No two construction projects are the same. That means insurance for construction companies is different than any other workplace insurance. In addition to some of the common insurance policies that businesses need — commercial auto, workers compensation, umbrella — construction companies have a set of risks that these insurance policies don’t take into consideration.
Each construction company requires a unique set of policies to ensure adequate coverage and avoid policy loopholes. Insurance for construction companies is a complex and vital undertaking that can seem overwhelming, but understanding the process and choosing the right partner can turn this necessity into a business opportunity.
Construction company insurance isn’t exclusively for the big construction companies — it’s also for contractors of all shapes and sizes. Regardless of what the size of your business is and if you’re in the building construction, heavy highway construction or home improvement fields, your job involves additional risks, and you need to find insurance policies to cover them.
Before you begin having nightmares about the prohibitive costs that come with a thorough insurance plan, consider the safety and risk management practices your construction business has in place — wellness initiatives are to health insurance as risk management is to construction insurance; it’s key to getting affordable insurance for construction.
Results: Insurance for Construction and Risk Management
At Gunn-Mowery, we’ve witnessed the benefits of risk management and insurance working together first-hand. The results speak for themselves. Our customers in the construction industry have seen fewer lost time accidents, lower experience modification factors, higher productivity and more successful bids.
Fewer Lost Time Accidents
When you become more proactive in risk management, you have the opportunity to conduct risk audits and discover risks that may not have been on your radar previously. You can get a safety program in place that is more than just a piece of paper — one that’s also an educational opportunity to empower your employees and subcontractors.
As this prevention aspect of risk management becomes more and more active, your business will reap the benefits. One of the first advantages is fewer lost time accidents. When your employees are educated on safe practices and rewarded for following through as a part of a safety plan, they are less likely to have accidents, giving you more engaged employees onsite at all times and fewer claims.
Lower Experience Modification Factors
When you actively begin safety training and promotions, you have fewer accidents. When you have fewer accidents, you have fewer claims. When you have fewer claims, your experience modification factor decreases. In other words, you become safer, or less risky, than other construction businesses. When your experience modification factor decreases, so does the amount you pay for your insurance premium.
Think about how much productivity is negatively impacted by accidents. Injuries lead to time off and either the work continues with one less person on the team, or you need to train a new team member. Injured workers take time to heal and preparing a new worker to take their place on the project takes even more time. All of this time kills productivity. So, it’s no surprise that implementing audits and safety plans lead to higher productivity.
When your team of workers is healthy, your productivity peaks. Accidents aren’t the only aspect of risk management that improve productivity — it’s also having the plan itself. When there isn’t a plan of action, and an accident happens, time is lost searching for answers. With a risk management plan and trained employees, you can minimize the time that’s spent trying to figure out what to do.
More Successful Bids
The perception that it all comes down to the lowest bidder is false. Competitive pricing is important, but more and more research is being done to pre-qualify construction companies based on safety and insurance. Our customers see more successful bids for two big reasons — insurance cost reduction and robust safety plans.
Risk management and insurance go hand-in-hand. When you make an effort to investigate your risks and take serious steps to address them in the form of a safety plan, your company looks impressive on paper. Assuming you’re proactive with your safety plan, you should see a decrease in claims, reducing the cost of your insurance premium and empowering you to bid more competitively.
Since we’re an insurance agency that works with many construction companies and insurance companies, we have the inside knowledge of what firms are looking for and can help you shop around to get you the most affordable insurance, whether it’s ongoing or project-specific. These two things combined allow you to more competitive bids.
Unique Risk Management Services
We’ve shared our insight into risk management’s critical role in insurance for construction, but what are the specific services we offer that get these results?
We offer a variety of services, but the real benefits come from our unique risk management services — that’s what gets our customers results. As a customer of Gunn-Mowery, you have access to all our risk management service, which includes, behavior-based safety, fleet safety, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance, premises evaluation, property and fire prevention and safety training classes.
The foundation of behavior-based safety is research that suggests that 88 percent of accidents are a result of employees’ actions, rather than unsafe conditions. The behavior-based safety service we offer focuses on motivating employees to behave safely through positive reinforcement. The psychology behind it says that positive reinforcement is more likely to produce results than negative reinforcement or doing something just because management says so.
Is your company a good fit for behavior-based safety? If so, what incentives do you offer? Who is responsible? These are just a couple of the questions we help you answer as we work with you to develop a behavior-based safety program.
Motor vehicles are the leading cause of work-related fatalities. In construction, companies often have fleets that are made up of construction vehicles weighing several tons with various attachments — all capable of causing disaster. Our fleet safety service is something we offer to get a plan in place for managing your fleet.
We consider everything from operator training and vehicle maintenance to routing and scheduling. What details do you need to address regarding fleet safety? Are there resources available for areas where a detailed written policy may not currently exist? We work with you to answer these questions and create a plan that gives you peace of mind about your fleet.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Compliance
The sheer number of OSHA regulations can be overwhelming. Combine it with the fact that these rules change and evolve, and it gets quite challenging to ensure that you’re doing everything by the book. That’s why OSHA compliance is one of the services we offer. We work with you to audit everything you have in place and identify any areas where changes need to be made to ensure you are compliant with the most up-to-date OSHA standards.
It’s beneficial to identify areas that may need safety support — the best way to do it is to have a third-party come on site and evaluate on the job. Working with us to conduct a premises evaluation gives you the opportunity to get a candid look at how business is running on site.
While you may be disappointed to discover areas of concern you weren’t previously aware of, it’s beneficial to have that information as we work with you to manage your risk. In the end, a premises evaluation can only make your risk management stronger.
Property and Fire Prevention
In the construction industry, things move fast, but sometimes not quite fast enough. While many new buildings have a sprinkler system or fire alarm in the plans, it takes time to complete them. Walls and ceilings have to be installed first, leaving construction sites with fire safety measures that are either not yet existent or incomplete.
What procedures do you have in place to prevent construction site fires? Are there others you should consider? We work closely with customers to develop a prevention plan to minimize your risk.
Safety Training Classes (On- or Off-Site)
For safety becomes a part of your construction company culture, you need to have recurring safety training classes. There’s plenty to educate your employees on when you consider all the topics your safety program spans — OSHA compliance, fleet safety, fire prevention, scaffolding and aerial lift, fall protection — the list goes on.
Our online training program can allow you to schedule training for your employees away from the job, so no time will be lost on a project. Regardless of the location you choose, we’re here to be your partner in making sure your employees get all the information they need.
Specific Services Gunn-Mowery Offers
Our construction customers come in all shapes and sizes — some may not have the workforce to develop and implement a risk management program, others don’t have the time, and others are looking for a level of expertise they don’t have in-house.
Working with an insurance agency like Gunn-Mowery gives you access to the upside of insurance. The skills we have not only come from our construction insurance expertise but also our in-depth industry knowledge of rules and regulations. Our expertise gives us the ability to provide site-specific safety programs, job site safety inspections and hazard analysis, toolbox and safety talks, accident investigations, scaffolding and aerial lift safety programs, fall protection, drivers safety evaluation and training and our valuable builders’ risk program.
Site-Specific Safety Programs
When you’re collaborating with a team for a project, it’s important to make sure you have a plan in place for managing safety. Creating a program specific to that particular site enables you to increase transparency and communication, as well as minimize risk. Many jobsites now require you to have a plan in place to bid on a job. We work with our customers to develop site-specific safety programs that ensure valuable assets receive protection and comply with jobsite requirements.
Job Site Safety Inspections and Hazard Analysis
If you want to protect yourself against hazardous conditions onsite, job site safety inspections are the best way to do it. A written plan is essential, but it means nothing without the real-world application. All construction sites need to be continuously monitored to make sure safety issues are handled appropriately.
If an unsafe practice is in place, an inspection can help identify and correct it before an injury or accident occurs. We work with our customers to minimize risk on site by performing job site safety inspections and work with foreman and supervisors to help with recognizing hazards.
Toolbox and Safety Talks
When you’re striving to embrace safety as a part of company culture, frequent check-ins and reviews are essential. Toolbox and safety talks are a great way to gather a team for a brief presentation on a particular area of safety. It serves as an excellent refresher for employees and gives them an opportunity to ask questions. Dialogue around safety is essential — our toolbox and safety talks are a great way to lead the discussion.
Accidents happen. When they do, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive investigation for insurance documentation purposes and to help prevent future accidents. At Gunn-Mowery, we know the questions insurance companies ask when an accident happens. We’ll make sure you have everything you need to document the claim and minimize future risks.
Builders’ Risk Program
One of the most important types of insurance a contractor will get is builders’ risk insurance. The overwhelming majority of the time, the owner of the building will require this type of insurance for the project — and when you understand everything it covers, you’ll know why. It’s just as important for the contractor as it is for the owner.
Builders’ risk insurance pays for any damage or loss to the project itself on a construction site while the building is under construction. It could be damaged due to weather — wind, lightning, hail — or something else, like theft, fire or vandalism. The coverage of the policy should be equivalent to the value of the completed structure, including material and labor costs.
There is no one-size-fits-all builders’ risk policy, so it’s important to get the details right. Make sure you know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t cover. If something is missing that you need to have included, you may be able to get a builders’ risk insurance extension.
Usually, policies are available for three months, six months or one year. If construction is delayed and ends up taking longer, you can extend the policy but often only one time.
While builders’ risk insurance is common, getting the details right is essential. Failing to understand your coverage, not updating the policy with changes in material and labor costs or incorrectly estimating the construction time could cause a significant financial burden. At Gunn-Mowery, we work with construction companies on all aspects of their risk management and insurance policies, so we can get the details right, protecting your most valuable assets and demonstrating one of the upsides of insurance.
Gunn-Mowery’s Four-Step Process
At this point, you can see that the list of services we provide is extensive. But with so many options, how do you know where to start? All of our customers begin with the same four steps. Our process is simple — we work with you to provide a vital connection to all facets of your risk management strategy. We guide you in uncovering potential adverse trends and workable solutions:
1. Identify areas of loss or exposure. You likely already know of several areas where your business is vulnerable to loss or exposure. As an external agency with deep construction industry knowledge, we can help you get a comprehensive list of these areas.
2. Prioritize what risk control services will have the greatest impact. Once we’ve identified the areas of loss or exposure, we compare those areas to our risk management services. We match your areas of need to our services. Then, we prioritize and make a plan to utilize any combination of the risk management services we offer, which include:
- Behavior-Based Safety
- Fleet Safety
- OSHA Compliance
- Premises Evaluation
- Property and Fire Prevention
- Safety Training Classes (On- or Off-Site)
3. Implement personalized safety program materials and strategies. Once we have a prioritized list, we get to work. While we have experience with other construction companies and can provide insight, we also realize that your solution needs to be tailored to you. We work closely with you to develop a program that addresses the areas of concern but also is sure to mesh with your company culture.
4. Measure results to determine success. Measure results to determine success. Getting a plan in place is essential, but monitoring the results of that plan and making adjustments, as needed, is just as important. Without measuring the results, you can’t determine success. We’ll work with you to evaluate what worked well and what needs to be improved. This final step is an ongoing process that enables us to make recommendations for continuous improvement in your areas of loss or exposure.
Gunn-Mowery Is the Upside of Insurance and Risk Management
Regardless of whether you know precisely what policies you need or are just getting started in your research, Gunn-Mowery is here to help. We’re an insurance agency that works with a variety of businesses, including construction companies. We have a thorough understanding of the unique risks the construction industry faces and, therefore, are equipped to protect your business while keeping your insurance costs under control.
Since we’re an independent broker, we don’t work with just one insurance company; we work with many. Once we’ve worked with you to determine the insurance coverage you need to make sure you and your business get adequate protection, we shop around to get you the best rate.
We know the insurance companies well, but we aren’t tied to any of them, giving us the opportunity to bring you the best deal. To get started, request a free, no-obligation quote on our website.