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Archive for October 2010

Continued over-regulation of WC by states to control inter-state commerce

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Massachusetts has joined NY in requiring line 3A coverage for MA under the Workers Compensation Insurance policies of businesses that are not domiciled in MA. Here’s the requirement.

• The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) is now requiring any business domiciled in another state, but needing a license or permit for work in Massachusetts, to obtain either a completed Form 154 or have Massachusetts added to item 3.A. on their Workers Compensation Information Page

You really want to get line 3 coverage because form 154 is a complicated mess. To quote Peerless Insurance, they will not assist in filling out form 154 because, “Due to the complexities and logistics of executing Form 154, Peerless is not able to assume this responsibility. It appears discussions are underway to modify this new requirement; however, we do not have any additional details at this time. ”

It can be argued that this is less onerous than the equivalent bulletin from NY. However, there are penalties to back this up so make sure you add MA as a named state on line 3A of your Workers Comp policy if there is any chance you will do any work of any kind in MA.

As with the NY requirement, this is something that the neighboring states will come to understand. But how is a contractor (and that doesn’t mean building trades alone) from two states aways supposed to know that he or she needs to worry about this upon taking on a job in MA or NY?

Social media liability risks

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Here are some comments from Travelers Insurance. For more info, check www.gbwinsurance.com
“Uncontrolled Messaging From Three Directions
Today, many companies see social media as a valuable component of their marketing strategy. Some use it to spread the word about new products, keep in touch with existing customers and promote awareness of the company’s brand.
Social media sites, however, are also an uncontrolled environment where a company’s employees, customers and competitors can say just about anything they want. That may lead to liability, as these three examples illustrate: • An employee brags about his involvement with a new
celebrity customer, inadvertently releasing information that jeopardizes the business relationship and the celebrity’s publicity rights.
• A customer posts an angry outburst about a company’s product. Someone from the company responds, and the comments are later cited in the product liability suit filed by the customer.
• A competitor tweets about the poor warranty service provided by the company. An employee responds in a manner which defames the competitor with derogatory language about “lying” and “cheating.”
Companies Not Keeping Up
An effective strategy for managing risk from the online postings of customers and competitors focuses on monitoring and controlling the content of any response. When it comes to employees, however, companies have the opportunity to be more directive, establishing policies that restrict the use of social networking. Few companies have done so.
In the Travelers survey, about two-thirds of respondents said their companies do not have a policy regarding social media usage — or that they are not aware of one if it exists. This is a problem. The survey also indicated that one out of eight respondents post work-related information on social media websites, and 30 percent feel such postings are acceptable as long as they believe the information is true. In addition, 75 percent said they were “not at all” or “not very” concerned about online postings causing professional damage.”

Written by gbwinsurance

October 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm