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Handling Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be one of the best times of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Shopping for gifts, holiday parties and time with family can take a toll on your mental and emotional health and leave you with little time to relax and enjoy the festivities.

Follow these tips to help you avoid stress during the holidays:
Plan ahead—Waiting until the last minute to purchase gifts, plan a party or send out greeting cards is bound to make you feel stressed. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your to-do list in case the crowds are large and the lines are long.
Watch your finances—It can be tempting to overspend on the perfect gift for someone. But if that means your finances will suffer, it is not worth it. Set spending limits for yourself and stick to them.
Adjust your expectations—You will not be able to make it to every party or purchase the perfect gift for everyone. Holding yourself to impossibly high standards is the best way to generate stress. Remind yourself to manage expectations and let go of any guilt.

An important part of the season is allowing yourself time to relax and really enjoy it. Here are some easy ways to take a breather and help you keep everything in perspective.
Exercise—Keeping up your regular exercise routine during the festive season will help you relieve stress in a healthy way.
Eat well—Overindulgence is often expected this time of year, whether it is too many sweets or too much alcohol. Maintain a good balance of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.
Avoid sugar and caffeine—Both may give you energy, but that energy will be short-lived and may make you more irritable or tired.
Get plenty of sleep—Sleep is often the first thing people sacrifice during busy times. Allow yourself plenty of time to sleep every night.
Staying positive during a potentially stressful time will help you carry the warmth of the holidays into the new year.

Filed under: Health,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:16 pm December 23, 2014

Auto Insurance Premiums 101

Understanding what insurers look at when they calculate auto insurance premiums can help drivers find ways to save on their insurance costs. Here are the most common factors affecting premiums:

Age, sex and marital status – People under 25 years old are more likely to get into an accident, so rates will be higher for young adults. Males and single individuals have higher premiums, as well.
The car you drive – A Porsche isn’t going to be cheap to insure since fixing it after an accident would cost much more than a typical sedan like the Ford Focus or Honda Civic. Cars that are commonly stolen (such as the Civic or Toyota Camry) might also come with a higher premium.
Your driving record – Expect to see a premium increase for every violation or accident you have had. Luckily, these only affect premiums for three to five years after they occur.
Your driving habits – Driving more miles or using the vehicle for business can increase your rates.
Your coverage limits – Higher limits are often advisable (accidents can be extremely expensive), but they result in higher premiums. A low deductible also raises your premium.

Want to explore more ways to save on auto insurance premiums? Contact Warren G. Bender Co today for information!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:07 pm

EEOC Targets Wellness Programs

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed suit against three employers alleging that their wellness programs violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Flambeau Inc., Honeywell and Orion Energy Systems are facing litigation from the EEOC because the companies imposed penalties and fines against employees who did not participate in company wellness programs.

According to the EEOC, one of the companies, Flambeau, Inc., a Baraboo, Wisconsin-based plastics manufacturing company, violated federal law by requiring employees to undergo biometric testing and a health risk assessment as part of their wellness program. When an employee did not complete the testing and risk assessment, the company cancelled his medical insurance and made him responsible for the entire cost of his premium in order to stay covered. The EEOC argued that the testing and assessment were not job-related and qualified as making disability-related inquiries of the employee therefore, they were in violation of Title I of the ADA.

From a workers’ compensation standpoint, wellness programs can help you reduce certain risk factors, such as obesity and depression, which can help you potentially shorten the duration of claims and minimize claim costs. However, you need to be careful when implementing a wellness program and be sure that participation is completely voluntary and employee information is provided voluntarily and with written consent. The information must also be kept confidential and separate from personnel records.

The AMA’s recent reclassification of obesity as a treatable disease can be a motivator for you to implement a wellness program at your company and to help employees live healthier lifestyles. However, give serious thought to the programs and activities that you introduce to ensure every employee is included if they want to be.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:01 pm

New Obesity Classification and How It Affects Workers’ Compensation

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently reclassified obesity as a treatable disease. This new classification has the potential to increase your workers’ compensation costs because when employees see their doctors due to on-the-job injuries, doctors may need to treat those workers for obesity as well.

Historically, in terms of workers’ compensation, obesity has been classified as a comorbidity, meaning it is a condition that occurs at the same time as, but independent of, an injury or illness. The new classification of obesity as a disease that requires treatment may cause doctors to feel a greater responsibility to advise patients about their weight,

if doctors will be reimbursed for the treatment. This could increase workers’ compensation claims because a claim may include treatment for two things (the injury and obesity), or there may be a secondary claim. For more information on this new classification and how it could affect your insurance, contact Warren G. Bender Co. at (916) 380-5300.

Filed under: Workers' Compensation — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 6:33 pm