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Posts Tagged ‘business insurance’

What You Should Know About Business Owners Policies

There are many uncertainties in business life resulting in unforeseen challenges. Disasters happen all the time caused by from nature, equipment failures, and accidents. Usually, 90% of the costs incurred by these disasters falls on the business owner. The proprietors foot the bills when they thought their insurance would.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Savvy business owners look for commercial insurance coverage called Business Owner Policy (BOP). BOP cushions firms and their owners against the high costs of damage to property, and injuries to people. BOP is a necessary protective measure for business owners who want personal protection.

1: What is BOP?

BOP is a commercial insurance plan tailored into a package best-suited for the individual business owner. Business Owner Policy accounts for the standard protection requirements of all small-medium size companies, then forms them into one complete package. BOP packages allow for extra coverage options as well, depending on your business needs. Stop wading through the sea of business insurance policy options. BOP is the inexpensive, convenient, and complete package.

According to Investopedia, a BOP is often the less-expensive option compared to creating the same plan from scratch. BOP packages meet the needs and address the concerns of individual business owners through customization. BOP packages are flexible because not all businesses share the same types and levels of risk. It’s common for commercial insurance brokers to meet with business owners first, determining their specific requirements, before crafting a package. Packages vary based on:

  • Professional services provided
  • Customer exposure
  • Regional hazards

A professional broker can help you create a complete insurance package for your business.

2: What’s Does BOP Include?

  • BOP packages apply to both residential and commercial property. Policy coverage can be standard or unique. Unique options offer extra advantages through increased and specific protection. At the basic level, BOP provides the following coverage:
  • BOP includes both liability and property insurance for all company-owned building and their contents. Property insurance is available in standard and special options, offering increased levels of coverage for those who need it.
  • BOP supplies interruption coverage, protecting owners against losses incurred due to disaster.
  • BOP liability protection protects the company for the actions of its employees and owners. Also covered are workplace liability incidents, defective products, faulty services and more.
  • BOP does not cover auto insurance costs, disability settlements, and workers compensation. Separate policies will be necessary to include coverage for those concerns.

3: How Much Does it Cost?

Insurance Noodle contends there is no one true figure for the cost of BOP. Cost for BOP is dependent on a variety of factors that differ from business to business. Client base, business size, annual revenue, customer traffic, risk… These all factor into your BOP needs and cost. Business owners should consider all their needs when shopping for a BOP. What BOPs have in common is helping keep costs low, and helping protect business owners.

Providers use different systems when crafting BOP plans for business owners. There are many pre-packaged options available, and customized packages are available to meet your specific needs. Add-ons like industrial car insurance, flood insurance coverage and earthquake insurance may be worth considering, depending on your circumstances. Always investigate your market before settling on your BOP

Have some information or ideas on insurance topics you think might be relevant to your health or finances? Feel free to share with us! Don’t hesitate to contact us for any of your insurance-related questions.

Wages On The Rise Due to Competition

In the United States, studies have shown that the labor market continues to expand with more jobs available for the second half of the year. Additionally, a large percentage of companies expect to increase salaries this year.

In fact 60% of companies are going to hire new employees between July to December. (This is according to CareerBuilder’s 2017 Midyear Task Forecast.) This number represents a 50% increase over the previous year. Additionally, 46% of businesses plan to hire contract employees. This represents an increase from the previously reported 32% in July 2016.

Demonstrating strengthening economic confidence, CareerBuilder also found that 27% of employees intend to change jobs by the end of the year. (Need to retain employees? Now’s the time to re-evaluate your benefits plan…)

The CareerBuilder study resulted from surveying 2,369 hiring managers and human resource specialists. It also gathered input from 3,662 private, full-time employees.

The CEO of CareerBuilder released a statement that confirmed the findings of his report. He stated that most employers were confident in their expectation of economic growth and increased need for workers.

The growing competition for skilled workers is giving job seekers a greater chance of being choosy about where they work. (Allowing them to find positions that give them greater work/life balance.)

He also went on to say that job seekers benefitted from having greater career options. Companies are rapidly trying to fill open positions and are willing to pay more to their employees. (Companies are also showing a better understanding that employees need to have positive feelings about where they work…)

Another study completed by Manpower Group further backed up these findings. According to this “Workforce Employment Expectation Study”, there are strong indications of an increase in hiring. Manpower found that U.S. companies are anticipating the hiring rate to stay favorable in the remaining months of 2017.

A survey of 11,00 companies indicated that 24% of the companies had the goal to hire new employees between July and September.

In many job areas, employers indicate that they have fairly steady plans to hire new employees. Segments with the largest anticipated growth include durable goods manufacturing.

For the last six months of the year, there are certain industries that will outpace others in hiring. This is according to the CareerBuilder survey results.

  • IT companies are the ones that are most likely to hire new employees with 72% planning to increase their worker force.
  • Manufacturers at 66%,
  • Health care with 64%, and
  • Financial services with 62%.

Manpower Group’s survey indicates solid growth in the leisure and hospitality fields. This also anticipates solid growth in:

  • Transportation,
  • Wholesale,
  • Retail, and
  • Professional services.

The constant changes in technology are also changing the skills that are needed. Manufacturing, for example, requires workers who are more technologically sophicticated.

To remain competitive, employers are offering better benefits combined with on the job learning to support employee upward mobility.

Companies that are most likely to hire through the rest of the year are going to be in the following areas:

  • Skilled trade, 15%
  • Software specialists, 14%
  • Cybersecurity, 13%
  • Sales, 13%
  • Administrative, 13%

Both of the studies indicate that the employment outlook in the United States is favorable. The greatest growth is anticipated in the Western states.

Midsize companies have the highest percentage of employee growth. Smaller local businesses are also reporting their greatest yearly growth according to CareerBuilder.

Meanwhile, more than 70% of HR supervisors told CareerBuilder they feel pressured to increase salaries. This is because of an increasingly tight and competitive labor market.

In fact 53% of survey participants intend to increase the starting salaries for new employees over the following six months. 32% intend to raise the initial salaries within job offers by 5% or even greater.

What this means for your business is that you will fight harder to attract and retain great quality workers. If you need to chat about benefits we’ll be happy to help point you in the right direction.

One Insurance Mis-Step Can Risk Your Business

In 2008 Leo Welder started ChooseWhat.com. Within a year he was being sued by J2 Global for using the term “e-fax”. It was totally out of the blue and unexpected. Sadly, he found his insurance didn’t protect him from this claim. Yes, he purchased insurance but was missing coverage for intellectual property litigation.

Both companies eventually settled but only after Mr. Welder had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. (How many startups have that amount of capital freely available?)

After the lawsuit, Mr. Welder decided to add an E&O policy to help protect his company from these concerns.

No matter how smart you are or how diligent you are in caring for your clients, you can still find yourself in legal and economic problems. However, even with these concerns, many startups haven’t investigated getting necessary insurance for their risk profile. (Typically because they are either trying to save money or as an oversight.)

The critical thing to understand when contemplating risk management is that problems arise from gaps in protection. With that in mind, here are recommendations from business owners and insurance experts to avoid liability problems in a business.

Cover All Your Bases

Every organization needs basic liability insurance coverage. This can protect your business from a huge number of costs from libel to customer injuries. The average liability plan is one of the least expensive types of insurance protection you can own.

Most business owners admit that they avoid insurance to keep costs low. The question to ask… is it worth it? Be sure to talk to your insurance agent and review any needed changes for your risk profile.

Here are some areas of risk to ponder:

* Do you have company cars?
* Do you or employees drive personal cars for business related activities?
* Do you attend trade shows?
* Do you store client data online?
* Is your company dependent on a key employee?

The list above is an example of what an insurance advisor will walk through with you. What you’ll end up investing in insurance is going to depend a great deal on your specific risks. (If you run a business that has low liability footprint such as copywriting or consulting you’ll have a different risk profile than if you are a construction contractor.)

If you are just starting your business, take a close look at Business Owners Plan. This could include some or even all of these policies into one affordable package. In order to qualify, you’ll probably need to have a business that employs less than 100 workers and has less than $5 million in annual sales. These policies are designed specifically for start-up companies and smaller companies. They work to decrease your risk to lawsuits.

Important: Update Your Policy As Needed

Your company is always changing and insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Be sure your insurance coverage keeps pace.

If your business size rapidly changes, if your employee count changes, if your services change… all of these are reasons to review your insurance.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a statistic. Yes, one insurance misstep can potentially damage your business. The good news is one call to our team can help you understand your risk profile and help you be certain you have the exact coverage you need for your company.

Cyber Insurance: What is it? Do You Need it?

Technological advancements have revolutionized the way online advertisements, promotions, and shopping are done. This has brought immense benefits to companies, who have now found new ways to interact with the existing and potential buyers. The opportunity offered by social media alone is rich for companies that intend to conduct exhaustive marketing activities. However, social media platforms have also become avenues of cyber-attacks. This has wrought untold financial losses to all types of companies – small, medium and large. A case in point is the latest attack from “wanna-cry’’, a ransom ware that affected businesses on a global scale. Cyber-attacks can originate from almost anywhere. Businesses large and small have to be vigilant.

There are a number of ways that companies can react to the threat of cyber attacks in order to protect themselves and their clients. Some threats are avoidable through proper implementation of policies like requiring strong passwords. Others may require more advanced software and monitoring. But regardless, if you deal with clients online, or if you keep important personal information, you likely need cyber insurance.

What is the Role of Cyber Insurance Providers?

Cyber Liability Insurance Protection (CLIC) is an insurance plan that is meant to offer protection in the event of a cyber-attack. Companies face massive losses and expenses in the event of a cyber-attack and the cyber insurance plan is meant to mitigate such eventualities. The concept of cyber insurance has grown tremendously since 2005. It is projected to reach close to $8 billion in premiums within the next three or so years. Many companies in the US have realized the need for investing in a cyber insurance policy. Presently, close to 35% of US businesses have acquired cyber insurance policies of some kind, and their number is growing daily.

The cyber insurance industry is evolving at a breathtaking rate. However, the magnitude of the cyber-attacks threat has not been fully appreciated for a couple of reasons. One, many companies fail to report the full extent of the damages they face from cyber-attacks for fear of negative publicity. Second, the nature of cyber-attacks is often changing. The two reasons straddle underwriters with a challenge on how to value the financial impact of an attack.

Generally, a cyber-insurance policy will cover the following expenses:

1. Forensics Examination

Once an attack takes place, it is vital that a forensics examination is conducted. The examination will reveal the full extent of the damage and what needs to be done to rectify the situation. The forensic examiners will advise the company on what needs to be done to successfully avert or withstand any future cyber-attack threats.

2. Expenses Arising from Lawsuits and Extortion

The policy will cater for expenses that arise from lawsuits preferred against the company. Such lawsuits may be occasioned by a breach of client confidentiality occasioned by a cyber-attack. The policy also covers any statutory fines that may be imposed on the business, the cost of legal negotiations and any costs incurred as a result of cyber extortion.

3. Service Losses

The cyber insurance policy will meet the cost of loss as a result of failure by the company to deliver service due to the cyber-attack. The service interruption may be as a result of network downtime or otherwise. Other service costs that are covered by the cyber-insurance policy include those of recovering any lost data and carrying out the necessary PR activities to repair the firm’s dented image.

4. Information Alerts

The policy caters for information alerts to customers following a breach. This also includes monitoring the credit rating of customers whose credentials and identity might have been compromised during the assault.

What do you look for in Cyber-insurance Coverage?

A number of cyber insurance companies offer a list of items that are covered by their insurance policy. The buyer can use these lists to compare and contrast various providers before they settle on the one they perceive to be most receptive to their needs. You can also leverage an independent insurance agency to help you shop for the best value. For example, because we are independent, we can shop between multiple carriers for all kinds of insurance needs. Whatever the case, you must ask about the following aspects of a cyber-insurance plan:

a. Does the insurer customize the insurance coverage plan to the needs of their clients, or does it offer a one-size-fits-all kind of policy? Of course, as the buyer, you will be more interested in an insurance firm that is willing to customize their products for your firm.

b. How do deductibles compare amongst the various insurers? Be sure to compare and contrast deductibles among various insurance providers to determine the ones with the best deals.

c. Does the insurance policy include coverage for third-party providers? What are the limits? If third-party providers have cyber-insurance, how will this influence the terms of my contract?

d. Does the insurance policy cover APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) and other network attacks?

e. Does the insurance policy offer protection in the event of a strike?

The strikes could be targeted at the company, or the company may be affected by collateral damage. How does the insurer propose to handle this?

f. Does the insurer offer E&O protection that caters for an injurious action done inadvertently by an employee?

g. For how long will the policy offer protection against the risk of APTs?

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Insurance Coverage?

A cyber-attack insurance provider expects potential clients to have put certain measures in place before they can underwrite them. For example, the buyer must ensure that they have done a risk evaluation and created a detailed cyber risk profile. They also must have solid protections against potential cyber-attacks. The insurer will request that the buyer educates its workforce on the best security practices to prevent, control, or successfully withstand a cyber-attack.

The buyer is encouraged to consult moral hackers with a view to getting an insight on the buyer’s most vulnerable spots and how to protect them.

Cyber insurance buyers may be asked to provide a detailed audit of their company’s procedures and practices. This will be to enable the insurer to assess the vulnerability levels of the company. Insurers may ask companies to change some aspects of their administrative practices if they are deemed to be a threat.

The Importance of Cyber Insurance Coverage for Businesses

Companies that partially or fully conduct their businesses over the internet need to contact a reputable insurer for a cyber-attack insurance policy. This is because such businesses stand the greatest risk of being assaulted and losing their assets. Statistics clearly show that cyber-attacks are on an upward trajectory. A shocking observation: small businesses are being attacked at a higher frequency than expected. For example, a report by two leading internet security providers found that about 30% of the cyber-attacks recorded 2 years ago targeted small businesses. Shockingly, the attacks against small businesses increased by 15% (to 45%) last year. This in itself should be a wake-up call to small businesses to safeguard their businesses against such attacks.

(It is estimated that the impact of cyber crimes on the world’s economy has skyrocketed to $580 billion per year, from the $350 billion experienced just a few years ago.)

The cost of a cyber insurance plan is dependent on how the buyer’s industry is organized. The industry dictates the policies and procedures of the firm, the kind of services offered, and their risk profile. Small businesses with profits of between $90,000 and $500,000 will have lower premiums than larger organizations.

If you have questions about cyber insurance, definitely reach out to us so that we can put you in touch with the best available resource.

Top 5 Insurance Products All Startups Must Have

Start-up companies are popping up quickly in today’s fast-paced world and entrepreneurs often find that they’ve forgotten to get essential business insurance to protect their company.

While the owner may tell the board that the business has an insurance policy, this doesn’t mean that the company has the insurance needed. Every company needs insurance that is both adequate and optimized.

To get started, business owners should take these five forms of protection into consideration:

1. Comprehensive General Liability (CGL) Insurance Coverage

This is a type of insurance that protects companies against cases brought against them for the following: Third party bodily injury, building damages, loss of personal effects, and marketing and advertising injury.

What owners should understand about CGL insurance is that it’s designed to pay for your defense when a claim is brought against the company. Ideally, you are allowed to select your own lawyer to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

The reason why you need this insurance is that many contracts require businesses have at least $1 million in this type of insurance coverage. Even if you don’t think your business needs this level of coverage, you’ll need to purchase it for this reason.

2. Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance

Although you may have highly influential individuals on your board to help grow your business, these professionals are going to insist on increased insurance coverage.

* Essential to any startup is side A D&O insurance coverage which protects directors and officers from cases of “wrongful acts” or situations where their decisions had a negative effect on the business’s value.
* Side “B” protection protects the company by indemnifying the director or office as well as paying for the defense costs.
* Side “C” coverage protects the firm in the case of a shareholder or class action over securities concerns.

When you have the choice of coverage, many companies select only A and B. These plans leave out judgments as well as any situations where individuals performed in dishonest actions that broke the law or acted in self-interest.

3. Cyber and Media Insurance

Since there have been several high-profile hacking situations for businesses today, the need for cyber insurance is obvious. However, there is not any basic cyber plan available and each insurance provider policies contain untried provisions, terms, and multiple interpretations.

Like the coverage described, these plans offer protection for defense and indemnity. They also can provide solutions for compliance with government and disclosure needs and also crisis management in the case of a breach or incident.

Because not all policies may have a “basic” option, your startup needs to take extra measure. Governments recommend following best practices and establishing firm policies so insurance firms are withholding claims from businesses that they believe did not follow industry standard programs to protect sensitive information.

4. Property Insurance

This type of coverage is designed to protect against any physical damages to the business property. There are a few options but the best choice for coverage is an “all risk” option which will protect against the building and also material and devices inside the building.

Any startup that has a significant infrastructure is going to need this coverage. Tech companies are certainly in need of this coverage option. The policies will safeguard against any damage to web servers and companies may also include disruption protection for any losses due to downtime needed to replace or repair any devices. Inclusions in these policies may be due to damage or loss that’s caused by equipment malfunction, normal aging, and defects.

5. Employment Liability Insurance (EPLI)

This is an important insurance to have and different from the worker’s settlement insurance policy that all states require. It may be purchased in a bundle with worker’s comp or even D&O coverage.

Because discrimination insurance claims are expensive for companies and difficult to work out, this protection is essential for any startup that employs individuals who are popular as well as highly competent.

It may seem like a lot, but each type of insurance covers specific risks that most small businesses face. If you are unsure of your current protections or need someone to help you understand your current risk profile, please reach out to our team of professionals right away. We’re here to help!

Time to Review Your Employee Handbook?

Many issues face a company when they are bringing on employees. These include basic pay, family and sick leave, as well as general employee welfare.

These are critical issues but having and reviewing an employee handbook is also important. Largely how often you review your employee manual is a function of how large your firm is. The more employees you have, the more often you should review it. (Make sure it is relevant and accurate to your company’s current situation.)

In fact, one of the key things you need to do is to ensure your employee manual is customized to fit your company and that it is truly useful to employees.

As you examine your manual be sure you take current (and new) laws into consideration. New legislation that works in the employee’s favor should be brought to the attention of the worker.

At a minimum, you should review and update your employee handbook at least once a year. And if you’ve let your employee handbook lapse for a longer period than that, you may need the help of a specialist. For example, a lot of changes have taken place with regard to overtime tracking and payments. With changes at the state and federal level, keeping track of these details will keep you out of trouble.

(Another area of concern is in hiring… for example some states have barred companies from investigating a prospective employee’s criminal history…)

Some other recommendations include:

Be sure there is a mechanism in place for employees to sign verifying receipt of the manual including the date of receipt.

Electronic versions of employee handbooks should be made available with updates also being issued electronically. For these, incorporating a digital signature to confirm receipt (and to log the date signed) is also important.

Complete a review mid year and at the end of the year to ensure your company is maintaining compliance with the Fair Labor Act. Also be certain your basic pay and overtime policies are clear and compliant. And be sure you are actually providing employees with the requisite family and sick leaves.

Hopefully this has given you some great ideas. Please definitely reach out to us if you have questions about your business insurance to be sure you are taking care of things like EPLI risks as well as general business risk exposures. We’ll answer your questions and be sure you have an affordable policy in place designed to meet your unique risk profile.

Wrongful Termination

Although many states are fire-at-will states, there may be circumstances that allow legal action to proceed against employers. For example, a firm that appears to adhere to a plan of progressive discipline actions prior to terminating staff members and then terminates an employee while failing to following that plan can be putting themselves in legal danger. In one example of this, the California Appellate Court ruled that the employees claim could proceed even though the company was a fire-at-will company.

Proceedings in other states have had similar outcomes so it is worthwhile exploring what happened in this situation.

The case in question occurred with Barnes & Noble Booksellers and their employee Christine Oakes. Christine began working for B&N starting in 1987 as became store manager in 1989. She also managed the West Valley-Mission Community University Campus location from 2002-2010.

Several times throughout her career with Barnes & Noble, Christine acknowledge she had received and reviewed the B&N code of conduct. She also signed an acknowledgement that she understood she was an at-will employee.

The company’s employee manual also had a disclaimer that it was not a contract and was for reference purposes only. The manual made it clear that they were a fire-at-will company meaning they could let go of employees without prior notice and without cause.

The manual also contained a specific policy of employee discipline, specifying that managers use certain training tools and procedures to progressively discipline their employees. The discipline begins with a verbal warning and progresses through a written warning. The handbook also stated that if a significant offense was taken, the initial disciplinary steps could be skipped. Also, if the infraction was significant, the person could be terminated without any prior disciplinary steps.

Oakes’ received good annual performance reviews until 2009. While she was rated as satisfactory or exceeded criteria in many measurements, she was found to not meet standards in the area of liability, client focus, and interaction.

Barnes & Noble terminated Oakes on June 1, 2010 without prior warning. Likewise B&N failed to leverage the discipline process it outlined in its employee guide.

In April 2012 Oakes sued the company for wrongful termination. This was based on the concept that B&N was in breach of contract.

The company requested a summary judgment in 2013, asking for the claims to be dismissed before trial. They said that she was a fire-at-will employee let go for legitimate reasons. The court approved the motion but Oakes appealed.

In a deposition taken prior to the dismissal of the lawsuit, Oakes said that she had been told by B&N’s HR department to use the progressive discipline process outlined in the employee manual prior to letting go of employees. She also noted that if she terminated someone without taking these steps, she was reprimanded by the company.

To support her testimony, two other managers affirmed Oake’s testimony. They said that they were not aware of any other cases where employees had been let go without the handbook’s recommendations being followed.

Does employment agreement match actual practice?

Although California is a fire-at-will state, the appeals court noted that events in an employee partnership can alter that status.

Barnes & Noble had stated that they were a fire-at-will company in their handbook but there was indeed evidence that this policy was not their intent. The court noticed that the company was correct in their ability to be a fire-at-will employer. However they acknowledged the existence of a separate unwritten policy. The court found their actual plan was using progressive discipline before terminating an employer. The appellate court used this information to change the trial courts dismissal of the case and stated that a trial was needed to figure out exactly the terms of the employer’s policies and if Barnes & Noble had breached those terms.

Protecting your business from lawsuits…

An expert guideline in this case is that it is essential to understand that actions do speak louder than words. Although a business may state certain policies and procedures, their day-to-day running of the company may not be followed consistently. Not following policies consistently puts businesses at high risk for lawsuits.

If you have a business with employees, we highly recommend that you take a close look at EPLI or employment practices liability insurance. It helps protect you from claims of things like wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. Because while you may believe you are operating within the law, a court may disagree. Be sure to talk with us about affordable EPLI options for your business.

Separating Truth From Fiction With Employees

Philip Maltin, who was discussing the ways of spotting liars at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Skill Monitoring Conference & Exposition, began by explaining how we can misread some signs when trying to spot liars in the workplace.

According to Maltin, if someone folds her arms, fails to look you in the eye, and keeps massaging the back of their neck depicting nervousness and stress, it’s not mandatory that they are lying. Maltin feels that body movement of a person is just one of many cues that help us to understand whether that individual is a liar. According to him, an individual might appear worried even when he is looking to tell the truth; that’s because he might believe that people would start judging him after knowing the truth.

Maltin, who is currently a partner with the LA firm Raines Feldman LLP, protects organizations in cases involving employment insurance claims. His other endeavors include helping civil legal delegates in honing deposition skills and teaching district attorneys effective trial strategies. Maltin said that he has met many detectives, police officers, and prosecutors who have the habit of doubting supposed lawbreakers assuming that they have committed a crime. HR experts, who are expected to follow employee management best practices, are also often found to possess a similar tendency.

Maltin played an audio, in which a policeman was heard interrogating ex US Senator Larry Craig hurriedly after the latter was arrested in 2007 for performing vulgar acts at an airport restroom meant for men. Instead of examining Craig carefully and calmly while adhering to the facts, the law enforcement officer maintained an argumentative, accusatory, and confrontational behavior. This, according to Maltin, allowed the policeman to gather little information from the ex senator.

Maltin affirms that people won’t reveal themselves to you just because you are the boss or the head of HR. You will get desired results only upon asking flexible questions, hearing all answers carefully, and staying on track.

Here are a few tips to suss out the truth…

Study well before questioning

Before you question someone suspected of inappropriate behavior or wrongdoing, you must investigate thoroughly. The investigation process might require you to go through the person’s emails, computer history, account details etc. Video monitoring may also be needed. Maltin believes that it’s important to know your witnesses, suspect, and the questioning techniques you will be using beforehand.

Examine your suspect, but always play nice

You must know that accusatory and aggressive interrogation might make your suspect uncommunicative. This might even cause false admissions, which should never be the way to go. You should be irresistible when interrogating. The only way you can gather information is by making the accused individual talk with you. For that, you will have to get along well with the person. Allow the person narrate his story. This will provide you with the weirdest facts. Instead of asking directly about the misdeed you feel the person has committed, you should shoot an open-ended question towards him. For instance, you should begin by asking a simple question like, “How’s life treating you?” and then move your investigation forward based the responses you get.

Evaluate the suspect’s responses

Once your suspect finishes telling his tale, you should assess it. According to Maltin, phonies tend to share tales that are mostly illogical. The details provided by them are filled with uncertainty and discrepancies. He added that liars often use simple constructions for sounding incoherent. They also have a tendency of evading straight enquiries by altering the topic. Sincere individuals, on the other hand, tend to give lots of understandable details in a coherent order. Their narrations are always significantly more meaningful and interactive in nature.

You should question yourself

It’s true that it’s extremely important that you suspect one or more individuals based on the investigation carried out by you and in-depth evaluation of the responses you receive from your suspect or suspects. However, while suspecting someone else, you must also move a step back for locating loop holes in your own thoughts.

Maltin stated that anxiety might also be an indicator of sincerity. He added that feelings would never be able to tell you what factors are responsible for causing them. It’s impossible to know what has made a person mad or nervous or worried. As a result, an individual who primarily counts on his or her intuitions would not be a good lie detector.

Protect yourself from mistakes

We are constantly on the lookout for great information about employee management best practices and how to manage your business risks. Dealing with employees can be tricky. There are a number of EPLI concerns that can impact insurance risk.

The best strategy is to be sure you have an EPLI policy in place if you have employees. If you are curious about EPLI or If you want to review your current EPLI risk, be sure to reach out to us.

Think Carefully Before Imposing English Only Rules in The Workplace

A clothing store recently restricted three employees from speaking Spanish in the workplace. In turn, they sued stating that it was a violation of their civil liberties as well as discriminatory behavior.

The complaint says that the company’s human resources department was detached and dismissive to the worker’s concerns. They ignored phone calls, voicemails. They failed to take any action on behalf of the employees.

To make matters worse, the employees in question were told they would lose their jobs if they continued speaking in Spanish. They also faced other disciplinary actions.

The store’s parent company denies having an English-only requirement. Sadly, their store’s actions tell a different story.

So what does the law say?

At the Federal level the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission takes a dim view of “Speak English Only Rules.”

  • A rule requiring employees to speak English at all time including breaks and lunches will rarely be justified
  • English-only rules must be limited to ensure safety or operational efficiency.
  • The ability to take disciplinary action against employees violating English-only rules is limited.

States have their own rules as well.

For example, California state law allows employers to limit language used while employees are on duty. This is only permissible as long as such a requirement is warranted by necessity.

In other words, the company must have the ability to clearly demonstrate that a language restriction has “an overriding reasonable business purpose”. Such purposes are limited in scope. One purpose could be to ensure safety. Another purpose could be to ensure proper corporate procedures are followed.

Companies seeking to implement an English only language plan must be able to clearly defend it. They have to demonstrate that it comes from more than a simple choice for English in the workplace.

For example, a hospital could make the case that having a common single language is required for a couple of reasons:

  • To ensure the safety of all team members as well as patients.
  • To ensure hospital procedures are reliably executed.

If a business is thinking about embracing English-only policies, it needs to be able to demonstrate necessity of the policy. It also must have a solid implementation plan that is well vetted to ensure it doesn’t cross the line into discrimination. Talking with legal counsel that specializes in this area of law is necessary.

According to Tyler Paetkau of the law firm Harnett, Smith, &Paetkau of Redwood City, CA, his comment was simple. “Typically, the suggestion is proceed with caution.”

If a company is determined to embrace an English-only policy, it must ensure that there is accompanying worker training and that workers clearly understand what disciplinary actions they may face if violating the rule.

And be mindful that a more flexible policy may be appropriate. For example, a company may require retail staff members to speak in English on the sales floor. But if a patron requests help in Spanish and the sales rep speaks Spanish, the employee would be allowed to conduct business in Spanish for the purpose of that specific transaction.

Where English-only rules tend to run into issues is when they are overreaching. For example, insisting that workers speak in English while on breaks or when making personal calls. This is a clear violation of Federal statute.

The issue here is liability and making sure the company isn’t exposed to claims of discrimination.

Having a well-constructed policy built with the help of legal council is clearly critical. But we also recommend you consider EPL insurance. (Also called EPLI or Employment Practices Liability Insurance. It offers critical coverage to employers. It’s designed to protect the company against claims made by employees alleging things like discrimination (based on sex, race, age, or disability), harassment, wrongful termination, and other employer-employee related issues.

For further thoughts on managing all forms of your corporate risk and adequately protecting your company, be sure to reach out to us.

So, how much insurance do you need for your new business?

Opening up shop? Wondering what kind of insurance coverage you might need? Chances are you’ll likely need to protect yourself. You have to watch out for things like liability claims, injuries, accidents, damage to equipment, and burglary as well. It’s enough to give a person an ulcer.

So how do you know if you have the right business insurance for your needs? And how can you be sure you are getting a great deal on your coverage?

We’re certainly here to help you with that!

Talking with an independent insurance agent will help you figure out which kinds of commercial coverage are most appropriate for your company. And being independent means we can work with multiple carriers… that means you have a choice!

Getting help for your business insurance is a smart choice. You likely save time. You’ll also get the benefit of working with someone who knows the right questions to ask to help really understand your risk profile. (Getting a full assessment of your needs is critical to be sure you aren’t over-insured or under-insured.)

So what are the kinds of business insurance you may need to consider? It all depends on the business you are in but your insurance needs will include one or more of the following:

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Commercial Vehicle
  • Information Breach Protection

Sometimes these insurances will be sold separately. However, they are often packaged together into a BOP (business owner’s policy.) A BOP may include discounts vs. buying the coverage separately.

Working with a seasoned professional will help you make informed decisions. They’ll ask tough questions to make sure you’ll balance your potential risk exposure with cost savings options. (Many business owners we work with are surprised to learn how they might be exposed and how costly a potential loss could be.

Making sure you have the right coverage to protect your business investment is critical! After all, you want to be certain your company can be around to serve your clients should a disaster strike. Having this sort of peace of mind allows you to concentrate your energy on what you love & do best… building your business and helping your clients.

So skip the ulcer. If you’re thinking about starting a small business or if you already have one, be sure you chat with us about your insurance options.