Bill Fralic Insurance News

BFIS Announcements

September 10, 2014

Bill Fralic Insurance Services, Inc. Announcements

We are excited to announce that August marks the celebration of Bill Fralic Insurance Services, Inc.’s 25-year anniversary. Bill Fralic started the company in August 1989 with Mike Staines and Ken Walker. From the beginning they had a great business strategy, exceptional customer support, positive attitudes, and total dedication. Working together, we have grown the company into the most respected commercial transportation insurance agency in the country.

As another successful year comes to an end, BFIS is gearing up, in many ways, to better serve our clients. Here is a quick look at the changes you can expect to see within our agency:

•BFIS is excited to announce that we are in the process of going paperless. We know that it is a necessity for a growing company to have the fastest access to information with the ease of information sharing among staff for better client support.

•BFIS continually strives to find ways to give our customers exactly what they WANT – a fast, reliable, easier way to pay. In turn, we are now accepting all major credit cards. We want to do everything we can to make it easier on our clients and we understand that they like the speed, flexibility, and convenience of electronic payments.

In 2015, growth will not be a given; it will be earned.

Industry Insights

Freight Increasingly At Risk For Cyber Crime

September 10, 2014

Cyber Crime

First, the good news: Old-fashioned cargo theft is down. Within the past three years, incidents have fallen from 1,317 in 2011 to 1,090 in 2013, according to CargoNet, a cargo crime tracking subsidiary of Verisk Crime Analytics.

And now the bad news: Cyber crime, as it relates to cargo, is up.

Cyber crime is less physically dangerous than stealing a tractor-trailer, said Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet. And cyber thieves are harder to catch and much less likely to be arrested.

There are a million ways to steal a shipment, especially on Friday when freight needs to move fast and security is low. Seventy-five percent of all cargo thefts occur on the weekend, according to Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet.

Cargo thieves create fake identities through the Internet, and set up fake websites, invoices and insurance certificates. Theft by fictitious pickup (a form of identity theft) has increased 70% in the past year, CargoNet reports, and now accounts for 9% of all reported cargo theft. “They’ll pose as a legitimate carrier, or they’ll set up a fraudulent company,” Lewis said to TOC Europe’s Container Supply Chain Conference last month. “Or they’ll go back and find a company that went out of business—their certificate is still out there on the Internet, all they have to do is reactivate it. For a few hundred bucks, I can get an MC number and be a trucking company.”

Telematics and other forms of emerging technology, which seemingly increases security and recovery, also assists thieves who use it to exploit IT systems. Mike Yarwood, claims executive at freight insurance specialist TT Club, told TOC Europe’s Container Supply Chain Conference that thieves stage petty break-ins at offices. Damage appears minimal and nothing is physically removed. However, “more thorough post-incident investigations reveal that the thieves were actually installing spyware within the operator’s IT network,” he said.

Also a target? Personal devices, where cyber security is non-existent. Hackers often use social networks to target operational personnel to determine routing and overnight parking patterns. Thieves also steal container release codes and delivery passwords to track units through the supply chain.

Awareness is the first step to reducing cargo cyber crime. Establish risk management policies that stipulate what information can or cannot be stored on personal devices. Tracking devices can be embedded in cargo to detect the location of stolen goods, and some companies are implementing remote-locking devices that stop stolen vehicles in motion.

 

Source PropertyCasualty360.com

About the Author

Melissa Hillebrand, PropertyCasualty360.com

Melissa Hillebrand, National Underwriter Property & Casualty managing editoroversees the Technology channel on PropertyCasualty360.com. She has served the trade magazine industry since her graduation from Creighton University in 2004.

Industry Insights

Workers Compensation in the Trucking Industry

September 10, 2014

Cost of Truckers Workers Comp

Workers compensation insurance for interstate trucking companies can be hard to obtain because the insurance company underwriter has difficulty accessing the risk.

Often, a trucking company is located in one state, the truck drivers live in other states, and the workers comp injury occurs in a third state.
Normally in this scenario, the truck driver elects to be covered by workers compensation in the state paying the highest indemnity benefits.

If the trucking company is domiciled in a state with high workers comp premium rates, the underwriter may choose to simplify and just use the higher state rate. There are interstate payroll classification codes available from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for use in most NCCI states. But the problem the underwriter has using NCCI ratings for trucking companies is the rates are not applicable in three big states – California, New York, and Texas.

However, when the trucking company is domiciled in a state with overall low workers comp premium rates, but most of the accidents happen in other states, the underwriter often uses a premium debt to increase the workers comp premium to a rate (hopefully) profitable to the insurance company (subject to the judgment by the underwriter)
Although the insured never sees the underwriter’s judgment as an additional charge, it’s always included.

Types of Workers Comp Injuries

Truck drivers have a disproportionate number of musculoskeletal injuries compared to workers in other workforces.

Due to the nature of their work, involving many hours of seating, followed by brief periods of strenuous labor loading/unloading the ruck, drivers are more prone to injury than those in other occupations.
Unfortunately, many truck drivers fit the stereotype of overweight men who get little physical exercise and are in poor overall physical condition.
Most drivers are paid by the mile; therefore, their working hours may vary, resulting in constantly changing schedules an irregular sleep habits.
These poor lifestyles habits directly impact the period of time the employee remains off work following an on-the-job injury.

The most common situations where injuries occur include:

Vehicle accidents
Slips and falls climbing in or out of the cab or trailer
Strains and backs injuries from lifting and/or moving items
Accidents while loading or unloading the trailer
Slips and falls on loading docks
Carpal tunnel injury
Crush injuries where a part of the load falls on the driver

Most truck drivers also say kidney stones and hemorrhoids are occupational hazards, but very few drivers attempt to claim either condition as an occupational injury/disease.

Employee or Independent Contractor

Due to the cost of workers compensation for trucking companies, some companies try to limit their cost of workers comp by classifying all their drivers as independent contractors.

If you use them, independent owner-operators who also drive for other companies on a regular basis can be classified as independent contractors and allow them to be responsible for their own workers compensation or disability insurance policy.
However, both the IRS and the state board of workers compensation is going to tell you your drivers are employees, not independent contractors, if they drive only for your company, and you designate when and where the load is picked up and where it is delivered.
If drivers working only for your company are classified as an independent contractors, it is quite likely the workers comp insurer will deny your claims and the “independent contractor” will then sure your company for the medical bills, all of lost wages (not the typical two-thirds paid under workers comp), plus pain and suffering which is not paid under workers comp.
Additionally, there will be penalties and fines for not having workers comp insurance, easily putting small and medium size trucking companies out of business.

Controlling Your Workers Comp Cost

The trucking company, like every other type of employer, should have a complete safety program in place, and:

Should provide every truck driver with a copy of its safety policy and driver specific safety guidelines to eliminate injuries.
Each driver must be required to attend at least one annual safety briefing to reinforce the company’s safety guidelines.

A drug testing program has a positive impact on the cost of workers compensation (and liability insurance) even if it becomes more difficult to find truck drivers. Better a sober driver and fewer injuries and claims!

A successful drug testing program should include new hire testing, random drub testing, and mandatory drug testing after any accident causing damage to property, other people, or the driver.
If drug testing is done only if the employee reports an injury, the truck driver will state he is not injured, but then in a few days will report he is now experiencing pain or other medical problems.

Health and wellness programs reduce the cost of workers compensation as well as the cost of health insurance benefits.

Medical conditions interfering with the employee’s recovery can be prevented or reduced through health and wellness programs.
The workers comp cost savings from the reduction of the obesity alone more than pays for the cost of a health and wellness program.

State laws pertaining to this subject matter change frequently, so you must check with your legal counsel or a knowledgeable professional.

 

Source AMAXXWorkersCompExperts

Article Author: AmaxxWorkersCompExperts

Industry Insights

Boydstun Will Start Making Car Carrier Equipment Again In August

September 10, 2014

Boydstun Return In August

Boydstun Equipment Manufacturing, formerly known as Boydstun Metal Works, has announced it will return to the manufacturing of commercial auto transport equipment at the start of August this year. According to the company it has already started taking equipment orders and will deliver its first unit by August 30th.

Initial production will include Boydstun’s 1901 soft tie cylinder Quick Load unit. Production of additional trailer models, including the HS-7 car soft tie cylinder unit, will begin February 2015 according to the company.

“I have greatly missed the relationships and challenges of meeting the design demands of our customers and the industry,” said company president Rob Boydstun. “We will continue offering our customers the high level of innovation and quality that they had come to expect.”

A number of equipment makers were forced out of the market in 2009 when the global economic downturn hit the industry, with some forced into manufacturing other sorts of equipment. The North American market has been dominated since then by Cottrell and Delavan. With the ramp up in demand in the region for specialised equipment at an all time high, exacerbated by rail wagon capacity shortages, even those market leaders are finding it difficult to meet demand within the timeframes specified.

As reported back in March, lead times on the delivery of transport equipment have been hit and are now stretching out to four or five months in some cases. Speaking to Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine earlier this year Brad Childs, vice-president for sales and operations at transport provider, Proficient Auto Transport, said that the limited number of trailer makers was causing problems. “If the demand is there to have the equipment that lead time gets longer,” he said (read more here).

The return of Boydstun to the field – a company with 20 years in the commercial carrier business – should then be a welcome announcement. In a statement the company said that over the past five years there has been significant change within the industry. “That, coupled with continued demand for Boydstun products, led to the decision to resume production to meet this demand,” said the statement.

Boydstun will also be opening a repair facility soon with an exact date expected within the next three weeks.

 

Source Automotive Logistics Magazine

Article Author: 08 July 2014 | Marcus Williams

Claim Spotlight

Defensive Driving

July 14, 2014

Defensive Driving Lesson:

It was a late Friday afternoon and Jeremy was just one town away from home.  The wide suburban road he was driving on had three lanes going east, three lanes going west, and a shared center turn lane.  Although it was almost rush hour, there were hardly any cars on the road.  Jeremy was in the far left west-bound lane.  He knew he was exceeding the speed limit by going 45 mph in a 40 mph zone, but he was so close to home and trying to beat the traffic.

Up ahead on the left, he saw a box truck slowly cut across the oncoming, east-bound lanes, headed for his own lane.  Jeremy looked to his right, hoping the lane was empty, but there was a lady in a silver SUV, passing him in the middle lane.  Her kids were in the back seat.  Slamming on his brakes, he allowed her to pass him so he could change lanes.  He was barely able to complete the lane change when the box truck entered the far left lane where Jeremy would have been in another five seconds.  But then the box truck moved from the left lane to the middle lane right ahead of the SUV.  The SUV driver braked and narrowly avoided hitting the box truck as it proceeded into the far right lane.  Jeremy hit the SUV, despite braking as hard as he could.

The damage to the rear of the SUV was massive and Jeremy’s employer was upset.  The ensuing property damage and liability claims for the driver of the SUV and her children ended up totaling more than $100,000.

 

Lessons Learned:
Although accidents frequently happen in merging environments, most of these collisions are considered preventable.  According to the Texas Department of Insurance, defensive drivers follow these four practices:

-1- Pay attention to surroundings in order to foresee potential perils

-2- Begin braking the moment a hazard starts to develop

-3- Apply brakes as gradually as possible to avoid causing another accident from behind

-4- Anticipate that other drivers will not be as aware of their surroundings and will attempt potentially unsafe maneuvers to avoid unexpected hazards.

Although there was no way to predict the exact scenario above, Jeremy should have anticipated hazards from both right and left sides and known what cars were next to him. Just as importantly, had Jeremy been driving at a safe speed, he could have avoided the accident entirely. Safety is the most important part of being a professional driver. Following the above practices keep you, your job, and your fellow motorists safe on the roads.

Industry Insights

Cyber Liability, Data Breach and Privacy Coverage

July 7, 2014

Cyber Liability

In today’s data driven world, protecting electronic information against theft or attack is a major concern among many businesses. As the transportation industry has become increasingly reliant on digital connections, they have increased their cyber security exposure.  Any company that transmits, collects, or stores private information is at risk for a cyber-attack.  For the trucking and transportation industry, that could include employee and customer information.  Just one stolen laptop, tablet, or one resourceful hacker can create enormous financial and reputational consequences for your business.

Here are several ways you can protect your business:

-1- Work with your IT professional to improve security measures and develop a written security policy, putting measures in place to safeguard private information.

For example:
Use passwords or physical locks to keep sensitive data accessible only to those who need it to do their jobs.
Deploy extensive network security and firewalls. Limit the use of portable technology and provide employees a VPN connection for access to company computers.
Train employees on proper care and control of sensitive data.

-2- Develop an incident response plan.

-3-  Consider a Cyber Liability policy.  Data breach and Cyber Liability are excluded under most traditional GL and Crime policies.  A Cyber Liability policy offers two major types of coverage.
      -First party coverage offers financial compensation to help you address immediate customer and business needs.
      -Third party coverage protects you in the event of a lawsuit brought by a customer or partner for data breach.

In the event of a data breach, Cyber Liability coverage allows you to focus on rebuilding and restoring your reputation without worrying about the related expenses.

Claim Spotlight

Claim Spotlight: Situational Awareness

March 24, 2014

Situational Awareness

Janice Monroe had been a professional driver for 15 years and never had an accident…

It was very early morning when she arrived at the dealership. She pulled safely off the roadway, well into the right shoulder, and completed her delivery. The sun was barely over the horizon when Janice finished, but it was bright. Since she was parked on the shoulder, she did not look at the traffic passing beside her as she secured the lift at the rear of the trailer. Janice heard the screeching tires but never saw the vehicle that hit her, pinning her between the trailer and the car that struck her. The teenager driving the car did not see Janice since the sun was shining in his eyes. He only saw the truck a few seconds before impact, and barely had any time to hit the brakes.

Janice sustained multiple fractures to her legs, pelvis, spine, and skull, as well as significant ligament and soft tissue injuries. She underwent more than 15 surgeries and the doctors were able to save both legs. Janice was kept in the ICU for two weeks and was released from the hospital five weeks after the accident. She continued therapy for over two years before the doctors advised she was as well as she was going to get. However, Janice would have to live with ongoing pain and difficulties doing ordinary tasks.

Although the driver that hit Janice had liability limits of $100,000, the medical bills alone far exceeded $500,000. Due to the extreme severity of her injuries, the at-fault driver’s liability policy was exhausted immediately. Workers Compensation paid over $500,000 in medical bills and lost wages, with another $300,000 in anticipated payments. The underinsured motorist policy of $1,000,000 that Janice’s company maintained also will be exhausted when it is over.

Lessons Learned:

Without a doubt, this accident was caused by the teenage driver who veered onto the shoulder. Janice thought she was safe to walk behind her vehicle without being concerned about the passing traffic. However, Janice might have been able to avoid being injured by maintaining her situational awareness. Being more conscientious of the passing traffic and recognizing the bright sun as possible dangers may have prevented her role in the accident. Remember, being a defensive driver means being defensive both inside and outside of your vehicle while you are on the road. It will not only prevent expensive insurance claims, but it will keep you and the other motorists safe.

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