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Will a BOP Lower Your Contractor or Restaurant Insurance Costs?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Mar 01, 2020

Business Owners Policies to Supplement Your Contractor Insurance or Restaurant InsuranceAs a contractor or restaurant owner, you’re probably looking for ways to cut costs and improve your bottom line. A Business Owners Policy – or BOP – is a flexible and affordable way to save on Commercial Insurance, but it isn’t right for every business.

An experienced insurance agent – like the independent agents at American Insuring Group – can help you determine if it’s right for your business.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Business Owners Policy (BOP)?

A BOP combines Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance and Property Insurance – two types of insurance most business owners need to protect their business - at a discount.

Commercial General Liability Insurance, which may be required by a client or landlord, typically covers lawsuits that result in bodily injury or property damage that is caused by slip-and-fall accidents, third-party property damage, product liability, advertising injuries, and copyright infringement.

The expense of a lawsuit can have a devastating impact on a small business. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, legal issues are costing small US businesses more than $100 billion every year. Because small businesses are more likely to settle rather than get tied up in litigation, they are often the target of frivolous lawsuits, which is costing about $35.6 billion in settlements each year.

CGL does not cover employee injuries, which are typically covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

Property Insurance covers damage to your building and its contents due to a covered cause of loss, such as a fire, explosion, storm, theft, or vandalism. Most Property Insurance policies do not cover earthquakes and floods; however, some policies cover a loss of income or an increase in expenses that result from property damage that is covered.  

For example, if a fire in your oven causes you to shut-down for a few days until repairs can be made, Property Insurance may include Business Interruption Insurance to cover the income you would lose by shutting down.

Another example is a fire in a contractor’s office that destroys files or materials required to conduct business.

Do I Qualify For a Business Owners Policy

Although they can save businesses money, BOPs are not right for every business, and not every business will qualify for a BOP. Typically, low-risk small businesses that meet the following criteria will qualify for a BOP:

  • A small workspace
  • Less than $1 million in revenue per year
  • Fewer than 100 employees
  • A low-risk industry
  • A less than 12 months of Business Interruption Insurance requirement

As a contractor, you may think that your business is not a low-risk industry. Heavy construction, along with mid-sized and large construction businesses, may not qualify for a BOP, which is more appropriate for small contractors or subcontractors. However, it’s always a good idea to ask your insurance agent if this would be a good addition to your overall contractors insurance.

Is a BOP Right For My Business?

BOPs typically have a cap on policy limits – the maximum amount the policy will pay in the event of a claim. Make sure your CGL limit is enough to cover the cost of a potential lawsuit and make sure your Property Insurance limit would cover the value of your property.

If a BOP provides enough protection for your business, it could save you money.

What Doesn’t a BOP Cover?

The basic coverage of a BOP may not cover certain circumstances. For example, contractors may discover that equipment that is transported or stored on a job site may not be covered under CGL; that is what Inland Marine Insurance is designed for.

A restaurant owner who serves alcohol may find that a BOP may not cover a lawsuit that arises from an intoxicated person served at your restaurant; that’s what Liquor Liability Insurance for your restaurant covers.  

 

How Else Can I Save on Contractor or Restaurant Insurance?

To save even more on your business insurance costs, work with an independent insurance agent like those at American Insuring Group who 1) specialize in contractor and restaurant insurance, and 2) can compare the price and quality of your coverage among several competing insurance companies.

American Insuring Group has you covered. Give one of our experienced independent agents a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

We serve the greater Philadelphia, Reading, Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Erie, PA region and beyond.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance

How Can Business Interruption Insurance Save Your Business?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 29, 2019

Business_Interruption_Insurance (2)Do you have Business Interruption coverage for your business? No? Let me ask you this… What would you do if there was a fire in your building, and you were forced to shut down while repairs were made?

If your business is shut down, you probably won’t have customers. If you don’t have customers, you probably won’t have any income to pay yourself or your employees. According to FEMA, nearly 40% of small businesses never reopen following a disaster.

That’s where Business Interruption Insurance can help.

What is Business Interruption Insurance?

Business Interruption Insurance (Aka Business Income) is typically an endorsement that can be added to most Commercial Property Insurance policies. It protects your business income that is a direct result of a loss, damage, or destruction of your property that is covered by your Commercial Property Insurance.

Additional Coverage to Consider

Extended Period of Indemnity

Some policies include a 30-day extension beyond the standard period of restoration; however, you may need more than the 30-day extension. Sometimes, it takes a while to get a business up and running following an extended closure. Therefore, you may want to consider buying an extended period of indemnity option endorsement, which increases that 30-day extension in multiples of 30, up to 720 days.

Extra Expense Coverage

If your property is damaged, you may incur additional expenses to keep your business running. Those expenses could include the cost of moving to a temporary site, leasing equipment, paying overtime, etc. Extra Expense coverage pays for expenses that are above and beyond your normal operating costs but are required to keep your business running after your property is damaged.

Service Interruption Coverage

One in four companies experience a power outage at least once a month, according to Bloom Energy, and it’s estimated to be costing the U.S. economy $150 billion annually.

If a utility company – such as electrical, gas, water, telephone, etc. – experiences damage to a property that is not on your premises but causes an interruption in your business operations, or an actual financial loss, Service Interruption Coverage may kick in.

Contingent Business Interruption (CBI)

CBI covers your business income loss that is a result of loss, damage, or destruction of properties owned by suppliers of goods and services that you need to run your business. The damage must be the type of damage that your Commercial Property Insurance policy covers.

Leader Property Endorsement

This endorsement helps protect your business if an off-premises facility within a certain distance of your property incurs property damage that affects your business. This endorsement is good for restaurants that rely on the customers coming from another venue, such as a casino, stadium, or amusement park.

Interruption by Civil or Military Authority

If a civil or military authority denies you access to your property, this type of policy may cover lost business sustained during the time you are denied access. This type of thing can happen during a hurricane, winter storm, flood, etc.

 

How to Save Big on Business Interruption Insurance

Sometimes it’s hard to think of every risk that your business may face, and insurance policy verbiage can be complicated. This is why an experienced insurance agent is vital if you want to understand your risks and options and protect your business.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Commercial Insurance. They can not only ensure that you have the right coverage they can also ensure that you pay the lowest price for that coverage by shopping among many competing providers for you. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

 

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, commercial property insurance, Utility Service Interruption Insurance, Business Interruption Insurance

What You Need to Know About Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 22, 2019

save_restaurant_insuranceWhen it comes to Restaurant Insurance, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every restaurant has different assets that need to be protected, different risk factors, and different types of liability. And every restaurant owner has different levels of comfort when it comes to those risks and liabilities.

Restaurant Insurance can be very complicated if you aren’t familiar with the risks, your different insurance options, and typical exclusions. Here is some basic information about Restaurant Insurance to help ensure that you get the best insurance for your needs.

Insurance Coverage Your Restaurant May Need

With all the different types of insurance coverage available today, including some rather odd ones like chicken insurance and alien abduction insurance (we kid you not!), it’s best to start with the basics and add additional coverage IF you need it. Here are three basic types of coverage every restaurant owner should consider.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance

CGL protects your business from bodily injury, personal injury, or property damage caused by your restaurant or on your restaurant’s premises. For example, if someone is injured after falling on your property or becomes sick after eating your food, they can sue you. Commercial Liability Insurance will pay for your legal expenses such as attorney fees and judgments against your restaurant. 

It’s important to consider your risks and determine if your CGL policy will cover it or if it is an exclusion. For example, if you serve alcohol to a customer who then causes a car accident upon leaving your restaurant, you could be held liable for any damage or injury caused by the accident. Most CGL policies won’t cover you in that situation, but Liquor Liability Insurance will.

Property Insurance

Property Insurance protects many of your assets, such as your building and your equipment from fire, storm, or theft damage. It may also include Business Interruption Insurance that covers lost income if damage forces you to close your restaurant temporarily.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Pennsylvania, if you have one or more employees – whether they are full- or part-time, you are probably required to carry WC Insurance for each of your employees. WC covers medical expenses and lost wages if your employee is injured on the job. It also protects you against lawsuits filed by an injured worker.

Those are the basic coverages, but depending on your situation, there may be other types of insurance to consider. For example, if you use a vehicle for business, you should have Commercial Auto Insurance for that vehicle, whether it is owned or leased or even if it belongs to an employee.

An insurance agent who specializes in Restaurant Insurance can help you identify any additional risks and determine the best way to cover those risks.

How is the Cost of Your Restaurant Insurance Determined?

Every restaurant is individually underwritten based on the circumstances of its establishment. You will be asked many questions when you apply for insurance, and insurance companies will do some of their own research before quoting you a price. Your costs will be based on how much risk or liability you restaurant poses, the value of what you need to protect, and the level of your coverage.

To determine your risk (how likely you are to make a claim), insurance companies will look at your loss history, years in business, hours of operation, whether or not you sell alcohol and if so, how much, activities within your restaurant, such as entertainment, ID checkers, etc.

To determine the value of what you need to protect, they will look at the size of your property, the volume of your sales and payroll, the type of property, etc.

The level of coverage will be based on several things, including lease requirements, lender requirements, and how comfortable you are with risk.

When you talk to your insurance agent, be open and honest about the operation of your restaurant. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a situation where you don’t have enough coverage or any coverage when you need it.

How to Save Big on Restaurant Insurance

Because American Insuring Group’s agents have experience in Restaurant Insurance, we can help identify risks that are typical for restaurants as well as risks unique to your establishment to ensure that you have the right coverage to protect your assets. As independent agents, we can check with several companies to ensure that you get the best price for that coverage.

Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online and let us show you how we can lower all your Commercial Insurance Costs!

 

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, PA Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, commercial property insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Do You Have the Right Restaurant Insurance Coverage?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Nov 24, 2019

AIG Cook with questionmarksWhether you are a new restaurant owner or have been in business for decades, Restaurant Insurance can be complicated. You probably have lots of questions, such as what insurance do I really need to protect my business and what insurance can I do without.

There aren’t any cookie-cutter answers to these questions because every restaurant has different types and levels of risks, and every restaurant owner has different levels of risk they are comfortable with.

Here are 7 Tips to Help You Get the Right Insurance for Your Restaurant:  

Understand What Factors Affect Your Insurance Rates:

Many factors go into the cost of your restaurant insurance. Some you have control over and some you do not. Understanding which factors can affect the cost of your insurance allows you to make informed business decisions.

For example, if you’re thinking about serving alcohol at your restaurant, you can go to your insurance provider to determine just how much that decision would increase your premiums. Maybe you determine that the increased revenue will be worth the increase in your insurance premiums, or maybe you determine that it is not. The bottom line is that you made a sound business decision because you had the facts.  

Here are ten factors that can affect the cost of your insurance premiums:

  1. Years in business
  2. Location
  3. The volume of your sales, payroll, and square feet
  4. Type of property
  5. Lease requirements
  6. Loss history
  7. Activities
  8. Hours of operation
  9. The sale of alcohol
  10. Level of coverage

Make Sure Your Restaurant is Properly Classified

Your restaurant’s classification will affect both your Workers’ Comp Insurance as well as your General Liability Insurance costs. If you own a diner that is only open from 6 am to 2 pm, you want to make sure that you are not given the classification of a bar that stays open until 2 am. There are more risks for a bar staying open until 2 am, and you will pay a higher premium due to those risks.

It’s in your best interest to be honest with your insurance agent about the type of restaurant you own. For example, if you neglect to tell him or her that you serve alcohol, and someone who was served alcohol at your restaurant causes an accident, you may not be covered. One nasty lawsuit against your restaurant could easily put you out of business without the proper protection.

Ask About Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Most businesses in Pennsylvania are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance for their employees. Most insurance carriers require a 25% estimated premium upfront. If you have a lot of employees, that could do some serious damage to your cash flow.

Pay as you go Workers’ Compensation Insurance allows you to pay your premium each month based on your actual payroll rather than an estimate. Pay as you go is particularly helpful for new restaurants that don’t yet know how much their payrolls will be. Pay as you go WC Insurance also eliminates the need for audits.

Don’t Assume That You Do Not Need Commercial Auto Insurance

If you have a vehicle that either you or your employees use for your restaurant, you will need commercial insurance coverage. Even if your employees use their vehicle to run errands like making bank deposits, you may still be held liable if they are in an accident. A non-owned auto policy can help cover your restaurant in that situation.

Consider Cyber Liability Insurance

Just because you are a small business doesn’t mean that you are not at risk for a data breach. In fact, according to Small Biz Trends, 43% of cyber attacks still target small businesses. According to IBM, the average total cost of a data breach in the US is $3.92 million. Of course, this number is skewed due to the really big data breaches like Target experienced, but even having a few of your customers falling victim to a data breach could cost your business thousands of dollars, along with your reputation.

Ask About a Business Owner’s Package (BOP)

A BOP bundles your insurance policies together. Most insurance companies like to bundle your policies because it means more business for them, and bundling policies usually means a discount for you as well.

Bundling with one company also helps ensure that there are no gaps in your coverage, and it could speed up the processing of any claims you have to file.

Understand the Difference Between a Captive Agent and an Independent Agent

A captive agent only represents one company. The agents at the American Insuring Group are all independent agents, which means they can compare the cost of your coverage with several different companies. Often, this means lower premium payments for you.

How to Save Even More on Restaurant Insurance

Perhaps the best way to save on Restaurant Insurance and still ensure that you have enough coverage to protect your restaurant is to work with an insurance agent who is familiar with your industry and its risks, like the independent insurance agents American Insuring Group.

We specialize in Restaurant Insurance and will compare pricing and coverage among lots of insurance companies to find you the very best deal. Don't delay - call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

A Clean Kitchen Can Reduce Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Nov 04, 2019

AIG man cleaning kitchen counterIf you are a restaurant owner or manager, you already understand how vital a clean kitchen is to the safety of your customers. But have you ever considered how a clean kitchen can save you money, such as lowering your restaurant insurance and litigation costs?

Unfortunately, with so many other responsibilities, keeping a restaurant kitchen clean can be a real challenge. Having a cleaning and sanitizing process in place (and strictly enforced) can help make the process much easier.

First, we’re going to remind you why a clean kitchen is key to any restaurant's success and then provide some tips to help you create a cleaning and sanitizing process for your restaurant.

4 Reasons to Maintain a Clean Restaurant:

Keep Your Customers Safe

The obvious reason to keep restaurants – from kitchens to dining tables - impeccably clean is to avoid cross-contamination and food-borne pathogens that can make your customers sick. Also, a buildup of grease that is not properly cleaned can cause a fire putting employees, customers, and your bottom line at risk.

Pass Restaurant Health Inspections

Health inspections are real and can occur at any time – typically one to four times a year. Having a process in place to keep your restaurant clean helps ensure that your restaurant passes health inspections and helps you avoid fines (or closure) if you don’t pass inspection.

Two of the most common health code violations are poor kitchen sanitation and cross-contamination that can lead to food illness; therefore, maintaining a clean restaurant at all times should be your goal.

Maintain a Good Reputation

Having a clean restaurant – both front-of-house areas and behind the scenes - is imperative to your restaurant’s reputation. People will not dine at a visibly dirty restaurant (at least not more than once), and having your restaurant shut down because of a health violation doesn’t exactly instill confidence in your customers.

Keep Restaurant Costs Down

A clean restaurant can help minimize the cost of legal fees and medical costs; thereby, helping to lower your restaurant insurance costs. Plus, a sanitized and clean kitchen helps cut down on food waste.

How to Maintain a Clean Restaurant?

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to sanitation and food safety is the control of bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxins, chemicals, and pathogens like Norovirus and Listeria, which can result in food-borne illness.

On average, one in ten people will become ill, and 420,000 will die every year after eating contaminated food, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Food contamination can occur at any time during food production, distribution, and preparation. Any surface that touches food must be regularly cleaned and sanitized – including countertops, cutting boards, dishes, utensils, flatware, tables, microwaves, and even high chairs.

Having a cleaning and sanitizing process in writing, training all employees on that process, and enforcing that process are key to a clean restaurant. Here are some tips for developing that process in your restaurants.

Basic Steps to Clean All Surfaces:

  1. Remove debris from the item by scraping or rinsing it.
  2. Remove soil by washing the object in detergent.
  3. Rinse with hot water.
  4. Sanitize with a chemical sanitizer or hot water (180F) to reduce pathogens. Sanitization reduces 99.999% of pathogenic microorganisms.
  5. Air dry. Do not rinse or use a towel to dry it after it has been sanitized.

What Should Be Cleaned and When?

While preparing food, cooks should practice basic food safety procedures, such as switching cutting boards and brushing grills between cooking fish, poultry, and red meat.

Tasks performed after each shift should include tasks such as cleaning cooking equipment; washing utensils, plates, and glassware; and sweeping and mopping the floors.

Daily tasks include cleaning out grease traps and running hood filters through the dishwasher.

Weekly tasks should include emptying, washing, and sanitizing reach-in coolers; cleaning coffee machines; and using drain cleaners on floor drains.

Monthly tasks should include things like cleaning freezers, emptying and sanitizing ice machines, washing walls and ceilings, and wiping down storage areas.

There are also annual tasks (that aren’t exactly cleaning but are important), some of which may require a professional, such as checking the fire suppression system, fire extinguishers, the hoods, and pilot lights on gas equipment.

The Webstaurantstore offers a printable checklist that you can start with, but creating checklists specific to your restaurant ensures that everything is covered.

Want to Save Even More on Your Restaurant Insurance?

American Insuring Group specializes in restaurant insurance and offers an extensive blog that provides information about how you can save on restaurant insurance. Plus, as independent agents, we can compare costs with several companies to ensure that you get the best price.  Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Valet Service Impacts Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Oct 20, 2019

Restaurant_Insurance_Valet_Parking_300If you’re trying to set your restaurant apart, you may consider offering valet service. This service could make sense if you have limited parking at your restaurant or just want to offer a service that goes above and beyond what is expected.

If you decide that valet service is something that you want to offer your customers, do a little research first to understand your risks and how to protect your restaurant from those risks.

Parking lots and garages may seem like safe places, but it’s that false sense of security that contributes to the fact that one out of every five motor vehicle accidents takes place in a parking lot. Tens of thousands of accidents occur in parking lots and garages every year, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries, along with property damage to vehicles and structures, according to the National Safety Council.

The good news is that the right Restaurant Insurance coverage can help protect your restaurant from liability, injuries, and damage these accidents cause.

Valet Service Options and the Risks

If you decide to hire your own drivers, they become your employees, which means your restaurant is held liable for their actions. Therefore, you would want to make sure that your Commercial Liability Insurance for your restaurant covers any incidents.

The advantage of hiring your own drivers is that you have control over who is hired to drive your customers’ vehicles and how they are trained.

Here Are Three Save Driving Tips to Share With Your Drivers:

  1. Slow down – Don’t drive any faster than 5-10 mph unless there are posted speed limits.

  2. Pay Attention – Pay attention to pavement markings and traffic signs. Use extra caution while backing out of a space. Every year, about 300 deaths and 18,000 injuries are caused by drivers backing out of parking spaces and driveways. Watch for pedestrians and other cars, and take advantage of backup cameras available in most cars today.

  3. Don’t Get Distracted – Don’t text while driving or walking in a parking lot or garage.

The second option is hiring a third-party company, which significantly lowers your risk but does take away your control of the hiring and training of drivers. You would still need insurance to protect your property if a driver causes damage.

Restaurant Insurance Options for Valet Service

Here are some types of insurance you may want to consider if you decide to add valet services for your restaurant:

  • Commercial General Liability (CGL)– CGL should cover damage to customers’ cars caused by your driver.
  • Workers Compensation – State laws require most businesses that have employees to have WC Insurance. It pays medical expenses and lost wages incurred if an employee is injured on the job along with legal costs if an employee sues you over the injury.
  • Employee Dishonesty – This insurance covers lost or stolen items in a customers’ vehicle, which is not covered by CGL.
  • Garage Liability Insurance – This is a type of umbrella policy that adds a layer of protection to your General Liability Insurance and helps protect your business from property damage and bodily injury
  • Garage Keepers Coverage – This insurance covers damage to your customers’ vehicles.

As with any insurance policy, there are exclusions and limitations to these types of insurance. For example, if your driver parks and locks the vehicle properly and it is vandalized, broken into, or receives weather-related damage, your insurance would NOT cover it. The vehicle owner’s insurance should cover in that situation.

A Good Insurance Agent Can Help You With All Your Commercial Insurance Needs

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in commercial insurance, including Restaurant Insurance. Plus, as independent agents, we check with multiple insurance companies to 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: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Commercial Liability Insurance for Farmers Market Vendors

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 22, 2019

Liability-Insurance-for-Farmers-Market-Vendors-300As the “buy local food” movement continues to gain traction, the U.S. is experiencing an increase in the number of farmers markets across the country.  According to the Farmers Market Coalition, there were less than 2,000 farmers markets in 1994, which has grown to more than 8,600 markets today.

Many vendors have discovered that farmers markets are an easy and economical way to sell everything from produce and honey to cheeses and meats to prepared foods such as jams and pickled items and much more. As with any business endeavor, being a vendor at a farmers market opens you up to liability issues, so you need to make sure you have the right commercial liability insurance to protect yourself.

Farmers Market Vendor Liability Exposure

The two most common types of liability for farmers market vendors are general liability and product liability. General liability involves risks associated with injuries caused by trips and falls, unsecured tents, etc.

Product liability is associated with the food that you sell. The most common product liability issue is food borne illness, but violations in state health regulations – regardless of whether a consumer is harmed or not – can result in a claim.

The good news is that there is plenty you can do to minimize your liability risks and the costs associated with them. Here's how ...

5 Tips to Protect Your Farmers Market Vendor Business

Safety Training

Knowing how to handle and prepare food safely will help minimize your exposure to product liability, and food safety training for all employees might even lower your insurance premiums. Training should include why cleanliness (of hands, tools, prep space, etc.) is so important, how to prevent food cross-contamination, safe food temperatures (see below), and food allergies.

Keep Produce Clean

If you’re selling produce, it’s essential to make sure it is as clean as possible at all times regardless of where it came from or how it was grown (organic, pesticide-free, etc.). Thoroughly clean everything before setting up shop and continue to clean it throughout the day as it is exposed to dust, insects, and people.

Know Your Produce

Consumers are becoming smarter and more particular about the food they’re eating. If you’re selling produce, you should know your product – where it was grown, what (if anything) your produce has been treated with, and whether or not it is organic, pesticide-free, or GMO-free. You’ll need to be able to answer those questions if a consumer asks.

Pay Attention to Temperature

Temperature is one of the most critical elements of food safety. If you want to help ensure the safety of your customers, keep inspectors happy, and keep your insurance costs down, you need to follow food safety temperatures  – during preparation and storage.

The temperature danger zone is between 41 and 135°F. The longer food sits in that temperature range, the higher the risk of bacteria.

Maintain and keep your refrigeration equipment clean, and regularly check to ensure that it is keeping your food properly chilled.

Purchase the Right Insurance

Many farmers markets will require you to have general liability insurance to protect your business and the market. Even if they don’t, it’s a smart business move. Despite all of your best efforts, accidents do happen. Without the proper protection, one lawsuit from someone who trips and falls at your stand or gets sick after eating your food could mean the end of your business.

The farmers market may also require that you add the market and/or the municipality as an “additional insured.” An additional insured enjoys the benefits of the policy you purchase. There may be an extra fee for an “additional insured.”

Want to Ensure You Get the Best Price on Insurance?

Contact one of the experienced agents at the American Insuring Group. Not only do we specialize in Commercial Liability Insurance to ensure that you get the right coverage, but as independent agents, we can compare the cost of that coverage with multiple carriers to ensure you get the best price. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety

National Food Safety Month and Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 08, 2019

food-safety-restaurant-insurance-300As a restaurant owner, your number one priority should be ensuring the safety of the food you serve. Beyond the human element of food safety, foodborne illness can result in negative publicity, huge fines, possible jail time, lawsuits, and higher Restaurant Insurance costs.

In 2016, there were 5,353 cases of food borne illnesses in the U.S. attributed to sit-down dining establishments, 4,139 to fast food restaurants, and 3,116 to catering or banquet facilities.

September is National Food Safety Education Month making it the perfect time to focus on food safety in your restaurant. 

What is a Food borne Illness?

The FDA defines food borne illness as “a common, costly, sometimes life-threatening – yet largely preventable – public health problem.” The two most common food borne pathogens that cause food borne illness are bacteria (Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli) and viruses (norovirus or hepatitis A).

Anyone can get a food borne illness, but pregnant women, young children, and older people have weaker immune systems, which means they are at a higher risk.

Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening illness. The most common symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms can include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, aches, and fatigue.

Tips to Prevent Food Borne Illness

Pay attention to these three areas - Cleanliness, keeping certain foods separated, and cooking and storage temperatures – to prevent food borne illness:

Cleanliness

Eliminate illness-causing germs by keeping everything in your kitchen clean. That includes food, utensils, cutting boards, work surfaces, and your hands.

  • Wash fruits and vegetables, poultry, eggs, or bagged produce marked “pre-washed.” Cut out damaged or bruised areas on fruits and vegetables and rinse under running water (without bleach, soap, or commercial produce washes). Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush fruit and vegetables with a paper towel or clean cloth.
  • Wash all utensils, cutting boards and surfaces after each use with hot, soapy water, and frequently wash dishcloths in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Wash your hands frequently including before, during, and after preparing food, after using the bathroom, and after handling garbage. Use plain soap and water to wash your hands thoroughly, including the backs of your hands, under nails, between fingers, etc. Then rinse and dry with a clean towel.

Keep Certain Foods Separated

Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from other foods while storing and during preparation. Use different plates, utensils, and cutting boards for cooked and raw foods. Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and another for produce and other foods that won’t be cooked before consumption.

Pay Attention to Storage and Cooking Temperatures

Bacteria that can cause food illness multiply the quickest between 40°F and 140°F, so keep your refrigerator at to 40°F or below and your freezer to 0°F or below. Put perishable food in the fridge within two hours. Foods exposed to temperatures above 90°F should be refrigerated within one hour. Thaw or marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

Using a food thermometer, cook food to the right internal temperature.

Pay attention to these three areas, and make sure that your staff is adequately trained on food safety to avoid food borne illness. Your customers and your bank account will thank you.

Want to Save More on Restaurant Insurance?

Another way to save on restaurant insurance is to work with an independent agent like the experienced agents at the American Insuring Group who can compare your restaurant insurance costs with several companies to ensure that you get the best price on your Restaurant Insurance. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety

Restaurant Liability Insurance to Protect Your Investment

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Aug 06, 2019

Restaurant-Liability-InsuranceThere is no denying that we live in a litigious society, and restaurants are not immune to lawsuits. In fact, the very nature of the business often makes them more vulnerable to lawsuits. Don’t believe us?

The 1993 case of a woman suing McDonald’s (and winning $2.86 million) after spilling hot coffee on herself is still fresh in many business owners’ minds. But it doesn’t end there. Check out Eater’s article “The Five Pettiest Lawsuits Against Fast-Food Chains” where you’ll read about Starbucks getting sued for putting ice in iced drinks and Subway being sued for 11-inch sandwiches.

That’s not to say there aren’t genuinely legitimate lawsuits. Someone slips and falls on a spill that wasn’t cleaned up, or someone gets food poisoning from food that was improperly prepared at a restaurant.

The bottom line is that every restaurant is at risk of being sued. Which is why restaurant owners must take steps to 1) prevent those lawsuits and 2) protect themselves with the right Restaurant Liability Insurance in the event of a lawsuit.

How to Prevent Lawsuits

You may not be able to prevent every lawsuit – freak accidents do happen – but there is a lot you can do to prevent most of them. Here are six tips:

  1. Train your employees well including safety and customer service
  2. Create a culture of safety
  3. Maintain consistent processes and quality in your food prep
  4. Treat all employees with respect
  5. Hire a good attorney
  6. Insure your business properly

Liability Insurance to Protect Your Restaurant

General Liability Insurance

This type of insurance, required by most landlords and lenders, covers you when a customer is injured at your restaurant, when there is damage to a customer’s property, or if there are advertising issues such as slander, libel, and copyright infringement.

When a customer is injured – such as slipping, falling, and breaking a leg on your property - general liability insurance covers legal fees, medical expenses, and any judgments imposed against your restaurant. It does not protect your employees; that’s where Workers’ Comp Insurance comes in (see below).

When a customer’s property is damaged – such as a server spilling coffee on a customer’s laptop – general liability helps pay for legal fees, replacement costs, and out-of-court settlements.

When you cause an advertising injury, general liability insurance covers copyright infringement and defamation - both libel(written) and slander(spoken).

Liquor Liability

Serving alcohol increases a restaurants liability issues, and most General Liability Insurance Policies do not cover it, so if you sell alcohol at your establishment, you need to have Liquor Liability Insurance. Pennsylvania is one of 43 states with some type of dram shop law.

According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, “Generally, dram shop laws establish the liability of establishments arising out of the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons or minors who subsequently cause death or injury to third parties (those not having a relationship to the bar) as a result of alcohol-related car crashes and other accidents.”

In other words, if you serve alcohol to someone who then injures someone else or damages someone’s property, you could be held liable. Liquor Liability Insurance helps protect your restaurant from this type of liability.

Product Liability Insurance

Food poisoning is every restaurant owner’s worse nightmare. The fact is that you can train your staff how to handle food safely and have proper processes in place to avoid food contamination, but you can’t control how the food is handled before it arrives at your restaurant. Therefore, food poisoning can still occur, and customers can still sue you for it. Product Liability Insurance helps protect your restaurant from those lawsuits.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ Comp is required for most businesses in Pennsylvania that have employees. It covers medical expenses, lost wages, and disability or death benefits for an employee who is injured on the job. But did you know that WC also covers legal costs if the injured employee sues you over the injury?

When reviewing your insurance needs, make sure your restaurant is protected from all potential risk – including liability.

How to Get the Best Price on Restaurant Liability Insurance

The independent agents at American Insuring Group understand the specific needs of restaurants. We will compare the cost of your coverage with several competing companies to ensure that you get the best price for that coverage. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Liquor Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance

Filling Restaurant Insurance Gaps

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jul 07, 2019

fill-restaurant-insurance-gaps-300Restaurant Insurance is available to protect your property, your employees, and your business. Some types of insurance are pretty standard and may even be required by law or by other entities such as lenders and landlords.

The following are standard types of insurance that most restaurant owners carry:

  • Property Insurance
covers your building and its contents if it is damaged by fire, storms, theft, etc. and is usually required by lenders.
  • Commercial general liability insurance
covers legal costs and any judgments you may be required to pay a plaintiff if you are found liable for bodily injury or damage to someone else’s property.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
covers injury to employees and is required by law for most businesses with employees.

These insurances are great for protecting many of your assets; however, you may find that there are gaps in your coverage.  Fortunately, there are other types of insurance or additional coverages available that can help fill those gaps.

You may not need any of these additional coverages, but knowledge is power. If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road, it is critical that you consider potential risks, determine if they are covered under your existing policies, and decide how (or if) you need additional coverage.  

An experienced agent who specializes in restaurant insurance – like those at American Insuring Group - can help you determine the best coverage for your specific needs.

Here are Additional Coverages You May Want to Consider for Your Restaurant

Liquor Liability

If you have a liquor license, you should have liquor liability insurance to protect your restaurant if a customer becomes intoxicated and causes injury or damage.

Commercial Automobile Insurance

If you use a vehicle to transport food or people, you will need commercial automobile insurance.

Employment Practices Liability

If an employee sues your restaurant for discrimination or harassment, it may not be covered by general liability insurance.

Life Insurance

If your death (and loss of income) would cause a financial hardship for your family, you should consider either term or permanent life insurance.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella Insurance provides coverage above the limits of your general liability, commercial auto, or employer’s liability on a WC policy.

Sewer Backup

Sometimes a sewer backup isn’t just a stinky nuisance; it can cause real damage to your restaurant and is typically not covered under property insurance.

Utility Interruption Coverage

The loss of utilities such as electric, gas, water, etc. could shut down your restaurant or even cause damage to your restaurant.

Equipment Breakdown

Restaurants rely on their equipment – ovens, freezers, food warmers, etc. - and equipment does break down and can cause damage.

Spoilage or Food Contamination Insurance

An interruption in utilities or an equipment breakdown could result in costly food spoilage.

Extra Expense

If your property is damaged, and you want to continue operating at another location while repairs are being made, you’re going to incur expenses such as equipment or property rentals. If you want those expenses covered, you’ll probably need to purchase extra expense coverage.

Fine Arts

If you have expensive paintings or other artwork in your restaurant, you may need to protect your investment from damage or theft with fine arts coverage.

Employee Theft

A typical property insurance policy does not cover theft by employees.

Peak Season

If your restaurant sees a high level of business during certain times of the year, you may want a higher limit for personal property insurance coverage during that time.

Specific Peril Insurance

If your liability policy doesn’t cover damage from natural disasters (some do, and some don’t), you may need specific peril insurance.

Business Interruption Insurance

If your restaurant sustains damage and you need to close for an extended period, business interruption insurance can cover your loss of income while repairs are made.

You don’t want to pay more for insurance than is necessary, but at the same time, you do want to make sure that your business assets are adequately covered. This is where an independent agent who specializes in restaurant insurance can help.

Need Help Ensuring That Your Restaurant’s Assets are Properly Covered?

The independent agents at American Insuring Group can help you determine the best coverage for your restaurant. They check and compare coverage from multiple insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best price on quality coverage. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance