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Why Your Contracting Business Needs Liability Insurance

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You have worked hard to build up your contractor business. You don’t want something that could have been avoided to be the downfall.  That is why you need liability insurance.

This insurance is referred to as commercial general liability insurance or contractor liability insurance. It is a policy that covers your business from the risk of personal injury claims, wrongful death, property damage, slip and fall on your business premises, and claims of infringement by other businesses.

The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 Liability Insurance policy for small contractors ranges from $37 to $60 per month.

Without liability coverage, your tools, bank accounts, vehicles, properties and more could be a part of a court battle in the case something happens.  You don’t want to become bankrupt or lose everything and have to start over when you could have easily put liability coverage in place.

Liability coverage is for the following:

Bodily injury claims – If someone visiting your site or working at it is injured, you can use the policy to cover their medical expenses, funeral expenses in the case of wrongful death, and compensation for pain inflicted and lost wages.

Completed products claims – You are protected against claims by clients who are injured by services and products that you already delivered.

Property damage claims – If someone claims that you damaged their property, they are eligible for compensation by your business if the court finds you responsible.

If we can help you put this valuable policy in place, or ensure you have the right coverage on your existing policy, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  Our Commercial Protection Leaders here at Contractors Insurance Agency are always here to help and keep you and your business protected.

Did You Know About These Two Commercial Auto Coverage Options?

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Your business has you on the road a lot going to sites, visiting clients, picking up supplies and more. We want to make sure you are protected as much as possible when you are on the road so we wanted to share with you two coverage options  that Hastings Mutual supplies for our commercial clients. 

Business Auto Emergency Roadside Assistance and Towing

Being on the road a lot means that things happen.  Maybe you get a blown tire, you run out of gas or your battery dies.  And sometimes you may encounter something more major and you just need a way to get that vehicle safely back to homebase. This emergency roadside coverage will be there for you. 

Features provided in this coverage include: 

  • Emergency Fluid Delivery
  • Tire Changes 
  • Towing for private passenger and light truck
  • Towing for larger truck types

Business Auto Protection Plus

Maybe you just want an added layer of protection from risk when you are on the road. The business auto protection plus coverage offers specialized coverages including: 

  • Fellow Employee
  • Glass Repair – Waiver of Deductive
  • Hired Auto Physical Damage
  • Loan/Lease Gap Coverage
  • Waiver of Subrogation

If you are interested in learning more about these offerings and seeing if they are a good fit for your business please reach out to Contractors Insurance Agency today and we can go over your options and get them in place if you choose to move forward. 

We look forward to speaking with you soon!

8 Tips to Growing Your Construction Business

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Are you ready to ramp up your business? Are you looking for the best ways to grow?  Having a plan in place is key to growth and that plan needs to have strategic ways to increase your operations effectively and ensure you have the resources for the growth you are looking for. 

Here are 8 tips to help you successfully grow your construction business

1.) Your Team: In construction, your team is one of your most important assets. Be sure to take your time hiring and put team members in place that are dependable, knowledgeable and skilled in their areas. Then once you have them you want to keep them so be sure to always promote and reward them for jobs well done. 

2.) Be a Leader: You don’t need to manage your team, you need to lead them.  You brought each person on for their unique talents so let them do what they are good at.  You oversee that and lead them and you will have a team that is happy and wants to expand your business just as much as you do. 

3.) Invest: To make money you also need to spend money. Invest not only time but money into your company’s growth. Invest in new equipment and technology when needed, train your employees and actively market your business.

4.) Word of mouth: The number one method to growth is having people refer you to others. Let your customers know you appreciate their referrals and will do right by them. 

5.) Network: One of the best ways to grow is to have the resources and people around you that can help you do that.  Networking is a great way to accomplish this.  You want to go into this process by not just thinking of how others can benefit you but how you can serve others as well. Being active in your community and giving back when you can is a great way to build repo ire. 

6.) Quality Work: Don’t sacrifice the quality of your work.  When it comes down to it, your company will be remembered for how well the job held up in the long term, not how cheap you could do it for. Cutting corners to reduce costs can be detrimental. Your company’s reputation is key to growth. Never compromise your high standards.

7.) Customer Service: Ensuring your customers are happy is extremely important to building your business and your brand.  This doesn’t mean they are always right or that you need to cave in on everything they want. You are the expert. It is about actively communicating with your client on the project and making decisions together on the progress. Happy customers will send you referrals and choose to work with you again. 

8.) Be Proactive: Proactively seek new opportunities to retain and grow your business. Reach out to the owners, architects and general contractors you know and have worked with to find out what projects they have on the horizon.

Here at Contactors Insurance Agency we want to support you in your growth and make sure that you have the best insurance coverage in place.  Call us today to review your policy and make sure you are ready for the growth that will be coming your way!

Benefits of Fiduciary Liability Insurance

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Offering employees a variety of benefit options, like pension plans, retirement accounts and health care coverage, while not required, is expected of today’s employers.

Organizations that provide these resources to their workforce often task an individual or group of individuals called fiduciaries to oversee the benefits plans. Fiduciaries may include employers, plan administrators, plan trustees, directors, officers and internal investment committees.

A fiduciary’s job is to select advisors and investments, minimize expenses and follow plan documents exactly.  Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), fiduciaries must act in the interest of plan participants in order to avoid liability claims related to the denial of benefits, administrative error, improper advice, wrongful termination of a plan and similar allegations stemming from plan management.

In order for an organization to protect its fiduciaries, fiduciary liability insurance is critical and can provide policyholders with the following:

ERISA liability protection – Under ERISA, a fiduciary is any entity or person that is responsible for the management of benefits plans. Per ERISA requirements, these individuals can be held liable for any breach of duties, errors or omissions. Fiduciary liability insurance is designed to protect plan sponsors and their employees from fiduciary claims – claims that can easily reach six figures or more.

Protection from common fiduciary claims – A number of parties, including employees, the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, can file fiduciary lawsuits. Claims can arise for a number of reasons, including administrative error, wrongful termination of a plan, improper advice and conflicts of interest. Fiduciary liability insurance can go a long way in protecting employers and plan administrators from these common claims.

Affordable Coverage – While the cost of fiduciary liability insurance can vary depending on an organizations’ assets and the number of plan participants, coverage is generally affordable. On average, fiduciary liability insurance plans range anywhere from $600 to $2600 per year depending on a company’s specific requirements.

Specialty protection not found in similar policies – Companies often wrongfully assume that employee benefits liability (EBL) or directors and officers (D&O) liability policies can provide protection for fiduciary claims. While EBL insurance can defend against claims of errors in plan administration, it provides no protection for more expensive and complex ERISA violations. D&O policies also typically exclude EBL and ERISA related claims, making fiduciary liability insurance a must.

Coverage beyond fidelity bonds – ERISA fidelity bonds are required by law and are meant to protect plans against losses related to acts of theft or fraud. While these bonds are critical if someone acting as a fiduciary deliberately defrauds or steals from a plan, they only protect employee benefits and not a fiduciary’s liability.  Specifically, fidelity bonds do not provide any form of payment for legal defenses or damages related to fiduciary claims, making finding the right policy crucial.

If you have any questions about Fiduciary Liability insurance please contact us at Contractors Insurance Agency and find out how we can help you.

 

 

 

Ensuring a Safe Job Site is Essential

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For the first time in many years, OSHA has made significant changes in their PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) requirements.  We urge you to take a look at this “Quick Glance Card” they have issued, to make it easier to understand.

The basics of these new requirements regarding policy and certificates are:

  1. When it comes to liability insurance for contractors in terms of PPE, it is vital that you have a current liability policy for yourself and any and all employees at all times.*
  2. You’ll always be issued a Certificate of Insurance that should be kept with you at all times on the job.
  3. This certificate verifies that you hold fully active insurance coverage, workers’ compensation, employer (contractor) liability, general liability, and what the liability limits are.
  4. There is a lot of coverage in this, but to boil it down, ensure that the coverage includes premises and operations, independent contractor, products, completed operations and contractual liability.
  5. The Certificate should clearly state that your primary coverage is contractor liability.
It’s important to understand that the Certificate of Coverage is simply that—a certificate stating you have coverage. It is neither indefinite nor a guarantee of coverage. It’s your responsibility to make sure your coverage is valid. As a contractor, you are responsible for maintaining all PPE requirements for yourself and any and all of your employees. As we’re sure you already know, most people are aware of what PPE is— equipment designed to protect your head, eyes, body, extremities, and even lungs. It’s safe and smart to use, even if you’re only going to be on site for a few minutes. The old adage “better safe than sorry” is never truer than here! So, the laws state PPE is necessary when high-risk work is being undertaken, and responsibility for supplying it is in the hands of the contractor, along with liability insurance as you are, in effect, self-employed.

What are your obligations?

In brief—please remember, this is not an all-inclusive list and we, along with OSHA’s guidelines, will help you make your way through all the jargon-filled twists and turns!
  • Performance of a complete and comprehensive survey and assessment of any and all workplace hazards
  • Identification of all required PPE and ensuring adequate quantity
  • Full training in the usage of PPE
  • Inspection and maintenance of the PPE, replacing when necessary
  • Record-keeping of any and all safety incidents
  • Remember—it is your responsibility to strictly enforce the wearing of and adherence to all PPE regulations, and to update your compliance program whenever circumstances may change

A few best practice tips for you as a contractor to achieve safety compliance and work without complications:

  • Make sure your PPE policy is in writing, and everyone can easily and quickly refer to it when necessary. A written policy is a requirement of OSHA.
  • Keep up-to-date with state and federal regulations that are specific to your industry. Professional associations can help you with this, if you’re unsure of them.
  • Enforcement, enforcement, and enforcement yet again! Hold everyone responsible, set the rules, and be ready and willing at all times to set the example. Remember, you and your employees are your responsibility.
  • Your PPE policy should follow all regulations set forth in any Material Safety Data Sheets—make sure these are at-hand and everything is in perfect sync.
  • Check you have the correct level of hard-hat protection for the job, as there are three classes of protection.
  • The proof is in the details! Check to make sure, just as with the hard-hats, that gloves and the like are adequate to the job hazard presented.
  • Record-keeping, record-keeping, and more record-keeping! Just like with enforcement, this needs to be stressed.
So when it comes to your liability protection, PPE compliance is only one among many. Along with talking to us here at Contractors Insurance, OSHA’s website is your go-to. It contains some easy-to-understand information for contractors. We have also created a downloadable checklist for a PPE audit. Download it now. ___________________ * This information is not to be deemed legal advice on your insurance liability responsibilities, and legal counsel should be retained if you have questions. This information is for liability insurance requirement purposes regarding Personal Protective Equipment.
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