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Repetitive Motion Injuries and Workers Comp Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 24, 2018

Workers-Comp-Insurance-Repetitive-MotionThere is a very simple way to reduce health insurance and workers compensation insurance costs: provide a safer work environment and reduce the number of workplace injuries. We said it was simple, not easy.

Musculoskeletal Disorders - Largest Category of Workplace Injuries

We spend a lot of time talking about safety in the workplace in more dangerous industries such as construction and trucking, but every workplace has its safety risks. One risk almost every worker faces is Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), also known as repetitive motion injuries. MSDs are the largest category of workplace injuries. According to OSHA, MSDs are responsible for 34 percent of all lost-workday injuries and illnesses, account for $1 of every $3 spent for workers’ compensation, and cost U.S. companies as much as $50 billion every year in direct costs.

In addition to increased medical and insurance costs, MSDs cause painful injuries that sometimes require surgery and prescription medications, reduce productivity, and decrease morale. While most MSDs are very preventable, many companies do little or nothing to reduce or eliminate MSD risks. A proactive, prevention-focused approach to MSDs can save your business a significant amount of money and your employees a great deal of pain. Preventing an injury rather than treating it just makes good business sense.

What are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

MSDs, Aka repetitive motion injuries are injuries that affect the movement of the musculoskeletal system including muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, discs, blood vessels, etc., and they can impact any employee from an office worker to a construction worker.

The parts of the body usually affected by MSDs include the arms, hands, fingers, neck, back, wrists, legs, and shoulders. Common MSDs include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Tension Neck Syndrome, Herniated disc, etc.

When employees are exposed to MSD risk factors, a certain part or parts of their bodies become fatigued, and when that fatigue continues more rapidly than the body can recover, a musculoskeletal imbalance occurs, which can eventually lead to an MSD.

Workplace tasks that can cause this fatigue – known as ergonomic risk factors - include things like high-task repetition (cycle time of 30 seconds or less), forceful exertions, awkward postures, static postures, quick motions, compression or contact stress, vibrations, and cold temperatures.

What is Ergonomics?

OSHA defines ergonomics as “the study of work. More specifically, ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker’s body to fit the job.” According to OSHA, “Ergonomics draws on a number of scientific disciplines, including physiology,biomechanics, psychology, anthropometry, industrial hygiene, and kinesiology.”

By identifying ergonomic hazards in a workplace and adapting tasks, workstations, tools, and equipment, employers can reduce physical stress on their employees’ bodies and eliminate many MSDs.

How to Develop an Effective Ergonomic Program

To develop an effective ergonomic program, you need to identify potential ergonomic risk factors by reviewing operations and work practices; examine injury and MSD history within your company and information from OSHA, insurance companies, and other sources; and survey the employees performing the jobs.

Control methods of an ergonomic program may include engineering controls or work practice controls. Engineering controls may consist of eliminating excessive force and awkward posture requirements by using mechanical assists, counterbalance systems, adjustable height lift tables and workstations, powered equipment, and ergonomic tools. Work practice controls may include training on safe and effective procedures to complete tasks, job rotation to avoid prolonged periods of performing a single task, and regularly scheduled rest or stretch breaks. 

Recognizing and controlling ergonomic risk factors is an essential step to providing a safe workplace for all of your employees and improving your bottom line. Good ergonomics is good economics. So is good insurance.

Protect Your Business With Great Insurance - Learn More

We offer PA Workers Compensation Insurance for businesses in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, Hanover, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and beyond.To learn more about properly protecting your business, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online.

Our independent agents can educate you on your options and provide you with great business insurance at an unbeatable price! Call today to learn more.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance, Repetitive Motion Injuries

Heavy Equipment Safety and Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 17, 2018

Tips for safely dealing with heavy equipment in the construction industry, resulting in lower contractor and commercial insurance rates in PA, including Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, Erie and beyond. Whenever the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases its list of the deadliest jobs in America, some type of construction work is on that list.

According to the BLS, there were 991 fatal work injuries in construction in 2016. They listed first-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers as the ninth deadliest job with 134 fatal injuries and a fatal injury rate of 18 per 100,000 workers.

Roofers were number four (behind only aircraft pilots, fishers, and logging workers) with 101 fatal injuries and a fatal injury rate of 48.6 fatal injuries per 100,000 workers.

It's Wise to be Properly Insured 

No one would argue that construction is a dangerous job, and one of the elements that make it dangerous is the use of heavy equipment. According to the Center for Construction and Research Training (CPWR), vehicles and heavy mobile equipment caused 7,681 deaths from 1992 to 2010 with about 404 deaths annually.

Plus, even when vehicles and equipment are involved in an accident, they are often not listed as the cause of death. Given these facts, it's clear that having the proper contractor insurance is key for those in the construction industry. 

Types of Dangerous Heavy Equipment

Cranes have been the most dangerous heavy equipment machinery used in the construction industry for the past two decades. CPWR found that from 1992 through 2006, 632 of all the construction fatalities reported were caused by cranes. In 2008, crane collapses caused 25 deaths and 59 injuries, contact with overhead power lines resulted in ten fatalities and eight injuries. Contact with crane load caused six deaths and ten injuries.

But cranes aren’t the only dangerous type of heavy equipment. Here is a list of the top five most dangerous construction equipment:

  1. Cranes
  2. Bulldozers
  3. Dump trucks
  4. Backhoes
  5. Excavators

Heavy Equipment Safety

Yes, experience does go a long way to ensure the safety of heavy equipment operators and those working around them. The danger comes when someone who has been working on the job for a long time is lured into a false sense of security and lets their guard down.

Distractions Can Cause Accidents

Today, one of the most common dangers may be simple distractions – both external and internal - that can affect veteran and novice heavy equipment operators alike, and many of these distractions can be avoided.

Before cell phones became so ubiquitous, many heavy equipment operators listened to radios. This was distracting enough (and could keep the operator from hearing if something is wrong with the machinery or someone is shouting at them), but cell phones have taken that distraction to a whole new level. 

Today’s cell phones allow operators to listen to music, text, watch videos, play games, check social media, search for information online and make phone calls. Some operators use earbuds to block out external noises. All of this can lead to distraction and danger.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has addressed the use of cell phones in cranes. OSHA states; “The [crane or derrick] operator must not engage in any practice or activity that diverts his/her attention while actually engaged in operating the equipment, such as the use of cellular phones (other than when used for signal communications).”

While OSHA doesn’t address this with other types of heavy equipment, it’s a smart safety measure to employ across the board to both operators and those working around heavy equipment.

Do You Have a Safety Policy? 

The best way to avoid distractions of any kind and keep your workers safe is to have a safety policy in place that forbids the use of cell phones while operating or working around heavy equipment, educate workers on that policy, and address any issues as soon as they arise.

Protect Your Business with the Right Type of Insurance

Get the right insurance for the construction industryUnfortunately, accidents still happen, but the right insurance can help protect you and your employees if an injury does occur. Workers Compensation Insurance, which is often a state mandate, can provide wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job.

Commercial Liability Insurance can help protect your business from lawsuits. Various types of insurance can be combined to create a custom Contractor Insurance policy as well. 

To learn more about these and other types of commercial insurance, call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online.

 

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance, Heavy Equipment Insurance, Commercial Insurance

Restaurant Insurance and Food Truck Safety

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 10, 2018

Food truck safety tips to lower your restaurant commercial insurance in Allentown, Reading, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Food Trucks may have started as a big-city phenomenon, but their numbers are growing in big and small towns alike. While the restaurant industry continues to grow at a steady rate of approximately 2% each year, food trucks have increased at a rate of 7.9% annually over the past five years, according to FoodTruckr.com. In 2017, food trucks were a $2 million industry.

Much of the appeal may be the relatively low start-up and operating costs. But as with any business, food trucks come with their share of risks. The right type of restaurant insurance can help protect your investment if something happens. Taking proactive steps to avoid that “dreaded something” from happening can save lots of time, money, and headaches, and avoid increased restaurant insurance premiums as well.

Here are three food truck risks you should consider and tips to help you mitigate them:

Damage to Your Vehicle

Your food truck is your livelihood, and if something were to happen to it – like a fire or auto accident – that puts your vehicle out of commission for any length of time, your business could be in jeopardy. Here are some tips to avoid damage to your food truck:

  • Vet your employees.
    We know you have a lot of things to consider when hiring someone new, but if they will be driving your truck, it’s essential to check their driving record. If they’ve had multiple accidents or speeding tickets, the chances of them damaging your truck in an accident are probably higher. Plus, employees with bad driving records could cost you more on commercial auto insurance.

  • Drive Safely.
    While your food truck is in motion, there’s always the possibility of an accident. However, there are safety measures that you can take and that you can share with your employees such as being an alert driver, maintaining your truck, Keeping enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you, etc. Mobile-Cuisine offers these food truck driving safety Tips.

Injury to an Employee

There are a lot of dangers in the food industry that also apply to food trucks like falling, burns, cuts, etc. Your employees can be your biggest asset and your biggest liability. Practicing safety in the kitchen can help save you money on Workers’ Compensation and liability costs, and it’s just good business. Here are tips to create a safe kitchen for your food truck:

  • Create and enforce a safety plan.
    This is a big one. It can be time-consuming, but it is well worth your time if it can avoid causing injury to employees or customers.

  • Train your employees.
    Creating a safety plan and then simply letting it sit in a drawer gathering dust is a waste of time and money. Make sure your employees understand and follow the safety procedures you’ve put in place. Make it clear that safety is a priority and hat your safety plan isn’t just a formality, but something that every employee is expected to follow.

  • Create a safe environment.
    Try to eliminate potential hazards by keeping floors clean and uncluttered, providing personal protective equipment when appropriate, properly maintaining kitchen equipment, and following manufacturers’ instructions.

                 

Injury or Illness of a Customer

In this litigious society that we live in, every business owner needs to be aware of liability risks. If a customer standing in lines trips, falls, and hurts themselves, they could sue you. If they suffer from a food-related illness after eating your food, they could sue you. Liability insurance is a must, but here are some steps to limit injury and illness to your customers:

  • To avoid food-related illnesses, follow food handling and safety measures such as storing food correctly, following proper cooking procedures, preventing cross-contamination, and practicing proper handwashing techniques.

  • Ensure that the area around your truck is clear of hazards such as slippery surfaces, cords, etc., and clearly mark any potential hazards you may not be able to control.

Get the Best Commercial Insurance for Your Restaurant Business 

Being proactive is important, but sometimes no matter how careful you are, accidents still happen. This is where the right insurance can help protect your business.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in all types of Commercial Insurance. Their independence means they are free to shop the market to get you the best deal on insurance that's right for your business.  

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

 

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Food Truck Insurance

5 Tips to Lower your Contractor Insurance Cost

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Apr 29, 2018

Save on Contractor Insurance by following these tipsHaving the protection offered by contractor’s Insurance just makes good business sense. Without it, one nasty lawsuit could put you out of business and your employees out of work. And don’t forget: some state and federal laws require certain types of insurance.

But finding the right contractor’s insurance is a balancing act. You don’t want to pay for more coverage than you need to reasonably protect yourself, your employees, and your business. But then again, you don’t want to find yourself underinsured if something does happen. Remember Goldilocks? You want it "just right".

Using an insurance broker who is familiar with contractors’ needs and risks is the best way to ensure that you have the right amount of coverage at the best possible price.

 

Here are five tips to help minimize your contractor insurance premiums without giving up the protection you need

 

#1) Review Your Policies Regularly

Things change. You may have purchased a new piece of equipment, hired your first employee, or sold a vehicle. You want to make sure that all of your current assets are adequately protected. When you do a review, you should consider the different types of insurance available to contractors and determine if any of them need to be added or deleted from your current policy.

Here are the five insurances you should be familiar with as a contractor:

  • Commercial General Liability (CGL) – Construction is one of the most dangerous industries, making CGL Insurance an essential part of your insurance portfolio. It protects you and your company if someone gets hurt on your property or if you or an employee causes property damage or injury on a job site.

  • Commercial Auto – If you have started using your personal vehicle to drive back and forth to project sites or to transport tools or equipment or if you’ve begun allowing employees to drive your car or truck, personal auto insurance does not provide enough coverage. You may need to add Commercial Auto Insurance.

  • Workers’ Compensation (WC) – If you have employees, you may be required by law to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance. WC is meant to ensure that your employees who are disabled due to a work-related injury are compensated for lost wages and receive the necessary medical treatment. To learn more about WC requirements in Pennsylvania, go to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.

  • Inland Marine Insurance (Aka Tools and Equipment Insurance) – What’s more important than your tools of the trade? Inland Marine Insurance is designed to protect your property when it is in transit.

  • Builder’s Risk Insurance - Builders risk insurance is designed to protect your equipment in the event of losses caused by theft and other perils that can occur.

#2) Check your deductibles

Increasing your insurance deductible (the amount you need to pay when you file a claim) is one way to decrease your premiums (what you pay for your insurance coverage). If you have enough money in savings to comfortably cover a higher deductible, this may be a good choice for you. 

But be careful. The purpose of insurance is to protect you financially if something happens – an accident, theft, lawsuit, etc. If you don’t have the financial resources to cover the costs of your deductible, then your insurance policy isn’t providing the financial protection you need and could expose you to risks that affect your business – in the worst case, shutting it down.

#3) Bundle your insurance policies

Bundling is kind of like economies of scale. Sometimes if you purchase more than one insurance policy with the same provider, it can be less expensive per policy. Ask your insurance agent if bundling your policies would save you money.

#4) Know when to make a claim (and when not to)

The fact is that the number of claims you submit can affect your insurance premiums, so sometimes it makes sense to pay for certain losses out of pocket. If making a small claim will increase your insurance premiums, it may be less expensive in the long run to pay the minor loss out of pocket.

#5) Risk Management

If you can determine potential hazards and how to avoid them and implement a risk management plan, you will probably have fewer losses and injuries, which means you’ll have fewer claims. Fewer claims usually mean lower premiums. Plus, there are many intangible benefits in keeping your employees and your equipment safe – higher employee morale, higher productivity, less downtime, etc.

 

Don't Overpay for Contractor Insurance!

Contact us to save on Contractor Insurance. Serving Philadelphia, Berks County, Lehigh Valley, PA and beyond.As an insurance broker, American Insuring Group specializes in contractors insurance. We can ensure that you have insurance required by law, help you determine risks specific to your industry, and create the best insurance bundle to protect your business, all at a great price. Even Goldilocks would find our insurance to be "just right"!

To learn how we can help save you money on any type of commercial insurance coverage, call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or contact us online

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Commercial 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

4 Questions to Ask About Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 28, 2018

4 Restaurant Insurance Questions Ypu Should Know. Buy Restaurant Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Every industry comes with its own unique set of issues and concerns when it comes to insurance; the food industry is no exception. And of course, each individual restaurant is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to restaurant insurance.

When choosing the best insurance for your business, you need to look at what coverages are required by law and possibly by your lender, and what your risks and needs are.

Here are four questions you need to ask yourself if you want to protect your restaurant:

#1. What type of business are you insuring? 

We use the broad term “restaurant insurance,” but that can mean many different types of “restaurants”: bars, nightclubs, pizzerias, caterers, food trucks, full-service restaurants and the list goes on. Each type of business comes with its own unique risks.

#2. What are the primary types of restaurant insurance that most restaurants are required to have? 

There are three types of property and casualty insurance that every restaurant owner needs to consider: property, commercial general liability (CGL), and workers’ compensation.

Property insurance will protect the things you own such as the building, equipment, etc. The right property insurance will help you replace or repair your property if it is damaged due to a fire, storm, or theft. It may even include business interruption insurance. If you sustain damage to your restaurant that requires you to suspend operations for a period of time, business interruption insurance covers your loss of income (the profits you would have made had your restaurant been open) while the damage is repaired. 

Commercial general liability insurance (CGL) protects you from liability claims against your restaurant for property damage and bodily injury. For example, if someone in your restaurant falls and sustains injuries, they may decide to sue you. CGL insurance will help cover legal costs and any judgments or settlements against you.

Workers’ compensation insurance (WC) is mandatory in most states for most businesses with employees. WC pays for an employee’s lost wages and medical costs if they’re injured on the job. It can also help protect your business against accident-related lawsuits from your employees. 

#3. What are other risks I need to consider?

Once you have an idea what the basic types of insurance will and will not cover, you need to consider other risks that could affect your restaurant. Here are just a few examples. If you use a car to deliver food, you need to have commercial auto insurance. If you serve liquor, you should have liquor liability insurance. An experienced commercial insurance agency like American Insuring Group will help you consider all of your risks and determine which coverage is best for you.

#4. What other factors affect the cost of my insurance?

Every insurance policy is unique. An underwriter will ask lots of questions and conduct some of their own research before providing an insurance quote. Here are some of the factors insurance companies consider when determining the cost of your premium:

  • Years in business
  • Location
  • Hours of operation
  • Size of business including the number of employees, sales volume, and square footage of your property.
  • Loss history
  • Types of activities like entertainment, mechanical bulls, and off-premise catering.
  • Percentage of alcohol sales

It’s probably no surprise that a nightclub with live entertainment that serves light fair (but mostly alcohol) and stays open until 2 am is going to pay more for insurance than a pizza parlor that doesn’t serve alcohol and is only open until 10 pm.

Obtaining the Right Insurance Policy Requires Expertise - Don't Risk It!

Purchasing the best insurance for your restaurant – one that covers all your risks at a reasonable rate – is not a simple process. It takes an experienced insurance agent to ask the right questions and offer the best solutions. That’s just one reason why trying to buy restaurant insurance online is usually not your best options.

It’s also important to note that there isn’t just one insurance company that can offer all types of restaurant insurance at the best price.

Get The American Insuring Group Advantage!

Call us to save on restaurant in Pennsylvania and surrounding statesIndependent insurance agencies like American Insuring Group represent many different insurance companies (in our case, lots and lots of companies!), so we can find you the best rate for any type of restaurant insurance you need.

So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online for a free insurance review!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Bar Insurance, Nightclub Insurance

Truck Insurance: Comply with ELD Mandate, Get a Free ELD

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 14, 2018

Electronic Logging Device tips for saving on ELD and trucking insurance costsAmerican Insuring Group has teamed up with Progressive Insurance to help commercial trucking companies comply with the new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.

As the #1 commercial truck insurer, Progressive understands not only the advantages of ELD but also the cost of implementing an ELD.

As a partner with Progressive, we can offer our Progressive truck insurance customers FREE USE of an ELD device or up to $500! It’s an easy and smart way to comply with the ELD mandate at no cost to you while getting great truck insurance coverage at the same time! Contact us for more information.

 

ELD Compliance and Benefits

An ELD records a driver’s Record of Duty Status (RODS) electronically and replaces the paper logbook traditionally used by some drivers to record their Hours of Service (HOS) compliance. While many fleets are already equipped with electronic logging technology, it’s important to ensure that the equipment is compliant with the new mandate.

The information captured by ELDs goes beyond RODS such as Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR), IFTA Automation, and even driver behavior (speeding, idling, and hard braking). Some ELDs are also equipped with map and route solutions to help drivers avoid construction and high-traffic areas.

Many trucking companies installed ELDs prior to the mandate because of the many benefits an ELD provides such as saving time, reducing paperwork, slashing fuel costs, increasing driver communication, and keeping dispatchers up-to-date on a driver’s status, so they can plan for loads better.

 

About the Electronic Logging Device Mandate

The ELD mandate, part of MAP-21, requires commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) involved in Interstate Commerce, to use an ELD. The deadline for compliance set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) went into effect December 18, 2017.

Here are the key rules of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule according to the FMCSA:

  • Requires ELD use by commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS)
  • Sets ELD performance and design standards, and requires ELDs to be certified and registered with FMCSA
  • Establishes what supporting documents drivers and carriers are required to keep
  • Prohibits harassment of drivers based on ELD data or connected technology (such as fleet management system). The rule also provides recourse for drivers who believe they have been harassed

The mandate applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks.

The FMCSA allows for the following limited exceptions to the mandate:

  • Drivers who operate under the short-haul exceptions may continue using timecards; they are not required to keep RODS and will not be required to use ELDs.
  • Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than eight days out of every 30-day period.
  • Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, in which the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered.
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.

 

How to Get a FREE ELD or up to $500

In response to this new mandate, Progressive Insurance launched its SMARTHAUL program, and as a representative of Progressive, we can offer it to our commercial trucking customers.

There are two options for the SMARTHAUL program:

  1. The free use of an ELD - This includes the monthly subscription/service fees as long as you share your driving data with Progressive. The device would need to be returned if you decide to opt-out or cancel your coverage with Progressive.

  2. The compensation program - If you purchase your own Rand McNally ELD 50 or DC200 and agree to share your driving data with Progressive, you’ll receive $100 for plugging it in and an additional $100 for each quarter that the device stays plugged in – up to $500. You will be responsible for the monthly service fees, but the $500 compensation should cover those costs. 

Data collected by these ELDs will help Progressive better understand driving behaviors of truckers, and it will not be associated with you or your policy.

 

Contact Us For All Your Truck Insurance Needs 

To learn more about the SMARTHAUL program or any trucking insurance need, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or click here to contact us online. But don’t wait; the SMARTHAUL program is only available for a limited time.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Trucking Insurance, Electronic Logging Devices - ELD, ELD Mandate

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

8 Business Insurance Tips to Avoid a Workplace Catastrophe

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Feb 28, 2017

Business Insurance for Natural Disasters and More in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburg, York, Lebanon, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.If your company has never been struck by catastrophe, consider yourself lucky! But that doesn’t mean that your luck will hold out forever. There’s always a flood, hurricane, explosion, earthquake, lightning, or terror attack waiting around the bend.

And you and your entire company must be ready for it. With wildfires destroying over ten-million acres last year and winter storms causing $3.5 billion in insured losses earlier this year, businesses cannot afford to assume that they will be exempt from a catastrophe that strikes without warning. Getting the right business insurance is an important first step, but there are many practical things you can do to be prepared and to lower the cost and impact of a disaster.

Consider the following as you prepare your organization for a disaster:

1. Prepare safety equipment, including:

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fire-fighting equipment
  • Personal protective equipment that includes steel-toe and slip-resistant footwear, hardhats, eye protection, high visibility clothing, gloves, hearing protection, dust masks or respiratory protection
  • First-aid kits
  • Wireless communication equipment

2. Engineering controls

Escape paths, lockout tag-out controls, shut-off valves, guardrails, and exhaust ventilation that will minimize exposure to airborne hazards must be planned and inspected. Battery-powered emergency lighting, strategically placed, must be set up to go on immediately after you lose power.

3. Maintain emergency equipment

  • Check and test the emergency generator
  • Check fuel levels regularly on generators and fire pumps
  • Check all roof-mounted equipment to ensure that it’s securely connected
  • Check roof drains to make sure they are clear and able to handle heavy rains
  • Check the roof and make any repairs, no matter how minor

4. Provide training

Establish an emergency response team with participants from all parts of your organization. Then, conduct disaster management drills to ensure all members of the emergency response team and all other employees know their responsibilities. Conduct daily safety briefings that discuss hazards and controls. Identify and eliminate or control existing or potential dangers that you discover after any disaster. Job performance appraisals should be tied in with compliance on all employee training.

5. Secure your data

  • Copy your valuable papers and records, and put them in a safe place.
  • Make sure that back-ups of computer records are current and kept in a safe location off-site.
  • Confirm that any of your third-party vendors or cloud providers are also prepared for any natural or man-made disasters.

6. Work with your local government before a catastrophe hits

File a copy of your emergency response plan with local law enforcement officials, and provide them with new versions as you update them. Make sure that the local government’s emergency response team has contact information for your company. Give them updates whenever anyone on your team leaves the company or changes roles.

7. Patrol your facility during the emergency

As long as it’s safe to be there, your emergency response team should be patrolling the facility. The team should be concentrating on the following:

  • Make sure all equipment is functioning properly.
  • Repair any structural damage, if possible 
  • Correct any potential fire hazards 
  • Monitor the water pressure for your sprinkler heads.
  • Deploy sandbags if flooding seems imminent.

8. Emphasize workplace safety after the disaster

Once your business has resumed normal operations, it’s important to reinforce standard safety measures:

  • Ensure that your employees are using proper lifting techniques, and provide material handling equipment to keep manual lifting to a minimum.
  • Limit the amount of employee exposure to hazardous conditions. 
  • Minimize exposure to dangerous situations by rotating employees.
  • Make personal hygiene and sanitation your company’s priority, and give workers an area where they can clean up after each shift.

Get the Right Insurance Protection for Your Business - Contact Us to Learn More

Contact us for the right commercial insurance protection for natural disasters and other events.To learn more about preparing and protecting your business with the right types and amounts of commercial insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance, Disaster Recovery Plan

Your For-Hire Trucking Firm Needs Motor Carrier Insurance!

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Feb 17, 2017

Use these tips to save on your motor carrier truck insurance costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburgh, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.You invested a lot of money to start your own for-hire trucking business. Now it’s beginning to pay off as your schedule fills and you are spending more time on the road.

Being busy is what you hoped for, but it’s vital that you remember that you are now responsible for the business end of this venture, and protecting it has to be your top priority.

Motor carrier insurance is a type of truck insurance designed specifically for your kind of operation, and choosing the right insurance coverage will protect your investment and your business.

Here are some tips for getting the maximum coverage for your stuation:

For motor carriers who use for-hire independent truckers

If you are permanently leased to a motor carrier, there’s a good chance they will provide Primary Liability insurance coverage for you. The terms will be contained in your lease agreement, and, if the carrier provides the insurance, it will cover injuries and damage to other people and property if you are at fault during an accident.

If your carrier covers the primary liability, you will still need to purchase other for-hire trucking insurance. These are important:


Non-trucking liability: If you are not hauling cargo—you’re getting your truck washed or taking it for repairs—this coverage provides you with limited liability insurance protection.

Physical damage coverage: This insurance covers your truck and trailer against collision, fire, theft, hail, windstorm, earthquake, flood, or vandalism. The lien holder of your vehicle will require this coverage.

Motor truck cargo insurance: If you are responsible for lost freight or damaged goods, you are protected with this policy. The premium will vary depending on the load you’re hauling.

If you work on your own authority:

If you work independently—officially called operating under your own authority—you’ll need to purchase your mandatory primary liability insurance coverage which, as noted earlier, pays for damages you cause to other people and their property.

Other essential coverages:


Physical damage: This insurance pays for repairs to your truck if it's damaged in an accident, whether it's caused by a collision with another vehicle or a falling tree branch.

Motor truck cargo insurance: Pays for damages to the load that you’re hauling in the case of fire, theft, or an accident.

Uninsured motorist coverage: Pays for injuries and damages to you, your passengers, and your vehicle, which was caused by drivers who either don't have insurance or don't have enough insurance to cover your injuries and damages.

Medical payments insurance: Mandatory in some states and unavailable in others, this coverage would pay medical bills for you and any passengers in your truck in case they are hurt in an accident or auto-related injury.

Trailer interchange insurance: If a load needs to be transferred to a different trucker, the motor carrier that has possession of the trailer is responsible for any damage to it, whether or not the trailer is attached to the tractor. Trailer interchange insurance covers physical damage caused to a non-owned trailer under a trucker’s care.

 

Get Help - Get the Right Trucking Insurance

Contact us for the best trucking insurance including motor carrier insuranceSigning on with a reputable motor carrier can mitigate some of those insurance expenses, but whether you drive under permanent lease or your own authority, you will need to sit down with an expert on for-hire trucking insurance to help you get the best coverage at a competitive price.

We can help, so contact the experts at American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Trucking Insurance, Motor Carrier Insurance