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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

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

How to Protect Your Business From Construction Defects

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 31, 2021

How to Protect Your Business From Construction Defects while saving on contractor and construction insurance in the greater Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, Pittsburgh, Erie regions and throughout PA.Let's face it – no one is perfect. Not even contractors. Construction defects occur, and contractors can be held liable for those defects.

One significant lawsuit has the potential to put you out of business, which is why it's imperative that you understand potential construction defects, how to prevent those defects and potential lawsuits, and how to protect your business with the right Contractors Insurance.

What is a Construction Defect?

Modern Contractor Solutions magazine defines a construction defect as "a defect in the design, the workmanship, and/or in the materials or systems used on a project that results in a failure of a component part of a building or structure and causes damage to person or property, usually resulting in financial harm to the owner." Construction defects can lower a home's value and can even cause bodily injury or property damage.

Construction defects come in many forms. A defect can be as simple as an improperly painted room or as complicated as a foundation that affects the structural integrity of the building.

Some of the most common and most costly construction defects include the following:

  • Structural Integrity
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Doors, windows, and glass
  • Finishes

According to FindLaw, courts typically categorize construction defects into four categories:

  • Design Deficiencies, which typically relate to "building outside of a specified code." For example, a poorly designed roof can cause water penetration, poor drainage, etc.
  • Material Deficiencies are the use of inferior building materials. For example, using cheap windows that – even when properly installed – leak.
  • Construction Deficiencies is poor quality workmanship that can lead to several issues, such as water infiltration, cracks, plumbing leaks, pest infestation, etc.
  • Subsurface Deficiencies are the lack of a solid foundation. For example, subsurface conditions that are not properly compacted and prepared for adequate drainage can lead to a structure moving or shifting, flooding, etc.

And there are two types of defects – patent and latent. A patent defect is an obvious flaw that can be easily seen, such as a crack in the foundation or flaking stucco. In contrast, latent defects are hidden issues that aren't as easy to identify, such as plumbing that is improperly installed that causes leaks and damage. These defects may not be evident until well after a project has been completed.

Anyone who works on a project – contractors, subcontractors, developers, suppliers, architects, and engineers - can be held liable for construction defects. Laws regarding construction defects are complicated and vary by state.

Currently, in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations on construction defects is two years from discovery, and the statute of repose is 12 years after completion of construction. Lawyers.com explains, "A statute of limitations sets a lawsuit-filing time limit based on when the potential plaintiff suffered harm, a statute of repose sets a deadline based on the mere passage of time or the occurrence of a certain event that doesn't itself cause harm or give rise to a potential lawsuit."

How to Limit Liability

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is a well-known proverb that certainly applies when it comes to liability. Your first goal should always be to prevent liability by taking the following measures:

  • Draft well-crafted contracts that set expectations
  • Fulfill the terms of the contract
  • Keep schedules realistic
  • Provide quality workmanship
  • Hire reliable and competent subcontractors
  • Perform and document periodic inspections
  • Keep communication professional and reasonable
  • Ensure everyone working on the project is adequately insured

How to Protect Your Business

Sometimes, despite all of your best efforts, errors do occur, which is why the right insurance is crucial to any construction company's success. The following types of insurance can help protect your business from construction defects:

  • General Liability Insurance – covers injuries (other than employees), property damage, libel, and slander
  • Completed Operations Liability Insurance – covers a completed job or service
  • Professional Liability Insurance – covers lawsuits related to failure to deliver services, negligence, and errors and oversights
  • Builder's Risk Insurance (sometimes called Course of Construction Insurance or Inland Marine coverage) – covers damage that occurs while a building is under construction

Get the Right Contractors Insurance and Start Saving

The independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance, so they can 1) ensure you have the right coverage and 2) ensure you pay the lowest price for that coverage by shopping the market extensively for you.

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

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

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

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