Making a Difference
Making a Difference
E-cigarettes were supposed to be a healthier alternative to smoking. Millions of people started vaping as the fad took off. Now new concerns are raising alarm bells over these products. Vaping might not be as safe as people thought. As the cannabis industry continues to grow and tries to establish itself as a legitimate – and insurable – business, it will need to grapple with the vape crisis.
E-cigarettes turn a liquid into a vapor that users can inhale. The liquid is often flavored, and it can contain THC or nicotine. Fans of e-cigarettes point out that they do not contain the toxins commonly associated with traditional cigarettes.
But this does not necessarily mean they’re safe. In recent months, cases of lung injuries associated with vaping have made headlines. According to the CDC, there have been 2,409 reported hospitalizations for vaping-associated lung injuries as of December 10, 2019, and 52 people have died.
The CDC has concluded that Vitamin E acetate is the culprit – or one of the culprits, at least. More research is being done, and other harmful additives may be discovered. In the meantime, the CDC says that Vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarettes and that people should avoid THC-containing e-cigarette products, particularly those obtained from informal sources.
While reports of lung injuries stream in, another issue has been plaguing the vaping industry – teens love to vape.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. While 66 percent of teens say their e-cigarettes only contain flavor, 13.2 percent say they’re vaping nicotine, 5.8 percent say they’re vaping marijuana, and 13.7 percent don’t know what they’re vaping.
Vaping companies have been accused of targeting teens. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 70 percent of teens are exposed to ads for e-cigarettes. Both high school students and middle school students have seen ads in various forms, including retail, movie and internet ads. According to Bloomberg, both California and New York are suing Juul Labs Inc., an e-cigarette company, for allegedly targeting teens.
WALNUT CREEK, Calif., Dec. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Heffernan Insurance Brokers, one of the largest full-service, independent insurance brokerage firms in the United States, has acquired Henderson Insurance. The firm has purchased the assets of the Newport Beach-based Henderson to join HeffDirect, a division of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, effective December 1, 2019. Scott Henderson, Laura Henderson, Jackie Smith, Julie Nii, and Eric Manzo have all joined Heffernan’s operations.
With over 47 years of dry cleaner and laundry insurance expertise, Henderson has a strong background and understanding of the industry’s insurance needs. This specialized expertise will be a pronounced enhancement to Heffernan’s niche practices.
“Henderson’s unique skillset and knowledge of the dry cleaning and laundry industry will be a great addition to the team,” said F. Michael Heffernan, President and CEO of Heffernan Insurance Brokers. “We’re looking forward to expanding our niche practices and our future together.”
“47 years ago we started by insuring the single-location cleaner,” said Scott Henderson, President of Henderson Insurance. “Since then, cleaners and laundries have evolved into sophisticated, multi-location enterprises with complicated insurance needs. Heffernan gives us broad policy offerings to allow us to fully serve the insurance needs of every cleaner and laundry, regardless of size. And the acquisition allows us to expand from serving cleaners and laundries in only seven states to being able to serve them anywhere in the country.”
About Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Heffernan Insurance Brokers, formed in 1988, is one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms in the United States. Heffernan provides insurance and financial services products to a range of businesses and individuals. Headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., Heffernan has offices in San Francisco, Petaluma, Menlo Park, Los Angeles and Irvine, CA; Portland, OR; St. Louis, MO and Phoenix, AZ.
Employee-owned, Heffernan Insurance Brokers was named the Top Mid-Sized Broker in the United States to work for in 2009 by Business Insurance Magazine. The firm has been among the Top Greater Bay Area Philanthropists since 2003, donating more than 13 percent of profits to charity in 2015.
For more information, visit www.heffins.com.
SOURCE Heffernan Insurance Brokers
The home health industry needs workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of 1,208,800 new home health aide and personal care aide positions between 2016 and 2026. Finding workers to fill those positions may be difficult, leading to worries of a major worker shortage. But despite the need for workers, there’s also a need for smart hiring practices. To keep workers’ compensation claims down, employers must take precautions.
Home health workers face risks that can lead to injuries, and these injuries can lead to workers’ compensation claims. These risks include:
These risks can be made worse if workers are not physically capable of performing essential duties, such as lifting or maneuvering patients, or if they use poor techniques when doing heavy lifting. Dangerous driving habits and criminal tendencies – including filing fraudulent claims – can also result in expensive workers’ compensation claims.
Although these risks cannot be eliminated entirely, careful hiring practices can reduce them.
1. Social Security retirement benefits may be taxed.
Many retirees depend on Social Security for a big chunk of their retirement income. However, this income may be reduced by taxes.
On the federal level, retirees may have to pay taxes on up to 85 percent of their Social Security benefits if they have significant income from other sources.
If combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000 when filing as an individual, or between $32,000 and $44,000 when filing jointly, 50 percent of Social Security benefits may be taxed.
If combined income is more than $34,000 when filing as an individual, or more than $44,000 when filing jointly, up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits may be taxed.
This means that it is important to consider how wages, dividends and other income sources will impact a retiree’s annual income. (Thresholds are subject to change; see the Social Security Benefits Planner for more information on calculating combined income.
It’s also important to consider state taxes. Some states tax Social Security benefits, but others do not. As a result, where you live can make a big difference in how much of your benefits you actually get to pocket.
With health care reform, a booming older population, industry consolidation, cyber risk, and evolving technology, there are a lot of exposures to consider in the health care industry. While change is good, it can create coverage gaps, oversights, and new exposures not considered by last year’s insurance.
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As NBC News recently reported, seven people in the U.S. have died from vaping-related lung illnesses, with 530 cases of illnesses now reported in 38 states. The federal government is investigating, and many local and state authorities are working to ban e-cigarettes and vaping.
The vaping crisis is the latest high-profile product liability case, and it highlights some of the challenges faced by manufacturers in bringing new products to market.
When you manufacture a product, the last thing you want to hear is that your product has harmed someone – or worse, caused a death. But tragically, defective products cause thousands of injuries and dozens of deaths in the U.S. every year according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And that leads to thousands of product liability and personal injury lawsuits.
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151