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,
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Jimmy Norton, CPCU
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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.