Momentous earns Safeco Insurance® President’s Award for top performance

We are pleaseed to announce that Momentous Insurance Brokerage has earned the distinguished President’s Award from Safeco Insurance® for the fourth consecutive year.

Only 200 awards were given this year across the country to the top-performing independent insurance agencies that sell Safeco Insurance® personal lines products.

To be considered for the President’s Award, agencies must be members of the prestigious Safeco® Premier Partner Program, which gives agencies that meet high standards with access to special programs designed to help them continue to grow their business and provide superior service to clients.

We are thrilled to be recognized by Safeco for our partnership and performance. It’s a result of the consistent dedication of our employees to earn and keep the trust of our clients.

Fewer People Are Insured for Earthquake Today Than 20 Years Ago

Michelle Boyer

Michelle Boyer

By Michelle Boyer, CIC

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Northridge 6.7 magnitude earthquake, in which an apartment complex collapsed and killed 16 people.

According to the California Earthquake Authority, after the Northridge earthquake in January 1994, one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, only half the estimated $20 billion in residential losses was covered by insurance. If the same Northridge earthquake reoccurred today, less than a quarter of the residential loss would be insured.

This means that Californians are less financially prepared to recover from a Northridge like earthquake today than they were 20 years ago, said Glenn Pomeroy, CEO of the CEA.

How many people buy earthquake insurance?

According to the Insurance Information Institute of California, there are roughly one-third as many EQ policies in force now than before the Northridge quake.

  • 8.3% of businesses buy earthquake coverage
  • 10% of homeowners buy earthquake coverage

Why are so few people buying earthquake insurance today?

The CEA identified the top 3 myths about Earthquake insurance:

Myth #1:              It is covered by my homeowners/commercial building policy.
FACT: No, a separate policy or special endorsement is required

Myth #2:              It is covered by a government program.
FACT: Funds are not guaranteed, and if so, may come in the form of loans.

Myth #3:             Insurance is too expensive with too high a deductible.
FACT: Rates have decreased and there are options to buy down your deductible to 5% (for an additional
premium) as opposed to the standard of 15%.

It is alarming that such a high percentage of LA residents and businesses are lacking financial protection in the event of an earthquake. We urge you to go to the CEA website to obtain a quote, or request one from your agent. Everyone should consider this valuable protection for your family and your business.

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein.  

Earthquake Safety Legislation: It’s Time to Evaluate Your Risk

Michelle Boyer

Michelle Boyer

By Michelle Boyer, CIC

In a recent article in the LA Times, Mayor Garcetti has taken steps to identify apartment buildings that are vulnerable to collapse in the event of an earthquake.

Building officials estimate there are at least 5,800 wood frame buildings similar to the Northridge complex in the city, and an additional 11,690 buildings will need to be inspected. There are more than 1,000 older concrete buildings across Los Angeles, and as many as 50 would collapse in a major earthquake.

Mayor Garcetti has proposed a new earthquake safety campaign that could impose mandatory retrofits and a seismic safety rating to be made public to tenants and guests.

While Garcetti’s measure is to the benefit of Los Angeles residents, apartment building owners may have additional liability if they fail to retrofit their buildings to meet with the new city ordinances (not yet announced). Apartment building owners should begin to prepare themselves for the new legislation by talking to their agent about emerging liabilities and what insurance solutions may be available.

It’s also a good idea for building owners to review existing insurance policy(ies) to ensure buildings have sufficient coverage. Here are some suggestions of what to discuss with your agent:

  • Carefully review your coverage limit, and ask for an insurance-to-value estimate to see if you are underinsured.
  • Ask about your valuation provisions (do you have replacement cost?), co-insurance provision (will you be penalized for being underinsured?), building ordinance coverage (do you have an extra limit for the cost to rebuild to new code standards?)
  • Request a quote for earthquake insurance.

California has experienced several low magnitude tremors this year, and each one is a good reminder to take steps to protect your assets. It is essential to have an emergency safety plan in place, including evacuation and recovery. Earthquake insurance is key to financial recovery, and it is free to get a quote. We urge you to go to the CEA website to obtain a quote, or request one from your agent. Everyone should consider this valuable protection for your family and your business.

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

 

Do I Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance for my Household Workers?

Grady Greer

B. Grady Greer

By B. Grady Greer, CIC, CISR

In California and elsewhere across the country, it is common practice to hire outside help to assist with household duties. Whether it is a nanny, housekeeper, gardener, chauffeur, chef, pool cleaner, or other residence employee, there are risks involved with hiring outside help that need to be addressed with your insurance agent. For purposes of this blog, we will focus on the California Workers’ Compensation laws, as the laws vary by state. 

Who is considered a residence employee?

Many types of household services could fall into this category. The insurance industry definition of a residence employee is: Any person employed by you whose duties are related to the ownership, maintenance or use of the dwelling, including the performance of household or domestic services; or who performs duties elsewhere on your behalf of a similar nature (for example: at a secondary residence) and whose duties are personal and not related to your trade, business, profession or occupation. 

How do you obtain insurance for residence employees?

One of the first places a California resident can look to is their homeowners (or condo or renters) policy. All California personal property insurance policies are required to include automatic coverage for “occasional” employees. However, if your employee is considered “full-time” as defined by the insurance company, then you must specifically add Workers’ Compensation coverage to your policy for an additional premium. Failure to do so may leave you at risk of being personally liable for all injuries the employee sustains while in the course and scope of their employment with you. 

How do I know if my residence employee is considered occasional or full time?

Depending on the number of hours the employee is working at your residence and whether they are working inside or outside your home, these workers may fall outside of the “occasional” definition and be considered a “full time” residence employee. In this case, it is best to discuss your individual situation with your insurance agent, as you may need to add Workers’ Compensation coverage to your homeowner’s policy, or purchase coverage through an alternative market. 

In California, the typical definition that insurance carriers use to describe a “full-time” employee is:

  • An Inside employee (nanny, housekeeper, etc.) working over 20 hours per week.
  • An Outside employee (gardener, pool cleaner, etc.) working over 10 hours per week.
    • Note:  Under 10 hours per week is typically considered an “occasional” employee.

The California Worker’s Compensation law also states that in order for coverage to apply to your residence employee, the following terms and conditions must be met: 

  • Within the (90) days immediately prior to the date of injury, the employee must have been engaged in employment by you for no less than 52 hours, and must have earned no less than $100 in wages. 

If the above terms are met, then your employee is subject to coverage under the Workers’ Compensation coverage afforded by your California personal insurance policy. The coverage would apply if the injury occurred in the United States of America, its territories and possessions, Canada, as well as anywhere in the world if they are working there temporarily to perform personal domestic duties on your behalf. 

Who is not eligible for this coverage?

Due to the above terms and conditions imposed by the state, coverage typically does not apply to independent contractors or temporary employees employed at your residence for only a few hours – i.e. painters, handymen, etc. – therefore, it is important that you discuss the hiring of these types of individuals with your insurance agent prior to inviting them to perform work at your residence. 

What else can I do to protect myself?

Maintain an employee personnel file and document, document, document. We recommend keeping a log of dates and times the employee(s) worked, as well as paying them via check or some other traceable method, versus cash, in the case of a Workers’ Compensation claim. Again, always discuss your situation with your agent so they can provide comprehensive risk management consultation. 

Conclusion

The most important determination to make is whether your employee falls under the “occasional” or “full-time” residence employee definition. It’s better to make certain you have the correct coverage in place before a claim occurs, so that you are not left paying the costs of an injury, or even worse, a lawsuit, out-of-pocket. As always, it is best to discuss your individual situation with your insurance agent so you can be properly advised on how to cover your specific California Workers’ Compensation risks.

 

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

If you would like to further discuss the issues raised here, you may contact Grady Greer by email at ggreer@mmibi.com.

Is Your Business Protected from a Data Breach?

The prevalence of cyber crime is on the rise, affecting commercial entities both small and large.  In this video, The Hartford explains what you can do to guard your business from the risks of a data breach:

 

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate. Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein.

 

How a Return-to-Work Plan Can Save You Money in the Long Run

Kimaili Ken Davis

Kimaili “Ken” Davis

by Kimaili “Ken” Davis, ARM

Having a Return-to-Work plan can often save claims dollars and help shorten the lifespan of a workers’ compensation claim. The benefit to the employer can be less insurance premium. 

Employers always face the potential for workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes, depite all efforts to prevent injuries, accidents do happen. When injuries happen, depending on the severity of the injury, doctors may take an employee completely off work. While off work, the employee is entitled to Temporary Total Disability (TTD) unless the employer continues the salary. 

However, many times, doctors will release an employee to light duty and provide specific work restrictions. If an employer can accommodate those temporary restrictions and pay full wages, the insurance company is not obligated to pay TTD. The effect will be lower claims costs. If an employer cannot accommodate doctor prescribed work restrictions, the insurance company will be required to pay  TTD until the employee returns to work. 

If an employer is open to providing light duty, it should be communicated to the doctor/clinic at the onset of the claim. Doing so, may persuade the doctor to prescribe light duty instead of taking the employee off work. As a side note, it’s a great idea to meet with your medical clinic prior to injuries. Use that time to meet with the office manager and/or doctors so that they are aware of your operations and whether you offer light duty or not. 

Light duty may consist of a modification to the employee’s regular job or potentially a different position within the organization. Even if this isn’t a full time job, it is still beneficial since an employee can get Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits or “wage loss” from the insurance company, if less than full wages are paid. This still means less claims dollars than if the insurance company pays TTD. 

Light duty should be for a limited time and revisited at every doctor’s visit. Light duty is meant to be temporary at this point and should be used to help an employee return to work sooner during the recovery period. As the employee recovers, the work restrictions should be less and less. 

If an employee says that he/she cannot perform the modified duties because of pain, send the employee back to the doctor and inform the claims administrator. Don’t change the employee’s duties based on his/her statements. Work restrictions are dictated by the treating physician. As such, you should adhere to what the doctor states. If an employee refuses to participate in light duty, the insurance company isn’t obligated to pay TTD.   

As a suggestion, during the light duty period, be sure that the employee is working within the work restrictions. Even if the employee feels that he/she can do more, don’t encourage it. If anything, tell the employee to inform the doctor at the next visit that he/she feels the work restrictions are too restrictive. You don’t want an employee overexerting himself and causing more injuries. 

Please bear in mind that this discussion only applies to temporary restrictions. If there are permanent work restrictions, a set of state and federal laws dictate employer obligations, etc. Please consult a labor attorney and your insurance broker should that situation occur. 

If you have been opposed to light duty, give it a try. If an employer takes simple steps to get an employee back to light duty, it will result in less claims costs and hence less premium. In addition, it will help your employee maintain that feeling of being “part of the team” and sustain employee morale.

 

Disclaimer: The above content is a general overview which is provided for discussion purposes only and is not in any way meant as providing recommendations or legal counsel. It is not intended to apply to each circumstance. Because the facts and circumstances of every matter differ and the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations contained in insurance policies vary, you should review your policy carefully and seek any legal counsel that may be necessary or appropriate.  Momentous is not responsible for any losses or damage resulting from reliance on the information contained herein. 

Winnie Wong, Senior Vice President at Momentous Insurance Brokerage, Selected to Moderate the Panel “How Many Wrongs Make it Right” at Produced By Conference

Panel AnnouncementMomentous Insurance Brokerage announced today it will partner with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company to sponsor a panel at the Producers Guild of America’s Produced By Conference taking place June 7-8, 2014 at the Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, CA. 

Produced By 2014 will feature more than 30 conference sessions, panel discussions, mentoring roundtables, networking opportunities, social events and workshops designed to address key industry topics and provide producers the opportunity to learn from their peers as well as the event’s accomplished speakers. The conference features an impressive slate of speakers, including: David Fincher, Seth Rogen, and Francis Ford Coppola among dozens of other well-known names in the industry. 

On June 7th, at 11:15am, Winnie Wong, senior vice president of the Momentous Film & TV department will moderate the panel, “How Many Wrongs Make it Right” which will provide firsthand accounts from producers and risk management professionals about all different types of challenges, on and off the set, including safety, risk assessment, and recovering from mistakes. 

The acclaimed group of panelists includes the following filmmakers and business executives: Ellen Schwartz, executive producer at Black Label Media (Good Lie, You’re Not You); Deborah Moore,  Producer/Financial Consultant; Jenny Hinkey, producer/line producer; and Paul Holehouse, risk consultant at Fireman’s Fund. 

Winnie Wong

Winnie Wong

“Our panel is about sharing filmmaker’s experiences to educate and inspire other filmmakers,” explained Winnie Wong. “I am honored and thrilled to among a group of esteemed filmmakers, and my hope is that they can gain knowledge from our panel that will help them through their production adventures.” 

Winnie has been an entertainment insurance broker since 1985 and specializes in independent features, television, reality, documentary and commercial films.  Winnie has represented a number of prestigious accounts such as MGM Studios, Universal Studios, and countless television, commercial and documentary production companies. She is completely dedicated to educating her clients, and has taught entertainment insurance courses for UCLA Extension, International Documentary Association (IDA) and Film Independent (FIND) and has participated on panels for American Film Market, WestDOC and Slamdance. She has written articles for various film publications, including Documentary magazine and Film Independent, and  authored a book titled, “Hollywood Studio Production Techniques” which was released in 2013.  Winnie is a board member of the established Women in Film organization and a member of the Motion Picture & Television Fund Professional Advisory Network. In 2014, she was recognized by Risk & Insurance magazine as Power Broker in the entertainment insurance category. 

For more information or to register, please visit www.producedbyconference.com 

Congratulations to MTO Productions!

Momentous would like to congratulate the following client with their multiple Daytime Emmy nominations:

Bryan Curb and his crew at MTO Productions

  • “Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin”
  • “Sea Rescue”
  • “Lucky Dog”
  • “Game Changers with Kevin Fraizer”

The Daytime Emmy® Awards recognize outstanding achievement in all fields of daytime television production and are presented to individuals and programs broadcast from 2:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. during the 2013 calendar year. This year’s gala will be held at the prestigious Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on Sunday, June 22, 2014.

 

Momentous Volunteers at The Painted Turtle Camp

Momentous volunteers at The Painted Turtle Camp

Momentous volunteers at The Painted Turtle Camp

 

Momentous Insurance Brokerage’s Make It Better Committee brought fifteen volunteers to The Painted Turtle on May 3 in an effort to get the camp get ready for its upcoming summer camp sessions. The Painted Turtle, located in Lake Hughes, CA, is a place where children with serious medical conditions celebrate being kids with their family and friends.

Without the Painted Turtle, many of these children would never know the simple yet profound experience of camp, an experience that often has a life-long impact. In addition to delivering a financial contribution to the camp, Momentous volunteers performed a variety of activities including assembling arts & crafts kits, wacking weeds, washing windows, puffing pillows, and stuffing scarecrows.

In 2013, The Painted Turtle camp was damaged due to wildfires and the season was cancelled.  Momentous provided a grant of $2,000 through its partnership with Safeco Insurance to help the camp rebuild. This is the second year that the firm has volunteered at the camp.