Thursday
Dec172015

An Independent Contractor May Not be What You Think

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued new guidance on classifying workers as Employees or Independent Contractors under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act., Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1, 7/15/2015.

It appears that the Department of Labor is taking a very different attitude towards the definition of an Independent Contractor versus many of the States. The Department of Labor’s 15-page memo review of their 6-part test between an Independent Contractor and what they consider to be a true employee is a tough one to swallow. 

Of course we understand that an Independent Contractor must be in business for him or herself. However, that’s not really the whole story for the Department of Labor.  Resulting “economic realities” have forced the Department of Labor to figure out a scheme to encapsulate more individuals as employees because of the loss of revenue to the US Treasury.

I urge you to read their blog as the six parts are very important, such as:

  1. Is the work an integral part of the employer’s business?
  2. Does the worker’s managerial skill affect the worker’s opportunity for a profit or loss?
  3. How does a worker’s relative investment compare to the employer’s investment?
  4. Does the work performed require skill and initiative?
  5. Is the relationship between the worker and employer permanent or indefinite?
  6. What is the nature and degree of the employer’s control?

Suffice it to say, we as employers are not only subject to our State’s test for Independent Contractor status, but also the Department of Labor. The latter whose test is so biased that you may pass the State test but easily flunk the Federal test. 

Not complying with both tests places today’s employers at risk for past penalties, past taxes, assessment of worker’s compensation premiums and so on.

Read the Federal Guide and weep.

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson McBride Inc., 

With good health to you,

Don Bone
President

Wednesday
Dec022015

Using Temporary Labor Firms

We often have to resort to temporary employees to get us through labor overloads. It can seem so easy to call a temporary labor firm for a placement, but what happens next can become a nightmare of incompetency, malingering and bad attitude. What does one do?

Review the written contract you have with the temporary labor firm.  Most companies that hire temporary labor have no idea how to negotiate a written agreement to protect them from liability. Furthermore, they have no idea that State and Federal regulations may cause these individuals to be your “permanent employee” and be entitled to the same benefit plans offered to your other employees in the same class.

Therefore, from an Insurance Risk Mitigation point of view, have a consultation with your legal counsel to set up a Standard Sub-Contractor Agreement. Utilize the agreement with the temporary labor firm to mitigate potential problems. Your legal counsel agreement should include Waivers of Subrogation in favor of you from the temporary labor firm and its’ Insurers and;

a.)  Defense and Indemnity Clause.

b.)  Additional Insured status in your favor.

c.)   The temporary labor firm’s policies must be declared by their Insurance Carrier has to be Primary and Non-Contributory.

d.)  A misclassification clause in favor of your company in the event the temporary labor firm uses Sub-Contractors and other individuals who can cause havoc upon you via the cost Worker’s Compensation and other insurance coverages.

e.)  A declaration of which party is responsible for supplying personal protective equipment.

f.)  How the issues of medical monitoring and contract/temporary labor medical files would be addressed.

g.)  Who is responsible for necessary drug testing?

h.)  If the Contractor/Temporary Worker drives any vehicle on behalf of the organization, there should be a provision relating to the driving record and vehicle use. In other words, you want to contractually have the Contract Labor Provider ensure that its’ employees have responsible driving records.

i.)  Seek advice from your legal counsel as to whether you or the Temporary Labor Firm is deemed to be the employer. Information on that subject can be gleaned from your attorney and letters of interpretations on http://www.osha.gov.

To sum up, the above items are just a few of the concerns you should have and mitigate through your legal counsel’s Contractual Agreement Form with the Temporary Labor Firm. The form may include the items above in your favor on their Auto Liability, Excess Liability, Inland Marine Policies, Property, Worker’s Compensation, etc.  

If the Labor Contractor is permitted to utilize Sub-Contractors for your organization, that needs to be addressed and those Sub-Contractors must comply with the same guidelines that you impose upon the Primary Labor Contractor.

As an Insurance Broker, we do not practice law but herein are discussing issues in the form of Insurance Risk Management. We hope these may be helpful to you in your continued operations and in conjunction with your legal counsel.

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

With good health to you,

Don Bone
President

Wednesday
Nov252015

Why Can't I Continue To Maintain That Large Profit I Made Last Year?

Do you often wonder why you are not able to replicate the good year that you had some time ago? Generally, the causation is not that your marketplace has changed so drastically, but you just “got lucky” in spite of yourself.  Our business mindset is the variable factor that most times allows us to prosper at different levels.

We often forget that when we “got lucky,” it involved increases perhaps in expenses for more employees, more inventory and a change of facilities to accomplish this ”luck.” No plans were made during this lucky moment except to put out fires; as opposed to thinking of this as a new adventure for the company at continued, higher levels of activity and profitability.

Again I use the old rule; go into the closet, talk to yourself and think about the fact that “good luck” does not have a long life. It is you who must have the reserve capabilities to intellectually adapt your company to its new environment, its activities and the mechanisms needed to support this happening.

During the same time, your thinking process has to well comprehend that extraordinary expenses should only be borne after understanding your position in your marketplace. Be vigilant of present and future cash flows. Understand that rushing and utilizing extreme expenses, most times, is a waste of capital and has a lesser accomplishment than if thought out over time.  Plan expenditures and keep in mind that the goals for the usage of such need to be defined and risk calculated. 

With the above in mind perhaps you will “get lucky” again. With the nuance that it was planned.

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.


With good health to you,

Don Bone,

President
questions 800-510-1095

Wednesday
Nov182015

When Employees Are Sick and Tired of Coming to Work

As employers, we often wonder why some employees have a continual habit of calling in sick on Fridays and Mondays.  It seems like there is an evil demon out there in space, causing them to have continuous periods of time that prohibit them from working with you.

Have you ever thought that perhaps you’re the one giving them the disease?  We are all human and some are more susceptible than others to the bad vibes in some companies. Many times, these vibes are the offshoot of the owner’s attitude about his or her life they bring into the office. Other times, it’s one employee whose acts are toxic to others in the office space.  

There are some simple cures to these ailments, but one must be proactive and act rapidly when these types of ‘illnesses’ have found their way into the workplace.  First, as an owner or senior officer of your company it is not okay to bring your personal problems in for display to the employees.  It is also not okay to talk about others in front of employees. Nor is it okay to intimidate, shout or yell.

As for your employees, it is not okay to allow them to consistently bring in their bad baggage, infecting one another during company hours.  Simply put, look in that big mirror and see if you are the culprit.  If so, it is time for a remake of your façade in the company and perhaps a trip to a psychologist for a review of your mental health and attitudes towards people, places and things.

Lastly, after confering with your labor counsel, it is generally most appropriate to remove toxic individuals from company operations.

It is so easy to have an operating environment that will have your employees looking forward to coming to the workplace as a haven for their productivity, their recognition of such and a pleasant environment they too often are not able to find in the outside world.  This environment becomes a “gem” to the operation, to your profitability and the stability of your operations.

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.


With good health to You,

Don Bone
President

Wednesday
Nov112015

Insuring From Womb to Tomb

Whoever thought that when a business is born, its life expectancy is immediately in jeopardy due to the company owners failure to mitigate and limit their liabilities?

I am always delighted to see a new business born with an exuberant group of owners, new capital and an outward desire to be the best. Unfortunately, some ideas which are thought to be “the best” are the executing factors to the demise of the entity. Starting up a company with no budgeting, no understanding of liabilities, and legal consequences from certain actions and the like, is a perfect path to a short lived existence.   

We at Bone Robertson & McBride, Inc. have a wonderful elixir, that when dispensed, may help to eradicate these type of cancers, with potential remission to the company. We can help you with advice to mitigate your liabilities. This includes having you consult with your legal counsel for revision of your standard customer & vendor contracts, whereby your acceptance of liability is limited with said parties agreeing to defend, indemnify and name you as Additional Insured on their various policies, in addition to having signed your Sub-Contractor Agreement.

Because so many companies relapse over time or develop new business diseases, we at Bone Robertson & McBride, Inc., modify our elixirs to beat the death out of you and put you into a possible remission. Hopefully allowing you a profitable and joyous business, serving the needs of your customers. 

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.


With good health to you,

Don Bone
President

Wednesday
Nov042015

Stop Trying to Kill Your Company

In their frantic moves to build, business owners often times forget that being vigilant includes properly servicing customers, daily solicitation for new sales and execution of your tasks in a very safe manner.

Our Commercial Insurance Brokerage recognizes that we are all human and, even with the best intent, must use proper tools necessary for the orderly operation of our companies. In order to be successful, there must be a well thought out process to obtain new customers, retain those customers and to make new sales daily.

Many business owners want to copy something from the Internet as their legal documents to be utilized in the operation of their business or to make promises to others that they can’t fulfill because they have not learned about their product or what is expected of them by today’s more informed customers. We at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc. recognize these deficiencies and constantly step up to the plate with eagerness to assist our insureds.

You would be amazed how the services of a sophisticated insurance broker staff can make a difference in the operations of your company. When confronted with an insurance claim, your broker can smooth the way with various insurance carriers, counsel you on the complexities of such an event and provide a better pathway to resolution of the issue. That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

 

With good health to you,

Don Bone
President

Thursday
Oct292015

Why Can’t You Make up Your Mind?

I share insureds’ frustration regarding an insurance company’s apparent malingering over accepting and admitting liability for a claim that has been presented. Insurance companies seem to be in a ‘mood’ and telegraph their apparent attitude toward insureds. Such attitudes can be so impersonal, uncaring and elongated that even optimistic individuals become hostile to their insurance company’s inability or unwillingness to serve them.

Here at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc., we care, listen and sympathize with the legitimate needs of our insureds. We are on board with our insureds’ frustration, and ally with them come claim time. As their insurance broker, we represent our insureds while we try to imbue sensibilities into insurance company personnel. Some of whom need a re-invigoration of their attitudes.

We are not ashamed of championing these good causes by knowing as much or more than the insurance carrier about what is a legitimate claim and deserves defense and indemnity with a rapid response, and assignment to legal counsel as necessary. We accomplish this not by yelling or screaming or threatening, but by appealing to the managers, officers and senior parties running insurance companies throughout the nation. It is amazing how a simple call to the home office can re-energize a claims person in an insurance office, thousands of miles away.

We want to continue to earn our place with our insureds and always be respectful of the insurance companies who sometimes need a Bone Robertson & McBride Inc. transfusion.

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

 

With good health to you,

Don Bone
President

Monday
Oct052015

What Is Replacement Cost?

Many of your commercial insurance policies contain Replacement Cost Valuation come loss time.  The easiest definition of replacement cost is, what it would cost one nanosecond before an insured’s loss to replace the item new with its same utilitarian-like abilities as the old object that was destroyed?

At loss time your Replacement Cost Valuation is subject to negotiation with your insurance carrier as the valuation can be determined through a number of ways that can be of benefit to an insured.  As an example, at the time you purchase property insurance, it is your obligation to determine the amount of coverage you wish to have as the replacement. Usually there is no absolute reliable determination that is reasonable in cost. Most insureds are forced to use an educated guess as to that value for their insurance broker to purchase coverage. 
The insured causes themself a potential problem if their guesstimate is wrong in an instance where there is a loss that is significantly less than the amount insured.  

Most insurance companies have a co-insurance clause that will cause a penalty that comes into play when there is a partial loss and not a total loss of that insureds property. Since most losses are partial losses, the insured is very disturbed when he learns that the insurance carrier is going to pay him a lesser amount than he had hoped due to the co-insurance clause being imposed.

Your insurance broker can play a significant role in aiding you in the adjustment of the claim with your insurance company.  There are many situations where the insured is adept at construction or has access to certain tradespeople that are willing to perform services for less than the general marketplace and such information needs to be transmitted to your insurance carrier in a persuasive manner.

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

 

With good health to you,

Don Bone
President 

Monday
Sep282015

Handling Your Auto Insurance Claim

Due to the size of our firm, we daily receive auto claims, particularly for physical damage to our insureds’ commercial vehicles.  We inform our clients that when a vehicle is declared to be a “total wreck” by the insurance company, the value of that loss is a negotiable item. In other words, a vehicle has residual value, but in their “business judgement” many insurance companies declare it to be a total loss, which confounds their insureds.

When you are confronted with the above type of incident, your broker can become a very important ally in the final amount paid by your insurance company.  Most customers have not purchased what is known as Gap Coverage. If there was a loan against a vehicle, the Gap Coverage would pay for the difference between the adjusted loss and the loan amount, if the loan balance was greater.  Some clients want to take the Insurance money and continue to keep the “total wreck” because they can rehabilitate it for future use due to their special needs.  Please keep in mind that these challenges is where your insurance broker can provide added value in your relationship to assist in maximizing your loss benefits.

That’s the way we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride, Inc.


With good health to you,

Don Bone
President 

Monday
Sep212015

Workers' Compensation Price War

The insurance industry is so predictable.  They overreact to everything when they finally realize that their expenses exceed their income. They overreact when they find out that they’re starting to make a little bit of a profit. Then, begin to cut rates because of fear that the marketplace will undercut them and they will not be able to continue to have their market share of the commercial insurance business.

Now it’s the customers’ turn to benefit from the obsessive behavior of the commercial insurance industry with a multiplicity of insurance companies lowering their rates in order to maintain and attract new business.

Rest assured if you are a client of Bone Robertson & McBride Inc. We remarket your account each year as a matter of practice and do not have to wait until one of our clients complain that the rates have not gone down.

That’s the way we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.


With good health to you,

Don Bone

President

Monday
Mar022015

How Do I Handle My Property Insurance Claim with my Insurance Company?

When you have any insurance claims, you have the obligation to immediately notify the insurance carrier of a claim or an incident that will lead to a claim.  The late reporting of a claim can cause the insurance carrier to enforce certain contractual obligations whereby they will deny coverage due to late reporting.  They will state that the late reporting prejudiced them to fairly evaluate, mitigate or defend the claim.

If you have a reasonable opportunity to mitigate your property claim while it is in progress or shortly thereafter, you do have the obligation to do so. This could include actions such as calling the police or the fire department, calling a contractor to board up an area to prevent theft, or any reasonable actions at a reasonable cost to lessen the claim that has occurred.  Generally, your insurance company will include those costs as part of reimbursement if this is a covered claim.

Also note, that the insurance carrier will require you to prove the claim by providing written data as to the event that lead to the loss.  You will provide police reports, a listing of property damaged, along with either the Actual Cash Value of the property or Replacement Cost as insured for and any extra expenses or loss of income if said coverages were extended in the policy, prior to the claim.  In other words, you have a large task at hand to prove this claim. Your records for reporting and the assimilating of data can very often be in poor condition and will bar you from receiving the value from which you anticipated. 

Remember it is your responsibility to keep proper records including acquisition costs of the property, the make model and year of the property in many cases. Because of the nature of the claim you will want to have pictures of the property that can assist in the insurance adjuster’s evaluation. Kindly remember that your depreciated value from an accounting and tax basis does not necessarily replicate what the depreciated value of the damaged property or its “replacement value” is in the real world, come claim time.

When you have a substantial claim, the insurance company will hire a forensic accountant to assist in their evaluation of a claim.  When such a professional is engaged by your insurance carrier, this is the first time that you - if you have not already done so - need to secure legal advice as to the best way to present the claim in order to meet the reasonable needs of your insurance carrier.

 

That is the way we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

 

Good health to you.

Best Regards,

Don Bone
President
800-510-1095 

Thursday
Feb192015

How Do I Handle a General Liability Claim?

I have been practicing Commercial Insurance for approximately 50 years and the usual disdain received from an insured is “Why am I paying so much for Insurance?”  Once the claim comes…”Why is the Insurance Company paying so much for this claim?”  Typically, these are just human reactions that occur out of frustration from a system that has developed in the United States for insuring risks.

 

I am very sympathetic to your feelings; as being insured by an Insurance Company you must deal within that system and when you do so, deal in a manner that gives you the highest potential for prevailing in your quest for some change or moderation by your Insurance Company.   

 

When an Insurance Company accepts a claim, including defense and indemnity, they have a  fiduciary liability to you to act in good faith and fair dealing and to attempt to settle the claim within the limits of the policy coverages.   With the latter said, that is their only obligation.  Typically when a litigated claim is accepted for defense and/or indemnification the Insurance Carrier will assign an outside attorney to handle the case.  This means that you have been served with a lawsuit or a demand for mediation or arbitration.  This outside attorney is paid for by your Insurance Company but is beholden to you.  In other words, that party is “your attorney” even though he is paid for by your Insurance Carrier….. Well that’s a good thought and that is what it appears to be but that is not what it is in reality.  In reality, most of these attorneys who are hired by the Insurance Carrier represent the Carrier in many other matters on behalf of the Insurance Company assigning them cases with the defense of their insureds.  That means that these attorneys generally act a bit differently than if they were being paid by you directly.  You need to be very clear with the new assigned 

attorney that they may not interact with your Insurance Company as regards to the status of your case, or requesting permission to take certain actions without you being copied into that correspondence so that you know what is going on between your Insurance Company and that attorney.  This gives a better ability to be involved in the defense of the case.   Now let’s discuss.

 

You need to lose the thought that you can control the case as to the settlement of the issue.   Many times you feel that you have little or no liability and that the Insurance Carrier does not want to continue the fight for you but rather to settle and  to settle for an amount that you feel is excessive.  While it is fine to civilly discuss this issue with your attorney, the Insurance Carrier, except for certain policies has no obligation to you to continue to defend a case if they can settle it. 

 

Some people will now say “Well I have a deductible and it’s not fair that I don’t have a say with the Insurance Company”.  Unfortunately, your deductible is part of the policy and you have no control if the Insurance Company attaches your liability to that deductible for payment.

 

Last of all, some States require that if there is an apparent “conflict of interest” that you may have the ability to ask the Insurance Carrier to assign another legal counsel at their expense to you.  This is a very difficult process but does arise and you will need to have consulted your own attorney at your expense if you wish to really pursue this avenue with your Insurance Carrier.

 

That is the way we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

Good health to you.

Best Regards,

Don Bone, President (800) 510-1095 – For Questions

Thursday
Feb052015

How Do I Handle My Worker’s Compensation Claims?

Setting up the Claim

A.)When you are presented with a Claim from one of your employees, you are obligated  immediately to complete the Employer’s section of your Insurance Company’s Claim Form and provide the employee with a copy of that individuals claim form for their completion and direct return to the Insurance Company. 

B.)Secondly, you need to document your appropriate file indicating the date that you notified the Insurance Carrier of the claim and the date that you provided the claim form to your employee.  If for some reason you are not able to give the employee a direct notice because of that individual’s non-availability, you must then immediately mail it to the employee’s last known address or if you have received previous permission to communicate with the employee via fax or email , (“on the subject of Worker’s Compensation and/or employee benefits”).  Please note that if you have not prior received in writing, written permission to communicate with the employee via fax or email, your sending this document does not constitute acceptance and could cause you a problem when the claim is processed by your Insurance Company.

Claims Adjusting

A.)Now it is your job to have a discussion with the Insurance Claims Adjuster.  You will have previously received an acknowledgement from the Insurance Company when you sent the claim to them.  It is important that you provide written documentation in addition to what you provided in the Employer’s first notice that may give the Insurance Company a better insight to the validity and severity of the claim.  All too often the employer does not properly provide input to the Insurance Company so that they can fairly discern if there is a 

potential fraud or that information that will mitigate the Insurance Company’s obligation to pay or to be able to look toward other parties for subrogation purposes.

 

B.)It is very important that if there is a third party that has contributed towards this employee injury, that the Insurance Company also have notice of this and then they will have an ability to attempt to recover monies paid out on this claim and for a potential revision in your experience modification over time.

C.)While you may consider it to be an extra labor that you had not contemplated, your reasonable interaction with the Claims Adjuster is important when you have subsequent information and not just a wild thought that the Insurance Company is paying too much on this claim.  Remember that the laws in various States are tilted in favor of the employee and most times there is nothing you can do to mitigate the amounts of monies that are being paid or awarded to that injured individual.  You do not have the right to control the claim nor do you have any rights as to any decision making other than reasonable input that must be substantive in nature to aid in the Insurance Carrier’s decision making.

D.)While it is true that you may have the feeling that the Insurance Company paid too much for a claim….  Yes, this cost is going to be passed onto you in the future years with an increase in your experience modification and your ability to renew with an Insurance Carrier because of this and other losses.  Simply put, this is the cost of doing business and is out of your control and yelling, screaming or being emotionally disturbed is a very inefficient process and really gains no weight to the final outcome.  You have no rights to control the claim.  The terms of your policy are very specific on this matter.

E.)At the very beginning of a claim, the Insurance Company will set up a “reserve” which is a wild guesstimate cost of defense and indemnity to that Insurance Company.  As the claim matures, the reserves are reviewed by the Claims Adjuster and/or their superiors and can be adjusted upwards or downwards.  The only period of time that you need to have concern and to give any input that you think is pertinent is approximately 30 days before that Insurance Carrier has to report your loss statistics to the Worker’s Compensation Bureau that controls your experience modification for the States in which you have employees.  At that juncture your Insurance Broker generally will participate with you in a conference call or aid you in a discussion regarding potential close-out of the claim or a downward valuation of the outstanding reserve.  Most times these conversations are not effective do to the fact that the Insurance Carrier has analytical statistics to evaluate the claim that is outside the normal individuals realm of projecting.  We are now in a new environment of insurance evaluation and underwriting.  The algorithmic mathematical formulas used in the industry now become the predictor of losses of your industry, your business and the environment from which you are working.  Additionally if the claim is litigated, those analytical statistics are also available to the Insurance Carrier as to geographical debits or credits, the cost of the claim and other inputs  are primarily calculated through a software program.  These claims are long, laborious and take time to settle out and this is the reason why many States have several adjustment look-back periods on a claim that even though the policy charged with a claim is no longer in force.  Such a process can help lower your worker’s compensation experience modification on a retroactive basis.

To summarize, if you smell what appears to be a fraudulent claim or know that the claimant is claiming a particular disability but is reasonably functioning with the disability during their work with you or through another employer or personally engaging in activities off of the Company time clock that would surprise you, these are the items you need to immediately bring to the attention of the Insurance Adjuster.  It is my suggestion that you have a direct interaction with the adjuster and not through a third party as the items do not get well translated and are less effective when you do not directly input this data to the Insurance Company. 

 That is the way we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

Good health to you.

Best Regards,

Don Bone, President (800) 510-1095 – For Questions

Monday
Feb022015

What is a BOND????

It is not insurance….A Bond is issued by a licensed Insurance Company that is a financial guarantee.  If called upon and properly proven up the Claimant will receive up to the total proceeds of the Bond.  It is the Bonding Company’s sole judgment that decides whether or not to pay the amount complained for by the Caimant.  Generally the only way that you can stop a Bonding Company from making payment whereby they have decided that you are liable is to go to court to stop that process from happening. 

When the Bonding Company makes a claim they then send you a bill to pay for the amount that they have decided to pay and in many cases can pass on legal costs and associated expenses for which you are obligated as an indemnitor and guarantor of the bond.  Simply put this is a financial instrument to meet the regulatory needs in the area for which you do business or to satisfy the needs of one of your customers or other contractors that award you additional business.  

That’s the way it is in the insurance and non-insurance world.

 

With good health to you,

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Bone, President

Monday
Jan262015

Why am I being sued for extra wages from my employees?

Little attention is paid to how employees complete their time sheets and become a bone of contention when the employee is terminated or feels mistreated and relies upon the fact that they should be receiving additional pay because of not being told about the required breaks they must take etc. 

It is important that time sheets received by your employees show sign-ins when they come to work and sign-outs for break and then sign-in after the break, and sign-out when their day has ended.  This procedure mitigates many of the issues described above. 

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

 

With good health to you,

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Bone, President

Monday
Jan192015

Why is the Affordable Care Act not Affordable?

For those of you who own Companies that have a good employee retention but are not required to offer health insurance, you are in the best of all worlds.  Once you decide to offer Health Insurance, you now will play in a different world.  You will be subject to penalties if you make an error or omission in the administration of the plan.  You will be penalized by insurance premiums that are increased as a result of the Affordable Care Act and your insured employees will generally have higher deductibles and co-pays than prior to this Act. 

Being generous is paying more than 50% of the employee’s premium….This is another area for serious consideration.  It is generally not a good idea to pay more than 50% unless it is an issue of valued employee retention(note….for 2015 check with your legal counsel as you may be able to discriminate in certain classes of employees by paying more for one class than the other).  You want the employee and their dependents to have some “skin in the game” so that the plan is not abused.  

For those individuals who decline coverage, you want to have the declination from them in writing as well as declinations for those dependents who are also declining.  You also want to have an extension of coverage known as employee benefit liability or fiduciary liability for errors and omissions in the administration of your employee benefit plans. 

That’s how we do it at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

 

With good health to you,

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Bone, President

Monday
Jan122015

Why do I Get Sued When I am an Innocent Party

I am constantly asked why an individual is added to a lawsuit when the function of the job  performed was not part of the lawsuit for which they have been served. 

Most people do not realize that the attorney representing the plaintiff has a duty to that plaintiff to name any and all possible people that may have any liabilities whether small, medium or large.  That attorney is performing his duty, unfor-tunately, naming you as a nominal party in that lawsuit. 

Many times when you privately engage legal counsel or the lawsuit is a covered event, that attorney will immediately contact the opposing party to ask for dismissal for at least for the time of being in the action because of the fact it appears that you were mis-named.  About 50% of the time this works and the other 50% you are sucked into the lawsuit and either you or the Insurance Company is expected to pay the ransom to buy out of it.  This is today’s reality…… You may consider it another cost of doing business. 

One way that you can mitigate the above issue, is to be ever careful in the Contracts that you utilize when engaging a client.  So often, you will be able to modify these Contracts prior to their signing because of the nominal nature of your involvement in the total project for which other sub-contractors are employed. You need to negotiate your responsibilities to a lower responsible level with your client. 

Words of wisdom…..Read your contract before signing.

 

That’s what we do at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

 

With good health to you,

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Bone, President

Monday
Jan052015

Working With My Insurance Broker

So many of you treat your Commercial Insurance Coverage as if it is a Commodity.  You are always looking for a lower price and are willing to move for nominal decreases in premium and at the same time have no idea what you are not getting in the policy that will be issued after you jump on what you call an “opportunity”. 

Do you treat your Doctor, your Lawyer, your Accountant that way??? 

Obviously not.  Then what puts your Insurance Broker in this special commodity arena?  It’s your mind, it’s your grasping for lowering your overhead albeit in the wrong place…  Simply put, treating your Insurance Broker like a commodity is not profitable nor efficient or smart.  You want to align yourself with an Insurance Broker you can trust just as your Doctor, Lawyer and Accountant.  This person will save you lots of distress when you have a claim, lawsuit or aggrieved parties that are looking to be compensated for what they are alleging to be your ill-deeds.  While Insurance Policies have large limitations as to their coverages, you have no choice but to have coverage but need to buy it in a smart fashionby trusting the right Insurance Broker to act on your behalf. 

That’s what we do at Bone Robertson & McBride Inc.

 

With good health to you,

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Bone, President

Monday
Dec222014

I don’t like my Insurance Policy and I Want to Cancel it Mid-Term.

While no one likes their insurance policy because it costs money, you need to have a very valid reason to cancel a policy mid-term because of the implications that will be imposed upon you for doing so.  A good example will be that most Insurance Policies have a minimum earned premium and also are subject to a short-rate cancellation calculation.  Further, you need to understand that if you are cancelling in order to replace coverage, that depending upon the character of the policy, you may have some obligations to the existing Insurance Carrier to notify them while the policy is in effect of any incidents that may lead to a claim or occurrence and not having done so until after the policy cancelled may foreclose your ability to have what would normally have been a valid claim, denied, due to late reporting.  If the policy being cancelled is on some type of claims made basis and has a retro-active date you will always want to have the new policy with the same retro-active date or that the retro-active date clause has been deleted.

 

With good health to you.

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Bone,

President

Monday
Dec152014

Why is My Liability Insurance Coverage so Limited?

The customary language of a General Liability Policy is not provide coverage for normal business disputes between the parties.

The basic intent of the General Liability Policy is to provide limited coverage for bodily injury and/or property damage as a result of the faulty workmanship performed for one of your customers.

As an example you are changing the oil in the engine of a vehicle but you forgot to replace the drain plug.  The client picks up his car and soon thereafter the engine freezes but before it stops one of the pistons fly out of the engine and do damage to the body of the vehicle.  In this case, the Liability Insurance Carrier will deny the damage claim to the engine but will pay for the damage to the body of the vehicle.

The idea is not to reward someone for performing the bad work upon the object upon which they had in their care, custody and control but to cover the resultant damage from the bad work.

That’s the way it is in the insurance world.

 

With good health to you.

 

Best Regards,

 

Don Bone,

President