Archive for February, 2013

New trend sees large settlements from major drug developers

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

lawsuitEarlier this month, a Massachusetts court ordered one of the world’s largest manufacturers of pharmaceutical and medical devices to pay $63 million to a teenage girl and her family after a jury found the company liable for an inadequate warning label on one of its medications. The verdict stems from a 2003 case when she developed toxic epidermal necrolysis, a rare disorder resulting from dangerous side effects from the medication that left her blind and caused her to lose most of her skin, after taking the Children’s Motrin brand of ibuprofen for a fever.

Johnson & Johnson is the latest major drug developer facing patient lawsuits stemming from patients’ adverse reactions to medications. In January, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. agreed to pay $80 million to the patients and families who were harmed during the company’s clinical Read more…

Risky business: How much is enough when it comes to excess limits?

February 22, 2013 Leave a comment

umbrella policyDespite your best efforts to know and control your exposure to loss, you can be sued. The numbers of law suits filed against companies are rising. Not surprising the size of the settlements are also on the rise. Lawsuits can occur from the most surprising places; an existing contract, a marketing strategy, a company owned automobile, your business activities and your premises.

How much umbrella or excess limits should a business carry? There is no standard formula to answer this question, because the answer is different for every customer based on a number of variables of their business.

Umbrellas and Excess policies are important because they give you additional (higher) limits on multiple policies by purchasing one policy. Most cover General Liability, Automobile, and Read more…

Latest EEOC’s report highlights rise in systemic suit filings

February 19, 2013 Leave a comment

EEOC2The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently published its 2012 Performance and Accountability Report. The Report foreshadows the EEOC’s strategic objectives for 2013. The EEEOC’s proposed strategic plan has established three objectives: (1) combating employment discrimination through strategic law enforcement; (2) preventing employment discrimination through education and outreach; and (3) delivering excellent and consistent service through a skilled and diverse workforce and effective systems.

The Report recognizes the EEOC’s record recovery of $365.4 million through the administrative process in 2012, an increase of $700,000 from 2011. Read more…

Wind energy tax credit extended as advocates hope for multi-year term

February 15, 2013 1 comment

Windturbines on the oceanWind power and clean energy advocates breathed a sigh of relief after Congress voted to extend the tax credits for research and development of renewable energy for 2013. Workers in the wind energy had feared the tax credits, which were set to expire at the end of 2012, would not survive amid the “fiscal cliff” bargaining in Washington last month. The deal includes a one-year extension of tax credits for wind power production and offshore wind projects, a significant sign of support for the nation to foster energy independence, develop a broader energy base and reduce carbon emissions.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the wind industry could supply up to 20 percent of the country’s electricity by 2030. Companies that generate wind, solar power, geothermal and “closed-loop” bioenergy are eligible for the 2.2 cent per kWh Production Tax Credit (PTC), which Read more…

New FDA ruling on manufacturing requirements could lead to more warnings

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

gmpsThe FDA issued a final ruling last month on Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements for products that combine devices, drugs and/or biologics. The ruling will go into effect July 27, 2013, and clarifies CGMP requirements for products that are a mixture of any of these products as packaged together or as a single-entity combination. While in the past, the guidelines for some combination products (such as those that are manufactured and marketed separately) were fairly straightforward, the rules for “single-entity” and co-packaged combination products had been less clear.

While it is mandatory for all pharmaceutical companies to comply with CGMP regulations, they are not meant to be prescriptive instructions, since the regulations apply to so many types of drugs and devices. Instead, the rules are meant to offer a general framework which all Read more…

Getting non-profit employers ready for health reform play or pay rules

February 11, 2013 Leave a comment

pigs-healthcareAt WGA, we have found ourselves playing a key role in assisting our non-profit clients in taking advantage of the assistance they might be qualified for under the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  For one thing, the law includes a tax credit for small non-profit employers (25 or fewer employees) as well as for-profit businesses to maintain health insurance coverage for their employees. This was seen as a fairly big victory for non-profit employers that were wondering where they fit into the puzzle. But now the really hard work starts in trying to figure out how non-profits will comply with the Affordable Care Act and how will they manage to avoid penalties associated with the “play or pay” provision that goes into effect on January 1, 2014.

Although the PPACA picture is still evolving, non-profit employers need to start looking at their health insurance strategy and assess whether what they currently offer will fit the requirements Read more…

Confronting the challenges of the workers comp market

February 6, 2013 Leave a comment

workers_compThe placement of Workers’ Compensation risks has grown more challenging for employers over the past year with the shrinking of the overall market and expected double-digit rate increases in 2013. Nationwide rates were up 2-5% in 2012 and , for 2013, carriers are citing the need for rates to increase an additional 12-18% in most states. Also, the Experience Modification system is being revised by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for the first time in 25 years. The new formula will switch the emphasis from Loss Frequency to a more even balance between Loss Frequency and Loss Severity. This change will produce both winners, and losers.

In preparation for these challenges, we have established a multilevel solution for employers to gain greater control over the overall cost of their Workers’ Compensation programs. By combining the Read more…