The Four Agreements

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Time has been flying by in 2017, we’re already halfway through the year! With time going by so fast, it’s nice to take a deep breath, pause and check-up on yourself. This mental pause may involve taking a step back and looking at building on successes and strengthening weak habits. There are four simple tools, known as “The Four Agreements 1 ” which can help with creating peace and focus in life.
Here are the Four Agreements:

1. Don’t Make Assumptions

Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings and potential drama. Ask questions to try to fully understand where someone is coming from.

2. Be Impeccable with your Word


Speak with integrity and say only what you mean. Avoid using your word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth.

3. Don’t Take Anything Personally

What others say and do is a projection of their own point of view. When you see your ego inflating, take a step back from the issue and look at it from a neutral perspective.

4. Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, which will help you avoid self-judgement and regret.

In theory, these are fairly straightforward and simple agreements to follow, but they can be a challenge to implement in daily life. (Try not taking road rage personally the next time someone cuts you off!) However, the Four Agreements can be a good guide for helping prevent conflict and decreasing stress with conflicts arise.

When you’re done taking a midway pause through your year and evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, look at how the Four Agreements may be able to help you with them. It could be something like improving a strength by doing your absolute best at it, or smoothing over a conflict by not taking it personally.

If you’re interested in learning even more, read the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (no affiliation with UWIB).

Check-Up On Your Personal Coverage
Wondering if your coverage for your home, auto or other personal policies is appropriate? Use our quick online coverage tool to check it out: Click Here

Check Your Company’s Pulse

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TINYpulse provides tools to improve culture, employee engagement, and morale.  UWIB has been utilizing the Engage tool twice a month for the past several years.

Do you ever wonder what your employees or co-workers are thinking about? Sure, you know what they eat for lunch, (especially when they heat up salmon in the office microwave). But what are their thoughts for improving the business, how can their grievances be addressed, and how can they improve the company culture?

These are tough questions for both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies to tackle. Some companies like Facebook, Airbnb, IBM, (and UWIB!) have turned to TINYpulse for help. TINYpulse was designed to improve culture, employee engagement, and morale by using anonymous feedback from employees.

The words “anonymous” and “feedback” strike fear in the hearts of many employers who may say, “who the heck would want anonymous feedback from their employees?” While it is not always easy to listen to feedback from employees, there is a huge risk for an employer to hope that discontent will simply dissappear. Minor gripes can snowball into grievances, which can then grow into a number of different ugly things like lawsuits.

Ideas for improving a business don’t always come from visionary leaders, often times they come from employees themselves. At UWIB, we’ve been using TINYpulse’s Engage tool for several years, and meeting twice a month to review the results. The inspirations for improvement have been astounding, some of our best Customer Service, Sales, and Technology ideas have come from employees submitting TINYpulse feedback. Not to mention, our company’s culture and communication has improved even more.

Strengthening the company culture is at the heart of what TINYpulse is all about. Having team members come together for gatherings to discuss their suggestions and feedback is a great way to bring everyone together. In a world of emails, texts, and powerpoints, the facetime everyone gets is invaluable. At these meetings, the managers have opportunity to show their support for the staff, and remind everyone of the values the company stands for.

TINY Changes, Big Results
Watch Dana explain how TINYpulse has been a unique asset to UWIB: Click Here

New Employer Requirement: Form I-9

Starting January 22, 2017…

All employers will be required to start using the new Form I-9. Since using the wrong form and/or failing to fully complete the form may result in hefty administrative fines being assessed against your company, now is the perfect time to verify that you are fully complying with the I-9 process.

What is the I-9 Process? 

The employer (and employee) must complete the Form I-9 by taking the following steps:

On or before the employee’s first day of employment: The employee must fully complete and sign Section 1 of the form and return the completed form to the employer along with documents establishing the employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States ipyfwje.

On or before the employee’s third day of employment:

The employer must –

Review Section 1 of the form and verify that the employee provided information in all required fields and signed and dated the form.

If a preparer/translator was used, also verify the Preparer/Translator section has been completed, signed, and dated.

Review the documents provided by the employee to determine if it reasonably appears to be the original document, genuine and to relate to the new employee.

Fully complete and sign Section 2 of the form.

If the employee is a rehire (within 3 years of the date that Form I-9 was originally completed) or a reverification: (i.e. your employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired) — Fully complete and sign Section 3 of the form.

How long must the Form I-9 be kept?

Current Employees: Completed I-9 forms must be kept for the duration of employment.

Terminated (former) employees: Completed I-9 forms must be kept for either one year after the employee’s termination or three years after hire (whichever is later) singulair allergy.

For more information regarding the new Form I-9, go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “I-9 Central”.

Theft via Business Email – Avoid becoming a victim.

 

The scenario: You receive a note from an important vendor directing you to immediately update the wire transfer account numbers for their accounts because of a data breach they have sustained. What to Do: RED FLAGS SHOULD ALREADY BE GOING OFF

According to our friends at Citadel Information Group, here’s what you should be thinking:Implement very strong controls on wire transfers Assume all email or fax requests from a vendor to change bank accounts are fraudulent. Assume all email or fax requests from the company President or others are fraudulent. Assume all email or fax requests to set-up a new vendor are fraudulent. Pick up the phone, call the party in question and verify the request is legitimate.

6 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Employee Crime

We recommend that every small business owner consider the following best practices to reduce the risk of employee crime:

Perform thorough background checks (in accordance with law) of all potential hires; don’t take shortcuts or assume.

Make sure there is clear accountability for every position in the organization and no position has broad enough power to authorize payments without the consent of another individual. Seek to set up a system of checks and balances.

Set up a tip line for the organization, guaranteeing anonymity, in order to allow for the reporting of any suspicious activity or suspicious business practices.

Encourage all employees who handle accounting and payment functions to take vacation time, with another person handling their work in their absence.

Communicate often and clearly about the company’s policy on employee conduct.

Don’t allow discrepancies to be attributed simply to the cost of doing business try this. Be sure to conduct a thorough investigation of discrepancies.

United Western Insurance Brokers provides Risk Management & Insurance Coverage Placement Services for businesses and high net worth families throughout the United States. With its roots dating back to 1918, our  member agencies are privately owned and generate combined sales volume in excess of $300 million dollars, annually.

The 5 coverage’s you probably think you already have, but probably don’t…

Business Owners Take Heed –

The 5 coverage’s you probably think you already have, but probably don’t…

Cyber-Security LiabilityEmployment Related Litigation such as Wrongful Termination

Errors in business judgment that lead to claims by others against your company

Mismanagement of employee benefits, even when administered by 3rd parties

Claims by key individuals against Owners & Officers alleging breach of contract

It’s easy and affordable to add policies to address each of these areas of financial risk singulair asthma.

Send comments if you would like more information about any of these important areas of coverage.

How to Survive an OSHA audit

OSHA may find its way to your location, if they do, you need to be prepared.

Let’s walk through your front door, do you already have an OSHA 300 Log readily available in a folder for easy access in the entry area of your business? Oh, someone told you that unless you have more than 20 employees you don’t need it? WRONG, don’t become a victim of relying on incorrect information…

Here’s a fill able version of the OSHA 300 Log that you are free to download and complete:click here for the PDF version. If you would like my assistance to complete the form, contact me it’s free too.

Be prepared for a visit – Plan for an inspection –
Don’t be caught off guard, it could cost you big buck$

Here are some key tips –

If you are fortunate enough to receive advance notice of a visit (which happens in less than 20% of the cases), make sure you have (at the very least), these three items in place before the arrival of the OSHA compliance officer:

1.)Figure out in advance if you will ask that the inspector present you with a warrant
2.)Have a tablet of paper available so that you can document what occurs during the inspection, I always recommend that there be a lead person who does all the talking, and a secondary person who takes all the notes.
3.)Be sure that you have access to all of the pertinent documentation that the auditor is likely to request such as your company’s written safety program, training records, chemical records AKA MDS or material Data Sheets, these used to be referred to as Material Safety Data Sheets, and, any prior inspection records you could try here.

The OSHA Safety Guy, Mike Rubel, cautions owners and managers about requiring a warrant before entry. Unless you absolutely need extra time to become prepared, such as when a manager or attorney needs to be present, remember that although it is your legal right to ask for a warrant, this action might trigger a more closely scrutinized inspection.
Be prepared . . .

Make a physical record the inspector’s actions and comments Take notes during the inspection. This information will help you understand what transpired and will assist your attorney should you contest any resulting citation or penalty.

Review all of your written safety related documentation Almost all OSHA inspections begin with a review of your company’s written documents. These documents include your injury and illness records, your safety manual, any industry specific OSHA-required programs, any OSHA-implied programs, safety procedures and training records. There are many records and written programs that OSHA does not specifically require be in writing, but you should have them anyway. These documents are referred to as OSHA-implied records.

You’re probably assuming that these suggestions apply to large employers, sorry, these are required for a company with one or more employees. If you have 5-25 employees, you are right in OSHA’s crosshairs.

Call us, we can help you and the fees we charge are very reasonable, in fact, they represent only a fraction of what non-compliance citations and penalties are when OSHA imposes them.

Board of Directors Members have big responsibilities…

Members of non-profit organizations typically place themselves in the position of thinking about ways that they can aid the  organization and their respective communities.

As volunteers we take on certain projects, handle details, arrange or facilitate this or that, and we do what ever it takes to help our organization to accomplish its goals. We are volunteers, we support the cause and we believe in what we are doing.

Contrary to popular belief, volunteer groups are not immune to risk, especially in today’s world. And, by in large, volunteers have personal assets that may be at risk in the event something they are helping with goes wrong. As a volunteer, it is not our intention to expose our personal wealth to risk, especially when we’re volunteering our time, energy and resources to a cause in which we believe. We naturally (but sometimes naively), expect “the organization” to protect us if something goes seriously wrong and people get injured.

The reality is that when we volunteer to help a cause, no matter how formalized the organization, we are at risk of taking on at lease some of the liability that’s associated with the project in which we are directly involved. We may even be at risk for things we’re not directly involved with, that relate back to the non-profit organization. An example could be something as innocent as being involved in an auto accident while running an errand for the organization.

As an organization, our non-profit’s goal is to support the good work that our volunteers do, but to also do our best to limit the risks that our supporters take on singulair for asthma. Above all else, we want our volunteers to remain safe at all times and to not create circumstances that might endanger themselves or others.

As you already know, I am both an insurance broker and a risk manager. For a number of years I have made myself accessible to non-profit organizations across the country and I typically do this on a pro bono basis. Some of you may know me through the work I’ve done, while others may have known my father’s former company, Ingham Coates & Payne, a Pasadena based insurance operation that was founded in the 1940’s. Working for my dad, Mr. Ingham and Mr. Payne, exposed me to intense training in an array of risk management disciplines, experiences I consider myself very fortunate to have had. I am very grateful to the many mentors who have each left me with a slightly different perspective on the industry and the consultative services that provide.

In 2002 my company became a member of United Agencies, Inc. United Agencies is a large insurance firm that does business all across the Country. More than 85% of our clients are major businesses, small businesses or non-profit organizations.

Relative to helping you manage and avoid risk of injury and loss in today’s world, here are two key suggestions that I try to convey to every Board Member with whom I consult;

□      As a Board Member, your duty is to always place the organization’s financial interests before your own.

□      As a Board Member, you have a fiduciary duty to the organization, its members, donors and the community at large.