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The Construction Boom and Builders Risk Insurance Rates

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Apr 03, 2018

Tips to lower your builder's risk insurance costs in PAThe construction industry is booming – both new construction and remodeling - and it looks as if that trend will continue. Construction has a 4.5% projected growth rate over the next five years.

In fact, construction is expected to be one of the fastest growing industries into 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Real output in the construction industry is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2020.


This is excellent news if you’re in the business of building or remodeling houses. It translates into big opportunities for builders. Unfortunately, it can also bring higher risk, making now the perfect time to let the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group review your Builders Risk Insurance to make sure you have the right coverage to adequately protect your business.

 

What is Builders Risk Insurance?

Builders Risk Insurance is a type of property insurance unique to the construction industry. It covers structures or building materials during construction. It provides coverage for damage from events such as fire, wind, theft, hail, explosion, lightning, and vandalism. Builders Risk Insurance is typically written for three, six, or twelve month periods, and can be extended (although usually only once) if the project takes longer than anticipated.

This insurance pays for damages up to the coverage limit, which should be based on the total completed value of the structure including not only materials but also labor costs. The best way to determine that value is to look at the construction budget.

Standard Exclusions

Standard exclusions on builders risk insurance include earthquake, employee theft, water damage, weather damage to property in the open, war, government action, contract penalties, voluntary parting, and mechanical breakdown. Another typical exclusion results from faulty design, planning, workmanship, and materials, which can be covered by Professional Liability Insurance.

Here are a few more things that you should know about Builders Risk Insurance:

  • It doesn’t cover the property of others
  • Subcontractors must have their own insurance
  • Tools and equipment are not included
  • Accidents on the job site are not covered
  • Once the building is completed or occupied, the coverage usually ends
  • It doesn’t cover professional liability

Does the Booming Industry Mean Higher Builders Risk Insurance Premiums?

Historically, Builders Risk Insurance has been safe from dramatic increases. Increases tend to be small and incremental. And experts don’t foresee that changing even with the increase in construction projects. However, 2017 was the costliest year ever for weather and climate disasters in the U.S. totaling $306 billion. The U.S. was hit by 16 weather events that caused more than a billion dollars in damage. Previously, 2005 held the record at $215 billion.

Most experts agree that the cost of this damage will only slightly increase builders risk insurance premiums particularly with frame construction and construction in areas that are prone to catastrophes.

How to make Builders Risk Insurance Work for you in this lucrative market

  • Cover Your Entire Project - Many builders purchase builders risk insurance because their lending institution requires it, so they only cover the bare minimum: labor and materials. These are the parts of the project the banks have an interest in, but you need to protect your interests as well, which include overhead and profit.

  • Spell it out with a detailed contract – Make it very clear in the contract who (contractor, owner, designer) is responsible for what if something goes wrong. The American Institute of Architects offers comprehensive contract templates.

  • Don’t be Naïve – Whether your company is big or small, you do face risk, and if you don’t have a lot of cash flow even a small amount of damage can be catastrophic.

  • Hire good subcontractors – Verify that all of your subcontractors have certificates of insurance with adequate limits. You may also want to secure a waiver of subrogation and list subcontractors as additional insured for both operations and completed operations for the project. This way, if there is a lawsuit, the subcontractor’s insurance will defend the contractor.


Contact Us to Review Your Business Insurance Policies 

Now – while business is booming – is the perfect time to review your business insurance policies!

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and finding ways to lower your risk while reducing your costs.

Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or contact us online. We’ll be happy to review your policy to ensure that you have adequate coverage to protect your business.

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Business Insurance, Builders Risk Insurance

Commercial Insurance and Faulty Workmanship

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 13, 2017

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

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

Commercial General Liability Insurance

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

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

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

Faulty Workmanship and CGL

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

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

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

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

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

 

Get Help - Contact the Commercial Insurance Experts!

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

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

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

Your Restaurant Needs Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 09, 2017

The EOC looks at nearly 90,000 Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) claims every year, and the average cost of each case is $450,000.

Restaurant owners should consider Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) for restaurants in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, York, PA and beyond.If you own a restaurant, you’ve probably worked hard to build strong relationships with your staff and create an environment conducive to teamwork. If you’re lucky, you’ve found the magical formula that balances friendliness with professionalism, and you’re proudly watching as your well-oiled team creates and delivers delicious food to your customers. You and your staff may even feel like a big happy family.

But even happy families disagree and face irreconcilable differences. It happens all the time. Sometimes they can work through it, and sometimes they can’t. The same is true for employees.

Employment Issues Are 30% of Civil Litigations

The Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) reports that employment issues make up 30% of all civil litigations in the U.S., which makes the likelihood of an employment claim against an employer higher than a property or general liability claim. And employment practices liability risks can begin the moment you interview someone.

Employment litigation claims can have a severe financial impact on a restaurant, even forcing them out of business if they do not have adequate insurance.  According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 67% of all employment cases that go to litigation result in a judgment for the plaintiff.

Larger companies tend to protect themselves against employment claims with employee policies and procedures and EPLI, but many small restaurant owners do not, and 41% of all EPLI claims are made against employers with only 15 to 100 employees.

Common EPLI Issues For Restaurants

Common issues for which a good EPLI policy can help protect your restaurant include:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination in hiring practices
  • Wrongful termination
  • Defamation of character
  • Emotional distress
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Failure to promote

How to Protect Your Restaurant From Employment Practices Liability Risk

  • Research employment laws that apply to your business.
  • Create an employee handbook with detailed policies and procedures that guide you through hiring, disciplining, and terminating employees. Include policies and procedures regarding attendance, discipline, and complaints; an employment-at-will statement and an equal employment opportunity statement.
  • Create job descriptions for each position that clearly defines the skills and performance expected from someone hired for that position.
  • Include an equal employment opportunity statement and an employee-at-will statement on your job
  • Conduct background checks on candidates.
  • Conduct and document periodic performance reviews of all employees.
  • Create a zero-tolerance policy regarding discrimination, substance abuse, and harassment.
  • Conduct an insurance review with your insurance agent to ensure that you have adequate EPLI

What You Should Know About Employment Practices Liability Insurance

The cost of EPLI coverage is determined by factors such as the number of employees you have, the percentage of employee turnover, and if you have established practices and procedures in place. EPLI may be offered as an endorsement to your Business Owner’s Policy, General Liability Policy, or as a stand-alone policy. It usually covers the cost of defending your restaurant against the charges and any damages you are ordered to pay.

Contact Us for a Free Insurance Review

Contact us for a free EPLI reviewDon't take chances with your restaurant business - you've worked too hard to get to where you are today. Be sure you are properly covered for every liability.

For a FREE REVIEW of your liability insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call us (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Pittsburgh PA, EPLI, Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Concealed Weapons and General Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Fri, Oct 14, 2016

Don't shoot yourself in the foot - consider your concealed weapons policy!

Tips for forming a concealed weapons policy and commercial liability insurance. Serving Reading, Philadelphia, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond with quality general liability insurance for businesses for over 25 years. Contact us today.As a small business owner who allows customers and visitors on your property, you assume the responsibility of providing a reasonably safe environment for them. This responsibility includes warning them about any concealed dangerous conditions. In states with “concealed carry” laws, you might need to post warnings that your sales clerks are armed.

But what if one of your employees, legally carrying a concealed weapon, negligently (or deliberately) shoots a customer who is on the premises conducting business, and the client subsequently sues you for the injuries? Will your Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL) policy cover this incident?

Obviously, you would have to be found legally responsible for the injuries for the CGL to pay. And, while your liability might be debatable, you will be brought into any lawsuit by the injured customer. At that point, your insurer will be compelled to defend you unless there is some clear-cut exclusion in the general liability policy that would apply to the shooting occurrence. And that’s not likely.

 

What's the right policy for minimizing risk and protecting employees and customers?

Even though it’s probable that your business liability insurance policy will cover you against such claims, it could be a smart move to minimize this type of risk by being pro-active. For instance, requesting an exemption from the scope of the concealed-weapon law will give you the authority to ban weapons in the workplace. Make it your company’s policy for all present and future employees that guns are not allowed on the premises. That would eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit…wouldn’t it?

What if your employee is attacked?

Think about your employee being attacked and beaten at work after you have forbidden him from carrying a weapon. Looking at this from his perspective, couldn’t that employee file suit claiming that he was unable to defend himself because of your weapons ban? The injured worker could assert that he sustained a bodily injury and that you, as his employer, are legally responsible for those injuries.

The workers’ compensation exclusion and the employers’ liability exclusion in the general liability policy would need to be considered, but if the injury to the employee is not work-related - in other words, not arising out of and in the course of employment - the exclusions won’t apply. In that case, your general liability policy would respond with a defense since there is no exclusion in the policy to prevent such a response. But, of course, the duty to pay the claim would depend on your liability being established in a court of law.

Suppose you don’t ban weapons and one employee shoots another?

If one of your staff carries a concealed weapon to work and shoots a fellow employee, and it results in a claim against you, will an insurance policy provide coverage? Once again, the first thing to consider is workers compensation. CGL does not apply to any of your obligations under a workers’ comp law, or to bodily injury to one of your employees arising “out of and in the course of employment.”

If the shooting injury did not arise out of the employment, the general liability policy would respond to a claim against you, but if the injury arose out of the employment, you could look to workers’ compensation for coverage. But what exactly is "out of and in the course of employment"? State workers’ comp laws have yet to define this. It may have to fall to the courts to make this determination.

Properly screen employees during the hiring process

The list of potential problems that concealed weapon laws pose for you as an employer is quite long. Good risk management calls for preemptive actions. Banning weapons from your premises is a good start. And instituting hiring practices (pre-employment screenings, etc.) that yield levelheaded employees who won’t resort to violence to settle disputes is also necessary. All business owners can learn to live with concealed weapons laws, but none can afford to ignore them.

Contact Us for Your Commerical Liability Insurance Needs

Contact us about commecial liability insurance and your concealed carry policy.To learn more about Commercial General Liability Insurance, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. As an independent insurance agency, we'll compare pricing and coverage among many competing carriers to get you the right commercial insurance at the right price. Contact us today!

 

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

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, Commercial Insurance Allentown PA, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Commercial Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA, Mold Remediation Insurance

Reduce Risk with Product Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 20, 2016

The McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit is a powerful reminder of the need for businesses to have proper product liability insurance. We provide product liability business insurance to Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond. Call us today.In 1992, 79-year old Stella Liebeck filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s for serving coffee that was too hot. In a product liability case that became known as the “McDonald’s Coffee Case,” the Albuquerque woman sued for injuries she had received after spilling coffee on herself. The basis of the lawsuit centered on insufficient warnings on the cups. After a trial and appeals, the parties settled out of court for an amount of less than $600,000.

This serves as a powerful reminder that having the right commercial insurance in the form of product liability insurance can help cover unpredictable claims.

The damages awarded in this claim, and others like it, include medical costs, compensatory damages, economic damages, and, in some instances, attorneys' fees, costs and punitive damages. While a large company like McDonald’s was in no danger of being financially damaged by the lawsuit, product liability claims can and do put smaller companies out of business.

Product liability is not difficult to understand. Simply put, your small business is responsible for the safety of the goods it provides. And that can be true even if you’re not the manufacturer. No matter where you are in the supply chain, you can be at least partially responsible for consumer safety.

If you are responsible for any of the following, you could be held liable:

  • Design
  • Distribution
  • Retail
  • Wholesale

Be aware of the claims your company could face

There are three types of products "claims" a company may encounter:

  • Manufacturing or Production Flaws: Some part of the production process created an unsafe defect in the product. Included here are dangerous chemicals found in goods imported from China.

  • Design Defect: The design of the product is inherently unsafe. Remember the Pinto owners’ lawsuits against Ford in the 1970's?

  • Defective Warnings or Instructions: The product was not properly labeled or had insufficient warnings for the consumer to understand the risk. The McDonald's coffee case is an example.

Your company’s survival depends on getting your products into the hands of consumers. But you must manage your product liability risk while you’re doing that. What’s the answer?

 

Product liability insurance protects your business

If your company offers any products to the consuming public, then you need product liability coverage. In many cases, some form of this coverage will be present in the standard commercial general liability or business owners' policy. You will need to confirm this with your insurance professional. Having a clear understanding of your business insurance coverage is essential.

Here are some things to know about your coverage options:

  • General Liability Insurance can help pay your defense costs if a customer sues you because of bodily harm or property damage that your product causes.

  • Product Liability Insurance covers the manufacturer's or seller's liability for losses or injuries to a buyer, user or bystander caused by a defect or malfunction of the product, and, in some instances, a defective design or a failure to warn. You can add this coverage as part of a commercial general liability policy.

  • Recall Insurance helps cover the costs of a recall. Some business owners add it as a rider to their general liability or product liability insurance. It can contribute to paying for client notifications, product disposals, and other costs associated with a recall.

Take steps to mitigate your risk

In addition to being adequately insured, here are some ways to minimize your risks:

  • Inspect any retail stock for defects
  • Make sure warning labels are easy to read
  • Clean and inspect your equipment often
  • Review product instructions for accuracy
  • Have a system in place to track products from the factory to the store

 

Contact us to get the best product liability insurance to protect your businessGet the Right Product Liability Insurance 

Product lawsuits and recalls can drain your company’s bank account. Talk to us about protecting your business with a Product Liability Insurance policy that will help you manage your risks. We're independent insurance agents who are free to shop among many competing insurance providers to get you the absolute best deal on quality insurance coverage.

Contact American Insuring Group online today, or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

Tags: Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, Product Liability Insurance

Improve Your Odds in a Professional Liability Lawsuit

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Jul 28, 2016

Tips for defeding your business against a professional liability lawsuit. Serving Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, York, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Litigation is like lightening; it can never be accurately predicted. So, the best defense against both is to avoid them altogether. While it’s possible to seek shelter and stay out of harm’s way during a storm, avoiding a professional liability lawsuit can be much more complicated.

Being diligent in all areas of your business could be an asset if you face a professional liability lawsuit, even if you have professional liability insurance, but it can’t always prevent one.

If you own a small-business and you’re being threatened with a lawsuit, your best defense is preparation. Assume that a lawsuit could be coming at any time and you may be ready if it actually does.

Here are 3 key strategies to maximize your odds of successfully defending your business against a professional liability lawsuit:

#1. Document all communications with your clients

During the course of a lawsuit, your lawyer may ask you for a particular document or certain facts relating to an important incident. If you’re working from memory alone, you’re going to have trouble presenting a cohesive defense. You will have much easier access to information about your lawsuit if you have left a thorough paper trail. Depending on your type of business, that trail might include:

  • Written contracts
  • Work documents
  • Invoices and receipts
  • Confirming emails sent after meetings and phone calls
  • Changes to contracts and proposals

Just keep in mind that overly-complicated documents may hurt your case. If a mediator or jury can’t follow the information in a key document, they could easily assume that your client couldn’t either. 

 

#2. Work with your lawyer

The relationship between lawyer and client can come under considerable strain during the course of a lawsuit. A good working relationship can increase the odds of a positive outcome and reduce your anxiety considerably. You and your attorney are a team. Here are some teambuilding hints to improve your odds of winning:

  • Keep your lawyer informed by disclosing everything that might pertain to the dispute. Don’t hold back. Lawyers are trained to sift through information and determine what is useful and what is not.

  • Prepare summaries, timelines, and other materials. Be as accurate as possible. Your lawyer will base your claims and defenses on this information.

  • Respond promptly to all requests. Your lawyer may have to work under a very tight deadline. The more time you give your lawyer to digest the material you provide, the better job your lawyer can do of using that material to prepare important legal papers.

  • Keep your lawyer apprised of your schedule. You will need to be present at certain events in a lawsuit. Most of these events can be postponed or moved up to accommodate your schedule, but your lawyer must have enough advance warning that you won't be available.

Assess the professional liability lawsuit honestly

Your first instinct after being hit with a lawsuit might be to fight the claim with all available means. After the initial emotions have subsided, however, and you can approach the dispute objectively, you might discover that it makes sense to settle. An honest assessment might make you realize that that you were in error to some extent, or you may come to the conclusion that a sustained legal battle would drain your financial resources.

You should realize that most lawsuits settle, and that the court system is designed to put pressure on both parties to settle. You continually need to reassess whether defending the lawsuit makes economic sense. If you see yourself spending a large amount on legal fees, settling the lawsuit is probably a good move. Remember that your time is worth something. So is your peace of mind.

 

Protection starts with the right business insurance - call today!

Tips-to-defend-professional-liability-lawsuit.jpgTo learn more about Professional Liability Insurance, which helps you pay for the cost of lawsuits and other expenses for which you are legally responsible, and for all your Business Insurance needs contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610)775-3848.

Tags: Professional Liability Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Professional Liability Lawsuit

One or Both? Business Liability vs. Commercial Property Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Jul 07, 2016

Can you get away with business liability or commercial property insurance, or does you business need both? Contact American Insuring Group for all your business insurance needs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Experienced small-business owners know that it’s wise to expect the unexpected. Bad things often happen without warning.

Different insurance policies protect their businesses from surprises in different ways, and it’s important to understand the coverage that is included and the differences between the policies.

Comparing business liability and commercial property insurances is a good place to start! 

Business liability insurance protects you from lawsuits

Anything that your business is legally responsible for is called a liability. When you cause someone a loss, you are legally responsible for replacing the loss, usually with money. And that’s where lawsuits come into play. Business Liability Insurance helps you pay for the cost of lawsuits and other expenses for which you are legally responsible.

For example, let’s say you own a machine shop that mass produces parts for an automobile manufacturer, and one of your parts is recalled because it wasn’t made to specification. What happens now? You’re likely to be sued for your mistake or for negligence, which means you will need to hire lawyers and prepare yourself for the possibility of a lengthy trial. You could amass huge costs.

Since small businesses don't have that kind of money, they invest in business liability policies that offer insurance coverage that includes:

  • Attorney fees
  • Out-of-court settlements
  • Judgments from losing the lawsuit
  • Other court and legal fees

Business liability insurance also helps you deal with the responsibilities you have to the people who come into contact with your business:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Partners
  • Vendors

Types of commercial liability insurance

It's important for you to know that there are various kinds of business liability insurance that cover different types of lawsuits:

  • General Liability Insurance covers physical injuries, slander, libel, infringement, and property damage lawsuits when someone outside of your business sues you.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance covers lawsuits related to injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
  • Professional Liability Insurance, sometimes called Errors and Omissions Insurance, covers lawsuits related to your work. It typically pays for your legal expenses when a client claims your work was negligent.
  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance covers lawsuits arising from wrongful termination, discrimination, or unpaid benefits.

Commercial property insurance protects your company’s physical assets

When you buy commercial property insurance, assets like equipment, computers, supplies, inventory, offices, and other business property are insured against loss or damage. Your insurance will repair or replace property that was damaged by the specific events that are outlined in your policy, which can include:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Some weather-related damages
  • Explosions

For example, a fire does serious damage to a building that houses tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of your equipment. Much of the equipment is lost and the building itself needs major repairs. You will need to replace furniture and the cleanup costs will be substantial. 

A commercial property insurance policy will cover all of these expenses, and if you add Business Interruption Insurance coverage to the standard policy, you can cover the income you would lose if your business has to shut down when it suffers too much damage to operate normally.

 

Bottom Line: You need BOTH commercial property and business liability insurance policies!

Small businesses need both business liability and commercial property coverage, because they work together to make sure you have enough money to pay your bills when an incident or loss threatens your business. Either a lawsuit or property damage could wipe out your company’s savings, put you in debt, and require that any new revenue go toward legal bills or repair costs. Meanwhile, your business suffers.

Buy both types of coverage and save! 

The good news is that as a small-business owner, you might qualify for a lower rate if you purchase these two policies together. This insurance bundle, often called a Business Owner's Policy (BOP), offers this discount to qualifying small businesses.

 

Get help for all your business insurance needs right here

Business-Liability-vs-Commercial-Property-Insurance.jpgTo learn more about business liability and commercial property insurance from our independent agents, contact American Insuring Group online, or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.

As independent agents we're free to shop among lots of competing insurance carriers to find the best policy for your needs at the right price. Call or click today to get started!

Tags: Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property 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

Working With Children? You Need Commercial Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Jul 21, 2015

Insurance for Working With Children 300If you own a child care business, you’re probably familiar with the specific rules you must follow and specific certifications you must obtain in order to legally operate your business. In Pennsylvania, child care and early learning providers operating a program for four or more unrelated children must be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

There are three types of child care facilities:

Child Care Center: A child care facility in which seven or more children who are not related to the operator receive child care. A child care center must have a certificate of compliance ("license") from the Department of Human Services (DHS) in order to legally operate.
 
Group Child Care Home: A child care facility in which seven through 12 children of various ages or in which seven through 15 children from 4th grade through 15 years of age who are not related to the operator receive child care. A group child care home must have a certificate of compliance ("license") from DHS in order to legally operate.
 
Family Child Care Home: A child care facility located in a home in which four, five, or six children who are not related to the caregiver receive child care. A family child care home must have a certificate of registration from DHS in order to legally operate.

But what if your business doesn’t fall under one of these facilities, but you still work with or around children under the age of 18?

Maybe you tutor children or teach gymnastics. Maybe you sell a product or service that attracts children, such as toys, games, or even ice-cream to your place of business. Although you are not required to follow the same rules as a day care business, you are still responsible for the safety of those children when they are within your care or facility. Ensuring that safety also helps to protect your business.

 

Here are three ways to ensure the safety of minors:

#1) Be certain your insurance plan adequately protects your business and your customers
There are a variety of commercial liability insurance options to protect your business, including general liability insurance, product liability insurance, professional liability (professional indemnity) insurance, error and omission insurance, and more.

#2) Screen your potential employees and volunteers
The National Child Protection Act of 1993 has made the use of background checks more common; however, you do want to check your state’s laws regarding privacy requirements. If you aren’t sure, check with your local Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office. http://www.eeoc.gov/field/index.cfm 

#3) Create a safe environment
First, ensure that your facilities meet your state and local safety regulations for zoning, fire codes, and sanitation and understand any safety requirements unique to your business. Consider drafting a liability waiver that the children’s parents or guardians can sign. Even if you aren’t required to do so, training your staff in first aid and CPR and developing a contingency plan for accidents, illnesses, and emergency procedures are always good ideas.  
 

Protect Your Business with Commercial Liability Insurance

Get the right commercial liability insurance for working with children.To learn more about protecting your business and your customers (both big and small) with the proper commercial liability insurance, give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or click here to contact us. 

Tags: Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance