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3 years ago · by · 0 comments

11 Ways To Help Your WorkersS Manage Stress

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You can’t eliminate the stress that your employees bring to work – but you can offer them these guidelines to help manage workplace stressors on their own:

  1. Prioritize, streamline, delegate, and discard. When facing a task, ask if it’s really necessary to do immediately.
  2. Break things up. Take two – to three – minute breaks every hour and commit to doing at least one fun thing every day.
  3. Make time. Build time into your schedule for creative expression, healthy eating, moderate daily exercise, hanging out with friends, and enjoying nature.
  4. Be on time. Build in cushion time between appointments to allow for traffic and the unexpected.
  5. Send negativity flying. If a co-worker is on the warpath, visualize an airplane with an ad banner over the person’s head, with each negative word floating up into the banner and out of view.
  6. Relax and watch what happens. Do mini-meditations or mindful breathing while you’re between tasks or in line at the cafeteria.
  7. Get essential nutrients. Go beyond vitamins and begin to think about daylight and laughter as integral parts of your daily life.
  8. Consider what you’re consuming. Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can increase stress levels.
  9. Watch your words. Don’t let negative internal chatter and self-recrimination distract and demoralize you.
  10. Be kindDo something nice for a different co-worker every day until it becomes second nature to reduce stress for others.
  11. Sleep on it. Sleep deprivation a major culprit in stress is Try to get restful, restorative slumber every night, and watch your stress level decline.

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3 years ago · by · 0 comments

Opioid Abuse: Employer, Beware!

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Misuse of powerful prescription painkillers, whether intentional or accidental, is a rapidly growing threat to employers throughout the nation.

Opioid overdoses caused more than 16,000 deaths in 2010, the latest year for which data is available; and about 12 million people use prescription painkillers for nonmedical reasons. In addition to the human tragedy, opioid addiction creates a significant financial problem for both businesses – in terms of lost productivity – and their insurance companies. Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs Health insurers more than $70 billion a year; while narcotics prescriptions account for one-fourth of Workers Comp prescription drug expenses (costs that ultimately come out of employers’ pockets).

Government plays a significant role in dealing with this problem. The federal Department of Health and Human Services regulates Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) through the Division of Pharmacologic Therapies. On the state level, for example, California has followed the lead of Washington State by devising treatment guidelines to curb over-prescription and abuse of opioids. These measures include limiting opioid prescriptions to six weeks after surgery or injury and using non-opioid painkillers as a preliminary pain management measure in non-acute cases.

However, these regulatory or legislative efforts can only go so far. No employer can afford to ignore the issue of opioid abuse among its workers – and your Workers Compensation manager is well-positioned to intervene in these cases by implementing a risk management plan that:

  • ensures that patients are treated early and effectively;
  • monitors and manages opioid prescriptions;
  • uses predictive modeling to tag potentially severe claims;
  • requires physician peer reviews for opioid prescriptions;
  • uses drug testing and screening workers prescribed with drugs;
  • provides post-addiction help; and
  • phases workers back into their jobs

We stand ready to offer our advice at any time.

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3 years ago · by · 0 comments

New Compensation Rating Formula Lowers Premiums For Most Businesses

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A revision to the formula for calculating Workers Compensation rates is saving premium dollars for companies in a large number of states since the first of this year.

The change involves the experience modification (“mod”), the premium credit or debit that businesses receive for their claims experience. The mod compares your claim experience to that of other firms in your industry; if your experience is good, you’ll get a premium credit if not, you’ll receive a debit.

What has changed is the “split point” between the primary and excess portions of a claim. This value is important because the primary portion of each claim has a far larger impact on predicting an employer’s mod than does the excess portion. For the past two decades, the split point has been $5,000. However, inflation has both eroded the primary/excess split point and hurt its predictive power; the mod doesn’t give enough credit to good experience and doesn’t penalize poor experience enough. The change raises the split point to $10,000 in 2013, $13,500 in 2014, and an estimated $17,000 in 2015.

In 26 of the 38 states that have approved the new formula, a survey of more than 75,000 businesses by the National Council on Compensation Insurance found that 62% of them will see their rates fall by 5% or less this year. Another 11% will enjoy decreases of 5% to 10%, while rates will stay unchanged for 4.5%. Fewer than one in four (22.5%) – mostly larger businesses – would see a rate increase.

Our Workers Comp specialists would be happy to discuss the revised experience mod formula with you – and make sure that you enjoy the cost savings that it can provide. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time.

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3 years ago · by · 0 comments

Commercial Auto Insurance 101

Nearly six million traffic accidents occur in the U.S. every year – more than 16,000 a day (or one every 10 seconds).

If your company owns, operates, or uses motor vehicles – or if you have employees who use their cars for business purposes – you need Commercial Auto Insurance to provide financial protection against losses from mishaps that occur behind the wheel.

This valuable policy provides these coverages:

  • Bodily Injury Liability pays the cost of bodily injury to others from accidents for which you are responsible. If you’re sued, it also pays your defense and court costs.
  • Property Damage Liability picks up the tab for property damage to others for which you are responsible, as well as defense and court expenses.
  • Personal Injury/Medical Payments usually covers medical and funeral expenses for bodily injury from an accident that involves an insured vehicle.
  • Collision pays for a covered vehicle that is damaged by a collision with another vehicle or object.
  • Comprehensive Coverage pays for a covered auto that is stolen or that is damaged by causes other than collision or reckless driving.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists covers injuries and, in some cases, property damage, when you’re involved in an accident with another person who either doesn’t have Auto Insurance or carry enough coverage.

Before you purchase or renew your Commercial Auto Insurance ask yourself these questions: 1) how much Liability Coverage you should buy, and 2) how large of a deductible should you choose?

We’d be happy to help you choose the most cost effective policy for your needs. Just give us a call.

 

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3 years ago · by · 0 comments

More Midsized Companies Offering Wellness Incentives

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The number of mid-market employers giving Group Health plan members incentives to participate in wellness programs has more than doubled since 2010, says a recent report by Fidelity Management and Research L.L.C.

The study found that more than three in four midsize businesses (77%) – those with fewer than 5,000 employees – offered employees monetary rewards tied to wellness activities and health management outcomes in 2011, compared with fewer than two in five (38%) that provided cash incentives in 2010. Overall, nearly nine in ten employers surveyed (86%) gave some type of incentive for wellness activities and/or outcomes in 2011, up from with 63% a year earlier.

The average value of incentives offered to employees and their dependents has also increased substantially. For the 2013 plan year, the average employee incentive value will reach $521, up from $460 in 2011; while the average incentive value for dependents will grow to $465 this year, from $390 in 2011.

Despite the rapid increase in mid-market businesses offering incentives for wellness program participation, they’re still less likely than larger employers to provide these rewards. The value of incentives also remains lower among midmarket employers than those given by larger businesses. Less than half of midsize firms (45%) offered inducements for healthy behavior worth $500 or more, compared with 50% of large employers and 68% of very large employers.

“As the cost of providing health care continues to increase, employers recognize one of the key ways to manage their company’s costs is to give incentives to their workforce for leading a healthier lifestyle,” says Adam Stavisky, Fidelity Senior Vice President/ Benefits Consulting.

If you’d like to implement, or a revise, an incentive program to help keep your workers stay more healthy – and, thus, more productive – just let us know. We’re here to help!

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Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

Physical:
783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Suite7,
Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

Mailing:
PO Box 1170
Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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(831) 661-5697

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