From the category archives: Insurance Protection Blog

Commercial

Is Your Cyber-Policy Really Covering Your Technology-Related Exposures?

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology to store sensitive information, the incidences of security breaches are becoming more prevalent. Each security breach increases the risk that a lawsuit or regulatory action could financially ruin a company and permanently damage its reputation. The situation is so bad, that some retailers and financial institutions targeted by litigation and regulatory actions are trying to hold their technology vendors accountable so they can transfer some of the fallout. Many companies find themselves financial victims because they don't buy insurance that addresses the many exposures related to security breaches. In some instances, a breach can trigger the need for a number of coverages, including crime, errors and omissions, employment practices liability, general liability, property and directors and officers liability. The so-called "cyber" policies address only one aspect of the exposure, the theft of information, money and identities through the Internet. That's ...
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More Workers' Compensation Claims Made As the Result of Work-Related Traffic Accidents

According to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, both on- and off-the-job motor vehicle crashes cost employers $60 billion annually from 1998 through 2000. The problem is so widespread, that in a recent study, the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc (NCCI) noted that traffic accidents are the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. The study also said that workers' compensation claims resulting from motor vehicle accidents are more severe than the average claim. Although they make up approximately 2 percent of all claims, they account for more than 5.5 percent of all losses because they cover a disproportionate share of the most severe claim types. While workers' compensation claims from motor vehicle accidents are growing, their frequency is declining but at a slower pace than for workers' compensation claims in general. There are some other important characteristics about these claims that the NCCI noted in its study: •   They almost always involve time lost ...
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Federal Rules Governing Civil Litigation Require Businesses to Keep Better Tabs on e-Documents

New rules, which took effect on December 1, 2006, require U.S. companies to keep better track of their employees' e-mails, instant messages and other electronic documents in the event the companies are sued. These new rules are part of amendments to federal guidelines governing civil litigation and were approved by the Supreme Court in April 2006 after a five-year review. Under the new rules, a company that is party to federal litigation must produce electronically stored information as part of discovery. This is the process by which both sides share evidence before a trial. Federal and state courts have already been requiring such evidence in individual cases. The new rules now make the production of such evidence mandatory for companies involved in federal lawsuits. Furthermore, any information technology employee who copies over a backup computer tape once a lawsuit has been filed could be accused of committing "virtual shredding." Companies are still permitted to purge databases if the information they c ...
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Third Party Coverage Is a Key Coverage of Employment Practices Liability Insurance

The purpose of third-party coverage in an Employment Practices Liability (EPLI) policy is to protect an organization and its employees from accusations of wrongful acts committed against customers, clients, vendors, and suppliers. Some EPLI policies also cover wrongful acts committed by third parties against the insured's employees. Harassment and all forms of discrimination are covered under wrongful acts. Discrimination claims include discriminatory practices against a person based on their race, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability, pregnancy or sexual orientation. Harassment involves unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors. Both verbal and physical conduct, as well as other forms of harassment that create a hostile or offensive work environment, are covered. Some policies also cover accusations of mental anguish, emotional distress, humiliation and assault. If your organization has a lot of interaction with the public, it is especially vulnerable to third-party claims like tho ...
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Proper Maintenance Can Help Businesses Prevent Weather-Related Slips and Falls

It's that time of the year when snow, sleet and ice are a fairly common occurrence in many parts of the country. Such weather conditions pose serious problems for business owners because walkways become slippery and increase the chances for employees and customers to fall. While you can't control the elements, you can reduce your liability by staying alert and eliminating hazards that cause falls. One such hazard is the accumulation of ice and snow that results because deicing measures were inadequate or not properly applied. The first step in effectively deicing a walkway is to choose the correct treatment. When selecting chemicals to melt ice, keep the following points in mind: ·   Rock salt is the most common method and the least expensive of the ice-melting chemicals. It is easy to find and can melt snow and ice until the temperature drops below 20є F. Rock salt, however, also releases a large amount of chloride when it dissolves. This chloride can pollute streams, rivers and lakes a ...
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What Should You Consider When Shopping for Lawyer's Professional Liability Insurance?

Controlling expenses is an important consideration in the management of any law firm, so it isn't unusual that a firm shopping for liability coverage would take premium rates into consideration. However, even though rates are important, they shouldn't be the overriding factor in your decision to purchase a particular policy. There are a number of other aspects you should consider to ensure you receive the best coverage for your premium dollar. The first of these considerations is whether your policy has eroding coverage.  In some liability policies, the coverage limits include defense costs. When you file a claim, the amount of coverage for settling the claim or paying a judgment against you decreases as you incur defense costs. This type of policy is referred to as having defense costs "inside" the policy. There are policies in which the defense costs are "outside" the policy, which means they are not subtracted from the amount of coverage. In some cases, policies with outside defense costs have a cap ...
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Workers' Comp Employer Costs Rose Faster Than Benefit Payments in 2004

According to a study released in July 2006 by the National Academy of Social Insurance, employer costs for workers' compensation grew faster than combined cash and medical payments to injured workers in 2004, the most recent year for which data is available. Combined benefit payments for injured workers increased 2.3 percent in 2004 compared to prior year levels, while employer workers' compensation costs rose by 7.0 percent for the same period. Combined benefit payments fell by 3 cents for every $100 of covered wages, from $1.16 to $1.13. The chief contributor to this decline was the state of California, where benefits dropped by 10 cents per $100 of covered wages. Nationally, premiums paid for workers' compensation insurance rose by 3 cents per $100 of covered wages, to $1.76 in 2004. The increase was the smallest annual increase since 2001. Despite the recent rise in costs, both costs and benefits in 2004 remain far below their peak levels. Total benefits were at their highest in 1992 at $1.68 per $100 o ...
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Worker Found Eligible for Compensation from Seizure Related Injury

In an August 2006 ruling, Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled that the claimant in the case of Michael G. Blakeslee Jr. vs. Platt Brothers & Co, who was injured when co-workers tried to help during a seizure, is entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Typically, workplace injuries caused by a seizure wouldn't be eligible for compensation because the injuries arise from the medical condition itself and not from conditions in the work area. In the Blakeslee case, the claimant received two dislocated shoulders on February 13, 2002, when three co-workers tried to restrain him during his seizure. He had fallen near a large steel scale, and then started flailing his arms and legs as he regained consciousness. The claimant filed a workers' compensation claim contending that because the actual injury resulted from the restraint, and not the seizure itself, the shoulder injuries should be covered. The claimant argued that an injury received during the course of employment is eligible for compensation even if in ...
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What Factors Influence Malpractice Premiums?

According to a November 2005 article published in the Insurance Journal entitled, "How to Write the Diverse Business of Lawyers Professional Liability," between $1.5 and $2 billion is spent annually on Professional Liability coverage. With numbers such as these, it is important that any firm in the market for this insurance understand the factors affecting coverage rates. Determining premium rates is a complex matter based on a combination of factors. However, there are two main factors insurers review when underwriting an insurance application. The first is your geographic location, because each state has a different risk assumption.  The level of risk is measured by the number of suits brought against other lawyers in your area. The second important factor is your practice area(s). You can expect to pay more for coverage if you specialize in high-risk areas such as securities, banking and/or real estate. Other factors that insurers consider include: ·        ...
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The Malpractice Cap: Order in the Court?

A few years ago, in a relatively small town in a quiet (not known for big lawsuits) area of the country, an Ob/Gyn (Obstetrics and Gynecology) doctor opened his new practice.  In helping the community while beginning to raise his family, he earned $300,000 in his second year.  Only seven years later, his malpractice insurance cost $300,000-and he had not reported a single claim! Jury awards for medical malpractice in the U.S. have reached dizzying heights, prompting young doctors to flee states like Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and others. For example, a March 20, 2003 article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the number of practicing doctors in the state, younger than 35, had fallen from 12.4% in 1989 to a mere 4.7% in 2000.  Other states report similar rates of defection. Two other adverse results are astronomical insurance premiums for malpractice insurance, especially for thoracic and neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists and other specialists, and equally skyrocketing costs ...
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