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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

What Contractors Should Know About Professional Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 30, 2022

What contractors should know about professional liability insurance for contractors in Philadelphia, Newark, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster PA and elsewhereThere are many types of Contractors Insurance to help protect your business in the event of a lawsuit. Insurance is a crucial part of protecting your business. According to Forbes, 36%-53% of small businesses are involved in at least one litigation in any given year, and 90% of all companies are engaged in litigation at any given time. 

General liability insurance helps protect you if you are sued for injuries (other than employees), property damage, libel, and slander.

However, a customer can also sue you for making a mistake, missing a deadline, negligence, or undelivered services. Typically, general liability insurance does not cover this type of lawsuit.

 As they say, “To err is human,” but unfortunately, while “to forgive is divine,” not everyone forgives when a general contractor makes a mistake – actual or perceived. And one lawsuit can cost you a fortune in legal fees and settlements or judgments (if the court sides with the plaintiff) or even put you out of business.

 Thankfully, there is Professional Liability Insurance to help protect your business from this type of lawsuit.

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

Professional Liability Insurance goes by many names, such as Errors and Omissions and E & O insurance. Professional Liability Insurance protects your business if you face a lawsuit claiming you made a mistake in your professional services - whether or not you actually made a mistake.

 Some local and state laws, contracts, or customers may require Professional Liability Insurance. However, even if it isn’t required, it’s a good investment as one lawsuit can put you out of business. According to an SBA study, small businesses reported that legal costs for litigation ranged from $3,000 to $150,000. Furthermore, “Most companies used business assets to pay the damages,” and “owners mentioned that the payment of damages nearly put them out of business, which affected them for a long period of time as they worked to rebuild the business and recoup their losses.”

 Professional Liability Insurance helps protect your business from claims of the following nature:

  • Errors
  • Omissions
  • Negligence
  • Violation of good faith and fair dealing
  • Misrepresentation
  • Inaccurate advice

 Professional Liability Insurance covers the following costs (up to the policy’s limit):

  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs
  • Administrative costs
  • Settlements or judgments

 Professional Liability Insurance does NOT typically cover:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Fraudulent, dishonest, or criminal acts
  • False advertising
  • Employee injuries or illnesses
  • Discrimination or harassment
  • False advertising
  • Patents and trade secrets
  • Any services not specified in your policy

 How Much Does Personal Liability Insurance Cost?

Every business is unique, so the cost of Professional Liability Insurance varies.

 Factors that can affect your Professional Liability Insurance costs include the following:

  • Business size
  • Location
  • Claims history
  • Coverage limits

 You can help keep the cost of Professional Liability Insurance down by doing the following:

  • Properly training employees
  • Providing quality work
  • Drafting well-crafted contracts that set expectations
  • Fulfilling the terms of the contract
  • Keeping schedules realistic
  • Providing quality workmanship
  • Hiring reliable and competent subcontractors
  • Performing and documenting periodic inspections
  • Keeping communication professional and reasonable
  • Ensuring everyone working on the project is adequately insured

 How to Save on Professional Liability Insurance

If you aren’t sure if you need Professional Liability Insurance, reach out to one of the agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors Insurance.

We understand your unique needs and can help ensure you have the right coverage. As independent agents, we will compare the cost of that coverage with several insurance companies to ensure that you pay the lowest premium for that coverage.

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

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

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

Lower Contractor Insurance Costs With a Risk Management Plan

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 19, 2022

Lower your contractor and construction insurance costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, PA and beyond. Call today.Managing risk can have a significant impact on your bottom line, including your Contractor Insurance costs. If you’re in the construction industry, you understand that there are plenty of risks to manage – injuries, theft, missed deadlines, etc. Risk management is the process of 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. In addition, a risk management plan helps ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page, and it helps lower insurance costs. 

Four steps to developing a risk management plan for your construction company:

  1. Identify the Risks

Common risks construction companies face include safety, financial (lack of sales, cash flow, etc.), legal, project (delays, poor management, etc.), and environmental (floods, storms, etc.). However, every business and project has its own unique set of risks, and it’s imperative to identify risks relevant to your company and your current project. 

  1. Prioritize Risks

As we said earlier, every business has its own unique set of risks. What may be a concern for your business may not be for another construction company. Therefore, once you’ve identified all of your risks, you need to prioritize them. To do so, look at 1) how probable each risk is and 2) what impact each risk would have on your business. Those risks with the highest probability and the greatest impact should be considered a high priority. 

  1. Determine Response Strategies

Once you’ve identified your risks and which risks are the most probable and could have the highest impact on your business, it’s time to determine strategies to respond to those risks. There are four potential responses:

  • 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 (see below for examples).
  • Mitigation – Mitigation is defined as 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 work-around. 
  1. Create a Risk Management Plan

A risk management plan is a written document that provides information to team members. It includes your risk assessment, strategies, monitoring and reporting, contingencies, and responsibilities. 

  • Involve Team Members All stakeholders must understand and buy into the risk management plan to work.
  • Create Contingencies and Revise For the risks that you have determined are acceptable, you need to create a contingency plan – What will you do if you need to face that risk?
  • Communicate & Monitor Ongoing communication, monitoring, and updates are crucial to the success of a risk management plan. 

Insurance and Risks

As we mentioned earlier, the right insurance allows you to transfer certain risks to a third party. However, insurance policies should be looked at as a safety net. 

For example, it’s usually wiser to provide a safer work environment to minimize employee injuries than to deal with lost workdays, lower employee morale, potential lawsuits, and higher insurance premiums - even if you have the proper insurance to cover the financial losses of an employee injury. 

Here are three examples of how Insurance can be used as a safety net:

  • Injuries If an employee is injured on the job, Workers’ Compensation – which is required by law in PA – 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 

The Easiest Way to Save on Construction Insurance

The easiest way to lower your construction insurance costs is to work with one of the experienced agents at American Insuring Group. Not only do we specialize in Contractors Insurance, but we also research insurance plans from multiple companies to find quality protection at the lowest price.

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

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

Minimize Risk of Sprains and Strains and Lower Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 22, 2022

Buy Affordable Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Pittsburgh and in all of PA. Contact us.Sprains and strains – known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) - are costing construction companies millions of dollars every year in higher Contractor Insurance costs, lost workdays, and sometimes the permanent loss of good workers.

MSDs include back, shoulder, knee, and other musculoskeletal problems. They are one of the most common injuries in construction, accounting for one-third of all lost workday injuries and half of all workers' compensation claims, according to Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America.

In fact, approximately 30% of construction workers report lower back pain. For those workers over 55, that rate increases to 60%. Arthritis and joint pain are also common issues with construction workers – especially as they age. In addition to age, obesity, smoking, and poor physical fitness can increase the risk of an MSD-related injury. Working with the pain of an MSD-related injury reduces productivity and can lead to a disabling injury that permanently ends a construction worker's career.

The high number of MSD-related injuries probably comes as no surprise since construction involves a lot of heavy lifting and carrying of heavy objects. The three main risk factors for MSD-related injuries are excessive force, repetitive motion, and ongoing awkward work position. While you can't eliminate all MSD-related injuries, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk.


Here are 20 tips to minimize the risk of MSD-related Injuries:

  1. Plan jobs to require minimal manual handling of heavy materials by making cranes, forklifts, etc. available to workers

  2. Use hand trucks, wheelbarrows, etc. when possible.

  3. Provide mechanical aids – such as pneumatic lifts and conveyors where possible.

  4. Make materials easily accessible – between knee and should height.

  5. Store materials close to where they will be used.

  6. Seek help to handle heavier loads.

  7. Use handles to carry loads when possible.

  8. Ensure that walkways are level and clear.

  9. Wear appropriate PPE, such as knee or shoulder pads.

  10. Use ergonomically-designed tools.

  11. Provide stretching and warm-up exercises before work begins each day.

  12. Whenever possible, encourage workers to sit or stand erect and not stretch or lean forward to perform tasks.

  13. Encourage healthy lifestyles.

  14. Provide a footrest, floor mat, and/or adjustable chairs where a worker has to stand for a long time to allow them to change positions frequently.

  15. Develop a safety training program.

  16. Train workers to identify and avoid injury hazards.

  17. Train workers on proper lifting techniques, such as standing close to the load, bending knees, and assuring a good grip.

  18. Train workers on things to avoid, such as simultaneously lifting and twisting, rushing, reaching overhead, throwing heavy materials.

  19. Train workers on proper material handling, such as appropriate warm-ups, appropriate PPE, and personal risk factors.

  20. Note about back belts: according to OSHA, "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."

Yes, we realize we listed training several times. That's because proper training is crucial to preventing any workplace injuries, including MSD-related injuries.

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs

Sometimes despite your best efforts, employees are injured on the job. Workers' Compensation helps protect employers and ensures that injured employees are well taken care of.

The experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group will find the right coverage at the lowest cost. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and discover how we can help you save on all of your insurance needs!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Business Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

10 Tips to Minimize Litigation Risk and Lower Contractors Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 18, 2021

How to Minimize Litigation Risks to Save on Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia County, Berks County, Lehigh Valley and throughout Pennsylvania

Contractors Insurance is designed to help protect your business from various risks, including the risk of liability. A contractor can be sued for a variety of reasons – breach of contract, defects, employee and customer relations, project delays, etc. – and no business is immune to these risks.

According to a Small Business Administration (SBA) survey on the impact of litigation on small businesses, 36-53% of small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) were involved in filed civil lawsuits, resulting in $3,000 to $150,000 in legal costs for actual litigation. The survey report also states, “The impact of litigation on businesses goes well beyond the purely financial impact of legal fees and damages. Most small business owners are invested personally in their businesses; litigation causes not just financial loss, but also substantial emotional hardship, and often changes the tone of the business.”

Taking steps to minimize liability risks is just good business. Here are nine tips:

    1. Identify Potential Risks – Contractors are surrounded by potential liability risks, and the first step to reducing those risks is to identify them. Take time to look at your overall business practices and potential hazards at each project.

    2. Avoid accidents, including the Fatal Four – Every employer is obligated to keep employees safe, which can be a challenge in an industry like construction where hazards loom around every corner. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), 5,333 workers died on the job in 2019, and about 20% of fatalities in private industry were in construction. OSHA identified four hazards responsible for 63.7% of construction worker deaths in 2016, known as the “fatal four.” All workplace safety risks should be addressed, and starting with the fatal four – falls, struck by an object, electrocutions, caught-in/between - is a great place to start.

    3. Understand Safety Laws – The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was created to help ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers. The result is a set of standards that businesses are required to follow by law. For example, OSHA requires that fall protection be provided for any employee working at an elevation of six feet or more in the construction industry.

    4. Understand Labor Laws - Fair Labor Standards Act mandates are designed to protect workers in the U.S. All businesses are required to follow these mandates, which include the establishment of minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards.

    5. Avoid Delays – Delays are often unavoidable in the construction industry, and they are one of the most common disputes between construction companies and clients. Even if there is nothing in your contract about penalties for delays, common law usually applies, which could force you to compensate your client for loss of rent, storage fees, moving costs, etc. Proper planning can help minimize the risk of delays.

    6. Provide Quality Work – Shoddy work not only damages your business reputation it can also result in a costly lawsuit. Avoid construction defects, including defects in the design, workmanship, and or materials used, by drafting well-crafted contracts, fulfilling the contract terms, performing and documenting periodic inspections, etc.

    7. Hire Subcontractors Wisely – When something goes wrong – someone is injured, there’s a crack in the foundation, etc. – the general contractor is often held responsible. Therefore, only hire subcontractors you trust and have a reputation for quality work. Draft a comprehensive contract and ensure they have appropriate insurance.

    8. Communicate – Good communication – with employees, subcontractors, and clients – is key to the success of any project. Employ communication techniques, such as choosing a suitable communication method, being an active listener, and keeping communication professional at all times.

    9. Consult a Specialist When Appropriate – If you or your employees don’t have the knowledge or experience to perform a specific task, hire someone who specializes in that task.

    10. Document – With each project, have a comprehensive contract AND thoroughly document any potential hazards, inspections, accident reports, etc.

How to Purchase the Right Insurance

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit. Thankfully, the right insurance can help minimize the impact of any lawsuit.

The agents at American Insuring Group understand the unique risks contractors face, and – as independent agents – they compare the cost of your coverage with several companies to lower your premiums.

Give one of our contractor insurance specialists a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Construction Risk Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance