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How to Minimize and Protect Your Construction Company from 3 Top Risks

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 08, 2021

Minimize your construction company risks with proper contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.The construction industry is filled with risks, but understanding those risks and how to mitigate them can save you a ton of money on your Contractors Insurance costs. Here are three top risks every construction company should be aware of, steps to minimize those risks, and insurance to protect your business when something does happen. 

Risk: Injuries

Job site injuries are all-too-common. According to BigRentz, construction injury rates are – on average - 71% higher than injury rates across all industries and every year. The total cost of construction injuries in the U.S. is more than $11.5 billion per year, and in 2019, 130,000 construction workers missed work due to injuries. 

Employees aren’t the only ones who can be injured on a job site. Clients, vendors, etc., who visit your job site are also susceptible to injuries and may not be familiar with your safety protocols. 

Minimize the Risk of Injuries

The most effective way to minimize the risk of injuries is with a safety program. According to OSHA, construction companies can save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested in a safety program. However, according to National Funding, construction companies spend about 3.6% of their budgets on injuries and only 2.5% on safety training. 

OSHA suggests the following core elements of a Safety and Health Program:

  • Management Leadership
  • Worker Participation
  • Hazard Identification and Assessment
  • Hazard Prevention and Control
  • Education and Training
  • Program Evaluation and Improvement
  • Communication and Coordination for Host Employers, Contractors, and Staffing Agencies 

Insurance Protection for Injuries

Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance – WC -mandatory in most states - is designed to cover medical expenses and lost wages when an employee is injured on the job. It also helps protect the employer against accident-related lawsuits. 

Business Liability Insurance – Clients, vendors, etc., who are injured on your job site are not covered under your WC policy. Business Liability Insurance typically protects your company if someone other than an employee is injured on a job site. 

Risk: Equipment Damage and Theft

Contractors rely on their tools and equipment to get the job done, and damaged or stolen equipment can quickly put a project at risk. Every year, as much as $1 billion is lost in the U.S. due to stolen construction equipment and tools. According to the NCIB, less than 20% of it is ever recovered. 

But the cost of stolen or damaged equipment goes well beyond replacement costs. IT also costs time spend filling out police reports and insurance forms. And whether the equipment is stolen or damaged, contractors need to find alternative equipment or make repairs to finish the job. 

Minimize the Risk of Equipment Damage and Theft

The risk of damage can be minimized with regular maintenance and training to ensure the equipment is being operated properly. 

The risk of Theft can be minimized with a few steps:

  • Assess risks on each job site and develop a theft prevention policy.
  • Secure your job site with fencing, security cameras, etc.
  • Secure your equipment by locking it up and consider adding security measures such as alarms, fuel and equipment cut-off switches, and locks that immobilize controls. 

Insurance Protection for Equipment Damage and Theft

Commercial Property Insurance - Most Commercial Property Insurance policies cover tools and equipment that is stolen or damaged. However, it does not usually cover equipment that is in transit or stored at a job site. 

Builders Risk Insurance – Builders Risk Insurance is designed to protect equipment, structures, and materials in transit or at a job site. 

Risk: Litigation

We live in a litigious society, and anyone who works on a project can be held liable for any number of things. For example, you can be held responsible for property damage and projects that are not up to code or have other defects, such as cracks in the foundation, faulty drainage, or heating or electrical issues – even if it isn’t your fault. 

Minimize the Risk of Litigation

Litigation can cost a lot of time and money in legal fees and potential judgments against you. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of litigation:

  • Pay attention to the contract and fulfill the terms of the contract
  • Document daily reports for defects
  • Set realistic schedules
  • Keep communication formal and reasonable
  • Consult a specialist when appropriate 

Insurance Protection for Litigation

General Liability Insurance - This type of policy helps cover risks such as injuries of non-employees, customer property damage, libel, and slander. 

Professional Liability Insurance – This type of insurance helps cover lawsuits that result from a failure to deliver on promised services, negligence in providing services, and errors and oversights. 

The Best Way to Protect Your Construction Company

Minimizing risk should always be a top priority, but when all of your best-laid-plans fail, the right insurance helps protect your company from those risks. The independent agents at American Insuring Group will check with multiple insurance companies to ensure that you pay the lowest price on your insurance coverage. Give one of our experienced agents a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

As a Contractor, Do I Really Need Builders’ Risk Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Apr 04, 2021

Save on Builders Risk Insurance for Contractors in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, and throughout Pennsylvania.Builders’ Risk Insurance is a type of Contractor Insurance designed to help protect contractors, subcontractors, and construction companies if there is damage to buildings or structures during construction. You may ask, “Isn’t that what Commercial Property Insurance and General Liability Insurance is for?” The answer is not a simple “yes” or “no.” 

 

What is Builders’ Risk Insurance?

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

Builders’ Risk Insurance is typically purchased by property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, lenders, or architects – anyone with a financial interest in the project. Usually, we recommend that it is purchased before materials are delivered and end only when the property is ready to be occupied or sold. 

The cost of Builders’ Insurance varies depending on the type of project, the construction materials used, and the policy coverage amounts and limits. The coverage amount should include the total estimated cost of the completed project – including land value, materials, and labor. 

Sometimes, a client contract will require that you carry Builders’ Risk Insurance, and sometimes, you may be covered under the property owner or developer’s insurance. 

What Does Builders’ Risk Insurance Cover?

Every project is unique; therefore, every Builders’ Risk Policy is unique. Consequently, it’s crucial that you work with an experienced insurance agent to ensure you have the right coverage, so there are no unpleasant surprises if you need to file a claim. 

Typically, a Builders’ Risk policy will cover damages caused by the following:

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

Additional perils included in some Builders’ Risk policies include the following:

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

Perils that are not covered in a typical Builders’ Risk policy include the following:

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

Some policies do cover these last perils but come with higher deductibles. An extension or endorsement to your policy may also cover these perils. 

When reading an insurance policy, it is also essential to understand the difference between a “structure” and a “building.” A structure is usually temporary and is not occupied – such as scaffolding or a temporary structure built to store materials. A building is a structure – such as a house or an office building – that can be occupied. 

Why Isn’t Commercial Property Insurance and General Liability Insurance Enough?

Commercial Property Insurance is designed to cover commercial properties – buildings and everything in them - from perils such as fire, damage caused by theft, and natural disasters. You’ll want to purchase this type of insurance to protect your office space, warehouse, or other buildings you use to conduct business. However, Commercial Property Insurance does not typically cover damage to your equipment or materials when offsite or in transit, nor does it usually cover buildings that are under construction. 

General Liability Insurance is designed to protect your business if you are responsible for property damage or bodily injury to others. It does not cover your property if it is damaged. 

How Can I Get the Lowest Price on Builders’ Risk Insurance?

If you want to get the right coverage at the lowest cost, work with an independent insurance agency like American Insuring Group. They specialize in Contractors Insurance throughout Pennsylvania, from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and all points in between.

They can help you customize your Builders’ Risk Insurance to meet your specific needs and compare the cost of your coverage with several insurance companies to ensure that you’re paying the lowest price for that coverage.

Give the independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online for a free quote on all of your business insurance needs.

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

Contractors Can Protect Their Business With Cyber Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 20, 2021

Contractors in Philadelphia, Berks County, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, PA and Beyond Can Protect Their Business With Cyber InsuranceConstruction worksites are filled with potential hazards that Contractors Insurance helps cover, but there’s one threat that many contractors overlook – cybersecurity. Many think, “What information could I have that would be of value to them? I’m just a small company; they aren’t going to target my business.” 

The fact is that if you use a computer for anything – financial transactions, emails, invoicing, etc. – your company has data cybercriminals can go after. Most construction companies have limited IT experience, which makes them attractive to hackers. As with most criminals, hackers tend to take the path of least resistance.  

A 2018 survey of 1,045 small and medium-sized U.S. businesses found that more than half – 67% - suffered a cyberattack in 2018. In fact, did you know the Target data breach in 2013 started with hackers using the stolen credentials of an HVAC vendor doing business with Target? That attack allowed hackers to steal the data of 70 million customers and 40 million credit cards and debit cards. 

Don’t think your business is immune to cyberattacks. It is not, and the results of a breach can be devastating. CNBC reported that cyberattacks cost businesses $200,000 on average, and 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. These attacks are putting many companies out of business. 

The Impact of a Cyber-attack on your business

A cyber-attack can impact your entire organization on many different levels. Some of those impacts could be minor inconveniences, but some could force you to shut down your business for good. 

Potential Impact of a Cyber-Attack:

  1. Financial Losses
      • Cost of response and recovery
      • Cost of the investigation
      • Lost revenue
      • Legal and PR costs
      • A decrease in the value of your company 
  1. Lost Productivity
  2. Damage to your Business’s Reputation
  3. Legal Liability
  4. A Halt on Business Activities 

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

Hackers have discovered many ways to access your data and continue to find new ways. Here area few more common techniques.

  • Malware: Short for malicious software, malware threats include viruses, worms, trojans, and other computer programs that allow hackers to gain access to sensitive information.
  • Ransomware: A form of malware, ransomware allows hackers to encrypt your files, which they will then demand a ransom to restore your access to those files.
  • Social Engineering: With social engineering, hackers manipulate you or your employees into giving up confidential information, such as usernames and passwords, that they use to access data.
  • Phishing: Phishing is a type of social engineering in which a hacker tricks someone into opening an email, instant message, or text message and then clicking on a malicious link. 

Prevention

As with any risk, your first step should be prevention. Here are ten security tips from the FCC for small businesses:

  1. Train Employees in Security Principles
  2. Protect Information, Computers, and Networks from Cyber Attacks
  3. Provide Firewall Security for Your Internet Connection
  4. Create a Mobile Device Action Plan
  5. Make Backup Copies of Important Business Data and Information
  6. Control Physical Access to your Computers and Create User Accounts for Each Employee
  7. Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks
  8. Employ Best Practices on Payment Cards
  9. Limit Employee Access to Data and Information, Limit Authority to Install Software
  10. Passwords and Authentication 

When Prevention Isn’t Enough, Add Cyber Insurance!

Prevention should ALWAYS be your first line of attack. Unfortunately, hackers are continually finding new ways to access your data, so keeping up with changing cyber-security threats can be difficult, which is why Cyber Insurance is so crucial. 

Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. As independent agents, we will research insurance costs and coverages among many companies to ensure you get the lowest price on all your insurance needs! 

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Cyber Liability Insurance, Cyber Insurance

Could an Installation Floater Help You Save on Contractors Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 23, 2021

Save on Contractor's Insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Reading, Pittsburgh, State College, and throughout Pennsylvania - Call us today.Contractors face many perils in the course of a job, and Contractors Insurance is crucial to protecting their equipment, materials, supplies, etc., against those perils. Commercial Property Insurance is one type of coverage most contractors purchase, but it is typically limited to losses that occur on the job site. 

Commercial Property Insurance usually provides little or no coverage for materials, equipment, machinery, or supplies in transit or storage. Builders Risk Policies – such as Installation Floater coverage – can fill that gap. 

What is Installation Floater Insurance?

The International Risk Management Institute defines Installation Floater coverage as “inland marine coverage on property (usually equipment) being installed by a contractor. Essentially a specialized type of builders risk coverage that is often written on the same form used to provide builders risk coverage.” 

It is designed to cover property that is being installed or awaiting installation. Every floater is different and is based on the needs of the contractor. Typically, an Installation Floater covers materials, equipment, machinery, supplies, and personal property while it is…

  • Stored off-site
  • In transit
  • Being staged
  • Being installed 

Installation Floaters typically cover new construction and remodeling projects and can be written as a single project policy or a blanket policy. Anyone with an insurable interest in a project can purchase this type of insurance. 

Installation Floaters typically cover most risks – fire, theft, traffic accidents, vandalism, etc. – but may exclude perils, such as earthquakes, floods, sewer backups, employee theft, etc. 

What Makes Installation Floaters Different?

Installation Floaters offer tailored protection that can cost less than typical Builders Risk Insurance, making it ideal for some contractors. 

For example, sometimes, standard Builders Risk Insurance does not extend to subcontractors; therefore, Installation Floaters can be beneficial to contractors or subcontractors with a limited scope of work on a project. 

Installation Floaters may also be beneficial to contractors that perform work that is typically excluded from Builders Risk Insurance. The installation of high-value equipment or materials, such as HVAC units, solar panels, windows, doors, roofing, and electrical systems is often excluded from Builders Risk Insurance. If it is included, the contractor is still responsible for deductibles. 

Like most Builders Risk Insurance policies, Installation Floaters typically exclude certain things:

  • Trees, shrubs, and plants
  • Property while it is in the air or on the water
  • Losses during testing
  • Some types of temporary structures, such as scaffolding or temporary fencing 

Having Installation Floater Insurance can provide an added layer of protection that fills any gaps in your Commercial Property and/or Builders Risk Insurance. Choosing which coverage – installation floater or builders’ risk – is right for you can be challenging. 

What is Best for Your Needs?

When determining which type of policy or policies are best for your needs, you need to consider the type of project and the coverage you need. Installation Floater Insurance is usually less expensive and offers narrower coverage, which can make it a good choice for smaller projects. 

The best way to determine the right insurance coverage for your business is to work with an experienced agent. American Insuring Group specializes in Contractors Insurance, and as independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you get the lowest cost. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Business Insurance, commercial property insurance

Lower Contractors Insurance Costs by Lowering Your Experience Rating

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 19, 2020

Here's How to Lower Your Contractors Insurance Costs in Philadelphia, Reading, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster and Throughout Pennsylvania.Want to lower your Contractors Insurance Costs? Lower Your Experience Rating.

Your construction company’s experience rating helps determine your Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs and is based on your company’s WC claim history compared to other companies similar to yours.

You can think of a lower experience rating as a reward for having a safer work environment or perhaps as an incentive to create a safer work environment. The bottom line is that a lower experience rating results in a lower insurance premium.

The Experience Rating

The Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau (PCRB) describes your experience rating as “a systematic, mathematical method of modifying future premiums.” It is based on past claims and helps determine your experience modifier, which is an adjustment of your annual premiums based on the likelihood that you will file a claim.

You qualify for an experience rating if your audited payroll or other exposures over a three-year period, multiplied by the current PCRB lost costs by classification, add up to $10,000 or more.

The experience rating is continually being updated based on a sliding three-year experience period, which according to PCRB, “assures a stable historical record for the individual employer, while also using the most recent available loss experience of the employer.” This means improving workplace safety and minimizing claims can change your experience rating and the premiums you pay.

What if your insurance premiums are less than $10,000? The merit rating plan enables businesses to receive a 5% discount or surcharge depending on their loss history, which provides financial incentives for small businesses to operate safer workplaces.

The following factors affect your experience rating, which determines your experience modifier:

  • Number of Claims
  • Cost of Claims
  • Frequency of Claims
  • Severity of Claims
  • Closed vs. Open Claims
  • Claims History of other businesses in your industry
  • Years in business
  • Number of employees
  • State minimums

The following formula then determines your WC premiums:

WC Premium = Class Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100

So, you can see how a lower experience modifier can lower your WC costs.

NOTE: The experience rating formula places more emphasis on loss frequency than it does on loss severity. Therefore, a business with many small losses can end up with a higher experience modifier than a company with fewer, but more severe, losses.

Tips to Lower Your Experience Rating

It comes as no surprise that the number one tip to lower your experience rating is to reduce the number of accidents in your workplace. How do you do that?

  1. Institute a Workplace Safety Program
  2. Engage management and employees in safety protocols
  3. Properly train employees and management on safety
  4. Identify and mitigate hazards
  5. Provide employees with proper PPE
  6. Have adequate staff levels
  7. Inspect and maintain all equipment

The Insurance Information Institute offers this advice, “Review, respond, and improve. Promoting workplace safety is an ongoing process. You should review and improve your program—especially in response to accidents or ‘near misses.’ Employees should always be encouraged to report newly identified hazards or workplace incidents so that you can respond appropriately.”

The other thing you can do is get injured workers back to work as quickly and safely as possible with a Return-to-Work program.

Here's How to Save on All Your Commercial Insurance Needs

American Insuring Group specializes in Contractors Insurance and in all types of commercial insurance. Our independent agents will compare the cost of your coverage among many insurance companies to help you get the best rate on all your Contractor Insurance needs.

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

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

Choosing Appropriate PPE for Construction Workers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 21, 2020

Use proper PPE to minimize injuries, and lower your Contractors Insurance costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie and throughout PA and the US.Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help protect your greatest asset – your employees, minimize injuries, and lower your Contractors Insurance costs.

The idea of wearing PPE is not new. It dates as far back as ancient times when soldiers wore protective head and face gear and body armor during battle. However, it wasn’t until the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in the mid-1930s that PPE was required on a large-scale construction project.

The industry norm at the time was that one worker was expected to die for every million dollars spent on a construction project. At a cost of $35 million, that meant 35 workers were expected to die while constructing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer on the project, refused to accept that and made safety a priority, spending $130,000 on an innovative safety net and requiring the use of PPE such as fall protection safety belts, glare-free goggles, and hard hats. A total of eleven – not 35 - workers lost their lives on that project and ten of those fatalities occurred during a single accident when a 5-ton work platform broke off and fell through the safety net.

The use of PPE continued to be optional on most construction sites for several decades until the creation of OSHA in 1971. Today, OSHA requires employers to protect workers from workplace hazards that can cause injury or illness, including providing and requiring the use of appropriate PPE.

Determining Appropriate PPE

The first step to determining what PPE is needed is to perform a hazard assessment of the worksite. A few common hazards include the following:

  • Sharp edges
  • Falling objects
  • Flying sparks
  • Fluctuating temperatures
  • Chemicals
  • Noise

The next step is to determine the appropriate types of PPE needed to protect workers from those hazards. OSHA recommends exceeding minimum standards. PPE should fit properly and be well-maintained.

Employees must also be trained in the proper use of PPE, including the following:

  • When PPE is necessary
  • What PPE is necessary
  • How to properly put on, take off, adjust and wear the PPE
  • The limitations of the PPE
  • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE

Training must be documented, and if a previously trained employee is not “demonstrating the proper understanding and skill level in the use of PPE,” they should receive additional training.

Types of Protection

The following are types of protection typically needed at construction sites:

  • Head Protection – Construction workers should wear hard hats when there is a potential for objects falling from above, bumps to the head from fixed objects, or accidental head contact with electrical hazards. Those hats should be inspected regularly and replaced as needed.

  • Eye and Face Protection – Construction workers should wear safety glasses or face shields when exposed to any electrical hazards and when they are in danger of having flying particles get in their eyes. For example, during welding, cutting, grinding, and nailing.

  • Hearing Protection – Construction workers should wear earplugs or earmuffs when exposed to loud noises, such as around the use of chainsaws or heavy equipment.

  • Foot Protection – Construction workers should wear safety-toed footwear that has slip-resistant and puncture-resistant soles.

  • Hand protection – Construction workers should wear gloves that fit snuggly and wear the right gloves for the job. For example, heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work, welding gloves for welding, and insulated gloves and sleeves when exposed to electrical hazards.

Use Insurance as Your Safety Net!

Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents

Just like the safety nets used during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the right insurance can act as a safety net when - despite all of your efforts - an accident does occur.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance. We work hard to get you the right insurance protection at the best possible price because we compare rates and coverage among many competing providers.

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

 

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

20 Eye-Opening Stats to Help Improve Worksite Safety

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Nov 14, 2020

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Cost by Learning from These Statistics. Serving Philadelphia, Berks County, PA and Beyond.Most contractors understand that fewer workplace injuries create lower employee turnover, higher employee morale, lower Contractors Insurance costs, and a slew of other benefits for both employers and employees.

But do you ever feel like you’re beating your head against the wall when you try to explain the importance of workplace safety to your workers?

Too often, younger employees feel invincible, and older employees become complacent, so it’s up to you to make them understand the importance of safety and the impact a lack of safety can have on them and their families.

One surefire way to do that is with cold, hard eye-opening facts and stats like those below.

20 safety facts to share with your employees

  1. One out of every ten construction workers is injured on the job every year.
  2. There is an average of two deaths every day in the construction industry.
  3. Non-fatal injury rates in construction are 71% higher than any other industry.
  4. Every year, one in five work-related deaths are in construction.
  5. Another way to say it - nearly 20% of all work-related deaths were in the construction industry.
  6. Over a 45-year career in the construction industry, there’s a 75% likelihood that a worker will experience a disabling injury and a one in 200 chance that an employee will die due to a workplace injury.
  7. 60% of construction workplace accidents happen during an employee’s first year on the job.
  8. OSHA’s “Fatal Four” - falls, struck by, electrocutions, caught-in/between - caused 58.6% of construction worker deaths in 2018.
  9. Eliminating deaths caused by the “Fatal Four” would save 591 construction workers in the U.S. every year.
  10. Falls account for the largest number of “Fatal Four” deaths (33.5%).
  11. Of all the industries, construction has the most fatal falls, representing 51% of all falls nationally.
  12. Fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA standard following OSHA Inspections.
  13. Struck by object injuries account for 11.1% of “Fatal Four” deaths.
  14. Electrocutions account for 8.5% of “Fatal Four” deaths.
  15. Caught-in/between injuries account for 5.5% of “Fatal Four” deaths.
  16. In 2018, construction workers between the ages of 35-44 were more likely to experience a non-fatal injury (19,410) in the U.S.
  17. In 2018, construction workers between the ages of 45-54 had the highest number of fatal injuries (228) in the U.S.
  18. While older workers are injured less frequently than their younger co-workers, their injuries tend to be more severe and take longer to recover from.
  19. Between 2003 to 2016, construction companies with fewer than 20 employees accounted for 56.6% of the industry’s 5,155 fatalities.
  20. Not a statistic, but a fact – the majority of construction work-site injuries and deaths are avoidable.

Act Now to Save on Contractors Insurance!

Another way to save on Contractors Insurance is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors Insurance. We understand your needs, so we can ensure that you have the right coverage, and we check with many competing insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest rate on that great coverage. Give us a call now at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

 

These statistics were gathered from a variety of sources, including the following:

  • OSHA
  • Safety + Health magazine
  • National Safety Council
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Big Rentz
  • The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

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

3 Hidden Construction Worksite Hazards

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 26, 2020

Lower your workers comp insurance costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Allentown and beyond by avoiding these hidden worksite hazards.We often discuss improving worksite safety to lower Contractors Insurance costs. A safer worksite means fewer injuries, which means fewer claims and lower insurance premiums. If there is only one thing contractors do to reduce the cost of insurance (along with many other costs), it's to focus on safety.

OSHA reported that 21.1% of all worker fatalities in the private industry in 2018 were in construction – that's one in five worker deaths. We often focus on safety measures to avoid OSHA's Fatal Four - Falls, Struck-By, Caught-In/Between, and Electrocutions. Many hidden worksite hazards are less visible and often get ignored.

Here are three of those "less visible" hazards:

Complacency

Most workers are aware of the obvious in-your-face hazards on work sites – like working around heavy construction equipment or working at great heights – and will be on high alert when working around those hazards. Unfortunately, it's common for workers to let down their guard when they are not working around the obvious hazards.

Also, when a worker performs a task repeatedly over a long period of time, they can become desensitized to the hazards involved in that task. Think back to the first time you drove a car.

You probably paid attention to your every move. What about now – five, ten, twenty years later? Do you even think about putting your turn signal on or stopping at a stop sign? After many years, it becomes easy to operate on auto-pilot. The same can be true when driving a backhoe or bulldozer or any piece of heavy equipment after a few years.

It's also important to remember that supervisors and employees do not live in a vacuum; they have personal lives that can distract them from their job. They may rush to try to get home in time for their daughter's hockey game. They may be distracted by concerns about a sick parent or financial problems. They may be exhausted after staying up all night with a teething baby.

This is why on-going safety training is vital to your employees' safety. They need to be reminded of hazards and how to avoid them, the importance of staying alert at all times, and the potential consequences of not paying attention and following safety procedures.

An Ever-Changing Workforce

As you move from one project to another, your need for employees probably changes, and you end up with high employee turnover. This high turnover, along with tight deadlines, often leads to little time for safety training.

This results in many employers providing the minimum mandatory safety training. The truth is that to protect your employees properly and keep them safe, you need to go beyond the bare minimum OSHA requirements.

Lack of Communication

Communication is the most effective tool when it comes to workplace safety. Managers must regularly remind employees about potential hazards and the importance of workplace safety. Toolbox talks are an easy way for forepersons and supervisors to supplement regular safety training and to keep safety at the forefront of their workers' minds. These talks should be a supplement to regular training, not a replacement.

 

Lower Your Contractors Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

A safe and healthy workplace helps reduce costs in many ways, including lower turnover, production losses, damage to equipment, and, of course, Contractors Insurance costs. Another way to lower insurance costs is to work with one of the independent agents at the American Insuring Group.

Our experienced agents specialize in Contractors Insurance and will compare the cost and coverage of your insurance among many insurance companies to ensure that you get the best price on solid insurance protection. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

8 Tips to Lower Contractors Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 29, 2020

lower_contractors_insuranceContractors need to carry certain types of Contractors Insurance to protect themselves, their business, and their employees, and many contracts require specific insurance coverages.

But that doesn’t mean you have to pay higher premiums than necessary. There are ways to lower your premium costs without affecting your coverage. Here are eight tips to help you lower your insurance premiums.

Increase Deductibles

If you have financial reserves that would allow you to assume some additional risk, you can increase your deductibles to reduce your premiums. If the difference in the premium is enough to cover the deductibles on one or two claims, it probably makes sense to make the change - IF you have money available to pay the higher deductible in the event of a claim.

Review Your Policy

Over time, things change in your business. You may need to hire an additional employee or let one go. You may purchase a new vehicle or sell an older piece of equipment. Your current insurance should reflect your current circumstances.

Let your insurance know about these changes and review your policy at least once a year to make sure that you have proper coverage AND that you are not paying more than you need to.

Bundle

You probably need more than one type of insurance. For example, Commercial Liability Insurance helps protect you if a third-party sues you (and is a requirement in most contracts); however, Workers’ Compensation protects your employees and your business if an employee is injured on the job (and is required by law). Many insurance carriers will offer a discount if you purchase or combine more than one policy with them.

Lower Your Commercial Auto Insurance

Employees with good driving records who drive your vehicles will help lower your costs. On the other hand, employees with bad driving records will increase your premiums. Before hiring anyone who will be driving any of your commercial vehicles, check their driving record.

Also, consider purchasing less expensive vehicles to lower your Auto Insurance premiums. Sure, a sleek new truck with all the bells and whistles will be fun to drive, but is it worth the additional expense of higher insurance premiums? Maybe it is, but it’s important to factor insurance costs into your buying decisions.

Focus on Safety

Safety should be a priority at any construction site. It’s just good business sense to keep your employees, customers, vendors, etc. safe. Plus, a safer worksite minimizes the number of employees injured on the job, lowering your Workers’ Compensation Insurance. It should also minimize the number of third-party injuries, lowering your Commercial Liability Insurance. Use the safety information, tools, and resources provided by OSHA to help ensure a safer worksite.

Do Good Work

This is another one that makes good business sense but will also help you avoid lawsuits and thereby lower your Contractors Insurance costs.

Pay Attention to the Workers’ Compensation Formula

Your Workers’ Compensation rates are determined by a formula that looks at several factors. Ensure the information being used in that calculation is accurate and that everything is calculated correctly.  

One factor that affects your rate is your employees’ classification codes, which are based on the likelihood of that employee being injured on the job. Make sure that the correct classification codes are given to every employee. For example, an office worker who is less likely to be injured on the job should not have the same classification code as your electrician. If they do, you may be paying more than you need.

Another factor is your business’s loss history, which is reflected in the experience modifier. A modifier of one is average. A lower number will reflect a better than average loss history, and a higher number will reflect a loss history that is worse than the average. A safer worksite should result in fewer claims, thereby lowering your experience modifier and your WC costs.

Go with an Independent Insurance Agent!

An independent agent – like those at American Insuring Group – will compare insurance rates amng several different competing insurance companies to help you get the lowest rate possible. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to discover how we can help you save more on your Contractors Insurance costs!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Small Business Insurance Reading PA, workers comp costs, Contractor Safety Management

5 Outdoor Dangers for Construction Workers and Tips to Avoid Them

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 25, 2020

Lower your risks while working outside and save on contractors insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond!The construction industry is notorious for being filled with potential hazards that cost construction companies billions of dollars in higher Contractor Insurance premiums.  Common hazards include falling from heights, electric shock, scaffolding collapse, etc., but have you ever considered the hazards of working outside.

On a beautiful spring or fall day, working outside seems like a real blessing – definitely better than being stuck inside an office or manufacturing facility. But working outside does pose additional health risks that can cause everything from mild discomfort to severe injuries and even death.

Understanding these dangers and how to prevent them, are essential if you want to keep your workers safe and your expenses down. Here is a list of outdoor hazards that you should be aware of and train your employees to avoid.

Lyme Disease

Hazard:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania has had the highest number of Lyme disease cases in the U.S. since 2011.

"Untreated, Lyme disease can spread to other parts of your body for several months to years after infection, causing arthritis and nervous system problems,” according to the Mayo Clinic.  Plus, ticks can transmit other illnesses, such as babesiosis and Colorado tick fever.

Prevention:

Ticks are most active between April and September. During those months, try to avoid wooded and bushy areas, use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET, and use products that contain permethrin on clothing.

Sun Exposure

Hazard:

One of the best things about regularly working outside is a killer tan. Unfortunately, the same thing that creates that tan can also cause skin cancer.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun,” and “about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.”

Prevention:

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least a 15 SPF before going outside, even on cloudy or cool days, and reapply regularly, especially if you are sweating. Check the SPF’s expiration date. Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible as it acts as a barrier against UV rays.

Insect Stings and Bites

Hazard: 

In Pennsylvania, people working outside need to watch out for stings from insects such as bees, wasps, and hornets, and bites from both venomous and non-venomous spiders. While most insect stings and bites only cause mild discomfort, some can result in a severe allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention and can even cause death.

Prevention:

Try to avoid attracting insects by staying away from strong-smelling products, such as colognes and some soaps, shampoos, and deodorants. Wear clothing that covers as much of the body as possible. Try to ignore and not swat at a single flying insect, but if attacked by several stinging insects, run away from them.

Any workers who know they are prone to severe allergic reactions from insect bites or stings should wear medical ID jewelry and carry an epinephrine pen.

Poisonous Plants

Hazard:

If you come in contact with plants, such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, the urushiol oil from those plants can cause an itchy rash, bumps, or blisters. For some, the rash can be relatively minor, but for others, it can cause severe swelling or trouble breathing or swallowing.

Prevention:

Wear clothing that covers as much of the body as possible, learn to identify poisonous plants, clean tools and clothing that may have been exposed to the oil, and immediately wash skin exposed to the oil with soap and water.

Extreme Temperatures

Hazard:

Both heat and cold stress can cause health issues that range from slight discomfort to death. Heat stress disorders include heat exhaustion, heatstroke, heat cramps, heat rash, and fainting.

Several factors contribute to the dangers of cold stress: temperature, wind, dampness, and cold water. Cold stress can occur in mild temperatures that are coupled with rain and/or wind. Cold-related illnesses include hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot.

Prevention:

Reduce heat exposure by ventilating areas of high heat and use cooling fans and personal cooling devices (cooling vests, heat reflective clothing, etc.). Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, drink plenty of liquids, and try to schedule heavy work during cooler parts of the day.

When working in frigid climates, prevent cold stress by wearing at least three layers of clothing. Wear a hat, insulated boots, and insulated gloves.

Lower Contractors Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

Preventing these outdoor dangers can help lower your Contractors Insurance costs. Another way to lower your insurance premiums is to work with one of the independent agents at the American Insuring Group.

We will compare costs and coverages among many insurance providers, and find the best combination of protection and price to meet your needs.  So call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to start saving!

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Insurance Harrisburg PA, Contractor Safety Management