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Know Your Insurance – If a Tree Falls, Who Pays?

Every year, storms are responsible for felling countless trees and limbs. Unfortunately, some of those fallen trees damage homes and other property.

Cleaning up the damage from a storm can be a difficult task, both physically and emotionally, and things can become especially tense when you discover that it’s your neighbor’s tree that damaged your house.

To make matters worse, many homeowners are surprised to discover that if a neighbor’s tree falls on their house, it’s usually their own homeowners policy—not their neighbor’s—that will cover the cost of the damages. What follows are general guidelines for who pays what in various situations, but you should also check your homeowners policy for coverages and exclusions. (more…)

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:39 pm February 17, 2016

Employee Handbook Spring Cleaning

Now that benefits open enrollment is finished, you may want to consider dusting off your employee handbooks for an annual review. Regularly reviewing employment policies and procedures is becoming increasingly important as workplace legislation and regulations continue to change.

Here are some things to consider when reviewing your employee handbook:
• Make sure that internal company policies and procedures are in line with actual practice. A policy that is not consistently enforced as it is written can become problematic if your organization is ever faced with litigation.
• Ensure that policies on harassment, discrimination, leave, drugs and alcohol, sexual harassment and background checks are updated to reflect the most current federal and state laws.
• Review the language in the handbook to ensure that your organization maintains

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:32 pm

Announcing New HR Services at Warren G. Bender Co.

As your partner in risk management, we at Warren G. Bender Co. are constantly evaluating different resources to best serve our clients. Eight years ago, we improved our Employee Benefits department to help our clients navigate the impending health care reform changes. Five years ago, we brought Alternative Risk Financing (including Captives and Self-Funding) to our clients both in Property and Casualty and Group Benefits, giving them the option to take control of their insurance program financing. Through additional risk gap analyses with our clients, we realized Human Resource (Risk Management) was categorically and universally, a logical next step for WGBCO in serving the needs of our clients.

Employer advocacy and protection has been our focus ever since the days of Warren G. Bender Insurance Agency. When employment rights legislation (and litigation) was in the early stages of its rapid growth, it was a difficult reality for our clients. We recognize that California is a progressive, high-tax, high litigation state to do business in, but it is also hands-down a wonderful state to live in, and we are committed to supporting our fine, local and regional clients, business owner-employers, as they attempt to understand and work with our ever-changing regulation.

Starting in February 2016, we will be proudly running a pilot HR Hotline that will be powered by WGBCO’s longtime strategic partner, the California Employer’s Association (founded in 1937). The CEA has been putting on valuable, timely seminars at our popular “Bender U” classes for years, and now we are taking our relationship to the next level for the benefit of our clients. I will be contacting a grouping of clients over the next week to get them setup with the HR Hotline information. After this 2016 pilot year, we will be able to determine any possible changes or additions to our HR program, and how to offer it to our entire commercial client base.

As a 3rd generation family business, we honor our traditions, and still understand the need to evolve along with our client’s needs. Please let us know if there are any services that you would like to see in the future or if you would like to review our already expansive service offerings. Thank you for your business and the opportunity to serve.

Maggie Bender-Johnson, CIC, MLIS
VP of Operations, Partner
Warren G. Bender Co.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:29 pm

Political Discussions in the Workplace

The 2016 presidential race is underway, and opinions and emotions can be strong on both sides. You may want to think about addressing political discussions in the workplace. Do you know what to do if conversations get out of hand?

At private companies, employees do not have unrestricted rights to “free speech” under the First Amendment; an employer can control political speech in the workplace. Therefore, if political speech becomes disruptive to the workplace and interferes with productivity, the employer can discipline the employees involved. However, it is extremely important that you enforce standards consistently and remain neutral.

Employers must remember that certain speech and affiliation is considered protected. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has stated that non-disruptive political advocacy related to employment issues during non-work time and in non-work areas is protected. Employers may, however, enforce neutrally applied restrictions on political advocacy during work time or in work areas.

The above are just a few things employers should be aware of when thinking about addressing political speech in the workplace. You should also check for state laws that govern political activity.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:14 pm