Category Archives: Business

Tips to Defeat the Heat

 

 

Thankfully in Michigan, we don’t often see triple digit temperatures in the summer time. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get hot. And let’s not start on the humidity.

Our friends at Hastings Mutual Insurance Company have some real life stories about heat stress incidents they want to share with you, and helpful tips on how to beat the heat.

Roofers on a roofIn the construction industry, an employee began installing a roof on a hot sunny morning. Two hours later, he complained of feeling ill and vomited. However, he continued working. At 3:00 pm, when he descended the ladder, he was disoriented and confused. He missed a step and fell to the ground. His supervisor and some of his co-workers drove him to the hospital and several hours later was pronounced dead. His internal body core temperature was approximately 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Man carrying basket of grapes in vineyardIn the agricultural industry, a young worker arrived for her shift at a vineyard. Her job required her to spend long hours tying grapevines in the sun. As the day wore on, the temperature skyrocketed, eventually reaching well into the triple digits. After nine hours of work, she collapsed from heat exhaustion. Two days later, she succumbed to the effects of the heat exhaustion and died. She was only 17 years old and her life was snuffled out due to overexposure to the heat.

 

Hastings Mutual Insurance Company wants you to know that the two above examples were totally preventable.

Here are three simple steps to defeat the heat:

1. Water

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. This is no mystery since our bodies are almost entirely composed of water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. By that point, you are already on your way to becoming dehydrated. A general rule of thumb is to drink 4 cups of water every hour. It is most effective to drink a small amount of water every 15 minutes.

2. Rest

Rest breaks help the body to recover.

3. Shade

Resting in the shade or air-conditioning helps the body to cool down.

 

More steps to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion:

1. Report symptoms of heat illness right away

2. Wear light-colored cotton clothing

3. Wear a hat

4. Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn

5. Watch out for persons who show signs of heat stress

6. Know where you are working in case you need to call 9-1-1

 

While waiting for medical assistance, you can help a person in distress by:

1. Moving the person to a cool, shady area

2. Loosen the person’s clothing

3. Fan air on the worker

4. Apply cool water or ice packs to his or her skin

 

Heat-Related Illness: Know the Signs

It’s important to know the signs of heat-related illness – acting quickly can save lives.

– Heat Stroke: It’s the most serious heat-related illness. Usually, when your body builds up heat, you sweat to get rid of the extra heat. With heat stroke, your body can’t cool down.

The symptoms include: confusion, fainting, seizures, very high body temperature, and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 if a person shows any signs of heat stroke.

– Heat exhaustion: Happens when your body loses too much water and salt through sweating.

The symptoms may include: headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, thirst and heavy sweating.

– Heat fatigue, heat cramps, and heat rash: These are less serious, but they are still signs of over exposure to heat.

 

OSHA Heat PosterAs a business owner, you can prevent or reduce the chance of your employees falling into these situations by:

– Providing ample cold water for all employees in convenient, visible locations close to the work area.

– Encourage workers to drink water before they get thirsty, or about every 15 minutes.

– Offering plenty of breaks in a shady area or in an air-conditioning facility.

– Encourage employees to wear, or provide employees with light-colored and permeable clothing.

– Monitor workers for signs and symptoms of heat exposure and encourage employees to report symptoms of any heat-related illnesses.

– Train workers and supervisors about the hazards leading to heat stress and ways to prevent them.

– Implement an emergency plan and know what to do if someone is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness.

– Monitor weather conditions and reschedule jobs with high heat exposure to cooler times of the day.

 

 

Insurance for the Small and Medium Size Business Owner

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

 

Do you know what type of insurance your small business needs? If you are a small or medium size business and are wondering just that, watch this informative video created by Russell Productions in NYC, in association with the Insurance Information Institute, that explains insurance coverage for the small business owner.

For more information about business insurance for small businesses, click here to be transferred to the Insurance Information Institute’s website.

 

Starting a Business? Let Your Independent Agent Guide the Way

 

Grange Insurance Hi Res Version

 

 

 

 

Grange Insurance urges small business owners to lean on agents for success.

 

Since small businesses make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, they continue to be the pulse that keeps the U.S. economy ticking. Starting a business is part of living the American dream. However, if entrepreneurs do not take the proper steps when building their business, their dreams could very quickly become nightmares.

Columbus, Ohio based insurance company Grange Insurance provides a few tips for entrepreneurs to help guide them through the process of starting a business, highlighting the importance of working with an independent agent from start to finish.

1. First things first. Call your independent agent. Small business owners should loop their independent agents into the planning process as early as possible to ensure success, and to make sure they’re creating a solid business plan that will be appealing to insurance companies and potential funders.

“Securing insurance for a new business can be difficult for a variety of reasons, but without it, entrepreneurs are exposing themselves, their businesses, their employees and their potential customers to risks that can close down a business and financially break the entrepreneur,” said Peter McMurtrie, chief sales and marketing officer, Grange Insurance. “Agents can help you through the entire process to help you avoid those risks. Agents are oftentimes the best cheerleader when it comes to pitching the business idea to an underwriter. You want to make sure your agent is armed with everything possible to pitch your business in the best way.”

2. Create a detailed business plan. Starting a business requires a detailed business plan that extends beyond marketing. Failing to create a detailed business plan is a common pitfall when starting a new business, according to McMurtrie.

“Entrepreneurs oftentimes limit their business plan to what their product or service will be, and how they’ll make money,” said McMurtrie. “Small business owners are more likely to get coverage from an underwriter if they can outline a clear path of what the business will do, how it will be funded/operated, what potential liabilities/risks it may encounter and how those liabilities and risks would be covered.”

Independent agents can guide small business owners through this planning phase by helping to identify potential liabilities and risks to the business, such as bodily injury, products liability, business interruption and accidental breakage.

3. Continue to review your business insurance policy. As a small business evolves, so do its risks. Keeping your agent continuously involved in your business growth will help identify new risks that could have the potential to close doors before they become issues. McMurtrie recommends reviewing your insurance policy with your independent agency at least two times each year.

“While the current U.S. economy is a prime market for small businesses, business owners are exposing themselves to vulnerabilities that could shut their doors faster than they were opened if they do not take the proper precautions to protect their business,” said McMurtrie. “Agents and their carriers are knowledgeable of industry standards, trends and processes. They are instrumental in ensuring that small businesses get the coverage they need, ultimately helping entrepreneurs make their dream a reality.”

For more information about the available types of small business insurance, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com or call your independent agent today at 269.792.2232.

 

About Grange

Grange Insurance, with $2 billion in assets and in excess of $1 billion in annual revenue, is an insurance provider based in Columbus, Ohio. Through its network of independent agents, Grange offers auto, home, life and business insurance protection. Established in 1935, the company and its affiliates serve policyholders in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Off the Grange Insurance Press: Putting Together the Pieces of your Insurance Policy Puzzle

Grange Insurance Hi Res Version

Grange Insurance shares steps to reading insurance policies

Columbus, Ohio – According to Punxsutawney Phil, spring is just around the corner. For those of you who live in colder climates, this might be a welcome change. However, this also means that the sometimes volatile weather is right around the corner, making now a good time to review your insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need as we approach storm season.

Similar to putting together a 1,000-piece puzzle, reading an insurance policy can seem daunting at first glance. This can make it hard to determine what you’re looking at and how much coverage you have. To cut through the clutter, Grange Insurance offers five tips to quickly understand the pieces of your insurance policy puzzle:

Start with the Declarations Page

The Declarations Page is typically the first page of an insurance policy, but policy holders might also receive this as a standalone document. “The Declarations Page is like the four corners of your puzzle, and it serves as a roadmap for your policy,” says Larry Tamasovich, manager of policy forms and compliance, Grange Insurance.

The Declarations Page includes a list of form numbers that apply to your policy, and it provides basic information such as name and address of the insurance agency, what is insured, for how much, under what circumstances, and for how long. It might also include additions to the policy beyond basic coverage.

Assemble your Policy

Once you’ve reviewed the Declarations Page, you can begin piecing it together. The first step is to identify the policy form numbers on your Declarations Page and match them up with the form numbers of your policy. You should also look for the edition dates of the policy forms shown on the Declarations Page and compare them to the edition dates of the forms received for your policy. This will help you determine if you have a complete, up-to-date policy. If you’re missing anything, contact your independent insurance agent or insurance company.

Identify your Coverage

With the Declarations Page and policy in-hand, you have the proper forms to start filling in the middle pieces of your policy puzzle. Each policy is typically broken out into broad coverage sections identified by titles that include an insuring agreement and an exclusions section. The policy itself should have an index page to make it easier to identify sections within the policy. To identify your coverage, follow these four steps:

1.  Turn to the section in your policy that you want to review, such as homeowners property protection.
2.  Refer to the insuring agreement section to see your broad coverage.
3.  Turn back to your Declarations Page to verify if that coverage applies to your specific policy, what your limit and/or premium is, and if you have a deductible.
4.  Once you’ve determined that this coverage applies to you, refer back to your policy and read the exclusions page for that section to get an understanding of what is not included.

“For example, maybe you’re concerned your basement might flood during the upcoming rainy season,” said Tamasovich. “The insuring agreement will tell you what is covered in your house, but the exclusions section might tell you that floods are not covered unless you have a separate flood policy. If flooding is truly a concern, this would be a red flag to contact your agent about a flood policy to make sure that you have the proper coverage in place to fully protect your home.”

Refer to the Definitions Section

Insurance policies can be loaded with legal language and industry jargon, and that can make the meat of your policy hard to digest at times. Every policy should include a Definitions Section. If ay any time you are unsure of what the policy is stating, refer to the Definitions Section to see if you can find an explanation.

Call your Agent

Even after these steps, your insurance policy may still be overwhelming, says Tamasovich. At that point, it may be time to call your independent agent.

“We’re coming up on the most volatile time of the year in terms of weather, making now a good time to get your ducks in a row before bad weather hits,” said Tamasovich. “If ay any time you’re unsure of what you’re reading or what your coverage is, call your agent. He or she can help explain what’s in your policy, and more importantly, help make sure that you’re appropriately protected for the future.”

For more information about insurance policies and the types of insurance available to you, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com or call your independent agent today.

 

About Grange

Grange Insurance, with $2 billion in assets and in excess of $1 billion in annual revenue, is an insurance provider based in Columbus, Ohio. Through its network of independent agents, Grange offers auto, home, life, and business insurance protection. Established in 1935, the company and its affiliates serve policyholders in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com.

 

Information You Should Get/Give After An Auto Accident

This article was taken from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website, http://www.insureuonline.org/auto_page.htm, highlighting a great new mobile app, called “WreckCheck,” that can help insured’s capture the appropriate information after an auto accident. This is very important information to know since providing too much information after an accident is a very easy way for your personal information to fall into the wrong hands.

 

Accidents Happen 
Take steps to protect yourself, your property and your identity

In an automobile accident, you are concerned first about your safety and secondly about your vehicle. Likely, the last thing on your mind is protecting your identity. In fact, a recent survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) suggests that, after an accident, many Americans do not really know what information they should share with the other driver. State laws vary, but in most cases you need only provide your name and vehicle insurance information, which should include the name and phone number of your insurance provider. Sharing personal information such as your address and phone number may put your privacy and identity at risk. However, if another driver is unable to provide vehicle ownership and/or insurance information it is appropriate to ask for their phone number, address and driver’s license number.

According to the July 2012 survey:

  • Thirty-eight percent of consumers believed they should share their driver’s license number with the other driver — one in six would even allow the other driver to photograph the license as a convenient way to exchange information.
      • So what’s the risk? Many retailers accept driver’s license information to verify your identity over the phone. In fact, your license number is the most common way to confirm your identity after Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Twenty-five percent of consumers surveyed said they would share their home address.
      • Actually, your home address gives identity thieves the physical location of your mail or garbage, the first place criminals often look for personal financial information. And, now a stranger knows where you live, possibly putting your personal safety at risk.
  • Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents believed they are required to share personal phone numbers. In fact, sharing your phone number is rarely necessary.

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission estimates nearly nine million consumers have their identities stolen each year, disrupting finances and damaging credit histories and reputation. Knowing what to share helps keep property and identities safe.

The survey also found that consumers were unsure about other auto accident best practices. For example, nearly 20 percent of respondents believe the only reason to call police after an accident is if someone is injured. However, filing a police report can help facilitate the insurance claims process.

Wreck Check App

New WreckCheck App for Smartphones

To take some of the guesswork out of a tense situation, the NAIC has developed WreckCheck, a new, free mobile app for iPhone® and Android® smartphones. The new app outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks users through a step-by-step process to create their own accident report. The app directs them to capture photos and helps document and share only what is necessary to file an insurance claim. Users can even email their completed reports to themselves and their insurance agents.

No smartphone? NAIC offers a downloadable accident checklist and tips for staying calm, safe and smart on the road.

For more tips and tools to make sure you are protected in case of an auto accident, visit www.insureuonline.org

Tips For At The Scene Photography After An Auto Accident

Taking pictures of the scene of a car accident can be very beneficial to handling your auto insurance claim. Pictures can help claim adjusters determine what happened, who hit who, and if there were any street signs or signals that weren’t obeyed.Accident Pics by Insured copy

 

Have you ever wondered what pictures to take after your vehicle has been involved in a car accident?

Property & Casualty 360: A National Underwriter Website, has shared six photography tips that an insured can follow to make sure they have the essential documentation for their auto claim. Not everyone wants to take their own pictures, or has the capability of taking pictures at the scene of the accident, but if you are one of those who do, these tips will help capture the damage that the claims adjusters are looking for.

  1. Photograph all the vehicles involved and their relative positions from all angles to establish the boundaries of the crash scene and the impact zone. Think about tracing the main points of a compass to catch all those angles.

  2. Broaden the view and take photographs of the street layout, landmarks, traffic controls, and signage. Try to include pictures that show the vehicle’s position relative to its closest landmark. Investigators deployed later rely on such distinguishing details to help them reconstruct accident events accurately.

  3. Focus on the damages sustained by all the vehicles involved in the crash. Photograph the vehicle’s four corners, making sure to capture two sides of that vehicle in the viewfinder with each shot. (Example, front of car and passenger side of car.) Next, photograph each side of the vehicle straight on before focusing on documenting the damaged areas of the car. Take close-up photos of the damage and broader views for context.

  4. Make sure also to take shots of the vehicles’ identifying features like license plates and VIN numbers.

  5. Look inside the vehicle and take photographs of any interior damage, deployed airbags, seatbelts, and so forth.

  6. Document roadside debris, marks, and gouges on the roadway; strewn vehicle parts; and anything else pertinent to the accident. Try to show the relationship of the vehicle(s) to the debris depicted in image.

Above all else, make sure you take care of any injuries and safety concerns FIRST. Be mindful of traffic around the accident scene and stay safe while taking pictures.

Read the full article from Property & Casualty 360 here.

 

Do You Know the Difference Between Physical and Occupational Therapy for a Worker’s Comp Claim?

InjuryIf you are injured on the job and need to undergo therapy, most people would assume that it’s occupational therapy they need because the accident happened on the job. That is not always the case.

I have provided a link to an article titled, “Differences Between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy,” that describes the differences between physical and occupational therapy as it relates to worker’s compensation claims.

The following article was written by Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc., and is a national expert in the field of worker’s compensation.

http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/2013/01/differences-between-physical-therapy-and-occupational-therapy/#axzz2Ip3dvvvO

Why Your Business Should Implement a Health & Wellness Program for Employees

It’s the beginning of a new year, and with that brings the numerous resolutions that will be made (and broken) before the end of January. The number one resolution always seems to be, ‘get healthy’. And why wouldn’t you want to? There are many benefits to good health including taking less medications, less doctor/hospital visits, and oh yeah, lower insurance costs.

If you are a small business owner, answer this question: Does your company offer your employees a health and wellness Program? If no, why not? Health insurance premiums are always increasing it seems, and if you could offer a way to help maintain those premiums, or even lower those premiums, wouldn’t you consider a program such as this?

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides the why and how to implement a health and wellness program in your small business. Read an excerpt from the article, “Why and How to Implement a Health and Wellness Program in Your Small Business” below. For the full article, visit http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-cents/why-and-how-implement-health-and-wellness-progr

Tips for Implementing Health and Wellness Programs in Your Small Business

So how can you go about planning and implementing a program that makes sense for your business, with the limited resources available to you? Health and wellness plans don’t have to break the bank. With a bit of creativity there are many things you can do to keep employees health and happy.

Here are a few tips:

Talk to your employees. Find out what aspects of an employer-sponsored health and wellness plan they would value most. It could be discounted gym memberships, quarterly sponsored walks/runs, or employee-led healthy cooking workshops. maybe it’s just more awareness of free or low-cost preventative care options covered by your healthcare insurance plan.

Get ideas for your wellness program. This blog from former SBA guest blogger, Dawn Rivers Baker, offers some creative and engaging ideas for a low-cost or no-cost employee wellness program.

Get help structuring specific programs. The Centers for Disease Control provides some great online tools to help you design and structure your wellness programs. For example, CDC LEAN Works is a free web-based resource that can help employers design effective worksite obesity prevention and control programs, including an obesity cost calculator to estimate how much obesity is costing your company and how much in savings your company could reap with different sorts of workplace interventions.

Consult your healthcare insurance provider. Many now offer tools and resources to help employers develop programs. Familiarize yourself with the types of programs that make sense for your business.

Get help from small business assistance groups. Check in with your local Small Business Development Center or Chamber of Commerce. They may have resources or seminars that can help you build the right program for your business.

 

Another great read from the U.S. Small Business Administration on how to reduce the cost of health insurance can be found here.

Let’s start off 2013 with a commitment to live healthy! Make small changes, take small steps, and soon enough you will see big results.