disability insurance

Top Causes of Workplace Disability

Workplace disability is an excellent insurance option for employers and employees alike. It works to guarantee that any temporarily or permanently disabled employee can still receive at least a percentage of their salary if they cannot work due to a covered disability.

Workers can be protected against both long-term and short-term disabilities, so let’s take a look at a few conditions commonly covered by each to better understand what may be protected.

Top Causes of Long-Term Disability 

Long-term disability can negatively impact an individual’s life in numerous ways, not the least of which is by causing them to miss out on valuable income that may be used to support themselves and their families. Let’s look at a few of the most common causes of long-term disability you can claim disability insurance for.


Cancer has been one of the leading causes of long-term disability for a long time. Depending on the type and stage of cancer a person has, it may be treatable or even curable. Still, a wide range of factors will contribute to their diagnosis, prognosis, and the amount of disability they are eligible for. The most common types of cancer in America are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Bronchus
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Melanoma

Long-Term Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders, or disorders to the back, spine, knees, hips, and shoulders specifically, are another top cause of long-term disability, with more than a fourth of all long-term disability claims resulting from this issue. Common long-term musculoskeletal disorders include:


Osteoarthritis, commonly known as arthritis, is a condition in which the body’s cartilage is gradually worn down. Essentially, this means that the protective layer between an individual’s bones is being worn down so rapidly that it results in joint pain in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, hips, and more.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you develop rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system will begin to attack itself via its cells. If it’s not treated, this disease can erode an individual’s bones and cause their joints to deform. This commonly affects the cartilage first and is typically seen in the fingers.

Note that the inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis is not limited to joints; it can also spread throughout the body to the organs.


Fibromyalgia is a condition that involves widespread muscle pain and tenderness throughout the body. It is often paired with fatigue which can impact an individual’s sleep, memory, and mood.

Cardiovascular Problems

Cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, heart failure, anginas, and congenital heart conditions are all common cardiovascular problems that long-term disability insurance may be able to help you through.

Top Causes of Short-Term Disability

While short-term disability doesn’t impact an individual employee’s life nearly as much as a long-term disability might, it can still have serious and far-reaching effects on their life. Fortunately, short-term disability coverage is there to help out injured employees financially if they experience a wide number of conditions.


Perhaps the most common cause of short-term disability leave is pregnancy. Obviously short-term disability won’t cover the entire pregnancy except in the most extreme cases, but typically it will cover six to eight weeks of income for the recovery period after birth, depending on the kind of delivery an individual has.

Short-Term Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders can also result in short-term disability claims for conditions including tendonitis, bone fractures, and carpal tunnel syndrome.


Tendonitis is a condition in which the tendons become inflamed. And because these tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone, they can cause pain throughout the body–especially in the shoulders, elbows, ankles, and wrists.

Tendonitis can heal in two to three weeks if the condition is mild enough, but other cases may take upwards of eight weeks to heal fully.

Bone Fractures

Certain kinds of trauma can cause either a complete or partial break of an individual’s bone, resulting in a bone fracture. This fracture can result in the temporary loss of function in whichever part of the body is compromised. And while some fractures can heal in less than a month, others can take up to twenty weeks.

Note that trauma is not the only cause of bone fractures. Overuse and disease may also result in the fracturing of a bone.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is, perhaps, one of the more well-known musculoskeletal disorders. It’s caused by repetitive hand motions or either extreme flexion or extension of a person’s hand or wrist. For example, typing and sports are two more common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Anyone with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience numbness and tingling sensations in their hand or arm initially, and symptoms can become permanent if left untreated.

Digestive Problems

Digestive problems are another common condition that short-term workplace disability can cover. The most common digestive problems that can receive this kind of coverage include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • Hernias
  • Gastritis

Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues have been on the rise for short-term disability claims, accounting for more than seven percent of short-term disability claims. Depression and anxiety are the most commonly cited issues, but other mental health problems may also be covered under this insurance type. 

Key Takeaways

Long-term and short-term disabilities can wreak havoc on an individual’s life. It can impact their ability to play with their kids, enjoy their favorite pastimes, and even work. Fortunately, individuals who are covered by workplace disability policies may recover a percentage of their income for covered conditions.

If you have questions about disability insurance or want to receive a quote on a disability policy for your company, reach out to one of our agents today!


8 Used Car Lot Insurance Risks

Business owners face risks when operating their companies, and used car lot owners are no exception. There are several unique risks that these owners may face that can have a significant impact on their business’s reputation, finances, and long-term success.

Let’s take a closer look at eight key risk factors that you may face owning a used car lot to understand better how they may threaten your success.

Lawsuits From Customers

One of the top risks used car lots face is the threat of lawsuits and other legal action taken by individuals who purchase a vehicle from the lot. Suppose a buyer isn’t happy with their purchase and cannot get a full refund or anything else they want in recompense from your business. In that case, their next step is often to bring a lawsuit against the dealership for selling them a faulty vehicle.

Customers may also bring suits against a used car lot for other reasons. For example, if they believe they didn’t receive the correct value of the vehicle for what they paid, buyers may wish to challenge their transaction’s validity or legality. Alternatively, lawsuits may also be brought against your lot if individuals are injured on your property in almost any manner, including slip-and-falls, attacks from guard dogs, or other injuries sustained on your property.

Property Risk

There are many risks associated with owning a used car lot, and each one can significantly impact your lot’s property risk. 

For example, if you own a simple asphalted lot with a single office building, your risk factor is significantly lower than a competitor with a garage on their lot. This is because operational garages have additional risks, including trip hazards, welding or chemical-related fires, or expensive equipment damage.

Vehicular Accidents and Injuries

Another risk that used car lots face far more than other business types is vehicular accident and injury. Employees, buyers, and other individuals have a significantly higher risk of getting into an accident or injuring themselves in an automobile incident at your used car lot than they may face when shoe shopping simply because they’re around a proportionally larger amount of vehicles.

And while there may be risks and incidents that occur with the cars while parked on your lot, there is also the risk of accident or injury if an individual chooses to test-drive the vehicle off the property. This can result in multi-car accidents that may result in legal and medical bills you will have to pay.

Garage Keeper’s Risk

If you offer services where you store vehicles or property that is not part of your lot’s inventory, you will also face garage keeper’s risk. This risk exists because while your insurance coverage will often cover your property if it’s damaged, it may not protect third-party property that is left on your lot. If you allow individuals to store their property on your land, you need to consider taking out additional insurance options to ensure you’re fully protected.


Another great risk that used car lots face is the risk of theft. Used cars are valuable on the black market, with Ford and Chevy’s full-sized trucks most likely to be stolen. So while any vehicle may risk being stolen, high-value targets like these may put you in greater danger of theft.

You can help both mitigate this risk and potentially lower your theft-related insurance rates by investing in a good security system for your property. Consider consulting with professionals and investing in alarms and video surveillance systems to help prevent theft or recover stolen property.


One of the more complex risks to catch is fraud–specifically employee-related fraud. Oftentimes, individuals don’t catch fraudulent activity the first few times it’s committed against them, so you may lose a significant amount of property before you’re aware of the problem. 

And while thoroughly vetting your staff can help you avoid some issues, there is no way to know everything that goes on in your employees’ lives that may cause them to commit fraud. But by having an effective fraud insurance policy in place, you can mitigate the damages you face if you discover that you are being cheated out of profits, property, or anything else relating to your business.

Transaction Issues

Transactions always come with a certain amount of risk–especially the more often they’re conducted. If you manage a high number of daily transactions, you may need to be concerned about transactional fraud issues. Electronic fund transfers, unlike other payment methods, are not reversible. 

Once the money is paid or moved, it cannot be undone. This means that you need to keep a close eye on all of your electronic transactions not only to protect your business but also to protect your customers and reputation.

Additionally, large electronic transfers–like those that may be made to cover the cost of a used car–may be flagged by the government. This is because they are concerned about larger transfers being part of a money laundering scheme or funding acts of terror.

Cyber Attacks

Whenever customers buy a vehicle from you, there is typically a digital record of the sale. This data may contain personal identities, financial data, and other information that can put your customers at risk of identity theft or fraud, not to mention the chances of your business’ data being accessible by cyber attackers.

Cyber and ransomware attacks are increasing, and they can cost businesses like used car lots tens of thousands of dollars that you may be fully responsible for paying if you don’t have the right insurance coverage in place.

Key Takeaways

Running used car lots can be risky, but fortunately, having the right insurance options in place can go a long way in reducing your liability and helping cover costs relating to accidents and lawsuits so you’re not stuck paying everything out of pocket.

For more information on the best insurance options for your used car lot, contact our top-tier team of insurance agents today!

umbrella coverage for business

Why Umbrella Insurance for You Is Important

What do automotive, homeowners, and many other policy types have in common? Well, you can never be 100% certain whether they’ll provide you with enough coverage if you’re faced with a major lawsuit.

Each of these policy types works well on an average day with an average accident, but if you end up in a situation where you’re facing serious legal fees, you’re going to need additional coverage. And when that happens, you have two options: you can either try to increase the policy coverage amounts for each one of your policy types, or you can invest in one personal umbrella insurance policy.

What Is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance, also known as personal liability insurance, is an extra layer of insurance you can purchase to fill in the gaps where your other policies leave off. It also provides extra coverage types that may not be included in other policies you hold. 

Typically, it works to bolster homeowners and automotive policies, but it can also benefit numerous other policy types to cover legal fees, medical expenses, and other damages that are above what your traditional insurance options cover.

What Does Personal Umbrella Insurance Cover?

Umbrella insurance protects you and your family against a wide range of damages by providing funds that exceed the limits of many of your other policies. And because it supplements such a wide range of policy types, it covers numerous problems you may face. Specifics will, of course, differ between policies, but there are a few damages and claim types that most umbrella policies should be able to protect you from.

Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you’re involved in the physical or mental injury of another person whether intentionally or as the result of negligence, you may be faced with a personal injury lawsuit. An umbrella policy can help you cover the cost of any damages awarded to the other party as well as help you with legal fees for the case. For example, if your pet attacks a neighbor and the neighbor sues you to cover their medical bills and lost wages, umbrella insurance would help cover those costs.

Damage to Another Person’s Property

Similarly, if you damage another person’s property, umbrella insurance can also step in to help.  An example of this could be if you’re throwing a baseball around with your son, and a catch is missed causing the ball to smash into your neighbor’s car window. An umbrella policy would then help cover the costs of repairs and possibly a rental vehicle for the neighbor while the car was being fixed.

Assorted Lawsuits

There are several additional lawsuit types that umbrella insurance can help you with. These include defamation suits and lawsuits relating to libel, slander, and invasion of privacy. Additional suit types could even include false imprisonment or landlord liability.

Associated Legal Costs

If you face a lawsuit where you are being required to pay damages, a personal umbrella insurance policy will typically cover any legal fees you have associated with the suit, even if the cost of your legal fees exceeds your covered limit. This means that if you have $500,000 in liability coverage and you lose a suit for the full amount, your policy will cover both the $500,000 and your legal defense.

Incidents that Happen Abroad

If you are involved in an accident, damage the personal property of another person, or have any other claim types brought against you while you’re outside of the United States, your umbrella policy should be able to help cover fees and damage costs.

Why Personal Umbrella Insurance Is Important

There are many reasons why umbrella insurance is so important to invest in. It works to protect your assets and finances, provides you with peace of mind, covers legal fees, and can even work to protect your charity work. Let’s look more closely at each of these benefits to get a better understanding about why personal umbrella insurance is so great.

Helps Protect Your Assets

When you have personal umbrella insurance, you have a safety net that is constantly working to protect your assets. These can include your finances in checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, investments, your car, your house, and even your future income.

Provides Peace of Mind

Perhaps one of the best benefits of an umbrella policy is that it provides you with peace of mind. The policy works to provide you with coverage not only for incidents and lawsuits you may already be aware of but also for those that you would never have expected to happen.

Covers Legal Fees

When it comes to lawsuits, one of the biggest expenses that people often don’t think about when purchasing their insurance policies is the cost of legal fees. Hiring a solid defense team is not cheap, and no matter the outcome of your trial, they have to be paid. Fortunately, an umbrella policy covers all of these fees for you so you don’t have to worry about them at all.

Protects Your Charity Work

If you’re actively involved with your community’s nonprofit, charitable, religious, or civic organizations, the majority of umbrella policies will provide you with coverage if anything happens while you’re volunteering.

Get Personal Umbrella Insurance Today

Personal umbrella insurance policies provide individuals with a wide range of benefits, not the least of which is peace of mind against potential lawsuits and accidents you never saw coming. They work where other policies can’t and provide you with supplemental insurance that applies not just to one specific policy type, but to a wide range of options to ensure you get the most for your money. 

If you’re considering investing in a personal umbrella insurance policy, don’t wait–call us and Harrah & Associates today to speak with one of our agents.

8 Types Of Commercial Insurance Coverages

There are many types of commercial insurance out there and choosing the right one for you can be difficult if you have no idea where to start. Depending on your business, you want to ensure that you have the right insurance and the right amount of coverage. This article will review some of the most common business insurance types.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Employment Practices Liability Insurance, commonly known as “EPLI” is a type of business insurance used to cover employers against allegations made by employees who feel their rights were violated. It will protect you against claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and resulting litigation. Almost all businesses can benefit from this type of policy, but usually larger companies benefit the most. This is because larger companies have more employees hence increasing their employee-related risks. 

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance protects you in the event of a compensation claim that could be made against your company. This type of insurance can protect you from various claims such as injuries, accidents and damages. Businesses in NJ are not legally required to have general liability insurance, but we highly recommend having it, mainly if you operate a business. 

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects professionals and businesses against claims of negligence from customers or clients. Examples are negligence, copyright infringement, personal injury, and more. Claims covered can include damages caused by things you did and/or things you should have done.

Directors & Officers (D&O) / Management Liability Insurance

D&O and Management Liability is often seen as similar products. For this purpose, we will focus on D&O.

D&O will protect you personally as an officer or a director against some of the legal costs that may arise from a wrongful act. Lawsuits/allegations can come from employees, vendors, customers or other parties. This coverage can cover costs such as settlements, lawsuits and other costs associated with the wrongful allegations.

Commercial Auto Insurance

You will need a commercial auto policy if your business relies on vehicles to get work done. It covers vehicles that are used for business purposes. This includes cars, vans and trucks that employees operate. You will be protected from financial burdens that can come from accidents such as repairs and medical bills. 

Cyber Liability Insurance

If your business becomes the victim of a cyberattack or even a data breach, then this can be expensive, and it can also take quite some time for your business to recover. If you lose a lot of data, this can put you in the firing line from your clients too, who may be able to sue you depending on the data that has been jeopardized. With this kind of insurance, you can be protected against huge data losses or breaches.

Property Insurance

Business property insurance helps protect your company’s physical assets from unexpected events such as windstorms, fires, vandalism and thefts. Floods may be covered under a standard commercial policy (not common), but separate flood insurance may be purchased. Physical assets that could be covered include office equipment, computers, printers, furniture, fixtures and other items you use to support your daily operations.

Workers’ Compensation

If you operate a business in New Jersey, you must have workers’ compensation insurance. Workers' comp insurance protects the employer and employee if an employee is injured on the job. This coverage can be used to pay for medical care and loss of income for the injured employee. 

Workers’ compensation can also reimburse employees that get an illness due to the work they were doing for the company. An example may be a coal miner or an employee who removes asbestos from old homes and is diagnosed with rare lung disease or cancer due to work conditions. 

Next Steps

We listed some of the most common insurance types business owners ask us about. If you are a business owner in NJ and would like one of our insurance advisors to review your current insurance portfolio, give us a call at (609) 587-8030.

Types of Liability Insurance Policies for Businesses

The cost of compensatory claims brought against business owners, independent contractors, and self-employed people due to negligence by workers, clients, customers, shareholders, investors, or members of the general public is covered by liability insurance

Due to the inherent risk that every firm encounters, liability insurance is typically a required insurance type as it can aid in legally defending your company against allegations of negligence that could result in legal ramifications.

Your business may face many possible risks and ramifications depending on the nature of your work, so the amount of coverage you require will vary from company to company. A general liability insurance audit can help you look at your company's payroll and risk exposure to ensure you're paying the right amount for your insurance. So when you’re searching for a policy, there are various liability insurance coverage options you should consider.

General Liability Insurance 

Business liability (BL) or commercial general liability (CGL) helps cover various general liability claims that assert your company has injured individuals or damaged their property. It also provides coverage to offset damage to your reputation or mistakes in your advertising. 

It's vital to remember that general liability insurance does not protect your company's or employees' personal property against property damage. These claims are covered in part by commercial property insurance policies.

General liability insurance best provides protection when you face claims of bodily harm, property damage, damage to reputation, or advertising blunders.

Bodily Harm

Any physical harm suffered by a client or customer at your business is considered a bodily injury. For instance, your general liability insurance may help pay for the patient's medical expenses if a customer enters your flower shop, slips on the wet floor, and fractures their leg.

It’s important to note that your employees are not covered by general liability insurance. Instead, your workers' compensation insurance plan—a kind of employer liability insurance—covers them. 

Property Damage

Any harm you or your employees do to the property of a third party is considered property damage. For example, if the lawnmower from your landscaping business kicked up rocks that broke a customer's glass, general liability insurance can help pay to cover any damages associated with the accident.

Reputational Damage

Reputational damage occurs when a business claims your company has harmed their reputation. General liability can assist in defraying your defense expenses if situations arise where you or your employees are accused of harming a competitor’s reputation.

Advertising Blunders

Copyright infringement liability claims arise from advertising mistakes. General liability insurance might help pay for your legal defense if your marketing company uses a copyrighted image in an advertisement without authorization.

Professional Liability Insurance

Errors and omissions insurance (E&O), commonly referred to as professional liability insurance (PL), aids in defending against allegations that your company offered services with errors. For instance, E&O insurance can help pay your legal defense expenses if a client sues you, alleging that you offered them bad financial advice and lost money. 

Additionally, professional liability can assist with allegations concerning:

  • Negligences
  • Misrepresentation 
  • Good faith and fair dealing are broken

Most firms require professional liability insurance–mainly if you provide clients with professional services. 

Employer Liability

Liability Insurance Employees who sustain sickness or injuries at work are not protected by professional liability. Your business requires workers' compensation insurance for that level of coverage. 

Workers' compensation is a sort of employer liability insurance that covers benefits for your staff members who become ill or injured on the job. And depending on your state's laws, you and other business owners may be obliged to get workers' compensation insurance. Purchasing this coverage type is a smart idea even if it's not required by law in your jurisdiction because it can pay the cost of medical treatment for workers who become ill or injured on the job and defend your company from a lawsuit arising out of a work-related illness or injury.

Workers' Compensation and Employer Liability Insurance Scenarios

If one of your employees becomes ill or injured due to their work, workers' compensation may be able to protect them. Examples of possible covered scenarios and damages include situations like the following: 

  • Your manager broke her wrist after tripping over a stray package in her new office. Workers' compensation may cover her medical costs. 
  • A coal miner's extended exposure to low air quality causes black lung. Workers' compensation may partially cover his medical expenses and continued care. 
  • After years of poor typing habits, your receptionist suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. Bursitis and tendinitis are two other instances of ailments brought on by repetitive tension that may be covered.

In addition to covering medical expenses, workers' compensation also offers: 

  • Disability compensation if a doctor determines that your employee is either temporarily or permanently handicapped. Your state determines the amount and length of disability compensation.
  • Replacement of lost wages when an employee needs to take time off to heal from an injury sustained at work. 
  • Funeral expenses if your employee tragically perishes in a workplace accident. 

Professional Liability Insurance for Contractors 

You must obtain some kind of contractor's professional liability insurance if your company works in the design-build or construction management industries. This insurance covers experts against construction-related mistakes or losses that may occur during the planning, designing, and building of a structure. Additionally, it might shield you from mistakes made by independent contractors working on a project. 

Insurance for Directors and Officers (D&O) 

You need D&O insurance if your company has a corporate board of directors or advisory group. If your directors and officers are personally sued for negligent business management including instances of them failing to comply with workplace laws, committing fraud, stealing intellectual property, misrepresenting company assets, or misusing company funds, this insurance safeguards their assets. 

Insurance for Management Responsibility 

A bundle of coverages known as management liability insurance is used to safeguard corporate, public, and nonprofit organizations from various board-level risks. It is bought by companies with a board of directors, offering protection from the hazards of running a corporation. Employment practices liability, fiduciary liability, and D&O liability are frequently covered under management liability insurance policies.

executive boardroom with no people in it

Protect Your C-Suite With Directors and Officers Liability Insurance

You want to be prepared for everything with your business. Therefore, insurance, particularly directors and officers liability insurance in this case, is a must. With insurance for the highest ranking members of your team, you’ll rest easy knowing that they're covered against lawsuits, disputes, and more.

What Is Directors and Officers Liability Insurance?

Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance offers you protection for claims made against the decision makers of your business. These claims can include wrongful action, allegations of discrimination, negligence, and more. Regardless of what took place, this insurance will make sure you do not have to invest time and money in such a situation.

Directors and officers liability insurance covers many situations, making it a comprehensive choice for protecting your business and its most important team members.

Protection Against Wrongful Lawsuits

Wrongful lawsuits and false claims can strike any business, no matter how big or small. These claims can damage your business, both in terms of reputation and cost. Directors and officers liability insurance protects you against these types of lawsuits, which is important for the well-being and longevity of your business.

Protection Against Mistakes

It’s possible for your employees to make mistakes. However, if employees involved in the leadership of your business make a mistake, the results could be disastrous. These mistakes could include a failure to comply with a regulation, any HR issues, or mismanagement.

Sometimes, these mistakes do not warrant letting the employee go. Directors and officers liability insurance will make it possible for you to avoid the issues involved with these types of lawsuits, and will protect your employees from them, too.

Lower Costs

Lawsuits and other legal issues can be incredibly costly. You will need to hire a lawyer and take time off work, which decreases productivity and leads to loss of income. These are only two ways it hurts your bottom line.

There’s nothing more frustrating than hidden costs and interruptions to your daily life at work. Directors and officers liability insurance helps cover these costs so that if you face a costly lawsuit, you can rest knowing that your business will remain stable.

Protect Yourself

If one of your employees in a leadership position commits a criminal act, the consequences can trickle down to you and affect your business. Directors and officers liability insurance offers you and your business protection against the things you cannot control, such as actions of your employees.

Even your most trusted employees can prove to not be exactly what you expected. You're going to want to be protected from their errors in judgement.

Take Action With D&O Liability Insurance Now

Don’t wait until a lawsuit has been brought against your business to purchase directors and officers liability insurance. Most times, your insurance won’t cover anything that began before the date of purchase. Waiting could prove dangerous and costly to your business.

Directors and officers liability insurance can be beneficial for your business if you have many employees in leadership positions. Both you and your highest ranking employees will appreciate the extra protection and added benefits that it offers.

Learn more about D&O Liability Insurance from Harrah & Associates.

gas station at night

Fuel Efficiency Best Practices for Fleets

Improving the fuel efficiency of a company’s fleet of vehicles can have many financial and environmental benefits, especially with fuel prices on the rise. Fuel can be one of the largest and most difficult expenses to predict and control. Therefore, it’s important for vehicle fleet managers to conserve fuel, maximize efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions by implementing fuel-efficient policies, technology and maintenance strategies.

Best Practices

Managing a fleet’s fuel usage—even for just a couple of vehicles—can feel overwhelming. The following are ways to reduce fleet fuel costs and make operations more efficient:

Monitor Driving Patterns

A U.S. Department of Transportation report found that there can be as much as a 35% difference in fuel consumption between a good and poor driver. Monitoring speeding, braking and acceleration patterns can indicate whether drivers are using good practices on the road or operating inefficiently.

Cut Engine Idling

Idling can burn a quarter to a half gallons of fuel per hour. To reduce fuel and oil waste:

  • Turn off the engine while waiting or making deliveries.
  • Turn off the engine while stuck in traffic.
  • Do not idle to warm up the engine.

Improve Route Efficiency

Route efficiency can be improved with GPS tracking technology to ensure operations are streamlined and drivers don’t spend their day and fuel driving back and forth.

Remove Unnecessary Weight From Vehicles

Every extra 100 pounds in a vehicle can increase gas costs by up to $0.03 cents per gallon, which can quickly add up over the course of hundreds of thousands of gallons across multiple vehicles. Only travel with necessary packages or equipment.

Schedule Maintenance

Preventive and regular maintenance can reduce fuel costs, extend the lifespan of fleet vehicles and ensure the safety of drivers and the community.

Check the Tire Pressure

Tires should be inflated to 75% of the recommended pressure; underinflated tires can significantly lower a vehicle’s average gas mileage. Checking the tire pressure should be a mandatory part of the pre- trip safety check since it not only improves the cost per mile but also helps the vehicle respond properly in unsafe situations.

Dispatch the Closest Vehicle

Business margins and fuel efficiency can be improved by dispatching the closest vehicle to a new delivery or appointment. Fleet-tracking programs can help automate dispatching and routing.

Leverage a Fleet Telematics Solution

A fleet telematics solution can help managers gain data and insight into fleet status in terms of individual vehicle performance and overall operations, allowing them to make changes that will help fuel efficiency.

Provide Incentives

Fleet managers can encourage efficient driving by offering drivers incentives, such as recognition or special privileges.

Implement Driver Training

Providing drivers with training regarding fuel-efficient habits can increase their awareness of fuel efficiency on the road. It can help them be mindful of things like keeping gears low when accelerating, changing gears early, driving at slower speeds and learning to read the road more effectively.

By implementing policies and practices that monitor and reward fuel-efficient behavior, fleet operations can reduce fuel costs. For more risk management guidance, contact us today.

person walking down street with an umbrella in the rain

What Would My Business Need a Commercial Umbrella Policy For

One thing that will always be true for business owners is that there is a strong need to protect the business from whatever fate may befall it. There are many situations that you might find yourself in with your business where you need to make sure that it has that protection. In fact, this is exactly what insurance is for.

In this blog post, we’ll look specifically at one of the most useful kinds of commercial insurance: a commercial umbrella policy. We’ll look at what it is, how it can be useful, and why you might need one for your own company.

What Is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

The purpose of commercial umbrella insurance is to offer an extra layer of protection for your business, which could come into play in a variety of circumstances where you also have some underlying insurance protections in place. When a claim on one of those reaches the limit of its liability, the commercial policy comes into play with extra liability protection for the business.

This can prove very useful in several ways. You might be in a position where your company is being sued, but your business liability coverage doesn’t account for the full amount. Here, you may use your commercial umbrella insurance policy to step in and cover the rest of the amount. This can prevent your company from getting into serious trouble.

Another major feature of a commercial umbrella policy is that it will usually cover you for legal defense costs, up to the total amount covered by the policy.

How Much Does Commercial Umbrella Insurance Cover You For?

The range for how much commercial umbrella insurance covers is great, as does any kind of insurance policy, but usually the very lowest that such policies start at is around the $1 million mark. This range normally extends up to around $15 million. Sometimes, you may also secure a policy that reaches beyond that upper limit.

Why Should You Get a Commercial Umbrella Policy?

If you are seeing the benefit that you would have from having this kind of policy, then you are not alone. Many companies make use of an umbrella policy. But if you are still wondering why you would want to have such a policy in place, it’s actually quite simple to understand.

The main reason to get hold of such a policy is that it protects you against large losses higher than your primary policies can provide. If you already have the largest underlying policy you can get, but you think you might need more protection, then an umbrella policy will provide it for you.

Some businesses are obviously more vulnerable to large losses than others, so if you run a company that falls under that category, consider getting an umbrella policy.

You might also, at other times, need to have an umbrella policy in order to fulfill the requirement of a certain contract. Maybe a partner, client or even a supplier demands that you have such a policy in place, and you have decided it’s best to keep them on board and fall in line with that contract.

Other situations are if your employees drive their own vehicle for work, or if you have business premises open to the public. In those cases, you might also want to consider a policy. You can see more circumstances here where it’s a good idea to have an umbrella policy here.

How To Get a Commercial Umbrella Policy

If you have read this far, you are now versed in the benefits of the commercial umbrella policy, and might wonder how you can get hold of one for your own business. To do so, you're going to want to get in touch with an insurance agency or broker. They will determine your needs and work to find a policy that will suit your situation best.

Click here to find out more about such an agency. With a new commercial umbrella policy in place, it will protect your business against any claims that might come your way in the future.

front of a semi-trailer truck

Preventing Your Commercial Fleet From Catalytic Converter Theft

Catalytic converter theft is a top concern if your business owns a commercial fleet.

Your vehicles' catalytic converters turn harmful gasses emitted from the engine like carbon monoxide and nitric oxide into safe gasses like carbon dioxide and steam, ensuring that your fleet doesn't produce emissions above legal limits.

There has been a troubling rise in the frequency of catalytic converter theft in New Jersey and the US at large. As per the National Insurance Crime Bureau's (NICB) data, catalytic converter theft increased by 325% in 2020 alone. Therefore, it is prudent to take effective steps to prevent your converters from getting stolen.

Here's how to stop your commercial fleet's catalytic converters from being robbed.

Why Are Catalytic Converters Being Targeted?

Catalytic converters contain precious rare earth metals like Platinum, Rhodium, and Palladium. These metals are highly valuable, and their prices have risen rapidly. They are a favorite target of thieves since they can be sold on the black market for a fortune.

Indeed, JM Bullion estimates that an ounce of palladium goes for $2,362 today. Rhodium is even more expensive, currently costing $18,900 per ounce. For context, gold's current price is $1,938 per ounce, making Rhodium almost 10 times more valuable.

Furthermore, stealing catalytic converters is reportedly like taking candy from a baby. All a thief needs is a blatant disregard for the law and your company's property, an angle grinder, a jack, and as little as one minute to get the job done. Also, most catalytic converters are located under the car towards the exhaust, so they are very easy to find.

It is frustrating to lose your converters to theft, as the replacement costs are expensive. You may need to fork out as much as $2,500 to replace each stolen converter, and your bill could even reach $10,000 if a pipe or oxygen sensor is cut.

What You Can Do To Stop Catalytic Converter Theft

Thankfully, there's a lot you can do to stop your commercial fleet's catalytic converters from being stolen. Some of the practical measures you can take include:

Parking Your Vehicle in the Right Place

Easy access is one of the biggest loopholes catalytic converter thieves exploit. Therefore, park your commercial fleet in the right places to prevent robbers from accessing them. The most obvious place to park your fleet is in a locked garage to prevent intruders from accessing them. However, this effective step might not always be possible, so parking vehicles in well-lit areas is the next best thing.

You can also train your drivers to park close to nearby access roads or the front of buildings when making stops. These areas have significant foot traffic and are visible, deterring many thieves.

Finally, remember that catalytic converter bandits require space to get under your vehicle to access their loot. Your drivers should park on the side of the vehicles closest to the converter near walls, fences, high curbs, and other vehicles to prevent easy access.

Hiring an Overnight Security Team

If your commercial fleet is quite large, consider hiring an overnight security team for added protection. These highly trained professionals will patrol the fleet parking area with eagle eyes, and their mere presence can deter criminals from targeting your business premises. Also, they can react in real-time to prevent thieves from escaping with catalytic converters.

Admittedly, hiring these guards doesn't come cheap, but it might be a necessary and a lower price to pay than what you will spend on replacements if your commercial fleet gets hit frequently.

Installing Surveillance Equipment

Top-notch surveillance equipment can be powerful tools in the fight against catalytic converter theft. Thieves who target your commercial fleet's parking area will probably reconsider their plans immediately if they notice security cameras keeping watch. The great thing about surveillance equipment is that even if your business becomes a victim of theft, you might identify the criminals and recover the stolen converters.

Leveraging Alarms

Most modern vehicles with catalytic converters have factory-fitted alarm systems that detect and activate if the automobile is lifted or tilted with a jack. Therefore, you can simply remind your drivers to lock the vehicles and set the alarms anytime they park and exit. If your commercial vehicles lack standard fitted alarms, consult your dealership regarding the possibility of installing an effective and approved alarm system.

Marking Your Converters

You can also engrave the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) onto each converter to uniquely identify them. This marking makes it easier to identify your commercial fleet's converters and can alert scrap dealers when thieves try selling stolen converters to them. You can also engrave your vehicle's license plate numbers for an added layer of identification.

Spraying your converters with quality, bright-colored, and high-temperature automotive exhaust spray paint is also worth considering to prevent them from being stolen.

Adding a Lock or Guard

Guards and locks for the underside of your vehicles are also effective in theft prevention, so keep this in mind. Manufacturers like Toyota offer "Catlocs" to prevent your converters from getting stolen. You can also invest in CatClamps that grip your vehicle's exhaust pipes, protecting your converters.

CatClamps make it very difficult for thieves to steal your converters, especially if they are in a hurry. Your mechanic can also fit makeshift 'cat cages' for additional protection or weld bolts shut to make them almost impossible to loosen. However, alert your insurance provider of any vehicle modifications to check if they might affect future claims.

Insuring Your Commercial Fleet

It is advisable to take out a comprehensive coverage policy, such as business automobile insurance, from a reputable insurance agency in New Jersey. This policy will not prevent theft, but will pay to replace stolen converters and repair any damage caused during their removal.

Choose Us for Your Business Auto Insurance Coverage

At Harrah & Associates, we provide comprehensive coverage to protect a wide range of vehicles used by businesses, including trucks, vans, buses, and taxis. We also have decades of experience in the insurance industry and can tailor our policies to suit your specific needs and budget.

Reach out to us today at (609) 587-8030 to get started

person pointing to russia on map

Cyberattacks, Cybersecurity, and Cyber Liability in 2022

Cyberattacks, Cybersecurity, and Cyber Liability in 2022

Protecting your business from cyberattacks with both cybersecurity and cyber liability insurance has been something we’ve recommended for quite some time. However, as the U.S. put sanctions against Russia in place because of its invasion of Ukraine, it’s more important than ever that we discuss these topics.

While experts predict a spike in cyberattacks coming from Russia, we want to let you know what our top issues of concern are for business owners related to cybersecurity, why you should invest in cybersecurity for your small business, and how the current world events are affecting cybersecurity.

Top Issues of Concern for Business Owners Related to Cybersecurity

In our video video, Lisa Harrah will discuss her top three issues of concern for business owners related to cybersecurity.

First and foremost, businesses of every size need a cybersecurity program in place.

Next, you want to work with an experience insurance agent. Many insurance companies’ coverage varies from policy to policy, so it is extremely important that you work with an agent that has a thorough understanding of the policies and how the coverage comes into play.

Lastly, the market has hardened dramatically over the last couple of years. A hard market means prices are escalating dramatically and the coverage is becoming more difficult to obtain. Gone are the days when you could just fill out a quick application and get a quote from several carriers.

I can’t emphasize enough how you need to deal with a professional that understands cybersecurity and what your business needs, because again, all businesses need it. Small businesses probably need it more than larger businesses because they don’t have many of the cyber controls in place.

If you’d like to discuss this further, please feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Cybersecurity for Your Small Business

In our second video, Gary Newborn of G.S. Newborn & Associates is here to talk to Lisa Harrah about cybersecurity for small businesses, and bring awareness to what businesses should do to protect their business from cyber hacks and intrusions.

Cybersecurity experts that work with the insurance industry hand-in-hand have advised insurance agents that they should be advising all clients and potential clients of the activities that they should do in order to protect their business from any cyber threats.

First and foremost, insurance should always be the last line of defense.

As a business owner, there are many things that you can do that can protect your firm from a hack from even happening.

Number one, you want to make sure that you have up-to-date patching programs in place. That, coupled with endpoint threat detection, antiviral programs and multi-factor authentication will greatly improve the security for your firm.

It ultimately comes down to cyber hygiene. All the common sense things that we should always be doing, we should really emphasize now in these more difficult times.

Passwords need to be complex and secure, and you should change your passwords frequently. And please don’t share passwords in the office. Everybody should have their own password.

Make sure that all of your forms and programs are backed up.

And lastly, educate your employees. A significant number of data breaches occur when an employee clicks on an attachment that they shouldn’t click on. Everyone should have a sign on their desk that says think before you click.

These are just some common sense things that will help every business.

If you have any questions regarding this, please feel free to reach out to Gary or Lisa. They’d love to provide any assistance.

How Current World Events Are Affecting Cybersecurity

For our third and final video, Gary Newborn discusses how current events are affecting the landscape when it comes to cybersecurity.

We’ve clearly seen an uptick over the last several months in cyber attacks throughout the world. And with the current events in Europe and Russia, experts expect an even greater incidents of cyber attacks on public and private entities throughout the United States.

With the tightening of the insurance markets in cyber insurance, this makes it incumbent on all business owners to do their own planning and their own risk management to make sure their own internet, their access, their telephone, and their data are secure.

You need a policy and you need more than just an add on to your general liability or property coverage.

We can help you with this. Give us a call.

Experts Fear Global Impact from Russia's Cyberattacks on Ukraine

Russia launched a full-scale military assault on Ukraine in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, 2022, accompanied by a series of targeted cyberattacks that experts and officials say could ultimately have a much broader impact.

In the weeks leading up to the invasion, Ukrainian government entities, financial institutions and other key organizations faced website defacements, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and destructive malware. Cybersecurity experts around the globe have kept tabs on these cyber events, warning clients and organizations to secure their systems without delay.

On Feb. 23, 2022, researchers at Symantec and ESET first tweeted the discovery of new wiper malware, dubbed “HermeticWiper,” that was used against Ukraine. Symantec researchers observed the use of this malware against an organization in Lithuania as early as Nov. 12, 2021. They noted that, with an invasion underway, there remains a high likelihood of further cyberattacks against Ukraine and other countries in the region.

Offering a technical breakdown of the malware, cybersecurity firm SentinelOne commented, “After a week of defacements and increasing DDoS attacks, the proliferation of sabotage operations through wiper malware is an expected and regrettable escalation.”

In a recent webcast, experts from Secureworks said they had long expected that any invasion would have a cyber component.

The wiper attacks make no pretense of being ransomware events and aim to destroy data with little hope of recovery. These attacks could contain an element of espionage as well, according to Mike McLellan, director of intelligence at Secureworks.

While the cyberattacks currently appear to be focused on Ukraine, the United States and its allies should be prepared for retaliatory attacks over severe economic sanctions announced by President Joe Biden following the invasion.

In an Axios interview, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said that Russian cyberattacks could trigger expanded conflict with NATO countries.

“If you unleash not one, but five, 10, 50 or 1,000 [cyberattacks] at Ukraine, the chances of them staying within the Ukrainian geographic border are quite small,” Warner said. “They could spread to America or the [United Kingdom]. But the more likely effect will be [the attacks] spreading to adjacent geographic territory … [like] Poland.”

On Twitter, Warner added, “This is not something to take lightly—cyberattacks don’t have borders.”

U.S. House Intelligence Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) expressed similar concerns in a news briefing.

“We have seen in the past Russia deploy attacks at a particular target—those tools get into the wild, and they cause global damage,” Schiff said.

According to McLellan, attacks targeting the United States would require a significant escalation between the West and Russia. However, threat actors unrelated to the situation in Ukraine could take advantage of the unfolding conflict to infiltrate systems.

Jen Easterly, head of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said on Twitter, “While there are no specific threats to the [United States] at this time, all organizations must be prepared for cyberattacks, whether targeted or not.” She cited the 2017 NotPetya attack that brought commerce to a halt and caused billions in damage for corporations around the world.

To help prepare organizations of all sizes, CISA launched Shields Up, a program with guidance for preventing, detecting and minimizing the impact of cyber events.

Cybersecurity firms working closely with the insurance industry advise businesses to protect themselves by reviewing their business continuity plans and ensuring cybersecurity fundamentals are in place. This can include up-to-date patching programs, endpoint threat detection, antivirus programs and multifactor authentication.

Download Cyberattack PDF