Occupational Accident Insurance Could Be the Answer in the "Gig Economy"

Occupational Accident Insurance Could Be the Answer in the “Gig Economy”

The workplace in America has shifted in recent years. What used to be a fairly straightforward organization of employers and employees has transformed to a large degree toward on-demand workers coordinated by employers, staffing management agencies, and online entities. This type of work organization is often referred to as the “gig economy”; workers being paid by job rather than receiving an hourly wage, or workers that log into an online app or platform to conduct their work. In some cases, these employer/employee arrangements can lead to significant hurdles when it comes to a business protecting both its assets and its employees from liability claims. Read more

How Live Music Venues Can Minimize Their Risks

How Live Music Venues Can Minimize Their Risks

Large events such as professional sporting events, live music concerts, and outdoor festivals draw hundreds of thousands of attendees each year. Event promoters and venues have an obligation to provide a safe experience for attendees, and despite their hard work in providing security and hazard-free conditions, incidents do occur. In the case of injuries and property damage, the venue and event organizers may be liable for the costs associated with these incidents. Read more

How Public Liability Insurance Differs from General Liability Insurance

How Public Liability Insurance Differs from General Liability Insurance

Liability coverage is a specialized form of business insurance, designed to cover the policy holder’s legal responsibilities in incidents or events covered by the policy. Business owners in fact have two major types of liability insurance to select from: General Liability Insurance (GLI) and Public Liability Insurance (PLI). Each type has its own advantages, and the experienced insurance agents at U.S. Risk can help guide their clients in choosing the right type of policy for their unique business needs. Read more

What Goes Into an Insurance Program for Entertainment Productions?

What Goes Into an Insurance Program for Entertainment Productions?

The entertainment industry faces many unique challenges as companies in this industry produce theatrical productions, films, and live-action events. The risks associated with the entertainment industry vary widely, requiring flexible and comprehensive business insurance policies designed to protect business assets from those risks.

Among those business insurance policies are those policies known as entertainment production insurance. In the entertainment industry, theater productions and movies, television shows, and live events depend on these insurance policies; in fact, many of these productions could not be made without a suitable insurance policy in place to protect the companies involved.

What is Entertainment Production Insurance?

The first entertainment production insurance policies were written to protect expensive film and movie production equipment from loss. Today, these policies encompass a broad range of protections, including film and television producers, directors, performers, equipment, property, and many other aspects of the industry. In simple terms, entertainment production insurance policies the parties and equipment responsible for practically every risk associated with producing entertainment, whether it is films, TV shows, or theatrical events.

Insurance underwriters often refer to this type of insurance as “E&O”, or Errors and Omissions, insurance. There are many risks in the entertainment industry, from tangible risks like the potential for on-set injuries, property damage, and accidental deaths to more intangible risks like:

  • Copyright infringement
  • Defamation, slander, and libel
  • Intellectual property loss
  • Misappropriation of characters, ideas, and formats
  • Privacy right infringements
  • Breach of confidence

Most importantly, entertainment production insurance is designed to protect against liabilities arising from legal claims like lawsuits. Because every production is different, and each has its own unique risks and potential for liability, these policies are custom-tailored to the unique needs of each project.

Short-Term vs. Annual Entertainment Production Insurance

Film and television producers bear the brunt of risks when it comes to producing projects. When it comes to entertainment production insurance, it is useful to note that there are two major types: short-term and annual. In short-term production insurance, the policy covers productions project by project, for projects lasting as little as one day. Annual entertainment production insurance, on the other hand, is a policy designed to cover multiple projects and shooting schedules throughout a given year. This type is typically used by active production houses and busy producers who may be juggling numerous film or TV projects at once.

Selecting the Right Entertainment Production Insurance

Because entertainment production insurance is a specialized policy type, and because it may require flexibility in its coverage terms, it is critical to find the best information before purchasing a policy. Business Insurance companies like U.S. Risk work with thousands of retail producers and underwriters. Those insurance agents that specialize in these policies can help producers and related entertainment businesses select the right coverage for nearly any conceivable risk.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

Breaking Down the Difference Between Occupational Accident Insurance and Workers’ Compensation

Breaking Down the Differences Between Occupational Accident Insurance and Workers’ Compensation

Companies around the world strive to create safe, productive workplaces for their employees. Despite these initiatives, workplace injuries result in billions of dollars in lost wages and reduced productivity each year. To protect employees and employers from a financial perspective, there are several types of insurance. Among these are two primary types: workers’ compensation insurance and occupational accident insurance. On their surface, these two insurance plans may seem very similar, yet there are important distinctions between the two. It can be useful to understand the differences and to learn about the pros and cons of each type of insurance plan in order to better advise your clients, as they may not know the difference.

Workers’ Comp vs. Occupational Accident Insurance

To begin, let’s explore what workers’ compensation insurance (“workers’ comp”) and occupational accident insurance (OAI) are and how they work.

Workers’ comp is generally a state-administered insurance program that provides payments for medical expenses and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job and cannot perform his or her duties. This type of insurance covers ALL medical expenses, even those that may occur years after the injury-producing accident. In general, workers’ comp covers legal expenses and lost-income benefits as well.

Occupational accident insurance, or OAI, is an insurance option that provides both employees and their employers a certain level of financial protection in case of an injury incurred on the job. A number of factors go into the coverage amount, such as the perceived risks of employers and their workplaces. Unlike workers’ comp plans, employers may choose the coverage amounts and the deductibles of the plan. These plans cover medical expenses and lost wages only up to the coverage limits set in the plan’s policy.

Pros and Cons Between Insurance Plans

When comparing workers’ compensation insurance and occupational accident insurance, or any other type of insurance plans, there are certain strengths and weaknesses associated with each plan.

Worker’s Comp: Pros
  • Employee medical expenses and lost wages are paid through the Workers’ Compensation system.
  • Benefits are protected by a guarantor or guaranty association.
  • Employees hold the burden of proof in an work-related injury lawsuit.
  • Except in certain cases, workers cannot win lawsuit judgements for punitive damages or pain/suffering. This significantly reduces liability on the part of the employer.
  • Plans are relatively simple – if an employee is injured on the job, coverage can begin almost immediately and without confusion.
OAI: Pros
  • OAI plans typically cost the employer less than coverage under workers’ comp plans.
  • These plans offer the employer the option to control or limit the amount of coverage for employees.
  • OAI plans often have more flexibility than their workers’ comp counterparts, especially for the employer. Plans can include coverage for survivors benefits, temporary or permanent disability, or accidental death if the employer so chooses.
Workers’ Comp: Cons

Typically, employer costs are higher than those associated with OAI plans.

OAI: Cons
  • Under these plans, the employer bears the burden of proof in an injury lawsuit brought by employees.
  • Employees can also win judgements for pain/suffering and punitive damages. These judgements may have certain limits. OAI significantly increases employer liability.
  • If the injured employee’s medical and lost wage expenses exceed plan coverage limits, the employer is responsible for covering the remaining costs.
  • Legal fees are generally governed by the terms of the OAI policy.
  • OAI plans and their coverages are vastly more complex than workers’ comp plans.

Protecting Employers and Employees with Insurance

As illustrated above, there are significant differences between workers’ compensation insurance plans and occupational accident insurance. Each of these plans offer some measure of financial protection for employees injured on the job, as well as offering certain litigation protections for employers. Employers must carefully weigh the pros and cons of each plan before deciding on which policy to implement.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

Frequently Asked Questions in the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process

Frequently Asked Questions in the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process

Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to provide financial benefits to workers who may become injured on the job. These benefits include payment for lost income, such as when an employee cannot do his or her work and/or when the employee is unable to work during recovery from the injury. Coverage of medical and prescription costs are also commonly provided in these plans. The idea behind workers’ compensation is simple, but the system itself is filled with challenges and confusion. This idea balances risk and insurance. Businesses often have many questions for their insurance carriers when it comes to establishing workers’ comp plans for their employees, and it’s important to have the answers they need.

Basics of Risk and Insurance

Before delving into common questions insurance brokers receive from their clients, it is useful to understand the basic principles of risk and insurance. In the workplace, employees are exposed to any number of situations that represent risks, or those situations that could potentially cause injury and result in losses. Potential risks include:

  • Physical workplace hazards, such as strenuous work operations, hazardous machinery, or repetitive motion injuries
  • Emotional hazards, such as demands on workload, workplace violence, or sexual harassment
  • Environmental hazards, such as exposure to chemicals, heat, or dust

The purpose of risk insurance, specifically workers compensation insurance, is to provide some level of economic protection against the losses that may occur when an employee is injured in the workplace.

Questions to Ask Workers’ Compensation Insurance Brokers

Now that we understand risk and the purpose of workers’ compensation insurance, many businesses may have questions when it comes to establishing a suitable policy for their employees. Insurance brokers field many common questions regarding the costs associated with insurance plans, what those premiums pay for, and what features are included in the plans.

Here is a list of just a few of the most common questions to prepare for:

  • If insurance rates go up or down over the next three to five years, are you able to reduce premiums accordingly? How much can you save our company?
  • Can you provide quotes from major insurance writers and agents?
  • What credits and/or discounts does my current workers’ compensation policy include? How can my company maximize available discounts?
  • In addition to regular claims reviews, what specialized services do you provide that help lower my costs? How are these services provided?
  • Are you proactive in helping our company reduce the incidence of claims by improving the culture of safety in our workplace?
  • Do you offer any programs or outside consultants to help us lower our workers compensation costs?
  • In an effort to reduce the costs and potential for litigation within the first 30 days of a new workers’ compensation insurance policy, what services do you provide to new policyholders?

It is clear that insurance agents must have answers to these and many other questions. Workers’ compensation insurance protect both employers and employees, and finding the right policy and the right features are critical in establishing long-term relationships between the broker and his or her clients.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

Does Special Events Insurance Cover Terrorism?

Does Special Events Insurance Cover Terrorism?

Tragic events such as the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the 2017 mass-shooting incident targeting attendees of the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas have caused many event promoters to question the need for terrorism insurance. Terrorism is on the rise on a global scale, and special events represent a prime target.

Special event insurance is designed to protect event hosts from the unexpected. This insurance provides investment protection coverage for unforeseen incidents, helping to cover costs associated with event cancellation, property damage, or injuries incurred by guests of the event. These policies are often referred to as entertainment insurance, specifically when the event is entertainment-oriented. Not all event insurance policies are the same, and many do not offer protection for terrorism events.

What is Special Event Insurance?

There are two major types of special event insurance – one being a standalone policy, and the other associated with business liability insurance. The most common covers private events, such as weddings, family parties, and religious celebrations. Public events cannot typically be covered under this type of insurance policy, although business-related events may be eligible for coverage.

Business insurance policies, such as commercial property insurance or entertainment insurance, often include special events coverage. Event promoters and event venues each may be required to have an insurance policy in place that covers the business from the costs associated with injuries, accidental deaths, or property damage. Event cancellation coverage may also be a feature of these policies.

Is Terrorism Insurance Part of Special Events Insurance Coverage?

In simple terms, terrorism insurance is not typically part of a special events insurance policy. In fact, most business policies – here, special events policies — specifically exclude terrorism from coverage. Terrorism insurance can be purchased, however, and is commonly offered as a special addition or endorsement to standard business policies. It is estimated that 60% of all U.S.-based businesses have some form of terrorism insurance policies.

In 2002, the United States Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), helping to ensure that businesses had adequate financial coverage for recovery and rebuilding efforts if they were to become victims of a terrorist act. Under TRIA, all casualty and property insurance providers must make terrorism coverage available to their clients. Terrorism coverage is considered a public/private partnership of sorts, allowing the insurance industry to work together with the federal government to share the losses associated with a terrorist attack or terrorism incident. Today, terrorism coverage is a common part of the overall event insurance planning process.

It is important to note that depending on the state the policy is in, terrorism insurance policies may not cover certain incidents, such as fire after a bombing. They may also exclude attacks of a nuclear, biological, or chemical nature. Cyber attacks are common, but are not considered violent acts and are therefore excluded from most terrorism insurance policies. Each of these exclusions may be covered by additional riders or endorsements on the policy.

How Does Terrorism Insurance Work?

Businesses that host special events need to understand the factors that may influence the need for specialized terrorism insurance coverage. These factors may include event locations or business locations and the type(s) of businesses to be covered under the policy. Businesses or event venues located in urban centers represent a higher percentage of risk, and are more likely to be targeted by terrorist actions. Certain industries also have higher risks; these business interests may wish to consider terrorism coverage as part of the overall insurance protection strategy.

In order for losses to be covered in a terrorist attack, the attack must be certified as such by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Secretary of the Treasury is empowered to certify both domestic and foreign terror acts. To qualify for certification, the attack must be violent in nature and have as its objective an effort to influence governments or civilians. There are additional caveats: no act will be certified if the aggregate of property and casualty losses do not exceed $5 million in value, and the act itself must also cause a minimum of $100 million in property damage and injuries to be considered a terrorist attack.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

The Insurance Needs of a PEO

The Complex Insurance Needs of a PEO

Professional employer organizations, or PEOs, are a human resources solution for a growing number of small businesses in the United States. It is estimated that up to 16% of all small businesses utilize the services of PEOs in managing employee tasks, such as handling payroll and workers’ compensation, risk management, recruiting, and employer-sponsored benefit administration. Small business ventures, such as entrepreneurial startups, are leveraging the power of PEOs, effectively outsourcing HR duties through these providers.

When working with a PEO, a small company’s employees technically become the employees of the PEO, which creates certain complications. The PEO takes on substantial risks, and this is why the typical PEO service package includes both workers’ compensation insurance (where required by state law) and employment practices liability (EPL) insurance. Together, these insurance options are called PEO insurance. Despite these PEO insurance options, there are several reasons why companies should establish their own EPL insurance policies to protect their financial interests and those of their employees. Here is a look at two of the most common issues when insuring a PEO.

Limits of Liability

When a company works with a PEO, it is constrained by specific limits on insurance coverage – limits that are shared by every company contracted with the PEO. The typical PEO insurance policy contains per-company and aggregate liability limits. Per-company limits specify how much the insurance carrier will pay for claims against each PEO client. The aggregate limit is the maximum amount the insurance carrier will pay for all employees at each company covered by the PEO policy during the policy period.

It is recommended that to protect the company’s assets, a separate EPL policy should be obtained. If the aggregate limit is exhausted through employee EPL claims, the company may have to pay out of pocket for losses if they don’t have their own EPL insurance.

“One Size Fits All” Insurance

It goes without saying that every company is different. Each company has its own unique risk factors and operational requirements. PEO insurance represents a “one size fits all” solution, and this model may be wholly insufficient for the asset-protection needs of a specific business. In other words, typical PEO insurance policies are generic and are not tailored to the discrete requirements of a given business. However, U.S. Risk has the market knowledge and experience to offer a comprehensive PEO insurance program.

Wage and hour disputes are a great example of why PEO insurance isn’t enough protection for many companies. Such disputes are common, and plaintiffs in these claims have a solid track record of success. Wage and hour dispute claims are usually excluded from typical PEO policies as a result. With separate EPL insurance in place, companies can handle liabilities in a way that provides coverage for legal fees, especially for liabilities not covered by the PEO’s generic policy.

Final Words on PEO Insurance

There are benefits to working with a PEO in managing HR duties, especially in the low cost aspects of such an arrangement. All is not perfect, however; small businesses have a lot to lose if their PEO insurance policy is insufficient in coverage limits or claims exclusions. It is critical that companies speak to an insurance broker to explore separate employment practices liability insurance, both to protect the company’s interests and to protect the company’s employees.

About U.S. Risk

U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc. is a wholesale broker and specialty lines underwriting manager providing a wide range of specialty insurance products and services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas and operating 16 domestic and international branches, U.S. Risk and its affiliates would like to help you access a world of new markets and products. For more information, contact us today at (800) 232-5830.

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Take1 Insurance and L.A. Xcess combine to create powerful new insurance force in the entertainment industry

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