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3 Types of Insurance Coverage All Restaurant Owners Need

restaurantAs a restaurant owner, you’re responsible for creating an environment for patrons full of great food, happy employees and a positive experience. As if that isn’t enough on your plate, you need to take care of all the day-to-day operations of running a business – including payroll, bill paying, human resources and managing your employees.


When it comes to managing your business, do you have the right protection should an accident happen or an event occur that is out of your control? A big accident with no coverage could cost you your business and your employees jobs – don’t let that happen.


Here are 3 types of insurance coverages to make sure you have:


Equipment Failure Protection


Restaurants run on food, and food can’t be made without a kitchen. What happens if your oven breaks down? Or your $5000 walk-in refrigerator stops working? What if the power goes out? When something breaks down, your business will quickly come to a stop, which means lost income.

Equipment failure protection can help pay for the cost to repair or replace the damaged equipment, the costs associated with the labor needed to repair or replace the equipment and any other expenses that you incur from the equipment outage.

There are also policies that will cover expenses if there is an equipment problem off-site that impacts your business. For example, if you sell tamales strictly through your website and rely on the website to take orders and process payment, what happens if the host of your website goes down? Causing your website to crash for a day or so while they work on getting it back up and running? Equipment breakdown coverage can help pay for the income you lost when your key supplier’s equipment breaks down.


Workers Compensation

Workers compensation provides protection and coverage for your most important assets – your employees. You rely on them to provide superb service and they reply on you to protect them should an accident happen while they are on the job. Here are a few examples of what workers compensation insurance can provide assistance for:

  • an employee is injured in an auto accident while running errands for the company
  • an employee gets hurt while working in the kitchen or supply room
  • an employee slips and falls while serving


Civil Authority

Let’s say a small tornado is headed towards your hometown, which also happens to be the location of your family run restaurant. Local authorities call a mandatory evacuation, and 3,000 people leave the area. What happens to your restaurant? Not only do you not have any employees to work, but you also temporarily have no customers. The situation is screaming “you’re losing money”. This is where civil authority coverage comes into play.

Civil authority provides income if your business is forced to close, or if access to your restaurant is prevented because of an act of civil authority such as a mandatory evacuation or disaster.

Having the right insurance is all about protecting yourself from loss and taking care of your employees.  Reach out to Ruffcorn Insurance to make sure you have the right coverage for your restaurant. There are a lot of different policies out there providing different types of coverage, your agent can help you weed through them and find the right plan for your business and budget.




The Construction Industry: The Young vs. Old Debate

constructions workers old and newThe construction industry has suffered through hard knocks since the market crashed in 2007-2008. Now, even as the economy slowly recovers and certain industries bounce back, the construction sector now faces personnel problems.


What issues are occurring in the construction industry?


While construction activity has increased as the economy has improved (and that demand is expected to continue in 2015), the sector is now dealing with a labor shortage, especially qualified new workers. Another big concern? The current labor force is aging.


What does a labor shortage mean for the industry?


Inexperienced workers are more likely to suffer from work-related accidents than skilled veterans. Additionally, injuries for inexperienced workers tend to be more severe than for seasoned employees.
In fact, Rick Keegan, president of the Construction Business Unit at Travelers, indicates that in certain industry segments, 40 percent of construction worker injuries occur during the first six months of employment. This can drive up contractor insurance claims and also hurt a business’s bottom line.


Why does an aging workforce hurt the construction business?


In contrast, while older workers are less likely to get injured on a job, those that do often cost contractors more in the long run.
There are several factors for this including:

  • Injuries often take longer to heal
  • Age-related medical complications
  • Higher salaries mean contractors pay more in lost wages

Also, older workers that suffer severe injuries are more likely not to return to the workforce, contributing to the workforce shortage.


How do injuries immediately impact business owners?


Accidents on the job can result in an extended disability period for the injured party and can leave a contractor with high medical and workers’ compensation costs.


What is the long-term impact?

While medical costs and workers compensation expenses are an immediate concern for business owners, there are also longer-term consequences that impact the construction industry as a whole. The lack of qualified workers is the biggest challenge.
Aging workers, injuries, lack of newly skilled workers and the economic downturn, which drove away many skilled workers from the sector, have all left dents in the workforce.
Now there is oftentimes not enough workers to get the work done. This trend applies to both blue-collar jobs and professional positions within the industry, such as project managers and safety professionals.


How do I learn more about injuries and insurance?

If you are involved in the construction business; whether as a worker, owner or insurance professional, it is important to monitor all aspects of the industry.
One of those aspects is medical costs and workers compensation. Check with your independent insurance agent to learn more about these topics, no matter what side of the business you work on.




Want to Stay Safe in the Dark? Read This!

glow in the dark clothingDo you love exercising outdoors or just being outside in general? Well, if you have the typical 9-5 job like many of us, then you probably find yourself only able to go outdoors when it’s dark out.


This is especially true in the winter when it seems to stay dark until after we get up each morning and is already dark again when we get off work.


So since it is impossible to avoid being outside while it is dark, it’s important to follow some simple rules to stay safe when the sun goes down.

The Clothing You Wear Can Make a Difference

Try to wear light colored clothes when outside at night or before the sun rises. Wearing black or other dark colors makes it harder for others to see you.


Invest in some reflective gear. There are many clothing options and other products available that contain reflective material to make you visible in the dark. Reflective stickers, tape, vests, helmets wristbands and other items are easily available at most sporting goods stores and online.


In addition, if walk your dog as your daily exercise or push your child in a jogging stroller during your daily run, it is imperative to deck them out in reflective gear as well. There are collars and leashes that light up and reflective gear that accommodates children.

Let Light Shine Your Way

If possible carry a flashlight with you when outdoors. Not only will you more easily seen, but the extra light can help you avoid objects you might have trouble seeing in the dark and could even prevent injuries.


Another alternative that could work if you forget a flashlight is the light from your cell phone (which is good to carry with you anyway in case of an emergency).


Also, it is not only important to see, but to hear too. Avoid wearing headphones when out in the dark. This way you will stay more alert of your surroundings and can hear approaching danger.

Beware of Traffic

Exercise on the sidewalk or a trail whenever you can to avoid busy traffic.


If you must exercise on a road full of cars, be sure to always go against the flow of traffic if walking or running.


This will enable you to see approaching vehicles and to move out of the way quickly if a driver fails to see you.


Cyclists need to always go with the flow of traffic, however. Equip your bike with a headlight and taillight so you remain easily seen.


You should not have to give up outdoor activities you enjoy, no matter the weather or if the sun or stars are out. By taking these precautions, you can protect yourself no matter what time of day (or night) it is.





Will You Be Hit Big? Tax Woes with Obamacare

stethoscope on top of dollar billsTaxpayers that who purchased health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace in 2014 or failed to buy health insurance entirely may be surprised this tax season with unexpected expenses.

According to tax industry leader H&R Block, an estimated 3.4 million Americans that bought through the marketplace will owe money for advance premium tax credits they received throughout the year.


What is an advance premium tax credit?


The U.S. government has been providing financial assistance to some Americans to offset the monthly cost of the coverage on an advanced basis and is looking to collect from individuals that overestimated the amount of assistance they qualified for.

Since the advance premium tax credit is based on household income estimates, consumers might have underestimated their income at the time of purchase. Now that they know their actual household income, they must reconcile the difference and pay back any money owed.


What are some other tax woes to worry about?


Americans who chose to remain uninsured and don’t qualify for any exemptions are also facing tax penalties. Penalties range from $47 for a child, $96 for an adult and up to $285 per household, or 1 percent of household income. Uninsured individuals will be made to pay the higher amount of the two penalties.

Many individuals are under the false impression that a flat rate penalty applies across the board. They don’t realize that the penalty for not having health insurance is actually based on their household income.

Other taxpayers mistakenly believe they are exempt from the healthcare reform mandate and its penalties based on income levels, coverage gaps and other situations, but fail to apply and receive approval for exemption status.


How do I avoid tax gauges and healthcare penalties?

It is  strongly encouraged that  individuals and families without coverage speak with a qualified insurance agent certified by the Marketplace. They can provide you with all the information and resources you need to determine if you qualify for exemption status or a lower penalty. Furthermore, they can assist you with finding appropriate coverage so you can avoid the penalties in 2015.


While it is too late for many taxpayers to avoid the penalties for going uninsured in 2014, the Individual Open Enrollment Period is still open through February 15 for those looking to obtain coverage.


Ask your Independent Insurance Agent for help if you need help navigating through all the options and we’ll provide you with a plan that suits your needs and meets your budget.




Fire Prevention and Safety Basics: You’d Be Surprised Who Doesn’t Follow Them

smoke-detectorMany of us learned about forest fires in our youth from Smokey the Bear. We also received lectures from the local fire department, were subject to scary fire prevention and safety films, and also were taught at home about escape methods.


Yet, despite our well-intentioned indoctrination, we still have trouble following fire safety and prevention rules.


What is the Main Fire Prevention and Safety Rule?

Sadly, about 3,000 people in the U.S. die annually in residential fires. In an interview with Trusted Choice during Fire Prevention Month, 20-year Grand Chute, WI Fire Department, Local 3655 veteran Lieutenant Brad Paltzer, he mentioned that 2/3 of residential fatalities occur in homes without working smoke detectors.


Is your house up-to-date with smoke detectors? You’d probably be surprised at how easy it is to forget about such an important topic.


You should always follow the installation and maintenance instructions from your smoke detector manufacturer.


In addition, most experts advise to check your smoke alarms monthly and to change your batteries on all devices at least twice a year, more if you detect a problem.


Any Additional Advice on Smoke Detectors?

Just having WORKING smoke detectors cuts down on your death rate by almost 50 percent. To make sure your house is adequately equipped, make sure there are detectors on every floor.


If possible, an alarm should be located in each bedroom. Detectors should be placed around all sleeping areas in a house. Also, detectors need to be put in the center of a ceiling. If placed on a wall then the detector should remain 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling.


Why You Should Consider a Fire Sprinkler

One basic element of fire prevention that is often overlooked is fire sprinklers. Many home owners think this option is too expensive to have. Inexpensive, yet effective sprinkler systems are available and in budget. I advise everyone to look further at this preventative measure.


What Other Considerations Should I Think About?

If you have kids, proper fire safety and prevention education is vital for a safe and happy home. Also, having a planned out escape route in case a fire happens is also very important for families.


Practice makes perfect when it comes to accomplishing a fire safety plan. In accordance with what children are taught at school and learned at home about prevention and safety measures, double reassurance doesn’t hurt anyone.


Contact Information is Important

Unfortunately, many 4th and 5th graders don’t know their full addresses and telephone numbers. These were vital everyday lessons taught to preschoolers in the past and should be re-popularized in child-raising today.


Talk to your kids daily about it and have him or her memorize the information. Put the information in a spot where your child sees it frequently for better memory skills.


Following prevention and safety rules doesn’t mean you are immune to fires. Yet, if you follow these strategies you can definitely ensure the safety of yourself and your family.




Don’t Lose Your Mind While Driving This Winter

slipper road yellow signWinter weather is in full swing, making driving even more dangerous with slippery roads and blizzard conditions. Unless you are able to hibernate like a bear for the next three months inside the warmth and safety of your house, you are stuck driving even when the weather is a nightmare.

How to stay safe on the roads this winter

The key is to avoid distractions and remain focused on the road. This can be easier said than done as our concentration is sometimes drawn away from driving without us even realizing.


Driving disturbances can be dangerous, even deadly, when the weather is ideal so throwing hazardous conditions into the mix adds another layer of risk to the situation.


Even the safest of drivers (those that swear off cell phones and other technology while driving or who drive alone) aren’t always aware of the dangers they face.


What is the most dangerous distraction?

It is common to hear media reports about drivers distracted by technology, taking their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road, or by fooling around with other car occupants. Rarely, however, do we think the repetitive act of driving itself as a real killer.


Surprisingly, however, the most dangerous driving distraction is our own minds, or being “lost in thought.” According to a 2013 Eerie Insurance report, daydreaming accounted for 62 percent of distracted drivers involved in road fatalities.


Long drives, traffic congestion and the daily grind of a commute cause many of us to not fully pay attention to the road. We may be worrying about what we’re cooking for dinner that night, problems going on at work, or other random subjects.


How do I prevent distraction?

Even with the radio off, the cell phone put away and no passengers in the vehicle, it is still easy to get lost in a “fog.” Clearing your mind, making sure you aren’t overtired and continuing to assess everything that is happening around you while driving can keep you safe.


If you are stressed or upset, wait to regain your composure before driving or pull over to a safe location and collect yourself.


Think of mental distraction just like the winter roads. They can cause bumps and delays, so preparation, concentration and blocking out all other outside noise will ensure you safe travels.


How do you keep yourself focused on the road during these winter months?




Homeowners Insurance to the Rescue and It’s Not What You Think . . .


words identity theft

Just this past summer a client had their identity stolen while on an eight-day vacation in the Caribbean. It happened on their second day away, and if it hadn’t been for their homeowners insurance, their vacation would have been devastated, to say the least.


The insurance company handled 99% of the legwork to get their credit restored and by the fourth day their credit was restored and the rest of their Caribbean vacation continued without a hitch.


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Car Rental Insurance! Who Buys Car Rental Insurance?

airport car rental booths

This is a tricky rhetorical question, because any insurance agent can tell you that every company has different language in their policies. On top of that, different states have different requirements for the insurance company and/or rental company to provide certain coverages. So to answer this rhetorical question you ask each time you travel and rent a car, I will give a response regarding the average situation.

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