued. 

Many small business owners can’t imagine ever being sued, but the fact is that we live in a very litigious society.  Liability insurance is a wise and affordable investment for any business.  It can be purchased individually or included as part of a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) that combines liability and property insurance into one policy.  It’s a good idea to make sure you have enough liability coverage if you have a BOP. 

Umbrella Liability Insurance

Umbrella liability insurance is designed to protect your business against catastrophic losses that exceed the limits of other policies or for losses not covered by other policies.  Think of it as an upgrade to your existing business, homeowners, and auto insurance that goes above and beyond.

Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance helps protect against financial loss in the event that your business is prevented from generating revenue. It helps pay for operating costs (such as rent, utilities, and payroll) and lost profits if your business is forced to shut down for an extended period of time, such as during a natural disaster that either forces your business to close or requires repairs to be made to the property before business can resume.  Business interruption insurance can be added to your property insurance policy or purchased as part of a BOP.  

Overhead Insurance

Overhead insurance is designed to protect the operations of your business if you suffer from a major accident or illness and become unable to work.  Overhead insurance helps cover business expenses such as salaries, utilities, interest payments, insurance premiums, and rental payments.

Putting Together a Business Insurance Plan

You’ve worked hard to make your business a success.  Don’t let someone or something take it all away from you.  Take the necessary steps to protect it with the right business insurance.

Free Report: 7 Things You Must Know to Protect Your Businesss 

For more information, click here for our report, 7 Things You Must Know to Protect Your Business

Free business liability insurance guide: 7 Things You Must Know to Protect Your Business

Need help in figuring out the right level of insurance to properly protect your business? Call us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or Contact Us by email. We're independent agents representing over 25 brands of insurance. We'll find the right coverage at the right price to meet your needs.

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4 Top Reasons for Using an Independent Insurance Agent

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 05, 2013
Your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent serving Berks County, Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, Erie, Pennsylvania and beyond

Considering the millions of dollars spent daily on TV commercials for single-brand insurance offerings, you would think that the independent insurance agent is a thing of the past. It's tough to go an hour on TV without seeing at least one commercial for AllState, Nationwide, GEICO, State Farm, or other single brand ("captive") insurance solution. That's because with few exceptions, only the big brands can afford to run national TV ads.

Bigger May Not be Better When it Comes to Insurance

Most people realize that big budget advertising does not necessarily equate with the best solution for all kinds of things in life. That's why, for example, many people avoid the pay-per-click ads found on search engines and instead click on the unpaid search results: they seek a high-quality answer to their search instead of one paid for by the competitor with the deepest pockets. In plain English, they don't want to be "spun" by the marketing machines behind the ads.

Let's apply the same thinking to an independent insurance agent vs. the mega-brands. Here are 4 reasons why an independent agent is likely to provide a superior personal or business insurance solution to satisfy your needs.

#1. Your Needs are Unique and Your Insurance Policy Should Fully Meet Your Needs

Insurance is complicated. It is difficult, if not impossible, for those outside the insurance industry to understand all the insurance options for meeting their needs. Only an independent insurance agent understands the pros and cons of each insurance company and their policy offerings as it pertains to protecting you against your unique combination of risks and liabilities.

#2. Independent Insurance Agents are a Valuable Advocate, and They Cost You Nothing

Your independent insurance agent will check multiple companies and insurance solutions in detail to arrive at the best combination of value, price, and insurance protection to properly and fully address your individual or business insurance needs. That can be very time-consuming, but that service typically costs you nothing.

#3. Your Independent Agent is a Single Source for All Your Insurance Needs

Insurance companies typically handle only certain types of insurance. However, your independent insurance agent handles insurance from multiple companies, thereby covering virtually any need, including business insurance, homeowners and car insurance, boat, RV, and motorcycle insurance, life and health insurance, umbrella insurance, pet and vacation insurance, workers compensation insurance, disability insurance, and virtually every kind of liability insurance to protect any type of business need. Being a single source with access to multiple insurance companies and solutions, your agent can create the best blend of policies to provide the right protection with minimal overlap and waste between and among your insurance policies.

#4. Unparalled Service

When you have an insurance question or need, your independent agent is there for you. You are not relegated to a faceless, nameless individual connected to an 800 number. Instead, you have the comfort and confidence of dealing with someone who you know, like, and trust for all your insurance needs. Think about it. Doesn't that kind of service and flexibility mean more to you than putting yourself in the hands of someone you don't know, and who offers only one solution or brand? 

 

We're Independent Insurance Agents, and We're Ready to Serve You

At American Insuring Group we pride ourselves in helping our customers not only save on insurance, but also in finding the right insurance protection. We'll put together a plan that will meet your needs, and we'll review your needs on a regular basis to see if it may be time to adjust your insurance to meet your changing needs, or to take advantage of better pricing that may become available as your needs change. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Learn more. Contact American Insuring Group today to learn about your options for business insurance, personal insurance, health and life insurance, car and house insurance, commercial liability insurance and more.

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Business Insurance Reality Check: Is Your Business Vulnerable?

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Sep 25, 2013

Business Insurance questions to ask to determine risk and insurance coverage. Serving Reading PA, Berks County, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Pennsylvania and beyond with quality commercial insurance.Too Busy to Assess Your Risk?

Many small business owners are so busy these days that they have little time to slow down and properly analyze their risks and business insurance needs.  And it’s no wonder. Small businesses from Reading PA in Berks County, to Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, and all across the nation drive a significant portion of the country’s economic growth. However, they tend to be lean, which means the typical small business owner is wearing many hats and putting in long hours. Many are too busy to take the time to properly analyze risks, and to obtain adequate insurance protection to address the risks of their growing businesses.

Just How Big Can a Small Business Be?

Statistics available from the US Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov) indicate that small businesses employ more private sector personnel than mid-sized and large businesses combined.  In the US, small businesses are generally defined as manufacturing businesses with less than 250 employees, and non-manufacturing companies with under $7 million in annual receipts.

Engines of Economic Growth 

Small businesses are the engines of private sector economic growth, creating approximately 2/3 of new non-government jobs while generating over 40% of the private payroll in the US. Small businesses account for a similar proportion of total US high-tech jobs as well.

Questions Small Business Owners Must Ask to Determine Risk and the Right Level of Business Insurance Protection

Regardless of how busy you may be, busyness is no excuse for ignoring risks that could sink your business.  Here is a brief list of questions every business owner should answer as a first step in assessing risk and the need for stronger insurance protection:

  • Disability Insurance:
    Who will run my business if I become disabled permanently or for an extended period? Will my company have the financial resources to pull through this type of crisis?

  • Life Insurance:
    If I die will my business survive? Will my employees all lose their jobs? Will my family be able to keep our house and maintain a good lifestyle?

  • Key Person Insurance:
    What if a person who is vital to my business dies or becomes permanently disabled? Will my business have the financial resources to survive until a new person can be found, hired and fully trained, or will it set me back several years?

  • Workers Compensation Insurance:
    Are my employees properly classified for workers compensation insurance? Could my business survive a workers compensation insurance audit without undergoing major penalties for misclassifying employees? Is my workers compensation insurance coverage fully up to date to reflect my changing business needs and the expanded types of positions my employees currently hold?

  • Property Insurance and Business Interruption Insurance:
    Are my buildings, equipment, and other business property insured against the full range of potential risks? In the event of a claim that disrupts my cash flow for a prolonged period, will I receive compensation for the loss of income during that time, or merely for the cost of the damage to my business property?

  • Professional Liability Insurance:
    Am I covered if an employee were to cause harm to a customer or to their business, and a court found it to be due to negligence? How vulnerable is my business to various types of lawsuits?

 

Be Smart – Be Informed on Business Insurance

Our staff can properly address these and other business insurance questions. We’re a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency. That means we offer a range of business insurance plans from competing insurance companies. We’re well positioned to find the right business insurance coverage at a significant savings.

Contact us today at 610-775-3848, or click to Contact Us online.

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Restaurant Insurance & Hurricane Sandy: Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Aug 09, 2013

Among the Most Destructive Storms In US History

Restaurant insurance protection lessons from Hurricane Sandy: we provide smart restaurant insurance protection for businesses in Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, Erie, and beyond.Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive and deadliest hurricanes in United States history. Twenty-four American states and seven other countries were affected. Coastal towns once pulsing with beachcombers by day and clubbers by night were submerged within hours. Businesses were out of operation for much longer than ever anticipated and the damages sustained were astronomical.

Catastrophes of this magnitude are rarely expected, even in the world of insurance. Sewers backed up. Equipment broke. Food spoiled. Power was lost. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy we discovered insurance protection that proved critical for restaurant owners, including: sewer backup, equipment breakdown, food contamination, and loss of sales/ loss of income due to extended power outages.

Insuring Against Sewer Backup

We all know the quote from Jumanji: “A little rain never hurt anybody…but a lot can kill.” Well, a lot of rain can kill your sewer system. When more rain pours down than your sewer and pump can handle, raw sewage backs up and escapes in some less-desirable places, such as the bathroom faucet - need we say more? Unfortunately, most people do not realize that sewer backup is generally not covered under their personal or business insurance policies. This additional coverage is not only recommended, but can be invaluable to your business.

Equipment Breakdown

Equipment breakdown coverage is usually considered “optional” on an insurance policy. If just one of the primary machines in your restaurant breaks down, such as the air conditioner or water heater, you are probably not covered for fixing the equipment or for the loss of income sustained due to the failure. Be sure you are covered if 100 degree temperatures inside your restaurant due to an air conditioner failure turn away potential customers. 

Food Contamination

No matter how diligent you and your employees are, food contamination and food spoilage can strike anyone in the restaurant industry. If a machine breaks or your power goes out temporarily and food spoils, you will be held personally liable for the expenses incurred unless you are insured for this type of event.

Insuring Against Loss of Sales/ Loss of Income from a Power Outage

Hurricane Sandy not only flooded businesses, but also caused large-scale power outages. Is your restaurant covered for business income losses due to loss of power? There is a good chance the answer is no. Unless you have a best friend who sells generators and you specialize in candle-light dinners, power loss is never good. When power loss equates with income loss, you want to be sure you are covered.

Learn from Hurricane Sandy:
Get the Right Restaurant Insurance Protection

We all hope and pray that a disaster of this magnitude never again strikes our land and our loved ones. Yet, as we in the insurance industry know all too well, you can never be too prepared. As restaurant owners, it should be easy to grasp the importance of insuring against these four risks that Hurricane Sandy uncovered.

Peace of Mind and Protection from Uncertainty

By being properly insured, you will be protected if the big rainfall that surpasses the five-inch prediction causes your sewer to back up. If storm winds topple the power lines down the street and you aren’t prepared to play Pioneer Days with your customers, you will be covered. If your employee mistakenly undercooks the chicken for your famous chicken piccata dish, you will be covered. If your air conditioner works overtime and decides to take a siesta for a day, you will be covered.

Play it smart: contact us today to be certain that your restaurant business is fully insured! 

(610) 947-1270

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Who Needs Commercial Vehicle Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 04, 2013

Have you recently started a new business, or perhaps suddenly come to the realization that your personal vehicle insurance may not fully protect you when using your car, van, or truck for business purposes? 

Commercial Vehicle Insurance Coverage Differs by Company

Is your personal vehicle insurance protection adequate when using your vehicle for commercial purposes? Learn why you should obtain commercial vehicle insurance. We serve Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Hershey, Pennsylvania and beyond.Although each insurance company has different guidelines for determining to what extent your personal vehicle may be insured when used for commercial purposes, it is nonetheless risky to assume your personal vehicle will be properly covered, if it is covered at all. Rather than taking chances, consult an independent insurance agent to learn the details of your coverage, and to select the best insurance company and policy to meet your commercial insurance needs.

How to Know if Your Vehicle Use is Commercial or Personal

The most obvious indicator that you are using your vehicle for business purposes occurs when you are using your car, van, truck, or other vehicle to transport merchandise or people, or to perform services for a fee.

For example, if you are using your vehicle to:

  • Deliver flowers or restaurant food, such as pizza or other food items
  • Perform landscaping services, such as delivering workers and/or materials
  • Perform snow removal services
  • Tow a trailer used for business purposes
  • Travel to customers for sales calls or to perform consulting services 

Who is Covered Under a Commercial Vehicle Insurance Policy?

Unlike a personal policy, commercial vehicle policies allow you to cover any of your employees when your vehicle is used for business purposes. If your vehicle is driven by employees, that’s a sure sign that you need a commercial policy. Likewise, if your vehicle is owned under a corporate partnership, or used to haul heavy equipment, or to make deliveries requiring federal or state filings, then you definitely need commercial vehicle insurance protection.

Amount of Vehicle Insurance You Need for Business vs. Personal Use

Commercial vehicle insurance policies generally provide greater protection than personal policies, with higher liability limits. However, it’s very important to make sure you are fully protected for both business and personal use if your vehicle is used for both.

Don’t Take Chances!

By now we hope you are thoroughly convinced that it is not worth taking chances with your commercial vehicle insurance coverage. Whether you hail from a larger city like Philadelphia or Allentown, or smaller areas like Reading or Lancaster, you need the right insurance protection. Please don't take chances with your future.

To learn more about commercial insurance for your car, van, truck, or commercial fleet, click here.  Or, contact us online. You may also reach us at (610) 775-3848. We’re independent insurance agents who stand ready to help you find the insurance protection that’s right for you, your budget, and your business.

Save on commercial vehicle insurance in Reading PA, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Erie, Allentown, Bethlehem, Pittsburgh, Hershey, Pennsylvania and beyond.

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Should Your Commercial Property Insurance Cover Tenant Improvements?

Posted by David Ross on Wed, Mar 27, 2013

If you are a landlord and you have tenants leasing your commercial property, you may want to take a second look at your lease agreement.  You may also want to review your commercial insurance policy to make certain the two are in harmony. To fail to do so may result in unexpected costs, lack of insurance protection, or coinsurance hassles in the event of a claim.

Whose Commercial Insurance Policy Pays for Damage to Improvements?

Your commercial property insurance should properly cover permanent upgrades made by tenants. Buy commercial insurance for Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Hershey, Pennsylvania and beyond.As the owner of a commercial building, any permanent upgrades made to your property by a tenant become your property, not the tenant’s property. This may seem obvious, but consider the impact should damage be done to such improvements during the tenant’s leasing period. Whose insurance will pay for the repair or replacement cost?  Will either insurance policy pay? Will both pay? Can you live with the uncertainty of not knowing?

Getting it Right When You Craft the Lease Agreement

As a commercial property owner, you should clearly define who is liable for replacing or repairing permanent improvements and upgrades that become damaged. Even though the tenant’s commercial insurance policy normally covers damage to permanent improvements made by the tenant, it may be unwise to put the responsibility exclusively on the tenant.  Here’s why: if the owner takes responsibility then he can include the value of the improvements in the policy limit, thereby avoiding coinsurance penalties.

Did Your Tenant Opt Out of Insuring Permanent Improvements?

If the tenant does not want to insure the improvements, he can exclude such coverage via an Additional Property Not Covered endorsement. Furthermore, it is possible that even though the tenant has insurance for improvements, he may be underinsured.  Finally, if your lease has an early termination provision allowing the owner to cancel the lease if the building is significantly damaged, then the tenant’s policy will not cover the loss.

Ignorance is Dangerous When it comes to Commercial Property Insurance

The scenarios above should make it clear that ignorance of the details of your lease agreement and your commercial insurance policy can be dangerous to your financial health.  The two should be in harmony, especially when it comes to covering permanent improvements made by the tenant. 

Please call us at (610) 775-3838 if  you would like help in obtaining the proper insurance protection for your rented commercial property.

Contact us to get the right commercial property insurance protection for your rental propert

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Workers Compensation Insurance Warning: Don’t Misclassify Employees

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 16, 2013

Yes, Workers Compensation Insurance Can be Costly, but Don't Cheat

Workers compensation insurance and guidelines for determining independent contractor vs employee status. Get affordable workers compensation insurance from American Insuring Group, serving Reading PA, Berks County, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, York, Allentown, Lancaster, PA and beyond.Providing workers compensation insurance for employees can be a significant expense, especially in industries prone to serious injuries, such as those requiring heavy or potentially dangerous machinery.  While some employers may be tempted to misclassify workers as independent contractors rather than as employees in order to avoid worker’s comp insurance and other costs, the penalties for misclassifying employees as independent contractors can be severe.

IRS Guidelines for Determining Independent Contractor Status

According to the IRS:

You are not an independent contractor if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer (what will be done and how it will be done). This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed.  

Consequences of Treating an Employee as an Independent Contractor

If you classify an employee as an independent contractor, whether to avoid workers compensation costs or purely by accident, and you have no reasonable basis for doing so, you may be held liable for employment taxes for that worker as well as incur severe penalties. See the IRS guidelines for determining employee vs. independent contractor status for more information. 

Some Common Sense Guidelines for Determining Independent Contractor Status

While the IRS provides detailed guidelines for determining independent contractor status, it may be helpful to consider how one state simplified the criteria. New York State noted these requirements to be eligible for independent contractor status:  

  • Advertising
    Has his/her own advertising (business cards, commercials, phone book listing, etc.)
  • Authority
    Performs work via his own contract, permit, or authority
  • Control
    Controls the manner and time for work performed
  • Different Work and Customers
    Performs work that differs from the primary work of the hiring business, and performs work for other businesses
  • EIN or Business Tax Return
    Has a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Federal IRS or has filed federal business or self-employment income tax returns for work or services performed in the prior calendar year
  • Equipment
    Provides all equipment and materials needed to perform services under the contract
  • Liability Insurance
    Has liability insurance (and if appropriate, has worker’s comp and disability insurance policies) under its own business name and Federal EIN
  • Obligations
    Has recurring business liabilities and obligations
  • Profit & Loss
    Operates under a specific contract, is responsible for satisfactory performance of work, is subject to profit or loss in performing the specific work under such contract, and is in a position to succeed or fail if the business's expenses exceed income
  • Separate
    Maintains a separate business establishment

Protecting Your Business from Workers Compensation Insurance Penalties

The above information is intended to be used only as an overview regarding independent contractor status. If you are in doubt as to the status of an independent contractor, seek professional advice from a local tax attorney, or get an opinion from the IRS by filling out form SS-8.  The stakes for misclassification can be high, and disputes over worker status can be both expensive and disruptive to your business, sometimes resulting in crippling retroactive penalties

Get the Right Workers Compensation Insurance Coverage for Your Business

If you would like help in acquiring affordable workers compensation insurance for your business, please Contact Us. Our helpful and courteous team will help you obtain quality insurance coverage at an affordable price. To learn more about workers compensation insurance, please click below.

Learn about workers compensation insurance from American Insuring Group, a Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent

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