The holidays are almost upon us and alcohol will be flowing at company parties throughout the land. Beware! If an employee or guest gets inebriated at a social function sponsored by your business and then injures another person, you could be held liable.
Consider this scenario: After polishing off four eggnogs in an hour at the company’s Christmas party, one of your workers toddles off to his car. The employee almost makes it home when he runs a red light and T-bones a car. The car is damaged and injures the driver. The driver then sues your business for negligence in allowing the employee to drive home although he was clearly “under the influence” at the company party.
What’s more, under state and local “social host” laws, your business might face a fine or even imprisonment for continuing to serve alcohol to an adult who is legally drunk.
Under your comprehensive general liability policy is a clause for host liquor liability. The insurance company will pick up the tab for property damage and bodily injuries, up to “each occurrence” or “general aggregate” limits for the CGL. This coverage will also pay for court costs, legal fees, and other expenses – and these payments will not apply to the limits.
Be sure not to confuse host liquor liability insurance with Liquor Liability coverage, which protects businesses that manufacture, serve, or sell alcoholic beverages (such as liquor stores, bars, and taverns) against claims for injuries caused by intoxicated customers. If you’re in one of these businesses, you’ll need both types of policy.
To learn more, feel free to get in touch with our agency at any time.
Preparing for a vacation can be one of the most exciting times in life. However, it comes with responsibilities beyond buying plane tickets and making hotel reservations.
For example, it’s all too easy to overlook the need for Travel Insurance. These “‘peace of mind” policies can protect travelers against everything from trip cancellation, and travel delays to lost luggage, medical emergencies (most Health policies have only limited coverage abroad) – and more.
Because coverages and rates vary widely, it can be difficult to choose the policy that’s best for you – and your pocketbook. To help you make the right decision, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have a tight flight connection?
- Am I going to be travelling on non-refundable flights?
- Where am I going and what are the risks associated with traveling and the situation at my destination?
- Do I have any health problems that might crop up during my trip?
- Will I be driving?
- Will I be taking part in downhill skiing, surfing, or other high-risk activities?
- If I missed a flight or get injured, would I be able to afford a return ticket?
- What is the refund policy on my coverage?
- Have I read the fine print make sure that you understand exactly what is covered and – just as important – what isn’t?
- Have I compared similar policies to note any major price discrepancies?
Our Personal insurance specialists would be happy to help you answer these and other questions, to help ensure your peace of mind as you travel.
Exercising regularly. Create a fitness culture in your company, maybe provide gym benefits. For back pain prevention, weight control, abdominal muscles and stretching are key.
Stop smoking. Smokeless workplaces have gained in popularity for environmental reasons, but an additional consequence is fewer back issues.
Take a break. Repetitive motion or long periods of idleness create back stress. Sitting for an hour or lifting for an hour can cause back pain. Bending and twisting should be avoided. Bend at the knees and pivot, don’t twist the back, particularly when lifting.
Take a break while driving too. A short walk awakens your mind and neutralizes the cumulative effect of road vibration on your body.
Proper posture. Whether driving, lifting, or completing repetitive tasks, use the proper posture to protect your back.
Safe Lifting. The lower back is particularly susceptible to injury and pain from poor lifting techniques.
* Lift with your legs. Squat and lift rather than bending forward and lifting.
* Proper posture means a straight upper back with a natural lower back arch.
* Test load weight. Push the load with your foot first. Do you need a helper?
* Lift close to your torso, waist level.
* Do not twist your back while carrying anything.
* Use devices like dollies, forklifts, or conveyors.
Back injuries occur in the morning more frequently. Stretch and start light. Get your back ready for more strenuous work.
Back injury prevention requires awareness, so train your employees properly. Those workers who will likely lift should do stretching exercises first.
Design your operation for lighter lifts. Create smaller loads of frequently purchased, used or stored. Don’t store heavy objects higher than the waist.
Pre-hire qualifying should include assessing the weight which can be safely lifted and carried by the individual. And, use a mandatory weight restriction for lifting for all employees.
No matter how rigorous you think you are in protecting your business against security breaches or other risks, there’s always room for improvement. Here are six simple steps you can put in place right away that can have a significant impact on reducing your business’ exposure to risk:
1. Have a written code of conduct. Writing down rules and repercussions for poor behavior is the best way to make sure your employees know what’s expected of them, as well as the consequences for risky or inappropriate behavior. Offer a copy of the code to new hires, and whenever changes are made, provide updated copies to all employees. Also be sure to review it frequently so it can evolve as your company grows.
2. Maintain ample office security. Make sure to install adequate locks on doors, windows, desks, file cabinets and individual rooms in your office, and keep a close eye on keys. Make sure employees change passwords frequently and adhere to your company’s BYOD policy (you do have one, right?). Install cameras and motion detectors as needed, and be sure to use adequate lighting in all areas, especially near entrances and exits.
3. Schedule regular security audits. Make time to regularly check documents in your employees’ possession, both at their work station and on their computers. The idea is not to penalize employees, but rather to identify risky behaviors or practices where your company can improve its overall security. Once areas in need of improvement have been identified, devise and implement strategies to overcome these weaknesses ASAP.
4. Shred monthly — or weekly. Pretty self-explanatory; don’t leave sensitive documents around. This includes not only your company information, but information provided by your customers. Put a shredding day on your calendar every month or week, and then be sure to stick to it.
5. Restrict computer access. While all your employees may need to access computers to do their jobs, they probably don’t all have to be able to reach every document or file you have stored on your computer network or in your company cloud. Designating clearance levels lets you decide who has access to what, and can be a powerful step in reducing the risk of security breaches and inadvertent — or intentional — information leaks.
6. Have an emergency plan in place. You and your employees should know what to in case of a fire, theft, natural disaster or other emergency situation to avoid unintentional security breaches. Like the code of conduct, you plan needs to be written down and provided to all employees. Review it at staff meetings to make sure it’s understood.
As your business grows, the risks you face become more complex, potential losses grow, along with your insurance premiums. At some point, you’ll need to decide whether it makes sense to turn over the responsibility for risk management to a full-time professional.
Before making this decision, experts recommend that you weigh two key factors: 1) the cost of paying a full-time risk manager, and 2) the potential savings that this manager can generate.
The first element is relatively easy to determine, it’s the salary and overhead of the manager, plus whatever clerical support that he or she needs.
The second item requires you to analyze the extent which a full-time risk manager can:
- Centralize and compartmentalize responsibility for risk management in a single department. This improvement in efficiency should more than offset the increase in administrative costs.
- reduce losses by providing analysis of loss control needs, careful scrutiny of reports, and knowledge of whom to contact for specialized help. Careful attention to loss reserves and adjusting practices can help cut costs dramatically. For example, adjusting liability and workers compensation claims requires special expertise. Insurance companies generally provide adjusters, it’s always helpful to have someone on your team who can evaluate their conclusions.
- help lower your premiums by paying closer attention to coverage criteria, negotiating with agents, brokers, and insurance companies, and using familiarity with industry terminology.
If you’d like our input on making this key decision, feel free to get in touch with the risk management professionals at our agency at any time. We’re here to serve you.