New Jersey Wellness Programs on the Rise: What are the Risks?

New Jersey Wellness Programs on the Rise What are the RisksDue to the rising costs of health care, many companies are developing workplace wellness programs to help eliminate losses due to chronic illnesses generally associated with lifestyle. The issue that has arisen is creating wellness programs that are beneficial not only to the employee, but to the company as well, in addition to creating programs that reduce your New Jersey Employment Practices Liability risks.

Federal guidelines have drawn out several requirements in order to ensure wellness programs comply with HIPAA, including: limitation of individual rewards, availability of rewards to those who don’t meet initial standards, and a reasonable design to promote a healthier lifestyle. HIPAA also states than an employer cannot discriminate against workers by using factors such as genetic information, medical history, and health-status when figuring eligibility or coverage premiums.

The ADA also has an impact on how companies can develop and implement programs. While nothing in the law prohibits employers from enacting programs, it does prohibit discrimination by limiting what employers can ask about medical conditions and medical history. Under the ADA, employers are allowed to conduct “voluntary” examinations and Health Risk Questionnaires. While “voluntary” wellness programs do not violate the ADA there is still debate about what constitutes as “voluntary”.

In January 2009 changes were made to the ADA known as the ADA Amendments Act that puts more responsibility on employers to prove the necessity of their decisions, including clearly defining accommodation for employees with disabilities unable to participate in a wellness program. Discussion of options for appropriate alternatives must be made with employees in question.

While there are advantages in having corporate wellness programs for both the employee and the employer, employers must remember that certain legal restrictions require them to carefully craft their wellness program to avoid discrimination charges.

At Vreeland Insurance Inc., we understand your desire to protect your company while implementing a wellness program that is beneficial to your employees. For more information on our  insurance, please contact us today at 877.755.3767.

 

Common New Jersey Surety Bonds Explained

Common New Jersey Surety Bonds ExplainedSurety Bonds are an essential risk management tool for many New Jersey businesses, especially those in construction and land development sectors. New Jersey surety bonds are a promise to pay one party a certain amount if a second party fails to meet some obligation, such as contract fulfilling. Here are a few types of New Jersey surety bonds that are most commonly encountered by New Jersey contractors.

License Bond- Often required by federal, state and local regulations in order for a contractor to legally attain a license and operate on a commercial development project. Bond amount requirements will vary depending on the division.

Bid bonds- Project owners often request that bidders provide proof that they are financially able to complete the job. This proof comes in the form of bid bonds. Bid bonds are essentially a guarantee from the contractor to the project owner that the contractor is capable of completing the job at the bid price. Not all construction projects require bid bonds, however they are required when bidding on federal and often state commercial construction projects.

Payment bonds- Payment bonds are posted by contractors as proof of funds and financial stability to pay subcontractors and material suppliers. These bonds are required of contractors working on projects that cost $100,000 or more as well as any publicly funded project due to the Federal Miller Act.

Performance bonds- Performance bonds are designed to protect project owners from poor or incomplete project completion, and guarantee that a contractor will fulfill all contractual obligations, in a timely manner. Should the contractor fail to fulfill their obligations, the duty falls to the surety provider to ensure project completion to the project owners satisfaction or financially compensate the project owner s needs.

Vreeland Insurance writes these bonds and more in New Jersey. As a licensed contractor, getting bonded is critical to your business. If you have any questions regarding surety bonds in New Jersey, give us a call today at (877) 709-6761

Report Shows NJ Struggles In Small Business Growth

Report Shows NJ Struggles In Small Business GrowthIn an attempt to assist American entrepreneurs in better understanding the current climate for new businesses, WalletHub recently published the findings of an expansive study that analyzed the relative start-up opportunities that exist in the 150 most populated U.S. cities. According to the report, the ranking was made based on 13 unique metrics, ranging from 5-year survival rate and the affordability of office space to the educational attainment of the local labor force. While the prognosis was good for some cities, the findings were much more bleak for others, including Newark, NJ.

The Wallet Hub study ranked Newark last among 150 large cities in the nation in terms of current opportunities for small business growth. The discouraging news comes only a few weeks after Newark Mayor Ras Baraka delivered strong plea for assistance from Senator Christy, state officials and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to help boost local economic growth. Mayor Baraka reportedly said the city needs the state to approve new sources of revenue so that Newark can rise up as a serious economic competitor for new business cultivation and growth. Newark was not the only NJ city to rank low on the Wallet Hub survey, in fact Jersey City ranked 149th, or second to last, on the list as well.

There is plenty of opportunity and potential left in New Jersey for those willing to look for it, especially for larger and established operation. New Jersey is well-known for it’s hospitality and travel industry opportunities, as well as a leader in agricultural income per acre. New Jersey is also hoping to attract more interest from tech firms to Newark and other struggling areas in hopes of stimulating the economy. Mayor Baraka has said that he believes that Newark can experience a renaissance if it can leverage the resources it already has, and create new arts and culture developments.

At Vreeland Insurance, we believe in helping local businesses thrive. We are a local insurance agency in Northern New Jersey including the communities of Morris, Sussex, Warren, Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Somerset counties, as well as the rest of New Jersey. Working with our NJ business insurance specialists gives you clear-cut advantages when you’re looking to purchase insurance. We have strong relationships with a number of leading companies that allows us to find the best insurance solution at competitive rates for you and your operation, no matter if you are just starting out or looking to expand your empire. To learn more about our operation and how we can help your New Jersey business, contact us today at (877) 755-3767.

New Report Calls for Investment in Small Manufacturing

New Report Calls for Investment in Small ManufacturingWhile there is often talk that America is in the midst of a revived manufacturing “renaissance”, mounting evidence saying that American manufacturing growth is starting to slow, according to a report from The Economist. According to reports, much of the recovery in American manufacturing seems to be based on a cyclical boom in “durable” goods, or those items which are expected to last a long time, like vehicles. Data shows that in the aftermath of the recession, production of durable goods has soared, while the production of innovative goods, technologies and non-durable goods has lagged behind. Furthermore, industry wide employment growth continues to struggle. Federal data indicates that before 2000, there were between 15 to 17 million manufacturing industry jobs, but in 2000 and 2001 workers lost roughly one-third of those job. The industry has been slow to recover ever since.

In an effort to help spark sustainable manufacturing growth, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) is calling for better government and big business support of small manufacturing firms. According to the department’s recently released Supply Chain Innovation: Strengthening American’s Small Manufacturers report, the future of American manufacturing rests in the hands of small businesses. Making up nearly half of all American manufacturers, small firms play an increasingly important role in U.S. manufacturing industry according to the DOC. Yet small firms are reportedly 60 percent less productive than their larger peers. The report was designed to identify potential barriers and solutions for manufacturing growth both in the U.S. and abroad.

The DOC report indicates that small firms often yield the most significant breakthroughs in technological and product development. DOC data suggests that small firms are most often responsible for the development of cutting edge processes, technologies and products. The report credited small manufacturers for advancements in developing materials like carbon fiber and lightweight metals, new sensors and digital controls. According to the DOC, small businesses could offer more innovative solutions for manufacturing growth with the proper funding and access to resources.

As a result, DOC officials are calling for improved collaboration between the government and larger corporations to help aid small manufacturers in the pursuit of new innovation. Small firms face barriers to innovation due to lack of access to adequate funding for product testing, research and development. DOC officials assert that government regulators can play a greater role in improving supply chain efficiencies. Their primary goal is to help improve access to resources needed for innovation and facilitate better discussions about common problems and opportunities. The DOC proposed investing government and private sector funds to make the process easier for small manufacturers.

Every New Jersey business needs a strong foundation of financial security and risk management. Whether you own a small manufacturing operation, a large tech company or a contracting firm your business has a unique set of insurance needs. At Vreeland Insurance, we specialize in helping New Jersey operations in a number of specialty industries find the complete business insurance solutions necessary to protect themselves today and through the years to come. To learn more about our New Jersey Insurance Agency and our offerings, contact us today at (877) 755-3767.

Why NJ Food Distributors Need Product Recall Insurance

Why NJ Food Distributors Need Product Recall Insurance Why NJ Food Distributors Need Product Recall Insurance

The risk of a product recall has increased exponentially in recent years for food manufactures due to a number of risk and liability exposures. Product contamination, improper labeling and food handling are all liability concerns associated with a product recall, each exposing NJ food producers to losses, litigation and regulatory investigations into operations. Product recalls are often lengthy and financially draining processes which can dramatically impact New Jersey food distributors. As such, it is important the NJ food distributors properly protect themselves against these losses by securing complete product recall insurance as part of their NJ Food Distributor’s Insurance policy.

Food allergy related product recalls in particular are becoming increasingly frequent in recent years. Such exposures as cross contamination and improper packaging, specifically when it comes to identifying allergens within food goods can create the need for a widespread product recall. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, four out of every 100 children suffer from some form of food allergy, and more than 90 percent of allergic reactions stem from eight food types: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

As a result, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act was created to hold food manufacturers responsible for identifying major allergens on food labels, or else risk recall. Furthermore, following labeling protocol doesn’t absolve manufacturers of risk. Food producers and distributors who work with allergens must do their best to implement processes that eliminate cross-contact; where a food allergen can contaminate a non-allergen containing product, and provide proper labeling informing consumers when goods that do not contain allergens have been processed on the same machinery or in the same facility as products with allergens. However, even these measures are not always enough to eliminate liability and stay a product recall. There is an ever growing list of food allergens as consumer food allergies and as sensitivities continue to rise across the states food producers constantly have to adjust to new labeling and food handling laws and standards.

Product recalls are a frightening prospect, and chances are that most New Jersey food distributors will face some sort of product recall or another over the course of their operation. At Vreeland Insurance, we can help you protect your operation from the costly implications of a number industry loss and liability exposures. Our NJ Food Distributors Insurance programs are designed specifically to incorporate product recall, product contamination, environmental liabilities, and other unique exposures that NJ food distributors face. To learn more about our Product Recall insurance or other business insurance products, contact us today at (877) 755-3767.

NJ Rental Property Insurance: Limiting Eviction Liabilities

NJ Rental Property Insurance: Limiting Eviction Liabilities NJ Rental Property Insurance Limiting Eviction Liabilities

When you own or manage rental or investment property, you incur special risks that come with the responsibilities of being a landlord. To insurers, these risks are known as liability exposures or loss exposures. It is your responsibility as a property owner or manager to adhering to the laws and regulations regarding your rights and the rights of your tenants, and this responsibility is accompanied by liability risk exposures. Should you fail to preform your duties as a landlord, like maintain the property in livable condition, you can be held legally responsible for any losses incurred by your tenants.

There are many liability concerns when it comes to being a landlord. For example, evicting a tenant can be a huge exposure for losses and complications if not handled appropriately by the landlord. The trick is to fully understand your rights as responsibilities as a landlord, and follow the legal processes to the letter. Despite it’s misnomer, New Jersey’s Anti-Eviction Act was created to protect tenants from unwarranted evictions yet it does not prohibit landlords for evicting tenants entirely. Instead, it simple sets a sets of standard protocols for landlords to follow to protect both themselves, their property and their tenants. New Jersey landlords are afforded the right to evict there tenants on a number of premises, so long as the proper procedures are followed. Doing so will minimize your risk of facing a lawsuit from a disgruntled tenant therefore decreasing your risk exposure to losses.

When it comes to minimizing risks for rental property owners and managers we can help.  At Vreeland, we can help you cover your liability risks with an affordable rental or investment property insurance plan. Our NJ Rental Property Insurance offers far more than just liability protection against lawsuits, it also offers a complete host of property protection as well to help protect you against the risk on revenues lost due to fires or storms or other events, and protect your long-term investment. Every New Jersey commercial property owner faces different risks, so let our NJ rental property insurance specialists sit down with you and create the perfect solution. To learn more about our property insurance solutions, call us today at (877) 755-3767.

NJ Landscaper’s Insurance: Challenges of Winter Work

NJ Landscaper’s Insurance: Challenges of Winter Work NJ Landscaper’s Insurance Challenges of Winter Work

Winter can be a rough time for New Jersey landscaping professionals. As foliage begins to hibernate and a blanket of snow begins to descend for the winter work tends to slow and duties change. Depending on your operation and the services you offer, you may find that your winter responsibilities include snow and ice removal, tree trimming and lean up, leaf raking, foliage upkeep and removal. When it comes to working in the ice and snow there are a number of additional safety concerns to watch out for.

Here are a few major risk exposures to look out for:

  • Slips and falls are the most common work related accidents all year-round; however the changes greatly increase during the winter months. During winter, snow, rain and ice accumulation creates overly slippery outdoor surfaces. As a result many landscaping professionals face the increased risk of slipping or losing their footing on slick surfaces from walkways and paths to ladders and platforms.
  • Icicles can become hazards when left unattended. As icicles thaw and break off they can become dangerous projectile so it is important to remove them from overhangs above walkways and paths.
  • Snow build-up can decrease visibility to trees, hedges and other vegetation and other outdoor landscaping features thus increasing the likelihood of accidents and injury when working with trees and other foliage.
  • Prolonged exposure to cold and ice can take a greater toll the human body. As such it is important that all outdoor workers are properly clad in waterproof and insulated clothing designed for safety and warmth. While thick and bulky clothing will help keep workers warm, they are also decrease maneuverability and pose a safety hazard. As such it is important to encourage workers to seek safe and functional warmth solutions. Water repellant clothes, waterproof boots, insulated coveralls, weather appropriate gloves and headwear are all recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Keeping workers safe on the job is your responsibility as an employer, but not all accidents can be prevented. As such, it is important to have a strong strategy in place to handle worker place accidents and employee injuries on the job, including strong NJ workers compensation coverage.

At Vreeland Insurance, we provide comprehensive New Jersey Landscaping Insurance programs at a competitive cost that are tailored to meet your operation’s specific risk and loss exposures. Our NJ landscaper’s insurance specialists can help secure all the business insurance solutions you need. To learn more about our operation, give us a call today at (877) 755-3767.

Do you need NJ Business Vehicle Insurance?

Do you need  NJ Business Vehicle Insurance? Do you need  NJ Business Vehicle Insurance?

When it comes to protecting business vehicles, there are many factors to consider. If your operation owns its own business vehicles, you will have different risk exposures and NJ business vehicle insurance needs that an operation which relies on their employee’s to use their own vehicles for work activities. Many small business owners and employees often utilize their personally owned vehicles for business purposes mistakenly believing that the motorist’s own personal auto insurance will protect them in the event of an accident. However, when a vehicle is being used for work related functions, travel or other activities on a regular and reoccurring basis, the situation becomes more complex. The fact is, when a vehicle is being used for work purposes, NJ businesses can be held responsible for any losses, damages, or liability claims that surface in connection with a vehicle being used for your business purposes.

Protecting business owned vehicles is much more straight-forward than protecting your employee’s personal vehicles which they also use for work. A commercial or business vehicles policy should have the same coverage inclusions as any personal vehicle. These policies should include liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection and coverage for uninsured motorists. When insuring business owned vehicles, the policy can be taken out through the company itself, naming the business as the “principle insured”. This will help avoid possible confusion in the event that you or an employee need to file a claim or a claim is filed against you.

Personal auto insurance policies will often provide coverage for some business use of non-business owned vehicle, however it is unlikely to provide enough coverage if the vehicle in question is used primarily in business. When employees are utilizing their own vehicles for business use it is important that the vehicles and drivers have sufficient liability coverage to protect your business in the event of a serious auto accident.

There is a lot to consider when looking to protect your operation from loss and liability exposures, but working with the right NJ insurance agency can help. At Vreeland Insurance, we work with our clients to identify their unique needs and exposures before crafting customized New Jersey business insurance solutions to meet those needs. Our NJ business vehicle insurance specialists can create a business auto insurance package tailored to the specific needs of your operation, including owned and non-owned vehicle coverage. To learn more about our  NJ business vehicle insurance policies or any of our other business solutions, give us a call today at (877) 755-3767.

NJ Food Manufacturers Insurance: The Importance of Location

NJ Food Manufacturers Insurance: The Importance of Location NJ Food Manufacturers Insurance The Importance of Location

Food manufacturing is a dynamic and constantly expanding industry. Not only can food manufacturing be a lucrative business, many communities now offer multimillion-dollar public subsidies for a manufacturing plant to choose their location to call home. These subsidies hope to attract large processing operations and create job opportunities for the local residents. However this process has led to plants being constructed in unfit locations or densely concentrated in some areas over others. While these deals may be ideal to starting up a new facility, in some cases they may always be in the manufacturer’s best interest.

According to experts there are a number of factors which should be considered before choosing a plant’s location, including environmental factors, business model, accessibility, production capacity and future growth projection, just to name a few. Your business plan should be the true foundation of your site-selection process, as to best ensure that the needs of the business are being met, risks are being reduced and that you are establishing the operation in a place which will allow it to thrive.

Here are a few factors experts suggest that NJ food manufacturing operations consider while selecting a site for a new plant. :

  • Understand the location: It is important to consider land availability now and in the future ,if growth becomes an option later down the line. Choosing a piece of property with the present and future in mind can save an operation from having to relocate later. It is also essential to understand the geography of an area in terms of accessibility, environmental stability, government regulations and land conditions.
  • Utility and water costs — One of the largest expenditures faced by many NJ food manufacturing operations is are the costs of operation, such as water, electricity, fuels and other essential utility fees to keep machinery running and products coming down the line. Creating understanding your usage needs will help manufactures address these needs right from the start and ensure that the plant is designed with these needs in mind.    When selecting a site, it is essential to ensure that an adequate energy supply source is readily available.
  • Think about transportation- Consider your locations distance from customers, proximity to existing infrastructure to transport food goods from your production facility to their destination, and access to the supplies and materials you need. Speedy transportation is especially important in the food manufacturing industry because food spoilage and contamination can be costly liability issues which can lead be a catalyst for business interruption and other complications.
  • Environmental issues — Not only must food manufacturers be concerned with their own environmental impact, but they should be mindful of the possibility of contamination from outside sources.  This is a crucial consideration for food processing plants, because food goods are susceptible to harsh regulations and standards and there are many locations unsuitable for food production facilities.

At Vreeland, we specialize in helping NJ food manufacturers mitigate the wide variety of unique risk exposures these operations commonly face. We will not only put together a comprehensive NJ food manufacturers insurance program, but we’ll also help to evaluate your overall financial assets and operations to advise you on important areas of risk transfer and management. Our vast New Jersey business insurance portfolio includes essential and extended policies customizable to fit the unique needs of your operation. Give our specialists a call today at (877) 755-3767  to learn more about our comprehensive NJ food manufacturers insurance and risk management approach.

NJ Pre-School Facility Insurance: Keeping Kids Safe

NJ Pre-School Facility Insurance: Keeping Kids Safe NJ Pre-School Facility Insurance Keeping Kids Safe

Pre-school programs seem to be on everyone’s mind this September as the national anxiously watches New York City unveil over eleven hundred free, full-day early-childhood development programs set to begin early this month. An estimated 51 thousand children have been enrolled in the new full-day programs which is nearly twice as many students as last year. While the new school year began without a hitch for most students, there were a few programs and establishments which faced setbacks due to safety concerns and other complications. Nine programs were unable to open after undergoing rigorous inspections by fire, health and NYC Education Department officials. While officials have refrained from releasing the names of specific programs, the have noted that the challenges ranged from health and safety concerns, such as exposed wiring or the presence of rodents, to the financial security of the organization.

Student safety is always a top priority for educational and childcare institutions, but keeping children safe at all times can often be a huge challenge for teachers and childcare providers. Young students can get especially rowdy and rambunctious at times, and as such their safety is not always easy to guarantee. In a world highly prone to litigation, even a small mishap can quickly escalate into a potential hazard for the pre-school program directors and facilities. Even unfounded allegations of negligence, neglect and other wrongdoing can take a heavy toll on an operation. One of the best ways that early childhood education programs can protect themselves and their staff members from the various liability exposures they faces is by obtaining the right insurance.

At Vreeland Insurance, we offer an array of business insurance solutions for New Jersey operations of all types and sizes. Our Pre-School Facility Insurance programs offer comprehensive coverage designed to fit the unique needs of early childhood educators and protects the facility, staff members, and the children under their care. We can help craft a comprehensive portfolio of policies that work together to provide coverage for the many risks that come with the territory, including liability exposures. To learn more about all our risk management solutions, give our NJ Pre-School Facility Insurance specialists a call today at (877) 755-3767. 

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