There’s an exciting change happening at Relation Insurance Services, today. After 11 years, Parthenon Capital Partners and Century Equity Partners will be transferring ownership of Relation to Aquiline Capital Partners, effective March 31, 2019.

You can access the press release here.

For some time now, we’ve been evaluating a host of strategic options for our company. This will be a great partnership because the Aquiline team is a fantastic group of folks with tremendous insurance knowledge who believe in the vision and values that the Relation leadership team has put in place. It will allow Relation to keep doing what we’ve been doing, and also make more investments to drive additional growth through organic growth and acquisitions. Our shared vision with Aquiline is that Relation will continue to be one of the nation’s leading independent insurance brokerages.

Other than a change in asset ownership, you can expect business as usual. Our name, our people, our locations, our practices, and our services will remain intact. I will continue to run the business, along with our President and COO, Ed Page. Relation as a whole continues as is. Our goal is, and always will be, to connect the dots to provide the very best insurance solutions and legendary service for our clients.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients and partners for your ongoing support over the past 11 years. I’d also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the entire Relation team. Last but not least, a big thank you to the teams at Parthenon Capital and Century Equity Partners for their continued support. We would not be where we are today, without their backing, guidance, and encouragement. I look forward to a bright future as we continue to grow together.

Onward!

Joe

All intercollegiate athletics programs come with inherent risk that may result in a range of injuries or even death, despite the safety precautions in place. To create the safest possible environment, participants in an athletic program—administrators, coaches, healthcare providers, and student-athletes—must have a shared philosophy that the health, safety, and welfare of the student-athletes takes precedence over every other consideration. With this mindset, approaches for prevention of injury and mitigation of risk should be prioritized in the design and implementation of all programming and activities.

Indirect Deaths

The incidence of indirect deaths (i.e., non-traumatic deaths) in intercollegiate football, creates an opportunity to review current best practices for the prevention of sudden death in any intercollegiate athletics program. According to the article “Exertional Heat Stroke and American Football: What the Team Physician Needs to Know,” in football, the most common causes of indirect deaths are systemic failures such as heatstroke, sudden cardiac arrest, or sickle cell trait.[1]

Common elements that can contribute to indirect deaths include the following:

  • Intensity of exercise and over exertion, particularly early in the training cycle;
  • Conditioning that is not sport-specific and physiologically sound;
  • Improper development, training and implementation of Emergency Action Plans (EAPs); and
  • Lack of appropriate healthcare staff coverage for high risk activity.

Early season conditioning sessions can be a particularly vulnerable time for student-athletes because their bodies may still be acclimating to their sport. If pushing student athletes’ physical limits is framed as desirable—a way to push through mental limits or mimic stressors of a competition setting—it can lead to a “too much, too fast, too soon” scenario resulting in tragic consequences.

Best Practices to Help Reduce the Risk of Sudden Death

In 2012, The Inter-Association Task Force for Preventing Sudden Death in Collegiate Conditioning Sessions produced a document with best practices recommendations. Endorsed by the American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine, Canadian Athletic Therapists’ Association, Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Korey Stringer Institute, National Academy of Sports Medicine, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, and National Strength and Conditioning Association, the 10-point plan provides a template to help reduce the incidence of sudden death:

  1. Acclimatize progressively for utmost safety.
  2. Introduce new conditioning activities gradually.
  3. Do not use exercise and conditioning activities as punishment.
  4. Ensure proper education, experience, and credentialing of strength and conditioning coaches.
  5. Provide appropriate medical coverage.
  6. Develop and practice Emergency Actions Plans (EAPs).
  7. Be cognizant of medical conditions.
  8. Administer strength and conditioning programs.
  9. Partner with recognized professional organizations to define effective practices.
  10. Provide adequate continuing education for the entire coaching and medical teams.

The full report is worth a read, and is understood to still be the most comprehensive set of effective practice guidelines generally available and endorsed by those listed organizations concerned with student-athlete wellbeing. Following each of these recommended steps is extremely important in helping to provide a safe environment, but a critical step—the one that provides the foundation for every other step that follows—is for each institution to embrace the shared responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of all student-athletes, regardless of the sport.

To help ensure that all planned activities meet these established effective practices and requirements, there must be real and continual coordination between the medical staff, strength and conditioning staff, coaches, and administrators to create a safety-centered culture. Together, they must work concertedly to see that each aspect of program design and planning prioritizes student-athletes’ wellbeing, and to take all appropriate steps to help prevent “too much, too fast, too soon” behaviors that can lead to sudden death. Finally, everyone needs to be on board with fully developing and practicing EAPs and executing them appropriately when the need arises. The risk of every day injuries and sudden death in intercollegiate athletics is evident, so we should plan and prepare to mitigate the risk.

 

Andy Massey is an Athletics Risk Consultant for Relation Insurance. His career in intercollegiate athletics spans three decades, including Director of Athletic Training at Tulane University (LA); head athletic trainer at Appalachian State University (NC), where he also taught in the Department of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science; and head athletic trainer at Wofford College (SC). Andy now consults with intercollegiate athletic departments across the U.S. and also serves as an ATC Spotter for the NFL. Andy can be reached via email at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn more about Relation’s insurance solutions and services for Intercollegiate Athletics.

 

 

Hi, I’m Andy, Relation’s athletics risk consultant.

They say that experience is a great teacher. Thirty-four years as an athletic trainer, and seven additional years of athletic training education as a high school student, undergraduate student, and graduate assistant have taught me a lot about athletics and shaped the style of care and the administrative oversight I brought to the programs I was privileged to lead.

One of the most important lessons I learned was from my mentor, Andy Clawson, a NATA Hall of Fame Athletic Trainer who just completed his 46th football season at The Citadel. I believe he models the importance of lifelong learning, particularly as it pertains to one’s vocation.

Since leaving the clinical setting 18 months ago, I’ve had the time to read, reflect, and gain some perspective on the intercollegiate sports medicine landscape, along with the different ways the “business” of college athletics affects athletic healthcare at all levels. In my new role as an athletics risk consultant for Relation Insurance, I aim to draw from everything I’ve learned to provide content that better informs the work of time-pressed athletic trainers as they continue to deliver care to the student-athlete. I’ll speak to the issues that confront intercollegiate athletics, sports medicine, and insurance, such as risk and liability identification and reduction, organizational administration, cost savings, and revenue generation.

Experience may be a great teacher, but a lifelong quest for knowledge broadens the experience. Throughout my athletic training career, I’ve made a point to talk and learn from people across the country who represent many levels of experience and stakeholder groups. I’m excited to pass on what I’ve learned and look forward to having this dialogue with you, so that we may all get better at what we do. As John Dewey stated in Experience and Education, “The most important attitude that can be formed is that of a desire to go on learning.”

 

First up? Reducing Risk in Intercollegiate Athletic Programs through a Safety-Centered Culture.

Continue the conversation with me on LinkedIn!

 

 

 

4 ways to understand and optimize your student health insurance plan

Claims data can provide a wealth of knowledge—if you know where to look. To start, be sure to keep your eye on these four data points that can help identify costly problems or student trends that need addressing.

Determine whether atypical large claims are derailing your plan.

Review the section of your claims reports that shows the large-dollar claims (i.e., the large-dollar claim diagnosis); then delve deeper to see if those claims are being considered as part of a normal trend or if they are unusual. Trends, and any large claims resulting from them, will typically be factored into your insurance rate going forward, but atypical, nonrecurring large insurance charges—such as an acute condition resulting in a lengthy inpatient stay or a complex surgery—should be separated and pooled with your carrier’s portfolio of other large claims.

If you discover a large atypical claim, be sure you understand how this event is affecting your claims experience. Ask your broker or carrier if that charge is being removed from the completion factor or how it is being discounted from the experience. Large claims can and do happen, but they shouldn’t upset an otherwise stable insurance plan.

Are students seeking care where you want them to?

Because network providers are typically more cost-effective for both the insured student and the plan, in-network care, as opposed to out-of-network care, is the preferred option. A close analysis of your claims report can reveal how many student health care services are being provided in network.

Find the section of your claims reports that identifies the total allocation for in-network versus out-of-network services. Because large claims amounts can have an outsized effect, allocation data alone doesn’t tell the whole story. To get a more complete picture, you can examine allocation amounts in conjunction with the specific numbers of in-network and out-of-network claims.

Perhaps you will find that 85 percent of payment allocations are in network, but only 50 percent of all total claims are filed in network—revealing that many students are accessing out-of-network care. Armed with this data, you can compare current student activity to your school’s goals and can evaluate whether or not there is a need for marketing-communications campaigns to help drive student behavior. Messages to students about the value of seeking care with network providers—in both digital and real-world locations where they typically look for information—can be very effective.

Is the student health center being accessed enough?

A health care center can be a vital part of your student health plan and have a significant effect on costs, so you’ll likely want to try to optimize usage and leverage your student health center as a cost-effective care provider.

Claims data can help you as you seek to answer questions, such as the following:

  • How many students are going to the student health center for care?
  • How often are they going?
  • What services are they seeking most frequently?
  • Because students are filing claims for similar services with other providers, are there certain services offered by the student health center that are being underutilized?

Your campus may have other specific questions about student health center usage that an in-depth claims data analysis can help you understand. To increase awareness of health care options on campus, you might consider developing a marketing campaign geared towards students that evaluates how and where students access information about the student health center (especially online), conducting information sessions in collaboration with residence halls, and/or using targeted messaging to address a specific problem revealed by your claims data analysis.

Identify excessive emergency room use.

Your claims report can also reveal if your students are making too many trips to the emergency room—a common problem, especially within international student populations who are unfamiliar with alternative health care options. An average ER visit can often lead to claims exceeding $2,000, proving costly for both students and health plans.

Consult with your broker or carrier to determine how your school’s emergency room claim amounts compare to claims from other providers during the same period. Emergency room claims data from previous years or, if available, other schools, can also provide a valuable frame of reference. Check to ensure you understand what practices your plan’s claims administrator has in place to obtain proper discounts, adjudicate claims that may arise from nonemergency care, and remove unreasonable charges (whether or not they are emergency room claims).

One way to address high emergency room usage is to implement an effective training program to educate students on how, when, and where they should access care. It may be useful to emphasize to students their potential cost savings (e.g., reduced coinsurance payments and/or no balance billing) if they access care at the student health center or, if treatment is needed before they can see their primary care provider, at an urgent care center.

Understanding how your school’s student health plan is being accessed throughout the policy year can provide valuable insight about the health of your student health plan and your campus. These tips will help you get started, but they also only scratch the surface of what can be learned from claims data—there are a myriad of possible factors to consider once a claims report hits your desk.

A regular claims data review can serve as a student health plan barometer, helping identify any trouble areas that must be addressed. Also, while insurance carrier underwriters use many different analysis tools to project your insurance program’s cost, claims data review can be used to help you anticipate and prepare for any potential plan increases that may result the following year. Additionally, consistent review before your annual policy renewal date can help pinpoint activities, utilization behaviors, or trends that will influence important decisions about your plan, such as the changing of a benefit offering or the incorporation of a different network.

You may also be able to use claims data to help diagnose specific campus needs, such as an increased emphasis on wellness, greater mental health assistance, or more education on how students can consider cost when obtaining care. Uncovering behaviors that drive up plan costs is key to making the data-informed decisions that can help you better manage your student health plan and better focus on the well-being of your students. Whether you review your claims activity monthly, quarterly, or by semester, the process can allow you to see how the year is progressing and consider year-over-year performance.

Diving into data analysis may seem daunting, but there is good news—you are not alone. Your broker, consultant, or health plan provider can be a valuable partner in the process by regularly reviewing claims data with you and providing analysis on what that data means for your program. Scheduling a claims data review will help you more fully evaluate the intricacies of your institution’s student health care plan and feel more confident that you are managing your plan strategically and sustainably.

 

About the Authors

 

Michael Babore is Executive Vice President of Consulting Services for Relation Insurance Services’ Education Solutions practice. Connect with Michael at (310) 566-2061 or [email protected]

 

 

Neil Majors is President of Relation Insurance Services’ Education Solutions practice. He can be reached on LinkedIn, via email at [email protected], or via phone (310) 566-2051.

 

 

This article originally appeared on the University Business website here. To learn more about Relation Education Solutions and our custom insurance solutions and services, click here.

 

An annual review of your insurance coverage may be the time to make changes in coverage, endorsements, or carriers.

Any time you make changes in the way your business runs, you can also change your exposure to risks. As your organizational needs evolve over time, it’s a good business practice to consider whether there are other carriers that can offer reduced premiums or expanded coverage better suited to your requirements as you grow, move, or expand your offerings.

Fortunately, the insurance marketplace is responsive to changing risks that buyers face. In some cases, it may make more sense to remain with your current carrier but update the terms of your program agreements to reflect your current operations. In other cases, a new carrier may be able to provide coverage more tailored to the new risks your company is encountering. Transitioning to a new insurer could have unintended consequences, however. The experience of your insurance advisor can be invaluable.

Should you choose to make a change, a strong relationship between you, your insurance broker, and the carriers will make the transition as smooth as possible.

Here are four ways your insurance broker can keep you informed about your choice of carrier to help you avoid any surprises.

1. Stay Ahead of New Market Conditions/New Insurers/New Coverages

Your broker can keep you apprised of factors impacting the overall market to prepare you for possible premium increases or decreases with your existing carrier well in advance of renewal. The broker should also be aware of insurers that are offering new lines of coverage and should approach the carriers for quotes on your behalf.

In addition, brokers can help you stay ahead of emerging coverages and potential exposures that may affect your business, which is critical to avoiding losses that may not be covered under your current policies. Understanding the differences among your policies, knowing what they do and do not cover, and advising you on what endorsements you should obtain for your standard policies can help ensure that your company isn’t exposed to unnecessary or avoidable risks.

Recently we worked with a new client to provide coverage for social engineering fraud (SEF), which occurs when a hacker imitating a senior executive, sends a phishing email to an employee telling the employee to wire company funds to a bank account on an emergency basis. The business owner mistakenly believed that either the cyber policy or the crime policy covered the loss. But neither of the policies had been endorsed to provide SEF coverage, and the business was left with a gap in coverage that the risk manager hadn’t realized until we brought it to the manager’s attention.

2. Update the Fine Print of Your Program Agreements

Most carrier agreements stipulate that in the event you transition to a different insurer, the collateral amount can be reset at the carrier’s discretion. If your policy is on a large deductible or other type of loss-sensitive program, you might experience substantial cost implications. Your broker can thoroughly review your program agreements with your insurers and, if possible, amend this wording by setting specific parameters around how the collateral will be calculated. For example, the calculation might include predetermined loss-development factors or consideration of the insured’s outside actuary calculations.

3. Review Outstanding Claims

When you change carriers, there will inevitably be outstanding claims to process, but standard agreements typically nullify any special claims-handling procedures that were put in place while you had your coverage with the insurer. As a result, you will still be dealing with claims, but you might lose the ability to have any or all of the following:

  • Free claims reviews
  • Use of a pre-selected defense counsel
  • Notification of reserve changes
  • Ability to have input on settlement amounts
  • Continuity of adjusters because the insurer will most likely move any open claims to a different unit

Your broker should review the agreement around what happens if you move from the insurer and, when appropriate, modify the agreement to create as much certainty as possible around the way outstanding claims will be handled.

4. Adjust for Changes in Insured Operations

Many insurance policies limit coverage to events that occur in a certain geographic area. The insured area is often referred to as the “coverage territory.” If your company expands its operations outside the United States, your broker will need to review the coverage territory in all policies to ensure there are no exposures in your new areas of operation that aren’t covered in the existing policy. Similarly, if your company begins offering new products or expands on the scope of existing services, an in-depth review of your existing coverages is necessary to make certain no new coverage is needed.

Here are two examples of changes in insured operations that we’ve helped our clients with recently:

  • An insured established a new 401(k) plan and began providing health coverage to employees. They now needed fiduciary liability coverage because these plans are subject to ERISA and present possible personal liability to plan administrator.
  • An Insured decided to hire a sales force who will be driving on company business. After reviewing their options, they elected to increase the limits carried on their automobile liability coverage and added to their umbrella coverage limits.

Anticipating and planning for change is part of business. Don’t be lulled into a sense of complacency and simply renew with the same insurer year after year. You have options. Your broker is a trusted business partner who can help you actively avoid any of the potential insurance minefields that come with change, as well as choose the right path forward for your continued business success.

 

About the Author

 

Joe Tatum is the CEO of Relation Insurance Services, a premier insurance brokerage that offers risk-management and benefits-consulting services through its family of brands across the United States.

 

 

 

This article originally appeared on the PropertyCasualty360 website here and in a printed edition of National Underwriter.

Dear Clients,

With Hurricane Florence gaining in strength and intensity and due to hit the East Coast in a matter of hours, we urge all of you to make sure you have a plan in place and are prepared for the worst-case scenario, even if you or your business are in an inland county. Your safety and wellbeing are important to us and we want to let you know that we care and we are here for you during this storm.

To be available to YOU when you need us most, our Relation Storm Team will be working remotely with extended hours from 7am-7pm throughout the storm, starting Thursday, 9/13, and continuing every day through Monday, 9/17 (including Saturday and Sunday).

We will be available to take your calls and respond to emails and file any necessary claims as needed. We have also included direct claims reporting and payment information for our major insurance carriers below for your convenience to report your claim directly on a 24-hour basis.

If you are unsure of your carrier or policy information, you can call our main number at 704-688-1228 or 800-456-1696 or email us at [email protected] during our extended hours to assist you in getting your claim filed. During normal business hours, you may continue to reach out to your account manager as you do currently.

Florence is expected to be the most powerful storm to make a direct hit on the Carolinas in decades. Experts are expecting wide and significant impact to our area, no matter where it ultimately comes ashore. At the very least, we can expect Florence to bring heavy rain and wind which can easily cause flooding and power outages. There is additional concern due to the large expected area of impact and the extended time that it may stay in our area. Many of our client families and businesses are already under a mandatory evacuation with more on the way. If you are in an evacuation zone, please heed that warning and DO NOT attempt to stay in your home. If you are not under an evacuation order, there is still time to prepare. We have attached some storm tips as well as a blank emergency plan that might be helpful to your household in this process.

Our Coast is expected to feel the blast early tomorrow with damaging and life-threatening storm surge, wind and rain. In central areas, we expect to feel the impact due to sustained rainfall and significant wind. In western areas of our states, we should still be prepared for heavy and sustained rain that might trigger flooding and mudslides. Please stay alert and take this storm seriously no matter where you live in our Carolinas and East Coast states. If you are under an evacuation order, please heed that order. If you aren’t under an evacuation order, take this time to gather your supplies: food, water, flashlights, extra batteries, medications and important documents. Remember to make plans for your pets. Clear your yard of debris that can cause damage in high winds.

Both North Carolina and South Carolina have some great resources and mobile applications for your use in preparation for and during the storm:

The ReadyNC mobile app gives information on real-time traffic and weather conditions, river levels, evacuations, and power outages and is an all-in-one FREE tool for emergency preparedness. The SC mobile app can help you build your emergency plan, keep track of supplies and stay connected to loved ones. In addition, coastal residents can now “Know Your Zone” instantly using the maps feature as well as locate the nearest emergency shelters when they are open. The tools section features a flashlight, locator whistle and the ability to report damage to emergency officials.

Federal sites are also helpful, or download the FEMA mobile app for resources on how to plan and prepare for a hurricane event as well as steps to take afterward to minimize damage and to get back in business or back in your residence as soon as possible. You can also text PREPARE to 4FEMA (43362) to receive useful tips about how to prepare for disasters.

See the National Hurricane Center for updates on the storm and to the National Weather Service for detailed warnings.

Please be safe during this storm and reach out to us at any time with questions and concerns.

 

Other Helpful Resources
Personal Lines Claims Reporting Phone List
Personal Lines Direct Bill Payment Phone List
Commercial Lines Claims Reporting Phone List
Commercial Lines Direct Bill Payment Phone List
Relation Storm Tips
Household Emergency Plan
What to Take to a Shelter
19 Post-Florence Tips: What to Do After the Hurricane

Written by Michael Weintraub

 

I was the Chair of the Life Happens® board back when the nonprofit was called the LIFE Foundation. (My wife loved to introduce me to others as the Chair of LIFE!) Last year, the board asked me to return as a member of its executive committee and take the position as Treasurer for its general board. I accepted the roles, as I can say I genuinely love and appreciate this organization for what they do. While many insurance companies and salespeople often make the simple complex by using complicated jargon and confusing spreadsheets, Life Happens® is all about presenting life insurance in a framework everyone can understand. They help consumers (and advisors) understand that people buy life insurance because of their love for someone else.

Check out one of their videos below on the long-lasting effects of life insurance. It’s short, only 90 seconds, but it’s truly powerful. The premiums for life insurance are at historical lows, so if this video helps motivate others to review their life-insurance policies, we want to help by sharing it.

 

About Life Happens

Life Happens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Americans take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products, including disability and long-term care insurance. They were formed in 1994 by seven leading insurance producer organizations, which recognized the need to better educate the public about important insurance planning topics.

Life Happens consistently creates impactful and award-winning content that consumers see and the industry uses. They’ve garnered awards and nominations from the Webby Awards, Best in Biz Awards, Web Awards, The Telly Awards, and others.

By Joe Dunn, Angel Mendez, and Scott W. Dunn

 

Agribusiness clients are acutely aware of the high premiums they pay for workers’ compensation, premises liability, health insurance and the steps they can take to mitigate those costs. On the other hand, automobile liability has historically been a low-cost, low-visibility afterthought. Not anymore.

The risk associated with catastrophic vehicle-related losses is on the radar of underwriters who insure agricultural operations.

Many have seen loss ratios spike to 90 percent or higher on their auto liability book of business and are alarmed by the skyrocketing frequency and severity trends. In an informal poll, agricultural insurers expressed concerns that the market for auto coverage is seriously underpriced, and some are considering rate increases as high as 30 percent. Said one underwriter, “If you can’t get enough rate, you just have to walk away from some accounts.”

Consider the following scenarios:

  • As he does every day, a California farm labor contractor transports employees to and from job sites. One evening, while driving six workers home, the contractor drifts off the highway. He overcorrects, causing the van to flip several times. All six passengers, including two underage girls, are ejected from the vehicle. Three men are pronounced dead at the scene and one of the underage girls later dies from her injuries.
  • After inspect-ing a field to be harvested, a farm labor contractor employee stops at a bar and consumes five shots of whiskey and two 22-ounce beers in a three-hour period. He subsequently climbs into his truck and, while texting, rear-ends a car stopped at a red light. A four-year-old boy in the rear-ended car is killed instantly, while his mother and sister are injured.

Catastrophic vehicle losses have a significant impact on the agribusiness industry and create turmoil for both insureds and insurers. The emotional and financial toll in the case of a death or severe disability resulting from a vehicular accident can affect victims and their families forever. Employers dealing with vehicle-related claims involving their employees also face the devastating financial consequences of insured and uninsured costs increasing exponentially.

The insured costs most likely to be impacted arise from automobile liability, umbrella/excess liability, workers’ compensation and employers’ liability policies. Insureds typically have deductibles, or self-insured retentions and claim costs will need to be paid. In the longer run, a poor motor-vehicle or employee-injury-loss history can result in premium increases, mid-term cancellations, or worse yet — the unwillingness of any carrier to quote the account. Uninsured costs, including the following, are frequently overlooked but can be even more costly:

  • Lost production time;
  • Damage to crops/other products;
  • Increased overtime for existing employees;
  • Loss of experienced staff;
  • Need to hire and train new/temporary labor;
  • Damaged employee morale;
  • Investigation and legal expenses;
  • Governmental agency audits/fines;
  • Loss of management’s time; and
  • Negative publicity.

The risk associated with catastrophic vehicle-related losses is on the radar of underwriters who insure agricultural operations.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2016 was a deadly year on the roads with 37,461 deaths — a 5.6 percent increase over the number of deaths in 2015. In addition, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths, accounting for 24 percent of all occupational fatalities, according to the National Safety Council.

The silver lining in the NHTSA study is that more than 94 percent of accidents are caused by human error and are thus preventable with proper training.

For employers, the best preventative tools are careful driver recruitment and comprehensive driver and fleet safety education. The “gold standard” of driver training is the National Safety Council’s Certified Defensive Driver Courses, which are available in either a classroom setting or online. For employers that are unable to commit their workforce to the time and expense of an intensive certificate program, insurers and broker loss control and claims consultants can tailor short “tailgate talk” training sessions that focus on, amongst other things, the following topics:

  • Driver-selection tips;
  • Drug-and-alcohol testing protocols;
  • MVR-review policies;
  • Defensive-driving techniques;
  • Cell-phone usage;
  • Vehicle inspection and maintenance;
  • Accident response and investigation procedures;
  • Post-loss claim-mitigation strategies;
  • Driver-incentive and discipline programs; and
  • Mock DOT and OSHA audits.

Employers’ negotiating positions on auto liability, umbrella/excess and workers’ compensation program renewals are strengthened when they can demonstrate to underwriters the tangible steps they have taken to become a better-than-average risk. The potential return on investment? Objectively, a well-designed safety program that has achieved meaningful reductions in auto and employee injury claims can yield the following financial benefits:

  • Increased competition for the account as underwriters vie for quality risks.
  • The ability to effectively counter upward premium pressures.
  • The confidence to increase deductibles or retentions, thus lowering premiums.

Subjectively, employers will have a safer workplace and more contented workforce.

The farm labor contractor from the first scenario did not have a driver’s license and ended up being sued by multiple parties. He filed for bankruptcy and ultimately went out of business. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor sued the grower that hired him for violating worker safety and transportation laws.

The alcohol-impaired driver from the second scenario was sentenced to a mandatory 16-year prison term for gross vehicular homicide. His employer’s auto and umbrella liability coverage ended up paying out a multi-million-dollar settlement.

 

This whitepaper was featured in Insurance Journal’s Workers’ Compensation Newsletter on March 1, 2018 and published as an eMagazine on February 19, 2018.

Joe Dunn is the claim services manager, Mendez is a senior loss-control consultant, and Scott W. Dunn is vice president/risk advisor specializing in agribusiness, all of Pan American Insurance Services, a Relation company.

Written by Kelly Tonsing

 

Traditionally, personal umbrella insurance policies have been reserved for the rich and famous. Today, however, “personal umbrellas” are becoming a standard purchase for many middle-class insurance buyers who understand their risk in a litigious economy. Adding significant personal coverage at an insignificant cost, umbrella policies offer an extra layer of liability protection on top of one’s home or auto policy. Just as the name suggests, personal umbrella policies are designed to shield you from a very rainy day.

Are You at Risk?

Here are a few hypothetical—but realistic—scenarios that might prompt you to consider the value of an umbrella policy:

  • Scenario 1:
    You hire a professional painter to paint the trim around the top of your house. He falls off his ladder and is killed on impact. Even though the painter is found partially responsible for his fall, the case results in a $1.5 million settlement to his survivors. In this instance, would your current homeowner insurance policy provide you the necessary protection?
  • Scenario 2:
    Your daughter is turning 16 and wants to celebrate by having her friends over for a pool party in the backyard. One of the teens, showing off, decides to do a backflip into the shallow end of the pool. His face collides with the bottom of the pool, causing major damage to his jaw, teeth, and eye socket. You learn from his parents and the doctor that the boy will require months of reconstructive surgeries to repair the damage. Would you be prepared to write a check to cover his medical expenses?
  • Scenario 3:
    While driving to work, you accidentally bump your thermos from your cup holder. As you reach for the thermos to prevent hot coffee from spilling all over your lap, you strike a bicyclist in a crosswalk. The bicyclist, who also happens to be a doctor, incurs injuries including a concussion and a broken pelvis. As a result, he must undergo extensive physical therapy and is not able to work for four months. His annual income is $350,000, which means, as a direct result of the accident, he loses $120,000 in wages and accrues more than $500,000 in medical expenses. What level of liability does your auto policy include? Do you have enough equity in your house to cover this? How about in your retirement account?

These situations are commonplace and can happen to anyone. Just one lawsuit from an injury or accidental death could cost you millions of dollars—enough to wipe out your savings and retirement accounts. Because you are liable for a court-ordered settlement, even your future wages are at risk.

If you have assets (e.g., homes, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, and/or cars), you are at risk to lose everything, as basic policies only cover a small portion of these possessions. Ask your agent to fill out an asset worksheet to determine whether or not you could benefit from a personal-umbrella policy. Because when the clouds roll in, you’ll want to stay dry.