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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

8 Practical Insurance Tips for Small Business Owners

Posted by David Ross on Sun, May 05, 2019

Contact Us for Commercial Insurance for Business Owners Wearing Multiple HatsAs a business owner, you wear many hats, and sometimes all of the responsibilities can seem overwhelming.

The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert on everything – accounting, marketing, insurance, etc. Finding a trusted professional in many of these areas helps ensure the success of your business… not to mention your sanity.

Your commercial insurance protection is one of those areas. It’s something you need to protect your assets, your employees, and your business, and a good insurance agent can guide you through the process.

 

Here are 8 practical insurance tips for small business owners from the experienced agents at American Insuring Group:

1 - Consider What Assets You Need to Protect

Sit down and make a list of all the assets you want to protect. The obvious assets are buildings, computers, vehicles, furniture, and inventory that you own. But other things to consider are things you lease and customer goods that are in your care.

2 - Don’t Forget Intangibles

Sometimes you need to protect things that are less tangible than buildings and furniture such as your income, your reputation, your customers, and your employees. This is where insurances such as workers’ compensation, key person life insurance, and business interruption come into play 

Then there is the area of liability that has the potential to destroy your business if you don’t protect it adequately. We live in a very litigious society, and your liability can be unlimited, so taking the highest limit you can afford is often the best approach.

The risk is different for every business, but here are some types of liability insurance:

  • General liability
  • Builders Risk Insurance for contractors
  • Inland Marine Insurance
  • Errors and Omissions or Professional Liability Insurance
  • Liquor Liability Insurance

3 - Identify your Insurance Responsibilities

Sometimes a third party – such as a client, lender, or landlord - may require that you have certain types of insurance. Ask for any insurance requirements from these individuals in writing.

4 - Understand the Difference between Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Value

On paper, assets depreciate, but often the value of an asset to a business doesn’t change, so you need to understand the difference between actual cash value and replacement value.

For example, let’s say you bought a truck for $50,000 to deliver your product. Each year, the value of that truck will depreciate. After five or ten years, that truck would be worth a lot less than $50,000. 

However, if that truck is totaled in an accident five or ten years later, you are going to need to replace it, so you can continue to deliver your product. If you’ve insured the vehicle at the depreciated value, you may not be able to replace it. The value of that truck to your business (getting the product to your customers) is much higher than the depreciated value of the truck.

To avoid this problem, insure your assets for what it would cost you to replace it – replacement cost.

5 - Look for Ways to Save Money without Affecting Coverage

One of the simplest ways to save money on insurance is to increase your deductibles. Just make sure that you have the available cash to pay the higher deductible if you have to make a claim.

Check if you qualify for a business-owners policy, which offers discounts and often includes additional coverage. Ask about an umbrella policy if you think you need higher liability limits.

Work with an independent agent who can check the rates with several different insurance companies rather than being locked into just one. 

6 - Find an Experienced, Professional Insurance Agent

Find an agent that specializes in your industry – such as commercial insurance, truck insurance, and contractors insurance. Look for agents that are willing to talk to you about your concerns and answer your questions.  Look for professional credentials such as CPCU, CIC, or CLU.

7 - Get Everything in Writing

When looking for the best insurance coverage for your business, ask for a written proposal and consider alternatives. Take the time to carefully read your insurance policy looking at conditions, exclusions, and limitations of your policy to ensure that there aren’t any gaps, and ask your agent questions.

8 - Review Your Policy Annually

Things change – you buy a new truck, you sell an asset, etc., so it’s vital that you review your policy regularly to ensure that you continue to have the right coverage at the best price.

 

The Best Tip of All – Let Us Help You Get Properly Covered!

Contact us when buying Commercial InsuranceAs a business owner or manager, you have enough to worry about – employees, sales, and the list goes on.

Turn to the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group to help you navigate the process. We'll work with you to ensure that you have the right coverage at the best price because as independents we’re free to shop competing providers (unlike those single-brand competitors of ours!).

So call us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online.

Tags: Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance

The Right Way to Insure Food Trucks

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 09, 2018

Insurance tips for your food truck businessIn 2015, the food truck industry was valued at $856.7 million, and it is expected to grow to $996.2 million by 2020. There are many reasons for this growth including the seemingly easy entry into the restaurant business that it provides.

Low Start Up Costs

You can purchase a food truck for as little as a few thousand dollars, but like any business, it’s imperative that you protect your assets and your business. One way to protect both is with the right insurance.

Insuring a food truck can be a little tricky because it has many of the risks associated with commercial vehicles as well as those associated with restaurant insurance, not to mention all the risks that all businesses face, plus a few that are unique to the food truck industry.

4 Unique Risks

For example, it is more difficult to regulate temperatures on a food truck, which can increase the risk of food contamination and food poisoning. Plus, the small food prep area in food trucks create a greater chance of accidentally exposing customerswith food allergies to allergens. Slip and fall injuries can occur both inside and outside of a food truck, and trucks can be easier to break into than brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Another consideration is Workers Compensation Insurance. In Pennsylvania, It is required for most – but not all - businesses with employeesto have WC insurance. If you fall into the “not all” category, you may be tempted to forego WC coverage to “save money.” But kitchens can be dangerous places where injuries can happen, and medical bills can quickly add up to significantly more than the money you saved.

Don’t Skimp on Insurance

It may be tempting to try to save money by only purchasing the minimum insurance required by law or by the venue where you park your truck, but that minimum may not be enough to protect your business.

For example, many festivals require a minimum $1 million in general liability coverage. You can purchase liability insurance to cover just that event, but then you leave your business open to risks when it’s not at the event. Plus, buying insurance on an event-by-event basis can be significantly more expensive than purchasing it on a yearly basis.

If you keep the big picture in mind when purchasing insurance for your food truck, you allow your business the flexibility and freedom it may need to grow along with the protection you need to stay in business.

To ensure that you have the proper protection, it is best to consult with an independent insurance agent who specializes in food truck and restaurant insurance. We can help determine any mandated minimum insurance requirements along with any additional risks your business may face.

  

Here are some of the types of insurance to consider for your food truck business:

 

1 - General Liability Insurance

This insurance protects your business from lawsuits or claims made by third parties including physical injury, property damage, and legal fees.

2 - Commercial Auto Insurance

This insurance helps cover risks while you are driving your food truck. If you are in an auto accident, it helps cover the cost of medical, repair, and legal expenses.

3 - Business Owner’s Insurance

This insurance combines business content coverage and general liability insurance to cover both lawsuits and damage to your property, and it usually costs less than buying property and general liability coverage separately.  

4 - Worker’s Compensation Insurance

This insurance pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and lawsuits if one of your employees is hurt on the job. 

5 - Additional Insurance

Other types of commercial insurance you may want to consider include…

  • Umbrella Insurance, which goes above the normal limits covered by your liability and auto policies
  • Food Spoilage Insurance, which covers you if your food spoils due to equipment breakdown, mechanical failure, or power outage
  • Loss of Income Insurance, which covers some of your income if your food truck is damaged, and you’re unable to continue operations.

  

Do it Right! Contact Us for Help in Making a Smart Decision

Contact us about food truck insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, PA and more.If you aren’t absolutely sure what you need to properly protect your food truck business, give the independent insurance agents at American Insuring Group a call.

We specialize in restaurant and food truck insurance and can help you sift through all your risks and options in order to properly protect your business. Simply contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to contact us online.

Tags: Commercial Vehicle Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Small Business Insurance, Business Insurance, Food Truck Insurance

What is Commercial Liability Insurance and Do You Need it?

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Sep 02, 2018
Business-Liability-Insurance-2018-Tips-300Every business – no matter how big or how small – faces liability, but do you need general liability insurance? Regardless of how careful you are, accidents can (and do) happen causing damage to property and/or injury to employees, customers, vendors, etc.

And a close cousin to liability is litigation. According to a 2013 poll, 43 percent of small-business owners have reported being threatened with or involved in a civil lawsuit. And the cost of those lawsuits wasn't small. Business owners who have had to pay legal damages, often say the costs nearly put them out of business.

What is Liability?

Liability is defined as "the state of being responsible for something, especially by law." If your business is responsible (or even perceived to be responsible) for an employee slipping, falling, and hurting themselves, your company is liable. If one of your business vehicles causes an accident and damage is caused, your business is liable. And when your business is liable for something it means that it is responsible for paying for injuries, damage, and possibly more.

What is General Liability Insurance?

General Liability insurance – also called Commercial General Business Liability Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, or Business Liability Insurance - pays for your businesses obligations if your business is responsible for an injury, accident, etc. It pays for things like medical costs and the cost of repairs. Liability Insurance also helps cover the cost of your legal defense and any settlements you may be required to pay if you are sued.

At an annual cost of $750-$2,000, Commercial Liability Insurance is a good investment for any business when you consider the alternative. Lawsuits can cost thousands if not millions of dollars, or worse – the loss of your business. The actual cost of your premiums will vary depending on how much coverage you need, the perceived risk of your business (i.e., contractors will pay higher premiums than bookstore owners), and where your business is located (some states are known to award more damages to plaintiffs claiming personal injury).

If your business faces excessive risk, you can choose excess or umbrella insurance, which will increase your coverage limits.

You may be able to save on Liability Insurance by bundling it with other insurance policies into what is known as a Business Owner's Policy (BOP), but liability coverage with a BOP can sometimes be quite low, so make sure that you have enough coverage.

Other Types of Liability Insurance


Sometimes businesses face unique types of liability that aren't generally covered under General Liability Insurance. Here are five different types of Liability Insurance:

Professional Liability Insurance

Also known as Errors & Omissions (E&O) or Professional Indemnity Insurance, Professional Liability Insurance addresses negligence claims due to harm that results from mistakes or failure to perform. This insurance is pretty standard for doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.

Workers' Compensation Insurance

This insurance covers medical costs and lost pay for an employee who is injured on the job. It also helps cover legal fees if the employee sues. WC is required for most businesses that have employees in Pennsylvania.

Product Liability Insurance

If a product that you manufacture causes damage or injury Product Liability Insurance can help pay for repairs, medical costs, and/or litigation fees. 

Automobile Insurance

You may not think of this as liability insurance, but if a vehicle that is owned by your company causes an accident, you are liable for any damage or injuries caused. Automobile Insurance can help cover these costs.

3 Simple Steps to Buying Liability Insurance

• Assess your risks
• Find a reputable licensed independent agent
• Re-assess every year

Our Experienced Independent Agents Can Help!

Tip: Contact us to save on Business Insurance in Berks County, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley PA and beyond!What type of liability insurance and how much coverage you need to protect your business is very unique. But you don't have to go it alone!

The experienced agents at American Insuring Group can help determine the best insurance to fit your needs, and as independent agents, we're able to shop among many competing insurance carriers. We're relentless in seeking the best insurance to meet your specific needs, and to get it at a great price. 

So give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or find us online.

Tags: Small Business Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Business Insurance

Business Insurance Tip: Reduce Vulnerability to Theft

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Aug 20, 2015

Business insurance tips for protecting against theft. Serving the business insurance needs of Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, Lebanon, Berks County, PA and beyond.While business insurance is your safety net for financial loss from theft, it's better to minimize the chance of your business becoming a victim of theft in the first place.

Unfortunately, most businesses become victims of theft at some point.  In fact, the most serious thefts can drive them out of existence.

Business owners and their managers need to first acknowledge that it can happen and then take the necessary steps to prevent it…or at least to minimize the loss.

Insuring Against Four Types of Theft

There are four types of theft: burglary, robbery, theft by employees, and identity theft. Each of these has its own set of challenges and preventive measures. Check with your independent insurance agent to be sure your commercial insurance coverage adequately protects you against each of these categories of business theft.

#1. Insuring Against Burglary:
Unlawful Entry with Intent to Steal

Burglars enter your business when no one is there. They mainly target your cash, merchandise and equipment, but they may also commit a host of other felonies.

Thieves like to work in the dark, so visibility is your first line of defense here. Bright interior lights deter illegal entry, especially if your building can be seen from the street. Exterior lights, protected with metal cages, may discourage them from approaching at all. This is a good start, but there are other equally important steps you can take to prevent a break-in:

  • An alarm system with motion detectors
  • Steel doors with dead bolt locks
  • A see-through fence (i.e., chain link)
  • Windows with safety glass and locks
  • Padlocks on overhead doors

#2. Insuring Against Robbery:
Taking Cash or Valuables from a Person

If your business deals in cash or smaller valuables, you are susceptible to being robbed. This could happen either by force or the threat of force. To keep it from happening at all, there are things you can look for and actions you should take:

  • Keep cash to a minimum
  • Post signs indicating the maximum amount of cash on the premises
  • Be alert – look for signs of danger
  • Recognize potential hiding places near your business
  • Provide bright lights and good visibility to deter robbers

Being robbed will be traumatic. Your managers and employees need to be trained to react properly if all preventive measures fail. Here are some guidelines to remember during and immediately after a robbery:

  • Cooperate with the robber
  • Obey orders quickly
  • Don’t argue or fight
  • Don’t use a weapon
  • Don’t chase or follow the robber
  • Call the police

#3. Insuring Against Employee Theft:
An Insidious Crime

Business owners don’t want to believe that a trusted employee is stealing from them. As a result, most of this theft goes undetected. It is estimated that businesses may be losing as much as forty billion dollars each year to this crime. It is crucial that you work with your accountants regularly to spot the following signs:

  • Changes in sales and inventory without a corresponding increase in profits or cash flow
  • Shipping records that are not consistent with inventory
  • Unauthorized changes in paperwork or established procedures

As a business owner, you need to be aware that loyal employees may steal, as do well-paid executives and workers who have been with you for many years. Encourage all employees to report their suspicions and concerns. Tell them what to report and how to do it. Work diligently with your accounting staff to catch inconsistencies early.

#4. Insuring Against Identity Theft:
Not Just a Consumer Problem

Business identity theft is growing, and the consequences are enormous. It affects your entire business, including employees, customers, and suppliers. Identity thieves can tap into your credit lines, change your contact information, then order supplies or obtain credit cards. They can also go after your customers. Defend against them by doing the following:

  • Securely lock up any paper data and shred it when it’s outdated
  • Make sure networks are password protected and have a firewall
  • Install security software on any mobile devices that contain confidential company data

Protect Your Business From Theft - Get the Right Commercial Insurance

Contact us to obtain business insurance to protect against all types of theft: burglary, identity theft, employee theft, and more.If, in spite of all these measures, your business is still a victim of theft, the right business insurance can help.

Don't wait until your business takes a hit. Be proactive: Call American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or click here to contact us.

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance, Pennsylvania Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance Philadelphia PA

Home-Based Business Insurance Needs

Posted by David Ross on Thu, May 21, 2015

Home business insurance tips. Serving home-based businesses with insurance for over 25 years. We offer commercial business insurance in Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond.Every home-based business should be protected by commercial insurance. But the growth of the internet and other technological advancements –such as social collaboration tools and communication apps -  have changed the way many of us do business today and significantly influenced the number of small businesses  nationwide.  In addition, the low start-up costs; the reduction in the cost of commuting, meals, and other expenses; the flexibility; and the savings realized from not maintaining a “storefront” are creating more home-based businesses. Sometimes home-based business owners forget that their homeowner's policy is unlikely to cover them for liabilities that can occur in their business.

In 2014, there were 28 million small businesses in operation.  Approximately half of the small businesses today are home-based businesses.   The SBA reports that most of these home-based businesses are operating as sole proprietorships; others are s-corporations and partnerships, and the majority of them are service oriented.

But a home-based business is still a business.  Owners need to understand the financial risks and responsibilities associated with this type of business, including how to protect that enterprise with the right business insurance for businesses run out of the home.  It’s important to understand the differences between personal and commercial insurance liabilities and not assume that your personal insurance policies will always cover your home-based business insurance needs. 

Here are five things every home-based business owner needs to consider protecting with the right business insurance.

  1. Home and Property Insurance – Most home owners’ or renters’ insurance policies only cover up to $2,500 for business property losses or damages.  They also tend to exclude business-related liability claims and provide no provisions for any downtime associated with a property loss.  Therefore, if you run your business from home, you may want to consider a business owner’s insurance policy, general liability insurance, business property insurance, and business interruption/continuation insurance.  You may qualify for a homeowners' policy endorsement that modifies your standard policy.
     
  2. Auto Insurance – If you own or lease a vehicle almost exclusively used for business – whether it’s a small 10-year-old sedan or a large customized van complete with everything needed to groom a giant Greyhound - make sure your business name is listed as the principal insured. If your business involves transporting people, you should consider commercial vehicle insurance for the higher liability limits and special provisions that are available.
     
  3. Life Insurance – If your home-based business is a partnership, you may want to consider Key Person life insurance to ensure the organization’s future.  If one partner dies the other partner (s) can use the life insurance payout to buy out the partner’s heirs, pay off outstanding loans, and continue operations. When considering key person life insurance, be sure to think about staff beyond the business owner. This type of coverage typically focuses on any person without whom the business would cease to exist.
     
  4. Health Insurance – Without health insurance, one extended stay in the hospital could mean the end of your business.  Today, it’s much easier for small businesses to acquire health insurance – HMOs, PPOs, EPOs and other group plans.  With the new Affordable Care Act, you may even qualify for a tax credit or subsidy if you purchase coverage through the new healthcare marketplace and failure to purchase health insurance could result in a tax penalty. 
     
  5. Income InsuranceWorker’s Compensation insurance and disability insurance isn’t reserved for large companies.  If you have just one employee, many states require that you purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect your business from claims relating to work-related injuries and to protect the employee’s income.  If your family relies on your income to survive, you should also consider Workers’ Compensation and/or disability for yourself, to ensure that you continue to see an income even if you are injured or become ill and can’t work. 

 

Getting the Right Business Insurance for Your Home Business

There are also insurance “packages” available -known as Business Owners Policies (BOP) - that usually include property, business interruption, and liability insurance. 

Contact us to learn more about business insurance for home businesses.The agents at American Insuring Group can help you determine the best commercial insurance for your home business. Contact us or give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848. As independent insurance agents, we're free to shop among many competing insurance companies, so we can find you the best deal on quality business insurance protection. Call or email today to learn more!

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Small Business Insurance, Home Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

3 Easy Tips for Buying Business Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Tue, May 13, 2014

 

Commercial insurance buying tips from American Insuring Group, serving Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, York, Lebanon, and Harriburg PA with business insurance for over 30 years.If you’re a small business owner, chances are good that you have a considerable amount of time, money, and – let’s face it – sweat and tears invested in your business.  Although it is generally not required by law (unless you are an employer), business insurance is a great investment in your business because it protects your business assets and minimizes financial risks in the event of unexpected catastrophes.   

But how do you know what types of commercial insurance are best for your business?  Or how much coverage you need?  As a business owner, you probably wear many hats, but an insurance expert hat is probably not in your wardrobe!

Here are three basic things to consider when buying business insurance for your company:

  1. Determine Your Risks – The insurance company will determine the level of risk it’s willing to accept when issuing a policy and may decide to provide all or just a portion of the coverage you request.  Your broker will then offer a policy that includes a premium and a deductible.  Premiums depend on a number of risk factors, such as your location, proximity of fire protection services, and your type of building structure, in addition to the amount of coverage you want to purchase.  A higher deductible will probably lower your premiums, but it will also increase your financial risk. It’s important to determine the level of risk you’re willing to take.

  2. Keep it Simple: Consider a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) – You can purchase insurance separately or as a package called a Business Owner’s Policy.  A BOP usually covers property, general liability, vehicles, business interruption, and other types of coverage common to most types of businesses.  BOPs simplify the insurance buying process and typically save you money.  But, it’s important that you understand what is and isn’t covered by a BOP.  Unique risks may require additional coverage. Your independent insurance agent can help clarify your options and help you identify your needs.

  3. Review Your Insurance Coverage Annually – As your business grows, so do your liabilities.  As you purchase or replace new equipment or expand operations, you may need more coverage.

Contact us for help with all your business insurance needsThe Small Business Administration (SBA) says, “Finding a good insurance agent is as important as finding a good lawyer or accountant.”   At American Insuring Group we're interested in your needs, we understand the risks associated with your business, and we can help you get the right commercial insurance for your business needs. 

So give us a call at (800)947-1270 or (610)775-3848 or use our online quote system to get a free business insurance quote.

Tags: Business Insurance Reading PA, Business Insurance Berks, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, Business Insurance Lancaster Pa, Business Insurance Harrisburg Pa, Business Insurance York Pa, Small Business Insurance, Commercial Insurance, Business Insurance Allentown PA, Business Insurance

12 Ways to Avoid Electrically-Related Worker's Comp Claims

Posted by David Ross on Mon, May 05, 2014

Get the right worker's compensation insurance to cover electricians. By American Insuring Group, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, Harrisburg, Allentown, the Lehigh Valley and beyond with affordable, high quality workers comp insurance.Electrically-Related Worker's Comp Injuries

Electrical hazards cause more than 200 electrocutions (death by electric shock) and 4,000 workplace injuries each year, costing businesses millions of dollars in Workers’ Comp claims, fines, medical costs, litigation, lost business and equipment cost.  “While electrical hazards are not the leading cause of on-the-job injuries, accidents, and fatalities, they are disproportionately fatal and costly,” according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). 

The good news is that most electrically-related injuries and the resulting workers’ compensation and fire-related rebuilding costs can be avoided with a comprehensive electrical safety program. That's good news for electrical contractors and other businesses whose employees perform electrical maintenance and installation services.

12 Ways to Avoid Electrical Injuries and Reduce Worker's Compensation Insurance Claims

Whether you’re in an office, a warehouse, or a manufacturing facility, there are things you can do to avoid electrical injuries and costly worker's comp claims:

  • Avoid using electrical equipment in unsuitable conditions, such as a wet or dusty workplace.
  • Ensure electrical panel doors are freely accessible and unblocked by furniture or clutter.
  • Tuck cables and cords away so they don’t create tripping or slipping hazards.
  • Place electric cords where there is air circulating to prevent overheating.
  • Keep electrical cords away from heat sources, such as radiators and space heaters.
  • Ensure that the electrical load of equipment such as computers, printers, scanners, faxes, shredders, and telephones is spread over several circuits.
  • If you are using extension cords as a permanent source of power, consider having additional circuits installed.
  • Plug office electronics into a surge protector.
  • Ensure grounded (3-prong) appliances and equipment are plugged into grounded outlets.
  • Avoid spilling beverages on electronics, and if it happens, be careful, as electrically powered devices may become live to the touch if they become wet.
  • Pull on the plug, not the cord, when unplugging equipment.
  • Get rid of old, unsafe or poorly maintained equipment, such as old coffee makers, radios, lamps, and space heaters.

Improve Electrical Safety in your Workplace

ESFI offers the following steps:

Step 1: Awareness

What does electrical safety mean to you?  The How Do You Know? video modules demonstrate how safe electrical practices are vital to everyone in your business.

Step 2: Assessment

Are you confident that your company's electrical safety program is up-to-date and comprehensive?  Evaluate your program with ESFI's Electrical Safety Self Assessment. It's an easy to use tool that will help you review and analyze your company's electrical safety practices related to facilities, personnel, and procedures.

Step 3: Improvement

Once you identify areas that need to be addressed, what's the next step?  ESFI has compiled a library of safety resources and links to help you find the information you need.

Worker's Compensation Insurance - Do You Have the Right Coverage?

Get the right worker's comp insurance from American Insuring Group. Call today.Following these suggestions will help ensure the safety of your employees, reduce workers comp claims, and avoid fire-related business costs. 

However, even the best laid plans sometimes fail.  When that happens you need to have the right insurance to protect your business from those unforeseen incidents.  Contact American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for help in obtaining the right worker's comp insurance to properly cover your business from loss.  We can help you with all your business-related insurance needs.

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Food Safety and Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Get the right restaurant insurance to protect against food-related illness claimsWorking in the food service industry often means hard work and long hours.  You also face many unique challenges, including the responsibility of ensuring that the food you serve to your customers is safe.  As any restaurant owner knows, a foodborne-illness can cause the loss of thousands of dollars and, in some cases, your entire business. 

The National Restaurant Association estimates the average cost of a foodborne illness outbreak at more than $75,000.  This doesn’t even take into account the human cost. Does your restuarant have the proper insurance to handle such an occurence?

Millions of people become sick each year and thousands die after eating contaminated or mishandled foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated in 2011 that contaminated food caused 47.8 million illnesses a year in the United States (that includes food eaten at home and other places besides restaurants).

Ten Factors That Often Cause Food-borne Illnesses, According to the CDC:

  1. Improper cooling of foods — the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks.
  2. Advance preparation of food (with a 12-hour or more delay before service).
  3. Infected employees who practice poor personal hygiene.
  4. Failure to reheat cooked foods to temperatures that kill bacteria.
  5. Improper hot holding temperatures.
  6. Adding raw, contaminated ingredients to food that receives no further cooking.
  7. Foods from unsafe sources.
  8. Cross contamination of cooked food by raw food.
  9. Improper use of leftovers.
  10. Failure to heat or cook food thoroughly.

Here are five steps you can take to minimize foodborne illnesses in your restaurant and decrease the risk of an insurance claim:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Thoroughly wash all produce, since it is often served uncooked.
  3. Maintain a temperature at or below 40°F in your refrigerators to minimize bacterial growth.
  4. In order to kill any bacteria present, cook foods to the minimum recommended internal temperature and sustain that temperature for at least 15 seconds.
  5. Clean and sanitize all food contact surfaces, such as countertops, cutting boards, utensils, pots, and pans.

Have the Right Restaurant Insurance When All Else Fails

If, in spite of all your efforts to keep your food safe, your restaurant does experience an outbreak of a foodborne illness, there’s only one thing that can save you – the right insurance.  One option you may want to consider adding to your basic policy is business interruption insurance to help your business stay afloat if you’re forced to shut down for any length of time.  Another good option is food contamination coverage, which covers your restaurant from financial loss and helps rebuild your restaurant’s reputation.

Don't Leave it to Chance: Contact us Today

Get the right restaurant insurance. Providing restaurant insurance for small businesses in Berks county, Philadelphia and Montgomery county, Allentown and the Lehigh Valley, Harrisburg, Lancaster, PA and beyond.You’ve worked hard to establish your restaurant business. Don't leave things to chance. Be sure you can survive any potential issues with a comprehensive restaurant insurance policy tailored specifically to your business.  The agents at American Insuring Group understand your unique challenges. Contact us at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848.   

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Small Business Insurance Costs and the Affordable Care Act

Posted by David Ross on Tue, Apr 22, 2014

Business health insurance cost predictions under Obamacare (AFA) according to the Center for Medicaid ServicesHow Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Small Business Health Insurance Costs?

You would have to be living on a desert island or under a rock not to have heard of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).  But with all the partisan arguments about how wonderful or – conversely - how awful this new law is, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.  So, as Sgt. Joe Friday said, we’ll try to stick with "just the facts, ma'am."

Affordable Care Act Facts:

FACT: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. 

FACT: On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court rendered a final decision to uphold the health care law.

FACT: Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace began October 1, 2013 and ended March 31, 2014

That’s probably where the “facts” end.  The stated intent of the ACA was to offer affordable health insurance to every American.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, the ACA “puts consumers back in charge of their health care. Under the law, a new ‘Patient’s Bill of Rights’ gives the American people the stability and flexibility they need to make informed choices about their health.”  Few would argue with the value of the law’s stated goals, which are summarized as follows on the HHS website: “All together, these reforms mean that millions of people who were previously uninsured will gain coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”

What Impact Will the Affordable Care Act Have on Small Business Insurance Costs?

The full repercussions of the ACA on small businesses and their health insurance costs – and whether it’s truly “wonderful” or actually “awful” - won’t be known for several years; however, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which spearheaded the implementation of the law, presented a report to congress with a few predictions.  In the interest of “sticking with the facts,” CMS’s report states, “There is a rather large degree of uncertainty associated with this estimate. The impact could vary significantly depending on the mix of firms that decide to offer health insurance coverage.”

CMS: 2/3 of Small Businesses to See Increased Costs

A recent Small Business Association poll found that 96 percent of small businesses said their health insurance premiums have significantly increased over the past five years, with average monthly insurance costs increasing from $590 per employee in 2009 to $1,121 in 2014.  CMS’s research indicates those rates will continue to rise.  The CMS report states that the new rules, such as requiring that insurers offer guaranteed health coverage and insurance renewal options to small employers and preventing insurance companies from varying their rates based on a company’s industry or the age of its employees, will most likely drive up the price of insurance for many small businesses. 

The report estimates that 65 percent of small businesses are expected to experience increases in their premium rates, while only 35 percent will see a reduction. Businesses with exceptionally sick or at-risk workers will benefit most from the new provisions.  The effect on large employers is expected to be negligible, since many larger companies run their health insurance programs in house. 

What Can You Do to Control Your Business’s Health Insurance Costs?

Affordable Care Act and Your Health Insurance: Get our free fact sheet and get the information you needAmerican Insuring Group can help you navigate through the complexities of the new ACA rules and ensure that you get the best health insurance premiums available.  Contact an agent at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 for more information about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.

Want to learn more? Download our free report: 10 Things You Should Know About Health Insurance Under the Affordable Care Act

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