Archive for Business Insurance

Employee Spotlight: Daneen Hayden

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From the July Newsletter- Employee Spotlight: Daneen Hayden

Daneen Hayden is the Commercial Insurance Lead Account Manager at Duncan Financial Group. Every day she is responsible for handling claims, working through client’s issues, and ensuring that the other Commercial Insurance Account Managers are ready to handle whatever comes their way. Daneen’s hard work and enthusiasm for her job does not go unnoticed. She has been with the company for the past 12 years and since then, she has constantly focused on a commitment to clients and continuing her insurance industry education.

Recently, Daneen earned her Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation through the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors. The extensive program consisted of five courses and exams over a period of five years. Daneen completed the program in three years. This designation, along with her Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) designation, will provide her with a better understanding and comprehensive knowledge of insurance risks and exposures. Daneen considers her clients as family and feels they should be treated like family–this is what motivated her to continue her education. Her favorite part of working with clients is building relationships and friendships, and knowing that she provided the services best suited for her client’s business to succeed.

Please join us in congratulating Daneen Hayden on this great achievement!

Even though Daneen commits a great deal of her time to her clients and Duncan, she is a dedicated mom of three. Family is an important part of Daneen’s life and she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, her daughter, Gracie, and two sons, Josh and Brandon, as well as a Border Collie mix named Jax. The family`s favorite part of summer is traveling to Myrtle Beach. However, Daneen’s dream vacation would be traveling to Ireland or Scotland.

When she is not spending time with her family, Daneen can be found exercising. She enjoys swimming and biking, but after a long-hard work out, she is ready to sit down and watch HGTV. Her favorite show is Tiny Houses and she hopes that one day, she will be able to use her furniture restoration skills to help build her very own tiny home.

Daneen’s passion can be seen in every aspect of her life, from family-life to working with clients. She is committed to making it all work together for her clients and the company, and bringing positivity, dedication, and humor into the office each day.

Using an Umbrella to Cover Gaps in Coverage

In today’s “litigation culture,” with million-dollar legal settlements all too common, anyone – including you and your family – could easily face ruin from a lawsuit, whether serious or frivolous. Even if you won, you’d be out thousands of dollars in defense costs.

A Personal Liability Umbrella can help ensure financial peace of mind by providing coverage up to an amount you’ve selected over and above the Liability limits under your Auto or Homeowners policy. Insurance companies often set minimum limits for Umbrella coverage. If you’re sued, the bulk of the settlement will come from your Homeowners Policy or Auto policy, with the Umbrella picking up the rest. Bear in mind that many insurers will only offer this coverage if they write both your Homeowners and Auto insurance.

An Umbrella policy also extends coverage for you (and your family and pets) beyond basic bodily injury and property damage to personal injury, property damage, or bodily injury from a variety of exposures ranging from false arrest and defamation to invasion of privacy and wrongful entry. For example, Umbrella coverage would make sense if you own a dog that might snap or bite, or have one or more “attractive nuisances” (such as a hot tub, swimming pool, or swing set), and like to invite guests on a regular basis.

Depending on your situation, you might consider alternatives to an Umbrella policy, such as increasing Liability limits or raising your deductible under your HO or Auto policies. Also remember that Umbrella coverages vary from state to state. For example, many policies won’t cover claims for punitive damages, intentional acts, or activities related to business.

To make the best choice and make sure that you understand umbrella coverage and any loopholes and exclusions, be sure to check with one of our Duncan Financial Group representatives at (724) 863-3420

What and Who Needs Worker’s Compensation?

What is Worker’s Comp?

Each state has its own workers’ compensation laws on handling claims submitted by employees who are injured on the job. These laws are strict liability – fault and negligence by the employer are not considered in order to collect benefits. Punitive damages are not available to the employee. The legal defenses available in a civil action such as comparative negligence and assumption of the risk are not available to the employer in workers’ compensation.

However, the injury or illness has to be incurred in the course of employment in order for the workers’ compensation system to provide benefits to the injured worker. Workers’ compensation is generally the exclusive remedy for an employee’s injuries or illnesses arising out of the course of employment. It is typically required by the state for every employee – although state law may provide for specific exemptions for officers/owners, small companies (those with three/four/five or fewer employees), domestic workers, farm hands, and independent contractors.

We provide honest service that can be customized for your Insurance needs. Contact Duncan Financial Group in Irwin, Pennsylvania at 724-863-3420.

Why Your Company Needs Business Interruption Insurance

For most companies, Business Interruption insurance might be as important for survival as Fire coverage. It is difficult to find a business that did not obtain insurance forwindstorm and fire damage. However, too many business owners do not consider how they would continue functioning if a windstorm or fire actually did damage their property. This is especially true with small business owners. Business Interruption insurance is not sold independently. It is an additional type of coverage for a property insurance policy. In some cases, it may be included in a package policy for business owners.

Businesses that must cease operations completely while the premises are repaired often lose money to their competitors. Quickly resuming business after a disaster is essential for survival. If a company must vacate the premises because of damages from a disaster, Business Interruption coverage extends protection for lost income. It also provides coverage for the profits that would have been earned if the business had not sustained damage. The profit reimbursement is based on an average of financial records, so it is imperative to keep them up-to-date and accurate. These beneficial policies also cover operating expenses that may not be halted due to the damage. For example, electricity would still be needed for most businesses, so the insurer would provide money for electricity bills.

It is important to make sure the policy limits are generous enough to cover the business for more than a week. Keep in mind that it might take much longer than most people anticipate to resume operations. If a major disaster happens, it can take several weeks to resume operations. The waiting period for Business Interruption coverage to start is usually about 48 hours. Policy pricing is based on the risks a particular business faces. Businesses in some locations are more likely to sustain certain types of damage than others. In addition to this, the nature of the business plays a major part in determining policy pricing. For example, a restaurant would be more expensive to insure than a travel agency. This is due to the restaurant’s heated appliances and grease creating a higher risk for fires. Although a restaurant would have a hard time operating out of an alternate location, the travel agency would easily be able to do this. These are just examples of some of the issues determining premium amounts. To get a clearer price estimate for a specific business, discuss individual business details with one of our agents.

Another type of protection to consider with Business Interruption coverage is extra expense insurance. This type of addition reimburses companies for slightly more than the amount of regular operating expenses. By receiving extra money, the business is less likely to have to shut down for restoration. If any extra expenses decrease business interruption costs, they will usually be covered. Extra expense coverage alone might be enough to compensate some businesses.

Whatever your insurance needs may be, Duncan Financial Group should be your agency of choice.

MANAGE YOUR WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIMS

Duncan FinancialHow can managing your Workers Compensation claims process protect every employee?

The first step is to file the claim right away. To this end, have claim forms available to all supervisors. Some companies keep forms near the first aid kit alongside the OSHA log. Management must acknowledge the problem to correct it, so keep good records.

Keep any information regarding preferred doctors networks or nearest emergency care facility with the first aid kit. Maps to these facilities help in crisis management.

Because of the privacy laws, keeping records of employee health concerns (hypertension, diabetes, allergies to medicines) at the ready is tricky at best. Without making the records readily accessible by anyone, they need to be available to supervisors in an emergency.

The insurance company has a depth of claims experience that no insured can have. If not treated properly, some injuries worsen over time. The company has a right to investigate and guide treatment and rehabilitation. A delay in reporting that causes the situation to worsen may create coverage problems. Dutifully report all claims immediately.

Allow the insurance company to investigate the claim. Usually, if the claim results in only medical bills and no lost time, the company will not spend time finding causation; but your company management needs to understand the progression of events that leads to any loss.

Uncover the cause. Were safety appliances, equipment, and personal protection in place and used properly? When the employee was drug tested after the claim, was that an issue?

Use any claim as an opportunity to discuss safety at your next scheduled safety meeting. Discuss the following topics as collateral to the claim:

Assure employees the injury is covered by Workers Compensation and the injured will be cared for properly. If the injured is at work, have them report on the level of care. Discuss the results of the investigation regarding the cause of the loss in neutral terms, but no personal information about the employee. This discussion is about future avoidance, not humiliation. Remind employees of the drug testing policy and explain the policy aims to protect everyone.

If the insurance company investigation implies fraud, fake injury, review safety rules or regulations in a more generic form. Perhaps discuss slips, trips, and falls prevention as opposed to that specific incident.

Risk avoidance is your best measure against Workers Compensation injuries. Maintaining a safety culture with training, meetings, and management leadership keeps a workplace safer. Having proper paperwork and first aid readily available reduces the lost production effect of injuries.

The more prepared you are to handle an injury professionally, the more you protect your workforce. Manage ahead of the crisis with proper planning.

Contact Duncan Financial Group today to find out the solutions you may be missing out on for your business.

Duncan Financial Group
888-383-3420
311 Main Street Irwin, PA

I-9 EMPLOYER HANDBOOK

The government has an excellent publication covering everything about I-9s that all employers should know about. Here’s what it covers:

  • Obtaining Forms and Updates
  • Part One — Why Employers Must Verify Employment Authorization and Identity of New Employees
  • Part Two — Completing Form I-9
  • Part Four — Unlawful Discrimination and Penalties for Prohibited Practices
  • Part Five — Instructions for Recruiters and Referrers for a Fee
  • Part Six — E-Verify: The Web-based Verification Companion to Form I-9
  • Part Seven–Some Questions You May Have About Form I-9

Click here to access the handbook.

Protect your biggest assets with an Insurance Agency you can trust, get in touch directly with The Duncan Financial Group in Irwin, Pennsylvania and start feeling comfortable with your policies today!

Main: 724-863-3420

311 Main Street

Irwin, PA 15642

PROFESSIONAL ERRORS AND OMISSIONS: PROTECT YOUR PRACTICE

Professional Liability insurance funds losses caused by errors or omissions in the rendering of services. What does this mean? Professionals are human and errors do occur. In medicine and science, the client benefits from the best course of action suggested by an experienced practitioner at the time the service is rendered. The best course of action, though, has some risk of failure. It is wise to cover this potential.

Some examples of typical professional liability claims include: An attorney misses a filing date for a lawsuit and the client loses the right to sue a surgeon removes too little, too much, or the wrong tissue. A hair stylist misuses chemicals and burns the client. A computer consultant provides incompatible software, causing damage Some examples of actual, but unusual claims: Although machinery is tagged as under repair, a building inspector is held responsible for a new system because they merely reported the tag-out rather than investigating the nature of the repair required. A real estate agent sold a home that the listing agent reported as located in the wrong school district. The selling agent did not correct the error although they were never asked to verify the information. A stockbroker advises a client to sell some stock and balance their portfolio. The client refuses and loses money. The client sues for mismanagement.

Most professional services contracts offer advice, design, expertise, politics, negotiations, or any skill associated with a particular profession. Beyond laws and regulations, professions self-govern by way of setting minimum performance and ethical standards. When these performance standards are not met, either by an error occurring or an omission of an important service duty, a potential claim results.

Expert witness testimony is often a feature of litigation in these claims to determine the definition and scope of the malpractice. Doctors, lawyers, and certified public accountants (CPAs) spring to mind when discussing Malpractice insurance, Professional Liability, or Errors & Omissions insurance. How about architects, engineers, office designers, barbers, dog groomers, bankers, clergy, web site designers, software producers, or computer consultants? Any profession that provides a service instead of a product has a professional liability exposure. Almost any product includes some element of design.

So, what separates a product from a service? A service is defined by the acts of the professional, not by the finished product or outcome. Concrete contractors are covered by completed operations insurance; construction managers who select and supervise the concrete contractor fall under professional liability. If you provide a professional service, advise clients, act on behalf of a client, or provide an outcome or consequence rather than a specified product or completed operation, you need Professional Liability insurance. Professional Liability policies define the acts, errors, and omissions covered both in general and specifically. Restrictions or exclusions are enumerated as well. Standard forms exist for many professions; however, different forms are used and it pays to have knowledgeable advice.

Reputation creates value in any professional practice. One major difference between standard business and professional liability is the professional’s right not to settle. The downside to this decision, however, is the policy limit of liability decreases for that claim to the accepted claim offer, including costs and legal fees, a very risky strategy. Claimants and their legal counsel prefer to negotiate with an emotionally distraught practitioner than a dollars and cents experienced adjuster who knows the potential court outcome. With reputation and time away from the practice already at risk, remove the strain of total financial ruin from the equation and obtain Professional Liability insurance.

Protect your biggest assets with an Insurance Agency you can trust, get in touch directly with The Duncan Financial Group in Irwin, Pennsylvania and start feeling comfortable with your policies today!

Main: 724-863-3420

311Main Street Irwin, PA 15642

Four Common Mistakes Employers Make with Worker’s Compensation

Duncan Financial GroupMost employers look at Workers Compensation as just another necessary evil and unavoidable cost of doing business. It’s usually one of those out of sight, out of mind things when rates are low. It’s not until an employer is hit with a rate hike that they really start to give some thought to their Workers Compensation rates.

Employers need to constantly look at Workers Compensation as a tool to improve their business’s bottom line, and they certainly need to make an effort to keep their low rates over the long term so that they can take advantage of some significant savings.

Here are four common mistakes made by employers that frequently deter their Workers Compensation savings:

1. Assuming that lower rates equate to lower costs. Don’t make the faulty assumption that your cost will go down automatically just because your rates have been reduced. Workers Compensation insurers use an experience modification factor to examine the actual losses incurred by the insured company and establish cost. The actual losses are compared with other companies in similar industries.

2. Believing that employers have little control when it comes to the expense of Workers Compensation. Employers know they’ve got to have Workers Compensation insurance. However, this acknowledgment shouldn’t lead to an employer thinking they’ve got to pay excessively for it; employers don’t and shouldn’t.

3. Neglecting or de-emphasizing cost containment and injury management during low rate periods. Safety should be an unyielding focus at all times.

4. Not making the association between cost containment and worker retention. Studies have shown that fewer accidents occur among skilled workforces, but even skilled workers can have an accident. A large part of whether or not an injured skilled employee returns to work is based on how their employer responds to them during and after recovery.

Contact Duncan Financial Group in Irwin, Pennsylvania at 724-863-3420.

Keeping Insurance Values Up-To Date

A Quick Insurance Review

Let’s start with some basics about how insurance works. Insurance protects people and companies against major financial losses that occur because of damage of loss of property. Insurance companies determined premiums by taking into account the risks associated with the business. The amount of coverage they need to be fully protected, their past history and statistics that predict what percentage of businesses will suffer a loss or file a claim. The amount of property insurance coverage is based on the cost to rebuild and restore your business, not market value.

The rising cost of rebuilding

In recent years, we’ve experienced devastating weather events at home and worldwide. In 2011 alone, the U.S. experienced $12.3 billion in insured losses from 100 significant events, many unprecedented and unexpected. Some decimated entire communities. And, experts predict that severe weather will likely continue.

Add to that, skyrocketing building costs. As communities here and abroad rebuild, the demand for building materials and labor has intensified, driving up prices. For example, in the fifteen months between the second quarter 2010 and third quester 2011 the following materials increased significantly:

Insurance-To-Value (ITV)

Insurance-to-value is a critical element of any well-constructed property insurance program. If you are your agent or broker keep values up-to-date, this can protect your business by providing you with the coverage you need should a major loss occur.

Traveler’s gas easy-to-use tools that will help you and your agent or broker address this issue. For more information about our ITV and Business Income worksheets talk to you agent or broker.

At Duncan Financial, can help you find what coverage you need to feel most comfortable. Also being an independent insurance agency gives us the capability to write with multiple carriers. Call us today for a customizable package to fit your life style.

The Consumer’s Guide to Small Business Insurance

 If you own a business or are a partner in one, you’re probably already familiar with risk. After all, few things in life are riskier than launching and running your own business. Part of the risk of any small business is the loss of critical tools, property or liability to others – all of which can cause loss of income or force you to close your doors. Large companies employ full-time risk managers to keep their risk taking to a minimum. But chances are that as a small business owner, you are the company’s risk manager, the personnel director, the office manager and possibly the entire staff all rolled into one.

While juggling all the jobs that need to get done to make your business a profitable operation, you may already be asking yourself, “Who has time to think about insurance?” You do! Keeping risks and losses to a minimum is a cornerstone of business success, especially for small businesses. Take a few minutes now to check your risk factors, find out about your insurance needs and learn the many options available to you. And remember choosing insurance from Duncan Financial Group is as important as choosing the right insurance.

We take pride in keeping our customers happy! See what some have already said below:

“We have really appreciated the relationship we have built with the Duncan Financial Group (Duncan Insurance Group). They have been there for us through the changes in the industry and with our company. Throughout the years, they have advised us on how to better manage our risks and have helped us reduce our insurance costs.

We have really benefited by how their claims management team takes control of an employee injury so that the employee gets the right care, as quickly as possible, but most importantly, helps dramatically reduce the cost of the injury”.
-Erik Ryan 

You can be one of our satisfied customers just by making a call! Contact us or stop in today to take a step in the right direction of protection.

Duncan Financial Group

311 Main Street

Irwin, PA 15642

724-863-3420 Main

888-383-3420 Toll Free

724-864-3022 Fax