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Business Risk Management in the Age of Increasing Workplace Violence

Posted By Chris Prewit, Monday, December 4, 2017

Article written by Robert Crosby, Executive Director of Independent Insurance Agents of San Antonio

It seems that every week we hear of another incident of violence in our society. Most recently, the shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, reminded us that no place is safe from acts of violence. The frequency of these incidents seems to be increasing and the statistics are frightening and sobering.  

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace violence is the second leading cause of death in the workplace. This can be one of the most frightening exposures for a company and just one incident can threaten the very survival of the company. The FBI reports that from 2000 and 2015 the number of annual active shooter incidents increased by 2000 percent. With these types of statistics, business owners must consider the ramifications of an incident in their place of business.  

According to CHUBB Insurance, there are several factors to consider when you are deciding whether or not to add workplace violence expense insurance coverage to your insurance portfolio. Expenses incurred in the aftermath of a workplace violence incident are often staggering and unforeseen. These expenses can include crisis management, independent security, employee counseling, public relations, and salaries for victim employees and for replacement employees, medical care, and rest & rehabilitation for employees.  

Additionally, loss of business income is a very real concern. Many business owners may believe that they have adequate insurance coverage with their General Liability insurance policy. However, Commercial General Liability may only respond if the business is considered legally liable for the incident. Business Interruption coverage will only respond if there is damage to your building. If you have to close your doors for a period of time while your staff recovers emotionally or physically, you may not be able to rely on Business Interruption coverage as a source of income replacement while your doors are shut. Workmen’s Compensation coverage very possibly will not cover a non-job-related injury in the workplace. The expenses to add temporary or new permanent employees is another non-covered expense.

Terrorism Coverage only covers events that generate at least $5 million in Property and Casualty losses and a terrorist attack certified by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. The September 11 attacks are the only incidents to date that meet those parameters. Most policies do not provide coverage event crisis response teams, victim counseling or funeral costs for employees, customers, visitors, and others.

Every business should consider assessing the risks that their specific type of business may have but there are certain businesses that have an increased risk of violence. Any company that deals with the public, exchanges money, delivers goods and services, works with unstable or violent persons, operates at night, or plans to reduce their workforce with layoffs or outsourcing of operations have an increased chance of a violent incident.  

There are policies in place through various carriers that provide for coverage in areas of third-party liability, crisis mental health specialists, independent forensic analysis's, funeral expenses, public relations, victim employees’ salaries and replacement employees’ salaries, informant rewards, risk assessment and response training and business interruption just to name a few.

A comprehensive risk assessment of your specific business is critical as coverages can vary widely.  Some policies have limitations depending on employee size, types of weapons and other incident specific particulars.

So where do you start? – take time to review your current coverages with your independent insurance agent and have your agent do a complete assessment of your company’s hiring and training practices, and workplace protection policies.

Recovery from any workplace violence incident is very difficult.  The better prepared a company is the more quickly the recovery process becomes and a return to normal operations is more successfully accomplished.

Tags:  advice  articles  best practices  business  Insurance  World Issues 

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TDI Issues Draft of Hail Litigation Report

Posted By Chris Prewit, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

An interesting article by Bill Kidd appeared in the latest issue of The Insurance Record


There is growing involvement from attorneys and public adjusters in the litigation of Texas hail damage claims. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) staff revealed their initial findings to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on October 5, 2016.  Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has directed the committee to monitor “the number of lawsuits related to property claims filed as a result of multiple hailstorms and weather-related events across Texas”.  The committee was directed to examine “negative consumer trends that may result in market disruption such as higher premiums and deductibles, less coverage, non-renewals, and inability to insure coverage due to insurance carrier withdrawal from the state”.  The committee was to then make recommendations on legislative action that is needed. TDI issued a data call on May 20, 2016 to collect information on hailstorm residential property claims litigation with response due August 19, 2016.  Approximately 140 separate insurance companies submitted responses. The data highlighted the following information. Before 2012, known attorney or public adjuster representation “was about 0.4% (one in 250 claims)”. “After 2011, known attorney or PA representation was about 4 to 4.5 % (one in 22 to 25 claims), or an increase of about 10 times or 900%. The data also revealed that the rate of lawsuits increased.  Before 2012, the lawsuit rate was about 1.5 to 2% but after 2011, the lawsuit rate increased by 1,400%. The TDI warned that “the results should be considered preliminary.” The TDI’s results are based on 40,000 randomly sampled windstorm and hail claims.

 

The data also indicated a majority of claims with attorney or PA involvement are in South Texas. “South Texas accounts for 4% of all sampled windstorm and hail claims and about 53% of claims with known attorney or PA involvement” TDI reported.  Seven insurers stated that they “intentionally reduced, limited, or stopped writing policies in Texas as a direct result of increased claims litigation from weather related perils.”  Two of those companies also opted not to renew policies.  Counties affected include Hidalgo, Maverick, Potter, Randall and Webb. One company increased its minimum wind deductible for new business policies statewide. “Twelve companies stated that they have increased rates for residential lines of insurance as a direct result of claims litigation” TDI Reported. TDI plans to finalize its analysis before the 2017 legislative session.

Tags:  articles  blog  business  hail  industry  Insurance  litigation 

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