Casual business people shaking handsWhen it comes to business insurance, there’s a lot to know. Just like your business itself, there are a lot of pieces. That’s why it pays to partner with an expert insurance firm to answer your questions and make sure all your insurance coverage needs are met.

Here are some of the most common business insurance questions to help get you started on what you should know.

  • Is there a difference between hired and non-owned auto liability insurance? The short answer is yes. With certain exceptions, the term “hired autos” refers to autos the named insured leases, hires, rents, or borrows. The term does not include any auto the named insured leases, hires, rents, or borrows from any of its employees, partners, limited liability members, or members of their households. As respects the motor carrier, the exception applies to private passenger type autos only. By contrast, the term “non-owned auto” applies to vehicles owned by employees and used for company business. It applies only if such autos are private passenger vehicles.
  • What is the difference between general liability and professional liability? General liability protects against any financial loss as the result of bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses, libel, slander, defending lawsuits, and settlement bonds or judgments. For instance, this coverage would apply to someone suing your business for medical damage after walking into your store and slipping on a recently mopped floor. Professional liability is meant to protect your business against bad advice or guidance. If someone acts on your professional business opinion and it results in something harmful or negative, this insurance will protect your company from professional liability claims.
  • Why does it take longer to get a business insurance proposal than a personal insurance quote? We work hard to make sure that your proposal is delivered to you as quickly as possible, but there are a lot of considerations that have to be taken into account, including business type, location, and the number of employees. When an expert insurance broker is reviewing your information, it takes some time to compile all the relevant details and create your unique policy. This not only ensures that you get the best rate, but also that you have accurate coverage.

Still have questions? We can help. Give us a call today so we can start the process of helping you build your best policy and get the protection your business needs.

Engineers in steel factory working on digital tabletSafety training isn’t just a formality — it’s a tested means of reducing serious injuries and cutting back days-away-from-work incidents. But all too often, training is conducted half-heartedly or not at all.

Some evidence of that comes in the most recent breakdown of OSHA’s top 10 most-cited violations. The list is usually pretty static, with the repeat offenders showing up year after year, but this latest iteration saw a new addition in “fall protection — training requirements.” The safety implications of a lack of training run deep. Inadequate fall protection in and of itself has clinched the top spot for the past few years of OSHA’s most-cited list, and actual falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. As evidenced by the landscape of falls alone, training touches every part of the occupational safety environment and is a pillar of what we do

So how do we improve on the way we train? For starters, most workers expect to feel safe at work — about 80 percent, according to survey data. That would suggest that most are not only open to learning safety procedures but would also welcome it. Training professionals recommend putting new employees — who are more likely than seasoned employees to be injured on the job due to inexperience — through a highly comprehensive, consistent program to get them up to speed. For both new and veteran employees, on-the-job training has been shown to be an effective means for teaching updates to safety procedures as they are made. Training experts recommend managers start the process by giving employees an introductory overview of the new procedure before guiding them through a “tryout” period for the update. Once that’s done, managers should follow up afterwards to ensure the employee has the right grasp of the behavior.

In any workplace, safety training is an evolving practice. Procedures shift as we discover new ways to do old work, and the shifting ground means that managers need to have an active presence. As always, we’re here to help with all the materials you need to make safety a priority for your workforce!

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Winter always seems to be a busy season, which is odd considering how strong the urge can be to just hibernate through it and skip the whole thing. From a worker safety standpoint, we’re not exactly crazy about the season, but the fact is, it rolls around each year like clockwork, bringing its own work-related challenges.

Like any other period of serious weather, winter brings about some unique safety challenges that demand our consideration. Just on its own, the winter chill is clearly a potential safety issue to those who work beyond a temperature-controlled environment. Cold stress can sneak up on an individual and sap their energy before they realize it’s high time to warm up. Even if it doesn’t progress to more serious exposure-related conditions, cold stress can sap productivity and present its own set of health hazards. When winter falls, work that can be done inside should be promptly moved indoors.

For those still exposed to low temperatures, it’s important to be aware of the signs of cold stress and look for symptoms of the conditions it causes. Dressing for low temperatures goes a long way — layer your clothing to better regulate heat, and stay as dry as possible. To cut the risk of slips and falls, take care of snow and ice as quickly as you can after it falls.

To workers, one of the biggest risks of winter is right underfoot. Slips and falls are a major safety issue regardless of season, but the risk of falling on the job can be seriously compounded by winter ice and snow. The injuries caused by slipping on ice range in severity, as you’d expect. With that said, 2013 data pulled from five Midwestern states found slips and falls on snow and ice to be responsible for about one-third of all workers’ compensation claims that resulted in lost time from work. Tackling the winter slip risk in a work setting is much the same as anywhere else — shovel away ice and snow as soon as possible, apply some de-icing agent when appropriate, and proceed with caution.

63971409 - business partners walking up stairsThink businesses that have primarily office workers don’t have to worry about workplace safety and risk management? Think again! Accidents happen in all kinds of companies. In fact, many workers’ comp claims are made by workers who spend much of their time behind a desk — not at a construction site or in a manufacturing facility.

As a business grows, so does its risk of costly accidents and injuries. Nationwide, occupational injuries cost companies nearly $170 billion each year. Injuries and/or accidents can hurt and even cripple a growing company. That’s why preventing them should be a priority for even the smallest of companies. Plus, providing your employees with a safe working environment is the right thing to do.

At Accurate Protection, we specialize in working with companies that don’t have the resources to employ a full- time risk manager. We consider ourselves to be outsourced risk managers for growth-oriented medium sized companies. We provide risk-reducing strategies, programs and comprehensive safety materials that reduce your chance for loss. Once you’re better at managing your company’s risks, we educate underwriters about your company and build positive carrier relationships on your behalf. By demonstrating your commitment to decrease risk and support safety, we can help you capture lower long-term insurance premiums.

What are some of the ways employees injure themselves in the office environment? At the office, slips, trips and falls are the most common hazards. Look around for uneven surfaces, torn carpet or anything else that could cause someone to trip and fall. Clean up any spills immediately and address any surfaces that become slippery, especially during the winter months. You may want to consider having an ergonomics expert make sure your workstations are designed so that they meet basic rules for preventing repetitive injuries. Lifting heavy objects — the wrong way — can also result in injuries at the office.

If your employees drive for business, make sure you have a safe-driving policy and consider banning cellphone use by employees who drive on the job. Another important thing you can do? Create a culture where employees know they can take breaks to stretch and rest their muscles and their eyes.

Want to learn more? Visit our website: https://accurateprotection.com/. And give us a call at (404) 907-2121 x701 .

Your business, like many, likely offers employees certain benefits to employees like 401(k) plans, health insurance, and disability insurance. While these are important factors in your employees staying on withman and woman signing contract paper your company or new employees accepting offers of employment, it adds an additional layer of financial responsibility and compliance for your business. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) states that anyone who is overseeing employee benefits can be held liable for mismanagement of these benefits.

The best way to protect yourself and your business from the potential compliance errors is through fiduciary liability, as this kind of policy covers any associated legal costs to defend against claims of errors and a breach of fiduciary duty. If you’ve never heard of this kind of liability insurance, you’re not alone. ERISA doesn’t require it, but it’s a good idea for your business to consider this type of coverage to ensure that your business isn’t at increased risk.

Here’s what to know about financial liability policies: Fiduciary liability protects you and any of your employees — such as HR staff — who are involved in the administration of your 401(k), health and disability plans. If your staff or business are found in breach of their fiduciary duty in managing these benefits, personal assets including car, home, and bank accounts, etc. can be at risk.

According to a Tillinghast survey, mounting a defense in the event of financial mismanagement can cost a business an average of $365K and with a settlement average of $994K. The Department of Labor holds the individual company responsible for the vetting and monitoring outside benefits vendors, so the liability for error rests with the business.

While ERISA doesn’t require financial liability insurance, it does require an ERISA Bond. What’s the difference? An ERISA Bond protects the benefit plan participants from loss due to fraud or dishonesty. This protects the employees who have money invested in a 401(k), for instance, from losing assets due to fraud and theft. Fiduciary liability is insurance that offers defense coverage and protection for the fiduciaries from lawsuits. In the event of mismanagement, you could be sued by:

  • Plan participants
  • Participants’ legal estates
  • Plan beneficiaries
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Department of Labor
  • Securities and Exchange Commissions and
  • State Attorney General

Fiduciary liability could be a critical piece of coverage for your business. To get a quote or find out more about this important type of policy, get in touch with our office today.

25002036_MThe workplace can be dangerous. From hazardous chemicals to heavy objects and dizzying heights, there are numerous safety challenges to overcome to keep all employees healthy and secure. Despite our efforts though, one of the most common workplace injuries continues to linger right under our noses — or, in this case, our ears.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, workplace-related hearing loss is the most common workplace injury in the United States. Each year, the CDC states, about 22 million American workers are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of occupational noise. As far as OSHA is concerned, an acceptable limit for work noise exposure is 90 A-weighted decibels throughout an eight-hour day. For reference, the CDC estimates an average hand drill creates about 98 decibels of noise.

Monetarily, the noise issue can be deafening — the U.S. Department of Labor believes employers across the country spend an annual $242 million on worker’s compensation claims related to workplace-related hearing loss. In 2015 alone, businesses paid more than $1.5 million in fines after being cited for providing inadequate protection to employees in noisy environments. People affected by this kind of hearing loss may find the normal sounds of the world both dulled and replaced by a constant ringing. For many, the damage to their hearing can be debilitating and isolating, causing both personal and professional issues.

Luckily, hearing loss isn’t a foregone conclusion. While some workplaces will always be noisy, we can take measures to block out potentially damaging decibels. By instituting policies that protect your workers’ hearing, you’re also helping to protect your own bottom line.

??????????????????????????????????Your business is a big part of your life — that’s why you’ve decided to protect your assets with business insurance. But if there’s an incident, accident, or issue, do you know how to use your insurance coverage to your advantage? Here are some things to keep in mind in case you face an event like:

  • Electrical fire that damages your property or equipment, shutting down your business
  • A break-in or theft, resulting in loss of merchandise or equipment or property damage
  • Customer or employee injury on company property
  • Damage from a natural disaster that renders your business inoperable

So, what now?

  1. Respond to the immediate threat: Make sure everyone is safe or that injuries are being addressed. This might mean evacuating your property or calling for medical treatment.
  2. Contact the police: If your claim is going to report theft, burglary, or something similar, you’ll want to contact local law enforcement as quickly as possible to begin the process of both helping to recoup lost property, find the person responsible, and begin collecting the necessary reports and paperwork.
  3. Contact your insurance company and insurance representative as soon as possible. They’ll be able to give you the specific next steps that apply to your situation. Contacting them as soon as possible will help you better mitigate damages and keep your business operational, or at least get it back on track to being operational as quickly as possible. For specific incidents, an insurance adjuster may be sent out to begin assessing the damage.
  4. Stay organized: Your claims process is going to involve a lot of paperwork, so make sure you’re staying organized throughout the process. If you’re conducting temporary repairs, keep your receipts. Keep an inventory of anything that’s damaged or lost and keep a digital record of the list. Take pictures of damages or other relevant things and store them digitally for easy emailing to your agent and other parties. You’ll need to provide proof of loss and holding onto all documents in an easily accessible location will be a big help.

Our job is always to make sure that your business and assets are protected and make the whole process as painless as possible. If you need business insurance or need to start the process of filing your claim, get in touch with us today.

21824090_MIt’s no secret that a lot of us who have office jobs could use a little more exercise. Sitting for long periods each day can cause health issues over time, and put strain on your back and neck. The answer? You just might want to try to fit a workout into your schedule at work!

Exercising while you’re at work is easier than you may think. And no, we’re not talking about running back and forth from your desk to the copy machine. Check out the easiest, most efficient and effective ways to exercise at work (and they’re inconspicuous too!):

Stretch it out

It’s important to stretch when you’re sitting all day in order to keep the blood flowing, and to keep your muscles from becoming tense. First try rotating your wrists in circles for a few moments, while doing the same with your ankles. Then move on to simple, basic stretches such as touching your toes. Ease into any stretch if you’ve been sitting in one position for a long time, though, to prevent injury.

Replace your chair with an exercise ball
When we sit in the same computer chair for hours a day, it can begin to become troublesome to our health. Lower back issues and poor posture are just a few among many complications related to spending too much time sitting down. Replacing your chair with an exercise ball is an easy fix! You may feel a little silly sitting on one of these in front of your coworkers at first, but maybe you’ll inspire them to try it, too. Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair will help you to retain better posture, and also develop your leg and core muscles used to keep balance.

Desk push-ups
Doing desk push-ups may seem a little ridiculous, but it’s a simple way to really work your arms and chest. The next time that you have a moment between phone calls and emails, try leaning up against your desk and doing 10 push-up reps while leaning forward. Ladies, don’t forget to remove your heels!

Chair dips
Chair dips are an exercise that can really develop your triceps if done on a regular basis. These can be a little challenging at first, and you have to be sure to do them on a chair without wheels (computer chairs are a no-go). Any chair that is stable in your office will be just fine for doing reps of tricep dips.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget that the best way to get in a little more exercise is to fit a walk in on your lunch break. Learn to love moving, and reap the fitness and health rewards!

47458614_MThe most common workplace safety concerns aren’t usually the most obvious. For the most part, that’s a good thing — if chemical leaks, explosions and crane collapses happened more frequently, we’d never get anything done. Still, just because a hazard is small or seemingly innocuous doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. Train yourself and your employees to think about safety so you can spot the often overlooked!

A place for everything and everything in its place. We’ve posted on social media before about the importance of keeping a workplace tidy. We’ll say it again — keep your workplace neat! Excess clutter or misplaced items can pose a tripping hazard, block emergency exits, or provide fuel for a fire. Going the extra step to put everything away or throw out unnecessary items might feel like an unwanted chore in your day-to-day routine, but when it pays off, it can really pay off. Let’s just hope it doesn’t have to!

Keep an eye on your cords. Your power and extension cords, that is. Cords and wires, especially those that are stretched along the floor, can easily become broken or frayed in a busy workplace. The same goes for the plugs that give cords their current. If any of that happens, you’ve got a potential electrocution hazard on your hands, not to mention a risk of electrical fire. Keep cords out of the way whenever possible, and avoid dragging them along surfaces. Make sure plugs aren’t bent or mashed by furniture or equipment while they are in use, and replace all equipment as it wears out.

Ergonomics can be economic. Simple ergonomic fixes, while potentially more costly up front, can actually save you considerably in long-term health care costs. Office workers can avoid or lessen the effects of carpal tunnel with properly positioned keyboards and computer mouses and can also avoid other musculoskeletal disorders with ergonomically designed chairs and desks. Ergonomic braces can give more physical workers a leg up by providing support to the back and often-used joints. Proactive approaches to avoiding long-term injuries can help nip workplace injury claims in the bud!

When it comes to safety, even so-called “minor” concerns can have very real health implications. By thinking about safety throughout your day, you can help create a safer environment for everyone in your workplace!

26223365 - a sign with a safety reminderThe safety and health of employees should be a top priority for your business. The first step in improving safety in the workplace is identifying risks. Then it’s important to take steps to reduce or eliminate those safety hazards. Here are four steps in completing a risk assessment.

#1 Identifying risks

One of the leading causes of accidents and injuries at work is failure to identify risks. To identify risks, safety managers should collect and review information about any existing and potential hazards in the workplace. This process may include workplace inspections, employee interviews, injury incident investigations and an analysis of the severity of risks to employees.

#2 Identifying workers at risk

After the risks are identified, determine which workers are most at risk from these workplace hazards. This will give you the needed information for which workers may need special safety training, protective equipment or other adjustments to their work environment.

#3 Assessment of risks

Once you have identified hazards and workers who are at risk, the next step is assessing the risks. Here are a few questions to consider: What health risks are there to employees? How severe are these risks? Is the work environment and/or equipment used responsible for risks to employee safety? What steps can you take to reduce safety hazards? If the risk cannot be eliminated, assess what impact the hazard will have on employees’ safety and health.

#4 Implement measures to reduce or eliminate risks

Workplace risk assessment is of no use unless steps are taken to reduce or eliminate risks. At-risk workers need safety training for dealing with hazardous situations. Any physical hazards at the workplace should be removed if possible (faulty equipment, antiquated office furniture, excess noise, etc.).

Safety managers need to develop a written program and hold official meetings and training for employees. Workplace safety risk assessment is an ongoing process and is essential for the security and health of employees. Improving workplace safety can help eliminate unnecessary risks to employees and help them save money on insurance premiums for workers compensation coverage. Here are some guidelines from OSHA for establishing a workplace safety program.