Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tips to Avoid Work-Place Injuries

Depending on what industry you work in, you will be worried about different types of work-place injuries. For example, if you primarily do clerical work then you are probably worried more about ergonomics or back strain from lifting office supplies; if you work as a nurse you might be worried about getting pricked by a needle; and if you work as a construction worker you may be worried about falling from a roof, scaffolding, or type of machinery.  

In addition to the tips below, your broker or workers’ compensation insurance carrier would also be able to provide you with industry-specific safety pamphlets and tips to hand out to your employees.

Tips for Employees (http://www.workers-comp-news.com/preventing.php)
  • While working at a computer, sit with your knees at a 90- to 120-degree angle. Using an angled foot rest can help reduce back strain.
  • Make sure your chair fits correctly and is ergonomically designed.
  • When lifting heavy or awkward items, life with your knees not with your back. Always bend your hips and knees and squat to pick a heavy object while keeping your back straight and holding the object close to your body.
  • Don't twist your body while lifting.
  • If you must sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stretch.
  • Exercise regularly, focusing on strength and flexibility.
  • Change tools and/or equipment. For example, use tools with extension handles that let you stand up rather than stooping.
  • To reduce the amount of overhead work you must do, use a lift to raise yourself so you are closer to the work.
  • When you pick up or set down a load, don't reach more than 10 inches away from your body.
  • Lift any load using a solid two-handed grip
  • Use ergonomically designed tools that are designed to fit the hand and body and the job.
  • Avoid overexertion. Many injuries at work occur when employees are tired or strained. Don't overdo it because you could suffer an injury. Instead, give your body and your mind time to rest and recover.
  • Report any unsafe conditions immediately to a supervisor. If your employer doesn't do anything to fix the hazardous condition, take your concerns to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or another government agency.
Tips for Employers (http://www.workers-comp-news.com/preventing.php)
  • Adopt and enforce safety procedures. OSHA requires employers to follow certain safety procedures, but companies should also develop additional safety rules for their workplaces and their employees.
  • Provide adequate safety training for workers and review safety policies with employees on a regular basis.
  • Ensure that spills and other potential hazards are cleaned up immediately.
  • Do not allow employees to continue working if they are tired or in danger of overexertion because this is a clear recipe for accidents and injuries.
  • Ensure that anyone who is operating power equipment or handling hazardous materials has received adequate training on how to use these tools and materials. It's also important that employees know what to do in an emergency.
  • Involve employees in the creation of health and safety policies. In addition, listen to workers concerns about unsafe conditions and potentially hazardous processes.
  • Correct employees and supervisors who are not following safety procedures
  • Create a safety checklist that includes all potential hazards in your workplace.
  • Understand the role that ergonomics can play in preventing workplace injuries and reducing repetitive motion disorders.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What if I am not able to pay my insurance premium in full?

Many business owners want to protect their company by carrying the necessary insurance policies, whether it be General Liability, Commercial Auto, Property Insurance, Inland Marine Insurance, or Workers Compensation Insurance. For start-up or small business owners, it can be overwhelming to have to pay the premium in full.

Some business owners may not know that finance companies are available to help lessen the financial burden. Finance companies work the same way as credit cards; they will pay the entire premium up-front and you will pay the finance company a down payment, as well as monthly payments with an interest rate that depends on the size of the loan. You can pay off the entirety of the loan at any point in time without having to pay the interest that would have accrued later in the year. For renewed policies, the interest rate or down payment may increase depending on your previous payment history.

An insurance broker can help set you up with the finance company and finance agreement that will best fit your needs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What is a certificate of insurance (COI) and why am I being asked to provide one?

A certificate of insurance is a document issued by an insurance company/broker that is used to verify the existence of insurance coverage under specific conditions granted to listed individuals. More specifically, the document lists the effective date of the policy, the type of insurance coverage purchased, and the types and dollar amount of applicable liability (Definition from Investopedia).

If you are being contracted to perform a job (i.e. construction, plumbing, etc.) you may be asked to provide a certificate of insurance. This will prove to your client that you are covered in the event of an incident or claim. Depending on the type of job you are providing, the client will ask for proof of various policies. The two most common policies that are required are General Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Proof of General Liability will show that you are insured in case any damages arise from the work you provided to the client. The client is interested in Workers’ Compensation insurance in case any of your employees are hurt on the job on their property.

In addition to a certificate of insurance, you may also be asked for various endorsements including Additional Insured (AI), Waiver of Subrogation, Loss Payee, just to name a few. Additional Insured endorsements are the most common; a client may ask to be “named as additional insured”. This means that the company you are working for will be covered in the event of a claim occurring from your work. Insurance carriers can either provide a Blanket Additional Insured endorsement, which covers any client noted on a certificate of insurance, or a Specific Additional Insured endorsement, which will name the specific company on the endorsement itself.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reasons to Use an Insurance Broker

CONNECTIONS: Brokers have access to many different insurance carriers and they can shop around for the lowest price. Carriers know that brokers are shopping around with many other carriers so they try to offer the most competitive quotes. Insurance carriers will offer brokers lower rates so they will refer more business.
KNOWLEDGE: Brokers are licensed professionals who know and understand the insurance industry 100%. They know the pros and cons of each policy and exactly what policies and coverage you need to protect your company. 

SERVICE: Brokers work to understand your specific needs and can help you decide which policies are best for your company. If you are unhappy with your insurance carrier, your policies can be easily moved since the broker is not dedicated to any specific carrier.

PRIORITIES: Big insurance companies can be hard to get a hold of, insurance brokers are dedicated to customer service and client relations. You are a broker’s top priority.