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Workers Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 13, 2020

Understanding Workers Comp Insurance vs. Liability InsuranceEvery business in Pennsylvania with one or more employees is required to provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance to its employees – with very few exceptions. It’s the law. It doesn’t matter if those employees are full-time or part-time or even family members. Not having workers’ compensation insurance is a criminal offense. In Pennsylvania, you could face fines up to $2,500 and/or prison time.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is designed to protect both the employee and the employer. There are two essential parts to WC insurance. The first part is coverage for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, disability compensation, and lost wages when an employee is injured or becomes ill “in the course and scope” of their job, regardless of fault. It also pays death penalties to the family of an employee who is killed on the job.

According to the National Safety Council, the average cost of a WC claim in 2016-2017 was $40,051, with WC claims caused by injuries resulting from motor-vehicle crashes averaging $78,293. For many businesses, paying that amount of money out of pocket could put them out of business.

The second part of WC Insurance is coverage for employer liability. The first part of WC pays medical costs for work-related injuries and illnesses regardless of fault. However, if an employee feels the employer was negligent, they can file a lawsuit for additional damages in some instances. This is where the second part of WC – employer’s liability – kicks in. It helps employers pay for legal expenses, such as attorney’s fees, court fees, and settlements or judgments.

Types of Claims Employer’s Liability Insurance Covers

Third-Party Action

An employee who is injured on the job and receives workers’ comp benefits can’t sue their employer directly; however, they can sue a third party, such as the manufacturer of a piece of equipment that caused the injury. The manufacturer can then file a lawsuit against your company, creating a third-party action lawsuit.

Consequential Damage

An example of consequential damage would be a spouse who is injured as a result of caring for the injured employee.

Loss of Consortium

If an employee is severely injured or killed on the job, their spouse can file a lawsuit when the injury or death results in the loss of a family relationship.  

Dual-Capacity Suit

A dual-capacity lawsuit can occur if the employer and injured employee have more than one relationship. For example, if you manufactured a product that could have caused the injury, the employee can hold you liable.

What About Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance?

CGL covers bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage caused during business operations, as a result of one of your products, or on your business premises. Here are a few examples of when CGL will cover you.

  • A customer falls and hurts themselves while in your restaurant.
  • One of your employees accidentally causes a fire while working on the electrical panel in a customer’s home that causes damage.
  • Someone files a libel or slander claim as a result of an ad that you placed.

One of the most important things to remember about Commercial General Liability Insurance is that it does NOT cover bodily injury to an employee. That is what Workers’ Compensation is for.

 

Protect Your Business While Saving Money

American Insuring Group offers both Workers’ Comp Insurance and Commercial General Liability Insurance, along with any other type of insurance you may need to protect your business. Plus, as independent agents, we compare the cost of coverage among many insurance companies to ensure that you get the lowest price on quality insurance protection. Give our experts a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Professional Liability Lawsuit, Commercial General Liability Insurance, WC Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance vs. Commercial Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 23, 2020

Commercial  Property Insurance vs Commercial Liability Insurance - do you know the difference?Do you think that Commercial Property Insurance has you covered? Let’s go back to June 2019 for a moment.

Do you remember the fire and series of explosions at Philadelphia Energy Solutions? It released 5,239 pounds of deadly chemicals into the air and took more than 24 hours to extinguish. CNBC reported that it sent shock waves for miles and rained debris on nearby neighborhoods, and that “the blast was so powerful that a 38,000-pound barrel was launched 2,100 feet across the Schuylkill River, where it landed on the opposite bank.”

It was determined that the likely cause of the fire was a faulty pipe. Surprisingly, there were no serious injuries or fatalities. Five workers reported minor injuries, and experts do not believe there will be any health impact from the release of chemicals.

This is a prime example of why businesses need both Commercial Property Insurance and Business Liability Insurance. One covers your property, and one covers lawsuits.

In the Philadelphia Energy Solution incident, Commercial Property Insurance would help Philadelphia Energy repair or replace its refining complex. If the explosion was determined to be Philadelphia Energy’s fault, Business Liability Insurance would help cover any damage the explosion caused nearby neighbors or if the deadly chemicals were to have any negative effects on anyone.

According to the Insurance Journal, four out of ten businesses are likely to experience a property or general liability claim in the next ten years, and the average cost of a customer slip and fall claim is $20,000. Reputational harm claims cost an average of $50,000, and if a lawsuit is involved can average more than $75,000 for legal fees, settlements, and judgments. About 35% of all general liability claims result in a lawsuit.

What is Commercial Property Insurance?

Commercial Property Insurance helps repair or replace your physical assets, such as the building, furniture, computers, inventory, etc. if they are damaged by fire, hail, lightning, windstorms, vandalism, and explosions.  Typically, earthquakes and floods are not covered unless they are added to your policy.

The cost of Commercial Property Insurance is determined by the value of your assets, your location, the construction of your building, your industry, and how close the nearest fire hydrant and fire station are.

What is Business Liability Insurance?

There are many types of Business (Commercial) Liability Insurance that cover different liability risks. Business Liability Insurance protects your business from liability claims against your business by a third party, such as customers, suppliers, vendors, and employees.

Types of Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance helps cover third-party lawsuits, like customers, suppliers, and vendors, but not your employees. It typically helps cover third-party personal injuries, property damage, and advertising injury. For example, if a customer were to be injured after slipping and falling at your business, they could file a lawsuit against you. General Liability Insurance would help cover the costs of that lawsuit.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required for most employers in Pennsylvania. It helps pay for medical costs and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job. It also reduces the risk of an employer being sued by an injured employee.

Professional Liability Insurance (A.k.a. Errors and Omissions Insurance) helps protect businesses against negligence and other claims made against them.

Product Liability Insurance helps cover lawsuits filed due to damages caused by a business’s products.

An experienced insurance agent can help you determine the types of business liability insurance that is right for your business.

Here's How to Save on Commercial Property Insurance and Business Liability Insurance

Here are two ways to save on the cost of Commercial Property and Business Liability Insurance:

  • Bundle the two policies into a Business Owners Policy.
  • Work with an independent agent, like the agents at American Insuring Company, who can compare the cost of your coverage with several different companies.

Want to learn more about lowering your Commercial Insurance Costs? Give one of our independent agents a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Professional Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance, Product Liability Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance

Commercial Liability Insurance for Farmers Market Vendors

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 22, 2019

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

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

Farmers Market Vendor Liability Exposure

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

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

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

5 Tips to Protect Your Farmers Market Vendor Business

Safety Training

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

Keep Produce Clean

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

Know Your Produce

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

Pay Attention to Temperature

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

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

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

Purchase the Right Insurance

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

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

Want to Ensure You Get the Best Price on Insurance?

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

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

Filling Restaurant Insurance Gaps

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 07, 2019

fill-restaurant-insurance-gaps-300Restaurant Insurance is available to protect your property, your employees, and your business. Some types of insurance are pretty standard and may even be required by law or by other entities such as lenders and landlords.

The following are standard types of insurance that most restaurant owners carry:

  • Property Insurance
covers your building and its contents if it is damaged by fire, storms, theft, etc. and is usually required by lenders.
  • Commercial general liability insurance
covers legal costs and any judgments you may be required to pay a plaintiff if you are found liable for bodily injury or damage to someone else’s property.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
covers injury to employees and is required by law for most businesses with employees.

These insurances are great for protecting many of your assets; however, you may find that there are gaps in your coverage.  Fortunately, there are other types of insurance or additional coverages available that can help fill those gaps.

You may not need any of these additional coverages, but knowledge is power. If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road, it is critical that you consider potential risks, determine if they are covered under your existing policies, and decide how (or if) you need additional coverage.  

An experienced agent who specializes in restaurant insurance – like those at American Insuring Group - can help you determine the best coverage for your specific needs.

Here are Additional Coverages You May Want to Consider for Your Restaurant

Liquor Liability

If you have a liquor license, you should have liquor liability insurance to protect your restaurant if a customer becomes intoxicated and causes injury or damage.

Commercial Automobile Insurance

If you use a vehicle to transport food or people, you will need commercial automobile insurance.

Employment Practices Liability

If an employee sues your restaurant for discrimination or harassment, it may not be covered by general liability insurance.

Life Insurance

If your death (and loss of income) would cause a financial hardship for your family, you should consider either term or permanent life insurance.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella Insurance provides coverage above the limits of your general liability, commercial auto, or employer’s liability on a WC policy.

Sewer Backup

Sometimes a sewer backup isn’t just a stinky nuisance; it can cause real damage to your restaurant and is typically not covered under property insurance.

Utility Interruption Coverage

The loss of utilities such as electric, gas, water, etc. could shut down your restaurant or even cause damage to your restaurant.

Equipment Breakdown

Restaurants rely on their equipment – ovens, freezers, food warmers, etc. - and equipment does break down and can cause damage.

Spoilage or Food Contamination Insurance

An interruption in utilities or an equipment breakdown could result in costly food spoilage.

Extra Expense

If your property is damaged, and you want to continue operating at another location while repairs are being made, you’re going to incur expenses such as equipment or property rentals. If you want those expenses covered, you’ll probably need to purchase extra expense coverage.

Fine Arts

If you have expensive paintings or other artwork in your restaurant, you may need to protect your investment from damage or theft with fine arts coverage.

Employee Theft

A typical property insurance policy does not cover theft by employees.

Peak Season

If your restaurant sees a high level of business during certain times of the year, you may want a higher limit for personal property insurance coverage during that time.

Specific Peril Insurance

If your liability policy doesn’t cover damage from natural disasters (some do, and some don’t), you may need specific peril insurance.

Business Interruption Insurance

If your restaurant sustains damage and you need to close for an extended period, business interruption insurance can cover your loss of income while repairs are made.

You don’t want to pay more for insurance than is necessary, but at the same time, you do want to make sure that your business assets are adequately covered. This is where an independent agent who specializes in restaurant insurance can help.

Need Help Ensuring That Your Restaurant’s Assets are Properly Covered?

The independent agents at American Insuring Group can help you determine the best coverage for your restaurant. They check and compare coverage from multiple insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best price on quality coverage. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance

Critical Gap in Contractor Insurance Filled by CPPI

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 11, 2018

CPPI Insurance Protection Tips for Contractors in PA, from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and points in between.Contractors, how confident are you in your contractor insurance coverage? Did you know that there might be a potentially costly gap in your Commercial General Liability Insurance policy (CGL) that you may not be aware of?

CGL is a standard insurance policy that protects you against liability claims for bodily injury and property damage related to your business activities.

It helps cover legal costs such as court costs, attorney fees, and police report costs in the event of a lawsuit filed by an employee, contractor, client, vendor, etc. and judgments or settlements that result in the lawsuit.

Many banks and clients require this coverage, which makes CGL one of a contractor’s best friends.

Errors in Judgment are Usually NOT Covered by CGL Insurance

But with progressively more complicated projects and blurred lines between professional services and construction duties and responsibilities, financial loss due to errors in judgment are increasing and are usually not covered by CGL. There is also an exclusion in most CGL policies - the “absolute pollution exclusion” - that can leave a gap in your coverage and expose your business to risk.

 

Pollution & Professional Insurance (CPPI) – 4 Key Coverages

Contractors pollution and professional insurance (Aka contractors protective professional indemnity coverage or CPPI) addresses most of the pollution and professional liability coverage gaps in a CGL with four key coverages.

#1) Professional liability coverage

On a traditional project, an architect or engineer provides the design services, and a contractor implements the design. However, as projects continue to increase in complexity, the line of responsibility between the design firm and contractor are becoming blurred, and contractors are taking on nontraditional risks that a CGL policy may not cover.

Professional liability coverage extends beyond the traditional understanding of “professional services” to include engineering work, design work, construction management operations, and construction process services such as shoring and dewatering. 

#2) Protective liability coverage

This extends coverage when you are held responsible for the actions or omissions of another person. Protective liability coverage provides excess coverage over the contracted design professional’s policy if its policy limits are insufficient, protects you if the design professional’s coverage is no longer available, and acts as a difference-in-condition coverage if the CPPI is broader than the underlying professional policy.

#3) Mitigation expense

It’s usually less expensive to fix a problem discovered during construction right away rather than wait until after the project is completed. This coverage – also called “mistake coverage” - allows you to fix a problem before it becomes a claim. 

#4) Pollution liability

With the increased focus on the environment and a growing list of pollution sources, contractors are more exposed to pollution and environmental losses than ever. Even if you aren’t engaged in pollution remediation, you probably work with and dispose of fuels, solvents, and other chemical wastes.

Most CGL policies offer limited coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused by pollutants, but the absolute pollution exclusion (and similar exclusions) included in most CGLs and auto policies leave contractors open to liability for damages such as the incidental transportation of waste or the development of contaminated sites. CPPI covers claims such as damage to soil, water, air, animal life, and plant life caused by a pollutant release; the cost to clean up, treat and restore damaged resources as a result of a pollutant release; and pollution losses related to the transportation of a pollutant.

If You’re a Contractor You Likely Need CPPI Protection!

A broader understanding of what “professional services” are and the various exclusions in most CGL policies mean that almost every contractor should have CPPI coverage, so if you're a contractor, don't take chances!

Contact Us for the Right Contractor Insurance Protection

Contact us for CPPI insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, Harriburg, PA and surrounding states.Call our experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or click here to connect with them online to learn if there are any potentially costly gaps in your CGL policy.

You can rest assured that they’ll find you the right coverage at a great price!

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance, CPPI Insurance

Commercial Insurance and Faulty Workmanship

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 13, 2017

You need the right Commercial General LIability Insurance to protect you against lawsuits. This applies to Contractors Insurance and other types of business in Pennsylvania and beyond.We live in a litigious society, and no matter how careful you are or how small your business is, you may find yourself at the wrong end of a lawsuit. Every year more than 100 million lawsuits are filed in the U.S. every year, according to Rocket Lawyer.

Thirteen percent of small business owners have faced a lawsuit, according to Hiscox. And according to courtstatistics.org, the median cost for a business lawsuit starts at $54,000. “Nearly half of these cases resulted in negative consequences, including financial impact, loss of customers or damaged reputations,” according to Thrive.

Commercial General Liability Insurance

Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL) is essential if you want to protect your business from lawsuits. CGL covers your business in the event of a liability claim for bodily injury and property damage and from advertising and personal injury liability caused by your services, business operations or employees. It usually covers the cost of your legal defense and any damages if you are found liable (up to your policies limits).

The Insurance Information Institute offers these examples of circumstances that are generally covered by a CGL policy:

  • A customer visiting your business trips on a loose floor tile and is injured.
  • An employee forgets to turn off the water and causes significant damage to a customer’s property.
  • Someone files a class action lawsuit against your business, alleging advertisements constituted misleading information. 

Faulty Workmanship and CGL

We are all human. Sometimes things go wrong: an improper installation or a defective product. What if you install a water heater incorrectly, which causes an explosion with significant damage to your customer’s property, and they sue you for the damages? Will your CGL policy cover you?

Generally, the answer is yes. The CGL policy is designed to pay for property damage to a customer's property, even if the contractor installed it improperly.  It is not designed to pay the contractor to rip it out and replace it in the proper way.  That would be the Workmanship exclusion, but damage from a water heater explosion would typically be covered.

Every policy is unique, but here are two common exclusions in CGL policies that may result in a claim being denied:

  • “Your Work” Exclusion – This exclusion is meant to prevent someone from using a CGL policy as a guarantee of their work. It usually excludes coverage on property damage that is caused by faulty or defective workmanship
  • “Your Product” Exclusion – This exclusion prevents coverage for damage to an insured’s product in the event of a defect in that product.

These are just two of the exclusions that may be included in your CGL policy. There are many other exclusions that can result in your claim being denied. Understanding these exclusions and knowing your options will help you protect your business. For example, there is optional insurance that can be purchased that may cover you in the event of faulty workmanship - Contractors Faulty Workmanship Coverage or an Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy.

 

Get Help - Contact the Commercial Insurance Experts!

CGL policies can be complex, so it’s always a good idea to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable independent insurance agent. At American Insuring Group, we pride ourselves on answering questions you may not have thought to ask and making sure you have the right insurance for your business, all at a great price.

Call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online to learn about Commercial General Liability Insurance of all kinds, including Contractos Faulty Workmanship Coverage and Errors and Ommissions Insurance.

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance, CGL, Errors and Omissions Insurance