Impact of fluctuating building material costs on your business insurance coverage
Since the start of the pandemic, retailers and customers have been impacted by the escalating prices of popular building materials, particularly lumber. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the cost of building supplies continues to outpace inflation. Building material prices increased 20.4%, year over year, and have risen 31.3% since January 2020. NAHB based its conclusions on research from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for February 2022.

What does all this mean to you when it comes to your insurance coverage? As a retailer, fluctuating building material prices continue to have an effect on your insurance coverage. You run the risk of being underinsured and not having proper limits on your current policies.

We are now seeing inflation rates that have not been around for decades. The impacts of inflation can include:

  • As the value of the dollar goes down, the same item ends up costing more
  • Attempts to keep retail pricing level or only apply small increases – cuts into profit margins
  • Consumers have fewer dollars available to purchase non-critical items
  • Pressures to increase salaries/hourly rate to keep employees
  • Credit lines tighten
  • Suppliers may demand payment quicker impacting your cash flow

The rapid rise in building materials/lumber over the past year has impacted structural rebuilding cost and general construction materials. This created a need to review and where necessary increase your coverage limits for your buildings, business property/stock and business income protection.

From an asset protection standpoint, we have seen insurance claim costs increasing due to materials, labor, medical, and miscellaneous services which are all applying upward pressure. Some of the raw material costs of late have flattened/lessened a bit from their all-time high last spring , but inflation is now adding a measurable negative impact with rising costs and thinner profit margins.

December 2021 had almost a 2% reduction in retail sales greatly impacted by the encouragement to do early holiday buying. January 2022 had a bounce back with + 4.4% but we saw consumer prices (inflation) go up by 7.5%. Based on the Fed’s announcement, interest rates are now expected to get bumped up during the year. All of this provides a degree of uncertainly. Overlay all of this with the supply chain issues impacting availability and retailers are working extra hard to keep customers satisfied with products they need at prices they can afford.

At American Hardware & Lumber Insurance, we are here to help ensure your business continues to receive the right coverage with limits that are correct for your operation. Our staff is available to guide you, provide options that work best for you, and review your current policy limits to make sure they adequately account for increased costs.

Your dedicated insurance professional can help you find the right products to help protect your assets and cost benefiting risk control measures.To schedule a free policy review, email [email protected].
Voluntary Benefits =
A Win-Win for Employers and Employees
As benefit expenses rise and bottom lines get tighter, it’s no wonder that employers are looking for ways to enhance their employee benefit package for little or no cost. Voluntary benefits can help fulfill that role. Voluntary benefits offer flexibility and a variety of options that can be tailored to meet the employee’s specific needs. These are products such as life, disability, critical-illness, accident, dental and vision insurance, as well as pet coverage, ID theft protection, legal service and financial counseling that are offered through an employer but paid for partially or entirely by the employee through payroll deductions. Customization allows employees to choose a benefits plan that fits THEIR needs. In turn, this contributes to a greater level of satisfaction with their benefits program and an increase in overall job satisfaction. In a competitive labor market, more employees are changing their jobs to improve their pay and benefits. Offering voluntary benefits options can help keep your benefits package competitive as the labor market continues to tighten.

Employers should consider these 4 reasons to offer voluntary benefits as part of your compensation package:

1.     Little or No Cost
Voluntary benefits come at little or no cost since the employees pay for these benefits themselves. And because employers can often get more attractive group insurance rates than an individual employee can find, voluntary benefits can be cost effective for both the employer and the employee.
2.     Attract and Retain Valuable Employees
Voluntary benefits make a benefits package much more enticing for current and potential employees. It provides your staff with options that allow you to keep current employees happy and attract new ones. The choices and options allow employees to customize their benefits package to meet their personal coverage goals.
3.     Give Employees Options
One of the biggest perks of voluntary benefits is that they are fully optional, so an employee can opt for the benefits that they truly want, rather than having an employer choose for them. This autonomy in their overall benefits plan and deciding what combination of benefits will best suit their lifestyle and family needs add value to working for your company.
4.     Boost Employee Productivity
As employees face uncertainties around health coverage, financial and job security and retirement planning, smart employers recognize these stresses can have far reaching impacts on employee engagement and productivity. Business owners have a solution with voluntary benefits like dental, vision, life, and disability coverage. You can now provide more holistic benefits packages that addresses things medical insurance may not cover and unexpected life events.

Voluntary employee benefits can help fill the gaps in coverage that traditional benefits plan may leave. It’s a way to give your employees autonomy to choose what level of cover they need, without incurring a business expense.

Consider using voluntary benefits to improve the lives of your employees and your business altogether. To request a quote, email [email protected].

Floods end businesses. 
Don’t be one of those businesses.
Get Flood Insurance.

Successful businesses know safety is critical to their As a business owner, you know that protecting your building and your contents is vital to its survival. Protecting your property from flooding can involve a variety of actions, from inspecting and maintaining the building to installing protective devices. These actions, especially those that affect the structure of your building or their utility systems, should be done by qualified professionals.

Most important to the survival of your business is protecting it with a flood policy. 

Can I get Flood Coverage?

Many people are under the misconception that they are ineligible for flood insurance because of their location. But the truth is, as long as your town is an NFIP community, most business owners can get flood insurance.

We urge business owners to remember the flood insurance basics:

• You CAN get flood insurance nationwide.
• You CAN get flood insurance if you live in a floodplain or high-flood-risk area.
• You CAN get flood insurance if you live outside a floodplain, or a low-to-
moderate flood-risk area and at lower cost.
• You CAN get flood insurance if your property has been flooded before.
• You CAN get flood for your building and business personal property.
• You CAN get flood insurance from American Hardware & Lumber Insurance.

Note: Flood is excluded on most property polices.

Don’t wait. Act today!

Often, there is a 30-day waiting period from the policy’s date of purchase until it goes
into effect. To request a flood quote, email [email protected].
Take Control of Your Workers Compensation Premium
You want to save money on your workers compensation premium expense but getting quotes for insurance can take precious time. You have a business to run, and your time is important.

American Hardware & Lumber Insurance is here to help. 

Simply provide us a copy of your current workers compensation policy and we’ll provide you with an indication of how much you can save. That’s it.

If you like the savings indicated and want a formal proposal, we’ll then ask for a bit more information and provide you with a bindable quote. No wasted time!

It’s really simple! To see how much you can save, email [email protected].
Is your business prepared for a data breach?
Rental Equipment Security:
Tips for Preventing Fraudulent Rentals
All equipment rental businesses should revisit their policies and procedures and ensure they are taking the necessary steps to avoid potential losses due fraudulent or deceptive rental practices. There are certain precautionary measures that can be utilized to identify or prevent rental equipment thefts and to speed up the recovery period should an item not be returned as promised.
  1. Each rental operation should have very specific rental procedures in place and all of the employees are expected to follow the procedures on every rental.
  2. Always obtain a signed and completed rental contract that includes full name, DOB, and address of the person renting the item. If the person renting the equipment is not present at the time of pick up, the same information should be obtained from the individual picking up the item.
  3. Obtain two forms of photo identification from the person renting or picking up the equipment. Get a copy of the driver’s license or any other state ID such, as a Firearms Owners’ Identification Card (FOID). Keep copies of this information on file until the items are returned.  
  4. Take a picture of the truck and/or trailer that is being used to pick up the equipment. Taking pictures of the license plate and even the VIN# is advisable. If possible, take a picture of the person(s) picking up the item.
  5. Ask for a copy of the vehicle registration card, and/or copy of their auto insurance card. Make sure all the information matches, such as the VIN#, name, address, etc.
  6. Obtain a copy of a recent utility bill that shows the person’s name and address. Preferably a water bill, electric bill, or cell phone bill. 
  7. If using a U-Haul or other rental truck, ask who and where it was rented from and under what name. Obtaining a copy of the rental agreement is helpful in identifying any fraudulent activity.
  8. If the renter is from out of town, ask for a current address or where the piece of equipment will be stored and where it will used. Verify what security measures they will have in place to prevent theft loss.
  9. Ask who will they be working for or what type project they are using the equipment for.
  10. Ask who will be using the equipment, their experience level, and where they usually rent equipment from.
  11. Ask for multiple phone numbers. Ask the person who is picking up the equipment to call you from his or her cell while they are standing in front of you. Or have an employee call the number they listed on the contract while they are still present.
  12. Obtain a Certificate of Insurance if renting under a business name.
  13. In addition to holding deposits on credit cards, ask for a substantial cash deposit as well.
  14. Use portable GPS tracking devices to assist in recovery and that can be moved from one piece of equipment to another.
  15. Make sure each item has multiple ID markings and keep them on file. These include VIN and serial numbers. These can be later used to verify ownership.
  16. Register equipment with the NER.
If you should additional questions regarding rental equipment security, email [email protected].

Hosting a special event?
We’ve got you covered.

Product features:
  • General Liability Coverage and/or Commercial Liquor Liability coverage available for events with up to 10,000 attendees per day on most risks
  • Host Liquor Liability available for one-day events with 500 or less attendees in many states
  • Separate limits for General Liability and Host Liquor Liability
  • Automatic coverage for volunteers, temporary or leased workers, and committee members
  • Food and beverage Product Liability included in the General Aggregate
  • Medical Payments coverage
  • Coverage for damage to rented premises
  • Property owner can be included as Additional Insured at no charge

Perfect coverage for:
  • Weddings/Receptions
  • Beer Gardens/Beer Tents
  • Concerts/Musical Performances
  • Festivals
  • Parties
  • Sporting Events
  • Motor Vehicle Events
  • Car Shows
  • Conventions
  • Trade Shows/Exhibits
  • Fund Raisers
  • Parades
  • Picnics
  • And more!

Limits of liability:
  • Limits of $1,000,000/$2,000,000 available

Additional advantages:
  • Low minimum premium
  • A.M. Best rated A++ carrier
  • Online quote, bind and issue system

To request a special event coverage quote, contact American Hardware & Lumber Insurance.