Risk Advisor, the Fund’s quarterly newsletter, provides a broad range of risk management information and brief reports on issues of current interest to centers.
This is the second of a three-part series regarding Disaster Planning. In part two, we will discuss documentation of the plan and buy-in from management and colleagues.
You want to improve your organization’s safety program; however, you feel like you have hit a plateau. No matter your efforts, you still see the same type of accidents show up. You send out safety alerts and conduct quarterly trainings for all employees. Management is actively involved. These are all great qualities of an effective safety program. Now our dilemma is creating interest and buy-in to reduce the accidents that effect the safety numbers year in and year out. This is where an incentive-based safety program can take us over the top.
Most community centers use security guards to some extent to patrol around the outside of center buildings, drive through parking lots during the day and at night, walk through the facilities and stand watch over busy lobbies. The guards are employed by a security service that charges the center monthly for the service. The guards will not intervene in altercations between clients or between staff and clients. They will report situations to the police and to internal staff.
Insurance renewal season for the Fund is coming fast. As you can likely tell from your previous business and personal insurance renewals, the market for property insurance has seen significant increases in the past several years. s at the beginning of each month provides that insight. The question is, are we utilizing the tools given to us?
We know that our safety efforts can help control the frequency of employee accidents, but did you know those efforts can also control claim costs?
One of the most effective tools of risk management is to transfer recognized risk to someone else. Fund members usually do this in two ways. One way is through coverage and the other is through contracts with providers, contractors and vendors.
If you have felt the need to provide specific training for your staff, the TCRMF Loss Control Staff has a wide variety of training presentation available. Below is a list of the frequent topics requested by Fund members. All are available as an in-person or webinar-based training.
As you have probably heard, the Fund is shifting to a new claims system, JURIS. JURIS is a product of Sedgwick. Previously, the Fund’s claims system was YCEa, a product of York. The Fund made a shift to JURIS on September 1, 2022. The reconciliation of all data from the old claims system was completed on September 26th and the new claim system became fully functional.
This is the first part of a three-part series regarding Disaster Planning. In part one, we will discuss the Technology Asset Inventory and its role in Disaster Planning.
An essential aspect of a successful safety program is knowing where your claims are coming from. Through claims analysis, you can identify prevalent and costly accident types, the need for an update in training material, or the need to refine aspects of the safety program. The monthly claims reports that TWCARMF sends to its members at the beginning of each month provides that insight. The question is, are we utilizing the tools given to us?
In the past community centers in Texas were often the “victims” of buildings donated by municipalities that required extensive remodeling to make them even partially usable by the center. They often contained asbestos, lead based paint, and configurations not easily adaptable to center use. Fortunately, times have changed and more money in the system has allowed for the purchase of newer buildings and the construction of brand-new ones.
Each year the Fund presents Safety Awards to members who have shown great results in reducing and controlling Liability, Automobile, and Workers’ Compensation Claims. The awards are determined by calculating ratios that reflect actual claims experience over a four-year period. The calculations involve actual member payroll, net operating expenditures, and number of vehicles compared to actual claims experience.
The expense associated with insurance coverage for companies is an unavoidable “cost of doing businesses” which affects all Fund clients. While we work diligently to get the best value in terms of rates, it is not always enough.
The Winter Storm in February 2021 served all of us with a big reminder that Mother Nature can inflict her wrath at any moment. The storm caused power and water failures that lasted for days in some areas of the state, due to an overwhelmed power grid. This caused many of our members to scramble to protect employees and property. When the temperatures began to rise above freezing, a good number of Fund members were tasked with addressing pipe breaks. However, this only caused them to join the millions of Texans who were scrambling to find supplies and address the problems. The magnitude of “Snowmageddon” caught all of us by surprise and taught us all a valuable lesson on preparations for future storms.
January 6, 2023, Risk Managers Advisory Committee Liability Workshop
The Risk Managers Advisory Committee is pleased to announce our first in person Liability Workshop since 2020. The topic will be “Recent Developments in Employment Law.” A host of issues have been identified and new ones seem to be cropping up every day.
The workshop will explore proposed new FLSA rules, independent contractor status, recent EEOC enforcement, developments in sexual harassment, and deeply held religious beliefs. Hot topics that emerge between now and the January date may be added.
The workshop is scheduled for January 6, 2023, at the Westin Galleria in Houston and is on the Friday after the Human Resources Consortium meeting. Additional details and information on how to register to attend will be sent out closer to the meeting date.
Links to Additional Resources:
WINTER DRIVING AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury. In addition to experiencing stress from day-to-day roles, center staff could also experience secondary traumatic stress which causes the gradual lessening of compassion over time or Compassion Fatigue.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 164,000 emergency room visits, and 300 deaths are caused by falls from ladders per year, most are from less than ten feet. In most cases, ladders are used improperly due to individuals being in a hurry or just not having the right equipment available. In this article we will discuss choosing the right ladder for the job task, best practices when using a ladder, and numbers to remember to keep you safe on ladders.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it makes sense to wonder: Should America be worried about cyberattacks right now? A variety of attacks and scenarios are a possibility.
Consumer interaction, at times, can be very dangerous, especially when we are visiting consumers outside of the office. In the office, we have more control over the environment, and we have additional resources for assistance in our co-workers and security staff. In this article, we will summarize TCRMF’s training on Remote Site Safety. We will use this article to run through the different tactics case coordinators should use to keep themselves safe when they need to meet consumers away from the office.
Ransomware attacks are increasing in frequency, and the repercussions are growing more severe. Security at community centers has always been an issue that centers have addressed for years. With recent incidents of active shooter and violence directed at center staff, security is receiving even closer scrutiny.
Recent declarations of “critical fire danger” and red flag warnings are valuable alerts from the National Weather Service that wind, humidity, and drought conditions can result in uncontrollable wildfires anywhere in Texas.
In 2020, there was an accident on Texas roads every one minute and seven seconds (TXDOT). This statistic has held true for the past decade. In fact, in some years, accident frequencies have been under one minute. You could attribute this to how many miles of road are in Texas, but we also have to account for how many miles our employees drive every day and how much that adds up in a year.
Links to Additional Resources:
RECOGNITION, PREVENTION, AND FIRST AID FOR HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES
Most often, when a center employee contracts COVID-19, workers’ compensation does not come into play. With community spread of the virus, COVID-19 can be contracted almost anywhere. Very often, someone that contracts COVID-19 is not certain when or where they did so. That said, it is possible for there to be a compensable workers’ compensation claim for an employee that contracts COVID-19 in the course and scope of their job. However, there must be a direct causal link between an employee being exposed on the job and contracting COVID-19 as a result of that exposure. If there is any doubt as to whether a claim is compensable, the center should file a claim. The adjusters will appropriately investigate and analyze the facts to determine compensability for each claim.
One of the most perplexing questions in the active shooter event is what could have been done to prevent the shooting? In recent cases the Fund has investigated there were opportunities to prevent the action of the perpetrator, but the window of opportunity was very narrow and required a level of perception and immediacy of action that was difficult to achieve. Factors in the incidents related to observed behavior, past history, lack of intervention, changes or instability in the shooter’s personal life, and an escalating level of frustration.
Builders Risk insurance is a property coverage for buildings under construction. Builders Risk provides many of the same coverages that the Fund provides to the center’s owned buildings. The coverage is usually provided on an “all risk except what’s excluded” basis so most of the perils that cause damage to property already constructed are also covered under Builders Risk.
Ransomware attacks are increasing in frequency, and the repercussions are growing more severe. Ransomware attacks cost companies billions of dollars a year. Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents you from accessing your computer (or the data that is stored on it). The computer itself may become locked, or the data on it might be stolen, deleted or encrypted. Some ransomware will also try to spread to other machines on the network, such as the WannaCry malware attack in 2017. An overwhelming majority of ransomware attacks now include a threat to publicly disclose stolen data if the ransom isn’t paid. This adds a second level of extortion as an attempt to guarantee that the ransom is paid.
Recently, there has been some union activity at entities in the risk pools, including the Fund. All governmental entities in Texas are exempt from the National Labor Relations Act and the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB). The NLRB also does not have jurisdiction over entities of local government or entities that do not engage in interstate commerce. See, 29 U.S.C. § 152 (2) and) (3) (defining “employer” and “employee” to exclude governmental entities and employees of governmental entities).
The winter storm of February 2021, which caused water damage to property for many of our members, highlighted the need to have a plan of action in place when it comes to hiring a water mitigation company. The sheer scope and breadth of that storm, which impacted the entire state of Texas, created unprecedented problems. Namely, the difficulty in finding available contractors due to the high demand for their services. Hopefully, that was a once in a lifetime event. Barring a statewide catastrophic event, it pays to know your water mitigation contractor before disaster strikes.
Supervising/managing employees can be a difficult task especially for a community center. Events of the past two years have complicated this even more. From hiring to termination supervisors/managers have had to learn new practices and technology to survive in this new environment. Although some supervisors already managed remote field staff, the landscape of how we operate and supervise has changed for almost every leader.
Often our successes are dependent on our energy levels and our overall well-being, and our energy levels and well-being are contingent on how well we treat ourselves. Have you set yourself up for success in the office? Are you taking care of yourself at work? Take a look around your workstation. Is it arranged to support neutral postures and good body mechanics? If not, you could be making yourself tired and wearing yourself out just sitting at your desk! Let’s talk about managing your workstation to your advantage.
A company’s safety culture is only as strong as the effort everyone puts into it. No one wants their employees to get injured but just hoping it does not happen is not enough. It starts with upper management’s commitment to the safety committee and their support of the safety committee. If the commitment is strong, the committee’s efforts will be strong, and you will see an improved safety culture. An effective safety committee can help create a safer work environment, improve communication on safety related topics, reduce lost time accidents, and raise employee morale.
Cyber risk is the risk of damage to an organization through its information systems. The risk of financial loss, business interruption, or reputation damage from a failure or breach of IT systems becomes more significant every year. All types and sizes of organizations are at risk – not just financial institutions, defense contractors, or other high-profile businesses.
Texans are good at preparing for tropical storms, hail, tornadoes, floods, and even the occasional ice storm or light snow. But what about the February 2021 deep freeze when temperatures were below freezing for 154 hours straight in some places, record snowfall blanketed huge swathes of Texas and water and power were out for days? Were we ready for this?
Slips, trips, and falls are the predominant cause of injury for our members. Work-related slip, trip, and fall incidents can frequently result in a serious injury that may cause disruption in workflow by causing lost workdays, reducing productivity, causing expensive workers’ compensation claims, and possibly diminishing the Center’s ability to care for consumers.
Hiring is one of the most important tasks a supervisor must complete. It is also one of the most challenging. You hire the right person and things will be great. You hire the wrong person and things could be miserable.
On June 30, 2021, Governor Abbott approved Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to lift the open meeting law suspensions that had been temporarily suspended in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, all open meeting requirements will resume on September 1, 2021.
Texans can carry handguns without a license or training starting September 1, 2021, after Governor Abbott signed the permit-less carry bill into law.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, one in four American workers is over the age of 55. Although there are varying opinions on the age at which workers are considered “older workers,” the aging workforce phenomenon is real. These demographic shifts have made the issue of healthier workers, especially those of advanced age, much more pressing. Aging is a relative process experienced differently by all workers throughout their life. Vital to any workplace is the safety, health, and well-being of workers,
from their first day on the job to their last.
Cyber claims often require the involvement of many specialized resources, including computer forensic experts, privacy lawyers, credit monitoring services, and call centers. Because cyber claims are altogether different from typical claims, it’s vital to have the resources and expertise to handle the complexities of cyber claims. Understanding the importance of having a Claims Protocol and getting the notification process correct from day one is important. Understanding how to respond to a cyber incident and the
interactions between various party and vendor roles is also beneficial.
Community Center staff interact with clients all the time. That interaction delivers the services the community center system promises to people needing mental health care and support for the intellectually and developmentally disabled. Most of these interactions are safe and without conflict but sometimes something goes wrong.
Workplace violence against mental health providers happens daily all over the country. It happens in many different forms; verbal, assault, battery, stalking, and sexual assault. There are, however, preventative procedures and behaviors that can help reduce these occurrences. It all starts by instilling situational awareness within our employees.
Texas weather has shown it has the potential to cause quite a bit of property damage, quickly. Hail is a storm component that has the ability to do that in a very short amount of time. To make matters worse, it is usually accompanied with high winds and/or tornadoes. Hail has also been responsible for most storm damage claims over the last five years for the Fund. For this reason, it is important for our members to either 1) develop a severe weather emergency response plan or 2) add a severe weather section to an existing emergency response plan.
The Texas Council Risk Management Fund (FUND) is here for you in the event of a workplace injury or illness. As an employer, what are the first two steps you need to take? The following are the recommended actions for the best outcomes for your employees.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants people to know they are not the first to call after a disaster. They will tell you to call your insurance company first. Then they might be able to help you with some of the things insurance doesn’t cover.
Whether it is a tropical storm, hurricane, hail, windstorm, or the recent unprecedented freeze event that affected the state of Texas, the ensuing property damage is unsettling and disruptive to your operations and the customers and clients you serve.
Bed bugs are reddish-brown insects with a flat, oval body that measures approximately ¼ of an inch (6.35 mm) long. Bed bugs usually hide close to the bed but can spread to other areas of the room or home over time.
A recent influx of theft claims under the Texas Council Risk Management Fund’s automobile physical damage coverage has highlighted a national trend of catalytic converter thefts. The Risk Management Fund has paid for several of these thefts from fleet vehicles parked overnight in fenced or open lots.
In Texas, the onset of heat related illness can occur almost any time of the year, especially in South Texas. As temperatures rise through the spring and summer, members should take precautions to prevent heat related illnesses that can become life threatening conditions very quickly.
Many computer workstation users pay little attention to their ergonomics because it sounds so complicated. Let’s start with a simple approach so you can make ergonomics work for YOU. It can be as easy as 1-2-3.
When Robert Tappan Morris developed a worm in 1988, all he wanted to do was figure out how many computers were on the internet. What started as a curiosity instead turned into the world’s first cyber-attack. The program was simple. He designed it to jump from computer to computer without needing help from anyone. As it wove its way through the internet, it kept track of all the devices it encountered and reported the final amount back to Morris. The program worked too well, infecting nearly 10 percent of all devices on the
internet at its peak, jamming traffic, and preventing people from talking to each other.
Of all the hazards and dangers associated with operating a business including property, liability, and employee injury, damage to your organization’s reputation can be the costliest. Think of all the work you put in to ensure you and your employees are working diligently to care for your internal culture while providing exceptional service to your various constituents. This demonstration of character, honesty, reliability, expertise, value, empathy, and trustworthiness creates a perception we call reputation.
Reinsurance is an extremely important part of the Fund’s structure as an insurance program for its members. Although the Fund is financially very strong, it may not have enough assets to pay for several catastrophic claims in any one year. The Fund buys reinsurance that sits atop a Fund retention (like a large deductible). The Fund pays large claims out of its accumulated contributions and investments up to the retention amount. Above that, the reinsurance company pays the rest of the claim, or actually reimburses the Fund for payments it makes.