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America’s Opioid Epidemic and Workplace Injuries:  How Employers and Insurance Companies Can Work Together to Combat Addiction

By Michelle Landver, CIC

clock October 16, 2017 at 10:00 AM

The opioid epidemic in America has become so severe that not a day goes by without hearing stories or reading about it in the news. For employers, opioid addiction has has a huge negative impact on the workplace and workforce.

Many workers who are injured on the job and are treated within the workers’ compensation system are prescribed opioids for pain management[1]. In an effort to reduce claims and costs, insurance carriers are introducing new solutions to combat opioid addiction.

In 2015, Travelers established the Early Severity Predictor model, which cut the use of opioids in over 500,000 injured employees by 30% and has helped employers reduce medical claims expenses by up to 50%[2]. The model works by identifying the likelihood that someone will develop chronic pain, a leading cause of opioid dependency. Travelers shares the results with the injured employee’s physician, helping them to identify effective treatment alternatives in order to avoid opioids.  The insurer’s claims handling professionals can also use this information to evaluate requests for prescription payments.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends, Workers' Compensation

California Wildfires: Quick List of Resources for Businesses, Homeowners, and Volunteers

By Jennifer Johnson, Client Executive

clock October 10, 2017 at 3:15 PM

California is suffering unprecedented devastation as wildfires spread through both rural and urban communities. Many of our colleagues, clients and business partners in the affected regions are facing evacuations, fear of the unknown and in some cases, loss of property.  In the midst of a crisis, it can be hard to know what to do or how to help. We put together a quick list of resources, depending on individual needs.

For up to the minute updates on wildfire progression and evacuation areas, visit Cal Fire’s Incident Information page: http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents

If you are a homeowner and have a home that was lost or damaged as a result of the fire, contact your broker right away.

If you are a business owner and have suffered a loss related to your business, once you and your employees are safe, contact your broker right away.

If you are not currently in an area threatened by fire and are concerned about precautions you can take to protect your own home or business, contact your broker to discuss the best plans and policies to have in place.

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Topics: Individuals, Property + Casualty

Best Practices for Product Safety at Every Stage of Manufacturing

By David Freeman, Principal, Director of Commercial Sales

clock August 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Manufacturing safe products is a primary goal and responsibility for all consumer product manufacturers. At every stage along the manufacturing process, there are factors that influence product safety and the associated liability. More and more, manufacturers are being held liable for risks both higher and lower on the supply chain. By following best practices throughout a product’s life cycle, you can improve product safety and help manage these evolving risks.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Manufacturing

Construction Industry: Are You Ready for an Influx of Work?

By Dan Urias, Client Executive & Richard Hallett, Principal, Director of Surety

clock June 5, 2017 at 10:05 AM

Preparing for Success When New Opportunities Arise

In April 2017, the California State Legislature approved Senate Bill 1, a transportation funding bill. The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 will generate more than $5 billion annually for road repairs and mass transit. The bill addresses a $136 billion backlog of repairs and improvements across California, creating thousands of jobs, an abundance of contract work, and growth opportunities for the construction industry.

While this is great news for eager companies, is your business equipped to handle the influx of work? How can you ensure that your company is set up for success when competing for bids?

A detailed assessment of specific aspects of your operation is the best way to make sure your company is ready. With a strong handle on the following areas, your team will have the best shot at winning and delivering on opportunities created by the transportation bill.

Evaluate Your Capacity

Assess your firm’s bonding and new bid capacity to determine if your current program can support bid opportunities over the next 12–24 months. Begin discussions with your insurance broker and bonding company about pursuing projects under the new legislation and how best to prepare.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends

How to Keep Working Remotely From Becoming a Pain in the Neck

By Jeff Hulson, Director, Risk & Loss Advisors

clock April 6, 2017 at 8:00 AM

The flexibility to work anywhere, thanks to the magic of mobile devices and laptops, is mostly terrific except in one crucial way – the punishment it delivers to the human body when effective ergonomic practices are an afterthought.

That’s a real issue for employers as they try to accommodate employees who increasingly value work-life balance and the ability to get their job done outside of the office. A new survey by Bentley University in Massachusetts found that 78 percent of millennia employees want the ability to work from home, and 96 percent say they want flexible work schedules.

So how do employers ensure that a work area or work station outside of the office isn’t going to lead to problems? To find out, read the rest of the San Francisco Business Times article by clicking the button below.

 *Originally published on San Francisco Business Times

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends

Bring-Your-Own-Device to Work: Keep the Productivity, Lose the Headache

By Christine Schindewolf, Client Executive

clock March 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM

It’s hard to believe that not long ago we may have stopped at a gas station for a map or flipped through a Rolodex for a client’s phone number.  Smartphones and other mobile devices like tablets are a part of life.  We do everything from making reservations for a business lunch to sharing our grand opening event on our company Facebook page.  The benefits of having technology at our fingertips at all times are indispensable to our success today. Employers and employees alike rely on smartphones and tablets. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is a common and often necessary business practice. But, like any technology used in business, employees’ use of personal mobile devices comes with its own risks. Statutes and laws differ from state to state, but in a nutshell, once an employee uses a personal device to perform work duties, employers may be held accountable for any laws broken through that use.  

While you can’t control everything an employee does on their personal device, there are specific steps you can take to manage your company’s risk.

What poses a significant BYOD risk for a company? The answer is social media and lost devices.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Technology

Phishing Hackers Targeting W-2s This Tax Season

By Mike Grant, Principal & Director, Data Breach Practice and Brad Hering, Marketing Executive

clock February 27, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Last year, the IRS estimated income tax fraud would cost taxpayers roughly $21 billion[1]. The upcoming tax season is expected to bring more losses from phishing scams due to the amount of personal information (W-2s, tax returns, social security numbers, etc.) circulating during tax season and the increased sophistication of the attacks.

Hackers use phishing emails to convince employees (typically in the Human Resources or Finance departments) to send over personal information about employees, often by email. These types of emails are deceiving, with many disguised to look like they are coming from company executives, such as the CEO. Once received by the hacker, this personal information allows them to file a tax return, cash in on someone’s tax refund or steal their identity.  The process is quick as hackers have machines set up to take advantage of this information almost as soon as they receive it.

Common Phishing Emails

The IRS reported that the following are some common phishing emails to look out for:[2]

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Cyber & Data Security, Technology

The Aftermath of Workplace Violence: Are You Prepared to Survive Your Worst Nightmare?

By Michael Bottenberg, Co-Founder of Vigilance Risk Solutions, LLC

clock February 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM

An act of mass violence carried out in the workplace is a reality that organizational leaders are facing with increased frequency. No industry is left untouched. Government agencies, non-profits, schools, hospitals, and places of business are all vulnerable.

The growing active shooter trend has spurred  leadership  to take a hard look at ways to respond if the worst nightmare comes true. Other forms of workplace violence have similar impact. Experts use the phrase “hostile event” as an umbrella term encompassing all forms of active violence that threaten the workplace, including an active shooter.

Best practices have been developed that teach ways to preserve loss of life in the moment of a hostile event.

But what happens after?

Amidst heartbreak and chos, organizations are forced to respond to a number of overwhelming challenges.  How you respond to these challenges can mean the difference between making a full recovery and closing your doors. Putting together a well-thought out response before a hostile event gives organizations their best chance of recovery. As you create plans for responding to an event, it’s important to fully understand the five ways organizations across all industries are impacted. 

WHAT TO EXPECT

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Topics: Property + Casualty

Are You At Risk for a Gender-Based Discrimination Lawsuit?

By Kala Collett, CPCU, RPLU, MLIS

clock January 30, 2017 at 10:00 AM

While it may seem like an issue of the past, the gender pay gap is still a prevalent concern. Our recent white paper, the “Impact of New Gender Pay Equality Laws”, addresses the impact of this gap and the current laws in place to combat it.

In January 2016, Governor Jerry Brown passed the California Fair Pay Act, one of the toughest pay equity laws in the nation.

With this act came five major changes:

1. Employee comparison based on location.

Employees can be compared even if they do not work at the same establishment, meaning the pay of an employee in one location may be compared to the pay of other employees who work hundreds of miles apart.

2. Employee comparison based on responsibility.

Employees can be compared even if they do not hold the “same” or equal” job titles. The new law requires only a showing that the employees are engaged in “substantially” similar work, skill, effort, and responsibilities performed under similar conditions.

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Topics: Property + Casualty

Commercial Insurance Trends in 2017

By Trindl Reeves, Principal, Chief Sales Officer, Commercial Department

clock January 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Happy New Year, everyone. As we begin 2017, let’s take a look at what’s going on in three specific areas of insurance: Workers’ Compensation, Cyber & Data Security, and Auto. Let’s also consider the impact of these trends and discuss some appropriate actions you might want to explore.  

Workers’ Compensation

In California, workers’ compensation rates are declining and the California Department of Insurance has recommended over 10% rate reduction since this time last year. However, there are a few changes that could impact your business.

Experience Modification

Effective January 1, 2017, The Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) is calculating experience modification (ex-mod) using a different formula. Ex-mod provides employers with a financial incentive to reduce workers’ comp claims. The new formula was developed with hopes of leveling the playing field for small businesses by penalizing companies based on their size (total payroll) and their frequency of claims versus severity.

Takeaway: The net cost to the worker’s compensation system is neutral, but roughly 50% of our clients will see an increase in their ex-mod. Find out if your premiums will be going up this year by asking your insurance brokers to calculate your projected ex-mod using the new formula.

AB 2883

Beginning January 1, 2017, AB 2883 went into full effect in California, changing the exclusion requirements for directors and officers. Under this change to the labor law, an officer must own no less than 15% of the company to qualify for exclusion from workers’ compensation coverage.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends

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