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Showing posts from July, 2008

Workers Compensation - definition of an employee

Many times small business owners try to parse what is or isn't an employee when faced with the prospect of having to obtain workers compensation coverage. A commonly used tactic by those trying to wiggle out of having to purchase workers compensation is coming up with inventive labels for their employees in order to dodge the workers compensation "bullet". Oftentimes employees are labeled subcontractors, or are made officers of the employers corporation. The problem is the definition of who is an employee often bumps up against the employers fondest wishes. For instance, does the person work at a time and place directed by the employer? Are they provided with the tools in which to perform their job function by the employer? Does the "employee" work solely for the employer? Can the "employee" be considered an independent contractor? It is important to know and understand the distinction ahead of time before considering ways of avoiding workers…

Delaware workers compensation and modified-duty jobs

The insurance commissioner, Matt Denn, and the State of Delaware, have been working the past couple years on overhauling the costly, definitely for small business owners, workers compensation system. It's no secret that many employers have been frustrated by the ever increasing costs associated with the program in recent years. While it will take time for the complete overhaul to be completed, a welcome change being felt more immediately is the decrease in premiums that have lightened the insurance premium burden on business owners both large and small. One facet that is being addressed is a managed care type of system, aimed at decreasing both the cost and time involved in the claim process. Recently, while reviewing the Delaware Code referencing this, Title 19, Labor, Workers Compensation, we found an item of interest for employers. Specifically, under Chapter 23, section 2322E, paragraph (d), it states, "Within 14 days of receiving a notice of injury, an employer…

Do you have policies in place for company owned laptops used by employees?

Many businesses, both large and small, provide their employees with laptops. Many times employees will either take them home or take them with them on company trips. Is there a plan in place at your company regarding the security of laptops? Many of these hold sensitive company information that could cause a major headache for the company should this information be stolen. Do these devices contain financial information? What about sensitive information specific to your clients? Many times employees transport these devices in their vehicles and might be prone to leaving their vehicles unlocked. While there is coverage available to replace the stolen laptop, there isn't much that can be done once this information has fallen into the wrong hands. Set up procedures before something happens regarding security for these devices. Make sure that when employees do travel with these devices that they are stored/locked securely in the trunk while traveling, and that they don't…

Cell phones and driving - insurance industry taking notice?

We have touched on this subject briefly before but I ran across an article in "The Specialty Insurance Blog" referencing statistics that indicate that distractions while driving, such as using a cell phone, have a direct impact on accidents. The blog references a post in the Insurance Journal that discusses a finding by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), that emphasizes that 25% of all traffic accidents are caused by distractions, and that a survey done by Nationwide Mutual Insurance found that 73% of all drivers talk on their cell phones while driving. I mentioned in the past about small business employers having clearly stated company policies for employee use of cell phones while driving on company business and I think this further illustrates the actual gravity of the issue. The Specialty Insurance Blog referenced a study by the University of South Carolina that found subjects were "4 times more distracted while preparing to speak or …

Another candidate for Delaware Insurance Commissioner

Republican house attorney John Brady has resigned his position in the General Assembly to throw his hat in the ring for the insurance commissioners office being vacated by current commissioner Matt Denn, who is running for the office of lieutenant governor in this fall's election. Mr. Brady, the first Republican to join this particular race, is joining the three Democrats who have already announced, Gene Reed, Karen Weldin Stewart and Tom Savage. Might be a good thing to pay attention to this race due to the number of candidates. Are there substantive issues being raised? How will they be helping the consumer and what's their attitude towards insurance companies? Something to think about. Anyway, happy 4th of July to all!!

National Disaster Plan - more contributions to the small business owners insurance premium

Here's another example of "proactive" government in action. According to a post entitled "What Florida really wants - other peoples money" in one of my favorite blogs, RiskProf, John McCain, the nominee for the republican nomination for President, does not support a national catastrophe plan, while the democratic nominee for President, Barrack Obama, and some governors do. Of course what this really means is that those of you not living near a coastal area could still end up subsidizing those of you that choose to. The main thrust of the disaster plan would be to create an emergency cash reserve set up for states to access in the case of future natural disasters, such as Hurrican Katrina or rampant wildfires. This fund would be federally managed, always a cause for concern, with funds contributed by private insurance companies. Obviously the governors that are vocally backing this plan happen to preside in coastal areas. As Mr. McCain stated, this wou…