Bringing Hope During Difficult Times

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OneGroup supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Last month, our OneCommunity spotlight was the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). We had the pleasure of working with this organization on their mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.

AFSP provides support for individuals and families struggling with mental health and the affects of suicide. The foundation has established chapters across the United States to widen their abilities to help those in need. They are present in all of our OneGroup communities! Through public engagement, educational programs, research, and more, they offer help to so many people. AFSP has widened the dialogue surrounding mental health and suicide.

To help spread their message and get involved, we looked to our OneGroup team! AFSP is an amazing organization that aids in bringing encouragement to those who are suffering difficult times.

This spotlight prompted some of our own team members to share their personal experiences and stories with us. We are grateful to those who shared, making the impact of this month’s spotlight much more meaningful.

We’ve appreciated the chance to learn about and connect with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They require support year-round to continue helping those in need. You can learn more about the work that AFSP does in our communities here. If you would like to become involved, you can find your local chapter here or use the red button to donate here.

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Be Sure You’re Safe

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How’s Your Cyber Hygiene?

Recently, there have been multiple instances of cyber attacks in the news – Colonial Pipeline, JBS, CNA Insurance, and Kaseya, to name a few – and yet, many attacks of this nature do not get reported on. It is important to remember that regardless of the type of organization that you own or work for, all are at risk of cyber crime.

This recent increase in cyber attacks has had a dramatic impact on the cyber insurance marketplace. Gone are the days when cyber insurance could be quoted and bound with minimal information – cyber underwriters are now requiring a full application and ransomware supplemental, as well as the completion of a cyber assessment on new placements and renewals. Organizations that have developed good cyber hygiene and resiliency can obtain the best coverages and limits. Organizations that have poor controls in place are finding it more difficult to obtain proper coverages and limits and some are being declined by most, if not all, cyber carriers.

Cyber carriers are looking for businesses to have multi-factor authentication (MFA), endpoint detection and response (EDR), and backups, as well as securing all remote access. Developing and implementing a proper cybersecurity program can take many months. One cyber carrier, Coalition, has developed a cybersecurity checklist to assist businesses in protecting themselves from a cyber incident. Utilizing Coalition’s cybersecurity checklist will help businesses understand which controls cyber carriers are looking for, while also helping organizations protect themselves from a cyber attack.

Below is a list of quick tips from Coalition to keep your business safe from cyber attacks:

  1. Increase email security
  2. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
  3. Maintain full data backups.
  4. Enable secure remote access.
  5. Update your software regularly.
  6. Use a password manager.
  7. Scan for malicious software.
  8. Encrypt your data.
  9. Set up a security awareness training program.
  10. Purchase cyber insurance.

Our experts would encourage you to take some time to review the current status of your cybersecurity program and find where improvements can be made. In doing so, you will not only refine your underwriting profile for cyber carriers, but you will also minimize the impact of a potential cyber event on your organization.

For more information please contact Dennis Ast, Senior Account Executive, Cyber Risk Specialist at (716) 572-2410 or [email protected].

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Anyone Can Be A Victim of a Cyber Attack

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Make sure you are taking the necessary steps to keep yourself protected.

In an increasingly “digital” world, cyber attacks have grown dramatically, which causes many to wonder, “How do I protect myself and family from a cyber event?”

Most people have at least one device in their home that is connected to the internet. Whether that be a smart phone, smart TV, tablet, laptop, or security camera, we are surrounded by the internet all the time. Something that a lot of people fail to realize is that, these devices are the ones that could expose you to a cyber attack.

However, there are several ways to better protect yourself and your family from a cyber attack. These can include:

Protecting your passwords

  • Make sure your passwords are strong, secure, and unique
  • Try to use multi-authentication whenever possible

Thinking twice before clicking on links or opening attachments

  • Confirm that the email is from a trusted sender before doing anything

Keeping your devices, browsers, and apps up to date

  • Be sure to get all necessary security and software updates

Backing up critical files

  • Store backups in a physically separate location from the originals and periodically test them

Verifying request for private information

  • Whenever you are requested to provide private information, verify the identity of the requester
  • Regularly check your credit reports and and financial statement

While these are precautions that you can take to protect your data, you can never be 100% sure that you are safe. Luckily, Personal Cyber Coverage may be available to protect you and your loved ones from falling prey to cyber attacks. Some insurance companies even offer endorsements to add on to your existing homeowner’s policy.

Not sure where to start? Experts at OneGroup are here to help. We can identify suitable options for your needs. Contact your OneGroup representative or call 800-268-1830.

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Changes to NYS Experience Rating Program

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Why It Matters

By Paul Coderre, CSP, ARM

They say, “change is good.” 

As you may have heard, the New York State Compensation Insurance Rating Board (NYCIRB) is changing the way they calculate the experience modification factor. They are also withdrawing from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and eliminating the “merit rating” system for small businesses. This would probably be very important and interesting for you if you were an insurance person (Which I am, and therefore am interested). But if you’re not an insurance person, you probably just want to know what it means to you, particularly in terms of availability and cost of insurance. Please read on and I will try to answer some of your questions, and will give you a direction to get answers to the rest of your questions.

First: How is workers’ compensation (WC) premium calculated? 

Your workers’ compensation carrier calculates your organization’s premium, using data provided by you, the State of New York, and their own (approved) factors. The calculation follows a standard formula in which the underwriter uses your workers’ compensation classification codes, loss cost rates tied to those codes (set by the State), and your payrolls to calculate your manual premium: the first step in setting the premium for a guaranteed cost policy. 

The manual premium would be the same for any two companies that do the same thing, and pay their people the same in wages. It does not consider the loss performance of either company. This is where other factors (LCM and EMF) come in. 

Loss cost multiplier (LCM) is a factor that is developed by the workers’ compensation carrier, and approved for use by the State. Carriers can have several LCM’s approved for use, and reflect the carrier’s “feeling” about how your company will perform. Loss Cost Multipliers can range from 1.10 to over 1.5.

The experience modification factor or experience mod (EMF) is calculated by NYCIRB based on your classification codes (what you do), three years of your payrolls, and three years of your losses (how well you do what you do). This is what is changing as of 10/1/2022. More on the impact of those changes in a bit.

What to remember about the LCM and EMF is that they are “multipliers” in the premium formula; meaning the underwriter takes that initial “manual premium” figure and multiplies it by both factors.

Manual Premium X LCM X EMF = Standard Premium 

The standard premium is the important premium number. There may be other discounts introduced by the underwriter, but it is the true basis for your annual workers’ compensation premium. Needless to say, the lower either factor is, the lower the impact on that standard premium number. So, if you want to control your workers’ compensation premium, you need to do what you can to control the LCM and the EMF.

Control: Since the LCM is set by the underwriter, you have little control over the number itself. Your opportunity to control the LCM stems from your operations, your overall performance, consistency in performance, and the presence and effectiveness of your risk management efforts.  It is really a more subjective decision by the underwriter whether you get an LCM of 1.12 or 1.45.

However, the EMF is a controllable factor. It is based on your injury costs over a three-year period; if you minimize the frequency and severity of incurred losses, your mod will be lower, and will have a more positive impact on your premium. Unlike the LCM, the EMF can actually calculate to be less than one (<1). When the manual premium is multiplied by a mod less than on (called a Credit Mod) it actually reduces the ultimate premium figure. The bottom line is that in order to control your workers’ compensation premium, your best opportunity is to control your experience mod. 

This is why the State’s change to the EMF formula are so important to you and your business. 

Second: Why is the State changing? 

New York State has been studying the performance of organizations from the standpoint of workers’ compensation injuries and costs. Those studies have revealed that companies performing very well (minimizing the frequency and severity of on-the-job accidents) are not realizing the benefit of their performance in their workers’ compensation premiums (remember, the EMF is based on performance over a 3-year period). The State also found that companies performing poorly in workers’ compensation outcomes are not being assessed adequately for their poor performance. (Note that the experience rating system is supposed to reward good performers and “incentivize” poor performers to do better.) The State felt that it was necessary to change the experience mod formula to better affect what organizations pay in premium based on their performance.

Discontinue participation in NCCI:  The National Council on Compensation Insurance is an organization that provides experience mod calculations for companies that have operations in multiple states. While they do not cover all states, those companies whose operations are within a state that is a member of NCCI would have a common experience mod for all such operations in all such states. Not all states participate in the NCCI system. In a case where a company has operations in both NCCI states and non-NCCI states, premiums will be calculated for NCCI States using the common NCCI mod, and for Non-NCCI states individually using the experience modification calculated for that state on its own merit. Since NY no longer calculates a mod the way that NCCI does, it needed to withdraw from the NCCI program.

Discontinue the merit rating system: Very small companies in New York (WC Premium less than $5,000) have traditionally been treated differently in their workers’ compensation premium calculation than larger companies. They fell under a program called “merit rating.” With the changes made to the experience rating formula (specifically the variable split point), the State felt it was no longer necessary to have a separate means of premium calculation. Companies who previously qualified for merit rating will not be rated the same way as all other workers’ compensation risks in the state. The changes to the experiencemod calculation are designed to accommodate small, medium and large risks. 

What has changed?

Key elements of the experience rating formula have changed. It is felt by the State that those changes will result in the following:

Organizations that in the past have had a very favorable credit mod will likely see their mod improve further. Those companies who in the past have struggled with a very poor debit mod will likely see their new mod get even worse. And those companies who have been in the middle (not great, but not terrible) will see only minor changes to their newly calculated experience mod. That is how the State described the expected outcome of changing the mod formula. Our early observations have shown a little more tendency for mods to move up slightly for those in the middle group.

Variable Split Point: A key change to the formula has been the establishment of a “variable split point.” The split point defines what portion of incurred claim costs on a specific claim will be considered primary, and what will be considered secondary. The mod formula leans heavily on costs associated with small to moderately severe claims, and discounts high severity claim costs so they don’t over skew the mod. 

This was a point in which a smaller company’s mod could be overly impacted by a single claim, while a larger company may not feel the impact of several claims as intended by the State. The new method sets the split point value based on the company’s payrolls and expected losses. A small company may have a split point of $1,500, while a larger company’s split point may be $60,000. The result is that if each company had a single claim that totaled $65,000, the small company would have $1,500 used in the mod calculation while the larger company would have $60,000 entered into their calculation. While it seems harsh, the larger company’s higher expected losses do soften the blow of the higher split point.

Caps and Limits

First year cap: During the first year of applying the new calculation (experience mods effective from 10/1/2022 to 9/30/2023), a mod calculated under the new method that generates result greater than 0.30 higher than using the old calculation will be capped at the mod calculated by the old method plus (+) 0.30. This will show up on the experience rating sheet provided by the State (NYCIRB).

Claim count limits: There is also a limit on the experience modification for organizations having only one, two, three, or four claims in the rating period. This is another way for the State to limit the impact of a single or a very few claims having a severe impact on a smaller company’s experience rating; and for a larger company’s mod to be limited by a calculated cap (although this cap can still be fairly high).

  • For an organization having only one claim, their mod cannot exceed 1.12. 
  • If the organization has only two claims, their mod is capped at 1.40. 
  • If the organization has three claims, the cap is 1.75, and
  • If the organization has four or more claims the mod is capped via formula – (2 + 0.000003 X Expected losses)
What can we do about it?

The bottom line is that these experience rating formula changes are here and are real. The State (NYCIRB) has begun applying it to those mods effective on 10/1/22 or after. For many, their mod will go up; some slightly, others not so slightly. For others, their experience mod will go down and they will realize the benefits in their next policy renewal.

How can OneGroup help?

  • Staying ahead of the game. We can do prospective calculations of your mod to see (approximately) where it’s going to be at renewal time. This will help in making decisions relating to carriers and programs.
  • Our risk management and claim professionals can help minimize the occurrence and severity of workers’ compensation losses. Remember, the only real option you have in controlling your experience mod is to control the losses driving it.

If you want to know more about the details surrounding the change to the mod formula and the potential impacts of those changes:

  • Contact your OneGroup representative. We can get dig into the details for you on the mod formula and its impacts. We are insurance nerds… we love this stuff.
  • To learn more about the transition, go to the NYCIRB website: https://www.nycirb.org/experience-rating-transition.php

For more information please contact Paul Coderre, Vice President of Risk Management Services at (518) 952-7971 or [email protected].

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Recruitment Versus Marketing

About Us

Are They Really That Different?

In Conversation with Nick Hoadley, Managing Director of Insurance Search

By Pierre Morrisseau

This article is comprised of excerpts from an interview that I conducted with Nick Hoadley, Managing Director of Insurance Search, in which we discussed the changing methods of attracting and retaining great talent.

On the “Insurance Search” approach —

PIERRE: People think it’s surprising that we (OneGroup) work with you, all the way in London, for our recruiting. I’ve been impressed with your focus on the candidate and their career, as well as the client and their culture. You are really trying to find a match. What have you learned in that process? 

NICK: Candidates want a job, they want a career where there’s opportunity. Believe it or not, most candidates don’t move for money, only around 20% do. It’s about finding a long-term home for someone matching a candidate with the right personality and values with a company that will really value them as an individual. Finding a home for a candidate who will stay loyal and be there for a long time. We aim for long-term success.

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“It’s about being open minded, doing what’s best for the company but also bearing in mind what candidates are looking for now.”

NICK HOADLEY

On finding the perfect match —

PIERRE: It is hard for people to know what is out there and what is right for them What are some attributes they really like?

NICK: Once you’ve got the right candidate, it’s all about progression and opportunity. Be very clear with candidates on what success looks like in their role, and what will happen if they achieve that success. Then, they know that there’s a career path for them. We try to really learn what drives a candidate and meet that. The goal is to fulfill their ambitions as much as they are helping you, as a business, to fulfill your ambitions. 

On building a pipeline —

PIERRE: In talent recruitment, we tend to wait until we have a position to fill. In talking with you, we have tried to move our thought process to be more proactive. What is your advice on developing a pipeline of potential talent ahead of time?

NICK: Plan out, as your business grows, what your team will look like. When you do have a candidate, it’s very key to move quickly – don’t wait too long if you know that you want to bring that candidate on. In terms of pipelining, the traditional approach would be networking in the insurance markets, with recruiters, explaining what potential opportunities will be, telling the story of your business, and getting as many people as possible invested with an understanding. When you’re ready, then they will have a good idea of what you’re doing, what your beliefs are and what your values are.

One of the ways that we (Insurance Search) do that is through a podcast (Insurance Coffee House Podcast) that we created with our businesses where they can tell and showcase their stories. Then, we can get ahead of the game and start educating potential talent on the work that that particular client is doing. When they do have roles and speak to them on it, they will already have an understanding of what you do and what the opportunities are rather than going in completely cold.

That’s probably the 21st century way of doing it. Over the years, it’s always been good to network. Go to events, meet people from different companies — not overly selling, but letting people know that you’re growing and there could be opportunities in the future.

On a strategy to fill the experience gap —

PIERRE: Everything in today’s world is moving much faster than even a few years ago. There is a significant amount of in-depth knowledge that has left or is leaving our industry both for us and carriers. Many of us have increased our training and development efforts of young talent but there is going to be a significant lag in the ability to fill the gap. We need the talent inside our agencies and carriers to help mentor that experience in our employees that are new to the industry. Do you have advice for helping recruit that experience? 

NICK:  The talent that you’re looking to bring into the business is almost like a customer (or a client, per-say). If you have a CRM system or an Excel spreadsheet of prospects you’re looking to bring to the business, it’s very similar to when you’re trying to bring talent into the business. You may have a long list and then a shorter list of people that you’ve made contact with.

You can then ask for references from carriers, or potentially from other people in the market. Build and have those contact points like you would with a potential client or customer. Have someone that is responsible for keeping in contact with those people. A lot of businesses are looking to grow. They grow by bringing in new clients and growing out accounts, all through their sales people. If you bring on more, you can grow the business. Look at those sales people as another distribution channel to your potential customers and start treating them like that, as well then there’s potential for some good outcomes. 

PIERRE: So, is it fair to say that in our world of growing the business from a client standpoint, we focus a lot on making the prospect a client before being a client. Would that be a fair analogy? 

NICK: Absolutely. If you just cold call out of the blue you know you’re going to get a certain percentage of those clients. If those clients have had social media, maybe a golf day or referral in front of them, then when you then make that call and speak to the insurance manager, the likelihood of them asking you to look at their insurance coverage is much higher. It’s the same way with candidates. If a candidate has heard a great podcast about you, and if they’ve seen some great media about you, if they understand what you’re doing as a business, then when you come to make that call, the chances of them responding and being interested is way higher. It’s the same prospecting with clients as you would talent. 

PIERRE: Once we (OneGroup) bring a candidate in the door, we really focus on them. That is a huge part of our success. Focusing on them, talking about our business in a very transparent way and letting them ask questions. We treat it more as a relationship-building process as opposed to an interviewing process.

On the “New World” —

PIERRE: COVID has really had a profound effect on a lot of things. That was the very reason I met you. I couldn’t go out, so I had to interact online. The other side of that is isolation – lots of people started to rethink their career, wants, and more. What are some of the things you’ve seen on a macro-basis?

NICK: This won’t be a surprise to your audience, but the vast majority of people in insurance now really want the opportunity to work from home, or certainly have a hybrid model. There’s definitely senior talent out there who are really looking for four to five days a week working remotely, where they can get on with their work but not have a commute into the office. This gives the opportunity for them to build their work career around their lives.

It’s a challenge but there’s a lot of opportunity as well. You can potentially widen your reach in terms of talent and location. If you’re not coming into the office, that really opens up the opportunity to find the best talent. 

I’m also seeing in my own business as well –  there are a lot of candidates who like the idea of being entrepreneurs. Candidates like to have the opportunity to have a stake in the business they’re at, or set up their own business under a franchise or umbrella. This gives them all of the support and team environment that you have at an agency, but ownership and responsibility for it. That’s actually how we’re growing our business at Insurance Search, as well. 

In general, it’s about being open minded, doing what’s best for the company but also bearing in mind what candidates are looking for now. 

PIERRE: We’re talking to a group who just started their own business together, but prior they’ve functioned individually. The concept is “Innovation Coffeehouse,” and it was originally providing concepts of ways to supply the resources to speed up the environment for start-up businesses. Now, they have shifted and are focused on what I call “intrepreneurship,” which is based around taking ideas and building them from the inside of bigger companies. All of the resources a startup would struggle with are not an issue for a bigger company. But, they lack the ability to evaluate, vet, and manage this innovation process. 

What if we gave people a chance to split their time a little bit, rather than just doing one job? They could get their work done but also focus on some more creative or business efforts. That seems like it might be an upcoming trend or interest. 

NICK: Absolutely. And clearly, there’s a lot of markets where that’s worked for a very long time already. Look at the real estate market in the United States.

You see some of what we would call “composite insurance agencies,” or “captive insurance agencies,” that act under an umbrella, but they have their own business. There’s a lot of upside for that particular individual, of doing that within a larger organization. They still keep a lion share, or they might have a share in that particular entity, but with the backing of their company that they work for. If they split their time, they might work 75% on their usual, core role with the business, and then for a certain number of hours a week may work on this innovation or this part of the business under a separate entity. That’s joint ventures with their own employers, rather than having to leave their employment. 

A lot of people think that in order to do their own thing or to be innovative, they have to give up their employment. That’s a real shame if they’re really talented people. In that case, their employer would want to keep them but also, would probably have great confidence in them when they do start their business that they’re now going to want to invest or partner with them on that opportunity. 

So some of these things that you described there, Pierre, are really going to grow and grow. I think it’s very innovative for the employer if they would partner with those people. 

“If the average young person is going to have six to ten careers in their lifetime, why can’t they all be with us? Why can’t they have the mobility inside?”

PIERRE MORRISSEAU

On mobility within —

PIERRE: We’ve tried to create an interesting culture where we create mobility inside the company. 

So I have a saying, I can’t remember where I got it from – I’m sure I stole it from someone, but if the average young person coming out of school or entering the workforce is going to have six to ten careers in their lifetime, why can’t they all be with us? Why can’t they have the mobility inside? 

We really tried to get rid of this notion that you had to stay inside your department. We want you to explore the other departments. The supervisors that lose a person don’t like that, but the ones gaining them do. We wanted to create a norm of encouraging it.

If you had to pick the number one issue, if you could distill it down, it seems to me that people want a solid career path. Do you think that is the number one most important thing, or is it something else? 

NICK: I’d like to start off by just saying what you discussed earlier about offering people multiple different careers within the same organization, I think that’s fantastic. Traditionally, carriers have been a lot better at doing that than brokers, and people move from claims into underwriting, or underwriting into claims, leadership roles and probably just because their sheer size, they can offer that opportunity. And that’s why you see people at carriers who’ve been there 30, 35 years, or more. 

I think that’s really important. Today’s younger generation coming through now – it’s less about having a stable job. It’s less about having a stable company that you’re working for. It’s more about the progression that you can have as an individual, the skills that you can learn and develop, and the types of companies where you can add the most value. 

People now will move around more. We see that regularly, especially at the junior end. People will move to companies which align to their values, and where they feel that they can add value to that business, but also develop and hone their own skills. At the moment, we’re seeing on average between every two to two and a half years they might move around in different industries. It’s very much a focus on moving somewhere they can develop and where they can hone their skills and add value, rather than potentially having a career at one company where they are very comfortable and very stable. The younger generation certainly don’t appreciate that as much as maybe other generations gone by. 

Pierre Morrisseau
Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]

Follow Pierre on LinkedIn to keep up on his conversations with other local thought leaders!


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New York State Workers’ Compensation

Two Men Cutting Wood On A Table Saw At A Construction Site

Tips & Tricks

By Brett Findlay, ARM

Workers’ compensation is one of a contractor’s largest insurance costs. It can also be a critical component in bid competitiveness, project eligibility and general profitability. To maximize those items while minimizing your costs, it’s important to do all you can to drive down your premium. 

Two ways you can do that are through the Construction Premium Adjustment Program (PAP) Credit and payroll limitation. The importance of these options cannot be understated. 

The PAP Credit rewards contractors paying their employees higher wages. The PAP Credit is available to all eligible contractors but is most effective for those in the prevailing wage sector. It regularly applies credits between 5-15%. 

To be eligible for the PAP Credit, your classification must be listed on the application itself. If you’re unsure whether your classification(s) are listed, ask your agent. There are 80+ eligible construction classifications. 

It’s also necessary to have a posted experience modification factor. This is more commonly referred to as your EMR. In order to qualify for an EMR in New York State, you must be in business and have carried workers’ compensation for an experience period of two years. Your exposure (payroll) must have also produced an annual premium of at least $5,000. For more information on PAP Credit eligibility, you can refer directly to the NYS Compensation Insurance Rating Board website.

Finally, you must complete a one-page application annually. You can fill this out physically or electronically, though the results are typically faster online. Once processed, you’ll see any potential credit applied to your policy at renewal. You should fill this out before your next renewal, but you can have it applied retroactively, too. 

Payroll limitation is also available to eligible construction classifications. Review your payroll on a weekly basis to determine if payroll limitations are applicable. Effective July 1st, 2022, the new cap is $1,688.19. This is a 5.5% increase from the prior years’ cap of $1,594.57. 

That means eligible contractors may limit the payroll they report to their workers’ compensation carriers. If individual employees earn weekly wages above $1,450.17, you can limit the payroll you report on your workers’ compensation policy to that amount. 

It’s important to note that while employees are earning overtime wages, it’s only necessary to report their regular wages. Not all wages are equally reportable when overtime is included. Over a year, you may significantly limit the premium you pay on payroll.

So many contractors are eligible for these programs yet so few utilize them. If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation program and its eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact us.


For more information please contact Brett Findlay, Vice President Business Risk Specialist at (315) 280-6376 or [email protected]

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Planning a Wedding?

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Wedding Insurance Can Give You Peace of Mind

Whether your planning a wedding or know someone who is planning one, it is important to understand what wedding insurance has to offer!

Countless hours go into planning your big day; hours that are full of happiness and joy, but also stress and nerves. It is easy to worry about all of the things that could go wrong during the wedding, even extra charges that could occur afterwards. These charges can happen due to a variety of reasons and may be hard to predict. These may include:

  • Replacement of wedding gowns and tuxedoes
  • Lost or stolen rings
  • Missing photography and/or videography
  • Damage to venue property
  • Lost deposits
  • Lost or stolen gifts
  • Liquor Liability
  • General Liability
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While it is normal to worry about what could go wrong, wedding insurance can help to give you some peace of mind.

Weddings can be expensive, averaging between $20K and $35K. If you wouldn’t purchase an item or vehicle for that much money without insuring it, why would your wedding day be any different? Most wedding insurance contracts will cover all of the worries listed above.

Wedding insurance provides coverage for a lot of the potential problems that may occur and is often inexpensive. Coverage is available up until the night before the event, so if you’ve already planned your wedding, it is not too late!

If you are planning your big day and looking to discuss wedding insurance options, click here to get in touch with a OneGroup representative . 

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Helping to Support the Journey Home

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OneGroup supports Clear Path for Veterans.

Last month, our OneCommunity spotlight was Clear Path for Veterans. We had the pleasure of working with Clear Path on their mission to empower service members, Veterans, and their families.

On Wednesday, July 27th, a few members of our OneGroup team were able to volunteer at Clear Path for their Canteen located in Chittenango, NY. We were so happy to sponsor such a meaningful event!

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At this event, we were able to help feed approximately 400 people, have great conversations, and give back to the community. The canteen is a place for members to gather, socialize, and have a wonderful meal. We were able to connect with so many people and each person had a different story and journey to tell. Our time at the canteen was amazing!

Clear Path is responsible for supplying Veterans and families of Veterans with programs and services in a safe and respectful environment to ensure that they are supported in all of their physical and emotional needs. They offer a diverse set of programs to satisfy people of all ages and interests, aiming to provide a community where Veterans and their families feel welcomed, well, and whole.

Clear Path believes that one of the best ways to serve military members and their families is through collaboration and partnerships. There are opportunities for volunteers on a daily and weekly basis, which lets outside members learn and engage with this wonderful organization.

We’re thankful for the opportunity to learn about and connect with Clear Path’s mission. Clear Path requires support year-round to continue supporting veteran wellness in every way possible. Learn more about the work that Clear Path does in our communities here

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Update on 2022 Workers’ Compensation Rates

Taking Notes

NY Compensation Insurance Rating Board files Loss Cost Indication for 2022 Workers’ Compensation Rates

By Brett Findlay, ARM

UPDATE: This article has been updated since its original publish date of May 31, 2022.

There have been significant changes applicable to New York State workers’ compensation this year – including an aggregate rate decrease on the horizon, an increase to the maximum weekly payroll limitation, and changes to the experience modification rating (EMR) formula. New York State employers may benefit again from an aggregate rate decrease to their workers’ compensation programs over the coming year.

In a press release dated May 13, 2022, the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board (NYCIRB) announced they’ve submitted their annual loss cost indication with the New York State Department of Financial Services. An approved and published filing for the expected decrease of 8.7% of the overall loss cost level was then announced on July 15, 2022.

The change in rates is effective on policies renewing on or after October 1, 2022. This is the seventh consecutive year with an overall workers’ compensation rate decrease in New York State.

The impact of the loss costs, or rates, will vary depending on each individual classification code. For an understanding of the potential impact to your business, please reach out to OneGroup. 

So, what does this mean for New York State contractors? It means that there is potential for better renewal options for your workers’ compensation programs. New York contractors have been subject to some of the highest workers’ compensation rates in the country. If the new loss cost filings are approved, there is potential for further relief for some employers.

Any potential rate changes will not go into effect on any individual policy until October 1, 2022. If your effective date is before then, you will have to wait until your policy renewal before any rate changes apply. Regardless of when your effective date is, you should know the exact rate changes to your classifications sooner rather than later. It’s important to not only forecast the future costs of your program, but also to develop a marketing plan for your upcoming renewal.

Additionally, the maximum weekly payroll limitation/cap for eligible classifications has risen significantly. Effective July 1, 2022, the new cap is $1,688.19. This is a 5.5% increase from the prior years’ cap of $1,594.57. There will be an impact on the cost associated with eligible employers’ workers’ compensation premium.

A new formula to determine Experience Modification Ratings, or EMR’s, will go into effect on October 1, 2022. This formula is significantly different than in years past. OneGroup has been monitoring the formula and will be hosting an educational seminar to discuss in greater detail. This is a very important item, as there will be significant impacts to a number of businesses.

This degree of rate fluctuation could cause volatility in the insurance marketplace. Insurance carriers may look to using higher loss cost multipliers, among other possibilities, in order to offset rate decreases. You should be prepared for this, as should your broker.

OneGroup has a team of specialists, dedicated to risk management and construction industry specific insurance issues. We’re able to serve as a resource to your organization for all of your construction specific questions and concerns.


For more information please contact Brett Findlay, Vice President Business Risk Specialist at (315) 280-6376 or [email protected]

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Building an Effective Job Site Safety Program

Workers Compensation

You have a program in place, but is it effective?

By Paul Coderre, CSP, ARM

If you’re a contractor, your job sites present the most consistent and, in most cases, the greatest potential for employee, subcontractor and visitor injuries. While your shop, yard and office can generate occasional accidents, most injuries occur on the job site. The reason isn’t mysterious – your job sites carry the greatest risks and hazards. For the most part, those risks and hazards are known and recognized by site superintendents, foremen, and workers.

So, why do we still have incidents and injuries if most of the hazards are known? It comes down to the level of risk that you, and in turn your supers and employees, are willing to accept in order to get the job done. Other than asteroid strikes, earthquakes and locust swarms, if we recognize something as a hazard, we can pretty much eliminate the risk of an injury. Now that you’ve rolled your eyes, let me say that I agree with you. If we want to get anything done whether it’s on a construction site, getting to work, or walking across the street, we must accept a certain level of risk. We can’t escape risk, it is inherent to life.

However, the level of risk we accept is not an all-or-nothing proposition. In construction, deciding the level of risk we will accept is a dynamic part of our decision making process. As business leaders, you make those decisions. If your job requires an excavation, there is risk associated with that part of the job. Your risk acceptance decision could range from high-risk (excavation without a trench box or cut-back) to low or moderate risk, in which you apply controls to minimize the potential for collapse or cave-in. The accident and injury results that your organization faces are an outcome of your risk mitigation decisions.

But, how do we keep people on our job sites from taking decision making into their own hands? We are all familiar with the employee who works on the roof without a harness and lanyard; or the one that operates a saw without the guard; or the one that uses the unsteady scaffold, on the brink of falling over. That’s where we come back to the fact that this is your company. You decide the level of risk that your company is going to accept. The trick is getting that message out and making sure your decisions are followed.

Easy job site safety fixes can be tempting – do some inspections, hold a couple tool-box talks and – badda bing – your job sites are safe. Unfortunately, job site safety is more involved than that. If you leave the decisions up to your employees without any guidance, then your job site and your results are uncontrolled. The level of risk being accepted is being left to the person you hired yesterday.

Here are the key elements of an Effective Job Site Safety Program:

  • Commitment
  • Understanding
  • Communication
  • Accountability

Consistently applying these elements of risk management to your organization will result a risk level that you have decided is acceptable.

Commitment

Do your site supervisors actually manage the risk on your site (to your expectations), or do they go through the motions? I often go into organizations as a safety consultant, and am handed three-ring binder, and am told, “This is our safety program.” It typically requires the supers to hold daily toolbox talks, document their safety inspections, hold workers accountable for everything from wearing hard hats to lifting with their legs, and more. The jobsite usually engages in some variant of the program described, but very rarely do they enforce every step of that program.

When you develop your safety program, make sure it is your program. We put together program templates for companies all the time. Each time we put together a program template for a company, we tell the owner to go through the program and make it their own; eliminate the things that don’t apply to their operations and even more importantly, eliminate or modify the things they do not intend to do. Once the program is built to accommodate an acceptable level of risk, commit to it. Make that program the rule by which you, your supervisors and your employees will live by. This is by far the most important aspect of keeping job sites safe.

Understanding

After building your safety program, you have to make sure that everyone in the organization (particularly your managers and supervisors) understand your expectations. They should know, and be able to apply, the protocols you established in the plan without having to reference it (because it’s at the office or in the trailer, not out on the job).

If you have certain requirements for inspections or training or PPE, the supervisors should know the requirements and why they are in place. They must also know your level of commitment to those requirements. Only then will they understand that they must maintain that acceptable level of risk on your site, because that level of risk will yield the results you are looking for. And only then will your supervisors understand the need for them to administer those protocols over the job.

With the understanding built among the supervisors, they will also extend that understanding to the employees. Again, if the employee group doesn’t understand the expectations, they can’t be expected to work within them. Building this understanding takes both continuous training (upon hire and periodically during the project) and constant reinforcement by the supervisors – which brings us to our next element.

Communication

Risk management is a very broad discipline, particularly in construction. Minimizing the possibility of an accident or injury can include everything from health exposures (i.e. silica), to mechanical (i.e. power tools), to electrical (i.e. arc flash), to falls (i.e. ladders and scaffold) and many other risks. We cannot expect employees to intuitively know or understand all of our expectations. Therefore, we must commit to continuous communication of those expectations as the demands arise. If a job involves work from elevations, then we have to build understanding in those risks. If it involves a chemical exposure, then that has to be trained (establish the expectation) and reinforced with continuous reminders.

Much the same as establishing the expectations for production results, your supervisors must continuously be present to build understanding of the safety protocols, and to provide appropriate reinforcement to workers based on observation. The term “reinforcement” brings us to our next element.

Accountability

The term accountability has developed a negative slant in recent years. Holding your staff accountable is really just making sure they are operating to your expectations; which isn’t a bad thing. Accountability, driven by the process of providing feedback and reinforcement to people, is the most important way to make sure they understand what you desire for your company and for their safety. Holding someone accountable could mean providing positive feedback or acknowledging that an individual (or group) executed their jobs successfully. On the other side, accountability can also mean providing feedback if the group did not perform as expected, requiring you to restate your expectations or provide additional education or training on an issue that was missed. If your expectations continuously go unmet, you can make risk-based decisions as you find appropriate.

However you look at it, holding people accountable and providing feedback is the best way to ensure that your expectations (safety program) are being followed. Don’t shy away from routinely providing feedback.

The Bottom Line

Job site safety isn’t rocket science (unless you’re building a launch pad). Effective job site safety is based on deciding what you are trying to get done and the level of risk that you are willing to accept to do it (commitment), teaching your employees about your expectations (understanding), continuously reinforcing those expectations (communication), and letting employees know whether or not they are meeting those expectations.

For those expecting a different discussion about building a job site safety program: get a safety program template, train your employees, conduct site inspections, do accident investigations, and maintain the appropriate documentation.

That’s a much shorter list of things to do, but you’ll notice that the title was also shortened by taking out the work “effective.”


For more information please contact Paul Coderre, Vice President of Risk Management Services at [email protected].

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Coverage cannot be bound or altered and a claim cannot be reported without confirmation from a representative of OneGroup.