The Reschini Blog: Know What Your Equipment Is Worth

“Catastrophe” in the property insurance industry denotes a severe natural or man-made disaster that is unusually severe.  In the insurance industry, an event is designated a catastrophe when claims reach at least $25 million.

But an event doesn’t have to be technically classified as a catastrophe for it to feel like one, when you suffer damage to your property and equipment.  That’s why it’s always imperative to know the value of what you own long before it is ever damaged or lost.

Conducting an industrial appraisal remains a vital piece of the process in securing the proper level of insurance coverage.  Establishing a fair and accurate “insured-to-value” ratio can spell the difference between an effective and orderly restoration of operations following an event, and being left with unanticipated expenses and follow-up claim resolution issues.

Commercial property insurance policies generally cover the same causes of loss as most homeowners policies (damage from fire, windstorm, hail, riots, explosions) with some variation, depending on the coverages selected. Flood and earthquake damage are typically excluded.

To put that into perspective, the Insurance Information Institute says that in the U.S. from 1997 to 2016, events involving tornadoes, including other wind, hail and flood losses associated with tornadoes made up 39.9 percent of total catastrophe insured losses, adjusted for inflation. Hurricanes and tropical storms were a close second at 38.2 percent of losses, followed by other wind/hail/flood (7.1 percent) and winter storms (6.7 percent). Terrorism and fires, including wildland fires, accounted for 5.9 percent and 2.0 percent of catastrophe losses, respectively. Civil disorders, water damage and utility services disruption combined represented about 0.2 percent of losses.

The world – both from its natural dangers and those generated by people – can be a dangerous, hazardous place.  Your equipment and property is always vulnerable to damage and loss. The Reschini Group can provide rough estimates on building valuations, locate experts in the appraisal arena, and secure the best possible coverage solutions.

Because an event doesn’t have to fit the description of a catastrophe for it to feel like one, when it happens to you.  Contact the professionals at The Reschini Group to learn more.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Source: https://www.iii.org/article/spotlight-on-catastrophes-insurance-issues

The Reschini Benefits Blog: Total Compensation Statements

For many employees, the paycheck represents the sum total of how their employer compensates them.  But in many cases, that’s not the complete picture.

From the employer’s perspective, the benefits package offered to their workers may be quite substantial, but those same employees may not be aware of or may not understand the full scope of what they’re being offered.  A Total Compensation Statement can help raise appreciation, morale, and loyalty among the members of a workforce.

A Total Compensation Statement highlights the monetary value of a company’s benefits package, including those perks that may be overshadowed by traditional benefits, to include information on:

  • Salary
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Stock options
  • Stock grants
  • Employee stock purchase plan
  • Retirement plan
  • Social Security contributions
  • 401(k) matching contributions
  • Paid time off
  • Coverages for health, life and disability insurance
  • Wellness rewards (e.g., discounts and cash 
bonuses)

By assigning a dollar amount to benefits that do not seem to have a tangible monetary value, employers can promote the idea of total compensation, beyond just a paycheck.  Pulling back the curtain in this way can lead to higher retention rates among employees and can make the organization more competitive when talking with recruits during the hiring process.

Committing to providing Total Compensation Statements will require some investment of time and resources to gather and present this data, but the return on this investment can be more than worth the effort.

Contact the Benefits team at The Reschini Group for more information.

Here is a resource for total compensation:

Total Rewards – Compensation and Benefits


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: Slow Hackers Down with MFA

When a skilled hacker has the means, the motive, and the opportunity to break into your cyber system and wreak havoc, not much can stop or slow that person down.  With one exception – multi-factor authentication, or MFA.

The only drawback of using this advanced tool, however, comes in the fact that the MFA – because of its comprehensive and in-depth safeguards – can also slow down legitimate users.  But industry experts agree that the benefits in safety and security far outweigh this one minor negative.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, defines MFA as “a security enhancement that allows you to present two pieces of evidence – your credentials – when logging in to an account. Your credentials fall into any of these three categories: something you know (like a password or PIN), something you have (like a smart card), or something you are (like your fingerprint). Your credentials must come from two different categories to enhance security – so entering two different passwords would not be considered multi-factor.”

NIST adds, “MFA is quite simple, and organizations are focusing more than ever on creating a smooth user experience. In fact, you probably already use it in some form. For example, you’ve used MFA if you’ve:

  • swiped your bank card at the ATM and then entered your PIN (personal ID number)
  • logged into a website that sent a numeric code to your phone, which you then entered to gain access to your account.”

The Pittsburgh Technology Council cites a professional cybersecurity expert (and former hacker), who said, “It is of the utmost importance to push through any obstacles and enable MFA on your environment.  In addition to the monumental importance of having MFA, it is critical that you review your third-party systems that you do not control, especially those which contain sensitive company data, and find out whether MFA is available.”

The added seconds it may require for users to register through two separate channels to access data amounts to virtually nothing in the long-term, when compared with the time, trauma, and treasure it would take to recover from a severe cybersecurity breach.

For more insurance-related information on this and other topics, contact the professionals at The Reschini Group.

Download these resources about Cyber Liability:
10 Cyber Security Resolutions to Reduce Your Data Exposures
CI – Cyber Liability Insurance
Contact The Reschini Group with your questions or concerns regarding cybersecurity.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: Workers’ Comp and the Pandemic

Believe it or not, 2020 may not have been such a bad year for workers’ compensation insurers and insureds after all.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) looked at results through the third quarter of 2020 and extended those through the end of the year, using data from private carriers and state funds in 41 jurisdictions. The NCCI figures are calendar year and do not reflect the full costs of treating COVID-19 or other health conditions with long-term effects.

Overall for 2020, NCCI found:

  • Worker claims due to COVID-19 have ranged from no symptoms to critical care, hospitalizations and, unfortunately, fatalities in some cases.
  • The overall COVID-19 claims picture is by no means dire, with the majority of cases only requiring the injured worker to miss work and quarantine or recover at home.
  • About 80% of the COVID claimants received very limited treatment, with 20% admitted to the hospital, representing the costliest and most complicated cases.
  • The typical COVID inpatient stay lasts on average about seven to eight days.
  • The majority of workers filing COVID workers’ compensation claims were women, at nearly 70%. These claimants are also generally older than the typical injured worker, with a large share age 55 years and older.
  • Also, injured workers who contracted COVID-19 and required medical treatment were more likely to have comorbidities such as hypertension and chronic pulmonary disorder.
  • COVID-19 claims were predominantly among frontline workers, first responders, healthcare and other essential workers, and teachers.

As the Delta variant surges across the U.S., it will be important to see how trends impacting workers’ compensation claims mirror or diverge from those seen from the initial round of COVID-19.

For more information, contact the workers’ compensation experts at The Reschini Group.

Download our resources about Workers Comp and COVID:

 


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Benefits Blog: Balancing the Employee’s Right to Privacy

While having conversations, writing emails and going about business at home, the law provides privacy rights that restrict others from breaching one’s sense of security. However, when individuals go into a work setting, those rights are not as defined.

The law is unclear regarding the employer’s need to know versus the employee’s right to privacy, which can cause confusion and conflict in the workplace.

When determining the legality of a potential privacy infringement, the employer’s need for conducting a particular type of surveillance will typically be weighed against the employee’s expectation of privacy. Generally, the employer’s privacy policies, past actions concerning privacy, and whether there was a legitimate reason for the search play a role in whether there was a violation of one’s privacy rights. In addition, if an employer does one of the following, he or she is typically in violation of the employee’s expectation of privacy:

  • Deception—Requiring an employee to have a medical exam and then testing urine for drugs without the employee’s knowledge. After failing the drug test, the employee is fired.
  • Secret monitoring of an intrusive nature— The employer installs a video surveillance camera above bathroom stalls to detect employee theft.
  • Confidentiality violation—The employer assures employees that information from a health questionnaire will remain confidential, but then shares it with a third party.
  • Intrusions into employee’s personal life— The employer fires an employee because he or she is a member of an activist group whose mission the company does not 
support.

Suggestions for employers on to handle this issue include:

  • Have clear policies in your employee handbook relating to privacy, investigations and surveillance, including use of email and company-provided electronic devices.
  • Update policies as needed and inform employees of updates.
  • Have all employees read and sign the policy and any updates.
  • Make sure you have a legitimate work-related purpose for monitoring employees or their communications.
  • Know federal, state and local laws regarding privacy and consult legal counsel if you are unsure.

For additional perspective on balancing the employer’s right to know and the employee’s right to privacy, contact the Benefits team at The Reschini Group today.

Download these resources about employee privacy rights:

Contact The Reschini Group with questions about privacy rights.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: How to Avoid Being Zoom-Bombed

In the age of COVID-19, platforms like Zoom, Skype, Blackboard Collaborate, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx have been lifesavers for businesses, schools, and families.  But, regrettably, the emergence and widespread adoption of these wonderful tools have also enabled the rise of those who would use them to break in uninvited, to steal information and data for their own purposes.

Such video-conferencing hijackers practice what has been dubbed “Zoom-bombing,” or the act of disrupting a virtual meeting with graphic or threatening messages or actions, including hate speech or pornographic images. Beyond being incredibly annoying and hurtful, such intrusions can also cause liability exposure based on the highly offensive harassment.

Protecting innocent users against these disruptions is both a moral and legal obligation, as state and federal civil rights laws require businesses, organizations, and public entities to prevent discriminatory harassment.  So how can you avoid being Zoom-bombed?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Know and test the technology first.
  • Use options that require authenticated users only.
  • Make all meetings private, with controlled admission.
  • Only share the link to the room with those invited.
  • Disable the “join before host” setting.
  • Restrict screen-sharing options to the host only.
  • Use the latest technology with updated security enhancements.

Our society, educational system, and business communities have survived the pandemic by leveraging the incredible power of these video-conferencing tools.  Their staying power in a post-COVID world is guaranteed.  That makes it all the more essential for users to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and those who they invite to join them online.

Contact The Reschini Group for information on insurance-related matters affecting your organization.

Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Source: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/avoiding-zoom-bombing-in-the-new-age-of-meetings.aspx

The Reschini Blog: Nursing Home Turnover Presents Fresh Challenges

One of the more obvious ramifications of COVID-19 has been seen in high rates of staff turnover at nursing homes.  But that trend had been in place long before the pandemic, with the median staff turnover at U.S. nursing homes of 94% and a mean rate of 128% in 2017 and 2018, according to industry journal Health Affairs.

Mean rates exceeded 100% across all three primary employee types studied — registered nurses (140.7%), certified nursing assistants (129.1%), and licensed practical nurses (114.1%).

With facilities suffering this rate of turnover, exposure to lawsuits and insurance claims asserting wrongful termination or unsafe on-the-job conditions – especially in the era of pandemic – could escalate.  Take, for example, a claim filed in 2018 that was never pursued to resolution.  The claimant’s attorney picks up the case again in 2021, but the specifics of the situation have been lost to memory and time.

Refuting those challenges becomes difficult, if not impossible, opening the door to financial exposure for the nursing home facility.

Situations like this – which are not as rare as one might think – only serve to emphasize the need for diligent, comprehensive, up-to-date record keeping regarding all employees, their performance records, any disciplinary actions required, and the details of how their employment ends.  Only documentation like this can prevent or limit potential damages being charged to the employer.

An escalating rate of turnover cannot be used as an excuse for substandard record-keeping.

Contact The Reschini Group for information on insurance-related matters affecting your organization.

Download these resources about turnover and employment tracking:

Contact The Reschini Group with your questions or concerns regarding a need for Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI).

 


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Source: https://skillednursingnews.com/2021/03/nursing-homes-have-94-staff-turnover-rate-with-even-higher-churn-at-low-rated-facilities/

Benefits Blog: Be a Smart Health Care Consumer

They used to say there were only two sure things in life – death and taxes.  But another sure thing could be added today – rising health care costs.

That makes it imperative for every individual to become a smarter consumer of health care, by taking charge of your care and coverage, asking more questions, and doing more independent research.  Here are some specific steps:

Control out-of-pocket health care costs by carefully reviewing your health insurance plan options and selecting the ones that best meet the needs of you and your family.  Those needing more chronic care and medications may want to choose a lower deductible plan, while those younger and healthier needing less care could potentially get by with a higher deductible option.

Assert your rights as a patient and ask more questions of your doctor and pharmacist, such as:

  • Why is this treatment necessary?
  • How much will this treatment cost?
  • Are there equally effective options that cost less?
  • What is the current procedural terminology (CRT) code for this treatment, so that I can comparison shop my options?
  • How can I improve my condition?
  • Why are you suggesting this specific dosage?
  • Is this prescription on my insurance plan’s approved list, or is this a specialty drug?
  • Can you recommend a lower-cost or generic substitute?

Make every effort to choose in-network doctors when possible.  Health care providers within your plan’s network typically cost less than those out-of-network.  When selecting a plan, make sure your preferred doctors and hospitals are within the plan’s approved network.

Seek outpatient care when available, without sacrificing quality of care.  By avoiding being admitted to the hospital, the cost of your care goes down significantly.  Only select an outpatient option when the proper level of care can still be provided.

For more information on becoming a smarter health care consumer, contact the Benefits team at The Reschini Group today.

Download these resources about reducing health care costs:

How to Lower Health Care Costs Take Action – Preventive Care and Your Health Care Costs Take Action – Shop Around for Health Care


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: Cybercrime Impacts All Industries

Working in IT today is like running a marathon sprint.

Not only do the digital professionals need to keep their systems and users running smoothly at a baseline level, they also need to stay up-to-date on new applications and software packages and how they could be used to advance the growth of their organizations.

And then there’s the ever-present specter of cybercrime – an unending and constantly expanding web of innovative and malicious attempts to steal information, hold data for ransom, and generally take control of the digital identity of companies.  What’s worse, no industry is immune to these dark forces, who can wreak havoc and extort enormous financial damages.

According to the Pittsburgh Technology Council, most CEO surveys rank cybersecurity threats as a top-five risk, regardless of industry type.  CEOs care about data breaches and ransomware attacks because those attacks have become so common, regardless of organizational size or IT staff experience.  Furthermore, CEOs know that a ransomware infection or a data breach can put the very life of their organizations at risk.

IT teams have trouble keeping a current and standardized set of security best practices, because to do so – with proper patches and policies amid a continuously changing environment – is time consuming, expensive, and downright difficult.  One solution comes in the form of enterprise cloud infrastructure platforms, which offer a secure-by-default cloud experience with best-in-class security features incorporated from the start.

Using advanced tools like this can free internal IT staffs, since they only need to work with the cloud infrastructure provider to select and configure features most relevant to the organization’s needs and vulnerabilities.  Those IT professionals can then spend their time more efficiently, working on strategic projects while reducing exposure to cybersecurity issues.

Keeping the bad guys at bay online doesn’t have to be a marathon sprint, where the best efforts simply can’t keep running at full capacity.  You can bring your cybersecurity exposure under better control, thereby improving your insurance coverage against losses.

The experts at The Reschini Group can provide specific guidance in this area.  Contact us today to learn more.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Reschini Blog: Noise Monitoring a Vital Concern

The very process of manufacturing – especially heavy manufacturing – carries with it some inherent variables that can cause damage to those working onsite.  Most companies maintain diligent safety practices and procedures to protect workers from falls, hand injuries, accident enclosures, and the like.

The dangers of excessive noise must be in that same discussion.

The Reschini Group has specialists who consult and advise client companies about the importance of noise monitoring, including use of audio dosimetry at manufacturing facilities.  Our team works with manufacturers to conduct these tests, to see the impact of onsite noise and how best to safeguard those exposed to it.

Central to these efforts is guidance from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and its requirements for establishing a Hearing Conservation Program.  According to the OSHA website, this includes noise monitoring, audiometric testing, hearing protection, training, and recordkeeping.  OSHA requires companies to implement a hearing conservation program when noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours.

Exposure to loud noise kills the nerve endings in the inner ear, with prolonged exposure causing more dead nerve endings and permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected with surgery or medicine. Noise-induced hearing loss limits your ability to hear high frequency sounds and understand speech, which seriously impairs your ability to communicate. Hearing aids may help, but they do not restore your hearing to normal.

Hearing conservation programs are meant to prevent initial occupational hearing loss, preserve and protect remaining hearing, and equip workers with the knowledge and hearing protection devices necessary to safeguard themselves.  Paying the proper level of attention to on-the-job noise issues also makes sense regarding avoiding exposure to lawsuits and insurance claims.

The team at The Reschini Group features experts in working with client companies to lessen this exposure.  Contact us today to learn more.


Related Resource from The Reschini Group

Contact The Reschini Group with your questions or concerns regarding Noise Hazards.


Copyright 2021 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.