What Underwriters like and dislike about Janitorial Services Companies

Janitorial Services Companies are placed in NCCI Class Code 9014 for Workers Comp

Janitorial Services Companies can be placed within a number of different NCCI Class Codes for purposes of Workers Compensation Insurance. NCCI stands for the National Council on Compensation Insurance. This organization is the foremost authority for state workers compensation systems when it comes to determining classification codes and recommending pure premium rates. NCCI gathers data, analyzes industry trends, provides objective insurance rate and loss cost recommendations. For most states there are around 700 different classification codes business are placed within.

Janitorial Services Companies are primarily placed within NCCI Class Code 9014. The duties of businesses that operate in this industry include keeping businesses clean by dusting, mopping, vacuuming, waxing, and even polishing floors. Some businesses have employees who empty trash, clean interior walls, as well as cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing restrooms. There are many aspects of this business that make it either a favorable or unfavorable business for an insurance carrier.

Janitorial Services Companies use Cleaning Supplies, Vacuum, Broom, Duster, Sponge

The easiest type of Janitorial Services company for an insurance carrier to offer workers compensation coverage to is an office cleaning company. This is because these businesses have less risky operations than businesses who clean exterior or industrial settings. Because of the lower risk for office cleaning companies, this classification code is the easiest to get insured and usually at the best rates. For this reason, most businesses attempt to operate in this part of the industry exclusively. For businesses that operate in other parts of this industry (carpet cleaning, floor waxing, power washing, window washing, etc.), there are many things those businesses need to consider in relation to workers compensation coverage. All businesses in the janitorial services industry can benefit from an increased focus on operating a safe business. Here are four things all businesses can do to show an underwriter they are focused on limiting insurance claims.

Mop, Bucket, Chores, Housework, Clean

Types of Activities Underwriters Like about a Janitorial Services Company

Some Janitorial Services Companies operate in more risky portions of the industry. Those companies must prepare for a higher rate for all forms of commercial insurance and those companies must better prepare for keeping their employees safe.  No matter the duties of the employees in this industry, it is important for the leadership of a business to implement activities underwriters like about a Janitorial Services Companies. Here are four activities that help a business get coverage and limit what the business pays for premium.

Safety Program

A Safety Program is the primary aspect a business can use to improve the results of the business. An effective safety program can limit workplace injuries, raise the morale of the staff, lower the frequency and severity of insurance claims, and increase the productivity of the business. A safety program can do this by creating a workplace culture that has employees thinking about the health and well-being of everyone involved in the business. If this is implemented effectively, it will lower the frequency and the severity of all insurance claims the business files. When the business files less workers comp claims it is because the business is experiencing less injured employees. Less injured employees means the business has created an environment that includes healthy employees. Healthy employees tend to contribute to a higher overall morale throughout the workforce. Conversely, when employees are healthy and happy, they are more likely to be more productive.

Return-to-Work Program

A Return-to-Work Program is a natural extension of a businesses safety program. It is a program most business hope they never have to use, or a program a business at least rarely uses. The best way to prepare for this is to establish a safety committee with employees from all levels of the organization. If you have an employee who has dealt with a workplace injury and the workers compensation system, it may be a wise decision to place that employee on this committee. Creating light duty activities for employees will help get them back to work quicker and give them less time to develop routines outside of their work environment. The sooner an injured employee gets back to work in any capacity, the more likely they are to eventually return to full-time permanent work.

Well-Maintained Equipment

Equipment ages and wears out over time. There is no way to avoid wear and tear on the equipment of a janitorial services company. With careful attention, maintaining equipment can get more useful life and productivity out of most equipment. For the business, this means there is less downtime and increase job site productivity. It also means less injured workers because of faulty equipment. Proper maintenance will also result in a higher resale value when the time comes to sell it.

Maintaining equipment begins with picking the right equipment in the first place and operating the used equipment in a smart, safe and efficient manner. If you require your employees to document this maintenance, it can create an atmosphere where maintenance and safety are part of the job. In addition to safety and longevity, preventative maintenance can also reduce the likelihood of theft.

Businesses that Work with OSHA

Many businesses attempt to spend as little time as possible interacting with a government agency. In some instances, this is a wise decision because interacting with a government agency can bring the eyes of regulators at many levels of the government. OSHA is one agency where this is not the case. OSHA offers many services to help a business remain safe. They will even come out to a facility upon request and give recommendation about the safety of operations. There are many ways OSHA can help a business remain safe. If a business does use any of the recommendations of OSHA, it should be documented and used when acquiring all forms of commercial insurance.

Cleanliness, Maid, Maintains, Cleaning

The Types of Activities Underwriters do not like Businesses to Partake?

Working at Heights

Anything that is done at heights (especially if it is done above ten feet in height),  makes an insurance carrier less likely to want to offer coverage to that business.  Window Washing is the primary reason an employee works at heights. Working at height causes workers compensation claims to be much more severe. When a business experiences a severe claim it sticks with their experience modification rating for a three year period. This can cause premium to be elevated for a three year period and can make it more difficult for some businesses to even get coverage offered on the open market.

Industrial Settings

Janitorial Services Companies that operate in an Industrial Setting tend to have more severe claims compared to businesses that operate primarily indoors. Especially when indoor companies operate primarily in an office setting. In many instances, businesses who operate in an industrial setting have to purchase coverage from the state’s assigned risk provider. This is because they are so risky many carriers are not willing to offer coverage to the business at all. The assigned risk provider almost exclusively offers more expensive rates compared to the open market.

Maintenance and Repair Work

NCCI Class Code 9014 allows for some maintenance and minor repair work. Most insurance carriers allow up to 10% of business be related to maintenance and repair work. Maintenance and repair work significantly raises the frequency of claims, which negatively impacts a businesses loss cost. The loss cost is the primary number an underwriter uses to determine what a business must pay for coverage.

Residential Cleaning

Residential cleaning companies operate in a less controlled environment. Most employees are driving to a third party location and are unsupervised. The fact that there is a driving risks raises both the frequency and especially the severity of insurance claims filed by these companies. Because of this elevated risk, insurance carriers are less likely to offer coverage to businesses. If those businesses are not able to find coverage on the open market, they are forced to buy coverage from the state provider. NCCI Class Code 9014 allows for residential cleaning if it is less than 50% of operations.

Commercial Insurance Needs for Retail Businesses

Retail establishments have a large amount of foot traffic compared to other businesses. This can cause a larger amount of risk to be elevated for both general liability and workers compensation claims. Because of more frequent contact between employees and the general public, employees are more likely to come down with the flu or the common cold. These days missed from work may or may not cause a workers compensation claim, but they definitely contribute to a loss of productivity. When one employee is out sick other employees have to pick up the slack for that missing employees. This may create risks in other areas of the business. Slips, Trips, and Falls are the most common problem in retail establishments.

Retail Clothing Store

Retail stores vary based on what they sell, where they are located, what other and what other services they offer. Additional risks may be taken on by businesses that offer delivery and installation of products. In some instances, these services are offered by vendors who rent space from the store. Because of the vast differences in the types of retail establishments, there are a number of different classification codes for employees working at a retail establishment. It is important to make sure all employees are classified properly.

What can Retail Owners and Operators due to save on Commercial Insurance?

Partner with an Independent Agent

When a Retail Business partners with an independent insurance agent, they are able to get multiple quotes from multiple carriers all with one phone call. This is because an independent agent partners with many carriers to find the right solution to their clients needs. A captive agent is limited to the offerings of the carrier they represent. Partnering with an independent insurance agent makes it easier to get multiple quotes from one agent and they can give you unbiased advice about both the pros and cons of each policy. They also can give you insight into the positives and negatives of doing business with each carrier. This allows the business owner to know what they are getting into with the relationship with their insurance carrier.

Shop Around your Policies

One of the best things an independent insurance agent can do for a business owner is help them shop around their policy from year to year. It is not wise to switch on the drop of a hat because of a slight drop in price, but it is smart to make sure your carrier is competitive with the marketplace. An independent insurance agent can get multiple quotes all in one place. It may be a good idea to also contact a few captive agents and maybe even another independent insurance agent. Now if you like your agent, it may be worthwhile to pay a small amount more in order to continue your relationship with them. It is equally important to shop around to make sure your agent has your best interest in mind as well as your carrier.

Safety Programs

Having a well-documented safety program in place is essential for retail stores. It should be an extensive part of the new hire training and it should be done regularly throughout the year with all employees. These do not have to be extensive training programs. They can be as short as a 15 minute conversation or even watching a workplace safety video. They should always be documented and they should occur on a regular basis. The frequency of your meetings is dependent upon your business and the workplace safety expert you consult. It is helpful to create a committee to be in charge of the workplace safety program. This is important because these employees can be supporters of the program and can garner support throughout all employees.

Store, Clothing, Shop, Bouique, Clothes

What Types of Insurance Should a Retail Business Have?

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Property Insurance
  • Inland Marine Coverage
  • Workers Compensation Insurance

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance protects a business from common Slips, Trips, and Falls. These types of claims are higher in this industry because of the amount of foot traffic throughout the facility. It is important to remember that General Liability Insurance is not all encompassing. There are exclusion to every policy and every carrier has their own specifics. It is important to speak long and honestly with your agent about all the intricacies of your business in an attempt to properly insure your business.

Commercial Property Insurance

Business Property Insurance are not huge for retailers. Most facilities include some form of electrical wiring as well as heating and cooling systems. It is important to make sure the facility is in proper condition. Creating a safety committee to periodically check the status of the facility.

 Inland Marine Coverage

Inland marine insurance is designed to protect equipment that is frequently in transit or stored at a third party location. If the retail business has pop-ups at other locations, inland marine is needed to protect the equipment being used away from the location.

Workers Compensation

Retail Shops have a large amount of risks when it comes to Workers Compensation Insurance. A majority of these risks stem from the amount of exposure to foot traffic. Developing a safety program to deal with these risks and starting the training of this program from the day a person is hired, is the best way to limit the frequency and severity of claims.

Sign, Open, Open Sign, Business, Store

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 5311: Department Stores
  • 5722: Appliance Stores
  • 5941: Sporting Goods Stores and Bicycle Shops
  • 5651: Family Clothing Stores
  • 5912: Drug Stores and Proprietary Stores
  • 5331: Variety Stores
  • 5399: General Merchandise Stores
  • 5932: Used Merchandise Stores

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 452111: Department Store
  • 452112: Discount Stores
  • 443141: Household Appliance Stores
  • 451110: Sporting Goods Stores
  • 448140: Family Clothing Stores
  • 446110: Pharmacies and Drug Stores
  • 452990: Other General Merchandise Stores
  • 442299: Home Furnishing Stores
  • 453310: Used Merchandise Stores

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 12356: Department or Discount Stores
  • 10026: Antique Stores
  • 18206: Sporting Good or Athletic Equipment Stores
  • 11127: Clothing and Apparel Stores
  • 12374: Drugstores—No Food or Beverage
  • 18911: Variety Stores
  • 11155: Coin, Stamp and Book Stores
  • 16881: Secondhand Stores

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 8039: Retail Department Stores
  • 8044: Furniture Store and Drivers
  • 8008: Clothing and Apparel Stores
  • 8045: Retail Drug Stores
  • 8017: Stores, Retail—Not Classified Elsewhere
  • 8010: Hardware Stores
  • 8013: Jewelry Stores
  • 8046: Auto Parts and Accessories Stores

Cable Installers

Necessary Insurance Policies for Cable Installation Businesses

Cable television and internet services are a regular part of the lives of most people in 2019. Cable installers provide a service that installs programming over both fiber optic and coaxial cables. The services can be sent both digitally or by satellite. Cable installers may lay lines or cables throughout a property. Because the work is done primarily on third party locations and the properties vary greatly, there is a lot of risk involved in the industry. Business that operate in this industry need to take insuring the business seriously. Taking an additional amount of time to think about the risks the business face, thinking about what could go wrong, and how leadership might prevent these risks from taking place are strongly recommended for any cable installation business. Speaking with an independent insurance agent can help make the purchasing decision easier. Here are five policies all cable installers should strongly consider.

Installation, Cabling, Electricity, and Electrical done by a cable installer.

Recommended Insurance Programs for Cable Installation

Minimum recommended coverage:

  • General Liability
  • Workers Compensation
  • Inland Marine Coverage
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Business Personal Property

General Liability

General Liability Insurance is the first line of defense for cable installers looking to protect themselves from the liability faced to outside third parties. This policy covers basic liability, but is not all encompassing. It is important to take an adequate amount of time to discuss with an insurance agent what exactly the employees of a business do and do not partake in on a daily basis. There are more than likely additional policies any business will need in addition to general liability insurance.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Insurance is required by law for most businesses in most states. The policy protects injured employees with coverage for medical costs and some lost wages while they are hurt and not able to work. Many contracts require a business to provide a certificate of insurance proving they have both GL and WC insurance. There are some states that have exclusions depending upon the number of employees and the annual revenue of the business. If the business is owned by one person and that person is the only employee, there is a ghost policy that is much cheaper to purchase and will meet the demands of most contracts.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland Marine covers tools and specialized equipment that is frequently in transit. If the tools are damaged while working or being stored at a third party location, the inland marine policy will cover to repair or replace the tools.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial Auto Insurance is needed if the business has employees who operate vehicles that the business owns. If the employees use their personal vehicle for business purposes, a hired and non-owned auto needs to be purchased either instead of or in addition to a commercial auto insurance policy. When an employee causes a wreck while on company time, the business is liable for the damages to outside third parties. The employee is not liable. Failing to secure the proper type of commercial auto insurance can result in a large loss the business is responsible for.

Business Income with Extra Expense

Business Income with Extra Expense Coverage is designed to cover expenses during a time when the business is interrupted or fully shut down as a result of a covered loss. It is important to remember the underlying loss has to be covered. If the loss is caused by a flood, earthquake, or tornado; and the business does not have proper coverage in place; the business income policy is not triggered. This is another reason why it is so crucial to speak long and honestly with your insurance agent and not base your purchasing decision solely on price.

Additional Policies to consider:
Building, Equipment Breakdown, Contractors Equipment, Cyber Liability, Employment Practices Liability, and Umbrella Coverage.

Cable Installers also work with satellites.

Cable Installation Liability Classification Codes

Commercial insurance companies use various liability classification systems in order to classify and rate coverage premiums for Cable Installation. Here are the most common business insurance classifications for Cable Installers:

Business Liability Category: TV and Media Installation

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 4841: Cable and Other Pay TV Services

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 517110: Wired Telecommunications Carriers
  • 515210: Cable and Other Subscription Programming

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 91315: Cable and Subscription TV Companies

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 7536: Cable Installation and Construction
  • 8901: Cable and Telecommunications—Office Employees
  • 7600: Cable TV or Satellite—Other Employees and Drivers
  • 6325: Conduit Construction—for Cables or Wires
  • 8742: Outside Sales Persons

Masonry

Insurance Needs for a Masonry Small Business

With a booming economy comes a booming construction industry.  One essential part of the construction industry is enough masonry companies to fill the needs of builders. Masonry contractors install and repair brick, block, stone, veneer and other masonry items onto and inside of buildings or structures. Their work may include fencing or retaining walls, outside signs and other related structures. The masonry industry consists of more than 41,000 businesses in the United States. The industry generates $23 billion in revenue each year and employs more than 147,500 people.  Masons practice a craft that has been handed down for centuries and takes years of careful study working with a master craftsman.

As a small-business owner (or even a person considering starting a small business), your mind is more than likely spinning over all the types of insurance you have to choose from.  It is important to not take this part of running a business lightly. Each type of insurance covers a different risk your business may or may not face. Here is some information about the risks Masons face and the types of insurance coverage a business within this industry should consider.

Brick Wall finished by a Masonry Company.

Unique Risks within the Masonry Industry

Masons work with heavy materials which elevates the risk of bodily injury. Working in the Masonry Industry requires bending frequently bending and lifting heavy objects. This can cause excessive wear and tear on the body. Wearing a back brace and lifting with the knees instead of the back should be a common part of any businesses protocol. Implementing a safety program and including the workers in the development and implementation of the program is the best way to create a company culture focused on safety.

Masons rely on their chisels, mallets, and metal straightedges to perform their work.  If those tools are lost, damaged, or stolen the mason is not able to do their work.  Depending upon how expensive or how specialized these tools are, an inland marine insurance policy may be needed to help replace the tools quickly in the event of damage or theft.

Construction worker doing Masonry.

Recommended Insurance for Masons 

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Inland Marine Coverage
  • Property Insurance
  • Hired and Non-Owned Auto (full commercial auto if vehicles owned)
  • Workers Compensation

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance is required by law for most masonry businesses. Contractors will need it to enter into most contracts. General Liability protects masons from common property damage and bodily injury claims. It is important to remember that it is not all-encompassing. There are exclusions in every policy and it is important to discuss with your independent insurance agent what additional coverages your business may need.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland Marine Insurance is designed for businesses that have specialized equipment and tools that are frequently in transit away from the businesses location. It can also cover equipment that is stored at a third party location. If your business has a trailer you use to haul necessary equipment or if you store equipment off-site, this coverage may be necessary to adequately protect the business.

Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance is needed whether you own or lease the property your business is located. It will cover the structure of the business and some additional equipment like cabinets, and desks. There are exclusions to each policy. Take an additional few minutes before purchasing to understand exactly within your business is and is not covered by a commercial property insurance policy.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto

Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance is a type of commercial auto insurance for businesses that have employees drive their personal vehicles for business purposes or leased vehicles. If your employees are driving as a result of work and they cause an accident, the business is responsible for the damages to third parties. This can be extremely costly if it is not properly covered.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Insurance is required by law for most businesses in most states. Some states have exclusions depending upon the industry, the number of employees, or the revenue of a business. Even if a business is allowed to not carry coverage, it is usually in the best interest of the business to still carry some form of coverage. Even if the business has one employee who is the owner, there is a ghost policy that is offered at a much lower rate that can meet the requirements for most contracts.

Additional Coverages Masonry Businesses Should consider:

  • General Liability
  • Inland Marine Coverage
  • Commercial Auto
  • Business Income with Extra Expense
  • Umbrella

Masonry Contractors and Construction

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 1741: Masonry, Stone Setting and Other Stone work

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 238140: Masonry Contractors
  • 327310: Cement Manufacturers

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 97447: Mason Contractors

NCCI Class Codes:

  • 5022: Mason Contractors and Masonry Construction
  • 5222: Concrete Construction—Bridges and Culverts

Mortgage Brokers

Recommended Insurance Coverages for Mortgage Brokers

Mortgage Brokers are an essential part of the economy i 2019. They act as middlemen helping realtors get home buyers the best solutions to all their mortgage needs. Mortgage Brokers are individual financial institutions that lend the funds for the purchase of property. The properties can be for both business and personal use. Some mortgage companies also service escrow accounts, offer some real estate services, and some even broker or sell mortgage loans to other operations. With each type of service the business offers additional risk is taken on by the financial institution. Here are five types of insurance all mortgage brokerage businesses should consider.

Picture of a house with a Mortgage Broker handing the keys to the new homeowner.

Minimum recommended coverage:

  • General Liability
  • Workers Compensation
  • Errors & Omissions (Professional Liability)
  • Hired and Non-Owned Auto
  • Property Insurance

Answers to your Mortgage Broker Insurance Questions.General Liability

General Liability Insurance for Mortgage Brokers is usually the first type of coverage a broker needs. It protects the broker from common slips, trips, and falls. These incidents can happen at the location of the mortgage broker or at a third party site. A General Liability Policy can cover damage in the form of bodily injury and property damage.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation is typically the second policy the owner of a mortgage brokerage service discusses with their insurance agent. This is because General Liability and Workers Compensation are required by law for most businesses in most states. Workers Compensation covers a business for injuries to employees that happen within the normal course of business. The policy covers medical costs and some lost wages for injured employees who are hurt and not able to work. Implementing a well-documented safety program and focusing on ergonomics within the workplace can help limit the amount of injuries your employees experience.

Errors & Omissions (Professional Liability)

Errors & Omissions is frequently referred to as Professional Liability. In other industries it may be referred to as malpractice. This type of insurance protects businesses and their employees from claims of negligence or  inadequate work. Any business that gives professional advice for a fee needs to secure an errors and omissions insurance policy.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto (full commercial auto if vehicles owned)

Car Accident with a red car flipped over lying upside down. Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance is designed for when an employee uses their personal car or when an employee drives a rental car for purposes. It is common for a mortgage broker to meet at a third party site for many business functions. When they are driving to and from these appointments, the business is liable for damages occurred when the employee causes a wreck. A Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance Policy can protect the business, up to the limits of the policy, from the liability it faces when an employee causes an accident while on company time.

Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance is designed to protect any business from both legal liability and property damage related to the building they operate in regardless of whether the business owns or leases the facility. Most commercial property insurance policies provide coverage for a wide variety of damages that usually include fire, smoke, wind, vandalism and civil disobedience. The policies frequently list included and excluded damages. Some common exclusions often include damages resulting from earthquakes and hail. These damages may have a separate deductibles or be excluded from coverage altogether. One thing to ask your agent when purchasing commercial property insurance is the differences between actual cash value and replacement cost.

 

Other coverages to consider for Mortgage Brokers:
Business Personal Property, Extra Expense, Financial Institutions Bond, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, Directors and Officers Liability, Employee Benefits, Umbrella Coverage, Computer Fraud, Extortion, Cyber liability Insurance (Data Breach Coverage), EPLI and Mortgage Errors & Omissions.

Mortgage Brokers Liability Classification Codes

Commercial insurance companies use various liability classification systems in order to classify and rate coverage premiums for Mortgage Brokers. Here are the most common business insurance classification for Mortgage Companies:

Business Liability Category: Financial Institutions

SIC Business Insurance Codes for Mortgage Brokers:
  • 6162: Mortgage Bankers and Loan Correspondents
  • 6163: Loan Brokers
NAICS Liability Classifications:
  • 522292: Real Estate Credit
  • 522390: Activities Related to Credit Inter-mediation
  • 522310: Mortgage and Non Mortgage Loan Brokers
Business ISO General Liability for Mortgage Brokers:
  • 61223: Banks and Other Financial Institutions
  • 61226: Office—Other Than Non-Profit
  • 61224: Office—Building Occupied by Business Employees
Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:
  • 8810: Office and Clerical
  • 8772: Outside Sales and Messengers

Should You Ask Your Agent About Lost Key Liability Insurance?

What is Lost Key Liability and Why Might a Business Need It?

Keys are a regular part of most adults life. When we leave the house most people grab their keys, wallet/purse, and cell phone. When a person owns or operates a business that has access to the keys of other people or businesses there is a significant risk the keys may be lost. If those lost keys fall in to the hands of a nefarious person, they can cause a large amount of damage to the owner of that property. These are damages your business will be liable for. One of the best ways to protect a business from this liability is by securing the proper insurance policy.  Lost Key Liability Insurance can help minimize the cost to a business when a keys go missing and a business is held responsible for replacing the locks and keys.

Rack with five sets of keys hanging.

What is Lost Key Liability Insurance?

Lost Key Liability Insurance covers a business or contractor who is responsible for possessing the keys of another person or business. The most common example of a business with this responsibility is a cleaning company. This type of business has employees who use the keys to access the building after hours to performing the cleaning service. If the employee of that business losses the keys, the cleaning business is responsible for replacing the locks and keys for the other person or business. If this is for one lock, it may not be that expensive. If it is for a business that has multiple locks and keys, it could be a significant amount. The cleaning business can protect this risk with a Lost Key Liability Insurance. This type of insurance does not cover criminal behavior committed by employees.

Locksmith prying open a a door.

Dram Shop Insurance

Liquor Liability Insurance 

Dram Shop Insurance, also commonly referred to as Liquor Liability Insurance, is a specialized type of liability coverage for businesses that serve and sell alcoholic beverages. Many insurance carriers do not have a strong appetite for quoting businesses where a large amount of alcohol is served. Most carriers will shy off companies as the percentage of alcohol sales moves northward of 50 percent of total sales. When a business does sale predominantly alcohol, there are fewer carriers to get a quote from. The market for this type of coverage is divided up between two types of carriers, Admitted and Non-Admitted Carriers. Both types of carriers serve a functional role for the market. Here is a detailed description of what Dram Shop Insurance is, where Dram Shop Laws came from, what types of businesses need Dram Shop Insurance, what types of carriers offer Dram Shop Insurance and how much the coverage costs.

Two people sitting at a bar show the need for a business to purchase Dram Shop Insurance.

Dram Shop Law? (Where the need for Dram Shop Insurance Arose.)

Dram Shop as a term comes from a time many years ago when alcohol was sold by the dram. This was typically an eighth of an ounce or what is commonly today served as a shot of alcohol. All but 6 states (Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, South Dakota, and Virginia) have some form of Dram Laws on the books. States where Dram Laws are on the books a business may face liability if a customer gets into a fight, damages someone else’s property, or even gets into a car accident.

What Businesses Need Liquor Liability Insurance Coverage?

Businesses that typically need liquor liability insurance coverage include: Restaurants, Bars, Taverns, Caterers, Breweries, Wineries, Grocery Stores, Liquor Stores, Convenience Stores, Food Trucks, and Grocery Stores. Most of these businesses are legally required to carry General Liability, Workers Compensation, and Liquor Liability Insurance. Workers Comp will cover injured employees, General Liability will cover general third party liability minus the specified exclusions, and Liquor Liability covers risks associated to intoxicated customers. Most carriers have specific packages of policies for businesses in this industry depending upon the specific classification code. It is important to partner with an independent insurance agent with whom you trust and take their recommendations. Not securing enough insurance is a main factor that leads to many businesses closing their doors permanently after a loss.

Several people toasting drinks at a bar.

3 Major Risks Associated with Serving Alcohol

The three major risks associated with alcohol serving businesses include selling alcohol to an intoxicated customer, contributing to the over-intoxication of a customer, and serving alcohol to a minor. None of these events by itself trigger a Dram Shop Insurance Claim, but they can lead to any incident involving an intoxicated patron that does lead to legal liability for the business. These incidents can include injuries to the customer, the minor, or an unrelated third party injured by the intoxicated patron.

Admitted Carriers Vs. Non-Admitted Carriers

Finding a carrier to offer Dram Shop Insurance may be difficult for some businesses. Depending upon the appetite of the carrier, the claims history of the business, the amount of revenue of the business, and the percentage of revenue that comes from the sale of alcohol. There are two types of carriers that do offer Liquor Liability Insurance, Admitted and Non-Admitted Carriers. The basic difference between the two types of carriers is admitted carriers are required to file their rates with the state governing body and follow certain rules set by the state governing agency. Non-Admitted Carriers are not required to file rates nor are they required to follow the same rules as Admitted Carriers. Non-Admitted Carriers do serve a functional role within the insurance system of the states they operate within. They are often the carriers that are willing to take on high risk businesses that have a greater likelihood of losses. Non-Admitted Carriers are required to show proof they are financially able to cover the claims they are taking on. Each state has their own way to require carriers to prove this.

Sign outside of Cheers Tavern. Where everybody knows your name.

Special Considerations of Carriers who offer Dram Shop Insurance Coverage?

The cost of the Dram Shop Insurance depends on a number of factors including the classification code of the business, the claims history of the business, the location of the business, the revenue of the business, and the amount of revenue that comes from the sales of alcohol.

Classification Code

The Classification Code of the business will determine the recommended premium rate for workers compensation insurance. Depending upon the risks involved with the business this can be favorable or unfavorable in relation to what the business pays for coverage.

Claims History

The Claims History of the business applying for a Dram Shop Insurance Policy impacts immensely what the business pays for premium. The experience modification rating deals with the three previous years of claims history not including the current year. For new businesses without enough claims history, the rating is negatively impacted. For businesses with frequent or severe claims, the rating is impacted more. Businesses that have low or no claims, have an in-depth safety program, and a return-to-work program tend to pay less for premium.

Location

If a business is located in an area of town where crime is more prevalent, the amount the business pays for insurance may be impacted. The location of the parking lot and the amount of lighting on the premises impact premium. The presence of security or law enforcement can impact what a carrier charges for insurance.

Revenue

The revenue of a business will impact the amount of risk related to the business. A business that serves more alcohol will in turn have more intoxicated customers. The more intoxicated customers being served at a business, results in more likelihood of the business facing liability.

Amount of Revenue from Alcohol Sales

Businesses that get more than 50 percent of their sales from alcohol are much more likely to face liability due to intoxicated patrons. The higher the revenue and the higher the percentage of alcohol sales will result in a high rate of premium.

Technology in the Trucking Industry

Impacts of Improving Safety in the Trucking Industry and how it impacts Insurance 

With the prevalence of online shopping, the Trucking Industry is booming like never before. The need for more truckers is ever present throughout the industry. The demands of the industry are forcing drivers to be behind the wheel for more days and more hours then ever. With this demand comes an immense amount of risk. These risks can lead to more insurance claims throughout the industry which can lead to rising insurance premiums. Fortunately, this rise in demand for truckers is coinciding with amazing advancements in technology throughout the Trucking Industry. These advancements, in many ways, is leading to a safer experience for drivers. Here are five ways technology is impacting the Trucking Industry and three ways technology is impacting insurance for trucking businesses.

Trucking Industry provides a service many people in the US benefit from.

How is Technology impacting the Trucking Industry?

  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Driver monitoring
  • Traffic Coordination
  • Recruiting
  • Comforting Drivers

Fuel Efficiency in the Trucking Industry

One major cost for everyone involved in the Trucking Industry is the cost of fuel. Unfortunately, fuel prices fluctuate from year to year. This makes it extremely difficult for businesses to predict what costs will be for their business. Because of this disparity in prices for fuel from year to year, improving fuel efficiency is of utmost importance to businesses within the Trucking Industry.

Using GPS Technology to get from point A to point B without getting lost means less time finding loads. When you consider many companies have dozens or even hundreds of drivers on the road at any particular time, costs can add up quickly. Every minute on the road saved can add to bigger profits for the company. In addition to less time looking for a load, GPS Technology is helping drivers reduce idling time by avoiding traffic jams.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) suggests that the best way to reduce fuel consumption is to reduce speed. According to this study by the American Trucking Association found a truck traveling at 75 mph consumes 27% more fuel than one going 65 mph; so limiting truck speed to 65 mph would save 2.8 billion gals. of diesel fuel over a decade. More experienced drivers know this and can save the business and the industry as a whole as much as 27% yearly by driving at an appropriate speed.

Driver monitoring

ELD’s or electronic logging devices are helping fleet managers monitor driving habits to benefit safety and fuel efficiency. Monitoring drivers with ELD’s allows companies to more effectively manage driving habits and more quickly offer extensive training to new drivers. When new drivers are evaluated remotely, it can lead to better safety outcomes and better fuel efficiency for the business and the industry as a whole.

Traffic Coordination in the Trucking Industry

With the ability to communicate and access fleet information remotely, many companies are able to improve delivery times. Drivers can now coordinating driving patterns to miss traffic and bad weather. Some technology are good enough to warn a driver about a risk they face in their blind spot in realtime. This leads to less time spent idling and less instances of Distracted Driving.

Recruiting and staffing

Technology and the internet allow trucking companies to find more drivers in more areas of the country then ever before. Many drivers find jobs through online job boards over their phone while sitting at a rest stop. Because of this accessibility, drivers and owner operators have more access to better jobs and better pay rates then ever before. Also, staffing agencies are now able to source positions out to only the most qualified drivers more effectively. The process of matching drivers with the companies looking for their skills is better and more efficient. This benefits everyone within the industry and allows the industry to keep shipping rates low.

Comforting Drivers in the Trucking Industry

Technology benefits the driver in many ways then just the efficiency of their driving. With streaming services, there are better music listening options and more ways for drivers to communicating with their family and friends while they are away from home. This adds to the quality of life for drivers who live a different work schedule than pretty much any other industry.

Truck Driver unloading his rig.

How is Technology Impacting Insurance?

Less Frequent Claims

Improvements in the Trucking Industry, through better technology, lower the frequency of claims the insurance industry has to process and pay for. Less insurance claims usually results in improving rates for multiple types of commercial insurance.

Less Severe Claims

When the Trucking Industry benefits from technology, it also results in the claims that are filed being less severe. When the claims are less severe, insurance carriers do not have to fork over as much money to cover these less severe claims. When a trend of less severe claims occurs throughout an area or an industry, it results in lower insurance premium for those states and industries.

Better Data

Technology allows insurance carriers to process more and better data. Processing data more efficiently allows insurance carriers to save time and man hours processing policies, renewals, and claims. The insurance industry has decades of data to use in order to make am underwriting decision. This data allows them to more effectively recommend coverages and limits to businesses within the Trucking Industry. Technology allows more people within the insurance industry to have more information at the hands to make decisions more effectively.

Garagekeepers Coverage

Garagekeepers Coverage Helps Cover Liability to Cars Left in Possession of a Business

Garage Liability Insurance Coverage and Garagekeepers Coverage are two confusing types of insurance policies. If you as a business owner feel overwhelmed when trying to determine which is best for your business, you are not alone. These coverages are difficult to understand not only for most business owners looking to purchase the coverage, but also for many agents and customer service representatives who are looking to service and sell the policies. The main difference between garage liability and garagekeepers coverage is the difference between Liability Insurance and Physical Damage Insurance. Garage Liability Insurance covers the insured’s liability for operations and Garagekeepers Coverage covers damage to a customer’s vehicle. All businesses with garage risks need both coverages to properly insure their business. In this article we are going to examine the specifics of Garagekeepers Coverage.

Car Mechanic working under the hood.

What Exactly is Garagekeepers Coverage

According to the International Risk Management Institute, Garagekeepers coverage is, “Coverage provided under a garage policy for auto and trailer dealers, particularly those dealers that maintain a service department or body shop, for liability exposures with respect to damage to a customer’s auto or auto equipment that has been left in the dealer’s care for service or repair”.  In layman’s terms this type of insurance is similar to a form of bailee liability where the purpose of the policy is to protect the client’s car, truck, or motorcycle while it is in the possession of the business. Policies differ from carrier to carrier, but a normal policy covers damages related to fire, theft, vandalism, or collision.

Car mechanis working on the frame of a car near a wheel.

3 Parts of Garagekeepers Coverage

There are three main parts to this coverage that a business owner should speak with their agent about when adding this policy to their Business Owner’s Package. Those three parts are legal liability, direct primary, and direct excess. Legal Liability covers mechanic’s negligence. If damage is cause to a vehicle while in possession of the business, your business is covered. Two prime examples of this type of liability are when a mechanic damages a car while working on it or driving the car around the property. The other time this liability arises is when an employee forgets to lock the vehicle overnight and there is theft or vandalism as a result. Direct Primary means the client’s vehicle is protected regardless of whether the damage is due to negligence, theft not attributed to negligence, or damage due to extreme weather. Direct Excess is a type of coverage that is similar to “direct primary” coverage, but the difference is Direct Excess is paid only in excess of any amount collectible if the insured is not held legally liable. Like Direct Primary, Direct Excess protects a client’s vehicle regardless of fault.

Car Racing Mechanics preparing for a race.

Common Exclusions to Garagekeepers Coverage

Some common exclusions to a traditional Garagekeepers Coverage include: damage or theft of stereo equipment, loss of CD’s left in the backseat of a vehicle, loss of cellphones, scanners, or mobile radios, loss or damage to radar detection devices, defective parts installed on a vehicle, and even faulty work done by a mechanic.

Swimming Pool Maintenance

A Swimming Pool Maintenance Company has unique risks only the right insurance can take care of

A Swimming Pool Maintenance Companies are fairly unique businesses that exist within a specific niche. Because of the specialization of this niche, there are unique risks that only small businesses within this industry face. Businesses within this industry help clients maintain a cleanly and healthy pool environment during the warmer months of the year. The local lifeguard might be able to put chemicals in the water on a regular basis, but service technicians are trained professionals who can fix problems that exist among all types of swimming pool facilities. This expertise brings about a tremendous amount of risk that a business needs to be protected from. Here are ten types of insurance all Swimming Pool Maintenance Companies should consider.

Outdoor Pool near a beach setting displaying the need for a Swimming Pool Maintenance Company.

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance is designed to cover basic property damage and bodily injury claims that your business may be liable for to third parties. It provides broad liability coverage for both personal injuries and property damage that occurs as a result of the actions of your business. Some common claims include advertising errors, libel, slander, defamation, as well as common slips, trips, and falls caused by your employees. It is important to remember that general liability insurance is not all encompassing. There are exclusions included in all general liability policies and there are additional coverages needed by nearly all swimming pool maintenance companies.

Workers Compensation

For purposes of Workers Compensation, a Swimming Pool Maintenance Company is given NCCI Class Code 9014. In most states, workers compensation is required by law for most businesses who have employees. There are some states who have exclusions based upon the size and structure of your business. even if your business is allowed to not carry coverage, it is not a wise decision to go without coverage if you have employees. Workers Compensation Insurance provides medical benefits and some lost wages to employees when they are hurt on the job. A business benefits from not being able to be sued for most employee injuries that occur as a part of normal business operations.

Lap Swimming Pool

Commercial Property

No matter if your business owns or rents a property, you need to secure some form of commercial property insurance in order to protect your business from property damage. Commercial property insurance protects your businesses physical assets from risks including fire, explosions, bursting pipes, hail storms, tornadoes, theft, and even vandalism. Natural disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods commonly are not covered by this coverage. These perils are typically not covered unless added to the policy. Commercial property insurance also covers most things inside your property including:  computers, furniture, equipment, exterior signs, fencing, landscaping, important documents, and inventory.

Commercial Auto Insurance

A Commercial Auto Insurance Policy is needed for a swimming pool maintenance company if they have any employees who operate a motor vehicle while on the job. Some form of commercial auto insurance policy is needed by a business regardless of whether the vehicles are owned or leased by the business. If the automobiles are owned, a traditional commercial auto policy will suffice. If a business has employees who use their personal vehicles, the business needs to secure a Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance Policy. This type of policy will also need to be secured if a business has employees who operate rented vehicles while on the job.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland Marine Insurance is designed for equipment that is frequently in transit or stored at a third party location. If a business uses a trailor to transport equipment to a clients location, the trailor and all of the equipment loaded on the trailor are not covered by the businesses commercial auto insurance policy. This is why an inland marine insurance is necessary. This policy is best to be added to a suite of policies in order to avoid gaps in coverage.

Indoor swimming facilities need the specialization of a Swimming Pool Maintenance Company.

Cyber Insurance

If a swimming pool maintenance business accepts credit and debit cards as a form of payment, it needs to consider some form of cyber insurance. This is especially true if any of the information is stored for any period of time. Data Breaches are becoming more prevalent and small businesses are a prime target as most enterprise level businesses have put in place adequate cyber security measures. Cyber Insurance is almost always sold in a package of two policies. One deals with the first party damages to the business and the other deals with the third party liability a business faces to third parties damage as a result of a data breach.

Business Income and Extra Expense

Business Income and Extra Expense Coverage helps cover the cost of lost income a business experiences when it has to be closed for a period of time after a covered loss. The key to the policy is that the underlying claim has to be a covered loss. If a business is closed due to an earthquake and the proper insurance was not in place, this coverage will not be activated. This coverage can be used if the business is entirely closed or the normal business operations are interrupted.  In many instances, this coverage is the difference between a business being closed for a short time period and never opening the doors of the business again.

Surety Bond

A Surety Bond is an agreement between three parties, The three parties involved include the swimming pool maintenance company, the client, and the insurance company. The agreement insures the insurance company will pay your client an agreed upon amount if the business cannot deliver up to the standards of the contract. Many times a bond is required as part of a contractual agreement. The difference between a bond and a insurance policy is that the business is required to pay the insurance company back instead of just a deductible. Not all businesses are eligible for a bond depending upon the insurance carrier they are partnering with. Carriers prefer to offer bonds to established companies with a clean claims history.

Lifeguard Ring left out for the Swimming Pool Maintenance Company to clean up.

Umbrella Insurance

An Umbrella Insurance Policy is a cost effective way to ad to the limits of any existing policies. the way an umbrella policy works is that it will kick in only when the limits of another covered loss have been met. Take for example is a commercial property insurance policy has a limit of $500,000 on a property that is worth $400,000. There are additional cost associated with cleanup and removal of all debris. Also, there may be new ordinance or laws that are required int he state, county, or city that were not existent when the property was previously built. In order to bring the new building up to code, the cost of the new property may exceed the $500,000 of the commercial property insurance policy. In this case an Umbrella Policy would kick in to cover the additional costs up to the limits of the Umbrella Policy.

Business Owner’s Package (BOP)

A BOP is a suite of insurance policies designed for a specific industry and they are created to save a business money while preventing any gaps in coverage. Insurance carriers have decades worth of claims data to determine what types of claims certain businesses within certain industries are likely to face. Because of this information, carriers design a recommend package of policies for businesses within a particular industry and a specific classification code. Partnering with an independent insurance agent is a great way to determine which package of products is best for your business.