Posts Tagged ‘acuity insurance’

Fire Safety Tips for Auto Repair Shops

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

According to Acuity’s internal data, fire is one of the most common claims for auto repair shops. Unfortunately, fire also causes some of the most expensive claims. Protecting your shop against fire is a great place to start when looking to reduce the likelihood of a major claim in your shop.

To bring you some fire safety tips, I collaborated with Scott Leistner, one of Acuity’s loss control representatives. Scott has more than 20 years of experience in assisting automotive repair, manufacturing, and supply businesses with loss control. He works with these businesses to develop risk improvement solutions, including those aimed at fortifying fire protection practices.

Here are a few of Scott’s tips for reducing the risk of fire in your shop:

1.A clean shop is a safe shop. Maintain a high level of housekeeping at all times, removing trash and waste daily and cleaning up oil spills immediately using absorbent materials. Discard all oily rags in metal storage containers with self-closing lids to reduce the likelihood of spontaneous combustion.

2.Store wisely. Effective storage practices help prevent fires. Store flammable and combustible liquids in approved flammable liquid storage cabinets and keep all combustibles away from heating sources like furnaces and hot water heaters. Store tires separately, away from all flammables and potential ignition sources. Finally, do not allow temporary storage to block access to fire extinguishers and other fire prevention equipment.

3.Practice proper use of electrical equipment. Ensure all electrical equipment and tools are properly grounded and immediately discontinue use of and remove any damaged electrical equipment. Inspect and maintain battery charging equipment and keep combustibles far away from it. Only use extension cords if needed and make sure they are in good condition. Avoid using portable electric space heaters.

4.Guard against fire from special hazard shop exposures. Always spray paint in an approved spray booth equipped with automatic fire-suppression equipment. Implement effective hot work procedures to prevent sparks from igniting combustibles during cutting and welding work. Inspect hydraulic lifts for leaks and repair immediately if a leak is present. Keep solvent tanks clean and maintained and make sure the lid closes securely.

5.Develop and implement formal policies and programs for fire prevention. Train staff in proper use of fire extinguishers and enforce a no-smoking policy. Conduct weekly self-inspections, correcting any hazards found in inspection, and practice daily housekeeping and clean-up duties. Schedule regular preventive maintenance of HVAC and fire-protection systems.

At Acuity, we offer expert loss control services to our business policyholders at no extra charge. Our loss control representatives are safety and insurance professionals who have college degrees, technical certifications, and an average of 25 years of experience in the field. These representatives partner with our customers to minimize risk of future losses by assisting with safety and loss prevention initiatives.

Posted by Paige N. on October 17, 2018 in Mechanic

Wood-Burning Stove Safety

Friday, January 25th, 2019

Having a wood-burning stove as a source of supplemental heat during the colder months can result in significant cost savings on your electric bill, but did you know it can cause an increase in premium on your homeowners insurance?

fire in domestic stove on the kitchen

What to know:

•Even if you have a new wood-burning stove, the act of burning wood as a source of heat creates the possibility of sparking or spitting of hot embers. Taken in combination with combustible materials around your wood-burning stove, there is an increased risk.

•If you are considering having a wood-burning stove installed, be sure it is UL approved and professionally installed. Not only will this help ensure the safety of your home and family, but many insurers will not provide insurance unless certain safety standards or clearances are met. Most insurance carriers will want to do an additional inspection on the unit itself as well.

•Notify your insurance company of the presence of such a stove in your home to ensure you have proper coverage on your home and belongings.

How to maintain wood-stove safety:

•Have the chimney and stove cleaned and inspected annually before you begin using it for the season.

•Look over your unit and chimney regularly for potential cracks. This will help you catch something small before it becomes an issue.

•Follow all clearance requirements in the home. This rule applies to people and pets as well as furniture and other combustible materials. This will help prevent burn injuries as well as limit the risk of a fire starting outside the unit.

•Only burn dry wood. Burning wood can cause deposits known as creosote to build up. If not properly maintained, these deposits can ignite and cause chimney fires.

Having a wood-burning stove doesn’t have to be scary. Make sure you fully understand the risks and responsibilities associated with having one in your home. Also, be sure to talk with your insurance agent or carrier if there are ever any changes in your home that could impact your insurance. Stay warm out there!

References:

https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/WoodPelletStoveSafety.ashx

https://www.doityourself.com/stry/10-safety-tips-to-remember-when-using-a-wood-burning-stove

Content courtesy of Acuity Insurance / Addie B.

Updating your fleet equipment. (Trucking)

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Are you considering updating your company’s heavy trucks and trailers and, if so, what factors do you use to make these decisions? One thing is certain, there is no right or wrong answer, as a crop farmer’s needs will be completely different than a regional general freight motor carrier. Every trucking operation is unique, and every owner looks for different things in their trade-in cycle. However, we can discuss some common items for you to consider when updating your equipment.

Trucking Insurance

Equipment Specification. Make sure the equipment, whether new or used, fits your operational needs and is spec’d accordingly. Is the engine the correct size, the axles appropriate for weight and gear ratio, the frame the correct length, and the fifth wheel able to be adjusted for your trailers and loads? Depending on the freight you are hauling, is your trailer as universal as possible to meet various load configurations and weights your customers might expect?

What Do You Want to Afford? If you are financing a vehicle, you should ask yourself, “What can I afford?” followed by “What do I want to afford?” Remember, the average term of a truck or trailer loan is 60 months, so you should be sure your income is secure for at least the next 5 years. For example, in the case of a farmer, it must be determined the equipment will be utilized enough to justify the ongoing monthly payments.

Maintenance. The cost of running older equipment is not always limited to mechanical breakdowns and repairs. Unless you have a good maintenance program, CSA violations can also contribute to the cost of operation.

Warranty. Manufacturers are providing some pretty good warranty options on new trucks—many coming standard with 5-year or 500,000-mile warranties. Many larger fleets are buying trucks in bulk, sometimes saving $10,000 to $15,000 per truck. They run these trucks up to 380,000 miles and get a good trade value as they still have 120,000 miles of warranty.

Fuel Economy. Just a decade ago, 5 or 6 miles per gallon was considered good, with some trucks getting 4. Truck technology has changed, and some fleet applications are claiming to see 8 miles per gallon from their fleet.

Driver Satisfaction. Drivers today have a lot of choices—especially professional drivers with years of experience and a clean MVR. What differentiates your company to attract and retain drivers of this caliber? Nice equipment is often thought to be a part of that equation.

Financing. New model trucks are usually easier to finance and often qualify for lower interest rates. The higher cost of buying new when considered with the lower APR can sometimes make more financial sense than buying used. This is important as the standard over-the-road truck is now selling for $140,000 to $150,000, while used equipment commonly runs between $30,000 and $90,000.

Depreciation and Resale Value. Like all new vehicles, trucks and trailers depreciate fairly quickly, so the resale value will drop significantly in the first year. In some circumstances, buying used enables you to recoup your initial investment should you decide to sell the equipment.

Regulations. Are you in trucking for the long term? If so, consider the required CARB regulations when traveling in some states. This can end up costing truckers $16,000 to $18,000 for compliance on a used truck, whereas a new truck is already compliant.

Content provided by Cliff J., trucking insurance specialist at Acuity Insurance.  Original blog post can be found here.

For a quote on your trucking operation please contact Beck Insurance Agency at 419-446-2777, or click here.

Why is my house insurance limit so high?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Some great points courtesy of Acuity Insurance, on a topic we hear about frequently….

Why does it cost more to rebuild after a loss compared to new construction? Shouldn’t the costs be about the same?

The answer is no. Reconstruction almost always costs more than brand-new construction, particularly when there has been a partial loss, and there are several reasons why.

• Repairing a building after a partial loss often means working from the top down, which is a far more time-consuming and labor-intensive process compared to building from the bottom up

• Typically, remnants of the damaged structure need to be removed before reconstruction can begin. Demolition and debris removal are expenses that add up before the first cement can be poured or the first nail hammered in.

• Current building codes are often stricter than those that were in force when the original structure was built, requiring more expensive materials and methods for compliance. In some cases, even undamaged parts of a structure may need to be rewired or re-plumbed to meet current codes.

• In the wake of natural disasters, building material costs rise sharply, and this can add thousands of dollars to the cost. Labor availability may also be more limited, further increasing costs.

• Reconstruction sites can present additional challenges, including difficult access to the worksite and the need to protect undamaged portions of the building.

Of course there are more factors, but these are some excellent points!  Thanks Acuity!

For more information or quotes on your home insurance please call or click.  419-446-2777.

Have a great day!  Beck Insurance Agency, Inc., Archbold, Ohio.

 

Cab Essentials for the Road

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

If you have ever taken your family camping, you know there is a lot to pack. Food, clothing, activities, and so much more. Similarly, truck drivers must understand the items needed on the open road. This knowledge is shared from driver to driver. We then add to this wisdom from our own experiences and personal needs. For example, a long-haul driver operating from coast to coast will need different resources than a local driver who is home most nights. Drivers need to be prepared for delays due to weather, inability to get loaded or unloaded, breakdowns, inspections, fatigue, and even sickness.

Truck Insurance

Here is a short list of items I found necessary to keep in my truck in a regional trucking operation:

1.An emergency preparedness kit. It is sometimes difficult to predict what we will encounter on roadways. As a result, the emergency kit should contain extra batteries, gloves, a flashlight, a sleeping bag, winter clothing when in season, non-perishable foods, extra medication, an extra pair of prescription glasses, a basic tool kit, duct tape, spare bulbs, jumper cables, extra fuses, bottled water, a foldable shovel, window deicer, emergency flares, an extra cell phone charger, and a first-aid kit.

2.Extra money. If your credit card quits working, you lose your wallet, or the store’s power is out, a few hundred dollars tucked away in a safe place can come in handy when you need to spend the night or purchase provisions.

3.Keep your food cold. If your truck is not equipped with a refrigerator, an insulated cooler is important in preserving perishable food items and keeping your drinks cold.

4.How are you cooking? A lot of drivers used to use little propane stoves to prepare meals in their trucks and save money on food costs. My preference is a microwave, which many trucks are now equipped with or have a converter or an APU. A microwave can make a big difference in comfort for a long-haul driver.

5.Another alternative is a slow cooker. Meat, potatoes, and fresh vegetables can be a satisfying end to a long day. A slow cooker allows you to prepare your own healthy food with minimal effort. However, make sure it is secured so it does not cause injury in the event of a sudden stop.

6.Food for truck drivers is no longer one size fits all. Many cultures and tastes influence our food choices. I chose to stock up on items that remained safe at room temperature and could be easily prepared, such as granola bars, bread, peanut butter, jelly, apples, bananas, nut varieties, deli meat, cans of soup, and water—lots and lots of water. There are a lot of healthy choices out there. Google and decide what works best for you.

7.Paper towels and wet wipes were essential items for me. They can be used for maintaining personal cleanliness, as a cleaning cloth in the truck, or as a rag to complete an unexpected repair.

8.Extra clothing. You will need several changes of clothing, depending on the duration of your trip. I found that extra socks, underwear, gloves, and footwear could make life much more comfortable in unexpected events such as weather and breakdowns.

9.Personal hygiene items, including deodorant, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a comb, mouthwash, and floss.

10.Know where you are going. A motor carrier map can prove very helpful in arriving safely to your destination. Understanding your route options and identifying toll roads, inspection stations, and roadway and bridge restrictions can prove invaluable. Personally, I used a trucker’s road atlas first and GPS as a second referral only while driving.

11.Stay warm and pack essentials. If you have ever been really cold and alone, you will identify with why I also kept a small propane heater stowed away. The same holds true for a portable toilet. Whether trapped in a traffic jam or in a remote location, having extra toilet paper and a clean portable toilet can bring a lot of comfort in those emergency situations of life on the road.

When you are stopped, take some pictures to share with family and friends, and remember to take the time to enjoy your trucking experience—appreciate the sunrises and sunsets, the old barns and cattle grazing, and the mountains you encounter along America’s roadways.

Cliff J. on August 15, 2018 in Trucker Focus , Acuity.

Interested in an insurance review and competitive bids on your Trucking Operation?  Call Beck Insurance Agency at 419-446-2777, send an email to joe@beckinsurance.com , or click here.

How to Request an Upgrade to Your DOT Rating

Monday, May 7th, 2018

Though your team does a good job managing your operations and you’re proud of your safety performance, you still ended up with a Conditional or Unsatisfactory rating. In other words, the FMCSA auditor has determined that your company failed to have “adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard.”

We all understand why a Satisfactory safety rating is important to motor carriers. Negative ratings can bring many repercussions—your fleet is scrutinized on roadways, customers may have concerns about you hauling their goods, there can be a reluctance to pass on available rate increases offered to better-rated carriers, you may get questions from your insurance company’s underwriters and loss control people, and it can be difficult to attract quality drivers. The best drivers tend to align themselves with well-managed carriers who are not being scrutinized by enforcement officers.

One of the interesting things I notice when visiting motor carriers—especially with smaller, well-managed trucking companies that have been in business for many years and have not had large safety issues—is that they can be unaware of how FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program works and how it can drastically affect their company. CSA’s Safety Management System (SMS) uses a motor carrier’s data from roadside inspections, crash reports, and investigations to calculate performance in the 7 Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): unsafe driving, hours-of-service compliance, driver fitness, controlled substances and alcohol, vehicle maintenance, hazardous materials compliance, and crash indicator. Based on BASIC CSA scores, FMCSA determines what interventions are taken against a carrier.

Following a compliance review, one of three safety ratings is issued—Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory—based on the following categories:

1.Documented, adequate safety management controls.
2.Frequency and severity of regulatory violations received by motor carrier.
3.Frequency and severity of driver and vehicle regulatory violations.
4.Frequency and severity of out-of-service driver and vehicle violations.
5.A pattern demonstrating an increase or decrease in similar types of regulatory violations.
6.Frequency of crashes and incident rate are indicators of preventable incidents, whether they are increasing or decreasing.
7.Number and severity of violations of FMCSA regulations.

If you receive a Conditional or Unsatisfactory rating, the first step in obtaining a Satisfactory rating is to understand the deficiencies and controls that were deemed inadequate or missing during your audit. Once your updated safety management plan is developed and you have implemented controls to ensure safety compliance, you will need to provide FMCSA with documentation that deficiencies have been rectified and an upgrade to a Satisfactory rating is an appropriate step for your company.

The FMCSA has a user-friendly guide and accompanying form, 385.17 Upgrade Request, outlining how to request an upgrade to your safety rating based on correction action, or visit Acuity’s Motor Carrier Toolbox to learn more.  Source Acuity Insurance

 

Auto Insurance

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

Auto Insurance

The right auto insurance policy can help get you back on the road quickly if your car is damaged or destroyed by accident, fire, theft, or other covered event. Your policy may also provide protection against medical and legal expenses resulting from injury, loss of life, or property damage caused by an accident involving your vehicle.

An auto insurance policy is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay a premium, and in exchange, the insurance company promises to pay for specific car-related financial losses during the term of the policy. Work with us to determine the best coverage for you.

Insurance for cars, trucks, boats and more!

Beck Insurance Agency can insure your Motorcycle, Classic Car, Motor Home & RV, Boat & Jet Ski, and ATV too! Contact us for more information today!

How much auto insurance is right for you?

Based in Archbold, Ohio, the team at Beck Insurance Agency understands the auto insurance needs of our customers.

Auto insurance requirements vary by state. In some states, to drive you must carry:
Liability coverage – to pay for losses you cause others, or:
No-fault coverage – to pay you and your passengers for medical and related expenses caused by injuries from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault, or
Both liability and no-fault coverage.

We write insurance in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida and would be happy to help you ensure you have the right coverage for where you live.
Even in states where coverage isn’t required, drivers must, by law, be able to pay for losses they cause others. Having insurance is the simplest way for most people to comply. To finance a car, it is usually necessary to have insurance which covers damage to your vehicle. This includes:

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance coverage pays for damage caused to your vehicle in an automobile accident. Standard collision coverage will pay for any repairs up to the fair market value of your car. Collision coverage usually also comes with an insurance deductible. It’s the amount of money you pay toward repairs before your collision insurance kicks in. The higher the deductible you’re willing to pay, the less the collision coverage will cost.

Comprehensive Insurance (Other than Collision)

Comprehensive insurance covers damage done to your car in some way other than a collision, such as if it were stolen or vandalized. Flood, hurricane, theft, windshield damage and fire are also events usually covered by comprehensive car insurance. Like collision, comprehensive will pay up to the fair market value of your car (less your insurance deductible). And although it’s not legally required by any state, you will probably need it if your car is financed.

Every person is unique – talk to us today to find out how to get the best price and value on auto insurance for you.

Beck Insurance Agency:  “Check with Beck Before You Wreck“.  Call for a quote today at 877-446-BECK (2325), Email us at info@beckinsurance.com, or hit us up via the our Contact Us page!

What does a CIC Designation mean for you?

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Today’s insurance and risk management industry is vast, complex, and full of confusing variety. As you consider what kind of coverage you need for your unique set of risks and exposures, keep in mind that training as a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) has prepared us to be the competent and proven advisors you need. Our drive is what led us to go for the CIC designation. It represents a career-long commitment to stay on top of important industry changes and to be aware of new risks that arise so that we may better serve our clients.

Beck Insurance is not the kind of agency that is content to just collect annual commissions. We strive to be the best that we can be. We use our education to gain an in-depth understanding of the nuances of complex risks and the best way to address them. Training to become a CIC includes 100 classroom hours and five comprehensive exams. Additionally, we attend far more continuing education courses than required every year to keep our knowledge and skills up to date in order to ensure that you always receive the attention, care, and current information necessary to make your coverage decisions.

The CIC designation and pin are marks of distinction that demonstrate our commitment to professional excellence and leadership in the insurance industry. We are proud to be among 31,500 CICs in the country, “the best and most knowledgeable insurance practitioners in the nation.”

Joe Beck, VP/CIC – Bill Beck, Pres/CIC – Kirk Beck, Ret/CIC

 

Trucking Firms Facing Recruitment Problems Ahead of Holidays

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

By Jennifer Smith Oct. 24, 2017 9:01 a.m. ET

Trucking companies are worried about finding enough drivers now that the freight market is recovering.

Shipping demand is strengthening after a roughly two-year slump, as manufacturing activity expands and retailers stock up in advance of the holiday season. Meanwhile, fleets are reporting trouble recruiting qualified drivers to haul those loads. Some are raising wages even before they secure rate increases from shippers.

Long-haul truck drivers often hop from one fleet to the next in search of better pay or other benefits, such as schedules that permit them to spend more nights at home. They also tend to be older than the general workforce, fueling concern about driver supply as more truckers near retirement age and younger people enter other fields.

A tight employment market compounds the issue, as the construction and energy sectors draw from the same labor pool. Long-haul truckers make on average about $55,000 a year, compared with the roughly $80,000 to $100,000 they could earn driving for the oil-and-gas industry, said Bob Costello, chief economist with the American Trucking Associations, an industry group.

This year “driver shortage” ranked as the trucking industry’s top concern for the first time since 2006, according to an annual survey released Monday by the American Transportation Research Institute. Nearly 40% of respondents ranked driver supply among their top three concerns, according to the industry research group’s report.

“This is as tight a market as we’ve seen in 25 years, and we expect it to tighten further,” said Derek Leathers, chief executive of Werner Enterprises Inc., a large truckload carrier based in Omaha, Neb. “Demographics are working against us.”

Over the past two years, Werner has boosted wages by about 15%, one of a number of steps to aid driver recruitment and retention. The company has also spruced up its equipment and terminals.

Tightened capacity can benefit carriers, giving them more leverage with shippers on price, but it can also mean passing up work if they can’t find drivers. Though fleets often expand when business is booming, that may be off the table this time.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that we could significantly grow our fleets given the driver capacity issue next year,” Richard Cribbs, chief financial officer at Covenant Transportation Group Inc. said on an earnings call last week.

At Covenant, a large trucking company based in Chattanooga, Tenn., employment costs for the third quarter rose 4.8% from a year earlier, though revenue rose faster and profit soared 59% to $4.6 million. The carrier expects shipping rates to increase by 5% to 9% in 2018, but said its truck count will remain largely flat.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., one of the biggest U.S. carriers, said earlier this month that rising driver pay, a decline in fleet size and an increase in trucks lacking drivers weighed on third-quarter results in its truckload division. That unit had a 5% drop in revenue from the year-earlier period, though operating income increased 12%.

Drivers often scoff at the idea of a shortage, saying the solution is simple: pay more.

Companies are increasing wages “and they should,” said Mr. Costello. “But it’s about more than pay. It’s about the lifestyle.”

The ATA says the driver shortage is leading to delivery delays, and estimates the shortfall has yet to peak this year. Carriers will need to hire about 898,000 new drivers over the next decade as more truckers retire and the industry expands, according to the group.

Source:  https://www.wsj.com/articles/trucking-firms-facing-recruitment-problems-ahead-of-holidays-1508850070?__prclt=Xw9mCo1R