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Commercial Risk Management

According to the IRS, no matter how workers’ compensation wage loss payments are paid out — weekly or in a lump sum settlement — workers’ compensation is not taxable. The same applies to lump sum payments to survivors. [April 2021, 381 words]

Expect a great deal of legislative activity on a wide range of issues affecting the property/casualty industry. [April 2021, 463 words]

Medical marijuana is gaining wider acceptance in the medical community as an effective pain-reliever, which can be useful in workplace illnesses and injuries. But is it compensable under workers comp? [April 2021, 586 words]

More employees working from home means more possibilities for cyber security breaches. [April 2021, 927 words]

Social distancing and mask wearing have been viewed as important ways to protect people from COVID-19. So, employers enforce these precautions on the job site. [January 2021, 346 word article]

You have business liability insurance, but it may not provide coverage if you are considered “vicariously liable.” [January 2021, 612 word article]

The California bill won a sizeable yes vote in the elections and its proponents want to take the campaign nationwide. [January 2021, 624 word article]

Unless your state government enacts mandatory vaccination laws requiring it as a condition of employment, you could put your company at legal risk. [January 2021, 748 word article]

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and amendments, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees, says employers cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities in hiring, promoting, retaining and other aspects of employment. [October 2020, 324 word article]

The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly forced the medical community in the United States to rethink how it provides health care. In response to the crisis, new regulations have been enacted and advances in technology fast-tracked. [October 2020, 700 word article]

Parametric insurance is a type of insurance that does not indemnify the actual loss, but pays when something related has occurred with sufficient intensity to justify payment of a loss. [October 2020, 685 word article]

Many businesses have adjusted to the pandemic by implementing work from home arrangements for their employees. This is often an incomplete or inadequate solution though. [October 2020, 793 word article]

Even before COVID-19, insurance for directors and officers (D&O) was experiencing a hard market. [July 2020, 492 word article]

Providing benefit portability, helping employees manage their work/life balance and maintain financial stability can help employees during this difficult time. [July 2020, 434 word article]

Different policies cover different kinds of damage to property. [July 2020, 593 word article]

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, fraud costs insurers and employers over $7 billion a year. [April 2020, 217 word article]

Here are the five critical trends affecting workers’ compensation identified by the National Council on Compensation Insurance [April 2020, 478 word article]

Your cleanliness and sick leave policies may need to be reexamined. [April 2020, 638 word article]

When we think of risk, the first thing that usually comes to mind is insurance. But insurance is just one component of a sound risk management plan. [April 2020, 525 word article]

Social Security.  When a worker becomes eligible for both workers’ compensation and Social Security disability insurance benefits, one or both of the programs will limit benefits to avoid making excessive payments relative to the worker’s past earnings. [January 2020, 354 word article]

The expansion of presumption laws is just one of the predictions made by speakers at a recent workers’ comp conference. [January 2020, 563 word article]

Employees file lawsuits against their employers for many reasons. [January 2020, 496 word article]

The terrorist attacks on 9/11, in which terrorists hijacked and flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon, demonstrated how such events are unpredictable, highly destructive and possibly uninsurable. [January 2020, 634 word article]

1.   Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code. Make sure all computers are equipped with antivirus software and anti-spyware and updated regularly. [October 2019, 319 word article]

There are benefits to working from home, but also risks to both employees and employers. [October 2019, 478 word article]

How does the use of marijuana affect workers’ compensation benefits? [October 2019, 765 word article]

Most people would rather go to the dentist than try to read an insurance policy. Like most things that seem intimidating at first, though, when you break it down, it makes a lot more sense. [October 2019, 885 word article]

Standard business general liability (GL) policies provide little coverage for pollution damage, including toxic spills like the one in West Virginia in 2014. [July 2019, 252 word article]

If you manufacture, sell or distribute any kind of product, you probably need some kind of protection from product liability claims. [July 2019, 633 word article]

The definition of what is the best outcome has become more expansive in recent years. [July 2019, 634 word article]

There are four types of workplace violence. You should know the four ways to mitigate it. [July 2019, 640 word article]

Workers’ compensation insurers and some self-insured employers have employees who examine claims after they are submitted for payment. [April 2019, 250 word article]

It’s in your interest to make sure reserves are set as accurately as possible. [April 2019, 801 word article]

One of the most effective and simplest ways of protecting your organization from liability due to contractors’ and subcontractors’ operations is with Additional Insured coverage. [April 2019, 508 word articles]

The largest financial losses worldwide come from fires/explosions and aviation incidents, according to an analysis of the Top Causes of Loss of 470,000 insurance losses around the world by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) Insurance. [April 2019, 609 word article]

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and amendments apply to employers with 15 or more employees. These employers cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities in hiring, promoting, retaining and other aspects of employment. [January 2019, 347 word article]

Although the workplace impact of marijuana in states where it’s been legalized has mainly been a workers compensation concern, a recent study now links marijuana use to increased auto crash claims. [January 2019, 595 word article]

There is progress in efforts to reduce opioid use in workers, despite the hurdles. [January 2019, 684 word article]

Unless you’re an attorney, doctor or accountant, it may not be obvious to you that you may need professional liability insurance. [January 2019, 697 word article]

Lightning hits the ground in the U.S. about 15-20 million times per year. It occurs more often in certain areas than others. [October 2018, 206 word article]

You cannot prevent lightning from striking, but you can take steps to minimize the damage it can cause. [October 2018, 697 word article]

The percentage of vehicle-related workers compensation claims are increasing, both in count and in percent of total claims, according to data from AF Group. [October 2018, 549 word article]

Your agent can help explain in more detail and show you how to get the best rates for the coverage you need. [October 2018, 935 word article]

Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma all had substantial effects on the U.S. and Caribbean in 2017 and are among the top five costliest hurricanes on record, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a similarly active hurricane season for 2018. [July 2018, 244 word article]

Texas was the first state to experience a decrease in opioid prescriptions and significant savings in overall drug costs. [July 2018, 501 word article]

“Opioids could kill nearly half a million people across America over the next decade as the crisis of addiction and overdose accelerates.” [July 2018, 823 word article]

Less than 37 percent of small business owners feel they have adequate cyber liability insurance protection, according to a new study conducted by The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., and Forbes Insights. [July 2018, 739 word article]

Depending on the circumstances, there are four different types of insurance policies you need to consider: [April 2018, 311 word article]

As conscientious as you and your company may be about federal OSHA compliance and keeping employees safe, you may need to undergo an OSHA inspection. [April 2018, 430 word article]

As telecommuting increases, your obligation to compensate employees for work-related injuries does not decrease. [April 2018, 747 word article]

Here are the steps to take to prevent harassment claims and what to do if allegations are made. [April 2018, 615 word article]

Your firm’s winter storm property insurance exposures may require more than a named perils insurance policy. You may want to consider upgrading your coverage to one of these types of property policies: [January 2018, 168 word article]

Two restaurant employees complained about the company’s accounting department on Facebook — and were fired. Two teen center employees took to Facebook after an office meeting and disparaged their supervisors’ decisions — and were fired. James Damore used Google’s employee message boards to criticize how his employer was implementing its diversity policy — and was fired. [January 2018, 731 word article]

Fraud in all U.S. lines of insurance is responsible for approximately $80 billion per year in losses. Several billion dollars of that is workers comp fraud. In the past few years, however, some of those loses have been reduced thanks to technology.  [January 2018, 755 word article]

President Trump’s appointment to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could signal a more cooperative attitude at the agency. [January 2018, 678 word article]

Subrogation in the context of insurance is the right of an insurance company to “step into the shoes” of the insured after the company has paid the loss.  Subrogation entitles the insurance company to assert any rights on its own behalf that the insured may have had to recover payment from the parties that caused the loss. [October 2017, 276 word article]

You have business liability insurance, but it may not provide coverage if you are considered “vicariously liable.” [October 2017, 546 word article]

One in every 27 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2016, according to the 29th Annual Retail Theft Survey. 53,786 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2016, up 9.3% from 2015. [October 2017, 643 word article]

The key is advance planning. [October 2017, 861 word article]

As drones become more useful in commerce, commercial drone insurance is becoming increasingly popular. [July 2017, 225 word article]

You buy property insurance to cover damage or loss to property. But what if you don’t own the property or you rent it? Your liability policy might provide some coverage…but probably not enough. [July 2017, 536 word article]

Marijuana is now legal in some form in 28 states and the District of Columbia. What does this mean for your workers’ compensation safety program? [July 2017, 962 word article]

It’s predicted that driverless cars will account for 25 percent of global car sales by 2035. How will this affect your business and your employees?[July 2017, 754 words]

Publicly traded companies should disclose their climate-change risks and what they’re doing about them, says the Financial Stability Board. The Board, an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system, includes members of the G20, government ministers and central bank governors of 20 leading economies. [April 2017, 317 word article]

Guide dogs and service dogs have helped individuals with disabilities navigate life for decades. Now you also see assistance animals, therapy animals and emotional support animals. What’s the difference and what’s the law? [April 2017, 680 word article]

It’s not you, it’s me. The instructions you give your insurance carrier and broker can determine how effectively they handle your claims. by Michael B. Stack [April 2017, 574 word article]

Cyber security problems will increase in 2017, warns Experian Data Breach Resolution, a branch of the credit reporting giant. [April 2017, 774 word article]

Whenever temperatures drop and wind speed increases, heat leaves the body more rapidly. This can lead to hypothermia and/or frostbite. [January 2017, 322 word article]

In our last issue, we discussed the liability insurance coverages that every business should have. In this issue, we’ll discuss some specialized coverages that are “nice to have” for some businesses, and “must haves” for others. [January 2017, 853 word article]

A whole subspecialty of law practice is emerging, focusing on website accessibility. That’s bad news for businesses that haven’t ensured their websites are accessible to people with disabilities. [January 2017, 721 word article]

In mid-November, OSHA published its long-awaited final rule on slips, trips and falls. The rule becomes effective on Jan. 17, 2017, and will affect approximately 112 million workers at seven million worksites. [January 2017, 702 word article]

Workers’ compensation insurers and some self-insured employers have employees who examine claims after they are submitted for payment. In workers’ compensation, benefits are mandated by law, so examiners who work for workers’ compensation insurers review a claim to ensure it meets the law’s definition of a compensable work-related claim. If a claim meets that definition, the examiner will review it to ensure claimants receive any lost-time benefits due to them. [October 2016, 250 word article]

There are insurance coverages that all businesses need, some that all business should consider, and some that you need only if you have special risk exposures. [Octoer 2016, 769 word article]

Your organization has just been sued, and you’ve notified your liability insurer as required by the policy. You think all’s taken care of…when you receive a reservation of rights letter from the insurer. What does this mean, and what should you do? [October 2016, 710 word article]

The state of California has realized savings of about 8 percent since introducing evidence-based treatment guidelines into its workers’ compensation system in 2012. What is evidence-based treatment and how can it help employers’ bottom line? [October 2016, 648 word article]

A white paper by Imperva, a company that offers cyber security services, identified the 10 biggest threats to data security in 2015. They were: [July 2016, 339 word article]

An insurance policy is a legal contract between an individual or organization (the insured) and an insurer. Although millions of dollars in claims payments can be at stake, too few insureds bother to read their policy. The following primer will help you understand the parts of a policy and some things to look for. [July 2016, 887 word article]

Although the legal definition of “personal injury” includes injury to the body, standard liability insurance policies have an entire section devoted to covering personal injury claims. And they don’t include injury to the body. [July 2016, 595 word article]

The class action lawsuit brought by retired players of the National Football League against the league has raised awareness of concussions and the seriousness of repeated brain injuries. [July 2016, 689 word article]

Scheduling regular policy reviews can ensure your business has enough insurance to survive a disaster. Here are a few action items to consider when filling out the insurance portion of your business continuity plan: [April 2016, 313 word article]

The only insurance professional you might ever meet face-to-face is your retail insurance agent or broker. But if you have special insurance needs, other insurance professionals are ready to help. [April 2016, 899 word article]

From dust mites, mold spores, cockroaches and animal dander, to cotton fibers, acid anhydrides, formaldehyde and latex, the modern workplace is a veritable minefield of substances that trigger asthma, allergies and associated workers’ comp claims. [April 2016, 623 word article]

Deaths from prescription painkiller overdose have skyrocketed over the last decade. This epidemic is triggering a reexamination of how medical providers and insurers handle chronic pain management in workers’ compensation cases. [April 2016, 609 word article]

A study titled “Exploring the Relationship Between Employer Recordkeeping and Underreporting in the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses” sought to gauge the accuracy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. [January 2016, 235 word article]

As you read this article, you might be enjoying unseasonably warm weather. But winter storms—including hurricanes, windstorms, snow and ice—are coming soon. Is your business prepared? [January 2016, 730 word article]

Poorly designed websites can create unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, just as poorly designed buildings prevent some people from entering. And that could constitute discrimination and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its amendments. [January 2016, 728 word article]

When an employee suffers a work-related injury, workers’ compensation law obligates the employer to pay for medical treatment. Who gets to choose the treating physician—and why does it matter? [January 2016, 507 word article]

Can employees expect overtime pay for answering their phones or email outside of work hours? [October 2015, 315 word article]

Directors and officers liability insurance (D&O) policies are nonstandard, so they can vary greatly from insurer to insurer. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the many provisions that could appear in your D&O policy and what they mean to your coverage. [October 2015, 720 word article]

When horseplay occurs in a work environment, does workers’ compensation apply? [October 2015, 520 word article]

Earlier this year, a court ruled that Federal Express drivers should have been classified as employees, when the company had classified them as independent contractors. And the U.S. Department of Labor announced that a five-year investigation in Utah and Arizona yielded $700,000 in back wages, damages, penalties and other guarantees for more than 1,000 construction industry workers. [October 2015, 561 word article]

Under the workers’ compensation bargain, the employer agrees to compensate an employee for any work-related injury or illness…unless the employee was engaged in a “prohibited act” at the time of injury. [July 2015, 285 word article]

This summer, millions of teenagers will be taking jobs either for the summer or as the start of their permanent integration into the workforce. Here’s what you need to know to protect them. [July 2015, 718 word article]

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now allow the medical use of marijuana. Colorado, Oregon and Washington have also legalized its recreational use and possession. How will this affect your employment policies? [July 2015, 712 word article]

With the jobless rate for people ages 20 to 24 still higher than 10 percent, many college students might be willing to trade their time for an unpaid learning experience. But there is a legal difference between an employee and an intern. Knowing the difference can help you avoid breaking the law. [July 2015, 668 word article]

Workers’ compensation insurance differs from other types of insurance in several important ways. [April 2015, 368 word article]

A bully in your workplace can affect morale, increasing stress levels for fellow employees—and possibly increasing your workers’ compensation costs. [April 2015, 734 word article]

When you think of air pollutants, you probably think of smog, auto exhaust and industrial emissions. But often indoor air can have more pollutants than outdoor air. [April 2015, 812 word article]

More than 70 percent of businesses surveyed reported having to discipline an employee for “social media misuse.”  Considering the reach and persistence of social media, employers should ensure employees know the do’s and don’ts of social media at work. [April 2015, 804 word article]

The debate over gun rights often pits the individual’s right to bear arms and the rights of private property owners, such as employers, to prohibit firearms on their premises. [January 2015, 381 word article]

Additional insured coverage can protect your organization from liability due to contractors’ and subcontractors’ operations. [January 2015, 577 word article]

According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study, companies suffering a material data breach in 2013 lost an average of $3.2 million in business. This comes in addition to the cost of remediating a data breach. [January 2015, 902 word article]

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia now allow the medical use of marijuana. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have also legalized its recreational use and possession. Will this send mployers’ zero-tolerance policies up in smoke? [January 2015, 906 word article]

If you suspect a workers’ compensation claimant might be committing fraud or malingering, contact your claims adjuster with any evidence. He or she will likely contact the claimant’s treating physician to get additional information on the claimant’s condition and physical limitations. If those inquiries are inconclusive, he or she might bring in an insurance investigator. [October 2014, 295 word article]

Understanding the who, what, when, where and how of your coverage can ensure you have the coverage you need. [October 2014, 840 word article]

In certain circumstances, the basic workers’ compensation policy will not provide coverage for a worker’s injuries. This could leave your company on the hook for a costly workers’ compensation claim. [October 2014, 730 word article]

The EEOC has had pregnancy discrimination on its radar screen for a while. A Supreme Court case, Young v. UPS, will likely bring more attention to the issue. [October 2014, 743 word article]

Two-thirds of employers include a question on criminal history on their job application forms, reported EmployeeScreen, a company that conducts background checks for employers. The EEOC recommends against this practice, however. Should you “ban the box” on your job application forms? [July 2014, 341 word article]

The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) expects that some 30,000 drones will be in use for business purposes in the U.S. by 2020. Some businesses are already using them. Do they have the proper insurance coverage? [July 1014, 689 word article]

Wind, hurricane, earthquake, fire, collapse, explosion—it’s impossible to build a structure that can withstand every degree of damage. But there are ways a property owner can aggressively minimize catastrophic damage. [July 2014, 712 word article]

The following suggestions can help you avoid costly auto accidents among your employees who drive for work. [July 2014, 869 word article]

Sometimes, an injured worker might have reached maximum medical improvement but be unable to return to work due to loss of strength or a partial disability. Work hardening programs can help these workers transition from disability to productive employment. [April 2014, 347 word article]

Target and its customers are continuing to feel the repercussions of a massive data breach, where hackers gained access to data from some 40 million debit and credit cards of Target shoppers during the holiday season. The lesson for other businesses is clear: If the country’s third-largest retailer, with its resources and sophisticated systems, can have a data breach, any business can.[April 2014, 759 word article]

Spring is in the air, and so is love — even in the office. In a CareerBuilder poll released in 2013, 39 percent of workers said they have dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career; 30 percent of those who have dated a co-worker said their office romance led them to the altar. It’s the ones that don’t that more likely cause problems for employers. [April 2014, 703 word article]

Workers’ compensation pays injured workers only a portion of their pre-injury salary while they recuperate. And there’s a good reason for that—if an injured worker receives as much for staying at home, why return to work? [April 2014, 868 word article]

In some situations, an injured worker can file a lawsuit against a third party for his/her injuries, in addition to obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. Unlike the workers’ compensation system, the tort system allows an injured person who prevails in a lawsuit to receive compensation for lost wages (past, present and future), pain and suffering, property damage, loss of monetary support, loss of consortium, disfigurement and sometimes punitive damages. [January 2014, 294 word article]

“Structured settlements have enjoyed widespread acceptance and have become an established part of our legal landscape over the past twenty-five years. More than $6 billion is now paid each year to fund new structured settlements in the United States, and an estimated $100 billion or more has been paid in the aggregate to fund structured settlements that are in force today.”* [January 2014, 540 word article]

On average, two Americans die due to violence in their workplace every work day. Some jobs are more likely to expose a worker to stranger-on-stranger violence—such as convenience store clerks, who might be injured in a robbery. But many Americans suffer violent attacks from a co-worker or former co-worker. In either instance, the employer could be liable for workers’ compensation benefits to the victim (or his/her family). [January 2014, 727 word article]

Think about all the information you store on employees alone: Social Security numbers, addresses, names of spouses and dependents, and possibly even medical information. [July 2013, 324 word article]

Use these tips to assess what types of insurance are best for your business and how to get the best combination of protection and price. [July 2013, 506 word article]

The recent tragedy at the Boston Marathon reminds us that terrorism events can occur anywhere, at any time. Here’s what you need to know about terrorism exposures. [July 2103, 962 word article]

Company picnics, outings and outdoor team-building exercises can help employers build camaraderie and cooperation among employees. But whenever you mix employees and recreation, injuries can occur. When are they compensable? [July 2013, 577 word article]

The U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics estimated the “unauthorized population” at 10.8 million in 2010. Many of these immigrants are working in high-risk occupations—are they entitled to workers’ compensation if injured on the job? [April 2013, 381 word article]

Most employers strive to accommodate employees with disabilities. However, when safety becomes an issue, employers can be confused about which regulations apply and what actions to take. [April 2013, 670 word article]

Where do employers’ social media policies and procedures violate employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)? Test your knowledge by seeing how you’d handle these actual cases brought before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). [April 2013, 928 word article]

When an injury occurs at your worksite, your first responsibility is to ensure your employee receives prompt and proper treatment based on the severity of the injury. Triage systems can help. [April 2013, 500 word article]

Today, prescription drugs account for about 20 percent of workers’ compensation medical costs. Narcotics account for about one-third of this amount, with many workers’ compensation claimants using narcotic drugs (opiates) for pain relief for five years or more. [January 2013]

A strong insurance program will protect your business property from loss due to fire, theft, vandalism and more. But without certain important coverages, your property coverage could leave you short of the funds needed to rebuild and recover. [January 2013]

The holiday season presents many opportunities for celebrating - along with actions that could be seen as discrimination. [January 2013]

Approximately 45 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 64 used a computer at work in 2010, reported the U.S. Census Bureau. Typing on a computer keyboard is probably the most common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful and potentially disabling condition. The following tips can help you prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. [January 2013]

Obtaining a professional property valuation can help insureds avoid many common property valuation errors. If your company has significant business personal property, multiple locations, any form of unique construction or sizeable total values, you may wish to consider using a professional appraisal service. When you consider the potential costs of over- or underinsurance, the price of this service could pay for itself in a short time. [October 2012] 

Do you know how much privacy your employees are entitled to? For example, if you feel employees are abusing their work privileges, is it legal to intercept emails or phone conversations to find out what they’re up to and confirm your suspicions? Can you ask potential job candidates for their Facebook profile log-on information? Here are some general guidelines that can help. [October 2012]

For most companies, managing human resources will probably require more attention than any other aspect of your risk management plan. Workers’ compensation, safety, compliance with wage/hour laws and avoiding discrimination—these responsibilities can keep one or more managers busy full-time. Using contingent workers can relieve your organization of some human resource functions; however, it can create other risk management exposures. [October 2012]

You consider your company’s safety incentive program an effective way to promote safe behavior among your employees and reduce injuries. But OSHA could see the very same program as unlawful discrimination and a violation of OSHA recordkeeping regulations and whistleblower protections. Knowing the difference between lawful and unlawful incentives can help you keep an effective prevention tool while avoiding fines and other penalties.[October 2012]

When creating a disaster preparedness plan and evaluating your business insurance needs, it helps to know the types of hazards your organization is most likely to encounter. Here’s a list from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency: [July 2012]

Disaster can strike any business, at any time. How well would your business recuperate? According to a Dun & Bradstreet study, 43 percent of companies hit by fire never reopened for business, while only 26 percent could continue as before. [July 2012]

Just because an employee uses a personal auto does not relieve the employer of liability if he or she injures someone while on the job.[July 2012]

The Yellow Pages for New York City lists 45 law firms in its section on workers’ compensation attorneys. Even tiny Alturas, California (population 2,827) has listings for six workers’ compensation law firms. Someone is keeping all those firms busy—here’s how to ensure that your business isn’t among them. [July 2012]

Guidelines for company social media use. [April 2012]

“2011 was another banner year for employee theft in the United States, continuing the frenetic pace set in 2010.” So begins the 2011 Marquet Report on Embezzlement, an annual study of white collar fraud in the U.S. [April 2012]

Data. You store it on company computers and networks. Employees can access it at home or on the road. You might even have data “in the cloud,” in facilities you don’t own or control. And it’s the lifeblood of your organization. How well is it protected? [April 2012]

[January 2012]

The terms “telework,” “telecommuting,” “flexible workplace,” “remote work,” “virtual work” and “mobile work” all refer to work done outside of the traditional on-site work environment. These terms refer to anything from jobs that are completely “virtual” or mobile, to arrangements that enable employees to work from home a few days per week or per month. Regardless of what you call it, telecommuting can raise some problematic workers’ compensation questions. [January 2012]

More than 9.5 million motor vehicles were involved in crashes that caused property damage or bodily injury during 2010, according to Census Bureau data. And one in four auto accidents results in an injury claim, found a study by the Insurance Research Council. Protect your organization from this exposure with the right coverage! [January 2012]

Each day about 2,000 U.S. workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one-third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days of lost work. Men experienced far more eye injuries than women, and men age 25 to 44 suffered more eye injuries than men in other age groups. [January 2012]

A recent claims trend study found that cloud computing service providers and other third parties are responsible for approximately one-third of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and resulting cyber incidents. That fraction is likely to increase, since most companies have begun putting sensitive information into clouds only in the past year or so.  [October 2013, 328 word article]

Opioid drugs used in workers’ compensation cost employers an estimated $1.4 billion in 2012. However, much of this use is unneeded and possibly dangerous. [October 2013, 500 word article]

In May, the first genetic discrimination case filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), settled when an employer agreed to pay $50,000 and furnish other relief. Is your organization next? [October 2013, 500word article]

Cloud computing, which relies on shared networks (typically the Internet), allows users to access information anywhere, at any time. This decreases infrastructure costs while increasing productivity—and risk. [October 2013, 945 word article]

Entity Coverage/Allocation Provisions: Claims can get complicated when the corporate entity is named as a defendant along with directors and officers. [July 2020, 437 word article]

Healthcare reform, the economy, increasing medical costs…how might these macro trends affect your workers’ compensation costs?

Healthcare Reform - Employers have been anxiously monitoring implementation of the federal healthcare reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), for its effects on group medical costs since the law became effective in March 2010… [609 word article, June 2011]

Did you know that an injured worker who remains off the job for more than six months has only a 25 percent chance of returning to work at all? Getting a worker back on the job in a productive capacity as quickly as medically feasible makes that worker less likely to become a long-term disability statistic…and saves you money… [606 word article, April 2011]

Hiring a worker as an independent contractor has many advantages for employers—these workers are responsible for their own workers’ compensation, benefits and withholding. But misclassifying regular employees as independent contractors can lead to costly fines and penalties.

As the economy slowly rebounds, employers who have laid off workers may be reluctant to staff up again… [568 word article, February 2011]

More than half of all injured workers have a pre-existing condition, according to one expert. When you have an employee with a permanent impairment who suffers a second injury, you are responsible for compensating only the most recent injury. Many employers fail to realize this, leaving thousands of dollars on the table… [537 word article, February 2011]

Some insurers use a third-party administrator (TPA) to handle workers’ comp claims. Why do they use TPAs? How do they work?

A third-party administrator (TPA) is a vendor hired to manage claims adjusting and other insurance-related services such as:

·       Medical care management

·       Litigation

·       Loss control

·       Safety programs

·       Cash flow management… [630 word article, December 2010]

In certain parts of the world, kidnap for ransom is a growth business—and adults are targets as well as children. If you plan to travel or work outside the U.S., the following information can help keep you safer.

Check with the State Department before traveling to any country outside Canada… [576 word article, March 2011]

Imagine the worst-case scenario: a customer sues you for injuries allegedly caused by one of your products. Then to make it worse: you can’t find the policy that might cover that claim.

Many general liability policies today are written on a “claims-made” basis, meaning they cover claims reported during the policy term, as long as they result from incidents occurring after the policy’s retroactive date… [354 word article, November 2011]

How many contracts does your business enter into every year? You might have one or more property leases, equipment leases, purchase agreements, service agreements, construction contracts, work agreements and more. Although most contracts seem like routine, boilerplate documents, once you sign them, they become legally binding. Do you always know what you’re agreeing to?… [668 word article, November 2011]

In recent months, Sony, Citibank, Twitter and other high-profile organizations have become victims to hackers who stole their customers’ private data, spurring interest in cyber-insurance.

One of the most common reasons smaller businesses fail to buy cyber-insurance is that they think they are too small for hackers to bother… [241 word article, September 2011]

A recent Mother Jones survey of employed email users found that 22 percent are expected to respond to work email when they’re not at work. Fifty percent check work email on the weekends; 46 percent check work email on sick days and 34 percent check work email while on vacation… [818 word article, September 2011]

Between 2006 and 2010, the number of personal bankruptcies grew more than 2.5 times. And today, more than 40 percent of families spend more than they earn. With so many individuals on the financial brink, what credit information can employers use in hiring, and how?

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that about 60 percent of employers use credit reports in hiring… [705 word article, May 2011]

In 2010, fires in nonresidential structures cost 90 civilian lives, caused 1,620 civilian injuries and led to $2.6 billion in direct damages. The following suggestions will help you prevent fire.

Fires need tinder, or easily combustible materials, and oxygen to start. If a spark, electrical short, excess heat or other ignition source contacts tinder where oxygen is present, a fire will likely start… [684 word article, May 2011]

An insurance policy is a legal contract between an individual or organization (the insured) and an insurer. Although millions of dollars in claims payments can be at stake, too few insureds bother to read their policy. The following primer will help you understand the parts of a policy and some things to look for… [949 word article, March 2011]

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began enforcing the so-called “Red Flags Rule” on January 12, 2011. The rule requires “financial institutions” and “creditors” to develop a written identity theft prevention program for “covered accounts.” The definition of “creditor” is broad, so even if you do not consider your business a financial institution, it might apply… [630 word article, January 2011]

Your organization has just been sued, and you’ve notified your liability insurer as required by the policy. You think all’s taken care of…when you receive a reservation of rights letter from the insurer. What does this mean, and what should you do?

In a liability lawsuit, the plaintiff often makes several claims. The policy might cover some and exclude others… [709 word article, January 2011]

For the first time in 2010, businesses reported they were losing more money to theft of electronic data than physical goods, said risk consultancy Kroll Inc. The company, which surveyed business managers from around the world, also reported that most managers surveyed said that the fraud was an “inside job” by the company’s own employees.

The following action steps can help you spot employee theft and fraud earlier, and minimize opportunities for theft:… [704 word article, January 2011]

It’s that time of year when Mother Nature begins to get feisty – sending a late-season hurricane or an early blizzard or torrential rainfall your way. Don’t wait for her to remind you that now is the time to make sure your business is ready for winter… [233 word article, November 2010]

Many companies find that business stops when the computers go down. What happens when your data is lost or corrupted? Can insurance help get you back in business?

As computers, network systems and the Internet have become integral to business, the insurance industry has responded by excluding coverage for certain risks from standard policies, and then developing endorsements and separate policies to cover various threats to software, data and networks… [669 word article, November 2010]

Holiday parties are an engrained tradition for American business. They are also notorious for being cauldrons of bad behavior, especially when liquor is served. In addition to causing headaches for human resources, the revelry can have implications for workers’ comp.

Holiday events are generally considered to be company functions, regardless of where they are held and whether or not attendance is mandatory... [282 word article, December 2009]

Slip-and-fall accidents are a leading cause of workers’ comp injuries, and winter weather increases the risks. What can you do to keep your employees as safe as possible?

It’s 4:30 p.m. on a cold, wet December day. It’s already dark outside, and the rain is turning to snow. The wind is blowing, and clusters of wet, dead leaves swirl in the parking lot and accumulate along the curb... [787 word article, December 2009]

Workers’ comp fraud costs businesses anywhere from $5 billion to $7 billion each year. What are the warning signs to look for? How can you keep your company from being ripped off?

A woman who drove a bus for a private company in California hurt her back and went on workers’ comp leave... [733 word article, December 2009]

Getting an injured worker back on the job as quickly as possible makes good business sense and improves employee morale. How do you develop a successful return-to-work program? What are the pitfalls to avoid?

A successful return-to-work program starts with a detailed company plan that has management support and has been thoroughly discussed with employees so that they understand their role in getting well and returning to work... [678 word article, December 2009]

How can you tell if an employee might have a substance abuse problem? He or she may have physical symptoms (chills, smell of alcohol, sweating, weight loss, physical deterioration) along with emotional (increased aggression, anxiety, burnout, denial, depression, paranoia) and/or behavioral symptoms (excessive talking, impaired coordination, irritability, lack of energy, limited attention span, poor motivation)... [211 word article, October 2009]

Knowing the factors that affect your premium can help you control them, and maybe even reduce your premiums.

To determine your workers’ compensation premiums, insurers start with a “manual rate.” To develop a manual rate, an insurance rating organization groups businesses in the state with similar operations, or “classifications,” together, and determines average losses and claim costs for the group. It then adds in the insurers’... [491 word article, October 2009]

With the average freight on a tractor trailer valued between $12,000 and $3 million, the theft of a single truckload can represent a significant loss.

The California Highway Patrol says that cargo burglaries “…often occur at transportation truck yards, commercial parks, and railroad yards. Commonly, theft groups will enter the targeted facility, post look-outs,... [817 word article, January 2010]

Virtually unheard of in the U.S., kidnap for ransom is growing in certain parts of the world. The global recession could worsen the problem in certain areas, particularly Africa and Latin America, cautioned Lloyd’s of London.

In the private sector, the most common kidnapping targets include wealthy locals, expatriate corporate executives and journalists. If your employees conduct business travel or work outside the U.S. or Canada, the following measures can keep your traveling and expatriate employees safer:... [765 word article, January 2010]

From video surveillance to keystroke recorders, technology makes it easier than ever for employers to monitor what their employees are doing. But where do employers’ surveillance rights end and employees’ rights to privacy begin?

Video Surveillance

In 2005, 10 percent of companies surveyed by the American Management Association/ePolicy Institute used video surveillance to track select employees’ on-the-job performance. Six percent of respondents videotaped all employees... [973 word article, January 2010]

Many coverage disputes between insurer and insured arise from different interpretation of the word “cause.” Even when you have an “all-risk” property policy, it is not enough that the cause and its result (the loss) be covered. There must be a sufficiently close connection between the cause and the loss. This is known as the requirement of “proximate cause.”... [220 word article, March 2010]

When buying a commercial general liability policy, you’ll almost always see policies written on an “occurrence” form. When buying other types of insurance, such as directors and officers liability and professional liability, you might need to select between an “occurrence” and a “claims-made” policy. What do these terms mean and how do they affect your coverage?... [536 word article, March 2010]

As events in Haiti tragically demonstrated, earthquakes can have devastating consequences for those who are not prepared. - FREE article!

When you think of cities with earthquake risks, most people think of San Francisco, Los Angeles and other California cities. But other major cities—including St. Louis and Charleston—are also on major faults.. [786 word article, March 2010]

Your property is properly insured to value. But if you don’t have this valuable coverage, you might not have enough to rebuild after a disaster. Here’s why.

Building codes are constantly evolving. No doubt your community has stricter codes than it did 20 or even only 10 years ago... [717 word article, March 2010]

It’s spring, and love is in the air. But when it happens in the office, co-workers may feel threatened. How employers can avoid getting stung by Cupid’s arrow.

Affairs between co-workers can sometimes lead to problems with other workers. Some courts have recognized “sexual favoritism” as sexual harassment because it creates a “hostile work environment” for other workers... [548 word article, May 2010]

Many federal laws prohibit discrimination in employment. All apply to “any term, condition or privilege of employment,” including benefits, and most apply to job applicants as well as to active employees.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) makes it illegal to discriminate against a worker age 40 or older because of age... [791 word article, September 2009]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that workers age 55 and older will make up 20 percent of the workforce by 2020, up from 13 percent in 2000. As your workforce ages, what special safety concerns can you expect? - FREE article!

Studies indicate that although aging workers overall experience fewer injuries, possibly due to their greater experience and caution, an injury to an older worker requires longer recovery with more serious consequences... [625 word article, October 2009]

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