What Do 2018’s Marijuana Developments Mean for Your Business?

Marijuana legalization continues to spread, as 33 states now allow for its medical use and Canada recently legalized recreational use throughout the entire country. But businesses need to determine how marijuana will affect their workers’ compensation claims, workplace policies and drug screening plans.

Scientists have determined that marijuana can relieve pain and has other medical uses. However, the federal government continues to consider it a Schedule I drug because of its potential to significantly impair a user and lead to drug abuse. As a result, researchers are reluctant to begin definitive studies on marijuana’s long-term medical benefits and side effects.

Marijuana’s dual identity as a legitimate medical treatment and casual psychotropic can lead to significant problems for businesses. Here are some of the marijuana developments over the past year and how they could affect your workplace:

• Growing acceptance— A report from Pew Research found that 62 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization. As a result, customers and job candidates may not be attracted to businesses with strict drug-free policies.

• Opioid epidemic— The widespread and dangerous use of opioids have led many state governments and businesses to consider medical marijuana, which can also relieve pain. However, each state has different regulations for how medical marijuana is paid for and businesses need to examine their local laws.

• Workplace drug screenings— Positive tests for marijuana increased by 4 percent in the general workforce from 2016 to 2017, according to Quest Diagnostics. Positive tests after a workplace incident can be difficult scenarios for employers, since tests can’t accurately determine impairment levels or when the drug was taken.

• Workers’ compensation— Recent court cases have found that employers may have to pay for employees’ medical marijuana through workers’ compensation plans. However, individual states continue to set their own regulations and some may give businesses or insurance carriers the option to provide or deny coverage at their discretion.

Filed under: HR,Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 5:29 pm January 7, 2019

Making a Flood Claim

Photo by DAVE GATLEY/FEMA News Photo

Heavy rain, storm surge, hurricanes and other severe weather events can lead to devastating floods that cause extensive damage. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flood damage totaled over $8 billion in 2017 and many of the affected areas are still recovering from the impact.

After a flood hits your business, you’ll still have expenses such as building leases, employee payrolls and cleanup costs. And because any business interruption means that your revenue will be lowered or gone altogether, you’ll need a source of income quickly.

Although flood insurance is there to help you recover and rebuild your business, you need to know how to make a claim so that you can get all of the coverage you can as soon as possible.

Starting the Claims Process

You can start the claims process immediately after a flood. However, before you call us at (916) 380-5300, you should make sure you have the following information:
• A copy of the policy declarations page that details your flood insurance coverage if you have it
• The best way to contact you, since normal phone lines and internet access may be disrupted
• The name of any applicable mortgage company

When the insurer that issued the flood policy gets notice of your loss, you may be able to qualify for an advance payment before the inspection. However, these payments are at the discretion of the insurer and shouldn’t be relied on when you’re planning your recovery process.

Pre-inspection Steps

After the claims process has started and local officials have determined that it’s safe, you should return to your property to prepare for an inspection to assess the damage.

Here are some steps to take before an inspection:
• Make sure that all of your employees are safe and accounted for.
• Ensure that the gas, electricity and other utilities have been shut off before entering your property.
• Cover any part of your workplace that’s exposed to the elements to prevent further damage.
• Take well-lit pictures and videos of property damage as soon as it’s safe to do so, since receding waters could affect the situation. Pictures and videos should focus on structural damage to the building and standing floodwater levels both inside and outside. You should also document damage to appliances, furniture and other items before moving anything.
• Record the serial numbers of any appliances, electronics and other property that you find.
• Look for undamaged samples from flooring, wallpaper, drapes and other materials so a claims adjuster can assess their value.
• Arrange for any temporary repairs that will protect your property from further damage. However, you shouldn’t make agreements with a cleaner or contractor without consulting Warren G. Bender Co. first.
• Keep detailed records of any expenses you incur after a flood.
• Keep a detailed inventory of all damaged and undamaged personal property. Be sure not to dispose of anything until a claims adjuster gives you the OK.

The Inspection Process

Once a claims adjuster arrives to inspect your business, make sure to record their contact information. After walking through the National Flood Insurance Program’s claims process, the adjuster will inspect your property and take measurements and pictures of the damage.
If an adjuster finds that your business has extensive damage, you may qualify for an accelerated claims process to help you begin repairs immediately. Your adjuster may also have advice for you based on your specific policy.

Making Repairs and Other Resources

When working with contractors, vendors and third parties after a flood, it’s important to keep copies of all receipts, bank statements, invoices and other documents that show how you paid for repairs. These items may be used as permanent records in case your business floods in the future, and they could affect how much you’re compensated.

Getting your insurance coverage after a flood is key, but you have other resources at your disposal. FEMA’s website has a number of resources and programs you can use to recover. You can also contact Warren G. Bender Co. for any questions on your flood policy or for resources to help you reduce your damage with pre-incident plans.

Filed under: Flood,Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 8:00 am

Do Office Employees Need Training for GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Identification of Hazardous Substances)?

Back in 2013, employers were advised of the requirement to train employees regarding new label elements and safety data sheets but there have been questions about why some employees would need to be trained. For example, an office employee cleans their desk surface weekly with a cleaning product purchased by the employer from a grocery store and is available for employee use. Is GHS training required for that employee?

The Technical Answer
California Code of Regulations 5194(b)(5)(G) excludes incidental use as follows:
(G) Consumer products packaged for distribution to, and use by, the general public, provided that employee exposure to the product is not significantly greater than the consumer exposure occurring during the principal consumer use of the product; GHS training is required for employees working with hazardous substances on a regular basis in the course and scope of their employment.

The Practical Answer
GHS Training is not required for incidental use of a consumer product used in a consumer manner but general awareness training for all employees of the hazardous material identification system would be considered wise and a ‘best practice’ for all employers. Why? Because in the event of an injury to an employee caused by substances in the workplace, it could be deemed negligent that an employer provided a product but not information of its hazardous nature. Free information and GHS training materials are readily available from many sources, see below.

Still unsure of whether to train? Call OSHA Compliance 916-263-0704. I reached a knowledgeable person on my first try and/or call your insurance agent/broker for information.

California Code of Regulations-Hazard Communication
Cal OSHA Safety and Health Fact Sheet on GHS-Globally Harmonized System-DIR
Guide to the California Hazard Communication Regulation-DIR
US Department of Labor –OSHA Hazard Communication
Free PowerPoint presentation
Free YouTube Training Video
Sacramento Safety Center

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Jackie Sudia-Reno, AIC, ARM, CRIS
Claims and Risk Management Liaison
Warren G. Bender Co.
License #0406967
(916)380-5333 (Direct Phone & Fax)
(916)960-6957 (Mobile/Text)

Filed under: OSHA,Property & Casualty,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 1:29 pm March 30, 2016

Oh Rats! Surprising Risks You Should Know About the Drought

By: Jackie Sudia-Reno, AIC, ARM, CRIS, Claims & Risk Management Liaison, Warren G. Bender Co.

We’re all changing the way we do things due to the severe drought that our area is experiencing. Here is an example of an unexpected consequential hazard from the drought…

A large commercial building sustained water damage; the culprits are rats. The rats chewed holes in condensation water lines above the ceiling tiles of the building to get to the water inside. When the hot weather hit and the condensation flow increased for several days running, the water escaped through the holes in the lines and caused major damage to the ceiling, walls, and flooring which produced mold growth quite quickly into the warm air. (more…)

Filed under: Property & Casualty,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 6:17 pm June 25, 2015

CNA Endorsed By California Manufacturers & Technology Association

cnaSAN FRANCISCO, May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — CNA and the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) today announced that CNA has been chosen as the endorsed business insurance carrier of choice by the CMTA.

As a world leader in advancing safety and writing coverages across 90 percent of all manufacturing classes, CNA was selected by the CMTA, working with broker Warren G. Bender Co., because of its depth of experience in the industry, financial strength and expertise in coordinating end-to-end coverage programs for today’s modern manufacturers.

“This endorsement affirms CNA’s positon as the premier provider of insurance coverages, claim and risk control services for manufacturers,” said Franklin Maccotan, director and industry leader, Manufacturing, CNA. “CNA’s goals align with the CMTA’s mission of helping California manufacturers protect the safety of their employees and the public, as well as the assets of its members. The endorsement allows CNA to be even more responsive to the unique needs and concerns of the manufacturing community.”

The CMTA represents over 400 manufacturing, processing and technology-based companies, and works to improve a strong business climate for an economic sector that generates more than $230 billion annually and employs more than 1.2 million Californians.

“CMTA is proud to announce its partnership with CNA to deliver a premier and cost-competitive commercial insurance package to its members,” said Dorothy Rothrock, president, CMTA. “California manufacturers are the backbone of our state’s economy and innovation. Because comprehensive insurance protection and effective risk control support is a critical component to operating in California, the CMTA looked at many potential partners. CNA, with its experience and long history of end-to-end coverage and manufacturing focus, was the clear choice to deliver the best program.”

CNA is the endorsed business insurance carrier for more than 15 national trade associations, including the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) and the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA). CNA is also a member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

To learn more about CNA’s manufacturing industry capabilities, visit

About CNA
Serving businesses and professionals since 1897, CNA is the country’s eighth largest commercial insurance writer and the 13th largest property and casualty company. CNA’s insurance products include standard commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine and other property and casualty coverages. CNA’s services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. Use of the term “partnership” and/or “partner” should not be construed to represent a legally binding partnership. For more information, please visit CNA at “CNA” is a service mark registered by CNA Financial Corporation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the “CNA” service mark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities.

About CMTA
CMTA works to create a strong business climate for a manufacturing sector that generates more than $230 billion in revenue every year and employs more than 1.2 million Californians. For more information, please visit the CMTA at

Andy Viglietti, 916-498-3340, CMTA
Gino DiCaro, 916-498-3347, CMTA
Brandon Davis, 312-822-5167, CNA
Sarah Pang, 312-822-6394, CNA

SOURCE CNA; California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA)

Filed under: Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 2:09 pm May 19, 2015