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R&R Insurance Blog

OSHA Launches Program Targeting High Injury and Illness Rates

Posted by the knowledge brokers

OSHAEffective October 16, 2018, OSHA launched a "Site-Specific Targeting (SST) inspection program".  The goal of the program is to ensure that employers provide safe and healthful workplaces by directing enforcement resources to those workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illness.  Read the full OSHA notice here

Targeted Employers or Workplaces for SST Inspection Program:

  • All industries EXCLUDING construction, schools, or municipalities
  • 20+ employees
  • Injury and illness information submitted calendar year 2016 under 29 CFR 1904.41

How can you prepare for a potential OSHA visit?

  1. Awareness: do your company have a plan if OSHA would come knocking? 
  2. Benchmark: how does your company's injury and illness rates compare to industry peers?  Are you a red flag for OSHA? 
  3. Review applicable OSHA compliance programs compared to your company practices.

Preparing for any type of OSHA audit takes commitment from leadership.  The best success are organizations with safety teams to champion safety 24/7.  R&R Insurance can help support safety personnel with self-audits, policy review, training content, and much more.  Start the conversation with an email: safety@rrins.com.

 

Topics: Safety, OSHA

10 Tips to Prevent Chimney Fires

Posted by the knowledge brokers

house on fireWhether we're ready for it or not, winter weather is upon us. And with colder temps comes an obvious increase in the use of fireplaces. For many of us, our fireplaces/chimneys haven't been touched in months. However, chimneys account for 75% of home heating fires - meaning homeowners should actively maintain and follow the necessary upkeep.

Property Casualty 360 provides the following tips to prevent chimney fires in your home.

  1. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a professional, and more than that if creosote builds up on the chimney walls more rapidly.
  2. Consider installing a stainless steel liner that will withstand even the highest temperatures and will keep the embers contained.
  3. Watch out for soot buildup. Soot is softer than creosote, but is also flammable and should be cleaned up regularly. 
  4. Between the professional inspections / cleanings, be sure to check and monitor your wood-burning fireplace for signs of buildup or other problems.
  5. Clean the interior of your fireplace, including the floor, regularly. Sweep or vacuum up cold ashes.
  6. Your chimney has a cap on the top of it with open sides (usually covered in mesh to keep rain, birds, squirrels, and debris out). Make sure this cap is regularly inspected and replaced when necessary.
  7. Check the interior of your fireplace for creosote buildup. It is flammable, therefore too much buildup is a fire hazard and should be cleaned away with a creosote remover as soon as possible. 
  8. Anytime there is smoke indoors from your fireplace, troubleshoot and immediately correct any problems you find. Possible causes are a dirty chimney, soot or creosote buildup, other debris, a sample that isn't open or fully opened, or wood not building completely.
  9. To improve your fireplace's efficiency, you should also consider installing heat-proof glass doors to protect against heat loss and a fan or blower to direct heat into the room.
  10. If possible, burn hardwoods like oak, maple, ash, and birch. These woods burn hot and long, are cleaner to handle, and have less pitched sap. They also tend to leave less creosote buildup but can be more expensive.

Looking for additional safety tips for your home? Contact a KnowledgeBroker at R&R Insurance.

Topics: Personal Insurance

Trade Credit Insurance | A Sales Growth Solution

Posted by the knowledge brokers

iStock-638615786In simple terms, Trade Credit Insurance protects B2B companies or sellers of goods and services against bad debt, including insolvency, slow payment, and political risks. When these issues arise, they can be detrimental to a business. In fact, approximately 82% of bankruptcies are triggered by cash flow problems caused by issues like customer non-payment. In addition, accounts receivables typically represent more than 40% of a company's assets, and one in ten invoices becomes delinquent.

When should businesses consider Trade Credit Insurance?

Trade Credit Insurance applies to businesses of all sizes and in a variety of industries. Trusted Choice states that companies that sell goods and services on credit terms rather than requiring payment up front are exposed to the risk of nonpayment and should consider this coverage. In addition, companies that work with international exports have an increased risk and should take this insurance into account as well.

While there are alternatives to Trade Credit Insurance, they may not be the best option for businesses. According to James Daly, CEO and President of Euler Hermes, the main alternative is self-insurance, a practice many US organizations opt for. Businesses can put a reserve on their balance sheet to cover any bad debt that may occur over the year. However as Daly states, "rather than have capital in your balance sheet doing nothing but waiting for bad debt, why not purchase Trade Credit Insurance and then invest that excess capital into growth or new products?"

How can Trade Credit Insurance benefit your business?

Trade credit solutions can support sales growth while reducing trade risk and giving you the ability to:

  • Avoid catastrophic bad debt losses
  • Expand sales to new and existing customer with less risk
  • Secure better borrowing terms with a lender
  • Reduce bad debt reserves
  • Enhance credit department efficiencies and results

The value of Trade Credit protection extends well beyond the insurance policy.  A key benefit is the extensive financial database available from partners of R&R such as Euler-Hermes, the world's largest Trade Credit provider. The information available at their fingertips provides proactive notifications and protection from adverse financial issues that could be developing with your key business partners. In addition, their data is an excellent evaluation tool when making decisions on partnering or prospecting potential growth partners. 

As a partner of premier trade credit insurers, R&R can assist your company with properly protecting its largest asset - accounts receivable. Contact a KnowledgeBroker for more information.

Topics: Business Insurance

OSHA's Top 5 Most Popular Videos

Posted by the knowledge brokers

OSHAAs of 2018, the videos below are ranked as the most popular by OSHA and the US Department of Labor.

Whether you're looking to train employees, or just share knowledge with members of your organization - these videos provide insight into serious safety topics.

  1. Five Ways to Prevent Workplace Falls
  2. Stop Silicosis (Inhalation of Silica Dust)
  3. Excavation in Construction: Trenching
  4. OSHA Heat Illness Prevention
  5. Falls in Construction: Floor Openings

For more information on any of these topics, contact safety@rrins.com.

Topics: OSHA

Small Tips to Prevent Large Claims: Dryer Sheets for Winterizing Vehicles

Posted by Tammy Cross

Small Tips to Prevent Large Claims: Dryer Sheets for Winterizing Vehicles

iStock-541268154With Labor Day behind us and cooler temps in the future, it's time to think about storing those summer toys. From convertibles and boats, to motorcycles and jet-skis, unfortunately certain vehicles just aren't suited for Wisconsin winters. Below is a small tip for winterizing your car that can save you from a big claim next summer.

Believe it or not, dryer sheets and/or moth balls can prevent major rodent damage in your vacant vehicle. A garage will keep your car dry and relatively warm, but will also make your car attractive to rodents. By placing dryer sheets inside the vehicle and engine compartment, you'll combat any rodents that plan to chew their way through wires to make a new home.

REMINDER: It's important to make note of the dryer sheets prior to driving your vehicle! Hang a reminder on your rear-view mirror or on the dashboard so you don't forget!

Topics: Personal Insurance

IRS Issues Letter 5699 to Employers that are Non-compliant with ACA Reporting

Posted by Pete Frittitta

reportingThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been sending Letter 5699 to employers that have not complied with their Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements under Internal Revenue Code Section 6056 for the 2015 calendar year.

Letter 5699, Request for Employer Reporting of Offers of Health Insurance Coverage (Forms 1094-C and 1095-C), requests missing information from applicable large employers (ALEs) that were required to report under Section 6056, but failed to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS. The IRS identifies potentially non-compliant ALEs based on their Form W-2 total employee count reported for the 2015 calendar year.

The IRS began issuing Letter 226-J to certain ALEs that filed Forms 1094-C and 1095-C to inform them of their potential liability for an employer shared responsibility penalty for the 2015 calendar year. Similarly, the IRS has been issuing Letter 5699 as its enforcement mechanism to identify and assess penalties against ALEs that failed to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C for the 2015 calendar year.

Employers who receive a Letter 5699 should respond to the IRS within the appropriate time frame. When responding to Letter 5699, employers should provide all appropriate information requested by the IRS, including any Forms 1094-C and 1095-C that are due. Keep in mind that penalties may apply for any failures to file with the IRS by required deadlines. The IRS will use information provided in response to Letter 5699 to identify non-compliant ALEs and assess any penalties that may be owed.

For more information regarding Letter 5699 and related ACA reporting penalties, click here.

To learn more about Letter 226-J, you can refer to our previous blog here.

Source: Zywave

Topics: Compliance

Featured Client | Overlooked Coverage Provided for Secondary Home

Posted by Tammy Cross

To illustrate the benefits of rebalancing an insurance program to strengthen wealth protection and better manage expenses, the following example presents a before-and-after comparison for one of our newest valued clients.

lake-homeJeff and Tracy recently purchased a secondary home in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin. While they look forward to spending summers on the lake, they have realistic expectations about the amount of time they'll be able to spend in their new vacation home. With this in mind, they intend to rent out the property approximately 5 weeks out of the year. Unfortunately, in the world of home insurance, most carriers will not insure a secondary / seasonal property that is rented on a short term or weekly basis.

With the help of Tammy Cross, Jeff and Tracy were given a policy which provided full coverage of the home, including theft of personal property while rented. Without the experience and insight of Tammy, this commonly overlooked coverage would have been missed.

Click here for additional coverage information when renting your home. Or contact a Private Client Knowledge Broker!

Find a Private Client Knowledge Broker

 

*Client names have been changed to maintain anonymity.

Topics: Featured Client, Private Client Group

Top 10 Reasons for a Life Insurance Policy Review

Posted by Tom Driscoll

Life Insurance AwarenessWhen was the last time you reviewed your coverage?  Like other financial assets, life insurance policies require ongoing management to ensure your policy is performing up to expectations. There are a number of factors that influence life insurance policies and one major negative influencer in recent years has been interest rates. Agents and insurance companies that designed a number of these life insurance policies didn’t factor in lower interest rates, and the result has been that a number of policies are lapsing prematurely.

Learn about the Top 10 Reasons for a Policy Review and let us help give you peace of mind and assist you with reviewing your life insurance policy(s) at no cost. 

Topics: Life Insurance

Wisconsin Apprenticeships mean up to $2,500 Savings

Posted by Dan Maurer

Wisconsin Apprenticeship SavingsThis year Wisconsin contractors and manufacturers with apprenticeship programs are saving 2% on their Workers’ Compensation insurance premium.

The 2% credit (maximum $2,500) is a no-brainer for any business to claim with an active apprenticeship program, but there are few qualifications to keep in mind along with the knowledge that some insurance carriers are opting out of the savings altogether.

In an atmosphere of record low unemployment rates, and the Foxconn behemoth on the horizon, the state is incentivizing apprenticeship programs in hopes they will help fill the growing trades’ skills gap. In March of this year, Wisconsin passed Assembly Bill 508 which slashed regulations in the trades requiring ratios often higher than 4 journeymen to 1 apprentice down to 1-to-1. In September of last year, financial incentives were announced, granting a 2% Apprenticeship premium credit on Workers’ compensation insurance for Wisconsin business going into effect next month.

Who qualifies?

Claiming the 2% credit for your business is not much of a hoop to jump through, but on the other hand Wisconsin isn’t handing them out like candy. The credit only applies to insurance workers’ compensation polices with effective dates of 10/1/2018 or later. If your policy has already renewed in 2018, you’ll need to change your effective date (not always recommended) or wait until next year to claim the credit.

Your agent must notify your insurance carrier that you are eligible for the credit and provide evidence of participation in an apprentice program administered by the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards for a minimum of 6 months. This means to claim the 2% credit on 10/1/2018 your apprentice program must have been approved by WBAS and running since March of 2018.

Not Every Insurance Carrier is Opting-In

If your insurance policy is in the pool, your company is automatically qualifies for the program. If your business is in the private market, which most are, there is a chance it might not…

When the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance announced the credit in 2017, they made it clear that this was a voluntary program for the private insurance market.  While all carriers were automatically enrolled into the program, it was left up to carriers if they wanted to opt-out.

At first there was a bit of waffling, but in the end a majority of carriers have decided to opt-in. That said, a large minority are opting-out, some of whom are big players in the construction and manufacturing markets. R&R Insurance keeps an updated list of carriers opting-in and out.

Contact an agent to see if your carrier is opting-in for the 2% credit.

Topics: Workers Compensation

College Students Need Insurance Too!

Posted by Brandy Enger

iStock_000048840808_FullInsurance needs are often overlooked for college kids in the hustle and bustle of preparing for college. It's not uncommon for college kids to have thousands of dollars of electronic equipment and a closet bursting with clothes in the dorm rooms, as well as bicycles and instruments.

 

Students living on-campus:
Generally, this coverage is part of the parents’ existing policy and will cover up to 10% of the policy personal property limits for when a student is enrolled on a full-time basis.

Students living off-campus:

Generally, if a student maintains their parents’ address as their primary address and is enrolled as a full-time student, they will continue to be eligible for coverage under their parents’ policy. Students who have established their permanent primary address off-campus and no longer maintain their parent’s address as their primary address, and students who are enrolled only on a part-time basis, will need a separate renters policy to cover their personal belongings. Make sure that your student living off-campus is protected with this low-cost policy.

What about car insurance for the student who is away at college?
If your student is more than 100 miles away from home and does not take a car with them, you will get a discount on your car insurance rate because your vehicles are not being driven by your college student when the student is away at school.

Good Student Discounts:
Students who maintain a grade point average of a 3.0 / "B" or better will qualify with most companies for a "good student discount".

Wisconsin residents interested in a free insurance analysis for their personal insurance, please contact a knowledgebroker.

Topics: Personal Insurance, insurance for college students, renters insurance, collge kids, Students living off campus, student living on campus, college insurance, dorm room