Pest Control Insurance Needs

Pest Control Companies Face Unique Risks

Pest control companies provide services to commercial and residential customers who have problems with insects, rodents and other nuisances on their property. The fumigator or exterminator determines the type of pest and the most effective method of extermination. These methods should always be the method that will cause the least amount of disruption to the customer, regardless if the customer is an individual or a business. Because these businesses are constantly interacting with customers off-premise and the nature of the chemicals they are using, risks in this industry are high.

In order to manage risks properly, pest control companies need to have thorough training procedures for all employees.  Those training programs should include safety programs to keep the employees and the clients safe at all times. In addition to adequate safety programs, pest control companies need to acquire adequate insurance coverage to protect the business from the unique risks each business faces. Here are six types of insurance coverage every pest control company should have.

Pest Control by Fumigation

Minimum recommended coverage:

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

General Liability Insurance

General Liability risks arise for pest control companies when employees travel off-premises in order to applying chemicals. Customers should be given proper instructions on controls regarding anyone or anything that could be exposed to hazardous materials while the application is going on. This is especially important for clients who have children, pets, sick and elderly individuals. In some instances, temporary evacuation is required during application. This may be  followed by a waiting period and re-ventilation to replace the fumigant with fresh air.

Commercial Property Coverage

Commercial  property risks depend on the type of property you own and operate as well as the types of chemicals being stored on the property.  It also depends on the amount of these chemicals you keep on the property and whether or not those chemicals are flammable. Hazards increase if the contractor fails to store the chemicals properly in approved containers, cabinets and rooms, with accurate labeling and separation. Speaking long and honestly with your independent insurance agent is always the best way to properly protect your business. This conversation should include exactly what the employees of your business do on a daily basis, what is the condition of the property you operate, and exactly what chemicals you are storing on the property.

Business Personal Property Insurance

Business Personal Property Insurance provides coverage to small businesses for furniture, fixtures, merchandise, materials and all other personal property owned by you personally and used in your business. The best part about this coverage is that it is generally at replacement cost. Many business owners think this type of loss is covered by their commercial property insurance, but it is not. This coverage can and should be added to most BOP or CPP Packages if there is a need for this coverage.

Commercial Auto Coverage

Automobile exposure in the pest control industry is extremely high due to the amount of time employees spend in their vehicles travelling to clients locations. In addition, there is the fact that the employees are also transporting chemicals throughout their workday. Drivers in some states may need a hazardous materials (“hazmat”) endorsement to transport some chemicals used. Risks increase if the insured lacks spill control procedures and equipment.

Inland Marine Insurance

Inland marine exposures in the pest control industry come primarily from the contractor’s equipment and the transporting of that equipment, chemicals and supplies to the customers’ premises. Equipment is not highly susceptible to damage, but it can be hazardous to both your employees and clients.  This equipment may include tarps, drills, measuring devices and other hand tools. The tarps and plastics used to enclose the areas to be fumigated may be bulky and require attention to folding and tying down. The chemical containers may be vulnerable to overturn or damage that causes leaking, which impacts the auto and premises liability exposures.

Workers Compensation Coverage

Workers compensation exposure can be high for the Pest Control industry. Common hazards include slips and falls during application; minor injuries while using hand tools; lifting injury and back injuries, hernia, sprain and strain. Employees can experience lung, eye, or skin irritations due to the chemicals. The impact of these chemicals can be immediate or long term.  In some Pest Control companies seasonal employees may make safety a challenge. Loss potential becomes severe if the contractor fails to train and supervise employees properly. This is especially important when it comes to the proper use of protective gear by the employees.

 

Business Liability Category: Artisan Contractors

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 7342: Disinfecting and Pest Control Services
  • 2879: Pesticides and Chemicals—Not Classified Elsewhere

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 561710: Exterminating and Pest Control Services
  • 325320: Pesticide and Agricultural Chemical Manufacturing

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 43860: Fumigators
  • 43470: Pest Control Services

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 9014: Janitorial Services by Contractors (Florida—Exterminators)
  • 4828: Chemical Blending and Pest Control Fumigation
  • 9031: California Code—Pest Control—All Operations
  • 0046: Massachusetts Code—Pesticide Application

Auto Repair

5 Insurance Coverages every Auto Repair Business Should Have

Auto Repair Shops offer a wide variety of mechanical services. These services may include from engine repair and tune-ups. Some businesses specialize in a specific type of sales and repair, like tires, transmissions or brakes. Normally, auto repair shops do not specialize in body work or painting operations. These services are typically performed by specialized professionals. Some operations include the retail sales of automobile parts and tools. Some repair shops are a part of a gasoline or diesel fuel sales operation, or part of an automobile dealership. Each type of operation has its own unique risks and its own unique insurance needs. Here are 5 coverages every auto repair shop owner should strongly consider, in order to properly protect their business.

Auto Repair Shop

 

✓ General Liability Insurance
✓ Garage Keepers Liability
✓ Commercial Auto
✓ Hired and Non-Owned Auto
✓ Workers Compensation Insurance

General Liability

General Liability Exposure can come in many different forms. Like many industries the risk begins with slips, tips and falls by third parties on your premises. This risk starts primarily due to public access to the businesses facility. Risks also arise from having cars parked overnight in the parking lot of the facility.  These areas should be well lit and an ongoing relationship with local law enforcement is advisable.

Garage Keepers Liability

Garage Keepers Liability is usually worded as, “a form of bailee liability designed to cover damage to autos belonging to others while in the insured’s care”. In layman’s terms this is an insurance policy for the liability a business might face related to cars that are stored at their facility for multiple days.  These are other peoples cars that your business is performing a service on that is not able to be completed in one day.

Commercial Auto

Commercial Auto Insurance is needed if your business owns its own vehicles and employees use the vehicle for business purposes. If you own and operate vehicles at your business, it is important to properly train all people who are going to be operating the vehicles. Collecting and documenting these employees motor vehicle records is recommended. Both the training program you have in place and the vehicle records you collect need to be well documented for when you quote new coverage and when a claim arises.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto

Hired and Non-Owned Auto Risks mainly arrive from employees running errands for the business.  If you have employees partaking in these types of activities, all drivers should have valid licenses and their motor vehicle registrations regularly checked. Have these records documented can help you independent insurance agent save you when quoting coverage.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Insurance risks can be significant for auto repair shops. Employees are at risk when performing brake tuning, welding or other repair work. These activities should take place only with appropriate safety equipment. Lifting of a vehicle by hoists, jacks, and other mechanical means can result in injury should the equipment malfunction. Lifting by non-mechanical means can result in back injury, sprains, strains or hernias. Having a documented policy in place for how employees are supposed to do these activities is crucial to prevent injured employees.

Auto Repair Shop Insurance Information at My Insurance Question.

Here are the most common commercial insurance classification codes for auto repair shops.  

SIC Business Insurance Codes:

  • 7533: Automotive Exhaust Repair Shops
  • 7538: General Automotive Repair Shops
  • 7532: Body, Paint and Upholstery Repair

NAICS Liability Classifications:

  • 811111: General Automotive Repair
  • 811112: Automotive Exhaust System Repair
  • 811113: Automotive Transmission Repair
  • 811118: Other Automotive Mechanical and Electrical Repair and Maintenance
  • 811121: Automotive Body, Paint and Interior Repair and Maintenance
  • 811122: Automotive Glass Replacement Shops
  • 811198: All Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance

Business ISO General Liability:

  • 10072: Automotive—Quick Lube
  • 10073: Auto Sales, Repair and Service
  • 10075: Automotive Repair Shop—Self Service

Common Workers Compensation Class Codes:

  • 8380: Auto Repair
  • 8393: Auto Body Repair or Paint Shop
  • 9516: Auto Shop—Radio and Equipment

Here is a great video about Auto Repair Shops and Workers Compensation Insurance  from our partners at Employers.

 

5 facts about insurance

5 little known facts about insurance, every small business owner should know.

General Liability covers my employees if they are injured at work

This is false. General Liability Insurance covers your businesses liability to third parties injured by the actions of your business. This goes for both property damage and bodily injuries.  One thing a general liability policy does not cover is the injuries that occur to your employees.  For these injuries you need a separate workers compensation insurance policy.  Workers comp will cover your employees for medical care and some lost wages when they are hurt on the job and not able to work.

The only thing that determines your rate for insurance is your loss ratio.  

There are many things that go in to how a carrier determines what you pay in premium for coverage.  First is your classification code.  It is pretty easy to understand that an accounting firm is taking on a lot less risk compared to a roofing company.  The level of risk is going to be represented in the amount those businesses pay for premium.

Your personal auto insurance will cover your car when you are using it for business purposes.  

You may need Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance.This statement is not true.  If you are using your car for business purposes, it is not completely covered under your personal insurance policy.  The personal insurance policy will pay to cover the damages to your car, but it will not cover your liability to third parties. That liability falls on the shoulders of the business.  For that reason, you will need to secure either a commercial auto policy or a hired and non owned auto policy.

You must pay your insurance premium in full up-front.

This is not true.  Most commercial policies require 25% or more of the premium in order to get coverage in place than you pay 9 monthly payments over the last 9 months of the policy period.  There are also options the insurance industry has developed to help cash strapped companies. This is the Pay as You Go option.  Pay as you go can get coverage in place for only a few hundred dollars and then you pay premium each month based upon the monthly payroll.  This is an excellent option for seasonal or cash straped businesses.

There is no need for Business Insurance if you work out of your home.

This is absolutely not correct.  The liability needs you face are different if you work from home, but there are still risks you need to cover.  If you drive to clients houses you need some form of commercial auto.  If you have specialized equipment you may need inland marine coverage and if you offer professional advice you more than likely need professional liability.  These are just a few coverages you may need for a home office and an experienced insurance professional can help you make sure your business is protected with just a short conversation.  It is important to be thorough and honest during these conversations.

HVAC Contractors

Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors ( HVAC Contractors ) are those business that provide services for and repair heating and air conditioning units.  They provide these services for both commercial and residential clients.  They have to be knowledgeable about both duct and vent work, the different types of fuel sources for heating equipment, which can be natural or LP gas, electric, steam, solid fuel, coal, or fuel oil.  Many contractors also install, service, and repair air conditioners. While air conditioning units are normally electric-powered, they are charged with different coolants, some of which may be hazardous.

All of these different types of work bring their own unique risks to the contractor. For this reason, it is very important for you to have an extended conversation with your insurance agent about all of the types of work you do and do not participate in.  It is equally important to inform your agent if there are certain types of work you do not partake in. There are more than one classification code for this industry and the types of risks you take on can dramatically impact what you pay in premium for a number of commercial insurance policies.  Below are 6 policies most HVAC Contractors need to secure in order to protect their business properly.

•   General Liability

•   Property Insurance

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

•   Inland Marine

•   Business Income with Extra Expense

•   Workers’ Compensation

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Exposures at the contractor’s office or shop are generally limited due to lack of public access to the premises. Retail sales increase the possibility of customers slipping, falling, or tripping if customers visit office to view products.

Property Insurance

Property exposures at the heating contractor’s own location are generally limited to those of an office, shop, and storage of materials, equipment, and vehicles. Operations may also include retail sales. The fire exposure is generally light unless repair operations involving welding take place on premises. Welding involves the use of tanks of gases that must be stored and handled properly to avoid loss. The absence of basic controls such as chained storage in a cool area and the separation of welding from other operations may reflect a greater risk.

Commercial Auto

Automobile exposures are generally limited to transporting workers, equipment and supplies to and from job sites for HVAC Contractors. Hazards depend on the type and use of vehicles and radius of operation with the main hazards being upsets. Vehicles may have special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts and hoists. Large heating systems may be awkward and require special handling and tie-down procedures. Age, training, experience, and drivers’ records, as well as the age, condition and maintenance of the vehicles are all important items to consider. If employees utilize their own personal vehicles for work related tasks then Hired and Non-Owned Coverage should be purchased.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland marine exposures include contractors’ tools and equipment, including ladders and scaffolding, hoists, and portable welders, the transport of materials, and installation floater. Goods in transit consists of tools and equipment as well as products purchased by the customer for installation at the job site. HVAC units can be of high value and susceptible to damage in transit; they frequently require expertise in loading to prevent load shift or overturn.

Workers’ compensation

Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. Both residential and commercial work involves lifting, work with hand tools, wiring, and piping. Cuts from the fabrication and installation of sheet metal for ducts and vents are common. Lifting injuries such as hernias, strains and sprains plus back injuries may occur. Electrical burns are common; electrocution can occur from the use of high-voltage lines. Any time work is done above ground, injury or death from falls and being struck by falling objects can occur. Slips and falls, foreign object in eyes, major and minor burns, and inhalation of fumes are all potential hazards.

Florist

I only own a small florist, how much insurance do I really need?

 

Here are 6 insurance coverages every floral business should have.  

How much and what types of insurance coverage a floral business needs really depends on the size, type and scope of your business.  If your business only sells flowers at one location than you may not need all of these coverages, but if your business designs flower arrangements or provides delivery service it opens up your business to an enormous amount of additional risk.  Here are 6 insurance coverage’s all floral businesses should strongly consider securing.

General Liability

General Liability Insurance will protect your business from property damage and bodily injury claims of third parties.  Third parties can be anyone not associated with your business that is harmed by the actions of your businesses operations.  Included in this group of people can be customers, vendors delivering products to your facility or even a plumber who comes to work on your toilet.

Professional Liability

If you are designing floral arrangements for special occasions like weddings, funerals, Valentines Day or Christmas you can be sued if the designs are not up to the expectations of the customer.  The lawsuits do not have to be founded to cost your business immensely in legal fees and reputation management.  This coverage will help your business withstand the costs to defend your self in court and for missed time at work spent defending you and your business.

Commercial Auto/Hired and Non-owned Auto

If your business uses vehicles as a part of normal business operations than you need to secure one or both of these coverages. If the business owns a vehicle and that is the only vehicle used for business purposes than a commercial auto policy should suffice your business, but if you have employees who use their own vehicle or rented vehciles for any part of their job than you need to secure the addition of hired and non-owned auto coverage.

Commercial Property 

A commercial property insurance policy is needed if your business owns and operates any property as a part of your operations, no matter the size. It is different than a traditional home owners policy.  Commercial property policies are sold on a replacement cost or on an actual value basis.  It is usually best to purchase a replacement cost policy.  This type of policy will cover the cost to tear down, haul off and replace the property that is damage.  An actual value policy will pay you an agreed upon value of what the property is worth.  In most cases this will not pay the entire amount to make your business whole again.

Inland Marine 

If you own any specialized equipment or equipment that is designed to be in transport frequently, you have a need for Inland Marine Coverage.  A commercial property will cover your facility.  A commercial auto policy will cover your vehicles.  If you have specialized equipment you use to design and maintain the arrangements or an attachment to your vehicle like a trailer it will not be covered by either of these policies. This is where an inland marine policy can be added to cover this specific equipment. Taking additional time with your agent to explain all the details of your business can make sure you secure all of the policies your business needs.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation Insurance is required by law for most businesses in 48 out of 50 states. The system is managed by the individual states, so it is important for you to check with the proper state governing agency to ensure you are compliant with your states laws and regulations. Even if there is an exclusion for your business to not carry the coverage, it is usually in your best interest to still secure workers comp coverage. This insurance policy will protect your business from being sued for most injuries that occur as a part of normal business operations. It also provides medical coverage and reimbursement of some lost wages for workers injured as a part of normal business operations.

New Business- Starting from scratch

Ideas for Start-up Business Plans

So you have decided to (or maybe you are still considering) taking a leap most of us only dream of.  That leap is to start your own business. Perhaps you have worked for someone else in your trade for several years and want something of your own.  You may be fresh out of school (or still in school) and want to get started early.  Maybe you just have a unique opportunity to start your own business. If this is you than you are probably looking at what you need to start:

  • Start up capital
  • Supplies
  • Office/shop space
  • Sales opportunities

These are things all first time business owners are looking for. One thing many new businesses put off until last moment is insurance. You will spend thousands of dollars just to start up your dream of owning your own business; you don’t want one accident to take it all away from you. Below are several insurance policies that can protect you from claims that could easily ruin your dream of owning your own business. Here we will go over the basic areas that you want to look at for starting your own business, and when you want to start looking.

First, Why is this important? Claims with new businesses can be more devastating for a few reasons.

  • The controls that are in place to prevent/reduce the extent of claims/liabilities are less established. Many of these types of firms can be started in a home office.
  • New businesses are many times less defined in their operations, which can bring the operations in to areas the business owner may not be as familiar with. These areas they may not have as much experienced in. This can bring up more risks a
  • Some businesses do not have an established LLC or Corporation established. Regardless of the insurance policies you have, it’s important to work with your attorney and CPA to make sure you choose the business entity type that works best for you. This separates your business liabilities from impacting your personal assets. It is bad enough if the incident you could have protected closes your business, but it is a much worse situation if the same incident causes you to lose your house or your savings.  

 

Here are a few policies we recommend you start out with pretty early on:

Commercial Auto – Commercial auto is a topic in itself and oftentimes one of the most overlooked policies by a new business owner since many people just use their personal auto’s and don’t see this as something they need. This might not be the first new policy you look to get, it should be the first insurance policy you likely already have that you will want to look at changing though. If your using your personal vehicle for business purposes, at the very least you want to make sure your agent and insurance carrier is aware of that and that you have business use on your policy, upgrading your personal auto policy to a commercial auto policy might be a couple bucks more, but in many cases the difference is a lot less than you may expect, plus, a less expensive policy that doesn’t cover what you need isn’t really that valuable anyway.

General liability –  Starting a business, general liability is the first policy most companies look for. If you’re a retail store its sometime referred to as “slip and fall coverage” to cover liability from bodily injury on your premise. Keep in mind, some of these policies only do that and might not cover all/any off premise damages. These policies come in a variety of forms and coverages and the pricing typically reflects that, that’s not also to say you cant shop to make sure you’re getting the best value. This for some business types can be packaged into a Business Owners Policy that can cover property and other additional coverages your company needs like Data Breach, EPLI and Hired/Non owned auto liability.

Workers Compensation –  For starters let me clear a couple things up first: Workers Compensation is not automatic; it’s not something automatically gets taken out of payroll without you getting a policy in place first. This policy covers employee injuries when hurt on the job for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. For some high risk businesses like heavy manufacturing, construction and transportation this can be one of the most expensive and hardest policies to get competitive quote’s on and can be frustrating for businesses owners that just want to buy the policy. The key in the beginning is getting a policy in place, pay your bill on time, and keep continuous coverage. Once you have a prover record, especially for 3 years with coverage in place the market is a lot easier to get coverage for companies that have established. If you are a labor intense business the pricing can seem very high, the expense for covering a claim out of pocket, and fines from many states can be just as expensive if not more than your premium would be anyway. This normally isn’t needed until you hire an employee, but sometimes contracts can still require it which can open up more business opportunities for your company.

Professional Liability –  For some companies your biggest risks aren’t necessarily a customer slipping and falling, or an employee injuring themselves. Many professional firms have what can be equally as damaging of risks to them. The obvious ones are your Physicians Medical Malpractice, your insurance agents and accounts have Errors and Omission’s insurance to cover mistakes or professional errors made. Little mistakes can make huge claims but there are some companies you don’t think of needing this like Printing companies, Website Developers, IT Companies, Bookkeeping and Marketing Firms. Website Copyright infringement, or a faulty code in a software program that causes a glitch or even worse a breach could be a huge expense and could mean huge liability on your company.

 

Every business owner is worried about protecting what they own. The property you own can be devastating if its lost, damaged or stolen. However, the liabilities you take on during the everyday course of your business operation can be even worse and costlier. Even if you don’t own any property. There are insurance policies to cover the obvious, but also many things you wouldn’t think of. If there is a chance of an injury, fire, something stolen, or decreasing in value for something other than every day wear and tear (heck maybe there’s a policy for that too) there is likely an insurance policy for it. Working with a Professional Insurance Agent that can give you options and help guide you on the coverages that would be most important to you.

Construction Contracting risks for Workers Comp Quotes

Are Construction Contracting Risks hard to quote or impossible?

Working with artisan contractors for commercial insurance can be an exciting struggle. The benefit of working with companies that build or fix our homes and businesses every day is a rewarding challenge. That challenge can be tough to explain. Especially to someone who is just wanting to get their business quoted and move on with their day or with some one who has never experienced a claim. Below are some key things to consider when helping business owners search for commercial insurance.

FInd out just how difficult it is to get Workers Compensation Coverage for some contractors.

 

Why is contracting so hard to quote?

Contracting companies or Construction firms that perform building work represent some of the highest risk industries. They represent such a high risk because of the nature of work that is being performed. This means the potential for a claim to take place is high and the potential severity of that claim is also extremely high. Meaning the possibility of the claim taking place is high and when the claim happens there is a good chance it would be a severe and expensive claim.

What are the types of things that will cause a claim?

Construction and contracting see a variety of claims causes that make it a little scary for an insurance company. They are unique in that they have the ability to see virtually all types of claims you would see. Slip and falls, lifting strains, repetitive motion claims are ones any basic shop operation could have. Contractors also perform work outside of their shop, so motor vehicle accidents become a concern. Falls form heights can be one of the biggest concerns that can make a huge difference for most contractors wanting to get out of the state fund and with a competitive market carrier.

How can I set my firm apart from the rest?

As an Insurance Agent that specializes in hard to write workers comp, my approach when tasked with quoting a difficult scenario is to focus on the primary concern and risk. As a business owner, the first thing you want to look at is the biggest risk you have to your company which in turn will be the biggest risk to your workers comp carrier. The three biggest concerns being falls from heights, motor vehicle accidents and lifting exposures. This means any way you can limit the exposure or minimize the impact of these the better chance you have of getting quoted. Below are areas that you can look at:

As for height exposures: What is the maximum height in feet you work off ground level? The lower the number the better, but if you are doing work above ground level it is important that you know what the level is. Having a hard cut off point is important. Most importantly, how much opportunity do you have for work higher off the ground. If most of your productive work is less than 10 feet off the ground, but one small job a year is 25 or 30 feet off the ground, You may need to ask the business owner if it is worth paying more for insurance just to work this one job per year? Besides limiting operations, the business owner needs to comply with OSHA tie off requirements and they need to have strict protocols regarding work performed off ground level in their written safety program.

As for Motor vehicle accidents: Are you doing most of your construction work local or long distance? If working outside your local area, do you have multiple locations or crews based in different areas? This can sometimes be a way to limit having employees travel farther and limit your exposure. Besides limiting the travel area, check Motor Vehicle Records on all employees who will drive at time of hire and at least once per year. This is standard for most companies and your Commercial Auto Carrier is likely going to do this anyway. Reviewing and removing higher risk drivers from your driver list can help you with workers comp. Of course, it will save you money on your commercial auto policy ass well if you have one.

Prevent employees from becoming an injured worker by reading about the dangers of improper lifting at myinsurancequestion.comLifting exposures: Generally, are your employees lifting over 50lbs on their own? If so, find a different alternative to lifting like a dolly or something to assist in the lift. That can also be a mechanical hoist or a 2 wheeler to move heavy items.  It could also be requiring team lifting for objects over a certain weight. All of these strategies can limit this risk for your business. Safety programs are crucial to have in place for businesses dealing with heavy lifting. Accidents are eventually going to happen and when they do, a well-documented safety program can be the difference in being dropped for your carrier or not.

Working to improve these areas can help with many things for your construction business. Employees will see that you care for their well being, which in itself can be helpful in the quoting process. The safety protocols will help reduce your employees risk of a workplace injury and in most cases this can help the business get better, more aggressive quotes for workers comp insurance. I have seen in many states this savings can be over 50% for a carrier who has to go to the state fund vs the competitive market quotes. That’s like getting a half-off coupon for your workers comp.

6 ways to save when shopping for Workers’ Comp Insurance

Workers’ Compensation is one type of insurance that is required by law in nearly every state in the country. Because of this it is imperative that all business owners take advantage of every way they can to save on this required coverage. There are a few things business owners can change about their daily operations that can have a noticeable effect on what they pay for worker’s compensation insurance.

Keep a well-documented safety program.

Keeping a well-documented safety program includes a return to work program for injured workers and a detailed driver safety program if you have workers who will be driving as part of their normal work related duties. Safety programs do not have to take a lot of time away from your normal business routine to help you save your business money. It can be as little as a 15-minute huddle once a week. The meetings do need to be regular, but they can be weekly, bimonthly, monthly, whatever you determine is best for your business.  Attendance should be recorded as well as the subjects covered at each meeting. A well-documented safety program can really benefit your company when you do have an injury. If you have a well-documented safety program in place than your agent can speak with your insurance carrier and defend your business as one that is taking the needed steps to limit claims. If you have these programs in place the agent can more easily show the injury as more of an outlier and not a sign of trouble ahead.

 

Make sure you are in the proper classification code

Being placed in the wrong classification code happens more frequently than one might imagine. This can change what you pay in premium both positive and negative. There is an audit at the end of every term so this can cause unexpected costs at the end of the year for many businesses. Landscaping is a good example of an industry that has two classification codes that are much different in price. The two main classification codes for landscaping are 9102 & 0042. 9102 is for businesses that maintain already existing lawns and garden beds. 0042 is for businesses that design and install lawns and beds. This is a more dangerous undertaking and costs more in premium. If you are not crystal clear with your agent what your business does on a daily basis, they may assume you are in a riskier classification code. This can cause your business to pay more in premium than it has to. This can be a problem even if you pay too little because an audit is run at the end of every term and if you are than classified correctly, any premium that is owed will then be due. 

 

Actively ask your agent for approved credits and discounts.

Credits and discounts are available for many industries. They are offered by the state and the individual carriers to help business owners save on premium. Your agent has to ask for them in order to get the full amount of discount possibly available. If you bring this to their attention as a priority early in your interaction with them they will know to actively seek the best price. Insurance Agents have to deal with many business owners on a daily basis and the priorities of each business owner may be very different. Many business owners value their time above anything else. These business owners may rather pay a little more in order to just have the process over. If price is an important determining factor in your choice to buy commercial insurance, then let your agent know this up front. That way they can actively seek out every credit or discount available. 

 

Price shop, but do it carefully. 

You should always shop your policy around to make sure you are getting a competitive rate.  This is the first thing to do when you want to save on commercial insurance.  Switching for a moderate discount is not advised. This becomes important when your business inevitably has a claim. Your business will have a claim at some point in time. If you are a customer that has been with the carrier for several years, they are less likely to raise your rate on decline coverage of you altogether. If you are a business that switches carriers every year for a modest decline in price than you are much more likely to be dropped from coverage when a claim does occur. If you are dropped from coverage and cannot find insurance from another carrier than you are forced in to what is called the state fund. Policies in the state fund are much more expensive and depending upon your state once you are in the state fund you must remain there for 2-4 years. 

 

Have an informative website.

A website is beneficial to your business in more ways than just marketing. When you are applying for commercial insurance your agent is going to ask several questions about your daily operations. They are going to investigate it and so is the underwriter of the insurance carrier you are getting a quote from. If you tell them, you only do one type of business and your website shows you are doing something else than you better be prepared to explain what you do or do not do on a daily basis. On the contrary if you have a website that confirms what you have told your agent it will strengthen your relationship with them. This will help when and if you have a claim and need them to help you explain what happened to your insurance carrier. 

Consider changing the limits to your policy

The limits of your policy are important to protect your business, but they are not set in stone. They are not the same for every business owner either. Some business owners want to protect their business fully. Even protect it beyond what could imaginably happen to their business. Other Business owners are quite comfortable taking on more risk. If you are one of those business owners than lowering your limits is one way to lower what you pay in premium. Now most carriers will have a minimum amount you have to take, but if you are above those limits it may be worth your while to speak with your insurance agent about the pros and cons of lowering those limits. As long as you are making an informed decision and you know the risks you are taking lowering the limits of your policy can be an effective way to save on premium.

What is Artisan Contractors Insurance? 

Inside the insurance industry Artisan Contractors Insurance is commonly referred to as insurance for Artisan Contractors. What is an Artisan Contractor? That is a question many new business owners ask when applying for insurance the first time. These business owners frequently find out this is what classification their business is in. Artisan Contractors are a wide range of businesses that operate in different parts of the construction industry. Electricians, Plumbers and Painters are all included in this category.

Artisan Contractors Insurance for Electricians

Some common (NCCI) industry classification codes include:

  • 5191 Electricians
  • 5183 Plumbers
  • 5537 HVAC Contractors
  • 5221 Concrete Construction
  • 5474 Painters
  • 5437 Finishing Carpenters

They each have a similar, but different role within the construction industry and each type of work carries unique risks. From an insurers perspective they each carry their own risk and that is why they are separated into several separate class codes. Working with your insurance agent to make sure you are in the proper classification code can go a long way towards removing any headaches down the road relating to your commercial insurance policy.

Below are some common types of insurance recommended for Artisan Contractors Insurance:

 

General Liability

General Liability (GL) is typically the first line of insurance purchased by a business. GL is required by law in most states; additionally, businesses are often required to purchase coverage with most contracts for leases, loans, and work performed for others. GL exposures are primarily at the contractor’s office or shop and are generally limited due to lack of public access to the premises. Retail sales increase the possibility of customers slipping, falling, or tripping if customers visit office to view products.  Job-site exposures include potential injury to the client or damage to the client’s property. Tools, power cords, building materials and scrap material, use of saws and other power or hand tools are all potential risks.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Insurance is a state mandated insurance coverage required by nearly every state in the country. The basic purpose of Workers’ Compensation Insurance is to assure that injured workers get medical care and compensation for a portion of the income they lose while they are unable to work.  Workers receive benefits regardless of who was at fault in the accident. Also, Workers’ Compensation Coverage prevents the employer from bearing the costs of injuries that occur during normal business operations.

Commercial Auto

Automobile exposures are generally limited to transporting workers, equipment and supplies to and from job sites. Hazards depend on the type and use of vehicles and radius of operation with the main hazards being upsets. Vehicles may have special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts and hoists.  If employees utilize their own personal vehicles for work related tasks then Hired and Non-Owned Coverage should be purchased.

Hired and Non-Owned Auto 

Hired and non-owned auto insurance is commonly added (or endorsed) onto the commercial auto insurance policy. This endorsement adds additional coverages for the insured in the event there becomes a liability issue for their business for an automobile accident involving a vehicle they don’t directly insure. This coverage will pay for damages to a third party, on behalf of you the insured. This coverage kicks in if the business is held liable for an accident or injury caused by a vehicle they hired or a vehicle someone uses while performing work for a business. If you send an employee to run and errand on behalf of the business, your business is responsible for damages that occur.

Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance for business owners covers many types of losses and damages to a companies property. Property exposures are generally limited to those of an office, shop, and storage of materials, equipment, and vehicles.  Property insurance typically provides coverage for events like fire, smoke, wind, hail and vandalism. Policies often have included or excluded coverages. Some natural disasters like earthquake or hail, may have separate deductibles.

Inland Marine

Inland marine exposures include contractors’ tools and equipment, including ladders and scaffolding, hoists, and portable welders, the transport of materials, and installation floater. Goods in transit consists of tools and equipment as well as products purchased by the customer for installation at the job site.