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. 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.

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: view 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.

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. 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.