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Workers’ Comp: Will You Be Paying More in 2017?

By David Freeman, Director, Commercial Sales

clock August 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Beginning in September, companies across California will learn whether they will be paying more for workers’ compensation insurance next year.

For some doing business in the Golden State, it will be an unwelcome surprise. The increase could be significant.

The potential rate changes are due to a rule approved last year by California Insurance Commissioner David Jones. Beginning in 2017, the formula to determine an organization’s “experience modification,” the rate used to calculate workers’ comp pricing, will change.

The rationale for the change was to level the playing field for small businesses. Previously, the one-size-fits all formula had the potential to unfairly penalize smaller organizations.  A few claims had a dramatic affect on their workers’ comp premiums, a consequence usually not seen with larger businesses.

For many, the new formula will likely result in little change in their workers’ comp premium. However, it’s likely that some large and small employers with a higher frequency of claims will see a dramatic impact.

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

The Cyber Security Threat Remains Real

By Mike Grant, Director, Technology Practice

clock August 17, 2016 at 7:30 AM

Big companies usually make the headlines when hackers compromise the confidentiality of millions of customers, but the truth is that 60% of all cyber breaches last year involved small and midsize businesses.

What’s more, many small to midsize firms typically prudent in other aspects of their business haven’t taken the time to understand the data security threat nor are they effectively managing the issue, according to new survey data from MMA.

Unprepared and Unaware

The 12-page report, 2015/2016 Cyber & Data Security Risk Survey for Small and Midsize Employers, highlights the fact that many are underestimating the potential danger to their business. Notably, the survey found the following:

  • Just 6% of the respondents said they thought their organization’s data security was “bomb proof.”
  • 2% said they did not have a corporate recovery plan to deal with the loss of confidential, personally identifiable information.
  • 9% said their organization did not have the expertise to develop any kind of data security plan.
  • Not surprisingly, those organizations that regularly talk about data security and risk management at the C-level are twice as likely to have implemented a recovery program to help manage a data security breach.

What To Do

Do something.  Most companies get overwhelmed even thinking about how to prepare or prevent cyber attacks.  From our experience, preparation is key to a company’s success in surviving a data breach.  And that preparation can be as simple as 1-2-3.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Cyber & Data Security

Manufacturers: Are You Handling Overseas Suppliers Correctly?

By David Freeman, Director, Commercial Sales

clock August 8, 2016 at 10:00 AM

US manufacturers know all too well the competitive pressures and the shortage of stateside supplies that drive the use of overseas supplies. Foreign suppliers often deliver quality parts at affordable prices and for US manufacturers to stay competitive, there’s often no way around utilizing these resources. However, working with foreign suppliers can be confusing and risky for both new and experienced manufacturers.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Manufacturing

Delaware Ruling May Have Positive Impact on Directors & Officers Liability Rates

By Kala Collett, RPLU, Marketing Speciality - Executive Liability

clock July 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The Delaware Supreme Court may have singled-handedly done what the market has been trying to do for years: Make Directors & Officers liability insurance more affordable.

In early May, the Delaware Supreme Court essentially instructed trial courts to throw out future lawsuits challenging corporate acquisitions or mergers that have been properly approved by shareholders. The implications in the Zales case are far-reaching and may discourage M&A litigation. The ruling should also continue to soften D&O rates for publicly traded companies.

A High Bar

The Delaware court’s decision spelled out the future hurdles necessary to oppose a merger or acquisition. If investors are fully informed and have the authority to turn down a takeover, a merger or acquisition cannot be challenged. That’s true even if there were significant mistakes made by directors in the process, so long as a majority of shares owned by disinterested stockholders voted in favor of the deal.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends

Fleet Owners: Are You Hiring the Best of the Best?

By Julie Gasper, CSP, CRIS, CRM, CIC

clock June 20, 2016 at 10:30 AM

That high-end cargo van or semi-truck may sport safety features such as a back-up camera or technology that cues the driver when they are drifting out of their lane, but smart fleet owners recognize that no feature matters more than a highly skilled, safe driver.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2005 and 2007 ninety-four percent of all collisions were the result of driver error. Driver inattention and distraction accounted for almost half of those crashes. Fast forward to today when smartphones are grabbing the attention of drivers and the risks of distraction are even greater.

With life and property at stake, fleet owners cannot cut corners when screening drivers before hiring or monitoring their performance once they are on board.

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Topics: Property + Casualty

Think Your General Liability Policy Will Cover a Data Breach? Think Again.

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

clock April 18, 2016 at 2:45 PM

On April 11, 2016, a Virginia federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that a data security breach is covered by a General Liability (GL) policy.  The specific ruling in Travelers Indemnity Company of America (Travelers) v. Portal Healthcare Solutions (Portal) ties back to the accidental publication of private medical records on the internet. 

This breach arose in 2013 when two individuals searched their names on Google and found their private medical records from Glen Falls Hospital at the top of the search results. The two individuals subsequently sued the Glen Falls Hospital and Portal Healthcare Solutions, the company hired to secure patient records, for this privacy violation.  During the trial, Travelers, who had issued two separate GL policies to Portal during the 4-month period the records were exposed, declined to provide a defense.  The court ruling mandates that Travelers defend Portal.

This appears to be a groundbreaking ruling that marginalizes Cyber/Data Breach insurance policies, correct? Not so fast. Before you reconsider Cyber/Data Breach insurance or plan to rely on your GL policy to protect you against data breaches, consider these facts:

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Cyber & Data Security

Insurance Trends for the Healthcare Industry: Important Considerations for Managing Risk in 2016

By Michael Bailey, Principal, Healthcare Practice Group Leader

clock April 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Between continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the introduction of ICD-10 medical billing codes, 2015 was a year of significant change in the healthcare insurance landscape. The overall market trends continue to be positive in many lines of coverage, but issues surrounding electronic medical records, ICD-10 coding, and the ever-changing regulatory landscape have created additional uncertainty in the marketplace.

Now a couple months into 2016, let’s take a look at trends and changes in six specific areas of healthcare insurance: Professional Liability, Executive Risk, Cyber & Data Security, Billing Errors and Omissions, Managed Care Errors and Omissions, and Workers’ Compensation.

Professional Liability

The marketplace for Professional Liability continues to trend favorably in terms of frequency, but severity is on the rise at a similar rate. Overall, the increase in severity and decrease in frequency offset each other, creating a generally stable and highly competitive marketplace.  Insureds can anticipate rates remaining flat or seeing as much as a 5% decrease.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Cyber & Data Security

The Life of a Product: Successful Risk Management at Each Stage

By David Freeman, Director, Commercial Sales

clock April 4, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Bringing a product to market is a multi-step process, with opportunity and risk present at every stage in the life cycle. The most successful manufacturers approach each step as if it were a new initiative, taking time and investing resources that will optimize the end result.

From the idea stage to end-user adoption, there are plenty of steps in a company’s manufacturing cycle that could be a weak link, creating problems that may not rear up until well past the point of a manageable and affordable correction. For this reason, successful risk management means being proactive during all phases of the product’s life cycle: Pre-production, production and post-production.

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Topics: Property + Casualty

Email Hackers Get More Creative About Stealing Your Money

By Mike Grant, Director, Technology Practice

clock March 23, 2016 at 8:00 AM

The people who want to misappropriate your confidential information are getting smarter about it every day.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Cyber & Data Security

Cyber Liability: Avoiding a Super-Size Blunder

By Brad Hering, Marketing Executive

clock February 1, 2016 at 9:00 PM

With the Super Bowl only a few days away, both teams are undoubtedly using every minute to prepare for the upcoming game. In 2015, we watched the defeat of the Seattle Seahawks after they ignored the most obvious play they could make to win the game. With twenty-five seconds remaining and one yard left to go, the Seahawks passed the ball instead of utilizing their star running back. What happened next will be discussed and debated by football fans for years to come. New England Patriots’ newbie, Malcom Butler, intercepted the ball for the game-winning play.

Just like in sports, businesses sometimes over think their choices, missing the most obvious play. Today, the obvious, smart play for all businesses is to have cyber liability coverage and a plan to address a cyber-breach. Yet, even with the awareness of the threat of cyber-breach, many businesses still haven’t taken action. Ignoring this easy safeguard could lead you to a big blunder, leaving your customers wondering why the most obvious route wasn’t taken, just as Seahawks fans questioned why their team didn’t utilize one of their best assets.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Cyber & Data Security

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