“ Your Fired” Are You in the Market for a New Insurance Broker?

A Business Insurance Update

There are many ways to select a business insurance agent. Some businesses may use the bidding method, where they call many agents and have them “bid” their business insurance. The problem with this is you really don’t know if you are getting equal products. It is almost impossible to compare products “apple to apple.”  The low bid may have limited, or no, coverage in areas in which your business needs coverage.  The best way to select insurance is to find a qualified and experienced agent who knows and understands your industry.  Then, allow that agency to go into the market on your behalf to find you the best possible price and coverage.

How to select an agent?

A qualified agent should help you identify your risks and help you understand what you should insure.  Then the agent should design a coverage plan, and go to the market to negotiate the best possible combination of coverage, pricing, and service.  Here are a few questions for you to consider using when selecting your agent.

  • “If I had a claim, how would you help me?”
  • “How many years of experience do you have? And your staff?”
  • “When I call the agency with a question, who would I be speaking with?”
  • “May I have three references?”
  • “What ratings do the insurers have that you might use?”
  • “What systems do you have to help manage your business?”
  • “How do you define customer service?”
  • “What is your policy for returning phone calls?”
  • “How long do you usually keep a client?”
  • “What makes you skilled at what you do?”
  • “Do you have any industry awards?”
  • “Will I have to ask for my renewal to be processed?”

North Bay Insurance Brokers provides industry-specific insurance to businesses in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, American Canyon, and surrounding areas.

Every industry has specific needs when it comes to insurance. Industry-specific risks make it impossible for insurance companies to lump together one insurance plan for every business. At North Bay Insurance Brokers, we understand that being unique is what makes your business successful across the board. That’s why we provide industry-specific insurance options for businesses of all types.

 

 

Believe It Or Not…Employers Do Get Sued By Employees

trend-1202992_640What You Need To Know About Discrimination Claims

Your employees can be, and should be, your most important asset. Often, they are the front line of customer services. They solve problems, sell your products and services, and represent your business to your customers and prospects. Managing employees can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. Employees are very aware of their rights and your responsibilities; which should lead you to be professional, kind and follow the law as you relate to your employees.

Employment Practice Liability Insurance is a product that many businesses buy to protect themselves from litigation. A recent article in the Insurance Journal points out that while employment claims are down; claims involving retaliation are at an all-time high.

The following are the top 10 categories of charges filed with the EEOC:

  • Retaliation under all statutes: 37,955 (42.8 percent of all charges filed)
  • Race (including racial harassment): 31,073 (35 percent)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment): 26,027 (29.3 percent)
  • Disability: 25,369 (28.6 percent)
  • Age: 20,588 (23.2 percent)
  • National Origin: 9,579 (10.8 percent)
  • Religion: 3,549 (4.0 percent)
  • Color: 2,756 (3.1 percent)
  • Equal Pay Act: 938 (1.1 percent) But note that sex-based wage discrimination can also be charged under Title VII’s sex discrimination provision
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act: 333 (0.4 percent)

How To Reduce The Possibility Of Employment Claims

This is not a complete list, but is considered a start to developing solid human resource policies.

  • Create an employee handbook
  • Have a clear anti-discrimination policy
  • Document conversations
  • Complete annual employee reviews

At North Bay Insurance Brokers, we understand that mistakes happen. That’s why we’re committed to helping you create a Professional Liability policy that keeps your day-to-day operations protected should your business be held legally liable.

Top Risk Managers Provide Workers Compensation Insights For North Bay Businesses

North Bay Insurance Brokers Risk Management Update

Some of the nation’s top risk managers often share their secrets with the world through published articles and on social media. We have been tracking these tips over the past year and thought we might share a few of them with you.

  • Trip and fall injuries from Disney – With the millions of people and employees walking around their parks, Disney protects itself by making sure all walkways are clean and clear of hazards. Having well lit parking and sidewalks can also cut down on accidents.
  • Home Depot prevents back injuries – Most Home Depot employees use a flex back type of product that provides support for employees while lifting and stretching. Offering safety equipment to employees that need it can reduce sprains and strains.
  • Safe driving from FedEx – FedEx delivers millions of packages every day and uses over 90,000 vehicles to do it. The best way to prevent auto accidents is education and training. Every driver should be trained in the following areas; driving in adverse weather, distracted driving, vehicle inspections, driver wellness, and hazardous materials safety.

Having the right Workers Compensation plan from North Bay Insurance Brokers, Inc. can allow your business to ensure payments and cover expenses if an employee is injured from a work-related accident. Injuries can range from car accidents and back injuries to equipment malfunctions and, in some unfortunate cases, death.

If your business does not offer Workers Compensation, serious injuries that occur on the job could lead to an employee suing your company for damages. That’s why it’s important to discuss your options with a specialist at North Bay Insurance Brokers, Inc. who can help you find the right coverage options for all your business needs.

Don’t Let One Too Many Drinks Put You Out Of Business

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Business Insurance And Risk Management Tips From North Bay Insurance Brokers

As we close the year out, many businesses will be hosting company parties.  Business owners, executives, and human resources personnel need to make sure to avoid some key risks to ensure their day of merriment does not turn into disaster.  While your business insurance would likely respond to most claims, we have several tips to help reduce the likelihood of litigation.  It is worth noting that employers are responsible for the conduct of their employees at all work-related events.

Holiday Party Safety Tips

  • Limit use of alcohol.  Additionally, alcoholic options can be limited to wine and beer and the company should be sure to provide plenty of nonalcoholic beverage alternatives.
  • Hire professional servers and make sure they have insurance.
  • Make sure you have food at your party.
  • Confirm that your employees understand that a holiday party is still a work-related activity and appropriate work behavior is still required.
  • No mistletoe! This holiday symbol is an invitation for employees to engage in behavior which is inappropriate for the workplace.
  • Make attending the party optional.
  • Arrange for cab rides or transportation home for guests who may need it.
  • Encourage managers to set a good example.
  • Remind employees via email about your company’s code of conduct and substance abuse policy prior to the party.
  • Review the company’s harassment policies with employees prior to the party.
  • If you have employees bring food, be sure the food is labeled by type. Some people may have food allergies.

When business owners host a holiday party and serve alcohol as part of the festivities, liquor liability can be covered by their commercial general liability (CGL) policy. However, it is always best to check with your insurance agent or broker first.Business owners should talk with their insurance agent about their liability insurance coverage and any exclusions, conditions, or limitations to their policies for this kind of risk.

At North Bay Insurance Brokers, Inc., we’re committed to keeping your business protected – so you can focus on your day-to-day operations. And with the right insurance plan, your business will be covered from top to bottom.

 

 

Is Your Business Hiring Santa’s Helpers This Holiday?

white-male-1734415_640North Bay Business Insurance update 

This is the time of year when your business will be hiring part time workers to help you manage the holiday season. For the most part, you will not need to modify your California business insurance, but if you add new classifications or payroll, it may affect your workers’ compensation insurance.  Now might be a good time to have us complete a review of all your business insurance policies.

Here are few tips to help you manage seasonal employees

  • Make sure seasonal employees get the same training as all other employees.
  • Conduct background screenings on seasonal candidates.
  • Unless the job requires it, it is not a good idea to give seasonal employees access to computers or other secure information.
  • Don’t allow seasonal employees to work alone.
  • Remember the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to properly classify workers, pay the legal minimum wage, and pay overtime if applicable.
  • Seasonal employees should also read and sign the employee handbook.
  • Your business is legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, as most fair-employment laws cover seasonal employees.
  • If you notice cliques or bad habits forming, don’t assume that they will self-correct.
  • Employers with 15 or more employees are subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other federal and state employment laws. This means your seasonal employees, just like your regular workforce, must receive adequate training on what conduct is illegal, how to report it, and how to request a reasonable accommodation.
  • Maintain a detailed account of where each employee works, the kinds of tasks they are assigned, number of hours completed, and their rate of pay.
  • When it is time to end the seasonal employment, follow the same procedures as you would with a full-time or permanent employee.

At North Bay Insurance Brokers, Inc., we’re committed to keeping your business protected – so you can focus on your day-to-day operations. And with the right insurance plan, your business will be covered from top to bottom

We Have To Pay Our Employees What?

bigstock-Group-of-industrial-workers-I-36357172Many states and cities are enacting new minimum wage laws, and all will feel the impact.  Not only will the cost of goods go up, but also every business will see an increase in workers’ compensation costs.  Those business with a high minimum wage work force will see an even higher premium increase.

In California for example, the wage increase affects 43% of the state’s workforce and makes California’s minimum wage the highest in the country.  Oregon Just passed a statewide minimum wage as well.  Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont also increased minimum wages in 2016.

Increased wages will mean increased payroll, and your workers’ compensation premiums are based on your payroll.  With increased payroll, come increased benefits, which lead to increased overall claims costs and experience mods.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance is insurance that provides lost income, medical benefits, disability benefits, and rehabilitative services for workers injured on the job or while performing work-related duties.

Why Your Business Needs Workers’ Compensation Insurance

When one of your employees gets hurt on the job or has a work-related illness, only workers’ compensation will cover them.  Health insurance benefits will not provide coverage for on the job injuries.

North Bay Insurance Brokers, Inc. provides insurance to businesses in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, American Canyon, and surrounding areas.

North Bay Insurance Brokers, Inc. understands the value of good employees. We know that your day-to-day operations depend on their hard work, expertise, and dedication, and if you supply them with quality benefits and plans, they can work with the peace of mind assurance that they’re properly protected.

Having the right Workers Compensation plan from North Bay Insurance Brokers, Inc. can allow your business to ensure payments and cover expenses if an employee is injured from a work-related accident. Injuries can range from car accidents and back injuries to equipment malfunctions and, in some unfortunate cases, death.