Insurance is Not Risk Management

Risk mitigation measures are usually formulated according to one or more of the following major risk options, which are:

1) Design a new business process with adequate built-in risk control and containment measures from the start.

2) Periodically re-assess risks that are accepted in ongoing processes as a normal feature of business operations and modify mitigation measures.

3) Transfer risks to an external agency (e.g. an insurance company)

4) Avoid risks altogether (e.g. by closing down a particular high-risk business area)

Remember: Insurance is risk transfer and  is usually the most expensive way to deal with risk.

Safety in your home

What you can do to keep you and your family safe at home

Keeping your family out of harm’s way is your Number 1 priority. Unfortunately, many of our homes can be dangerous – preventable injuries and deaths continue to rise in homes and communities.

The National Safety Council estimates everyday approximately 245 people die of unintentional injuries in homes and communities. In 2007, the six leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. were:

Motor vehicle crashes

Poisonings, including unintentional overdoses




Fires, flames and smoke

When someone is injured, the effects go beyond that person and extend to family members, friends, neighbors, employers and communities. The key to preventing injuries is making simple changes to your lifestyle – recognizing where most hazards are and how injuries can occur when participating in different activities.

Below are a few of the many strategies to prevent injuries:

Stay off your cell phone when you are driving. Your safety practices directly influence the safety practices of your children.

Get trained in first aid, CPR and AED online or in a classroom.

Check and if necessary, change the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Properly dispose of unused and expired medications.

Share these strategies with family, friends and neighbors. Explore more safety practices in the new safety at home sections including, home and recreational safety, motor vehicle safety, emergency preparedness, and family safety training. You can play a large part in keeping those around safe and alive.

via National Safety Council

Retaliation Claims Are Greatest Legal Risk

Retaliation claims have increased dramatically in the last two years, creating the most significant legal risk to employers today, employment law expert Joseph Beachboard told those attending the Society for Human Resource Management’s Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 5, 2012.

In 2010, retaliation claims for the first time surpassed race discrimination as the most common type of charge filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Last year, the trend continued with 37,334 retaliation complaints filed, constituting 37 percent of the 99,947 federal workplace discrimination charges filed.

“Why are we seeing this sudden explosion in retaliation-related discrimination? First of all, retaliation is relatively easy to establish,” especially when compared to the burden of proof in race and sex discrimination cases, said Beachboard, who is a shareholder with Ogletree Deakins in Torrance, Calif.

In addition, jurors tend to look more closely at the evidence in sex and race discrimination cases, but can relate easier to the allegation of retaliation, Beachboard said. They reflect a societal rage often summarized on bumper stickers: “Don’t get mad. Get even!”

Finally, retaliation claims have skyrocketed since the 2006 Supreme Court ruling in Burlington Northern v. White, which lowered the standard of proof and made it easier for employees to prove their claims.

In 2009, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that employees don’t have to file a formal complaint to win a retaliation claim, expanding the number of plaintiffs who can file. In Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., the justices found in favor of a woman who corroborated charges filed by someone else in a sexual harassment case and was subsequently fired.

In Thompson v. North American Stainless, the nation’s high court in January 2011 ruled unanimously that a worker who claimed he was fired because his fiancée had filed a sex discrimination claim against their mutual employer had a cause for filing a retaliation claim. The worker was fired three weeks after the EEOC notified the employer the fianceé had filed a charge of discrimination.

“Things have changed with respect to how we look at these types of claims,” Beachboard said. “Previously, our focus was on the individual and their own protected activity. … Now, it’s different. The focus is not only on the individual’s own protected activity, but also any protected activity of anybody he or she is associated with—whatever that means.”

In March 2011, the court ruled that employees who make verbal complaints also may sue for retaliation. In Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., the justices decided in favor of an employee who contended he was fired after complaining to his supervisor about the distance between time clocks and the spot where he had to don protective gear, claiming he wasn’t being paid for time worked in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

As a result, HR professionals should make sure they treat verbal complaints as seriously as written complaints and should keep a close eye on employees who have complaints to ensure they aren’t retaliated against, Beachboard said.

Dori Meinert is a senior writer for HR Magazine.

via Retaliation Claims Are Greatest Legal Risk.

Bath salts: The newest, most dangerous, designer drug

State and federal bans, combined with the arrest of a man accused of being the area dealer, have slowed down Midland County’s ordeal with a new, and very dangerous, designer drug.

Bath salts, a designer drug that has nothing to do with bathing products, is synthesized in overseas super labs then sold through the Internet. It became popular in Europe in 2007. By 2009, it had made it’s way to the United States.

Recently it was the root of an epidemic in northern Michigan, causing Marquette County Health Department officials to declare an emergency public health order when they tallied 13 emergency room visits by people high on the drug from November 2010 to February. There were two deaths.

via Bath salts: The newest, most dangerous, designer drug – Midland Daily News: News.

CDC Vital Signs – Making Health Care Safer: Stopping C. difficile Infections

People getting medical care can catch serious infections called health care-associated infections (HAIs). While most types of HAIs are declining, one – caused by the germ C. difficile* – remains at historically high levels. C. difficile causes diarrhea linked to 14,000 American deaths each year. Those most at risk are people, especially older adults, who take antibiotics and also get medical care. When a person takes antibiotics, good germs that protect against infection are destroyed for several months. During this time, patients can get sick from C. difficile picked up from contaminated surfaces or spread from a health care provider’s hands. About 25% of C. difficile infections first show symptoms in hospital patients; 75% first show in nursing home patients or in people recently cared for in doctors’ offices and clinics. C. difficile infections cost at least $1 billion in extra health care costs annually.

via CDC Vital Signs – Making Health Care Safer: Stopping C. difficile Infections.

The Accident Pyramid – Feeling Lucky?

To often the interest in safety comes after a serious accident which is unfortunate. The key is to treat near misses as if they could have been serious.

Frank Bird, a US safety researcher, discovered that for every serious workplace accident there were 600 near misses. Bird’s findings are shown in the pyramid diagram below.

Accident Pyramid

It’s important to make near miss reporting part the safety culture. What is the ROI on accidents avoided?

Risk Managements 3 Simple Rules

When University of Louisiana at Monroe risk management and insurance majors asked small business owners how they make decisions about managing their business risk, most of them told us they rely heavily, if not completely, on their insurance agent.

But sometimes insurance isn’t the best way to manage risk.

The decision about when or whether to use insurance to manage risk can be complicated, as can the decision about what types of insurance to buy for what risks. While insurance agents can help you decide the types of insurance to buy, they might not help you decide when not to buy insurance.

Fortunately, there are three simple rules that will get you headed in the right direction when deciding “to insure or not to insure.”

They are: don’t risk a lot for a little; don’t risk more than you can afford to lose; and consider the odds.

Source – Christine Berry director of the Small Business Risk Management Institute at the University of Louisiana.