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Marijuana and Contractors Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 20, 2020

Marijuana and the impact on contractors insuranceMore than four years after Governor Tom Wolf signed the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act into law, the implications of the law on construction site safety and Contractors Insurance is still unclear. Pennsylvania was the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, and today, nearly thirty states have similar laws.

The challenge for construction companies is balancing safety with compliance with a variety of conflicting state and federal laws regarding the use of both recreational and medical marijuana.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), “While medical marijuana-using employees have mounted legal challenges, state statutes usually side with employers who reject potential employees or reprimand workers that test positive for cannabis, even if they have a medical marijuana card. Some states protect employee rights and safeguard against disciplinary action for medical marijuana use, however. Marijuana is still illegal according to federal law, which classifies it as a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Federal law supersedes state law.”

NSC also states that the Americans with Disabilities Acts sides with employers, most states will not pay worker compensation benefits to an employee who is under the influence at the time of the accident, and most state health insurance programs won’t pay for medical marijuana.

Putting legal and ethical issues aside, the bottom line is that marijuana use can impact job safety, and in an industry already fraught with its share of hazards, safety should be a priority for any construction site. Workplace injuries not only increase Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs they also decrease employee productivity and morale.

Marijuana and Job-Site Safety

Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound, which has shown to have adverse effects. It can change a person’s sensory perception, create short-term memory problems, and impair thinking. Physically, marijuana use has been shown to impair motor skills, cause a loss of balance and coordination, and impair depth perception. These effects can prove deadly to someone driving a forklift or working on a roof.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “employees who tested positive for marijuana on a pre-employment urine drug test had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and 75% greater absenteeism compared with those who tested negative for marijuana use.”

What Can Construction Companies Do?

While much of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act is unclear – or even conflicting - some sections support employers and workplace safety. For example, if an employee has more than ten nanograms of THC in their blood, they cannot operate or be in physical control of strong chemicals or high voltage electricity and that an employee who is “under the influence of medical marijuana” cannot perform duties in confined spaces or at heights.” It also states that an employer can prohibit an employee from “performing any task which the employer deems life-threatening, to either the employee or any of the employees of the employer.”

If you are working on a federal project, you have no choice but to maintain a drug-free job site, and the use of marijuana on the job should always be prohibited on any job site.

The NSC recommends that construction companies have a drug-testing program and a solid drug policy in place that include the following:

  • A definition of the terms “marijuana,” “cannabis,” or any other derivation
  • Proper management and supervisor training
  • Access to support for employees with drug addictions
  • Clearly defined use and possession parameters
  • Drug testing policies and procedures – Tests should be conducted uniformly for all employees to avoid liability for discrimination claims.
  • Education for employees on clinical issues relating to marijuana, such as how long it remains in the system, the effects it can have, including the potential impact on workplace safety.
  • Established rules for post-accident testing
  • Rules on how to handle employee convictions or arrests
  • A reminder that on-the-job impairment will not be tolerated, including medical marijuana

Include your drug policy in all recruiting and new-hire on-boarding materials. Review your drug policy with a lawyer and update it as laws change.

Here's How to Save on Contractors Insurance!

Creating a safe worksite is just one way to lower Contractors Insurance rates. Working with one of the American Insuring Group independent agents who specialize in Contractors Insurance will ensure that you get the right coverage at the best price. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

3 Safety Tips to Lower Contractors Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 25, 2020

Save_contractors_insurance-1If you want to lower Contractors Insurance costs – from Commercial General Liability to Workers’ Comp Insurance – create a safer worksite. Safety should be your number one priority simply because it’s the right thing to do.

But if you need more incentive or ammunition to pitch a safety program to management, know that safety will also improve your bottom line. A safer work environment improves morale, keeps projects on schedule and under budget, and helps lower insurance costs.

Here are three tips for creating a safer worksite.

Assess the Job Site

Before you begin any new job, take time to assess the job site, identify potential hazards, and determine preventative measures to minimize injury.  Start with OSHA’s Fatal Four – dangers that are responsible for more than half of the construction worker’s deaths.  The fatal four are falls, object strikes, electrocutions, and caught-in/between. Look at a job site and determine how you can minimize those hazards.

Determine areas that should be blocked off while specific tasks are being performed. Install guardrails, catch platforms, nets, and other safety measures to avoid falls. Ensure that scaffolding is constructed correctly, and make sure you have appropriate PPE available for workers, such as safety harnesses, lifelines, and lanyards.

Consider Scheduling

Did you know that a study by the Associated General Contractors of America found that most construction site fatalities occur from 10 am to 3 pm, peaking at noon and that nearly 75% of deaths happened Monday through Thursday? Use that information and schedule safety meetings around noon early in the week. Also, ensure that you have strong safety measures in place for lunch breaks. 

Another safety issue common to the construction industry is over-scheduling workers to meet deadlines. If workers are too physically or mentally exhausted, the best safety practices in the world won’t eliminate injuries. According to OSHA, working 12 hours per day is associated with a 37% increased risk of injury.

A 2005 study of medical residents found that every extended shift scheduled in a month increased the risk of a motor vehicle crash on their commute home by 16.2 %. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the U.S.

Fatigue was cited as a contributing factor in several major workplace disasters, including the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the Challenger space shuttle explosion, and BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil refinery explosion.

Don’t risk your workers’ health and safety or the health of your company by over-working your employees.  Ensure that all your employees and subcontractors take regular breaks and don’t work too many hours.

Develop a Culture of Safety

If you want your workers to follow your company’s safety procedures, you need to develop a culture of safety from top management on down. Your company should have a safety program that includes regular safety training, meetings, and updates (at least once a week).

Those meetings can include brief onsite recaps to formal OSHA training to fun team-building activities.  And your safety program should be practiced and enforced by everyone. Make safety a priority at your company. Don’t just give it lip service or focus on complying with the minimum OSHA standards.

Follow these three tips to let your employees know that their safety is your number one priority, and your business will experience better employee morale, lower employee turnover, lower insurance rates, and so much more.

Want to Save More on Contractor Insurance?

The American Insuring Group has experienced agents who specialize in Contractors Insurance. Plus, as independent agents, we compare the cost of your insurance with several companies to ensure that you get the best rate on the right coverage.

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

7 Tips to Improve Roofer Safety and Lower Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Mar 08, 2020

Save on Roofer Contractor Insurance by Improving Roofer SafetyWant to know how to lower your Contractor Insurance costs? It’s simple: reduce the number of claims. You already know the construction industry is filled with its share of potential hazards, and this is particularly true for roofers.

Roofing work was rated the fourth most dangerous job - behind logging workers, fishing workers, and pilots – in 2019. The roofing profession has a 48.6 fatality rate – the number of deaths per 100,000 full-time workers calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with more than 100 fatalities per year (most a result of a fall).

Here are seven tips to ensure the safety of your roofers and reduce insurance costs:

Plan, Provide, and Train

OSHA recommends that employers plan, provide, and train to help ensure the safety of employees. Plan ahead to get the job done safely. Provide appropriate equipment so that employees can work safely. Train workers to recognize hazards and the proper use of equipment, ladders, scaffolds, and fall protection systems.  

Consider Weather Conditions

Moisture, ice, and wet leaves can make a roof extremely slippery, and a strong gust of wind can cause a worker to lose his or her balance. Avoid working on roofs in bad weather, especially on surfaces such as slate, tile, metal, and some single-ply membranes, which can be particularly slippery when wet.

Use Ladders Properly

Ladders are an essential tool for any roofer. Ladders should be inspected for visible defects regularly and after any occurrence that could have caused damage. Ladders should only be used on stable and level surfaces. If that isn’t possible, secure the ladder to keep it from moving. Areas at the top and bottom of the ladder should be kept clear.

Roofers should be trained to maintain three points of contact (two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand) at all times when going up or down a ladder. Workers should also not carry anything that could cause them to lose their balance.

Check to make sure that ladders are fully open before using them. If using non-self-supporting ladders, such as extension ladders, OSHA recommends setting the ladder “at an angle so the horizontal distance between the top support and the foot of the ladder is approximately one-quarter the working length of the ladder (a 1:4 ratio).”

Provide Fall Protection

It comes as no surprise that falls are the leading cause of work-related injuries and fatalities among roofers. Employees should attend regular training on fall safety.

OSHA requires that employees who are exposed to a fall of six feet or more to a lower level be provided with fall protection. Fall protection can come in many forms, including personal fall arrest systems (PFAS), fall restraint systems, guide-rail systems, warning line systems, safety net systems, safety monitoring systems, and covers.

Provide Safe Scaffolding

Ensure that any scaffolds used are designed and constructed by a qualified person. Employees are most likely to fall when climbing on or off a scaffold, so it’s important to provide safe access. It’s also important that scaffolds are fully planked or decked between the front uprights and guardrail supports.

Consider Electrical Safety

The biggest electrocution risk for roofers is contact with overhead powerlines, but contact with electrical conduit buried in old roofing can also cause electrocution. Workers should be protected from electrocution by de-energizing the circuits, grounding, or guarding it with insulation.

Train Employees on Hazardous Materials

Employees must be trained on how to read and understand safety data sheets, container labeling, and other forms of warning and how to protect themselves from hazards, such as asbestos, lead, silica, and hazardous chemicals.

 

Compare Insurance - Here's How We Can Help You Save!

A Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent in Berks County, and serving Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, PA and beyond.Another way to save on Contractor Insurance is to work with an independent agent – like those at American Insuring Group – who will compare the cost and quality of insurance coverage among several different competing insurance companies.

If you want to be confident that you’re getting the best price and coverage on Contractor Insurance, give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, workers comp insurance, Contractor Safety Management

What You Need About Saving on Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 09, 2020

Contractors_InsuranceFor many contractors, talking about Contractor Insurance is probably the equivalent of a root canal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Finding an insurance agent who specializes in contractor’s insurance – like the American Insuring Group – takes a lot of the guesswork out of purchasing insurance.

However, it’s always wise to have a basic understanding, so you know what questions to ask and understand what your agent is recommending. Here is what you need to know about Contractor Insurance:

Who Needs Contractor Insurance?

Obviously, contractors need contractor insurance. That includes general, concrete, excavation, masonry, sheet metal, and paving contractors. But Contractor Insurance goes beyond protecting contractors. 

Here is a list of occupations/businesses that can benefit from Contractor Insurance:

  • Appliance Repair Technicians
  • Carpenters
  • Debris removal
  • Electricians
  • Handymen
  • Interior construction
  • Locksmiths
  • Painters
  • Plumbers
  • Property preservation
  • Roofers
  • Snow and ice removal
  • Stucco and plastering

What Type of Insurance do Contractors Need?

Many factors go into the type of insurance policies you need, including whether or not you have employees and what outside parties you may be involved with (i.e., lenders, municipalities, etc.) require.

Here are the most common types of Contractors Insurance that help protect your business from injuries (employees, vendors, etc.), damage, lawsuits, and more.

Commercial General Liability (CGL)

Every contractor should have CGL because the construction industry comes with many risks.  CGL covers basic construction risks, such as lawsuits against your company, along with third-party injuries (visitors to your worksite) and property damage.

For example, if a visitor trips over a wire or slips and falls on a wet surface at your place of business or a worksite, you could be blamed for the injury. CGL typically covers attorney fees, judgments against your business, settlements, medical bills, and funeral expenses.

Another example where CGL can come in handy is f your ladder falls on a customer’s TV and damages it. CGL can help pay for the cost to repair or replace the TV. It can also help cover costs if that customer files a lawsuit against you.

Commercial Automobile Insurance

If you or an employee is driving a company-owned vehicle and is in an accident or causes damage, commercial auto insurance can help cover the cost of property damage, medical bills, lawsuits, and other expenses that can result from an accident.

If you drive a construction vehicle, transport tools or equipment, or have employees run errands for you, you should have Commercial Auto Insurance

Builder’s Risk Insurance

Builder’s Risk Insurance (Aka Course of Construction Insurance) can pay for damage resulting from fire, vandalism, or theft of tools, materials, and property while a structure is under construction.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance helps pay for repairs or replacement of your building, along with furniture, supplies, etc. if it is lost, stolen, or damaged.

Inland Marine Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance does not protect your property if it is not at the location listed on the policy. This is where Inland Marine Insurance comes in. It covers products, tools, and equipment while in transit or stored off-site (like a job site).

Workers’ Compensation (WC)

In Pennsylvania, most employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance for their employees. If an employee is injured while working, WC can help pay for medical costs and lost wages.

Providing WC insurance to your employees also helps protect you against an injured employee suing your company. In most cases, injured employees are prohibited from suing their employers if WC is provided.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional Liability Insurance (A.k.a., Errors and Omissions Insurance) covers legal expenses if you are sued for things like unsatisfactory, late, or incomplete work.

 

👉 Contact Us to Save on Contractors Insurance!

The cost of contractor’s insurance can vary significantly depending on your coverage and your deductible. Other factors that determine the cost of your premiums include what services you provide, your revenue, your location, and the number of employees.

  • You may lower costs by bundling liability coverages into a package called a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP).
  • You may lower costs by creating a safer work environment that results in fewer injuries and fewer claims.
  • You may lower costs by working with an independent agent – like those at American Insuring Group – who can compare the cost of your coverage with several companies to ensure you’re paying the lowest premiums for the coverage.

Have more questions about saving on Contractors Insurance costs? The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and can help you get the best price on the coverage you need, whether you're in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Berks County, or anywhere in PA or surrounding states.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance

Top 3 Construction Business Risks and How to Minimize Them

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 19, 2020

Construction Worker on RoofEvery business comes with its share of risk, and a contracting business is no different. If anything, contractors face more than the average risk. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize or even eliminate many of those risks. Plus, Contractors Insurance acts as a safety net when, despite your best efforts, something does go wrong.

Your first step is to identify potential risks, so here are three of the top risks that contractors need to be aware of and tips to minimize those risks:

  1. Injuries

Construction worksites are full of potential hazards, making construction one of the most dangerous occupations. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 20% of private-industry worker fatalities are in construction.

However, it isn’t just workers who pose a risk. Non-employees, such as vendors and clients, are often unfamiliar with safety rules, and can also be injured on construction worksites.

Minimize Risk of Injury

OSHA has identified the four biggest construction hazards – called the Fatal Four - as falls, electrocution, caught-in, and struck-by. These four hazards were the leading causes of death in 90% of all construction fatalities.

To minimize the risk of injury, develop and enforce a safety program, and all employees should receive proper safety training.

  1. Equipment Damage or Loss

Tools and equipment are one of a contractor’s most vital assets. From something as small as a hammer to as big as a backhoe, you need them to get the job done. If a hammer is damaged, lost, or stolen, it can be quickly, easily, and fairly inexpensively replaced with a quick trip to Loews or Home Depot.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for larger equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, tower cranes, dump trucks, etc. These items are just as vital to get jobs done but not as easy – or inexpensive to replace. If one of these items is damaged or stolen, it can put a serious crimp in your schedule… and your bottom line.

Minimize Risk of Theft

More than 11,000 pieces of heavy equipment were reported stolen in 2016, according to Construction Business Owner. Thankfully, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of theft, such as enforcing a theft-prevention policy, securing your job site with fencing, locking up all of your tools, and securing heavy equipment.

Minimize Risk of Damage

Employees should be well-trained in the proper use of heavy equipment and how to use them safely. It’s also essential that you take the time to read the equipment’s owner’s manual and adhere to factory recommendations. There should be a preventative maintenance program in place, and all equipment should be inspected before use – every time.

  1. Faulty Work

You can be held liable for construction defects in completed projects or those that are not up to code. And a client can seek reimbursement if you have not complied with local, state, and federal building regulations. This not only hurts your bottom line but can also harm your business’s reputation.

Minimize the Risk of Faulty Work

To minimize this risk, review the contract’s terms and policy coverage, implement a quality control program, and understand and comply with building codes and regulations.

Insurance: Your Safety Net

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a piece of expensive equipment is damaged, or a smart thief gets through your anti-theft measures. Repairing or Replacing that equipment can cost your business tens of thousands of dollars. The right insurance can help cover those costs.

Commercial Property Insurance

Your commercial property policy typically covers tools and equipment that are lost or damaged. It may also cover your lost income if you are unable to continue work without the damaged equipment. However, Commercial Property Insurance typically does not cover equipment that is mobile, in a vehicle, or stored at a job site.

Builders’ Risk Insurance (Aka Inland Marine or Course of Construction coverage)

Builders’ Risk Insurance typically protects structures, materials, and equipment that are in transit, onsite, or in a temporary location. Some policies also cover additional costs such as lost sales if construction is delayed.

License and Permit Bond

A License and Permit Bond guarantees that a business will operate in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations. If there is a mistake, this bond will cover damages your client claims.  However, unlike other insurance policies, you are responsible for paying back anything your provider pays for the claim.

Protect Yourself with the Right Contractors' Insurance

Save on Contractor InsuranceUnderstanding these three risks, minimizing them, and having the right insurance is vital for a healthy bottom line and the success of any contracting business.

Because the American Insuring Group specializes in contractors’ insurance, we can help you with all three. Plus, as independent agents, we can ensure that you get the best price by comparing quotes and coverages from multiple insurance companies. So don't delay. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, commercial property insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Builders Risk Insurance

What do Ototoxic Chemicals, Hearing Loss and Insurance Have in Common?

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Dec 10, 2019

chemical_hearing_loss_insuranceKeeping workers safe helps businesses save money with lower Commercial Insurance costs, higher productivity, higher employee morale, and more. There is one hazard in many workplaces that is easily overlooked – Ototoxicant chemicals.

Exposure to Ototoxicant chemicals can cause hearing loss or balance issues, even if workers are not exposed to loud noises. The risk of hearing loss increases when workers are exposed to both ototoxicant chemicals and elevated levels of noise. One study found that “exposure to organic solvents along with exposure to loud noise on the job, and smoking each increased a worker’s risk of hearing loss by 15-20%.”

Depending on the dose of the chemical, the length of exposure, and the noise level, the hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. According to the CDC, chemicals tend to affect the more central portions of the auditory system, which not only make the sound less loud but also distort words, making word-recognition more challenging.

Plus, any health and safety professionals are concerned that hearing losses caused by ototoxicants can go undetected because many hearing tests don’t indicate the cause of hearing losses.

Hearing loss can cause accidents, increasing the number of workers’ compensation claims, which could have a direct result on how much you pay. Plus, employees can file a complaint with OSHA if they believe their working conditions are “unsafe or unhealthful,” and you could be held liable for an employee’s hearing loss.

Who is at Risk?

Ototoxic chemicals can be found in pesticides, solvents, metals, and pharmaceuticals. Hearing loss can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption of the chemical. 

According to the CDC, workers in manufacturing, mining, utilities, construction, and agriculture are more likely to be exposed to ototoxic chemicals. Activities that often add a high level of noise exposure along with the exposure to ototoxicant may include:

  • Printing
  • Painting
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing occupations in subsectors such as machinery, petroleum, fabricated metal, and more
  • Firefighting
  • Weapons firing
  • Pesticide Spraying

Prevention of Hearing Loss Due to Ototoxic Exposure

Your first step should be to identify if there are ototoxicants in your workplace. Ototoxicants include toluene, styrene, carbon monoxide, acrylonitrile, and lead. Review Safety Data Sheets for ototoxic substances.

“When specific ototoxicity information is not available, information on the chemical's general toxicity, nephrotoxicity, and neurotoxicity may provide clues about the potential ototoxicity,” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states. “Most chemicals that are known to affect the auditory system are also neurotoxic and/or nephrotoxic. Information on whether a chemical produces reactive free radicals could also give some clues about the agent's potential ototoxicity.”

If you can replace the hazardous chemical with a less toxic chemical, that can reduce your workers’ exposure to ototoxicants. If that is not possible, use engineering controls to limit exposure. Controls can include enclosures and isolation to both ototoxicants and noise. Good ventilation also helps control exposure to hazardous chemicals like ototoxicants.

You should also provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees who are at risk of exposure. Avoid absorption into the skin with chemical-protective gloves, aprons, arm sleeves, etc. Also, provide hearing protection if workers are exposed to high levels of noise.

OSHA also requires that employers provide health and safety information along with training for employees who are exposed to oxotoxic and other hazardous materials.

More Ways to Lower Your Commercial Insurance Costs

Creating a safer work environment will help you save on Commercial Insurance costs, such as Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance. Finding the right insurance agent can also help you save on Commercial Insurance costs.

American Insuring Group specializes in Commercial Insurance, and as independent agents will check with several companies to ensure that you get the best price on all your Commercial Insurance needs.  Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to see if we can help lower your Commercial Insurance Costs.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Construction Insurance, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

4 Types of Insurance Every Subcontractor Should Consider

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 17, 2019

AIG 2 construction workersIf you get hired as a subcontractor, don’t assume that the general contractor’s Contractors Insurance covers you. As a subcontractor, you are NOT considered an employee of that contractor, and Contractor’s Insurance rarely covers subcontractors. Often, injury or damage caused by a subcontractor is specifically excluded from contractors' insurance policies.

And we don’t have to tell you how dangerous your occupation is. The chances of you or one of your employees injuring themselves or causing damage or injury to something or someone else is not out of the range of possibility.

In fact, according to Safety + Health magazine, a construction worker has a 75% likelihood of experiencing a disabling injury and a 1-in-200 chance of being fatally injured on the job. And don’t think because you own a small company that you’re immune to these statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Nearly half of all deaths on construction sites occur in companies with ten or fewer employees or among those who are self-employed.”

While there are no laws that require you to purchase insurance as a subcontractor, you can see why it’s the smart thing to do. Plus, many contractors will require that you have certain types of insurance to work with them.

4 Types of Insurance Every Subcontractor Should Consider:

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance

CGL is one of the most important insurance products for any business. CGL protects your business if you are liable for property damage. It covers the cost of medical and legal expenses and damages if you are found liable. One serious lawsuit can put you out of business if you don’t have the right protection.

Here are three examples of situations where CGL can help:

  • Someone visiting your job site trips and falls over materials and is injured.
  • An employee leaves the water running in the sink of a customer’s home and causes damage to the home.
  • Someone walking by your job site is hit by flying debris and dies.

As a subcontractor, you have two options: you can ask the general contractor to add you as an “additional insured” to their CGL policy, or you can purchase CGL on your own. Most general contractors will require that you purchase your own CGL policy and will very likely include this requirement in your contract and ask you to provide proof of insurance. When you talk to your insurance agent, make it clear that you are purchasing CGL is a subcontractor, not a general contractor.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

If you are a sole proprietor and are injured on the job, would you have enough money to cover medical expenses? As s a sole proprietor would you be able to continue to provide for your family if you were unable to work for a month or two due to a worksite injury? Workers’ Compensation Insurance will help pay your medical expenses and even lost wages until you are back on your feet.

If you have employees, most states required (with a few exceptions) that you have Workers Comp for each of your employees. WC covers medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs if an employee is injured or killed on the job.

Another benefit of workers’ comp insurance is that it covers legal costs if the injured employee were to sue your business.

Commercial Automobile Insurance

If you use a vehicle (which, of course, most in the construction industry do) to conduct business such as transporting materials, equipment, or employees, you should have commercial automobile insurance to help protect you in the event of an accident that causes bodily injury, loss of life, or property damage. 

A personal auto policy may not be enough as certain types of vehicles can be excluded from those policies, and it may not offer high enough limits.

Builders Risk Insurance

Builders Risk Insurance (Aka Course of Construction or Inland Marine Coverage) covers a building under construction along with materials related to the project. It typically provides coverage for damage caused by fire, wind, theft, lightning, hail, explosion, and vandalism. Standard exclusions include events such as an earthquake or employee theft.

We'll Help You Find the Contractor Insurance That's Right for You!

An insurance agent (like those at American Insuring Group) who specializes in Contractors Insurance can help ensure that you have the right insurance to protect your business. The independent agents at American Insuring Group will compare the cost of that coverage with several insurance companies to ensure that you get the best price on the protection you need! Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Builders Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance

Masonry Contractors: How to lower Contractor and WC Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 01, 2019

masonry-construction-insurance-300Construction is one of the most hazardous occupations today, and masonry contractors are no exception. According to Masonry Magazine, masonry construction is one of the high-risk specialty trades with a nonfatal injury rate of 191.5 per 10,000 equivalent full-time workers.

Creating a safer work environment for those tradespeople helps you avoid OSHA fines, increase employee morale, keep workers on the job, and lower your Contractor Insurance and WC costs.

About the Work

Masonry is a physically demanding job, and masons often work in fast-paced environments. Lifting heavy materials and standing, kneeling, and bending for long periods of time can be strenuous on workers. Plus, masons often work outside where it can be muddy, dirty, and dusty.

Common hazards for masonry contractors include the Occupation Health and Safety’s (OSHA) top four causes of construction fatalities  – falls, struck by, caught in/between, and electrocutions, along with cuts, heat exhaustion, exposure to noxious chemical, lifting and moving heavy objects, and overexposure to dust.

Here are four of the most common hazards masonry contractors face and ways to minimize those hazards:

Slips, Trips, and Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of nonfatal work injuries that result in days away from work are the result of slips, trips, and falls. Construction workers are at risk for fatal falls from height by more than seven times the rate of other industries, according to the National Safety Council.

Masons are often required to use ladders and scaffolding to complete their work, which adds to the risk of falling and injury or death. 

Here are five ladder safety tips to avoid falls:

  • Inspect ladders for defects before using
  • Place the ladder on a stable and level surface
  • Use three points of contact at all times (one hand and two feet/two hands and one foot)
  • Don’t lean, stretch, or make sudden moves while on a ladder
  • The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface

Here are five scaffolding safety tips to avoid falls:

  • Scaffolding should be erected by someone who is properly trained and qualified
  • Inspect scaffolding before using
  • Use proper fall protection
  • Fully plank the equipment
  • Use guardrails

Electrocution

The CDC reports that there were 82 electrocutions or 0.8 electrocution fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers in 2015. To avoid electrocution, know the location of overhead and underground power lines to avoid accidental contact, inspect all tools including extension and power cords for damage before using, ensure that all electrical equipment is properly grounded or double insulated, and protect cords from foot traffic, forklifts, and other equipment.

Lifting Injuries

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace, and this type of injury often takes a long time to heal. The main causes of these injuries are the weight of objects, awkward postures, high frequency and long-duration lifting, inadequate handholds, and environmental factors.

Here are five lifting safety tips:

  • Use mechanical means to move heavy materials such as forklifts whenever possible
  • When manually lifting a heavy object, place it close to your body at the “power zone” height – mid-thigh to mid chest
  • Bend at the knees, not the waist
  • Turn by moving the feet rather than twisting at the waist
  • Take regular breaks

Heat Illness

Masonry contractors can become ill or even die while working in extreme heat or humid conditions regardless of their age or physical condition.  To help prevent heat illness, OSHA recommends that employers provide workers with water, rest, and shade and monitor workers for signs of illness.

Implementing a culture of safety from the top to the bottom of your organization, providing safety training, enforcing safety processes, and providing proper equipment and PPE can help reduce the number of injuries on your worksite and improve your bottom line. 

Is Your Contractors Insurance Too High?

If you think your Contractors Insurance is too high, contact one of the experienced agents at the American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We specialize in both Contractors and WC insurance and will compare your insurance costs with several companies to ensure that you get the best price.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, workers comp costs, Contractor Safety Management

Builder’s Risk Insurance: What Every Contractor Should Know About It

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 21, 2019

save-on-builders-risk-insurance-300Insurance is a way to protect the things you have of value – vehicles, employees, buildings, etc. But what if you’re in the process of building or remodeling a structure? Does it have any value? Of course, it does, and it is susceptible to damage just like anything else, which is where Builder’s Risk Insurance comes into play. 


According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2010 and 2014, fires in structures under construction resulted in $172 million in property damage every year, and fires in structures undergoing major renovation resulted in $108 million in direct property damage each year. And that’s just fires. Structures can also be damaged by vandalism, theft, severe storms, and more.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you protect these project just as you would anything else of value. Here’s what you need to know about Builder’s Risk Insurance. 

What Is Builder’s Risk Insurance?

Builder’s Risk Insurance (Aka Course of Construction) is temporary coverage for damage or loss to a structure that is being constructed or renovated.

If your existing property insurance doesn’t cover renovations or additions, Builder’s Risk Insurance can fill that gap. Most owners and lenders, along with most local, county, and state building and code enforcement agencies will require a contractor to have builder’s risk insurance.

Property owners, builders, financial institutions, contractors, or development/investment companies typically purchase Builder’s Risk Insurance, and additional parties may also be protected under an additional named insured clause.

Builder’s Risk Insurance is usually purchased before or on the date of construction when the contract is signed. If purchased after construction begins, the percentage of the work is completed will be considered.

These policies can be written in three, six, or twelve months terms, and can typically be extended (one time) if a project is not done on time.

What Does Builder’s Risk Cover (and Not Cover)?


Builder’s Risk insurance may just cover the structure, or it may also include materials and/or equipment used in the project. Each policy is different, so it’s essential to understand what a policy covers and doesn’t cover.

Typically, Builder’s Risk Insurance covers damage from the following:

  • fire
  • wind
  • theft
  • lighting
  • hail
  • vandalism
  • vehicles/aircraft
  • explosions

Typically, Builder’s Risk Insurance does not cover damage resulting from faulty design, planning, workmanship, and materials. Professional Liability insurance usually covers that type of damage.

Plus, Builder’s Risk Insurance usually doesn’t cover workplace injuries or liability. Other standard exclusions include the following:

  • employee theft
  • water damage
  • weather damage to property in the open
  • earthquake
  • war
  • government action
  • mechanical breakdown

What Is the Cost of Builder’s Risk Insurance?

The limit of the policy should reflect the total completed value of the project – including materials, labor, and overhead but excluding land cost. You can also insure a percentage of the building profit.

Typically, the best way to determine the best amount of coverage is to look at the construction budget. If changes result in an increase in the value of the structure, you should contact your insurance provider, so the policy can be endorsed to reflect the new value.

The cost generally runs between one and four percent of total construction costs.

How Do You Purchase Builder’s Risk Insurance?

Every construction project has a lot of moving parts, and each project is different. Your first step should be to find an agent with experience in contractor’s insurance like the agents at American Insuring Group.

Here is the basic information you should be ready to provide your agent:

  • Insured name and mailing address
  • Builder information – name, years of experience, number of structures built or remodeled in the last year and the projected number of projects for the next year, and loss history
  • Property information – address, square footage, number of stories, total completed value, type of construction material, and fire protection class

Here’s How to Get the Best Price on Builder’s Insurance

If you want to ensure the proper coverage, limits, and policy type are in place for your next project, give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. Not only do we specialize in contractors insurance, but we are also independent agents, which means we thoroughly check e and compare pricing and coverage with multiple companies to ensure that you get the best price and quality protection!

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

The Cost of Hearing Loss in Construction Workers

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 23, 2019

construction-hearing-loss-cost-300Work-related hearing loss is costing construction companies millions of dollars in contractors’ insurance costs every year. 

If you own a construction company, the chances are good that your employees are exposed to a lot of noise – heavy equipment, jackhammers, etc., which can lead to hearing loss and have an impact on your contractors’ insurance costs. 

Hearing loss is the most common work-related injury. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous levels of noise every year. A 10-year-study of more than one million construction workers in the U.S. found the construction industry has the second highest number of employees affected by hearing loss. 

Work-related hearing loss is costing businesses an estimated $242 million in workers’ comp claims every year. Training your employees about hearing loss and ways to avoid it and enforcing safety measures can help not only lower your contractors’ insurance costs but also save your employees from permanent hearing loss. 

The Science Behind Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can occur as a result of exposure to loud noises, exposure to metals or solvents, or a result of physical trauma like a blow to the head. 

Studies show that regular exposure to sounds 85-90 decibels (dB) can cause hearing loss. A truck or motorcycle that is five yards away can emit sound at 90 dB, and a jackhammer that is three feet away can emit 120 dB. 

Approximately 9% of workers who were NOT subjected to noise levels above 90 decibels experience noise-induced hearing loss by age 50, but 60% of construction workers who were repeatedly exposed to noise at 120 dB did experience hearing loss by the age of 50. 

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that all worker exposures to noise should be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise-induced hearing loss. 

As an employer, you are required to take proper measures to protect your employees from hearing loss when workplace noises exceed those levels. 

Tips to Avoid Hearing Loss

Once an employee experiences noise-related hearing loss, it is usually permanent. The good news is that like most workplace accidents and diseases, hearing loss is preventable. 

If you want to save your employees’ hearing and reduce your WC costs, share the following tips with your employees:

  • Avoid Excessive Noise both on and off worksites
  • Wear industrial-grade hearing protection any time you are working at a noisy construction site.
  • Take regular breaks away from noisy areas
  • Work as far away from loud equipment as possible
  • Using headphones to listen to loud music to drown out a noisy work environment can do more harm than good. A better option is to use noise-canceling headphones, which can reduce your exposure to harmful noise levels both on and off the job.
  • Quit smoking because smoking suffocates the cells in your body, including those in your ears, which can increase your chance of experiencing hearing loss.
  • High blood sugar levels can damage cells in your body; thereby, causing hearing loss, so watch your blood sugar levels.
  • Never put anything including cotton swaps directly into your ears because you can injure your eardrum.
  • Schedule regular hearing tests 

Younger workers often feel impervious to workplace injuries including hearing loss, so it’s your responsibility as an employer to make your employees understand the prevalence of hearing loss among construction workers, what causes it, and how to avoid it, and you should require hearing loss protection protocol.  Eventually, they will thank you, and you will see immediate benefits in lower WC costs. 

Want to Learn More About Saving on Your Contractors’ Insurance?

Give one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

As independent agents and specialists in contractors’ insurance, we will compare the cost of your insurance with several companies to help ensure that you get the right coverage at the best price!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, workers comp costs, Contractor Safety Management