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Insights

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This past Sunday, I drove down the country roads that lead to our small cabin on the lake surrounded by a few neighbors. I grabbed a float and some drinks from the Dollar General and spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the dock. I enjoyed the quietness of it all—no neighbors in sight, a dead iPhone, and the occasional splash of a fish jumping out of the water. As I was getting up to grab a book from the house, I knocked my sunscreen into the water and watched it float from the dock. Having just spent an arm and a leg on that sunscreen ($9.88 is in arm and a leg when you are three years out of college), it didn’t take more than two seconds for me to do my best impression of Will Ferrell's infamous Anchorman cannonball off the dock and retrieve the sunscreen. Pointless story? Yes, maybe. But little did I know, I could have been a victim with no help in sight.

Often, we don’t think twice about jumping into fresh water from a dock. We don’t realize that lethal amounts of electricity could be finding their way into the water from faulty wiring on the dock, boathouse, or boat if the dock has 120-volt AC power. Last summer, four children and one young adult were killed in separate electric shock drowning (ESD) incidents at docks on freshwater lakes in the span of one week. Just last week, a teen drowned at Smith Lake, Alabama after being electrocuted swimming near a boat dock. According to a random sampling of shore power cords in several fresh water marinas in the U.S. indicated that approximately 13% of the boats tested were leaking potentially lethal amounts of electrical (AC) current into the water.


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All covered employers are required to display and keep displayed a poster prepared by the Department of Labor summarizing the major provisions of The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and telling employees how to file a complaint. The poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it. A poster must be displayed at all locations even if there are no eligible employees.

A new version of the poster prepared by the Department (WH 1420) is available for your information or for posting in the workplace. The new poster does not include new information, rather is a new layout and easier to read format. So, employers can maintain their old (February 2013) FMLA posters or put up the new, reorganized version.

View and print the new 2016 poster here.


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Texting. Eating a spicy chicken sandwich (or two) from Wendy’s. Snapchatting a picture of your french fry that kind of looks like Donald Trump. Fidgeting with the radio because you just don’t think you can listen to “Uptown Funk” one more time. Peering out the window to check out the man holding the Firehouse Subs sign and dancing. Now, hungry again, punching ‘Chick-Fil-A’ into the navigation, because surely there is one within a 50 mile radius at all times. Tweeting at Chick-Fil-A when you realize there actually isn’t a Chick-Fil-A on your 4 hour route. How could this kind of injustice happen to you? We have all done one of these things (or let’s be honest—I am guilty of doing all these things).

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. These distractions can be cognitive, visual, and manual. Visual involves taking your eyes off the road, manual involves taking your hands off the wheel, and cognitive involves taking your mind off of driving. Texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, making it one of the more destructive distractions.

At any given moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or fidgeting with electronic devices while driving (National Occupant Protection Use Survey). Your eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds for every text sent. While traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. Research has discovered that drivers are not fully engaged with the driving task for 27 seconds after “stopping” their distracting behavior. 27 seconds. We all know an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. So, what is being done to put a dent in this issue?


Costs of a Data Breach: Are You a Target?

Posted by John Lovell on April 20, 2016

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I continue to be amazed how many businesses are unprotected, or dramatically under-insured, by their current insurance policies for Data Breaches.

Think this is only a problem for the "Targets" of the world?  Wrong!  Hackers love small to medium sized businesses--especially manufacturers, contractors and law firms.  Why?  Because it's easier to compromise their data.

A few costs you will incur out of your OWN pocket should you have a data breach and be underinsured, or much worse, not have insurance at all:

  • Forensic Team hired to stop the "leak" and pinpoint the source
  • System Downtime
  • Reputation Damage/PR Costs (Anthem, Target ring a bell?)
  • Legal Team/ Outside Counsel
  • Notification Costs for all those whose data was compromised
  • Hire a Call Center
  • Credit Monitoring for all those whose data was compromised
  • Fines/Penalties
  • Lawsuits arising out of the data breach
  • Extortion Demands
  • Business Interruption

You can avoid these costs by hiring a knowledgeable consultant and having adequate cyber-insurance and a cyber-risk management program.


Compliance Corner: Final SBC for April 2017

Posted by on April 19, 2016

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The final revised Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) template along with Instructions and Uniform Glossary have been issued for use beginning with plan years starting on/after April 1, 2017 - specifically for the first day of the first associated open enrollment period beginning on April 1, 2017 and after. If a plan does not hold an annual open enrollment, then the plan must use the new SBC starting on the first day of the plan year beginning on/after April 1, 2017. As a reminder, the SBC must be provided at various other times during the year, e.g., initial enrollment and special enrollment.


Cobbs Allen Kansas City Celebrates One Year

Posted by on April 18, 2016

 

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What a difference a year makes! At the beginning of 2015, Cobbs Allen knew we wanted to expand by opening an office in a new region. At first glance, Kansas City may not seem to be an obvious choice for an Alabama-based insurance broker. However, after exploring various regional market opportunities, we identified that the Kansas City market was in need of a fresh consultative approach to providing risk management. This was exactly the kind of opportunity we were looking for. Fast forward to April 2016 as Cobbs Allen celebrates the first anniversary of the Kansas City office!

Matthew Weaver, J.D. one of the former owners of the Power Group Companies in Kansas City, joined the firm to open the new office and expand the Cobbs Allen brand and footprint.  “I couldn’t be more excited about our team and the brand we are building together in the Kansas City office,” said Weaver. Regarding the challenge of  breaking into a market already saturated with well-established insurance brokers, Matthew responded by saying, “Cobbs Allen may be new to the area, but the tools, resources, and experience Cobbs Allen brings to this market are unrivaled."


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Free webinar series aimed at helping companies more effectively manage their risk exposures and safety concerns 

Risk Management Center Overview

Learn more about the Risk Management Center, a unique web-based software suite of safety and risk management tools designed to empower your organization's risk prevention efforts. The Risk Management Center is right for any organization that wants to:

  • Proactively manage risk exposures
  • Develop effective workplace safety programs
  • Reduce claims, losses, and associated costs

The risk management platform has recently been upgraded to enhance and streamline your risk management and occupational health and safety strategy. Attend this webinar to learn "what's new" and how to utilize the new features to enable maximum productivity.
 

Dates:
April 6, 3:00 PM CT
April 12, 11:00 AM CT
April 19, 3:00 PM CT
April 28, 11:00 AM CT

Click here to register

 

Injury and Illness Prevention (IIPP) Development Using the Risk Management Center

Creating a comprehensive IIPP is an essential step to stay compliant, reduce costs associated with injuries, and create a safety culture at your workplace. IIPP's are required in 15 states, and are recommended as a best practice by OSHA. 

This webinar will cover the basic areas that need to be addressed in a written IIPP. It will describe how to write and implement an IIPP specific to your workplace. It will also describe how to find sample written forms in the Risk Management Center, plus which applications can help you successfully implement an IIPP.

Dates:
April 14, 11:00 AM CT

Click here to register

 

How to Implement a Fall Protection & Prevention Plan

Each year, on average, over 150 workers are killed and more than 100,000 are injured as result of falls at construction sites. Employers need to know how to:

  • Select fall protection systems appropriate for given situations
  • Install safety systems properly
  • Supervise employees properly
  • Use safe work procedures
  • Train workers in the proper selection, use, and maintenance of all protection systems

This 30-minute awareness-level overview webinar highlights the key elements of an effective fall protection program. 

Dates:
April 25, 3:00 PM CT

Click here to register


Staying on Your Feet: Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls

According to OSHA, slips, trips and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. Employees can incur back injuries, strains and sprains, contusions, and fractures resulting from unsafe workplace conditions. Learn the common exposures and how to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries associated with slips, trips, and falls. 

Trainees will learn how to employ the resources of the Risk Management Center to assist with the development and implementation of solid prevention tools for the prevention of slip, trips, and falls. This webinar will be delivered by a certified safety and health expert.

Dates:
April 5, 11:00 AM CT

Click here to register

 

Safety Data Sheet and Hazard Communication Plan Management

Join us for a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) management webinar to train you on the key elements for successful administration of your hazardous substances. Learn about the new format for SDSs, which is part of OSHA's revised Hazard Communication Standard, and how to easily maintain your hazardous materials database.

This 30-minute awareness-level overview webinar highlights the importance of SDSs and how to effectively implement a Hazard Communication Plan.

Dates:
April 21, 11:00 AM CT

Click here to register