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Lower Workers’ Comp Costs By Preventing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Posted by David Ross on Sat, May 28, 2022

Tips to reduce waste, fraud and abuse to save on Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Lebanon, Erie, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, and throughout PA.In most states, including Pennsylvania, almost all employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance. WC helps cover lost wages, health care expenses, disability payments, death benefits, and permanent injury payments (such as the loss of a body part) when an employee suffers a work-related injury or disease. It also helps protect your business against lawsuits related to the injury. 

How is Your WC Premium Calculated?

Your Workers’ Compensation premium is based on the following calculation:

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

Your experience modifier compares the history of your losses to what is typically expected in a class similar to your company. It is based on the following:

  • Number of Claims
  • Cost of Claims
  • Frequency of Claims
  • Severity of Claims
  • Closed vs. Open Claims
  • Claims History of other businesses in your industry
  • Years in business
  • Number of employees
  • State minimums

 The lower your experience modifier, the lower your premiums. Unfortunately, WC fraud, waste, and abuse can raise your experience modifier and increase your WC premiums. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports, “workers’ compensation insurance fraud alone costs insurers and employers $30 billion a year.”

 What is WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse?

The first step to minimizing WC fraud, waste, and abuse is the ability to recognize each.

  • Fraud – According to the PA Department of Labor & Industry, “An employee commits fraud by knowingly and intentionally receiving wages while collecting total disability benefits or receiving partial disability benefits in excess of the amount permitted while receiving wages.” Examples include faking an injury, inflating an injury, and reporting an injury that happened off the job. Employers and medical providers can also engage in fraudulent WC activities.
  • Waste – WC waste occurs when an injured employee overutilizes WC benefits. An example of WC waste is an employee who injures their back on the job and continues to see a chiropractor after full recovery.
  • Abuse – WC abuse occurs when an employee who is injured on the job expands their symptoms to receive additional benefits. For example, an injured employee may falsely report symptoms to prevent them from participating in a return-to-work program.

 Signs of Possible WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

There are a few common signs of WC fraud, waste, and abuse that you can watch out for:

  • No witnesses to an incident
  • Conflicting diagnoses
  • Refusing treatment
  • Not reporting injury immediately
  • Inconsistent or suspicious recount of the injury
  • A history of WC claims
  • A history of frequently changing physicians, jobs, and addresses
  • An injury that occurs right after a weekend, strike, or holiday
  • The inability to reach an injured employee
  • A post-termination claim
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Financial problems
  • An unwillingness to cooperate in the injury investigation

 11 Tips to Prevent WC Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News offers the following tips to “keep claims above board”:

  1. Create a fraud-free work environment by having a strong policy against fraud.
  2. Establish a culture of safety.
  3. Hold regular safety meetings.
  4. Institute sound hiring procedures by screening potential employees.
  5. Communicate regularly with injured employees.
  6. Follow proper WC reporting and investigating procedures.
  7. Educate employees on WC fraud, waste, and abuse and their consequences.
  8. Make it easy to report injuries
  9. Use surveillance equipment
  10. Implement a drug testing policy
  11. Choose credible medical providers that have WC experience.

 Lower Your Workers Compensation Insurance Premiums:

In addition to preventing WC fraud, waste, and abuse, another way to lower Workers’ Compensation Premiums is to work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. Our independence gives us the freedom to shop the market to find the right insurance to meet your specific needs at the best price.

Call American Insuring Group today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

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

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

Posted by David Ross on Mon, May 09, 2022

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

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

Am I Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

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

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

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

Consider this:

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

 How Do I Purchase Workers’ Compensation?

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

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

 How Can I Lower Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Tips to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Apr 23, 2022

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

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

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

10 Tips to Save on Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BONUS Workers' Comp Savings Tip

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

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

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

What is the True Cost of A Workers' Compensation Claim?

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Mar 19, 2022

How to calculate the true cost of a workers comp insurance claim in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA or elsewhere

If Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC) protects your business and employees in the event of a workplace injury, you may wonder why does this blog spends so much time on safety issues? It's simple. Workplace injuries and WC claims can cost your business – both directly and indirectly and both monetarily and non-monetarily. Therefore, creating a safer work environment helps lower workplace injuries and WC Claims and their associated costs.

Let's take a look at the actual cost of injuries and WC claims.

Administrative Costs

It takes time to process a Workers' Compensation claim. You need to…

  • Report incident to the appropriate party
  • Complete and file injury/illness report
  • Stay in contact with the WC carrier
  • Stay in touch with the injured employee
  • Establish a timeline for return to work
  • Return the employee to work
  • Continue leave or terminate when an injured employee is unable to return to work

You could find yourself – or an employee - spending a significant amount of time meeting with the insurance companies and/or lawyers until the claim is closed.

Hire Replacements

Depending on the severity and nature of the injury, you may need to hire and train a new employee to replace the injured worker. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it takes on average 42 days to fill a position at an average cost of $4,129. Furthermore, research shows "it takes at least 1 to 2 years before an employee is 'fully productive.'" Therefore, even after you've hired a new employee, it could take two years for them to be as productive as the injured employee. 

Decreased Productivity

Immediately following an accident, work may slow or completely stop as you take care of the injured worker, investigate the incident, and possibly take temporary safety measures to ensure it doesn't happen again. Depending on the employee's role, you may need to find someone to replace them before work can resume. Finally, research shows "the aftermath of a workplace fatality can have long-lasting effects on other employees' emotional health, productivity, and safety." Furthermore, "the death of a coworker can affect all employees, regardless of whether they witnessed the incident, worked in the same department or were close with the deceased worker."

 Legal Action

Not all Workers' Comp claims are legitimate. If you believe a claim is fraudulent, you may decide to take the case to court, which will cost you additional time and legal costs. In addition, if you lose the case, you could end up paying more than if you had settled.

Increased WC premiums

One of the most significant effects a WC claim can have on a business is increased WC premiums. Depending on the nature of the claim and resulting costs, one claim probably won't affect your WC premiums.

However, your premium is based on the following formula: WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100. Your experience modifier compares the history of your losses to what is typically expected in a class similar to your company. It is based on the following:

  • Number of Claims
  • Cost of Claims
  • Frequency of Claims
  • Severity of Claims
  • Closed vs. Open Claims
  • Claims History of other businesses in your industry
  • Years in business
  • Number of employees
  • State minimums
  • If your experience modifier goes up, your premiums go up.

Lower Workers' Comp Costs

Bottom line: fewer claims mean lower costs. Another way to lower insurance costs is to work with one of the experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group. We're free to shop and compare pricing, so you save!

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

How Can DST Affect Truck Insurance?

Posted by David Ross on Thu, Mar 10, 2022

Daylight Savings and PA Truck Insurance tips for Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown and Harrisburg truckersMost people wouldn’t think that Daylight Savings would affect Truck Insurance, and yet research shows that it may. Every spring on the second Sunday in March at 2 am, most Americans “spring forward” by moving their clocks ahead one hour to Daylight Savings Time (DST), thereby losing one hour of sleep. Perhaps a nuisance for truck drivers, but no big deal, right? Hmmm… maybe… maybe not.

According to a study that analyzed data of 732,835 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. from 1996 to 2017, “Spring DST transition acutely increases fatal traffic accident risk by 6% in the U.S.” The study attributes this increase to “sleep deprivation and circadian misalignment” and “changing illumination conditions for peak traffic density.”

The study concluded that “28 fatal accidents could be prevented yearly if the DST transition was abolished.” These numbers only reflect accidents with fatalities, not accidents that result in damage to a truck or injury to a driver.

As you know, more accidents typically mean higher trucking insurance premiums; therefore, DST can affect truck insurance costs.

About Daylight Savings

DST has been the topic of many heated debates for many years. DST was first adopted in Germany on May 1, 1916, during WW I to conserve fuel. The rest of Europe soon followed, and the U.S. adopted DST on March 19, 1918. However, Americans weren’t too keen on the idea, and it ended after W.W. I. Franklin Roosevelt revived DST on February 9, 1942, during WW II. It ended on September 30, 1945.

Two decades later, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 made DST a standard in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Transportation states (DOT) oversees both time zones and the observance of DST because “time standards are important for many modes of transportation.” However, states can exempt themselves from DST, and currently, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and most of Arizona do not observe DST.

According to the DOT, “Daylight Saving Time is observed for several reasons:”

  • It saves energy
  • It saves lives and prevents traffic injuries
  • It reduces crime

The debate on whether or not DST creates or prevents accidents and whether or not the U.S. should continue to observe it continues. One poll found that “Seven in 10 Americans prefer not to switch back and forth to mark daylight saving time.” However, wherever you stand on the debate, the fact is that most of us will be changing our clocks on Sunday, March 13, at 2 am. So how can truck drivers and fleet managers mitigate any of the possible adverse effects of DST?

4 Tips to Help Your Body Adjust to Daylight Savings Time:

The Cleveland Clinic offers four tips to help drivers adjust to DST:

  1. About a week before you spring forward, start going to bed 15 to thirty minutes earlier than you usually do
  2. Stick to your schedule
  3. Don’t take long naps
  4. Avoid coffee and alcohol

8 Driver Safety Tips:

  1. Ensure that all of your truck’s lights - headlights, taillights, signals, and auxiliary lights -are clean and in good working order.
  2. Avoid driving between 2 and 4 am and between 1 and 3 pm – peak times for fatigue-related collisions.
  3. Focus on driving and eliminate distractions (such as eating or texting).
  4. Reduce your speed when driving in the dark.
  5. Increase your following distance when driving in the dark.
  6. Always watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  7. Wear sunglasses with polarized lenses and U.V. protection to minimize sun glare (likely during evening rush hour) and eye fatigue.
  8. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.

How to Save More on Truck Insurance!

Fewer accidents typically mean lower insurance premiums, but don’t stop there! If you want to be certain you are paying the lowest rate for quality truck insurance, then you need to work with one of the independent agents at American Insuring Group.

We will check with multiple insurance companies to get you the best trucking insurance at the lowest rate. Call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, truck insurance, Trucking Insurance, Safe Driving Tips

Top 10 Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp FAQs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Feb 05, 2022

We Answer Workers Compensation Insurance Questions for businesses in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Lancaster, Erie, Allentown, Harrisburg, and throughout PA and more.We get a lot of questions about Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

1. Do I need to carry Workers’ Compensation (WC or Workers Comp) Insurance? In Pennsylvania, whether you have one employee or one hundred employees, full or part-time employees, or your employees are family, you are probably required to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance. There are very few exceptions, and not having it can lead to lawsuits and even criminal prosecution.

2. What does Workers Comp Cover? Workers Comp helps cover health care expenses, ongoing health care expenses, disability payments, death benefits, and permanent injury payments (such as the loss of a body part) when an employee suffers a work-related injury or disease. It also helps protect your business against lawsuits related to the injury.

3. What is not covered by Workers’ Compensation? Some things are not covered under WC in Pennsylvania:

  • Activities not related to work
  • Illegal use of drugs
  • Intentional wrong of employee
  • Intoxication
  • Reckless indifference
  • Self-inflicted injury
  • Violation of law resulting in an injury

4. How are Workers’ Compensation rates calculated? Your Workers’ Compensation premium is based on the following formula: WC Premium = Classification Code Rate X Experience Modifier X payroll/$100.

5. What are WC Classification Codes? There is a 3-digit classification code for every type of job in Pennsylvania. It is based on the likelihood of that employee being injured on the job, and it helps determine your WC premium. Typically, the more risk of injury, the higher your WC costs.

6. What is an Experience Modifier? Your experience modifier compares the history of your losses to what is typically expected in a class similar to your company. It is based on the following:

  • Number of Claims
  • Cost of Claims
  • Frequency of Claims
  • Severity of Claims
  • Closed vs. Open Claims
  • Claims History of other businesses in your industry
  • Years in business
  • Number of employees
  • State minimums

The lower your experience modifier, the lower your premiums.

7. Where can I purchase WC Insurance? In PA, there are four ways you can purchase WC insurance:

  • Insurance agent – As independent agents with experience specifically in WC, the agents at American Insuring Group compare the cost of your WC with several carriers and ensure you pay the lowest price possible for WC and all other insurance.
  • Insurance Carrier – More than 300 private sector insurance carriers offer WC policies.
  • Apply for self-insurance status – Larger businesses operating for three or more years and are financially healthy can apply for approval to individually self-insure.
  • State Workers’ Insurance Fund (SWIF) – SWIF is required to provide coverage for all businesses, particularly those having trouble obtaining coverage

8. What is WC fraud? You, an employee, or a health care provider can commit Workers’ Compensation fraud, which can increase your WC costs. Examples of WC fraud include the following:

  • Misclassification of an employee
  • A faked injury
  • A medical bill for a service that was not performed

9. What is a Return-to-Work Program? A Return-to-Work (RTW) program is designed to get an injured employee back to work as quickly and safely as possible, even if it’s a modified schedule or duties. Studies show that RTWs save employers on medical costs, lost time days, and workers’ compensation insurance costs. These programs can even reduce the number of lawsuits, wage replacement costs, and productivity losses.

10. How can I lower my Workers Comp Insurance costs?

Workers’ Compensation insurance may be mandatory in PA, but there are many steps your business can take to lower your WC costs:

  • Institute a documented safety program
  • Have a Return-to-Work program
  • Work with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Insurance agent.

The independent agents at American Insuring Group have been helping businesses get the right WC coverage for years. And as independent agents, we compare the cost of that coverage among many companies to ensure you pay the lowest premium for that coverage.

Give American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and start saving on all your insurance needs!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Return-To-Work Programs

Safety Training Guidelines to Lower Workers' Compensation Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 29, 2022

Lower your workers compensation costs in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, PA - call us today.Finding and retaining good employees is often cited as one of the biggest challenges employers face, and the current labor shortage isn't making it any easier. Hiring new employees can be time-consuming, frustrating, and costly. According to Gallup, "The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary -- and that's a conservative estimate."

Businesses can help minimize those costs by remembering that keeping their employees safe on the job is financially in their best interest – not to mention one of their primary responsibilities as an employer. OSHA states, "Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. No person should ever have to be injured, become ill, or die for a paycheck."

Providing a safe and healthy workplace benefits employers with lower Workers' Compensation Insurance costs, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and better employee morale. The bottom line: workplace safety is good for business, especially in those industries that are particularly dangerous, such as construction, restaurant, and trucking.

The first step to creating a safer work environment is a comprehensive workplace safety program. OSHA reports that businesses receive an average return of $4 to $6 for every dollar invested in workplace safety programs.

One of the essential elements of a workplace safety program is Training. OSHA states, "Training in the safe way for workers to do their jobs well is an investment that will pay back over and over again in fewer injuries and illnesses, better morale, lower insurance premiums and more."

Here are four safety training guidelines:

1. Identify Hazards

One of the first steps in any workplace safety program is to identify potential hazards and initiate controls. Hazard controls can help minimize employee exposure to workplace hazards before work begins. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests implementing a hierarchy of controls that includes the following:

  1. Elimination – physically removing the hazard

  2. Substitution – replacing the hazard

  3. Engineering Controls – isolating people from the hazard

  4. Administrative Controls – changing the way people work

  5. PPE – protecting employees with personal protective equipment

Once you understand potential hazards in your workplace and initiated appropriate controls, your next step is to train employees on those hazards and how to avoid them.

2. Understand Safety Standards/Regulations

OSHA's Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 includes many regulations/standards that employers are required to follow, including training requirements. OSHA states, "Many OSHA standards, which have prevented countless workplace tragedies, include explicit safety and health training requirements to ensure that workers have the required skills and knowledge to do their work safely. These requirements reflect OSHA's belief that training is an essential part of every employer's safety and health program for protecting workers from injuries and illnesses. Researchers conclude that those who are new on the job have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than more experienced workers."

Following these regulations help keep your employees safe and protects your business from OSHA penalties, which can be as high as $136,532 per violation.

3. Provide Effective Training

Not everyone is a good trainer, so choose your trainers wisely. A good trainer is organized, understands the importance of listening, knows how to engage employees, etc. If you want the safety training to be effective, choose someone adept at teaching people, not someone who will simply read from a book.

You may want to consider using some of the training resources offered by OSHA, such as training material and training courses.

4. Document Training

OSHA standards require training documentation for certain types of safety training but not all. However, it's in your best interest to document all safety training. Documentation should include the name of the employee attending (and possibly their signature), the name and signature of the person training, the date and subject of the Training, and proof of competency.

Lower Workers' Compensation Insurance Costs the Easy Way!

Give American Insuring Group a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online to discover more ways to save on all of your insurance needs. We're independent agents, so we shop among competing insurance carriers to get you the best deal on the right insurance. Contact us today!

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

Minimize Risk of Sprains and Strains and Lower Insurance Costs

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 22, 2022

Buy Affordable Contractor Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, Pittsburgh and in all of PA. Contact us.Sprains and strains – known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) - are costing construction companies millions of dollars every year in higher Contractor Insurance costs, lost workdays, and sometimes the permanent loss of good workers.

MSDs include back, shoulder, knee, and other musculoskeletal problems. They are one of the most common injuries in construction, accounting for one-third of all lost workday injuries and half of all workers' compensation claims, according to Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America.

In fact, approximately 30% of construction workers report lower back pain. For those workers over 55, that rate increases to 60%. Arthritis and joint pain are also common issues with construction workers – especially as they age. In addition to age, obesity, smoking, and poor physical fitness can increase the risk of an MSD-related injury. Working with the pain of an MSD-related injury reduces productivity and can lead to a disabling injury that permanently ends a construction worker's career.

The high number of MSD-related injuries probably comes as no surprise since construction involves a lot of heavy lifting and carrying of heavy objects. The three main risk factors for MSD-related injuries are excessive force, repetitive motion, and ongoing awkward work position. While you can't eliminate all MSD-related injuries, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk.


Here are 20 tips to minimize the risk of MSD-related Injuries:

  1. Plan jobs to require minimal manual handling of heavy materials by making cranes, forklifts, etc. available to workers

  2. Use hand trucks, wheelbarrows, etc. when possible.

  3. Provide mechanical aids – such as pneumatic lifts and conveyors where possible.

  4. Make materials easily accessible – between knee and should height.

  5. Store materials close to where they will be used.

  6. Seek help to handle heavier loads.

  7. Use handles to carry loads when possible.

  8. Ensure that walkways are level and clear.

  9. Wear appropriate PPE, such as knee or shoulder pads.

  10. Use ergonomically-designed tools.

  11. Provide stretching and warm-up exercises before work begins each day.

  12. Whenever possible, encourage workers to sit or stand erect and not stretch or lean forward to perform tasks.

  13. Encourage healthy lifestyles.

  14. Provide a footrest, floor mat, and/or adjustable chairs where a worker has to stand for a long time to allow them to change positions frequently.

  15. Develop a safety training program.

  16. Train workers to identify and avoid injury hazards.

  17. Train workers on proper lifting techniques, such as standing close to the load, bending knees, and assuring a good grip.

  18. Train workers on things to avoid, such as simultaneously lifting and twisting, rushing, reaching overhead, throwing heavy materials.

  19. Train workers on proper material handling, such as appropriate warm-ups, appropriate PPE, and personal risk factors.

  20. Note about back belts: according to OSHA, "Back belts are not recognized by OSHA as effective engineering controls to prevent back injury. While they may be accepted by individual workers because they feel as if they provide additional support, the effectiveness of back belts in the prevention of low back injuries has not been proven in the work environment."

Yes, we realize we listed training several times. That's because proper training is crucial to preventing any workplace injuries, including MSD-related injuries.

Lower Your Contractor Insurance Costs

Sometimes despite your best efforts, employees are injured on the job. Workers' Compensation helps protect employers and ensures that injured employees are well taken care of.

The experienced independent agents at American Insuring Group will find the right coverage at the lowest cost. Give us a call today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online and discover how we can help you save on all of your insurance needs!

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Construction Insurance, Contractor Insurance, Business Insurance, Contractor Safety Management

Workers’ Compensation Insurance and Employees Working Remotely

Posted by David Ross on Sat, Jan 15, 2022

We Provide Affordable Workers Comp Insurance in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Allentown, Erie, Lancaster and throughout PAThe COVID pandemic created a shift in the number of Americans working from home and has caused some gray areas for Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Statistics show that in the last five years, the number of people who work from home has risen by 44%, with approximately 62% of employees between the ages of 22 and 65 working remotely at least occasionally. Plus, 16% of companies worldwide are now 100% remote.

There are advantages to working from home for both employees and employers:

  • 77% of remote workers believe they are more productive when working from home.
  • 75% of employees working remotely do so because there are fewer distractions at home.
  • 69% of millennials say they would give up certain work benefits for a more flexible working space.
  • 64% of recruiters say that the ability to offer a work-from-home option helps them find high-quality talent.
  • 74% of workers say that having a remote work opportunity would make them less likely to leave a company.

However, working from home does create challenges when it comes to Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

What is Workers Compensation (WC)?

The PA Department of Labor & Industry defines WC as a “mandatory, employer-financed, no-fault insurance which ensures that employees disabled due to a work-related injury or disease will be compensated for lost wages and provides necessary medical treatment to return them to the workforce.” Failure to carry WC coverage can result in a $2,500 fine, up to one year imprisonment, and more.

WC covers any injury that “arises out of and in the course of employment.” So, any injury that occurs while an employee is performing work-related activities during working hours may be a valid WC claim. Where that work is performed is irrelevant; it can be outside or inside the workplace. However, the injury must be “work-related” to be considered a valid WC claim.

Workers' Compensation Challenges

Determining whether or not an injury is work-related becomes more challenging and finding witnesses to verify what occurred is nearly impossible for injuries that occur to employees working remotely.

Plus, one of the best ways to lower WC costs is to file fewer claims. When employees work in your facility, there are many steps you can take to create a safer work environment to minimize the risk of injury. However, when employees work remotely, you have little to no control over their work environment.

5 Steps to Reduce Liability for WC Claims

  1. Create a written statement that establishes policies relating to employees working from home, including defining the employee’s work duties and expectations regarding communication and status updates.

  2. Clearly define work hours and determine how you will track hours virtually.

  3. Provide home workspace guidelines. For example, show them how to include proper lighting in their workspace to avoid eyestrain and create a workstation to mitigate the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

  4. Review home offices to eliminate potential hazards, such as loose cords or overloaded electrical outlets.

  5. Establish cybersecurity processes. While this isn’t directly related to WC, it can help minimize a data breach or cyberattack liability risk because 54% of IT professionals consider remote workers to pose a greater security risk than traditional workers.

Review Insurance Policies

Any significant changes should warrant an insurance review to ensure you have the right coverage. For example, purchasing new equipment may require additional insurance, decreasing the number of employees could lower your WC costs, and allowing employees to work from home can create different liability issues that need to be addressed.

Save Now on Workers Compensation Insurance!

To ensure you have the right insurance at the lowest cost, call one of the experienced, independent agents at American Insuring Group today at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848, or connect with us online.

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, workers comp costs

3 Facts About Restaurant Insurance

Posted by David Ross on Mon, Dec 27, 2021

Restaurant Insurance Facts to Help You Save on Restaurant Insurance in Philadelphia, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown, Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania

Restaurants are filled with potential risks, but the right Restaurant Insurance helps protect your restaurant from those risks. Here are four facts about commercial insurance to help ensure that you have the RIGHT insurance for your unique insurance needs.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance Isn't Enough.

CGL is a complex insurance policy that helps cover legal liability costs associated with incidents caused by your services, business operations, or employees. CGL typically covers bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, advertising injury, and medical payments.

Restaurants face many risks. An employee can fall and injure themselves. A customer can get sick from food consumed in your restaurant. A delivery vehicle can be in an accident. And the list goes on… Unfortunately, not all liability issues are covered by a CGL policy, and often additional coverage is required.

For example…


      • In Pennsylvania, "any establishment or licensed individual who gives alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person can be legally held responsible for injuries and damages that person might cause." Typically, CGL doesn't cover this type of liability; however, Liquor Liability insurance does cover claims involving alcohol.CGL is also not designed to cover employee injuries.

      • In Pennsylvania, Workers' Compensation (WC) insurance is mandatory for most employers. WC covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees injured on the job and limits employees' ability to sue your business for negligence related to the injury. Employers who do not have workers' compensation coverage may be subject to lawsuits by employees and criminal prosecution by the commonwealth.

      • Recently, restaurants have been hit hard by data breaches. According to QSR, "Cyber criminals have found a rather easy and profitable target within the restaurant food chain vertical. With point-of-sale systems distributed across hundreds, if not thousands, of locations—these attackers find it all too easy to penetrate and maintain a presence, harvesting customer PII and credit card data." Furthermore, according to Bluefin, the average cost of a data breach in 2019 was $1.99 million. And typically, CGL has limited or no coverage for data breaches, which is why Cyber Insurance is crucial.

It's also important to remember that the limit (the most an insurance company will pay if a claim is filed) can vary significantly. An experienced insurance agent can help you determine the appropriate limit for your needs. 

Insurance Covers the Food You Prepare and Serve.

Restaurants face a unique risk – food contamination and food poisoning. While smart restaurant owners do everything possible to minimize the risk of food contamination, it is still a risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in six Americans (48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of food-borne diseases every year.

Despite your best efforts, food can be mishandled or improperly stored before reaching your restaurant. As a result, you might unknowingly serve contaminated food to your customers, causing food poisoning. Food contamination coverage can help reimburse you for expenses, such as loss of income due to a shutdown, advertising to help your business restore its reputation, etc.

You could also experience an extended power outage and lose everything in your freezer. Food spoilage coverage - which typically covers risks such as prolonged power outages, equipment breakdown, etc. - can help reimburse you for the cost of lost food.

There are Ways to Save on Restaurant Insurance Costs,

The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can reduce the cost of your insurance without lowering your coverage. Here are eight tips:

        • Focus on Safety
        • Improve Security
        • Hire Wisely
        • Pay Upfront
        • Increase Your Deductible
        • Carry the Right Coverage
        • Bundle your policies
        • Review Your Policies Annually

Final Tip to Save on Restaurant Insurance Costs – Work with an Independent Agent!

As independent agents, the agents at the American Insuring Group compare the cost of your coverage with many insurance carriers to ensure that you get the best price.

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

Tags: Workers Compensation Insurance, Restaurant Insurance, Commercial General Liability Insurance