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9 Tips to Reduce Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Oct 17, 2020

Obtain affordable restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Scranton, Erie, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Reading and beyond by following these tips.If you want to protect your restaurant, you need the right Restaurant Insurance coverage, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay a higher price for that coverage.

Here are nine smart tips from the independent agents at American Insuring Group to help you lower your insurance costs.

 

Focus on Safety

Having a safety program in place, along with proper safety training and enforcement, will create a safer restaurant and fewer claims, and restaurants with fewer claims are rewarded with lower insurance premiums. Check out our blog for tips to help you create a safer restaurant – from fire prevention to knife safety.

Improve Security

Insurance is all about risk. Lower the risk – whatever that may be fire, injuries, or theft – and you’ll lower your insurance costs. Here are a few security measures to consider:

  • Security alarm systems
  • Access control systems
  • Video surveillance cameras and video monitoring
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Fire sprinkler systems

Hire Wisely

Employees are one of your biggest assets and probably one of your biggest costs, but there are steps you can take to help lower insurance costs related to employees. For example, if an employee is going to drive one of your commercial vehicles, check their driving record before hiring. An employee with a bad driving record will increase your commercial auto insurance costs.

Also, make sure all of your employees are assigned the correct PCRB classification codes. These codes - based on the probability of an employee getting injured on the job - are used to calculate your Workers’ Compensation premium. If an employee is assigned a classification code meant for someone in a more dangerous job, you’ll end up paying more for WC Insurance. On the other hand, you don’t want an employee assigned a classification code for a less dangerous job, or you could find yourself without coverage when you need it.

And finally, make sure that you promptly let your insurance company know if you hire a new employee, or an employee leaves your restaurant.

Pay Upfront

If you’re making payments throughout the year on your insurance instead of paying the full balance upfront, you’re probably paying more than you have to.

Increase Your Deductible

If you increase the amount of your deductible – the amount you need to pay if a claim is made before the insurance company kicks in - you can lower the cost of your premiums. However, you must ensure that you have money set aside to pay that higher deductible if you have to make a claim.

Carry the Right Coverage

You don’t want to have coverage you don’t need, but then again, you don’t want to have gaps in your coverage that end up costing you more when you try to make a claim. The experienced agents at American Insurance Group specialize in Restaurant Insurance, and can help you determine the best coverage for your restaurant at the best price.

Bundle 

Typically, when you buy anything in quantity, you pay less, and the same is true with insurance. You probably need several types of insurance – WC, liability, maybe commercial auto, etc. If you purchase several or all of your policies with one insurance company, you will often pay less.

Review Your Policies Annually

You have a lot on your plate, and insurance is probably not something you want to spend a lot of time on; however, Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, said, “change is the only constant in life.”

And that is certainly true in the restaurant industry – you may have purchased a new vehicle, decreased your staff, started serving alcohol or delivering food, or any number of things that could affect your insurance coverage and costs. Therefore, it’s essential to make time to review your policies every year to make sure you have the right coverage at the best rate.

Work With an Independent Agent!

The independent agents at the American Insuring Group will check with many insurance carriers to ensure that you get the best price on quality insurance protection. Give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, commercial vehicle insuarance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

3 Food Safety Tips to Reduce Risk and Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Sep 19, 2020

The best restaurant insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Erie, Harrisburg, PA and far beyond.Want to lower your Restaurant Insurance costs? Minimize risk. It’s that simple. It may not always be easy, but it’s always that simple.

One way to minimize risk is to take every precaution to ensure the safety of the food you’re serving. One mistake can result in a customer becoming ill, the destruction of your reputation, a health department inspection, a lawsuit, or even shutting your restaurant down, and of course, higher insurance premiums.

According to the CDC, every year, approximately 48 million people get sick, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. The majority of foodborne illnesses are caused by foodborne pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and most of those can be eliminated in a restaurant kitchen with strictly enforced food safety protocols.

According to the Health Care Agency, the top five causes of foodborne illnesses are as follows:

  • Dirty and/or contaminated utensils and equipment
  • Poor employee health and hygiene
  • Improper hot/cold holding temperatures of potentially hazardous food
  • Improper cooking temperatures of food
  • Food from unsafe sources

Here are three tips to minimize most of those risks.

Clean and Sanitize

Perhaps more than any other industry, cleanliness is crucial in the food industry where cross-contamination is always a concern. First, you need to make sure every surface in your kitchen is clean – from cutting boards to stovetops (which also helps avoid fires). Make sure every tool in your kitchen is regularly cleaned and sanitized – from dishes to cooking utensils. And don’t forget those hidden spaces like ovens and refrigerators.

Regularly wipe down surfaces, and make sure that whatever you are using – a sponge, rag, etc. – is actually cleaning the surface and not just moving the dirt around, creating a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Regularly replace disposable items and wash rags daily.

Every food contact surface, utensil, food prep equipment should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized at least once every four hours. Ovens, stoves, grills, and hoods should be thoroughly cleaned every night.

And don’t forget about the role your employees play in keeping your restaurant clean. Train them about the importance of cleanliness and how to maintain a clean restaurant and remind them frequently with posters, signs, and on-going training. Advise them not to come to work when they are sick, and make sure they wash their hands regularly.

The CDC recommends employees wash their hands during these critical times:

  • Before, during, and after preparing any food.
  • After handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Before eating.
  • After touching garbage.
  • After wiping counters or cleaning other surfaces with chemicals.
  • After touching pets, pet food, or pet treats.
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

To properly wash your hands, the CDC recommends following these five steps to prevent the spread of germs:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Pay Attention to Temperatures

When cooking, remember that some meats, like beef or lamb, can be served rare or, in some cases, raw; whereas, pork and chicken must be cooked thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to ensure that food (especially meats) are cooked to safe minimum internal temperatures.

Also, remember to keep food out of the “danger zone” (40°F - 140°F) where bacteria can grow most rapidly. Keep hot food at 140°F or higher and cold food at 40°F or lower. Don’t leave food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F.

Bacteria can be reintroduced to food after it is safely cooked, so put leftovers in shallow containers for quick cooling and then refrigerate them at 40°F or lower within two hours.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria or other microorganisms from one person, object, or place to another. Preventing cross-contamination is key to preventing foodborne illness. Keeping everything clean is your first step, but there are other things you can do.

The three main types of cross-contamination are food-to-food, equipment-to-food, and people-to-food. To avoid food-to-food cross-contamination, thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables and keep raw and cooked food stored separately.

Avoid equipment-to-food contamination by making sure all equipment and surfaces are thoroughly washed and use different cutting boards, utensils, and containers for different types of food, such as raw meat and poultry products to avoid cross-contamination. Replace cutting boards when they develop hard-to-clean cuts.

People can also transfer bacteria through their bodies or clothes while preparing or serving food. Remind employees to wash their hands frequently and to keep their hair pulled back or restrained in a hair net.

Protect Your Restaurant with The Right Insurance

Sometimes despite your best efforts, a customer will become ill. The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can make sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect your restaurant against potential lawsuits and, as independent agents, compare pricing among many competing carriers to ensure you get the lowest price for that great coverage.

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance Berks County, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Restaurant Safety and Outdoor Dining Tips

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 11, 2020

Outdoor dining tips to help restaurants saver on insurance in Philadelphia, Berks County, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, PA and far beyond.The rules and restrictions put in place by Gov. Tom Wolf, during the COVID-19 pandemic, forced many restaurants to get a little creative. At first, only take-out and curbside pickup were allowed, and then in early June, restaurants were given the okay for outdoor seating.

Many restaurants that hadn't offered outside seating before the pandemic, quickly adapted. And even as we moved into the green phase and some of the restrictions on indoor dining were lifted, many diners continued to feel safer eating outside.

Even without the fear of COVID-19, many people enjoy outdoor dining. Still, restaurants need to remember that outdoor dining presents a few challenges, including risks that could affect the cost of Restaurant Insurance.

Here are tips to ensure the safety of your customers and staff:

Food Safety

Food safety should always be a priority for restaurants, but as the temperatures rise, it becomes even more crucial. According to the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), there is a "Danger Zone" – temperatures 40 to 140 degrees F - where bacteria can grow more rapidly. 

If you are in the "danger zone" (which will often occur with outdoor dining in the summer), don't leave food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, and if temperatures are above 90 degrees, that time goes down to one hour. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees F, or colder and hot foods should be kept at an internal temp of 40 degrees F or higher.

Weather

Bad weather can be just a nuisance or an actual danger to outdoor diners and restaurant staff.

Restaurant managers can keep an eye on the weather and be more prepared for bad weather by uploading a weather app to their phone.

A roof, partial enclosure, or even table umbrellas can help keep diners dry and protected from the hot sun.  Other ways to keep diners cool are fans or mist sprayers. Also, make sure your staff provides cold water to customers on particularly hot days.

As the weather begins to cool, you can extend your outdoor dining time with patio heaters to keep diners warm on chilly fall evenings.

Bugs

Bugs are just a part of summer living, but that doesn't make them any more tolerable when your customers are trying to enjoy their meals al fresco! Consider adding mosquito-repelling plants (such as lemongrass or scented geraniums) or a commercial bug zapper or bug light. Do NOT spray insect repellent around food or customers.

Smoking

According to the PA Department of Health, smoking is not banned for "structures such as a deck or patio that is not enclosed by walls and a ceiling." You should still have a policy in place, especially if you decide to extend the ban to outdoor spaces at your restaurant.

Pets

Americans are obsessed with their pets, and many would love to bring their dogs along with them when they eat outside. While many states (17, according to Michigan State University's Animal Legal and Historical Center) are beginning to allow pets into outdoor areas of restaurants, Pennsylvania is currently not one of them – unless it is a service animal protected under the American with Disabilities Act. The reasons for this restriction given by many experts are health (diseases and parasites), safety (biting), and aesthetics (barking).

Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

Keeping diners and staff safe helps keep the costs of Restaurant Insurance in check. Another way to keep those costs down is to work with an independent agent (like those at American Insuring Group) who can compare the cost of your insurance with several carriers to ensure you get the best price. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Reading PA, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Slip-Resistant Shoes Help Lower Restaurant Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jul 04, 2020

slip-resistant shoes can lower restaurant insurance costsIf you want to lower Restaurant Insurance costs, a comprehensive safety plan is essential. A well-designed and enforced safety program helps minimize the number of injuries. This results in fewer insurance claims, which lowers your insurance costs and provides numerous other benefits, such as improved employee morale and productivity.

But where should you begin with a safety program?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips, and falls are the third most common type of work-related injury in the US and the second most common fatal work-related injury. While falling from a higher level resulted in more work-related fatalities, injuries caused by falls on the same level occur more often in restaurants and can cause injury. In fact, the BLS reports that half of all falls from the same level ended in more than ten days away from work.

The most common injuries in same-level falls include sprains, strains, dislocations, and tears to the lower extremities, which are the most expensive category of injuries, costing almost $13 million in Workers’ Compensation costs every year.

So, there’s your answer as to where to begin! Start your safety program by minimizing the risk of falls. Here’s information about one simple step – providing slip-resistant shoes - that can help significantly decrease slip, trip, and fall injuries in your restaurant.

The Study

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Laboratory studies of slip-resistant footwear to reduce slips, trips, and falls have shown promise in reducing slips, but limited field research made it difficult to demonstrate if slip-resistant footwear actually reduced injuries.”

So, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated 17,000 food-service workers in 226 school districts across the US to determine the effectiveness of a program that provided highly-rated slip-resistant shoes at no cost to the workers. The researchers wanted to see if this type of program would reduce WC injury claims related to slipping on greasy or wet floors.

Workers in some of the school districts in the study wore 5-star rated slip-resistant shoes that were given to them at no cost, and workers in other districts wore their own slip-resistant shoes. The shoes provided were designed specifically to prevent slips on greasy or wet floors.

The Results

The districts where workers were provided slip-resistant shoes experienced a 67% reduction in claims for slip injuries. The baseline measure was 3.54 slipping injuries per 10,000 months worked, which was reduced to 1.18 slipping injuries per 10,000 months worked during the time when workers wore slip-resistant shoes that were provided at no cost.

The other districts where workers were not given slip-resistant shoes did not experience any decline in slip injuries.

The study also found that – prior to the study - workers over the age of 55 had a higher probability of a slip-related WC claim (4.2 injuries per 10,000 worker months) than workers under the age of 55 (2.3 injuries per 10,000 worker months). Therefore, as the number of workers over the age of 55 remain active in the US workforce, preventing slipping injuries becomes even more vital if businesses want to keep Workers’ Compensation costs down.

The CDC concluded, “The findings from this study provide evidence of the effectiveness of slip-resistant footwear and may assist employers, managers, and workers in their decision on whether to invest time and resources in a slip-resistant footwear program.”

Additional Tips to Lower Your Restaurant Insurance Costs

American Insuring Group specializes in Restaurant Insurance and is focused on providing the best insurance coverage at the best price. Discover more safety tips on our blog and give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to discover how we can help you save even more on your Restaurant Insurance costs!

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, workers comp costs, Safety Programs, Restaurant Safety, Restaurant Insurance Costs

Third-Party Food Delivery Liability and Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 23, 2020


COVID19 food delivery restaurant insurance tips for restaurant ownersThird-party food delivery got a serious boost when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered all restaurants and bars to close their dine-in facilities to help stop the spread of COVID-19, while still permitting carry-out, delivery, and drive-through food and beverage service. Many restaurants began offering food delivery through apps such as Grubhub and UberEats. 

It's crucial that restaurants understand potential liability and how Restaurant Insurance can help.

At the end of January 2020 - before the ordered shutdown - Upserve reported that 31% of people in a survey said they use a third-party delivery service at least twice a week. Imagine how that number has skyrocketed in just a few months!

The use of third-party delivery services has allowed many restaurants to continue serving food without investing in a driver or other infrastructure while their dining rooms remain closed. On the other hand, it has also opened restaurants up to potential new liability and legal ramifications.

Here are four questions to ask about potential liability when using a third-party food delivery app.

Who is Liable if a Customer Gets Sick After Eating Your Food That is Delivered by a Third-Party?

It may be impossible to discover where things went wrong. The illness could have been caused by cross-contamination in your kitchen, or it could have been caused by the food sitting in a hot car too long.

Food delivery services do not fall under the Food and Drug Administration’s jurisdiction, so you may find your restaurant being held liable regardless. Before deciding to partner with a third-party delivery app, ask them if their drivers are required to follow any food safety standards - such as hygiene or temperature control – and who will be held liable if there is an illness.

Who is Liable for Issuing Refunds or Other Compensation if There is a Problem With the Food?

Beyond food contamination and illness, many smaller things can go wrong when you hand over your carefully prepared food to a complete stranger. Food can go cold. A pizza could get flipped over in the box, leaving all the cheese stuck to the lid.

You have no control over what happens to the food once it leaves your restaurant; however, it’s still your restaurant’s reputation on the line if your customers are disappointed with the quality of the food. Make sure that you provide the right packaging for the food on your menu and perhaps limit the delivery distance.

Who is Liable if the Delivery Person is in an Automobile Accident While Delivering Your Food?

The food delivery app probably requires that its drivers all have automobile insurance, but don’t assume they do. Ask what insurance policies they require their drivers to have and how they enforce and monitor the requirement.

A driver can present proof of insurance one day and lose it the next day for nonpayment. It may not be a bad idea for you to require proof of insurance from every driver each time they make a pickup at your restaurant.

Who is Liable if the Delivery Service is Not Sanctioned by Your Restaurant and Something Goes Wrong?

Some food delivery brands deliver food from restaurants without permission from the restaurant owners. So it’s crucial that you clearly advertise which third-party delivery services you have partnered with and include a disclaimer about potential liability from unsanctioned services.

How Can I Protect My Restaurant From Liability Issues?

The best way to protect your restaurant from any liability issues is with the right insurance. Talk to an independent insurance agent who specializes in restaurant insurance – like the agents at American Insuring Group – to make sure you get the lowest price for that coverage. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs

How to Protect Your Bakery With Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 02, 2020

bakeries_restaurant_insuranceMichael E. Gerber wrote a book called The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to do About it. In the book, Gerber introduces us to Sarah, a young woman who starts a bakery business to sell the pies that she loves to bake. Sarah is struggling. She’s working twelve hours a day and becoming frustrated and completely burnt out.

Gerber tells her it’s because she’s working “in” her business rather than “on” her business. She’s so busy baking pies, serving customers, cleaning the shop, etc. she doesn’t have time for vital business tasks, such as strategizing, marketing, etc.

The bottom line is that if you aren’t taking time to figure out how to run your business efficiently, how to grow it, and how to protect it, your business will fail. As an insurance broker, American Insuring Group is focused on helping restaurant owners - including bakery shop owners – protect their businesses with the right Restaurant Insurance.

What Types of Restaurant Insurance Does a Bakery Need?

The best way to determine what types of insurance you need is to think about your risks. Go through “what-if” scenarios. For example, what if there’s a fire in my kitchen, and I have to shut down. How will I pay for the repairs? Can I survive with no income while the repairs are made?

What if my delivery truck breaks down? What if… you get the idea. This exercise will help you determine your risks, so you can learn the best way to protect your bakery from those risks.

An experienced insurance agent can help you determine your risks, what you need to protect, and the most economical way to do that. Here is a list of the most common types of restaurant insurance bakeries need.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance

CGL Insurance helps cover customer injuries that occur at your bakery, customer property damage, and libel or slander lawsuits. For example, a customer trips and falls while picking up his morning bagels and is injured. You may be responsible for paying his medical bills, and there is always the possibility that he will file a lawsuit against you.

Another example would be if someone were to get sick from eating something they purchased at your bakery. Unfortunately, even if the illness was caused by an ingredient that you bought from someone else, most attorneys will name everyone involved (included the baker) in a lawsuit. Most CGL policies include compensation for third-party claims of injury, illness, disease, or death that was caused by food contamination or food borne illness claims.

Commercial Property Insurance

Going back to the “what-if” scenario, if there is a fire in your kitchen, a Commercial Property Insurance policy will help pay for repairs to your equipment and property. Typically, Commercial Property Insurance covers risks such as fire, power outages, theft, etc.

You can expand your coverage to include Business Interruption Insurance that would help pay for lost revenue or sales that would occur while your bakery is closed for repairs.

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

A BOP combines CGL and Commercial Property Insurance and helps lower your insurance costs.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In Pennsylvania, almost all businesses with one or more employees are required by law to have Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance. WC helps pay for medical expenses and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job and protects the employer against accident-related lawsuits by injured employees.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

If you have a vehicle that you use for business purposes – such as making deliveries, you need Commercial Vehicle Insurance. It covers medical costs and property damage that result in an accident that involves your vehicle.

How Can a Bakery Minimize the Cost of Insurance?

If you’ve decided to work on your business rather than just in your business, you need to take steps to protect your business. The American Insuring Group has agents who specialize in Restaurant Insurance to help you determine your risks and the best way to protect your business. Plus, as independent agents, we compare the cost of your coverage with several insurance companies to ensure you get the best price for that coverage.

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

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Philadelphia PA, Restaurant Insurance Costs

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

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

Food Allergies and Restaurant Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jun 09, 2019

Food allergies can affect restaurant insurance costs.Are food allergies affecting the cost of your restaurant liability insurance? Maybe. 

If it seems as if more people suffer from food allergies, it’s because they are. According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), food allergies in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, and the number of children hospitalized due to food allergies tripled between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s. 

In the U.S., about 15 million people have food allergies, and food allergic reactions are responsible for approximately 30,000 emergency room visits and 150-200 deaths every year, according to the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net). Over a thirteen-year period, nearly half of all fatal food allergy reactions were caused by food from restaurants or other food establishments. 

What if one of those reactions was a result of something that person ate at your restaurant? Are you liable? Again, maybe! 

So far, five states have enacted laws to make it safer for individuals with food allergies to eat at restaurants. While Pennsylvania is not one of those states, that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit, which could affect not only your restaurant's liability insurance rates but also your restaurant’s reputation. 

What is a Food Allergy?

The Mayo Clinic defines a food allergy as “an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives, or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.”

Symptoms can begin within a few minutes or up to two hours and can include one or more of the following:

  • Hives
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
  • Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are more than 160 foods that can cause an allergic reaction, but eight foods account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions. Those eight major food allergens include the following:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)
  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  6. Peanuts
  7. Wheat
  8. Soybeans

What do Restaurant Employees Know About Food Allergies?

A study conducted by the EHS-Net discovered that while most restaurant managers, workers, and servers were familiar with food allergies, there were significant gaps in that knowledge. This isn’t surprising since less than fifty percent of those interviewed had received food allergy training.

For the most part, restaurant employees could recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction and knew to call 911 if a reaction occurred. 

However, one in ten were under the false assumption that someone with a food allergy could eat a small amount of an allergen without experiencing any adverse effects. The study also concluded that while most restaurants make ingredient lists available, many of them did not take other steps – such as avoiding cross food contamination – to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. 

What Your Restaurant Can Do to Ensure the Safety of Customers With Food Allergies

The EHS-Net recommends that restaurants do the following:

  • Train staff on food allergies including identifying major food allergens, how to prevent cross-contamination of allergens, and what to do if a customer has an allergic reaction
  • Have a designated person on duty at all times to handle food allergy questions and requests
  • Keep ingredient lists or recipes for menu items available for customers
  • Use dedicated areas and equipment to prep and cook meals for customers with food allergies
  • If this isn’t possible, clean prep areas and equipment before preparing meals for customers with food allergies 

If taking a few steps can help ensure the safety of your customers and help minimize the possibility of a lawsuit and the adverse effects that go with it, isn’t it worth the effort? Lowering your restaurant liability insurance is just icing on the cake.

We Specialize in Restaurant Insurance

If you want to save even more on your restaurant insurance, give one of the agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in restaurant insurance a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Restaurant Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Restaurant Liability Insurance, Restaurant Insurance Costs