Tips for Home Health Care Agencies

Owning and operating a home health care agency can be complex. The clients you deal with can have a wide range of health issues you and your employees need to be familiar with. Some clients may be small and frail, but very mobile; while another client may be large and immobile. Some may have mental problems like dementia while other clients may have mobility issues like the aftermath of a stroke. With each of these clients comes a unique set of risks. These risks all determine what type of insurance you need and how much that insurance will cost. Here are three tips to help you the next time you shop for home health care workers comp.

Make sure you are classified accurately

For purposes of workers compensation insurance, governance of these programs is left up to the individual states. Most of the states partner with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to determine a classification code for each business and the rate of premium for each code. There are currently more than 700 different codes a business can be classified as. Each industry has multiple classification codes depending upon the scope and scale of the business. Depending upon the actions of your employees while on the job, the amount of premium is reflected through your businesses classification code.

Hire carefully

Unfortunately the home health care industry tends to have a high turnover rate. The two main reasons for this is the stress of the job and the amount of pay for most employees. In order to turn a profit, there is only so much a business owner can pay their employees in order to stay profitable. Because of this fact, it is difficult to keep the best employees around. This is a reason to hire carefully and for the long-term. Sometimes the candidate with the best resume is not as good for your business as the candidate who is the best fit for your business. Finding the best fit is different from business to business based upon the scope of the business and the market that business operates in. Taking additional time to hire the right person will almost always pay off in the long run.

Implement safety protocols

Safety programs are immensely important in the home health care industry. This industry has both a high volume of insurance claims and the claims can be high in severity. The reason for this is because many employees drive their own vehicle to a remote location and many drive to multiple locations throughout the day. The time that your employees drives from location to location makes the liability for accidents that occur the responsibility of the business. This is regardless of whether the employee is on the clock or not. It is important to consider implementing a driver safety program for your home healthcare business.

It is also important to implement safety programs  for the time your employees are in the homes with clients. Depending upon the limitations of each client, your employees should be prepared to keep themselves safe first and keep the client safe second. Let them know that they cannot help the client if they do not take care of themselves first. Because of the remote nature of this work, it is important to have weekly face to face meetings with all employees and to discuss safety protocols with them.

 

5 Ways to Save $$$ on commercial insurance

5 Ways to save on Commercial Insurance

Partner with an independent insurance agent. 

The first and foremost way to save money when you are purchasing commercial insurance for your small business is to partner with an independent insurance agent.  Independent agents have the ability to shop your policy around to a number of carriers who are actively quoting policies in your industry and classification code.  Carriers appetites for particular coverages and class codes can vary dramatically from carrier to carrier.  If you use an agency who partners with only one carrier or a select few, you are putting your business at the mercy of those few carriers. If you are in a high risk classification code it may result in you only have the choice of one carrier. Independent agents can prevent this policy by shopping your policy around so you don’t have to.

Consider bundling your coverages

Carriers offer the ability to bundle policies in the form of a Business Owners Package (BOP) or Commercial Package Policy (CPP).  The carriers do this as a way to save money for small businesses and the carrier benefits by securing more commercial insurance coverages from the small business owner.  This benefits the small business community in many ways. First, it saves on premium because carriers are more willing to give a credit or discount if they know they are collecting on several policies.  Also, and possibly more important, it prevents gaps in coverage.  If a business owner purchases several policies from a number of carriers their may be a grey area in between the two policies that causes the incident to not be covered by the policies.  Even if the occurrence is covered it usually takes a longer amount of time to get a pay out because the two carriers debate who is actually liable for the claim.

Set up a Safety Program

Safety Programs are a great way to limit your commercial insurance cost without a lot of time or effort from your business.  Safety Programs can help you get coverage if you are in a hi-risk industry that many carriers are hesitant to quote coverage.  It can also help you prevent a carrier from raising your rates due to a large or frequent claims in one term.  On top of saving money on insurance premium, safety programs help your workforce stay healthy and productive which is good for your productivity.

Request a policy review.

A policy review can be asked for at any time on all commercial insurance policies.  Periodically it is important to do this for a few reasons.  One the review may identify you are in the incorrect classification code that is costing you unnecessary premium.  This is especially important if you change something about the operations of your business.  A great example of this would be if you are a landscaping company that has decided to add snow removal services to your business.  Most insurance agents will exclude this part of the policy unless you specifically tell them you do snow removal.  A policy review can either prevent an uncovered loss or lower what you pay in premium throughout the year.

Ask for available credits and debits. 

Insurance agents interact with a lot of customers throughout a typical business day.  These customers are usually from diverse backgrounds and they each have their own priorities when shopping for commercial insurance.  Some just want to get the process over quickly so they can get back to running their business. Other business owners want to make sure they have their business insured to the fullest capabilities possible.  Other business owners do not mind if it takes them an entire business day if they can save 5-10% on premium.  Expressing your priorities to your agent is important to help them serve your needs.  Additional credits or debits may be available for your business, you may just have to ask.

 

 

How to create a return to work program that is a win-win

A return to work program is part of a businesses over all risk management plan.

 

If done well a return to work program can benefit both the employer and employees.

Returning to work can be a hassle for employees to navigate.  Anything an employer can do to make the process easier for their employees will benefit the employee as well as the company in the long term.  That process should start before the injury occurs by putting an emphasis on safety in order to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place.  Unfortunately, if you are in business long enough an injury to one of your employees will inevitably occur.  When it does, helping your employee get the medical care they need and helping them get back on the job promptly can be crucial to the success of your business.  Here are 4 ways an effective return to work program can help your business succeed.

 

Put your return to work policy down in writing:  Why putting this program in writing is that the process of putting this policy in writing can help you determine what are the issues that employees actually face when they are dealing with injuries and how to best help them through this process.  You should have some key employees from all levels of your business be a part of this process. Maybe even include someone who recently had an injury at work. These in-sites may help you determine some risks your business faces that you may be able to prevent future injuries.

Develop a process for Communication throughout the process:  Once you have a return-to-work program in place you need to ensure all of your managers read and understand the policy clearly and concisely.  It may be effective to have one person be the point person for the program, but it is equally important to have them train all the other managers and upper level employees about the program.  This is important you do not want to be left in a bind if that person is on vacation when an injury occurs or if that employee leaves the organization altogether.  Make sure your employees understand how this program impacts the bottom line.  Helping them communicate this program down through the ranks via meetings, email and your intranet.

Start the plan immediately upon injury/illness:  The moment an injury occurs the return to work program needs to be implemented.  This should be outlined clearly in the program.  Documenting everything is crucial to protect the business and to ensure the employee gets the proper medical attention and wage reimbursement through your workers’ compensation insurance policy. The quicker you implement this program it will instill confidence in the injured employee that you care about their well-being and will contribute to them wanting to get back to work more quickly.

Close your claims quickly:  Once your employee is recovered and back on the job, it is important to close the workers’ compensation claim quickly.  Carriers will leave the claim open for a while after the employee returning to work. They do this to make sure the employee does not reinjure themselves upon returning to work and needing additional benefits.  Remember that the underwriter may leave this claim open and it can cause your loss cost ratio to be much higher than it actually is.  If you are renewing your policy this can negatively impact what you pay for premium.  For this reason it is important to periodically check in to make sure the claim is closed as soon as it possibly can.

 

14.5% Workers Comp Rate Hikes in Florida! What do I do now?

Get the best answers to your Florida Workers Compensation Insurance questions  at MyInsuranceQuestion.comYou do what you can to do your business every day and create opportunities for yourself, your employees and your customers. Rates of everything is rising, property cost, materials, shipping, employee wages. The state of Florida has now said its time for workers’ comp insurance to do the same. The rate increase is to be 14.5%! Articles can go into much more detail but ultimately medical costs, legal costs and claims expenses rise over time and Florida workers compensation rates are rising to catch up for the natural changes that have taken place and certain court rulings have made precedence that support the increased cost. There are fair arguments for and against this change but at this point we work with what we have, so as a business owner what can you do?

The state of Florida is a rate mandated state for Workers Compensation which means the starting rate is the same for everyone based on their classification code, so every carrier should be offering the same rate. There are some exceptions that can be helpful for you to keep in mind. Here are a few things that can help benefit you in combating this increase with a more competitive option:

 

There are some exceptions:  Some of our carriers have programs for particular industries that allow for discounted rates(5% below state set rates) one in particular caters to Retail stores, Restaurants and Professional Offices(Law firms, Accountants, Doctors offices, etc.)

Check with appropriate discount programs:  The Florida workers compensation system has discount options available if you meet the guidelines and have these policies in place for your business. They do have an application for each and require certain protocols in place but these can save 5% on your Florida workers compensation rate.

  • Drug Free Workplace Credit
  • Safety Credit

Divident Plans:  Some of our carriers offer dividend plans in Florida that reward businesses that control their claims. One in particular offers a 5% dividend for businesses paying 5-10k in premium and keeping a loss ratio under 5% and for accounts over 30k in annual premium they can qualify for a 20% dividend if they have a loss ratio under 20%. Like anything they do have some basic eligibility criteria but this is a huge way to reward safe business operations and lower your overhead against your competition.

Review loss control Measures: We do understand accidents do happen, however most accidents with better preparation can be prevented. A few areas to focus on:

Hiring Practices: Hiring the right employees that are experienced in the field and vested in your business are your lifeblood. Don’t put that in the hands of just anyone.

Safety Controls: Start with OSHA basics and if you have a unique business you might need more. Keeping your employees safe and preventing workers comp claims is the best way to save money on your workers comp.

Document everything: If you have safety meetings, a safety policy, drug free workplace, make sure this is all in writing and in your employee handbook. Make sure sign offs are in place so your employees are aware of these policies. This can be a great tool to prevent claims and keep a culture of safety that you take seriously in your business.

Manage your workers compensation claims:  As you develop an Experience MOD over time for your Florida workers compensation claims history, your premium can go up or down based on this experience. This means your premium is directly affected by claims you had 2-5 years ago. Settling those claims and learning from them can help you combat the rising workers comp costs. This process takes time but you will thank yourself in the next couple years as that MOD drops lower.

Buy in to avoid the increase:  If you have not placed your workers comp coverage for your business yet and are in the market, get this coverage before December 1, 2016. This is when the rate change takes place. You will still have to face the rates next year but at least this is one year you are paying 14.5% less on this policy.

Put some skin in the game:  Especially if you are paying premiums in excess of $20,000 annual, Deductible plans as well as coinsurance plans can allow you to put some skin in the game and take on a little risk of your own. Some start as small as $500-$1000 deductibles but go up and the savings increases with that. It might not make a lot of sense for the smaller premium amounts but this is a good tool to help save money without putting too much of your business at risk. Pick a deductible that saves you money and you feel comfortable with.

Alternate payment options:  Plans like Pay-As-You-GO can be helpful tools which allow you to pay your premium when you run your payroll. This won’t change the price but for companies that have a tough time with premiums in the slow season but still have a year round payroll, this can be a great solution.

In times like these were pricing can have such a direct impact on your business and its livelihood, Rate increases are inevitable, however taking these steps above if you are not already, could show savings of up to 25% below market for some clients but 5-10% is very obtainable for most clients. The increase in Florida is a tough one to swallow, however taking these actions could allow you to offset these increases. Speak with one of our Professional Insurance agents to learn how you can implement and benefit from some of these tools.

3 tips for effectively managing risk in the Non-Profit Industry

People go in to the non profit industry for a wide array of reasons. For most people, that reason has something to do with serving their community. Many people in the non profit Industry do not anticipate having to manage risk, but how effectively their organization manages risk will contribute immensely to the success or failure of the organization. Some of the aspects of managing risk include:  developing safety programs, writing liability waiver forms, designing a return-to-work program for injured workers or purchasing workers’ compensation insurance.  In order to effectively manage risk, here are three tips every Non Profit Professional should consider when determining how to manage the risks your organization faces.

Find the best info about insurance for Non Profit businesses at My Insurance Question.com

 

 

Have an effective safety program in place.

Having an effective safety program in place is essential for all non-profit organizations. First and foremost, this is simply the right thing to do.  It is the right thing to do for your employees, for your volunteers and for your organization as a whole. The success of the safety program starts with the leaders of the organization. If the leaders of your organization make it clear that you value safety, the employees and volunteers will value safety as well.  What an effective safety program looks like will differ depending on the scope and mission of your organization. A safety program for local soup kitchen will be dramatically different than an NGO that distributes medicine across several different countries.  For that reason, it is important to invite a risk management professional to sit on your board of directors.  If you do not know someone in this field you can consult with your insurance agent.  They typically have generic programs in place for many different industries.

 

Deciding when and if your organization needs to purchase insurance?

For a small or recently founded organization, you may be able to do without insurance for a short period of time. This is not something to take lightly.  No matter how little money your organization has, not securing proper insurance can lead to your organizations failure if an accident does happen without proper coverage.  Eventually there will come a time when your organization will need coverage. The state you are located in will determine when you are required by law to purchase some coverages. Workers’ compensation insurance is usually the first coverage you will be required to purchase. This policy covers the risk of bodily injury to your employees.  General liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage done to third parties. These third parties may be the people you serve or anyone who comes in contact with your organization. These two policies are typically the first policies a non profit will consider and they are the bare minimum coverage.  As your organization grows these two policies may not fully cover your business from all risks. You may not understand all of the risks you actually face and the types of insurance you need.  Consulting with an insurance professional whom you trust is important at this stage in your risk management process. Asking someone who works in insurance to volunteer with your organization or to sit on your board is a good idea.

 

Have a return-to-work program in place for injured employees.

Developing an effective return-to-work program is something that can be a work in progress. Ideally your safety program works and you do not have many injuries. Even if you only have the occasional minor injury, it is best practice for your organization to have a plan for getting an injured worker back to work as soon as possible.  The quicker they get back on the job the more likely they are to return to regular work and the mission of your organization.  Some common jobs for injured workers include basic office work like stuffing envelopes, answering the phone or writing thank you letters to donors. Getting people back on the job quickly is important because people who work in this industry frequently have a special relationship with the work they do. Many of them want to be a part of something greater than themselves. This is especially true with the millennial generation. When these people are injured and not able to work, part of their life is taken from them. The longer it is not a part of their life, the more likely they are to not come back to work at all. This is when the cost of a claim can become the greatest and is when you can expect to see an increase in your insurance premium. Having an effective return-to-work program can help these employees get back on the job, control the cost of your workers’ compensation claim and continue the mission of your organization.

How Competitive Workers Compensation Rates Develop

Workers compensation rates are developed by claims and premium paid within each industry, per state over a period of multiple years.  In most sections of the U.S., each State sets a minimum and maximum rate for each industry code.  Within the minimum and maximum rates established by the state competitive insurance companies are able to file their rates for each industry depending on how competitive they want to be.  Depending on the characteristics of a particular business, insurance companies could be willing to discount or increase their rates.  Each state also sets a minimum and maximum amount of credit or debit an insurance company can use when quoting.  When researching rates, lower rates indicate an industry that is less likely to suffer a claim and higher rated industry codes indicate a higher risk of a claim.  The lower hazard industries have more options therefore more competition than the higher hazard industries.  More competition typically means those industry types are going to pay considerably less than a higher risk industry with only a few options willing to quote.

Identify the areas that cause the greatest concern for workplace injuries.  Business owners in all industries can increase their chances of paying the lowest workers compensation rates by implementing proper policy and procedures to prevent claims.  Which policy and procedures to implement will not be the same for all industries.  A restaurant would have different exposures that could cause a claim than a remodeling contractor.  When quoting your business, make sure you highlight the areas that your business has implemented that prevents claims.  Brag about the areas that make your business different than other businesses in the same industry.  In my opinion, most business owners and agents are focused on which insurance company has the lowest rate.  Instead, the business owner and agent needs to tell the story of that business and the components of that business that make it attractive to insure.  Just because an insurance company has one of the lowest rates for a particular industry doesn’t mean they are the most competitive option.  Insurance companies that are willing to apply credits/discounts based on business practices to prevent claims will typically be the most competitive options.  If your agent is not asking about your business practices, they are not properly selling to their underwriters to get the best possible pricing.  Below is a short list of ways a business owner can help reduce their workers’ compensation costs.  These are the things that insurance company underwriters want to know about in order to properly price their quote.

  • Business owner is active within the business. When a business owner is active and around employees, typically those employees follow the policies and procedures more carefully.
  • Proper training of how to handle situations that could cause workers comp claims. If you own a convenience store, how should employees handle a robbery?
  • Return to Work Program. History shows that the sooner a business owner can return the injured employee to work the less expensive the claim will be.  Even if you have to create a light-duty position temporarily.
  • Establish a safety program and enforce discipline for not following proper procedures.  This can positively impact your workers compensation rates.
  • Conduct safety meetings. Constantly reinforcing helps prevent injuries.
  • Employee Training for the job they are performing, equipment they are using.
  • Designate Key Employees to be responsible for holding employees to the standards of your business
  • Update your equipment when needed, make sure it has the proper guarding to prevent injuries.

3 ways to managing risk in the Non-Profit Industry

There are many reasons why people go in to the non-profit industry.  Some people want to fight poverty, some work closely with a church and others might be dedicated to fighting a disease.  One common theme among people who work in the non profit industry is that they want to be a part of something greater than themselves.  One thing many people in this industry do not anticipate is having to manage risk, but this can be one aspect of their job that can ultimately determine the success or failure of the organization.

Find the best answers to your Non Profit Insurance questions at MyInsuranceQuestion.com

Many people who go in to this sector do not anticipate having to manage risk or buy insurance. They probably do not anticipate their jobs causing them to have to worry about things like a return-to-work program, workers’ compensation benefits or general liability insurance. As a non-profit professional, how effectively you handle these aspects of your organization will contribute immensely to the success or failure of your organization. For that reason we have created three main tips for managing risk within your non-profit agency.

 

Have an effective safety program in place.

Having an effective non-profit safety program in place is essential for all non-profit organizations.  Most non-profits depend on people volunteering their precious time and money to the organization. The last thing you want to happen is for a volunteer to be injured while helping your organization. A safety program can prevent this from happening.

First and foremost, reporting and documenting injuries needs to be a part of your company culture. It should start with the first training all employees get during the on-boarding process. Employees need to be well aware of how to inform volunteers how to properly do their job in a safe manner.  This can go hand in hand with your business’s safety program and your business’s safe driving program.  Another thing to keep in mind is that how safe your organization takes safety starts with you and your key employees.  If you stress safety as the professional, your employees and volunteers will also value this safety program.

Non Profit Insurance Answers

When should a new or small non-profit decide to purchase insurance?

For a new non profit, insurance may not be necessary at first, but it is not something to be taken lightly. No matter what the financial situation is of an organization, the quickest way to fail as a non-profit is to not secure adequate insurance.  Your state laws will determine when you must purchase coverage. Workers’ comp and general liability are typically the first two policies you will find a need for.  Workers comp protects your employees and general liability protects your organization from damages to third parties.   Even if you are fairly sure you have proper coverage or do not need coverage at this time, consulting with an insurance professional with whom you trust is a very wise decision.  If you know someone who works in risk management or insurance, it might be a good idea to ask them to sit on your board of directors.

Have a return-to-work program in place for injured employees.

Operating an effective return-to-work program is another aspect that will contribute immensely to the success or failure of your organization.  Ideally you will never have a need for a return to work program because none of your employees will ever be injured on the job. But as you very well know, we do not live in an ideal world. For that reason it is crucial for you to prepare for the day when you do have an inured employee. If you are prepared, you will be able to get those employees back on the job quickly and control the cost to your organization.   Any work you have to get the injured employee involved in the organization will benefit the injured employee and your organization in the long run.  Getting people back on the job quickly is important because the quicker they are back on the job the more likely they are to not become an injured worker long-term or permanently.

How can I Lower my Workers Compensation Insurance Premium?

Workers compensation insurance premium is often a large portion of overall property and casualty insurance costs. Many business owners look at the workers compensation premium and wonder how they can reduce the overall cost of the insurance policy. The following ideas can help reduce your costs and hopefully help make your business more profitable.

Make sure you are classified properly

Business will have a classification code determined by National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) or some cases the State will have a slightly different number that is used by insurance carriers to rate workers compensation insurance premium. For Example one way to reduce your cost is to take advantage of standard exceptions to the code classification. Employees who perform clerical duties and are physically separate from manufacturing operations may be classified as clerical employees with a much lower rate. Make sure the classification for your employees is appropriate.

Monitor your loss control and safety programs

Loss Control and Safety is critical for preventing losses in the workplace. Set the expectation in your safety manual. Follow up by reminding employees of safe practices including lifting, distracted driving, and the hazard of wet floors. Scheduled safety meetings and incentive programs should be used to promote workplace safety. Decreasing losses will reduce your overall insurance costs.

Develop an effective return-to-work program 

Develop a return to work program. Having injured employees staying at home collecting workers compensation will raise your costs on premiums and also on additional labor you will need to hire while that person is out. A way to get your injured employee to return to work as soon as possible is to create a temporary position for that person. You can give them duties that are not taxing on the body so that they will still be able to recover while they are working.

Speak with your agent about adding a deductible

Evaluate the benefit of adding a deductible to your Workers’ Compensation program. A deductible provides an immediate credit to the workers compensation insurance premium calculation. Additionally, losses under the deductible will not be reported to NCCI and will cause a reduction in your experience modification. Be sure to analyze the cost of funding your deductible.

Notice if there is a pattern to workers compensation claims. Determine if certain areas of your business have fewer claims than others, and determine why the risk is lesser or greater in different areas. Reduce risk by duplicating safe behaviors and programs and eliminating risky behaviors.. Eliminate workplace hazards that have caused an employee to get sick or injured so it doesn’t happen again. Some carriers will even provide help in this area. 

Report claims ASAP

Report Claims as soon as possible! Provide medical attention quickly if an employee is injured, as prompt medical attention may reduce complications that may arise from delayed care. Complications can make workers’ compensation claims more expensive, which may increase insurance premiums.Statistics prove that losses reported 24 hours or more after the loss are more expensive than those reported promptly. Managing your Workers’ Compensation program carefully can save money and improve your bottom line.

These are just a few ideas that can help you in either keeping your premiums low or driving them down. Every business wants to be more profitable and it can be as simple as investing in work place safety that could get you started in the right direction.

 

6 things an underwriter loves to see when quoting commercial insurance.

For most small business owners, purchasing insurance is not one of their favorite things to do. Most business owners would rather be involved in the day to day operations of what their business does to make a profit. Taking a little extra time before you pick up the phone to get a quote can make all the difference in the world when you are offered a quote.  Here are 6 things to keep in mind when speaking with your agent about a business insurance quote.

Small Business Insurance

Have your info.

Everyone wants a quote and they want it quick, but insurance is not a business in which a company can quote a price on the drop of a hat. Proper tax id number, your experience modification rating and accurate payroll figures make the process much quicker for an agent to get a quote from the underwriter. If you don’t have this information a carrier cannot and will not offer you a quote. to save yourself and the carrier some time, have this information ready before you start looking around for coverage.

Safety programs are in place

Safety programs can be expensive and time consuming, but they absolutely benefit your company in many ways. First and foremost, they lower the amount and severity of injuries that occur to your employees. Second they limit the amount of time it takes injured employees to return-to-work. Third it can impact what you pay in premium for commercial insurance. If and when you have an injured employee, your insurance agent can negotiate on your behalf with your insurance carrier to not raise your rate on premium because of the claim. If a detailed safety plan is in place the carrier might see this one incident as more of an outlier and not a sign of how the business operates. If there is not a safety plan in place your business is much more likely to have your rates go up or be dropped by your carrier altogether.

A thorough and accurate website

The accuracy of your website is extremely important. Your agent is going to have a conversation with you about your operations. During this conversation it is important to tell him not only what your business does, but more importantly what your business does not do. Your website needs to match up with this description.  If you run a landscaping business that does not work on trees, but your website offers tree services than an underwriter is going to wonder what else you are not telling them. This is a great way to get a higher premium or more likely be denied coverage altogether.

A detailed payroll history

I know you may not like giving away too much information about your business, but the more accurate this number is that you give to your agent the more accurate your quote will be.  This will all get straightened out during an end of term audit, but it is best to prevent over or underpaying on premium by giving accurate numbers to your carrier up front.

Don’t be a rate jumper

A business who seems to change carriers every year at the slightest drop in premium. Carriers want to establish a long term relationship with a customer. If you have several carriers over the last few years it may be a red flag that those carriers dropped your business or that the carrier may only have your business for one term. Unless your payroll is extremely high it may not be financial sound for them to quote you.

 

Don’t forget, in the end they work for you

If you forget a few pieces of information that are necessary for a quote than it might be expected for the agent or underwriter to be a bit frustrated. But never forget that these people work for you. If they make you feel too uncomfortable do not hesitate to walk out and speak with another agency or carrier. Do what you feel is best for your business.

6 Questions to consider when purchasing Commercial Insurance.

What is the difference between Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance when it comes to a commercial insurance policy?

First and foremost, Workers Comp is the one commercial insurance policy that is  required by law in most states. Workers comp covers injuries that happen to your employees that occur as a part of the normal business operations. It pays for medical costs and some lost wages. Typically, 60 percent of the wages are paid depending on the particular plan. Employers liability is a part within a work comp plan that that deals with most types of liability that are not associated with lost wages or medical costs. Most commonly this is the cost of a lawsuit. If you have an employee who is hurt on the job and they sue on top of their workers’ comp coverage for damage caused by you or your business these costs can be covered by an employer’s liability portion of a workers’ compensation insurance policy.

What is one type of insurance that many business owners turn down that they frequently regret when claims occur?

Business loss of income coverage is one that many fail to see the value of unfortunately until it is too late. The most basic example of the need for this coverage is when a fire occurs. The general liability or commercial property policy will cover the cost to rebuild your premise, but they will not pay for lost revenue and employee wages while your business is closed to rebuild. If a business cannot withstand several weeks or a few months without revenue this frequently is when they are forced to close altogether. Fortunately, this coverage is usually a part of a business owners package. When businesses by the package they usually are fully insured for these types of losses.

How does a well-documented safety program effect what I pay for a commercial insurance policy?

The main way safety programs can help is when you are asking for credits or discounts and when you are challenging your experience modifier after a claim. If you have had a claim and you have a well-documented safety program in place your agent can use this as evidence that the occurrence was an outlier and not a sign of more incidents to come.

How does my businesses claims history effect what I pay for Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Your claims history is part of the formula insurance carriers use to come up with your experience modification rating. This rating determines how much of a risk your business is to insure and it is the main factor carriers take in to account when they are deciding to insure your business or not, as well as how much to charge your business in premium. This and the businesses workers comp codes are the main controllable factors insurance carriers use to determine premium rates.

When should I consider going with Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation?

Seasonal or cash flow strapped companies benefit best from a Pay as You Go Program. This program allows you to pay a small portion of the premium up front and then the rest is due in monthly installments based on your monthly payroll. It helps to free up cash on the front end of the policy period and it prevents excessive audits on the back end of the policy period.

Where can I go to get help when a claim occurs on my businesses commercial insurance policy?

Actually your carrier is the best person to contact with a claim, but it is always a good idea to keep your agent in the loop as well. Your carrier is set up to handle and process the claim. Ask them for help with a return to work program if you do not already have one in place. Studies show the sooner the worker gets back to work in any capacity the more likely they are to return to work and the claim does not get out of control. Keeping your agent in the loop is great as well because they can go to bat for you in the event the carrier is not satisfying you or your employees needs during the claims process.