Benefits of Bundling Commercial Policies

Insurance carriers realize that offering additional lines of coverage to an existing customer is less expensive than trying to attract new customers. They also know that the more lines a given customer has, the longer they’re likely to stay with them.

While bundling policies is beneficial to insurance carriers, it is also highly beneficial to their customers. Similar to how bundling your personal home and auto policies may give you a discount, bundling your business policies can provide benefits way beyond cost savings.

Simplified Bookkeeping

Most businesses require a number of insurance policies in order to properly insure their operations, including:

  • Workers’ compensation
  • General liability
  • Commercial property
  • Professional liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Business interruption
  • Cyber liability
  • Directors and officers

Keeping up with that many policies isn’t an easy task for business owners. Therefore, bundling multiple policies with the same carrier simplifies things for bookkeeping purposes. Besides having fewer bills to keep track of every month, it also makes it easier come renewal time if the bundled policies renew at the same time each year.

Your HR department will also appreciate having one number to call when you’re hiring a new employee, have claims questions, are adding a location or making any other business decisions that impact your insurance.

Fewer Agents to Educate

Properly insuring your business requires explaining to your insurance agent exactly what your business does and the exposures that come with it. But without bundling your policies, you have more agents to educate, which takes time. The fewer agents you have to work with, the better equipped they’ll be to help identify and address your exposures.

Assurance That Your Policies Work Together

There may be circumstances when two of your business insurance policies have to work together. For example, you may assume that something not covered by your commercial auto policy would be covered by your commercial umbrella policy. However, many umbrella policies will only extend above an auto policy if the insurance company offering it has a specified financial strength rating. If your carrier’s rating falls below a certain grade, your umbrella policy may not cover an auto loss. That’s just one type of problem that could arise if you keep your policies under separate roofs, with separate agents.

Less Security Risk

When obtaining insurance, business owners are required to divulge sensitive personal information about their

employees, as well as financial information about the business itself. When dividing your policies among multiple agents, you’re basically providing all that information to more people than you would have to if you’d bundled your policies with one agent. And in doing so, you’re increasing the risk of highly sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands.

Better Pricing

Bundling your business’s insurance policies allows your insurance professional to give you access to multiline discounts that help boost your bottom line. Contact The Unland Companies to see if any of your insurers offer multiline discounts. We can give you estimates for bundling your policies with each carrier.

The Cost of Fatigue in the Workplace

Your business depends on the productivity of your employees, and one way to maximize your employees’ potential is to acknowledge and address problems that cause decreased productivity. You may not realize it, but fatigue in the workplace is a serious issue in America today—one that is costing employers big in lost productivity.

 

The Facts

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 38 percent of American workers surveyed experienced “low levels of energy, poor sleep or a feeling of fatigue” during their past two weeks at work. Workers who are fatigued in the workplace are less productive, less focused, experience more health problems and are more likely to be involved in a job-related safety incident. In addition, fatigue causes more absences from work, both from the tiredness itself and also from accompanying medical problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25 percent of Americans report not getting enough sleep, and 10 percent suffer from chronic insomnia.

Many people beyond those with a medical condition regularly struggle with lack of sleep, trouble sleeping and/or fatigue. The study estimated that lost productivity due to fatigue is costing American businesses about $136 million annually.

 

The Effects of Fatigue

Obvious signs of fatigue in an individual include drowsiness, moodiness, loss of energy, loss of appetite, and a lack of motivation, concentration and alertness. Often, men tend to become angry when experiencing fatigue, whereas women may be more sad and moody. In addition, fatigue can cause or be a result of other medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and diabetes.

 

What Can You Do?

Any problem that causes decreased productivity and increased absenteeism is one that you want to address in your workforce. There are several ways that you can tackle the issue of fatigue within your company:

  • Educate employees. Many people who struggle with getting adequate or quality sleep could improve their situation by making a few habit and lifestyle changes. Offer them information about the importance of getting enough sleep each night, the safety concerns of coming to work tired and tips for getting better sleep. Also remind employees that a healthy diet and regular exercise can contribute to better quality sleep.
  • Include fatigue in your wellness program. Include questions about sleep and tiredness on your health risk appraisals, and incorporate fatigue management into your wellness initiatives. Once you identify how many employees experience fatigue and/or have sleep disorders, you can offer further education, programs or referral services to address the specific problems among your employees.
  • Change company culture. Ask employees when they are most tired during the day, and consider offering extra break time to alleviate those fatigued times. This is particularly important for workers in safety-sensitive or decision-making positions. Try to make your workplace more amenable to alertness, with proper lighting, quiet break areas for employees to rest or re-charge, adequate break time and healthy food options.

Understanding Your Workers’ Compensation Experience Modification Factor

A key to understanding your workers’ compensation premium is the experience modification factor, also known as your mod. Understanding your company’s mod and the data used to obtain it helps you identify ways to minimize your workers’ compensation premium.

Who calculates the mod factor?

Most states use the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to collect data and calculate the experience modification factor. The NCCI is a private corporation funded by member insurance companies. The remaining states either operate an independent workers’ compensation bureau or have set aside a state fund for workers’ compensation. These states may or may not use the NCCI’s classification system to determine experience modification factors.

 How is a mod calculated?

The process of calculating the experience modification factor is complex, but the underlying theory and purpose of the formula is straightforward. Your company’s actual losses are compared to its expected losses by industry type. The formula incorporates factors that account for company size, unexpectedly large losses, and the incidence of loss frequency and loss severity to achieve a balance between fairness and accountability.

How does my mod affect my premiums?

The mod factor represents either a credit or debit that is applied to your workers’ compensation premium. A mod factor greater than 1.0 is a debit mod, which means that your losses are worse than expected and a surcharge will be added to your premium. A mod factor less than 1.0 is a credit mod, which means losses are better than expected, resulting in a discounted premium.

What is the experience rating period?

The mod is calculated using loss and payroll data for an experience rating period. The experience rating period typically includes data for three policy years, excluding the most recently completed year. For example, if your anniversary rating date is Jan. 1, 2017, the experience period is 2012 to 2015. 2016 would be excluded.

Three years of data is used to provide a more accurate reflection of the losses, smoothing out the impact of an exceptionally bad or good year for losses.

Both actual and expected losses are divided into a primary and an excess portion in what is called a split rating method. Primary losses are designed to be an indicator of loss frequency (the number of losses) and are used at their full value in the mod formula. Excess losses are an indicator of loss severity (the amount of each loss) and are weighted in the formula so that they are less important. The emphasis of loss frequency over loss severity in the formula reflects the fact that loss frequency is a more significant indicator of risk and can be improved through proactive loss control programs.

In July 2011, the NCCI announced a proposal to raise the split point from $5,000 to $15,000 over a three-year period to better correlate with claims inflation. The process of transitioning to the new split point began in

2013, with an increase in the split point from $5,000 to $10,000. In 2015, the split point included an additional increase as a result of claims inflation, and the NCCI now makes annual adjustments to the split point based on inflation.

In 2017, the NCCI’s rating system will use a split point of $16,500. This means that the first $16,500 of every loss is considered a primary loss, and any amount over this point is considered an excess loss. For example, a $9,000 loss would have no excess losses, as it falls below the current split point of $16,500. However, a loss of $25,000 would have $16,500 in primary losses and $8,500 in excess losses. Additionally, medical-only claims figures may be reduced by 70 percent in approved states.

Expected losses are calculated using your payroll data by state and class code and applying the expected loss rate (ELR). The ELR is provided by each state’s rating bureau. These figures are also broken down into expected primary losses and expected excess losses.

How do your losses compare?

The final mod calculation compares your actual primary and excess loss figures to those expected for a company of the same size and industry type. To understand how workers’ compensation losses at your business compare to state industry averages, contact The Unland Companies to review your experience modification worksheet.

How can you control your mod?

Your mod factor has a direct impact on your workers’ compensation premium. The key to controlling your insurance costs is accident prevention.

  • The mod is calculated based on data reported to the rating bureau by past insurers. Incorrect or incomplete data can cause incorrect mod factors. Review loss and payroll data to ensure the calculation is complete and accurate.
  • Losses remain in the experience rating formula for three years. The experience modification factor is influenced more by small, frequent losses than by large, infrequent ones.
  • Safety programs, return to work programs and appropriate prevention procedures can help to reduce loss frequency.
  • An effective self-inspection and accident investigation program are critical to managing claim frequency.
  • Claims management programs can help your business manage outstanding reserves and focus on efficiently resolving open claims.
  • Any claims should be reported to your carrier immediately.
  • All injured employees should be provided with light duty upon their release from treatment so you can close claims and ensure the health of your employees.
  • Supervisory roles should have set safety performance goals. Success in achieving safety goals should be used as one measure during performance appraisals.
  • Employees should be trained on their responsibilities for safety, and should know to enforce violations.
  • You should frequently communicate with employees on a formal and informal basis regarding the importance of safety.

How can your experience rating save you money?Establishing a proactive safety program is an effective way to reduce losses, positively impacting your mod and workers’ compensation premium. Contact us today at (309) 347-2177. We have the loss control experience to help you promote safety and control your workers’ compensation premium.

Safety Matters: It’s No Accident

Accidents can happen at any time in the workplace, often when you least expect them. However, many on-the-job accidents can be avoided by focusing on safe practices and taking necessary safety precautions.

Know the Hazards

The cause of accidents can almost always be traced to a dangerous act, an unsafe condition or a combination of the two. In most instances, an accident could have been avoided by following proper safety precautions.

In order to avoid accidents, it’s important to understand what can cause them. There are countless unsafe acts and conditions that can lead to accidents, but some common hazards include:

  • Using defective or broken equipment
  • Performing tasks without training
  • Failing to wear proper PPE
  • Unsafe handling, storage or disposal of materials
  • Injuries due to poor housekeeping
  • Horseplay

Safe Steps to Avoid Accidents

The first step to keeping yourself and co-workers safe is to stay alert on the job and not let routine or familiarity lure you into carelessness. Always observe safety precautions before and during a task, even if those precautions make the task more inconvenient or take longer to complete. Cutting corners may not seem like a big deal, but doing so is a primary cause of accidents.

Next, know your job. The more you know about your job, the safer you’ll be. Know the proper procedures and safety precautions for any task you do, and if any questions arise during your work day, be sure to talk to your supervisor.

And finally, make a personal contribution. A good way to start this is to follow safety rules. Certain rules in the workplace are made for your protection, so follow them. Just because an unsafe act is not specifically listed as being prohibited, it doesn’t mean you should do it. Use your common sense when evaluating if an act is safe or not – there may be a very easy way to make it safer if you stop to think it through.

Focus on Good Habits

It’s human nature to work yourself into habits, and when you break a safety rule, you’ve taken the first and most influential step in forming a bad habit — a habit that can lead to an injury. Good habits, such as following safety precautions and noticing unsafe conditions, are just as easy to form.

Develop a safe attitude. This is probably one of the most difficult things to recognize because most of us have the mistaken notion that it’s always someone else who gets hurt, never us. If we all do our share in observing safety rules and staying alert for unsafe conditions, everyone will benefit.

FITNESS FIRST: WALKING

If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to stay healthy or lose weight, you need nothing more than your own two feet. Walking is an ideal form of exercise—it’s free, and you can do it almost anytime and anywhere. Walking is also a great way to maintain a healthy weight or to shed those extra pounds.

The First Step: Good Shoes

Whether you walk outdoors, on a treadmill or at the local mall, you will want to invest in a good pair of walking shoes. Walking shoes are designed to give you the flexibility, support and proper push off needed for walking. Everyone’s feet are different, but look for shoes that are light, flexible and immediately feel comfortable. Walking shoes should not require a “breaking in” period.

Setting the Pace

You can walk to maintain your health or as part of a weight-loss program. To get moving, experts advise beginners to start with a 15- or 30-minute walk daily, adding five or 10 minutes to the walking session time per week. More specifically:

1.) To maintain your health, walk 30 minutes a day most days of the week at a “talking” pace, which means you are able to carry on a conversation comfortably while walking.

2.) If you are walking for weight loss, walk 45 to 60 minutes a day at a medium to fast pace. In addition, do not skip more than two days per week.

3.) For aerobic and cardiovascular fitness, walk 20 minutes at a very fast pace (you should be breathing hard), three to four days a week.

After walking, gentle stretching can help keep your muscles from being sore. It is also wise to warm up before walking fast or going a long distance.

Cautions

Make sure to be safe while walking outside:

1.) Always walk on sidewalks (or on the left side of the street facing traffic if there are no sidewalks).

2.) Be aware of traffic.

3.) Carry identification and your cellphone in case of emergencies.

4.) In the evening hours, wear reflective gear and/or carry a flashlight in front of you.

Going the Distance

Once you get started, you will want to stay motivated. Consider finding a walking friend, joining a walking club or registering for a challenging walking event. Remember that you will not notice immediate physical changes to your body, but by adding walking and a healthy diet to your daily routine, it won’t be long before you look and feel better.

Note: Before beginning any walking program, consider discussing your exercise plans with your doctor, particularly if you have health issues such as diabetes.

Workplace Wellness: Low-cost Wellness Strategies

Low-cost Wellness Strategies

Workplace wellness programs may not only increase employee morale, but also reap a positive return on investment for employers. Although Work Wellness programs are often expensive, there are ways employers can make positive changes for little or no cost.

Nutrition

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

The following are low-cost strategies that encourage healthy eating:

  • Provide healthy eating reminders to employees using posters, emails and intranet posts.
  • Offer healthier food options in the vending machines and in the cafeteria, as well as at meetings, conferences and catered events.
  • Ensure that on-site cafeterias follow healthy cooking practices and set nutritional standards that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Provide cookbooks and cooking classes for employees and their families.
  • Offer locally grown fruits and vegetables at the workplace (this could be a workplace farmer’s market or a community-supported agriculture drop-off point).
  • Price non-nutritious foods in vending machines and cafeterias at higher prices than healthy options.
  • Provide an opportunity for on-site gardening, if possible.

Portion Control

Below are tips for encouraging employees to practice portion control:

  • Label foods to show serving size and nutritional content.
  • Provide food models or food scales for weighing and pictures to help employees assess portion size.
  • Offer appropriate portion sizes at meetings, workplace events and in the cafeteria.

Breast-feeding

Consider the following tips to support nursing mothers in workplace:

  • Provide rooms for expressing milk in a secure and relaxed environment and a refrigerator for the storage of breast milk.
  • Create policies that support breast-feeding and lactation education programs.
  • Offer flexible scheduling and on-site or near-site childcare to allow for milk expression during the workday.
  • Adopt alternative work options (for example, telecommuting, part-time or extended maternity) for breast-feeding mothers returning to work.
  • Educate employees on the importance of supporting breast-feeding co-workers.

Physical Activity and Weight Management

The following are low-cost wellness activities that promote physical activity:

  • Allow access to on- and off-site gyms and recreational activities before, during and after work. Encourage and support participation in after-work recreational leagues.
  • Provide incentives or reduced insurance costs for participation in physical activity or weight management or maintenance activities.
  • Provide showers and changing facilities at the workplace.
  • Map out on-site trails or nearby walking routes and destinations. Host walk-and-talk meetings when it is nice outside.
  • Provide bicycle racks in safe, convenient and accessible locations. Sponsor a “bike to work” day and reward employees who participate.
  • Create activities that have strong social support systems like buddy or team physical activity goals or programs that involve co-workers and their families.
  • Set up programs to encourage physical activity, such as pedometer walking challenges.
  • Offer flexible work hours and breaks to allow for physical activity during the day.
  • Post motivational signs at elevators and escalators to encourage stair usage.
  • Encourage employees to map out their own biking or walking route to and from work.
  • Provide or support physical activity events on-site or in the community.

General Health Education

The following tips can help improve overall employee well-being:

  • Have a wellness plan in place that addresses the purpose, nature, duration, resources required and expected results of a workplace wellness program.
  • Promote and encourage employee participation in the physical activity, nutrition and weight management programs.
  • Provide health education articles, handouts or fliers to employees.
  • Create a committee that meets at least once a month to oversee your wellness program.
  • Offer regular health education presentations on various physical activity, nutrition and wellness-related topics.
  • Ask health associations, health care providers or public health agencies to offer free on-site education classes.
  • Host a health fair as a kick-off event or as a celebration for completion of a wellness campaign.
  • Conduct preventive wellness screenings for blood pressure, body mass index, blood cholesterol and blood sugar.
  • Provide confidential health risk assessments.
  • Offer on-site weight management or maintenance programs for employees.
  • Add counseling for weight management or maintenance, nutrition, and physical activity as a benefit in health insurance contracts.

Tobacco Cessation

Consider the following tactics to curb smoking at your workplace:

  • Establish a company policy prohibiting tobacco use anywhere on company property.
  • Provide posters to support your tobacco-free policy.
  • Establish a policy supporting participation in smoking cessation activities.
  • Provide tobacco cessation counseling through an individual, group or telephone counseling program.
  • Make sure your health plan covers a variety of tobacco cessation medications.

 

By considering the strategies above, you can implement low-cost wellness activities at your workplace. For help setting up one of these initiatives, contact The Unland Companies.

Analyzing the Identity Crime Climate

New research reveals the current consumer sentiment surrounding identity crime threats. We Divide Identity Crimes into three distinct areas:

  • The theft or misplacement of information that can be used to identify you as an individual.
  • The theft and misuse of a victim’s existing accounts, primarily financial accounts.
  • The theft of an individual’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to create new accounts under the victim’s name.

Lost/Stolen PII Identity Fraud Identity Theft

As a leader in identity protection partnerships, we break down these findings to uncover the best practices for implementing your own value-add identity protection program.

History of Identity Crimes

It was a record year for fraud in 2016. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, 35.2 million Americans fell victim to an identity crime. That’s a new identity crime victim every second. Of particular importance was the peak in overall fraud incidence rates, which affected 15.4 million consumers. While progress has been made in the fight against identity crimes; including the introduction of EMV technology – these efforts have simply redirected criminals to other fraud methods.

Rise of Identity Crimes

The rise of identity crimes can be attributed to three primary drivers:

  • Rising data breach incidents
  • A thriving black market for PII
  • Shifting fraud patterns

In 2016, 76% of Americans had been the victim of a data breach.

Protective Fraud Prevention

In recent years, proactive fraud prevention measures have taken the spotlight, with EMV being the poster child of these efforts. While EMV aims to keep payment cards safe from skimming and cloning (the theft and fraudulent use of card data), this nation-wide effort only diverted criminals to other methods. Soon after the U.S. rollout of EMV, new account fraud (identity theft) and account takeover rates began to rise. In 2016, new account fraud losses topped $3.6 billion. Both crimes take far longer and are far costlier to repair than credit or checking account fraud.

Americans earn an A+ in Awareness but Lack Appropriate Protection

Almost a quarter of our respondents have had their phone, wallet or laptop stolen and 17.7% of them were unable to recover their stolen device. And it’s no surprise, that 27% of consumers have already been the victim of identity theft. Data shows 74% worry their personal information will be compromised. The truth of the matter is that once information is out of their control, it’s gone forever. A single year of post breach identity protection does little to safeguard consumers. 46% of all identity theft victims were victimized multiple times – 15% experienced it three or more times. These individuals needed comprehensive, long-term protection.

The DIY Approach

Independent identity theft resolution, without the help of an identity protection service provider, requires numerous parties to be involved in clearing the victim’s name. On average victims dedicate 18 hours resolving the crime.

Hours to Resolve
Javelin Strategy & Research, 2017

Market Opportunities

Trusted providers must step in where breach solutions fall short. While consumer preferences say “protect me,” their actions often fall short due to a lack of viable sources. Many of these users receive complimentary post-breach services. These services can often be riddled with problems and lackluster customer service, as breached companies have little time or capital to invest into superior protection products.

Still, consumers want identity protection – just the right kind. More than half of consumers believe identity protection is important, but want to receive it as a benefit from a trusted provider. The need for superior protection presents a major opportunity for companies with existing relationships. Promoting an identity protection program can ignite engagement, loyalty and satisfaction

Program Best Practices

Seven Best Practices for Launching an Effective Identity Theft Protection Program

  1. Know Your Culture
    What makes sense for your organization? Look to your own strengths to understand how an identity protection program can cohesively fit into your existing offerings and image.
  2. Align Your Organizational Goals
    What’s driving the demand for identity protection? Whether you hope to engage, retain or even incentivize action with identity protection – your goals should always lead the way.
  3. Assess Consumer Demographics
    Consumer tastes are never cut and dry. Investigate the preferences of your desired demographic to implement a truly action-worthy protection program.
  4. Find a Trusted Partner in Protection
    With expert guidance, world-class support and a focus on your goals – an identity protection partnership acts as an extension of your brand and brings more than just a new product to the table.
  5. Pair the Right Products and Processes
    Choose products from an industry leader that follows the latest compliance and security protocols. Back these with proven processes such as secure data transfer and streamlined implementation.
  6. Practice Clear Communication
    Back your program with effective communication tools. These can include ads, fliers, educational handouts, a dedicated website, emails and training to help spread the word.
  7. Always Analyze
    Review program results and compare it to your initial goals. Revisit your analytics often and make changes as needed.

Results Happen When You Protect What’s Really Important

As criminals evolve, with the rise in technology and the birth of the connected consumer, identity theft protection must evolve as well.

The consumer data in the EZShield 2017 Identity Crime Report is based on information collected in a random sample of 1,203 individuals. This research consisted of an online quantitative survey conducted on August 22, 2016. Respondents were over the age of 18 with varying household income levels and resided in the United States.

At EZShield, we have a multitude of products to protect against identity crimes. We’re proud to exemplify the program best practices as the leader in identity protection partnerships. Our award-winning products are trusted by more than 15 million consumers and small businesses through a network of over 2,000 trusted partners. Our success lies in the comprehensive, partner-focused approach we take. From our always serving, never selling customer service appeal to our expert strategy insights and analysis – EZShield can help propel your organization’s identity protection program to new heights.

EZ Shield - Secure Your Identity

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To experience the partner difference for yourself, speak to a representative today.

Talk to your The Unland Companies representative to learn how to better manage workers compensation costs.

Employee Retention

company retention

It costs nearly 20 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace a current employee. If you are experiencing high turnover, chances are you are experiencing high losses as well. The costs of reviewing applications, processing candidates, conducting interviews, training and purchasing equipment for new hires aren’t only monetary—they also cost time and lost productivity.

Given the high cost of losing an employee, retention should be a top priority for every organization. If you do not already have a retention strategy, now is the time to make one. The first step in curbing turnover is figuring out why employees are leaving.

Why Employees Leave

Employees leave organizations for a variety of reasons, depending on their unique circumstances. However, there are some common reasons that may help determine the best retention strategy for your organization. Below are some of the most common reasons employees leave:

  • Stagnation—Employees are often looking for career and personal growth. If they have no upward mobility at your company, they may look for it elsewhere.
  • Pay—Compensation needs to be competitive to attract the best talent. Likewise, good pay is needed to retain top talent.
  • Workplace culture—Expectedly, co-workers matter to employees. If they feel ostracized or marginalized by co-workers (or management), they will want to leave that environment.
  • Better opportunities—Like with stagnation, employees leave when they believe they have better prospects elsewhere. This could be due to a higher-paying position or simply a job more aligned with their interests.

How to Retain Employees

Retention strategies are not universal. It is possible that techniques and strategies that work for some organizations will not work for yours. This means you need to analyze why your employees are leaving and strategize how to combat those reasons.

Exit interviews are a great way to analyze why employees are leaving. During exit interviews, managers ask questions to employees who are on their way out of the company. Questions should be related to the employees’ time with the company, such as what they enjoyed, what they disliked and what prompted their resignation. Exit interviews will only be useful with employees who resign or leave voluntarily, not those who have been terminated.

Depending on the responses from the exit interviews, you can begin crafting a retention strategy. For instance, if a main catalyst for employee turnover is a lack of upward mobility, think about how to change that. It could mean creating new roles or, if roles already exist, making a clear guide for career pathing at the organization.

Creating a retention strategy does not need to be solely reactive. Consider creating a survey to gauge employee satisfaction with the company. Include questions about what people like and what they do not like about their job.

Summary

There is no hard and fast rule for successful employee retention. Creating a retention strategy for your organization requires you to analyze both your company and its industry. Contact The Unland Companies for more information on retention and for materials to help you craft your strategy.