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Take the Mystery Out of Contractors' Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 14, 2022

Learn everything you need to know about contractor's insurance from our agents serving Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, and the entire state of PennsylvaniaContractors' Insurance helps protect your business from risk, and let's face it… as a contractor, you face many risks every day. An employee or client may fall and injure themselves on a job site. A piece of heavy equipment might be stolen. A hacker may steal your data. Any one of these things could put you out of business… IF you aren't prepared.

 Risk Management

The first step in preparing is called risk management. Risk management is identifying and evaluating the risks your business may face and determining procedures to minimize the impact of those risks. Effective risk management helps provide confidence, streamline operations, enhance safety, and protect your business. 

Here are four steps to developing a risk management plan for your construction company (Click here for more details):

  1. Identify Risks
  2. Prioritize Risks
  3. Determine Responsive Strategies
  4. Create a Risk Management Plan

 There are many ways you can and absolutely should minimize the risk of something happening. For example, you can create safer workplaces, provide proper training, and ensure PPE is used appropriately. But unfortunately, despite all of your best efforts, accidents happen, equipment gets stolen, and data breaches occur.

 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, there were 1,102 fatal injuries in the construction industry (both private industry and government). Furthermore, "These deaths represented 20.7 percent of total workplace fatalities in the United States (5,333)." It is estimated that $300 million to $1 billion of construction equipment is stolen every year. 

Transfer Risk With Contractors' Insurance

In step three above – Determine Responsive Strategies – one strategy is to transfer risks to an insurance company. For example, if a piece of equipment is stolen, insurance will pay to replace that equipment in exchange for premiums and deductibles. This takes much of the financial risk off of our business.

 Types of Contractors Insurance

The best way to determine which types of Contractors Insurance is right for your business is to work with one of the agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors' Insurance. Here is a brief description of the types of insurance that may be recommended.

General Liability Insurance – If your business is sued, general liability insurance will pay legal fees, settlements, etc.

Workers Compensation Insurance – In most states, including Pennsylvania, most employers are required to provide Workers' Compensation Insurance - which covers medical costs and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job - for their employees.

Commercial Property Insurance - Property insurance helps protect against property loss or damage due to events such as fire, hail storms, civil disobedience, and vandalism.

Builders Risk Insurance - Builders Risk Insurance helps replace materials, tools, and lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.

Commercial Auto Insurance - Commercial Auto Insurance helps cover bodily injury or property damage claims if one of your company's vehicles is involved in an accident.

Inland Marine Insurance - Inland Marine Insurance helps cover damages that occur while a building is under construction.

Professional Liability Insurance ((Aka Errors and Omissions Insurance) - If your business is sued due to a mistake made in your company's professional service, Professional Liability helps cover legal costs.

Umbrella Insurance - Insurance liability policies include a limit (the maximum amount an insurer will pay if a claim is filed). Commercial Umbrella Insurance helps cover the difference if a claim exceeds a policy's limit.

Cyber Insurance - Cyber Insurance helps cover your business' liability for data breaches that involve sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, driver's license numbers, and health records

Pollution Liability Insurance - Pollution Liability Insurance protects your business if you're held liable for a pollution incident on a worksite.

Gap Insurance – Often overlooked, Gap Insurance helps cover the cost difference to pay off a lease balance when the vehicle's value is less than the leasing company's payoff in a total loss accident.

Business Income Coverage/ Business Interruption – If you are forced to shut down your business after experiencing covered property damage (such as fires, storms, etc.), Business Income coverage can help replace lost income.

 How Much Does Contractors Insurance Cost?

Regardless of the specific type of insurance, several factors can significantly impact those insurance costs. Those factors include the following:

  • Claims History:
  • Nature of Work and Risk:
  • Liability Limit:
  • Loss Type

Start Saving on Contractors Insurance Today!

t's easy to lower your premiums by working with one of the agents at American Insuring Group. Our agents specialize in Contractors' Insurance and – as independent agents – we compare the quality and cost of your coverage with multiple insurance companies to find the policy that's right for you!

Don't Delay - start saving today by calling us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

Lower Contractor Insurance Costs With a Risk Management Plan

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 19, 2022

Lower your contractor and construction insurance costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, PA and beyond. Call today.Managing risk can have a significant impact on your bottom line, including your Contractor Insurance costs. If you’re in the construction industry, you understand that there are plenty of risks to manage – injuries, theft, missed deadlines, etc. Risk management is the process of identifying and evaluating the risks your business may face and determining procedures to minimize the impact of those risks. 

Effective risk management helps provide confidence, streamline operations, enhance safety, and protect your business. In addition, a risk management plan helps ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page, and it helps lower insurance costs. 

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

  1. Identify the Risks

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

  1. Prioritize Risks

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

  1. Determine Response Strategies

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

  • Avoidance – If you determine that a project is too risky or your business is not equipped to handle the risk, you may decide to decline the project or change the scope of the work.
  • Transference – Sometimes, you can transfer the risk to a supplier, subcontractor, or insurance carrier (see below for examples).
  • Mitigation – Mitigation is defined as the act of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something. For example, providing a safer worksite will help mitigate safety risks.
  • Acceptance – Sometimes, you may be willing to accept a potential risk and develop a contingency plan as a work-around. 
  1. Create a Risk Management Plan

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

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

Insurance and Risks

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

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

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

  • Injuries If an employee is injured on the job, Workers’ Compensation – which is required by law in PA – provides wage-loss and medical benefits. If a visitor to the worksite is injured, General Liability Insurance will help cover medical expenses and legal costs if a lawsuit is filed against your business.
  • Physical Damage If your tools are stolen, a piece of equipment is damaged, or someone vandalizes your office, there are insurances – such as Commercial Property Insurance and Builders Risk Insurance - that help pay the cost to repair or replace those items.
  • Faulty Work If a client sues you for design errors or omissions, Professional Liability Insurance helps cover your legal costs 

The Easiest Way to Save on Construction Insurance

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

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

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

Contractual Risk Transfer vs. Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Aug 27, 2017

Contractor Insurance Vs.Contractual Risk Transfer. Contact us for advice and for quality PA Contractor Insurance.If you own a construction company, the chances are good that you subcontract some or all of the work to another party. You can (and should) do your due diligence to ensure that any subcontractor you hire has a reputation for doing a good job safely. However, it’s impossible to foresee all of the potential financial and operational risks that may arise with a project, particularly with a third-party. 

General Contractors Held Liable

There is always the possibility of an injury, property damage, a delay, or a construction defect as a direct result of a third-party’s services or products. Normally, it’s the general contractor who is held liable for the actions of the parties that they subcontract.

Shifting Risk Through CRT - Contractual Risk Transfer

Since you can’t stand over, watch, and control every action your subcontractor makes, it’s important to protect your business from liability issues that may be caused by these subcontractors. Contractual risk transfer (CRT) can help mitigate some liability risks as it shifts some or all of the responsibility for claims, losses, and damages to another party.

CRT is not contractor insurance. Instead, it is a non-insurance contract that identifies critical exposures and clearly states the roles, responsibilities, and requirements (including insurance) of everyone involved in a construction project before the project begins. It is designed to place all or part of the financial risk on the party that is closest and most able to control the activity that may cause an injury, damage, delay or defect, and it indemnifies and holds certain parties harmless for specific actions, inactions, injuries, or damages.

Typical components of a CRT include the following:

  1. A written contract
  2. An indemnification or hold harmless clause
  3. Insurance specifications
  4. A certificate of insurance
  5. An additional insured endorsement
  6. Record retention guidelines

Contractual Risk Transfer Best Practices

Here are five best practices the insurance industry website PropertyCasualty360.com offers to build a more effective contractual risk transfer program:

  1. Create standard contractual risk terms that are regularly reviewed and updated as needed.
  2. Train procurement professionals, so they understand standardized terms and why they’re important to risk management.
  3. Require authorization to bend the terms of the contract because occasionally changes may be needed.
  4. Establish guidelines for when to involve risk management. For example, when a contract exceeds a certain dollar amount or falls outside the scope of your normal activities.
  5. Enforce collection and review of certificates of insurance.

 

Contractual Risk Pitfalls

Here are three common CTR pitfalls from Construction Executive that you should watch out for:

  1. Accepting Certificates of Insurance (COI) at face value. Dishonest contractors have been known to provide fraudulent COIs, cancel the policy after presenting the COI, or purchase highly restrictive policies.
  2. An additional insured endorsement will provide you with a written notification if a policy is cancelled; however, the pitfalls associated with an additional insured endorsement include a) if you don’t have a written contract to go along with it, it may not be enforceable, b) if the underlying policy doesn’t cover a claim because of an exclusion, the endorsement is worthless, and c) even with an additional insured endorsement, the subcontractor’s limits may not be adequate to cover the full cost of a loss.
  3. A written contract may not be enforced in a court of law especially if there is no COI with an additional insured endorsement.

In Summary 

CRT programs can be quite complicated, but since they help limit your liability, protect your assets and your bottom line, and control your insurance costs, they are well worth the effort. It’s always a good idea to use an attorney and insurance advisor when drafting a contract, and whenever you enter into a new contract, you should review it carefully and make sure you understand the risk that you are accepting.

Contact Our Experts To Protect Your Business

Our independent insurance agents will save you money on contractor insurance in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.To learn more about protecting your business, contact American Insuring Group online or call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. Our independent insurance experts will inform you of the risks you may be exposed to, and how to protect yourself with the proper contractor insurance coverage.

Unlike our "single brand" competitors, our independent agents are free to shop and compare rates and coverages among many competing insurance carriers to ensure you get the best price on quality insurance protection. Contact us today!

Tags: Contractor Insurance, Business Insurance, Contractual Risk Transfer