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PL Risk Advisors: The Premier EPLI Provider

PL Risk Advisors provides employment practices liability insurance, also known as EPLI, to their agency partners for their clients that can benefit from this vital coverage. One major benefit it offers to businesses is that it covers liability for a broad spectrum of claims brought against these companies in relation to their employment practices. While many claims levied against corporations are found to be false, fraudulent, or frivolous, it can still be a costly burden to prove this in a court of law.

Again and again, many employers find themselves being forced to cut back on their labor force, which is often an indicator that employees, suddenly finding themselves without a job, claim this was in fact due to employment discrimination. Unfortunately, employers are currently facing ever-increasing exposure to claims related to their employment practices, and this policy covers this exposure.

Many benefits of having EPLI

Many years ago the insurance industry developed EPLI policies, written specifically to address employment-related liabilities. The policies typically cover the full range of potential employment-related claims, which includes anything from wrongful disciplinary actions to harassment to retaliation by supervisors or other employees.

In addition, since claimants can generally pursue their claims whether or not such claims have any merit, in both the administrative and judicial forums, a major advantage of EPLI is coverage for all legal fees, from administrative proceedings through lawsuits in state or federal courts. However, one important factor to keep in mind is that legal fees are typically included within and may substantially reduce the policy limits.

The advantages of a claims-made policy

Most PL Risk Advisors will tell you that EPLI polices are written on a claims-made basis, as opposed to “occurrence”. This means the policy will provide coverage only if the claim is made and reported during the policy period. For instance, if an employee of one of your clients files suit in 2014 because of a demotion that occurred in 2012, the policy that covered the 2014 period will respond to the claim.

However, urge your client to review whether the policy contains extended reporting period or retroactive date provisions. An extended reporting period provision extends coverage for claims made and reported during the extended period, so long as the claim is related to a wrongful act that occurred during the policy period.

Insurance Internet Marketing in the Digital Age

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution in insurance internet marketing, most experts would agree that there is a foundation that most agents can and should rely on. Each and every industry needs to implement those tactics that work best for their target audience and insurance is certainly no different. By demonstrating knowledge of what consumers are drawn to, it becomes easier to create the type of marketing plan that will garner the desired results.

The first thing an agent should ask himself or herself is what will best aid in overcoming the challenges unique to their products and services. In the insurance industry, issues such as a rise in the current rates and customer dissatisfaction can stand in the way of the company’s plan for growth.

Digital marketing is one of the keys to success

As technology continues to advance, the revenue possibilities within the insurance industry become even greater, and, digital marketing is at the forefront of this revolution. It’s up to the agencies to utilize the best methods for increasing company traffic and visibility, along with improving education and awareness in the industry as a whole.

Through online marketing efforts, anyone can optimize their Internet presence to ultimately increase their overall return on investment (ROI). Study the three basic, yet important, digital marketing techniques that can help make the biggest possible impact for your brand when utilized together.

  1. Search engine optimizationSearch engine optimization (SEO) allows you to get a leg up on your competitor. When users enter terms surrounding your insurance business, it’s vital that you become the first to show up in search results. Keywords become crucial here, and you’ll need to determine which are most important to you and then optimize your site in accordance.
  2. Social media optimization – Social media optimization gives you the opportunity to bring an air of excitement to the insurance industry allowing you to build your brand. By making use of popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you can be part of the conversation, share your knowledge and target specific demographics. Sites like LinkedIn allow you to network and build credibility.
  3. Paid Media – Paid media, or the use of paid advertising, includes display banners, pay-per-click (PPC), paid social and retargeting. This is perhaps one of the most common digital marketing techniques in the insurance industry. These tactics have shown to be the most effective when combined with organic SEO efforts as well. These are the three common ways to effectively launch an insurance internet marketing plan that will bring the desired results.

Office Romance Can Trigger a Staff Insurance Lawsuit

There are times when a little office romance can be the undoing of a company at the worst, or a staff insurance claim at the least-and this was one of those times. A senior executive at a very well respected company in the community got wind that a peer was the talk of the office; not only was this peer, a professional with more than 30 years of experience, seeing someone in the office (a practice frowned upon by management although not strictly prohibited), the man was married (fodder for endless office gossip between a surprising number of people who knew what was going on despite the couple’s efforts to keep the torrid affair under wraps), the woman he was having the affair with was one of his direct reports (a definite violation of company policy).

To make matters worse, the woman-who was placed with the company on a long-term assignment-was recently reassigned to another position, following the censure of the senior executive who had finally been made aware of the office shenanigans. The senior executive had given her peer a very stern warning about the inappropriateness of his behavior, yet he continued unchecked. However, when his paramour found herself in her new, less desirable position in the company, her outlook (and soon thereafter, the relationship) soured. She expressed her anger at her lover’s inability to keep her in the plush position she’d enjoyed previously with a decided lack of commitment-she frequently was late or missed work entirely, she became uncooperative in meetings and unproductive. Her longtime lover appealed to the woman to change her ways, but the damage had been done and the company had seen enough. The HR director talked very candidly with the staffing agency, and both concluded that it was in everyone’s best interest from a potential liability standpoint to remove the woman from the worksite but to do so delicately, without casting a spotlight on her departure. Thus, a few months later, the woman’s contract was among others that were simply not renewed. Nevertheless, the woman felt singled out, knowing that the company executives had become aware of the affair. She expressed her anger and shock with a lawsuit against the staffing company, charging that they wrongfully terminated her from her assignment.

Fortunately, the company had a robust staff insurance program which included employment practices liability coverage. The policy offers protection for the staffing firm for their in-house employees as well as temporary employees whom they place on contract in their clients’ workplaces, covering the firm for claims that include wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, and more.

Talk to your professional insurance agent about a program to protect your firm today. Also consider adopting company practices that clearly define acceptable parameters for workplace relationships, people who are related (through blood or marriage) in the same work environment, and so on-and enforce them.

Safe Summer Driving Tips and Cheap Car Insurance in CT

With summer now upon us, recent weather may have affected road conditions, which means that streets may not be as smooth and easy to navigate as one might hope. An accident can happen for any number of reasons during the summer in Connecticut and responsible drivers ought to take advantage of cheap car insurance in CT, which is readily available. Preventing summer driving accidents is crucial since many car accidents result in an increase in car insurance costs.

Helpful tips to remember when on the road

Keep the following tips in mind the next time you’re traveling the roads of Connecticut:

  1. Make sure tires are road worthy – Car trips are quite common in the summer, and cars are often laden with all sorts of baggage, sports equipment, coolers, passengers, pets, and more. Before loading up, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Tire failure as a result of overloading can result in a serious accident.
  2. Stay home during stormy weather – Summer thunderstorms can pop up out of nowhere and it can be tempting to go out for a drive to better experience this phenomenon. However, you’re best advised to stay home. Summer rains make driving more dangerous, especially during the early stages of a storm when the thin coating of water and oil can make roads dangerously slick.
  3. Be cautious in flash floods – Because summer storms begin quite suddenly, this can result in flash flooding. To prevent accidents and possible damage to your vehicle, always assess how deep water is before attempting to drive through it. For your own safety, abandon the car in the event that it stalls while attempting to cross through deep water.
  4. Don’t drive too fast in hot weather – Simply put, driving too fast for too long on a hot road can eventually cause tires to blow and can result in a serious crash. In hot weather, always drive the speed limit or slower, and take frequent breaks to give your tires a chance to cool off.
  5. Pay attention at all times – Road trips create excitement that can lead to distractions. Don’t use your phone to text, and remain focused on the road, something that’s just as important in the summer as during the icy, snowy days of winter.

By driving carefully this summer, you’ll not only keep yourself, your friends, and your loved ones safe, you’ll also keep those “cheap car insurance in CT” premiums down. And who wouldn’t benefit from saving a few extra dollars?

Ride-Share Drivers and New Jersey Commercial Auto Insurance

Many states are now concerned with the potential insurance gaps associated with ride-sharing operations such as Uber and Lyft. These businesses involve individuals using an app on their smartphones and tablets to find a driver to transport them (using a pre-pay service), much as taxis operate. In an effort to resolve some of these fears some insurers are offering their insureds new policies that are intended to fill those gaps.

State regulators are still concerned that these ride-share drivers are opening themselves up to some possibly severe liabilities. Earlier this year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the state regulators’ association, approved a white paper for state legislators and regulators on policy concerns. For example, the impact of ride-share drivers without New Jersey commercial auto insurance, and coverage issues involving what it refers to as “transportation network companies.”

Issue stems from commercial activities by underinsured drivers

The concern is over coverage issues due to the fact that ride-share drivers “use personal cars for a commercial activity but do not have commercial auto insurance,” as stated in the NAIC white paper. While many participating drivers do get some commercial coverage from both Uber and Lyft, there can still be coverage gaps that could affect the driver and the vehicle, as well as anyone injured in an accident, according to the NAIC white paper.

Using this scenario, who ultimately takes responsibility and provides New Jersey commercial auto insurance coverage if an accident occurs when the driver is logged into the ride-sharing app but has yet to actually be matched up with a passenger? A personal auto policy will not generally provide coverage when a personal car is used to provide transportation services for hire.

Most insurers believe that using a covered car for business purposes is in violation of their contract and will presumably consider this as grounds for cancellation of the policy at any time, the NAIC report concludes. But unfortunately, New Jersey commercial auto insurance coverage could be prohibitively expensive and not something most ride-share drivers would be willing to purchase.

Some insurers are trying to fill the gap, offering to their insureds that provide these services with a specialized coverage for ride-sharing drivers. It’s estimated that the coverage would add about $6 to $8 a month to policyholders’ bills.

Take the Time to Insure Jewelry of Value

Because jewelry is often high-valued (especially in relation to its size), is easily lost or destroyed, and is vulnerable to theft and fraud, basic homeowner policies provide very limited coverage for property such as jewelry. If your jewelry consists of high valued pieces, consider buying special insurance coverage.

A few options are available such as buying supplemental insurance that is attached to your homeowners or tenant’s policy or purchasing a special, separate jewelry policy. In either case it’s important to insure jewelry in order to be compensated should it inexplicably become lost or missing.

The first step is to discuss your coverage options with an insurance professional. This will allow you to understand how a loss will be paid. Does the coverage consider every conceivable type of loss, including:

  • Loss of items whose value has increased over time?
  • Does it cover mysterious disappearances?
  • Loss due to fire?
  • Loss due to theft?

An understanding of the coverage also helps you understand the steps you must take to ensure that you keep the maximum coverage in force and that any coverage you purchase is worth the additional price.

Documenting the jewelry’s value

Any jewelry recently purchased should be accompanied by a store receipt or certificate establishing the insured value. However, the insured value should be reevaluated, annually or bi-annually. Getting an appraisal that affirms your jewelry’s current value is an excellent way to assure that your property is properly protected.

Keep records and provide security

If you own a significant amount of expensive jewelry you may want to look into other valuable precautions such as:

  • Taking photos of your jewelry from several angles and share copies with your agent or insurance company
  • Consider a quality in-home security system, including a hidden vault or storage area
  • Be careful when wearing your jewelry and to try to avoid becoming a target of theft
  • Keep original receipts and all appraisals, and
  • Ask your jeweler whether they have access to “Gemprint,” a jewelry identification system that documents a jewel’s distinctive markings much in the manner of fingerprinting

Take the proper steps to insure jewelry in order to have the protection you need at a price you can afford.

Breaches at the Highest Levels Indicate Cyber Coverage Need

Remember the old days of larceny, when a thief actually broke into a company’s safe or vault and stole the valuable contents inside? Of course, nowadays crime has gone as high-tech as anything else, and criminals are finding increasingly clever and nefarious ways to finagle their way around the barriers safeguarding your company to extract funds, proprietary information, and client data-potentially resulting in a damaging, embarrassing, and expensive cyber risk insurance claim.

Recent incidents highlight need for coverage

A few recent security incidents that have come to light illustrate the need for protection. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced a huge breach of personal information, revealing that even sophisticated government data is not untouchable. Approximately 4 million current and former federal employee personnel files (as well as background investigation information typically found in the course of clearing someone for a security clearance) might have been compromised, and CNN speculated that the true number could be upward of 18 million and could include anyone who had ever applied for a job within the U.S. government.

Use of devices can open the door

Businesses rely on smart phones, tablets and other devices to conduct business in an agile fashion today, yet these instruments that provide business opportunity also provide a means of exploitation by criminals. One smart phone manufacturer reported a security vulnerability that could be exploited when employees were conducting business on unsecured wi-fi networks such as those found at coffee shops, airports, restaurants, retail locations, and other public places. Another major phone provider announced a new security vulnerability that attempts to hijack the URLs of legitimate applications. The phone companies work hard to address these security vulnerabilities and inform their customers about updates to firmware and other patches to solve the problems, but they remain moving targets.

Get covered for the risks you face

To ensure your company is maintaining a comprehensive approach to risk management, talk to a professional insurance agent about tailoring a cyber risk insurance policy for your particular business exposures. Policies are most often written on a first-party coverage and third-party defense and liability basis. The former provides financial compensation to help you pay for immediate costs in the event of an incident, while the latter offers protection should you be sued by a client or even one of your partners in the aftermath of a data breach. Call your agent today to learn more about exactly how a policy, tailored to your industry and your business, can offer you the protection from this growing crime.