16 Nov

Risk Insights: Reduce Your Exposures During Work Hours

Businesses host parties for a variety of reasons, including the holidays and organizational accomplishments. While these events are fun, team-building opportunities, they can create a number of risks for the hosting company. In fact, in the event that an employee is injured at the party or causes property damage, the employer is usually the one held responsible. This can lead to costly litigation and reputational harm that can affect a company for years.

To avoid major losses, it’s not only important for employers to secure the right insurance coverage for every individual risk, but to also have a thorough understanding of common holiday party exposures.

Alcohol

Anytime you provide alcohol to individuals in a non-commercial manner, you are considered a social host. This is important to note, as a social host may be responsible for the acts of their guests should their conduct create harm. These risks are compounded when alcohol is served, and employers may be liable for damages following a drunken driving accident or similar incident.

While the best way to reduce alcohol liability risks is to avoid serving it altogether, this isn’t always feasible. To promote the safety of your employees and guests at company-sponsored events, consider the following:

  • Hold the event off-site at a restaurant or hotel.
  • Provide plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the night.
  • Serve drinks to guests rather than offering a self-serve bar. Limit the amount of alcohol you will serve. Require servers to measure spirits.
  • Set up bar stations instead of having servers circulate the room. Place table tents at each bar that remind employees and guests to drink responsibly.
  • Don’t price alcohol too low, as it encourages overconsumption. Offer a range of low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks at no charge.
  • Close the bar an hour before the scheduled end of the party. Do not offer a “last call,” as this promotes rapid consumption.
  • Entice guests to take advantage of safe transportation options by subsidizing taxis or promoting a designated driver program.

Marijuana Consumption

Similar to alcohol use, marijuana and other drug consumption can directly affect the safety of your party guests. In fact, according to the most recent federal data, 44 percent of vehicle crash deaths can be linked to drug-impaired driving, up from 28 percent a decade earlier.

Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, many of which act directly on the body and brain. Individual sensitivity to marijuana can vary, but the general effects include the following:

  • Dizziness, drowsiness, light-headedness, fatigue, and headaches
  • Impaired memory, concentration and ability to make decisions
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Suspiciousness, nervousness, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations
  • Impaired motor skills and perception
  • Dry mouth, throat irritation, and coughing
  • Increased heartbeat

These health effects can last long after an employee smoked, increasing the potential for accidents or major health concerns. In addition, federal, state and local laws may prohibit marijuana use in certain areas, making it all the more important to educate employees on behavior expectations.

To keep your party guests safe and avoid any liability concerns, consider making clear rules for marijuana use at your party. Remind employees that even though they are at a social event, they are still attending a work function and workplace policies on the use of marijuana still apply.

Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

Even when holding company-sponsored events off-site, employers are expected to enforce their workplace policies and safeguard their employees. In particular, employers must pay extra care to prevent issues of harassment and discrimination at their events, as they can lead to employment claims and costly litigation.

To help keep employees safe at company parties, employers should ensure all of their policies related to harassment, violence, discrimination, and code of conduct are up to date and account for company-sponsored events. Policies should be specific as to what is and is not tolerated, and redistributed them as thoroughly as possible.

In addition, employers should:

  • Consider making the event a family party where employees can bring their spouse, significant other, children or a friend. This can help deter inappropriate behavior.
  • Keep event themes and decorations appropriate. Parties should be neutral and not make reference to specific religions or beliefs. In addition, plan your party on a day that does not conflict with religious holidays.
  • Consider having just one entrance to your party. This will allow you to control who enters the venue and ensure that uninvited guests do not attend.
  • Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior. Hire third-party security personnel as needed.
  • Avoid making attendance for company-sponsored events mandatory.

Food Exposures

Food is a staple of many company-sponsored events, and can actually be a useful way to keep party guest sober and limit alcohol-related liability (starchy foods can help reduce the absorption of alcohol). However, when serving food, there are a number of risks employers should consider.

For instance, employers need to be wary of potential food allergies. In the event that a guest gets sick from the food, they could sue the employer for negligence.

To help protect against this, employers should ask party guests to disclose any of their allergies, either in their RSVP or by contacting the event coordinator directly. In addition, you should specify what ingredients are in every food item, both on the menu and on display cards near the food itself.

For added protection against illnesses, it’s critical that employers promote safe food preparation and handling practices. Moreover, when working with a third-party provider, employers should do their due diligence to ensure they are securing reputable vendors.

Property Damage

Property damage can occur at just about any kind of party, even small, company-sponsored events. As the host, it’s your job to ensure your guests remain safe, behave appropriately and respect the venue and its contents.

To do so, employers should:

  • Set behavior expectations before the party.
  • Have supervisors and managers chaperone the event, looking closely for inappropriate behavior. Hire third-party security personnel as needed.
  • Remove valuable items from the party area wherever possible. Make sure any areas that you don’t want guests to enter are locked, roped off or secured in some way.
  • Review your liability insurance and know what it covers.
  • Ensure the venue is equipped to handle the number of individuals invited to the party.

Secure the Coverage You Need in Advance

Even if you take all the appropriate precautions, incidents can still occur. As such, it’s important for all organizations to secure adequate insurance.

Each business is different and may require additional policies to account for all of their exposures. Contact Truss, LLC today to learn about your coverage options when it comes to hosting a party.

Risk Insights – Reduce Your Exposures During Work Events

02 May

May TrussConnect Newsletter

Congratulations Paul Cohen!
Ingram’s Magazine 40 Under Forty Class of 2018

IRS Reverses Changes to 2018 HSA Family Contribution Limits

On April 26, 2018 the IRS announced relief for taxpayers with family coverage under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) who contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA). For 2018, taxpayers with family coverage under an HDHP may treat $6,900 as the maximum deductible HSA contribution.

A change in the inflation adjustment calculations for 2018 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, reduced the maximum deductible HSA contribution for taxpayers with family coverage under an HDHP by $50, to $6,850 (announced March 5, 2018).
Revenue Procedure 2018-27 announces this relief for affected taxpayers and allows the $6,900 limitation to remain in effect for 2018. The $6,900 annual limitation was originally published in Revenue Procedure 2017-37.

For more information, please see the IRS News Release.

Have questions? Contact your advisor today: 913.341.8998

Transitional Relief Extended Again

On April 9, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHA) extended transitional relief plans through December 2019. Transitional relief applies to plans that existed before healthcare reform, and that have been allowed to continue without meeting all the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.

For employers, this may allow them to retain plans that are less expensive than ACA compliant plans which utilize uniform rating methodology and are not subject to health underwriting.

Complete details from insurance carriers have not yet been received, but we anticipate all will allow employers the option to continue their transitional relief plans.

For more information the HHS issued this Final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) for 2019, as well as a press release offering a brief summary of the regulations.

Have questions? Contact your advisor today: 913.341.8998

Infographic: Six Secrets of Injury-Free Workplaces
Provided by Missouri Employers Mutual 

01 May

Truss’ May Champion of the Month

Congratulations Sharon Reeves on this well deserved recognition!!

 

Each month a Truss associate will be selec ted as our “Champion of the Month” by our team of Producers. Those selected live the Truss Pledge each and everyday and show exemplary dedication and service to the organization.

16 Apr

Truss Alert: Transitional Relief Extended Again

On April 9, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHA) extended transitional relief plans through December 2019. Transitional relief applies to plans that existed before healthcare reform, and that have been allowed to continue without meeting all the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.

For employers, this may allow them to retain plans that are less expensive than ACA compliant plans which utilize uniform rating methodology and are not subject to health underwriting.

Complete details from insurance carriers have not yet been received, but we anticipate all will allow employers the option to continue their transitional relief plans.

We will continue to alert you to any details as they emerge.

For more information the HHS issued this Final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) for 2019, as well as a press release offering a brief summary of the regulations.

Have questions? Contact your advisor today: 913.341.8998

16 Apr

Congratulations Paul Cohen!

Congratulations to Truss LLC VP Paul Cohen for being recognized by Ingram’s Magazine in the 40 Under Forty Class of 2018! Thank you for your dedication to Truss and the Kansas City Community!

(Photo credit: Strauss Peyton)

 

 

02 Apr

REAL MEDIA FEATURED CEO STEVE NICHOLSON IN LINKEDIN BUSINESS SERIES

Real Media LLC recently introduced a new LinkedIn business series called “Real Talk.” Joel Goldberg hosts KC Metro CEOs, Business Owners, Thought Leaders and Influencers to talk about what they do, how they do it, and what they are doing in our community. We are proud to be a part of this new series and our CEO Steve Nicholson was featured in the first episode. Check-out Real Media’s LinkedIn page for updates, clips, and future guests! These area leaders are great people doing great things!

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6382706713233096706

02 Apr

In Case You Missed It: TRUSSU Webinar: Preventing Harassment and Discrimination

This free webinar discusses the “why” and “how” of preventing and responding to all instances of discrimination and harassment in your organization.

You’ll learn what the EEOC considers an effective program of prevention, training, and response. You’ll also learn about training options available for consideration. Finally, you’ll get practical instruction into how to conduct your own internal investigations in response to a complaint of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. The recorded webinar is available here: https://trussadvantage.wistia.com/medias/g6cnrl2mz0

30 Mar

April 2018 TrussConnect

TrussConnectBanner4Pardot

Real Media Featured CEO Steve Nicholson in LinkedIn Business Series

Real Media LLC recently introduced a new LinkedIn business series called “Real Talk.” Joel Goldberg hosts KC Metro CEOs, Business Owners, Thought Leaders and Influencers to talk about what they do, how they do it, and what they are doing in our community. We are proud to be a part of this new series and our CEO Steve Nicholson was featured in the first episode. Check-out Real Media’s LinkedIn page for updates, clips, and future guests! These area leaders are great people doing great things!

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6382706713233096706

In Case You Missed It:
TrussU Webinar: Preventing Harassment and Discrimination

This free webinar discusses the “why” and “how” of preventing and responding to all instances of discrimination and harassment in your organization.

You’ll learn what the EEOC considers an effective program of prevention, training, and response. You’ll also learn about training options available for consideration. Finally, you’ll get practical instruction into how to conduct your own internal investigations in response to a complaint of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. The recorded webinar is available here: https://trussadvantage.wistia.com/medias/g6cnrl2mz0

Join the Two West 4.01K Race! (Insert flyer attached)

We invite you to join our friends at Two West in supporting Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City by participating in the 4.01K Race for Financial Fitness-Virtual Edition. This fitness challenge event is a great way to log the workouts you were already going to do from April 2 – 19 and compete against others in your peer group. Or it’s a great reason to start working out!

As a sponsor of this event, Two West will make a contribution to Junior Achievement for each friend of Two West that signs up. There are a limited number of free entries so register today! Deadline to register is April 2. www.racery.com/r/401k-race-financial-fitness-virtual-edition/

Join us! Here are a few of our upcoming webinars

April 19, 2018: Investing in your Portfolio presented by Two West Advisors
Our financial education webinars are designed to help you make that plan.

May 2, 2018: A Fiduciary’s Approach to Investments Edition presented by Two West Advisors

Understand the fiduciary implications of investment selection, follow best practices, and maximize participant outcomes.