Ask the Expert

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.

Mitigating Risk at Height

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

Falls from elevated heights are the single most hazardous injury within the construction industry; representing 38% of all construction fatalities (NSC Construction & Utilities). That is a scary fact if you are a painting contractor that works off the ground. In years past, it was common to see painters working on multi-story scaffolding with few controls in place, or working from ladders on top of trucks to get those extra couple feet needed to finish a project. Workers compensation underwriters have difficulty with risks that work over 30 feet. Why is this 30 foot threshold so critical to insurance companies who write workers compensation?

Reporting Serious Workers’ Compensation Injuries

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

Workers’ Compensation injuries occur every day. The majority of these injuries are minor incidents which require no medical treatment or loss of time from work. For others, the injury is reported to the insurance carrier, the injury is addressed, forms are provided, and the recovery from the injury is monitored until the employee is released back to work and a discharge from care is provided.

How Credit-Based Bond Programs Benefit New Contractors

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

For small or new contractors that are looking to break into the world of government contract work, the process of getting a surety bond program in place can seem like an onerous one. It requires the contractor to compile a lot of paperwork and detailed financial reports, which can be a daunting task for any contractor, regardless of size or experience. However, there are now several “A” rated sureties that provide credit-based programs for writing smaller bonds.

3 Key Differences Between Self-Insured Retention and Deductibles

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

Every business or non-profit that purchases a form of liability insurance has seen the term deductible or self-insured retention (SIR). While many know the difference between the two, many do not. Deductibles and SIRs, while quite different, are both designed to keep your premiums down. Insurers are willing to reduce the premium on policies, which have a deductible or SIR, because the insured assumes some of the risk. This however, is where the similarities end.

IRS Extends 2018 Deadline for 1095c Forms

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

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2018-94 outlining extended deadlines for 2018 Minimum Essential Coverage under Section 6055 and Large Employer Shared Responsibility under Section 6056. This notice extends the due date to provide individuals the 2018 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and the 2018 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, from January 31, 2019, to March 4, 2019. This notice also extends good faith transition relief from section 6721 and 6722 penalties to the 2018 information reporting requirements under sections 6055 and 6056.

Developing an Effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP)

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

If you have operated a business in the state of California for any period of time, you have very likely heard about or run across the acronym IIPP. Wherever you stand with your knowledge within the world of safety, injury, and illness, it is important for every organization to understand the mandatory parts of an IIPP. What is often overlooked is how developing an effective safety program can create positive change and truly impact your bottom line.

Six Reasons for Promptly Reporting a Workers’ Compensation Claim

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

Reporting workers’ compensation claims in a timely manner can have a huge impact on the severity of the claim. Some policyholders believe the practice of not reporting employee injuries early is a good business practice. This could not be further from the truth.

15 Tips for Reducing Exposures When Performing Median Work

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

Many city contracts and some residential communities will call for landscape contractors to install, maintain, or remodel road dividing medians. The potential risk for injury that can occur due to this exposure is highly severe. If your operations include any percentage of median work, then be sure to understand this increases your overall risk profile and slides the operations needle towards “heavy” in class.