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If Your Business Serves Alcohol, Invest In Liquor Liability Insurance

Working in a restaurant presents a unique set of challenges to the involved employees and business owners alike, especially if the restaurant serves alcohol. Introducing alcohol into any environment can potentially create a bad situation, either due to fighting or even due to medical emergencies caused by drinking too much.

Due to the risks involved with drinking, restaurants, bars and taverns that serve it are always advised to invest in liquor liability insurance, which is a type of business insurance that would protect the restaurant (or bar or tavern) against any claims made by a patron who became intoxicated and injured themselves or anyone around them. These sorts of claims are not covered by standard liability policies, which is why liquor liability insurance is recommended as an investment not only to restaurants that serve alcohol, but to any businesses that sells, serves or facilitates the use or purchase of alcohol.

Often, restaurants are given two options when purchasing this insurance: to add it on to a commercial liability policy, or to purchase it as a separate policy. No matter which option is chosen, there are five things that any good liquor liability insurance policy should cover:

-Assault and Battery Coverage – The typical claim made against a bar or restaurant stems from a fight that occurred as a result of drinking; as such, a solid liquor liability insurance policy should always include coverage for assault and battery claims.

-Defense Costs Included – If a restaurant faces any claims as a result of serving alcohol, the greatest expenses as a result of these claims usually result from using a lawyer to defend against the claims. Needless to say, since legal fees are incredibly expenses and any business deserves to get skilled legal counsel, it’s best to pass over any insurance policy that does not include defense costs.

-Employees Included – A good liquor liability insurance policy will include employees as patrons, because as experienced restaurant owners know, no rules will stop the determined rule-breaker amongst your staff from enjoying a drink or two on the job. Both you, and your insurance policy, should be prepared for potential trouble because of this.

-Damage Definition Includes Mental Damages – While assault and battery charges are the most common claim made against a bar or restaurant, other claims include charges that patrons were damaged emotionally or psychologically. The right liquor liability insurance policy will include these claims in the damages that policy covers.

-Reduced Premiums Based on Safety and Claims – Finally, it’s also recommended to look for an insurance group that offers things like free classes and training to their policy holders, as well as offers discounts on premiums for undergoing training and having a clean claim record.

While many restaurants avoid purchasing liquor liability insurance, not investing in this insurance is a major gamble. Sometimes it just takes a single suit to potentially bankrupt a restaurant or bar. This isn’t a risk any business owner should take, especially if they live in states with “dram shop” laws, which legally hold bars and restaurants liable if they knowingly over-serve a visibly intoxicated patron who goes on to injure another person; Pennsylvania is one of those states.

So with New Years celebrations just around the corner, now is the time to talk to one of our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff members (F.W.F Insurance Agency) to either evaluate or find your liquor liability insurance. Contact our staff now to set up an appointment! Whether you’re in Johnstown or any other area in central Pennsylvania, and whether you need an entirely new policy or to update the one you already have, we’re here to help you. Our representatives in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties are all ready to work with you so that you can continue operating with peace of mind during this wonderful, but risky, time of the year.

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10 Important Safety Tips To Remember During The Holidays

December in America is a time of tradition and celebration, thanks to the three major holidays that take place throughout the month. This year, with Hanukkah already at a close, Christmas and Kwanza are looking to steal the spotlight for the remainder of the year.

Despite their differences, all three of these holidays share common elements: the use of lights and fire. As a result of holiday traditions that use these items, our holiday celebrations can pose a real danger if not practiced safely. Consider these statistics:

-Each year ERs across the nation treat around 12,500 people for injuries related to the set-up and use of holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). These injuries usually result from falls from stepladders or roofs, cuts, or shocks from faulty electric equipment.

-The CPSC also warns that candles start about 11,600 fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss.

-Finally, Christmas trees are involved in about 300 fires annually, resulting in 10 deaths, 30 injuries and an average of more than $10 million in property loss and damage. Causes of these fires often range from short-circuiting to damaged cords or plugs.

We want to ensure that all of us can enjoy the holidays safely – plus, good fire and electric safety practices are the key to keeping your property and casualty premiums low. Due to this, we’ve put together a list of ten tips that you can use to protect your home during the holidays; these are also tips that any business that has decorated for the holidays can follow:

1. Before putting up any holiday lights, review their packaging for the mark of a recognized testing lab to make sure that they have been tested and meet safety standards. Also, since there are different lights for indoor and outdoor use available on the market, it’s good to double check and make sure that you’re using the proper light sets in each area.

2. Before using your lights, check them over for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Be sure to throw out damaged sets and to replace any burned-out bulbs.

3. Check your extension cords and be sure that you’re not overloading them; a good rule of thumb is to use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

4. If you buy a real tree for Christmas, ensure that you buy a fresh one – this means looking for a tree that’s green, sticky with resin, and that does not lose too many needles when tapped against the ground. Once this tree is in your home, be sure that it’s set up far away from heat sources like fireplaces and radiators (and do not light any candles near the tree!). Give it plenty of water to keep it from drying out as long as possible (and dispose of the tree as soon as it begins dropping lots of needles, as this is a sign that it’s becoming even more flammable).

5. Check that the items you use to trim your tree are made from non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.

6. If you buy an artificial tree, make sure that it’s fire resistant; note that while this does not make the item fire proof, it does lesson the chances of a fire starting (and should a fire start, it’s likely to extinguish quickly).

7. Never use lights on a metallic tree, as faulty lights can create a charge that could electrocute someone who touches a branch on the tree.

8. Do not put a tree up in front of a door or in a busy hallway, as this can cause an accident or even block an emergency exit in unforeseen situations.

9. Always double check that candles have been extinguished when no one is in a room or when you to go bed. Additionally, always turn off all of your holiday lights, from the ones outside to the ones on your tree (fake or real) when you go to bed; a single short in a light circuit or candle accidentally falling over can easily result in a fire.

10. If you open presents and have a fireplace, do not burn any wrapping paper in the fireplace; since wrapping paper can ignite quickly and burn intensely, a flash fire could develop right before your eyes.

Tips like these should be added onto the safety procedures we recommended using during Thanksgiving, since safety guidelines for cooking and keeping guests out of harm’s way should also be taken in account during December celebrations. Remember: taking these precautions will go a long way in protecting your friends, family, and your property during the holidays, allowing you to truly enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

Our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff all wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. Stay safe!

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Sail Smoothly Through The Winter With The Right Boat Insurance

As the air grows chillier and the holidays are approaching, most of Pennsylvania’s proud boat owners have already placed their beloved watercraft into storage for the winter. With these vessels set to sit indoors for several more months, we urge any and all local boat owners to make sure that in addition to being properly stored, their vessels are properly insured.

Whether you have a bass or fishing boat, a cabin cruiser, a ski boat, a sailboat or pontoon, any boat owner should have a separate policy fully covering their boating needs. Don’t assume that your boat already has coverage through your auto or homeowners policies; this is often not the case, which is why a separate policy for your watercraft is incredibly important. Additionally, with about 20% of all boat claims occurring during the fall and winter months – when boats and watercraft are most susceptible to fire, theft, vandalism, transportation damage, and sometimes even liability issues – having insurance that provides year round, on- and off-water coverage for your watercraft is an absolute necessity.

Our staff at the Johnstown-based the Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency (F.W.F Insurance Agency) believes that if you’re a boat owner, both your time on the water during wonderful weather and your time off during the chilly months should be relaxing and worry free. We understand the importance of having a solid boat insurance coverage plan that ensures you’re protected at all times, not just during the summer months when you and your friends are enjoying a water-side vacation.

Our partner, Safeco Insurance (a Liberty Mutual-owned company), understands this as well. That’s why we’re working together to help you buy the perfect policy to ensure that your vessel, and even some of your boating-related personal effects, will be covered and protected year-round. Work with our staff, and we promise that you’ll be able to find an inexpensive plan for your boat that ensures your vessel, your boating gear, and even your friends and family are covered both on land and in the water, year round; in fact, SafeCo offers high-quality coverage that lasts an entire year, as well as roadside assistance coverage that ensures your boat will also be covered in the event of an emergency tow.

Don’t look at the winter as a time-out from protecting your treasured boat; talk to one our representatives today for personalized advice based on what kind of water vessel and gear you own. Whether you’re located in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties, we’re ready to work with you so that you can plan your next summer by the water knowing that you’ll be covered when you’re ready to set sail, no matter what happens during the off-season.

Contact us now to set up a meeting with one of our local representatives in central Pennsylvania! Our representatives will use their connections to 15 other major insurance companies, including SafeCo, to ensure that your boat’s policy is as comprehensive as possible.

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No One Home? Insurance For Vacant Buildings And Lots Is A Must

If you own a vacant home or empty plot of land, you probably have big plans for that property; you’ve also probably put up ‘No Trespassing’ signs for the time being. The next question to ask yourself, then, is: have I properly insured my property to protect myself, as well as my big plans for that space?

These days, having insurance coverage for any unoccupied space you own is a necessity. At first, it may seem that an empty plot of land or building would not need insurance if it were not in use, but this is not the case; in fact, because these areas are unoccupied, empty buildings or lots carry their own risks and liabilities.

Image a scenario where locals might see an empty lot as a shortcut on their way to work, or teenagers might see a deserted building as a cool place to hang out. Should anyone fall or hurt him- or herself on your vacant property during their fun, based on current case law, you could be sued for damages, no matter how many ‘No Trespassing’ signs you’ve posted around the area.

The only way to truly protect yourself from a potential liability suit is to make sure your vacant lot has vacant land insurance, or that your empty property has vacant property insurance. Both types of polices are usually very affordable, and both are designed to protect your best interests.

Vacant land insurance was designed specifically to protect you financially up to a certain liability limit in the event of an accident on your property, and can be used should someone hurt himself or herself while passing through or playing in the deserted space. Vacant property insurance, on the other hand, is designed to protect an actual structure, and so will often cover damages to a building caused by both natural and manmade disasters, including fire, storms, civil commotions, vandalism, and so forth.

The need for these types of insurance is not limited to individuals or landlords, either; others who may need to insure their empty space include:

-Homeowners who are moving but still own their old house
-Real Estate Investors who are overseeing properties that have lacked tenants for over 60 days
-Banks, mortgage companies, or contractors who are holding completed or repossessed properties or lots that have not sold yet

The good news is, insuring your vacant property or building may not be that difficult! In some cases, it’s an easy as extending a homeowners policy, purchasing an umbrella policy, or simply buying vacant property insurance for a couple of months. And with the right insurance agent, getting this done can be incredibly simple.

We highly encourage anyone who owns a vacant building or lot to talk to a member of our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff; we can find out what the most cost effective solution to your insurance needs really is. Don’t let your property pose a risk any longer; whether you live in the Johnstown area or even in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, and any other nearby counties, if you contact us today, our local staff members will meet with you as soon as possible to evaluate your specific needs and make sure that you’re protected.

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FWF Will Help Volunteer Firefighters Get The Benefits They Deserve

At the Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency, we understand the challenges that Pennsylvania locals face when obtaining insurance; a little change in a local policy or state law can make a big difference in the insurance recommendations we make for individuals, businesses, and municipalities alike.

One example of a local law that has affected our insurance recommendations is Pennsylvania Act 46, a law with good intentions that has sadly had a negative affect on our state’s volunteer fire departments and firefighters alike.

Act 46 is also known as the “Firefighters Cancer Presumption Law”; inspired by the long-term health risks 9-11 servers were facing, the law is meant to do a good service: provide benefits for firefighters who developed cancer in the line of duty.

Unfortunately, as more and more workers compensation claims are coming in, insurance companies, concerned over growing costs, are beginning to revisit their rates, which can result in municipality and local budget cuts due to an increased cost of their insurance packages; some insurance companies have even considered worker compensation for firefighters (especially volunteers) altogether. While this is not the case for every insurance company, it has happened enough to cause concern amongst the Pennsylvania firefighting community.

Any worker deserves to have workers comp insurance protecting them in case of an accident, but for firefighters, workers comp is more than that: it’s an essential protection that could provide income, medical benefits and rehabilitative services should that firefighter be injured on the job. For volunteer firefighters, who give their services for no regular pay, this benefit is all the more important.

We at the FWF want to make sure that no one as courageous and generous as a volunteer firefighter serves their community without the proper protection they deserve. We encourage anyone facing a loss of workers comp as a result of this act to contact us so that we can help you get back what you have earned and what you truly deserve: solid protection.

Our staff across the state are working to replace any coverage lost under Act 46; please contact us or one of our local representatives if your workers comp coverage has been canceled. Wherever you may be located – Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, and beyond – we’re there, and we’re ready to help you. Whether we need to work our connections at 15 other major insurance organizations to find your group a new plan with a new company, or work with the State Workers Compensation Fund, we can obtain new coverage that ensures your local volunteer firefighters continue to help their community with every benefit they deserve protecting them in return for their service.

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Don’t Settle For Average: Get All Of The Coverage Your Municipality Needs

If you work within or under a municipality, county or city’s governing body, then you understand better than most just how much responsibility your organization carries on its shoulders every day.

Central PA municipality building. Image courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org

Sometimes it’s easy for the general public to forget that the people working within these groups are in charge of ensuring an entire city’s basic services run smoothly – everything from sanitation, water and street maintenance to schools and food inspections, as well as transportation, safety and health department operations.

These governing bodies and their employees deal with unique challenges every day as part of their jobs. To further complicate matters, not only do municipalities tackle local issues as part of their job: they also deal with sad economic realities behind the scenes, often juggling to operate on budget while still keeping solid insurance plans in place to protect their communities and their employees.

We understand that today’s economy has created many challenges for our public service workers. That’s we believe that instead of relying on certain preordained and often pricey insurance plans, municipalities each need to look into customized insurance plans that protect and address what matters most to them.

That’s where we come in; the Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency is here to help ensure that all of central Pennsylvania’s counties are adequately covered and insured at an affordable cost.

Maybe you need to build a better health benefits plan for your employees, which covers everything from personal health support to treatment decision support. Maybe you need insurance that can help in cases of general liability, auto liability and physical damage, public entity management liability or law enforcement liability. Maybe you need protection against property damage. Or maybe there’s an issue unique to your area that you want to address and be prepared for.

Whatever your situation may be, we are here to help.

Whether you’re located in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, or in any other nearby counties, we’re ready to work with you so that you can continue going about your daily operations without worrying about whether your insurance is good enough when it matters. Our representatives can use their connections to 15 other major insurance companies to thoroughly analyze your municipality and evaluate any current or future risks you may have to deal with – and then, we can create affordable and flexible insurance coverage plans just for you.

If you are a municipality looking for a competitive insurance proposal, contact us now to set up a meeting with one of our local representatives in central Pennsylvania. We’ll build the best plan at the best rate just for you – it’s what we do best!

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ChamberChoice Insurance Programs Offer Protection and Extra Earnings For Business Owners

Does your business insurance earn dividends?

Dividends, or payments made by a corporation to its shareholders, are usually not a common staple in insurance packages. However, on some insurance policies, depending on the total group premium and total claims experience, policyholders can find themselves earning an annual dividend.

ChamberChoice, a service offered exclusively to members of chambers of commerce through Penn National Insurance, offers several service packages to chamber members, including but not limited to individual and group health insurance, dental and vision coverage plans, and a business insurance plan with a dividend potential through Penn National Insurance. In fact, a dividend of almost $500,000 was recently declared for the first program year.

If you run a business, you understand just how important it is to have a business insurance plan that protects you against operational losses. Why not sign up for a plan that offers great coverage through Penn National Insurance, with dividend potential? You have nothing to lose – but plenty to gain; ChamberChoice members often report that their ChamberChoice dividends are enough to fully cover a local chamber of commerce membership, plus a little more.

Now is the perfect time to consider your business insurance and look into potentially earning dividends back on your insurance plans. Maybe you’re just starting a business, or maybe you need to upgrade your insurance as your business expands.

Either way, our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff members are here to help. We’ve worked with countless business owners in Blaire, Cambria, Somerset, Latrobe, and a multitude of other nearby counties; our representatives can use their connections with Penn National Insurance to ensure that your business insurance policy is just what you need and want.

Whether you want Key Person Insurance to ensure that you’re protected if a key member cannot perform their duties; General Liability Insurance to help protect your business from liability claims to injuries on site; or Product Liability coverage to help protect yourself against the results of using a damaged product – our staff is here to make sure that the coverage you get is the coverage that you need.

Contact us now to set up a meeting if you want to learn more. Be sure to mention your interest in ChamberChoice’s special packages, including business insurance plans with a dividend potential. We will happily explain more about ChamberChoice’s programs and see if they’re a good fit for you and your business!

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Are You A Renter? Make Sure Your Property’s Truly Protected.

When it comes to rented living spaces, it’s not just the landlords that need insurance coverage. If you are currently renting an apartment or even a home, it’s in your best interest to invest in an insurance plan made just for renters.

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Rather than relying on any basic coverage that may come with your rented property, it’s in renters’ best interest to purchase additional coverage. Renters insurance plans protect you in unexpected situations, including fire, theft, water damage and so forth; with the national average of renters insurance working out to less than $14 a month, renters insurance is one of the most affordable and important insurance packages you can purchase if you live in an apartment or rented home.

Consider the protections that renters insurance offers:

1. Personal Property Protection: Renters insurance offers financial assistance if you have to replace any stolen or damaged items on your property – from furniture to computers to clothing – that result from a fire, windstorm, lightning, theft or vandalism.

2. Liability Coverage: Accidents happen. Whether you accidentally cause damage in your rented space, to your neighbor’s space – or even accidentally cause harm to a guest or neighbor – renters insurance covers your personal liability damages. 

3. Loss-of-Use Coverage and Living Expenses: Disaster can leave an apartment or rented home temporarily uninhabitable. People with renters insurance are provided living expenses for temporary relocation in these situations.

While some apartment complexes offer insurance programs to residents, it never hurts to get a third set of eyes to evaluate your coverage and make sure that it’s just right for you, as well as help you find the right insurance plan if you don’t have one yet. We highly encourage all renters to inventory their personal belongings and to meet with someone on our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff.

Based on your feedback and on the risk factors of the area you live in, we can help you find or even customize the perfect renters plan for your needs. Whether you live in the Johnstown area or even in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, and any other nearby counties, our local contacts will always be there to help you.

Don’t spend another day living in an unprotected apartment or rental home – contact us now!

**Image courtesy of Flickr user longlostcousin

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Apartment Owners: Include Insurance In Your Business Plan

Do you own an apartment building?

1St_Leonards,_New_South_walesIf you do, you understand fully that apartment buildings are a landlord’s livelihood. Renting out an apartment complex is a strenuous business; it requires hours of work as landlords oversee building maintenance, pay various bills, and of course, work with tenants to ensure that everyone has as pleasant a living experience as possible.

With so many people living together under one roof, even a minor issue has the potential to become a bigger one of it’s not properly addressed. This is why owning the right insurance policy to help protect your building – a.k.a. your entire business – should be a vital part of any landlords’ business plans.

Solid insurance plans on an apartment building offer assistance when the unexpected happens, whether that means a minor incident such as a visitor injury, or an extreme catastrophe, such as a building fire. But what sort of insurance should an apartment building owner look into?

Currently there are four broad, popular insurance categories to consider:

Business Property Insurance: Business Property insurance helps to protect and cover the building, equipment and income you rely on each day. This insurance offers financial assistance when your building is damaged or your office contents – including leases and financial paperwork – are destroyed or stolen.

Business Liability Insurance: Your apartment building is not a bubble; tenants, workers, or visiting friends all walk the halls you’re responsible for. Should any of these people slip, fall, or injure themselves otherwise on your property, liability insurance offers assistance with legal defenses, as well as legal damage payments.

Business Crime Insurance: Sometimes, despite the best efforts to prevent it from happening, the wrong people get into an apartment complex – determined thieves may break in or vindictive employees may steal something important as they leave. At the end of the day, even the safest apartment needs protection from crime; business crime insurance offers coverage for when criminals – whether they’re an employee or a third party vandal – wreak havoc in your office or on your property.

Building Ordinance Insurance: Sometimes your building needs major repair or remodeling work done; maybe a storm damaged part of your complex, or maybe a new law means that your building is no longer up to code. Either way, ordinance insurance will help you cover the cost of any necessary rebuilding and maintenance work.

Of course, ideally a landlord’s insurance policy will offer a customized level of protection that considers all four of these popular insurance categories. Fortunately, forming an insurance policy that’s perfect for your building is extremely easy.

A quick consultation with our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff can help you develop the policy that’s right for you. We’re proud to work with landlords and building areas throughout the Johnstown area, as well as in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, and all other surrounding areas in central Pennsylvania.

We offer personalized assistance and have numerous local contacts across the state ready to help you at a moment’s notice. We also have connections with 15 major insurance companies, including our newest partner, Safeco Insurance, a Liberty Mutual-owned company that will work with our team to ensure that you receive the best Landlord protection insurance possible.

Using these resources, our insurance sales team at F.W.F. will always help you purchase the best apartment property insurance policy to ensure that your apartment complex – your business – continues to run as smoothly as possible. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

Image courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org

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Property Insurance: An Important Investment For Business Owners

Business owners, does your company currently have commercial property insurance? If the answer is no, now is the perfect time to consider how commercial property insurance could help your business in the future if disaster strikes.

Hail damage to aluminum gutter. Image courtesy of Flickr.

Hail damage to aluminum gutter. Image courtesy of Flickr.

Commercial property insurance adds a layer of financial protection to help your business when disaster strikes and your property is damaged. Whether your business owns its own building, rents its office, or is located at your home, a commercial property insurance plan makes for an excellent layer of financial protection.

This select type of insurance covers a company building and the contents of the building that belong to the company; under commercial property insurance, “property” can potentially refer to more than just your company building – it could also cover lost income or business interruption, computers, money, and valuable papers. Whether you need help covering the repair costs after experiencing an office fire or replacing missing items and equipment after vandals strike, a property insurance plan will ensure that you get it.

This sets property insurance apart from most basic business insurance policies often offered by buildings that lease offices to multiple companies, and ensures that your business-related material is thoroughly covered if you work from home.

So what kind of property insurance plan might you need? There are two basic types of property insurance policies that you could potentially purchase: all-risk policies covering a wide-range of incidents and perils except those noted in the policy, or peril-specific policies that cover losses from only those perils listed in the policy.

What’s the difference? All-risk policies are used to cover risks faced by the average small business, while peril-specific policies can be purchased when there is high risk of peril in a certain area.

Which one of these might be best for you? Consult with us to find out. Whether you own a small financial consultation business, a bakery or even a farm, our Fisher Widmann Flick Insurance Agency staff can help you find the policy that’s right for you. We work with the Johnstown area, as well as in Blaire County, Cambria County, Somerset, Latrobe, and all other surrounding areas.

With our personalized assistance and local contacts there to help, and by using our connections with 15 major insurance companies, our insurance sales team at F.W.F. can help ensure that you purchase the best commercial property insurance policy to ensure that your business and office is truly covered. Depending on the level of risk in your area, we also can protect you for flood coverage by getting a separate flood policy.

Contact us today to find out just how much additional protection and coverage we can get for you!