10 tips for organizing your Atlanta home office to boost productivity

Check out these tips for setting up your home office.

Check out these tips for setting up your home office.

If you work from home or have a home-based business, you’re going to need a sweet space to work from. You’ve got a lot to do, but working from home is great – you’ve got your pets, comfort, and the best commute ever. However, it can also be very distracting, which is why it’s important that your space allows you to be productive and allow you to be the best “you” you can be. Check out the following tips for organizing your home office to boost your productivity.

10 tips to organize your home office to boost productivity.

1. Stake your claim and have your own space.

In order to get everything done that needs to get done, you’re going to need your own space. Your home office should be somewhere that you can settle down and work. Find a place where you can work well that will be free from distractions. You may need to find your own room and stake a claim, declaring it to be your space where you can focus.

2. Don’t let clutter take over.

If you work at home, the tendency could be that “home” and “work” blend together. You might have some dishes on the chair over there, maybe some cleaning stuff from when you wiped down the kitchen on the desk, perhaps some of the kids’ toys scattered over the floor… And then there’s the work clutter – papers, files, office supplies, and whatnot…

So, overall, there’s a lot of stuff.

Anyways, it’s really important that you have a space free of clutter. Chaos tends to draw the eye…and the mind is quick to follow. It’s much easier to focus when you have a clean, organized space that isn’t filled with clutter and distractions that will send your mind off in a thousand directions.

Pro tip: Keep all of the electrical cords from your computer, phone, and other gadgets out of the way and store them safely. Don’t overload power strips or outlets. This beats having a huge clump of electrical cords taking up room on the floor, and it can also help you prevent an electrical fire.

3. Have a to-do list for each day.

Being at home might make it tricky to get into the “work” mindset. Make sure to equip your home office with an agenda, planner, or notepad to keep track of what needs to get done and when. You can create a to-do list for each day so that you keep track of your goals.

And crossing things off on a list is extremely satisfying and fun.

4. Dress in real-people clothes and have a routine.

While it’s extremely tempting just to schlep down to the home office in your pajamas, getting dressed in “real people” clothes can help you get in the right frame of mind to work. Yes, pajamas are amazingly comfortable, but they also make you feel sleepy.

Try too start your mornings consistently and develop a routine. Take a shower to freshen up, get dressed, eat breakfast, dance around the kitchen to your favorite music, then settle down to work – or whatever works for you. This helps your mind get ready to kick into work-mode.

Another tip is to start and end your day at the same time. It helps to have consistent hours so that you get used to a routine. That way you don’t end up with an unbalanced work week where you work ten hours one day and three the next.

5. Make sure your office is comfortable.

It makes sense to make your home office a comfortable space – you’ll be spending a lot of time there, after all! Okay, moving a bed and pillows into the office might be going too far, but make sure you’ve got a nice, comfortable chair and place to work. Your computer station should be set up so that you can sit comfortably and work without straining your body.

Your home office should be a comfortable place to work.

6. Put your desk by a window.

You might worry that having the desk by the window would be distracting, but give it a try. The natural sunlight streaming into the room will help your body keep track of what time it is. Your internal clock is a real thing, and if you’re easily able to see and feel the sun as it moves through the sky you’ll be able to feel the day progressing. You can even decorate the area outside the window with plats and such to give a peaceful, distraction-free view that will give you something pretty to look at.

If you don’t have windows, brighten up your space by hanging artwork over the desk. It’s nice to be able to look at something other than just paint. Paint is boring. If you can, get lighting that allows you to control the brightness. Yellow-cast lights tend to be ideal because they’re comforting. They’re not oppressively bright, but they’re not too dim, either. Anyway, don’t let your office be a dark, dim hole, but don’t flood it with too-bright light.

7. Make sure your space is functional and designed with purpose.

Before you start decorating and rearranging your home office, you also need to consider exactly what kind of work you’ll be doing and what’s needed to get the job done. From there, you can make decisions about what sort of storage you’ll need, what equipment you need, and how best to organize everything.

Many home offices aren’t the biggest, and you can work with that with some creative planning. Utilize the vertical space in the room with tall bookcases or cubbies for storage. Once you’ve established exactly what needs to go into the office, you can plan accordingly. Try to keep things off your desk by using shelves, or invest in vertical file folders to sit on your desk. This will help you keep your workspace clear and clean.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice the aesthetic appeal of the room. Your space should be your space. It should be comfortable and welcoming – a place that you’re content to settle down and get to work.

8. Consider what color to paint the walls.

Why not go the whole hog and paint the room? Choose a color that works for you. Some people like yellows, lime greens, or oranges because they’re energizing and cheery. Others like calming shades like pale blue or aqua. Bottom line: choose a color that’s going to help you work. As crazy as it sounds, colors can have a profound effect on your mood.

9. Have a designated area for breaks.

You’re also going to need a space separate from your office where you can take breaks and clear your mind. It’s healthy to have a change of scene during the workday – your brain uses a lot of energy, so it needs a rest from time to time. Have a “break room” of your own at home. Maybe it’s the kitchen, where you can make a cup of coffee and have a light snack. Maybe it’s the living room, where you can retreat and give yourself fifteen minutes to read a book, work on a puzzle, or listen to the radio.

Getting up to stretch and take a mental break is good for you. When you settle back down to work, you’ll be recharged and reenergized.

10. Take care of your eyes.

Staring at a computer screen is not your eyes’ favorite thing to do. The light emitted from a screen is hard on them, and as a consequence, it’s easy for your eyes to get strained if you’re spending a lot of time on the computer. Try to schedule your time so that you can take breaks from the computer. Even if you have to get up and walk a lap around the house, give your eyes a break.

It’s also a good idea to avoid putting your computer directly under an overhead light. That only increases the glare from the screen, which will not make your eyeballs happy.

11. PRO TIP: Make sure you’re insured.

You’ve probably got a lot of business-related equipment in your office. It’s really important to make sure that you’re properly insured. Computers and such are very expensive, so you need to check out your home insurance policy to see if it covers any business-related items. If you have a full-blown home business, you need to make sure that you’ve got the right home-based business insurance.

Speaking of insurance, we can help you get the insurance you need, whether that’s home-based business insurance, home insurance, or auto insurance. Our team of insurance experts are pros at helping Atlantans save on their insurance by shopping their rates. You can compare pricing and coverage options by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.

How to protect your Atlanta business from phishing scams

We've got tips to help you avoid online phishing scams.

We've got tips to help you avoid online phishing scams.We’ve all heard horror stories of businesses getting hacked and customers getting their personal information stolen. Chances are you’ve also heard the story of the Google Docs phishing scam that tricked people into allowing hackers access to their accounts and contacts. Online scams and hacks don’t just affect personal email accounts – businesses are susceptible, too. One online scam you need to be aware of is called phishing.

No, it has nothing to do with fish. But you’ll see the reason for the name in a moment.

Anyways, we’ll explain what phishing is and how to keep your business safe from it.

What is phishing?

Phishing is pretty diabolical. A hacker pretends that they’re a reputable entity, such as your bank, and tricks people into giving up their personal information (passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security Number, or business information.) They try to get you to give them access to things they shouldn’t have access to. There’s even a type of phishing called spear phishing in which the hacker specifically targets their victim by impersonating someone they know.

Anyways, if your business gets caught up in a phishing scam, the results could be disastrous. If one of your employees gets phished, the hacker could grab your business financial information, customer personal information, or sensitive business documents. A breach could mean lost business, a tarnished reputation, lost income, and legal nightmares. Even more unnerving is that the breach could go unnoticed, meaning that the damage carries on.

But enough doom and gloom. The good news is that there are ways to prevent phishing.

How to prevent being phished.

1. Talk to your employees about email security.

It’s important that everyone knows not to send personal or financial information using email. You don’t want someone to respond to a fake email with sensitive information. Besides, emails can be hacked.

2. Raise your eyebrows at emails requesting personal information.

Legitimate organizations like banks or government agencies won’t ask for sensitive information by email. They have more secure ways of contacting people. And remember what we said about spear phishing. Even if you “know” the person who sent you the email, don’t send your business or personal information to them. Their account may have been hacked or someone could be pretending to be them. Give the person a call if they absolutely need personal information…and if they act really confused, break the news gently that they may have been hacked.

Protect your business from phishing scams.

3. Take note of poor grammar, typos, and dire threats.

Think about it:

Would a bank or another reputable, distinguished organization ever send an email to you, the client, with typos and poor grammar? Probably not. Similarly, these organizations wouldn’t resort to threatening to shut down your account, for example, if you don’t verify your information or take another action. They just don’t do that sort of thing.

4. Monitor your business’s bank statements and finances.

Keep tabs on your financial information and bank statements and look out for anything unusual. It’s best to catch problems early and get in touch with the bank ASAP if something doesn’t seem right.

5. Don’t let your cybersecurity get lax.

Be sure to keep your firewalls and anti-virus software current. New threats appear all the time, and hackers are pros at using the weaknesses in security to muscle their way in. Keep your cybersecurity updated.

6. Caution your employees about social media.

Hackers know how to use social media, too. Unfortunately, they oftentimes use it to gather intel so that they can raise their chances of successfully tailoring their attack to their victim. Social media has its good points, but it’s crucial to be careful while using it.

7. If there’s a link, don’t click.

If you get an email that seems suspicious, don’t click on any links or attachments that might be included, especially if you don’t recognize the source. When in doubt, don’t click. Delete the email and clear you Junk folder – don’t let that thing sit around on your computer. The same goes for any spam message you receive.

8. Tell your employees how to recognize secure sites.

If you ever have to send sensitive information online, make sure that the website is secure. You’ll see https:// in the URL. You can also verify the security certificate by clicking on the lock icon.

9. Go with your gut.

When an email makes you feel skeptical, it’s probably not legitimate. Follow your instincts. Don’t mess with anything that gives you weird vibes.

10. Consider cyber liability insurance.

You may want to think about cyber liability insurance for your business. Cyber insurance was created to fill in the technology-related gaps (for example, lost income from a data breach) left by general liability insurance. If you store your clients’ personal information and depend on your computers, you may want to ask your agent about cyber insurance when you’re deciding what types of insurance your business needs.

 

So, that’s the basics of phishing and how to prevent your business from falling prey to it. Don’t let your business be a victim of a phishing attack that could hurt you.

If you want to save money on your business insurance, we would be happy to help with that. We can help you shop for the best insurance at the best rate, and we’ll take the time to understand your business and the risks you face so that we can help you create a customized insurance plan. All you have to do to get started with business insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.

Sources:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/phishing-symptoms.aspx

https://www.antiphishing.org/resources/overview/avoid-phishing-scams

How much does Atlanta commercial property insurance cost?

There are several factors that affect the cost of your commercial property insurance.

There are several factors that affect the cost of your commercial property insurance.

Perhaps you would rather not think about what would happen to your business if a fire hit or you had to weather a winter storm. We get it – there are way more fun things to be thinking about than doom and gloom. But since you’re a business owner and understand that things rarely go as planned, you’re here, reading about property insurance. You know that you need to protect yourself from loss, but you’re probably wondering how much property insurance costs.

And that’s a great question, but the only problem is that it’s a little complicated.

There are a few things that influence the cost of commercial property insurance. We’ll explain some of the factors that go into determining your commercial property insurance rates.

Here we go:

1. The CONSTRUCTION of your building.

When an insurance company is looking at the commercial property insurance for your business, they’re going to want to figure out how flammable your building is. Insurance companies don’t really like fire because it tends to be very destructive. Anyways, the material your premises is made of influences how flammable your business is, as certain materials are easier to catch on fire and burn. (And the building material also influences the reconstruction cost of your building, which also plays a part in your rates.)

The building material is so important that the Insurance Services Offices (ISO) has created a system of categories to describe the structure of a building for insurance purposes. The “Classes” as they’re called go from 1 – 6, with 1 being the most flammable and 6 being the least.

Here are the general categories:

  • Class 1: Frame
  • Class 2: Jointed Masonry
  • Class 3: Non-combustible
  • Class 4: Masonry, Non-combustible
  • Class 5: Modified Fire Resistive
  • Class 6: Fire Resistive

The reason we explain this is that the higher up on this list your building is, the less likely it is to catch fire – and if it does, you’ll probably be facing less damage because the material is more fire resistant. And all of that can translate to lower insurance rates.

2. The OCCUPATION of your building.

To put it simply, this means what you’re using your building for. Your insurance rate depends on what kind of business you have and what kind of work you do.

To illustrate, let’s compare an auto repair shop with a retail store. The auto shop does welding and stores many chemicals and flammable liquids. The retail store, on the other hand, only has clothes. The auto repair shop is more likely to face a fire, so they’ll probably pay more for their insurance.

Bottom line, some things are more likely to burst into flames. And that affects your insurance rates.

Pro tip: Depending on your business, you may be able to get your property insurance in a business owner’s policy to save money.

3. The PROTECTION your building has against fire.

Bear with us as we talk about fire some more.

The more defenses your building has against fire, the better your insurance rates. Protecting your building can come from without (your local fire department) and within (fire controls installed in your building.)

As far as external protection from fire, the ISO has come up with a way to rank the quality of the fire department near you (as well as other fire control measures.) They score it on a scale from 1-10, with one being the best and 10 being the worst. To come up with this number, they evaluate the quality of your local fire department, the available water supply, the effectiveness of your alarm system, and the strength of the communication system.

Of course, the insurance company isn’t just looking at your fire department. They’ll also look at your building’s firefighting tools. Do you have fire doors? Sprinklers? Fire extinguishers? An alarm system? These things can help minimize damage from a fire, something that insurance companies like to see.

You’ve probably noticed a pattern here:

The more protected you are from fire, the lower your insurance rates are likely to be. So, you might want to brainstorm how you can protect your business from fire.

4. Your business’s EXPOSURES.

Now, this may surprise you, considering what we’ve discussed thus far:

Insurance companies aren’t only concerned with fire when they’re considering the cost of business insurance.

They’re also looking at other exposures, or risks that your business faces. They’ll look at your location to see how susceptible you are to natural disasters and man-made hazards. (For example, they might look at your area’s crime rate.) They also might look at the reconstruction cost of your building, the size of your premises, and the age of your building.

 

We can talk about factors that affect property insurance rates until we’re blue in the face, but the best way to get a truly accurate idea of how much your commercial property insurance will cost is to get a business insurance quote. Our business insurance experts would be happy to help you save on your rates by shopping around for your insurance. All you have to do to get in touch is fill out our form or give us a call today.

What do I need to know about Atlanta hired and non-owned auto insurance?

If your employees drive their own cars for business use, hired and non-owned insurance can protect your business.

If your employees drive their own cars for business use, hired and non-owned insurance can protect your business.

The phrase “better safe than sorry” could have been written with commercial insurance in mind, especially when it comes to vehicles being driven for business purposes. Sure, there’s commercial auto insurance to protect you against risks involving your business’s vehicles.

There’s just one problem:

Commercial auto insurance only covers vehicles owned by your business, not those owned by your employees or those you rent. For many businesses, this is a pretty significant risk.

But not to worry:

We’re going to tell you all about a possible solution – hired and non-owned liability insurance.

What is hired and non-owned liability insurance?

Hired and non-owned insurance will protect your business if your employees ever drive their own vehicle for business purposes (that’s the non-owned portion) and if you or your employees ever have to rent or borrow a vehicle to use for business purposes (that’s the hired portion.)

Your business could be found legally liable if one of your employees is driving a car that your business doesn’t own for business purposes and gets into an accident. But hired and non-owned insurance would save the day.

Does my business need hired and non-owned insurance?

You might be wondering if hired and non-owned is really necessary. What about the employee’s personal auto insurance? Why does your business need extra insurance – the employee was the one who caused the accident, after all, wouldn’t their insurance pay? Well, the employee’s auto insurance could provide primary coverage if they’re driving their car for business purposes (unless they’re delivering or carrying goods, like pizza. More on that later.)

You may want to consider hired and non-owned liability insurance for your business.

But there’s an important Catch-22:

Your employee may not have enough insurance to cover the entire cost of the claim (remember, lawsuits get expensive very quickly.) And if that happens and the accident exhausts the employee’s personal auto insurance, guess who’s on the hook for covering the rest of the claim?

Yep. You got it – your business.

So, if your employees ever have to drive their own cars or drive a rented vehicle for work purposes, you might want to consider getting this coverage. Sending your employees out on errands for your business or having to rent a vehicle on a business trip may seem harmless at the time, but these scenarios can quickly become disastrous. Your business could be found liable for any accidents that happen while the employee was “on the job” for you.

If you already have commercial auto insurance, you can just add hired and non-owned coverage to your policy. If you don’t, no problem – you may be able to get a stand-alone policy or add it to your general liability.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that the vehicles being covered by your hired and non-owned insurance cannot be owned, registered, or contracted in your business’s name or on your behalf.

Why it’s important to clarify what your employee’s personal auto insurance covers

Each auto insurance policy is different in the way they treat driving for business purposes. Most will exclude driving to deliver goods (or people) for a fee – so pizza delivery and flowers are out. Anyways, it’s important that your employees talk to their insurance provider and explain exactly what they will be using the car for.

How can I reduce my business’s risk?

Of course, it’s best to never have to use your insurance at all. There are a few things you can do to lower the chances of having a major problem on your hands.

1. Set up policies that explain your expectations for safe driving: You can create and implement policies about speeding, texting and driving, seatbelt use, and other safety measures. There are many benefits of being a safe driver, after all.

2. Have standards for the personal vehicles used for your business: Your employees’ vehicles should be safe and well-maintained.

3. Review your drivers’ records: It’s important to make sure that your employees are good drivers.

4. Check your employee’s personal auto insurance: It’s a good idea to make sure that everyone’s adequately insured.

5. Have guidelines for renting cars: Make sure your employees know what to do if they have to rent a car for business.

So, there’s some food for thought about hired and non-owned auto insurance. Remember, it’s important to cover the gaps in your business insurance. If your employees drive their own cars, this is definitely something to consider when you’re thinking about what kind of insurance you need for your business.

Commercial auto doesn't cover any vehicles that aren't owned by your business, but hired and non-owned auto insurance does.

If you want to get quotes for business insurance, we can help. We’ll help you shop for the best coverage at the best rate. All you have to do to get business insurance quotes is call us or fill out our online form. We would be happy to speak with you about your insurance.

How a BOP can help you save money on Atlanta business insurance

Getting a BOP can help you save money on your business insurance.

If you own a small business, chances are you keep a close eye on the cost of your business insurance. Getting the best coverage at the best rate may have even become a bit of a crusade. There are several ways to save money on business insurance, but there’s one method you may not have yet considered (and if you have, well, then you’re just ahead of the game.)

Ready?

It’s called a BOP, or business owner’s policy. We’ll explain what a BOP is, go over how it can save you money on your insurance, and let you know about a few things you should consider when buying business insurance.

What is a business owner’s policy?

A BOP is what’s called a package policy. What that means is that it includes several different coverages all bundled into one policy. They’re intended for small to medium-sized businesses.

BOPs typically include property insurance, general liability, and sometimes business interruption insurance. So, rather than getting each of these coverages separately, you can get them all from one place at the same time.

Convenient, right? But that’s not even the best part.

How can a BOP help you save money on your business insurance?

Here’s the best part:

A BOP can help you save money on your business insurance. But the question is, how?

The thing is that it’s usually less expensive to buy your coverages together instead of getting them separately. It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and ordering a dinner entrée instead of getting a whole bunch of sides and appetizers. You get the food you need both ways, but getting the entrée is probably less expensive.

Okay, that analogy was a bit corny. But you get the point.

Anyways, insurance companies love it when businesses get more than one line of coverage from them, so that’s why a BOP may be a good option when it comes to saving money on business insurance.

Now, keep in mind that not all businesses are eligible for business owner’s policies. Every insurer has different eligibility requirements, but across the board business owner’s policies are intended for small to medium-sized businesses. You have to have a certain amount of employees and make a certain amount of revenue or sales. But even if you can’t get a BOP, you can still save money by investigating a commercial package policy, which is similar to a BOP but far less strict about eligibility requirements.

Anyways, it may seem like a better plan to shop for each type of coverage individually and choose the lowest price for each. But it’s definitely worth getting quotes for a business owner’s policy to compare prices. You have to find out what makes the most sense for your business.

Does your business have enough coverage?

Another thing to consider about BOPs:

You may need to think about adding coverages to your business owner’s policy to make sure your business is fully protected from all of the risks you face.

For example, you may want to add crime coverage to your BOP to protect against risks like employee theft. Or perhaps you’d want to add data breach coverage if you store clients’ personal information.

Now. That’s not all.

Your business may need to get separate policies entirely to cover other risks. Workers’ compensation insurance has to be purchased as a separate policy, not added to a BOP. Same thing with flood insurance.

Here’s the reason that we say all of this:

When you’re considering getting a BOP, it’s important that you consider all of the risks your business faces and the protection that the BOP offers. You may need to cover some gaps and make sure that your business is ready to handle anything that could come your way.

And, of course, you have to consider the costs of those additional coverages when you’re shopping for your business insurance.

So. That’s how a BOP can help you save money on your business insurance and some food for thought about extra coverages. When you’re getting business insurance, it’s important that you consult an insurance expert that you can trust. And we would love the opportunity to become that trusted advisor for your business.

We can help you get quotes for business insurance and make sure that you have the insurance you need to fully protect your business. All you have to do to get quotes or get in touch is fill out our quote form or give us a call.

10 ways to improve workplace safety at your Atlanta business

Workplace safety can help you lower your workers compensation insurance costs.

Workplace safety can help you lower your workers compensation insurance costs.

As a business owner, you’re responsible for providing a safe workplace for your employees. It’s kind of part of the job. Sure, you have workers’ compensation insurance, but isn’t it better not to have to use it? By committing to safety at your business, you lower the chance of someone getting hurt, which means fewer workers’ comp claims – and saving money on workers’ comp insurance.

But this all begs the question:

How can you improve workplace safety?

Well, we’ve come up with a handy list of ten ways to improve workplace safety.

1. Hire the right people.

It’s important that you’re diligent and thorough in your hiring process. Make sure that the people who are going to work with you have the necessary skill set and experience to stay safe on the job. Consider the job you’re hiring for and the tasks it requires of the employee. Make sure that your job description clearly reflects the job that you’re hiring for.

2. Train your employees.

Your people can’t do their job safely if no one shows them how. Make sure to spend ample time on training and emphasizing safety. Encourage questions. Explain clearly. Show everyone proper protocol and safety practices – for example, how to use a ladder properly. You can’t throw someone into a pool and expect them to do the butterfly, right? It’s also important that you have continuing education and training – even your experienced employees need a refresher.

3. Identify workplace hazards.

Take a good, hard look at your workplace and take note of anything that could be done more safely and any risks that your employees face. You can’t protect your people if you don’t know what the danger is.

And remember:

You’re not in this alone. Ask your employees for their suggestions or concerns. They’re the ones on the front lines – take the time to have a chat with them.

4. Make a safety plan.

Once you’ve talked to your employees and taken a walk around your workplace to look for hazards, create a plan for eliminating or reducing the hazards you find.

Take steps to make your workplace is as safe as possible, and communicate your plan to your employees. Take the suggestions and concerns your employees have into consideration and make sure they feel like they’re being heard.

Hey, that actually leads us to our next point…

5. Talk about safety.

Make it a habit to talk about safety at your workplace. Even outside of training, your employees should feel comfortable voicing their thoughts about safety and looking out for each other. Communication is key, and discussing how to make your workplace safer should be an ongoing thing.

6. Provide the proper tools and equipment.

If your employees don’t have the tools they need, it’s awfully difficult to do their jobs safely. Make sure that your team has the right tools and equipment to further your safety goals. That could be something as simple as providing a cart or dolly to transport boxes so employees don’t strain themselves lifting heavy loads. This also means providing any personal protective equipment (PPE) that’s necessary for the job. PPE should be kept in good condition and should be readily accessible to all employees.

Make sure to emphasize to your employees that you would rather them take their time, use the right tool, and do the job right than rush through the task without taking precautions. Haste makes waste. In this case, your employees could be seriously hurt if they don’t use the right tools.

7. Show that safety is Priority A.

Create a workplace culture that puts safety at the forefront. Acknowledge those workers who show that they put thought and effort towards safety, not those who put efficiency over doing the job safely. Also, be careful of incentivizing zero injuries – that could lead to a culture where workers don’t report injuries at all.

And that would make it difficult for you to carry out our next tip…

8. Investigate any accidents or near-misses.

If there is ever an accident (or a near-miss) you’ve got to get out your magnifying glass and do some detective work. Launch an investigation and unleash your inner Sherlock Holmes. Talk to witnesses and try to get to the bottom of what happened and why. That way you can do everything in your power to stop it from happening again. Conduct your investigation promptly – your witnesses will have a better recollection of how things unfolded.

But don’t stop there – carry on with improving safety by using our next tip…

9. Be an expert record-keeper.

It’s important to log and record any safety-related happening, whether it’s an accident, first-aid treatment, near-miss, training session, investigation, or inspection. Keeping these records will help you keep track of everything – our memories, sadly , are not perfect. Being organized with your paperwork can also help you notice areas for improvement for safety.

10. Remember that safety and productivity aren’t mutually exclusive.

Just because you commit to a safe healthy workplace, doesn’t mean your productivity will nosedive. Safety is in everyone’s best interest and it’s totally worth it to spend a little extra time to ensure that everyone’s staying safe.

So, those are our ten ways to improve safety in the workplace. Preventing workplace injuries can help you lower your workers’ comp costs, but it’s also about looking out for your people. Your team is a vital part of your business, and they deserve a safe workplace. So. Go forth and make your workplace safer.

And if you want to save money on business insurance, we would be happy to help. Our team can help you shop for the best coverage at the best possible rate. All you have to do to get business insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call. We’re here to help with any of your insurance needs.

Does my Atlanta restaurant or bar need liquor liability insurance?

Liquor liability insurance can protect your restaurant from the risks associated with serving alcohol.

If your Atlanta dining establishment serves alcohol, you’re open to a number of risks. What if a fight breaks out because one of your patrons is intoxicated? What if one of your patrons leaves and gets into a car accident that injures the other driver – and what if your patron is found to be legally drunk? Your business could be found responsible on the basis of being the place that served the alcohol. But that’s where liquor liability insurance comes in. We’ll explain how liquor insurance can protect your business and what to look for in a policy.

First of all: What is liquor liability?

Okay, before we go any further, let’s define what liquor liability insurance is protecting you from. Liquor liability is the legal responsibility of a business that serves or sells alcohol for the actions of patrons who drank said alcohol at their establishment. That means that you could be found responsible if one of your patrons causes someone bodily harm or causes property damage. So, restaurant safety should include training for employees about serving alcohol.

Why do I need liquor liability coverage?

General liability insurance may provide host liquor liability for occasional instances where alcohol is served (like as a company holiday party.) However, this host liquor liability is not enough for a business that sells and serve alcohol. As we mentioned above, alcohol comes with many risks, and you need to make sure that you’re covered for any mishaps that happen because of serving it.

What does liquor liability insurance cover?

The short answer to what liquor liability insurance covers is that it can protect you if you get sued because of the actions of an intoxicated patron. For example, some things that may be covered by liquor liability insurance covers are…

1. Unruly customers. Alcohol can make people unpredictable, and it can even make them violent. You can include assault and battery with your policy (we’ll explain more about this in a moment.)

2. Legal fees and court defense costs. If you’re on the receiving end of an alcohol-related claim or lawsuit, the legal fees and damages that you’re obligated to pay can become astronomical. But liquor liability may help you cover these expenses.

3. Your employees. You want to trust your employees to serve alcohol responsibly and follow any protocols you have set up – and not to drink on the job – but your policy can provide an added protection for your employees.

How to choose the liquor liability policy that’s right for you:

It’s extremely important to note that not all liquor liability policies are the same. Some may exclude certain scenarios, meaning you would need to add coverage to be sure that your business is fully protected. Be sure to check for the following in the policy you’re considering:

  • Assault and battery coverage: Many policies actually exclude assault and battery, so make sure that you add this coverage to close the gap. You can usually extend assault and battery coverage to include specific situations, such as shootings, stabbings, or sexual assault.
  • Defense costs: You need to make sure that your policy will cover defense costs outside of the policy’s limit. Legal fees can add up and they can eat up your policy’s limit quickly, leaving no money to cover damages you have to pay. Basically, you need to check if the cost of defending yourself against a claim is covered in addition to the limit on your policy.
  • Coverage for employees: Earlier we mentioned that your employees can be a risk to your business if they don’t serve alcohol responsibly or if they drink on the job. It’s a good idea to make sure that your policy accounts for your employees and covers them just like it does your patrons.
  • Coverage for claims of mental damages: If a third-party is involved in an alcohol-related incident caused by one of your patrons, they could sue for stress, anguish, or psychological injury even if they were not physically injured. Check and see if the policy you’re considering covers these sorts of claims.

A note about serving alcohol to minors:

The drinking age in the United States is 21. There’s no arguing with it. If you have a liquor liability claim that arises from serving alcohol to a minor, that claim will not be covered. It’s crucial that all of your employees know to ID people and how to identify fake IDs. Everyone needs to understand that serving alcohol to minors will not be tolerated at your establishment.

So that’s why liquor liability insurance is so important for restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol. Serving alcohol opens your business to a number of risks, which is why having the right insurance is key to your business. To find out what kind of insurance you need for your business, you can fill out our online form or give us a call today. We would be happy to discuss your business and your insurance with you. We can also help you shop for the best rate for your insurance and get business insurance quotes for you.

Protect your business from four different types of theft

You business faces several different types of theft.

You business faces several different types of theft.Sometimes people really want things that don’t belong to them, and your business faces numerous types of theft. There are various threats out there, but by being aware of them and taking steps to lower your risk you can protect your business from theft. We’ll go over four types of crime that businesses face and offer tips to help you prevent them.

Protect your business from burglary:

Burglars are extremely crafty, which means that you need to be craftier to foil their efforts. Protecting your business from burglary takes some planning, but it’s important to do – burglary can be disastrous for business. To keep unwanted thieves out of your building, check out the following tips.

  1. Make sure you have plenty of interior and exterior lighting, especially around any entrances.
  2. Keep your trees and bushes trimmed. By doing so, you eliminate hiding places for any would-be burglars.
  3. Have a monitored alarm system installed, along with security cameras. A commercial security system can be a deterrent to thieves.
  4. Secure your windows with shatter-proof glass and strong window locks.
  5. Have strong doors installed, preferably ones made of steel.
  6. Get a fence around the perimeter of your business.
  7. Have a safe for valuables. The safe should be hidden and secured to the ground.

Protect your business from robbery:

The concept of robbery is terrifying. It’s something that every business owner hopes fervently won’t happen to their business and their employees. To try to keep everyone – employees and customers both – safe in the event of a robbery, try the following tips:

  1. Spend time training your employees about robbery and what to do if the business is ever robbed. Stress that their lives are the important thing, not the money.
  2. Get in touch with your local police department for help with creating a training plan. They will most likely have some good advice for you and can give suggestions for training and robbery prevention.
  3. Don’t keep large amounts of cash in the register. You can post signs that state clearly that the register is emptied regularly to discourage robbers.
  4. Have a safe that’s hidden.

Protect your business from employee theft:

Unfortunately, employee theft is more common than we might like to think. Even small businesses are at-risk for employee theft – it’s not just large corporations. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the possibility and protect your business from employee theft. Try the following tips:

  1. Have video cameras installed.
  2. Keep an eye on your finances and bookkeeping.
  3. Do inventory frequently.
  4. Create a return and void procedure.
  5. Foster positive relationships with your employees and encourage a happy, pleasant workplace atmosphere.

Protect your business from cybercrime and identity theft:

Data breaches and cyber risks are becoming more and more serious for businesses. If a hacker steals the personal identifying information of your clients, your business could be in big trouble. Check out the following tips to prevent a data breach and reduce your business’s cyber risks:

  1. Have a firewall on your computers to repel unwanted visitors.
  2. Get anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
  3. Educate your employees about cybersecurity.
  4. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure.
  5. Protect computers with strong passwords.
  6. Consider getting cyber liability insurance.

Burglary, robbery, employee theft, and identity theft are very real possibilities for businesses. We hope that you never have to deal with any of these devastating losses, but nonetheless, it’s important for you to be prepared and to take steps to protect your business from these various forms of theft.

Another way to protect your business is with business insurance. It’s important to have enough insurance to fully protect your business from all of your risks, and our team of commercial insurance agents can help you identify your risks and get the coverage you need to protect your company from them. All you have to do to get business insurance quotes is fill out our quick online form or give us a call today.

6 ways to lower your workers’ compensation premiums in Atlanta

Improving safety can help you save money on your workers' comp insurance.

Improving safety can help you save money on your workers' comp insurance.

As an employer, you might absolutely dread one of your employees getting hurt. You care about your employees, of course, and you don’t want to see them in pain because of a workplace accident (and, well, there’s an awful lot of paperwork involved with workplace accidents.) Ensuring that the employee gets the medical attention and care they need is the most important thing, so as a business owner it’s important for you to have enough workers’ compensation insurance to provide for your employees if they get hurt – workers’ comp is probably one of the most important types of business insurance. But there are things you can do to control and manage the cost of the workers’ compensation insurance you need. Below are six tips that explain how you can lower your workers’ comp premium.

1. Place an emphasis on safety.

The best way to avoid workers’ comp claims (and the potential rise in your insurance rates that follows) is to prevent the accident in the first place. And that means taking the time to properly train your employees in safety protocol – for example, how to stay safe while working with ladders. Every member of your team should get the training they need to stay safe on the job. It’s kind of hard to avoid accidents and danger if you don’t know where to look for it, which is where training comes in. Anyways, it’s important to talk about safety, too, to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind. Safety is a team effort.

Here are some basic safety tips you can consider for your business.

  • Identify hazards around your workplace and take steps to minimize them.
  • Choose a flooring material that won’t make everyone slip and fall – you need a floor surface that has good traction.
  • Reduce distractions on the job.
  • Implement ergonomics at your workplace. Ergonomics means tailoring a workspace to the jobs that are performed there to reduce the chances of strain and injury. There are even benefits of implementing ergonomics at an office.
  • Teach and emphasize proper lifting to help employees avoid back problems – lift with your legs, not with your back, everyone.

2. Create a return to work program.

A return to work or modified duty program allows employees who have been hurt to come back to work. They will be assigned tasks that have been customized for their physical capabilities while they’re recovering from their injury. Keep in mind that it’s essential to make sure that the employee is getting the medical attention and support they need.

Now, having a return to work program might make it seem like you’re just trying to exploit an injured person. That’s not the case. The goal of a return to work program is to support the employee as they come back into the workplace and resume their job duties. So, when you’re creating the new tasks that are tweaked for your employee, make sure that the work is meaningful and genuinely contributes to your business so that the employee doesn’t feel punished or unnecessary. It’s important that they know how much you value them.

Understanding your mod can help you figure out how your workers' comp premium is calculated.

3. Understand your workers’ comp mod.

Your company’s mod, or modification factor, is a method of figuring out how “risky” your company is by comparing it to other businesses in your industry. It gives insurance carriers a way of seeing whether your workers’ comp losses are better, on par, or worse than what they’d expect. (The size of your company, unexpected big losses, the frequency of losses, and the severity of your losses are all ways in which your business is compared to others.) The data used by most states for calculating mods is collected by the National Council on Compensation Insurance.

Okay. The significance of your mod is that it can either make your workers’ comp premium higher or lower. If your mod is above 1.0, you have a debit, which means that your losses are worse than what they should be. If your mod is below 1.0, you have a credit, which means your losses are better than what is expected. A debit means that you could have higher workers’ comp premiums while a credit means that you could get lower workers’ comp premiums.

4. Investigate accidents and near-misses.

It’s really important that you put on your detective hat and conduct an investigation of any accident or near-miss that happens at your workplace. Talk to witnesses and get their accounts of what happened. Check out the area where the accident occurred and observe what could have caused it. Try to get to the bottom of what happened and keep a detailed and organized record of your discoveries. The idea is to find out why the accident happened so that you can prevent another accident from happening in the future. Knowing why it happened will help you take steps to avoid another injury or accident.

Pro tip: Try to conduct your investigation within 48 hours of the incident. The witnesses will have a clearer memory of what happened, and besides, it’s best to take action immediately to prevent future accidents.

5. Report injuries that need to be reported promptly.

If the accident is a reportable one, you need to file that report as quickly as you can. It’s best to do this ASAP to help the investigation and claim move forward as smoothly as possible. The Department of Labor requires you to file several reports – for instance, the First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease must be completed according to your state’s workers’ comp laws. Find out what paperwork and reports you have to fill out and go to town.

Pro tip: Make sure your employees know that they need to inform their supervisor (or you) about any workplace accident or injury as soon as they can.

6. Check your payroll.

Make sure that all of your job classifications and your payroll are correct. All of this needs to be accurate so that you’ve got the right amount of workers’ comp insurance.

Your employee is the priority when it comes to your workers’ comp insurance. Taking steps to improve safety at your workplace is vital so that you can prevent accidents and injuries. A bonus of emphasizing safety is that you can lower your workers’ comp premiums. So, the simple truth is that preventing workers’ comp claims is really in everyone’s best interest.

Another way to save money on business insurance is to shop around and compare rates. Our team of insurance experts can help you with that. We can get multiple quotes for workers’ comp insurance so that you can compare coverages and prices. All you have to do to get workers’ comp quotes is fill out our form or give us a call today.

What is inland marine insurance and does my Atlanta business need it?

Inland marine insurance can be helpful for businesses to cover gaps in their insurance.

Words can be a lot of fun, especially when they say something that seems to be contradictory but really isn’t (a.k.a. an oxymoron.) Business insurance has its fair share of funny words, and one of those phrases is “inland marine insurance.” How can marine insurance be inland? You may think that the name doesn’t make a terrible lot of sense, and you would be correct. However, we can explain what inland marine insurance is and even why it has such a funny name.

What is inland marine insurance?

Contrary to what the name suggests, inland marine insurance does not have anything to do with boats. Basically, inland marine is a way for businesses to fill gaps in their insurance coverage. Certain parts of your business might not be covered anywhere within your other insurance policies, which is why you may want to think about inland marine when you’re buying business insurance. We’ll explain what inland marine insurance covers in a moment.

Where does the funny name come from?

Okay, here’s the deal with the name. Once upon a time, shipping used to use boats – hence why it’s caused shipping. Marine insurance was a way to protect ocean shipping businesses from loss. But then “shipping” became less dependent on the ocean because the cargo was loaded onto barges to be transported inland. And, since the cargo still needed coverage, a new form of insurance evolved – complete with an oxymoronic name.

But that’s not where the word fun ends. Within inland marine insurance, there’s something called a floater that protects cargo while it’s being moved from place to place. Guess where the name came from? In the days where shipping meant ships, the cargo that “floater” policies protected was actually, literally floating. Nowadays, the property that’s protected by a floater policy doesn’t have to be floating or levitating. Though that would be pretty neat.

What kind of business uses inland marine insurance?

Many types of business have inland marine insurance so that they can cover the gaps in their business insurance. There are different forms of inland marine insurance, such as bailee insurance (which is not just for people named Bailey) and contractor’s equipment.

We’ll give a few examples. If your business ever has your clients’ property in your care, you may need bailee insurance – for example, a computer repair shop where clients drop off their devices. If you ever transport property or equipment, you might need a floater policy. If you install products in your clients’ homes, you might consider installation coverage.

What we’re trying to say is that a variety of businesses, like construction business, technology or communications businesses, and transportation businesses, can benefit from inland marine insurance. Here’s a breakdown of different forms of inland marine by industry:

  • Construction
    • Builder’s risk: Protects buildings that are being constructed or repaired.
    • Contractor’s equipment: Protects tools and equipment used in construction that aren’t covered under builder’s risk.
    • Installation: Covers machinery and equipment while it’s being moved and during installation.
    • Rigger’s liability: Coverage for when you’re acting as a rigger for someone else’s property.
  • Technology and communication
    • Cable television: Covers property that is needed for cable television service.
    • Electronic equipment: Insures certain pieces of electronic equipment.
    • Medical imaging equipment: Covers medical equipment that is mobile and used by hospitals, clinics, etc.
    • Physicians and surgeons: Covers medical, surgical, and dental equipment used by those professions.
    • Telecommunications equipment: Protects phones, fax machines, audio and visual equipment for video conferencing, and computers.
  • Transportation
    • Commercial transport: Coverage for truckers and warehouses that protects goods while they’re being transported.
    • Legal liability: Covers the expenses you’re legally obligated to pay for a covered loss if you damage someone else’s property.
    • Motor truck cargo: Protects trucking businesses against losses to their cargo and their property while it’s in transit.
    • Railroad rolling stock: Protects rolling stock that’s owned/leased by railroad or other companies.
    • Tank storage: Protects tanks and pipes while they are in the policyholder’s care, custody, and control.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Bailee insurance: Covers your clients’ belongings while they’re in your care, custody, and control.
    • Armored cars: Protects against losses related to armored trucks.
    • Furrier’s block: Protects items that include fur while they’re in the care of department stores, furriers, retailers, etc.
    • Jewelers block: Covers jewels and gems used in the policyholder’s business.
    • Floaters: Covers movable property.

So, to conclude, inland marine insurance doesn’t relate to boats at all. Yes, the name is confusing. Anyways, inland marine insurance is meant to help businesses close the gaps in their insurance by providing coverage for areas that don’t have any. There are many kinds of inland marine insurance out there, so you might want to think about inland marine when considering what type of insurance your business needs.

If you want to save money on your business insurance, we can help. We can shop for the best rates for your commercial insurance so that you can be assured that you’re getting the coverage you need at the best possible price. All you have to do to get business insurance quotes is fill out our online form or give us a call today.