Human Resources Description

BEST PRACTICES FOR INTAKE AND ONBOARDING

Simplifying paperwork, avoiding liability, and more best practices for today’s hiring climate.

Nina “Nine” De Forge, Agency Relations Manager, TEAM Software by WorkWave

Between employment contracts, payroll and benefits forms, handbooks and standard operating procedure information, and emergency contact forms (to name a few), the onboarding process of a newly hired officer can be time consuming. Add into the mix the ongoing challenges of hidden turnover, where new hires leave during or soon after onboarding (or, never report for their first day of training), and your HR teams are bound to feel like they’re climbing an uphill battle.

The good news is there are some best practices your team can put in place to ease the process.

1. Simplify paperwork. Much like asking too many unnecessary questions during the hiring process can deter job candidates in a tight labor market, the sheer volume of onboarding paperwork can overwhelm your new hires. If you’re still collecting onboarding documentation manually, with managers collecting physical copies of documents in the field or via unsecured email processes, you’re well aware of just how hard it can be to finalize an employee’s paperwork prior to importing into their employee master file.

Automating onboarding processes speeds up the process, and reduces the number of errors that can occur during otherwise manual documentation and processing. (Plus, it gives you the option to securely store documentation digitally, so you don’t have to maintain countless filing cabinets.)

2. Use the most updated, necessary intake forms. Reducing the amount of paperwork your team needs to collect isn’t always an option, as certain documents are required by the government or corporate policies.

For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently modified several standard forms to fully implement a nonbinary ‘X’ gender marker in addition to male and female indicators and an ‘Mx’ in the selection of prefixes. This change was made to help support nonbinary employees in the workplace. These forms are typically required of businesses with 100 or more employees (or federal contractors with at least 50 employees). Look for updates in your software solution to help support this change and decrease your company’s risk of liability. (For example, TEAM Software is already working on a user interface that will support the nonbinary gender marker in this format.)

3. Don’t forget about making onboarding easy on both sides. At TEAM’s recent annual client conference, a client said this, and it bears repeating: 

“Onboarding should be quick and easy. It has to be easy for the employee, so you can get them on the job and on the path towards retention, faster. But, it also has to be easy on the company.” 

Onboarding is an inherently complex task, with moving parts that involve not only HR, but finance, IT, operations and more. Add in typical security industry employee turnover percentages and amplified repercussions still being felt by the labor market, and this could very easily be a recipe for burnout. By establishing clear, concise processes, taking advantage of self-service options when you can, and leaning into automation, the administrative side of onboarding will reap the benefits of a streamlined workflow.

Nina De Forge joined the team in 2017 and is the Agency Relations Manager. Nina, also known as “9,” has been working with human resources, payroll and tax compliance since the 1980s and has a broad range of experience across each discipline. She is an active member of many industry organizations, including the IRS Information Reporting Advisory Committee and its Nationwide E-Filer’s National Focus Group, the Canadian Payroll Association, the Society for Human Resource Management and the International Association for Human Resource Information Management. She is a published author in the book American Payroll Association Basic Guide to Payroll. Outside of her career work, Nina is a hobby photographer.

 

THREE TIPS TO REDUCE OVERTIME, NOW. 

Plus: Things to keep in mind when dealing with overtime during a labor shortage.

Gail Tutt, TEAM Software by WorkWave

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the best way to reduce overtime is to stop it before it starts. It’s a little cliché, especially when overtime (and, unfortunately, non-billable overtime) is an inherent part of the security industry. Still, there are several tactics you can use to get a handle on overtime and manage labor costs. 

1. Know your service-level agreements. This doesn’t just mean at the executive level. Because SLAs dictate the service standards and pricing obligations you’re required to deliver to your customers, it’s imperative that any employee who is involved in managing your company’s scheduling is well versed in bill and pay rates by contract. By ensuring understanding in all scheduling roles, you can prevent costly mistakes (like wage creep, which can occur in a variety of scenarios, but especially when officers are scheduled for overtime shifts outside of the scope of what’s budgeted per job.) 

By knowing your SLAs inside and out, your company is also setting up the foundation for best practices in job costing. With industry-specific software solutions to assist in the heavy lifting of tracking and analyzing job performance, you can see at a glance which jobs are lending themselves to your profit margins, and which are under performing.

2. Don’t forget about compliance. In some cases, there’s no way around scheduling overtime without compromising your compliance with state and federal labor law regulations and overtime rules. In our industry, there are compliance risks posed from misclassification, recordkeeping and other hour and wage-related activities that can turn your timekeeping and overtime tracking into a headache. Earlier this year, even, this entity reported a wage settlement (with waiting time penalties) due to an upheld ruling alleging an employer failed to include meal period premiums on wage statements. A different case in 2021 found the California Supreme Court upholding that employers are required to pay meal and rest break violation premiums at the same rate as when paying overtime. Translation: these costs add up quickly.

While many integrated workforce management solutions don’t track compliance for you, they do provide tools to more easily prove compliance. Look for feature sets which include things like time and attendance (including punch times), scheduling, regulation monitoring and reporting to gain well-rounded visibility into your compliance.  

3. Become friends with your data. This point is straightforward: dig into your data early on in your scheduling process. In available TEAM solutions, we recommend including criteria like parameter searches for available guards that fit within the bill rate specified per job. That way, your schedulers will only be able to assign officers to shifts whose rate fits the given budget (see our first point).

Often, we find companies can implement at least one of these tips to help prevent and improve overtime. But we also recognize that the current labor market throws a new wrench into the mix. When it’s hard to find officers to fill shifts in general, of course it becomes more likely for regular shifts to turn into overtime to stay on top of SLAs. While there’s no easy answer, it’s possible resolving this particular overtime challenge can be addressed by refocusing on retention.

Start by taking a few steps back to analyze what your voluntary separations look like. Are officers leaving for higher hourly rates or benefits? Or are they leaving for more flexibility in their schedules? Maybe they’re pivoting careers into adjacent industries or taking even bigger leaps into entirely new verticals. The common theme of all these scenarios is that it is likely not a separation on bad terms. This could be an opportunity to think outside the box in the form of a self-scheduling program. This way, employees stay in your employee management system (as part-time or ad hoc employees) and can pick up shifts based on when they want to work (even if they are employed elsewhere). While it may not work for everyone, it is an interesting tactic to reduce overtime needs while increasing employee retention.

It’s hard to theorize if there will ever be a world without overtime in some capacity. But, there are steps you can take to improve this metric now. See how at teamsoftware.com

Gail has spent over 35 years in the private sector as a senior level finance and operations manager across multiple industry. Most recently CFO of a regional security company in San Jose, CA, Gail now works providing invaluable insight and expertise as a business consultant with TEAM Software.  Her hobbies include breeding and showing standard wirehair dachshunds, hiking and spending time with her family.

SPRING CLEANING: THERE’S NO BETTER TIME FOR YOUR NEXT HR AUDIT

Anne Laguzza, The Works Consulting, Network Partner

As a California business owner, you may have jumped for joy at the start of the year when you realized there were significantly fewer changes to employment legislation than in previous years. If you’re with the majority, you probably did a quick update to your policies and procedures, and then filed them away until next year. 

Just as I did with my clients, I’d like to encourage you to use this unusual gift to your advantage. It’s time for a bit of spring cleaning! Remember, legal compliance is only one part of your human resources practice. Fewer new laws means more breathing room for California employers and, therefore, the ability to more clearly look at the other aspects of your business that may need to undergo some optimization. 

That’s where an HR audit comes in to play.

The security industry—like many other industries today—is grappling with maintaining a strong and consistent workforce. As such, there is absolutely no better time to conduct a comprehensive HR audit to bolster your competitive advantage while doing a bit of risk mitigation that will help you down the road. With new jobs popping up regularly, your human resources practices are operating at a rapid pace that may result in errors and, potentially, legal consequences. It’s important to take the opportunity now to make sure that you’re set up to do the right thing, every time.

If you’ve never conducted this kind of audit, or it’s been awhile since you last did, here’s my guide to making sure it helps your business for years to come.

What is an HR Audit?

Let’s start with the basics—an HR audit takes a formal inventory of your company’s practices from hiring to termination of employment. This includes reviewing and optimizing any outdated or ineffective processes, procedures or company policies. The intent of an HR audit is not necessarily to determine what you are doing wrong, but instead, to understand what is going well and could be even better. 

An HR audit is meant to serve as the first step in aligning human resources operations with the strategic goals of your organization.

When was the last time you reviewed your organization’s wage statement? New hire forms? Leave of absence process? Job classifications? Benefits packages?

Everything that governs your employees fits under the umbrella of what can and should be included in an HR audit.

Who should be conducting my HR audit?

If you have an HR department or dedicated HR professional, it’s important that someone outside of your HR team lead and oversee the process. This ensures that organizations maintain checks and balances with an objective, second set of eyes managing the audit process. This can be someone from a different department within your organization who has the knowledge and experience to review the details.

For organizations that don’t have the internal support required to keep the process objective, an external HR consultant can be a great candidate to help facilitate the audit. Most importantly, this person should deeply understand your industry and the unique challenges that you face every day. Furthermore, there’s a lot to know about conducting a well-functioning business in California specifically, so an HR consultant ingrained in the region is going to be your best bet.

What are the main components of an HR audit?

A successful HR audit will take into thoughtful consideration the distinctive aspects of the company and its practices. However, there are some common threads that will benefit any organization. Fundamentally, an HR audit will consider:

  • How are people coming into the company? 
  • How are people operating within the company? 
  • How are people leaving the company?

For the security industry, in particular, I recommend my clients take a close look at the following aspects of their HR practices:

  1. Talent Acquisition and Orientation – This should encompass your recruiting, hiring and new hire training processes, including employment applications as well as interviewing and selection protocols.
  2. Compensation and Benefits Administration – This portion of your audit will review everything from job classifications to rest and meal periods, cell phone allowances and leaves of absence.
  3. Training and Development – For the security industry, this is a significant component of any HR audit, including a review of required training, both for armed and unarmed officers.
  4. Communication and Employee Retention – This will include a review of any employee recognition programs as well as protocols for performance feedback and methods of maintaining company culture.
  5. Document Review – Any HR audit should take into consideration the company’s existing employee paperwork, updating any items that are outdated or inconsistent with the company’s current practices.
  6. Employee Files – As an offshoot of document review, I also recommend that companies review a sampling of their employee files (electronic or paper) to ensure that they are organized, up-to-date and that information is easily accessible.
  7. Termination of Employment – This includes a review of the processes surrounding termination of employment to ensure that the company is in compliance with current final paycheck requirements and protocols for offboarding an employee.

For the majority of employers, I recommend that the HR audit process start with a thorough review of the current version of the company’s Employee Handbook. The Employee Handbook is an important document to keep current and ensure that your practices match your policies. This is always a good baseline to determine if anything is missing, incomplete or in need of improvement.

With all of these tips in mind, you’re ready to go forth and conquer your company’s 2022 HR Audit!

 

Anne Laguzza is the CEO of The Works Consulting, a CALSAGA Network Partner. As a seasoned business executive with human resources management, leadership development, and performance coaching experience, Anne works with clients from a variety of industries to develop better systems, maximize employee productivity, and enable management to focus on business growth. For more information, check out theworksconsulting.com or email anne@theworksconsulting.com. You can also find Anne on Instagram and LinkedIn.

POSITIONING YOURSELF AS AN EMPLOYER OF CHOICE

Jeff Davis, Group Vice President, Solution Sales, WorkWave

It comes as no surprise that hiring (and retention) is still a hot topic in the security industry. While there’s no magic answer to overcoming the challenges of today’s competitive market, we know the key to attracting talent is to position yourself as an employer of choice. There are the obvious variables you should consider when making your open positions competitive (like wages and benefits, for example). The other part of that strategy is making sure the right applicants know who you are, or how to find out more about you.

That’s easier said than done. You can post an opening to a job board and post about it on your website or social media, but that’s only the first step in becoming more visible. You need to make sure that job seekers can find you, they can understand your website, and the information you’re presenting is clear. To achieve those things, you need to start thinking like a marketer. 

Start by comparing a traditional recruitment funnel against a traditional marketing funnel. They really aren’t all that different, especially in the beginning stages. Awareness is at the top of each process and where you have the most opportunity to position yourself as an employer of choice. This is your first touch point with potential job candidates and the stage where you can set the framework for the quantity and quality of your candidate leads. To improve awareness, think about: 

  • Improving your SEO. To those outside the marketing field, SEO may sound daunting, but it’s a readily available tool you can draw on to make your company — and website — more “findable” by job seekers. Using what you can find from SEO, you can add keywords to job descriptions, organic and paid ads, blog posts and webpages to help increase visibility where you need it. 
  • Expanding your content. Don’t only think about job postings and descriptions when your goal is hiring (although those are important, too.) Think about your overall brand. Are you demonstrating your company’s values, or highlighting reasons why someone would want to choose you as a place of employment over a competitor? Think about how you’re showing these things. Can you highlight testimonials from current employees? Can you demonstrate a walk-through of a “day in the life” of what the open position would require? Be accurate (while also being conscious of not sharing any information from your clients or contracts) and take what you find to the applicant directly — whether that’s social media, job boards, or traditional in-person recruitment events.

Gain more marketing advice and other best practices based on current industry trends.

After you’ve begun engaging with a pool of potential job applicants, then you can start narrowing your focus on the middle and end stages of the hiring funnel. Plan to dedicate real time to job descriptions and listings. 

Pro tip: Familiarize yourself with the rules of specific job boards. Some will remove your job listings if you ask certain information, like age or background checks. If that criterion is required for your screening process, make sure you’re including the qualifying criteria as required responses in your applicant tracking and hiring system.

In your job listings themselves, don’t be limited by wage and benefit information. Can you offer jobs that are more convenient to an applicant based on proximity to residence? Are you able to offer shift flexibility, a hiring bonus, or a guaranteed bonus after a certain period on the job? Even if it’s seemingly small, any detail can set you apart in the market — especially as job flexibility becomes a bigger consideration for today’s job seekers. Just make sure you’re being accurate. Remember, the goal should be to attract quality applicants, not quantity.

Marketing is a crucial step in staying ahead of the competition in a tight labor market. If you’re looking for help in website design, SEO or other opportunities to improve your recruitment marketing, TEAM Software by WorkWave can help. 

For the last 20 years, Jeff has focused on technology, working in sales and marketing to executive leadership, with five years specializing in human resources technology. Within his leadership role at WorkWave, which acquired TEAM Software in 2021, Jeff serves as a subject matter expert delivering marketing and service solutions to service contractors worldwide.

 

WOMEN, SECURITY AND COVID-19

Ashlee Cervantes, Guard Protection Force & CALSAGA Board Member

 

How recently have you reviewed your internal Security Officer statistics? Do you know the percentage of women versus men on your team? Now you may be thinking,

“Why does it matter? I hire the most qualified person for the job.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this perspective, I also know that numbers never lie. There’s an entire story they represent and if we listen there’s much to be learned from the stories these numbers can reveal.

 

As a security professional I am sure you’re already aware of the inherit value women bring to your workforce. Nonetheless, here are just a few of the critical components that highlight the essential need for a multicultural and diverse workforce now more than ever:

  1. According to Security Magazine, security is one of the fastest-growing professional careers worldwide. Not that I need to tell you this – just speak with your sales and recruitment teams. When you strategize to target and retain female talent you open doors to exacerbate talent growth.
  2. The issues our clients are facing have evolved over the past 20 years and now require a collaborative, diverse team to address these (literal) life and death problems. Research continues to indicate the more diverse your team – the better the results. Women strategize and think differently than our male counterparts. We tend to naturally leverage empathy, effective communication and emotional intelligence to problem solve and effectively mitigate difficult situations.
  3. Lastly, when it comes to boots on the ground operations we’ve all heard women are simply better shooters than men. Now, I am using this idea to be facetious but there is a relevant point to deliver here: women have much to bring to the table from an operational perspective as well. One theory explains, “that yes, women are better shooters, and [this] theory is that it’s because women listen to their instructors instead of trying to one-up them” Tactically women have many qualities, especially those highlighted by this point, we are keen listeners and observationists.

 

Now we’ve covered at least a few of the critical components as to why you need women on your security team. So go ahead and review your own internal statistics and let’s talk about what you find …

Scenario I: Perhaps you found that your internal statistics reflect those of the industry nationally: 25% of security officers in the US are women . While this scenario means your company stacks up positively against the national numbers, we’ll still want to revisit how as an industry we can grow those numbers in general.

Scenario II: Let’s explore another possibility. What if you review your employee statistics and find that you are at or even exceed 25% of women in your workforce, but only when you include administrative staff. While this isn’t bad news, I’d caution you against celebrating your diverse workforce just yet.

By design administrative teams are critically different than our security officer roles. And remember, the national statistic indicates that 25% of all security officers are women, so that’s what we want to measure ourselves against.

Scenario III: Let’s explore a final possibility. what if you fall short of the national average? In this scenario you review your internal security officer profiles and come to find that your organization currently employ less than 25% women in the field.

 

First things first; don’t panic.

A great place to start is to reflect on your company history. If 2022 reflects less than 25% of your security officers are women, what did 2021 look like? And 2020? Even more importantly, what about 2018 & 2019? Here is why this is critical information: we know that COVID-19 has critically impacted women in the workplace across industries).

In this scenario the goal will be to understand where those women went across the span of the last three years. Your internal exit interviews are a great place to start. Your exit interviews should give you insight into why former employees have left and where they went. Digging into those details will help you understand how to better accommodate and attract women to your workforce going forward, and particularly in a COVID world.

In closing, we’ve addressed the critical components a diverse workforce bring to your organization, clients and our industry as a whole. Then we analyzed why you need to know your own numbers and understand where you fall. I outlined three scenarios and possibilities to frame those numbers, but know that it is okay if you don’t fit in a particular box.

There is much work to be done, but awareness of the critical value women bring to the security industry is the very first step.

Ashlee Cervantes holds her Masters in Business Administration from University of California, Davis. She is a seasoned security professional, with over a decade of management experience overseeing teams who specialize in Armed Security and Executive Protection. She is based in Northern California where she serves as the Executive Director of Operations with Guardian Protection Force Inc (GPF). Since 2019 she has served as the Northern California Director of CALSAGA. In her time in the industry Ashlee has grown both teams of security professionals, management and revenues four-fold. 

RETAINING EMPLOYEES IN THE AGE OF EARNED WAGE ACCESS

Jeff Davis,  TEAM Software, Network Partner

Let’s set the stage: it’s 2022. The labor market is still volatile. The number of unemployed persons per job opening is at a record low. We’re hearing leaders in the industry express frustrations about meeting service demands while battling staffing shortages. Retention is (or should be) a key metric in the longevity of your hiring strategies. 

Enter: the age of earned wage access. 

Earned wage access programs are when employers give employees access to their earned wages, even if that request comes before a regular payday. This on-demand pay model is changing the payroll landscape, where alternatives could be pushing your employees to salary lenders (and the accompanying interest) when short-term cash flow needs arise. As an employer, you could be offering a similar source of cash flow and reap the benefit of increased officer retention. 

Before we dive too deeply into the top, let me say this: early wage access programs shouldn’t add processes (or associated costs) to your existing payroll procedures. Most financial wellness programs are built so all the extra work associated with getting your employees’ earned wages to them early happens outside of your current processes. 

How? Typically, an employee pays a small fee to access earned pay on demand. They can do this down to the day, with balances updating after each shift worked. When the program includes a paycheck advance app, employees can gain access to funds even faster, no matter where they are. 

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of implementing an on-demand pay model into your business, consider these study-proven benefits

  1. Companies have seen reductions in turnover as high as 90%.
  2. Companies experience decreases in hiring costs related to turnover (a number that has been reported to averaging at least $4,000 per hire). 
  3. Companies have seen increased interest from job applicants. (Plus, consider this: as an early adopter to on-demand pay programs, your job postings have one more way of standing apart from the competition and their benefits packages.)
  4. Employees have reported decreases in finance-related stress (improving employee experience and financial well-being, and productivity on the ops side of your business).

In short, an early paycheck program could be just what you need to strengthen your employee retention strategy and keep your contracts staffed. 

If this is an avenue you’re interested in exploring, start by evaluating the interest of early paycheck access within your workforce. And, know not all programs are created equal. At TEAM, we partner with different providers regionally to make earned wage access even easier, but it’s important to talk to your own legal team to ensure the providers you’re partnering with are adhering to all necessary wage laws and compliance requirements. No financial risk should fall to your company. 

Once you’ve got a system up and rolling, measure metrics like employee satisfaction, retention and turnover. Gauge any new applicant volume and adjust accordingly. As you do, don’t forget about your other hiring and retention strategies to hire (and keep) your staff. 

 

Jeff Davis was president of Kwantek, a recruiting and onboarding software provider acquired by TEAM Software, the leading provider of integrated financial, operations and workforce management software for cleaning and security contractors, in 2020. Since joining TEAM, Jeff is the VP of Strategic Growth North America, acting as a subject matter expert and thought leader for TEAM in the security and cleaning industries and assisting with global sales and marketing initiatives. For the last 20 years, Jeff has focused on technology, working in sales and marketing to executive leadership, with four years specializing in human resources technology. He has an MBA focusing on Information Systems from Tennessee Tech and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Louisville.

AN INSURANCE GUIDE: THE MINDSET OF AN UNDERWRITER IN THE PRIVATE SECURITY INDUSTRY

Blair Brownyard, Brownyard Programs

To the business world, insurance is a necessary evil. However, with insurance costs increasing each year, many security companies would go naked, if their clients didn’t insist that they carry insurance. No doubt after your latest renewal increase, this seems like a reasonable proposition. To minimize your next rate increase, here is the mindset of an insurance underwriter who is asked to underwrite and price the liability insurance of a private security company.

With most products, you know what the cost is when they are sold. Not so with insurance products; an insurance company doesn’t know how much their product costs until 5-10 years after they have sold it. And that’s why the pricing of liability insurance is so unpredictable. To give themselves an edge in predicting how much they pay in claims versus how much they received in premiums, insurance companies develop underwriting guidelines/criteria/signposts, which are supposed to help them determine the probability of losses with a specific type of insured to help them make a profit. The four basics of underwriting guidelines are:

  • Prior Loss/Claim Experience
  • Type of Operations
  • Company Management and Sophistication
  • Contract Language
  1. Prior Loss/Claim Experience

This is one of the most critical elements in underwriting a company. Review your current claims through your insurance broker and be aware of your current claim expenses and reserves annually. A poor claim history has a big impact on your premium costs. A poor claim history is due to a number of factors, some of which can be avoided based on the factors below.

  1. Types of Operations

Different clients will bring different risk to your company because many types of operations have historically brought more likelihood of claims. Your large contract with a fast food chain could be enticing for the money but may result in adverse loss experience and a higher insurance premium. Conversely, a gated community client may help reduce your underwriting factors to the carrier, thus decreasing your premiums. Here is a general list of high risk operations that create higher than average premiums. The locations of these operations are also a big factor – the higher the crime in the area, the higher the risk:

  • Anywhere alcohol is served or sold
  • Crowd control at stadiums, events, or concerts
  • Low-income housing
  • Fast food chains
  • Schools
  • Movie Theaters or Malls
  1. Company Management and Sophistication

Underwriting will typically look at a number of factors relating to how well the company is run from a management perspective. Here are three items that help decide how well the company operates.

Screening, Training, and Supervision

Insurance companies look to the business practice of a company in their requirements for education, training, and supervision of employees. This varies across states and the industry as a whole. The 2018 28-member ASIS standards and guidelines commission has decided there would only be guidelines suggested within the industry and not a set industry standard for all to achieve. With regard to underwriting, underwriters will still look for the highest required guidelines in the industry and rate the company to those suggested guidelines.

Pay Scale and Benefits Given to Employees

Offering higher pay attracts higher qualified, better trained applicants. This translates to smarter, more qualified employees who perform better. And if the company provides health, life, or pension/profit sharing plans, this makes for a more satisfied and healthier employee who is less likely to act negligently or file frivolous workers comp or employee practices claims.

What is the Education/Background of the Principals

Experience in private security, law enforcement, or military, etc. as well as involvement in security management training through organizations like ASIS International or other business programs are positive impacts on the operations of the company and show underwriters an ability of management to overcome obstacles.

  1. Contract Language

Insurance companies may look at your contracts to see how you are protecting yourself in the event of a claim. Unfortunately, your Clients, the Public, and sometimes even the courts think guard companies are deep pockets to cover losses in the event of personal injury. This is attempted by clients in two ways:

  • Indemnification Agreements
  • Additional Insured language

INDEMNIFICATION AGREEMENTS

In construction or service contracts, a hold-harmless or indemnity agreement will be included in the general contractor’s contract to the subcontractor. In order for your security company to limit claim expense and payments, the clause should not include the liability and mistakes of anyone except your own employees. The larger property managers/owners force many broad form indemnity agreements on the security companies for a deep pocket in the event of any accidents on premises. The good news in California is that an indemnity clause for your client’s sole or willful acts is void by public policy. However, be aware, many will still try to pass it through in their contracts.

Additional Insured LANGUAGE

Closely related to indemnity agreements discussed above, additional insured endorsements are used to increase the obligation of your company to defend and indemnify the owner. This indemnity is usually confirmed to them by a certificate of insurance. Your underwriter will be asked to approve additional insured endorsements for many companies by contract. But as parties requested have less and less relation to the contract, the underwriter will likely question the need for such an endorsement. Any additional insured and indemnity requests need to be scrutinized here to limit the exposure for claims. Like all contracts and RFPs, it is advised to have counsel review these clauses to ensure your client is not trying to shift a disproportionate amount of risk to your company.

 

All factors discussed above are the basics for all underwriting in the security industry. Many might dive deeper into data on location of operations or screening processes. And many might try to look at seemingly unrelated issues. This is all part of the investigative process to ensure the risk is being adequately evaluated for claim potential. This is not an exact science, maybe someday we will have exact predictions of claims, but we are not there yet. It is important to note that security risks are high-severity risks and not high-frequency; e.g. many companies can go decades without one liability claim and then get hit with a monster claim. That is the nature of a security risk; a very unpredictable nature. For now, the underwriting process is a moving target for all carriers, and security companies will be best served by building a trusting, open relationship with a reliable carrier who truly understands their industry.

 

Blair Brownyard has been the VP of Brownyard Programs, Ltd. and has worked exclusively with the security industry for the past 8 years. He has a J.D. from Touro Law in Central Islip, NY. Brownyard Programs, Ltd. has underwritten the security industry for the past 25 years and was purchased by Crum & Forster Insurance in 2015 to join forces with the other oldest name in security insurance, CoverX Specialty. Together, Brownyard Programs and the experienced team rebranded as Crum & Forster Specialty, have a suite of innovative products and services to grow with the security industry into the next generation.

This information contained herein is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be a representation of coverage that may exist in any particular situation under a policy issued by one of the companies within Crum & Forster. All conditions of coverage, terms, and limitations are defined and provided for in the policy. This information is intended for use as a guideline and is not intended as, nor does it constitute, legal or professional advice. In no event will Crum & Forster or any of its affiliates be liable in any manner to anyone who has access to or uses this information.

2019 Workers Compensation – The First $250 of Every Claim Is Excluded

Shaun Kelly, Tolman and Wiker

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Employers in California will be receiving some relief on their Workers Compensation Experience Modifications in 2019. The Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) will be eliminating the first $250 of each claim, before the calculation of an employers’ experience modification in 2019.

The rationale behind the change is as follows:

  •   Increase the reporting of all claims (Including First Aid) to obtain credible information on injury and accident experience.

  •   Eliminate disincentives to reporting claims which will enable insurance carriers to improve their ability to manage claims.

  •   Improve healthcare to employees, by giving employers an incentive to file first aid claims.

  •   The change will benefit the employer by lowering their experience modification, however the effect overall will be modest for employers. So, please do not expect significant reductions.

Here are some “Frequently Asked Questions” that were published on the WCIRB website regarding the change:

How does the $250 loss exclusion work? Under California’s Experience Rating Plan only the amount of each of your claims, up to your primary threshold, is used in the experience modification computation. With the $250 loss exclusion, that amount is reduced by $250. For example, if you have a $10,000 primary threshold and a single claim of $5,000. The amount used in the experience modification computation is $4,750. If you have a single claim of $15,000 the amount used in the experience modification computation is your primary threshold ($10,000) less $250, or $9,750.

Is the first $250 excluded from all claims? Yes, any claim incurred against policies incepting during the experience period for your 2019 experience modification, which include 2015, 2016 and 2017 policies, will be used in the experience modification computation at $250 less than its reporting value.

What if I file a claim that’s valued at $250 or less? A claim with a reporting value of $250 or less will continue to be shown on the experience modification worksheet, but will not be used in any way in the experience modification calculation.

How this will affect each employer individually will depend on how many claims are incurred during the experience period (3 years) used for the experience modification calculation.

The WCIRB will be monitoring the $250 value that is being used and will adjust in subsequent years for inflation.

If you would like more information on how this change will affect you or how the Workers Compensation Experience Rating Plan works, please do not hesitate to call.

 

 

Shaun Kelly joined Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services in 2005.  He specializes in all lines of property and casualty insurance for industries including contract security firms, agriculture, construction, oil and gas. Shaun received a BS in Business Administration with a major in Finance from California State University in Fresno, California. He is an active member of several industry associations, including the Association CALSAGA, the Kern County Builders Exchange and the Independent Insurance Agents of Kern County. Shaun can be reached at 661-616-4700 or skelly@tolmanandwiker.com.