Author Archives: baird@morganinsurance.net

Why Outsource

Many companies are saving money by outsourcing instead of hiring in-house positions. How does outsourcing work and when does it make sense?

What is outsourcing?

Say the word “outsourcing,” and most of us think of giant companies who, in order to save money, hire workers from overseas to take care of customer service or other logistical tasks, or to manufacture a product. But anytime you hire an independent contractor or temporary worker to support your business or perform a one-off task, you are outsourcing. Often it saves money, but there are other reasons to outsource, too. Here are some reasons you should outsource, and some times when you shouldn’t:

When to outsource?

pexels-photo-288477 (1)When you can get a better result: Successfully running a business means knowing your strengths and knowing when to tap somebody else’s skillset. If that person isn’t on your payroll and the need is not ongoing, consider working with an outside expert.

When there’s a need: Maybe you have an ongoing need for somebody to manufacture your product, but there’s nobody in your city who can do the job. It may or may not be the best long-term solution, but it makes sense to outsource when the need can’t be filled locally.

When it’s a logistical task: Certain things (like payroll, accounting, etc.) are just part of doing business, and if there’s a solid option that’s not going to negatively impact your operation, hire an independent contractor.

When you hate the task: Why be your own boss if you can’t choose to focus your efforts on what you love to do most? You may be great at project management, but if your passion is in the creative arena, hire someone else to take care of the business end.

When you’re on a deadline: If your business is growing at a rate you can’t keep up with, it may be necessary to bring in outside help so you can keep your customers happy without rushing the process of finding great employees. Try a temp agency to get you through a deadline.

When it’s a short-term project: Whether it’s a website or a few more workers during your busiest season, short-term and/or one-time jobs should probably be filled by temporary, independent contractors.

When Not to Outsource

When you need to know the details: If you need to be involved in the nitty-gritty details or keep an eye on daily progress, you may want to consider keeping your workers on-site.

When you want their attention: Independent contractors by law must be able to make their own schedules, and usually they are handling more than one project at the same time. If you need a staff member to work at certain times or want to require that they focus on your company, you probably need to hire them as an employee.

When it’s a long-term investment: Even if the job at hand is not directly implicated in your mission statement, having support staff who knows and cares about your business makes a big difference to the health and success of your company. If you have a need that isn’t going away, consider making those workers a real part of the team.

Call AmeriAgency today to start saving on your business insurance at 615-209-9362.

Fall Proofing: Preventing Falls Inside and Outside of the Home

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According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury deaths worldwide. Falling disproportionately impacts adults age 65 and older, and can lead to serious injury, further health problems, decreased quality of life, and a loss of independence.

But most falls can be prevented. Here are some ways to minimize your risk:

In the Home:

No matter your age, it’s important to fall-proof your surroundings so you can cruise around comfortably at home.

Since most falls happen at home, there’s a lot you can do to make your home safer.

  • Secure rugs and floor coverings with rubber backing or double sided tape; use mats or rugs to improve slick surfaces.
  • Be sure all railings and banisters are secure, and install extra guard rails (including bed rails or bathroom grab bars) if necessary.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting throughout your home. Use motion sensitive lights or night lights in any areas you may walk through when it’s dark.
  • Arrange your furniture so that it’s easy to get around. Be sure nothing is obstructing any doors or natural pathways.
  • Fix anything in your home that may create a safety hazard, like a broken stair, unruly electrical cords, or a wobbly table.
  • Keep your home neat and clean, and doors and stairways free of clutter.

Outside the Home:

Weather can create some of the most hazardous conditions for falls around the home. Here are some easy fixes:

  • Regularly clear your sidewalks, entrances, stairs and driveway of snow, ice and other outdoor debris.
  • Use salt on icy walkways.
  • Install good quality lighting that’s easy to turn on when you need it.
  • Make sure all stairs and ramps have handrails and good traction.

Stay Healthy:

Taking steps to improve your physical health can minimize your chances of falling. It can also minimize the chances of getting injured during a fall. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Get active: Walking, yoga, Tai Chi or any regular physical exercise can make you stronger and give you more control of your movements. There are also a variety of exercise programs specially geared towards adults who are concerned about falling and other risks associated with aging.
  • Manage your medication: Some medications can impair your balance, awareness and ability to respond to unsafe conditions. Be sure to take all medications exactly as prescribed, and talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about side effects.
  • Visit your physician: The more aware and alert you are, the less likely it is you’ll be injured by a fall. The National Council on Aging recommends having your vision and hearing checked regularly, so that you can more easily recognize and better respond to any safety hazards.

Use Safe Practices:

  • Always turn the lights on when navigating difficult areas.
  • Never stand on furniture or unsteady surfaces
  • Use handrails, walls or sturdy furniture to steady yourself as you walk.
  • Keep frequently used items, as well as your phone or other emergency alert system close at hand.
  • To prevent tripping, wear good shoes and appropriate clothing both around the house and outdoors.

Call AmeriAgency now to start saving up to 30% on you auto insurance at 615-209-9362.

What’s in a vehicle history report?

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When buying a used car, it’s important to review the vehicle history report. There’s no better way to find out where a car has been and what it’s been through. Still, you need to know what you’re looking for. Here’s how you can use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to avoid buying a lemon.

What is a VIN?
vehicle identification number is a 17-digit series of numbers and letters that provides various bits of information about the vehicle, such as where it was built, who the manufacturer is and what some of its features are. VINs can also be used to pull vehicle history reports.

How can I check my car’s history?
The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers a free service called VINCheck to indicate if a car has been reported as stolen but not recovered. It will also reveal if a car’s been reported as a salvage vehicle. For a full report, complete with all minor repairs and recalls, you can purchase a vehicle history report from major companies such as AutoCheck and Carfax.

What is a salvage title?
If your vehicle history report reveals a salvage title, proceed with caution. Salvage titles are triggered when insurance companies deem a vehicle more costly to repair than it’s worth. Usually, this is the result of a major accident, flood or fire. Such vehicles can be dangerous if not repaired correctly or if the damage is too severe.

In the end, all the reports in the world won’t guarantee you’ll never have problems with your used car. However, with an inspection and a quick peek into its history, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re purchasing.

DOUGLAS BAIRD MORGAN
AMERIAGENCY
EMAIL baird@ameriagency.com
OFFICE (615) 209-9362
ADDRESS 1806 Memorial Blvd Ste B Murfreesboro, TN 37129

The Weather is Changing, And So Is the Time: Safety Tips for October

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As winter starts to set in most of us will be spending more time indoors. Now is a good time to review this checklist for safety, comfort, and savings.

Around your home…

  • Make sure your fireplace and chimney have been cleaned
  • Install motion detection lights on the outside of your home – it will save energy and add a touch of safety
  • Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning properly and have good batteries
  • Make sure all furnace ducts and hot water pipes are sealed and insulated
  • Consider using a programmable thermostat for energy conservation
  • If you regularly arrive home after dark, use a timer on interior lighting for safety so lights are on when you arrive home

Your car…

  • Check fluid levels
  • Get an engine tune up
  • Check your tire tread and review winter driving tips
  • Be aware of children playing around streets after dark
  • Check your battery; starting power is more crucial when it is colder
  • Keep a blanket, flashlight, and shovel in the trunk

For Halloween…

 

  • Choose safe costumes for your child. Make sure their vision is not obstructed in any way, that the costume allows for comfortable movement and breathing, and is flame resistant.
  • Make sure adults accompany smaller children when trick-or-treating
  • Send kids out with flashights, and if appropriate, a cell phone
  • Make sure children cross streets at well light intersections and obey traffic signals
  • Be sure to check your kid’s candy before they eat any

Call AmeriAgency Today To Start Saving On Car Insurance At

615-209-9362.

 

4 Good Reasons to De-Clutter Your Work-space

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Cluttered, messy workspaces can be a distraction. Getting your workspace organized and decluttered can greatly improve your productivity and help you to stay focused while you’re working. But it doesn’t end at productivity. Below are 4 reasons you should declutter your work zone.

  1. Kill Workspace Stress. Disorganization and messiness can cause extra stress throughout the work day. Having to do extra work to find necessary documents or information can add stress to your day, especially if you’re trying to meet deadlines.
  2. Security. Many businesses have instituted a clean desk policy, requiring employees to remove anything which contains confidential or sensitive information. Making sure any papers, business cards or flash drives are secured protects your clients, vendors and employees’ privacy.
  3. Clean Desks Encourage Cleanliness. Keeping a clean workspace encourages other employees to keep their spaces clean.
  4. Improve Your Reputation. When outside vendors or potential clients come into your workspace, organized and neat workspaces provide a more positive experience than cluttered or messy spaces. This includes bathrooms and break rooms.

Call AmeriAgency for the lowest rates on car insurance at 615-209-9362.

Five Types of Insurance a Small Business Owner Should Have

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When you’re running a small business, you face many unique challenges. Especially if it’s your first time running a small business, you may not be aware of everything that goes into protecting your business. Every business is unique, so while you may not need the same insurance coverage as the next business might, these policy types are the commercial policies most likely to be need by your small business:

  1. General Liability Insurance
    a. If you or someone you employ causes property damage or bodily injury to a person, business or other party: your company would be liable for damages. General Liability insurance will cover you for the cost of mounting a defense, as well as any settlements or damages you may end up owing.
  2. Property Insurance
    a. Even if you do not own your office, it’s likely you own the things inside of it. Computers, inventory, office equipment and more. Property insurance will help you recover should your property become damaged or stolen.
  3. Professional Liability
    a. A professional liability policy will provide for your defense and damages, should you fail to provide professional service to your customers. What may seem like a simple mistake can turn into a major issue and professional liability will protect you from the likely unforeseen consequences.
  4. Commercial Auto Insurance
    a. If your business has even a single designated work vehicle, you will need a commercial auto policy to protect your investment. Even if the car is mixed use (used for personal needs as well) you may still need commercial auto coverage.
  5. Business Interruption Insurance.
    a. If your business faces a major disaster, business interruption insurance will help keep your business afloat financially. If you lose income or if you experience a reduction in your income as a result of a covered loss you’ll be covered under business interruption insurance.
    b. Business interruption insurance will help you recover lost income and can even provide  funds to help you keep your business running, such as relocation due to disaster.

Call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362 for the best coverages and advice.

3 Tips for Improving Your Customer Service Skills

Another business tip for AmeriAgency – #1 in Business Insurance

It is only natural that you will need to deal with difficult situations while running your business. Customers will need help with your products or services, or they will have complaints that you will have to address. Being able to address those issues while simultaneously keeping your customers happy is a skill that not all have mastered. It’s best to constantly work on improving your customer service skills to maintain a healthy business. I’ve compiled 3 tips to help you improve your customer service abilities.

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Our Business- AmeriAgency

  1. Work on Your Public Speaking. Your customers want to speak with someone who is knowledgeable and confident. Great public speakers connect with their customer and help them feel assured that they are speaking with the right person for the assistance they need. You can practice public speaking by volunteering to speak at local events. You can also practice a script until you feel comfortable talking at length.
  2. Be a Problem Solver. Customers want to feel like you care about their issues, but when it comes down to it- they want you to solve their problem. Paying attention to the little details and practicing active listening will get you very far in finding the right solution to your customers’ problems.
  3. Leave Your Ego Behind. People like being right. But when you’re dealing with customers, being right should be the furthest thing from your mind. Customer Service is about your customer’s experience with your company. You need to remain aware at all times that an interaction with a customer is about them, and not you. Controlling your breathing and taking deep breaths is an excellent way to ensure you stay in the right state of mind.

For the best advice and coverages call AmeriAgency at 615-603-9362.

How To File A Claim For You Business After A Hurricane

tulen-travel-143274When you think of insurance coverage after a hurricane, you typically think about your home or private property. However, business owners need to think about the next steps to take after storm damage, too. Here are 5 helpful steps for filing a claim for your business insurance after a hurricane hits.

Assess the Damage | Make a list of all damaged property and include pictures or video to back up your findings. Also include any documentation about the value of the damage items or structures.

Gather Business Interruption Data | Obtain proof of your business revenue before the hurricane hit and of your current business revenue now that the storm has passed. Revenue documentation can include expense & sales documents, revenue profit & loss statements, and inventory reports. This data can help determine the amount of business income you have lost and could potentially lose.

Meet with the Adjuster(s) | Be prepared to meet with an insurance adjuster (or 2) and show them all documentation and data you have collected.

Meet with the Contractor(s) | Get replacement estimates for damaged property and items. It is a good idea to get at least 2 bids from contractors.

Document Everything | Save all copies of correspondence regarding the claim – from start to finish. Keep a contact list for every individual you talk with.

Hurricanes don’t have to ruin your business. Give us a call today to talk about what kind of business insurance coverage we can offer to fit your needs.

Call AmeriAgency for the best coverages and advice at 615-209-9362.

Four Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Following

Another business tip From AmeriAgency – #1 Business Insurer in Tennessee

girl on computerLinkedIn has become a valuable resource for individuals and businesses alike. From recruiting, to marketing to job search and professional networking groups, there’s something for every business and professional. Many companies have not seen the engagement they’d like with their LinkedIn page and may be wondering how they can improve their statistics. After all, LinkedIn followers of your business can become valuable employees or customers of your business. Below are four ways you can change your LinkedIn strategy to improve your strategy:

  1. Find Out Who Your Audience Is. You should have a good idea of what your customer looks like, but you should work on narrowing that profile further: who follows you on LinkedIn? Why do those people follow you? What type of content do they tend to share on their pages?
  2. Quality over Quantity. If you’re sending out too many messages, or asking for followers to share your posts, you may be pushing your connections away. Many do not appreciate the aggressive approach, and prefer to interact with companies that churn out valuable content without pushing it into their faces.
  3. Be Who You Say You Are. Think about who you are and what you want individuals and businesses to know about you. Find creative and genuine ways to express yourself to your connections. Add your own insight and business intelligence to what you share, rather than simply adding content from elsewhere online. Some aren’t going to care for everything you have to say, but thoughtful discussion can be encouraged and expose you to more potential followers.
  4. Keep it Real. There’s no need to talk around the nature of your business or work. Use the unique personality of your brand to deliver content that speaks directly to your target audience without the fluff. Staying honest is staying relevant, and adds to your credibility.

Start Saving On Business Insurance Today, Call AmeriAgency at 

615-209-9362.

Four Tips for Saving Money on Your Tow Truck Insurance

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The tow truck business can be considered high risk by insurance companies. With the high cost of your vehicles and the dangerous nature of your work, insurance companies are more cautious about providing affordable coverage. Below are some tips which will help you keep your premiums down.

  1. Create a Culture of Safety Awareness. Monthly safety meetings are a great way to keep safety top of mind for your drivers and to collect any suggestions that your drivers may have to improve safety.
  2. Background Checks on New Hires. Whenever you hire a new driver, you need to conduct a thorough background search. Checking driver records and verifying that they meet all state and local requirements for driving your trucks.
  3. Handle Small Claims Internally. Minor claims and losses that you can cover may be worth covering. While you are fully entitled to make a claim for every loss, your insurance company will factor that data into changes in rates, and could even choose not to continue your coverage.
  4. Provide all Drivers with Written Safety Policy. All drivers need to follow a set standard of safety rules to ensure safety. With a written policy, you can make sure all your drivers are aware of policy and you can enforce appropriate consequences for breaking policy.

Get the best advice and rates for business insurance, call AmeriAgency today at 615-209-9362.