Sunday, May 31, 2015

What is WOTUS? | NFIB

What is the Waters of the U.S. rule and why should small businesses care about this regulation? Learn more:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

These 5 Simple Steps Can Help You!

Workers' compensation rates are a major concern for small business owners. Here, Beth Milito of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center offers 5 simple steps you can take to limit your insurance premium costs. Like what you see? Watch more Legal Ease videos:

Monday, May 25, 2015

2015 Memorial Day Tribute - Arlington - Trace Adkins

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13

Memorial Day – to some it’s merely the beginning of summer and to others it’s a solemn day to remember those who have passed from this life. However, to the war veteran and to the families of fallen soldiers, Memorial Day carries significance so deep that words cannot express their hearts.

When we look into the eyes of those who still mourn these once vibrant men and women, we often sense their loneliness and pain. We hear them choke back tears as they simply say the ranks and names of their military brothers and sisters at a Memorial Day service. White gloves, dress uniforms, rigid posture, and perfectly precisioned salutes represent the reverence and respect flowing from within. Those who have been personally affected by war understand and appreciate this day of remembrance.

What should we say to those who sincerely honor this day? "Happy Memorial Day" doesn't seem fitting. "I'm sorry for your loss" may be closer to appropriate. What would the fallen soldier want from their comrades and the rest of the country on this day?

In an often quoted Memorial Day speech given in 1884 by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the speaker ended his address with these words, “Our dead brothers still live for us, and bid us think of life, not death -- of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and joy of the spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.”

The American soldier who gave his or her life for U.S. citizens to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness won’t be telling us how to observe the holiday. But I believe that Holmes’ proposition to “think of life, not death” would honor the fallen soldier. Their sacrifice follows the example of Jesus Christ laying down His life for our freedom. It's selfless love for others – not so they can mourn forever, but live!

"We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters." 1 John 3:16

Notice that in scripture and in military service, the willingness to give up one’s life is not dependent on the worthiness of the people who benefit from the honorable act. In a perfect world, all who receive freedom and grace would be worthy of such a sacrifice and full of gratitude. But that’s not the way it is anywhere on earth.

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

We are blessed to be living in a free society. May we honor our American soldiers for the liberty we have in this country. May we also give thanks to Almighty God for the freedom we have to spend eternity with Him because of His gift of forgiveness through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
By Beth Patch

Friday, May 22, 2015

Double Taxation Victory & EPA Testimony | NFIB's Week In Small Business

This week (5.22.2015) in small business, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Maryland's double taxation scheme, a case in which NFIB filed an amicus brief supporting the over-taxed party. NFIB's Small Business Legal Center also testified this week in front of the Senate Small Business Committee on the EPA's latest overreach. And finally, a Bloomberg report draws a direct correlation between NFIB's economic optimism index and the sales of vans. Things are looking up for both! Watch more Week in Small Business videos:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Safety Tips For Grilling!

This grilling season, NFPA tests your knowledge and demonstrates the proper way to use your grill safely to prevent fires.

Friday, May 15, 2015

What Is Contractor Insurance?

To those unaware of the ins and outs of professional insurance products, dangers in the workplace and of course the many legal loopholes within our busy business world, never fear, as you are certainly not alone.
In everyday life, insurance exists as a means in which individuals can protect themselves against most of life's misfortunes. This is of course, what insurance companies and money lenders tell people, and although rightly so, often falls on unwanted ears. To most of us, insurance is a word that is met with a sigh, our minds conjuring up pictures of faceless men in suits, with outstretched arms and briefcases of bad news. This is of course a natural reaction, but in reality, insurers do, and insurance does work in our best interests... In a roundabout way.
Contracting is a popular profession in the 21st century, contractors working alongside employees as if they were the same, but in reality (concerning tax, status and of course insurance) they are quite different. Contractors are not employed by the companies that are hiring them, instead they work for their own limited companies, and it is these companies that are hired by firms who require the contractor to work. This is an overtly confusing concept to those who are not directly involved in contracting, but it is a professional way of life that exists and works well.
Contracting brings with it a number of perks to the contractor, their hours are versatile and they are beneficial to a lower tax bracket than the average employee. This being said however, as technically self-employed professionals, contractors are required to take out a number of specifically designed contractor insurance policies, each tailored to the professional risks of contracting.
Contractor insurance is so important, as being self-employed sole traders; contractors are 100% liable to any mistake or misfortune that may occur within the workplace, making the financial risk a potentially huge overhead. The policies themselves that are available to contractors range from cover designed to protect professional indemnity, to accident and sickness insurance should a contractor fall ill.
What makes contractor insurances unique however are its relevance to contractors and its advantages to limited company professionals. Each policy is designed to cover an eventuality that concerns contractors specifically, and each insurance cover aids contractors in different ways. Take PI insurance for example, which is a contractor policy that may not be required by an average employee. It would cover a contractor in a case of professional negligence that would result in financial loss. This would not be necessary for an employee to have for example, as their employing company would most probably have a policy similar to employer's liability that covers any employee's mistakes.
If you are a contractor, then insurance I'm afraid to say, is a necessary and advantageous commodity to have within your arsenal of professional weapons. Acting as a shield to protect your limited company assets and finances, contractor cover still remains a must-have form of protection, and its importance should never be overlooked.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Contractors Insurance Quotes and Getting the Most From Them

In respects to contractors shopping for contractors insurance there are two type of contractors, what I like to call knowledgeable and learning contractors. The knowledgeable contractors tend to have some years of experience in searching out their contractors insurance policies while the learning contractors tend to be within their first couple years of business. The knowledgeable contractors get right to the point giving their agents precise information and looking for exact figures of coverage which ultimately makes them easier to work with while the learning contractor can be difficult to be able to cover properly. Insurance is a language that some find hard to understand so the learning contractors don't seem to articulate their needs very well to their insurance brokers which leaves room for errors. As insurance brokers, part of our job is making sure to protect our contractors to the best of our ability and to help educate them as to what insurance might best be suited for their particular needs. For this to happen, both the contractor and the Insurance Agent need to be on the same page. Here I will go into some of the key points that I feel will help contractors find the best insurance quotes available from their Agent or broker.
First you will need to get an idea of what you are looking to insure. All contractors insurance policies are not the same. A painting contractor in Oregon might not require the same type of insurance policy as a General contractor would in California. Stop and ask yourself what it is exactly that you do. Think about what could go wrong in your operations. Find out if your state has construction defect laws that directly affect your type of work. Contact your state or local licensing agency to find out about any warranty that they require of your products after installation. If you find any, you would want to have an insurance policy that offers that coverage without excessive limitations.
Know your limits of insurance. This is different for everyone but a good place to start is to look around you and mentally add up everything you are worth. Then, take that as the starting figure and don't insure yourself for anything less. It wouldn't make sense to be worth a million dollars and be insured for only fifty thousand. I hear all the time that my clients only want their contractors liability insurance to be $10,000 since their project cost is only $10,000 but they fail to understand that the project cost doesn't dictate the cost of a claim and a $100 job could cause $500,000 in damages.
Don't be shy about telling your insurance agent everything. Remember, we as insurance agents work for you. We are here to make sure that you get insured for what you are doing. If you don't communicate to us what you need, then we won't know to provide it for you.
Make sure your broker is working with your best interest in mind. Insurance agents are like anyone else and can get lazy. Make sure you get the most competitive insurance quotes possible. Ask to get comparison quotes so that you know they are really shopping around for you and not just handing you the first quote they get back. Ask your agent what kind of experience in contractors insurance they have. Unless they specialize in contractors insurance, it might be a good idea to look for someone who does so that you know that your particular needs are understood. Ask if the quote comes with any added features such as free additional insured certificates, free waivers of subrogation etc. I have heard clients tell stories about their prior insurance agents charging them for regular certificates of insurance and because it was not placed on the proposal the insured signed, they could do nothing about it. Lastly, ask for different payment options. Along with the old pay in full option, most carriers allow for payments to be made throughout the year which lessens the financial burden for contractors insurance policies.
Being a knowledgeable contractor looking for insurance will ultimately save you money and possible coverage headaches in the future. Just by taking a little time to do some research on your local construction requirements can head off many costly problems down the road and helps build the confidence to ask your insurance agent for exactly what you need. Understanding contractors insurance is like learning a new language and may seem a bit intimidating but don't fret, your insurance agent or broker is there to help you along the way. Don't be afraid to call and ask whatever questions you may have, after all, that's part of what you're paying for.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Contractors Trust the FSI Guarantee - First Service Insurance

Welcome contractors and thank you for the opportunity to earn your business. We have made serving small to medium size businesses our first priority since opening our doors in 1997. Today, thousands of satisfied clients trust us with the coverage they need and rely on us for the service they want.

We earn our reputation by providing what you want and then going beyond to deliver the unexpected. Here’s what you get: First, you are handed your own dedicated support team made of licensed pros who really know construction coverage. Next, you get our fully-staffed certificate department at the ready. After that, anytime you need us you have the most highly-experienced group of specialty insurance people in the business. Wrapping it all up, you get a guarantee that puts in writing that you will continue to get this service all the time.

With us, you get the specialist in the field. The best. You usually expect to pay more for this level of service, but the people we serve happily report that our premiums are actually better. And, of course, no one else has the huge advantage of our experienced service and our written guarantee on top of it all.

Remember, with us it’s more than a slogan, we are Working for Contractors™.

The service I get from First Service is simply put - PERFECT!” –T.D. in NB

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jeans Company Subcontractors Accused in $79M Payroll Fraud

California Department of Insurance press conference. Subcontractors of True Religion Brand Jeans allegedly conspired with CPA in multi-million dollar workers’ comp insurance fraud scheme.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Fire Sprinkler Side-By-Side Demonstration - Part 1 sprinklered

The South Carolina Fire & Life Safety Education Association, a member of the South Carolina Fire Sprinkler Coalition, presents an impressive side-by-side fire sprinkler burn demonstration during AFSA’s North Carolina/South Carolina Joint Convention, April 10, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, SC.