Ask the Expert

What is the General Indemnity Agreement & Who Has to Sign It?

Author, Andy Roberts, Account Executive, Surety, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Most questions that we receive from contractors new to the industry or new to bonded work usually center around what is a General Indemnity Agreement (GIA) and why do they (ownership) and spouse(s) have to sign personally.

Understanding Your Claims: What Do You Have To Lose?

Author, Daniel Frazee, Executive Vice President, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Claims happen. They come in all shapes and sizes, from all types of parties, and can cost your company in many different ways. An important aspect of managing the costs of risk start with gaining a clear understanding of your claims. Our clients are always looking to improve their bottom line. This article focuses on just one piece of the pie chart; workers compensation claims. Understanding the nuances of these cases can create measurable plans in the future to reduce frequency and severity of claims and ultimately lower your costs.

Stay Off OSHA's Radar with an Effective Ladder Safety Program

Author, Casey Craig, Account Executive, Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Year after year OSHA publishes the “Top 10 Most Cited Violations” and it always seems to include violations dealing with falls. Fall protection, scaffolding, ladders, and fall protection (training requirements) all made this list and all of them have been on this list perennially for over a decade. How can a company that is using ladders keep from becoming just another name on the list of violators? How can you ensure that your employees are using provided equipment properly?

Pollution Liability for Landscape Contractors

Author, Drew Garcia, Vice President, Landscape Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Most Landscape Contractors believe their exposure to pollution is limited to the herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers they apply. In order to provide some limited coverage for this it is common to see the Herbicide/Pesticide Endorsement added to the Commercial General Liability Policy. Although the endorsement extends some coverage, Contractor’s Pollution Liability would help fill the gaps created by the General Liability Policy for all of the landscape contractor’s pollution exposures. 

What Does the Employer Do After a Work Injury?

Author, Jim Malone, Workers’ Compensation Claims Advocate, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

A work related injury can be a very traumatic event for the injured worker, but also for their co-workers, employer, family and friends. Some injuries occur from a specific event when everybody knows the injury occurred. Other times, incidents occur during the work day, or repeatedly over time, where the employee needs to report these incidents, accidents or developing symptoms to his supervisor, manager, or human resource manager according to company protocol. 

What Do You Mean My Deductible Is Infinity?

Author, Kevin Howard, CRIS, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

In this unsettling time throughout various workforces, it makes good business sense to consider EPLI options with varied deductible ranges. Having that clarity brings comfort to many clients who have worked years to build their business, acquire assets, and improve their net worth. Exposing their business to what could very well be unlimited costs creates considerable risk moving forward.

4 Essential Tools For Managing Your Company's Risk

Author, Alyssa Burley, Client Services Coordinator, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Risk Management is the identification, analysis, assessment, control, and avoidance, minimization, or elimination of unacceptable risks. Companies manage their risk through what is known as an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). As a business owner, supervisor or manager, there are tools available to assist in risk management endeavors.

Group Captive Insurance 101

Author, Sam Clayton, Vice President, Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

The property and casualty market over the last decade has been what we consider “soft.” Overall, insurance premiums have remained relatively flat, or in the case of workers’ compensation rates have decreased considerably. However, we are seeing significant pricing pressure in commercial auto. In the next few years we expect to see the same pressure in workers compensation. One alternative risk financing strategy that you may want to consider before the coming hard market is a member-owned group captive.

Painters Stretching Can Lead to Reduced Premiums

Author, Casey Craig, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Having played professional baseball for several years, I know the importance of stretching to prepare oneself for the day. My team would stretch when we got to the field, then again before batting practice, and once more before the game started. Most people reserve stretching for sporting events. They forget the importance of stretching before work - feeling they will “loosen up” as the day goes along. However, there are countless ways for employees to become injured and those medical bills can grow all too fast.

The Benefits and Risks of Third Party Indemnity

Author, Andy Roberts, Account Executive, Surety Division, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

For a contractor that is wanting to bid a job, or has won a job that’s requiring a bond that they are not able to qualify for on their own, one option for increasing their bond capacity and ability to qualify would be to have a third party also indemnify to their Surety.  While there are definite risks, this type of agreement can be very beneficial to both parties.   

3 Ways for Nonprofits to Opt Out of Unemployment Tax

Author, Sam Brown, Vice President, Human Services Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Nonprofit leaders who want to reduce overhead and tax burdens should consider revisiting their organizations’ unemployment tax status. More to the point, thanks to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act of 1972, nonprofits can eliminate the unemployment insurance tax and outsource the headache of claims administration. Let’s investigate further.

Health Care Reform… What is Next?

Author, Shane Medlin, Employee Benefits Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Recently, multiple proposals to change the existing Affordable Care Act (ACA) have emerged. How will the proposed changes affect employers and their employees? The future of the ACA is still in question. However, it is unlikely that any of the proposed changes will pass congress within the next 2 years.

Higher Workers' Compensation Premiums Linked to New Employee Injuries

Author, Drew Garcia, Vice President, Landscape Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Based on Rancho Mesa Insurance Services’ client’s information, we have been able to identify that the majority of work-related injuries occur within the first year of employment. During the first year, the majority of these claims occur in the first six months. Having a system for onboarding and training new hires is a critical component to dealing with the heightened risk of injury during this time period.

The Ticking Time Bomb for Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors: Lower Expected Loss Rates Can Mean Higher Experience Modifications

Author, Kevin Howard, CRIS, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

The Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) released the 2019 Expected Loss Rates (ELR’s) in the 4th quarter of 2018. The ELR’s in the plumbing class code 5187 dropped 17% on January 1st 2019. This decrease is not getting significant attention, but could potentially create negative implications for California plumbing contractors and their respective experience modifications in 2019, 2020 and beyond.

Cause of Concerns for Contractors: Implementation of Aerial Lift Standards

Author, Casey Craig, Account Executive, Construction Group, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Beginning December 2019, standards for using and renting aerial lifts will drastically change, globally. As a result, contractors are concerned they will not be prepared for the changes which could lead to loss of production and fines.

Optimizing Risk Management While Reducing Gaps in Coverage

Author, Jeremy Hoolihan, Account Executive, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

Working within the construction unit at Rancho Mesa for over 15 years, I have developed strong long-term business relationships with my clients. As an insurance advisor, I have an obligation to insulate clients from exposures and liabilities. Many of which may remain the same from year to year. However, it is vital that business owners meet with their insurance advisor frequently, especially prior to an insurance renewal, to avoid potential gaps in coverage. Below are a few key topics that should be reviewed on a regular basis by a company’s insurance advisor. 

Ensuring CA Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Training is SB 1343 Compliant

Author, Alyssa Burley, Client Services Coordinator, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

In September 2018, former California Governor Jerry Brown approved Senate Bill 1343 (SB 1343) which expanded the requirements for Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention training within California workplaces.

In order for the Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention training to be compliant, it must meet the following requirements. The training must:

How Accurate Work-in-Progress Schedules Can Positively Affect Your Bond Program

Author, Matt Gaynor, Director of Surety, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

When meeting with new contractors looking to qualify for increased bonding capacity, one of the first items generally discussed is the work-in-progress Schedule (WIP). Understandably, the balance sheet and profit & loss statement get the most attention when compiling financial information for the bond company, but the WIP, whether on a quarterly or six month basis, allows the bond company to gauge how well the contractor has estimated their projects and how conservative they have been on a project’s profitability. Preparation of an accurate work in progress schedule is the only way to gauge the true profitability of the company.

Equipment Hazards and Ways to Reduce Exposure

Author, Daniel Frazee, Executive Vice President, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

The very nature of the construction business creates risk; from injuries in the course of employment, damage to property, third party liability, etc. One important area that can be overlooked is equipment security. While there is simply no way to eliminate 100% of risk to equipment, there are several steps a contractor can take to initiate proper controls and minimize losses in this area.

California SB 1343 Expands Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention Training Requirements

Author, Alyssa Burley, Client Services Coordinator, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.

In September 2018, former California Governor Jerry Brown approved Senate Bill 1343 (SB 1343) which expands the requirements for Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention training within the workplace.