Trucking Firms Have Difficult Choices in Wake of AB 5 Decision

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not hear an appeal of the sweeping California independent contractor law known as AB 5 is likely to cause serious personnel headaches for motor carriers in the Golden State. While the law is already in effect, there had been an injunction exempting trucking companies after the California Trucking Association had sued to overturn the law as it applies to the industry. The Supreme Court’s decision effectively lifts the injunction, and the CTA is sounding the alarm on how it will wreak havoc on motor carriers. The association says the lifting of the injunction will…
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Rules for Owners Who Want to Be Exempt from Workers’ Comp

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If you own your business and have employees, you are likely exempt from having to cover yourself under your workers’ compensation policy in California. But what if you have multiple owners? There are rules promulgated by state law that set out the parameters for when owners can be excluded from the workers’ comp policy, and you need to understand the law so you don’t fall afoul of it. The law limits the number of individuals in an organization who could claim an exemption from workers’ comp coverage, including: An officer or member of the board of directors may elect to…
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Top 10 Reasons You Need a Cyber Insurance Policy

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With reports of cyber criminals increasingly focusing on smaller companies for targeted attacks, now more than ever businesses that store sensitive data need to consider how they protect their information systems. And while you can install firewalls and take other precautionary measures, should an attack occur, you will be left facing untold costs and possible fines and lawsuits by those whose data may have been exposed. One way to protect your company is by securing a cyber liability policy. But what does a cyber policy cover, and why should you get one? You may think an attack may never target…
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Getting a Head Start on Open Enrollment

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As open enrollment is right around the corner, now is the time to gear up to maximize employee enrollment, help them make the best selections for their own personal circumstances, and stay compliant with relevant laws and regulations. It’s a lot to take in as uncertainty has been a constant during the last few years with the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects on people’s health and the economy. Still, since health coverage and other employee benefits are an important part of your compensation package — and your competitive edge for talent — it’s important that you get it right,…
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Significant Changes to Construction Dual-Wage Classifications

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As inflation drives up salaries in all sectors, the workers’ compensation wage thresholds for construction dual class codes in California have increased as of Sept. 1, 2022. State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara in July approved the recommendation by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau to increase the wage thresholds for high-wage workers. The new rates apply to workers’ comp policies incepting on or after Sept. 1. In these dual class codes, workers’ compensation rates are different for workers above and below the wage threshold. Rates are lower for workers whose hourly pay is above the threshold as statistics have shown…
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Two-Thirds of Small Firms Are Boosting Their Benefits Packages: Poll

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Now more than ever, employers need to step up their employee benefits game beyond providing group health insurance. Thanks to the Great Resignation, employees are demanding more from their current and prospective employers. And those that don’t deliver lose employees or have trouble attracting new talent, as long-time colleagues head for the exits. Good pay and a robust health insurance package still win the day, but employers are having to do more to sweeten the pot, according to a new survey by MetLife. One of the biggest factors affecting American employees is stress and burnout and the survey reflects these…
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Cal/OSHA Requires Employers to Protect Workers from Wildfire Smoke

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Cal/OSHA has issued a reminder to employers that they are required to protect their outdoor workers from unhealthy air due to wildfire smoke. Cal/OSHA’s Protection from Wildfire Smoke emergency regulation put in place in August 2019 was made permanent in February 2021. For the safety of your workers and to comply with the regulation, it’s important that you follow the regulations and know when you will need to take action to protect them from outdoor smoke. The regulation applies when the Air Quality Index (AQI) for airborne particulate matter 2.5 microns (PM2.5) is 151 or greater in an area where…
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Commissioner Rejects Proposed Hike in Benchmark Rate

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For the third year in a row, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has rejected the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s proposal for a workers’ compensation rate increase, and has ordered instead that benchmark rates remain the same. Lara rejected the WCIRB’s proposal that benchmark rates increase 7.6% for policies incepting on or after Sept. 1, saying that there was not enough data to support such a large increase. That means the average benchmark rate will remain unchanged at $1.45 per $100 of payroll over the next year, compared to the $1.56 per $100 of payroll the Rating Bureau had recommended. The…
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Recent Legal Actions Illustrate Importance of Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies

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A California judge in May 2022 approved an $18 million settlement between video-game giant Activision Blizzard and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after the federal agency accused the company of subjecting employees to severe sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination, and that it engaged in retaliation against employees who complained. A few months earlier Tesla was sued by six women, who described a culture of sexual harassment that included unwanted touching, catcalls and retaliation against those who complained. And recently 15 women interviewed by the Financial Times accused Apple Inc. of giving short shrift to their complaints of sexual harassment. While…
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The Story Behind Increasing Commercial Auto Rates

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Commercial auto insurance rates have been on the rise since 2011, increasing often by more than 10% a year as accidents and claims costs have soared. The trucking industry has been the hardest hit by the steep increases, and there are a number of factors contributing to the rate hikes, according to a recent study by Risk Placement Services. One of the biggest factors is that insurers have had trouble keeping up with increasing accidents and spiraling claims costs, leaving them in the red for most of the past decade. Huge court verdicts, higher maintenance expenses, reduced freight demand and…
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