Wednesday, December 19, 2012

PHLY Loss Control: School Safety

Below is some good information and links from one of my insurance companies, Philadelphia Insurance.  They write a lot of school insurance, and the following is good information for all of us.


PHLY Partnership


School Safety

The tragic events in Newtown, CT are forcing schools to review their risk management programs. Philadelphia Insurance Companies has received dozens of requests for information related to school safety. PHLY is committed to helping you create safe and secure venues and events through our work in physical security, crisis management, and business continuity. We also recognize the challenges that our schools face in balancing security efforts with an open learning environment. The following information is available from PHLY to help you review and improve school safety measures.


Other Helpful Links

More information and detailed training documents are available through our customer portal at MyPHLY. If you haven't already created a MyPHLY account, you can sign up for access to complimentary services only available to PHLY agents and policyholders.

For questions, please contact your local PHLY office or visit

Philadelphia Insurance Companies is the marketing name for the insurance company subsidiaries of the Philadelphia Consolidated
Holding Corp., a Member of the Tokio Marine Group. Coverage(s) described may not be available in all states and are subject to Underwriting and certain coverage(s) may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.

This transmission contains information from the Loss Control Department of the Philadelphia Insurance Companies which may be confidential and/or privileged. This information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient, be advised that any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of this information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please notify by e-mail to Mark Konchan or by telephone to 610.538.2967 immediately.

© 2012 Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corp.
One Bala Plaza, Suite 100 Bala Cynwyd, PA, 19004, US

PHLY.COM     Ward's 50    AM Best    Best Places to Work Logo    Official Ironman Sponsor      Tokio Marine Group

Saturday, July 28, 2012


From: "FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)" <>
Date: July 28, 2012 7:41:27 AM EDT
To: <>
Reply-To: "FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)" <>



07/27/2012 01:36 PM EDT


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal aid has been made available for Virginia to supplement the commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and straight-line winds during the period of June 29 to July 1, 2012.

 Receive FEMA Updates During Disasters



This email was sent to using GovDelivery, on behalf of FEMA · U.S. Department of Homeland Security · Washington, DC 20472 Powered by GovDelivery

Monday, April 23, 2012

Anybody Notice a Work Comp Increase?

If you haven't yet, you will. The Insurance industry as a whole took it on the chin last year. Rates have been at all time lows over the last several years, then 2011's storms blew through and smacked the industry. Carriers are telling us that they need to take rate increases this year.
Workers' Compensation insurance has always been a loser for insurance companies.  Twisted knees and bent backs result in 5-6 figure payouts.  Carriers will be increasing their rates and tightening up their appetites in 2012.

A Work Comp rate is developed by the State's Loss Cost Factor multiplied an insurance company's Loss Cost Multiplier.  Put simply, the state issues base rates for each Work Comp class code.  The insurance company then loads that rate with their own factor to develop the final rate.  Here's an example:

The VA loss cost factor for Drywall work is 3.29.

One of my carriers' Loss Cost Multiplier is 1.101. 

Multiplied together, we get a final WC rate of 3.62 for a Drywall contractor.  This is the rate multiplied per $100 of payroll to develop this contractor's Workers' Compensation premium.

On 4/1/12, Virginia Loss Cost Factors incrased by an average of 11%.  Some classes took decreases, but most took increases of varying percentages.

My Drywall contractor's rate went up by 16.67% this year on the VA base rate alone.  I'm meeting with him later today to present his renewal quote.  It will not be a pleasant conversation.

For a good comparison of VA's Loss Cost Factors for this year vs last year, click here.  This information is provided by Mid-Atlantic Insurance Services, a Work Comp wholesale broker based in Richmond, VA.

Did your Work Comp increase this year?  Let me know about it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ho-RATIO Hears A Who!

"In the insurance business, the combined ratio is a measure of profitability of an insurance company. The combined ratio is calculated by dividing the sum of incurred losses and expenses by earned premium. Each insurance company is required to report its combined ratio in their annual statement filed with their state insurance department."

This quote is taken from the Insurance Daily Quote Calendar (Yes, I read daily postings from an Insurance daily quote calendar, doesn't everyone?).

The combined ratios of insurance companies determine how their pricing will be the following year. Right now, insurance companies are reporting combined ratios well above 1.00. This means that they are paying out more money than they are making in premium. The industry as a whole lost money on underwriting last year, which means that they will try to correct this in 2012. Look for prices to increase as the year progresses. Look also for companies to non-renew clients who are in high risk industries or who have had bad loss experience.

Winter is coming.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Does Your Company Have a Privacy Policy?

Privacy Liability is a growing threat to businesses.  In response, more Privacy insurance policies are appearing in the industry.  These policies define Privacy Liability or "Privacy Injury" as
Unauthorized disclosure of, inability to access, or inaccuracy with respect to, "nonpublic personal information" in violation of:
1. your "privacy policy"; or
2. any federal, state , foreign or other law, statute or regulation governing the confidentiality, integrity or accessibility of "nonpublic personal information"...
If your state doesn't have such a law that governs the confidentiality of information, then your company must have a privacy policy in order to trigger coverage under this insurance policy.  What is a privacy policy?  Here's a definition from an insurance company's form:
Privacy policy means your policies in written or electronic form that:
1.  govern the collection, dissemination, confidentiality, integrity, accuracy or availability of "nonpublic personal information"; and  ["and" is a key word here, JN]
2.  you provide to your customers, "employees" or other who provide you wtih "nonpublic personal information".
If you are looking to protect yourself from privacy liability claims, start by writing a privacy policy AND disseminating it to all customers, employees, etc.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

OSHA extends temporary enforcement measures in residential construction

Good morning,
I just read this news release from OSHA and thought it would be of interest to you.  Feel free to pass this along to other colleagues in the residential construction industry. 

OSHA extends temporary enforcement measures in residential construction

OSHA will extend for six months its temporary enforcement measures in residential construction. The temporary enforcement measures, extended through September 15, 2012, include priority free on-site compliance assistance, penalty reductions, extended abatement dates, measures to assure consistency and increased outreach. Fatalities from falls are the number one cause of workplace death in construction.

Over the past year, OSHA has worked closely with the industry, conducting over 1,000 outreach sessions nationwide to assist employers in complying with the new directive. OSHA will continue to work with employers to ensure a clear understanding of, and to facilitate compliance with, the new policy.

OSHA's Web page also has a wide variety of educational and training materials to assist employers with compliance, including multiple easy-to-read fact sheets, PowerPoint and slide presentations, as well as other educational materials. To access these materials, visit OSHA's Fall Protection in Residential Construction page.

Thank you,
Tell us how we're doing on Yelp
Jimmy Norton, CPCU
14120 Parke Long Court, Suite 205
Chantilly, VA  20151    
o:  703-631-4500   x2003
f:   703-631-7221  
SKYPE:  jimmy.brocknorton

This communication, including attachments, is for the exclusive use of addressee and may contain proprietary, confidential and/or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, copying, disclosure, dissemination or distribution is strictly prohibited. A third party may not rely upon this information.

If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail, delete this communication and destroy all copies.



OSHA Fines Will Run Deep on Trenching Violations

I just read the following notice from OSHA about over $100,000 in fines against a CT contractor for repeated trenching violations on a sewer line project.  Contractors must be sure to observe safety measures when digging as employees' lives are at stake.  A few years ago, one of my remodeling clients lost an employee when a ditch collapsed and buried him.  They were digging a 4 ft deep trench to expose a sewer connection while renovating a home.  The employees were removing dirt from the trench with buckets and dumping the dirt too close to the edge.  Unfortunately, the wall collapsed onto an employee, and he lost his life.  This is serious business.

Here is a link to some OSHA guidelines for safe digging.  Please make sure you work these into your company safety program:

Here is a link to the OSHA article about the CT contractor.  No one was hurt on this job, but that doesn't mean the threat didn't exist.

Be safe.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Say Again? New OSHA publication on hearing protection

Work with loud heavy machinery? Are you concerned about employee hearing loss? Just received this information from OSHA and thought I'd pass it along.

New OSHA worker educational publication on protection from noise in construction

OSHA published a new educational publication for construction workers, Protecting Yourself from Noise in Construction. The booklet, written for workers and employers, provides information on the hazards of loud noise in construction, how noise levels are measured, and how to find out if noise on the job site or from tools is loud enough to cause hearing loss. It also gives examples of administrative and engineering controls employers can use to reduce worker exposure to noise, as well as information on the proper selection and use of personal hearing protection. To order copies of this or other OSHA publications please call 1-800-321-OSHA or 202-693-1999 or visit OSHA's Publications Web page.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Retro" is always in fashion with E&O insurance

Retro is more than just a fashion statement.  It is the beginning of time as far as E&O policies are concerned.  Most E&O policies are "Claims-Made" policies, which means that the policy that is in force when the claim is made will be the policy that responds. 

Often, E&O claims are not discovered until much later.  For example, a consultant may forget to inform a client on a pertinent point in 2011, but the client doesn't incur damages as a result until 2013.  Under "Claims-Made" the policy in effect in 2013 will be the policy that responds to the claim.

Your E&O policy declarations will show a "Retroactive Date" or "Retro date."  The policy will not provide coverage for acts (or errors & omissions) that occurred before this date.  In order to ensure continuous coverage, make sure the Retro Date doesn't change as your policy moves forward year after year.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From Hartford: Undocumented Worker Discrimination

This is an excerpt from an article on HartfordHelp, a website published by The Hartford Insurance Group, dedicated to educating companies about employment liability risks.  It's a great resource for anyone with employees.
"Employers that demand documents proving citizenship or immigration status after hire risk discrimination claims. Demanding immigration or citizenship documents after the fact, combined with an adverse employment decision, gives the appearance of immigration-related national origin discrimination. This is one reason why employers should demand these documents at the time of hire and not later. Once an employee accepts an offer for employment, Section 1 of the 1-9 Form should be completed on the first day of work and Section 2 no later than the 3rd day"...More here.
The article discusses a recent case regarding Immigration Discrimination and offers these tips to help prevent such discrimination in your workplace (taken from the article):
Review your documentation requirements to ensure that they are practiced with consistency and do not require more or different documentation than required by law.

If documentation looks genuine, do not overly scrutinize it or demand different documents.

Train your managers, supervisors and all employees who participate in hiring, firing and working with immigrants that the discrimination laws, including the laws prohibiting national origin discrimination, extend to immigrants including non-citizens of the United States.

At the same time, establish standards to make certain to only hire authorized individuals, whether U.S. citizens or not. This would include making certain that all new hires complete I-9 forms properly. Document your due diligence when determining immigration status.

Retaliation against employees for exercising rights under the INA is prohibited. Make sure to train all employees about anti-retaliation laws. Take all complaints seriously and investigate immediately.

Investigate if termination or resignation of immigrants is high under particular managers.

Remember that employers must also comply with all applicable state laws protecting immigrants.