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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: insurance

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hard hatWorkers’ compensation insurance protects your employees from financial loss due to injuries occurring at work. You know the value of having this coverage. Yet, there can be some gray areas to consider when it comes to defining who has coverage. State laws differ in some areas, so it is important to verify information with your agent. These guidelines can give you a place to start, though.

Who is Your Employee?

An employee is a person who works for your business. It seems like a straightforward question, but there are some areas that can be confusing.

Generally speaking, your state’s laws determine who an employee is. Most of the time, they will include:

• Those who work for you daily

• Leased employees

• Part-time employees

• Unpaid volunteers

• Borrowed employees

• Any type of day labor

In some situations, subcontractors may fall in this area, too. This is less common.

If you have an employee with a unique situation, be sure to talk to your workers’ compensation insurance agent about this employee, including what he or she does and how they work for you.

There Are Some Exceptions

Some states have exceptions in place for covering employees for workers’ compensation. For example, most states will state that independent contractors – those that you do not file taxes for—have no coverage under this policy.

Some states also limit some categories of workers from eligibility. This may include seasonal employees or domestic employees, for example. In some areas, agricultural workers may have less protection. This is only possible when the state’s laws allow for it. Other states only require businesses with certain numbers of employees (say five or more) to buy coverage.

Why It Is Best to Cover Them

If you have someone working for you, but you are not sure if they qualify for workers’ compensation insurance, talk to your agent about it. Discuss what your needs and concerns are. If the employee could have coverage, and has a claim to file, doing so may be a good thing. By providing your employees with access to coverage, you ensure they get the care they need. This may help you avoid a lawsuit. It can also help you reduce risks associated with losing the employee to a company with more protections.

There are limits in every situation. And, the terms of your workers’ compensation policy can play a role in this, too. It’s important to speak to your business insurance agent about any concerns you have about proper coverage for your team.

Posted 9:00 PM


risk management tableThe general liability insurance policy you have for your company provides financial protection for many risks. Among them is the risk of customers or other people falling on your property. When this happens, you may be responsible for paying for the losses an individual suffers. To avoid this, it is best to have a comprehensive liability policy in place. However, its important to know how to prevent fall risks. Here’s some insight to get you started.

First, Understand Your Coverage

In nearly all situations, general liability insurance provides coverage for instances in which a person falls on your property, and you are responsible for their injury.

There are many restrictions on this, however. For example, it covers only those who do not work for you who suffer a fall that you might have otherwise been able to prevent. As a result of this, it becomes critical for you to know how to prevent these types of occurrences. They can help you avoid a lot of legal risks.

Preventing Risk Factors at Your Business

It is not possible to avoid all types of risks associated with falls. In many situations, falls are going to happen because accidents occur. However, these tips may prevent many of those risks from occurring.

  • Remove clutter. One of the most common causes of injuries like this is clutter. Be sure there is nothing impeding the movement of a person through the location. Signs, items on the floor, spills or even equipment in the way can cause a fall.
  • Improve lighting. If the lighting in an area is low, this can create an increased risk of a fall on your property. Improve both interior and exterior lighting especially in high-risk areas.
  • Avoid providing step stools or other types of equipment that encourage people to climb. Never leave stocking systems out. Avoid allowing any room along shelving in which people can step up onto it.
  • Keep floors dry. Though this can be difficult, it is critical to do what you can to prevent wet floors. And, be sure to use a wet floor sign. Having the sign present limits your liability.
  • Keep steps easy to use. Avoid placing anything on steps. Do not place carpeting on steps either. Be sure that there are handrails in place. Always fix broken steps.
Look at previous claims for general liability insurance. What caused slips or falls previously? Be sure to fix these concerns to eliminate the risk that someone will suffer an injury.

Have more questions about general liability insurance? Contact Insurance Planning Service today to get your questions answered.

Also Read: Five Losses Covered by Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Businessman pointing at stylized words - Risk ManagementAll businesses pose liability risks to other parties. All liability risks could potentially devastate your business. However, the most-significant of these are the most likely to lead to trouble. So, standard liability insurance might not prove effective in the most serious cases. It is these cases that might merit the use of a commercial umbrella insurance policy? How can it help you?

Umbrella Coverage

Most businesses carry general liability insurance policies. They might carry other specialized coverage, too. So, if the business causes harm to a third party, liability insurance might be able to help the business compensate those affected. It might cover various costs the person might claim as well as the business’s legal fees in case of lawsuits.

Yet, nearly all liability policies will have policy limits and exclusions present. They will only pay a maximum dollar amount for claims; many will not cover certain claims at all. If you don’t have coverage, you might therefore have to pay a client’s liability claim out of your own pockets. That is bad news for any business.

It is umbrella insurance that might be able to help you out. This coverage acts like an umbrella, or extra protection, for the costs that a standard policy won’t cover. So, if someone files a claim above a policy's limits, this coverage might pay the difference. If your liability policy doesn’t cover a claim, umbrella coverage might.

Extra Covered Costs

Perhaps your general liability insurance contains a $500,000 policy limit. Yet, a customer who falls in your store could sue you for $750,000 in medical bills, lost income and other damages. Your liability insurance might pay only the first $500,000 of that claim. However, your umbrella coverage might be able to step in to cover some or all of the remaining $250,000.

The umbrella policy will have its own limits. However, these usually start with extremely high values. Please note, though, sometimes you must carry the highest available limits on your standard liability policies to qualify for umbrella coverage.

Additional Covered Liabilities

Sometimes, your standard liability policies will not cover certain types of damage. Umbrella policies might. Whether this is true will depend on the type of incident. Policies usually will not cover illegal or intentionally harmful acts committed against others.

Please note, you cannot simply apply all liability costs to your umbrella policy if you don’t have a policy to cover them. What we mean is, if you have a data breach in the business, you might need help from cyber liability insurance. You'll use it before turning to umbrella coverage. You might not be able to make an umbrella claim for the losses unless you have cyber liability coverage to start. Yet, umbrella coverage might apply if a claim exceeds the cyber liability limits.

If you ever have questions, contact Insurance Planning Service. We can help you determine the right course of action.

Also Read: Five Losses Covered by Commercial Umbrella Insurance

commercial driver in front of vehicleThe goal of commercial auto insurance is to minimize your risks. You use it to help if there is an incident. However, it is up to you to make sure your drivers are safe. With new tech, there are increasing ways to improve your overall safety and to reduce risks. GPS tracking is one of those tools. It allows companies to have far more protection in place. How can it help you?

Minimizing Driver Risks

Today, many drivers are spending more hours on the road than ever. If you are a trucking company, your drivers may have to abide by laws that require on-and-off time.

However, even if you just have delivery drivers, you need to consider drive time. The more hours an employee is behind the wheel, the higher the risk is for injuries and accidents.

With GPS tracking, you gain some insight into this. Some units allow you to track how long your driver is moving – such as driving. It can provide you with insight into whether drivers are operating the vehicle for too many hours at a time. This can help you to know if they are taking breaks or sleeping long enough between long shifts.

If the driver gets to a destination too soon, that could indicate he or she is speeding. It could also signal your driver is operating without enough breaks or caution. This increases your risks.

Tracking Movements of Your Vehicle

A GPS tracking device can also provide you with insight into where your vehicle is. As noted, this can help to ensure the driver is operating in a safe manner. It also helps in managing your equipment.

With this type of unit in place, you know where your truck is at all times. If your driver reports someone stole the vehicle, you can work with the police to pinpoint its location. This safeguards your vehicle and the contents.

Also important, you can track how the driver is transferring the material. Are they not going where they should? Did the driver stop somewhere he or she should not? This can help you manage your employees while also managing your vehicle.

GPS tracking for commercial vehicles is growing in common use. New systems give you more insight and control. Use this information to prove to your commercial auto insurance company how responsible and safe your drivers are and that your vehicles are safe.

Want to learn about insurance coverage options for your fleet? Call Insurance Planning Services today at 800-220-5582.

Also Read: Saving on Your Commercial Auto Insurance During The Business Off-Season

Workers' compensation provides financial protection to businesses. If an employee suffers an injury resulting from the work they do, this policy covers some or all of their losses. This minimizes the financial loss your business may suffer. Some states require businesses to maintain this insurance. If so, it is important to have proper protection. Here is where to start.

What Factors Apply to Your Requirements?

safety gear with sign behind saying be safe at work

States have different laws regarding workers' compensation insurance. In some states, the requirement is clear - all employers need to maintain a policy. In others, there are limitations. Your first step should be to determine the requirements in your state. Your business insurance company can provide very specific information here.

Keep in mind that even if not required, workers' comp can still be a valuable asset for you. It offers protection from financial loss that can amount to thousands of dollars.

What Some States Require

The rules to remain in compliance vary from one state to the next. If you fail to maintain coverage, you may face a fine. Here are a few things to think about:
  • Some states require workers' comp if the company has more than five, 10, or another set number of employees. Failure to maintain this insurance results in fines. For example, in New York, all companies with at least five employees must maintain coverage.
  • In some states, such as Pennsylvania, if you don't carry coverage, it can result in a felony charge. This includes if you fail to disclose the true number of employees you have.
  • In California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, failure to carry proper workers' compensation insurance can result in criminal charges. This may mean fines and jail time.
  • Texas is one of the only states that does not require employers to maintain this coverage. However, it does still hold employers liable for employee injuries in most circumstances. Employers therefore should carry coverage.
As you can see, maintaining proper workers' compensation insurance is critical. It safeguards your company financially and ensures you meet compliance requirements.

How to Ensure You Don't Make a Mistake

If you are unsure if you need workers' comp, call your business insurance agent. Discuss the type of business you run. Talk about the number of employees you have.

Think about the risks. Can employees suffer injuries? Could someone get sick? Chances are, the can at any time. Proper insurance is not just about compliance.

It is also about keeping your company safe. It does not have to be hard to get this coverage. Most states offer competitive insurance policies. You can find affordable policies that fit your needs. Then, you do not have to worry about an employee injury on the job.

If you need workers' compensation insurance coverage, contact Insurance Planning Service today at 734-421-9900.

Also Read: Reducing Worker Falls on Icy Outside Surfaces


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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake