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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

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

Marijuana and Contractors Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 20, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Marijuana and Job-Site Safety

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

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

What Can Construction Companies Do?

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

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

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

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

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

Here's How to Save on Contractors Insurance!

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

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

3 Safety Tips to Lower Contractors Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 25, 2020

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

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

Here are three tips for creating a safer worksite.

Assess the Job Site

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

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

Consider Scheduling

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

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

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

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

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

Develop a Culture of Safety

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

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

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

Want to Save More on Contractor Insurance?

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

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

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

7 Smart Ways to Save on Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Mar 22, 2020

Ways to Save on Contractors InsuranceContractor Insurance is required to protect your assets and your business, whether you’re a one-person independent contractor or the owner of a construction company.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t lower the cost of your insurance premiums.

Here are seven smart ways to you can start saving on contractor Insurance:

Increase Deductibles

A deductible is the amount of money that you will need to pay if you make a claim before the insurance company pays anything. In other words, if you have a $500 deductible and make a $2,000 claim that is covered, the insurance company would pay $1,500 only after you have paid the $500.

Increasing the amount of your deductible will lower the cost of your premiums, freeing up funds that could be used to buy new equipment, give raises, or however you think that money could be best used.

However, before you make that decision, make sure that you have enough money in reserve that you could pay that deductible if you made a claim. Otherwise, you could find yourself without a tool or vehicle that you need to conduct business if it is stolen, damaged, or destroyed. If you can’t pay that deductible, you can’t repair or replace that item.

Pay Upfront

Most insurance companies will discount your rate if you can pay your insurance premium upfront, rather than monthly. So, if you have the cash available, pay your insurance premiums annually.

Combine Insurance Policies

Every contractor should have Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance, which covers your business for injury or property damage caused by the operation of your business or on your business premises. Chances are good, that isn’t the only insurance you will need to protect your business.

You may need property insurance to protect your buildings and its contents, auto insurance to protect your vehicles, or any number of other types of insurance. Many insurance companies will give you a discount if you purchase more than one type of insurance with them.

Lower Commercial Auto Insurance

If you hire drivers with bad driving records, you will pay more for your commercial auto insurance; it’s that simple. Before hiring anyone who will drive one of your commercial vehicles, check their driving records and only hire those with excellent driving records.

Another way to save on auto insurance is to evaluate new vehicle purchases. The more a vehicle is worth, the more your insurance premiums will be. So, when you are comparing the price of vehicles, don’t forget to factor in the cost of insurance to cover it. You may find a less-expensive model will meet your needs and save you a ton of money in the long run.

Identify and Minimize Your Risks

The fewer claims you make, the lower your premiums will be. Identify any potential hazards and create a plan to prevent those risks, and you should be able to reduce the number of claims.

For example, there is always the risk of your tools or equipment being stolen, so if you can minimize the risk of theft – such as installing security cameras, locks, or tracking devices – you will lower the chances of those items being stolen, which means fewer claims. Fewer claims can reduce the cost of your premiums and minimize any deductibles you have to pay.

Create a Safer Worksite

We would be remiss if we didn’t include this one. A safer worksite means fewer employee injuries, which means lower Workers’ Compensation costs. A safer worksite also means fewer third-party injuries, which could result in expensive lawsuits; thereby, increasing your CGL costs.

OSHA offers a variety of resources to improve worksite safety, and you’ll also find many tips to create a safer worksite on this blog.

Work with an Independent Insurance Agent

Independent Insurance agents – like the experienced agents at American Insuring Group – can compare several different insurance companies to ensure that you get the right coverage and the best price on all your business insurance needs, including contractor insurance. By comparison, a captive (single-company) agent can only sell policies from a single insurance carrier.

Ready to start saving? Give one of our independent agents a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Contractor Insurance, workers comp, Commercial Insurance, Contractor Safety Management, Commercial Auto Insurance