Urgent Reminder: 2017 Changes for Workers Compensation First Aid Claims

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Effective January 1, 2017, employers are now required to report ALL first aid claims to their insurance company regardless of whether the employer or insurance carrier paid for the first aid medical services.

We recommend you immediately discontinue the practice of paying first aid claims and notify all those within your company who handle workers compensation claims of this new policy.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau recently updated these reporting requirements. Prior to this date, employers had the option of not reporting and submitting first aid claims. In opting to pay expenses out-of-pocket, employers could potentially reduce their Experience Modification Rate calculations.

California Labor Code Section 5401 defines First Aid as, “any one-time treatment, and any follow-up visit for the purpose of observation of minor scratches, cuts, burns, splinters and so forth, which do not ordinarily require medical care. Such one-time treatment and follow-up visits for the purpose of observation is considered first aid even though provided by a physician or registered professional personnel.” The term “small medical only claim” is used also to refer to first aid claims.

As a reminder, every physician attending to any injured employee must send copies of the Doctor’s First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness to the workers compensation insurance carrier or employer within five days of the initial examination.

The team at Basi Insurance Services is happy to answer any questions you have regarding how best to handle first aid or small medical only claims. As a reminder, all our agribusiness and commercial clients are encouraged to participate in our complimentary Safety Services programs. These valuable training and certification sessions help ensure OSHA compliance and may reduce potential workers compensation claims through safer workplace practices.

Do You Need Flood Insurance? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Homeowner’s policies provide a lot of essential coverage to keep your home and your family safe from losses. But all too often, homeowners make the mistake of thinking their policy provides coverage for all sorts of losses – only to discover too late that their basic homeowner’s policy doesn’t provide as much coverage as they’d thought.

Flood insurance is a great example. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the average flood claim is more than $46,000, and nationwide, claims total about $2 billion per year. Can you imagine paying $46,000 out of your own savings? Probably not. Yet most homeowner’s fail to purchase flood insurance because they incorrectly assume their “regular” homeowner’s policy provides coverage.

In fact, while a homeowner’s policy does offer plenty of protection for many losses, flooding is not one of the losses covered by the typical homeowner’s policy. That means that to fully protect your home and your assets against flood-related damages, you need to purchase additional flood insurance.

When looking for flood insurance, it’s important to know that all policies are not created equal. For instance, some policies provide coverage for damage to your home’s structure but not its contents. Ideally, you want a policy with both types of coverage to ensure your potential losses are completely covered. The cost of coverage can also vary dramatically based on where you live and your home’s specific flood risks. An experienced agent can determine your home’s flood risks using official sources and data to ensure you get the right type and right amount of coverage for your home’s needs. Even if you’re a renter, you should still buy a policy to cover your possessions; don’t make the mistake of thinking those losses will be covered under a landlord’s policy – they won’t be.

And one more thing to remember: Coverage isn’t instantaneous. While a homeowner’s policy usually can go into effect immediately, there’s usually a 30-day waiting period associated with flood insurance, providing the underwriter with time to review your property’s flood risks and other policy details. That means it’s especially important to purchase a flood policy as soon as possible, to help ensure you’re covered if and when flooding losses occur.

With spring showers and summer thunderstorms looming on the horizon, now is the ideal time to find out about your home’s flood risks. At Basi Insurance Services, we help clients from Oakdale, Calif., and the surrounding region understand their coverage needs, providing a comprehensive policy review to determine where coverage falls short and which policy options are available to provide optimal peace of mind. If it’s been awhile since you had your policy reviewed or if you’d like to learn more about flood insurance or other types of insurance, call us today at 877-590-4826 and let us review your policy and your needs.

Distracted Driving

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You’re driving along the interstate at the posted speed limit when a delivery van speeds by you, seemingly oblivious to the road. Was the driver actually looking down, probably sending or receiving a text? Try as you might to convince yourself otherwise, you have to accept this sort of unsafe driving behavior as the new on-the-road reality.

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Distractions while driving include:

  • Visual distractions: when you take your eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions: when you remove your hands from the wheel
  • Cognitive distractions: when your mind is preoccupied with a non-driving task — such as a telephone conversation or texting exchange

A recent study from the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety found that drivers who perform a secondary visual task while driving are less able to identify hazards than those who with no visual interruption. In fact, glancing away from the road for as little as two seconds can impair a driver’s ability to notice oncoming hazards. These findings provide tangible evidence about the real dangers of in-vehicle distractions and help demonstrate why it’s important for companies to promote awareness and engage employees in discussions about distracted driving.

Every distracted driver represents a potential risk for his or her employer. Businesses can be held legally accountable for negligent acts, such as distracted driving-related accidents committed by employees while “on the job.” The costs associated with personal injury or death, property and equipment damage, and legal work are potential consequences each time an employee drives to a meeting, sales call, etc. According to the National Safety Council, a risk analysis study at Harvard University estimated the total annual cost of crashes as a result of cellphone use to be $43 billion.[1]

In addition, as of January 2012, a federal regulation prohibits commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held mobile phones while driving. Drivers can be fined up to $2,750 for each offense and employers are subject to penalties of up to $11,000.[2]

Whether your company operates a fleet of vehicles or just one, distracted driving can present financial and safety-related risks for you and your employees.

Learn more about the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety study (PDF) on driver safety and in-vehicle distractions.

[1]National Safety Council. (2013). Our Driving Concern: Employer Traffic Safety Program. Retrieved from http://www.nsc.org/safety_road/Employer%20Traffic%20Safety/Pages/NationalDistractedDriving.aspx

[2]S. Department of Transportation. (2012, January). U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Final Rule That Bans Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Drivers of Buses and Large Trucks. Retrieved from http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/us-transportation-secretary-lahood-announces-final-rule-bans-hand-held-cell-phone-use

Author unknown, “Is Distracted Driving a Risk to Your Business?”.  Retrieved from http://passiontoprotect.libertymutualgroup.com/is-distracted-driving-a-risk

Long-Term Care Insurance

Personal and Financial Protection for the Long Term

For most Americans, a traditional Life and Health Insurance package is enough to keep themselves and their families insured, but for many, additional coverage is required. At Basi Insurance Services, Inc., we offer extensive coverage options that can insure the care of those who need it most.

Long-Term Care Insurance (LTC) helps provide for the medical expenses of extended home health care or nursing home costs beyond a specified period. In general, individuals who require Long-Term Care are those who can no longer take care of themselves and are unable to perform the basic activities of daily living without assistance.

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The costs of Long-Term Care can be quite expensive, and are typically not covered under basic Health Insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Long-Term Care Insurance from Basi Insurance Services, Inc. can protect your family’s financial future by providing valuable coverage benefits for costs associated with:

  • Home Care
  • Assisted Living
  • Adult Daycare
  • Hospice Care
  • Nursing Homes
  • Respite Care

Individuals looking to purchase Long-Term Care Insurance must meet certain conditions in order to qualify for benefits. Talk to an insurance professional with Basi Insurance Services, Inc. to learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and whether you should add it to your current policy.

7 Ways to Stay Healthy This Cold and Flu Season

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Every year in the U.S., millions of people become ill from the flu virus, missing work and school and sometimes even winding up in the hospital. This year, make it your New Year resolution to stay healthy and avoid the flu (and pesky winter colds) with these simple tips:

  • Get a vaccine. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent illness. Don’t feel like scheduling a doctor’s appointment? Lots of pharmacies offer vaccines too.
  • Get plenty of rest. During sleep, the body performs many of the repair processes that help it stay healthy, and it also gives your body plenty of time to recuperate. While rest is always important, it’s especially critically to get enough sleep during cold and flu season when the immune system needs to be at its strongest.
  • Watch what you eat – and drink. Make sure to get plenty of fluids, especially water, and eat a balanced diet of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables that are full of vitamins to keep your immune system in top condition.
  • Reduce stress (if you can). Studies have shown stress – especially chronic, day-to-day stress – can take a huge toll on immunity and make us more prone to disease. A balanced diet can do a lot to help mitigate stress, but consider yoga, meditation or simple activities to help you wind down and relax on a daily basis.
  • Use antibacterial wipes on your desk, phone and other accessories, and to wipe down desks. Carry a bottle of antibacterial handwash and use it throughout the day, especially after using public restrooms.
  • Consider using a humidifier. Mucus membranes provide a sticky layer that can trap germs before they have a chance to enter the lower airway and lungs where they can cause infection. Winter’s dry air can dry out membranes and make them less able to trap germs.
  • Stay home when you feel ill. Not only will your body benefit from the extra rest, but you’ll avoid spreading the disease to others.

While you’re at it, make sure you have adequate health insurance just in case. Your health insurance provide important coverage for all sorts of illnesses and medical care without taking a big bite out of your budget. It takes just a few minutes to review your health insurance coverage. Call Basi today at 209-847-3065 to review your insurance coverage. It’s a simple step that can go along way toward helping you get the medical care you need to prevent sickness and to treat illnesses that do occur.

4 Home Security Tips to Keep the Cheer in Your Holidays

The holidays are upon us, and that means it’s time for presents, parties and family visits – lots of fun for friends and loved ones – and unfortunately, lots of opportunity for thieves. Nobody wants to be a Scrooge during the holidays, but statistics show they’re a prime time for home burglaries, and taking a few precautions can help you keep your happy holidays from turning into a stressful nightmare.

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Here are a handful of tips that can help you keep the cheer in your holiday celebrations:

  • Invest in a home security system. Sure, we hear you – you’re not made of money. But guess what? There are plenty of home security options available today that are surprisingly affordable, even on a modest budget. And many of them feature options that let you monitor your home remotely right from your phone or laptop. Holiday sales abound, making DIY systems even more affordable.
  • Keep packages out of sight. Locate packages (and unwrapped gifts) away from windows or close your blinds. In the car, keep them stowed in the trunk.
  • Mind your trash. Leaving boxes for new electronics or other big-ticket items curbside for trash pickup lets thieves know what’s inside your home. Break up boxes and turn them inside out so labels don’t show before putting them out for recycling.
  • If you’re taking a trip to visit relatives, set your lights and maybe a TV on timers. Opt for timers you can control remotely so you can alternate the times when lights turn on and off. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home, and consider parking a second car in your driveway to make it look like you’re home.

Of course, one of the best ways to protect yourself against the unexpected during the holidays (and all year long, for that matter) is with a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance policy that’s customized for your needs, with just the right amount and type of coverage to keep you and your loved ones financially “whole” if a nasty surprise does occur. That goes double if this year’s gift list includes expensive jewelry, antiques or other items not covered by a traditional homeowner’s policy. At Basi Insurance Services, we specialize in helping our customers get the right coverage for their needs. Start the New Year right with a review of your homeowner’s insurance coverage. It takes just a few minutes and it’s one of the smartest gifts you can give to yourself and your loved ones this holiday season. Call 209-847-3065 for a policy review today.

7 Tips to Score Deep Discounts This Black Friday

Thanksgiving Day may be the favorite holiday of gourmets and gourmands, but the next day – Black Friday – is arguably the most anticipated day of the year for those who get their biggest thrills from major discounts and bargain-basement prices. Many Black Friday ads have already been “leaked,” and this year looks like it’s shaping up to be a bargain-hunter’s dream, with plenty of discounts on an array of products, from electronics and toys to clothing and housewares.

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If you’re developing your own Black Friday plan of attack to help you score some amazing discounts, here are a few tips to help you find the best deals – and avoid some of the dangers when heading out on the busiest shopping day of the year:

  • Sign up for Black Friday deal websites to receive notifications of specials and to see previews of most ads long before they appear in newspapers or on the retailers’ own websites.
  • Sign up for emails from favorite retailers for notifications of special Black Friday discounts as well as coupons that can help you save even more.
  • Look for apps – there are several – that help you find deals on-the-go as well as compare deals between retailers while you’re shopping.
  • Do your homework ahead of time so you can focus on the best deals, especially if you’re buying an item like a TV, laptop or tablet where there are plenty of models to choose from.
  • Keep your spending on one credit card to make it easier to stay in budget as well as helping you spot fraudulent activity. Or buy gift cards and use those instead of credit cards. You’ll have a set spending limit and you can avoid the risk of fraud entirely.
  • Be careful when using online coupons, especially those that arrive via email from unknown email addresses. Fraudulent coupons may contain spyware that can infect your computer or they may be used to capture your account numbers or other personal information.
  • Also be careful when using ATMs. Thieves use tiny devices placed inside or over the ATM slot to collect card numbers and pins so they can fabricate a duplicate card and ransack your bank account.

Whether you’re buying gifts for others or for yourself, a little time spent preparing can help you keep more of your hard-earned cash in your own pocket – and who knows? With some careful planning, you might even be able to avoid those dreaded post-holiday credit card bills when January rolls around.