December 2013

Managing use of Non-Owned Personal Vehicles

Managing use of Non-Owned Personal VehiclesMany small businesses and other organizations furnish company owned vehicles for transportation needs including trucks, vans, buses and automobiles. However, it is not uncommon for staff and volunteers to drive their own personal vehicles for business-related transportation.

It is important to recognize that your business can be held liable for damages by allowing the use of non-owned personal vehicles for business purposes. In an effort to keep everyone safe, and to protect the organization from claims arising from the use of personal vehicles, the following safety precautions should be followed:

  • Restrict who is allowed to drive. Studies show that accident rates are higher for drivers under he age of 25 and over 70; therefore, drivers of personal vehicles should be between 25 and 70 years of age.
  • Require proof of automobile liability insurance. This should be obtained annually and kept on file. The following minimum auto liability limits should be required:
    • Bodily Injury Liability – $100,000 each person / $300,000 per occurrence and;
    • Property Damage Liability – $100,000 per occurrence.
  • Inform drivers that their personal automobile insurance is the primary coverage for any and all accidents and injuries that occur during the transport. They should contact their insurance company and inform them that they will be using their personal vehicle for business purposes.Read More »Managing use of Non-Owned Personal Vehicles

Stair Safety Slip and Fall Prevention

stair safetySlip and fall is the #1 liability claim from a frequency and severity standpoint. Numerous factors can contribute to these types of injuries, including inadequate lighting, missing or damaged handrails, poor maintenance/condition, slippery conditions, loose floor coverings, irregular design of stairs and housekeeping.

The following guidelines will help reduce your chances of slips and falls from stairs.
Read More »Stair Safety Slip and Fall Prevention

Negative Review and Freedom of Speech

Are you buying a fair amount of goods or services online and sometimes wish to leave a negative review? Do you always read the ToS fine print? Have you heard of a so called “disparagement clause”?

If you own a business and are exposed to online reviews think twice before adding disparagement clause to your ToS contract, as such can be found as violating rights of free speech.

Read More »Negative Review and Freedom of Speech

Commercial Kitchen Fire Safety

commercial grade kitchen equipmentOperation of a commercial grade kitchen, many safety considerations should be addressed, including food safety, employee and volunteer safety, and fire safety. This blog post addresses the specific issues associated with providing adequate fire safety for your kitchen.

Commercial cooking operations are defined as kitchens that have cooking equipment that produce grease and grease laden vapors. This includes flat grills, char broilers and deep fat fryers. The typical residential range (electric or gas) would not be considered a grease producing appliance. Other equipment, such as ovens, microwaves and steam kettles also fall into the non-grease producing appliance category. The following is information regarding two of the most common types of equipment that produce grease and/or grease laden vapors.

Deep Fat Fryers

Deep fat fryers are a major cause of kitchen fires. Oil can splash and easily come into contact with an open flame from an adjacent piece of cooking equipment, such as a gas-fired range top. A 18-inch clearance must be maintained between the deep fat fryer and the open flame cooking equipment. If a 18-inch clearance is not possible, a vertical steel barrier extending 12 inches above the top of the deep fat fryer or open flame appliance(s) can be used as an alternative means of protection.Read More »Commercial Kitchen Fire Safety

Questionable Insurance Claims on the Rise in TX

Questionable insurance claims rose by 38 percent in TX from 2010 through 2012, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports.

Questionable claims (hereby referred as QC) are those claims that NICB member insurance companies refer to NICB for closer review and investigation based on one or more indicators of possible fraud. A single claim may contain up to seven referral reasons.

This report analyzes QCs by loss city, core-based statistical area (CBSA), policy type, loss type, policy and loss type combined and referral reasons.

In 2010, there were 7,520 Texas QCs referred to NICB from its member insurance companies. In 2011, the number increased to 8,016 and rose again in 2012 to 10,368 — a 38 percent increase over 2010′s figure.

The top 5 loss types were:

Read More »Questionable Insurance Claims on the Rise in TX

Fortune 500 Company Suffered Data Breach

If a Fortune 500 company like TARGET can be hacked, what makes you think the average small business won’t be? It is a fact that Data Breaches are on the rise.

A data breach is a loss, theft, accidental release or accidental publication of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) including name, SSN, and bank and credit card accounts.
Any business. small or large, that handles or stores any private business, customer, and patient or employee data is at risk.Read More »Fortune 500 Company Suffered Data Breach

Soft Insurance Rate Landing

U.S. property/casualty insurers’ and brokers’ operating earnings are expected to modestly improve in 2014, and the overall insurance rate increases will “probably moderate into 2015,” said investment and research firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) in its new report.

According to the report, the returns are no longer either poor enough to sustain the recent pace of insurance pricing improvement or rich enough to stimulate meaningful rate softness outside of a few lines. KBW published its report, titled “2014 Outlook: Prepare for a Soft Insurance Rate Landing,” on Dec. 10.

Read More »Soft Insurance Rate Landing

Five Tips That Can Help You Stay Safe During the Holidays

The holidays are meant to be a time for fun and celebration with family and friends. However, the hectic pace of the holidays can also present increased risks, such as overcrowded stores and greater opportunities for thieves to target your valuables and personal information. Here are five simple tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season:
  1. Watch Out for Porch Pirates
    Theft of packages from front porches and stoops increase as online shopping drives more home deliveries during the holidays. Take advantage of electronic delivery alerts and other protections to make sure your gifts are safely delivered — and received.Read More »Five Tips That Can Help You Stay Safe During the Holidays

Candle Safety

candle with smokeAccording to Underwriters Laboratories (UL): “Fire statistics show that one out of every three candle fires occurred when candles were left unattended or were inadequately controlled. One out of four fires occurred when a combustible material, such as curtains or a pillow, came too close to the candle.”

As part of your organization’s risk management program, the first duty is to eliminate possible exposures. This includes the use of candles. Unless your traditions require the use of candles, it is recommended that they not be used, or that flameless candles be substituted. Flameless candles are very realistic, battery operated, widely available, and some even come with timers. As with all electrically powered devices, ensure that electric candles are UL listed, so not to trade one fire hazard for another.Read More »Candle Safety