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Keeping Your Young Athletes Safe

It’s the All-American way of life to let young people enjoy sports.  The lessons about teamwork, sacrifice, mutual support, developing your individual skills, being gracious in defeat and humble in victory – sports have a special way of teaching them all.

Millions of children participate in organized leagues and pick-up games across the nation, from summers on the baseball diamond to autumns on the football field to winters on the ice rink or basketball court.  But an alarming 4 million of those young people, ages 14 and under, suffer sports-related injuries each year.  This becomes especially troubling when you consider that young athletes are at an increased risk of injury because their bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing.

Parents and coaches can protect children from sports-related injuries by consistently taking these safety precautions:

  • Know and follow the rules of the sport.  They are there to keep all participants safe.
  • Make sure each child is in good physical condition before beginning any sport.
  • Wear proper apparel and protective gear at all times.
  • Know how to use the athletic equipment safely and properly.
  • Make sure each participant stretches and warms up before playing.
  • To prevent dehydration, have participants drink plenty of liquids before playing.
  • Remove a player from the game if he or she is tired or in pain.
  • Have participants cool down afterward.
  • Make sure that a responsible adult is in attendance at every practice and game.

Should an injury occur, prompt treatment can help prevent further problems.  This includes RICE therapy (rest, ice, compress, and elevate).  A child may need medical attention if any of the following signs are seen:

  • An inability or decreased ability to play.
  • Visible deformity.
  • Severe pain that prevents the use of an arm or leg.
  • Symptoms that persist or affect performance.
  • Headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurry vision, or confusion, which are symptoms of a concussion.  Helmets should be worn, but concussions can still be suffered when wearing one.

Talk with the Benefits professionals at Evergreen Insurance about this topic.  We are here to help you keep your team – and their families – properly protected.  

Copyright 2024 Evergreen Insurance, LLC

Evergreen Insurance, LLC provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

One Size Does Not Fit All in Cyber Security

Think back to studying fractions in elementary school mathematics.  The common denominator represented a number that could be related to all denominators in a group of fractions.  The numerator could be any number, though.  It didn’t have to be a multiple of others in a group.  You solved the problem to identify the numerator, the variable.

Now you’re all grown up, and you haven’t thought about fractions for years.  But you’re still solving for that variable, and in ways that can impact your organization’s reputation and financial performance.  The common denominator these days is cyber security, but the numerator represents the different ways to achieve it, depending on the size and function of the organization.  Clearly, no one size fits all.

For sophisticated larger organizations, better visibility and accountability should be built into the organization’s cyber policies. Continuous controls monitoring (CCM), which measures cyber security on an ongoing basis based on the spectrum of tools deployed, holds promise for these types of organizations.  

An integrated and holistic measure of cybersecurity, indicating gaps and priorities, can provide an important framework and data source for larger organizations.  This holistic approach also helps to enable responses to increased regulatory oversight being driven by government authorities.

Smaller organizations, of course, are no less at risk.  They can achieve cyber security through services organizations, such as specialized managed security service providers, or more general managed service providers.  Those platforms can help ensure against cyber attacks.  More options remain available, based on cost and complexity.

While every business must guard its information against cyber criminals, the means to do so remain open to customization and interpretation.  To control that variable, talk with the professionals at Evergreen Insurance about cybersecurity protection for your enterprise.

Copyright 2024 Evergreen Insurance, LLC

Adapted from: 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2023/04/27/making-cyber-risk-insurable-disrupting-the-cyber-insurance-industry-in-2023/?sh=6431bdc258eb

Evergreen Insurance, LLC provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Emotional Support in a Practical Package

In a sign of progress in societal acceptance of the issue, the need to provide mental health services has become a topic more openly discussed and addressed.  Mental health is just as important as physical health – some say even more so – yet access to counselors and therapists remains an issue.

A Congressional committee learned that 55% of all U.S. counties have no practicing psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers.  Yet the need remains high nationwide:

  • About 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness in a given year.
  • About 1 in 5 teenagers experience a severe mental disorder in their lives.
  • Serious mental illness costs the U.S. nearly $200 billion in lost annual earnings.

A growing trend to address these issues comes with the idea of Telemental health, providing live online counseling through video conferencing.  This option can quickly, easily, and inexpensively provide needed mental health services to those in rural areas or those unable or unwilling because of social stigma to travel to a hospital or counseling center.

Results of the practice of Telemental health show many positives, including:

  • A significant reduction in psychiatric hospitalization rates.
  • Low-income and homebound seniors have experienced longer-lasting effects than those receiving in-person treatment.
  • Because mental health providers rarely need to perform any physical services on patients, the Telemental option is much more practical.
  • There is little-to-no difference in patient satisfaction between Telemental counseling and face-to-face treatment.

Shortcomings include: not all insurance plans cover Telemental health sessions; some non-verbal cues may be more difficult for a counselor to detect when working online with a patient; and not all patients can access or operate the online technology needed.

Telemental health services are sure to expand, which could serve to diminish or alleviate these issues.  It represents a workable system to provide needed mental health support to more patients in more locations.  Talk with the Benefits professionals at Evergreen about this topic and more regarding providing benefits for your employees.

Copyright 2024 Evergreen Insurance, LLC.

Evergreen Insurance, LLC. provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

AI as a Force for Good

As the number of human users of online systems continues to grow exponentially, so does the number of non-human users, like Internet-of-Things (IoT) machines, the “cloud” of digital storage, and so on.

As this growth gallops along with no sign of slowing down or stopping – ever – another chilling fact comes into view.  The attack surface for malware and cyber criminals also gets bigger every second, every minute, every day.  

But a source that in some ways may cause a pause could be used as a deterrent against such potential online damage – artificial intelligence, or AI.

AI-based automation tools are being used by businesses to capture and prioritize their vulnerabilities based on their risk categorization.  AI has the potential to foresee events and provide preventative actions in cybersecurity, deploying widespread countermeasures to giving businesses confidence that they are prepared in case of a cyberattack.

In addition, AI will be able to identify complex assaults, halt them, and prevent future attempts of cybercriminals by establishing their identities and acting against them.   Experts also anticipate advanced automated detection systems that discover assaults with a high probability without the current costs involved.  Automated root-cause analysis to determine why a security flaw exists and how to remedy it is coming, as well.  Some solutions can isolate an attacker and initiate automated incident response to successfully throw them off the network.

Artificial intelligence can be a little scary in some ways.  But its depth, breadth, speed, and ability to deter and stop cyber attacks represents an amazing set of tools that more businesses are sure to adopt in the ongoing fight to protect their people, information, and reputation.

Talk with the professionals at Evergreen Insurance about cybersecurity protection for your enterprise.

Copyright 2024 Evergreen Insurance, LLC.

Evergreen Insurance, LLC. provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Considering All the Angles in Workers Comp

Successful businesses pride themselves on being nimble, able to accommodate slight shifts in strategy or compliance. Sometimes, though, the rules get shuffled and reset in ways that can truly test an organization’s ability to withstand the stress. Such a time appears to be upon us right now.

The Pennsylvania Compensation Rating Bureau (PCRB) has instituted major changes to its workers compensation “experience modifier” calculation, which take effect today, April 1, 2024. No joke.

These changes, the first since 2004, carry significant impact to the more-than 60,000 businesses with experience mods across the state. Under the new system, businesses with the strongest performance in avoiding employee injuries will benefit the most, while poorer performers will see higher modifiers. Either way, the PCRB changes will certainly increase the financial impact – positively or negatively – of employee injuries on workers compensation modifiers.

Experience modifiers use historical employee injury data to forecast future risks and adjust workers’ compensation premiums accordingly. Prior to the change now taking effect, the modifier calculation included all employee injury costs up to $42,500, with annual modifier fluctuations capped at 25%. However, the PCRB’s new plan aims to reflect each business’s loss ratio more accurately by more directly recognizing the balance between injury costs and paid premiums. Key changes include:

  • By lowering the premium threshold for modifier eligibility from $10,000 to $5,000, approximately 21,000 additional businesses will become eligible for experience rating.
  • The injury cap will now be based on an employer’s size, ranging from $10,000 to $300,000, replacing the flat $42,500 injury cap. This ensures a modifier that better corresponds to an employer’s actual injury history.
  • Effective April 1, 2026, the PCRB will revise swing limits by eliminating the cap on decreases while setting a new 40% cap on increases, as well as a maximum modification formula for each business. This means a business’s modifier can only rise by 40% or up to its calculated maximum, whichever is lower.

Contact the professionals at Evergreen Insurance to understand how these new workers’ compensation guidelines can impact your business. We consider all the angles when advising our customers, and that is never more important than when the rules change.

Copyright 2024 Evergreen Insurance, LLC.

Evergreen Insurance, LLC. provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice. To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

The Shocking Reach of a Data Breach 

It’s hardly a secret that data breaches occur and carry significant costs to correct.  But just how often they happen, and the true financial damages they inflict, still can be stunning.

According to statistics collected by security.com, here is just a sampling of data breach fallout ramifications, compiled for 2020, the most recent year statistics are available:

  • On average, data breaches globally cost companies $3.86 million each.
  • The U.S. represents the most expensive nation for data breaches, with the average cost of each instance totaling $8.64 million.
  • Breaches also decrease productivity and disrupt workflow, with companies requiring 280 days – more than nine months – on average to identify and resolve data breaches.
  • In 2020, a total of nearly 4,000 data breaches were publicly reported, which at first glance appears to be a 40% improvement from the prior year – but delays in reporting and declining media coverage mean that fewer breaches were reported.  The true total of breaches therefore remains unknown, and could be as high or higher than the year before.
  • Data breaches in 2020 reached an all-time high number of exposed records of more than 37 billion.
  • Fully 72% of data breaches affected large companies, with the remaining 28% impacting small businesses, proving that no one is completely safe from this phenomenon.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can help create an approach to cybersecurity coverage and data breach prevention that makes sense for your specific business or enterprise.  Contact them to learn more.

Copyright 2024 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Putting Responsibility for Risk Where It Makes the Most Sense

It only makes sense that the people closest to any given situation have the best ability to control it, protect it, or maintain it.  By that same logic, those same frontline people have the most riding on the ongoing safety of any variables impacting that situation.

Managing risk effectively, in other words, stands the best chance when those closest to the potential for risk take responsibility for it.  In the business world, this concept goes by the term contractual risk transfer.

This represents a legally binding way to transfer risk to the party that may be in the best position to control the risks related to the service to be provided.  It involves the use of contractual obligations, such as indemnity and exculpatory agreements, waivers of recovery rights, and “hold harmless” insurance requirements that pass along to others what would otherwise be one’s own risks of loss.

Most often, it means transferring the risk of injury or property damage caused by a company you hired – a subcontractor, vendor, or supplier, for instance – through a contract or insurance policy.  Say, for example, a commercial property tenant assumes the risk for keeping sidewalks clear, or an apartment complex transfers the risk of theft to a security company, or a subcontractor assumes the risk for work performed for a contractor on a property.

Contractual risk transfer actually benefits all parties involved.  The primary party can take comfort that the secondary party – the subcontractor or vendor – will carry out its responsibilities, since it has accepted responsibility for the risk.  Entering into these risk transfer agreements can also lower the cost of insurance for the primary party.

At the same time, the secondary party can benefit from agreeing to contractual risk transfers because it opens the door to increased business relationships and revenues – while also helping to ensure that its employees are well trained, diligent, and responsible.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can help you determine the viability, advantages, and details of entering into contractual risk transfer agreements, to put the responsibility of risk where it makes the most sense.  Contact them to learn more.

Copyright 2024 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.