The Modern Office & Managing the Risk

modern officeToday’s employers are placing a premium on employee wellness and engagement. And rightfully so, hard working employees deserve some love. But in addition to doing right by their people, businesses that provide comprehensive wellness plans and lifestyle perks for their employees are realizing huge benefits from it. But with more unconventional and physical activities going on in the office, there comes a whole new set of risks for employers.

Let’s talk about what employers are doing for their people, how it’s working, and how to manage the risks involved in the modern office.

A New Age of Employee Engagement

Now more than ever organizations in business are truly investing in their people. Employee perks and benefits are evolving to an all new level thanks to forward-thinking companies like Google with state of the art fitness facilities, fully stocked game rooms, free bicycles and more cool perks for employees. Who ever thought we’d see a rock climbing wall at the office?  Googles’ perks go so deep that past and current Google employees have gone online to list their favorite perks working for Google.

Here are Some Common Contemporary Employee Benefits, Perks and Activities

  • Fitness gyms
  • Yoga, Karate, Pilates studios
  • Basketball courts
  • Table games: Ping Pong, Foosball, Billiards, etc.
  • Video games
  • Reading rooms
  • Massage chairs
  • On Site Pet Care
  • And yes, even rock climbing

A New Age of Risk

Not to be a wet blanket, but you can get hurt playing Ping Pong, and the bottom line is: If you’re putting perks and activities in place that present the potential for an accident or injury, you have a responsibility to manage the risk and provide the safest environment possible for your employees. So, before you put up the basketball hoop, put some basic risk management measures in place.

Here are some simple things that you can do to manage the risks involved with lifestyle perks:

Liability Waivers: If you’re offering activities with any level of physicality or potential for injury, it’s a common best practice to get signed waivers from participants…even if it’s only Ping Pong.

Medical Clearance: Depending on the physical level of the activities you make available, you may consider requiring clearance from a doctor before employees may participate in any activities.

Restrict Access: To reduce employer risks, allow only employees of the company (and not friends and family) to take advantage of the amenities (Gym, Sports Court, etc).

Safety Programs: Institute a safety education program covering the equipment and activities, and post safety guidelines in game rooms, gyms, and on ball courts or playing fields.

Get Covered: If you’re thinking of providing any new perks or benefits for your employees, make sure that you have adequate liability and workers’ comp  insurance coverage in place (yes, even if it’s ping pong).

The modern office landscape is changing, and with this new era of employee engagement and all of the perks that go with it, a new set of risks arise. So, if you’re considering taking your benefits package to the next level, talk to us at Sinclair. We specialize in measuring your risk and covering your exposure. We’re also Liability and Workers’ Comp experts, so this is right up our alley.

Shannon Hudspeth
Human Resource Director
shudspeth@srfm.com

Why your business needs a wellness program

Hiring a contractor? Don’t get caught without ‘Additional Insured’ protection

It’s that time in your home’s life that fortunately only comes around once every 20 to 25 years or so…roof replacement time! Or maybe it’s time to tackle a big task with a shorter life span, like painting the house.

Either way, for projects at this scale you wisely skip the DIY approach and instead find yourself in the market for a contractor.

Let’s take roof replacement as an example. The roofer contractor you’ve zeroed in on came with a great recommendation from a friend, supported by an attractive portfolio and sharp online presence. Is he insured? Of course! You sign a contract, pick out the shingles and are ready to go, right? Not so fast.

Even though your contractor has proof of insurance and you carry homeowner’s insurance, you could still face a coverage gap and corresponding risk, plus the potential of higher premiums should you have to file a claim on your policy because of a peril related to your roofing project.

To close the gap and eliminate all potential pitfalls, make sure your roofer at the very least adds you as an “additional insured” to his general liability policy before you sign the contract. It’s easy and cost efficient for him to do so and the right move for both of you.

When you’re added as an additional insured, it means the insurance carrier underwriting the policy extends its coverage to you for a certain term. There are many reasons for why this can come in quite handy. Consider these two examples:

Your contractor is in your attic checking the roof sheeting. It’s dark and he accidently falls through a hole in the floor and gets hurt. If you are named as an additional insured, you’re protected against a lawsuit because his policy coverage for accidents such as this now Constructionapplies to you as well. However, as part of the contract between you and the roofer, it’s important to include a “waiver of subrogation clause, which would prevent the contractor’s insurer from pursuing your insurance company (or you) for costs related to any worker’s compensation claim that may be filed. No claims filed against your policy means your premiums stay in check.

Another important clause to your additional insured policy is “completed operations” coverage, which essentially means the coverage survives the end of the job. Let’s suppose the roof is complete and the contractor has cleaned up and gone on to his next job. The following day, a UPS driver is walking up your driveway to deliver a package and steps on an overlooked roofing nail, causing an injury. The driver sues, but since this was the fault of the roofing company AND you had additional insured with completed operations coverage, the roofer’s insurance carrier is still yours in this case and will handle the litigation and any payout. You are liability free and again, your homeowner’s insurance stays untouched.

Additional insured clauses are an easy way to protect yourself when contractors are working on your home. They are commonly used and take almost no time to secure, so make sure you insist on one for your next home improvement project.

Jonathan Belek
Risk Management Consultant
jbelek@srfm.com

 

CT Business Insurance: Holiday Party Planning Tips

CT Business Insurance: Holiday Party Planning Tips CT Business Insurance Holiday Party Planning Tips

As the holiday season approaches, many Connecticut businesses are planning their end of the year company parties and gatherings. Holiday parties offer a festive opportunity to foster employee relations and happiness, but unfortunately office parties also come with additional liability and loss exposures. When planning your company’s holiday shindig, there are a number of factors to consider: location, food, beverages, time, theme, and whether or not to make the party family friendly, being a few. These factors and more can dramatically impact your exposure to losses and other complications during what should be a fun and cheerful gathering.

Here are a few things to think about when planning your holiday bash:

  • Who is invited? While employee parties are inherently held for employees, many Connecticut businesses choose to allow their workers to bring a quest or family to the event. Opening your company holiday party up to loved ones and family can place additional liability exposures on employers who are now not only responsible for their employees but also for employee’s guests.
  • Where will the party be held? While many small businesses opt to have their holiday party in-house to save a little cash, the truth is doing so could end up costing your company more than expected. Should your employees or guests get a little rowdy and the party gets a little out of hand there are a number of property and liability concerns which can ensue. Moving the company party to a third party premises, whether it’s a local eatery or a festive venue,  will help protect your physical premises from damages and also help transfer some of the liability issues involved with injury or alcohol.
  • Will there be liquor? Providing alcohol is a traditional and festive part of the holiday season; however it might not be suitable for every office party, company or setting. Providing alcohol to employees and guests exposes employers to a host of concerns such as increased exposures to sexual harassment, damage to office property, injuries and a host of other mishaps. Hiring a caterer or a bartender or hosing your party at an outside establishment will help eliminate some of the liability your business has regarding drunken employees and their actions.
  • What are the expectations? Be sure to reinforce all dress codes and behavioral expectation when informing employees about the holiday party. Also, be sure to monitor and maintain such standards throughout the event. It is important that all company officials lead by example; doing so will help prevent things from getting out of hand because employees will follow their coworkers’ and superiors’ leads.

Hosting a company holiday party can be a great success with the proper planning and precautions, however even the best laid plans can go awry. As such, it is important to have the proper fail safes established to protect your operation for losses. At Sinclair Risk and Financial Management, we specialize in helping businesses of all shapes and sizes develop strategies that will help preserve your operation’s balance sheet and increase overall profits. Our trademarked Risk Safeguard Advantage combines uncommon risk analysis and strategic risk management with human resources consulting and training to provide businesses with measurable, sustainable results. Our CT Business Insurance experts can even help you secure commercial polices specifically designed to protect your business and your assets from any mishaps your operation may face along the way. Give our specialists a call today at (877) 602-2305 to learn more about all the services we offer.

CT Hospital Insurance: Lessons from the Dallas Ebola Case

CT Hospital Insurance: Lessons from the Dallas Ebola Case CT Hospital Insurance Lessons from the Dallas Ebola Case

Is the American healthcare system ready for an epidemic? That’s the question on almost everyone’s mind after the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently confirmed that a man officially diagnosis as having the Ebola virus is being treated at a hospital in Dallas Texas. The diagnosis is the first of its kind on American soil and has generated widespread concern regarding the spread of the deadly disease.

Officials say that because Ebola is only spread through direct contact with a patient exhibiting symptoms, a widespread outbreak like the one happening in West Africa is highly unlikely in the States. However, a widely held consensus remains that an outbreak of the virus on American soil would be devastating to our already strained healthcare system.

The case has also generated public and media attention for another reason. While the CDC and public officials claim to be working on identifying who the man may have come in contact with over the last few weeks, media outlets and Dallas residents are voicing their concern about the lack of available information and the overall handling of the case.

According to reports, the ill man in Dallas was originally turned away from a Texas hospital after his first attempt to seek medical care. There is mounting public concern regarding that fact that the man was turned away, as well as concern over the impacts of this decision. Little is known about why the man was initially refused care, but doing so prolonged his diagnosis and exposed the man’s family members and an unknown number of others to the virus. It is unclear if the original hospital where he sought care will face an investigation.

While public hospitals have the obligation to offer treatment to any individual, privately owned hospitals do have the right to refuse medical care in non-emergency circumstance. However, under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, all hospitals that accept payments from Medicare are required to provide emergency health care treatment to anyone needing it regardless of citizenship, legal status, or ability to pay. Due to the current classification as a World Health Organization epidemic, Ebola symptoms would be considered an emergency medical condition which needs immediate attention and quarantine actions.  As such, the hospital’s decision to turn the patient could have severe negative repercussions if negligence is alleged or proven in this case.

The healthcare industry faces a myriad of unique liability concerns, which can lead to increased risk exposures and operational complications. At Sinclair Risk and Financial Management, we specialize in problem solving and finding solutions to the challenges and risks our clients face. We offer a complete portfolio of business insurance products, from malpractice to workers compensation coverage, designed specifically to meet the needs of the Connecticut healthcare industry.  To learn more about our CT hospital insurance programs, give us a call today at (877) 602-2305.

Wallingford Physicians Insurance: Integrating Medical Technology

Wallingford Physicians Insurance: Integrating Medical Technology Wallingford Physicians Insurance: Integrating Medical Technology

Technological breakthroughs are constantly helping healthcare professionals solve many of the world’s toughest medical challenges. New advances in medical technology are always exciting, especially when they are accompanied by promises of minimally invasive procedures, improved accuracy and decreased complications.  From cultivating and regenerating body parts to monitoring comatose brain functions, many technological advances are helping patients receive better treatment and care.

When new technologies become available, they are often adopted quickly by professionals looking to keep a competitive edge in their field. Such is the case with robotic surgical assistance technologies which have become popular over the last decade as minimally invasive surgical solutions for various types of heath conditions. Widely introduced in 2003, the minimally invasive Da Vinci robotic surgical system remains one of the leading platforms for new urological, gynecological and colorectal surgeries. Far from a science-fiction super-robot, these technologies are still highly dependent on human operation. During these procedures, surgeons utilize high-resolution cameras to view internal surgical sites while guide the procedures by hand controlled robotic arms. According to proponents of the technology, the small instruments can easily access nuances in the human body that human hands cannot, and the display functions improve visibility of the necessary areas. Furthermore these procedures have been shown to decrease recovery time and minimize the healing strain on a body.

The adoption of new technology is never perfect and according to a recently released study, robotic surgeries could be causing unexpected complications. The study, released by University of California San Diego researchers examined the incident rate surrounding robotic surgical procedures and determined that patients, who underwent the robotic assisted procedures over the course of their study, were twice as likely to experience an adverse complication as those who underwent traditional procedures. The paper suggests that while the technology is strong, there seems to be a lack of properly regulated training about how to utilize the technology. The leading physicians on the report suggest that there is a need for standardized training programs to help better integrate these technologies into the healthcare system and new rules governing surgeon competence and credentialing.

A lack of consistent training presents a huge liability risk for medical practitioners. This could result in a rise in malpractice and professional liability claims brought against healthcare providers who were improperly trained. It can also increase challenges for the facilitators of medical facilities and practices.

At Sinclair Risk and Financial Management we understand the risks that Wallingford healthcare professionals face.  We have a team of professionals with the day-to-day experience required to analyze all your exposure and make recommendations on the best risk management solutions. Our Wallingford Physicians insurance offers customizable solutions to all your risk exposures. For more information about our Malpractice Liability coverage or any of our other professional solutions, call us today at (877) 602-2305.

Energy Dealer Insurance: The Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

Energy Dealer Insurance The Pros and Cons of Solar EnergyEnergy Dealer Insurance: The Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

If someone were to ask the American population of 1990 their opinion of solar energy, many individuals would say that it was unnecessary. However, years have gone and America has been able to experience the changes our world has been going through. According to a recent poll done by Sungevity illustrated that nearly 9 out of 10 American adults believe solar energy should play a bigger role. They even went as far as surveying if political parties affected their perspective on solar energy. However, 81% stated that regardless of their political affiliation, solar energy should be used in state and federal residences. Although the majority of Americas acknowledge and agree with the benefits of solar energy, there are still disadvantages we need to be aware of. Are you in the industry of energy? We would love to quote you with Energy Dealer Insurance. Give us a call today – (877) 602-2305

Here are the pros and cons of solar energy.

Pros:

  • No Pollution:  If more individuals were to use solar panels, essentially our air would be free of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury.  Unlike its counterparts, solar power does not burn fuels or generates emission. We would only have a minimal amount of pollution due to the manufacturing of solar panels.
  • No Noise: Because solar energy produces electricity our world would be less quiet compared to the loud noises fossil fuel and wind turbines produce.
  • Cost efficient:  Although it may be costly to install solar panels, it will ultimately save money because the operation of solar panels use little energy.
  • Renewable: Throughout the past few years, America is starting to realize that we are running out of resources and we need to start creating alternative resources. Solar energy is sustainable and renewable. As long as the sun is shining (NASA has predicted this to be another 6.5 billion year), we will have solar energy

Cons:

  • Cost: The major con of solar energy that has pushed away a lot of Americans is the initial cost of solar cells. However, the investment is well worth the initial cost.
  • Climate:  While solar energy can be used during most weather conditions, it is not effective when it’s overcast. This variability forces us to depend on other resources as well.
  • Sunlight: Unfortunately, solar energy is ineffective when there isn’t any sunlight. This means that solar panels would only be beneficial during the day time.

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management offers a customized, comprehensive risk management and insurance program for Energy Dealers to protect businesses from risks of financial loss. Our staff’s knowledge of this complex and ever-changing industry helps us identify and protect against the exposures your unique operation encounters. We’ll help you balance your obligations to the environment, community, and company’s bottom line. Give Sinclair a call at 203.265.0996

New Chrysler Commercial Vehicles of 2013

New Chrysler Commercial Vehicles of 2013New Chrysler Commercial Vehicles of 2013

In 2009, the nearly century old company founded by Walter Chrysler merged an alliance with Italian manufacturer, Fiat. This collaboration formed the Chrysler Group LLC. Although Fiat holds a majority of the company, this relationship has ultimately improved Chrysler’s sales. When the nation’s economy plunged, automakers’ sales sunk too. Chrysler was not the exception; from 2006- to 2009, they were struggling to boost up their sales. However, in 2010 they started to see progression and have since then substantially increased their sales figures. In fact, their car sales rose 27% and when comparing September 2012 to September 2011 numbers, they climbed 12%. Chrysler’s head of U.S. sales, Reid Bigland is very confident in their position in the vehicle sales industry. This optimistic and promising outlook has pushed Chrysler to become commercial. Chrysler’s transition includes a new commercial-truck division. Chrysler becomes commercial with the intention of broadening their audience to fleet buyers and small business owners. The new Chrysler commercial vehicles of 2013 has implemented new features to the Dodge Ram truck brand in order for commercial buyers and fleet buyers.

New Chrysler Commercial Trucks of 2013:

  • Improved tailgate camera: This is designed to connect images from the car’s 8.4 inch screen and the camera mounted on the rear. This will make it easier to hookup trailers.
  • Redesigned Frame: Chrysler has constructed a frame made up of high-strength steel. They also offer an optional fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch mount.
  • Improved towing capacities: Chrysler becomes commercial by revising their steering and suspension systems.
  • Improved Engine: Their current model produces 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 800 pounds-feet of torque. However, in order for Chrysler to become commercial they have increased their engine by producing 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 850 pounds-feet of torque.

Chrysler becomes commercial in hopes of becoming the lead car manufacturer. These new vehicles will become available in 2013.

We can provide coverage for many types of business vehicles for your business. Give Sinclair a call at 203.265.0996 for more information about our commercial auto insurance programs.