How Employers Can Help Fight Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction has reached a crisis point, and the impact is reaching workplaces around the country. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety:

  • Opioids killed more than 47,600 people in the U.S. in 2017.
  • Two-thirds of self-reported illicit opioid users were employed either full or part time.
  • In 2017, 272 overdose deaths occurred in the workplace, a 25 percent increase from 2013. This accounts for 5.3 percent of all occupational injury deaths.
  • Workers with substance use disorder miss 14.8 days each year on average, and workers with pain medication use disorder miss 29 days on average. For most employees, the average number of missed days is only 10.5.
The Causes of Addiction      Read More 

Want more information contact me.
Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151

Social Inflation: A Concerning – and Costly – Trend

Social inflation generally refers to the rising costs of insurance claims that are a result of societal trends and views toward increased litigation, broader contract interpretations, plaintiff friendly legal decisions, and larger jury awards.
What is causing social inflation?
There are four major factors that are driving social inflation in the United States today. They are litigation funding, the erosion of tort reform, negative public sentiment toward larger businesses and corporations, and desensitization to large jury awards.
There are four major factors that are driving social inflation in the United States today. They are litigation funding, the erosion of tort reform, negative public sentiment toward larger businesses and corporations, and desensitization to large jury awards.
Leverage your insurance partners. This means working with an independent insurance agent to make sure he or she understands your business and associated risks, and assists you in updating your insurance coverages and limits accordingly.

Just Contact me.
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Office 800-234-6787
Mobile  925-330-1151

Heart Wellness at Work

hands-heart

February and hearts go together. Valentine’s Day is in February, of course, but did you know that February is also American Heart Month? This is a great time to take steps to improve heart wellness at your workplace.

Heart Disease: The Leading Killer of Men and Women

A strong workforce is a healthy workforce. When workers are sick, their productivity drops, their absenteeism increases, and their medical costs skyrocket. Poor health can also have a negative impact on office morale and turnover rates. Everyone benefits when workers are healthy.

Unfortunately, many workers are not healthy, and heart disease is a common culprit. According to the CDC, half of all Americans have one or more of the top three risk factors for heart disease. These factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States. One out of four deaths is caused by heart disease.

The situation is grim, but there is hope. People can take steps to improve their heart health, and employers can help.

Five Ways to Improve Heart Health

Read More 

Workplace Harassment Prevention

We’ve partnered with ThinkHR to offer a solution to clients who are required to comply with this new law. ThinkHR has developed a completely new product to meet state requirements called Workplace Harassment Prevention.  Workplace Harassment Prevention gives employers access to new and existing mandated training courses and best practices for updating policies and procedures, reporting incidents, and following up on complaints within each state they operate.
What Every Employer Needs to Know

California has expanded its current sexual harassment training standards for employers beginning January 1, 2019. The newly expanded law requires all employers with five or more employees, including temporary and seasonal employees, to train all supervisory and non supervisory employees in California by January 1, 2020.
As part of your People Risk Management strategy, ThinkHR offers workplace harassment prevention courses for both managers and employees, including specialized harassment training for the states of California, Connecticut, Maine, and New York. Each course incorporates the necessary state references to meet the standards for California’s sexual harassment prevention training.
Want to know more about the California law? Read more here.
Want more information contact me.
Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151

What is Social Inflation?

Social inflation generally refers to the rising costs of insurance claims that are a result of societal trends and views toward increased litigation, broader contract interpretations, plaintiff friendly legal decisions, and larger jury awards.

What is causing social inflation?
There are four major factors that are driving social inflation in the United States today. They are litigation funding, the erosion of tort reform, negative public sentiment toward larger businesses and corporations, and desensitization to large jury awards.
There are four major factors that are driving social inflation in the United States today. They are litigation funding, the erosion of tort reform, negative public sentiment toward larger businesses and corporations, and desensitization to large jury awards.
Leverage your insurance partners. This means working with an independent insurance agent to make sure he or she understands your business and associated risks, and assists you in updating your insurance coverages and limits accordingly.
Just Contact me.

 

M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Office 800-234-6787
Mobile  925-330-1151

HavenHouse Saint Louis

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and shoes
Thank you Mike Boone for stopping by yesterday and presenting us with a grant from Heffernan Foundation!

We are so grateful for wonderful partners like Heffernan Insurance Brokers who provide great service and generously support nonprofits in the communities they serve!

Face Book Post

 

 

Why Business Should Prepare Now for Insurance Market Hardening

b3096674-2433-46d7-aec4-92b6e3fe2603

You might not realize it, but times have been pretty good for insurance customers. Although there have been some exceptions, for the most part, premiums have been steady or even reducing for years now. This may be about to change.

Why are market conditions changing? Because insurers are experiencing higher than expected losses. According to the 2019 A.M. Best Market Segment Report, the reported combined ratio for the P&C insurance industry has been above 100 – indicating an underwriting loss – since 2016. In 2017, the combined ratio reached 104.

If these losses continue, rate increases will follow. Securing coverage may become more challenging. Essentially, we may be looking at a hard market.

What’s driving higher-than-expected losses?
With property insurance, natural disasters are mostly to blame. The A.M. Best report says that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria contributed to near-record high U.S. catastrophe losses in 2017, with net catastrophe losses of $53 billion. Then in late 2018, the U.S. was hit with Hurricane Michael as well as the California wildfires, resulting in net catastrophe losses of more than $37 billion.
How can you prepare for a hard market?

Brant Watson
Senior VP
D: 925.295.2506
C: 925.330.1151

Life Insurance for Every Life Phase

family-life

Life insurance is an important financial planning tool – but it’s not actually one single tool. There are many different types of life insurance, and they have different advantages and disadvantages. What works well for you in one phase of life may not be the most suitable option in another phase. As your needs change, your coverage may need to be updated.

Life Insurance for Children

Buying life insurance for children can seem strange at first, but there are some practical benefits. Sometimes people (often the grandparents) purchase permanent life insurance for a young child. While this policy could cover funeral expenses if the child were to pass away, this is not generally the primary intention.

A permanent life insurance policy, such as whole or universal life insurance, can last for the entire length of the insured’s life, as long as the premiums are kept up with, and purchasing one early can lock in good rates. These policies also accumulate a cash value that can be borrowed or withdrawn for any purpose. If the policy is purchased for a very young child, it will have time to accumulate a cash value as the child matures, and the cash value may be used for any purpose, such as paying for college or putting a down payment on a first home.

Life Insurance for Young Adults and New Parents

Read More 

Nuclear Verdicts and Social Inflation

courthouse-building

How much is pain and suffering worth? While it’s possible to calculate the costs of property damage, medical bills and even lost wages, punitive damages are another story. Lawsuits are always expensive, but nuclear verdicts can kick the cost up several notches, and they may set a precedent for higher awards in the future. At the same time, an increase in litigation of various types can also lead to higher and more frequent costs. The result is social inflation, a phenomenon that’s driving up insurance claims.

As Trust Falls, Awards Rise

According to an article in Law.com, many experts agree that jury awards are getting larger, and one explanation is that jurors are fed up and want to punish wrongdoers.

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer found that trust in businesses among the general population is 56 percent. Although there were slight increases between 2018 and 2019, distrust is still common. Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, says, “The last decade has seen a loss of faith in traditional authority figures and institutions.”

Trust is even lower when it comes to certain issues. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center reveals that people do not think their personal data is safe. When discussing companies, 81 percent of U.S. adults say they have little to control over the data that is collected on them, and 81 percent of U.S. adults also say that the potential risks outweigh the benefits.

Jaw-Dropping Verdicts

When people serve on juries, they bring their distrust in companies with them. This may contribute to large verdicts meant to punish companies and to make those companies serve as an example.

Billion-dollar award are not unheard of. For example, Monsanto was recently hit with a $2.055 billion verdict. A California couple sued over claims the Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the jury’s large award included punitive damages. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, the judge reduced the award to $87 million.

Johnson & Johnson was hit with an even larger verdict – $8 billion – in a lawsuit alleging that its antipsychotic drug Risperdal contributed to the growth of female breast tissue in boys and that the company valued profits over patients and safety. According to U.S. News, Johnson & Johnson will fight to overturn the award.

Protecting Your Company

Just as economic inflation means a dollar won’t go as far as it used it, social inflation means that your policy limits might not protect you as well as they used to. To keep up with changes in litigation trends, it is important to make sure your company has the right insurance coverage.

A strong risk assessment process can uncover potential liability issues so that the appropriate insurance coverage can be secured. Important coverage types include property, product liability and cyber liability insurance, among others.

Determining the right policy limit is tricky. With the rise of large awards, it is hard to say what’s enough. Thankfully, there is a solution. An umbrella policy provides a simple way of increasing limits on multiple insurance policies while also filling in potential coverage gaps.

Contact your Heffernan Insurance Brokers’ agent to learn more.

%d bloggers like this: