From the monthly archives: January 2015

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'January 2015'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Take Steps to Prevent Workplace Bias Claims Before They Happen

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently reported that work-related bias complaints increased to 75,768 during 2006 compared with 75,428 the previous year. Discrimination complaints had previously risen to a seven-year high of 84,442 in 2002, but then steadily decreased from 2003 to 2005. The most frequent complaints have remained consistent throughout the years, including allegations of discrimination based on race, sex or retaliation. This upward trend in the number of suits filed should raise alarms for employers everywhere. The legal cost to defend an allegation of discrimination that reaches trial has been estimated between $75,000 and $200,000. This doesn't include hidden costs like work time lost because of gathering evidence or giving depositions. It also doesn't include costs associated with an appeal or with payment of a final judgment. The National Center for Preventive Law (NCPL) at the California Western School of Law in San Diego recommends that employers practice what it refers ...
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The CLUE Report: Don't Be Left Clueless on Insuring Your New Home

If you don't properly educate yourself on the home buying process, it can very well be like walking into a minefield. Most buyers at least have a novice understanding on areas like their credit, pre-approval, a home inspection, and so forth. However, most buyers don't have a clue what a CLUE report is, much less what an important element it is when buying and insuring a new home. Considering that around 90% of all insurers underwriting homeowner's insurance subscribe to the CLUE service, it's certainly something that you should know about. What Is CLUE? The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, or CLUE, is a database that allows auto and homeowner insurers to exchange information about property loss claims. Unless your state specifically requires it, prior notification isn't required before your information goes into the system. ChoicePoint, one of the largest personal consumer data compilers in the United States, maintains the database. Property loss claims and even inquiries into coverage are entered ...
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National Council on Compensation Insurance Says Younger Workers Are More Accident Prone

According to a study conducted by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, younger workers have more injuries and illnesses than older workers; but older workers have higher costs per claim. The researchers discovered that age is an important factor in overall claim costs, but the significance of age on claims frequency has lessened. This has been interpreted to mean that age may not play an important role in future frequency trends. However, the relationship between age and claim severities is basically unchanged. Factors associated with age, such as average wages, claim durations, lump-sum payments, injury diagnoses, and number of medical treatments, comprised a large part of the reason for the differences in the severity of claims between younger and older workers. The differences in wages and duration of claims were the principal reasons for the differences in the amount of payouts between younger and older workers. Differences in wages accounted for approximately one third of the differences in ...
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Save Money by Avoiding These Costly Insurance Mistakes

When it comes to purchasing insurance, fear is an important motivator. We are justified in our worries about protecting assets such as homes and automobiles, and we buy insurance to protect our financial integrity. Despite our best efforts, sometimes our insurance does not offer full financial protection. This is not necessarily because there is a problem with the insurance policy; it can be a result of human failure. When purchasing an insurance policy, many people fail to look at the true level of coverage that is necessary to restore assets to their pre-disaster conditions. Below are five common insurance mistakes to avoid at all costs: *Trying to do it all on your own - Shopping for insurance is complicated, and it is best to seek professional advice. While it is fine to use the Internet to educate yourself, you should ultimately work with an independent agent who can offer multiple options for your consideration. An agent will help you untangle the complex issues involved in purchasing the proper amoun ...
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Naturally Occurring Substances Can Expose Construction Firms to Environmental Liability

What do silica, mercury, arsenic, pyrite, and asbestos have in common? They all are recognized as toxic substances, or contain toxic substances as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Their very presence on a construction site presents a serious exposure for a construction contractor. There are potentially hazardous consequences when these toxic substances are uncovered during construction: ·   Mercury - is a human neurotoxin; meaning it acts specifically on neurons or nerve cells. It is most hazardous to developing fetuses and small children. Eating mercury-contaminated fish is the way most humans become exposed. When mercury enters water, certain conditions can cause it to convert to methyl mercury. Methyl mercury is ingested by aquatic creatures and becomes more concentrated as it moves along the food chain. Humans receive the highest forms of concentration because they are at the end of this food chain. ·   Pyrite - has a high sulfur content, which if e ...
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Five Things You Should Know about Your Condo Association's Insurance

A condominium unit-owner usually has her own insurance policy that covers her for loss of her personal belongings, parts of the building that the condominium agreement makes her responsible for insuring, the additional cost of living elsewhere after a fire damages her unit, and her legal liability for injuries or damages suffered by others. In turn, the condominium association has its own policy, which may cause some unit-owners to wonder why they have to buy separate insurance. Doesn't the association's insurance cover the same things that her policy does? Depending on the property at issue, the answer is maybe yes and maybe no. Insurance companies designed the two types of policies to complement each other in some cases and to overlap in others. Here are five things unit-owners should know about their associations' insurance. The association's policy covers the building. Depending on the wording in the contract between the association and the unit-owner, the word "building" may mean several different thing ...
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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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Insurance Advice for after the Storm

Severe weather can come in many shapes and sizes.  It may take the form of heavy rain or snow, strong winds, thunder and lightning, and/or flooding.   When it comes to protecting your home and auto, you must prepare for the worst.  If damaging weather does come your way, here are some suggestions on what to do when the storm has passed: 1.   Contact your agent or insurance company as soon as possible to arrange a visit from an adjuster. 2.   Take photographs of any damage before doing repairs to your home.  Also, make an itemized list of all damage sustained during the storm and its aftermath. 3.   Protect your home from further damage by making only temporary repairs until your insurance company advises you further. Save all receipts for materials purchased for repairs. 4. Exercise caution when beginning repairs and clean up. Be careful with power tools such as chainsaws, and use proper safety equipment like safety helmets and/or glasses. 5. &n ...
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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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