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The 2 General Contractor Insurance Requirements You Need in Your Toolkit

Whether you are an established contractor, or just starting out, you know that you will need insurance. But what types of insurance do you need? How much? And is it worth risking going without, are all questions that might cross you mind as you begin your research to try and find the insurance you need. And that research can become more than a little difficult when conducted in an industry that becomes more and more complex as the days pass. So, to make that research a little bit easier for you (because it should be) we have listed all of the general contractor insurance requirements below. Here’s what you need to know.

General Contractor Insurance Requirements

When it comes to breaking down general contractor insurance requirements there are two policies that every contractor should know (and every contractor should have). So, just as you wouldn’t leave your home without certain tools in your toolkit, don’t leave home without these policies in your insurance toolkit.

Workers Compensation

Workers comp is required by law in most states and, when it’s not, it’s typically required in any contract that you end up working on. It will protect you and your employees if either party ends up injured as a result of some work-related activity. It will also cover up to two-thirds of your employees income until they can return to work. But, if you do not choose to acquire workers comp, you might find yourself facing quite an array of litigation and fines from government organizations. Fines that could put your business under a considerable amount of stress. To avoid all of that, you just need to find a workers compensation policy that is within your budget. Plenty of companies offer free quotes online so you are free to explore and find the best rate for your business.

Commercial General Liability

Commercial general liability policies (CGL’s) are also typically required by law (just like workers comp). And, they are also typically required in most contracts as well. CGL’s will ensure that your business is protected in the event of an accident that results in property damage, injury or litigation. It will cover your defense costs and any damages that may have occurred. Not a bad deal (if you ask us) and will keep your business moving forwards.

These are two of the most popular (and important) policies when it comes to general contractor insurance requirements. But, they are not all of the requirements. For the full version of general contractor insurance requirements please feel free to check out this wonderful breakdown from the Associated General Contractors of America. If you have any further questions please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-649-9094. We look forward to hearing from you!

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These General Contractor Courses will Help You Build Your Ideal Business Future

Since the day we started kindergarten we’ve been told over and over again that a college education is key to our own economic futures. Basically, if you don’t go to college you’re not going to be very successful (and we both know that’s not true). You’re living proof. For most contractors, college is a useful luxury but not a necessity for you to make your way as a contractor. There are other paths you might take, and other ways that you may educate yourself. You might choose to learn on your own or on the job (which can be time consuming) or you can take the more efficient route and check out these general contractor courses listed on the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) website. Just taking one could drastically increase your skills base, and, therefore, your rate.

General Contractor Courses from the AGC

For those of you that don’t know the Associated General Contractors of America is an organization focused on promoting skill, integrity and responsibility among those who are building America’s future (a.k.a. you). In order for you to build up your skills and integrity you need easy access to general contractor courses and other educational materials. Access that the AGC provides on their website. Listed below are some of the training and curriculum programs from that site (for a more detailed version we suggest you check out the AGC’s website, here).

1.       AGC National Programs and Events

With everything from advanced management programs (for construction execs) to an entry-level project manager course and safety management training courses the National Programs and Events section will provide useful general contractor courses for those contractors either who own a business or are looking to set out on their own. Management courses will help you understand what you need to do to maintain and look after your employees while safety courses will ensure that your employees are protected on the job.

2.       AGC Curriculum Programs

The curriculum programs are a little more thorough way for you to further your education. The AGC is currently offering programs on the following;

  • Building Information Modeling
  • Lean Construction
  • Project Manager Development
  • Supervisory Training

These courses are offered locally across the country so be sure to check your local listings. While they may be more time consuming than some of the national programs, being more thorough never hurt anybody.

3.       Training Tools and Online Training

The AGC also offers general contractor courses online. Online courses are a great way for self-disciplined individuals who have no trouble learning on their own (and who might not have time to dedicate to taking one of the AGC curriculum programs). If you are a member of the AGC you will save 10% on all courses that range from safety fundamentals to OSHA outreach training.

If you have any further questions about AGC general contractor courses please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-649-9094. We look forward to hearing from you!

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FMCSA Proposes Electronic Logging Devices to Combat Falsified Records

On January 27, 2014, a crash involving a tractor trailer and two other vehicles resulted in the death of an Illinois Tollway worker, left an Illinois State Police trooper severely injured. 39-year-old Vincent Petrella had parked his tollway vehicle beside a disabled tractor trailer on Interstate 88 and was soon joined by state trooper Douglas Balder. The two men were helping the stranded semi-driver when they were struck by a truck driven by Renato Velasquez. Petrella died at the scene, while Balder managed to pull himself from the fiery wreck.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently ordered DND International Inc., the truck company in question, to immediately shut down, citing the business’ noncompliance with federal safety regulations. Upon the conclusion of their investigation, the FMCSA found that, “for a period of 26-hours during Jan. 26-27, Velasquez operated a tractor-trailer for approximately 1,000 miles, only resting between 3 ½ to 5 ½ hours – well short of the federally required rest period.”

Truck companies are required by law to cross reference toll transaction information with drivers’ logs in order to monitor the number of hours their drivers have worked. These standards are designed to keep drivers from driving fatigued (which can be more dangerous than driving drunk). Employees of DND International routinely falsified their drivers’ logs, thereby placing other automobile operators in Illinois at risk.

To reduce the amount of falsified logs and safety violations, the FMCSA has proposed that interstate commercial truck and bus companies will be required by law to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in their vehicles. According to the Associated General Contractors of America website, the devices would, “track latitude and longitude, log engine hours and odometer readings. It would record location every 60 minutes and report whether the engine is on or off. This could be accomplished through satellite or land-based tracking. GPS could be used but would not be mandated.”

ELDs are just one way in which the FMCSA has attempted to boost road safety within the past couple months. There has been some opposition to some of the proposed safety changes, such as the change to the hours of service regulations, but many seem to be in favor of the electronic regulation of driver hours. Safe travels!

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AGC of America: The Highway Trust Fund’s Knight in Shining Armor

The AFAC isn’t the only organization hoping to sway Congress and increase funding for the Highway Trust Fund. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) believes that 2014 marks a crucial year for the program, as it is projected to be unable to support any new public projects by next year. With no available funding, many contractors and building professionals will be out of work. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) commented on the situation at a meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

“Let me be clear: The pending highway trust fund shortfall must be addressed by an infusion of funds. Otherwise CBO estimates that obligations for new projects in 2015 would need to be reduced to zero. This would result in federal highway, highway safety and transit funding being cut by $50.8 billion in fiscal year 2015 with 1.8 million jobs lost.”

In order to combat job losses and diminishing funding, the AGC has come up with a new program called “Hardhats for Highways,” which aims to encourage transportation construction firms to contact their elected officials. The co-chair of the project, Stephen E. Sandherr stated at the Las Vegas CONEXPO/CONAGG construction trade show that, “Members of Congress need to understand how many people back home are counting on federal transportation investments.”

If you’re interested in making a difference here is a list, provided by the AGC, which details all of the necessary steps to promote change.

(1) Request a supply of decals

(2) Fill them out and list the number of people employed by your company

(3) Put the decal on your Company’s Hardhats

(4) Call your Senators, your local Rep’s office and set up appointments to meet with them

(5) Visit and copy and paste the Congressional letter onto your company’s letterhead

(6) Bring the stickered-Hardhat and your letter to the appointment

(7) Now it’s time to engage your representative; explain the impact on you and your co-workers

(8) Provide computer access to your employees during the day and urge them to take a moment and email messages to their elected officials

(9) Use to spread the word by:

  1. Taking a picture (with a jobs number caption) and sending it to the website so that the website job tracker stays up to date
  2. Utilizing information on the site by putting that data in your company newsletter.
  3. Having your employees visit the website and send an ehardhat message to their Senators.

(10) Keep on writing to your state and local representatives

Thank you for your help and support!