To Paraphrase an Old Saying: Claims Happen
They do. No getting around it. Claims hit our businesses no matter what we do, no matter how safe we are. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t have insurance in the first place.
Now stop dreaming about that utopia on earth and bear with me for a second.
Your business, just like your home, is a place where things break, property goes missing, and people get hurt. Life is just like that.
But what are the most common ways that you end up suffering a loss? Or, put another way, what is the risk you are most likely to face if you have a claim?
Let’s just get down to brass tax: What bad stuff is going to happen, probably?
1. Slips & Falls – Oopsie Daisy
Welcome to Gravity Chevrolet
You probably knew this, but human’s walk on two legs. We’re pretty good at it. We’re runners, basketball players, long jumpers and gymnasts. We’re great with the whole leg thing.
But it turns out that all those other animals that decided to stick with the four legged thing might be on to something.
According to the CDC, more than one million people in the US suffer from slips and falls each year, with the broader category of “falls” resulting in over 8 million emergency room visits a year.
That probably blows your mind. And if you’re thinking that this must be people falling down stairs or ladders, you’re way off. 65% of these falls are on “same-level surfaces,” or your basic even floor.
If you are nervously looking around at your oil-slick concrete garage floor, then you grasp exactly what I’m getting at here. Claims are just lying in wait.
Both employees and customers slip and fall or trip and fall in your auto body shops, service centers, showrooms and even the office spaces every day.
They even fall or trip in your parking lot.
Each one can result in a workers comp claim if it’s an employee, or a lawsuit if it is a customer.
2. Fire – Hot Wheels
That’s not what I meant by firewall the files, Mark.
Most of the people reading this blog work in surroundings that are concrete, steel and glass. Fire is probably the last thing on your minds.
But check this out: A fire department sends out a truck to a fire every 24 seconds nationwide.
Fires happen all of the time. They happen in homes, in businesses, and in cars. While you may think your dealership or body shop is immune to fire, the simple fact of the matter is that you aren’t.
That’s why they are one of the most common claims around.
Between 2013-2017 there were 18,582 business fires that cost just over $850 million in damages.
And with all that gasoline and oil lying around, if you have a fire, things could get messy fast.
3. Repetitive Motion – The Daily Grind
So, like, work?
Whether we work in the front office, or in sales, or work on cars themselves, we typically do the same tasks day in and day out.
Those tasks can cause injury without the proper posture, environment and breaks. In an industry as physically demanding as the auto industry, those can seem like a luxury.
Office staff, sales staff, mechanics and more can get injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, back pain and other injuries. And they can cost you big.
One site (by lawyers that would love to see you in court) said: Repetitive motion injuries cost employers an estimated $80 billion a year.
These injuries are super common and happen to all kinds of auto businesses. So make sure you are aware and have a plan on how to prevent these avoidable claims.
4. Collision – Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am
How did the break test go, Larry?
Sometimes it seems like cars and trucks are magnetized.
How else can you explain the fact that there are 6 Million auto accidents every year in the U.S.?
You may know this better than most people, especially if part of your business is fixing these cars after an accident and getting them back out on the road.
But knowing how likely they are, you have to know that even driving a car around the block to see if your repairs are working exposes the vehicle and your employees to danger.
There is a reason why Garagekeepers Coverage for Garage Insurance exists. Damage to customer’s vehicles while in the care of an auto professional is so common they literally had to create a type of insurance for it.
And Garage Liability is for when those accidents are your fault, or the fault of your employees.
So watch out for cars or trucks in your parking lot and on the streets around your showroom, service center or shop. You never know what could happen.
5. Overexertion – Push It
Odds are most of us have seen a fellow employee (or sometimes even a customer!) bend over, pick up a box of something, and hurt their back.
I have personally witnessed a co-worker joke about this injury, bend over to pick up a 50 lbs box, pick it up and, of course, pulled a muscle in his back.
These kinds of on-the-job or at your business injuries are called overexertion, and they are incredibly common.
They are the second most likely injury to send people to the emergency room (after falling, #1 on our list).
According to the National Safety Council: “Over all age groups, whether work-related or off-the-job, hospitals treated 3,132,271 overexertion-related injuries in 2014, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going downward.”
The auto industry is particularly set up to have overexertion issues, since the tools, parts, and supplies for your work often are heavy and awkwardly shaped.
Add to that the fact that many are slick with oil or some other kind of grease and you have things falling out of your hands while you instinctively try to catch it before it hits the ground.
Selling and fixing cars and trucks is a physical job, with lots of moving around, lifting, bending over to lean into a car, or crawling under a car over and over again.
The opportunity for an accident is there each and every day. That’s why this type of accident is one of the most likely you will face.
Notice A Pattern?
If you noticed that a lot of the accidents above involve employees, then you’re absolutely right.
Employee-related claims are unfortunately all too common.
Your employee can be the one in the accident, like a slip, repetitive motion injury, or lifting injury.
Or they can be the one causing the injury, such as hitting someone while test driving a vehicle.
So, if you take nothing else away from this list, you should come away knowing you need to check on your Workers Comp policy to make sure you have the right coverage.
Workers Comp claims are probably the most likely source of trouble you’ll ever have to deal with.
And even though it didn’t make the list, employees suing employers for violations or harassment is becoming more and more common.
That’s why EPLI is becoming one of the more popular new coverages in the auto industry.
Are You Prepared?
At some point your business will have a claim. No matter how careful you are, that’s just the math of it.
Make sure you have the coverages you need, and with the right amount of coverage, so that you can weather the storms when they come and move forward successfully.
It’s time to make an appointment with a Garage Insurance Expert, like the ones here at Alliance. They can go over your policy with you in detail and find the gaps where you are exposed to dangers you may not even be aware of.
And they can probably save you some money in the process.
So what are you waiting for? Click the link below and let’s get started.