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man on frontend loader warehouse 2As a business owner, you know the effect that workers’ injury and illness can have on your business productivity and bottom line. Perhaps you also know that putting in place the right Workplace Safety Program can help to mitigate the risk and expense and help to hold down work-related injuries and illness and thus minimize the cost of your Workers Compensation coverage at the same time. This is especially true since a large part of your premium for workers comp insurance is based upon claim frequency.

Workplace Safety Program should be OSHA compliant

The safety program you implement should comply with the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA). Why is this important? Because insurance carriers typically have an interest in how effective and comprehensive your Workplace Safety Program is as they decide whether to provide your coverage. If you need help with compliance, OSHA can provide information, consultation and/or training as needed.

How can an in-house Safety Manager help?

Each company’s Workplace Safety Program should be uniquely tailored and should typically include written guidelines and safety procedures for employees’ reference.  Your company’s plan should designate an in-house Safety Manager who will implement the program, coordinate periodic safety inspections, train and educate new as well as existing employees, and motivate employees to avert unsafe work practices.

On-site first aid care and return-to-work protocol are important

Workplace accidents may still occur, even with a well-designed safety program in place. Thus, it is important that your program provide for on-site first aid care.  Ultimately, if/when an employee requires absence from work due to work-related injury or illness, your program should include an effective return-to-work protocol.

Workers Comp just one type of Business Insurance

Here at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency, we are available to answer your questions regarding Workers Compensation coverage and to discuss any other business insurance needs. Feel free to contact us any time for more information.

Learn More about Workers Compensation

Here at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency in Lutherville/Timonium, MD, our experienced agents welcome your questions and can assist you by reviewing your current insurance policy and helping you to exploring your insurance coverage options. Why not contact us at your convenience?

Tuesday, 25 February 2020 15:24

We've all heard the stories:  A company loses key resources due to a shooting spree by a former employee... A business is wiped out by earthquake or flood... A corporate data center is destroyed by fire and brings down a national network.  As a business owner, you probably sympathize but then rationalize that business insurance or government agencies like FEMA will be able to help. 

While business insurance benefits and government support offer financial assistance, will affected companies continue doing business in the wake of such disaster? 

Would your business survive a significant disaster? 

It should –  if you have an up-to-date Business Continuity Plan that includes a tested Disaster Recovery Plan, and provided that all key people in your organization know how to use it.

What’s that?  You have a Business Continuity Plan? 

On the shelf since 2001, you say?  In that case, you might only consider yourself safe if supply vendors, computers, employees and business process are all exactly as they were back then. (Of course, that would likely mean that you have other business issues.)  You might ask yourself the following questions:

  • When was your business continuity plan (BCP) last updated?  In fact, have you designated someone to maintain it?
  • If so, how well is that working?
  • How do you know whether your BCP is “in shape “ and ready to see your business through a disaster, large or small?

Don’t have a Business Continuity Plan or a Disaster Recovery Plan? 

Wondering where to start and how to create one?  If you are a large corporate organization, this is a good time to seek out a reputable consultant who knows your industry.  If you are a smaller business, the following guidelines might be all you need.

  • List your key employees and their alternates, and be sure to add their critical functions and all possible contact information for each.  It might be worthwhile to determine who among them is able to telecommute if necessary.
  • Then list vendors, contractors and other resource contacts who are critical to your business operation, including those external professionals and services you would need to help you restore your processes.
  • Identify important in-office equipment as well as heavier, external equipment and vehicles, and note important details such as vendors, serial numbers, etc.  Also consider how you might quickly replace these items if they are destroyed, and note the details.
  • List primary legal documents, insurance policies, bank records and details, etc., and note where each is kept.  Consider attaching copies to your plan.
  • Research and decide upon an alternative location where you can resume business if your primary site is destroyed, and collect all necessary contact details so that you could make arrangements quickly if needed.
  • Organize all your material and document exactly what steps are needed to carry out the plan.
  • Compile all material and make copies for your key participants, and keep the master copy in a safe place.
  • Educate your internal and external contacts and then test your plan, making changes as needed.
  • Designate someone to handle Business Continuity Management in your organization so that this plan remains current and available.

The Impact on Your Business Insurance

Your business insurance portfolio and your business continuity plan complement each other.  How can you know how much and exactly which insurance coverage you need if you have not analyzed your processes and resources to develop your business continuity plan?  How can you complete your BCP without considering your business insurance coverages?  Together they provide your business with a strong safety net.

Is it time to evaluate your business insurance portfolio? 

Here at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency in Timonium, MD, we welcome the chance to review your policies with you, answer your insurance questions, and offer advice to make your business as prepared as possible to handle any disaster.  So why not contact us today?

Wednesday, 12 February 2020 17:05

car ins driver sideviewNew Year's is Especially Dangerous for Drivers

According to experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and AAA, significant numbers of traffic accidents on New Year's Eve involve drunk drivers, and there are more pedestrian fatalities on New Year's Day than any other day of the year.  So, if you will be driving on either day or night, be sure to exercise extra caution whether or not you will be drinking alcohol.

New Year's Eve Safety Tips

If you're planning a night out on the town or just a party at a friend's home and you plan to be drinking alcohol, you'll want to plan ahead to best protect yourself and your property.  Here are a few tips to help you stay safe:

  • Catch a ride with a friend or group of friends, and decide in advance who will be the designated driver -- the one who will commit to not consuming alcohol for the evening.
  • Leave your car at home in case you do consume alcohol during the evening. Plan to order a rideshare to get home. This way, you won't have to leave your car overnight and risk theft or vandalism.
  • See that your phone is fully charged before leaving home so that you'll be able to reach a friend or call a ride service when the evening is over.
  • When you drink alcohol at a party, be sure to also eat enough food to offset the effects of the alcohol during the evening.

If you plan well, you will be able to enjoy the festivities, confident that you'll arrive home safely.

Auto Insurance Tip

If you accept the responsibility of being your group's designated driver for the night's festivities, you'll want to be sure that your vehicle is in good working order and that you know in advance that your #AutoInsurance policy has you covered for transporting passengers in this situation.  If you have not done so in a while, review your policy with your Insurance Agent to be sure.


Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency here in Lutherville/Timonium, MD to discuss your insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances. 

Saturday, 28 December 2019 19:05

Start online shopping on Cyber Monday with these tipsChances are that you, like many other shoppers, are already making your holiday purchases online.  Retailers have noticed an increasing trend in online shopping over the past few years, and this is not likely to change.

As shoppers grow weary of braving the cold and standing in long lines to buy this year’s hot products, those who are computer savvy are increasingly opting for the convenience and great deals that they find online.

The result is the rise of Cyber Monday. Even those who venture into the mall on Black Friday or small business Saturday welcome the following Monday as a time to log on to the internet and see what sales are taking place to finish or perhaps start their shopping.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals know this and are finding that targeting victims online is not only easier but does not pose as much risk as capturing shoppers’ ID information and scamming them at the mall or on the phone. 

What’s at Risk During Online Shopping?

In fact, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) cautions that shoppers will likely face a variety of risks during this holiday season, such as the following.

·         Falling prey to online deals even though they seem “too good to be true”.

·         Paying for purchases with debit cards instead of credit cards, thus putting not only their credit card accounts at risk but their bank accounts as well. 

·         Not choosing secure online networks and instead being vulnerable to identity theft by using public Wi-Fi networks to make purchases online.

Take Necessary Precautions to Avoid Identity Theft

While Cyber Monday is indeed a favorite holiday for hackers, identity thieves, scammers and other cyber criminals,  the danger exists throughout the shopping season and indeed the year. There are some steps you can take to secure your identity and still enjoy the ease of shopping online.

    • Know your antivirus software – Antivirus software is much more effective today than in years past at blocking malicious threats to online shoppers. Sadly, cybercriminals have kept pace, finding new tools to steal your identity, your confidential information and more. So, while cyber thieves now use ransomware, trojans, worms, phishing scams, keyloggers and so much more, online shoppers can now be protected by using security tools for their devices such as VPNs, tracking blockers, parental control apps to protect them when browsing privately online.  However, no security tool will protect you unless it is used properly. Be sure that your security software is properly installed and configured before shopping begins, and see that it is updated regularly to remain effective.
    • Keep track of your payment method – If there is suspicious activity on your account after you have purchases, you must be able to trace it back to the website where your purchase was made.  Your payment methods could include Pay Pal or some other online payment platform, debit cards, credit cards, or perhaps even gift cards, it’s important to document the method you used for each purchase and note which website was used.  In fact, it is likely best to designate one credit card for online shopping and use it exclusively to avoid confusion.
    • Look before you click – Once you find a website from which you wish to purchase, take time to check the site’s URL to be sure it begins with HTTPS and not just HTTP. A site using HTTPS uses a secure network and will better protect your data. Even so, before you enter any personal information or payment details, make sure you are dealing with a reputable company and not a fake website or copycat website built to look like a real retailer’s site but ready to steal your data. A quick Google search for the name of the company or the URL of the website should let you know if there are negative reports available, and a look at the Better Business Bureau can show posts by dissatisfied customers.

Home Insurance Tip

Even with your best efforts, you might still fall victim to cyber crime and possibly to identity theft.  So before you begin your online shopping, it is wise to check with your insurance agent to discuss Identity Recovery insurance which can often be added to your Homeowners insurance or Renters insurance. Find out what coverages and services are available to you and see how affordable this protection can be.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at William M. Sparks Insurance Agency in Lutherville / Timonium, MD to discuss your home insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.

Monday, 02 December 2019 19:22

Ashlee Garrett - fall/winter 2019 Referral Program winner at Sparks Insurance Agency - Lutherville - Timonium MDCongratulations to our Latest Referral Program Winner 

We are always grateful when we get a referral from a client or a friend in the community like yourself.  Here at the William M. Sparks Insurance in Timonium, MD, we work hard to provide “top notch” service with every call and visit, and we're proud of the fact that our clients encourage their friends and neighbors to consider doing business with us as well.  Now, we’ve found a way to say thank you for this business through our Sparks Insurance Referral Program.  We truly appreciate all the referrals our loyal friends and policyholders send our way.

Thank you, Ashlee, for participating in our Referral Program by referring others to our agency. 

Ashlee's prize is a $100 Gift Card of her choice.

Check out the Drawing just held at the Sparks Insurance Agency office.

Could you be our next Referral Winner?

We'll be drawing another lucky winner in Spring/Summer 2020.  If you've been satisfied with our agency and share it with others, it could be your name that we draw next time.  Check out our website for the Referral Program details, and then decide who you know that could use the service and expertise of Timonium/Lutherville's best insurance agency.

By referring your friends, neighbors and family to William Sparks Insurance Agency, you can enjoy a win-win.  Not only will you be automatically entered into our drawing to be the next Referral Program Winner, but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped those that you care about to have access to the best insurance service and expertise in Lutherville/Timonium and beyond. 

See our website for all the Referral Program details.

Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency here in Lutherville/Timonium, MD to discuss your insurance questions.  We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.

Friday, 04 October 2019 15:31
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