Alaska Bridge Contractors Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Bridge Contractors Insurance. It is - quite literally - impossible to imagine society without bridges. Bridge contractors, as such, play an important role in keeping the world running, by building new bridges and restoring or removing outdated ones.
A multitude of different crafts are called on during bridge construction, ranging from masons to electricians, and from steel workers and demolition experts to excavators - and even the simplest bridges are complex to build. All these specialties each rely on valuable and complex equipment to carry out their vital work.
Bridge contractors build, maintain, or repair structures that connect one side of a highway, railroad, street, valley, or body of water to another. Bridges can be small pedestrian byways or multi-lane river-spanning structures. Bridges can be designed to carry pedestrians, power lines, trains, vehicles, or water pipes.
Except for small footbridges, construction of a bridge is always a major project due to the potentially catastrophic consequences should it collapse or otherwise fail. Bridges may be constructed of concrete, iron or steel, masonry, stone, wood, or some combination of these materials. Some bridges, especially long suspension bridges, also employ cable extensively.
A bridge contractor often uses subcontractors for specialty work, including concrete contractors, electricians, excavators, metal fabricators, painters, or wrecking specialists. Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC), designed to reduce traffic interruptions while a bridge is being repaired, is becoming more common.
This involves constructing replacement sections offsite, then installing them quickly to reduce the bridge's downtime. A bridge needs to be monitored and regularly tested to verify its structural integrity.
While contractors working in bridge construction, demolition, and restoration can be proud to be in an exciting and important line of work, there is no question that they also face a multitude of risks.
Even with meticulous planning and execution, a lot can go wrong. That is why it is so crucial for bridge contractors to carry the appropriate types of insurance. What kinds of Alaska bridge contractors insurance coverage might be needed in this industry? Discover more in this brief guide.
Alaska bridge contractors insurance protects bridge construction general contractors and/or subcontractors from lawsuits with rates as low as $107/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Do AK Bridge Contractors Need Insurance?
Bridge contractor will need to invest in comprehensive insurance to meet legal requirements, of course, as well as because obtaining loans is conditional on carrying the right types of insurance.
In addition, however, you simply need insurance to protect your business interests. Bridge contractors are exposed to a whole range of hazards, after all. They face the same risks that any business owner would, but also have to deal with some threats unique to their own industry.
The premises where your business is based could suffer severe damage as a result of an act of nature such as a flood, lighting strike, or hurricane. Theft or vandalism could impact your bottom line.
An essential peace of equipment could suddenly break down, requiring urgent repair or even replacement. All these perils threaten your business by causing property damage or loss.
Liability is another important risk to take into account. An employee, or a member of the public, could suffer an injury as a result of your company's activities. Your business could accidentally damage public or private property, or cause environmental pollution. Lengthy lawsuits, always accompanied by massive costs, are bound to follow.
These and other perils could easily lead to financial ruin if you had to pay for all related costs out of pocket. Armed with the correct Alaska bridge contractors insurance, however, you will be protected. By making sure you have watertight insurance coverage, you make sure that your business can survive even major disasters.
What Type Of Insurance Do Alaska Bridge Contractors Need?
The precise scope and nature of your activities, the location where your AK business is based, your number of employees, and the type of equipment you own all influence what kinds of insurance you will need to invest in.
All bridge contractors are unique, in other words. For that reason, it is crucial to sit down with an experienced commercial insurance broker who understands your branch of commerce. However, some of the most important types of Alaska bridge contractors insurance needed include:
- Commercial Property - This type of coverage protects your company from financial loss if your premises are impacted by perils such as acts of nature, vandalism, and theft. Your physical building and the assets inside are both covered, and outdoor property can be, too.
- Commercial General Liability - To shield yourself from exorbitant legal costs, it is vital to carry excellent liability insurance. If someone were to sue your company alleging that you were responsible for causing bodily injury or property damage, these policies will help manage attorney fees and settlement expenses.
- Equipment Breakdown - Were essential equipment to break down suddenly due to malfunction, this form of Alaska bridge contractors insurance coverage will ensure you do not need to pay for repair or replacement on your own.
- Workers' Compensation - Should an employee suffer an work-related injury, whether short-term physical trauma or a long-term occupational illness, this type of coverage pays their medical bills. Lost income is additionally covered for employees who are unable to return to work.
While these types of insurance are essential, your business may require additional forms of Alaska bridge contractors insurance coverage, too.
That is why your next step should lie in consulting a commercial insurance broker and bringing them up to speed on the unique details of your particular business.
AK Bridge Contracting's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures at the contractor's office are generally limited due to lack of public access. If explosives are stored on premises, the exposure increases. Outdoor storage may present vandalism and attractive nuisance hazards. Off-site exposures are extensive.
Job sites may attract onlookers, especially if there is any blasting. There must be barriers in place to protect against unauthorized access. Welding of steel parts poses a fire or explosion hazard to neighboring structures. Bridge construction always involves work at heights. Falling objects may injure persons and property, especially when the job is near existing structures or residences.
Pedestrians and vehicles must be protected from falling objects through barricades and netting. Grading and trenching may result in damage to underground lines or piping. Repair and maintenance work usually requires road closings and the redirecting of traffic. Improper signage or barricading could result in a vehicle collision and loss of life.
Equipment and piles of rubble at job sites present attractive nuisance hazards. All equipment must be disabled when not in operation to prevent untrained individuals from using it. Fencing must be in place with appropriate warning signs to prevent trespassing. Security guards should be provided as necessary.
Work near water poses unique hazards, as barges are unstable. The use of cofferdams during bridge construction is common. Sheet metal walls are driven into the bed of a river or lake and the water pumped out to allow excavation and foundation work to take place.
The use of subcontractors as well as any contractual liability exposures should be examined.
Personal injury exposures include assault and battery and invasion of privacy. Background checks should be conducted for any employee who will have regular contact with customers.
Completed operations liability exposure can be severe should a bridge collapse due to the number of people who could be injured or killed and the potential for damage to the property of others. The competence of the designer and engineer, the quality of materials, and the integrity of the completed structure are all critical.
The absence of an aggressive quality control program that documents full compliance with all construction, material, and design specifications may indicate a morale hazard and make it impossible to defend against serious claims. Any changes made by the engineers and carried through in the design must be noted prior to implementation.
Hazards may increase in the absence of proper record keeping of work orders and change orders, as well as inspection and signed approval of finished work by the customer. The size and type of jobs previously completed will give a good indication of the jobs that will be sought in the future.
Professional liability exposures can be severe from the design of the project and the interpretation of specifications by the contractor's engineers. The exposure increases if the firm fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employee's education and training, permit other workers to do tasks that only professionals should handle, or if error checking procedures are ignored or are inadequate.
Collapses under the load of traffic are rare but catastrophic. Other factors must be taken into account, including soil conditions for foundations, proximity to seismic activity, historic flood and tide levels, and especially wind shear.
Due to prior bridge collapses, it is now mandatory that every bridge design be submitted to wind tunnel testing. Many contractors have engineers that will do incidental draft work, such as water drainage channels.
Environmental impairment exposure is high due to the potential for air, land, and water pollution from the use, storage, and disposal of fuels, chemicals, and explosives along with the possibility of erosion from construction operations. Spillage or leakage of pollutants can result in high cleanup costs and fines.
Spills must be controlled and equipment monitored at all times. Operations can result in claims of noise or dust pollution by neighboring properties and claims for cumulative structural damage to neighboring foundations from heavy traffic.
The contractor must comply with all federal, state, and municipal requirements. Proper written procedures and documentation of both the transportation and disposal process is important.
Workers compensation exposure is severe. Bridge work always involves work at heights, with danger from falls or from falling objects. Sudden changes in wind or weather can make hoists and scaffolding less safe. If explosives are used, an unplanned detonation could result in severe injury or death to multiple workers at once from fire and explosion.
Lifting and back injuries, hernias, sprains and strains can occur from setting up structural parts or cofferdams, loading or unloading machinery, or working from awkward positions. Collapse of or overturn of equipment may result in severe injury or death from crushing or suffocation.
Digging and grading of land may result in injury from underground electrical cable or gas lines. Work in trenches or cofferdams may result in serious injuries or fatalities due to collapse of support structures.
Common hazards include slips and falls, foreign objects in the eye, hearing impairment from noise, cuts or puncture wounds, bites from insects or vermin, temperature extremes, auto accidents during transportation to and from job sites, and exposure to pollutants.
Welding can cause eye damage and burns. If welding must be done in confined spaces, proper ventilation and fire protection are essential to prevent or reduce injury.
Work over or near water and waterways can result in drowning or being crushed by watercraft. U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers coverage may be required. As operations are often conducted in remote areas, it may be difficult to transport an injured worker to a medical facility to receive prompt treatment.
Property exposures at the contractor's own premises are generally limited to those of an office and storage of materials, equipment, and vehicles. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems.
If fabrication and repair work on vehicles and equipment, which may include cutting or welding, is done inside the building, the potential for fire or explosion increases due to sparks and flames produced by these processes and the presence of flammables including fuels and lubricants. These must be properly labeled and stored away from combustibles.
Welding involves the use of tanks of gases that must be stored and handled properly to avoid loss. There should be basic controls such as chained storage in a cool area and the separation of welding from other operations away from combustibles, either in a separate room or with flash/welding curtains. Equipment and supplies stored in the yard are subject to loss by wind, vandalism, and theft.
If explosives are stored on premises, there is potential for a severe loss from explosion and fire unless there are superior controls on inventory and access to the explosives' storage areas. Storage must be in accordance with all state and federal regulations.
Local fire departments must be notified, and a plan of control and evacuation should be in place. Explosives are target items for thieves and terrorists. Appropriate security measures must be in place including lighting and physical barriers to prevent unauthorized access
Thorough background checks by the ATF or Homeland Security should be done on every employee.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the contractor bills customers for services, computers, contractors' equipment, including hoists and scaffolding, goods in transit, installation, and valuable papers and records for blasting, contracts, and regulatory information. Backup copies of all data should be stored off premises.
Building materials and contractors' equipment must be transported to and from job sites that can be hundreds of miles apart. Much of the machinery and equipment is heavy, large specialty equipment with unique transportation exposures. Drivers and handlers must be trained on loading, tie-down, unloading, and setup to prevent collision and overturn during transport.
Construction activities may involve placement of large precast concrete bridge segments manufactured off site and transported to the jobsite. These are lifted up onto bridge piers (for beam bridges), towers (suspension bridges), or abutments (arch bridges) with a crane. Resulting hazards include instability due to overload or wind velocity, causing possible damage to both the crane and the building materials.
The contractor may rent or lease cranes from others, with or without operators. The lease contract should specify responsibilities for providing insurance. For work over water, the insured may hire barges, which are unstable and could collapse from overload or list and drop equipment into the water.
If the contractor is responsible for demolition and removal of the debris, any type of equipment may be damaged or destroyed during blasting operations. Detonating devices, as well as explosives, may be a target for thieves.
Equipment and tools are subject to weather damage, water hazards, drop, and fall from heights, collision, or upset. Work is often conducted on uneven surfaces, leading to operational hazards. Equipment left at jobsites may be subject to theft and vandalism.
Equipment should be secured and rendered inoperable when not in use. An installation floater will be needed if the materials to be installed are delivered to the site in advance of the installation.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty. Background checks should be conducted prior to hiring any employee. There must be a separation of duties between persons handling deposits and disbursements and reconciling bank statements. All items should be physically inventoried on a regular basis. If there are explosives, a procedure must be in place to monitor who has access to the explosives and to record all activities.
Commercial auto exposures are high due to the transport of heavy materials, equipment, and lifting devices to and from job sites. Special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts, and hoists may be awkward and require special handling and tie-down procedures. Drivers should be properly trained to prevent overturn and to navigate through high traffic areas.
Any transport of explosives demands extreme care due to the potential for fire and explosion. Serious property damage or injury to employees of other contractors, passing pedestrians, or motorists can arise during loading, transporting, and unloading of equipment and materials.
Long drives with oversized equipment may lead to driver fatigue. For long-term projects away from home base, personal use of company vehicles poses a concern. Similarly, employees may use their own vehicles on company business for long periods, especially to transport crews to the jobsite.
All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Random drug and alcohol testing should be conducted. Vehicles must be maintained, and the records kept in a central location.
Alaska Bridge Contractors Insurance - The Bottom Line
To find out more about the specific types of Alaska bridge contractors insurance policies you'll need and how much coverage you should have, consult with a reputable commercial broker that is experienced in business insurance for large construction projects.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Construction Contractors Insurance
Learn about construction contractors insurance, including how much the premium costs and what is covered - and how business insurance can help protect your construction business from lawsuits.
- Blasting & Drilling Contractors
- Bridge Contractors
- Building Contractors
- Demolition Contractors
- Dock & Pier Contractors
- Dredging Contractors
- Foundation Layers
- General Contractors
- Sewer Contractors
- Steel Erection Contractors
- Surety Bonds
Construction contractors have substantial needs for many types of insurance coverage. Most would point to the importance of coverage for completed operations, premises liability coverage during construction operations at jobsites and professional or design errors and omissions insurance.
Such coverages can be provided only when the interests of the contractor and of the property owner are understood; particularly the contractual obligations assumed by the contractor. Next in significance is the workers compensation exposure followed by business automobile. Inland marine coverage for expensive mobile equipment, supplies, other tools of the trade and builders' risk can be vital.
Liability coverage is needed by a construction contractor in order to obtain most jobs. In addition, if a contractor wants to stay in business, it must be obtained to protect it from lawsuits due to its premises operations, off-site locations and products/completed operations exposures. Owners and contractors protective liability and railroad protective liability coverages may also be required in certain cases in order for a contractor to meets its obligations for particular jobs.
Many construction contractors do not have the usual location-specific buildings and business personal property exposures. Their business property is more mobile and, therefore, better covered with inland marine coverage forms. However, for those larger construction contractors that own buildings and/or maintain business inventory there are many coverage forms and choices available to them.
Construction contractors use their vehicles to get to and from their workplaces and jobsites. They also use vehicles to transport equipment and inventory to those locations. It is important to cover the liability of these vehicles for injury or damage they may cause, as well as to provide coverage for damage to the vehicles themselves.
Employers are required to provide coverage for injuries sustained by their employees while on the job. Construction contractors must comply with these requirements but some try to avoid them by hiring subcontractors. These subcontractors may actually operate and qualify as employees. The relationship between a contractor and its subcontractors must be carefully evaluated in order to determine if workers compensation coverage is still needed.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Surety Bonds, Accounts Receivable, Builders' Risk, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Umbrella Liability, Business Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Nonowned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Contractors' Equipment, Goods in Transit, Installation Floater, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Environmental Impairment Liability, Stop Gap Liability, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) (Drones).
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