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Contractor Insurance and Mold Remediation Services

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Sep 27, 2016

Contact us to add mold remediation coverage to your Contractor Insurance policy. Serving Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond with reliable business insurance for over 25 years.Attention: restoration contractors! You may have lucrative opportunities from an unlikely source—mold. Yes, the fungus that grows in moisture-laden areas of many old homes has created a demand for professional mold remediation services.  Done right, you can grow your mold remediation business while controlling your contractors insurance rates. 

Mold is one problem that homeowners cannot just ignore. Not only does it look disgusting, but it can also weaken the walls, ceilings, floor, and foundation of a house. And it presents a substantial risk to the health and safety of its inhabitants. 

Income vs. Risk

But along with the possibility of additional income, mold has created new risks for businesses that work on water damage restoration, mold removal, or construction. By implementing a mold risk management strategy, however, contractors can participate in these business openings without endangering their company with uninsured liability.

A recent history of mold and insurance

Around 2001, the number of insurance claims for mold damages soared, as did the income for restoration contractors. Unfortunately, the insurance industry had not expected this rush of claims, and they had not priced them into their policies. In response, insurance companies were compelled to begin issuing mold exclusions and limitations. While these exclusions are not standardized, almost every type of property and liability insurance policy has them.

Liability exposure increases for contractors

Without contractors insurance to help resolve their mold problems, some property owners tackled the mold themselves (bad idea!) or sought out mold remediation experts. But these experts are not the only contractors who come up against mold on a regular basis. Restoration contractors, plumbers, and electricians also encounter mold on their job sites. Even though they have not been hired to eliminate a mold issue, these contractors should always inform the property owner when they discover mold. So, why should this put any contractor at risk?

Disgruntled homeowners often blame their contractor

In an ironic twist, many homeowners began filing lawsuits against the contractors who pointed out the mold to them. This shoot-the-messenger mentality put contractors at risk of liability. The Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL) policy, usually a protective tool for a contractor, has the same pollution exclusion clause as the homeowner’s policy. This exclusion states that the insurance does not cover any bodily or property harm caused by the escape, dispersal, or release of pollutants.

Is mold a pollutant? There is no universal agreement on this from the courts. Some have found the policies to be vague in their definition of pollution, while other courts have defined mold as an airborne pollutant.

Contractors are advised not to expose their business to chance

Contractors need to protect themselves against potentially devastating lawsuits. There are now insurance policies that specifically cover mold and pollutants. Contractors Pollution Liability (CPL) can be added to your CGL to cover liability for these pollutants and provide an unambiguous definition that includes mold or fungi.

CPL is probably the best available policy for contractors wanting to avoid liability when they discover mold on a job site. And there are other methods contractors can use to manage their mold risks.

Reduce Your Risk With an Arsenal of Protection

  • Choose your customers wisely: If your client is aware of a mold problem and knows the insurance company won’t cover it, you may want to walk away from this job.
  • Document your work: Leave nothing to chance. Use photos, notes, and witnesses to corroborate your findings.
  • Treat your customer with empathy: Approach your client with a plan of action that shows you understand his problem and will work with him to solve it.
  • Protect yourself: Adding CPL to your contractors insurance will complete an arsenal that will mitigate your mold risks.

Get Help For All Your Business Insurance Needs 

Contact us for all your mold remediation, contractor insurance, and business insurance needs in Philadelphia, Reading, PA and beyond.To learn more about Commercial General Liability and Contractors Pollution Liability insurance, or for any business insurance need, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. We offer insurance from over 25 competing carriers, so we're sure to find you the right insurance at the right price. Call or click today!

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Mold Remediation Insurance

Major Disaster? Have Business Interruption Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Mar 28, 2016

Sobering Statistics on Business Interruption Insurance

Business-Interruption-Insurance-350.jpgA recent national survey of small businesses yielded some sobering statistics. It found that 66 percent of these businesses do not have business interruption insurance—even though an estimated 25 percent of them will not be able to reopen following a major loss, such as a fire, a break-in, or a storm.

That same survey also revealed that three out of four small business owners do not have a disaster recovery plan, yet more than half of them admit that it would take at least three months for them to recover from a disaster.

 

Most small business owners are at risk of disaster, but they are least likely to have disaster recovery insurance or a plan in place to help them recover. About a third of the owners say it is not important for their business to have a disaster recovery plan, and they give interruption insurance a low priority.

Business interruption insurance can be as vital as fire insurance

It’s unlikely that anyone would ever consider opening a business without buying insurance to cover damages from fire or windstorms. But many small business owners don’t give serious consideration to how they would survive if a fire or other disaster damaged their business premises and rendered them temporarily unusable. A business that has to close down completely while their buildings are being restored may lose out to competitors. A quick resumption of business after a disaster is essential.

A few key points about business interruption insurance

  • Business interruption coverage is not sold separately but is added to a property insurance policy or included in a package policy. 
  • It compensates you for lost income if your company has to vacate the premises due to disaster-related damage that is covered under your property insurance policy.
  • Business interruption insurance covers the revenue you would have earned, based on your financial records, had the disaster not occurred.
  • The policy also covers any operating expenses that continue even though your business activities have temporarily stopped.
  • The price of the policy is related to the risk of a fire or other disaster damaging your premises.

 

A disaster could halt your business—even if your property remains undamaged

You have purchased a standard loss of business income policy, and you may think that you are totally protected from a disaster. Unfortunately, most policies do not cover utility interruptions—power, water, and communications--that originate away from your premises (for instance, the utility generating station may have been damaged or transmission lines could be down).

Losing these services for an extended period can be financially devastating. The first step is to evaluate the exposures facing your company. Will being out of power for hours or days adversely impact your operations and profits? If you come to the conclusion that it will, you should consider an endorsement that extends your coverage to include utility services interruptions.

Get back in business quickly with a Disaster Recovery Plan

In addition to the right insurance, a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) - a plan that describes how work can be resumed quickly and effectively after a disaster – is another element to ensure that a disaster doesn’t shut your business down. It consists of the precautions taken so that the effects of a disaster will be minimized and the organization will be able to either maintain or quickly resume critical functions. Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs; it may also include a significant focus on disaster prevention.

Plans vary from one type of business to another, depending on the processes involved, and the level of security needed. Disaster recovery planning may be developed within an organization or purchased as a software application or a service. It is not unusual for an enterprise to spend 25% of its information technology budget on disaster recovery.

Contact Us for Help with Your Business Interruption Insurance Needs

A DRP, along with business interruption coverage, constitutes the business continuity planning that could rescue your business after a disaster. Depending on your particular business, properly planning for your business interruption insurance needs can be complex, but the well-trained staff at American Insuring Group can help. Click here to contact us or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, commercial property insurance, Business Interruption Insurance, Disaster Recovery Plan

Do You Need Utility Service Interruption Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Nov 17, 2015

Here's how to determine if your business needs Utility Service Interruption Insurance. We provide insurance protection to Phildelphia, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, PA and beyond.The storm was ferocious. Luckily, your buildings were spared damage from the high winds and heavy rains; however, a few miles away the storm brought down power lines that supply your business with electricity. While there is no physical damage to your property, you’re still out of business without power. Does your business insurance cover this? Do you have utility service interruption insurance?

Commercial Property Policies Exclude Utility Service Outages

You have a standard loss of business income insurance policy, and you may think that you are protected in the event of an outage. Unfortunately, most policies do not cover utility interruptions that originate away from your premises. While utility service exclusions may vary from one policy to another, they usually include the following:

  • Power supply services--electricity, gas and steam
  • Water supply services
  • Communications supply services--telephone, radio, microwave or television

Losing these services for an extended period can be financially devastating. To protect your business from any of these utility outages, you will need to purchase an endorsement that extends your insurance coverage to include utility services interruptions.

Utility Service Interruption Insurance Closes the Gaps

Storms are not the only threat to your business. A vehicle can snap off a utility pole, a fire can start several blocks away, or a tornado can touch down unexpectedly. None of these has caused damage to your facility, yet your business is on hold because one or more utilities that are vital to your operation have been interrupted.

Utility service interruption coverage is an endorsement that covers your losses due to lack of incoming electricity--or similar utility services--caused by damage to property away from your premises. (For instance, the utility generating station may have been damaged or transmission lines could be down.)

These endorsements vary widely as to what utility services are included and whether both Direct Damage and Time Element losses are covered. The following details explain these coverages:

Direct Damage Coverage

  • If a power surge occurs during power restoration, this coverage pays to repair or replace any items that have been damaged by the surge
  • You must have Personal Property insurance to purchase Direct Damage coverage. It is an extension of your Personal Property coverage
  • The deductible that applies to your Personal Property coverage will also apply to Direct Damage

Time Element Coverage

  • Time Element coverage extends standard business interruption coverage to include utility services interruptions
  • Time Element pays your profit plus continuing expenses, up to the limit you have chosen or until the utility comes back into service, whichever comes first
  • You must have Loss of Business Income coverage to buy the Time Element extension
  • The utility must be out due to a covered cause of loss 
  • If you have a deductible or waiting period on Loss of Business Income, it will be the same on your Time Element endorsement

Consider the Exposures to Your Business

The first step is to evaluate the exposures facing your company. Will the loss of power for hours or days adversely impact your operations and profits? If you determine that it will, your next step is to determine how your current insurance program would apply. This involves reviewing the policy language, evaluating the coverage and taking the appropriate action to change the policies or add endorsements.

A word of caution: many power outages are caused by downed transmission and distribution lines. These endorsements do not automatically extend coverage for loss caused by or resulting from the damaged lines. This coverage is available, but it must be specifically requested and added by endorsement.

We Can Help You Get the Right Utility Services Interruption Insurance Policy

Contact us to help in selecting a Utility Services Interruption Insurance Policy.The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can help you determine if Utility Services Interruption Insurance is a good idea for your business.

Click here to contact us or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent agents will compare insurance policies among many competing providers to find you the right insurance at the right price. Call or click today!

Tags: Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Utility Service Interruption Insurance

3 Types of Restaurant Insurance Coverage

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Aug 25, 2015

The best restaurant insurance for PA businesses in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Lancaster, PA and beyond.All businesses are at risk for some type of damage, liability or loss, and need to ensure that they have the right commercial insurance to protect themselves, their business, and their employees from those risks. 

Food service businesses – whether it’s a café, diner, or gourmet restaurant - are no different and actually present some unique risks that need to be addressed.

Often the most cost-effective way to protect a restaurant is with a Business Owners Policy (BOP) that is tailored specifically to the needs of the restaurant business. That's what we mean by  restaurant insurance.

Here are the Three Main Categories of Business Insurance for Your Restaurant

Restaurant Insurance Category #1: Property Insurance

Property insurance protects… well… property. That could include the actual building that your restaurant is located in if you own the property and all of the property within the building (whether you rent or own), such as equipment, dishes, food, and furniture. In the event of a fire, flood or other damaging event, property insurance allows you to replace those items so that you can resume business.

Many BOPs also include Business Interruption Insurance and Business Income Insurance. Interruption insurance helps you recover as quickly as possible by paying extra expenses caused by the interruption in your business —such as rent for temporary quarters.    Business Income Insurance helps pay for ongoing expenses – such as rent - incurred while your business is closed. 

As a food service business, you carry the added risk that your food could cause food poisoning or transmit a communicable disease, which makes a Food Contamination Endorsement Insurance a good idea for many restaurant owners. Typically, this endorsement helps pay for lost income if the business is shut down by a government authority, clean up expenses, food replacement, and additional advertising expenses required to restore your restaurant’s reputation.

Other property insurance coverages you may want to consider as a food service business owner include…

  • Spoilage
  • Mechanical Breakdown
  • Outdoor Signs
  • Burglary and Robbery
  • Employee Dishonesty

Restaurant Insurance Category #2: Business Liability Insurance  

Commercial liability insurance helps protect your business against lawsuits – from someone breaking their leg walking up your steps to claims of libel or slander. We live in a very litigious society, and you never know what your restaurant could be liable for. Remember the woman who sued and won the lawsuit against McDonalds because she spilled hot coffee on herself? Even if you win the lawsuit, the cost of defending yourself can seriously affect your bottom line. Liability insurance helps protect you and your business.

If your restaurant has a liquor license, you should also include a Liquor Liability Endorsement to help cover the cost of your defense in the event of a lawsuit and any damages awarded if you are found liable.

Restaurant Insurance Category #3: Workers Compensation Insurance

Worker’s Compensation Insurance is a type of small business insurance that is mandatory in most states and covers employees for work-related injuries. A typical "workers comp" insurance policy pays an employee lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to a work-related accident, while also protecting the employer against accident-related lawsuits. 

Need Better Restaurant Insurance?
We Can Help! 

Contact us for help in finding the best restaurant insurance in Pennsylvania and beyond.Whether you own a sandwich shop or an elegant restaurant, the independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group can help find the right insurance at the right price for your food service business. Because we're independent, we're free to shop around for the best deal among many competing providers of restaurant insurance based on your particular needs.

So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to Contact Us today.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Business Insurance Reading PA, workers comp, workers comp insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Pennsylvania Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, commercial property insurance

Business Insurance Tip: Reduce Vulnerability to Theft

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Aug 20, 2015

Business insurance tips for protecting against theft. Serving the business insurance needs of Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lebanon, Berks County, PA and beyond.While business insurance is your safety net for financial loss from theft, it's better to minimize the chance of your business becoming a victim of theft in the first place.

Unfortunately, most businesses become victims of theft at some point.  In fact, the most serious thefts can drive them out of existence.

Business owners and their managers need to first acknowledge that it can happen and then take the necessary steps to prevent it…or at least to minimize the loss.

Insuring Against Four Types of Theft

There are four types of theft: burglary, robbery, theft by employees, and identity theft. Each of these has its own set of challenges and preventive measures. Check with your independent insurance agent to be sure your commercial insurance coverage adequately protects you against each of these categories of business theft.

#1. Insuring Against Burglary:
Unlawful Entry with Intent to Steal

Burglars enter your business when no one is there. They mainly target your cash, merchandise and equipment, but they may also commit a host of other felonies.

Thieves like to work in the dark, so visibility is your first line of defense here. Bright interior lights deter illegal entry, especially if your building can be seen from the street. Exterior lights, protected with metal cages, may discourage them from approaching at all. This is a good start, but there are other equally important steps you can take to prevent a break-in:

  • An alarm system with motion detectors
  • Steel doors with dead bolt locks
  • A see-through fence (i.e., chain link)
  • Windows with safety glass and locks
  • Padlocks on overhead doors

#2. Insuring Against Robbery:
Taking Cash or Valuables from a Person

If your business deals in cash or smaller valuables, you are susceptible to being robbed. This could happen either by force or the threat of force. To keep it from happening at all, there are things you can look for and actions you should take:

  • Keep cash to a minimum
  • Post signs indicating the maximum amount of cash on the premises
  • Be alert – look for signs of danger
  • Recognize potential hiding places near your business
  • Provide bright lights and good visibility to deter robbers

Being robbed will be traumatic. Your managers and employees need to be trained to react properly if all preventive measures fail. Here are some guidelines to remember during and immediately after a robbery:

  • Cooperate with the robber
  • Obey orders quickly
  • Don’t argue or fight
  • Don’t use a weapon
  • Don’t chase or follow the robber
  • Call the police

#3. Insuring Against Employee Theft:
An Insidious Crime

Business owners don’t want to believe that a trusted employee is stealing from them. As a result, most of this theft goes undetected. It is estimated that businesses may be losing as much as forty billion dollars each year to this crime. It is crucial that you work with your accountants regularly to spot the following signs:

  • Changes in sales and inventory without a corresponding increase in profits or cash flow
  • Shipping records that are not consistent with inventory
  • Unauthorized changes in paperwork or established procedures

As a business owner, you need to be aware that loyal employees may steal, as do well-paid executives and workers who have been with you for many years. Encourage all employees to report their suspicions and concerns. Tell them what to report and how to do it. Work diligently with your accounting staff to catch inconsistencies early.

#4. Insuring Against Identity Theft:
Not Just a Consumer Problem

Business identity theft is growing, and the consequences are enormous. It affects your entire business, including employees, customers, and suppliers. Identity thieves can tap into your credit lines, change your contact information, then order supplies or obtain credit cards. They can also go after your customers. Defend against them by doing the following:

  • Securely lock up any paper data and shred it when it’s outdated
  • Make sure networks are password protected and have a firewall
  • Install security software on any mobile devices that contain confidential company data

Protect Your Business From Theft - Get the Right Commercial Insurance

Contact us to obtain business insurance to protect against all types of theft: burglary, identity theft, employee theft, and more.If, in spite of all these measures, your business is still a victim of theft, the right business insurance can help.

Don't wait until your business takes a hit. Be proactive: Call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to contact us.

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance, Pennsylvania Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA

Risk Management Assessment & Small Business Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Wed, May 27, 2015

Tips for getting the right business insurance protection. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, PA and beyond.Every small business should conduct a risk management assessment prior to reassessing their business insurance needs – preferably before they even open their doors.  Basically, this means imagining the “What ifs” and thinking about worst-case scenarios.  Think about any event that could lead to a loss for your business, estimate the cost of that loss, and determine how to best address each risk.  These losses may include material losses, liability, business interruption, or injury to employees.  

There are several factors that will determine the list of risks to your business.  The risks to a company that produces large machinery will be very different from a service business.  A caterer who rarely if ever has customers coming to their location will have very similar and – at the same time - very different risks and insurance needs than a restaurant that has customers coming and going all the time.  Each business is unique.

Here are 7 types of risk/loss to consider before purchasing or changing your commercial insurance coverage:

  1. Loss of physical assets due to accidents (fires) and nature (floods)
  2. Loss of Intellectual Data
  3. Theft of physical assets
  4. Business liability – customers or employees getting injured on your premises
  5. Business product liability – A product that you manufacture/sell causes injury
  6. Advertising slander or personal injury
  7. Loss of income

How to Deal with business risks and help lower your commercial insurance costs:

Some business risks can be minimized or eliminated with specific actions; many risks are best managed by purchasing commercial insurance.  For example, if you’re concerned about damage to your property, you could lease the property instead of purchasing it - or you could purchase insurance.  If you’re concerned about theft, you could install an alarm system to minimize loss, but you would probably want to purchase insurance as well (the alarm system may afford you a discount).

Business insurance can reduce, mitigate or compensate for exposure to business risks. An insurance agency will do a risk assessment to determine how much insurance you need and what you need to cover, and they’ll do it at no cost.  This assessment might include visiting your business, talking to you about the business or service you provide, reviewing your inventory, and reviewing any procedures to determine all the risks your business could be exposed to. By conducting your own assessment, you can combine your knowledge of your business with your insurance agent’s knowledge of insurance to create the best insurance policy to protect your business. 

Growth is Good, But ..

As your business grows, so do your liabilities!  If you purchase or replace equipment or expanded operations, you should contact your insurance broker to discuss changes in your business and how they can affect your need for expanded insurance coverage. Should disaster strike, you don't want to be caught underinsured.

Getting the Right Business Insurance is Key

Contact us for help in getting the right commercial insurance for your business. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond with quality insurance for your business.For more help creating a risk management assessment and aligning your business insurance needs with your risk, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance York PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County

4 Kinds of Business Insurance Employers Must Have

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Apr 30, 2015

4 types of business insurance for employersYou’re about to become an employer.  Maybe you’ve been in business for a while, but now you’re ready to hire your first employee.  You’re excited; this means your business is growing.  Or, maybe you’re just starting a business and you need employees to help run that business. 

Either way, being an employer comes with many responsibilities, including ensuring that you purchase the right business insurance.  You may be asking yourself, “What insurance is required by law and what is optional?  What’s in the best interest of both my business and my employees?” 

There are four primary types of insurance every employer should take a look at – Workers Compensation Insurance, Unemployment Insurance Tax, Disability Insurance, and Health Insurance.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers Compensation Insurance coverage ensures medical and wage-loss benefits to employees who are injured on the job. Plus, it helps protect employers against lawsuits filed by injured workers. Worker’s Comp insurance requirements vary by state.  In Pennsylvania, if you employ one or more employees - whether they’re part-time or full-time (including family members) workers’ compensation insurance coverage is mandatory.

If you are a sole proprietor, Workers' compensation insurance is not required by law, which can save you money; however, if you’re ever injured on the job, workers’ compensation insurance can help pay medical bills and supplement lost wages until you’re able to go back to work.

Click here for information about workers compensation insurance requirements in other states.

Unemployment Insurance Tax

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a joint state and federal program financed through federal and state employer payroll taxes. It provides temporary payments to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own.  Each state has its own unemployment insurance program, which includes additional eligibility requirements, but they all follow guidelines established by the federal government.

Most employers must pay federal employer payroll taxes if they pay employee wages of $1,500, or more, in a quarter or if they have at least one employee during 20 weeks in a calendar year.  Most employers are also required to pay state unemployment taxes. In Pennsylvania, all employers providing employment to one or more workers must register Form PA-100 with the Office of UC Tax Services.

Employment that is not covered under the UC law includes the following:

  • An individual employed by his or her son, daughter or spouse
  • A child under the age of 18 who is employed by his or her parent
  • A student in the employ of an organized camp that did not operate more than seven months in the preceding calendar year

Disability Insurance

Some states require that employers provide partial wage replacement insurance coverage to their eligible employees for non-work related sickness or injury. Currently, if your employees are located in any of the following states, you are required to purchase disability insurance:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island

In Pennsylvania, there are two types of disability insurance available if you decide to purchase it for your employees: short-term and long-term.

Again, if you are a sole proprietor, Disability Insurance is not required in Pennsylvania; however, if your family relies on your income, you may want to consider disability insurance for yourself to help pay medical bills and supplement lost wages if you become sick or injured.

Health Insurance

If you have more than 50 employees you are required to provide health insurance benefits to your full-time employees.  If you have more than 50 employees and don’t offer health benefits, you may be subject to a penalty call the shared responsibility payment.  96% of employers in Pennsylvania are exempt from the shared responsibility requirement. 

Learn more about all your business insurance needs and options. We serve Reading, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Lebanon, York, Pottstown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond with high quality commercial business insurance.Contact Us for All Your Business Insurance Needs

If you’re an employer, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for more information about required and recommended business insurance, including health insurance, disability insurance, workers compensation insurance, or any other insurance your business may need. We've been helping businesses like yours acquire affordable, high-quality insurance for over 25 years.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, workers comp, workers comp insurance, Disability Insurance, Health Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County

Should You Add Drone Insurance to Your Business Insurance Policy?

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Apr 13, 2015

It’s a bird.  It’s a plane.  No, it’s a drone!

 

Drone insurance for your business. Serving Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Lebanon, State College, PA and beyond.Businesses are discovering many uses for drones – also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).  In fact, total spending for military and commercial drones is expected to reach $89.1 billion over the next ten years.  This translates into approximately 30,000 small commercial drones in use by 2020, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Commercial Application of Drones: Implications for Commercial Insurance

Drones are already being used by real estate brokers to get images of properties from the air, by farmers to monitor crops, by insurance claims adjusters to view damaged property, by the Forest Services to monitor fires, and by movie companies in film production.

Almost any job that currently requires an aircraft is a good candidate for a drone, since drones are considerably less expensive to operate.  Major online retailers are already planning on using drones to deliver packages.  Plus, drones can provide safer options and prevent worker injuries in many cases.  For example, if you own a construction company and you need the top beams of a building inspected, would you rather send a man several hundred feet off the ground or a drone? The bottom line is that if you are operating drones for business purposes then it's critically important to add drone insurance to your business insurance policy. 

Other potential uses for drones include:

  • News: aerial reporting
  • Insurance: claims and underwriting operations
  • Service: table service at restaurants and bars!

Commercial Insurance Implications for Businesses Operating Drones: A Closer Look

This proliferation of drones increases the need to address commercial insurance liability and coverage issues, most notably - personal injury and invasion of privacy.  Drones are excluded in about 99 percent of Commercial General Liability policies available today.  Legal issues include “trespassing” drones; airspace ownership laws; and the question of federal aviation laws vs. state laws. In addition, many drones have high-powered cameras, infrared sensors, facial recognition technology, and license plate readers, which also brings up concerns regarding invasion of privacy, spying, stalking, and harassment.

Insurance Companies Scrambling to Supply Drone Insurance Coverage

It's wise to buy drone insurance from an independent business insurance agent.In February 2012, congress mandated that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) find a way to integrate drones into U.S. airspace by September 2015.  With that deadline looming, the FAA is nowhere close to finalizing its plans.  This lack of regulation and the fact that there is very little loss history available at this point makes it challenging for insurance companies to develop policies. It's therefore likely that drone insurance rates may vary widely among insurance providers. Therefore, it's helpful to acquire drone insurance protection from an indepdent insurance agency who is free to shop around among competing brands of insurance providers in order to help you obtain the proper coverage at a fair price.

Drone Insurance Risk Factors - Similar to Aircraft Insurance Risks

Since drones are regulated by the FAA, many of the same questions that an underwriter looks at with an aircraft will also apply to a drone, such as its function or intent, its takeoff and landing location, whether it will be operating over a populated area, and its flying altitude.  However, a drone is not a manned aircraft.  Underwriters will need to look at liability, personal injury, and invasion of privacy, property and workers’ compensation when creating insurance policies for commercial drones. 

Currently there are about 21 insurance companies that write aircraft product liability policies – up from just nine a few years ago.  Someday requesting insurance for drones and drone-related operations will become routine, but for now we’re faced with the challenge of keeping up with the issues that come along with quickly advancing technology. 

Providing drone insurance for Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, York, Erie, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.For more information about drone insurance and other commercial insurance needs, contact American Insuring Group at (800)947-1270 or (610)775-3848. As an independent insurance agency, we're postitioned to help you save on insurance by shopping your needs among many competing insurance providers. Call today.

Tags: Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Drone Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance York PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County

Commercial Liability Insurance and ADA Title III Compliance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Apr 06, 2015

The Largest Minority Group in the U.S: Americans with Disabilities

Do you have the right commercial liability insurance and knowledge to properly address ADA requirements?More than 50 million Americans – 18% of the population – have disabilities, making them the largest minority group in the country.  In addition, approximately 71.5 million baby boomers will be over the age of 65 by the year 2030; many will require special provisions to meet their age-specific physical needs.  

There are many reasons for your business to provide accessibility to disabled individuals.  First, it’s the right thing to do.  Second, each of these individuals is a potential customer and studies have shown that once people with disabilities find a business where they can comfortably and easily shop or get services in, they become repeat customers. And finally, the Americans with Disabilities Act allows individuals and disability rights organizations to bring lawsuits against businesses that do not comply with the Act, knowingly or unknowingly. In such cases having the right commercial insurance can be critical to your financial protection. 

What is ADA?

The ADA, signed into law in 1990, is a federal civil rights law that prohibits the exclusion of people with disabilities from everyday activities such as shopping, eating in a restaurant, or seeing a movie.  Thanks - in great part - to the ADA, people with disabilities are living more independent lives and participating in more activities within their communities. 

The ADA is Confusing, But Your Business Can be Held Liable Regardless of Your Intent

Unfortunately, the ADA laws can be very confusing and often frustrating to small business owners, and although there are some exceptions given to smaller businesses regarding the ADA rules against disability discrimination in employment and the requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, the adoption of Title III of the ADA in 2010 applies to every business that serves the public - regardless of the size of the business or the age of the building. How confident are you that your business is in full compliance? Do you have the proper commercial liability insurance protection to help shield you from unknown risks?

Title III applies to businesses that provide goods or services to the public (known as  “public accommodations”).  There are 12 categories of public accommodations, including stores, restaurants, bars, services establishments, theaters, hotels, recreational facilities, private museums and schools, doctors’ offices, shopping malls, and other businesses.  Essentially, any business that regularly serves the public (with the exception of private clubs and religious organizations) is considered a public accommodation.  

Know the Most Common ADA Violations and Prepare Accordingly

These businesses must take steps to ensure that their facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Here are seven of the most common areas of violations:

  • Parking lots
  • Exterior ramps
  • Paths of travel
  • Signage
  • Restrooms
  • Lobbies and reception areas
  • Accessibility to goods and services 

How Can I Protect My Business from ADA Title III Lawsuits?

If your business isn’t compliant, you can lose potential customers and open yourself up to lawsuits, heavy fines, and legal fees.  Although it is impossible for businesses that serve the public to completely avoid the risk of ADA lawsuits, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize your risk:

  1. Have your property inspected by an ADA compliance expert.
  2. Read through the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design
  3. Read through the ADA Small Business Primer
  4. Take the online course, “At Your Service: Welcoming Customers with Disabilities.”
  5. Know the difference between ADA requirements and state and local building codes.  “Grandfather” provisions that are often found in local building codes do not exempt businesses from ADA Title III compliance.
  6. Don’t ignore letters from plaintiff’s attorneys threatening ADA lawsuits.  Sometimes claims can be resolved with little cost if addressed prior to extensive litigation.
  7. Provide training to your employees and staff on how to address questions or concerns about disability access from customers.
  8. Discuss your liability insurance with your insurance agent

 

Knowledge is Key to the Right Business Insurance Protection

For more information about commercial liability insurance, contact American Insuring Group at (800)947-1270 or (610)775-3848. We'll help you get the right business insurance protection at the right price using our pool of competing insurance providers. Contact us today.

Tags: Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Lancaster PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Commercial Insurance York PA, Commercial Insurance Berks County

3 Business Insurance Must-Haves for the Construction Industry

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Feb 19, 2015

3 Construction Insurance Must-Haves

Must-have construction insurance tips for Reading, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, State College, PA and beyondWhether you’re a subcontractor or a general contractor – whether you build small backyard sheds or giant commercial buildings – whether you’re a one-man remodeling business or a multi-million dollar construction company, there are three types of insurance you need to consider.  In other words, the size of your business and the size of the project make little difference.  If you want to protect your investment, your employees, and even your business, there are three types of commercial insurance to consider: Liability Insurance, Builders Risk Insurance, and Flood Insurance. 

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

Commercial Liability Insurance is a critical part of any business’s insurance portfolio and particularly pertinent in the construction industry where accidents and injuries are more common. Commercial Liability Insurance 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.  This insurance helps cover medical and legal defense costs and settlements if you are sued.  Extended litigation (including attorney fees and court costs) can quickly deplete your cash reserves - even if the claims are found to be unwarranted.  

The amount of liability insurance is proportionate to the cost of the project.  Generally, you should have coverage that is two to three times the amount of the construction project budget.  In addition, businesses with higher risk for damages, such as roofing contractors, may need higher coverage.

Before you begin to build, repair, or remodel any structure – even as a subcontractor - common business standards require that you provide evidence of liability insurance.  Adequate General Liability Insurance safeguards your business – even in today's litigious environment.

Builder’s Risk Insurance (A.k.a. Course of Construction Coverage)

Builder’s Risk Insurance (construction insurance) is property insurance that covers damage to a building during construction.  It may cover just the structure itself, or it can include materials, fixtures, and/or equipment being used in the construction or renovation of the building.  Lending and municipal authorities will often require this insurance, and it can apply to both new construction and remodeling projects.

Most Builder’s Risk Insurance policies cover damage caused by fire, wind, lightning, hail, theft, vandalism, and damages by aircraft and vehicles. Items that generally are not covered include damage due to earthquake, employee theft, water damage, and mechanical breakdown.  Damage resulting from faulty design, planning, workmanship, or materials is rarely covered, and it’s important to note that Builder’s Risk insurance doesn’t cover tools and equipment or the property of others (that’s why it’s important for sub-contractors to have their own insurance).

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is typically covered by the National Flood Insurance Program and usually has a 30-day waiting period before entering its coverage period.  This is done so the insurance isn’t purchased only when a flood is expected. 

Flood insurance is required in high-risk areas and strongly recommended in moderate-to-low risk areas.  It normally covers damage caused by tidal waves, overflow of inland water, unusual accumulation of runoff water, and water exceeding normal levels. 

 

We're independent insurance agents serving offering quality construction insurance protection for Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, State College, Lancaster, Lebanon, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania and beyond.For more customized information about your construction insurance or contractor insurance needs, contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. We'll help get you the right coverage for your projects at the right price. That's because we're independent agents offering over 25 competing brands of insurance, so we're free to find you the best deal in quality insurance protection. Contact us today.

 

 

Tags: Builders Insurance, Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Flood Insurance, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA