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Toolbox Talk: Safe Lifting to Reduce Contractor Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 28, 2023

Follow these safe lifting tips to save on Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Scranton, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, PA and beyondWorkplace accidents are a significant cause of higher Contractor Insurance costs, so it stands to reason that reducing the number of workplace accidents (and subsequent injuries) will help lower your Contractor Insurance costs. One way to reduce the number of injuries is with Toolbox Talks – informal group discussions that focus on a specific safety topic. 

Since back injuries are a significant concern in the construction industry, a toolbox talk that focuses on safe lifting can be helpful. "Back injuries account for almost 20% of all nonfatal injuries and illnesses with days away from work in construction," according to the Center for Construction Research and Training. "Work-related back injuries and illnesses are caused mainly by repeated lifting of materials, sudden movements, whole body vibration, lifting and twisting at the same time, or bending over for long periods of time." 

And these injuries are costly. The Center reports, "Among all reported injuries in the construction industry, low-back claims are the most frequent and make up the largest proportion of claims costs and days away from work. The prevalence of back injuries among construction workers is probably even higher than the BLS numbers indicate since many injuries are underreported in the construction industry." While you can't eliminate back injuries, you can substantially reduce them with a Toolbox Talk that focuses on safe lifting. 

Two Types of Controls to Prevent Lifting Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified two types of controls for preventing lifting injuries – administrative and engineering. Engineering controls involve designing workstations to minimize lifting hazards. Examples of this type of control include positioning a work table to avoid long or awkward reaches, using a device to move heavy objects, and redesigning tools. 

Administrative controls include properly training workers, which is what a Toolbox Talk should focus on. 

Proper Lifting Technique

Grainger offers the following steps for safe lifting:

  1. Stand close to the load with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. One foot should be slightly in front of the other for balance.
  2. Squat down, bending at the knees (not your waist). Tuck your chin while keeping your back as vertical as possible.
  3. Get a firm grasp of the object before beginning the lift.
  4. Slowly begin straightening your legs, lifting slowly. Never twist your body during this step.
  5. Once the lift is complete, keep the object as close to the body as possible. If the load's center of gravity moves away from your body, there is a dramatic increase in stress to the back's lumbar region. 

If you need to set the object below waist level, use the same procedures in reverse order. 

Additional Lifting Tips

  • Take your time
  • Lift smoothly, avoiding jerky movements
  • Stretch before lifting heavy objects
  • Store heavy materials at waist height when possible
  • Have heavy materials delivered as close to the final destination as possible
  • Before lifting, determine the best place to grip the material
  • Ensure your intended path is free of clutter and slipping hazards
  • Use carts, forklifts, or dollies when appropriate
  • Ask for help from another worker 

NOTE: "Back belts are not recognized by OSHA as effective engineering controls to prevent back injury. While they may be accepted by individual workers because they feel as if they provide additional support, the effectiveness of back belts in the prevention of low back injuries has not been proven in the work environment." 

Save More on Contractor Insurance!

Another way to save on Contractor Insurance is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group, who specializes in Contractor Insurance. We can ensure you have the best coverage for your specific needs. And as independent agents, we will compare the cost of that coverage with several insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for solid coverage.

So call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to start saving on Contractor Insurance costs today!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Safety Programs

Toolbox Talk to Lower Contractors’ Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Dec 27, 2022

Use these tips to save on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, York, Lebanon, PA and beyond.To lower Contractors' Insurance costs, you need to reduce the number of accidents and subsequent claims. In other words, you need to create safer worksites. Unfortunately, construction sites are filled with hazards - power tools, heavy equipment, etc. – and potentially unsafe conditions. 

Toolbox Talks, defined by Harvard as "an informal group discussion among employees of an individual department that focuses on a particular safety issue," is one way to create a safer worksite and lower Workers' Compensation (and other) costs. You can choose many safety topics for your Toolbox Talk, but one crucial topic is "How to Recognize and Report Unsafe Conditions." 

First Step

First, you must create a workplace where employees feel comfortable reporting potentially unsafe conditions. Here's why. 

Studies have found that nearly 50% of employees did not report a safety issue to their supervisor. The reason? Some employees didn't feel comfortable reporting a potential issue – some even felt it was unsafe. In addition, some employees didn't feel it was their responsibility or that nothing was done when safety hazards were reported in the past. 

It is your responsibility to develop a culture of safety, to encourage your employees to report potential issues, and to make them feel safe doing so. It is in your best interest and theirs because it can minimize accidents and injuries, create happier, more engaged employees, and help prevent litigation and lawsuits against your company. 

Furthermore, ensure you have a straightforward process for reporting potentially unsafe conditions that you communicate to your workers. 

Most Common Hazards on a Construction Site

The following list includes the four most common workplace hazards according to Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 500 deaths could be prevented each year if the hazardous conditions leading to the Fatal Four were improved, making it a great place to start a Toolbox Talk about Recognizing unsafe conditions.

  • Falls – Fall-related accidents are the most common cause of construction-related fatalities. This includes slipping or tripping, leading to falls and falling off ladders, roofs, scaffolding, etc.
  • Caught-In or -Between – Examples of this type of hazard include cave-ins, being crushed between shifting objects or being pulled into or caught in machinery equipment.
  • Struck-By – According to OSHA, this type of injury "is produced by forcible contact or impact between the injured person and an object or piece of equipment."
  • Electrocution – OSHA states, "Electrocution results when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electrical energy." It can occur when workers are exposed to burns, electrocution, arc flash, fire, or explosions.

OSHA offers an in-depth training program regarding these four Hazards. 

Recognizing Unsafe Conditions

Many accidents related to these and other hazards are preventable by increasing awareness and showing workers how to recognize unsafe conditions. Here are a few unsafe conditions workers should be aware of:

  • Spills that aren't cleaned up
  • Clutter
  • Over-stacked loads
  • Glare or shadows
  • Unprotected edges
  • Lack of signs cautioning workers about unsafe conditions, such as slippery surfaces
  • Insufficient fall protection
  • Unstable or unavailable scaffolding
  • Faulty or unsupportive ladders or ladder misuse
  • Failure to routinely inspect the equipment
  • Poorly maintained equipment
  • Frayed or damaged wires
  • Unprotected power lines
  • Power supplies that are not grounded
  • Someone inspecting or repairing equipment that is not de-energized
  • Using too many extension cords
  • Lack of proper lockout/tag-out procedures
  • Insufficient communication regarding safety
  • Lack of appropriate PPE
  • Lack of adequate safety training
  • Lack of the right equipment to move heavy materials

 Call Us to Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs!

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors' Insurance, so we can ensure that you have the right insurance coverage to protect your business. In addition, as independent agents, we can ensure you pay the lowest premium for that coverage. Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start saving on Contractors' Insurance today.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

7 Policy Review Tips to Help You Save on Contractors' Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 26, 2022

We'll help you review your contractor insurance policy in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, York and anywhere in Pennsylvania

As a busy contractor, it may be tempting to simply renew your Contractors' Insurance without reviewing it first. However, failure to review your insurance can result in paying more than you have to or being underinsured. Taking a few minutes to review your current policy, evaluate your current needs, and discuss it with a trusted insurance agent can make all the difference. 

While every business faces certain risks – employee injuries, property damage, etc., it could be argued that contractors face many challenges unique to the industry. For example, the construction industry is currently facing rising material costs, supply chain issues, a shortage of skilled laborers, increased risk of cybersecurity exposures, and more. 

Furthermore, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,764 U.S. workers suffered fatal work injuries in 2020. The private construction industry accounted for 21.2% of those deaths. The construction industry fared better in non-fatal injuries but still experienced 174,000 injuries out of 2.7 million total non-fatal workplace injuries reported by the private sector. 

The right insurance will help protect you financially from those risks, but to ensure you have the right insurance for your business, you need to take the time to review your policies before renewing them. 

The best time to start the renewal process is three to four months before your current policy's expiration date. This gives you time to review your policy, gather information, determine if there are any changes in your insurance needs, and compare the cost of your coverage. 

7 Insurance Review Tips:

  • Identify any changes to your business, such as…
    • Did you increase or decrease the number of employees?
    • Have you added, replaced, or sold any vehicles or equipment?
    • Did you add or change your location?
    • Has your business structure altered in any way?
    • Has your payroll changed?
    • Has the classification code for any of your employees changed?

  • Review your current policy. Is all the information correct – payroll, classification codes, experience modifier, etc.?

  • Run a loss run report. Loss Run Reports list the date of each loss and claim, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. This information is used to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay or even if an insurance company will issue or renew a policy for your business. In addition, you can use the information to lower your insurance costs and even improve other areas of your business.

  • Research industry trends. Factors such as litigation, a recession, or the availability of materials can affect your risks and coverages. Knowing what challenges you may face can help ensure you have the right insurance coverage.

  • Work with an insurance agent who specializes in Contractors' Insurance. American Insuring Group specializes in insurance for small to medium-sized construction companies. We start by taking a close look at your business and then recommend the proper types of coverage to protect you, your business, your employees, and your assets.

  • Ask about discounts and how you can lower your premiums. Some insurance carriers offer a discount for the following:
    • Combining policies
    • Paying your premium upfront (rather than monthly payments)
    • Paying by electronic funds transfer
    • Allowing them to access your driving data via an electronic logging device (ELD)
    • Installing certain safety features (burglar alarms, sprinklers, etc.)

  • Compare the cost of your coverage with several insurance companies. The good news is that, unlike many agencies that sell only one insurance brand, American Insuring Group is a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency. That means we are free to offer not just one but more than 25 competing brands of insurance to ensure you pay the lowest rate for your insurance coverage.

 Who to Call for the Best Rate on Contractors' Insurance

Whether it's general contracting insurance, construction insurance, contractor workers comp, carpentry, HVAC, handyman, or any other type of insurance, American Insuring Group has you covered!

Contact us today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start saving on Contractors' Insurance costs today!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance

Contractual Risk Transfer for Contractors

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 29, 2022

Transfer Risk via Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Reading, Erie, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and all throughout PA.One of the best ways to lower your Contractors Insurance costs is with a risk management plan..

The first two steps in a risk management plan are 1) identify risks and 2) prioritize risks.

The third step is to determine response strategies, which include avoidance, transference, mitigation, and acceptance. Today we'll delve into transference.

Transference is the act of transferring risk to a third party. The most obvious way to transfer risk is with a comprehensive Contractors Insurance policy, which transfers many risks to your insurance company.

Here are three examples of how to transfer risk to your insurance company:

  • Injuries - If an employee is injured on the job, Workers' Compensation – which is required by law in PA and most states – provides wage-loss and medical benefits. If a visitor to the worksite is injured, General Liability Insurance will help cover medical expenses and legal costs if a lawsuit is filed against your business.

  • Physical Damage - If your tools are stolen, a piece of equipment is damaged, or someone vandalizes your office, there are insurances – such as Commercial Property Insurance and Builders Risk Insurance - that help pay the cost to repair or replace those items.

  • Faulty Work - If a client sues you for design errors or omissions, Professional Liability Insurance helps cover your legal costs.

It is also possible to transfer risk to yet another third party, such as a supplier or subcontractor, with contractual risk transfer. "When astutely negotiated, a construction contract can become a valuable risk management tool," the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) states. "Liabilities can be equitably distributed among the contracting parties—general contractor, subcontractors, suppliers, architects, and the owner."

What is Contractual Risk Transfer?

"Contractual risk transfer is the ability to move a risk/loss from one party to another through the language written in a contract," according to Business Credentialing Services. "Contractual risk transfer is when the language in a non-insurance agreement excuses one party from financial or legal responsibility associated with specified actions, inactions, injuries, or damages. In contractual risk transfer, one party agrees to indemnify and hold another party harmless in a contract."

It's important to note that the Indemnitor – the entity that holds another party harmless if injury or damage occurs - is backed by their insurance policy.

Effective Contractual Risk Transfer

"Unfortunately, many construction contracts are drafted (or standard versions modified) by professionals with little knowledge of insurance coverage," IRMI states. "As a result, it is not unusual for contracts to shift liabilities to the contractor that are extremely difficult or costly to insure, or even uninsurable." Therefore, it is best to leave contract writing to the experts – a qualified attorney and one of the insurance agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors Insurance can help.

However, it's always good to understand the basics when discussing contracts and insurance with these experts. Here are five tips:

  1. Often a contract will require a certificate of insurance; therefore, keeping those certificates well-organized helps save time and frustration.

  2. Make sure whoever drafts your contract is aware of current insurance requirements and doesn't just copy from an existing contract.

  3. Ensure that appropriate endorsements are attached to your contract.

  4. Most states limit the risk that can be transferred.

  5. Four endorsements crucial to the contractual risk transfer process include Additional Insured Endorsement, Primary & Non-Contributory Endorsement, Waiver of Subrogation Endorsement, and Alternate Employer Endorsement.

Work With the Right Insurance Agent and Save

The agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and can help execute your risk management plan. As independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price for your insurance coverage.

Call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start managing your risk today!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractual Risk Transfer

7 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Contractors Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 24, 2022

Follow these tips to save on Contractors Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Erie, Pittsburgh, Allentown and all throughout PA Have you ever thought about why you purchased Contractors Insurance? It may have been to protect your business, equipment, employees, and more. It may have been required – by law, a customer, etc. Whatever the reason, everyone wants to get the most they can out of their insurance.

Check out these 7 tips to discover how to get the most out of your insurance coverage.

Identify Risks and Determine Response Strategies

First, you need to identify your risks, determine which could have the most significant impact on your business, and decide on your response strategies, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Avoidance – If you determine that a project is too risky or your business is not equipped to handle the risk, you may decide to decline the project or change the scope of the work.
  • Transference – Sometimes, you can transfer the risk to a supplier, subcontractor, or insurance carrier.
  • Mitigation – Mitigation is the act of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something. For example, providing a safer worksite will help mitigate safety risks.
  • Acceptance – Sometimes, you may be willing to accept a potential risk and develop a contingency plan as a workaround. 

Mitigate Risk

Mitigating risk – and thereby reducing the number of claims – is one of the best ways to lower insurance (and other) costs. American Insuring Group offers many blogs to help, such as 10 Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips, How to Minimize and Protect Your Construction Company from 3 Top Risks, and Choosing Appropriate PPE for Construction Workers. 

And the good news is that mitigating risk also leads to more productive employees, happier customers, a better business reputation, and a healthier bottom line. 

Understand Your Insurance Policy

We realize that most people do not find reading their insurance policy a fun activity, but it's a must if you want to get the most out of your coverage. You need to understand what your policy does and does not (exclusions) cover so that you can compare any gaps with your response strategies and available cash flow. You may need to purchase an additional policy, add an endorsement to extend your coverage, or consider an umbrella policy to increase your current policies' limits. 

You should also understand your deductibles and ensure that you have enough available cash flow to cover those deductibles if you make a claim. 

Combine Policies

It is tempting to shop around and find the lowest premium on each of your policies, but you will often find more savings by combining your policies with one company. The independent agents at American Insuring Group will compare the cost of your policies with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premiums. 

Review Your Policies Regularly

You know the old quote, "There is nothing permanent except change," and this is certainly true in business. You may buy or sell a piece of equipment. You may increase or decrease the number of employees. All of these changes can affect your insurance coverage and premiums; therefore, regularly reviewing your policies is the only way to ensure that you have the right coverage at the lowest cost. 

Advertise Your Insurance Coverage

Advertising your insurance coverage – on your website, social media profiles, truck advertising, etc. – shows that you are a professional and can help get more customers. You should be happy to provide your customers with a certificate of insurance as proof that you have insurance coverage that will pay for any injuries, damage, etc. 

Work With an Experienced Insurance Agent and Save!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and can ensure that you have the right coverage for your needs. Plus, as independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price for that coverage!

So give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

Understanding Your Builders Risk Insurance End Date

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 27, 2022

Knowing when your builders risk insurance ends can be a key to avoiding surprise costs. Get the best rates on all types of contractor insurance, including in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania.There are many types of Contractors’ Insurance designed to protect your business from unforeseen circumstances. However, one type of insurance that is somewhat unique to the construction industry is Builders Risk Insurance. 

What is Builders Risk Insurance?

Builders’ Risk Insurance - also called Course of Construction Insurance or Inland Marine coverage – is a temporary insurance policy that helps protect a renovation or new building while under construction. It typically covers a building, structure, materials, tools, and equipment on a job site, in transit, or stored elsewhere during construction or renovation. 

The following perils are typically covered under a Builders’ Risk Insurance policy:

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Vehicle accident 
  • Weather events, such as hail or lightning

Some Builders’ Risk policies also include the following perils:

  • Costs incurred by delayed construction, such as lost rental income or loan interest
  • Removal and disposal of pollutants
  • Damage to temporary structures
  • Changes required to meet environmental standards 

The following perils are typically NOT covered under a Builders’ Risk policy:

  • Wind
  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Employee theft
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Mechanical breakdowns
  • Terrorism
  • Faulty work or materials
  • Contractual penalties 

When Does Builders Risk Insurance Coverage End?

Most insurance policies have an insurance policy period that includes an effective and expiration date. Simply stated, those dates indicate when coverage from that policy begins and ends. However, the end date of a Builders’ Risk Insurance policy can be a little more complicated. 

Because the value of a structure being built or renovated increases over time, Builders’ Risk insurance factors this changing value into its pricing. Due to this unique situation, there are times when an expiration date may change. 

  1. The owner of the property takes over

If an owner (such as the original property owner, bank, or purchaser) takes over the project (regardless of how complete the project is), the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy you purchased becomes invalid. 

  1. The Project Is Abandoned

If the contractor walks away from the site with no intention of completing the project, the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy becomes invalid. 

  1. The Property is Being Used for Intended Purpose

If all or part of the property is being used for its intended purpose during construction, the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy becomes invalid. 

  1. The Project has been Completed for 30 Days

Once an occupancy permit or other completion confirmation has been issued, the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy becomes invalid. 

Once the Builders’ Risk Insurance policy has expired, other types of insurance are available to protect the property, which are often less expensive. For example, property insurance can be purchased when the property is being used for its intended purpose or when the project has been completed for thirty days, which is typically less expensive than Builders’ Risk Insurance. On the other hand, if a property has been abandoned, there is more risk for damage such as decay, vandalism, break-ins, and arson. Therefore, insurance to cover the property will be higher than Builders’ Risk Insurance.

Need Help With Builders’ Risk Insurance?

If you have questions about Builders’ Risk Insurance or any type of Contractors Insurance, be sure to speak with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group.

Not only do we specialize in Contractors Insurance, but as independent agents, we also compare multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for the coverage you need.

Call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

10 Common Construction Site Hazards

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 25, 2022

Avoid these construction site hazards, and save on construction insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lehigh Valley and throughout PAOne of the best ways to lower Contractors’ Insurance (and other) costs is to create safer worksites. But unfortunately, construction sites are filled with many hazards. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “About 20% (1,061) of worker fatalities in private industry in calendar year 2019 were in construction – accounting for one in five worker deaths for the year.” 

Fortunately, you can take steps to minimize risks, and the first step is to identify potential hazards. 

10 common construction site hazards and tips to reduce their impact on your business: 

  1. Falls from heights – “In 2019, there were 401 fall fatalities out of 1,102 total fatalities in construction,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Falls are a hazard found in many work settings, but construction has the most fatal falls out of all industries and represents 51% of all falls nationally.” Some causes of falls include unsecured scaffolding or ladders and a lack of guardrails or safety nets.

  2. Being struck by moving objects - Construction sites are filled with many moving objects – vehicles, equipment, materials, etc. Being struck by an object is one of OSHA’s Fatal Four, accounting for approximately 10% of all construction worker deaths. Poor lighting, too little space to maneuver, and working too closely can cause injuries from moving objects.

  3. Slips and trips – According to the CDC, “27% of the 888,220 nonfatal work injuries resulting in days away from work in 2019 were related to slips, trips, and falls.” Slips and trips can be caused by wet and slippery surfaces, uneven surfaces, etc. Most are easily prevented.

  4. Noise – Loud noise can cause a significant distraction and permanent hearing loss.

  5. Vibrations – Using tools such as drills, jackhammers, and chain saws can cause Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). “About 2 million U.S. workers are exposed to hand-arm vibration, and as many as half will develop HAVS, one expert says,” according to Safety and Health Magazine.

  6. Manually moving materials and equipment – Incorrectly lifting, moving, and handling materials or equipment can cause severe injuries, such as Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSDS).

  7. Asbestos – While asbestos only becomes a problem when damaged, it causes an estimated 255,000 deaths annually, according to the National Library of Medicine.

  8. Electricity – Electricity is an essential part of any construction worksite, but it can also cause severe injuries and even death. Electrical accidents can occur from contact with overhead or underground power cables, damaged tools or equipment, inadequate wiring, overloaded power boards, and improper insulation.

  9. Airborne materials – Invisible and fine dust material caused by cutting concrete, woodworking, and more are prevalent at construction worksites, and prolonged exposure to it can lead to illnesses such as asthma, lung cancer, emphysema, etc.

  10. Excavation/trench collapse – Collapses are all too common on construction sites. In 2020 alone, at least 21 workers died in trench collapses. The leading cause is inadequate cave-in protection.

 4 Tips to Minimize Risk

You can take steps to minimize the risk of injury caused by any of these hazards. Some are specific to the threat, such as providing adequate cave-in protection to avoid collapses or implementing a lockout tagout system to prevent electrical injuries. 

Below are four steps that can be taken to minimize the risk of many hazards:

  1. Training – Safety training helps employees recognize and avoid potential hazards at the workplace.
  2. Proper PPE – To create a safer work environment, appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats, safety glasses, and gloves must be provided. In addition, employees need to be trained on the proper use of PPE.
  3. Work Area management – Work area management includes keeping pathways clear of debris and hazards, providing safety nets or guard rails where needed, ensuring that equipment and tools are kept in a secure area after use, and ensuring spills are immediately cleaned up, etc.
  4. Proper maintenance – Equipment that is regularly repaired and maintained in excellent condition helps avoid injuries.

Lower Your Contractors Insurance Premiums

Creating a safer worksite and working with the right insurance agent can lower contractors insurance premiums. The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in contractors insurance and check with multiple insurance companies to get you the right coverage at the lowest price.

So start saving today. Call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

Take the Mystery Out of Contractors' Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 14, 2022

Learn everything you need to know about contractor's insurance from our agents serving Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, and the entire state of PennsylvaniaContractors' Insurance helps protect your business from risk, and let's face it… as a contractor, you face many risks every day. An employee or client may fall and injure themselves on a job site. A piece of heavy equipment might be stolen. A hacker may steal your data. Any one of these things could put you out of business… IF you aren't prepared.

 Risk Management

The first step in preparing is called risk management. Risk management is identifying and evaluating the risks your business may face and determining procedures to minimize the impact of those risks. Effective risk management helps provide confidence, streamline operations, enhance safety, and protect your business. 

Here are four steps to developing a risk management plan for your construction company (Click here for more details):

  1. Identify Risks
  2. Prioritize Risks
  3. Determine Responsive Strategies
  4. Create a Risk Management Plan

 There are many ways you can and absolutely should minimize the risk of something happening. For example, you can create safer workplaces, provide proper training, and ensure PPE is used appropriately. But unfortunately, despite all of your best efforts, accidents happen, equipment gets stolen, and data breaches occur.

 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, there were 1,102 fatal injuries in the construction industry (both private industry and government). Furthermore, "These deaths represented 20.7 percent of total workplace fatalities in the United States (5,333)." It is estimated that $300 million to $1 billion of construction equipment is stolen every year. 

Transfer Risk With Contractors' Insurance

In step three above – Determine Responsive Strategies – one strategy is to transfer risks to an insurance company. For example, if a piece of equipment is stolen, insurance will pay to replace that equipment in exchange for premiums and deductibles. This takes much of the financial risk off of our business.

 Types of Contractors Insurance

The best way to determine which types of Contractors Insurance is right for your business is to work with one of the agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors' Insurance. Here is a brief description of the types of insurance that may be recommended.

General Liability Insurance – If your business is sued, general liability insurance will pay legal fees, settlements, etc.

Workers Compensation Insurance – In most states, including Pennsylvania, most employers are required to provide Workers' Compensation Insurance - which covers medical costs and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job - for their employees.

Commercial Property Insurance - Property insurance helps protect against property loss or damage due to events such as fire, hail storms, civil disobedience, and vandalism.

Builders Risk Insurance - Builders Risk Insurance helps replace materials, tools, and lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.

Commercial Auto Insurance - Commercial Auto Insurance helps cover bodily injury or property damage claims if one of your company's vehicles is involved in an accident.

Inland Marine Insurance - Inland Marine Insurance helps cover damages that occur while a building is under construction.

Professional Liability Insurance ((Aka Errors and Omissions Insurance) - If your business is sued due to a mistake made in your company's professional service, Professional Liability helps cover legal costs.

Umbrella Insurance - Insurance liability policies include a limit (the maximum amount an insurer will pay if a claim is filed). Commercial Umbrella Insurance helps cover the difference if a claim exceeds a policy's limit.

Cyber Insurance - Cyber Insurance helps cover your business' liability for data breaches that involve sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, driver's license numbers, and health records

Pollution Liability Insurance - Pollution Liability Insurance protects your business if you're held liable for a pollution incident on a worksite.

Gap Insurance – Often overlooked, Gap Insurance helps cover the cost difference to pay off a lease balance when the vehicle's value is less than the leasing company's payoff in a total loss accident.

Business Income Coverage/ Business Interruption – If you are forced to shut down your business after experiencing covered property damage (such as fires, storms, etc.), Business Income coverage can help replace lost income.

 How Much Does Contractors Insurance Cost?

Regardless of the specific type of insurance, several factors can significantly impact those insurance costs. Those factors include the following:

  • Claims History:
  • Nature of Work and Risk:
  • Liability Limit:
  • Loss Type

Start Saving on Contractors Insurance Today!

t's easy to lower your premiums by working with one of the agents at American Insuring Group. Our agents specialize in Contractors' Insurance and – as independent agents – we compare the quality and cost of your coverage with multiple insurance companies to find the policy that's right for you!

Don't Delay - start saving today by calling us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractual Risk Transfer

How Contractor Insurance Can Protect Your Business

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 30, 2022

Contractor Insurance Tips to Protect Your Business in Philadelphia and throughout PAPeople often refer to Contractor Insurance as a safety net, but I ask you to stop and think about this accurate but often-overused analogy. In a circus, a safety net is used below performers who are walking across a tight rope or acrobats flying through the air high above. If they fall, the safety net could save their lives. Likewise, the right Insurance can protect the life of your business.

Risks in Contractor Industry

Every business is open to risk, and the construction industry is more so than many other industries. According to a report published by the Center for Construction Research Training, in 2019, 79,660 nonfatal injuries were reported in the construction industry. Furthermore, "… it was consistently higher than all industries combined… Construction injuries were also more severe, as they typically caused more missed workdays than injuries in all industries."

And these injuries were not confined to larger construction companies. That same report states, "the injury rate among construction establishments with 11 to 49 employees was five times the rate for establishments with 1,000 or more employees."

These injuries are costing companies billions of dollars every year. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports, "The total cost of work injuries in 2019 was $171.0 billion. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $53.9 billion, medical expenses of $35.5 billion, and administrative expenses of $59.7 billion." Individually, that translates to $1,100 per worker, $1.2 million per death, and $42,000 per medically consulted injury. Do you have enough money to cover those kinds of costs without jeopardizing your business? Probably not!

Another risk all businesses face is lawsuits. According to a Small Business Administration (SBA) study, 36 to 53% of small businesses were involved in lawsuits, and when a case goes to trial, it costs companies $3,000 to $150,000 to resolve. So how would a lawsuit affect your bottom line?

Then there is theft. Construction equipment theft results in $300 million to $1 billion in losses each year (and that's an old statistic). Studies show that construction equipment is an easy target for thieves because:

  • Equipment is often left at unsecured sites when not in use
  • Many sites are located in remote locations
  • Equipment is easily accessible
  • There are no standardized PINs or serial numbers, making equipment challenging to track.

Could you easily replace a $75,000 bulldozer without affecting your business? Probably not!

Here is a brief description of various types of insurance that can help protect your employees, your assets, and your business.

How Insurance Protects Your Employees

Without employees, you could not get the job done, so it's a good idea to take care of your employees and consider them an asset. In Pennsylvania (and most other states), all employers are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance, which covers lost wages, medical expenses, disability expenses, and funeral costs for employees who are injured on the job.

Failure to carry Workers' Compensation coverage for your employees can lead to a $2,500 fine and up to one year in imprisonment for each day the employer fails to maintain WC coverage. Felony convictions can result in a $15,000 fine and up to seven years imprisonment for each day the employer intentionally violated this requirement. Furthermore, you may be responsible for paying all benefits awarded by a Workers' Compensation judge.

How Insurance Protects Your Assets

  • Inland Marine Insurance helps cover damages that occur while a building is under construction.
  • Commercial Property Insurance protects your physical assets from fire, storms, theft, etc.
  • Commercial Vehicle Insurance protects against bodily injuries and property damage if one of your vehicles is involved in an accident.
  • Builders Risk Insurance helps replace materials, tools, and lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.

How Insurance Protects Your Business

  • General Liability Insurance protects your business from liabilities, such as bodily injury and property damage claims.
  • Professional Liability Insurance protects your business if a client sues you for design errors or omissions.
  • Pollution Liability Insurance protects your business if you're held liable for a pollution incident on a worksite.
  • Cyber Insurance helps protect your business from data breaches.

How to Get the Right Contractors Insurance for Your Business

The best way to get the right Insurance for your business is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors Insurance. They understand your unique risks and know the right questions to ask.

Plus, as independent agents, they will compare the cost of your coverage among competing insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price on your premiums. So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance

5 Toolbox Talk Topic Ideas for Spring

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 26, 2022

Use these toolbox talks to save on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania

Want to save on Contractors Insurance and other operating costs? Create a safer work environment. Want to have higher employee morale and lower employee turnover? Create a safer work environment. Want to develop a healthier business and bottom line? You guessed it - create a safer work environment!

But how do you create a safer work environment? One crucial step is providing effective toolbox Talks (Aka safety meetings).

What Are Toolbox Talks?

are short safety meetings that “help workers recognize and avoid unsafe working conditions.” Typically, these meetings are short (10-30 minutes), informal, onsite meetings held at the beginning or end of a shift or workday that focus on a different safety topic each time.

Often, these meetings are held monthly. However, an Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) report found that companies that hold daily toolbox talks reduced total recordable incident rates (TRIR) by 85% compared to those that held monthly meetings.

Successful toolbox talks are not monologues but interactive meetings that provide useful information and allow workers to ask questions, provide feedback, and participate in the discussion. After all, they’re the ones actually doing the work.

And don’t forget to document every meeting – the topic, date, trainer, employees present – and keep it on file. “One of the most frequently cited OSHA standards maintains that it’s the employer’s responsibility to train employees regarding all workplace hazards and their appropriate safeguards,” the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states. “Documentation is the only way to prove to OSHA that this training has been completed…”

Toolbox Talk Topic Ideas for Spring

There are many topics you can address at Toolbox talks, but they should of course be timely and relevant to your workers. Here are five topic ideas for spring: 

  1. Hail Safety – If you live or work here in Berks County, PA, you probably remember the hailstorm of 2014. As the local TV station said, “It all started May 22, 2014. Storm clouds appeared out of nowhere and then chunks of ice rained down over Berks County.” Thousands of cars and homes were damaged by the storm, which reminded us all just how dangerous Mother Nature can be. Any storm can be dangerous to someone working outside, and hailstorms come with unique hazards that employees working outside should be aware of.

  2. Heat Exhaustion - As the temperature continues to rise, so do heat-related illnesses among construction workers. Heat exhaustion is the most common heat-related illness and can occur when a person is exposed to high temperatures for several days without adequate fluids. According to the CDC, “From 1999 to 2010, 8,081 heat-related deaths were reported in the United States” and “Almost all heat-related deaths occurred during May–September (7,621; 94%) …”

  3. Heatstroke – Left untreated, heat exhaustion can become heatstroke, which is the most severe heat-related illness. It is a serious and life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Therefore, workers should be trained on the risks of heat-related illnesses and how to avoid those risks. They should also be able to recognize the signs and know how to treat them.

  4. Protective Outerwear – Wearing the right protective outerwear for different seasons and for different tasks helps keep workers safe. Workers should understand what type of protective outerwear is needed to keep them safe.

  5. Protecting the public – If construction occurs in an area that is frequented by the public, extra precautions – such as barriers or safe walkways - need to be taken to avoid accidents that can cause injury to people passing by.

Lower Contractor Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

In addition to creating safer worksites, working with the right independent insurance agent can also help lower Contractors Insurance costs. The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and work with many insurance companies to find you the lowest premiums.

Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Safety Programs