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Misclassifying independent contractors could cost you

hailingacabAs the economy changes, we have seen an increased use of “independent contractors” in all areas of business as a way to try and reduce employer expenses.

Let’s take ride-sharing startups Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. as an example. A job as an Uber driver has many benefits. Drivers are their own bosses with the luxury of making their own schedules. But as independent contractors, they are responsible for myriad expenses. After car maintenance, gas, insurance, and taxes, plus a 20 percent commission to Uber, the driver’s pay is cut nearly in half, according to The Washington Post. In recent lawsuits filed in San Francisco, drivers claim the ride-sharing companies have been mislabeling them as independent contractors according to California’s labor law. The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) notes that if drivers were declared employees and therefore entitled to workers comp benefits, there would be no disputing which policy – commercial or personal – would cover auto accidents. Additionally, as the employer, Uber would be responsible for covering fuel costs and other work-related benefits like paid sick leave and vacation days. Read more…

Cyberliability governance – early guidance for corporate directors

wyndham_lockWhen confidential personal or medical information is compromised or a computer network is breached, the event is typically described as a “failure” of data or network security. That is not an attractive characterization in realms where blame is assigned. Facing predicted increases in cyber-related shareholder lawsuits, corporate boards and their legal advisers have sought to determine what corporate directors and officers must do to avoid the personal liability that can result from shareholder claims. In an earlier blog post and white paper, I discussed the changing D&O risks associated with cybersecurity exposures. WGA’s Cyber Risk Hub also has an extensive section on cybersecurity corporate governance. Read more…

Prioritize cybersecurity – liabilities could fall to D&Os

March 20, 2015 Leave a comment

d-and-o_cyber

On Tuesday, Premera Blue Cross announced the health insurer fell victim to a security breach that exposed medical and financial information of 11 million customers – the most devastating cyber-attack in the health care industry to date. If this latest breach tells us anything, it’s that the necessity for cyber coverage has never been more essential. A recent study from the Ponemon Institute found that 43 percent of companies have suffered a data breach in the past year. Yet despite these numbers, a whopping 70 percent of security professionals consider their organizations safe from cyber-attacks, according to a separate survey published this week. These findings suggest not only a false sense of security among IT departments, but that many directors and officers may not realize their obligations related to cybersecurity.
Read more…

Rising healthcare industry brings stand-alone tail coverage to mind

March 19, 2015 Leave a comment

money_healthWhile technology, energy and other industry sectors often capture the headlines in the financial press and in the media, health care companies are a major economic force within the U.S. economy and growing. According to The World Bank, health care spending between 2010 and 2014 accounted for nearly 18% of U.S. GDP. This number is only expected to grow in the decade ahead. While some have argued that the PPACA will slow this trend, I find little evidence that it will do so in any meaningful fashion. All of this means that health care dollars spent in the U.S. will claim an increasing portion of our GDP. Read more…

Snow removal vital in preventing slip and fall case liablity

snow_ice02In addition to worrying about potential storm damages from this season’s record snowfall, New England property owners need to be aware of a recent decision in Massachusetts case law which changes the way that courts look at weather-related slip and fall incidents.

For many years, Massachusetts courts based decisions surrounding slip and fall accidents in regards to whether the cause of the fall was due to natural accumulation of snow and ice. In basic terms, if the property owner took precautions to remove snow in a reasonable manner, then the law would find in their favor. Read more…

Tort reform – hype vs. reality

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

med_mal_op_edAsk any healthcare provider about what goes on during the arduous task of completing a medical professional liability renewal and you’re bound to hear about insurance market conditions and the state of insurance renewals. Everyone from politicians (both local and federal) to advocacy groups and providers themselves seems to be commenting about how the “crisis” with medical malpractice insurance inhibits the performance of good medicine. The phrase “defensive medicine” was a phrase rarely mentioned until recently. Now, it’s permeated the nomenclature of both patients and providers alike. However, an objective review of the medical professional liability insurance market would find the claim of a “crisis” to be unfounded, or incomplete at best. Read more…

Collaboration is the key when it comes to cybersecurity

February 23, 2015 Leave a comment

cyber_securityThe President, industry leaders, and lawmakers visited the tech-hub of Stanford University earlier this month for an official White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection. The discussions focused on increasing collaboration between the government and the private sector in order to prevent potentially crippling data breaches. The administration hopes that this will encourage Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation. Here are a few key takeaways from the summit:

  1. Cybersecurity is an issue for all sectors of the economy.
    The Identity Theft Resource Center found that 85 million records were exposed last year both in the public and private sectors. Cyber attackers trumped terrorists as the #1 threat to national security last year while data breaches on companies such as Sony Pictures Entertainment, Target, Home Depot, and most recently, insurance giant Anthem Inc., resulted in costly losses.

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