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Workplace Ergonomics Minimizes Injury and Lowers WC Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 27, 2020

Workplace ergonomics can impact Workers Compensation Insurance costs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Lancaster, Erie, PA and throughout the US. We often focus on minimizing Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs in potentially dangerous workplaces such as restaurants and construction sites: however, office spaces are not immune to workplace injuries.

One of the most significant work-related injuries in an office are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). According to OSHA, “Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are the most widespread occupational health hazard facing our Nation today.” Every year, almost two million workers suffer from work-related MSDs, and approximately 600,000 of those workers lose time from work due to the MSD.

OSHA estimates the direct cost of MSDs to be between $15 and $20 billion every year, with total yearly costs in the $45 to $54 billion range. Plus, $1 out of every $3 spent on WC is a result of insufficient ergonomic protection, which can help avoid MSDs.

What Are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the Department of Labor describes MSDs as “musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases and disorders when the event or exposure leading to the case is bodily reaction (e.g., bending, climbing, crawling, reaching, twisting), overexertion, or repetitive motion.” MSDs affect joints, bones, muscles, the spine, etc. Examples of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, degenerative disc disease, and tension neck syndrome.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes work-related MSDs as conditions in which “the work environment and performance of work contribute significantly to the condition; and/or the condition is made worse or persists longer due to work conditions.”

What is Workplace Ergonomics?

Workplace ergonomics - the science of fitting a job to a person so that they can work safely, without injury or pain - can help prevent MSDs, thereby reducing workplace injury and reducing Workers’ Comp and other expenses. A bonus is that it can actually improve a worker’s productivity.

Often, a few simple adjustments can make a huge difference, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Ergonomics in the Office

Occupational Health & Safety reports that workers spend an average of 1,700 hours per year in front of a computer screen. That’s more than 70 days every year sitting at a desk. Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can cause pain and injury and lead to MSDs. Many office workers don’t even realize that they are sitting in awkward postures that can affect their health and safety.

Here are some of the most common ergonomic problems in an office:

  • Monitors are too low, which forces flexion of the cervical spine.
  • Armrests are not used properly or not at all, which can cause tensions in the neck, shoulders, and trapezius muscles.
  • The mouse is not aligned with the shoulder, which can cause pain in the neck, wrist, and upper limbs.
  • Workers use phones without a headset, which can cause pain in the shoulder and spine.

Here are some tips to improve office ergonomics:

  • An office chair should allow for height adjustment so that the worker can sit with his or her knees at a 90-degree angle. It should also have adequate lumbar support and armrests, so elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  • The desk and chair should allow enough space for the user to cross their legs. Users should be able to rest their feet flat on the floor, so use a footrest if needed.
  • Pad the edges of the desk if there are hard edges.
  • A monitor should be placed, so the top is at or just below eye level and is an arm’s length away. The brightest light source should be to the side to avoid glare.
  • The mouse should be directly in line with the shoulder, so the wrist remains straight.
  • The height of the keyboard should allow the user to keep their wrists straight while typing.
  • A phone should be held in one hand, or the user should use a headset.

MyAbilities offers a tool called Rapid Office Strain Assessment (ROSA), which is a self-guided self-assessment that shows workers how to adjust their workstation to prevent discomfort and injury.

Want to Save Even More on Workers’ Compensation?

Creating safe workplaces to avoid injuries is the best way to reduce WC costs. Another way to save on all commercial insurance costs is to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group who specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online to see how we can help you save on your Workers’ Compensation and other insurance costs.

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

Workers Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jun 13, 2020

Understanding Workers Comp Insurance vs. Liability InsuranceEvery business in Pennsylvania with one or more employees is required to provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance to its employees – with very few exceptions. It’s the law. It doesn’t matter if those employees are full-time or part-time or even family members. Not having workers’ compensation insurance is a criminal offense. In Pennsylvania, you could face fines up to $2,500 and/or prison time.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is designed to protect both the employee and the employer. There are two essential parts to WC insurance. The first part is coverage for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, disability compensation, and lost wages when an employee is injured or becomes ill “in the course and scope” of their job, regardless of fault. It also pays death penalties to the family of an employee who is killed on the job.

According to the National Safety Council, the average cost of a WC claim in 2016-2017 was $40,051, with WC claims caused by injuries resulting from motor-vehicle crashes averaging $78,293. For many businesses, paying that amount of money out of pocket could put them out of business.

The second part of WC Insurance is coverage for employer liability. The first part of WC pays medical costs for work-related injuries and illnesses regardless of fault. However, if an employee feels the employer was negligent, they can file a lawsuit for additional damages in some instances. This is where the second part of WC – employer’s liability – kicks in. It helps employers pay for legal expenses, such as attorney’s fees, court fees, and settlements or judgments.

Types of Claims Employer’s Liability Insurance Covers

Third-Party Action

An employee who is injured on the job and receives workers’ comp benefits can’t sue their employer directly; however, they can sue a third party, such as the manufacturer of a piece of equipment that caused the injury. The manufacturer can then file a lawsuit against your company, creating a third-party action lawsuit.

Consequential Damage

An example of consequential damage would be a spouse who is injured as a result of caring for the injured employee.

Loss of Consortium

If an employee is severely injured or killed on the job, their spouse can file a lawsuit when the injury or death results in the loss of a family relationship.  

Dual-Capacity Suit

A dual-capacity lawsuit can occur if the employer and injured employee have more than one relationship. For example, if you manufactured a product that could have caused the injury, the employee can hold you liable.

What About Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance?

CGL covers bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage caused during business operations, as a result of one of your products, or on your business premises. Here are a few examples of when CGL will cover you.

  • A customer falls and hurts themselves while in your restaurant.
  • One of your employees accidentally causes a fire while working on the electrical panel in a customer’s home that causes damage.
  • Someone files a libel or slander claim as a result of an ad that you placed.

One of the most important things to remember about Commercial General Liability Insurance is that it does NOT cover bodily injury to an employee. That is what Workers’ Compensation is for.

 

Protect Your Business While Saving Money

American Insuring Group offers both Workers’ Comp Insurance and Commercial General Liability Insurance, along with any other type of insurance you may need to protect your business. Plus, as independent agents, we compare the cost of coverage among many insurance companies to ensure that you get the lowest price on quality insurance protection. Give our experts a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Professional Liability Lawsuit, Commercial General Liability Insurance, WC Insurance

Opioid Abuse is Increasing WC Insurance Costs in the Construction Industry

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 30, 2020

Opioid abuse and increased WV insurance costsIn the US, opioids are costing businesses an estimated $42 billion every year due to absenteeism, increased healthcare expenses, lost productivity, and increased Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs. Opioid addiction is the country’s biggest health crisis, and research shows that more than 50% of individuals who die from an opioid overdose had at least one job-related injury.

The opioid crisis is hitting construction workers harder than most. This comes as no surprise since construction workers are more likely to be injured on the job than many other occupations, and 25.3% of those injured workers were prescribed opioids to treat the pain caused by those injuries.

The result is that 15% of construction workers have a substance use disorder, while the national average is nearly half that at 8.6%, according to the National Safety Council.

What are Opioids?

Opioids – a type of painkiller prescribed for short-term relief of acute pain and cancer patients – include Hydrocodone (Vicodin®), Oxycodone (OxyContin®), Oxymorphone (Opana®), Morphine, Codeine, and Fentanyl.

What are the Risks of Opioids?

Here are a few risks with Prescription Opioid use, according to the National Association of Home Builders:

  • Tolerance – People who take opioids quickly build up a tolerance to the drug and need to take a higher dosage to relieve the pain.
  • Dependence – Even when opioids are taken as directed, people quickly become dependent on opioids, and withdrawal is horrible.
  • Misuse – Some people build a tolerance and develop a dependence on opioids, which often causes them to take more than directed.
  • Overdose – Being prescribed opioids is the most significant risk factor for accidental overdose and death.
  • Addition – Individuals who have been prescribed opioids for long-term or chronic pain are 25% more likely to become addicted.
  • Using it as a diversion – In 2017, at least 14% of high school students took prescription opioids “just for fun.
  • Drug interactions – Mixing any prescription drug with alcohol or other drugs can be dangerous, and opioid is no different.

And it isn’t just the people addicted to opioids that are affected. The National Safety Council reports, “Substance use disorders affected 20.8 million Americans, almost 8% of the adult & adolescent population, when you include family members of those affected, nearly 1/3 of the US population is impacted by addiction. While 75% of these people are part of the workforce, most employers are unaware of the hidden costs associated with these problems.”

According to a Center for Construction Research and Training report released earlier this year, “65 unintentional overdose fatalities occurred on the job site in the construction industry in 2018 – a more than nine-fold increase from the seven recorded in 2011. The figure also represents a 35.4% climb from the 48 overdose deaths recorded in 2017.”

Save on Workers’ Compensation Insurance

The National Safety Council reports, “Companies and organizations of all sizes have an important role in promoting the health and safety of employees and managing risks in the workplace.” That includes opioid abuse. Create a safer workplace with a strong safety program that includes opioid education, and you create a workplace where employees thrive, and you enjoy lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs.

Want to save more on insurance costs? Give American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Contractor Insurance, WC Insurance, Opioid Epidemic

Is a Workers Comp Insurance Loss-Sensitive Plan Right for You?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 18, 2020

save_workers_comp_insuranceMore and more employers are moving away from the traditional guaranteed Workers’ Compensation Insurance plans into loss-sensitive plans. Loss-sensitive plans can help some businesses save money, but for others, a loss-sensitive plan can cost a company more than a guaranteed plan.

How do you know which type of Workers’ Compensation plan will yield the highest return for your business? Here are three tips to help.

Understand the Different Types of Loss-Sensitive Plans Available.

Retrospective Rating Plans

The Insurance Journal defines a retrospective rating plan as a plan “in which the final premium is based on the insured’s actual loss experience during the policy term, subject to a minimum and maximum premium, with the final premium determined by a formula which is guaranteed in the insurance contract.”

With a retrospective rating plan, an employer pays a standard premium - a combination of a basic premium and a loss projection - at the beginning of the policy year. After eighteen months, the insurer uses the employer’s actual losses to calculate a retro premium. If the retro premium is lower than the standard premium, the employer receives a premium from the insurer for the difference. If the retro premium is higher than the standard premium, the employer has to pay an additional premium.

Typically, there is a cap on the additional premium (usually 1.20 times the standard premium) an employer must pay.

Large Deductible Plan

A large-deductible plan is basically a guaranteed WC plan that includes the employer self-insuring part of its compensation losses with a large deductible. With this type of plan, the employer pays a lower premium but is then required to set up an escrow fund and reimburse the insurance company for claims up to a certain dollar amount.

Captives

The Insurance Journal defines captives as “any insurance company that is owned by one or more organizations, and that insures only the owners of the company.” There are typically two types of captives used for WC. One is a single owner, where the company that is insured has complete control over everything, including investments, operations, etc. The other type is a rent-a-captive, which is owned and run by an organization other than the insured, such as a broker, a fronting insurance carrier, etc.

Understand Your Risk Tolerance

The advantage of a guaranteed Workers’ Compensation Insurance plan is that your premiums are very predictable. You can put it into your budget and not worry about it. The cost of loss-sensitive plans can vary significantly. You can include an estimate in your budget, but the actual cost can vary, along with the frequency and timing of payments.

IF your company has a low tolerance for risk, a guaranteed plan may be a better choice. However, if you’ve created an effective safety program, provided all of your employees with appropriate safety training, have a robust return-to-work program, and have minimized workplace injuries, your loss projections should be reasonably accurate. Therefore, you may want to consider taking on more risk with a loss-sensitive plan. You’ve reduced risk within your organization, and a loss-sensitive plan could provide a higher return on your investment.

Consider the Financial Impact of Each Type of Plan

You should understand the impact each type of plan will have on your cash flow and the tax implications of each. A guaranteed cost plan may cost you more; however, it provides consistent payments, and you know how much you’re going to pay. You can put the cost of your premiums into the budget and not worry about it.

However, a loss-sensitive program can offer cash flow advantages because you’re paying for claims as they occur rather than paying an insurance company upfront for expenses that may not occur for months or even years.

Need More Help Lowering Workers’ Compensation Costs?

American Insuring Group is committed to providing the best insurance coverage at the best price. First, we offer blogs for a variety of industries to help improve workplace safety, which will help lower WC costs.

Plus, we are independent agents who specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online.

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

Reduce Workers’ Comp Insurance Costs With Vocational Rehabilitation

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Mar 15, 2020

How to Reduce Workers Compensation Insurance Costs with Vocational RehabilitationVocational rehabilitation (VR) is one of the benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance. It can benefit both the injured employee and their employer by getting the employee back to work more quickly, thereby reducing the costs associated with Workers’ Compensation claims.

However, this benefit needs to be closely monitored to ensure that it continues to benefit the injured employee. If VR is no longer benefiting them, it could be costing your business.

What Is Vocational Rehabilitation?

Vocational rehabilitation as a WC benefit is designed to help injured employees return to work. Vocational rehabilitation services can vary depending on what the injured employee needs.

According to the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), some of the services a rehabilitating consultant (QRC) may provide include the following:

  • vocational assessment and evaluation
  • training
  • upgrading of general skills
  • refresher courses
  • on-the-job training
  • career counseling
  • employment searches
  • consulting with the employer for job accommodations or modifications.

Who Can Benefit From Vocational Rehabilitation?

Typically, VR is a WC benefit reserved for injured employees who have been out of work for an extended time. The process begins with a consultation with a QRC who can make recommendations regarding whether VR could be a benefit for the injured employee or not.

The QRC considers several factors before making a recommendation, including whether or not the injured employee will be able to return to the job they had before the injury, whether or not the injured employee is expected to be able to find gainful employment with the employer he or she was with when injured, and whether or not the injured employee is able to find gainful employment through VR services based on the treating physician’s opinion.

How Can Vocational Rehabilitation Be Monitored?

If vocational rehabilitation is approved, the claim handler must monitor the regular reports issued by the QRC. Those reports will include what services are being provided and how well the employee is recovering.

When reviewing those reports, the handler should consider several things. Are the employees’ physical limitations (new or ongoing) interfering with the completion of the rehabilitation plan? The employee could have a setback or could incur a new injury or disability that could stop him from completing the VR program.

Is the injured employee fully engaging in the VR? If the employee is not cooperating, such as missing appointments or not keeping in touch with his or her employer and/or QRC, he or she is not fully engaged in the program and probably won’t benefit from it.

Should the goals of the VR be changed? Perhaps the injured employee is not progressing as expected. Perhaps they’ve had a setback. If this occurs, it may be necessary to adjust the VR goals.  

When is it Time to Terminate Vocational Rehabilitation?

If, while reviewing these reports, it appears that the injured employee is no longer benefiting from VR services, termination of those services should be considered. The individual asking for the termination of VR services has to prove that those services are no longer benefiting the injured employee.

Typically, grounds for terminating those services include the following:

  • Death of the injured employee
  • The Workers’ Compensation case is settled
  • The injured employee is no longer participating in the services
  • The injured employee returns to work with a minimal or no wage loss

Vocational Rehabilitation can often help an injured employee return to work more quickly, benefiting both employee and employer. However, Vocation Rehabilitation that is not monitored can end up costing employers big time.

That’s why it’s imperative that someone continues to monitor the injured employee’s status and level of cooperation and take steps to terminate VR services if evidence shows that the injured employee will no longer benefit from those services.

 

Here's How to Save Even More on Workers’ Compensation Insurance!

The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Workers’ Compensation Insurance. We have the experience and the knowledge to help you lower your WC costs. Our independence allow us to shop and compare insurance providers and policies to get you the right protection at the best price.

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

We provide worker's compensation insurance solutions in Philadelphia, Berks County, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, PA and beyond. 

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

How Long Should an Injured Employee be Out of Work?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 15, 2020

Reduce Workers Compensation Costs with a strong Return to Work program.Return-to-work (RTW) programs help employers by helping retain experienced workers, reduce turnover, and control Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs. RTW programs help injured employees by promoting physical and mental healing, retaining social connections, providing financial security, and helping them retain skills. RTW programs even help improve productivity and morale among co-workers. 

Studies show that injured employees who are out of work for more than six months have less than a 50% chance of returning to work and 80-90% of injured workers would rather get back to work than collect disability.

What is a Return-to-Work Program?

The goal of RTW programs is to get an injured employee working again as quickly as possible while they are still recuperating. That may mean providing the injured employee with temporary, modified, or transitional duties to get them back to work more quickly.

Unless you are a doctor, you probably don’t know how long it typically takes an injured employee to heal from an injury – whether it’s a simple sprain or a more serious injury. To develop an effective RTW, it is important to have some expectations as to recovery times. The good news is that someone has already figured that out for you.

Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) Injury Guideline

An EBM injury guideline tool can help reduce uncertainty by providing recovery timeframe estimates, including the average and median amount of time it takes an injury to heal. It is based on the type of work an employee does – sedentary, light, medium, heavy, or very heavy work.

The two most well-known tools are the ODG guidelines from the Work Loss Data Institute (WLDI) and the MDGuidelines from the Reed Group.

The ODG (official disability guidelines) was released in 1995 as an “evidence-based disability duration (return-to-work) guideline,” by the WLDI. In 2017, WLDI became part of MCG Health.

MDGuidelines are researched and evaluated by an academic-based research team. According to the Reed Group, “MDGuidelines empower employers, insurers and providers to successfully improve health and financial outcomes.” It links several data sources – OSHA, CDC, the National Hospital Discharge Survey, and the worldwide ICD-9 coding system.

An Example

If an employee suffers from a partial rotator cuff tear, and they have a sedentary or light job, it should take a minimum of zero days and a maximum of four days for that person’s body to physically heal enough for them to go back to their full duties at work. However, if that same employee has a heavy or very heavy job, it should take a minimum of 21 days and a maximum of 85 days to recover and be ready to go back to their full work duties.

If you utilize an RTW program, that means that even an employee in a heavy or very heavy job with this type of injury should be back to work within four days – not doing their original work duties but doing sedentary or light duty.

What might surprise you is that more than 50% of people aren’t back to work within the maximum amount of time (85 days) required for physical healing of a partial rotator cuff tear. Understanding recovery time and instituting an RTW program will lead to benefits for your injured employee, his or her coworkers, and your bottom line.

Want to Save Even More on Workers’ Compensation Costs?

Give the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. Our independence means we're free to shop competing providers to get you the best deal. We’ll show you how to save on all of your worker's comp insurance needs in Philadelphia, PA and far beyond.

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

What You Need About Saving on Contractor Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Feb 09, 2020

Contractors_InsuranceFor many contractors, talking about Contractor Insurance is probably the equivalent of a root canal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Finding an insurance agent who specializes in contractor’s insurance – like the American Insuring Group – takes a lot of the guesswork out of purchasing insurance.

However, it’s always wise to have a basic understanding, so you know what questions to ask and understand what your agent is recommending. Here is what you need to know about Contractor Insurance:

Who Needs Contractor Insurance?

Obviously, contractors need contractor insurance. That includes general, concrete, excavation, masonry, sheet metal, and paving contractors. But Contractor Insurance goes beyond protecting contractors. 

Here is a list of occupations/businesses that can benefit from Contractor Insurance:

  • Appliance Repair Technicians
  • Carpenters
  • Debris removal
  • Electricians
  • Handymen
  • Interior construction
  • Locksmiths
  • Painters
  • Plumbers
  • Property preservation
  • Roofers
  • Snow and ice removal
  • Stucco and plastering

What Type of Insurance do Contractors Need?

Many factors go into the type of insurance policies you need, including whether or not you have employees and what outside parties you may be involved with (i.e., lenders, municipalities, etc.) require.

Here are the most common types of Contractors Insurance that help protect your business from injuries (employees, vendors, etc.), damage, lawsuits, and more.

Commercial General Liability (CGL)

Every contractor should have CGL because the construction industry comes with many risks.  CGL covers basic construction risks, such as lawsuits against your company, along with third-party injuries (visitors to your worksite) and property damage.

For example, if a visitor trips over a wire or slips and falls on a wet surface at your place of business or a worksite, you could be blamed for the injury. CGL typically covers attorney fees, judgments against your business, settlements, medical bills, and funeral expenses.

Another example where CGL can come in handy is f your ladder falls on a customer’s TV and damages it. CGL can help pay for the cost to repair or replace the TV. It can also help cover costs if that customer files a lawsuit against you.

Commercial Automobile Insurance

If you or an employee is driving a company-owned vehicle and is in an accident or causes damage, commercial auto insurance can help cover the cost of property damage, medical bills, lawsuits, and other expenses that can result from an accident.

If you drive a construction vehicle, transport tools or equipment, or have employees run errands for you, you should have Commercial Auto Insurance

Builder’s Risk Insurance

Builder’s Risk Insurance (Aka Course of Construction Insurance) can pay for damage resulting from fire, vandalism, or theft of tools, materials, and property while a structure is under construction.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance helps pay for repairs or replacement of your building, along with furniture, supplies, etc. if it is lost, stolen, or damaged.

Inland Marine Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance does not protect your property if it is not at the location listed on the policy. This is where Inland Marine Insurance comes in. It covers products, tools, and equipment while in transit or stored off-site (like a job site).

Workers’ Compensation (WC)

In Pennsylvania, most employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance for their employees. If an employee is injured while working, WC can help pay for medical costs and lost wages.

Providing WC insurance to your employees also helps protect you against an injured employee suing your company. In most cases, injured employees are prohibited from suing their employers if WC is provided.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional Liability Insurance (A.k.a., Errors and Omissions Insurance) covers legal expenses if you are sued for things like unsatisfactory, late, or incomplete work.

 

👉 Contact Us to Save on Contractors Insurance!

The cost of contractor’s insurance can vary significantly depending on your coverage and your deductible. Other factors that determine the cost of your premiums include what services you provide, your revenue, your location, and the number of employees.

  • You may lower costs by bundling liability coverages into a package called a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP).
  • You may lower costs by creating a safer work environment that results in fewer injuries and fewer claims.
  • You may lower costs by working with an independent agent – like those at American Insuring Group – who can compare the cost of your coverage with several companies to ensure you’re paying the lowest premiums for the coverage.

Have more questions about saving on Contractors Insurance costs? The independent agents at American Insuring Group specialize in Contractors Insurance and can help you get the best price on the coverage you need, whether you're in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Berks County, or anywhere in PA or surrounding states.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Commercial Liability Insurance, Commercial Insurance

4 Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employers

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Jan 12, 2020

save_property_insuranceAs an employer, you may look at Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance as a necessary evil, but the truth is Workers’ Compensation Insurance provides many benefits to employers as well as employees.

It is required by law for the majority of employers in Pennsylvania, and savvy employers understand the value of having Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry defines Workers’ Compensation as “mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance” that compensates employees who suffer a work-related injury for medical treatment and lost wages. The goals of WC are to 1) create safer workplaces, 2) promptly treat and compensate injured employees, and 3) reduce litigation costs.

In Pennsylvania, any employer with at least one employee who could be injured or develop a work-related disease is required to provide Workers’ Compensation for its employees, with very few exceptions such as federal workers, longshoremen, railroad workers, domestic workers, and some agricultural workers.

Here are 4 Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employers:

Regulatory Compliance

If an employee suffers a compensable work-related injury and the employer does not have Workers’ Compensation Insurance, the employer will be required to reimburse the state for not only direct costs of the injury, but also interest, penalties, attorney fees, and fees under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

An uninsured employer can also face the risk of civil litigation by the injured employee and the risk of criminal charges by the state.

Financial Benefits

By complying with the commonwealth’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance requirements, a business avoids the reimbursement costs stated above. Workers’ Compensation Insurance also protects employers from direct lawsuits by injured employees, eliminating the risk of costly legal fees and potential settlement.

Prevent Lawsuits

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act does not allow employees to bring lawsuits against employers for work-place injuries if the employer provides Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Any form of litigation can have negative effects on a business. It can drain your company’s finances, time, energy, and resources. Litigation can also affect your relationship with your employees, customers, vendors, investors, etc.  A lawsuit can tarnish your company’s reputation and has been known to lower a company’s value and sales, and even force companies out of business.

Protection for a Vital Asset – Employees

Workplace injuries have far-reaching effects on employers’ costs, including lost productivity, retraining costs, and more. A safer work environment and fewer injuries are better for everyone – employer and employee alike.

Workplace injuries can cause negative physical and psychological effects on employees – both in and out of the workplace.  A serious injury can change an employee’s life forever, creating chronic pain, limited abilities, depression, and anxiety. One study found that anxiety affected more than 50% of injured workers and more than 25% experienced depression.

Fewer injuries mean lower Workers’ Compensation costs. That saving has become a great incentive for smart employers to create safer workplaces for their employees. To save on WC costs, many employers have developed safety programs and provide safety training.

Another Workers’ Compensation cost-saving measure employers often implement is a return-to-work (RTW) program. The goal of such a program is to get an injured employee back to work as quickly as possible, even if that means working part-time or having lighter duties. An RTW program benefits employees by improving morale, helping them retain social connections and skills, and providing financial security.

How to Save on Workers’ Compensation

Since Workers’ Compensation is required by law for most employers in Pennsylvania, you might as well embrace these benefits. However, that doesn’t mean you should pay more than necessary.

Give the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We’ll help you save on Workers’ Compensation costs by carefully comparing policies from multiple providers to ensure you get the right policy at the best price!

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

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

Workers Comp Costs, Musculoskeletal Disorders, and Ergonomics

Posted by David Ross on Sun, Dec 15, 2019

Ergonomics_Workers_Comp_CostsWhen it comes to increasing workplace safety and reducing Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs, your mind may immediately go to improving safety among construction workers, drivers, or maybe factory workers. These occupations are notoriously dangerous. We often hear about a worker breaking his or her leg after a fall or sustaining a concussion after being struck by something.

These are legitimate safety concerns. But there is another threat to safety that many employers overlook – workplace ergonomics, which can cause musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and be just as costly to employers.

MSDs are injuries, pain, stiffness, tingling, burning, cramping, or discomfort in the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, and ligaments. The disorder can affect your neck, shoulders, arms, legs, feet, hands, and the upper and lower back. Examples of MSDs include muscle sprains, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendinitis.

This disorder can be caused by acute trauma like a car accident, but bad ergonomics, such as repetitious motions, vibrations, and awkward postures, can also cause MSDs.

If your employees work in a relatively safe work environment, such as an office, you may not spend much time thinking about how you can improve safety to lower your Workers’ Comp costs. If the majority of your employees work in environments where other types of injuries are more prevalent, you may dismiss the impact of MSDs on Workers’ Compensation Insurance costs.

You may want to re-think either of those attitudes.

The Cost of Workplace MSDs

An estimated 126.6 million Americans are affected by MSDs, according to Science Daily. That’s one in two adults. The cost of the disorder is estimated at $213 billion every year.

And workplaces are not immune to the impact of the disorder. According to ErgoPlus, MSDs account for almost 400,000 injuries every year, account for one-third of all WC costs and result in 38% more lost time than the average injury or illness.

MSDs often result in chronic pain, disability, and mobility issues. The World Health Organization reports that MSDs are the second largest contributor to disability worldwide. The direct cost of MSDs in the workplace is about $20 billion, but the indirect costs, such as lost productivity, product defects, etc. can be much higher.

Employers and employees can work together to reduce MSD risk factors by understanding ergonomics and taking steps to minimize the risks

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science of increasing efficiency and reducing discomfort by helping the job fit the worker instead of trying to fit the worker to the job. It can involve engineering controls, such as improving the design of tools or workspaces or automating certain processes. That could mean providing workers with ergonomically friendly accessories such as adjustable tables or chairs, footrests, or lumbar support.

Administrative controls can include actions such as job rotation, reviewing injury logs, and providing employee education, such as discussions on MSD risk factors, how to be mindful of postures, and how to avoid awkward positions.

Reduce MSDs in the Workplace

The first step to reducing MSDs is to learn how to recognize the risk factors, which include highly repetitive tasks, high-force loads that increase muscle effort, and awkward or sustained awkward postures.

ErgoPlus offers this advice to help reduce the risk of MSDs:

  1. Maintain a Neutral Posture by keeping the body aligned and balanced when sitting or standing.
  2. Work in the Power or Comfort Zone, which means lifting close to the body between the mid-thigh and mid-chest.
  3. Allow for movement or stretching if you’re working for long periods of time in a static position.
  4. Reduce excessive force
  5. Reduce repetitive or excessive motions
  6. Minimize contact stress, which is caused by continuous contact or rubbing between sharp or hard objects and body tissue
  7. Reduce excessive vibration
  8. Provide adequate lighting

Lower Your Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs

Whether you work in a highly dangerous or a relatively safe industry, your workers can be affected by musculoskeletal disorders, which costs both you and the injured worker big time. Learn to recognize ergonomic risk factors and how to reduce the risk of MSDs to improve the safety of your workplace and the well-being of your employees and lower your Workers’ Compensation costs.

Another way to save on WC costs is to work with an agent who can help you identify potential risks and has experience with Workers’ Compensation Insurance, like the independent agents at American Insuring Group.  Why not give us a call at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online?

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Insurance Philadelphia Pa, workers comp, Commercial Insurance, Contractor Safety Management