Archive for the ‘business’ Tag

Winter weather tips – damage & injury prevention   1 comment

Good afternoon!  Seeing as how the Pittsburgh area is forecast to experience record low temperatures tomorrow & Friday, I thought I would put together a short blog with links for useful tips to prevent damage to your home and to keep yourself & your pets from getting injured.

Winter

Cold temperatures coming soon!

Hope you find the information useful!

Prevent freezing pipes

Pre-storm preparations

Things to do during a storm

Post-storm damage prevention & maintenance

All-around maintenance and preparation ideas

Tips to protect yourself when outside in cold weather

Good resource with multiple links & other info

Pittsburgh Winter

The Insurance Dogger doesn’t seem to mind the cold!

Christmas Outtakes   Leave a comment

As promised last weeks, here are some of the more amusing outtakes from last week’s photoshoot for our Christmas “card”:

Sammy

She just couldn’t stay awake!

These next three would’ve made an amusing gif.  It appears almost as though she’s singing “Joy to the World!” like Clark Griswold.

Sammy

JOY

Sammy

TO

Sammy

THE WORLD!

This is one of my favorites of all of them:

Sammy / Mork

Nanoo Nanoo
Oh, wait – too young for that joke?

These last pictures show just how hard it is to keep Sammy’s attention, even with treats!

Sammy steps

Who’s upstairs?

Cute bored dog

Are we done yet? Pretty bored over here…

Sammy looking down

What’s that?

Sammy treats

I’m coming to get my treat now!

Sammy housetop

Up on the housetop, click click click….

(for reference on that last one)

Before you have work done on your home….   Leave a comment

Might be time to call in a repair man!

Might be time to call in a repair man!

Good morning!  Today we have a very simple recommendation for you to consider before having a contractor come to do work on your home.

Before you have a contractor (any type of contractor) come in to your home to work, you should have them provide you with a current certificate of insurance.  A certificate (example below) will reflect the liability coverages that the contractor is carrying.  Liability coverages pay for injury or damages suffered by another – like yourself – for which the contractor is responsible (liable).  Thus, you will want confirmation that your contractor has the appropriate coverage in place!

What is the appropriate coverage, you ask?  Well, there are a few things to look for on the certificate:

  • General Liabilitythis is a catch-all for many types of injuries and damages.  It covers a broad range of incidents, such as someone (including you!) being injured at your home as a result of the contractor’s work, or the damage that’s done to your home if the contractor does the repairs improperly (important note – it does not cover the correction of the original mistake, but it DOES cover the damage that’s done as a result of the mistake.  The contractor is on the hook to pay for the correction).  Pennsylvania law only requires a contractor to carry $50,000 in coverage, but most good agents will not write a GL policy for less than $300,000 in coverage.
  • Voluntary Property Damagethis is a critical coverage for ALL contractors to carry, and it is OFTEN MISSED by both agents and contractors.  Basically, VPD will pay for damage that results from the contractor taking any of your household items into their “possession” – for example, carrying your TV across the room to do work behind it, and the TV is dropped.  This type of incident is NOT covered under general liability; thus the contractor without it would have to pay this claim out of his own pocket!
  • Workers Compensation – this provides protection for the employees of the contractor if they are injured while working.  Why is this coverage important to you?  If an employee is injured while working at your home, and the contractor doesn’t carry WC coverage, YOU could be on the hook to pay for the employee’s lost wages and medical expenses!  The most common scenario is that the contractor would be required to pay these expenses, but if he does not have the means to do so, they will most likely pursue you next.  Even if you aren’t found to be liable, you will have a claim against your homeowners policy to pay your defense expenses.
  • Generation and policy effective datesWhile reviewing the certificate, be certain to review two items of particular importance – the date the certificate was generated, and the policy effective dates!  Make sure, of course, that the policy is within its effective dates and is not expired.  And make sure the date that the certificate was generated (at the top right hand corner of the certificate) is relatively recent (within the past week or two).  Less scrupulous contractors have been known to pass off older certificates, being fully aware that their coverage has cancelled (due to non-payment, for example).

I hope that this information is helpful to you in protecting your home and your claims record!  Be cautious, and if you have questions after receiving a contractor’s certificate – ask your agent to review it with you!  Until next time, I bid you a fond adieu!

ACORD certificate

Example copy of the most common form of a certificate of insurance

 

 

 

 

Polesky Agency Instagram Contest details & rules   1 comment

As you may have heard, we are hosting a contest via Instagram and Facebook meant to help promote local businesses and their social media marketing efforts.  The details of the contest seem a bit complex, but in reality, it all works very easily.

Put simply, we are going to reward you for something many people are already doing – posting pictures of their favorite establishments on Instagram & Facebook!  All you have to do is go to your favorite local business, take a picture that you feel best or most creatively represents and promotes that business using Instagram (or a digital camera or phone if you don’t use Instagram), post it online, and tag the business and our agency.  Our agency’s Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/PoleskyAgency

Our independent judges will select three finalists and ultimately one winner.  What do you get?  How about a $200 gift card to the business in the winning picture!  The other two finalists will each receive a $25 gift card to the businesses they photographed.  Additional details are below.

We hope you enjoy our contest, and we hope that you will discover new places to check out here in Pittsburgh!  Good luck!

  • Take a digital picture best, most creatively, or interestingly represents your favorite Pittsburgh business.  You may photograph up to three businesses, but only post one picture of each – so make the picture you post good!
  • When posting on Instagram and Facebook, be sure to include in your caption #ThePoleskyAgency, as well as #’ing the business in question.  Note – you must like our Facebook page in order to participate.
  • You do NOT need to have an Instagram account to participate.  If you don’t have or use Instagram, simply post a picture on the Agency Facebook Page from your camera phone or digital camera.
  • You MUST post a copy of the picture on our Facebook (agency) page.  If the picture is NOT on our agency page, it will NOT be judged.   When posting on the agency page, make SURE that you tag the business represented in the photograph, whether it’s obvious what business it is or not.  Part of the idea is to promote THEIR social media efforts!
  • The contest will not be judged until at least 30 separate individuals have participated.  In other words, ten participants each posting three businesses does NOT trigger judging of the photos.  Our goal is have the contest judged on the first day of August.  Note, if we have more than 30 participants within the month of July, the contest will continue until July 31st.
  • A business can be represented by more than one participant.  However, if multiple participants choose the same business, and only one is chosen as a finalist or winner, the others who photographed the same business (but were not selected) will NOT receive a gift card.
  • The business must be within a 30 mile radius of downtown Pittsburgh (essentially, Butler to Washington and Greensburg to the Ohio border).
  • A group of impartial judges chosen by the agency will select the finalists and winner.  We are currently seeking five judges – two to select the finalists, and three to select the winner.  The number and arrangement of judges can change based on needs and availability.
  • Neither participants NOR businesses need to be a client of the Polesky Agency to participate and win.  The contest is available to anyone.
  • The Polesky Agency will purchase and pay for ALL gift cards.  Businesses are NOT required to contribute financially.
  • Businesses ARE encouraged to promote the contest and their business to their customers.  Businesses have free rein to promote the contest to their customers in any way they see fit, so long as it accurately and attractively represents the contest and our agency.
  • No purchase is necessary.  You don’t have to buy anything at the business you photograph, but then, why would you want to help promote them in the first place?!
  • The Polesky Agency reserves the right to update and change the rules of the contest at any time.
  • The Polesky Agency reserves final say in determining resolution of any and all disputes and discrepancies.

A review of business coverages – Part 1   Leave a comment

Insurance confusion

Feeling down because you don’t understand your business insurance? The Dog Blog is here to help!

Today is the first part of a series reviewing various business insurance coverages.  Insurance companies will handle the various coverages differently, but some generalities can be made.  Many companies often use standardized forms provided by the Insurance Services Office, but certainly not all do.  Today’s coverages we will review are the Commercial Package Policy and Business Owners Policy.

The Commercial Package Policy (CPP) in its simplest form is the combination of two business coverages – most commonly general liability and commercial propertyThe CPP can be written a la carte to include a variety of different coverages, but is almost always written with GL & property.  General Liability protects business owners from a wide variety of legal exposures, such as a customer getting injured at their location, damages due to a product failure (although the actual product itself is typically NOT covered), or a wide variety of other lawsuits.  Commercial Property protects business owners against a loss to their building, contents & furnishings, inventory, or other goods.   The CPP can also include things like tool coverage, equipment breakdown, professional liability, auto, and crime – it can be built “from scratch” to meet your needs specifically, and is often used for larger or more complex businesses.

The Business Owners Policy (BOP) is a package that automatically includes a variety of coverages to provide a more efficient and competitive method of insuring a business.  The package includes general liability, commercial property, business income protection, and often also includes a variety of coverage enhancements.  Business Income coverage replaces lost income when business operations are interrupted due to a covered property loss.  For example, if there is a fire at a retail store and they cannot operate for 3 months, the income lost for those 3 months is replaced by the insurance company. 

The BOP is meant to streamline coverage for less complex businesses such as small retail operations or a medical or professional office (but the BOP does NOT offer malpractice coverage!).  If a BOP is available, it is often going to be more competitively priced than it would be to try to piece together similar coverages via a CPP. 

As I mentioned previously, each insurance company is going to handle coverages differently, and ultimately if you have questions you should call your agent Thanks for tuning in!

3 coverages you’ve never reviewed (but have to have) – Business Edition   1 comment

business insurance

Sammy says these coverages are no joke!

Hi hi!  I’m back this week to see what we can do to help our local business owner’s out.  Last week we went over some basic insurance annoyances.  This week we are going to take a look at how to avoid some of that pain come claims time!  The three main coverages we are going to review apply to virtually every business – but I’m also going to go over a special one just for contractors & one for restaurant owners!  It’s a busy week!

Employment Practices Liability (EPL) – The first coverage I’m going to dig into is quite possibly the most relevant one for any business owner with employees.  It’s also one that many people never heard of!!   Coverage is going to vary from company to company, but I’ll give you a basic break down – if you have employees, and one of them sues you for wrongful termination, sexual harassment, EEOC violations or discrimination, failure to hire/promote, etc, EPL will cover two things – the cost of defending yourself against the suit, and any settlement or award that’s granted (up to policy limits, of course!).  There are other coverages that can be added (such as making wage or overtime errors, or harassment of a client or vendor), but that’s the general idea!  Even with a lower limit, you can at least hire an attorney to protect you with minimal out of pocket cost.

Employee Dishonesty – While we are on the topic of employees, why not look at it from the other direction?  Let’s say that you have an employee who is stealing money or goods from you – how would you cover that loss?  Obvious answer here – Employee Dishonesty!  “Wait a minute,” you might say, “that’s already covered on my policy!”  “Well, yes and no” says Sammy.  You might have policy that includes a throw-in amount of this coverage, but it’s usually minimal – $10,000 or $25,000.  If you have a larger operation, or sell higher valued items (cars, machinery, jewelry etc), it may not be enough!  What if an employee at a jewelry store decides they are quitting, and on their last day walks out with a handful of diamond rings?  Or, consider this – there was a case recently where an employee of an auto dealership had been stealing smaller amounts of money from each sale, and ended up getting caught after stealing MILLIONS!  $10,000 is a drop in the bucket in cases like these – and you have to cover the rest of the loss yourself!  Basically, take a look at what you’ve got and make sure you are comfortable with it!

Business Income & Extra Expense (BI/EE) – Are you running an operation that depends on a building, or the contents within?  Who isn’t!  Virtually everyone could have a BI/EE loss, but not everyone is carrying the coverage.  To make it simple, BI/EE provides you with the income that you lose out on in the event of a covered loss (a fire, theft, etc) that prevents you from operating your business for any length of time.   For example, you run a store that sells widgets, and you have a fire that destroys your location – the building and all your contents are gone.  Not only have you lost those goods, but you are also losing income while the business is rebuilding!  BI/EE protects you against this loss!  It’s complicated to explain, and would take a lot more space to go into in depth.   Basically, business income protects the actual income that’s lost, while extra expense provides you the ability to do what you can to start earning income again ASAP.  It’s the extra expenses you incur to start earning income again – for instance, renting a second location to sell widgets while your original one is being rebuilt.

Phew!  That’s a good start!  Now, on to coverages specifically for contractors or restaurant owners!

Voluntary Property DamagesContractors:  Do you ever find yourself moving a client’s TV, furniture, appliances, etc in order to complete your work?  Happens all the time, right?  Guess what – if you drop or break any of those things, that’s almost never covered by your general liability policy!  Boy, I’m chock full of good news today….!  However, there is a quick and easy remedy for this situation – add Voluntary Property Damages!  For most smaller operations (1-5 employees), $5,000 or $10,000 of this coverage should be sufficient, commonly includes a $250 or $500 deductible, and is relatively inexpensive.  Better to have and not need……

Utility Services Off-Premises Power Failure – Direct Damage & Time ElementWhew, that’s a mouthful, eh restauranteurs?  But make sure you can say it to your agent – it’s a crucial one!  “But I’ve got spoilage coverage” says you.  “Not if the food spoils due to an interruption of power off your premises” says Sammy.  If someone crashes their car into a telephone pole a quarter mile from your building, for instance, that loss would be excluded under your ordinary spoilage coverage – you’d need the coverage above.  Direct Damage provides for the food that’s lost, while time element is for the income you lose while replenishing your stock.

Well, I hope that you made it through all of this information alive and well!  If you have any questions, you can always feel free to comment, email, or call my daddy – he loves telling people about insurance coverages!

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