A Heads Up to Small Businesses….What are the most common claims and their cost?

“Despite experiencing these types of events, the survey found that many small businesses aren’t filing claims for them. Insureon cites the following possible reasons for this trend:

  • They don’t have insurance or don’t have the right policy to cover the claim.
  • The cost of the incident is less than their deductible, so they deal with it out of pocket.
  • They worry that filing a claim will cause their premiums to go up.
  • They prefer to handle the matter on their own rather than wait for resolution from an insurance company.

As a result, many small business owners are choosing to let their carrier know about an incident, but don’t file a claim. Instead, they pay for the incident out of pocket to prevent higher premiums in the long run. But how does the cost of a claim stack up against the cost of coverage?”

“According to The Hartford, the 10 most expensive types of claims (and the cost per incident) are:

  • Reputational harm: $50,000
  • Vehicle accident: $45,000
  • Fire damage: $35,000
  • Product liability: $35,000
  • Customer injury or property damage: $30,000
  • Wind and hail damage: $26,000
  • Customer slip and fall: $20,000
  • Water and freezing damage: $17,000
  • Struck by object: $10,000
  • Burglary and theft: $8,000

In comparison, the median price that most small businesses pay for coverage is:

  • $428 per year for general liability insurance
  • $920 per year for professional liability insurance

Compared to a $20,000 bill for a customer slip-and-fall accident, most business owners would probably rather pay $428 for general liability per year, plus their deductible, to pick up the tab.

How do the most expensive claims compare to the top incidents small businesses experienced in 2016?” Read more…at PropertyCasualty360.com.

For a review of your business insurance risks and a competitive proposal for coverage, call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 or drop an email to joshw@swflagency.com. www.SWFLAgency.com

Sooo…You are considering getting a concealed carry permit

images

If you are like many law abiding citizens, you may be considering the purchase of a hand gun and possibly securing a concealed weapons permit.  If so, you should visit the following website.   US Concealed Carry .  The articles and videos are very informative.   ConcealedCarry_Guide_23-Proven_Strategies is a sample of what you will find.

Here are some previous posts from SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.

Concerned about Carrying a Concealed Weapon and the Liability issue?

So…..Where can I have a gun in Florida?

So…You used your Glock to stop a Criminal Invasion at your home….How does your Homeowners Policy respond?

2016 Florida Statutes. Weapons and Firearms

Florida Dept. of Agriculture. Licensing Division

Being informed is the first step to take before arming yourself.

SWFL Insurance Agency, Inc.

 

 

Does your Company use Drones…Read on.

drone accident

“The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International trade group forecasts drones will produce $82 billion in economic value and create more than 100,000 new jobs in the first 10 years after widespread flights are ultimately approved.

There are now more registered unmanned aircraft in the United States than private and commercial aircraft combined…some 400,000 of these flying devices (oops…unmanned aircraft)”

Typically standard Commercial General Liability Insurance policies and Business owners Policies do not provide any Liability Coverage for “unmanned flying devices” or drones.  If your company uses drones, you will need to purchase a specific policy for Drone Liability Coverage.  SWFL Insurance Agency can provide this coverage…call us at 239-265-9577.

If your company hires or contracts other companies or individuals to conduct activities such as photography using drones, you should ask to be added as an “Additional Named Insured” on this policy and obtain a Certificate of Insurance showing same.  Since this is a new and developing area of insurance, it will be wise to ask for a copy of the policy to review the coverage language.  We can help you review this coverage.

SWFL Insurance Agency     info@SWFLAgency.com     www.SWFLAgency.com   239-265-9577

Fraud in the Construction Industry

work comp fraud is a crime

“A dangerous fraud scheme has infiltrated the construction industry in Florida over the last several years. Usually involving residential home building, it started in South Florida but has swept northward to encompass most major cities in the state. The scheme revolves around “shell companies,” which on the surface look legitimate and have proper workers comp coverage, but in reality are operating a giant pool of off-the-books labor and are hiding millions of dollars of unreported payroll.

The fraud starts when a labor broker, also called a facilitator, induces a (sometimes) innocent third party-often a foreign national with family to support in his or her home country-to set up a company with the state Division of Corporations that has a very generic name that may reference construction. The company’s name has to be generic, because different crews will be (a) working on many different job sites and (b) often performing all types of construction work. Often the words “Construction Services” or “Services Corp” are in the name. A series of three initials like “ABC Construction” is also common.

The owner then approaches an insurance agent to secure workers compensation coverage and reports just enough payroll in a construction class to look legitimate and to not arouse suspicion from the insurance carrier. Most often, the class code is one that typically uses unskilled labor, such as drywall, framing or concrete.

After the workers comp coverage is in place, the business owner takes his certificate of insurance (COI) listing the company’s workers comp coverage and then rents that COI out for a fee to dozens of different construction crews doing work on many different job sites.

When the general contractor pays the crew for work performed, the labor broker takes that check to a check-cashing store, gets the cash, takes his (substantial) cut, gives the check cashing store its cut, and gives what’s left to the crew leader to pay his crew for doing the work. The labor broker can have dozens of crews using hundreds of workers on different jobs sites at any one time, which means he is cashing millions of dollars in payroll checks in any given policy period.

The victims

None of this payroll is reported to the company’s insurance agent or workers comp carrier. Neither the carrier nor the agent know the true exposure associated with the policy for the shell company. For example, what is supposed to be a company with $50,000 in framing payroll that is paying $8,500 in annual premium could in reality be a company with $5 million in framing, drywall and concrete payroll that should be paying $850,000 annually.
This results in hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid premium that the insurance carrier never receives. If claims are made on the policy, they usually are from workers the insurance carrier never knew they were covering and for which they never received a penny. Of course, the shell game also reduces the commission the insurance agent should have received.

Other victims of this scheme are the undocumented workers who are injured working for one of these companies. They are the ones doing the hard work, and if they are hurt on the job, they have no idea what to do. Usually the only name they know is their crew leader; they don’t know the name of the shell company and they don’t know the name of the shell company’s insurance carrier. This complicated structure means injured workers can be left on their own to try and find medical help for injuries. ”

Read more about how to identify this very illegal activity so that you will not be caught in the scam at The Shell Game.

An article by Karen Phillips in Rough Notes, Special Report, June 2016.

Sooo…..Your salesman, Diane, just came into your office and accused Bob of Sexual Harassment…..What Now?

sexual harrassment

Sooo….You just had to ask one of your salesmen to clean out his desk. You had received a written claim of some sexual indiscretions claimed by a fellow female sales person.  The texts and verbal abuses were claimed to have been made over a 12 month period. 

Now what?  Did you do your due diligence in investigating the claims?  Will you hear from an attorney?  Either party may sue you since it supposedly happened on company time in the office.  Will my business insurance respond to protect my company and me?  This type of business professional legal liability situation falls under the heading of Employment Practices Liability.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) offers broad policy coverage for discrimination, harassment, and inappropriate employment conduct, including hostile work environment, failure to hire or promote, wrongful demotion, negligent evaluation, deprivation of career opportunity, retaliation, wrongful discipline, libel, slander, defamation of character, and invasion of privacy.

Whether you and your company are at fault or not, the legal fees could bankrupt your company. Even an organization with good human resources policies and procedures in place can be sued, and the cost of defending a claim can be enormous. It is not uncommon for legal fees associated with winning an employment lawsuit to exceed $250,000.

Here are some examples of real life claims. See if you can relate to any of these claims.

  • Sexual harassment and discrimination — $775,000+

A former employee of the insured claimed she was subject to sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. After complaining to human resources that her manager had verbally harassed her on a number of occasions and had touched her inappropriately on two or three occasions, the plaintiff claimed she was retaliated against and terminated. She sued for sexual harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and tortious assault. Travelers paid more than $225,000 to defend the claim and paid $550,000 in settlement costs.

  • Sexual harassment and discrimination — $450,000

A line worker at a bulk food packaging business filed a charge against his employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for sexual harassment and discrimination. The charge developed into a class-action suit brought against the insured directly by the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission. The suit contended that the insured had a pattern and practice of failing to respond to claims of harassment and discrimination. Travelers settled the case for $350,000 after paying more than $100,000 in legal fees.

  • Sexual harassment and assault — $350,000

An applicant sued the owner-operator of a franchised bar and grill, alleging that while she was at the restaurant, and after completing her application, she was harassed, drugged, assaulted and sexually attacked by the employees and managers of the restaurant. Further investigation of the matter showed that after drinking for several hours, the plaintiff decided to apply for a position and that she was the instigator of the sexual activity that occurred. The matter was tried in front of a jury, who found in favor of the insured. Legal fees paid by Travelers exceeded $350,000.*

  • Discrimination and retaliation — $250,000+

The president of a small advertising agency sued the agency for sex discrimination, age discrimination and retaliation. The plaintiff alleged that she and the agency’s CEO engaged in a consensual affair. After the CEO passed away, his widow became Chairperson of the Board. The plaintiff claimed she was wrongfully terminated when the affair was discovered after the CEO’s death. The insured contended there were performance and trust issues associated with the plaintiff’s employment at the agency. The insured prevailed on summary adjudication, but more than $250,000 was paid by Travelers defending the case and subsequent appeal.

  • Discrimination and retaliation – $1,370,000

The head of Human Resources for a hospital system, who was a 64-year-old, was terminated by the plaintiff’s 45 year old boss after findings from an outside consultant revealed that the individual created a threatening, demoralizing and dysfunctional work environment which was not acceptable for a person in that position. The former employee of +20 years filed a lawsuit alleging age discrimination and retaliatory termination for complaining about certain business practices. The case was resolved for a total of $1.15m during mediation. Defense expenses incurred were an additional $220,000.

  • Discrimination and harassment — $287,500

In 2004, the plaintiff, a graphic designer hired in 2001, resigned her employment claiming that she had been subjected to sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Specifically, she named four managers/directors of the insured as wrongdoers. The insured performed a thorough investigation and terminated three of the four people involved. The evidence collected included a long series of sexually explicit emails, jokes and comments in the workplace. The claimant was making $45,000 per year. Travelers paid $50,000 to defend the case before settling for $237,500.

Even small companies have this liability exposure. Protect your company.  ELPI coverage is available as a stand alone policy or as an endorsement to a Comprehensive General Liability Policy (CGL).  The premiums are reasonable.

Learn more………Things Employers Wish They Had Never Said

Call SWFL Insurance Agency at 239-265-9577 for a discussion of your exposures and a premium quote. You can also email us at joshw@SWFLAgency.com