Glad I’m not their insurance agent…


Milford House Collapses/Falls Off Pilings.


Did you see this?  It’s only 11 seconds.


They were ‘lifting’ a house in a flood prone area of Milford.  Some contractor and their insurer has a big problem. I hope their insurance professional did the insurance right.



Keeping Your Construction Workers Safe from Active Shooters – Top Strategies

Active shooter events are occurring on a far too regular basis. The average of active shooters was 6.4 per year in 2000 to 2006, that number has since seen a sharp rise. Between the years of 2007 and 2013, the number almost tripled to an average of 16.4 per year, according to The Department of Homeland Security.

While these events are rare occurrences on a construction site, the reality is, they do occur within the workplace. There is the same risk with other major attacks, such as in the event of vehicle hijacking, which on a construction site, can potentially become fatal.

As it currently stands, there is no law that says construction sites or companies need to put into place protection measures to safeguard their employees from these rare, but potentially fatal events. However, that doesn’t mean that construction companies can’t put into place potentially life-saving protection measures themselves.

The measures could just be simple, like including education on the early warning signs of active shootings, with a guaranteed complaint follow-up system. There are a number of ways that a construction site can approach active shooter protection, including the following four strategies for a safer workplace:

1. ) Work on Correct Worker Response

Response time is one of the biggest shooter prevention strategies, focusing on getting workers to run and hide, and if there is no other possible course of action, to fight. There is already a model in place for active shooter response, both from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Workers should be educated and trained to follow the recommended actions in the event of an active shooting, which includes three possible reactions:

Response One: Run from the event and find a safe location and call for help.

Response Two: In an event where running is not possible, find the best hiding location nearby and call for help.

Response Three: Use whatever is available to fight the attacker until the threat is gone.

Running drills to practice these emergency responses is one of the best ways to get workers accustomed to what they would need to do in a real scenario.

2.) Understand the Risks

Very often, a potential active shooter will draw attention to themselves before a shooting occurs. Employers and employees are in a prime position to be able to see any changes in their behavior first-hand and address the changes quickly. Incidents that it’s important to be on the lookout for, and address, can include:

  • Violent talk or acts of violent behavior, including aggression
  • Signs of depression/paranoia
  • Sudden habit or hygiene changes
  • Threats or threatening gestures and remarks
  • Changes in performance at work
  • Harm inflicted to themselves or another person
  • Destruction of property
  • Self-destructive tendencies.

It’s also crucial to be on the lookout for potential workplace security risks, areas where individuals may be able to trespass or think they can, and any warning signs from recently terminated employees.

3.) Be Prepared to Face Threats

Knowing the risks is vital, but so is being ready to face them if it’s ever needed. Establishing a Threat Response Team, that is able to actively aid law enforcement in the local area, and who understand the protocols for emergency response, can greatly aid the workplace.

With a Threat Response Team, employees have somewhere to turn to for advice, information, or even first-aid supplies. It also means that there is a group of people to deal with potential warning signs through investigation.

4.) Work with Law Enforcement

Law enforcement in the local area will be able to provide a wealth of advice on training, protocols, and responses, and also give feedback on performance. They will be the main responder to any reported active shooting, so it’s beneficial to build a relationship with them as early on as possible.

Do you work on a construction site or run a construction company, and are worried about the threat of active shooters? Talk to us today to learn more about essential insurance for a safer workplace and how to get better coverage.

The Rising Risks of Construction Work

Working in construction has undergone a dramatic change over the last 60 years. Since the 1960s and 1970s, when safety wasn’t the highest priority, construction work has transformed by introducing a whole host of new safety precautions.

However, whilst the precautions account for a large number of the risks associated with working in construction, they haven’t eliminated every danger from the industry. In 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 937 workers were killed in construction, accounting for 21.4% of the full total of worker fatalities in that year. This number is higher than in any other industry sector and marks the highest number of construction fatalities since 2008.

Breaking Down the Statistics

While the full number of fatalities is shocking, when you break it down, the statistics become even more alarming. Those 937 fatalities mean that 18 people a week never came home from work. Tragedies that didn’t have to happen.

To combat the unnecessarily high number of fatalities, more focus needs to be directed towards improving safety conditions – more so than what has already been done. If safety measures aren’t constantly improving, then there is the risk of bouncing back to the days of incredibly poor safety measures.

A Risk That is Rising

The need for heightened measures for safety becomes even more critical when accounting for the increase in workers within the construction sector. 2015 saw the highest level of construction employment since 2008, with 75% of firms having plans to extend their workforce.

The combination of higher amounts of work and increased wages in the construction industry, make improving safety a top priority. This is especially prominent as the heightened demand has led firms to hire workers that are not as qualified or are experienced primarily in different industries.

To combat the growing issue of risk for construction workers, education and training on a continuous basis have become very important.

Construction Training

One of the most important aspects of modern construction safety training is centered around the ‘Construction Focus Four’. The Construction Focus Four are hazards that have been identified as the most prominent by OSHA. These consist of:

  • Caught-in/between – accounting for 67 construction fatalities in 2015
  • Electrocution – accounting for 81 construction fatalities in 2015
  • Struck-by – accounting for 90 construction fatalities in 2015
  • Falls – accounting for 364 construction fatalities in 2015

With the vast majority of the accidents, 602, being a direct result of the Construction Focus Four, the emphasis is being put on continuous training – reaching as many small-to-medium sized construction contractors as possible. By directing training at small-sized contractors and subcontractors, the aim is to assist those who otherwise might not have ample resources to do so themselves.

Reducing Risks Through Ongoing Training

Training that continues into the workplace and beyond is of the upmost importance when reducing safety risks. This includes new-employee/experienced-employee mentoring and buddy systems, that can help all construction workers at every level.

Being aware of what other workers are doing and responding with help and assistance is key in making sure that everyone stays safe on the job. Certain programs have been developed to help enforce this through encouragement and rewards, such as the ‘Thumbs Up for Safety’ program.

The program introduces the ‘Countdown to Safety’, which is designed to help workers identify potential hazards and address them. These engaging programs go one step further than the standard rulebook, helping employees to work in a lower risk environment and construction firms put safety as a top priority.

There is still a lot of work to be done, but it seems that the construction industry is starting to make serious positive changes.

Interested in topics about health and safety in construction, and want to learn more about health insurance in the construction industry? Contact us at any time for any insurance questions you might have.

Common Types of Construction Insurance Coverage and How To Select a Carrier

It is important to assess the risks associated with construction projects before looking for insurance. The policy limits and terms in your insurance need to suit to your construction project and must be able to cover any losses you may incur. Construction projects are inherently risky operations, meaning that selecting the right insurance is particularly crucial to a project’s long-term survival.

First of all, let’s look at some of the most common types of construction insurance coverage.

1. Commercial General Liability coverage

When it comes to construction projects, CGL (Commercial General Liability) is the most common form of insurance policy. Standard CGL policies insure commercial enterprises against property damage and bodily injury, with these terms being greater defined in the policy documentation. You should bear in mind, however, that a CGL policy does not cover the cost of repairing defective work; it only covers the damage which results from said defective work. Repair claims usually differ from contract to contract, so it is crucial to pay close attention to the warranty and indemnification processes outlined in the policy.

2. “Umbrella” policies

Umbrella policies are most often useful for large contractors who run large-scale construction projects. An umbrella policy will normally come in addition to a CGL policy, as CGL policies have limits which may not cover all the liabilities at stake. An Umbrella policy allows the contractor to “fill in” this gap, as it were.

3. “Builder’s Risk” policies

This type of coverage protects specific builders from specific workplace dangers that they face regularly. These policies usually require the owner, the subcontractors and the general contractors to be named. Builder’s risk policies can cover the structure itself, as well as the materials involved. Builder’s risk policies usually have terms of duration strictly outlined, and usually cover you in the event of things such as wind, fire, lightning, theft, explosions, vandalism, and much more. Common exclusions from these policies include employee theft, earthquakes, flood damage, government action, wars, damages due to mechanical equipment breakdown, and much more. As with any insurance policy, be sure to read the fine print and find out what you are (and are not) covered for.

4. Professional Liability Coverage

Construction projects involving design usually see most of the professional liability lying with the design professional. As the industry changes, however, increasing amounts of contractors are working as designers and builders too, meaning that they assume the responsibility both for the design and the liability exposures too. People who work in this capacity will often purchase a PLC policy, as CGL is not designed to protect them in the same way.

5. Contractor’s Pollution Coverage policy

Pollution incidents are surprisingly common, and a Pollution Coverage policy provides coverage for third-party claims in the case of bodily injury or property damage. A Pollution Coverage policy may be especially useful if you’re involved in infrastructure, maintenance, demolition, HVAC services, carpentry, or any other similar field.

Advice for selecting a construction insurance carrier

Consider solvency when selecting an insurance carrier. What is their combined ratio? This combined ratio is the combination of the loss ratio and the expense ratio, and is said to indicate how well an insurance carrier is performing. The loss ratio is a measurement of the ratio of adjusting losses and costs against the number of premiums earned. On the other hand, the expense ratio is designed to measure the ratio of incurred business operation costs against written premiums.

If a company’s combined ratio is in excess of 100% for a year, then the insurance company has actually lost money during that period. The A.M Best Company rates insurance companies on a scale from A+ (excellent) to C (fair), taking their solvency into account. Try to aim for insurance carriers with A or A+ ratings!

Also consider whether the insurance carrier is admitted or non-admitted. Admitted carriers must comply with state’s Department of Insurance regulations, whereas non-admitted carriers are not required to comply with these regulations at all. This means that non-admitted carriers can be flexible with their rates, allowing them to provide insurance for higher-risk events which state-approved admitted carriers simply cannot be allowed to provide due to the financial implications.

What with the inevitable risks associated with construction projects, it is essential to acquire the right type of insurance that protects you, your employees, and your property from damages of all kinds. Bear in mind, nonetheless, to focus on what your policy DOES NOT cover, as these are the things which often catch contractors out, especially in high-risk environments such as construction sites.

Are you a contractor looking to find the best insurance policy for your needs? Get in touch for bespoke advice about construction insurance policies in your field and location.

Protecting Younger Construction Workers

BuildForce Canada estimates that around 21% of the labour force (over 132,000 workers) will retire between the years of 2018 and 2027, necessitating replacements in the near future. A new influx of younger workers is said to meet the new demand, with over 125,000 workers aged 30 and younger now entering the construction industry.

However, there are safety concerns about the sudden influx of younger workers, who are statistically more likely to experience deaths or injuries on construction sites due to their lack of experience in health and safety practices when compared to their older and more experienced counterparts.

Safety and construction associations are aware of this risk, with Tammy Oliver, Senior Director of the BC Construction Safety Alliance, saying that the BCCSA is offering health and safety-related courses to young people who wish (or need) to receive formal safety qualifications for industries such as roadbuilding and construction. The alliance also offers hazard awareness training programs too.

WorkSafeBC is also said to offer health and safety programs to new and emerging workers, with the Young Worker Speaker program being created to assist parent advisory councils and secondary schools that have concerns about young workers’ safety. Spokeswoman Erica Simpson claims that the program supplies speakers with unique experience and skills, allowing them to educate other young people and encourage them to take safety procedures seriously.

Terry Bogyo, a BC consultant, says that young construction worker deaths and injuries are a many-sided issue.

 “The loss of limbs, function, and life of anyone is serious, but, in the case of young workers, the potential years of life lost or the disability-adjusted years of life imposed are that much greater.”

Discussing how some younger workers may ignore safety rules in order to impress their new bosses, Bogyo goes on to say “we need a top-down change in what is important on a work site… Supervisors need to make it clear all the time that safety trumps production.”

Bogyo expresses the opinion that the frequent use of safety messages in construction workplace communication will eventually lead to an increase in site safety, as well as a drop in procedure violations.

Training is also a big concern for young construction worker safety, with other countries, such as Australia, being quoted as having superior training systems to Canada, at least when it comes to building sites. Bogyo goes on to explain how the Australian construction training system is designed to ensure that everyone uses the same vocabulary and has the same basic training, ensuring consistency and straightforward communication between workers.

Jeff Lyth, a Vancouver health and safety consultant, says that employers and their workers must think more deeply about hazards and the associated risks if they wish to see a drop in accidents. Many employers simply focus on rule and regulation changes, but Lyth argues that this is not enough to protect construction workers from deaths and injuries in their workplace.

Looking to learn about insurance for construction workers? Get in touch and see what we can do for you today.

The Common Insurance Every Serious Construction Contractor Must Have

More often than not, construction insurance is necessary for each construction project. This kind of insurance typically offers coverage for natural disasters, risks, material, employees, as well as your company. Here are some of the most common insurances for the construction industry.

  1. Contractor Liability Insurance Coverage

For protection against injuries, property damage, and accidents suffered on the job, there is a need for a good contractor liability insurance coverage. Also, workers in the construction industry can accidentally damage property by mishandling materials and tools, or while a remodeling process is ongoing.

  1. Builder’s Risk Insurance

This insurance policy covers the payment if there’s any damage as based on the coverage limit. This limit is a solid representation of a given structure’s entire completed value. In other words, it includes all materials and labor cost, without land value. Coverage for damages resulting from faults such as design, planning, materials, and workmanship are not included.

  1. Performance Bond

In a situation where the contractor is unable to perform or fails to complete the project according to established and provisions of the contract, the performance bond will help to protect the owner against possible losses. The surety will be responsible for reimbursing the owner for losses in cases where the contractor declares bankruptcy or defaults.

  1. Payment Bonds and Construction Projects

To ensure all subcontractors, material suppliers, and laborers are paid to leave the project lien free, there is a three-way contract, the payment bond, formed between the owner, the contractor, and the surety.

  1. Professional Liability Insurance

Professional Liability Insurance covers errors caused by Contractor’s carelessness while carrying out his functions under the specified agreement. If your omissions and errors resulting in loss of client investment or if you do not perform your contractor duties, the insurance covers your litigation expenses.

  1. Flood Insurance

Flood insurance may be beneficial (or required) in situations where a project is located in a flood zone. It is needed for avoiding insurance solicitations when the construction project could be impacted by a flood event.

Construction Insurance Cost Control

By completing your jobs in a timely manner and maintaining excellence in your construction business operations, you can save with smaller premiums and deductibles in your insurance.

On the lookout for other great information about insurance topics? Contact us anytime for all insurance related questions.

Tips for Building More Efficiently this Year

It’s shaping up to be a busy year for building. Already, construction companies and tradespeople are finding ways to stay ahead of the pack. See what others are doing to improve construction and building in 2018.

1. Build Modular

One of the newest trends in construction is the building of modular dwellings, units, and other fabricated parts. Building on one location before delivery allows for greater environmental and waste control. It can also help limit liability by increasing control over access to the construction site, tools, and materials. The tiny home movement, modular mid- and high-rises, and other offsite construction methods are growing in popularity.

2. Embrace Technology

Nearly any aspect of construction can be augmented with a technological device, software, and other advancements in tech. While it’s possible to lean too much on technology, a balance of the right tech can add exponential value to a project. Drones, cloud sharing, GPS tracking and enhanced employee communication are just a few of the many options available. Be sure to follow all applicable local and federal laws utilizing drones and other technology. Design tools, virtual meetups and more can increase productivity utilized correctly. Find the right tools for your team and accomplish more.

3. Attract Talent (and keep it!)

Labor shortages are already apparent; some companies are grappling with more work than skilled labor to complete it with. For others, projects-in-progress have been placed on pause due to immigration enforcement. To stay ahead of the competition, some construction companies are offering better pay and benefits. Others are relying more on temporary labor. Finding help may become a challenge, be prepared to court skilled tradespeople and work diligently to retain them.

4. Go Green

Environmental awareness is growing and companies with a reputation for green policies are more likely to see revenue. Material waste and disposal, resource consumption, and environmental impact can affect company image. Wherever possible, implement sustainable policies and be sure to comply with all federal, state, and local laws. Expect this trend to continue. Companies taking a proactive approach will be better positioned for further legislative changes.

5. Control Costs

Almost ten years after the housing crash, lenders have yet to release funds with the same willingness as before. Materials costs are high, and increased costs for attracting labor add to the challenges of doing business this year. This year, more builders are contracting into public-private partnerships with government agencies. In this partnerships, public funds and assets can be made available for hiring private companies. This can be a great way to maintain infrastructure while stimulating the economy, and more builders are discovering the value.

6. Building Information Modeling

The latest in construction innovation, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a great tool for improving the construction process. Building Information Modeling is a design and management tool. Builders, architects, and others in the design and construction process can collaborate with this BIM to deliver a winning project. Building Information Modeling can also have a positive impact on workplace safety and compliance and can help limit expenses. For more on BIM contact a Business Information Modeling firm or expert.

7. Communicate

While perhaps an older concept, communication on the job site can almost always be improved. Today, multiple digital solutions for encouraging and improving communication are available. Builders have schedules to keep and communication can help increase efficiency and safety. Missed deadlines, liability claims, and materials waste can add up. Stay on top of projects with clear, competent communication.

Approaching 2018 with a positive attitude can help gain the edge over the competition. Review practices to see where improvements can be made and see how much more business is possible. Come back often for more on ways to improve efficiency and save money.

Build Faster with Construction Tips from the Pros

Builders spend a lifetime perfecting their craft. Fortunately, some are willing to share some of their best tips and tricks. Here’s a quick rundown of several inside tips from the pros.

Laying the Groundwork

Installing flooring can be challenging depending on the materials and surface. Taking time to ensure a level floor will improve the finished product. Installing an effective subfloor can help with creating a level surface, yet the glue can be messy and difficult to work with. To install subflooring without the mess, gently lower subfloor with a garden digging tool. Applying pressure to the leading edge, install subfloor without the mess.

The Frame Game

Most homes have imperfections and the older they get, the greater those imperfections become. Homes settle and before long, floors and walls begin to curve, slope, or separate. Before making cuts or installations, learn the acceptable tolerances. Some aspects of construction must be perfectly level or straight. Knowing where to make adjustments will make the process much easier, and help create a better result.

Frames must be straight, so it’s important to start with a level foundation. Mudsills allow for some flexibility while rim joists must be cut within 1/10th an inch accuracy. Walls can bow a bit, as long as kept within an acceptable limit. Walls can bow up to 1/4″ vertically for each 8′ section, and 1/4″ horizontally for each 50′ section without compromising structural integrity.

The frames in a home support plumbing, electrical, HVAC installation and more. An accurately-installed framework will help make following projects easier to complete.

Selecting Good Wood

Lumber varies by retailer, batch, and tree. Selecting the lumber for framing, look for straight and durable boards. Curved, bowed, or rotted boards will create a weak or imbalanced foundation from the start. Cabinets, doors, and walls require straight walls to function properly. Selecting the right wood, at the beginning, will help the entire construction project.

With any construction project, selecting the right materials and tools helps. Before tackling a construction project, ensure home insurance is in place to cover potential damages to the new or existing space. Always place safety at the top and ask a professional before working with dangerous materials.

Improve Construction Workforce Management to Reduce Risk


In construction, efficiency matters. Companies that want the most from a project have to balance resources and deadlines to be effective. On the flip side, companies that struggle may create unsafe environments. Increased pressure on workers can lead to an increase in job site risks and an increase in insurance premiums. Improve productivity and reduce insurance rates by employing effective construction site management. Finding the right people and granting them the tools for success will help reduce risk, leading to savings across the board. Here are four ways to help construction managers perform at their peak:

Standardize Company Processes

Today, companies across the board are standardizing their processes. For companies experiencing growth, processes are often essential. A process defines a system for accomplishing specific tasks. By creating and utilizing intelligent and effective processes, risks are greatly reduced. With a reduction in risk inevitably comes a reduction in workplace accidents, reducing insurance costs. The right process is one built around the company; a business coach or consultant may be able to offer guidance. Record processes and train staff to follow them.

Utilize Technology

Construction of a building is but one small portion of an overall construction project. A large number of administrative resources are involved in building. Planning, compliance, resource management, billing and more all play significant roles. As companies grow, the number of persons involved in each project tends to grow as well. Moving staff onto shared digital platforms, utilizing file sharing services, and group messaging technology can all help managers become more efficient.

Plan Efficiently

On a construction site, time is money. When employees are standing around, their time can become expensive. Proper planning can help get the most out of staff and dodge paying for extended breaks or milling about. The more moving parts involved, the more challenging this can become. To help improve efficiency and reduce risk, ask employees to be conscious of workday planning. In some cases, a consultant may be helpful in creating and streamlining schedules.

Encourage Communication

A staff that communicates well is likely to be safer and more efficient. In the construction and building trades, risks abound. Effective communication can help reduce risks and at the same time, greatly improve efficiency. The right blend of communications strategies will depend on the size and makeup of an organization. For most companies, the following tips can help improve the workplace:

  • Collaboration. Encourage staff to share thoughts. Oftentimes, there are great solutions right within the company. Create a positive environment for communication.
  • Clarity. Be clear about goals, objectives, timelines and more. Employees should be familiar with processes and know where to ask for help.
  • Conversation. Staff members may be the first to spot a workplace hazard, or perhaps a more efficient process. Encourage feedback to management.

With an increase in workplace safety often comes increases in productivity and morale as well. Limit risks to reduce insurance premiums and get the most out of each construction project. Construction companies with strong management and a strong workforce are more likely to:

  • Meet or exceed expectations
  • Reduce risks to property, staff, and equipment
  • Balance scheduling
  • Gain a positive reputation in the industry

An investment in creating clear and effective processes can pay dividends. For questions about insurance for builders and protecting construction sites, contact an agent today. Visit often for more information on improving safety and saving money.

It’s Time to Get Tailored Construction Insurance

In the construction industry risk is inherent. Those able to assess and mitigate risk increase their chances for success. On the job site safety is an attitude. The right methods, equipment, and crew can help keep sites and people safe. For those behind the scenes, the risks are met with comprehensive construction insurance protection. Construction projects take all shapes and forms. Protection tailored for each project will offer maximum coverage for the best rates, helping improve the bottom line.

Projects large and small tend to include third-party contractors for some portion of completion. Landscape architects, HVAC professionals, and other design professionals may be contracted to perform a portion of construction. Add layers of protection to design and builder contracts with the right insurance protection. Tailored policies include coverage for job-specific risks. The strongest contracts include professional liability, auto and commercial liability, and employer’s liability; also referred to as workers’ compensation. As the builder, it’s reasonable to ask for this upon entering into agreements. For added coverage, homeowners and builders may wish to ask for pollution insurance as well.

Experts recommend including insurance protection as part of contracts with those performing the work as well. The subcontractors working on the construction site should be licensed and bonded. It is also recommended they carry personal liability insurance and workers’ compensation protection. Depending on the contract excess and professional liability may prove smart additions to a policy. For larger projects, builders and lenders can add owner’s protective professional insurance to a policy. This addition covers gaps in coverage from those contracted.

Liability insurance protects builders, lenders, and design professionals in 3 different ways:

  • Protection from claims against the company or staff
  • Coverage for damages caused by the company or staff
  • Assistance with unexpected expenses during claims

A construction project can involve many people over the course of completion and may last longer than expected. The chances the unexpected can occur are high; ask an agent about professional liability insurance.

Builders Risk Insurance Protection

The protection from liability insurance extends to staff and damages caused during construction. This leaves a gap in protection for the physical structure. For home construction projects homeowners can opt for construction insurance for active projects yet these carry significant limitations. For extra protection builders-risk insurance offers advantages for all parties. A single policy is sufficient and may be purchased by either the homeowner or contractor. The following details may help determine which party might procure builders risk insurance for the project:

  • Location of the project
  • Lender insurance requirements
  • Type of construction project

Some contractors may automatically carry builders risk. For more information on builders-risk policies and insurance protection contact an agent.

Protect Investments

Liability and builders-risk insurance create a safety-net for construction projects from start to finish. Construction insurance has advantages for homeowners, builders, and contractors. For extra protection and to cover project-specific requirements, additional insurance policies are available. Speak to an agent to create a complete shield of insurance protection for construction projects.

For more information on insurance for construction projects, home builds, building renovations and more call an agent today. Get affordable coverage and gain peace of mind. Our team is happy to answer questions.

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