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Truckers May Be in for Higher Policy Limits

Truckers would be required to purchase insurance with higher limits under a new proposal issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA has submitted a report to Congress, stating that the current minimum coverage of $750,000 for general freight carriers is not enough to cover the costs of damage from some crashes. The ...
By Amy Morrow | June 23, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Ten Tips for a Safe Summer Road Trip

Summer’s almost upon us and when many Americans take a vacation, they will hit the road. Road trips are part of the American lifestyle, but when it’s time to travel by car, you should be prepared, especially now that it’s easier to drive further as your kids are distracted in the back watching movies or ...
By Amy Morrow | June 21, 2017 | Blog, insurance

As Concern over Subsidies Looms, Fate of Exchanges Hangs in Balance

Even though no legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act has been signed into law, inaction by the Trump administration on a major lawsuit is imperiling one of the key foundations of the law: the government-run exchanges. The administration has asked the court for three more months to decide whether to pursue an appeal against a ...
By Amy Morrow | June 19, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Creating a Strong Safety Program for Your Fleet Drivers

While most operations with an automotive or trucking fleet focus on safety, few businesses are actually monitoring their drivers to make sure they are adhering to the company’s rules, a new study has found. Many companies only pull reports on their drivers’ records on an annual basis, which means they miss important developments like a ...
By CoreMark | June 14, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Will OSHA Conduct an Inspection after an Employee Complaint?

OSHA will make inspections of a workplace for a variety of reasons, including following a worker injury and always after a worker’s death. Inspections may also occur randomly or part of a program aimed at a particular industry that OSHA has decided to target. The other way an inspection may occur – and the main ...
By CoreMark | June 9, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Silica Safety Enforcement Delayed for Construction Industry

Cal/OSHA has delayed enforcement of its crystalline silica safety standard for the construction industry for another three months to ensure the California rules are in synch with federal rules on the dangerous airborne matter. The move came after Fed OSHA announced April 6 a delay in adoption of the crystalline silica standard for the sector ...
By CoreMark | June 7, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Right Mix of Benefits Crucial to Hiring, Retaining Millennials

As the millennial generation continues filtering into the workforce amid a tightening job market, nearly one-third of them have turned down a job offer because of poor insurance offerings, a new study has found. Making sure that you have the right mix of benefits, including voluntary benefits, is important considering that other studies have found ...
By CoreMark | June 2, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Insurance Commissioner Okays Benchmark Rate Decrease for California Employers

California’s insurance commissioner has approved a recommendation to reduce average baseline rates on workers’ compensation policies by 7.8% at the mid-year mark. The mid-year reduction to the baseline rate is largely the result of reforms that were introduced in 2013 that have sped up the settlement process for claims (including many long-term claims), in addition ...
By CoreMark | May 31, 2017 | Blog, insurance

OSHA Pulls the Plug on Electronic Reporting Rules

Federal OSHA has suspended its much anticipated and dreaded electronic filing rules for workplace injury and illness records. The rules, put in place during the Obama Administration, would have required organizations with 250 or more employees to submit electronically information from OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries ...
By CoreMark | May 27, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Drug Use Skyrockets among American Workers

Drug use is rapidly increasing among American workers, as more states liberalize marijuana laws, cocaine makes a resurgence and more people abuse amphetamines and heroin. A new study by Quest Diagnostics Inc., a workplace drug-testing lab, found that the number of workers testing positive for illicit drugs is higher than at any time in the ...
By CoreMark | May 25, 2017 | Blog, insurance

IRS Adjusts Out-of-Pocket Maximums for HSAs, HDHPs for 2018

This month, the Internal Revenue Service released the 2018 inflation-adjusted amounts for health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans. The two types of account are related, as all HDHP participants must also have an accompanying HSA. But HSAs are also available to participants in more traditional health plans that do not have high deductibles. If ...
By CoreMark | May 19, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Insurance Investigators Mine Social Media to Ferret out Fraud

Insurers are increasingly using social media to track down workers who are perpetrating workers’ comp and other liability fraud by faking injuries or staying on the dole after they have healed. Investigators are increasingly making use of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other online social media sites to nab claimants who are fraudulently trying to collect ...
By CoreMark | May 17, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Court Decision Shows Extent of Employer Liability for Traveling Employees

The employer of a worker who causes damage during their off hours on a business trip may be held liable for them acting “in the scope of their employment,” according to a federal court decision. The ruling will allow the case to go forward after the court declined to uphold the employer’s motion to dismiss ...
By CoreMark | May 12, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Legislation Would Let Employees Trade O.T. for Vacation Time

A newly proposed bill would change the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime mandate to allow workers to trade overtime pay for compensatory time off. Introduced by Martha Roby, a Republican from Alabama, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 would: Cap the amount of paid time off that workers can accrue each year at 160 ...
By CoreMark | May 5, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Getting Buy-in from Managers on Workplace Safety Programs

One of the keys to instituting a good safety program is to get management and supervisor buy-in. You need their support and belief in the system if you are to convince your employees to embrace your safety regimen. If your managers don’t believe in the safety plans you have put together, it will show through ...
By CoreMark | April 28, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Employee Texting Blows Holes in Your Company Communications Policy

If you are not aware, your employees are most likely communicating with each other and clients using texting or instant messaging. While the immediacy of texting and instant messaging is great for business as it allows faster communications, better collaboration and more responsiveness, the downside is that your organization likely can’t track and retrieve those ...
By CoreMark | April 26, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Rating Bureau Recommends Benchmark Rate Decrease for California Employers

IN A SURPISE move, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California has filed a recommendation to reduce average baseline rates on policies by 7.8% at the mid-year mark. The mid-year reduction to the baseline rate is largely the result of reforms that were introduced in 2013 that have sped up the settlement process for ...
By CoreMark | April 21, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Trump Hints at Withholding Exchange Subsidies to Prompt ACA’s Decline

Following the House of Representatives’ failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump has promised that the repealing and replacing law is still one of his top priorities, and also hinted at hastening its demise by withholding the premium subsidies the government pays to health exchanges. Essentially, if he follows through and creates ...
By CoreMark | April 19, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Companies Struggle with Benefits Compliance

More and more employers are being overwhelmed by all of the compliance requirements associated with managing employee benefits. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America’s “Benefits Balancing Act” study found that 60% of employers are feeling overwhelmed with the increased complexity of managing their benefits programs. One of the main reasons for the additional burden ...
By CoreMark | April 15, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Venturing Abroad? Your Liability Policy May Not Cover You

There may be the occasion when you have to send executives or a team overseas for work. And depending on the destination, the risks will vary – more in some countries and less in others. Other factors that come into play include the number and age of your staff working overseas and what type of ...
By CoreMark | April 12, 2017 | Blog, insurance

EEOC Says Use of Service Dog is ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ under ADA

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued an employer for refusing to hire a job applicant because he used a service dog. In the complaint filed in March, the EEOC accused the employer of failing to accommodate, refusing to hire and retaliating against the man who’d applied for a truck driver position. The action illustrates ...
By CoreMark | April 7, 2017 | Blog, insurance

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Educate Your Staff

As accidents skyrocket in part due to people using their smartphones while behind the wheel, April has been designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month – a great time for you as an employer to further promote safe driving among your staff. Hammering home the importance of safe driving can keep your employees from causing serious damage ...
By CoreMark | April 5, 2017 | Blog, insurance

New OSHA Rules Delayed, Watered down under Trump

Acting on new marching orders from the Trump Administration, federal OSHA seems to be scaling back some regulations to benefit employers. Significantly, it seems that large employers will not be required to start submitting their injury and illness reports electronically as required by Obama-era regulations that were to take effect in February. The idea was ...
By CoreMark | March 31, 2017 | Blog, insurance

ACA Repeal Plan Is Dead; So What Should You Do?

Now that the American Health Care Act has suffered a defeat in Congress and President Trump has said he’ll move on to other matters, the Affordable Care Act will stand as the law of the land. The big question hanging over the law, however, is the executive order that Trump signed shortly after taking office ...
By CoreMark | March 29, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Reduce the Chances of Workplace Violence With Tactful Disciplinary Actions

Every year a few hundred people are murdered in American workplaces by disgruntled workers or former employees who come back to exact revenge for perceived or real slights, or poor treatment. And while it’s impossible to tell when and if someone is going to snap, or whether they are carrying a concealed weapon, there are ...
By CoreMark | March 24, 2017 | Blog, insurance

How Tracking Near Misses, Employee Training Reduces Injuries

The latest trend in workplace safety best practices is tracking “leading indicators” – or events that take the lessons learned from past events – to reduce the chances of future injuries. Safety professionals are increasingly keeping track of near misses, hours spent on training and facility housekeeping and measuring the impact on the organization’s overall ...
By CoreMark | March 22, 2017 | Blog, insurance

When Safety Shortcuts Become a Criminal Act

As the economy grows and companies’ operations are busier, workplace injuries also increase. And as companies add employees, they may fail to keep up their safety regimens, which can result in an uptick in workplace injuries. Some businesses have so much to keep track of that they may be negligent in enforcing their safety standards ...
By CoreMark | March 17, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Bill Would Make Collecting Health Information for Wellness Plans Easier

Legislation has surfaced in Congress that would allow employers to collect biometric and genetic information from employees and their family members as a precondition for participation in a company wellness program. The bill would essentially repeal a portion of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), which in part bars employers from collecting genetic information on ...
By CoreMark | March 15, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Why You Can’t Afford to Not Have Professional Liability Insurance

At some point, most businesses are involved in some type of legal dispute, be it over an alleged physical or property damage to a third party or financial injury to a competitor, client or vendor. And you’d surely want an insurance backstop in case you are targeted, to help pay for legal costs and any ...
By CoreMark | March 10, 2017 | Blog, insurance

GOP Releases Legislation to Gut and Replace ACA

House Republicans have filed legislation that would repeal most of the Affordable Care Act, including measures to eliminate the employer and individual mandates. But from the get-go the legislation – backed by the House leadership – was panned by the GOP’s conservative wing, which said it doesn’t go far enough to completely get rid of ...
By CoreMark | March 8, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Republicans Consider Axing Tax Exclusion on Employer-sponsored Plans

As work on trying to overhaul the Affordable Care Act continues, lawmakers are considering a bold and what would likely be a controversial move to eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health benefits. The amount of taxes that are not collected as a result of the exclusion amounts to about $216 billion a year according ...
By CoreMark | March 4, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Ransomware Becomes Biggest Cyber Threat Facing Businesses

Ransomware is turning out to be the biggest cyber threat facing companies in 2017 after attacks more than quadrupled in 2016 from the year prior, according to a new study. If you are not familiar with this fast-evolving cyber threat, typically the perpetrators will essentially lock down your database and/or computer system and make it ...
By CoreMark | March 2, 2017 | Blog, insurance

As Damages Rise in Harassment Claims, EEOC Issues New Guidance

Juries are handing down larger and larger judgments in bullying and sexual harassment lawsuits against employers. The stakes are high for any company that does not take complaints about harassment and bullying seriously and nip it in the bud if detected. And now the stakes could become even higher after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ...
By CoreMark | February 24, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Respond quickly and effectively to harassment, discrimination complaints

Employers need to respond swiftly when employees complain about discrimination or harassment and the response must be effective, a U.S. District appeals court has held. When a company addresses workplace it is responsible for ensuring that its solution will stave off further harassment or discrimination, a court of appeals has held in a case of ...
By CoreMark | February 23, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Report, Investigate Near Misses to Improve Safety

One of the most important workplace safety tools that you can put to use is the reporting of near misses and correcting the factors that led to such a close encounter. A near miss is an event that could have led to a workplace injury, illness or death. While you are not required to report ...
By CoreMark | February 17, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Republicans Consider Fixing ACA, Not Repealing It

The steamroller everyone expected from President Trump and the GOP-led Congress to flatten the Affordable Care Act has been put on idle and what was a promised quick outright repeal has morphed into a plan to “repair” the law. In particular, Republican lawmakers, huddling while trying to devise a repeal-and-replace plan, have instead found that ...
By CoreMark | February 15, 2017 | Uncategorized

Baseline Health Tests Can Shave Workers’ Comp Claims Costs

More employers are testing new hires in physical jobs to establish a baseline in case they ever file a workers’ comp claim down the road. The aim is to establish what physical ailments and pain the new hire already has, so if they are injured you can find out if they aggravated an existing injury ...
By CoreMark | February 10, 2017 | Blog, insurance

IRS Targets Employers Who Fail to File ACA Forms

The IRS has started sending letters to some employers asking them where their Affordable Care Act returns are, according to the National Association of Health Underwriters. The letters, says the association, appear to be one of the first efforts by the IRS to enforce the employer responsibility requirements of the ACA. Under the ACA, applicable ...
By CoreMark | February 8, 2017 | Blog, insurance

New Slip, Trip, Fall Prevention Rules for General Industry – copy

Federal OSHA implemented a new rule on Jan. 17 that is aimed at reducing slip, trip and fall hazards in the workplace. The revisions are aimed at tackling one of the main causes of worker deaths and injuries in American workplaces by applying rules designed for the construction and manufacturing sectors to other general industries. ...
By CoreMark | February 1, 2017 | Uncategorized

EEOC Eyes Employer Actions against Prescription Drug Users

By now you will be aware of the scourge of opioid abuse that’s swept the country over the past decade and the damage it is doing to individuals and families. Overdoses from legal prescription drugs – mostly opioids and other strong pain relievers – last year surpassed overdoses from street drugs like heroin for the ...
By CoreMark | January 28, 2017 | Blog, insurance

What Does President Trump’s Executive Order on ACA Mean?

Donald Trump’s first act after assuming the presidency was to sign an executive order that authorizes federal agencies to scale back as many parts of the Affordable Care Act as possible within the confines of the law. The executive order does not abolish the landmark legislation, but sets the stage for agencies to act immediately ...
By CoreMark | January 25, 2017 | Blog, insurance

A Strong Crisis Management Plan Can Save Your Firm

You should hope it never happens to your organization, but unfortunately, a crisis can strike any company at any time. But if your business suddenly became embroiled in a crisis, would you be prepared to handle it? If you were putting out fires, or a major conflagration, and you didn’t have a crisis management plan ...
By CoreMark | January 20, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Prepare for ACA Reporting or Suffer Possible Fines

EVEN THOUGH there are clouds of uncertainty hanging over the Affordable Care Act, applicable large employers are still required to adhere to the IRS filing and reporting regulations or risk financial penalties. While most of the reporting deadlines will be the same for 2017, the deadlines for distributing forms to employees have changed. All employers ...
By CoreMark | January 18, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Pre-existing Conditions Weight Heavily on Workers’ Comp Claims

Your workers’ underlying health can greatly affect the amount of time they are off the job recovering from a workplace injury. A new study has found that workers with pre-existing health issues like hypertension, obesity and mental health spend 60% more time recovering from workplace injuries than healthy workers. And because those injured workers are ...
By CoreMark | January 11, 2017 | Blog, insurance

Be Prepared for Changing ACA Landscape

With president-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, employers that have spent the last few years preparing for and complying with the law have a right to be concerned about what’s in store. While leaders in Congress have promised to swiftly put an end to the ACA, it’s not ...
By CoreMark | January 6, 2017 | Blog, insurance

January 2017 CoreMark Report Newsletter

New laws affecting businesses in 2017, ACA reporting deadlines, employer reimbursement, heat illness prevention & more! To view our January 2017 Newsletter, Click Here or the image below....
By inswebkit | January 5, 2017 | insurance, Newsletter

New Law Tightens Use of Smartphones while Driving

As you know, California already has laws against using a phone while driving without a hands-free device or texting while driving. But because it basically was written before the proliferation of smartphones, the state law does not cover the many new uses for phones, like live chat, posting on social media or using a myriad ...
By CoreMark | January 4, 2017 | Uncategorized

Top 10 Laws You Need to Know about For Your Business

This is the second of two parts on the top 10 laws that will be affecting your business. First aid rules reporting New amendments to the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan require that even small, medical-only first aid claims be reported. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau has always required that these small ...
By CoreMark | December 30, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Be on Your Toes for Host of New Laws Affecting Businesses in 2017

Every New Year there’s a swarm of new legislation and regulations affecting businesses and it’s difficult to stay on top of it all. In this blog and the next, we cover the top 10 laws, regulations and developments that you are likely to contend with in 2017.   Owners/officers exemption changes A new law has changed who ...
By CoreMark | December 27, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Happy Holidays

All of us here at CoreMark Insurance Services want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!...
By CoreMark | December 23, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Small Employers Can Reimburse for Health Insurance under New Law

Congress and the Obama Administration have acted to allow employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees to reimburse their workers for individual health plans that they purchase on their own. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, reverses an onerous IRS provision that imposes a maximum $36,500 fine on small employers that are found to ...
By CoreMark | December 21, 2016 | Blog, insurance

New Law Will Create Indoor Heat Illness Prevention Standard

Legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown will expand Cal/OSHA’s heat illness prevention standard to indoor workers. SB 1167 requires the state workplace safety agency to devise new regulations that will apply to indoor workers starting Jan. 1, 2019. Cal/OSHA’s rulemaking body will therefore have the next two years to draft and finalize those ...
By CoreMark | December 17, 2016 | Blog, insurance

New Rules on First Aid Claims Reporting Take Effect Jan. 1

New amendments to the California Workers’ Compensation Uniform Statistical Reporting Plan require that even small, medical-only first aid claims be reported. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau has always required that these small claims be reported, but the requirement has never been codified. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, insurance companies will be required to report to ...
By CoreMark | December 14, 2016 | Blog, insurance

OSHA Issues New Anti-retaliation Rules for ACA

Fed-OSHA has issued final regulations on whistleblowing and employer retaliation under the Affordable Care Act. The new rules set forth procedures and time frames for reporting and processing whistleblower complaints by employees against their employers and expand the instances in which an employee can sue their employer for retaliation under the ACA. The new rules ...
By CoreMark | December 9, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Identify, Eliminate Slip, Trip and Fall Hazards

While big-ticket and dramatic workers’ comp claims make headlines, the reality is that the more run-of-the-mill injuries are the ones that end up costing employers the most. That is especially true for slips, trips and falls and related injuries, which can often turn out to be the most expensive workers’ compensation claim an employer experiences. ...
By CoreMark | December 7, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Deadline for Distributing Employee ACA Forms Extended

In a bit of good news for employers, the IRS has extended the deadline for the Affordable Care Act’s 2016 information-reporting requirements, giving businesses an additional 30 days to deliver these forms to employees. The IRS, in a notification posted on its website, said it wanted to give employers more time to distribute the forms ...
By CoreMark | December 3, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Commercial Auto Insurance Rates Trending Higher

You should prepare for increases in your commercial vehicle insurance coverage for 2017 as accidents, injuries and costs rise for the first time in decades and insurers make up for years of low pricing. Commercial auto insurance premiums have been trending between 6 and 10% higher since early this year and, if you’re policy comes ...
By CoreMark | November 30, 2016 | Blog, insurance

New Overtime Pay Rules Put on Ice

A federal judge in Texas has issued an order temporarily blocking the Department of Labor’s new white-collar overtime rules from taking effect on Dec. 1. The sudden move is likely to throw a monkey wrench into many employers’ plans to either increase employees’ salaries or prepare to implement more stringent adherence to schedules in order ...
By CoreMark | November 25, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Keep Safe When Decorating the Workplace for Holidays

As the holiday season rolls around again, your business will have new safety considerations to confront. From holiday parties and risk of electrical shock to fires and trips and falls, companies have a set of safety and risk management challenges that may not be present during most of the year. If you are hanging Christmas ...
By CoreMark | November 23, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Affordable Care Act Future Uncertain

Now that we will have Donald Trump as president and the GOP retaining control of Congress, all bets are off on the future of the Affordable Care Act. It’s likely that Trump will hand over the health insurance reform portfolio to Speaker Paul Ryan, who along with the House leadership in July published a blueprint ...
By CoreMark | November 17, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Pot’s Legal. What Does It Mean for Your Business’s Anti-drug Policies

Now that Californians have overwhelmingly voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, many employers may be wondering where they stand if they want a drug-free workplace. Fortunately, Proposition 64 included a number of safeguards for employers, allowing them to have anti-drug workplace rules in place. In fact, these safeguards were built into the initiative ...
By CoreMark | November 15, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Avoiding the Risks Inherent in Your Firm’s Social Media Presence

More and more companies are developing a social media presence to increase their exposure and reach new clients. Typically, an organization will put a person in charge of the company’s social media accounts and making posts to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other sites. If managed properly, your organization can reap significant benefits from a creative ...
By CoreMark | November 11, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Why You Need ‘Key Man’ Insurance

If you are operating a small business, you are likely relying on a small staff to get the job done. Many employees in small firms have to wear many hats and if one of them or an owner should die, the business could suffer greatly from that sudden loss of talent. If you don’t have ...
By CoreMark | November 9, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Appeal Promptly if You Get Notice of Staff Receiving Exchange Subsidies

More employers have been receiving notices from their state health insurance exchange, informing them that one of their employees has received subsidies to purchase insurance on the exchange and that the employer may be subject to a penalty for not offering employees a health plan that complies with the law. The notices are not calls ...
By CoreMark | November 5, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Individual Market Open Enrollment Starts Today

Today is the official start of open enrollment in the individual health insurance market. If you are enrolled with our assistance, or are new to the market, you have until Dec. 15 to enroll in a plan for the 2017 policy year. However if you miss that first deadline and sign up between Dec. 16 ...
By CoreMark | November 1, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Why Your Business May Need Pollution Coverage

Almost all businesses have some risk of being sued or cited for pollution, even the most benign, such as a property owner. Pollution exposures for many businesses are obvious – like dry cleaners from the chemicals they use, to printing companies from the ink they use. And any manufacturer would face some type of pollution ...
By CoreMark | October 28, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Protective Safeguards Endorsement: How to Avoid Having Your Business Property Damage Claim Denied

Whether you own and insure your office or other business property, or insure the office or building you rent, you will obviously want to make sure that you have an automatic sprinkler system or some other fire detection or suppression system in place in case of fire. You’ll also want to make sure that your ...
By CoreMark | October 26, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Cal/OSHA Mulls Changes to First Aid Kit Requirement

California employers may have to update and expand their workplace first aid kits next year as Cal/OSHA finalizes new regulations governing what they should contain. The rule-making board for Cal/OSHA has proposed changes that should make it easier to comply as one of the most confusing parts of the regulation is set to be eliminated. ...
By CoreMark | October 21, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Want to Drive for Uber? Better Check Your Coverage

To make ends meet, or to build up their nest eggs, many people have turned to moonlighting as Uber or Lyft drivers However, if you are planning to make some spending money, you need to understand that doing so could invalidate your personal auto policy. Uber and Lyft are so-called “ride-hailing” mobile apps that connect ...
By CoreMark | October 19, 2016 | Blog, insurance

California to Implement State-Mandated Retirement Program

A new law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017 that will require California employers with five or more workers to offer their staff a retirement plan or enroll them in a new state-run retirement program. The law, the first of its kind in the nation, is expected to become a blueprint for other states ...
By CoreMark | October 14, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Prepare Now for Medicare Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 is the official start of open enrollment for Medicare and Medicare Advantage and you should take stock of your situation before signing up for your 2017 plan. Before you get started this year on either renewing your plan or opting for a new one, there are steps you can take to make sure ...
By CoreMark | October 12, 2016 | Blog, insurance

How Three Companies Reduced Their Workers’ Comp Costs

We’ve told you often in these pages about various workplace safety and claims management techniques, but sometimes it’s good to learn from the first-hand experiences of other employers. The National Underwriter insurance trade publication recently profiled three companies that had reduced their workers’ comp costs using a combination of claims management and safety initiatives. You ...
By CoreMark | October 7, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Employers Protest Proposed First Aid Claims Rules

California employers are protesting a part of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s 2017 rate filing dealing with first aid claims, asking the insurance commissioner to delay adoption. Businesses say the proposed reporting provisions are unclear and inappropriate in light of impending changes that will exempt the first $250 of every claim from the experience ...
By CoreMark | October 5, 2016 | Blog, insurance

New Law Tightens Workers’ Comp Exclusion for Officers, Board Members

A new law has made changes to the officer exclusion for workers’ compensation in California but it could cause problems for policies that do not incept on Jan. 1. Starting in 2017, an officer can be only excluded from workers’ comp coverage if he or she owns 15% or more of the company’s stock. That’s ...
By CoreMark | September 30, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Cal/OSHA Ramping up Inspections: How to Prepare

California businesses can expect more inspections in the coming years as Cal/OSHA ramps up its personnel after its workforce was cut back as a result of the effects of the Great Recession that started in 2008. In 2015, Cal/OSHA inspections reached the highest level in five years and the number of violations cited was the ...
By CoreMark | September 28, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Rates Expected to Climb 4% in 2017 as Workers Grow Weary of Cost-shifting

A new survey by Mercer Human Resources has found that average premiums for group health plans should increase by about 4% for 2017 after employers make plan changes like increasing deductibles and switching carriers. Employers have enjoyed health plan cost increases of about 4% or less each year since 2011. Prior to that, essentially before ...
By CoreMark | September 23, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Ransom Often the Smallest Cost of Ransomware

One of the least understood cyber threats to businesses is ransomware, which hackers use to shut down an organization’s computer system until the victim pays a ransom to unlock it. While most organizations focus on the cost of the ransom, which is typically less than $1,000, the costlier damage is to the company’s operations, which ...
By CoreMark | September 21, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Hackers Can Tap USB Devices in New Attacks, Researchers Warn

New research says that USB devices like thumb drives, and even keyboards and mice, pose one of the biggest cyber threats to enterprises. Two scientists and researchers with Berlin’s SR Labs presented on the newest cyber threat at the recent “Black Hat” hacking conference in Las Vegas in a presentation titled: “Bad USB – On ...
By CoreMark | September 16, 2016 | Blog, insurance

The New Threat to Your Officers and Directors: Cyber

The top brass at companies are increasingly being held accountable by partners and shareholders for cyber attacks that occur under their watch, putting their directors’ and officers’ personal assets at risk when lawsuits ensue. While actions by officers and directors have always been held under scrutiny, the cyber threat expands their potential liability significantly, according ...
By CoreMark | September 14, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Inexperienced Workers More Apt to Sustain Workplace Injuries

As an employer you need to pay special attention to the safety of inexperienced workers, who account for nearly half of all reported workplace accidents, according to a new survey. The survey, by the Golden Triangle Business Roundtable in Texas, found that workers with less than five years’ experience accounted for 43% of reported workplace ...
By CoreMark | September 9, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Countdown to New Overtime Exemption Rules

If you have not yet done so, now is the time to start preparing all of your accounting and payroll systems for the onset of the Department of Labor’s new overtime exemption rules. The final regulation changes the salary level that must be met before an employee can be exempt from overtime if they satisfy ...
By CoreMark | September 7, 2016 | Blog, insurance

More Small Employers Restore Health Benefits

Many small employers that dropped health insurance coverage for their employees after the Affordable Care Act took effect have reinstated the benefits as competition for talent increases.Companies with fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide health insurance benefits to their workers under the ACA, and after the law took effect, many dropped coverage ...
By Amy Morrow | September 2, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Identify Your Workers’ Needs, Consider Costs before Open Enrollment

It’s almost time for small group open enrollment and you need to drive engagement so that your employees can make informed decisions about their health insurance options. We want to help you help your employees understand all of their options so that they can purchase a plan that is appropriate for their situation. So here ...
By Amy Morrow | August 30, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Why You Need to Review, Update Your Business Continuity Plans

We often urge you to have a risk management plan in place so that you are prepared for the many eventualities that can affect your business. Your risk management plan should be part of a larger business continuity plan for keeping your organization going during periods of disruptions that are both large and small. The ...
By Amy Morrow | August 27, 2016 | Blog, insurance

The Effects on Your X-Mod When Purchasing Another Company

Many companies are often taken off guard when their workers’ comp X-Mod shoots up after a merger or acquisition. The experience modifier spike is usually the result of the other employer having a less than stellar workplace safety record and high workers’ comp claims costs. But there are pre-emptive steps you can take to understand ...
By Amy Morrow | August 24, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Pokémon Go and the Dangers to Your Business

The Pokémon Go craze has exposed people who play the game to new dangers that have previously not been associated with mobile phone apps. But while many of these perils are associated with individuals who actually play the game, companies also have a lot to lose because of the game. To play Pokémon Go, players ...
By Amy Morrow | August 19, 2016 | Blog, insurance

OSHA to Issue Guidance on Acceptable Workplace Safety Incentive Programs

Fed-OSHA has promised that it will soon publish guidance on what type of employee incentive programs discourage workers from reporting workplace injuries and illness. The announcement comes after the workplace safety agency has clamped down on the use of programs that include incentives that can reduce the chances of workers reporting injuries so that they ...
By Amy Morrow | August 17, 2016 | Blog, insurance

OSHA’s Electronic Reporting Rules Contain Hidden Requirements

By now you should be aware of Federal OSHA’s new rules on the electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses that will take effect next year. But, while the new rules focus mainly on employers with 250 or more workers submitting Form 300A electronically starting in 2017, the new regulation actually contains a number of ...
By Amy Morrow | August 12, 2016 | Blog, insurance

IRS Proposes New Rules Making Health Coverage Opt-out Arrangements More Difficult

The IRS has proposed new regulations that add another layer of complication to any employer that offers or is considering offering the option of cash in lieu of payment to employees that decline employer-sponsored health coverage. Already, any employer offering to pay employees who decline coverage has to walk a fine line and clearly state ...
By Amy Morrow | August 10, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Why Your Employees Need Voluntary Disability Coverage

No one plans on becoming disabled and missing work, but it can happen. An illness or an accident could cause one of your employees to be unable to work for months, or even years. While their health insurance will cover their medical expenses, it won’t cover the cost of living while they recover. Only 30% ...
By Amy Morrow | August 5, 2016 | Blog, insurance

New X-Mod System Reduces Effect of One Large Claim

One of the biggest complaints in workers’ comp – that one large claim can skew an employer’s X-Mod – is about to finally be addressed in California. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s “split-point” experience rating system, in which an employer’s actual workers’ comp losses are divided into actual primary losses and actual excess losses, ...
By Amy Morrow | August 3, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Court Ruling Lets EEOC Inspect Workplaces without Consent, Warrant

A federal court has ruled that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has the right to conduct on-site inspections of businesses without a warrant or consent from the owner. This new development could put employers in the crosshairs of the EEOC anytime the agency deems a complaint worthy enough to visit a company’s premises over ...
By Amy Morrow | July 28, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Employment Liability Threat Grows; What to Watch Out for

One of the biggest lawsuit threats U.S. businesses face is from their own employees. Any company with employees – be that one or 500 – can be sued, and even if the case never goes to court, it can create a significant burden for your business. While most cases are settled out of court, they ...
By Amy Morrow | July 27, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Bill Would Reverse Ban on Using FSAs, HSAs for Over-the-counter Meds

Legislation in Congress would reverse a controversial portion of the Affordable Care Act that bars employees from tapping their flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and health reimbursement arrangements to pay for over-the-counter medications. The ACA barred the practice of spending funds that had been set aside using pre-tax dollars to spend on medications that ...
By Amy Morrow | July 22, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Measure Aims to Reduce Unnecessary Opioid Prescriptions

Employers and insurers in California are enthusiastic about the prospects of legislation that aims to reduce the chances of injured workers getting hooked on opioids when they are recovering from workplace injuries. Senate Bill 482, which is sailing the through the Legislature, would require doctors to first check the state’s prescription drug monitoring system before ...
By Amy Morrow | July 20, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Finding Ways to Reduce Human Errors that Cause Workplace Accidents

An Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor is hoping that a study he is embarking on will yield new methods for reducing workplace injuries by identifying tools to motivate and engage workers in the safety process. The study will focus on human error and the role it plays in accidents, and accident prevention. Safety sciences professor ...
By Amy Morrow | July 15, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Revisit Risk Response Plans in Light of Emerging Threats

There’s a lot going on in the world and the risks are changing and evolving rapidly, making it difficult for many companies to adjust and manage the risks they face effectively. Some risks that barely registered a decade ago now pose serious challenges to many businesses. There are novel technological risks with new threats constantly ...
By Amy Morrow | July 13, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Republicans Unveil Two Proposals to Replace/Augment the ACA

Republicans in June introduced two sweeping proposals for replacing or augmenting the Affordable Care Act, as they seek to blaze a trail they say will be better for both employers and individual Americans. Rep. Pete Sessions, (R-Texas) and Sen. Bill Cassidy, (R-Louisiana), introduced H.R. 5284, which they call an “alternative” health care bill which will ...
By Amy Morrow | July 8, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Bill Would Nearly Double Permitted HSA Contributions

As employers shift more of the cost burden to employees, legislation in Congress would nearly double the amount workers can put into health savings accounts. Under H.R. 5445, employees enrolled in high-deductible plans and opting for single coverage could in 2017 contribute up to $6,500 to their HSAs, while those with family coverage could contribute ...
By Amy Morrow | July 8, 2016 | Blog, insurance

Lights Out Shout-Out : Paige

In this month’s edition of the Lights Out Shout-Out, we are spotlighting Customer Service Representative Paige! Paige was working with a particular client that had some pretty lengthy equipment, vehicle and driver lists which made renewals and changes more challenging for the client and our team. Paige implemented a procedure to organize these lists in an ...
By Amy Morrow | July 6, 2016 | Blog, insurance