Why health care entities purchase directors and officers liability coverage

Health care organizations are under constant pressure in today’s world of evolving practices, procedures and laws. Managers deal with everything from the investment and allocation of corporate resources to administrative duties. The decisions they make affect everyone who has a relationship with the health care entity.

It’s a huge responsibility. Every action has the potential to put the organization and its individual managers and directors at risk for financial or reputational loss. But directors and officers liability insurance for health care entities – D&O coverage – can help these institutions recover from claims made against the organization and its managers.

In addition to all the issues faced by any business, health care managers must oversee and direct issues unique to health care facilities, such as peer review committees, quality of care and staff privileges. Health care facilities want to hire and retain top talent in the industry to oversee and run their organizations, but need to protect them from having personal liability at stake. D&O coverage helps accomplish that goal.

Consider some potential risks:

  • written demands for monetary damages or nonmonetary relief
  • civil suits
  • formal administrative actions
  • regulatory proceedings
  • Allegations can be brought by shareholders, patients, regulatory agencies, competitors, creditors or suppliers stating
  • that the health care employees violated their professional duties of loyalty, obedience or due diligence. And those
  • allegations or lawsuits could involve those employees’ spouses, heirs and estates.

Directors and officers coverage can insure:

  • the health care institution and its subsidiaries
  • past and present directors, officers, trustees, administrators, employees, faculty members, staff members, volunteers, members of boards or committees (including peer review committee members)
  • spouses brought into a lawsuit because of shared property interest or transferred property
  • estates, heirs, legal representatives or assigns of deceased, incapacitated or bankrupt insured persons

In summary, D&O coverage protects both health care professionals and the organizations they serve. It gives professionals the peace of mind to fulfill their roles within industry operating guidelines while preserving the organization’s ability to attract and hire top talent.

Contact your Ayres Group Agent for more information about directors’ and officers’ liability coverage for your organization.

Courtesy Cinfin

Safety comes first when the pool is open

A refreshing pool on a hot day can be so inviting. Children of all ages enjoy splashing in the cool waters in private home-based pools, swim clubs, health clubs, country clubs and public pools.

With this fun comes great responsibility. To make sure everyone leaves the pool happy and healthy, pool owners and operators should take steps to prevent injury and drowning.

Television and movies often show drowning as a dramatic event with victims thrashing and calling for help or lifeguards springing into action for the save.

While these instances can occur, drownings often are silent and difficult to see. They can occur in shallow water or even after a person has left the pool.

Water clarity is an important component of proper life safety in the pool. A lifeguard, parent or counselor cannot see someone in need of help as easily if the water is cloudy and murky. Having lots of people in the pool also can affect water clarity, emphasizing the need for proper chemical balance and additional lifesaving staff. Lifeguards must stay alert, taking breaks in rotation while following protocols at all times.

Some signs to look for to identify a potential drowning victim in the water may include:

Head low in water with mouth at water level
Head tilted back with mouth open
Glassy or empty eyes
Failure to kick or move legs while in a vertical position in the water
Trying to swim with no headway
Remember, too, that drowning doesn’t always happen in the deep end. Shallow water blackout results when an individual holds his or her breath for too long. Younger swimmers can drown in much shallower water. A person can drown in as little as 2-3 inches of water in less than 30 seconds.

Dry or delayed drowning is another scary and potentially fatal phenomenon that can occur long after an incident in the pool. Symptoms can include:

Coughing
Chest pain
Trouble breathing
Feeling extremely tired/change in energy level or increase in irritability
A more detailed description is available at healthychildren.org.

With proper supervision and awareness, pool owners and operators can prevent a tragedy from occurring and help everyone to enjoy their time at the pool!

Courtesy: Cinfin.com

For graduates and their families: Celebrate safely

Most teens see graduation as the end of adolescence and the beginning of their next phase of life: a rite of passage into adulthood. It is a time for celebration, but both parents and graduates should consider ways to keep the celebration safe.

STUDENTS

  • Share your graduation and post-graduation party plans with your parents.
  • Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
  • Wear a seat belt – even in the back seat.
  • Stay with a group of friends and watch out for one another.
  • Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Don’t get in a vehicle with a driver that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Report any illegal drug or alcohol use as well as unsafe behaviors such as threats, assaults and weapons.

PARENTS

  • Discuss your child’s plans for graduation and post-graduation celebrations.
  • Know who your child will be with and talk to their parents to coordinate plans.
  • Make sure your phone and your child’s cell phones are fully charged.
  • Provide your child with alternate adults to call in case they feel unsafe – no questions asked.
  • Wait up for your child to make sure they return safely.
  • Talk about drugs and alcohol with your child and set expectations.
  • Report any illegal drug or alcohol use as well as unsafe behaviors such as threats, assaults and weapons.

PARTY HOSTS

Graduation parties require special planning because of the unusual mix of ages and relationships. Some families find a brunch works well, as alcohol would not be expected at this time of day. Many parents have decided to serve no alcohol at parties given for teenagers even if adults attend them. Consider these tips when hosting a graduation party:

  • An adult should be present throughout the party.
  • Alcohol or other drugs should NOT be served or available.
  • Anyone who leaves the party should not be allowed to return – this will discourage people from leaving with the intent to drink or use drugs and then return to the party.
  • Encourage small parties, limiting attendance to 10-15 teens per adult present. Go over party plans and house rules with your teen prior to the party so all expectations are understood.
  • Plan to have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.

Congratulations to graduates – and their parents – on reaching this milestone.

Courtesy: Cinfin.com

A Guide for Hiring Safer Drivers

As the United States truck driver shortage intensifies, it’s important for fleet managers to be reminded of good hiring practices. The challenge for fleet managers will not only be to fill increasing numbers of vacant positions, but also to ensure safe drivers are behind the wheels of company vehicles. From the interview to requirements for employment, every fleet should have a clear driver hiring process.

Step 1: Establish Firm Hiring Guidelines
Formal hiring guidelines are crucial to ensuring every driver has been properly and consistently vetted. EMC recommends the following minimum requirements for hiring truck drivers:

  • Applicants must have a valid license for the vehicle type and load hauled
  • No chargeable accidents in the past year
  • No DUI or DWI convictions in the last five years
  • No more than two non-serious moving violations in the past three years
  • Minimum of three years of verifiable driving experience with similar vehicles

Step 2: Take a Close Look at an Applicant’s Motor Vehicle Record
Meeting the minimum requirements for a driving position is only the beginning of the vetting process for new hires. A thorough review of an applicant’s motor vehicle record (MVR) will reveal even more. Past violations noted on the MVR are often an indication of the potential for future accidents and violations. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, the occurrence of one of the following moving violations increased the likelihood of becoming involved in a crash by the following amounts:

  • Failure to use turn signal: 96 percent
  • Improper passing: 88 percent
  • Improper turn: 84 percent
  • Improper or erratic lane change: 80 percent
  • Speeding more than 15 mph over the speed limit: 67 percent

Beyond identifying violations, the MVR will provide information on the applicant’s license endorsements and any restrictions they may have. You need to make sure your applicants have the necessary endorsements for the cargo that they will be hauling. For example, if your company transports hazardous materials, drivers will need a HAZMAT endorsement.

Step 3: Go Beyond the MVR
In addition to a thorough MVR review, a well-organized interview will help you better assess the values, personality and work ethic of potential drivers. These soft skills are a solid indication of what often characterizes a long-term and valued employee. Ask open-ended questions during the interview about the candidate’s driving history and what they have done to improve their driving skills.

You may want to ask applicants to complete a written test and a driving test as part of the interview process. If you decide to hire the applicant, consider hiring them on a temporary basis to make sure their driving skills and habits are a good fit. Remember, you are hiring someone that represents your company, protects the public from accidents and will ensure the safety of your loads. The more comprehensive the hiring process, the greater the likelihood of putting the right person behind the wheel.

Step 4: Make Ongoing Training a Priority
Driver error is the No. 1 reason for truck accidents. As an employer, it is your responsibility to make certain drivers receive ongoing training to ensure their safety and the safety of the public. To help your training efforts, you’ll find a full array of driver training materials on the Loss Control section of EMC’s website. These include online training programs, posters, tech sheets, safety program templates and more.

Step 5: Use EMC’s SuperVision Driver Monitoring Service to Effortlessly Monitor Driver Safety
Driver monitoring is an effective way to know if you are exposing your business to loss revenue, legal costs and higher insurance premiums that could result from accidents. EMC can help with SuperVision, a new service available at a discounted rate to policyholders. SuperVision is specifically designed for smaller fleet operators who can’t justify the expense of a full-time employee to monitor drivers. Using SuperVision, you’ll know when a driver receives a violation and have an easier time picking out unsafe drivers. Ask your EMC loss control representative for more information about this valuable service.

Courtesy of EMC

No business is too small for cyber criminals

Data breaches make the news when big retail chains get hit with a cyber attack. You may even be notified of the breach by the retailer if they have reason to believe your data was compromised. Or, you may read about data breaches when you receive a new credit card or are offered identity theft protection.

What you might not hear about are the cases where a business owner goes bankrupt after a data breach. A 2012 study by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 percent of small to midsize businesses that suffered a breach went out of business within six months.

FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE

Your first line of defense as a business owner is to educate yourself on how to prevent or mitigate a breach. Follow news reports, and take advantage of online materials available to help you prepare for and respond to cyber attacks.

SECOND LINE OF DEFENSE

Your Ayres Group insurance agent could be your second line of defense, providing information about Internet exposures and insurance products. Any business that handles private information is at risk of breach and subject to cyber exposures. Private information includes personal identifiers (Social Security numbers, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, etc.), financial information (bank or investment accounts, credit cards, etc.), medical or medical claim history, employee personal data or student records.

Companies that use third parties to process their transactions or record keeping, such as payroll, employee benefits or billing, also have the potential for a cyber loss. Consider the possibility of that third party experiencing a data breach where you might be ultimately responsible for the breached records.

WHY BUY CYBER INSURANCE?

Cyber insurance can reimburse for expenses incurred such as:

  • Breach notification law compliance – 47 states have data breach notification laws that include an obligation to notify those whose information has been breached and certain federal laws, such as HIPAA, may also require similar notifications.
  • Breach response costs – for example, notifying and providing services to affected individuals
  • Opportunity costs and out-of-pocket expenses involved in resolving identity theft problems for business owners and customers
  • Damage to the business computer systems and data due to unauthorized access, hacking, malware or denial of service attacks

Remember, data comes in all forms, paper and electronic, and business owners need to protect data to manage risk.

Contact The Ayres Group for more information.

Courtesy Cincinnati Insurance

Farm Safety Guide

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, farming is the fourth most dangerous job in the United States.

Farmers know risks can come from all parts of their operation; machinery, livestock, and the day-to-day labor on a farm all pose an inherent risk. What’s always true: Working on a farm demands constant care and caution.

Below are some easy guidelines to follow that could reduce the likelihood of damage or injury and help make your farm a safer place for your family and employees.

Tractors And Farm Machinery

The majority of all farm accidents involve tractors or machinery. Here are some ways you can minimize the chances of an accident:

  • Install a Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) on all tractors. New tractors manufactured in the US are required to utilize a ROPS, but many older tractors are operated without one. Nearly half of all tractor fatalities are caused by rollovers, and a ROPS, combined with a seat belt or harness, is nearly 100% effective in preventing fatalities to the operator.
  • Never modify or alter an ROPS. If you do have a rollover, immediately replace your ROPS.
  • Have all operators complete a tractor safety course.
  • Inspect and maintain all machinery, equipment, and tools to keep them in proper working condition.
  • Make sure all equipment has properly working lights. Slow moving vehicle (SMV) signs are required on all equipment that travels at speeds less than 25 mph on public roads.
  • Do not allow children to ride on tractors.
  • Make sure all power take-offs, belts, and augers have proper guards and shields.
  • Turn off power before adjusting, servicing, or unclogging power-driven machinery.
  • Make sure loads being towed are properly hitched to the drawbar and that pins and chains are in place.
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated.

Chemicals And Other Hazards

Exposure to hazardous chemicals can lead to serious health consequences. Always note the manufacturer’s warnings on the chemical’s packaging and follow the guidelines below:

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for storage, handling, and application of chemicals. Contact your county extension agent for additional information or training on chemical handling. Most states require applicator training in order to apply chemicals.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE), including gloves, eye/face shields, earplugs, respiratory protection and hats.
  • When entering pits in hog barns, always wear a respirator to avoid being overcome by the fumes. Never enter alone. Have at least two other people with you, and always wear a harness.
  • Have first-aid kits available, and develop an emergency plan in case of chemical exposure.

In addition to danger from chemicals, farmers have to worry about damage to their hearing from noisy equipment. Studies show that more than 50 percent of older farmers have hearing loss. Make sure to wear proper hearing protection.

Security

Farm theft is a rising problem in the United States. Due to the rising cost of metals, for example, copper wiring has become a desirable commodity for thieves in rural areas. Ammonia tanks – because of that chemical’s utility in the manufacture of methamphetamines – have become targets. Take these steps to secure your property:

  • Maintain adequate lighting around the farmyard and in the home.
  • Have single cylinder deadbolt locks on all entrance doors to your home. Keep farm buildings locked.
  • Record serial numbers of all equipment. Mark equipment and livestock to aid in recovery should a theft occur.
  • Ask neighbors to check the farm regularly when you are away.
  • Inspect and maintain fences used for livestock.

Buildings

Farms have a large amount of property and many structures, each with their own particular dangers.

  • Have an electrician verify that all electrical systems and equipment are properly grounded. This can help reduce the chance of shocks and/or production losses to livestock.
  • Install moisture-proof wiring, fixtures and boxes in hog and dairy barns. This will help prevent your wires from deteriorating and becoming a hazard.
  • Be sure grain bins have permanent ladders inside and out. Use a lifeline when entering a bin or silo, always have at least two other people present, and wear a protective mask.
  • Do not use extension cords as permanent hookups.

Fire Prevention

Not only can a farm fire undercut your livelihood, but it can also put you and your family’s lives at risk.

  • Maintain smoke detectors throughout your home, and check that batteries are working. (Change the batteries at least every 6 months.)
  • Place approved fire extinguishers in your home, on large tractors and combines, and in barns, shops, and machine sheds. Check and tag the extinguishers annually.
  • Develop an evacuation plan for family members, including a meeting place.
  • Have a licensed electrician periodically inspect your electrical systems. Be sure updates to your current electrical systems are performed by a qualified electrician.
  • Consider installing a lightning protection system. Consult a UL or LPI (Lightning Protection Institute) approved contractor.
  • Practice good maintenance of your farm or ranch. Cut weeds and grass around buildings, maintain a clean shop, and store all chemicals and flammable liquids properly.
  • Don’t burn trash outdoors on windy days. Don’t ever leave fires unattended.

For more information on custom Agribusiness Insurance solutions for your farm operation, contact Jeff Brazo at the Ayresgroup.com

Personal Property inventory – Learn the benefits of having a personal property inventory list

If your possessions are stolen or destroyed, your insurance company will ask you to provide a record of them. Learn the benefits of having a personal property inventory list below.

Details Will Be Important At Claim Time

Do you know the brand name and serial number of your stereo? Would you recall off the top of your head when and how much you paid for your digital camera? Without a list in front of you for reference, the details of your valuables may be forgotten – which creates more frustration in an already stressful time, and can cost you money in the long run.

That’s why it’s important to have a personal property inventory created ahead of time – before an unfortunate incident.

What Is A Personal Property Inventory?

A personal property inventory is a complete list of all your household goods and personal belongings. A complete inventory includes the following information about each item on your inventory list:

  • The room in the house where it’s located
  • Item description and quantity
  • Purchase date
  • Place of purchase
  • Original cost
  • Estimated current value
  • Serial and model number
  • An accompanying videotape or still photographs of each item
  • Receipts and current appraisals for the most valuable items
  • How Does An Inventory Help You?

No one is fully prepared for a loss, but you can take steps to reduce the stress in the aftermath. A personal property inventory in place before a claim ensures that your claim is filed promptly and completely, which means that you’ll get it settled quickly and accurately, and get your life back to normal.

You can also use an inventory to determine if you have adequate coverage for your possessions. Many people find out after a loss that they were not sufficiently covered, and should have purchased higher coverage amounts or replacement cost coverage. A good rule of thumb is to add up how much it would cost to replace your belongings, and then compare it to your policy’s personal property limit. This is an indicator of whether or not you need to purchase additional coverage.

It’s also a good idea to check the claim settlement methods on your policy. If you’ve purchased replacement cost coverage, your settlement allows you to buy new items to replace the damaged or stolen ones. If you have actual cash value coverage, you receive what your items are worth at the time of the loss – taking into account depreciation.

More Helpful Tips

Be complete with your inventory. An effective way to do an inventory is to split the area of your house and take one room at a time. Start outside and take views of each side of your house, including the landscaping. Make sure to include all items in a storage shed or garage, like children’s bikes and sporting goods.

Move inside the home and cover one room at a time. You might want to start with artwork or wall hangings and then move onto the floor. Remember to include all high-valued items like antiques, collectibles, silverware and jewelry.

Electronics are a key part of any personal property inventory. TVs, stereos and personal computers should be included, as well as clothing, CDs, tapes, furniture and items inside china cabinets and storage bins.

As you videotape each item, it’s important that you verbally state when each item was purchased, its value, any special features and the model and serial number. If you choose to photograph these items instead of videotaping them, write all pertinent information on the backs of the pictures.

When The Inventory Is Complete

Once you’ve completed the inventory, copy everything including paper lists, videotapes, receipts, computer printouts, appraisals and photos. Store one set in a secure place in your home, and store the other off the premises in a safe deposit box or with a friend or relative.

Update your inventory every four to six months to ensure that the information is accurate and reflects all items in the home. Save all the receipts for newly purchased items, and make sure to update your inventory as soon as you make a major purchase and delete the items you no longer have.

For more information on personal property insurance, contact your Ayres Group Representative.

 

Your personal umbrella policy: Increased policy limits…and more

Accidents involving common, everyday activities may result in a worst-case scenario. Being held legally liable for injury to another person or damage to their property could exhaust your home or personal auto policy liability limits, and cause financial ruin to your family. A personal umbrella policy works hand in hand with your existing underlying insurance, adding a layer of liability limits to protect you in today’s litigious society.

A personal umbrella liability policy offers vital coverage benefits, and for a relatively inexpensive premium compared to the amount of coverage purchased. Talk to your local independent agent to find out how a personal umbrella allows you to obtain:

  • protection for claims for losses not covered by an underlying policy
  • worldwide coverage
  • rental car, special events and liquor liability coverage
  • coverage for libel, slander, defamation or invasion of privacy
  • coverage for loss of earnings while settling a claim

Review your insurance plan regularly, and seek your agent’s coverage recommendation.

An umbrella liability policy may be especially appropriate when you have certain exposures:

  • Is there a potential hazard in your backyard? Swimming pools, trampolines and other meant-to-be-fun gear can cause serious injuries.
  • Do you own a pet? When left unattended or without adequate safety controls, some pets become scared and aggressive. You could be held liable if your pet bites a neighbor or passer-by.
  • Are there any young drivers in the family? Inexperienced drivers are at higher risk of being involved in auto accidents.
  • Do you own a boat? Lawsuits can result from all sorts of water-related accidents, such as skiers being towed from your boat or from another boat. Improper and unsafe personal watercraft use accounts for most watercraft liability accidents.
  • Do you have adequate auto insurance liability limits? Most standard auto policies insure you, your resident family members and those who use your car with permission. The possibility of a serious loss – and the need for umbrella coverage – is there.

These are just a few situations where you could be held responsible for claims for loss that exceed the liability limits provided by your personal auto or homeowner policy. A personal umbrella liability policy protects your financial assets and can make the difference in your ability to meet your responsibility to reimburse others for their injury or damage.

Your Ayres Group Agent can help you review coverage options to meet your needs. Contact them today!

Source: Cincinnati Insurance

Special events: Know why, what, where and who

From luncheons to extreme sporting events – and everything in between – special events can be excellent ways for nonprofit organizations to raise money and increase visibility.

While the extra revenue may be welcome, consider any additional risks. Are the risks being assumed worth the benefits gained?

Before your organization hosts a special event, consider the why, what, where, who and how.

Why does your organization want to hold the this event? Is it to grow name recognition, recruit donors and volunteers or raise funds to support your organization’s mission? Special events can meet multiple goals.

What type of event will be most beneficial to the organization? Thewhy of the event will guide you to the what of the event. Any event involving athletic activities or alcohol will add considerable risk. Make sure you will be able to achieve your objective without risking the reputation of your organization. It can be difficult to recover from bad publicity after an accident or negative incident at a sponsored event.

Where will the event be held? The venue is critical. Determining the size, scope and cost of the venue will correlate directly to the event’s success or failure. If you’re leasing a venue, place priority on reviewing the contractual requirements of the lease. Consult an attorney before you sign any contract. Some contracts require the renter to extend insurance coverage to the venue. While this is appropriate in some instances, determine if it is reasonable for your event and consult your Ayres Group Agent for coverage advice. Location also plays into the number of volunteers and employees you will need at the event. If your event is on property you own, check local zoning regulations to make sure your event complies with any zoning restrictions, and require proof of insurance from any vendors coming onto your premises.

Who will coordinate, manage, staff and participate in the event?Consider who has the experience and expertise to manage the event and to staff it sufficiently for best logistics and safety. Consider who these individuals will have contact with and whether any additional background screening or training is necessary.

How will you conduct the event? This important question is often not considered in detail. Determine the details, including the timeline and specifics of each volunteer’s or employee’s role in the event.

By considering all these questions, clearly outlining roles and planning all details, you can better avoid hazardous surprises and assure a successful event.

Courtesy of Cincinnati Insurance

Buying a condo? What you need to know about insurance

Buying a condo is similar to buying a house. Your mortgage company will probably require you to buy condo insurance. But how do you know how much insurance you need?

Typically, condominium associations own and insure the outside structure of a condominium building, including the grounds and other features, such as a pool or tennis court. Most often, a condo owner is responsible for everything from the drywall in (wall coverings, floor coverings, cabinetry, etc.) The insurance term used to identify the condo unit’s interior finishes is Additions and Alterations or A&A. Similar to the cost to rebuild a home used for a homeowner policy (coverage A), the A&A covers the structural finishes and features; it does not include your furnishings or personal property.

ADD UP THE COSTS

When trying to determine the amount of coverage you need to replace the Additions and Alterations (interior finishes) of your condo, you will want to take into consideration anything attached to a wall or floor. You should include the cost of all wallcoverings (including paint), floor coverings, interior doors, trim-work, bookcases, built-in cabinetry, appliances, plumbing fixtures and electrical fixtures.

However, some condominium associations cover both the exterior and structural interior finishes of the building (A&A completed by the association at the time of purchase), with the exception of your personal property and furnishings. The bylaws or agreements of your condo association stipulate what part of the structure the association is responsible to replace in a loss and what part of the unit the condo owner is responsible to replace. Ask your attorney to review the contract before you buy.

REVIEW THE MASTER CONDO POLICY

By carefully reviewing your condo association’s master insurance policy, you will know how much you are responsible to replace and can get a good idea of how much coverage you may need. Make sure your insurance policy covers everything not covered in the association’s policy, such as improvements and alterations to your unit. You also need to value your personal items to determine how much coverage you need for contents; doing a home inventory will help you track your possessions. Don’t forget to include unique or expensive items, such as artwork or jewelry. Ask your insurance agent whether you need separate personal articles coverage to protect all your valuable items.

It is also important to review your loss assessment obligations. For example, if a fire damages part of a condominium building’s common areas, each condo owner is then assessed (charged) money to cover some of the cost of the repairs. Some condo insurance policies may provide coverage to help you recover some of your assessment.

Your Ayres Group Agent can help you review coverage options to meet your needs. Contact them today!