Archive for October, 2013

SEC whistleblower bounty program uncovers $14m award

October 30, 2013 1 comment

whistleblowerEarlier this month, the SEC awarded $14 million to an anonymous whistleblower who sent a tip about securities fraud that helped the Commission take enforcement action and recover investment funds. The case was the largest amount awarded since the launch of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) whistleblower bounty program, which was created to help eliminate illegal and fraudulent financial conduct and to promote greater corporate compliance with federal securities laws.

Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) established new whistleblower incentives and protections, including awards to individuals “who provide the SEC with original information about securities fraud that leads to the successful SEC enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions over $1 million.” This is the third award the Read more…

Recent EEOC cases and the importance of employee background checks

October 24, 2013 Leave a comment

backgroundcheckIt’s a good time for employers to review hiring protocols and their use of background checks. Last summer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filed a series of class action lawsuits against large employers for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act based on unlawful use of background checks. Among the EEOC’s chief complaints in two of the cases were allegations that employers’ background check policies had an adverse impact on the basis of race.

According to the EEOC’s April 2012 revised Guidance, employers must perform an individualized assessment and engage in dialogue with an individual with a criminal background before disqualifying him or her from employment. In addition, employers Read more…

Dogs serve as accurate risk assessment tools for wind farms

October 21, 2013 Leave a comment

windDogAs wind energy continues to expand across the U.S., some wind farm operators face increasing scrutiny from environmental groups to comply with federal laws protecting the environment. While generating clean, affordable energy, wind turbines are also a potential hazard for many endangered species that live on or around the wind farms. Blade collisions and sudden drops in air pressure contribute to the death of more than 1.4 million types of bird and bat species. In recent years, several environmental and animal rights activists have filed several federal cases in the past few years against energy companies and wind farms, prompting the clean energy community to take a closer look at green energy and its impact on nature and wildlife.

In order to avoid negative attention and potential lawsuits against their projects, wind farm operators frequently assess the impact of their facilities on endangered species and take active measures Read more…

Health insurance buying power: Public marketplaces vs. private exchanges

October 17, 2013 Leave a comment

cartHealthThe Marketplace concept is the backbone of PPACA, to the point of requiring each state to operate one, in some manner, as of January 1, 2014. In fact, on October 1, 2013, every employer was required to furnish employees with a Model Notice that announced the existence of the public Marketplace along with more information about where to find one. A “Marketplace” is an online health insurance clearinghouse from which individuals can select a health insurance plan among several insurance carriers and varying plan designs. The Marketplace is a concept that we will all likely become more familiar with in the months and years to come, some of us sooner rather than later.

A public Marketplace is a very convenient forum that addresses several PPACA goals: to mete out the health insurance premium subsidies to those who qualify, to standardize health plan offerings, Read more…

Insurance considerations during a shutdown

govshutdownNearly three weeks into the partial federal shutdown, Congressional deadlock over the debt ceiling poses several possible risks for businesses that may suffer losses stemming from the shutdown. While political analysts say the current situation is unlikely to affect the validity of federal debt, companies that provide services to the government (and spend considerable resources and money to do so) should consider special insurance policies that will provide coverage for losses associated with the situation. This includes the potential elimination or disruption of any underlying government project, in which case coverage would protect businesses if the order is cancelled. These policies are specifically underwritten for particular risks, and while it’s often difficult (or cost prohibitive) to find this kind of coverage, it is certainly worth preliminary research The following are types of policies that may Read more…

Marketplaces open amid government’s closed doors

marketplaceIn the midst of the first government shutdown in 17 years, the Health Insurance Marketplace opened for business on time, unlike many other Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provisions. However, the first day for the Health Insurance Marketplace was a bit bumpy, to say the least. Due to high volume and possible design flaws, consumers experienced significant delays and technical problems. As millions of Americans flocked to the government-run Marketplace website to search for and compare health plans and apply for coverage, many of them were greeted with error messages, leaving individuals skeptical and frustrated.

The individual mandate, a key provision of PPACA, requires Americans to obtain qualified health insurance or pay a penalty. The Marketplace is meant to be a one stop shop where individuals can easily Read more…

Revisiting the basics of medical malpractice

October 2, 2013 Leave a comment

medmalHealth care reform has caused uncertainty and stress across the insurance and healthcare provider industries and has prompted some industry consolidation in both fields. Couple this with the questions that we have seen regarding the laws impact on malpractice coverages, WGA is strongly encouraging providers to be diligent when it comes to searching our most comprehensive and fiscally responsible choices for Medical Malpractice Insurance program.

What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?  Insurance, in general, is the practice of sharing your risk with a large number of individuals or groups who have a similar risk. While it is nearly impossible to predict the future for an individual, the use of statistical data and Read more…