Specialized Business Insurance & Risk Management Blog

Found a Negative Online Review of Your Commercial Business? Here’s How to Respond


Respond to a Negative Online Review of Your BusinessA negative online review of your services could discourage other prospective clients from hiring your commercial business.  In a study by Dimensional Research, 88 percent of respondents said they “have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.”  Not so good for your bottom line.  Don’t panic just yet, though – a quick response coupled with some TLC (tender loving care) can help turn a negative review into a positive.

A bad review can happen to even the most reliable service businesses, whether it’s from a dissatisfied client (warranted or not) or a sneaky competitor using a fake name.  Monitoring both social media and service review websites helps you gauge customer satisfaction and your reputation.  It also enables you to showcase your company values to the World Wide Web and do damage control if an online user writes a less-than-stellar review.

Below we provide some helpful response tips for maintaining a positive reputation when an unexpected bad review is written for the world to see.

Step 1: Breathe

Your passion as a business owner makes any feedback more personal.  While it’s normal human response to get defensive, staying positive will get you the best outcome.  Remember, “the customer is always right” (even if they’re wrong).

After seeing a nasty review, collect your thoughts first and then respond in a professional way.

Step 2: Show You Care

It’s important to remember that other prospective clients browsing the web will read your reply.  To make a personal connection with the reviewer, send a private message first, if possible, before posting a public reply.  A thoughtful, prompt response communicating a solution to resolve their complaint can restore your reputation.  Offering a refund or discount on their next purchase doesn’t hurt either.

For example, a reviewer complained about a delay in your cleaning or janitorial service.  Although this delay may have been due to an unavoidable situation, such as an unexpected equipment malfunction or bad traffic, this is the chance to highlight your company values, not to backlash.  Your reply could include an acknowledgement of their complaint, a statement that reinforces your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, and how you will rectify the problem or who to contact for resolution.

Step 3: Take the Good with the Bad, and then Learn from It

Comments about your business on review sites, both positive and negative, can be used to improve your product or service.  Make it a learning experience.  For example, incorporate negative reviews into your employee training with steps to prevent future issues.  Highlight positive reviews to keep up the good work.

Rectifying a negative online review doesn’t end with these steps, however.  If given another chance, make sure the client’s next experience with your business meets or exceeds expectations.  Follow up with them after service to see how it went.  By being responsive and showing you care both online and offline, you can help influence other prospects into becoming clients.

How did you handle a negative online review?





How to Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More Efficiently


Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More EfficientlyAccording to a recent study by The Hartford, four out of ten small businesses will experience a property or general liability claim within the next ten years.  Knowing which steps to take when an unexpected situation happens, including theft, property damage, and injuries, can save you a lot of headache and time.  To get fair resolution of a claim through a more efficient process, prompt response and preparation are required.

Below we’ve detailed the steps that will help you move along the claims process more smoothly.

Before an Incident

Following a risk management plan, including safety procedures, can help prevent a claim from occurring. However, even the most careful businesses can face loss or damages.  For this, preparation is important to ensure you’ll be covered financially.

  • Review your insurance policies so you know exactly what is covered and if these terms fit your business needs
  • In case of a claim, store your insurance policy, including policy number and expiration date, and the contact information of your insurance provider in a safe place

Reporting a Claim

Failure to report theft, property damage, injuries, or other incidents right away drags out the claims process and, if evidence is lost, could compromise how much you’re covered financially.

  • Contact law enforcement to file a police report and request a copy of the report
  • Contact your insurance company to have a claim filed immediately
  • Have a surveillance camera or digital camera readily available for documenting evidence to support your claim
  • Make a list of any stolen or damaged items for your insurance company
  • For any damages, get multiple estimates for repair costs and confirm with your insurance provider when repairs can be made

After a Claim is Filed

Save all copies of the evidence, police reports, and claim information.  When you can, communicate in writing for documentation.  After the claim is filed, there are more steps that may need to be taken to get fair resolution.

  • If you have a business interruption insurance policy, document the length of time your operations are shut down (e.g., from building fire damage) and income lost during that time period for later compensation
  • Ask your insurance provider for a cash advancement if money is needed to get your operations running again before the claim is settled
  • Follow up routinely with your insurance provider to keep track of progress

At NIP Group, our dedicated claims expert reviews each claim routinely to ensure they are being handled properly and promptly.  Through a customer-focused network, we’ll update you about the status of a claim, assist you with loss control, and work directly with the carrier to get you fair and fast resolution.

To get comprehensive coverage specific to your business risks and responsive claims handling support, check out NIP Group’s commercial insurance programs by visiting http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/.

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Will Your Insurance Carrier Be Able to Pay Your Claim?  Here’s One Way to Tell




5 Ways to Save Money on Your Business Insurance Bill

Save Money on Business Insurance

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, can benefit 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

A higher deductible can lower the premium you pay annually.  It’s always good to have money set aside, however, in case an unexpected claim does occur.

5. Talk to Your Insurance Broker 

Choose a knowledgeable 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 to continue growing your business.  At NIP Group, we get businesses custom-tailored insurance coverage at a competitive 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.




TMPAA Announces 2013 "Program Marketing Campaign" Award Winners

Three Member Agencies Score Highest in Competition Co-Sponsored by the IMCA

Wilmington, DE — The Target Markets Program Administrators Association (TMPAA) announced at their Mid Year Meeting in Baltimore that 20 entries were received for the third annual marketing campaign competition. TMPAA’s co-sponsor, the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA) has sponsored its own marketing and communications “Showcase Awards” for 55 years. IMCA provided a panel of independent judges that reviewed all TMPAA member entries for both creative design and marketplace impact.

The winning member agencies were Venture Insurance Programs from West Chester, PA, K&B Underwriters from Reston, VA and MiniCo Insurance Agency from Phoenix, AZ. Venture’s entry was for its “Suite Life” campaign in support of its hospitality program. K&B Underwriters’ entry featured its multi-media campaign in support of its “DigniCARE” senior living facilities program. And MiniCo’s entry was the launch of its new “Family of Products” campaign featuring a branded icon supporting four of its specialty insurance programs. All three Award of Excellence winners supported their entries with impressive marketplace metrics that achieved desired upfront marketing objectives.

David Springer, TMPAA President, presented the winning award plaques at the recent Mid Year Meeting. The semi-annual association meeting attracted 600 agency, carrier and vendor members. Springer commented, “The TMPAA was thrilled to continue the creative competition in partnership with IMCA. We hope to have even more entries in 2014.”

Additionally, Springer announced that two other member agencies were named runners up in this year’s competition – GMI Insurance from Valley Forge, PA and Willis Programs of Portsmouth, NH.

The Association’s recent Mid Year Meeting was held in Baltimore, MD, May 6-9. Complete details of this event are now on the TMPAA website. The 13th Annual TMPAA Summit is scheduled for October 21-23 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Program Administrators / MGA’s interested in learning more about the TMPAA and the Program Marketing Awards can visit the Association website at www.targetmarkets.com, or contact Ray Scotto, Executive Director, at (877) 347-5700 or ray.scotto@targetmkts.com.

Admitted vs. Non-Admitted Carriers

There are both advantages and disadvantages to insuring your clients through non-admitted companies. The greatest advantage is undoubtedly the price, as insurers are allowed more flexibility in setting rates and premiums for non-admitted policies.

That being said, there are major disadvantages to using non-admitted companies that far outweigh the lower premiums:

Classification Limitation Endorsement
This endorsement is designed to only cover the insured for operations specifically described in the description of hazards section of the General Liability policy. Therefore, under this endorsement, the insurer limits its liability coverage to the classifications noted in the policy. The insurer may agree to pay all sums that the insured is legally obligated to pay as damages, but coverage applies only to those occurrences having to do with the classifications named in the policy. This being the case, the designated classification must match the nature of the activity, or the insurer is likely to deny both defense and coverage.

General Liability Is Usually 100% Minimum Earned
In order to be more competitive, markets have occasionally reduced it to 90% or 80%. In other words, the policy may generate additional premium on audit because of an increase in payroll due to more work than projected. However, it will not generate a return premium if the actual payroll is less than what was estimated. This is not a very uncommon turn of events in today’s economic climate.

While you may find your client a cheaper rate with a non-admitted carrier, the coverage can be spotty in certain situations that are quite common. Coverage needs to be closely examined to ensure that there are no gaps that could become problematic in the long run.

For more information, visit NIP Programs.

What To Look For In Liability Coverage For Glaziers

Glass manufacturers, dealers, and installers, work in a very unique industry that has some very unique needs in the realm of insurance coverage. The exposures of glass workers are not very similar to the exposures of other artisan workers like, plumbers, electricians, and HVAC specialists. This being the case, it’s important for glass manufacturers, installers, and dealers to find a program that is designed with glass workers in mind and not just a general artisan policy that has been retrofitted as a form of “coverage”.

GlassPro, one of the most comprehensive insurance programs available for glass manufacturers, dealers, and retailers, is designed with a number of special coverages tailored to the industry.

It’s imperative to be aware of the exposures that glaziers face in their line of business in order to find a program that fits the best. The following excerpt from USGlassMag.com gives some great examples of risk that a glazier should be keeping in the back of their mind.

Before paying for the insurance there are a couple of things to consider as a glazing subcontractor, Keen says. “First, the glazing sub has general liability insurance that will cover bodily injury or property damage due to an improper design of that glazing contractor,” he says. “In that regard, the risk to the glazing contractor is minimized. However, there is exposure if an owner were to discover later that the project material provided does not meet the function intended, whereby economic loss might be incurred due to ‘loss of use’ of property during rework.” That is not covered by general liability insurance, he says. “If a glazing contractor develops plans and specifications for his materials then he will have exposure, and the general contractor will try to make sure that the glazing contractor assumes that risk.”

Sahely Mukerji

The message Sahely is trying to deliver here is important to remember. Simple liability coverage won’t be enough to keep the business protected. Should a glazier get into a situation similar to the one written above, where project material provided is the wrong kind for the intended function, general liability will not cover the claim.

Scenarios like this are the types of things that glaziers needs to keep in mind when in search of coverage. They will not be covered by general liability, but typically will be covered by a customized program designed for glaziers.

For more information visit GlassPro.

TMPAA Welcomes New President, David Springer

David Springer is the President and CEO of the NIP Group. NIP Group is a specialized business insurance and risk management intermediary ranked among the 100 largest in the United States. NIP Group has more than 150 employees headquartered in Woodbridge, NJ. Prior to joining NIP Group Mr. Springer held senior positions with AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. and Prudential Insurance Company.

I embrace the opportunity to serve as the Association’s 6th President and look forward to driving the TMPAA on its path of growth and expanded services for members of the group. The TMPAA is fortunate to have a wealth of extraordinarily talented members and it is the collective influence of this forward thinking group that drives the innovative spirit to provide even greater benefit to our membership. In the recent past our group has implemented a new Certified Programs Leader Certification in connection with Target University, completed its second annual Program Business Study, and retooled both the Association website and commercial site, “Target Programs.” I expect to be busy in helping to expand the current set of Program resources, and want to thank our outgoing President, Jeremy Hitzig for the tremendous job he has done over the past two years.

– David Springer

The Risk of Sub-Contracting

Hiring a sub-contractor is common practice for a general contractor. Installing or replacing windows throughout an entire house, doing electrical work, plumbing work, or ventilation work can be a daunting task for one who doesn’t do the work as their primary profession. It’s no wonder that professionals are sought out to sub-contract on a job. However, before starting the job, the sub-contractor should be aware of certain risks and do some homework.


Make Sure The General Contractor Is Insured
The number one fact that the sub-contractor needs to find out is if the general contractor they are going to work for has insurance. Working for a contractor who doesn’t have insurance is a dangerous game. It is a high risk to the sub-contractor and also it is also illegal in certain states for contractors to work without insurance; which is something a sub-contractor doesn’t want to get dragged into should legal issues arise.

Inspect What You Are Working With
It’s not uncommon for a general contractor to order the windows, wiring, plumbing supplies or vents for the job and have them at the site for when the sub-contractor arrives. In this case, the sub-contractor should take it upon themselves to take a look at the job at hand and the materials provided. If the materials are not the right ones for the job, the sub-contractor should inform the general contractor that they will not work and tell him/her to re-order them and offer to assist with the order. The wrong materials shouldn’t be installed, even if they are a close fit or could be rigged to work. The sub-contractor can be held liable should anything go wrong with the windows, electric, plumbing, or ventilation in the future.

Never Assume That The General Contractor’s Insurance Will Cover A Sub-Contractor
Because it bears repeating: A sub-contractor should never assume that the general contractor’s insurance will cover them in the event of a claim. The general contractor’s insurance is only looking out for the interest of their client and odds are they will try to place liability for anything that goes wrong with windows, electrical, plumbing, or ventilation on the sub-contractor hired for the job. It is always smart for sub-contractors to have their own coverage. Programs like GlassPro, PowerPro, PlumbingPro, and HVACPro which are designed for the specific needs of those who work with glass, electric, and ventilation respectively, are available to help keep sub-contractors protected should claims be made against them.

It is always smart to be prepared when going to work for a general contractor as a hired sub-contractor. It is advised that the sub-contractor get some background info on the hiring contractor to find out if they have insurance, inspect the materials they are to be working with, and have their own insurance coverage as the hiring contractor’s coverage will not be looking out for the sub-contractor’s best interests.

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Glass Manufacturing Risks: Asbestos Mitts

Glass ManufacturingBack in the days before much was known about the health implications of asbestos, it was a commonly used fiber to provide insulation. It was used in houses as heat insulation because of its effectiveness, but also because of its flame retardant qualities. These qualities also made the fiber ideal for use by glass blowers to protect their hands from the intense heat of the furnace they use regularly.

Wearing asbestos mitts all day causes an extreme health risk to glass workers. There are many potential health hazards of using asbestos-containing mitts:

Heat-protective mitts and mittens manufactured from asbestos cloth can pose a health hazard, as the toxic mineral has been linked to numerous adverse health complications including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Microscope asbestos fibers can be released into the air during routine use of asbestos-containing mitts or mittens, especially if the mitts and mittens are torn, snagged, aged or in poor condition.

Airborne asbestos fibers are extremely lightweight and can easily be inhaled or ingested by workers or bystanders. Asbestos fibers used in protective mitts and mittens may appear white, green, blue or gray-green, and can be released into the air in the form of a light dust. Long-term or repeated exposure to asbestos fibers in the air, especially in areas with poor ventilation, can cause fibers to become embedded in lung tissue. Inhaled or ingested asbestos may lead to lung disease, mesothelioma or other types of cancer.


Asbestos is no longer used to make protective mitts due to its dangerous effects on the health of workers. However, this doesn’t mean that a glass blowing business may have a real old pair stowed away that someone could come across and not recognize. Like mentioned above, the fiber may appear white, blue, or green and can easily be released into the air as fine dust. It would be in the best interest of everyone employed at a glass manufacturing workshop to keep a sharp eye out for any asbestos lined safety equipment.

For more information on glass manufacturing insurance and risk management, visit GlassPro.

Safety Tips: Melting Hard Glass

Molten Glass

Hard glass, also known as borosilicate glass, is a type of glass that is designed to withstand much greater amounts of heat without cracking or shattering. It is most commonly used by chemists in the form of reagent bottles. When mixing chemicals, great amounts of heat can be generated, making the hard glass optimal for their work. More commonly known uses of hard glass are for cooking, the most popular brand of kitchenware being called Pyrex.

The borosilicate glass comes in very handy in its ability to handle large amounts of heat without breaking. However, come time to recycle the glass, the very feature that made it so useful becomes a danger to the workers who need to melt it down.

Hard glass is specifically designed to endure heat that’s much greater than normal glass; hence why it’s used in cooking. It isn’t supposed to melt until the temperature reaches roughly 1,000 degrees, which under normal conditions won’t be reached without some heavy duty equipment. Creating that heat, even under the best circumstances, is a risk that can lead to major injuries and horrifying burns if proper safety procedures aren’t followed at all times.

When glass is heated up as a whole, it can explode. Cracks form in it, and the form that the glass is in is torn apart. However, if the hard glass is already broken down into shards and pieces that are too small to fracture or really do more than pop when the heat gets too much, this danger may be avoided.

Safety Equipment
Exposure to potential problems is always a danger when melting glass of any variety. The best counter to this is to wear proper safety equipment. A protective apron or jacket, along with safety glasses or a full face mask is a good start. You also want to have safety gauntlets to protect your hands from heat and burns which could result from exposure.

When melting hard glass, you need to ensure that your instruments and tools are up to the increased heat and the hard glass material. Normal instruments like glass blowing tubes and handling rods may not be meant to work with Pyrex. Check the temperatures and materials the tools are meant to be used at to make sure that the hard glass is the only thing that melts during your work.


Hard glass represents a unique exposure compared to normal glass during the meltdown phase of glass recycling. The extra risks come mainly from the need of a 1000 degree melting point inside the furnace and the risk of explosion which could send shards of glass flying. Utilizing the proper safety practices is extremely important in ensuring worker safety.

Even with the use of proper safety equipment, however, accidents can happen. Should an accident occur, it benefits a glass working business to have a glass insurance program in place that was built from the ground up with glass installers and manufacturers in mind.

For more information on glass insurance, visit GlassPro.