Месечни архиви: August 2015

Hub International Acquires Triangle Insurance in North Carolina


Hub International Acquires Triangle Insurance in North Carolina

Insurance brokerage Hub International Limited announced that it has acquired the assets of Triangle Insurance Services Inc., an independent insurance agency based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Triangle Insurance specializes in providing property/casualty insurance services to clients in the Cary/Raleigh area. Cleve and Linda Folger, the founders and owners of Triangle Insurance, are joining the Hub Carolinas division of Hub International Southeast.

Headquartered in Chicago, Hub International Limited is an insurance brokerage that provides property/casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services through offices located in North America.

 

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New Jersey Drivers Still Frowning Over ‘No Smile’ Driver’s License Policy


New Jersey Drivers Still Frowning Over ‘No Smile’ Driver’s License Policy

Smile and the world smiles with you — unless you’re having your driver’s license renewed in New Jersey.

It’s been three years since New Jersey instituted its “no smiling” policy for driver’s license photos — a measure designed to make life easier for facial recognition computer software.

But The Record reports plenty of northern New Jersey residents, unaware of the change, say they were confused when they went in for their new photos and discovered that saying “Cheese!” was no longer an option.

They weren’t exactly happy about it, either.

“A few months ago, it took me four tries to get a photo they liked at the DMV in Oakland,” reports Susan Fraysse Russ, of Westwood, New Jersey, referring to the Motor Vehicle Commission office on Ramapo Valley Road. “For the first one, I was smiling and the clerk said, `You can’t smile!’ The second time, I thought I wasn’t smiling but she said I was still smiling.

“For the third one,” Russ adds, “I tried tilting my head a little so it didn’t look like a full-on mug shot, but she said, `You can’t do that, either. Just look straight into the camera. And don’t smile!’ “

The “neutral expression” policy was instituted here in 2012 — it’s also required in Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia — but Russ says she was unaware of the change until she went in to renew her license this year. Ditto for Eileen Delehanty-Perri, who recently moved from Carlstadt to Oakland.

“In early July, I went in to the Oakland office,” Delehanty-Perri recalls, “and they had this sign with two pictures of a man. In one picture he’s smiling, and that one has an X through it. In the next picture, he’s not smiling and that one has a check mark. So, I tried not to smile but everyone around me was laughing. I wound up taking one with a little smile — I have some teeth showing. It actually came out cute.”

Maureen Oprandy, of Wallington who took her new license photo last month, had no such luck. “I look like someone on death row,” she groans. And Lisa Cohn, of Wayne, was similarly disappointed: “Mine looks like I’m snarling.”

For these women, the policy change may be the worst thing to happen to Garden State drivers since 2008, when a GMAC Insurance survey declared that — smiling or not — we were the worst drivers in the United States.

Kansas drivers did best in the survey, while Jerseyans came in 51st — after Kansas. And the District of Columbia. And the 48 other states you might be in, when you’re not in Kansas anymore.

Were we offended? Certainly. Which makes being told not to smile for the photos that many of us routinely use for identification purposes seem like an additional, unnecessary hardship.

As Russ notes, “I work for a media company in Manhattan and have to travel to different offices all day long — Time Inc., Bloomberg, Condé Nast — and everyone asks to see my ID. On my last license, I had such a nice photo. I was smiling and, coincidentally, I had just gotten one of those free hair and makeup makeovers. But this new photo, which I have to show to every security guard in Manhattan, is terrible. I’m a nice person! I’m an organ donor! Why can’t I smile?”

Sandi Wesner of Franklin Lakes also preferred her previous — and far more flattering — picture.

“For the most part,” she says, “I am always smiling. I smiled for my previous license photo and it was fine. This last time, I was warned a few times, which made me smile even more. And listening to others complaining about it next to me made it even funnier.”

The MVC employee, she said, “was very stoic and didn’t see any humor in the situation. Eventually, I got serious and `Click!’ she took the picture. She then asked me if I would like another one taken. I told her no and left with my mug-shot portrait. And no one is going to see it, unless they’re arresting me.”

Eileen Gruber of Mahwah misses her last license photo, too. “My old photo was so cute. This one is horrid. Not only am I not smiling, but it’s a super close-up, too!”

Gruber experienced similar woes recently when she and her family took new passport photos.

“We went to CVS for the new photos and they came out great,” she says, “but at the post office where we were doing the passport application they said the photos were unacceptable because we were smiling. So, back to CVS for mug shots!”

The reasons for the “neutral expression” rule, according to Mairin Bellack, the deputy director of communications for the MVC, “is three words: security, security, security. Each technician has been trained to know when an image is acceptable and when it isn’t. And people need to keep in mind that facial recognition technology helps protect them from identity fraud.”

The MVC also works with law enforcement on various other types of criminal cases that rely on facial recognition software. “This is why the integrity of every photo is so important,” Bellack notes. “So, would you rather protect your identity or have a cute smile on your license?”

 

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Ohio Steel Company Fined 162K for Workplace Hazards


Ohio Steel Company Fined 162K for Workplace Hazards

Federal safety officials have proposed penalties totaling $162,400 against an Ohio-based steel manufacturer for exposing workers to workplace hazards.

While Republic Steel has made a significant investment in personnel, training and safety improvements, workers are still exposed to serious fall and chemical hazards at the company’s century-old Lorain steel mill, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors said.

In a 2014 corporate settlement with OSHA, the company pledged to address earlier health and safety violations.

Republic Steel received three repeated and eight serious safety citations on Aug. 7 after two complaint inspections initiated at the Lorain facility in February and April 2015. The steel-production facility faces proposed penalties of $162,400.

OSHA issued three repeat violations cited at Republic Steel facilities in Lorain, Canton and Massillon in 2010 and 2014. These violations included:

Exposing workers to falls of about 20 feet while removing slag and debris in the billet caster, where molten steel converts to a solid.
Failing to mark lifting devices with rated weight capacity for loads.
Improperly labeling a hydrochloric acid dip tank for chemical hazards.
Serious violations involved:
Exposing workers to molten metal hazards.
Failing to provide an emergency eyewash station.
Not requiring workers exposed to hydrochloric acid splash hazards to use protective equipment.
Violating respiratory protection standards.

Republic Steel is North America’s leading supplier of special bar quality steel, a highly engineered product used in axles, drive trains, suspensions and other critical vehicle components and industrial equipment.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: OSHA

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OSHA Sues Texas Company for Wrongfully Firing an Employee


OSHA Sues Texas Company for Wrongfully Firing an Employee

Federal officials have sued a Texas-based company for violating the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The lawsuit against Continental Alloys and Services Inc. in Spring, Texas, maintains an investigation found sufficient evidence to support a former employee’s allegation that Continental Alloys and Services wrongfully fired the worker after she complained to management about OSHA 300 log reporting deficiencies.

The law requires employers to record on-the-job injuries. The former employee reported several alleged instances where injuries were not reported, OSHA said. In an attempt to gather evidence of the reporting deficiencies, the employee recorded a meeting with the individual responsible for reporting the injuries. These actions led to the employee’s termination.

OSHA has asked the judge to issue an injunction prohibiting Continental Alloys and Services from engaging in any further retaliation. It is also asking the judge to order the company to pay the complainant back pay, reinstate the complainant, and pay her any other damages she sustained as a result of the illegal termination.

The complaint was filed Aug. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston division, Civil Action Number 4:15-cv-2234.

Source: OSHA

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National Transportation Safety Board to Hold Hearing on Tracy Morgan Crash


National Transportation Safety Board to Hold Hearing on Tracy Morgan Crash

Federal investigators will meet this week to determine the probable cause of the accident that injured actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one of his friends.

The National Transportation Safety Board scheduled a meeting for Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C.

A Wal-Mart truck slammed into the back of a limo van carrying the former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” star and the others back from a show in Delaware last June. Comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed, and Morgan suffered head trauma, a broken leg and broken ribs. Three other passengers suffered serious injuries and two had minor injuries, according to the NTSB.

A preliminary NTSB report released two weeks after the accident found truck driver Kevin Roper was driving 65 mph shortly before the crash, in an area where the speed limit had been lowered from 55 mph to 45 mph that night because of construction on that stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike.

Roper was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in state court in New Jersey. The criminal complaint alleged Roper operated the truck “without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours resulting in a motor vehicle accident.” Under New Jersey law, a person can be charged with assault by auto if he or she causes injury after knowingly operating a vehicle after being awake for more than 24 hours.

Morgan and two friends injured in the crash settled a lawsuit against Wal-Mart in May for an undisclosed amount. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company settled a wrongful death claim filed by McNair’s children for $10 million, according to court papers.

Morgan hasn’t performed since the accident. Using a cane, he made his first public appearance this June on NBC’s “Today” show and said he hoped to return but that he wasn’t 100 percent healed.

Related:

Wal-Mart Settles With Tracy Morgan Over Turnpike Crash Suit
Wal-Mart Says Tracy Morgan Is to Blame for Injuries in Highway Crash
Tracy Morgan Sues Wal-Mart for N.J. Crash That Killed 1
Wal-Mart Trucker Had Not Slept in 24 Hours Before N.J. Morgan Crash: Complaint

 

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Freberg Environmental Names Miller Senior Vice President in Colorado


Freberg Environmental Names Miller Senior Vice President in Colorado

Freberg Environmental Insurance has named Renee Miller to lead its environmental consultants and contracting program.

Miller will be based in Denver, Colo. and lead Freberg’s environmental program providing general liability, contractors’ pollution and professional liability for environmental firms.

Miller joins Freberg from Zurich, where she was a senior account executive within the international construction and environmental divisions.

Freberg Environmental is an insurance program manager specializing in the development and marketing of insurance programs.

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SASSI Expands Workers’ Comp Program Into Additional States


SASSI Expands Workers’ Comp Program Into Additional States

SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance agency, has added an additional market for its workers’ compensation insurance program, enabling the agency to write this coverage in additional states. The program is designed to meet the needs of small to mid-size salons, day spas, electrologists, beauty schools and barber shops.

The new carrier, rated “A-” by A.M. Best Co., expands the program to 37 states, including California. According to SASSI, it plans to add Massachusetts and New York in 2016. Premiums begin at $500.

“We have seen a strong demand in the beauty industry for our workers’ compensation product since we added this coverage to our specialized insurance program earlier this year,” said Sean Brownyard, executive program manager for SASSI. “Now we can serve the industry’s workers’ compensation needs in a growing number of states.”

SASSI, formerly known as the Hairdressers Agency, has been providing specialized liability coverage to the beauty industry for 85 years. A division of W.H. Brownyard Corp., SASSI provides a range of insurance coverage for salons, day spas, electrologists, beauty schools and barber shops. Claims management is provided by Brownyard Claims Management, a loss prevention and full-service insurance claims facility. The company is based in Bay Shore, N.Y.

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Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Being Challenged in Upcoming Primary


Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Being Challenged in Upcoming Primary

Second-term Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is being challenged in the Republican primary by John Mosley, a body shop owner who says insurance companies have gotten away with paying for less-than-perfect replacement parts to repair damaged vehicles.

Chaney supporters criticize Mosley for hiring a Democratic trial lawyer in 2013 to sue insurance companies over replacement parts, and they question whether Mosley is trying to become the state’s top insurance regulator simply to help fellow body shop owners.

The winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary is likely to also win the Nov. 3 general election because the only other person running for insurance commissioner is a Reform Party candidate with a low-budget campaign.

Mosley said he intends to limit himself to two terms as insurance commissioner. He owns two Jackson-area locations of Clinton Body Shop and is a past president of the Mississippi Collision Repair Association. The lawsuit that he, the association and several other body shop owners filed against insurers is still pending. The main plaintiffs’ attorney is John Eaves Jr., who was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2007.

Mosley said Chaney has not required insurance companies to pay for top-quality replacement parts, such as bumpers.

“Our commissioner has been very weak, as far as being a consumer advocate,” Mosley said.

Chaney said state law allows insurers to pay the lowest reasonable estimated cost to repair a damaged vehicle as closely as possible to the condition the vehicle was in before it was damaged.

“If an automobile is less than 4 years old, I don’t know any company that doesn’t replace with original parts,” Chaney said.

Chaney stands by his record, saying he has worked for consumers by expanding the number of companies writing insurance policies in Mississippi. He says more than 15 percent of homeowners’ insurance coverage on the Gulf Coast is now written by companies that didn’t offer policies there before Hurricane Katrina struck a decade ago.

Mosley said insurance costs on the coast are too high, but he didn’t say specifically what he would do to try to change that.

Mosley criticizes Chaney for taking campaign contributions from people in the insurance industry. Although such donations are legal, the challenger said they create a perception of corruption.

“To me, that’s just pure wrong,” Mosley said.

Chaney acknowledged that he sent a letter to insurance agents earlier this year seeking a minimum campaign contribution of $200.

“Dear Friend,” the Chaney letter started. “For the last eight years we have been on the same team of helping policyholders. This year I am facing a primary opponent and I am going to need some help from you.”

Chaney said his fundraising is aboveboard and that he accepts donations from anyone as long as it’s legal. Campaign contributions don’t influence his work, he said. “You get good government whether you give me money or not.”

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Lockton Announces New Hires for Philadelphia Office


Lockton Announces New Hires for Philadelphia Office

Insurance broker Lockton hired Deana Calvelli as vice president of Retirement Services for Lockton’s Northeast region.

Calvelli will lead Lockton’s new retirement practice in the Philadelphia office. The practice will advise clients on 401k and other retirement plans.

In her new role, Calvelli will be responsible for overseeing the retirement practice, and serving clients in the areas of fiduciary governance, financial wellness and retirement outcomes, administration oversight, and investment selection and monitoring.

Calvelli brings more than 25 years of experience in the retirement services sector to Lockton. She held strategic roles at Buck Consultants and Wells Fargo and, most recently, operated her own consulting firm, Calvelli Consulting. She holds the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist and Accredited Investment Fiduciary designations, and maintains Series 7, 63, and 65 licenses.

Lockton also announced two additional hires in its Philadelphia office for the property/casualty insurance business.

Martin Hershy, account executive, will develop and deliver strategic product and service solutions for clients. Hershy has more than seven years of experience in risk management and insurance, working previously for Marsh, Conner Strong & Buckelew, and Temple University.

Michael Welz, business development consultant, will be responsible for business development and strategic client relationship management. Welz brings eight years of investor relations experience to his role, having previously worked for Verdis Investment Management and SEI Advisor Network, where he held multiple positions. He holds Series 7, 63, and 65 licenses.

More than 5,300 professionals at Lockton provide 41,000 clients around the world with risk management, insurance, and employee benefits consulting services.

 

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Olson to Lead the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia as CEO


Olson to Lead the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia as CEO

Betsy K. Olson was appointed chief executive officer of the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia after a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors on July 29, 2015. Olson will take the reins on September 1.

“Betsy is intimately familiar with IIAG’s operations and immensely qualified to help organize and grow our association,” said IIAG President Andy N. Siegel of Siegel Insurance in Atlanta.

Olson completed a five-year term on IIAG’s Executive Committee in June of this year and served as president in 2013-2014.  Prior to election on the Executive Committee in 2010, she was Chairman of IIAG’s Education Committee and has served on the Board of Directors for the Ted Carleton Education Foundation.

Olson_Betsy

Betsy K. Olson

Executive Vice President of Rhodes Risk Advisors in Atlanta, Olson has worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years.  Prior to Rhodes Risk Advisors, she was vice president of Marketing for Tanner, Ballew, and Maloof in Atlanta, and has held marketing executive positions with Atlanta agencies McGriff, Seibels & Williams and Pritchard & Jerden.  In addition Olson worked in Swiss Re’s Alternative Risk Transfer and New Markets and Treaty divisions.

Olson has earned designations from the Insurance Institute of America and the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors.  She earned the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation in 1990; the Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) in 1997; the Associate in Reinsurance (ARe) in 1999; the Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI) in 2008; the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) in 1994; and the Certified Risk Manager (CRM) in 2009.

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