California’s massive wildfires over the past year have highlighted that many residents were under-insured – and an insurance expert believes several factors are to blame.
The Plexus Groupe’s Property and Casualty November Newsletter shares the Top 10 OSHA violations in 2018:
10. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection
This is the first appearance of this construction standard on the list.
Number of Violations: 1, 536
9. Machine Guarding
Inspectors cited machine shops and manufacturers for point of operation and for guards that were not attached to machines.
Number of Violations: 1,972
8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements
Employers lacked competent persons to provide training as well as no written certifications that the training occurred.
Number of Violations: 1,982
7. Powered Industrial Trucks part 2
OSHA inspectors found forklift drivers who were not certified. In addition, employers failed to recertify drivers every three years.
Number of Violations: 2,294
Ladder use continues to be a problem in the construction industry. Inspectors found broken steps, use of top steps and ladders not being used as intended.
Number of Violations: 2,812
A general industry standard, employers did not implement an energy control program or training.
Number of Violations: 2,944
4. Respiratory Protection
Fit testing, medical evaluations and respiratory programs were non-existent for employers who received this violation.
Number of Violations: 3,118
3. Scaffolds – General Requirements
Scaffolds were not properly decked, leaving holes where a worker potentially could fall through.
Number of Violations: 3,336
2. Hazard Communication
Failure to train and not maintaining data sheets led to this violation for many auto repair shops as well as hotels.
Number of Violations: 4,552
1. Fall Protection – General Requirements
Topping the list once again is fall protection. Roofing contractors failed to provide PPE.
Number of Violations: 7,270
If you have questions about this newsletter or any of the OSHA safety violations identified, contact an insurance expert at The Plexus Groupe at 847-307-6100.
Insurance For Mass Shootings On The Rise
With the rise in mass shootings at schools, churches, concert venues, movie theaters, and even yoga studios, the need for insurance for mass shootings increases.
A terror attack or mass shooting can plunge organizations into a disorienting world of trauma, grief, media scrutiny and litigation threats. This newsletter from The Plexus Groupe’s Property & Casualty practice delves into how to protect your assets when an attack occurs to allow healing to begin.
When an attack occurs, the leaders of private companies and government entities alike feel driven to deliver a caring, supportive response to the victims and survivors. At the same time, they are staring down expenses that can spiral into millions of dollars.
A specialized kind of named-perils insurance is helping risk managers deliver the response organizations need. Indeed, select insurers are seeing strong demand for active shooter policies, which came to the marketplace within the past few years amid rising anxieties from a seemingly endless stream of violent attacks.
These policies represent more than an extra budget line item—they provide resources that help people recover from trauma. Understanding the basics of violence-response policies can help risk managers better serve their companies and stakeholders.
The Rise of Active Shooter Policies
Organizations such as the FBI and the Gun Violence Archive have documented a rise in mass shootings in the United States in recent years. In the immediate aftermath of these attacks, employers, school districts and other targets faced a similar challenge. While enduring the painful process of recovery, they were also scanning their existing insurance policies and discovering that they lacked the appropriate coverage. As a result, they often had to bear the full brunt of the recovery-related expenses on their own.
This gap between available coverage and marketplace demand provided an opportunity for insurance program developers who applied traditional named-perils coverage to new categories of risk. Over the years, named-perils policies had emerged to protect against storm risk, employment practices liability, cyber events and sexual misconduct. Today, named-perils policies help organizations manage the risks of mass shootings, terror attacks, kidnapping/ransom, and workplace violence.
Initially, coverage for active shooter and other mass violence incidents came in response to requests from larger school systems, health care companies, and the organizers of high-profile events like parades and festivals. Now, small-business owners, daycare centers, churches, car dealerships, and other local organizations have started seeing the value of these policies as well.
What Policies Can Cover
While general liability coverage applies to an expansive range of risks, it also has its limitations. By contrast, named-perils policies for mass violence explicitly state what they do cover. Of course, coverages have limits, but they address common expenses and scenarios that many general liability policies do not. Active shooter coverages can include:
Crisis management. Insurers can partner with expert teams trained to help insureds deal with media, reassure families, confer with top executives, and help the organization show the public it is handling the crisis with competence and compassion. Without expert guidance, it is possible that an organization’s suboptimal response to a crisis can create an entirely new crisis in its own right. The branding and public perception of an institution after an active shooter event can be difficult to recover from.
Victim counseling, medical, disability, funeral expenses and death benefits. Policies help organization leaders answer the question of who will help the victims by providing a supportive response to the trauma their employees and patrons experience.
Off-site/international terror attacks. Coverages can apply to workers traveling worldwide.
Loss of revenue/extra expenses. Policy provisions help commercial businesses recover income lost when police investigations bring commerce to a halt.
Loss of attraction. When a mass attack stigmatizes a neighborhood or business district, insurance can help companies fill some of the revenue gaps. This applies even if the incident did not occur at the insured’s own business.
Property cost. Many organizations have experienced millions of dollars’ worth of property expenses from an attack due to the cost of structural security upgrades along with building closure, relocation or teardown.
Litigation. Policies can cover an expansive range of legal costs related to “duty of care” that might not be available under general liability insurance. According to Dr. Christina Marinakis, director of jury research at Litigation Insights, this is important because organizations today are being held to a higher standard of accountability than in the past when it comes to providing public safety measures.
Prevention. Insurers can work with policyholders to figure out how to identify troubled individuals and intervene before it is too late.
Examining the Exclusions
Many active shooter/workplace violence policies contain exclusions that could prove costly in the aftermath of an incident. The following are some of the most common exclusions:
Employees. Coverage may only include guests or visitors and not employees of the insured. Due to the nature of these events, insured persons should include employees, volunteers, students, guests and patrons.
Casualty thresholds. Some policies have a body deductible and coverage applies only after a certain number of people (usually three or four) have been injured or killed. Most active shooter/ workplace violence events involve less than three individuals, however, so it is important to ensure that your policy covers these incidents as well.
Vehicles. Vehicle attacks are becoming more common. Certain policies might rule out damage caused by a vehicle, such as an incident involving a vehicle ramming into a crowd of people.
Weapons. Coverage can be confined to firearms or bladed weapons and might not cover improvised explosives or ordinary items used for violent purposes, which, as the Boston Marathon bombing demonstrated, can be just as harmful.
While these exclusions are rare, with the evolution of coverage forms, policies still need to be reviewed carefully. More robust policies are available that cover all these risk scenarios to provide the proper coverage.
The Cost of Recovery
Lone-wolf violent attacks have garnered a significant amount of private and government attention and resources to provide vital attack analysis. For example, earlier this year, the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center released its analysis of various mass attacks that occurred in 2017 in an effort to uncover clues that could assist in developing effective prevention measures.
These incidents are among the most significant financial exposures an organization can face. For example, the actions of the single assailant in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting produced an estimated $48.2 million in litigation and recovery costs. And it cost $50 million to build a new Sandy Hook Elementary School in response to the 2012 attack.
In Florida, Broward County spent $1.2 million after a 2017 lone-wolf shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The Sun Sentinel reported the county’s spending included $562,000 to reunite travelers with their luggage, $270,000 to replace carpets and tiles at the shooting site and $314,700 for an assessment of the county’s handling of the crisis.
The combination of litigation costs and direct recovery expenses can financially devastate smaller organizations. Larger entities like corporations and universities may have more resources, but they still must reallocate funds toward recovery and away from other critical needs.
Thus, risk managers need to carefully assess their organization’s ability to withstand a violent attack and help the victims heal from the damage in order to determine if active shooter and workplace violence insurance is worth exploring in order to help mitigate these risks.
If you have questions about this newsletter or mass shooting insurance, contact an insurance expert at The Plexus Groupe at 847-307-6100.
Content provided by Risk Management Magazine.
Ensure pool safety before diving in headfirst. Whether you own a pool or get invited to a friend’s pool, ensure pool safety by having a plan to prevent injuries, adequate insurance coverage and a regular maintenance schedule.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 356 drowning deaths in pools and spas occur in the United States each year, with 77 percent of the deaths involving children under age five.
While drownings are certainly the most tragic, common injuries include:
- Clothing, jewelry, or fingers becoming entangled in drains
- Head injuries caused from diving into shallow water
- Overexposure to chemicals used to treat the water
- Slipping and falling on stairs, decks, or ladders
If you own a swimming pool, you must take reasonable precautions to ensure pool safety and prevent people from being injured. Some of the acts a “reasonable person” would be expected to do to include:
- Keeping the pool in good repair
- Limiting access by enclosing the pool with a fence
- Installing a locking hard cover when the pool is not in use
- Providing adequate supervision for children and non-swimmers
- Posting warning signs where appropriate
- Ensuring that lifesaving devices are readily available
- Refusing to allow intoxicated guests to swim
- Keeping the area around the pool well-lit and maintained
From an insurance standpoint, a personal umbrella policy is also a must-have. It won’t ensure pool safety or prevent an injury, but it will provide you with additional liability insurance should a tragedy occur. Most importantly, legal defense costs incurred during the claims process would also be covered, without subtracting from the limit of liability.
Besides adequate insurance coverage and a regular maintenance schedule to ensure pool safety, it is important to talk about pool safety with your children. Some tips include not allowing them to swim unattended, avoiding unsafe pools and pointing out possible hazards to those who owns unsafe pools.
If you own a pool, have set safety rules, maintain it regularly, make sure your insurance policy has adequate coverage and then slather on some sunscreen and float your days away, worry free.
Have questions about pool insurance? David Miller has answers. Miller, who writes the monthly Did You Know blog, is The Plexus Groupe’s Vice President, Client Executive for Private Client Solutions. Miller can be reached by calling 846-307-6141.
Cyber attacks threaten the financial stability of a company. The steep, monetary burden of a cyber attack isn't exclusively tied to damaged digital assets, lost records, and the price of investigating and reporting a breach. Damage to an organization’s physical assets can be just as harmful.
The physical damage of a cyber attack typically occurs when a hacker accesses a computer system that controls equipment. Examples include technology-based controls in a manufacturing plant, refinery or electric generating plant. After a hacker gains access to an organization’s machinery, they control it.
These types of events can lead to major disruptions and costly damages. To safeguard physical assets, it’s critical for organizations to understand the types of businesses and assets that are exposed to these attacks.
What’s at Risk?
Let's compare a cyber attacks to a natural disaster or other industrial accident. Following these kinds of incidents, organizations can incur costs to repair and replace damaged equipment in addition to any lost revenue caused by the disruption.
Unlike natural disasters, however, cyber attacks that result in physical damage aren’t limited to a geographic location and can impact an entire network. This means damages caused by a breach can be widespread, affecting multiple sectors of the economy depending on the target.
Because of this, cyber attacks that cause physical damage are often dynamic and extensive. When an attack on critical infrastructure occurs, it not only affects business owners and operators, but suppliers, stakeholders and customers.
Who’s at Risk?
Cyber attacks that cause physical damage — including the targets, assailants, motives and means of the attack — are constantly evolving.
Incidents can occur in a variety of ways, including: phishing scams, internet exchange point attacks, breaches of unsecured devices and plots carried out by rogue employees.
Many experts deem power and energy sector organizations the most at risk. However, vulnerabilities also exist in utilities, telecommunications, oil and gas, petrochemicals, mining and manufacturing, and any other sectors where industrial control systems (ICSs) are used.
ICSs are open computer systems used to monitor and control physical processes as well as streamline operations and repairs. ICSs are not often designed with security as a primary consideration. This leaves them susceptible to attack. And, for many automated processes, attacks don’t even need to cause physical damage to result in significant disruption and losses.
The targets of cyber attacks vary greatly by industry, and the damage can be extensive due to the interconnected nature of ICSs.
Organizations are not always required to report cyber attacks, so they largely go unreported. However, here are a number of high-profile incidents that demonstrate how important it is to consider infrastructure cyber exposures:
→ Ukrainian power grid attack. This was a multisite attack that disconnected seven 110 kilovolt (kV) and three 35 kV substations. The attack resulted in a power outage for 80,000 people and lasted for three hours. The attackers caused substantial, prolonged disruption to the economy and general public utilizing a phishing scam.
→ Saudi Arabian computer attacks. Hackers destroyed thousands of computers across six organizations in the energy, manufacturing and aviation industries. A simple virus stole data and then computers were wiped and bricked. Not only did this mean critical business data was lost forever, but all of the damaged computers had to be replaced — a substantial fee for businesses of any size.
→ Petrochemical plant attack. This attack targeted a Saudi Arabian petrochemical plant. The unique attack wasn’t designed to steal data, but rather sabotage operations and trigger an explosion. The only thing that prevented an explosion was a mistake in the attackers’ computer code. Had the attack been successful, the plant would likely have been destroyed and many employees could have died. Experts are concerned that similar attacks could happen across the globe.
→ Hospital ventilation attack. In this incident, a hacker was able to control a hospital’s HVAC system using malware. This attack put the safety of staff, patients and medical supplies in jeopardy, as the hacker could control the temperature of the facilities.
Cyber attacks will likely become increasingly common, as technology advances and hackers become more creative. Even more concerning is that these kinds of attacks not only endanger a company’s data, reputation and finances, but human lives as well.
How Do I Protect My Organization?
Insurance coverage for cyber attacks is still in its infancy, and your organization may have gaps in protection. Even if your property insurance policy includes physical or nonphysical damage overages, you may not necessarily be covered from first- or third-party losses from cyber attacks.
The level of protection your company has depends largely on the structure of your policies. Therefore, it’s critical for businesses to do their due diligence and understand if their policies do the following:
→ Impose any limits on coverage, particularly as it relates to physical damage of tangible property.
→ Cover an attack and any resulting damages.
→ Provide contingent coverage for attacks that aren’t specifically targeted at the organization.
There are a number of steps businesses can take by themselves to protect their physical assets. In addition to implementing a cyber risk management plan, businesses should consider the following:
→ Keep all software up to date.
→ Back up files regularly.
→ Train employees on common cyber risks and what they should do if they notice anything suspicious.
→ Review your exposures and speak with your insurance broker to discuss policy options for transferring risk.
Disclaimer and publishing credit: This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
We enjoy reading about insurance. Here are seven insurance stories we're sharing, bookmarking, and highlighting as the work week rolls on:
→ The Economist takes a look at how insurance is working to tailor policies for the freelance workforce.
→ Fixing something and need insurance fast? One agency is offering on-demand coverage.
→ Why are major non-insurers like Walmart suddenly looking to get into the business?
→ Dog bite insurance claims totaled close to $690 million in 2017, according to one study.
→ Here's a neat story from the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal on how area insurers and schools are working to attract students to careers in insurance.
→ The deadly Montecito mudslide has led to more than $400 million in insurance claims.
Double-checking your homeowners insurance probably isn’t on many spring to-do lists. But it should be.
That’s the advice from David Miller, Vice President and risk management expert at Plexus Private Client Solutions, a suburban Chicagoland personal insurance agency protecting the life’s work of successful families and individuals with tailored home, auto, and umbrella coverage solutions.
In his recent article, “Eight Things That Might Surprise You About Your Home Insurance Policy,” Miller highlights some hot-button issues for homeowners, including:
Your home may be underinsured. Via Consumer Reports, which cited data from analytics firm CoreLogic, three out of every five homes are 20% underinsured on average. In the case of a total rebuild, this could leave homeowners left to pick up the pieces — while also picking up the check.
Take a look at your deductible, because it may have changed. Miller, who has more than two decades of insurance experience, cautions homeowners to be aware of wind and hail deductibles. These have been on the rise, with an uptick in roof-related claims particularly an issue. An insurance company can only change your coverage at renewal; make sure to read the fine print. Your agent can help.
Do not assume you have sump pump failure coverage. Most insurance companies will exclude this damage as a cause of loss. However, you can usually buy back a limited amount of coverage. Writes Miller: “Even if you have an unfinished basement, the costs associated with a sump pump/sewer claim might surprise you.”
For more information on the home and personal insurance expertise offered by Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact David Miller at 847-307-6100, or visit plexusgroupe.com. The firm's located at 21805 W. Field Parkway, Suite 300, in Deer Park, Illinois.
About Plexus Private Client Solutions
The personal insurance practice of national insurance brokerage The Plexus Groupe LLC, Plexus Private Client Solutions delivers a superior client experience and comprehensive personal insurance for successful individuals and families, including auto, home, and umbrella coverage. Our experienced, dedicated team takes a consultative approach to your personal risk management needs. For more information on Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact the firm at 847.307.6100 or via the Web.
Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance is an insurance coverage sought by public, private and non-profit organizations to help protect their executives from costly legal actions. Over the years, insurance companies have refined their underwriting practices for D&O insurance to reward organizations that implement proactive risk management measures. While organizations across the United States have developed a greater appreciation for the importance of D&O insurance, many misconceptions about the underwriting process for D&O insurance persist. This Coverage Insights article examines some of the information that underwriters generally review when they receive an application for D&O liability insurance.
Applications for D&O insurance generally start by asking applicants for a basic profile of their organization. In particular, underwriters want to establish the organization’s size, location, and industry. While this information may seem basic, it impacts an underwriter’s willingness to accept an application for coverage, and sets the price, terms, and conditions of the policy.
Note that an organization’s industry may contribute to an insurance company’s perception of the D&O risk posed by an applicant. When forming an opinion of a potential new client, underwriters will often take into consideration any recent litigation trends, along with their own underwriting experience with organizations in that sector.
The Organization’s Financial Condition
Typically, underwriters will require organizations to submit a copy of their audited financial statements along with their application for D&O coverage. Underwriters require this information in order to develop an understanding of an organization’s financial circumstances, particularly its key income statement components and balance sheet components. With this information, insurance companies create a range of financial ratios to benchmark an applicant to other similar organizations within its industry.
One of the main questions the underwriters will be trying to answer is whether an organization has sufficient cash or credit available to fund its operations and service its debt obligations for the proposed policy period. Organizations with a strong financial standing operating in an industry with positive economic outlook are generally looked upon favorably by underwriters.
Insurance companies, by their nature, want to extend coverage to organizations that will allow them to remain profitable. Insurance companies generally view an organization with a history of frequent claims or pending litigation as undesirable and may decline to offer coverage or charge more for coverage based on the likelihood of a future loss.
While each insurance company has its own internal D&O underwriting practices, underwriters typically look at the following:
-- Recent civil or criminal action, or administrative proceedings alleging violation of a federal, state, or foreign securities law.
-- Involvement in insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings.
-- Instances of employment or labor-related litigation or proceedings.
-- Disputes over employee benefit or pension plan.
Mergers and Acquisitions
If an organization has been involved in merger or acquisition (M&A) activity, underwriters will typically investigate the reasons for these transactions to gain an understanding of its associated risk. This information interests insurance companies because financing activities and M&A activity are events that often lead to D&O claims.
Depending on the nature of an organization’s M&A activity, an underwriter may recommend certain conditions or restrictions in the D&O coverage provided to the organization or choose to decline coverage altogether.
Current and former employees are a common source of D&O insurance claims, especially for private and non-profit organizations. In order to get a better sense of how likely an organization’s directors and officers are to become involved in a dispute with employees, insurance companies will typically ask a series of questions related to employment practices. Common questions include, but not limited to, the following:
-- Does your organization have a formal human resources department?
-- Does your organization have an employee handbook?
-- Has your organization recently completed any layoffs, facility closures, or early retirement programs?
-- What is your organization’s annual turnover rate?
-- Does your organization have policies forbidding discriminatory conduct in the workplace?
-- Does your organization have formal hiring and interviewing guidelines?
Organizations that have operations in foreign countries tend to face a higher degree of D&O risk due to the complex compliance requirements that exist in each jurisdiction.
Accordingly, underwriters will typically ask an organization applying for D&O coverage what percentage of its business is in the United States and other countries.
Diversity of Business Activities
Generally, D&O risk is lower for organizations that concentrate their efforts in one core business activity. For this reason, underwriters may look more critically at organizations that involve themselves too many unrelated areas where the directors don’t have expertise in that type of operation. As a rule of thumb, the longer an organization has been involved in a business activity, the D&O risk associated with performing that activity decreases.
Additional Considerations for Public Companies
For publicly traded companies, insurance companies often require additional analysis from their underwriters during the application process. In addition to the areas previously mentioned, D&O underwriters may examine a publicly traded company’s accounting practices, corporate structure, stock price volatility, executive compensation, disclosure practices, and corporate governance.
Whether your organization is a non-profit, privately held, or public company, it is likely that it can benefit from a D&O policy. While the application and underwriting process for D&O insurance may seem daunting, The Plexus Groupe's knowledgeable insurance professionals are here to ensure your organization finds the insurance coverage it needs.
For more information on Plexus's management lines insurance expertise, including directors and officers coverage, contact a Property & Casualty executive at 847-307-6100 or visit ThePlexusGroupe.com
Disclaimer and publishing credit: This Coverage Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
In our latest roundup of personal insurance news, notes, and tips, we begin with a reminder that seeing someone's proof of insurance is one thing -- but hearing an agent verify that coverage is believing.
Hiring contractors? Verify their insurance with an agent, then trust.
Spring is ideal for home improvements, some of which might require a contractor's expertise. But before anyone starts work on your home, make sure they have insurance. Ask your contractor to furnish proof of insurance, with their agents contact information to verify the insurance is active. A reputable contractor will welcome your due diligence, and you will have peace of mind. Have any questions on this topic? Call us at 847.307.6100, and any of our Plexus Private Client Solutions team members will be happy to help.
Florida: the king of uninsured motorists
Ah, Florida. Sunshine. Beaches. And, unfortunately, a higher percentage of uninsured drivers than the rest of the country, according to the most recent available data from the Insurance Research Council (via the Insurance Information Institute). Therefore, there is no guarantee insured Florida drivers are carrying all that much coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Florida drivers are only required to carry $10,000 in liability coverage per person, with a minimum $20,000 per accident in liability insurance. Furthermore, drivers need just $10,000 in property coverage, per state law.
About Plexus Private Client Solutions
The personal insurance practice of national insurance brokerage The Plexus Groupe LLC, Plexus Private Client Solutions delivers a superior client experience and comprehensive personal insurance for successful individuals and families, including auto, home, and umbrella coverage. Our experienced, dedicated team takes a consultative approach to your personal insurance needs, and we transform complexity into simplicity to reduce your exposures and protect your most valued assets. For more information on Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact the firm at 847.307.6100, or reach out via the Web.
The Plexus Groupe (Plexus), a national insurance brokerage and risk management consultancy with an international network, has hired sales executive Wes Hornsby as a Vice President of Business Development. Hornsby will work out of Plexus's Dallas, Texas office.
Hornsby brings more than 20 years of sales leadership, business operations experience, and strategic planning expertise. He was most recently with Aflac, where he tailored benefit plans for clients via brokers, self-funded groups, and enrollment/software-solution companies. He has also held key sales roles with SurePoint Medical LLC, Rocky Brands, Inc., Allstate, and Bayer/Siemens.
"We are excited to welcome Wes to Plexus," said Brian F. Griffin, Plexus President and Chief Revenue Officer. "His innovative, strategic, client-focused approach, coupled with his vast experience and success in employee benefits and property and casualty, makes him a perfect fit for us. His addition is yet another example of our commitment to bolstering our already strong Dallas market presence."
The Plexus Groupe
Plexus offers expertise in property and casualty, employee benefits, corporate retirement plans, personal lines insurance, human resources administration/consulting, benefits technology services, and mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, the Plexus Global Network gives clients access to insurance placement in 130 countries around the world. Plexus has four offices: Deer Park, Ill. (headquarters), Chicago (Loop), Dallas, and Oklahoma City.
For more information on Plexus's strategic insurance solutions, please contact the firm at 847.307.6100 and ask to speak to a client executive, or contact us via the Web.