Insurance Savings and News You Can Use
Join the Conversation!

Lower Workers Comp and Liability Insurance Costs With Safety Signs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 14, 2019

lower-WC-insurance-with-signs-300The best way to reduce workers’ compensation insurance and commercial liability insurance costs is to create a safer work environment that reduces the number and severity of injuries. Whether your workplace is filled with hazards like a construction site or imposes minimal danger like a retail space, it is your responsibility as an employer to create the safest work environment possible.


One way to create a safer environment for employees, customers, vendors, etc. is to use safety signs to draw attention to potential hazards.

Several agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) set standards and regulations for the design, use, and placement of workplace safety signs.

Here are three things to consider when using signs to improve safety, lower injuries, and save on insurance costs:

OSHA has three classifications of signs:

  • Danger Signs are used when there is an immediate danger, and special precautions are needed. These signs need to be red, black, and white.
  • Caution Signs are used to warn people about potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. Those signs need to have a yellow background and black panel with yellow letters. Letters placed on yellow backgrounds need to be black.
  • Safety Instruction Signs are used for general instructions and suggestions regarding safety measures. These signs need to have a white background, green panel, and white letters, and any letters on a white background must be black.

Location

Signs should be placed where they can be read from a safe viewing distance, so people have time to prepare to enter or avoid the area. If needed, safety signs should be displayed with illumination or retro-reflectiveness so they can be read under normal operating conditions.

Signs should NOT be placed on or next to moveable objects such as doors and windows and should NOT be a distraction or create a hazard. Safety signs need to be protected from damage.

Signs should be used in these areas:

  • where there is a risk of injuries such as uneven ground or the risk of falling objects
  • where personal protective equipment is required
  • where equipment poses a threat such as loud machines that can cause hearing loss
  • where dangers aren’t visible or apparent such as around radiation or irritating chemicals
  • where equipment such as forklifts and mobile cranes are used
  • where potentially dangerous substances are located
  • where there is asbestos, where it is suspected to be, or where it has been recently removed

Content

Keep your messages concise and straightforward and easy to read, so people are quickly alerted to potential dangers. Use vivid colors, so your signs stand out even in busy areas.

Use symbols, diagrams, and images where possible to bridge any language barriers. Lettering should be large enough that a person with normal vision can read the sign at a distance where they still have time to prepare for or avoid potential danger.

Safety signs are a cheap and easy way to alert employees, customers, vendors, etc. to potential hazards, which should reduce the number and severity of injuries and help lower your workers’ comp and liability insurance costs.

Want to Discover More Ways to Save on Commercial Insurance Costs?

Give the experienced independent commercial insurance agents at American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We will compare the cost of your coverage with several companies to ensure that you get the lowest price.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Safety Programs

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

Opioids: The #1 Workers’ Compensation Problem

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 16, 2019

Opioids are the biggest workers compensation insurance cost driverIf you want to keep your Workers’ Comp insurance costs down, you need to understand the effects of opioid abuse.

The economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the U.S. is about $78.5 billion every year including healthcare, lost productivity, treatment, and criminal justice costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health insurers and workers’ compensation carriers bear about one-third of that cost, according to Claims Journal


The result is increased workers’ compensation costs. A 2012 report from Lockton Companies reported that “Prescription opioids are presently the number one workers’ compensation problem in terms of controlling the ultimate cost of indemnity losses. There has never been a more damaging impact on the cost of workers’ compensation claims from a single issue than the abuse of opioid prescriptions for the management of chronic pain.” 

Why is This Happening?

Often, when an employee is injured on the job, a physician will prescribe an opioid for the pain. The Addiction Center reported that in 2012, 259 million opioid painkiller prescriptions were written. According to the Talbot Campus, the US makes up just 5% of the world’s population but consumes about 80% of the world’s prescription opioid drugs. 

The problem is that opiates are one of the most addictive substances available today. The Addiction Center reported that of the 259 million prescriptions written in 2012, an estimated 2 million led to addiction. 

According to the Talbot Campus, prescription opioid drugs contribute to 40% of all US opioid overdose deaths. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that every day, more than 130 people in the US die after overdosing on opioids. 

Furthermore, approximately 5% of those who abuse prescription drugs eventually transition to heroin. 

The Link Between Prescription and Illicit Opioids

Opioids include pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, etc. that are available by prescription. However, many opioid addicts turn to illegal drugs like heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.  The Talbot Campus reported that about three out of four heroin users misused prescription opioids before their use of heroin. 

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is fifty times more potent than heroin, is cheaper to produce and more readily available than heroin. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is primarily used to manage severe pain for cancer patients and end-of-life palliative care. Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is often mixed with heroin or cocaine – often without the users’ knowledge. 

According to the CDC, there were more deaths involving synthetic opioids (more than 28,000) than from any other type of opioid in 2017. The introduction of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids is currently the most significant concern among opioid experts.

What can you do as an Employer?

Despite these frightening statistics, most people who are prescribed opioids do not become addicts; however, the ones who do are costing U.S. businesses like yours billions of dollars every year.

Thankfully, some precautions can be taken to address pain relief for injured employees. Here are a few steps to take if you want to reduce your workers’ compensation insurance costs.

Educate Your Employees

Make sure they understand the risks of opioid use, how addictive it can be, and how to prevent problems.

Build Good Relationships with Providers

Build a good relationship with area physicians - especially physicians within your network – and pharmacy benefit managers to make sure that they understand the risks of opioid use and how to minimize those risks such as screening patients for addiction, avoiding the use of opioids as the first line of therapy, and conducting urine screenings.

Intervene

If you suspect a case of opioid over prescription or abuse, intervene by talking to another physician, the insurer, and/or the third-party administrator. 

Accidents do happen, and employees do get hurt, but don’t allow the prevalence of opioid addiction exacerbate the effects of those injuries on the injured employee, his or her family and coworkers, or your workers’ comp costs.

 

Want to Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs?

Another way to save on workers’ compensation and other commercial insurance costs is to work with an independent agent who can compare the cost of your insurance with more than one company.

Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. Our independent agents will make sure that you get the best price on quality insurance protection. 

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Opioid Epidemic

Food Allergies and Restaurant Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 09, 2019

Food allergies can affect restaurant insurance costs.Are food allergies affecting the cost of your restaurant liability insurance? Maybe. 

If it seems as if more people suffer from food allergies, it’s because they are. According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), food allergies in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, and the number of children hospitalized due to food allergies tripled between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s. 

In the U.S., about 15 million people have food allergies, and food allergic reactions are responsible for approximately 30,000 emergency room visits and 150-200 deaths every year, according to the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net). Over a thirteen-year period, nearly half of all fatal food allergy reactions were caused by food from restaurants or other food establishments. 

What if one of those reactions was a result of something that person ate at your restaurant? Are you liable? Again, maybe! 

So far, five states have enacted laws to make it safer for individuals with food allergies to eat at restaurants. While Pennsylvania is not one of those states, that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit, which could affect not only your restaurant's liability insurance rates but also your restaurant’s reputation. 

What is a Food Allergy?

The Mayo Clinic defines a food allergy as “an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives, or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.”

Symptoms can begin within a few minutes or up to two hours and can include one or more of the following:

  • Hives
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
  • Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are more than 160 foods that can cause an allergic reaction, but eight foods account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions. Those eight major food allergens include the following:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

What do Restaurant Employees Know About Food Allergies?

A study conducted by the EHS-Net discovered that while most restaurant managers, workers, and servers were familiar with food allergies, there were significant gaps in that knowledge. This isn’t surprising since less than fifty percent of those interviewed had received food allergy training.

For the most part, restaurant employees could recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction and knew to call 911 if a reaction occurred. 

However, one in ten were under the false assumption that someone with a food allergy could eat a small amount of an allergen without experiencing any adverse effects. The study also concluded that while most restaurants make ingredient lists available, many of them did not take other steps – such as avoiding cross food contamination – to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. 

What Your Restaurant Can Do to Ensure the Safety of Customers With Food Allergies

The EHS-Net recommends that restaurants do the following:

  • Train staff on food allergies including identifying major food allergens, how to prevent cross-contamination of allergens, and what to do if a customer has an allergic reaction
  • Have a designated person on duty at all times to handle food allergy questions and requests
  • Keep ingredient lists or recipes for menu items available for customers
  • Use dedicated areas and equipment to prep and cook meals for customers with food allergies
  • If this isn’t possible, clean prep areas and equipment before preparing meals for customers with food allergies 

If taking a few steps can help ensure the safety of your customers and help minimize the possibility of a lawsuit and the adverse effects that go with it, isn’t it worth the effort? Lowering your restaurant liability insurance is just icing on the cake.

We Specialize in Restaurant Insurance

If you want to save even more on your restaurant insurance, give one of the agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in restaurant insurance a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Save on Workers Comp Insurance by Complying with OSHA

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 02, 2019

lower-WC-insurance-costs-300.jpgAlthough it often seems as if the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has a ridiculous number of rules and regulations for business owners, complying with those rules can help lower your workers compensation insurance premiums. 

OSHA’s intention is to protect employees from workplace injuries; therefore, following OSHA’s rules can help create a safer work environment for your employees, which results in fewer injuries and lower WC costs. Plus, not complying with OSHA’s regulations, can result in hefty fines. 

We’re here to help you better understand OSHA and its rules and regulations and to help your business comply with those rules and save on workers’ comp costs

About OSHA 

OSHA, established in 1971, is a government agency that is part of the US Department of Labor. Its primary purpose is “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” OSHA’s rules and regulations cover most private sector employers and their workers, along with some public sector workers. 

Since OSHA was established, workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths have decreased significantly. “Although accurate statistics were not kept at the time, it is estimated that in 1970, around 14,000 workers were killed on the job. That number fell to approximately 4,340 in 2009,” according to OSHA. “At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled and now includes over 130 million workers at more than 7.2 million worksites. Since the passage of the OSH Act, the rate of reported serious workplace injuries and illnesses has declined from 11 per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.6 per 100 workers in 2009.” 

Fewer workplace injuries and illnesses not only lower commercial insurance premiums, but they also create healthier workplaces and happier employees. 

OSHA Employer Responsibilities

As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a safe workplace that is free from OSHA-recognized hazards. Here are three ways to do that:

  • Use color codes, posters, labels, or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
  • Establish and update operating procedures and safety training, and make sure your employees understand them.
  • Ensure that employees have safe tools and equipment that is properly maintained.

It is also your responsibility to follow OSHA requirements, which include the following:

  • Post the OSHA poster that informs employees of their rights and responsibilities in a prominent location.
  • Report all work-related injuries to the nearest OSHA office within eight hours.
  • Keep records of all work-related injuries and illnesses and ensure that employees and their representatives can easily obtain employee medical records.
  • Post and correct cited OSHA violations.

OSHA also encourages all employers to adopt an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Click here to learn more about your OSHA responsibilities. 

Honoring your OSHA responsibilities and instituting safety programs will create a safer work environment, minimize injuries, and help lower your WC Insurance. 

Employee Complaints

There are two main types of complaints employees can file with OSHA against your company as his or her employer:

  • Safety and health complaint

    If an employee believes their work environment is unsafe or detrimental to their health, they can file a confidential report with OSHA requesting an inspection of their workplace.
  • Protection from retaliation complaint

    If an employee who submits a complaint to OSHA feels they have been retaliated against, they can file this type of complaint with OSHA. 

Your best defense against both of these complaints is to do your best to create a safe work environment, follow OSHA’s rules and regulations, and keep an open line of communication with your employees. 

OSHA Inspections 

OSHA can inspect your worksite for any number of reasons including a complaint from an employee; after a severe injury or illness; a referral of a hazard from another federal, state, or local agency, or individual; or if you’re in a high-hazard industry or have experienced a high rate of injuries. 

Typically, employers are not notified of an impending inspection in advance; however, understanding the process can take some of the stress out of the experience. 

  • Preparation

    Before conducting an inspection, OSHA compliance officers research the inspection history of the worksite.
  • Opening Conference

    The compliance officer will explain why OSHA selected the workplace for inspection and describe the scope of the review, walkaround procedures, employee representation, and employee interviews. Both the employer and employee can have a representative accompany the officer during the inspection.
  • Walkaround

    The compliance officer and the representatives will then walk through the portions of the workplace covered by the inspection, inspecting for OSHA violations and hazards that could lead to employee injury or illness.
  • Closing Conference

    After the walkaround, the compliance officer holds a closing conference with the employer and the employee representatives to discuss their findings.

Understanding OSHA’s rules and regulations can help keep your employees safer, reduce the chance of an inspection and potential fines, and reduce workers’ comp insurance costs. 

Start Saving on Workers Compensation Insurance Today

To learn how your business can save on workers’ compensation and all other commercial insurance costs, call our experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. 

Our independence allows us to compare coverage from competing insurance carriers, so you can be confident of receiving the best deal on the right protection for your business in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, and far beyond!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance

3 Ways to Ensure the Lowest Price on Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, May 26, 2019

Tips to get the best price on restaurant insuranceRestaurant Insurance can be complicated, but an insurance agent who specializes in restaurant insurance can help guide you through the process. Now, it is also essential that you understand some of the basics in order to make informed decisions.

3 Things to Consider Before Contacting an Insurance Agent

1 – What are You Insuring?

This may sound like a simple question; however, restaurant insurance covers many types of businesses including sports bars, nightclubs, pizzerias, coffee shops, fast food restaurants, upscale restaurants, delis, caterers, food trucks and more.

Each of those establishments has unique needs. For example, a bar selling alcohol may need liquor liability insurance; whereas, a fast food restaurant may not. A food truck has some unique risks that a brick-and-mortar restaurant does not.

An experienced agent will ask you many questions to determine your insurance needs. Taking some time in advance to think about what you are insuring and what your potential risks are helps you provide more accurate information, so your agent can ensure that you get the right coverage.

2 - What Types of Insurance do You Need?

Every restaurant is unique, but here are five basic types of insurance that most restaurants need:

  1. Liability Insurance
  2. Property Insurance
  3. Special Coverage Insurance
  4. Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  5. Commercial Automobile Insurance

Liability insurance
Liability insurance helps protect your business if someone – a customer, a vendor, etc. - sues you for bodily injury or property damage. This insurance covers legal fees and legal payouts when needed. In addition to general liability insurance, which is recommended for most businesses, there is also liability insurance that applies to specific needs such as liquor liability and product liability. 

Property insurance
Property insurance helps protect the things you own such as buildings, restaurant equipment, and even the food in your freezers. Property Insurance typically covers damage caused by fire, smoke, wind, hail, lightning, theft and more. If you rent a space or have a mortgage on the property, property insurance is usually required by the lender or the property owner.

Special Coverage Insurance
Special Coverage Insurance helps protect items that are special or unique. Specialty Insurance may cover lost income if your restaurant is forced to shut down, equipment breakdowns, employee theft, forgery, and more.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ Compensation (WC) helps protect both you and your employees if they are injured on the job. It covers the injured employee’s medical expenses and lost wages, and it helps protect the restaurant if the employee sues the restaurant. WC is mandated by the government for most restaurants with employees.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance
Commercial Vehicle Insurance helps protect vehicles – trucks, vans, automobiles - owned, leased, or rented by your restaurant. This includes food trucks, vehicles used to deliver food, etc. Typical coverage under commercial vehicle insurance includes bodily injury and property damage liability, personal injury protection, and physical damage to your vehicle. 

3 - What Affects the Cost of Your Insurance Premiums?

Many factors go into determining the cost of your insurance premiums, and different insurance companies place emphasis on different factors, which is why using an independent insurance agency like American Insuring Group is always the best way to go. We check the cost of your insurance with several different companies.

Here are a few factors insurance companies use to determine the cost of your insurance premiums:

  • Type of property
  • Loss history
  • Years in business
  • Type of activities (ID checkers, delivery, alcohol service, entertainment, etc.)
  • Hours of operation
  • Size (property size, payroll, sales, etc.)

Get the Best Price on the Right Insurance for Your Restaurant

American Insuring Group specializes in restaurant insurance. We have relationships with several insurance companies, so we can compare prices to ensure that your business is protected at the lowest price. Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

How to Handle a Catastrophic Workers Compensation Claim

Posted by David Ross on Sun, May 12, 2019

How to handle a major workers compensation insurance claim in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and elsewhere.It’s vital that any worker injury and subsequent workers compensation insurance claim is handled with care to ensure the well-being of the worker and the business. When it comes to more severe injuries and catastrophic claims, the stakes are even higher.

A catastrophic workers comp claim that is mishandled could end up costing millions of dollars. Proper handling ensures the best outcome for the injured employee and his or her family, the employer, and the payers.

The employer’s first step is to ensure that the injured employee receives the right treatment as quickly as possible. There should be a plan in place to handle any workplace injury including catastrophic injuries. The welfare of the injured employee should be paramount at this point.

3 Things to Keep in Mind:

1 - Show Compassion and Build Trust

Any injury can be scary for an injured employee and their family, but a catastrophic injury carries with it many additional fears and stress factors. The injured employee will likely have thoughts about whether or not they’ll be able to work again, how they’ll support their family, and how will the injury affect the rest of their life.

Meanwhile, in addition to worrying about their injured loved one, family members are likely thinking about how they’re going to pay the medical bills, take care of the injured person when they get home, and how they are going to juggle everything – work, kids, etc.

Someone from the company should visit the injured employee in the hospital. This provides a chance to express concern, get and give information, ensure the employee and family understand the process, get a feel for the employee’s attitude, and discover the extent of the injury and the prognosis.

Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they might be going through. It’s essential that you show that you care and that you try to build trust with the employee and his or her family. If you want to have the best outcome and help prevent litigation, show them that you are not the enemy, but that you are working with them toward the same goals.

2 - Determine the Cause of the Accident

It’s always vital to determine the cause of an injury, especially in a severe injury. Did a machine malfunction? Was it a lack of training? Is it a guarding issue? The answer to this question will help determine how the claim is handled.

For example, if the injury was caused by a machine malfunctioning, the employer may seek money through subrogation – pursuing a third-party that caused an insurance loss.

3 - Thoroughly Investigate the Injury

The only way to determine a cause is with a thorough investigation that determines what happened, how, when, where, and why. That includes talking to the injured employee, taking witness statements, reviewing video, and examining the site where the injury occurred.

In the case of a catastrophic workers compensation insurance claim, it’s a good idea to think of the site of the injury as a crime scene. Although crime may not have been committed, it’s essential to preserve the scene to help determine the cause.

All evidence surrounding the accident should be preserved until the investigation is complete. That means roping off the area and keeping employees away. Also, regardless of how gruesome the scene may be, do not attempt to clean it up until the claims adjusters and any other professionals have a chance to examine the area.

The claims adjuster will need to bring in additional experts such as a nurse case manager, medical advisor(s), safety experts, and home health experts.

Bottom Line

Mishandling of any workers’ compensation claim is a problem, and those problems are magnified when it comes to catastrophic claims.

 

Do You Have the Right Workers Comp Insurance Protection?

To learn more about workers compensation insurance, and to make sure you are properly covered, give the experienced independent agents at the American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online. We’ll make sure you’re properly covered, AND we’ll help you get a great price too!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Insurance

8 Practical Insurance Tips for Small Business Owners

Posted by David Ross on Sun, May 05, 2019

Contact Us for Commercial Insurance for Business Owners Wearing Multiple HatsAs a business owner, you wear many hats, and sometimes all of the responsibilities can seem overwhelming.

The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert on everything – accounting, marketing, insurance, etc. Finding a trusted professional in many of these areas helps ensure the success of your business… not to mention your sanity.

Your commercial insurance protection is one of those areas. It’s something you need to protect your assets, your employees, and your business, and a good insurance agent can guide you through the process.

 

Here are 8 practical insurance tips for small business owners from the experienced agents at American Insuring Group:

1 - Consider What Assets You Need to Protect

Sit down and make a list of all the assets you want to protect. The obvious assets are buildings, computers, vehicles, furniture, and inventory that you own. But other things to consider are things you lease and customer goods that are in your care.

2 - Don’t Forget Intangibles

Sometimes you need to protect things that are less tangible than buildings and furniture such as your income, your reputation, your customers, and your employees. This is where insurances such as workers’ compensation, key person life insurance, and business interruption come into play 

Then there is the area of liability that has the potential to destroy your business if you don’t protect it adequately. We live in a very litigious society, and your liability can be unlimited, so taking the highest limit you can afford is often the best approach.

The risk is different for every business, but here are some types of liability insurance:

  • General liability
  • Builders Risk Insurance for contractors
  • Inland Marine Insurance
  • Errors and Omissions or Professional Liability Insurance
  • Liquor Liability Insurance

3 - Identify your Insurance Responsibilities

Sometimes a third party – such as a client, lender, or landlord - may require that you have certain types of insurance. Ask for any insurance requirements from these individuals in writing.

4 - Understand the Difference between Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Value

On paper, assets depreciate, but often the value of an asset to a business doesn’t change, so you need to understand the difference between actual cash value and replacement value.

For example, let’s say you bought a truck for $50,000 to deliver your product. Each year, the value of that truck will depreciate. After five or ten years, that truck would be worth a lot less than $50,000. 

However, if that truck is totaled in an accident five or ten years later, you are going to need to replace it, so you can continue to deliver your product. If you’ve insured the vehicle at the depreciated value, you may not be able to replace it. The value of that truck to your business (getting the product to your customers) is much higher than the depreciated value of the truck.

To avoid this problem, insure your assets for what it would cost you to replace it – replacement cost.

5 - Look for Ways to Save Money without Affecting Coverage

One of the simplest ways to save money on insurance is to increase your deductibles. Just make sure that you have the available cash to pay the higher deductible if you have to make a claim.

Check if you qualify for a business-owners policy, which offers discounts and often includes additional coverage. Ask about an umbrella policy if you think you need higher liability limits.

Work with an independent agent who can check the rates with several different insurance companies rather than being locked into just one. 

6 - Find an Experienced, Professional Insurance Agent

Find an agent that specializes in your industry – such as commercial insurance, truck insurance, and contractors insurance. Look for agents that are willing to talk to you about your concerns and answer your questions.  Look for professional credentials such as CPCU, CIC, or CLU.

7 - Get Everything in Writing

When looking for the best insurance coverage for your business, ask for a written proposal and consider alternatives. Take the time to carefully read your insurance policy looking at conditions, exclusions, and limitations of your policy to ensure that there aren’t any gaps, and ask your agent questions.

8 - Review Your Policy Annually

Things change – you buy a new truck, you sell an asset, etc., so it’s vital that you review your policy regularly to ensure that you continue to have the right coverage at the best price.

 

The Best Tip of All – Let Us Help You Get Properly Covered!

Contact us when buying Commercial InsuranceAs a business owner or manager, you have enough to worry about – employees, sales, and the list goes on.

Turn to the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group to help you navigate the process. We'll work with you to ensure that you have the right coverage at the best price because as independents we’re free to shop competing providers (unlike those single-brand competitors of ours!).

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

Tags: Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance

Is Your Restaurant Sign Insured?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Apr 28, 2019

Insurance for Commercial Signs Including RestaurantsHave you checked your restaurant insurance policy to see if your signage is covered?

What is one of the things almost every restaurant needs to attract new customers – besides great food and friendly service? The answer: a sign! You need to let people know where you are so that they can find you. Signage can even help someone discover your existence when driving by.

But what happens if that sign is damaged? What if a truck knocks it over, it gets vandalized, or it’s struck by lightning? You will need to repair or replace the sign if you want to continue attracting customers. Will your insurance cover the cost of repairing or replacing that sign? The answer: maybe.

You have a lot of things on your plate as a restaurant owner – menus, pricing, advertising, and the list goes on – so it’s easy to forget about some of the seemingly small things. An experienced insurance agent – one who specializes in restaurant insurance – can help make sure you don’t miss any of those “small” things!

Covered or Not?

Getting back to our question and the resulting ambiguous answer – “maybe.” You need to know the definitive answer to that question – “Will your insurance cover the cost of repairing or replacing that sign?” - BEFORE something happens to it.

Each policy is different, and rules can vary from state to state, but generally speaking, if your sign is permanently attached to a building that you own, you can add the value of the sign to the building coverage on your Business Owner’s Policy (BOP).

However, a large number of restaurant owners lease the building for their restaurant rather than own the building. Those business owners need to look at other options.

Tenant’s Betterment and Improvements Insurance

The International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) defines tenant’s betterment and improvements as “permanent additions or changes made to a building by a lessee at his or her own expense that may not legally be removed.” This includes additions or modifications the lessee makes that increase the value of the structure such as upgraded cabling for computers or TVs, lighting fixtures, wall-to-wall carpeting, and signs that are attached to the building.

If these improvements were to be damaged or destroyed and are no longer useable, it would be detrimental to your restaurant.

There is insurance available to cover betterments and improvements. Sometimes the property owner will add it to their commercial property insurance; however, they can also ask that it is excluded from their policy. Therefore, it’s vital that you carefully review your lease to determine who is responsible for covering any damage to the improvements you make.

You may find an insurance company that wants to add your improvements and betterments coverage to your contents coverage. Keep in mind the rate for building coverage is usually lower than it is for content coverage and often broader in the scope of what is covered. 

Insurance for Freestanding Signs 

What if you have a sign for your restaurant that is not attached to the building? In that case, you will need specific protection added to your BOP to cover any damage to the sign. And if you have more than one free-standing sign, each one needs to be listed on your policy along with a specific limit of coverage for each.

We’ll Make Sure You’re Covered for the Big and Little Things!

Sometimes it’s the “little” things that end up costing your restaurant a lot of money. As restaurant insurance specialists, American Insuring Group’s independent agents can make sure you don’t miss any of the “little” things, not to mention the big things as well! We’ll help you get great coverage at a surprisingly affordable rate.

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Sign Insurance

3 Heavy Equipment Safety Tips (for Lower Insurance Costs)

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Apr 14, 2019
Heavy Equipment Contractor Insurance Safety TipsImagine trying to complete a major construction project without the use of heavy equipment like cranes and backhoes. You probably can’t. Almost every construction site includes at least a few pieces of heavy equipment to help complete the job.

Heavy equipment is one of the biggest hazards for construction workers and it causes hundreds of injuries and deaths every year, thereby increasing contractor insurance costs and affecting employee productivity and morale.

A Leading Cause of Fatalities

According to the Work Safe Center, “machine-related injuries ranked second after motor vehicle-related injuries among the leading causes of occupational injury fatalities.” Construction workers and heavy equipment operators accounted for 63% of heavy equipment and truck-related deaths. Half the deaths involved backhoes and trucks.

Rollovers accounted for the most deaths for heavy equipment operators. The most significant cause of death for workers on foot and maintenance workers is being struck by heavy equipment or trucks. Being caught in or between was also a common cause of injuries for people working on or near heavy equipment.

3 Tips to Help You Focus on Safety

A focus on worksite safety can help protect your employees, your business, and your bottom line. Here are three heavy equipment safety tips to decrease injuries and deaths and decrease insurance costs.

1 - Training

OSHA requires that anyone operating heavy equipment be thoroughly trained on how to properly and safely operate heavy equipment. This training should be a combination of hands-on and classroom instruction and should include how to identify hazards, safety features on the equipment, load capacity, how to get in and out of equipment safely, and how to safely maneuver the equipment.

And training should be ongoing.

2 - Awareness

Unfortunately, the very prevalence of heavy equipment on job sites often causes workers to become complacent, but it’s crucial that anyone operating or working around heavy equipment be mindful of what is going on around them. That includes overhead power lines (which should be deenergized if possible) and underground sewer, water, gas, and electric.

Heavy equipment operators should be aware of the swing radius of the equipment they’re operating to avoid hitting people and other equipment, especially when working in tight spaces.

Whenever possible, the area where heavy equipment is being used should be cordoned off, and workers should always try to stay away from areas where heavy equipment is being operated. If that isn’t possible, use a spotter and a radio to keep blind spots clear.

3 - Use Equipment Properly

Before operating any heavy equipment, workers should visually inspect the equipment to make sure it is in good operating condition including tires and tracks, fluid levels, hydraulic hoses, buckets, booms, and any attachments. Make sure lights, gauges, horns, and alarms are working, and that arms, buckets, shovels, etc. can fully extend. If the cab rotates, make sure it does so correctly in all directions. Workers should never use equipment that doesn’t operate correctly or appears to be damaged.

Equipment should only be used for the task it was designed for, and operators should be aware of the payload and lift capacity of the equipment and not overwork it.

Workers should know how to enter and exit equipment. Similar to climbing a ladder, operators should not carry anything as they climb onto equipment and should maintain three points of contact. Before entering or exiting equipment, make sure it is completely shut off, the parking brake is engaged, and pressure is released from hydraulic controls. Workers should never enter or exit equipment while it is in operation or while it is moving.

And finally, there is a reason the equipment is equipped with a seatbelt. If a piece of heavy equipment tips or rolls over, the seatbelt could save a life. One of the worst things a worker can do if the equipment begins to tip or rollover is to jump out of it even though that may be their first instinct. Staying inside with your seatbelt on is your safest option.

The Right Insurance – Your Last Line of Defense

Save on PA Contractors Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Berks County and more.Preventing workplace injuries and deaths should always be your first line of defense. Unfortunately, sometimes despite all of your efforts, accidents do happen. That’s where the right insurance can help protect you and your employees!

Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online.

We’re experts in contractor insurance. We know the risks you face and offer affordable rates on contractor insurance by analyzing the plans and comparing insurance costs from many competing insurance carriers!

The result? You get quality contactor insurance at the best rate possible. Contact us today to learn more!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Insurance