2023 Distracted Driving for Business [Infographic]
The 2023 Travelers Risk Index finds that employees use their phones when they are behind the wheel, which may contribute to distracted driving behaviors.
In fact, most employers (87%) expect their employees to respond to work-related messages when they are out of the office during work hours.
And 44% of employees who take work-related calls while driving do so because they believe they always need to be available for work.
Business managers can help PUT A STOP to this dangerous behavior by communicating and reinforcing driving policies, speaking up when a colleague is driving distracted, and not calling employees when they know they are behind the wheel.
This is a huge liability for any company with vehicles on the road!
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association, the total economic impact of motor vehicle accidents was $340 billion in 2019, the equivalent of approximately $1,035 for every person living in the United States. Here’s a look at key findings from the 2023 Travelers Risk Index and how a distracted driving policy can help businesses.
3 Most Costly Types of Cyber Insurance Claims
A good cyber insurance policy starts with two core coverage components. These are:
- Data Breach coverage
- Cyber Liability coverage
Data Breach coverage is also referred to as 1st party coverage. This helps your business respond to a breach if PII (personally identifiable information) gets lost or stolen, whether it’s from a hacker breaking into your network, or an employee accidentally getting their laptop stolen at a coffee shop.
Data Breach insurance coverage can help pay the [expensive] costs for such things as:
- Notifying affected customers, patients, or employees;
- Hiring a public relations firm for damage control;
- Offering ongoing credit monitoring services to data breach victims;
- Business income coverage to help replace lost income if you can’t run your business because of a data breach;
- Extortion Coverage helps cover the amount you paid if someone takes your business’ data and demands a ransom.
Between data breach coverage and cyber liability coverage, more than 95% of cyber insurance claims costs come from data breach losses! And these data breach losses fall into three broad categories:
Theft of funds
This is the straightforward theft of money from a company’s bank account. The fact that nearly every business can now move its money around electronically and remotely means that it is much easier to steal. Instead of stealing physical funds, criminals are increasingly stealing electronic funds through social engineering scams. And if a business has somehow been negligent in allowing this to happen, their bank may not reimburse them.
Theft of data
Data is valuable, and if something has value, it is worth stealing. Identity theft has reached record levels around the world and in order to commit identity theft, criminals need data. Seemingly harmless information such as names and addresses stored on a computer network can be worth more money than you think
Damage to digital assets
In order to operate, businesses now have an incredibly high dependency on their systems, and criminals know that. By either damaging or threatening to damage a company’s digital assets, attackers know that they can extort money from their victims who might prefer to pay a ransom rather than see their business grind to a halt. And even after paying up, the victim is often left with systems that are unusable and costly to fix. Your cyber insurance policy will help do this too…..fix and patch your system.
So, when contemplating the purchase of a cyber insurance policy, data breach coverage (1st party coverage) is the heavyweight coverage you must incorporate into your policy. Cyber liability (3rd party coverage) is just as important, but that’s not where the bulk of the claim dollars are paid in the event of a data breach.
Regardless, make sure both of these coverages are included in your cyber insurance policy. And then drill down even further into the data breach coverage section to make sure the line item coverages such as Incident Response Expenses, Cyber Extortion Loss, Network Restoration Expenses, and Business Interruption are included as well.
No two carrier policies are the same and cyber insurance is absolutely not one size fits all!
Is the Cyber Insurance Market Stabilizing?
I just wrapped up a sizable Cyber insurance policy renewal and based on the results of our marketing efforts, I think it’s a good indication that the market is beginning to stabilize.
The cyber insurance market has been in a hard market for the past several years.
This particular cyber insurance renewal is for a middle market company that works with Fortune 500 companies. They’re required to carry $50,000,000 in coverage by contract.
The insured’s services are viewed as a higher risk for the cyber market. It is a technology-based business that holds a lot of third-party sensitive data. They do about $75M – $80M in annual revenues. Cyber liability and data breach are definitely their primary risk exposures.
This policy renewal took 10 carriers to quota share the risk and the year-over-year premium is down in 2023 by 4-5%.
I had a feeling the renewal premium wouldn’t spike as hard as it did last year, but I was pleasantly surprised there was actually a slight DECREASE for this renewal.
The cyber insurance market is a lot like the mortgage industry prior to 2008.
Up until a few years ago, you could buy cyber insurance by providing very little information and carriers practically gave away quotes. And not very expensive ones relative to the risk.
Then hackers decimated the cyber insurance market with ransomware and social engineering attacks. Millions upon millions of claims dollars were being paid by carriers as a result.
Underwriting ultimately tightened and those looking to secure cyber insurance coverage must now show preventative measures are in place for their organizations such as data encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA), data backups, etc.
Underwriters won’t even think twice about insuring a business if these types of measures are not in place.
Cyber insurance pricing and trends vary by company. However, in this particular case where we have a sizable middle market company with above-average cyber risk, a decrease in premium this year is a positive sign.
Let’s hope the cyber insurance market continues trending in this direction.
Each and every company/policyholder will see different outcomes with their cyber coverage and rates based on their own unique makeup. However, if you can show that your organization takes preventative measures to help mitigate cyber risk up front, you’re in a favorable spot.
It Takes Twice as Long to Close California Workers’ Comp Claims Compared to Other States
File this under the “I’m not surprised” file, it takes seven years to close most workers’ compensation claims in California, more than double the time in the median state.
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) released a report detailing duration drivers for California workers’ compensation claims.
The report, Drivers of California Claim Duration, describes duration drivers for California workers’ comp claims, including how claim duration differs regionally across the state.
Here’s the report:
Highlights of the report include:
- It takes seven years to close 90% of claims in California compared to three years for the median state.
- Longer California claim duration is driven by four “duration drivers,” including a higher share of permanent partial disability and cumulative trauma claims in California, greater utilization of medical-legal services in California and regional differences within the state.
- Claim closing rates rose steadily following the reforms of Senate Bill 863, particularly for PPD claims of lower-wage workers.
- Claim closing rates declined during the pandemic in 2020 and were relatively flat in 2021.
California, why do you have to make everything so complicated? [banging head on desk]
Source: Insurance Journal
Legal Requirements to Fulfill Before Hiring Employees
Are you planning on hiring an employee for your business for the first time? I know, I know, we’re basically heading into a recession right now, if not already in one, but I am finding that most of my clients still seem to be thriving at the moment.
What’s weird about the current state of the economy is that there are still record job openings. I hope that your company is one of them that needs employees. I take it that’s a sign that things are favorable with your business.
But have you taken all the necessary steps to set yourself up as a lawful employer?
There are several steps required by the federal and state government that must be taken before you can hire someone.
I’m not an attorney, nor a Human Resources consultant, but here is a list 10 legal requirements every employer must do before taking on a new hire:
- Apply for an EIN
- Register with your state’s unemployment insurance office
- Verify each prospective hire’s eligibility to work
- Look into your state’s workers’ compensation insurance rules—and get coverage
- Report new employees to state registry
- Set up a payroll and tax withholding system
- Have all employees fill out form W-4
- Get and post employee notices
- Comply with OSHA rules
- Establish any necessary employee benefits
For more specifics, please visit this link from The Hartford.
Though these are the main steps employers must take that are required by federal or state law, there are other smart things to do before you start employing people.
These include creating an employee handbook, so there are no questions about your rules and protocols for employees (even your first hire), and creating a personnel file for every employee.
But I encourage you to not try to tackle this on your own. Consider the help of a Business Transactional Attorney, a Human Resources Consultant, a legitimate payroll provider, etc.
I can help if you need connections to any of these professionals through my large network of seasoned professionals that I know, like, and trust.
The cost to get this initiated will be less than if you try to do it on your own and end up running into roadblocks, getting dinged for penalties and fees, etc.
Yes, the economy is in a funky place at the moment, but if you’re planning on hiring, that’s a good sign that things are going well for your business.
To keep things going on a positive trajectory, make sure to use trusted professionals to get you going on the right foot and keep your focus on your passion, your business.
Heightened Action in Cal/OSHA’s Task Force Enforcement
Southern California businesses have recently experienced a noticeable escalation of inspections and enforcement by Cal/OSHA’s Labor Enforcement Task Force Unit based in Santa Ana.
Unprecedented Hotel and Motel Labor Enforcement Task Force inspections are diligently being processed to verify whether these companies have a current:
- Housekeeper Ergonomic Written Plan (MIPP)
- Illness & Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP)
- Hazard Communication Plan/Checkup (Dealing with Chemicals & Toxic Materials)
Many small and mid-sized Southern California employers have overlooked these compliance requirements during the past several years but now must consider the strong possibility that their company will be visited soon.
So, Here’s The Big Question: ARE YOU READY?
A safety review and compliance check can save thousands of dollars in fines and citations.
If you would like help with this, contact me. I have trusted partners that provide large or small companies with comprehensive inspections – efficiently, quickly, and with total expertise. They can assist you in reviewing existing practices and then help you design policies and training that are compliant with 2022 new and evolving laws.
California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) Program
Any business with job positions that require employees to operate company owned, leased or personal vehicles for business use faces a heightened liability risk.
One small distraction behind the wheel can lead to a serious accident causing injury or death to others. Or, a not so serious accident with someone who sees “deep pockets” because they were hit by a vehicle operated by a business can lead to a large defense claim.
Think about it, you constantly hear personal injury attorney advertisements on the airwaves encouraging people who have been hit by commercial vehicles to call them because “big money can be at stake.”
What this means is your business must have a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Program in its driver qualification and selection process.
Without going into full scale detail about MVR programs in this post, businesses should, at a minimum, require applicants for driving positions, to submit a copy of their driving record as part of the application process. Additionally, require drivers to provide updated MVRs on an annual basis to evaluate driving performance and qualify them for continued operation of company owned and/or leased vehicles.
Drivers that received violations and/or were involved in preventable vehicle incidents may need training, counseling or other appropriate actions to correct poor driving behaviors.
This is where the the California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program comes in to play.
The California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program enables commercial organizations to monitor the driving records of employees who drive for them. By monitoring their employees’ driving records, organizations can:
- Ensure that each driver has a valid driver license.
- Recognize problem drivers or driving behavior.
- Improve public safety.
- Minimize liability.
How it Works:
Each employer enrolled in the EPN program is assigned a requester code. The requester code is added to applicable employees’ driver license records. When an employee’s driver license record is updated due to an action or activity, the DMV makes an electronic check to determine if a pull notice is on file. If the action or activity is one that must be reported under the EPN program, a driver record is generated and mailed to the employer.
Every year on the enrollment date, the EPN program automatically generates and mails a driver record when any of the following actions or activities occurs:
- The driver is enrolled in the EPN program.
- When a driver has any of the following actions or activities added to their driver record:
- Failures to appear (FTAs).
- Driver license suspensions or revocations.
- Any other actions taken against their driving privilege.
With the potential risk your business faces by having owned, leased or personal vehicles on the road, now is the time to put any and all risk management practices into place to to help lessen the likelihood of a loss. And the California DMV Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program is a great starting point. Check it out for yourself and contact me if you need any help with this.
My Interview with Candy Messer on The Different Types of Insurance To Protect Your Business
Thank you to Candy Messer from Affordable Bookkeeping and Payroll Services for interviewing me on the topic of “The Different Types of Insurance To Protect Your Business” Some of the key items we discussed are:
- Tailoring Insurance Coverage for each unique business
- Commercial General Liability Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Errors & Omissions (Professional Liability) Insurance
- Do home based businesses need a business insurance policy?
- Is business insurance required by law?
- Insurance for contractual requirements and lease agreements
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- The difference between Commercial General Liability and Errors & Omissions Insurance
- Cyber Liability / Data Breach Insurance
- How much does business insurance cost?
- Ways you can keep your insurance costs down
- Negotiating premiums with Carrier underwriters
Check out our interview together here:
Thanks for watching
Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards – What Employers Need to Know
California approved emergency temporary Cal/OSHA standards on COVID-19 infection prevention on
November 30, 2020. These new temporary standards apply to most workers in California not covered by
Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard.
With some exceptions, all employers and places of employment are required to establish and implement an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) pursuant to an Emergency Temporary Standard in place for COVID-19 (California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 8, section 3205(c)).
Cal/OSHA has developed this model program to assist employers with creating their own unique CPP tailored to their workplace. Here is information on the regulation and a sample program for your use:
Also a link to a FAQ page about the regulation HERE
This is the link to the COVID-19 resources from Cal-OSHA. There are 5 good sections here, there is guidance by industry, FAQ’s page, training and educational materials, webinars and an online training section. All of the sections have good resources that have been helpful to me and others. I think you will find them useful as well.
Stay safe and healthy out there…
Burglary and Theft Prevention
A lot of businesses are shut down right now and suddenly there are many individuals who find themselves out of work. Premises’ that are typically bustling with business and commerce are at a standstill sitting vacant as we wait for this Coronavirus pandemic to pass.
I’m hoping this doesn’t become a trend but just this morning alone, I had two different retail clients call in to report claims burglary and theft overnight with the doors busted open as a point of entry. Luckily due to monitored alarm and surveillance cameras, the burglars didn’t seem to get away with much based on early indications.
This serves as a reminder to be vigilant with your business premises and your neighbors in the surrounding areas.
Here is a Burglary Prevention Checklist from The Hanover Insurance Group to help get your brain thinking about measures you can take to help prevent burglary and theft at your place of business. We have enough to deal with right now, so let’s try to eliminate additional perils like this if at all possible.