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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?

Resources

http://cdn.zendesk.com/resources/whitepapers/Zendesk_WP_Customer_Service_and_Business_Results.pdf

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242429

 

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/.

Related Articles:

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

Resources:

http://newsroom.thehartford.com/releases/the-hartford-reports:-more-than-40-percent-of-small-businesses-will-experience-a-claim-in-the-next-10-years

http://www.business.com/business-insurance/tips-for-filing-a-business-insurance-claim/

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.

Resources

http://www.business.com/business-insurance/9-ways-to-save-money-on-business-insurance/

http://www.iii.org/article/how-can-i-save-money-on-my-business-insurance

April is Safe Digging Month – Tips to Help Your Contractors Control Exposures and Claim Costs

iStock_000013069217_MediumAn underground utility line is damaged every six minutes because someone decided to dig before calling 811. All states have laws that require utilities be pre-located by an appropriate locator service, which can be reached by calling 811 – the national “Call Before You Dig” phone number.
The following steps can help contractors control exposures, avoid losses, or contain losses that do occur:

Take daily photos of the work site

Check utility marks to help ensure all known utilities have been located

In the event a strike does occur, once site safety is established, gather detailed documentation of where the marks were in relation to the excavation; documentation can include photos, diagrams and witness statements

Not collecting these facts immediately could seriously damage your contractor’s defense. The average utility damage claim is approximately $25,000, and as such, implementing an effective incident investigation plan containing the elements above can help you defend your contractor.

Plumbing Risks: Gas Explosions

Gas ExplosionImage Credit:
abclocal.com

Common practice used by plumbers when purging gas lines has always been to open the gas valve and, once they smell the familiar scent of gas, shut the valve off. But what if the gas has lost its odor? Then simply relying on the ability to recognize the smell of gas proves to be a dangerous and risky practice.

In 1937, after a deadly explosion at a Texas school, a law was passed to add a chemical to natural gas that would give it that rotten egg smell that has become the tell tale sign that there is gas present in the air. What is not common knowledge is that this odor can fade and even disappear because the steel and plastic piping can absorb the odor. This is known as “natural gas odor fade”. Without the ability to smell the gas, a plumber may purge a gas line before connecting a fixture allowing odorless gas to fill up an enclosed space and mix with the air. This mixture has the potential to cause a serious explosion.
To help mitigate the risk of a gas explosion occurring, remember:

  • NEVER rely on your sense of smell alone to detect the presence of natural gas.
  • ALWAYS use gas detection equipment during purging or when working on or around gas piping systems, i.e., combustible gas detector.
  • Be aware of other signs of a gas leak besides the smell: a hissing, whistling or roaring sound near a gas appliance or pipeline; a damaged connection to a gas appliance.
  • Make sure to purge gas lines in a well ventilated area, never into an enclosed space.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Outside of the obvious risk of injury to the plumber that a gas explosion would cause, explosions can cause serious injury to the customer and serious structural damage to the building or house, leaving a business owner opened to some severe claims being filed against them. Following the above guidelines and understanding that using only the sense of smell to detect gas is a dangerous practice, will reduce the chance of a gas explosion occurring which will result in less business risk for the business owner.

For more information on plumbing insurance and risk management, please visit PlumbingPro.

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.

Risks of Hiring Temporary Workers

Summer is right around the corner. Colleges and high schools are wrapping up their semesters and letting loose many students who will be looking for summer jobs.

Many local businesses will take on these students as summer help to get an extra set of hands on the job site. This is a great way to help out neighborhood kids who need to make some money and to keep your jobs on schedule, but there are risks involved with hiring summer help; most of which stem from their inexperience with the job.

Every type of artisan project has plenty of elements of danger for a seasoned pro, but throw an inexperienced worker in the mix and the risks are exacerbated.

However, if you keep in mind that they are inexperienced and give them guidance, the risks can be significantly lessened. Take the time to teach your summer help about these safety tips:

Dress Appropriately for the Task At Hand
While working, one should always wear clothing that is bright and of a highly-visible color. There are preventative fashion measures that can be taken: long pants, closed-toed shoes, gloves, and ear and eye protection are essential to preventing flying debris or tools from causing injury. It’s also important to avoid wearing any jewelry or loose clothing that could get caught in any tools they may be using.

Respect the Power of Power Tools
The tools used to perform projects (saws, drills, nail guns, etc.) can result in serious personal injury if operated incorrectly. Before using a power tool for the first time, it’s important to read the safety manual first. Doing so will tell a user not only how to effectively operate the equipment, but what to do if it malfunctions as well.

Use Caution While Making Repairs
Jams in a power tool can happen sometimes, and that’s fine. Prior to fixing such problems, always make sure that the power supply is turned off and that every blade is motionless. All too often, contractors undergo impromptu amputations resulting from contact with spinning blades in their tools.

Educating your summer help on the appropriate use of tools and the safest clothing to wear is a simple way to reduce the risk exposure of your staff and will certainly lower the chances of a claim being made.

However, artisan contractor business owners should not take any chances. Accidents happen; and in the event that they occur, any owner should be sure they have the coverage they need to protect their business.

For more information on artisan contractor insurance and risk management, visit:

HVACPro
PlumbingPro
PowerPro

The Dangers of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos RiskMany risks are faced by artisan contractors whose work may include some demolition to reach what they need to work on. Recently built homes tend to be safer to work on, because in the last couple of decades building codes have become much more refined and effective in safety measures.

Working on older buildings, however, is where risk begins to escalate when demolition needs to take place. One of the greatest threats an artisan contractor can run into during demolition is a material called asbestos.

Asbestos is a heat resistant, fibrous, silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics and used as a fire resistant insulating material for houses and buildings. Up until 1972, it was the most common material used for heat insulation; then the dangers of the material were discovered.

There are three diseases that are triggered by inhaling asbestos fibers: asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Asbestosis is caused when asbestos fibers are inhaled and become trapped in the lungs. In response, the body tries to dissolve the fibers by producing an acid. While not destroying the fibers, the acid serves to scar the lung tissue. Eventually the scarring can become so severe that the lungs become unable to function. The time from exposure to the manifestation of asbestosis in most patients is between 25 to 40 years. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the outside tissue of the lungs. This cancer is solely linked to asbestos. The time from exposure to manifestation of mesothelioma is from 15 to 35 years. Cancer of the lungs can also be caused by exposure to asbestos.

http://www.essortment.com

The diseases that inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause are quite serious. This is the reason why asbestos is one of the most dangerous risks faced by artisan contractors if they come across it in an older structure they are working on. Breathing masks are a MUST if asbestos is discovered on a job site. The mask will act as a filter over one’s nose and mouth to prevent the fibers from being inhaled. It is a very simple solution to prevent some very serious complications.

When working in older buildings it is imperative to be on the lookout for the asbestos material and take the proper precautions should it be found on the job site. Doing so will keep contractors safe, and most importantly, healthy.

For more information, visit:

HVACPro
PlumbingPro
PowerPro

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.

Administering First Aid After Electrical Shock

Electrical shock is a very common hazard for contractors working on construction sites. The hazard is exacerbated on large projects where multiple teams can be working in different areas on different things. Miscommunication is a huge culprit in construction site accidents.

Being able to properly apply first aid for somebody who has been electrocuted can be crucial in insuring they don’t suffer further injuries, including death. The following are steps that should be taken should a co-worker suffer an electric shock:

First Aid for Electric Shock
A person who has stopped breathing is not necessarily dead but is in immediate danger. The heart may continue to beat for some time after breathing has stopped, and the blood may still be circulated to the body cells. Since the blood will, for a short time, contain a small supply of oxygen, the body cells will not die immediately. For a very few minutes, there is some chance that the person’s life may be saved.

The process by which a person who has stopped breathing can be saved is called artificial ventilation (respiration). The purpose of artificial respiration is to force air out of the lungs and into the lungs, in rhythmic alternation, until natural breathing is reestablished. Records show that seven out of ten victims of electric shock were revived when artificial respiration was started in less than three minutes. After three minutes, the chances of revival decrease rapidly.

Artificial ventilation should be given only when the breathing has stopped. Do not give artificial ventilation to any person who is breathing naturally. You should not assume that an individual who is unconscious due to electrical shock has stopped breathing. To tell if someone suffering from an electrical shock is breathing, place your hands on the person’s sides at the level of the lowest ribs. If the victim is breathing, you will usually be able to feel movement.

Once it has been determined that breathing has stopped, the person nearest the victim should start the artificial ventilation without delay and send others for assistance and medical aid. The only logical, permissible delay is that required to free the victim from contact with the electricity in the quickest, safest way. This step, while it must be taken quickly, must be done with great care; otherwise, there may be two victims instead of one.

In the case of portable electric tools, lights, appliances, equipment, or portable outlet extensions, the victim should be freed from contact with the electricity by turning off the supply switch or by removing the plug from its receptacle. If the switch or receptacle cannot be quickly located, the suspected electrical device may be pulled free of the victim. Other persons arriving on the scene must be clearly warned not to touch the suspected equipment until it is de-energized.

The injured person should be pulled free of contact with stationary equipment (such as a bus bar) if the equipment cannot be quickly de-energized or if the survival of others relies on the electricity and prevents immediate shutdown of the circuits. This can be done quickly and easily by carefully applying the following procedures:

  1. Protect yourself with dry insulating material.
  2. Use a dry board, belt, clothing, or other available nonconductive material to free the victim from electrical contact. Do NOT touch the victim until the source of electricity has been removed.

Once the victim has been removed from the electrical source, it should be determined whether the person is breathing. If the person is not breathing, a method of artificial respiration is used.

http://www.elec-toolbox.com/

Knowing what to do in the short window of time after a co-worker has suffered an electric shock could very well be the difference between life and death. All employees should be trained on how to handle first aid should one of their co-workers become victim to electrocution. Having trained employees is one of the most effective ways to mitigate injury should an electric shock take place on the job.

For more information about artisan contractor insurance and risk management, visit:

HVACPro
PlumbingPro
PowerPro