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Auditor Looking At DocumentWorkers’ Compensation, also known as Workers’ Comp, is usually one of the largest expenses for businesses. Since it is something that employers invest so much money into, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for your next audit, and make sure all of your ducks are in a row. The reason an audit is performed is to determine your Workers’ Compensation Insurance premium. Considering the outcome of the audit can result in drastic changes to your premium, you may want to follow these tips on how to prepare your business.

1. Gather all necessary records
To prepare for an audit, you will need to have all paperwork and documents ready and organized before the auditor arrives. They will most likely be looking for payroll records, federal tax reports, unemployment records, individual overtime payments, detailed job descriptions, and use of contractors and subcontractors along with certificates of insurance.

2. Make accurate payroll projections, and keep track throughout the policy year
When making payroll projections, you should try your best to be as calculated as you can be, especially if there are any class codes that apply to your operation. It’s also a good idea to monitor your projections during the policy year in order to know where you stand when the next audit comes around. To make it easy, set up quarterly reviews to compare your projections with your actual payroll.

3. Understand the breakdown of certain payrolls
Not all payrolls are the same. For example, if you employ a marine worker who spends half of their worktime on the water, that time will need to be kept separate from the time in the office because it is considered more risky. The same example can be used for a truck driver who splits time between an office, and on the road. Be sure to file the different payroll tasks by different job descriptions. Also, be sure to list overtime individually, because there is a good chance that overtime may have a discounted premium.

4. Check for certificates of insurance for any contractors or subcontractors
You will be required to show proof that any contractors or subcontractors that you hired had their own Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and were not covered by your company. It is also important to make sure all the dates are aligned for the time they worked for you. Without proper documentation, your company could be charged the premium for the contractor during the time you used them.

5. Be involved with the process
Don’t let them leave without reviewing their work and becoming aware of the impact that the audit could have on your business. Also, make sure you have looked over the worksheet the auditor will ask you to sign, and make sure to keep a copy for your records. If the worksheet has yet to be completed, don’t sign it! This helps keep all surprises down to a minimum.

Points to keep in mind

Dealing with an auditor may not be the friendliest experience. Don’t expect to make friends and go out for drinks after, they are only there to look at your payroll, get the figures they need, and leave. Also, it is good for you to know that most of the time, your insurance agent or broker isn’t involved in an audit unless there is a problem. If you don’t hear from us, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you! The auditor will contact you at the end of your period whether you have renewed or not, and at that time, it is a good idea to keep your agent in the loop of the situation.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance should be a top priority for all businesses. If you would like more information on Risk Management, read our previous blog, “Risk Management: What you Need to Know About Your Insurance Policies”. If you have any questions, or are interested in purchasing Workers’ Compensation Insurance, other types of business insurance, or group health insurance for your employees, please contact us at 954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to cover your company’s risks appropriately.

Considering the outcome of the audit can result in drastic changes to your workers' comp premium, you may want to follow these tips on how to prepare your business.

157913803Getting injured on the job is a nightmare for all parties involved. Even more so when that injury prohibits you from being able to work. That’s where workers’ compensation insurance comes in, to protect workers and employers in the event of an injury. Having a workers’ comp policy in place is even more crucial in the marine industry thanks to certain rules and regulations put in place to protect workers and those who are at risk. Depending on what category your business or work falls into, it may not be up to the business owner or decision maker to decide whether they need a workers’ comp policy. Thanks to the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA also known as USL&H), those who work in the maritime industry and fall into certain categories, will have coverage that is required by the federal government, not just the state. Having peace of mind when it comes to coverage can help rid your life of the question, “What’s going to happen to me if I’m injured at work?”

What Is It?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act is a law that was put in place by the United States federal government to assure the coverage and minimize the impact of injuries and death for employees and their families in the marine industry. It’s no secret that those who work in the marine industry can be seen as higher risk employees due to the jobs they perform. This law requires employers to provide sufficient workers’ compensation coverage since it is often a major expense for most businesses.

What Does It Do?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act provides workers’ compensation for anyone working in a marina or on the water. It protects you from injury and occupational disease while on the job. Benefits are only available to those maritime employees who meet certain criteria known as a “Status” and “Situs” test.

Status Test- The Status Test is associated with the with the work that is performed by the employee. Basically, the test decides whether you are performing “maritime” work. This is important because to be eligible for benefits under the act, it must be determined that employees are performing “maritime” work for the employer.

Situs Test- The Situs Test is associated with the location that the employee has performed the work. After determining whether a worker is a maritime employee, they then must determine if the work was performed on, near, or adjacent to navigable water.

How Does This Benefit Me?

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act gives employees to the power to file claims for injuries that happen while at the workplace. Much of workers’ comp is through state legislation, however being that this one is administered federally, you can have the option to use both your state’s system as well as the federal system, just not at the same time. The Federal Process is a lengthy one, but it’s good to know the coverage is there for when the employees need it. The state coverage can provide benefits while the federal reviews the benefits available under the USL&H laws.

Workers’ compensation insurance should be a top priority for all businesses. If you would like more information on workers’ comp or the LHWCA, or are interested in purchasing a workers’ comp policy, or any other form of property & casualty insurance, or group health insurance for your employees, please contact us at 954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to cover your company’s risks appropriately. For more information on marine general liability, read our previous blog, “Do You Need a Maine General Liability Policy?

Having a workers’ comp policy in place is crucial in the marine industry. Read more to find out why!

173803671No matter what type of business you have, every company has unique needs when it comes to liability protection. Especially if your business is conducted near or on the water, such as marinas and shipyards. Marine general liability coverage is necessary for businesses of this nature, however there are some business owners who aren’t aware of the difference between Marine General Liability and Commercial General Liability. So, let’s look at a few reasons why you might need a Marine General Liability policy (MGL) over a Commercial General Liability policy (CGL).

Define the Difference

One easy way to understand what type of policy best suits your business is by defining the different types of insurance.

Commercial General Liability policies protect business owners against third party claims for bodily injury, property damage, damage to premises, fire damage to premises caused by negligence of the insured, and personal and advertising injury (slander and false advertising). These policies are designed for business that conduct their operations on land only. Most contain specific exclusions for work done on watercraft and any work done over water. The standard Commercial General Liability policy will also not extend liability for anyone operating a watercraft or for damage to a watercraft that is in the insured’s care, custody, or control.

Marine General Liability policies will respond to a third party claim for liability in the same way as a Commercial General Liability policy and they will also include coverages designed specifically for those who work at sea. These policies include coverage for marine contractors and others who work on or near water. They provide coverage for the typical liability risks that businesses incur, which are covered in a standard commercial general liability policy, and may be endorsed to offer additional, more specific protection that addresses the more unique needs and potential risks associated with maritime operation, such as:

  • Liability when renting or leasing a boat or watercraft. Protection includes property damage to the vessel, as well as pier damage;
  • Liability and hazards faced by marina operators, and includes property and structure damage protection;
  • Liability met by terminal operators against loss or damage of cargo;
  • Liability met by operators and owners of piers or wharves, covering damage to property of others while in their custody, including tugs, tows, cargo and equipment.

Many are Uninsured or Underinsured

Companies may try to save money by choosing a policy with a lower premium. The problem they often face is that they may be purchasing a policy that specifically excludes the work they do on a daily basis. Even if you spend the majority of your time working on land, one project on a ship or over water might lead to a claim that is not covered by a standard Commercial General Liability policy. Your insurance broker should consider your risks, as working around water means specific coverages are needed.

Custom Plans are Available

Marine General Liability coverage can be tailored to include hull and P&I, international liability, contractor’s equipment, and more.  It is essential to seek the advice and information from a trusted, knowledgeable broker, such as MHG Insurance Brokers. The team at MHG Insurance Brokers is well versed in the risks and coverage requirements of those who work in the industry. MHG Insurance Brokers works with you to determine your specific needs and budget, and will create a comprehensive liability package that will meet every one of those needs.

Having the proper insurance coverage is crucial for the success of any business, and every business needs coverage specific for its characteristics. For more on some popular marine general liability claims, read our previous blog, “3 Common Marine General Liability Claims.” Or if you would like more information on the differences of marine general liability, read our previous blog, “Marine General Liability vs. General Liability.” If you have any more questions, would like further explanation, want to change your general liability policy to a marine general liability policy, or are interested in any other form of business insurance, please contact us by calling 954-828-1819 or visiting mhginsurance.com. We look forward to assisting you with all your insurance needs.

Let’s look at a few reasons why you might need a Marine General Liability policy, over a Commercial General Liability policy.

517166953She said yes! Have you recently purposed to your significant other? Do you have an engagement ring that is currently uninsured? Hopefully she didn’t say yes to the latter!

Buying an engagement ring is an important step in life. No matter how big or small the ring, it should be considered priceless because of what it represents. That being said, priceless items are irreplaceable, but what would you do if the ring were lost or stolen? Many consider buying an engagement ring an investment as there is a good chance that it won’t lose any value. That is if it’s insured!

Get an Appraisal

How do you know how much insurance is needed if you don’t know how much the ring is worth? Most insurance companies will require a current appraisal to confirm that it is being insured for the cost to replace the ring if it were lost or stolen. Some jewelry stores will appraise your ring and present you with a certificate of its value. Keep a copy on file for your records. It should be noted that a thorough appraisal will include the 4 C’s: carat weight, color, cut, and clarity of the stones. If your center stone is approximately half a carat or larger, your jeweler should provide a diamond certificate from an independent laboratory such as Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to prove authenticity.

It's not a good idea for an appraiser to inflate the cost of the ring, as the higher the value, the more your monthly premium will be. Also, there is a chance the insurance company may replace your ring instead of giving you the cash value if lost or stolen, which should discourage you from wanting to pay a higher premium for something that isn’t worth that value.

Reappraise

It’s important to get your ring apprised every two to three years for insurance purposes. You may notice that the value of your ring continues to go up with every appraisal, this shows you that it was a good investment as it appreciates! When going to reappraise, bring a copy of your previous appraisal so they don’t have to start from scratch. This should also help you cut costs.

Types of Coverage

Now that you have your appraisal, it is time to actually insure your ring, or any other valuable jewelry you may have. If you have a homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy, you can purchase an extension, often referred to as a rider, that specifically extends the coverage limit for your jewelry. This is a popular option in part because it allows people to have all their insurance in one, rather than purchasing separate plan. It is very important to review the covered causes of loss with your agent. Every policy is different and you cannot assume that your ring is covered for EVERY loss. What happens if you just lose a stone or stones? Is there a deductible? Make sure you understand how the insurance will respond.

Another option to insure your ring is to schedule it on a valuable articles or jewelry policy. This type of policy can work very well if you have several items that need to be insured or if the items change throughout the year. Typically, there is a lower deductible and broader coverage. Again, all policies are different and it is very important that you understand exactly what is covered. Ask your agent any questions you might have, so you are not surprised at the time of a claim.

With both options, the cost to insure your ring will mainly depend on the replacement cost of the jewelry you are insuring and the city where you live. Different locations have different rates due to higher or lower theft rates, tax rates, and other factors. Just remember, price is only one factor, we buy insurance to protect us when things go wrong. Before you buy any insurance policy, ask questions and be informed.

Congratulations on popping the question! Now that you know how to properly insure your engagement ring, MHG can be the “go to” for all your insurance needs. Read our blog “What Newlyweds Need to Know About Life Insurance” to learn how to properly cover you and your spouse as you begin your lives together. If you are interested in purchasing life insurance, or have any questions, we’re here to help! MHG has the insurance specialists to assist you in attaining the best coverage for your budget. Please contact us today at 954 828 1819 or visit mhginsurance.com. Congratulations and cheers to many years of wedded bliss!

Many consider buying an engagement ring an investment as there is a good chance that it won’t lose any value. That is if it’s insured!

hurricane tipsHurricane season is here! Even though the past few hurricane seasons have been quiet, all it takes is one serious storm to cause enough damage to shut your business down. Now is the perfect time for you to begin preparing your business for a natural disaster. Don’t be one of those who are scrambling to get ready at the last minute. While preparing your family and your house for a hurricane may be something you can do in the days leading up to a storm, preparing your business should be met with a bit more urgency. After all, chances are you, along with your employees, rely on the business in order to support your lives. Start preparing your business now by following these 5 steps.

1. Take Before Pictures

Prior to the start of hurricane season we suggest taking pictures of your property and building. In the event your business sustains damage and you need to make a claim, it may make the process easier. Pictures help keep our memory fresh, and offer proof of damage that may have occurred during the storm.

2. Have Enough Money Stashed Away for Payroll 

Hurricanes can easily shut down business for a couple of weeks, with loss of electricity, road closures, and flooding. Your employees may not be able to come to work for weeks. Even worse, your entire business may be shut down until repairs are done and everyday life gets back to normal. If your company is unable to make money for a period of time, does it have enough money in the reserves to continue paying employees? It’s a good idea to have the ability to pay your employees without 2 weeks’ worth of revenue.

3. Paperless Record Keeping

Many times hurricanes bring record breaking winds, and sometimes over a foot of rainfall. Both of which can easily ruin any paperwork you might have stashed around your office, warehouse, building, etc. To cover yourself, keep a digital copy of all important documents.

4. Keep Valuable Information at an Off-site Location

After making digital copies of all important records and documents, make more copies to store at an accessible, off site location. Store your licenses, contracts, operational records, proof of ownership, and of course any insurance paperwork. Also, try to keep them stored somewhere that is not in the path of the storm.

5. Make Sure You Have Proper Insurance Coverage

It is very important for business owners to understand their insurance policies, before a storm shows up on the radar. We recommend that you review your policy annually, and make sure that your policy still fits your needs. For example, your company could have grown over the last year, and now you may need coverage for areas that you didn’t need coverage for last year, such as new equipment or updated property. Also, if you have property that is covered, you can purchase “Business Interruption” which can cover the loss of income you may experience while your business is shut down.

Be prepared this hurricane season by performing all of these tasks before a hurricane is heading your way. Hopefully this will be a light season, but better to be safe than sorry.  If you own a business, and are looking for protection and would like more information on what you do to prepare your business for a hurricane, MHG Insurance Brokers would be happy to assist you. Also, if you are looking to purchase business insurance such as General Liability or Professional Liability, our insurance specialists have the experience to assist your business and offer advice in finding the perfect plan to fit all of your needs. Contact MHG Insurance Brokers today at +1 954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com

Hurricane season is here! Now is the time to prepare your business, read more.

risk managementIn many cases, business owners and decision makers see insurance as something they need only because a law makes it mandatory for them to remain in business. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Insurance is here to protect your business, it’s employees, the equipment, etc. We have also found that some aren’t aware what insurance is protecting them from, and don’t know what their exposures are. While recognizing certain buzzwords such as general liability, and workers’ compensation is great, we want people to understand why they have to have these insurance policies. After all, accidents happen, but there is no need for an accident to ruin your business.

Workers’ Compensation

A workers’ compensation insurance policy provides wages, medical treatment, disability, and if necessary a death benefit to employees who are injured on the job. While workers’ comp makes up a large portion of many businesses expenses, it is necessary because without it, businesses would liable for any injuries an employee experiences while working. It also protects the business from any lawsuits that could be filed by the injured employee.

General Liability

Commercial general liability policies protect businesses in a lot of ways. Typically, it provides coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury which protects the insured from slander and false advertising. General liability may also cover fire damage that is caused by the negligence of the insured.

Marine General Liability

Marine general liability policies are similar to general liability policies except they are designed specifically for those who work at sea, as general liability insurance will not cover those who work near or on the water. These policies include coverage for marine contractors and others who work on or near water.

Professional Liability (PLI or E&O)

Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions (E&O), will cover your business if you provide advice, or provide a service. It will protect you against negligent claims and damages that are awarded from a lawsuit.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

Employment practices liability insurance protects your business against claims made by your employees. It can protect you from claims alleging discrimination based on sex, race, age, or disability. It can also protect you from claims alleging wrongful termination, harassment, and many other employment-related issues.

United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (US L&H)

Thanks to the United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA also known as USL&H), those who work in the maritime industry and fall into certain categories, will have coverage backed by the federal government, not just the state. The law ensures that workers’ comp benefits are provided to those who work in the maritime industry, which will protect your business from any lawsuits associated with a workplace injury.

Maritime Employers Liability (MEL)

This policy generally covers employees who are working onboard a vessel, whether owned by the company they work for or as a contractor. Think of workers’ compensation insurance for those who work at sea.

Having the necessary insurance policies isn’t all you should be doing to protect yourself. Practicing good risk management also includes taking precautions around your workplace to make it as safe as possible. Read our previous blog, “10 Tips on Creating a Safe Work Environment”, for help in deciding what steps you should take in order to further protect you and your employees. If you have any questions, or are interested in purchasing workers’ compensation insurance, USL&H or other types of business insurance, or group health insurance for your employees, please contact us at954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to cover your company’s risks appropriately.

Accidents happen, but there is no need for an accident to ruin your business. Risk management is important to protect your business, but first you need to know why.