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    Thursday
    Aug172017

    Make Sure You're Covered for On-The-Job Injury Claims By Temporary Workers

    If you use workers from staffing or leasing agencies to supplement your workforce, how adequately do your current insurance policies protect your company in the event that one of these individuals is injured on the job?

    If you're covered under an Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) commercial general liability (CGL) policy and your workers' compensation and employers liability policies are written on National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) forms with no additional coverage endorsements, you may not be as protected as you think. You should consider adding the Coverage for Injury to Leased Workers (CG 04 24) endorsement to your CGL policy.

    A potential gap in coverage arises from the way the CGL policy defines "temporary" and "leased" workers. A leased worker is a person leased to your company through an agreement with an employee-leasing firm to perform duties related to the operation of your business. A temporary worker is a person furnished to you to fill in for a permanent employee on leave or to meet seasonal or short-term workload conditions. Under the terms of the CGL policy, "employee" includes a leased worker, but does not include a temporary worker. The distinction is important, because the CGL policy's Exclusion e: employers liability, excludes from coverage bodily injury claims made by an employee of the insured.

    Thus, if your CGL policy definitions consider the worker to be an "employee"-even though that worker is provided by a staffing agency-the policy will not cover any bodily injury claims by that worker. If the worker is not specifically substituting for a permanent employee who is on leave, or meeting a seasonal need or short-term workload conditions, the worker is not a "temporary worker" in the eyes of the insurer, and instead is considered your employee for purposes of Exclusion e. To be a "temporary worker," that individual must have a specific end date to his or her employment with you. A temporary employee who is hired for an indefinite period of time simply does not meet the criteria stated above, and is therefore considered an employee, and subject to Exclusion e if they are injured on the job.

    Adding the Coverage for Injury to Leased Workers (CG 04 24) endorsement to your CGL policy will help you fill this coverage gap. This endorsement states that the term "employee" does not include a "leased worker" or "temporary worker," making the employers liability exclusion of the CGL policy inapplicable to the claims for injuries to a leased or temporary worker.

    Another way to protect your company in lawsuits by injured temporary workers is to require the staffing agency that provides such workers to include the Alternate Employer Endorsement (WC 00 03 01 A) on its workers' compensation and employers liability policy, and specifically schedule your company as the alternate employer. This endorsement will provide you with coverage as an alternate employer in the event the temporary worker files a tort suit.

    Without the right coverage in place, on-the-job injuries to temporary workers can present a significant potential liability to your company. Examine your current CGL policy and arrangements with any staffing or leasing firms you use to make sure your company is protected.

    Tuesday
    Aug152017

    Do You Know How to Handle a Vehicle Accident?

    According to The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there are more than six million U.S. motor vehicle crashes per year reported in the United States. Most of us don't like to think about what if, especially when it comes to vehicle accidents. However, the odds say that you'll most likely find yourself involved in a vehicle accident at some point in your life. Do you know how to handle a vehicle accident?

    There will be an initial shock. Once you've realized what has happened and checked yourself for injury, you should attempt to exit your vehicle. You might need to use a window if your door has been damaged. As you find your way out of the vehicle, make sure to pay attention to the oncoming traffic and stay clear of it.

    If your vehicle is still drivable, then move it to a public location. From there, you'll be able to safely exit the vehicle and report the accident. Moving the vehicle is usually a good idea if there's an immediate danger like being hit again on a busy interstate. Do keep in mind that some states require you to stay on the scene.

    You should dial 911 to report the accident. The dispatcher will automatically know your location if you're calling from a land-line. You'll need to know your location when using a cellular phone since it's a more difficult and lengthy process for an emergency dispatcher to determine your location through a cellular phone.

    In the event that your vehicle ends up in water, staying calm is a must. You won't be able to open the door due to the pressure from the water if the vehicle submerges. Calmly take a deep breath and roll down the window to escape. If the electric windows won't work, then you should break the window by hitting it with an object or kicking it.

    As far as insurance goes, most insurance carriers recommend the following universal steps be taken following an accident:

    * Take note of how many passengers are in each of the other vehicles involved in the accident, as this will help prevent the future addition of passengers during insurance scams.

    * Collect the full name, insurance information, and home address of all other drivers involved in the accident. You should also provide your information to the other driver(s).

    * Write a brief summary of the accident, recording as many details as possible - the make, model and year of the vehicles involved; the time of accident; and weather conditions.

    * Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses, especially if you feel something or someone other than yourself caused the accident.

    * While it's okay to express concern over what happened at the scene, you should never admit that the accident was your fault or claim liability.

    * Have your insurance information, driver's license, and vehicle registration available for the police. Once the police are on scene, the officer will collect your information. The officer will ask all the drivers what happened and record the account(s).

    * Make sure that you ask the officer for the police report so that you can give it to your insurance carrier.

    * You should contact your insurance agent or carrier as soon as possible. Most major insurance companies have a 24-hour phone number for claim reports.

    Thursday
    Aug102017

    Protecting Your Business from Workers' Comp Fraud

    Tempted to hire a private investigator to spy on employees claiming workers' compensation? You're not alone. Luckily, covert operations can be avoided by taking a proactive approach to preventing workers' compensation fraud.

    Here are some effective tips for shielding your business.

    Watch for red flags

    Knowing common signals of workers' compensation fraud is an important step in protecting your business. Some red flags to watch out for are:

    ·   There are no witnesses of the accident (or the only witnesses are friends/family members of the injured employee).

    ·   It is difficult or impossible to reach the employee.

    ·   The employee changes his or her story about the accident.

    ·   The accident happened on a Friday afternoon but wasn't reported until the following week.

    ·   The accident happened outside of the employee's normal working hours.

    Not all claims that occur under these circumstances are fraudulent, but it may be worth it to take a second look.

    Make safety a priority at your business
    Creating a safer work environment not only lowers the chance of accidents, it also reduces the opportunity for employees to fake an injury. Your business should frequently conduct safety inspections of all work areas and any equipment. Remove hazards immediately, and be sure to document the repairs you make.

    Thoroughly investigate workplace injuries
    Take the time to review any surveillance videos of the area where the incident allegedly took place. Also, be sure to interview all witnesses shortly after the accident happens - and take any rumors of dishonesty or fraud seriously.

    Hire wisely
    People who lie on rГ(c)sumГ(c)s are more likely to lie about workplace injuries. Make it a routine part of your hiring process to conduct background checks on all applicants. And don't neglect to verify their references and any other information included on their applications and rГ(c)sumГ(c)s.

    Clearly communicate your workers' compensation policies
    It's important to discuss your workers' compensation policies with all employees. Tell them what to do when an injury occurs, and explain that insurance costs affect the amount of money available for raises and bonuses. Also, make sure you tell your employees that workers' compensation fraud is a serious crime that will lead to termination and prosecution. Post fraud awareness posters in conspicuous locations explaining what fraud is and what its consequences are.

    Implement a return-to-work program
    Workers' compensation fraud is less inviting when employers have transitional duty for injured employees. Make sure your employees know that if they get injured on the job, your business will work with the doctor to help them return to work as soon as possible.

    Stay in touch
    Don't lose contact with employees who are off work because of an on-the-job injury. Injured workers who are hard to get a hold of might be committing workers' compensation fraud. Contact them periodically, and document each contact (whether you were able to reach them or not).

    Get signed statements when employees leave
    In your exit interviews, obtain signed statements from exiting employees stating that they have or have not had any unreported injuries at work. This will go a long way in discouraging post-termination claims.

    Workers' compensation is a major expense for most businesses, and workers' compensation fraud makes it more costly for everyone. It pays to take a proactive stance to reduce workers' compensation fraud at your company.

    Tuesday
    Aug082017

    Consider Options to Lessen Homeowner's Insurance Premiums

    Home is where the heart is, and for most homeowners, a large portion of your net worth resides there as well. We all know that insuring this valuable property is both necessary and expensive. In fact, homeowner's insurance premiums can take a healthy bite out of a family's monthly expenditures. Homeowners owe it to themselves to look at some approaches that could potentially lower monthly premiums.

    Six Ideas to Reduce Premiums

    • Take steps to make your home as disaster resistant as possible. For instance, consider adding stronger doors, storm shutters and reinforced roofing for added protection from hurricanes and other disasters. Many insurance companies will reduce premiums based on these upgrades.
    • Ask your insurance agent if they offer homeowners discounts for new or recently renovated properties. Because a newer home usually results in fewer losses, some insurers reduce rates by up to 25 percent for homes that are less than five or ten years old. Likewise, homes that have had significant renovations completed by a qualified contractor can also qualify for reduced insurance premiums. In this case, your insurance company may require documentation of the renovations, and when they were completed.
    • Improve the safety and security of your home. Items such as burglar alarms, deadbolt locks and smoke detectors can reduce your monthly premiums. Your insurance company might also offer a discount for installing a sophisticated home-security system.
    • Maintain an outstanding credit rating. Many insurance companies utilize credit scores in determining homeowner's premiums. Achieving and preserving a strong credit score can result in a monthly premium discount.
    • Ask questions to determine if your home is over insured. Be aware that the value of your home, and the value of your land are separate. If your home is severely damaged and needs to be rebuilt, the reconstruction costs should be based on the replacement value of your home, and not on the value of your land.
    • Consider the possibility that other discounts may apply. Insurance companies offer a variety of options such as: long term customer discounts, senior citizen discounts, loss-free discounts, or multiple policy discounts.

    Your home is your castle, and there are many steps you can take to protect this valuable asset in the most efficient manner possible. Speak with your agent to see if these or other discounts apply.

    Thursday
    Aug032017

    Reducing the Risk of Workers' Compensation Claims Begins with the Hiring Process

    Workers' compensation claims can occur in any workplace. While employers understand that solid safety protocol can reduce the incidence of these claims, many don't realize that steps taken during the hiring process can also have some impact on managing this liability. Not taking the time to thoroughly interview applicants to determine if they are a good fit for the job and the company can result in hiring workers who might create problems later on, like filing too many workers' compensation claims.

    Although federal and state laws prohibit certain questions being asked during the interview process, there are techniques you can use that will help you decide if the applicant might be the type to file problem claims. Begin by reviewing the applicant's resume prior to the interview. Pay careful attention to gaps in employment history. During the interview, ask the applicant to explain the reasons for these gaps. Also ask the applicant about his or her attendance record during previous jobs.

    Follow up with open-ended questions to see what the applicant would do in certain situations, such as resolving conflicts with managers, subordinates or co-workers. Quiz the applicant as to what he or she perceives to be the procedures necessary to effectively perform the essential functions of the applied-for job in your company.

    Inform the applicant that all new hires go through a fitness-for-duty physical, which includes questions about medical history. Watch for any signs of discomfort like a change in facial expression or body movement.

    Administer a skill and/or personality test to assess competency and work ethic. Whatever screening tools you use, establish reasonable criteria and apply them uniformly for all applicants.

    Obtain written consent from the applicant to conduct a complete background check. As part of this:

    ·   Verify past employment history and follow up with references.

    ·   Conduct a criminal background check. Use a public records service to uncover any criminal convictions.

    ·   Check on past job-related injuries, workers' compensation claims, substance abuse and safety records.

    ·   Contact the schools and universities listed on the candidate's job application or resume to verify education and certifications. If the applicant listed having a professional license, call the issuing organization to verify.

    ·   For candidates whose job duties would include driving a motor vehicle, compare the results of the applicant's official motor vehicle report with the answers provided on the job application.

    If you do extend a job offer, make it conditional, contingent upon the candidate's ability to perform the functions of the job. You can withdraw a job offer, if in the opinion of a licensed medical doctor, the prospective employee poses a direct threat to their own, or others', health and safety. However, in determining the suitability of an offered job, make sure you make all reasonable accommodations necessary for those candidates subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Thorough job interviews not only help you to hire the right person for the job...they help you hire the right people for your company.


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