Category Archives: Workers Compensation

Business Insurance for Young Entrepreneurs

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Congratulations, you started a YouTube channel and one of your videos has gone viral and you have morphed into an entrepreneur.  You now have a product or service to sell; you are on the right path to building a successful business.

As a business owner you realize you have a multitude of moving pieces that must be taken care of – one being the need to insure your new venture and assets.

Important components to insure:

  • Your property
    • Your computers, office furniture, equipment, and any other business personal property you need to run your business
  • Your space
    • Home-based operations? Your homeowners or renters  insurance may not cover you if you are operating a business
    • Renting space? Your landlord may require you to submit a certificate of insurance and name them as Additional Insured
    • Purchasing a building or condo for your business operations and taking out a mortgage?  You will be required to purchase insurance prior to the closing. And if you do not have a mortgage, it is important to insure your investment
    • Whether you are renting or purchasing you must insure your location
  • Your liability
    • Insurance will protect and provide you with defense against lawsuits arising out of you or your employee’s negligence. For example:  personal injury or property damage claims such as your product causes injury to someone or an entity,  someone trips and falls while visiting your business location, or your product damages someone else’s property.

You can bundle these valuable coverages into one policy, often referred to as a Business Owners Policy (BOP) or a Commercial Package Policy (CPP).

Other components:

  • Workers’ compensation– If you have employees, you are legally required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. This covers lost wages and medical costs due to an on the job illness, or injury.
  • Disability benefits insurance – covers lost wages due to an off-the-job injury or illness.
  • Professional Liability– Do you give professional advice or provide a professional service? If so, you should consider purchasing Professional Liability insurance.

Has this got you thinking?  Getting all your answers from Google may not be as easy as you think.  Google does not know your business.  However, by contacting an Independent Insurance Agent  like ourselves, will connect you with an insurance consultant that will provide you with ALL your answers !

Please don’t let your dream be destroyed by an uninsured event.   Think about it and contact us today!

Do Adults Really Bully Each Other In The Workplace?

workplace-bullyYes!

And even more significant is that what goes on in the workplace has a direct effect on Workers’ Compensation premiums paid by employers. How?

Mistreatment of employees by other employees and management personnel results in more sick days and days off, more workers’ compensation claims and more disability claims according to OSHA the organization charged with researching such trends.

OSHA is the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and according to the data collected for 2010, bullying accounted for 5% of absenteeism. The effect is that more and more employees will be making claims under Workers’ Compensation since that is their only recourse for “injuries” suffered in the workplace. This will invariably drive up the cost of already escalating Workers’ Compensation premiums.

So what can you, as an employer do, to lessen your exposure to risk from bullying?

1. Be aware of employees/managers who insult others;
2. Watch for employees or managers who intimidate others;
3. Be aware of gossiping as it can cause anxiety, stress , depression and even give rise to post traumatic stress disorder in severe cases;
4. Be aware of the effect on your entire team as reports indicate that just watching another employee being mistreated causes much stress and anxiety
5. Educate and train your staff to make them aware of just what constitutes a case of bullying.

An aspect of loss control is identifying industries more prone to bullying, such as social and protective services and healthcare support occupations. It has also been shown that women are more likely to file Workers’ Compensation claims than men when allegations of bullying are concerned. Conversely, architectural, engineering, physical and social science workers, as well as business and financial industries report much lower incidences in claims relating to bullying.

Whatever the industry, unless bullying in the workplace is addressed and strategies are developed to contain this hazard, we can be sure that carriers will soon be on the look-out for claims of this nature and be very discriminating in the policies they are willing to write.

By Karen Skoler, CPCU

5 Tips for an Insurance Check-Up

InsuranceCheckup1. Request a Schedule of Insurance. This will provide you with a snap shot of your current coverage.

2. Schedule a phone call with your Insurance Agent to review your account. This is a good time to check property values or increase coverage limits. Ask questions, your representative should be able to inform you as to how your policy protects your interests.

3. Discuss any changes in your business operations with your broker. For example: your small business may be expanding and you have now hired an employee. You are required by law to provide Workers’ Compensation and Short Term Disability insurance. Without having such insurance in place you may face steep penalties in excess of $2,000 each 10 day period you are uninsured.

4. Prepare to budget for rate increases. Just like most other expenses, insurance rates continue to rise.

5. Combining coverages for example: insuring your home and auto with the same carrier, you may be eligible for a multi-line discount.

– Lavette Wright

What Kind Of Insurance Do I Need As An Accountant?

accountantDear Sherri: I am an accountant with one employee and a small office with 2 desks, 2 chairs, and 2 computers. What kind of insurance do I need? Please keep in mind that I am just starting out and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on insurance
Sincerely,
Poor Accountant in Ridgewood

Dear Poor Accountant,
The better question is: how much insurance can you afford to be without? With one employee (even if they are part-time), the State will fine you $2,000 for every 10 days you are without Workers’ Compensation! What if someone sues you for an error in their tax filings to the Government? Without Professional Liability, you’d be on your own and you know how expensive it is to hire a lawyer! These are the insurance policies that are essential to most businesses.

You will need a Businessowners Policy to cover your desks, chairs and computers as well as your general liability should someone come to your office and become injured while on your premises.
Workers’ Compensation and Disability are needed for your employee should they get hurt.
Professional Liability is needed to cover you for any Errors or Omissions you make as a professional accountant. This is because your liability policy will not provide coverage for any professional endeavors.
In today’s litigious society with multi-million Dollar lawsuits, once you begin to make more money, you will want to consider purchasing additional liability coverage in the form of an Umbrella policy.

However, this is just a brief outline of the available coverages. You should really contact your insurance broker for a detailed analysis of your insurance needs. This is usually done free of charge.

Is Workers Compensation required for family member employees?

What type of insurance is required by state law for employers who have any employees?

Workers Compensation. Failure to maintain this policy in full force and effect at all times can result in large fines, in the thousands of dollars, imposed by the state government. Just because an employee is a family member does not exempt an employer from providing this coverage.

Must You Provide Insurance For Your Nanny or Housekeeper?

I have a friend who is a single mother of two young children, two puppies, a turtle, a cat, and a frog aside from running her own business. Trying to manage her career, the social life of the boys and the health and well being of their pets was wearing her out so she employed the services of a Nanny. Everything was going well until the Nanny tripped over one of the dogs and injured her knee resulting in arthroscopic surgery and months of visits to a physical therapist. What a shock when my friend found out that as the Nanny’s employer she was responsible for the medical bills. Are you aware that full time employees(those on your premises 40 or more hours a week) must be provided with Workers’ Compensation and, in some cases, New York State Disability?


My friend never gave this a thought prior to the accident. She just figured that her homeowner’s policy would cover the medical bills because the accident happened in her home. However, the Workers’ Compensation rider of a homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover any domestic employees (defined, but not limited to, Maids, Cooks, Housekeepers, Laudresses, Butlers, Companions, Gardeners, Chauffeurs, Nannies, Home Health Aides, Au Pairs, Nurses, Baby/Pet-sitters) nor does it cover people working for individual(s) in a home-based business. And on top of all this, the government can impose significant monetary penalties for not having this mandated coverage in place should an accident occur.

Another friend of mine always employs PetSitters to watch her menagerie of pets when she goes away on frequent vacations. She recently was advised that if the PetSitter stays in her home continuously from Friday evening until Sunday evening, a period of roughly 48 hours, that both Workers’ Compensation and New York State Disability would be required.

I checked the New York State Fund website and it actually states that “Workers’ Compensation and New York State Disability are required from the first day of the first week in which a domestic puts in 40 or more hours while either working or living on the premises.” There is an exception for Disability in that benefits aren’t required if the domestic (s) works in a private household less than 40 hours a week and doesn’t live on the premises.

So, let’s not be “penny wise and pound foolish” and let’s “be prepared” because we never know when a maid could trip over her apron strings, the butler could close the door too quickly causing injuries to himself and the chauffeur could collide with a SmartCar filled with clowns!

– Karen Skoler, CPCU

Company Saves Money and Invests in Employees

WC_1209-01Safety was a major reason for the development of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at Chamberlain, a paving contractor in Laurel, MD that specializes in parking lot maintenance. During a three-year period, the company’s increases in Workers Compensation and Commercial General Liability exceeded 100%. By implementing a Safety Awareness Program, the company saw an immediate and significant decrease in the frequency of Workers Comp claims and vehicular accidents.

Because Chamberlain’s heavy equipment and trucks travel daily on interstate highways around metropolitan Washington D.C., the owners implemented an alcohol and drug policy. A local consulting firm helped develop this policy by working with the company’s human resource advisory group. The process included meetings with workers to explain the rationale for the new policy and provide an opportunity for employee input.

During these meetings, it became clear that designing an alcohol and drug policy would not magically solve all the negative effects associated with these behaviors. Employees needed a mechanism to deal with personal problems so that they could find help, take a leave of absence to deal with their problems, and then return to the company and improve their productivity.

The consultant recommended that Chamberlain use a qualified provider to implement and manage an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This firm leads quarterly training sessions for all employees and counseling on family, financial, and other problems, in addition to those related to alcohol and drugs. Each year, a significant percentage of the Chamberlain’s work force seeks help from the EAP counselor, which shows the confidence of employees in this program.

The company supplements its EAP with a drug testing program managed by a separate organization that does drug testing before employment, after accidents, when there’s probable cause, and on a random monthly basis.

Since implementing the EAP and the drug testing program, the company has enjoyed a significant decrease in job-related injuries and accidents, absenteeism, and tardiness — while reducing its Workers Comp premiums by some $50,000 a year. Chamberlain is also benefiting from an improved quality of workmanship, greater customer satisfaction, and higher employee morale. What’s not to like?

For more information on keeping your workplace safe, contact Petschauer Insurance Company today!