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6 Common Workers' Comp Insurance Myths

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Dec 03, 2022

Learn the Facts About Workers Compensation Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg and throughout PAThere are many myths or misconceptions about Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Insurance that can end up costing business owners time and money. So let's set the record straight on these myths once and for all. 

What is Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance?

Most states, including PA, require employers to carry WC for their employees. The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "If you employ workers in Pennsylvania, you must have workers' compensation insurance -- it's the law." This includes both full and part-time employees, even if they are family members. There are very few exceptions. 

If a worker is injured in the workplace or becomes ill because of their work environment, Workers' Compensation (WC) helps cover medical costs and lost wages if the employee cannot work. In Pennsylvania, it doesn't matter who or what caused the injury. If the injury or illness occurred during the course of their employment with you, WC would pay those expenses. 

WC also limits an injured employee's right to sue an employer directly for damages that injury or illness causes. 

Most Common Workers' Compensation Myths

MYTH 1: You don't need WC coverage for your business.

FACT: In Pennsylvania, if you employ even one person, even if that person happens to be your brother-in-law, you probably need to carry WC coverage for that employee. The only exceptions are If ALL employees fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Federal workers
  • Longshoremen
  • Railroad workers
  • Casual workers
  • Persons working out of their own homes or other premises not under the control of management
  • Agricultural laborers making less than $1200 per calendar year
  • Domestic workers who have not elected to come under the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act
  • Sole proprietors or general partners
  • Those who have been given an exemption by the Department of Labor and Industry due to religious beliefs
  • Executive officers who have been granted exclusion by the Department of Labor and Industry
  • Licensed real estate salespersons or associate real estate brokers affiliated with a licensed real estate broker or a licensed insurance agent affiliated with a licensed insurance agency, under a written agreement, remunerated on a commission-only basis and qualifying as independent contractors for State tax purposes or Federal tax purposes under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. 

If a business does not qualify for one of these exceptions, it must carry Workers' Compensation Insurance for its employees. Failure to do so can result in the employer being required to pay back any costs paid by the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund or a work-related injury or illness, including interest, penalties, and fees. An uninsured employer may also face civil and criminal risks that can result in fines and imprisonment. 

MYTH 2: Your company must be at fault for Workers' Comp to pay.

FACT: As mentioned above, Pennsylvania WC is a no-fault system. Regardless of the cause of the injury - a faulty machine, a mistake made by an employee, etc., if the injury occurred in the course of their employment, WC will pay. 

MYTH 3: An injury must happen on-site to file a WC claim.

FACT: If an employee is injured while driving to a meeting, at a work conference, etc., while conducting business for you, you can (and should) file a WC claim. 

MYTH 4: All work-related injuries are covered by Workers' Comp.

FACT: In Pennsylvania, Workers' Compensation claims can be denied to employees whose injuries are caused by the use of illegal drugs or alcohol intoxication. 

MYTH 5: Your role ends once the WC claim is made.

FACT: When an injury occurs, you are responsible for submitting the claim form and supporting documentation promptly; however, your responsibilities don't end there. 

You also need to manage the WC claim, continue cooperating with your insurance carrier, help ensure the claim is resolved quickly, keep in touch with the injured employee, and consider return-to-work options when appropriate. 

MYTH 6: A minor injury is not worth reporting

FACT: Injuries that initially seem minor may become more severe and require additional medical treatment. Not reporting work-related injuries can keep your employees from receiving proper care and put your WC policy at risk. 

Reduce Your Workers' Compensation Insurance Cost

Understanding these common myths and working with one of the experienced independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group can help ensure you get the best coverage at the lowest cost. Our independent agents shop the market to help you save on the proper insurance protection for your business.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

3 Steps to Renew Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 15, 2022

Renew Your Workers Compensation Insurance the Right Way and Save in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Erie, York, Lebanon, Allentown and all throughout PAIn most states, including Pennsylvania, Workers’ Compensation Insurance (WC) is required by law. But, truthfully, even if the insurance isn’t required in your state, WC is an excellent investment as it helps protect your employees and your business.

We’re sure you have a lot on your plate as a business owner or manager, and conducting an annual review of your insurance policies – including WC – may not be high on your to-do list. It’s so much easier to renew the policies you currently have. However, an annual review helps ensure you are not underinsured or overpaying for your coverage.

Here are three steps to make the annual review process as painless as possible.

Step 1: Review Your Business

Look at how your business may have changed since you purchased your existing WC policy. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Did your business needs change? For example, did you switch from an independent contractor to an LLC?
  2. Did you hire new employees or let old employees go?
  3. Has the classification code for any of your existing employees changed?
  4. Has your payroll changed?

Step 2: Look at Your Current Policy

The next step is to take a look at your current WC policy, keeping in mind how your WC premium is calculated:

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

Look at the declaration page to see how your workers are classified and the estimated payroll for each, and determine if this information is still accurate.

Classification Codes - A classification code is a 3-digit number assigned to every type of job. It is based on the likelihood of that employee being injured on the job and helps determine your WC premium. Typically, the more risk of injury, the higher your WC costs. Therefore, assigning the wrong classification code can lead to overpayment, insufficient coverage, or even WC fraud.

Payroll - “Initially, the payroll used to calculate your premium is an estimate. Once your actual payroll has been determined, adjustments may have to be made, and you could be audited and billed accordingly,” Pennsylvania Insurance Department reports.” Any changes to your business within the policy term that affect the rate of your policy can lead to an audit and possible billing.”

Experience Modifier - Finally, review your loss run report, which shows your company’s claim activity for the policy period. Loss Run Reports list the date of each loss and claim, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. You can think of it like a credit report or report card for insurance companies.

This information is used to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay for insurance or even if an insurance company will issue a policy or renew a policy for your business. You can use the information to lower your insurance costs and even improve other areas of your business.

Step 3: Renew Your WC Insurance (Contact us for great rates!)

Armed with this information, you are ready to renew your WC coverage and ensure that you have the right coverage at the best price.

American Insuring Group agents have years of experience with Workers’ Compensation and other commercial insurance policies to ensure that you get the right coverage for your business needs. As independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for that coverage.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

The Key to Lowering Workers’ Comp Costs is Good Communication

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Aug 13, 2022

Good communication can reduce accidents and help you save on Worker's Compensation insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lebanon and throughout PA. Contact us today to learn more.Good communication is key to lowering Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance costs. Unfortunately, many business owners are under the false impression that communicating with injured employees can cause WC claims and increase the cost of those claims. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Lack of communication and miscommunication in the claims process can cost your business more. For example, injured employees typically hire a lawyer – not to get more money but because of inadequate communication with their employees. For example, one study found that “46% [of injured employees] said they hired attorneys because they felt the claim had been denied when, in fact, it had not yet been accepted into the process.” And the truth is that WC cases that involve attorneys often cost more. 

An injured employee may be worried about their injury, recovery, and how they will continue to support their family. In addition, they may be in pain or facing unfamiliar medical treatments or medication. Plus, WC claims can be complicated. This can result in a scared, stressed, confused, and possibly angry employee. If the injured employee understands that you are concerned about their well-being and are willing to help them through the WC claims process, you become an ally (rather than an adversary). The only way to accomplish that is through good communication before, during, and after a workplace injury. 

Workers’ Compensation Communication

Good communication should be part of the onboarding process of new employees:

  • Foster a Positive Culture of Safety – From the start, you need to create a culture of safety that emphasizes safety as a core value of your business.
  • Foster Ongoing Communication – Employees need to know that it is safe for them to report safety concerns and injuries without fear of retaliation.
  • Provide WC Information – Employers should provide all employees with information about WC, including how to report an injury, what type of injuries are covered, who to contact if they have questions, a list of designated medical providers, etc.
  • Training – All employees should receive ongoing safety training to minimize the risk of injury and to know what to do if an injury occurs. Supervisors should receive training regarding Workers’ Compensation in addition to safety training. CFO advises, “Supervisors are often in the best position to shape workers’ initial expectations about what should happen, post-injury.”

Good communication is also crucial when an injury occurs:

  • Seek Appropriate Medical Attention – When an injury occurs, your first priority should be to ensure that the injured employee receives appropriate medical attention.
  • Thorough Investigation – Every time an injury occurs, a thorough investigation of the incident should occur. The investigation should include interviews with the injured employee and any co-workers who witnessed the incident.
  • Documentation – Every incident should be well-documented while everything is still fresh in everyone’s mind. 

Ongoing communication during the claims process is critical for a timely resolution:

  • Designate one employee to be the primary contact point for injured employees. That employee should be patient, kind, understanding, and familiar with the WC claims process.
  • Provide written and verbal information about the claims process, what the injured employee should expect, etc.
  • Regular communication (at least every other week) throughout the recovery process allows employers to monitor the recovery process, update the injured employee on the progress of the claim, and answer any questions or concerns the injured employee may have.
  • Communicate Genuine Empathy and Trust. Regular informal phone and in-person conversations and get-well cards show the employee that you are concerned about their well-being.
  • Discuss Return-to-Work Assignments. Communicate to injured employees that you are concerned about their well-being and that you are looking forward to them returning to work when it is medically safe to do so. Discuss the possibility of light-duty or transitional duty opportunities with medical providers and the injured employee. 

The Key to Lowering Workers’ Compensation Costs

Good communication should begin with your insurance provider. The independent agents at American Insuring Group listen carefully to better understand your needs, so we can ensure that you get the right workers' compensation insurance coverage at a great price!

Get started today by calling (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance

How a Return-to-Work Program Can Save You Money

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 23, 2022

A return to work program can help you save on workers compensation insurance costs in Philadelphia, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, York, Hanover, Lebanon and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.Workers’ Compensation Insurance (WC) is mandatory in most states, including Pennsylvania. WC helps cover lost wages, health care expenses, disability payments, death benefits, and permanent injury payments (such as the loss of a body part) when an employee suffers a work-related injury or disease. It also helps protect your business against lawsuits related to the injury. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2020. In addition, 1,176,340 of those injuries and illnesses caused workers to miss at least one day of work. 

The longer an injured employee is out of work, the less likely they will return to work. The longer a claim remains open and an injured employee is off the job, the more it costs the employer. 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that absenteeism costs exceed $40 billion a year. Here are a few of the absenteeism costs cited for employers:

  • Recovery of production
  • Quality and hiring of replacement workers
  • Lower employee morale
  • Increased training costs
  • Overtime

 A Return-to-Work (RTW) program gets injured employees back to work more quickly and safely and provides many benefits to both employees and employers.

 What is a Return-to-Work Program?

An RTW program is designed to get injured employees back to work as soon as possible (based on their doctor’s recommendation). That could mean the injured employee comes back to modified duties or a temporary position to accommodate any limitations caused by the injury.

 The Department of Labor & Industry defines RTW as “a proactive approach, endorsed by many health care providers, designed to help restore injured workers to their former lifestyle in the safest and most effective manner possible. A partnership among workers, union representatives, employers, and health care providers stakeholders is developed in a collaborative effort to return the injured worker back to his or her pre-injury status.”

 What are the Benefits of a Return-to-Work Program?

Studies have shown that getting an injured employee back to work as quickly and safely as possible is the best approach for both the employee and the company.

 Here are a few benefits of an RTW for the employer:

  • Claims are resolved more quickly
  • Reduced WC claim costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Retention of experienced employees
  • Reduced accidents
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Lower training costs
  • Reduced overtime pay
  • Reduced administrative costs
  • More experienced and knowledgeable workers
  • Decreased number of grievances and arbitrations
  • Improved employee morale and employee relations
  • Shows employees that the employer cares about the well-being of its employees

 Here are a few benefits of an RTW for the injured employee:

  • Maintained employment relationship
  • Minimize loss of physical fitness
  • Maintained skills
  • Maintained pension plans, medical benefits, and group life insurance
  • Maintained vacation and sick day benefits
  • Maintained social connections and a sense of purpose
  • Focus on abilities rather than disabilities
  • Quicker recovery time

 Research shows that even co-workers can benefit from an RTW program.

 How Can We Create a Return-to-Work Program?

Despite common misconceptions, back-to-work programs don’t need to be costly or complicated but benefit everyone. SHRM recommends following the following steps to create an effective RTW program:

Step 1 – Determine who will be included in the RTW/light-duty program

Step 2 – Define what will be included in the program

Step 3 – Develop a written policy

Step 4 – Review the organization’s current job descriptions

Step 5 – Develop a bank of light duties

Step 6 – Develop a form

Step 7 – Designate an RTW coordinator

 

We Help You Save on Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group can help ensure that you pay the lowest premiums on WC and all your insurance needs. We shop the market for you to get you the best deal on quality insurance protection in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover how we can help save you money!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs

Alcohol and Workers' Compensation Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 11, 2022

Alcohol use can affect workers comp insurance coverage in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Allentown, Reading and throughout Pennsylvania.In Pennsylvania, Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC) is based on a no-fault liability premise, which means a workplace injury is covered by Workers Comp regardless of who is at fault. However, there are a few exceptions, such as the "intoxication defense."

"This is a relatively new defense. The Workers' Compensation Act, when originally drafted and enacted, had no intoxication defense," Rothman Gordon Attorneys states. "It was not until 1993 that the Intoxication Defense was added as a part of a nationwide trend of cracking down on drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

A string of drunk driving offenses established that because a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit (currently .08) established a presumption of intoxication, employers argued they could establish the same presumption in the workplace."

Furthermore, "Pennsylvania is the only state that does not oblige the employer to prove intoxication was the proximate cause (a material contributing factor) of the accident."

Today, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act states, "In cases where the injury or death is caused by intoxication, no compensation shall be paid if the injury or death would not have occurred but for the employee's intoxication." However, it is important to note that the burden of proof is with the employer.

Over time, alcohol can affect job performance and threaten the health and safety of all employees and the security of your equipment and facilities. So, what can an employer do to protect itself and its employees regarding the use of alcohol? 

Create a Policy

Set a clear, legal, and enforceable written policy regarding the use of alcohol that includes enforcement, punishments, and drug and alcohol testing policies. Ensure that you have written confirmation that each employee understands the policy. 

Pay Attention to Employees

Pay attention to how your employees are acting. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management states, "Even though you must not try to diagnose the problem, there are many signs that may indicate a problem with alcohol…" Those signs include the following:

  • Unexplained or unauthorized absences from work
  • Frequent tardiness
  • Excessive use of sick leave
  • Patterns of absence such as the day after payday or frequent Monday or Friday absences
  • Frequent unplanned absences due to "emergencies" (e.g., household repairs, car trouble, family emergencies, legal problems)
  • Missed deadlines
  • Careless or sloppy work or incomplete assignments
  • Production quotas not met
  • Many excuses for incomplete assignments or missed deadlines
  • Faulty analysis
  • Relationships with co-workers may become strained
  • The employee may be belligerent, argumentative, or short-tempered, especially in the mornings or after weekends or holidays
  • The employee may become a "loner"
  • The smell of alcohol
  • Staggering or an unsteady gait
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • The smell of alcohol on the breath
  • Mood and behavior changes such as excessive laughter and inappropriate loud talk
  • Excessive use of mouthwash or breath mints
  • Avoidance of supervisory contact, especially after lunch
  • Tremors
  • Sleeping on duty

Document Reasonable Suspicion

SHRM states, "Concerns that an employee is under the influence often come from co-workers or even clients or vendors before a supervisor or manager notices." If you receive a complaint or suspect an employee is under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) at work, you need to document it properly. SHRM suggests the following steps:

  1. Receive complaints
  2. Observe the Employee
  3. Remove the Employee from Safety-Sensitive Areas
  4. Document Observations
  5. Assess the Situation
  6. Meet With Employee
  7. Prepare Transportation
  8. Send the Employee for Testing
  9. Wait for Test Results
  10. Respond to Employee's Refusal to Take the Test
  11. Respond to Negative Test Results
  12. Respond to a Positive Test Result

Workers' Compensation Benefits

If you suspect the use of alcohol caused a workplace injury, you can fight the claim; however, the burden of proof is on you as the employer. Policies regarding alcohol must be established and enforced, everything must be well documented, and a thorough investigation with evidence is crucial for successful denial of claims.

Here's How to Save on Workers' Compensation Costs!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in WC Insurance and are dedicated to helping you save on WC and other insurance costs. As independent agents, we shop the market, comparing rates and coverages among competing insurers. We shop so you can save!

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

What Truck Drivers and Fleet Owners Need to Know About WC Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, May 09, 2022

Workers Compensation Insurance Tips for Truck Drivers and Truck Fleet Owners in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster and throughout PACommercial Truck Insurance – including Workers’ Comp Insurance - is designed to help protect your business financially in the event of an accident. This is good because we all know that trucking can be a dangerous and expensive industry. 

According to the National Safety Council, in 2020, 4,842 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes, and 107,000 large trucks were involved in crashes resulting in an injury. Furthermore, the Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports, “The estimated cost of police-reported crashes involving trucks with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds averaged $91,112 (in 2005 dollars).” 

Am I Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

In Pennsylvania and many other states, every employer (with very few exceptions) is required to carry Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance. WC covers medical expenses, disability payments, death benefits, and lost wages in a work-related injury or illness. Therefore, if you employ drivers – whether it’s delivering food locally or cargo across the country – you are required by law to carry Workers’ Comp for those drivers. 

The requirement for owner/operator drivers is a bit grayer. According to the Department of Labor and Industry, “If an insured utilizes owner/operators and is part of a trucking operation, proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage may be required.” If you aren’t sure if you are required to carry Workers’ Comp insurance, speak with the WC experts at American Insuring Group or check on the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation website. 

However, even if you find that you are not required to carry WC insurance, you may want to consider purchasing it. “Insurance experts and many attorneys, in fact, say that allowing owner-operators to opt-out of coverage is simply asking for trouble,” Layover.com states. “Owner-operators who run without some type of medical coverage risk financial devastation if they are injured on the job.” 

Consider this:

  • If you’re on your spouse’s medical insurance, work-related illnesses and injuries may not be covered.
  • Even if they are covered, if you’re injured and can’t work, you’re looking at lost income, which is something WC insurance covers but medical insurance typically does not.
  • If you are killed in a work-related accident, WC pays death benefits to provide financial support to your family.

 How Do I Purchase Workers’ Compensation?

Fortunately, purchasing Workers’ Compensation insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can help. Here are typical questions we may ask when you’re requesting a quote:

  • What is your company’s name and type of business entity?
  • What is your FEIN or SSN?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • How many owners does your company have?
  • What are your liability limits?
  • Do you have a DOT number?
  • What type of vehicle(s) do you need to be insured?
  • What is the driving radius of your trucker(s)?
  • Is the driver hauling their own goods?
  • Does your operator(s) do loading and unloading?

 How Can I Lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs?

There are many steps you can take to lower your WC and other insurance costs:

  • Hire the most qualified drivers
  • Provide safety training
  • Develop a positive culture of safety

Don't Miss Out on the Easiest Way to Save on Commercial Truck Insurance!

Another way to lower all your Commercial Truck Insurance costs is to work with an independent agent at American Insuring Group. We will carefully compare truck insurance coverages and costs among many competing carriers to ensure you receive the right coverage at the lowest cost.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, truck insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Trucking Insurance

How Contractor Insurance Can Protect Your Business

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 30, 2022

Contractor Insurance Tips to Protect Your Business in Philadelphia and throughout PAPeople often refer to Contractor Insurance as a safety net, but I ask you to stop and think about this accurate but often-overused analogy. In a circus, a safety net is used below performers who are walking across a tight rope or acrobats flying through the air high above. If they fall, the safety net could save their lives. Likewise, the right Insurance can protect the life of your business.

Risks in Contractor Industry

Every business is open to risk, and the construction industry is more so than many other industries. According to a report published by the Center for Construction Research Training, in 2019, 79,660 nonfatal injuries were reported in the construction industry. Furthermore, "… it was consistently higher than all industries combined… Construction injuries were also more severe, as they typically caused more missed workdays than injuries in all industries."

And these injuries were not confined to larger construction companies. That same report states, "the injury rate among construction establishments with 11 to 49 employees was five times the rate for establishments with 1,000 or more employees."

These injuries are costing companies billions of dollars every year. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports, "The total cost of work injuries in 2019 was $171.0 billion. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $53.9 billion, medical expenses of $35.5 billion, and administrative expenses of $59.7 billion." Individually, that translates to $1,100 per worker, $1.2 million per death, and $42,000 per medically consulted injury. Do you have enough money to cover those kinds of costs without jeopardizing your business? Probably not!

Another risk all businesses face is lawsuits. According to a Small Business Administration (SBA) study, 36 to 53% of small businesses were involved in lawsuits, and when a case goes to trial, it costs companies $3,000 to $150,000 to resolve. So how would a lawsuit affect your bottom line?

Then there is theft. Construction equipment theft results in $300 million to $1 billion in losses each year (and that's an old statistic). Studies show that construction equipment is an easy target for thieves because:

  • Equipment is often left at unsecured sites when not in use
  • Many sites are located in remote locations
  • Equipment is easily accessible
  • There are no standardized PINs or serial numbers, making equipment challenging to track.

Could you easily replace a $75,000 bulldozer without affecting your business? Probably not!

Here is a brief description of various types of insurance that can help protect your employees, your assets, and your business.

How Insurance Protects Your Employees

Without employees, you could not get the job done, so it's a good idea to take care of your employees and consider them an asset. In Pennsylvania (and most other states), all employers are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance, which covers lost wages, medical expenses, disability expenses, and funeral costs for employees who are injured on the job.

Failure to carry Workers' Compensation coverage for your employees can lead to a $2,500 fine and up to one year in imprisonment for each day the employer fails to maintain WC coverage. Felony convictions can result in a $15,000 fine and up to seven years imprisonment for each day the employer intentionally violated this requirement. Furthermore, you may be responsible for paying all benefits awarded by a Workers' Compensation judge.

How Insurance Protects Your Assets

  • Inland Marine Insurance helps cover damages that occur while a building is under construction.
  • Commercial Property Insurance protects your physical assets from fire, storms, theft, etc.
  • Commercial Vehicle Insurance protects against bodily injuries and property damage if one of your vehicles is involved in an accident.
  • Builders Risk Insurance helps replace materials, tools, and lost, damaged, or stolen equipment.

How Insurance Protects Your Business

  • General Liability Insurance protects your business from liabilities, such as bodily injury and property damage claims.
  • Professional Liability Insurance protects your business if a client sues you for design errors or omissions.
  • Pollution Liability Insurance protects your business if you're held liable for a pollution incident on a worksite.
  • Cyber Insurance helps protect your business from data breaches.

How to Get the Right Contractors Insurance for Your Business

The best way to get the right Insurance for your business is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Contractors Insurance. They understand your unique risks and know the right questions to ask.

Plus, as independent agents, they will compare the cost of your coverage among competing insurance companies to ensure you pay the lowest price on your premiums. So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Construction Equipment Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance

10 Tips to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 23, 2022

10-tips-to-lower-Workers-Comp-Insurance-costs

Workers' Compensation (WC) Insurance is mandated by Pennsylvania (and most other states) for all employees. WC was designed to protect employees injured on the job by providing lost wages, medical expenses, disability expenses, and funeral costs. As a no-fault benefit, WC also helps protect your business from direct lawsuits by employees injured on the job. Failure to comply can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges and fines.

However, just because it is mandatory doesn't mean that there aren't steps you can take to lower your WC costs.

10 Tips to Save on Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

  1. Vet Employees – Employees can be your greatest asset or your biggest liability. Every employer hopes they hire an honest worker, but did you know that 95% of businesses encounter problems with employee theft. When hiring a new employee, conduct background investigations and reference checks. Also, if you're hiring a driver, check their driving record. You may also want to include a pre-employment drug testing policy.

  2. Develop a Safety Program - Providing a safe and healthy workplace benefits employers with lower Workers' Compensation Insurance costs, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and better employee morale. A workplace safety program can lower expenses, reduce paid time off and litigation, provide higher employee satisfaction and a positive public image, and much more. According to OSHA, a study of small businesses found a statistical correlation between workplace safety and the health and survival of a small business. The study found that companies that failed within one to two years of start-up had an average injury rate of 9.71, while businesses that survived more than five years had an average injury rate of 3.89 in their first year of business.

  3. Provide Appropriate Training - OSHA states, "Training in the safe way for workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back over and over again in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, lower insurance premiums and more."

  4. Use the Right Job Classification Code – Every employee in Pennsylvania is assigned a PCRB classification code to help determine WC rates. These codes are based on the level of risk each employee faces. For example, if an office worker is assigned the code for a construction worker, they will be considered more of a risk, and you will pay higher WC premiums for that employee. Ensuring all of your employees are correctly classified can help save you on WC costs.

  5. Work With Your Medical Team – PA Workers' Comp laws allow employers to create a list of designated health care providers. When the list is properly posted, injured workers must seek treatment for the work injury or illness with one of the designated providers for 90 days from the date of the first visit. By carefully researching the physicians you include on that list, you can help ensure your employees get the best treatment and that you don't pay more than you have to for WC premiums. In addition, building a relationship with those physicians can further expedite WC claims.

  6. Develop a Return-to-Work Program - The longer an injured employee is out of work, the less likely they'll return to work and the more it costs the employer. Return-to-work programs reduce the length of claims and help injured employees recover more quickly. Return-to-work programs save employers' medical costs, lost time days, and workers' compensation insurance costs.

  7. Design an Injury Response Protocol – If an employee is injured, the quicker they get treatment, the better chance they have of making a speedy recovery. Therefore, you should have an injury response protocol in place that employees understand.

  8. Manage Claims – Properly managing WC claims helps you avoid liability and fraudulent claims, resolve claims more quickly, and lower WC costs. WC claim management includes an injury reporting process, investigations, ongoing communication, etc.

  9. Investigate Injuries - Every workers' compensation insurance claim should be investigated because it's imperative to make accurate and legal assessments related to primary liability.

  10. Review Your Loss Run Report – A Loss Run Report lists the date of all of your business's losses and claims, a brief description of each claim, the amount paid to the insured, and whether or not the claim is closed. You can think of it as a credit report or report card for insurance companies. They use the information in the report to determine how risky a business is to insure, which can affect the premium you pay for insurance or even if an insurance company will issue a policy or renew a policy for your business. Conversely, you can use the information to lower your insurance costs and improve other business areas.

BONUS Workers' Comp Savings Tip

Work With a Trusted Independent Insurance Agent – The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers' Compensation Insurance. We can answer all of your WC questions, help you control loss, and lower your premiums!

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud

Reduce WC Costs with Designated Health Care Providers

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 09, 2021

Reduce Workers Comp Costs with Designated Health Care ProvidersOne way to reduce the cost of Workers’ Compensation Insurance is by managing medical expenses. One way Pennsylvania employers can manage medical costs is by providing a list of designated health care providers.

The PA Workers’ Compensation Act allows employers to establish a list of designated health care providers and states that injured employees “must seek treatment for the work injury or illness with one of the designated providers for 90 days from the date of the first visit.” Without this list, injured employees can seek medical treatment from any provider.

Creating a list of good health care providers for your injured employees not only helps you manage health care costs and lower WC insurance; it also helps ensure that your injured employees receive the best care possible. First, however, there are guidelines providers must follow.


      • The list must be posted in an area where employees will see it.
      • There must be at least six providers on the list.
      • Three of the providers must be physicians.
      • A maximum of four providers can be coordinated care organizations.
      • The list must include the providers’ name, address, telephone number, and area of medical specialty.
      • Providers must be geographically accessible.
      • Providers’ specialties must be appropriate for anticipated work-related injuries and illness of employees.
      • If a particular specialty is not on the list and the specialty care is reasonable and necessary for treatment of the work injury, injured employees are permitted to choose their own health care provider.
      • Employers must state if any of the providers are employed, owned, or controlled by the employer or its WC insurance provider.
      • Employers must provide a clearly written notice to all newly hired employees regarding their rights and responsibilities, which every employee reads, signs, and returns to the employer.
      • When an injury occurs, the injured employee should read and sign another acknowledgment of their rights and responsibilities.
      • Employers can’t direct injured employees to any specific provider on the list and must allow employees to switch from one provider to another provider on the list.
      • In an emergency situation, the injured employee is not required to seek medical treatment from a provider on the list. But once the emergency is over, they must use a provider on the list.
      • Injured employees are permitted to change physicians after 90 days, but they must give notice of the change to the employer and the insurance carrier within five days of the first treatment.

Additional Tips to Save on Workers’ Compensation Costs

WC Insurance covers the cost of medical treatment and lost wages for employees who are injured on the job and helps protect businesses against lawsuits filed by injured workers. In Pennsylvania, Workers’ Compensation Insurance is mandatory for almost every employer, whether an employee is full-time or part-time or even family.

However, there are steps - besides creating a designated health care provider list – businesses can take to lower their WC costs. Here are just a few.

    1. Institute a Documented Safety Program – Several studies have found that every dollar invested in preventing workplace injuries can yield a $2 to $6 return on investment.

    2. Have a Return-to-Work (RTW) Program – Not only can RTW Programs lower costs related to employee injuries, but they can also help keep injured employees engaged, lower the risk of litigation claims, reduce employee turnover, and increase productivity.

    3. Work with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Insurance AgentThe agents at American Insuring Group have many years of experience in Workers Comp Insurance and can help guide you through the process. Plus, as independent agents, we check with several insurance companies to make sure you pay the lowest rate for all of your insurance needs.

→ Start saving on WC and other insurance costs by giving American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs, Return-To-Work Programs

4 Tips to Lower the Risk of Workers' Comp Litigation

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 25, 2021

4 Tips to Lower the Risk of Workers Comp LitigationIn Pennsylvania, almost all employers are required to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC) for their employees. WC covers medical costs and lost wages for an employee that is injured on the job. WC also protects employers from negligence lawsuits. 

However, that doesn't make employers impervious to WC litigation. Under Pennsylvania law, if a workers' comp claim is denied, the injured employee has up to three years to file an appeal. And statistics show that litigated workers' compensation claims cost businesses more money, making minimizing the risk of litigation a smart move. 

Here are four tips to Lower the Risk of Workers' Compensation Litigation. 

Minimize the Risk of Injury

The best way to minimize the risk of WC litigation is to reduce the risk of injury with a workplace safety program.

 According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), every workplace safety program should include the following elements:

  • Commitment from management
  • Employee Involvement
  • A workplace analysis
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Employee training
  • Communication

Creating a safer work environment does more than lower the risk of litigation. It also helps improve your bottom line. Discover the impact of workplace injuries on your profitability with OSHA's "$afety Pays" program. 

Understand Why Injured Employees Seek Litigation

A Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) study in 2014 took a look at why employees will hire an attorney. Here are the three primary reasons:

  • Fear of getting fired just because they were injured on the job
  • A belief that their supervisors don't believe it's a legitimate injury
  • Concerns that the claim will be denied 

Once you know what can trigger an injured employee to seek litigation, you can take steps to prevent those triggers from happening. 

Communicate With Injured Employees

One of those steps is to communicate with injured employees. In that study, WCRI found that 33% of all the injured workers they surveyed were afraid that they were going to be fired. Regular communication with an injured employee can help eliminate that and many other uncertainties (which is often why people seek litigation). 

As soon as possible, someone from your company should reach out to the injured employee to ask how they're doing. But, first, you need to determine the best person to keep in touch with the injured employee. That person could be the employee's immediate supervisor, someone from human resources, etc. 

Then, you should have weekly face-to-face meetings with injured employees to show them that you value them, get updates on their medical condition, and discuss a potential transitional duty job. During these regular meetings, you can also gauge the attitude of the injured employee more quickly. 

During these conversations, you should listen to and address their concerns, assure them that their job is safe, and encourage them to focus on recovery. 

Have a Return to Work program

A return to work (RTW) program helps bring injured employees back to work more quickly. That could mean modified duties for the employee until they can medically return to their original job. In addition, an RTW helps an employee feel more productive and more connected to their workplace, which means they will be less likely to seek litigation.

The PA Department of Labor & Industry states, "Return-to-Work programs benefit all partners in the compensation system."

  • Injured workers maintain employment security, seniority, and benefits and receive personalized and effective treatment;
  • Employers retain experienced employees while reducing accident and workplace costs;
  • Health care providers are supported in their decisions and treatment strategies;
  • Unions maintain the employment rights of their members; and
  • The workers' compensation system can manage rising health care costs and provide high levels of benefits to injured workers and their dependents. 

And, of course, RTW programs help minimize the potential for an injured employee to seek litigation.

Save on Workers' Compensation Insurance

The experienced agents at American Insuring Group specialize in WC insurance and ensure you have 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: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs