How to prepare for medical emergencies at work

Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere…including your workplace. Do employees know how to respond if someone has chest pains or suddenly becomes disoriented?

Confusion over roles and responsibilities can delay critical medical care. Take steps to craft a policy and prepare your team for the unexpected.

Consider these recommendations when creating your emergency medical action plan:
  1. If a person is seriously ill or injured, call 911. Make sure employees know that 911 should always be the first call in a life-threatening situation.
  2. Train a team of first responders. Ask for volunteers and provide in-depth training, available from the Red Cross, the National Safety Council, or local healthcare providers. Training may include CPR, use of AED devices, and first aid.
  3. Next, put a system in place so employees can quickly identify and locate the nearest first responder. These people can provide immediate care until emergency medical crews arrive.
  4. Have a designated person in charge of calling a victim’s emergency contact person.
Injuries and non-emergencies
Develop a response plan for injuries that are non-life-threatening as well. If your company has SECURA Insurance as its workers’ compensation insurance provider, the injured employee along with their supervisor should call the 24-hour Nurse Hotline first. A registered nurse will help determine if the injury can be self-treated or if medical attention should be sought. If so, the injured worker will be referred to the nearest medical clinic.

Nurse Hotline is offered as a free benefit for SECURA policyholders and provides fast, expert guidance. It also can help eliminate the hassle of unnecessary and costly visits to the emergency room.

Communicate your emergency response plan several times a year. Make sure any emergency equipment at your facility is in good working order, and build a team of employee volunteers located throughout your facilities who are ready to respond in a crisis.

As always, prevention of injuries should be the main goal. To help, we've provided several free safety program samples on our website here.

5 simple steps to conserve water and save money

The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water at home each day, according to the EPA. In some communities, this water use is straining the limited supply.

By incorporating some simple water conservation efforts, you can reduce not only your community’s dependence on a limited supply, but also save energy and reduce your utility bills.

What can you do?
  1. Use the dishwasher. Contrary to popular belief, a dishwasher is more efficient than washing by hand when it is run with a full load.
  2. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. A lot of water is wasted when you run the faucet until it is cool.
  3. Watch for leaks. Household leaks can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water per U.S. family every year. That is enough for more than 270 loads of laundry!
  4. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth. You can save 3-5 gallons of water each time you do.
  5. Use a rain barrel. Not only does it conserve tap water, natural rain water is better for plants because it is void of salt, sediments, and fluoride that often are found in treated water.
Learn more water conservation tips and tricks here. And remember, every gallon of water has to be pumped and filtered prior to coming through your faucet. Do your part to improve our world and your wallet.

Travel Rescuer gets train passenger back on track

Frequent traveler Janet McInroy was vacationing with an organized train tour group when her trip switched tracks. The plan was to take three trains from Chicago through Los Angeles to Seattle but, just two days into the trip, she got suspected food poisoning.

A vacation derailed 
After a night feeling sick and a 4 a.m. call to the tour director, Janet knew she couldn’t continue with the group. So when the train reached its first destination — Los Angeles — help was waiting.

“Everyone else got on the next train,” she said. “I got on an ambulance to the hospital.”

The tour rolled on without her. Meanwhile, the ambulance took her to LA County Medical Hospital, where she spent 26 hours recovering.

That’s when her husband’s organizational skills came in handy. Longtime SECURA policyholders, Robert and Janet always kept copies of the materials they received — including brochures about Travel RescuerSM, a service that provides 24/7 emergency and non-emergency travel, medical, and security assistance to policyholders who travel 100 or more miles from home, for no additional cost.

Even though he never thought they’d need to use it, Robert saved the Travel Rescuer information. He even called his agent at Thompson-Nelson Insurance in Rice Lake, Wis., before Janet’s trip to confirm that the travel assistance was available. And, when Janet called from the hospital, he knew right where to find the phone number — which he called to find out what his next move should be.

Back on track 
Representatives from Travel Rescuer quickly reached out to Janet’s doctor after hearing from Robert and stayed in constant communication with the hospital to figure out how to get Janet home.

“What impressed me is how fast they worked,” Janet said. “When the representative said she would send something, the documents were already there when she hung up the phone.”

The Travel Rescuer representative sent Janet’s arrangements to the hospital so, by the time she was well enough to leave, she had everything in hand for the trip home — including a seat on a plane.

“When I got the ok to leave, they called back within 15 minutes, confirmed the flight, and sent my travel documents. I was out of the hospital at 1, to the airport by 2, and boarded the plane by 3:20,” she said. “They were fast, efficient, and thorough — but the most pleasant surprise was that they paid for my air ticket.”

Robert met her at the airport and they drove home together the next morning, where they were greeted by a call from someone at Travel Rescuer making sure they arrived safely.

“They did more than we expected and handled the entire situation efficiently,” Janet said. “We were both in awe of how well everything worked.”

Travel Rescuer is automatically included on SECURA MILE-STONE Gold policies. Due to state regulatory restrictions, Travel Rescuer is not available to Illinois residents.

What is E&O insurance? Confusing terms unwrapped

Mistakes happen, even to the most careful employees. That’s where Errors & Omissions (E&O) coverage comes in. This liability coverage not only protects against mistakes made by a business, but also mistakes made by employees.

E&O provides protection in situations where the policyholder makes a mistake (an error or omission) that leads to a financial loss for their client, so the policyholder needs to pay the resulting damages (or potential lawsuit). The loss could be due to professional services or inaccurate advice.

For example, consider a carpet installer. If the contractor picked up the wrong carpet from the dealer and installed it in a customer’s home, the installer would need to remove the carpet, replace it, and cover the costs to fix the mistake.

Who needs it? 
E&O liability coverage is beneficial for:
  • Heating and air conditioning contractors 
  • Electricians 
  • Plumbers 
  • Carpet installers 
  • Masons 
  • Concrete contractors 
  • Tile, stone, and marble installers 
  • Communication equipment installers 
  • Independent agents 
  • Financial advisors 
  • And so many more 
Not all insurance companies provide E&O coverage for all types of business. Learn more and talk to your independent agent to decide whether your business needs E&O coverage. If you already have E&O protection, review your policy annually to make sure you maintain adequate limits.

Is insurance a commodity? Agents make the difference

Many media campaigns position insurance as a commodity, suggesting that price is the only main difference there is to offer. Perhaps the actual dictionary definition of the word can help dispel that myth:

commodity
   noun com·mod·i·ty \kə-ˈmä-də-tē\
1. a good or service whose wide availability typically diminishes the importance of factors other than price

Companies that only focus on the cost of insurance give little to no consideration for the dramatic differences among policies and the many factors to consider besides price. Unfortunately, many consumers end up paying more in the long run once a claim is made and the reality of their woefully inadequate coverage from a cut-rate carrier comes to light.

With help from a trusted independent agent when making a buying decision, these same customers would have discovered that coverages like SECURA’s MILE-STONE Gold are, in fact, priced fairly when comparing apples to apples, and that they could have had proper protection, not to mention the service that goes with it.

Independent agents have the advantage of knowing the companies they represent. They know the substantial coverage and service differences that various policies offer.

More importantly, they know you, their customer. With each policy comes a personal advisor and, in many cases, a personal friend. It’s not unusual to see your local independent insurance agent while shopping at the grocery store or cheering for your high school football team.

Individual attention is something the big-name direct sellers can’t offer. That in itself shows a marked difference among companies and policies, and demonstrates once again that home and auto insurance is far from a commodity.

Contact your independent insurance agent today. They have your best interest at heart and can customize your insurance to properly protect and save you money in the long run.