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Car break-in

Hot Wheels Report: Thieves’ Choice

What are uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages? Do you need these on a commercial auto policy? Find out by reading my new article.

The new Hot Wheels report has just been released! The first and second-place winners for 2012 are, resp…

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Frosted Doughnuts

The Obesity Disease and Workers Compensation Costs

Obesity and workers compensation costs. What does one have to do with the other? More than you might think according to a report issued last week by the California Workers Compensation Institute.

As I’m sure you’ve heard too many times alread…

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Woman in Handcuffs

Should You Ban the Box?

If your company uses any vehicles owned by employees, company principals or anyone else who is not the named insured on your commercial auto policy, be sure to read my new article on insuring non-owned autos.

Suppose you need to hire a new employee. Conventional wisdom says that you need to carefully vet all job applicants to ensure they don’t have a criminal record.  A thorough screening process that includes background checks is good risk management. It will also make your liability insurer happy. Well, some states and municipalities are turning conventional wisdom on its head with their “ban-the-box” laws. One of those is Richmond, California.

Woman in Handcuffs

Richmond, which is located about 18 miles northeast of San Francisco, recently passed one of the most restrictive “ban-the-box” laws in the country. “The box” refers to the check box in job applications whereby applicants must indicate if they have ever been convicted of a crime. Ban-the-box laws prohibit employers from including this box in the initial application.  Most of the laws permit employers to question applicants about their criminal histories during a face-to-face interview. Ban-the-box laws apply only with regard to individuals hired by the government itself or by government vendors or contractors.

Richmond has taken the ban-the-box law a step further. Its law not only requires the removal of  “the box” from job applications but also prohibits most criminal background checks. Background checks are permitted when they are required by state or federal law. They are also allowed for certain “sensitive” jobs, like those involving children.

Ban-the-box laws are based on the idea that convicts deserve a second chance. Proponents contend that employers automatically reject applicants who check “the box” regardless of their qualifications. Moreover, employers also fail to consider the nature of the crime or how much time has passed since it was committed. Do you agree? Do you routinely reject job applicants that have a criminal record?

Maybe you’d like to give someone a second chance. Yet, you have to consider the consequences of a hiring mistake. Suppose you hire an employee who has an old criminal conviction for assault. The employee seems to be working out well. Then one day he assaults one of your customers. The customer sues you, claiming that you were negligent when you knowingly hired someone with a prior criminal conviction. A lawsuit is disruptive, costly, and can damage your company’s reputation. A claim for negligent hiring won’t be covered under your general liability policy because negligent hiring is not considered an “occurrence”. To have coverage for the claim, you would need an employment practices liability policy.

Image courtesy of [satva] / FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Source: About.com

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Slip and Fall

“Peanut Plaintiff” and Slip and Fall Suits

What exactly is a hired auto and how is it covered under your commercial auto policy? You can find the answers in my latest article on Insuring Hired Autos.

Have you heard about the “peanut plaintiff?” She has filed a $1 million lawsuit agai…

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Flood Stream

Flash Flood, a Weather-Related Killer

What do you think of when you hear the word “flood?” The Mississippi River overflowing its banks? Waves from the Atlantic Ocean pushed inland by Hurricane Sandy? True, many floods result from the overflow of a body of water. However, flash flo…

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Leg in cast

Uninsured Drivers Can Cost You Money

Have you heard the term “diminution of value?” Even if you have, you may not be aware that many commercial auto policies contain a “diminution of value” exclusion. You should be aware of this exclusion if your company uses rental vehicles. Fin…

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Gold coins

Rates are Rising

News flash! Business insurance premiums have gone up. According to MarketScout rates increased an average of 5% last month. Commercial auto rates increased the most, followed by commercial property and general liability. The rate increases wer…

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Mold

Mold, a Headache for Business Owners

“Superstorm” Sandy. Floods in the Midwest. Record-breaking rainfall in the Mid-Atlantic region. All of these events took place within the last year and all produced lots of water. While water itself can be damaging, it can create a secondary p…

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Law Book and Gavel

Retaliation Suits

If your company makes or sells products, or performs a service for others, don’t miss my new articles on Products-Completed Operations Liability and the Vendors Endorsement!

If you are a small business owner, two recent decisions by the U.S. …

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Firefighter

Not So Friendly Fires

Some cities just can’t get a break. After enduring the Waldo Canyon fire a year ago, Colorado Springs is battling another wildfire. This year’s blaze, which has been dubbed the Black Forest fire, now appears to be under control. According to t…

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