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5 Ways to Save Money on Your Business Insurance Bill

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A few simple and quick actions could put more money into your business.  The components that influence the cost of your insurance bill, including your business risks and coverage selection, can be controlled to lower your premium without compromising the quality of your coverage.  With a lower premium to pay each year, there’s more money for you to continue growing your business.

Here are five simple ways to save money on your insurance bill without sacrificing coverage:

1. Implement Safety and Loss Reduction Practices

Control workplace hazards and maintain the working condition of your commercial equipment and vehicles to keep your insurance premium low (and avoid injuries).  With a lower risk of a claim, the lower your premium will likely be (see item #3).

2. Bundle Your Policies with One Carrier

Bundling multiple lines of insurance coverage through one carrier usually comes at a lower cost than purchasing each policy individually through various carriers.  A Business Owners Policy (BOP), for example, is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses because it packages major liability and property risks into one insurance plan for a lower premium.

3. Ask About a Claims-Free Discount  

Your carrier may reward you with a discount on your insurance plan if your business hasn’t had a claim in years.  To get this cost benefit, avoid filing small claims that can be paid out of pocket.

4. Increase Your Deductible

Your deductible is the amount of money you pay before your insurance starts paying.  The higher the deductible, the lower the premium you pay annually.  It’s always good to have money set aside, however, in case an unexpected claim does occur.

5. Work Closely with Your Insurance Broker 

Choose a reputable agent that can help you get the best coverage for you and your business.  Your broker can answer questions about different coverage options and available discounts.

Following these five tips can help you save money in the long run for increased profits.  At NIP Group, we get businesses custom-tailored insurance coverage at a lower premium rate to better fit your operational and financial needs.  Visit nipgroup.com/programs or contact your broker to find out how you can save money without compromising the quality of your insurance coverage through NIP Group.

4 Fundamental Insurance Policies that Protect Cleaning and Maintenance Service Businesses

Smiling cleaners team at door

For a cleaning or maintenance service company, it only takes one messy situation to leave a mark on your balance sheet.  Damages to client’s property, damages to your own commercial property, and injuries are, at times, unavoidable risks that can wipe your business out financially.  When a claim is made against your business, having even the most basic insurance can help you avoid a substantial loss.

Below are four fundamental insurance policies – General Liability, Property, Commercial Vehicle, and Workers’ Comp – that strengthen the foundation of any successful cleaning or maintenance service business.

1. General Liability (GL) Insurance

Essential for any business, this coverage protects your business from property damage, bodily injury, and personal or advertising injury claims.  If an employee accidently damages your client’s expensive hardwood floor or your client slips on the floor your company just cleaned, for example, you’re covered.  GL insurance alone, however, is not enough to keep your business out of financial harm.

2. Property Insurance

If you own commercial cleaning equipment, rent or own commercial real estate, or operate your business from home, property insurance is for you.  This coverage is there to back you up financially when a fire, vandalism, theft, or certain other unexpected situations cause commercial property loss or damage (e.g., your expensive cleaning supplies, vacuums, and floor buffers are stolen).

3. Commercial Vehicle Insurance

Employees driving from one job to the next could make you liable if there’s an accident, whether your business owns the vehicle or the employee does.  The cost of damages from a crash or fender bender makes commercial vehicle insurance (“hired and non-owned autos”) a must-have policy for businesses with traveling employees.

4. Workers’ Comp Insurance

This insurance is the protector of your most important asset – your employees.  Even with safety procedures in place, frequent exposure to cleaning chemicals, wet floors, cleaning equipment, heavy lifting, and other daily tasks can still result in an employee injury or health problem.  When this happens, workers’ comp is there to pay the resulting medical costs, foregone wages, legal fees, and other related costs.

Although there are other insurance policies your business may need, these four are often essential.  The cost of each insurance coverage policy depends on your business, including location, number of employees and cost of payroll, yearly revenue, risks, and other factors.  In addition, maintaining a clean claims history can keep insurance costs low, making it important to standardize and follow safety procedures specific to the risks of your business.  With insurance and effective risk management, your business is set up to avoid a financial mess.

Looking to clean up your balance sheet?  Check out NIP Group’s MaintenancePro insurance program that includes General Liability, Property, Auto Liability, Workers’ Comp, and other insurance policies custom-tailored to your cleaning or maintenance service business need.

Safety Guidelines for Reducing Hazards in the Electrical Trade

Electrician High Voltage

Fatality reports for electricians are devastating, often listing slips and falls or electrocution as the cause of death. However, if the following safety precautions were in place and abided by, many of these deaths could have been prevented. Therefore the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to follow certain safety standards or pay a penalty. To protect your workers from devastating injuries and avoid significant financial loss, we’ve put together general safety measures that reduce hazards in the electrical trade.

1. Recognize Hazards

Before starting a job, it’s important to first recognize hazards within your work environment. This helps determine any areas that could result in injury or death. Hazards to look for include but are not limited to:

  • Inadequate wiring and insulation of wiring
  • Exposed or energized electrical parts, including overhead power lines
  • Improper grounding of equipment and circuitry
  • Overloaded electrical systems
  • Improper or defective equipment and ladders
  • Wet conditions

2. Evaluate Hazards

Once recognized, it’s important that each hazard is evaluated to identify how they can be controlled. Never ignore a sign of risk. An assessment of each hazard includes:

  • The seriousness of the hazard
  • Action needed to be taken to eliminate risk

3. Control Hazards

After hazards have been recognized and evaluated, you can employ safety procedures that minimize these risks and prevent injury or death. These should be followed and enforced at all times. Safety procedures should include but are not limited to:

  • Keeping a first aid kit at each jobsite
  • Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Isolating and insulating live wires and electrical parts correctly
  • De-energizing electrical devices before repair or service
  • Using “lockout / tagout” procedures
  • Grounding electrical devices and using GFCIs
  • Using overcurrent protection devices
  • Maintaining working condition and proper use of equipment

To create a safer environment, each worker needs to be trained in recognizing hazards, using equipment properly, and following the required safety procedures. If an injury or death does occur even with the proper safety procedures in place, having the right insurance can protect your business from serious financial loss. Workers’ comp insurance coverage, in particular, adds an extra layer of protection in case of an accident.

Looking to better protect your workers and your electrical trade business from significant financial loss? Check out NIP Group’s PowerPro insurance program that includes comprehensive workers’ compensation.

Info from:
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2009-113/pdfs/2009-113.pdf
http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/Electrical_Safety.pdf
http://www.ehso.com/css/oshaviolations.php

5 Steps to Treating an Electric Shock Victim on the Jobsite

eFor electricians or contractors working with power supplies, electric shock is a high risk that can be fatal for both the victim and your business. Response time by another person can be the difference between life and death, with records showing seven out of ten victims are revived if artificial respiration is performed within three minutes. This makes it essential for safety procedures to be established to prevent injuries and insurance coverage to be provided to avoid financial harm.

Electric shock occurs when a person comes into contact with an electrical current, typically through an exposed live wire or unsafe equipment and conditions. Electric shock from high voltage, a serious danger mostly for electricians and other contractors, can cause severe burn marks, bleeding, unconsciousness, and more.

If high-voltage electric shock happens to a worker on the job, trained employees should prepare to take the following steps:

1. Turn off or separate the victim from the electrical source. Unplug or shut off the power source. If turning off the power is not an immediate option, separate the person from the electrical source by using a dry, non-conducting object, such as a wooden broom, chair, or rubber doormat. Do not touch the victim.

2. Call 911 immediately. Even if the person does not appear hurt, they still need medical attention. If there is more than one person at the scene, steps 1 and 2 should be performed simultaneously to increase likelihood of survival.

3. Apply CPR, if needed. Only after being separated from the electrical source, check the victim’s vital signs. Perform CPR or rescue breathing if breathing has stopped or seems slow.

4. Check for injuries. For burn marks, rinse with cold running water and cover with a loose, clean, lint-free bandage or cloth. If the victim is bleeding, apply pressure and elevate the wounded area if possible. If spinal injury is suspected from a fall, avoid moving the victim’s head or neck.

5. Inform medical professionals once they arrive. Be specific about what happened and notify them of all injuries noticed.

In addition to first aid, take the time to recognize, evaluate, and control hazards before starting a job to create a safe working environment. Safety precautions should be combined with comprehensive insurance coverage that includes worker compensation benefits. This protects employees and avoids costly lawsuits and fines that can be devastating for your business.

To protect your business from an electrical shock claim, NIP Group offers comprehensive insurance and risk management programs. Click the links below or contact your insurance broker for more information.

PowerPro Insurance
For commercial contractors who install, service, and repair electrical devices

HVACPro Insurance
For commercial contractors who design, build, and service heating, cooling, and ventilation systems

Info from:
- http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/electric-shock-treatment
- http://www.elec-toolbox.com/
- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000053.htm
- http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-electrical-shock/basics/art-20056695

Dog Bite Prevention Week

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Dog Bite Prevention Week

Dog bites are a dangerous risk faced by veterinarians, their staff, and owners every day. Veterinarians play an important role in their own safety, the safety of their staff and clients, and the welfare of the dogs presented for care. However, while the risk of dog bites is high in veterinary practice, it is often dismissed as an expected aspect of the job. When implementing safety measures, these measures not only include the veterinarian and veterinary staff, but also the owner and other clients and patients in the clinic and its surrounding facilities, such as the parking lot.

Did you know there are 4.5 million dog bites reported every year in the United States? Even the nicest dogs can bite, making it particularly important for dog handlers to be aware of dog biting prevention techniques. Before learning these techniques, it’s important to first understand the motive behind their biting triggers.

Preventing injuries can only happen if the causes and contexts of biting are considered. By nature of clinical practice, we restrain, palpate, poke, and perform procedures that trigger fear and sometimes pain in our patients. Escape is impossible, so biting becomes a practical defense for some animals.

Biting triggers may include:

  • Feels Frightened. Dogs that have been in a veterinary setting previously may have developed fear from the experience. Classical conditioning (think of Pavlov and his bell) often occurs; white coats, the smell of disinfectant, stethoscopes, and other innocuous stimuli become aversive or predict the possibility of an aversive event.
  • Feeling Trapped. In many veterinary hospitals, the examination room is often a small space with only 1 access door. In addition, typically the dog and owner are the first to enter and wait. Defensiveness and anxiety can occur when the pet feels that there is no escape.
  • Injured or Sick. Hip dysplasia, severe otitis, or any chronic injury can cause even the friendliest dog to bite.
  • Bites by Accident. The dog may not have learned bite inhibition.
  • Overly Excited. This likely stems from boredom or lack of stimulation. Redirect the dog’s high energy to keep it occupied and away from biting.
  •  Views You as Prey. This may occur when a person runs or screams while moving past the dog.

All dog bites can be prevented. With a better understanding of their behavior, you can employ techniques to reduce the likelihood of a dog biting you or someone else. Here are some prevention tips:

  1. Read Body Language. Pay attention to the dog’s body language for signs that it may be fearful, anxious, or ready to bite.
  2. Adjust Entry/Exit and Schedules. For dogs that may be potentially fearful or reactive, provide separate waiting and/or entry areas or schedule them for the first or last appointments of the day.
  3. Let the Dog Be Last. Allow the dog and owner to be the last individuals to enter the examination room.
  4. Postpone Greeting the Patient. Do not rush to greet the patient; instead, give the dog some time to decide about interacting and respect the dog’s space until the physical examination.
  5. Approach Sideways. Have the owner bring the dog to the center of the room and approach the dog from the side instead of the front.
  6. Feed Tidbits. Use food liberally throughout the visit to create a positive experience for the dog.
  7. Make Use of Muzzles. Use a basket-style muzzle on any dog with a history of biting.
  8. Write it All Down. Keep a medical record for each patient that includes a behavior score as well as specific information about the dog’s behavior.
  9. Protect the Client. Educate the client about safely medicating the dog at home or have the client board bring the dog to the clinic for medication administration.
  10. Keep Patients Happy. Make every effort to ensure that the dog’s visit to the clinic is as positive as possible; allow the pet to learn that visits include delicious food, consistent routine, and gentle handling.

Before a dog bite occurs in the workplace, make sure your business has insurance coverage specific to your unique risks. NIP Group provides a comprehensive PetPro insurance program and claims handling support that protects professionals who make a positive impact on the lives of animals every day.

To learn how PetPro insurance program can protect your animal care business from significant financial loss, visit us online at http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/petpro/.

Info from: http://www.doggonesafe.com/why_dogs_bite and http://www.floridapeninsula.com/blog/post/May-17-23-is-Dog-Bite-Prevention-Week.aspx