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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

How Technology Helps Save on Contractor Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 06, 2021

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Allentown and throughout PA.Construction sites are filled with hazards/risks that cause injuries and fatalities, increasing both direct and indirect costs, such as lost workdays, lower employee morale, and higher Contractor Insurance premiums.

"Construction is a disproportionately costly industry, accounting for only 5.2% of all private industry employment in 2002 (BLS 2006) but 15% of all private industry injury costs," according to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). "Construction injuries cost $11.5 billion, with $4 billion in fatalities (40%) and $7 billion in nonfatal injuries, primarily driven by cases with days away from work."

So, wouldn't it be wise for contractors to use every available tool to reduce risk and lower the number of onsite injuries and fatalities? Technology is one of those tools. Here are four ways that technology can simplify risk management and keep construction workers safer.

Streamline Safety Processes

Digitalizing safety procedures eliminates paper-based documents, forms, reports, etc.; saves time and money; improves productivity; shows your employees and OSHA your organization's commitment to safety; and helps your organization remain compliant with state and federal safety regulations.

For example, mobile apps can collect data, improve communication, and help reduce risk. Cloud-based technologies allow users to make changes that all users can immediately access. You can also integrate automation to help improve workflow and minimize the risk of human error.

Improve Training

Safety training is crucial to creating a safer worksite (and lower insurance rates), and technology can help increase awareness, quickly share information, and make it easier to track safety training. In addition, digital solutions allow you to customize training and track compliance.

Technology can improve toolbox meetings by allowing you to hold meetings virtually, record sessions, track attendance, and generate PDFs. In addition, Digital tools can engage workers and celebrate safety achievements to improve worker morale and shine a spotlight on the importance of safety.

Protect Workers

According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, 83% of contractors believe that wearable technology would be useful to improve onsite safety. Wearable technology comes in many forms:

  • Smartwatches that monitor health and activity, detect falls and send alerts, and enable hands-free communication.
  • Smart boots that detect pressure from shocks and falls and sense location.
  • Smart hats that monitor fatigue, prevent microsleeps, detect collisions.
  • AR glasses that can detect leading edges, identify hazardous material, and display safety protocols.
  • Smart monitors can track core body temperature, detect harmful gases, and improve contact tracing.
  • Exoskeletons provide lift support, posture correction, weight dispersion, and more to minimize strain and injuries.

Drones can be used to inspect structures, identify potential hazards, ensure that employees are working safely, and quickly identify changing work conditions. Drones allow workers to perform inspections, often performed at great heights, remotely while staying safely on the ground. Drones may even be used to alert workers to gas leaks and to transport tools and equipment.

Predict the Future

There's no denying that new technology can generate tons of data that can be analyzed and provide valuable insight. The data can be used to determine trends, identify potential problems, and prevent future injuries.

How to Save Even More on Contractors Insurance!

American Insuring Group has agents who specialize in contractors' insurance and understand the industry's unique challenges. Plus, as independent contractors, our agents compare the cost of your insurance with several companies to ensure you pay the lowest price on all of your insurance needs.

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

10 Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 11, 2021

10 Hand and Power Tool Safety TipsCan you imagine trying to complete any construction project without hand or power tools? No, neither can we. But we also can’t ignore the fact that both hand and power tools present many hazards that can cause injuries, and injuries mean higher Contractors Insurance costs. 

When you work with tools every day, it’s easy to become complacent. As you repeatedly use certain tools, you almost go into auto mode, which can be extremely dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, power tool injuries result in approximately 400,000 emergency room visits each year in the U.S. Staying alert is crucial to minimizing the risk of injury. 

10 Hand and Power Tool Safety Tips 

  1. Use the Right Tool – You know the correct tools to use for each task (at least you should), but sometimes a different tool is just handier. For example, using the screwdriver in your tool belt when you know the right tool for the job is the chisel you left in your truck. Or using the wrong sized bits, blades, etc., just because you don’t have the right size on hand. Using the wrong tool can cause damage or injury.
  2. Follow Manufacturers’ Instructions for Use – Don’t think you know how to use a tool better than the manufacturer. Manufacturers’ instructions are written to help you avoid damage to your tools and injury to you and your coworkers.
  3. Regularly Inspect Tools – Always inspect hand and power tools before and after use and properly repair or replace anything that is damaged before using again. Here’s what to check:
    • The handle and body casings of the tool for cracks or other damage
    • Damaged switches or faulty trigger locks
    • Make sure auxiliary or double handles are securely installed
    • Inspect cords for defects, such as cracking, fraying, or other signs of wear
    • Inspect plugs for cracks or faulty prongs
  4. Don’t Modify Tools – Don’t remove any safety guards or disable any safety devices on tools. Don’t paint tools because this can hide cracks and chips.
  5. Handle Tools With Care – The more carefully you handle your tools, the longer they’ll last and the safer you and your coworkers will be. Don’t “toss” tools into boxes or at coworkers. Don’t use electrical cords to lift tools. When not in use, keep tools in a toolbox or your tool belt.
  6. Unplug – Power tools should be unplugged when not in use, moving to a new location, replacing blades or bits, or making repairs.
  7. Keep Workspace Clean – A cluttered space can lead to trips, falls, and injuries, especially when you’re handling power or sharp tools, so keep your workspace clear of clutter. Also, be careful with power cords and air lines. Don’t let them get tangled up, and watch for cords as you move about your workspace.
  8. Make Space – Leave yourself enough room to safely operate hand and power tools without coming into contact with your coworkers or other objects.
  9. Wear PPEPersonal Protective Equipment (PPE) – such as safety goggles, earplugs, gloves, face masks, and hardhats – help protect you from injuries. PPE should fit properly and be well maintained.
  10. Get Training – Understanding how to correctly use (and not use) tools is the best way to avoid injuries. Every employee using hand or power tools should be trained on the proper use of those tools. They should also be trained on general safety procedures and the appropriate use of PPE.

How to Save on Contractors Insurance

Creating a safer worksite to eliminate injuries is the first step to saving money on Contractors Insurance. The next step is to work with one of American Insuring Group’s agents specializing in Contractors Insurance. Not only do they understand your unique insurance needs, but they will also check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you get the best rate on your insurance coverage. So give them a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with them online.

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

4 Heat-Related Illnesses Construction Workers Should Watch For

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 28, 2021

4 Heat-Related Illnesses Construction Workers Should Watch ForAs the temperature continues to rise, so do heat-related illnesses among construction workers. The first step to minimizing your risk of these illnesses (and lowering your Contractor Insurance costs) is to understand potential illnesses, how to avoid them, and how to treat them.

According to WebMD, "Heat exhaustion is strongly related to the heat index, which is a measurement of how hot you feel when the effects of relative humidity and air temperature are combined. A relative humidity of 60% or more hampers sweat evaporation, which hinders your body's ability to cool itself." A heat index of 90 degrees or more significantly increases the chance of a heat-related illness.

Certain factors can increase your risks of a heat-related illness, such as obesity, certain prescription medications, the use of illegal drugs, alcohol, and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney, and heart problems. Also, adults over 65 can be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

Here are four heat-related illnesses to look out for when you're working in hot and humid conditions – inside or out.

Heat Exhaustion

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.

There are two types of heat exhaustion – water depletion and salt depletion. Water depletion can cause excessive thirst, headache, weakness, and even a loss of consciousness. Salt depletion causes nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and muscle cramps. Additional symptoms can include confusion, dark urine, pale skin, rapid heartbeat, and profuse sweating.

If you or someone you're working with in hot and/or humid conditions experience these symptoms, the first step is to cool them down.

  • Get them out of the heat – preferably into an air-conditioned room
  • Remove tight or unnecessary clothing,
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
  • Drink plenty of fluids (including sports drinks, which replace salt)
  • Remove tight or unnecessary clothing,

If these measures don't make you feel better within fifteen minutes, seek medical help. Without proper intervention, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke – a more serious heat-related illness that can cause damage to vital organs or even death.

Heat Stroke

Heatstroke is the most severe heat-related illness and, unlike heat exhaustion, requires immediate medical attention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "[Heat stroke] occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes."

A person suffering from heatstroke will experience many of the same symptoms as heat exhaustion – headache, dizziness, nausea, etc. But a person with a heat stroke will stop sweating and have a high body temperature. As a result, their skin will be red, hot, and DRY rather than cold, pale, and clammy skin like someone with heat exhaustion.

If you see or feel any of these symptoms, immediately call for medical assistance, get out of the heat, and use any methods to cool down quickly (i.e., spray with cool water or immerse in a tub of cool water). Monitor the body temperature until it is below 103°F. Do not give fluids to someone with heatstroke.

Heat Cramps

When your body lacks both water and salt, your muscles can spasm and cause cramps, typically in the arms, legs, and abdomen. If you experience heat cramps, get out of the heat, drink cool water or electrolyte-replenishing drink, and apply a cool, wet compress to cramping areas. Seek medical assistance if the cramps don't go away within an hour of treatment.

Heat Rash

Heat Rash is the least serious heat-related illness, but it can be uncomfortable. It happens when sweat can't evaporate from the surface of your skin, which can happen to construction workers working long hours in hot conditions. With a heat rash, you'll see small itchy red bumps or blisters – typically on your chest, neck, groin area, and inside your elbow. You can help alleviate the symptoms by getting out of the heat and hydrating. A cool shower and the application of talcum powder can help eliminate the rash.

Here's How to Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs

American Insuring Group wants to help lower your Contractor Insurance costs by helping you keep you and your employees safe. AND, as independent agents, we compare multiple competing insurance companies to ensure that you pay the lowest insurance premiums while providing you with great coverage.

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

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

Dump Truck Safety and Insurance Savings Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 07, 2021

Dump Truck Safety and Insurance Savings Tips in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Erie, and throughout PAEvery type of truck – including dump trucks - comes with its own set of unique hazards. If you want to lower the cost of your Trucking Insurance, you need to understand those hazards so that you can reduce the risk of accidents, damage, and injury.

In 2016 (the most recent data available), there were 8,206 dump truck accidents severe enough that the vehicle had to be towed – a nine percent increase over 2015. That same year, 5,483 dump truck accidents involved injuries and 367 fatal dump truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).

There are two main types of dump truck hazards: driving hazards and operational hazards.

Operational Hazards

When the bed of a dump truck is raised for unloading, it can become unstable, especially when it’s on an uneven surface. This can cause tip-overs, rollovers, unbalanced loads, and crushing injuries. Working in freezing temperatures can add to the risk, as loads can become stuck inside, causing the vehicle to tip over as the dump body is raised.

“The amount of risk depends on many factors. These factors include dump site layout, dump site stability, truck performance, amount of light, decision-making abilities of equipment operators, and weather conditions. Important tasks for safety professionals are to quantify work site risks, to provide guidelines for identifying when risks are too great, and to determine what can be done to reduce these risks,” stated NIOSH.

To minimize these risks, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recommends that drivers:

  • Keep tires properly inflated and ensure they are not worn.
  • Ensure the load is evenly distributed.
  • Never overload the upper portion of the truck bed.
  • Keep the truck and trailer in a straight line when backing up, and never move faster than walking speed.
  • Stay in the cab with your seat belt on during the entire dumping process.
  • Never attempt to exit or jump from an overturning truck.
  • Dump only on level surfaces
  • Never dump when surfaces are uneven, loose, or not adequately compacted.
  • Use antifreeze in cold weather to prevent material from freezing and sticking in the truck bed.

Driving Hazards

As with any truck, dump trucks present unique driving hazards. The larger size – length, height, weight, ground clearance, etc. – and unique nature, creates additional driving challenges, such as shifting loads, larger blind spots, and longer stopping distances. And a higher center of gravity means they can roll over more easily.

When a truck is involved in an accident, there is a higher risk of more severe damage, injuries, and fatalities. In 2019, 5,005 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents, and 118,000 were involved in injury crashes, according to the National Safety Council. Large trucks account for 10% of all vehicles involved in deadly crashes.

Any employee operating a dump truck should receive ongoing safety training. The FMCSA offers these safety tips for truck drivers:

  1. Be vigilant
  2. Signal for safety
  3. Know when to slow down
  4. Maintain vehicle
  5. Buckle up
  6. Stay sharp
  7. Practice work zone safety
  8. Never drive distracted

Lower Your Trucking Insurance Costs

Understanding the unique hazards dump trucks present and how to avoid those hazards to minimize damage and injuries is the first step in lowering your trucking insurance costs. The second step is working with an independent agent at American Insuring Group.

We specialize in trucking insurance, so we can ensure you have the right coverage. Plus, as independent agents, we compare the cost of that coverage with multiple insurance companies to ensure you get the best price for that coverage. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Contractor Safety Management