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If your church is in the unfortunate situation of leaving its long-term affiliation with The United Methodist Church, the process may seem daunting. The success and efficiency of the process will depend on engaging the right professionals, experienced in working with churches and non-profit organizations.

Insurance, both property and casualty as well as health benefits, will be a critical component of the denominational departure process.  Because The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church has historically self-insured all insurance risk, any break from the conference will require new insurance coverage and the selection of the local congregation’s own professional insurance advisor.  This advisor or agent should be able to provide you with the coverage all churches require, including: property insurance including hurricanes, general liability, automobile, umbrella, workers compensation, flood, directors & officers, employment practices, crime, cyber, pastoral professional, and sexual abuse coverage.  The insurance agency you choose to work with should be able to provide claims professionals, risk management resources (written safety programs, employee handbooks, liability waivers, and other formal documents), and access to the top five (5) insurance carriers that compete for church insurance coverage.

As you plan for the departure and move into the local congregation’s own insurance program, it will be important to collect the following items to make the transition as efficient as possible and to get the best terms and premium:

  • Current insurance summary available from www.flumc.org/insurancesummary2019
  • Name and FEIN of all entities
  • Addresses and number of buildings for all locations, including parsonages
  • Construction information on buildings (building type, sq ft, roof type, year of updates/improvements)
  • Building replacement cost valuation (agents and carriers can estimate this, but recent appraisals are preferred)
  • Personal property valuation
  • # of full/part time staff and pastors
  • # volunteers and board or council members
  • Child Protection Policy
  • Year, make, model for all vehicles
  • Name, DOB and license # for all drivers
  • Current financial statement
  • Current “Loss Run” report outlining claims on all policies (associated with your congregation) for the last four (4) years

 

Gulfshore Insurance is uniquely prepared to provide all the insurance necessary for congregations departing from The United Methodist Church. As one of the largest agencies on Florida’s west coast, with offices in Naples, Ft. Myers, and Sarasota, Gulfshore Insurance specializes in churches and has access to all specialty insurance carriers. This means the process is efficient, thorough and provides the lowest premiums available. Appointments or conference calls can be scheduled with Gulfshore Insurance’s Church and Non-Profit Practice Leader, John Keller, by contacting him at jkeller@gulfshoreinsurance.com or 239-430-7541.

To view our complete risk management library of articles for churches and non-profits, click here.

John Keller, CRM ARM CIC AAI is Client Advisor & Risk Manager at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in non-profit and religious organizations. John works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at jkeller@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Florida lawmakers made texting and driving illegal in July of 2019 and in October of 2019 they made hand-held phone use illegal in school and work zones. The law included a “warning period” until January 1, 2020, so enforcement has been lacking since becoming law.

Florida is the 45th state to make cell phone use while driving illegal. I find that interesting since we have the 4th highest accident rate of any state – what took so long?

Here is what you should know about the new laws:

  1. Hands-Free Mobile Device Policy
    If your company is not already using a Hands-Free Mobile Device Policy which has been signed by all your drivers, then your insurance agent/risk manager must still think it is 1980.  Email me and I’ll send you a policy.
  2. Texting While Driving is now a ‘Primary’ Offense
     This means that your drivers can and will be pulled over if they are using their phones while driving.  It was previously considered a ‘secondary’ offense, meaning they could only be ticketed for using their phone only if they were pulled over for another reason (i.e. not using a blinker).
  3. The Penalty
    A first offense results in a small $30 fine.  A second offense is a fine up to $100 and three points on their license.  The points are the big issue here.  Those points will hurt your insurance underwriting and they could potentially eliminate a driver from being an acceptable driver on your insurance.  How valuable is that employee if they cannot drive a vehicle for you?
  4. Can Drivers Use GPS?
    Drivers can still use their phones for GPS, but drivers cannot hold their phone in their hand while driving.  Drivers must pull off the road to put in coordinates to their GPS.
  5. Hands-Free Phone Calls
    Drivers may talk on the phone while driving, but again, they cannot hold their phone while driving.  Headphones are allowed while driving, but only in one ear.

It is important that you communicate these points to your drivers because their driving habits will affect your cost of insurance and their status as an acceptable driver on your insurance.

At Gulfshore Insurance, we provide insurance and risk management for businesses.  We work with more than 10,000 clients throughout Florida and we are happy to assist you with training materials, safety programs, and insurance for your business.

Jeffrey Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

We know that workplace injuries are costing your business money in a many ways; increased insurance premiums, cost of hiring and replacement, lost efficiency, additional training, increased paperwork and administrative costs, and more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional truck drivers suffer more injuries than any other industry.

Why are these injuries happening?
A recent 10 year study out of Washington state gives us the statistics behind the leading Truck Driver injuries…

  • 40% are due to Musculoskeletal Injury (strains, sprains, pulls, overexertion, etc.)
  • 19% are due to Falls from Elevation or Same Level (mostly getting in or out of the vehicle)
  • 12% are due to being Struck By or Against an Object (falling object, swinging door, etc.)
  • 9% are due to Vehicle Crashes

 

Most of these injuries are preventable with the proper training, planning and awareness.  Keep your employees safe and your premiums and other injury costs down by taking a proactive approach.

Musculoskeletal
Scenario: Moving containers or equipment (boxes, crates, bins etc.)
Solution: Provide proper lift training and “strategy”.  Employees should first evaluate, then lift.  Use mechanical aids when necessary.

Falls from Elevation or Same Level
Scenario: Falling while entering/exiting the vehicle and trailer/loading area.
Solution:  Use the “3-Point Contact” rule when entering or exiting – no jumping.  Provide proper step conditions (step ladder to cab/trailer).  Provide training and reminders that employees cannot jump from trailer or cab.

Struck by or Against an Object
Scenario: Struck by container or loose cargo.
Solution:  Provide ample equipment to secure/store cargo properly.  Replace binders/straps if they are worn.  Train employees on proper stacking and loading techniques.

Crashes
Scenario: 29% of all crashes are Rear-End Collisions.  Most of these are due to following too closely.
Solution:  Use a “4-second rule” when following another vehicle.  Reduce speed increase following distance in poor/wet conditions.  Constantly discuss and remind drivers of the importance of keeping proper following distance.  Provide trainings and information about proper following techniques.

Investing in safety and training for your employees will pay dividends by keeping insurance premiums and injury related costs down over the long haul.

At Gulfshore Insurance, we specialize in insurance and risk management in the trucking and transportation industry. We work with more than 10,000 clients throughout Florida and we are happy to assist you with training materials, safety programs, and insurance for your business.

Jeffrey Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

We know that employee workplace injuries drive up your cost of insurance. It is also no surprise that employees who work in physical trades are more susceptible to a workplace injury. Knowing the most common workplace injuries across all types of construction companies can help you prevent them from occurring.

Here are the Top 5 Workplace Injuries for the Construction Industry.

Cuts & Lacerations:
Construction workers are always at risk of cuts and gashes from a myriad of potential dangers. However, these are often the easiest to avoid. Make sure you crews are using and wearing their PPE!

Falls:
Slipping, tripping and falling should always be of concern. A fall from just one or two steps up on a ladder can result in broken bones and severe injury. Remind your crews to use extreme caution and proper technique with ladders and scaffolding and keep work areas neat and clear of tripping hazards.

Head Injuries:
The two main causes are falling objects and workers hitting their head on objects. Hard hats can prevent most of these injuries – be sure your crews are using them!

Burns:
Burns are always near the top of the list of most common construction injuries. Hot equipment, exposed wires, chemicals, etc. are all contributors to this category.

Heat Stroke:
It should be no surprise that heat stroke makes it into the top 5 in the state of Florida. If your employees are exposed to the elements, give them the tools they need to be protected from the heat. Water coolers, Gatorade, tents for shade. These are small expenses that will go a long way for moral and the safety of your employees.

At Gulfshore Insurance, we specialize in insurance and risk management for construction industry. We work with thousands of contractors throughout Florida and we are happy to assist you with training materials, safety programs, and insurance for your business.

Jeffrey Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

I spent 10 years in the private club industry before pivoting into the insurance world.  As a manager, two of my top concerns internally were wellbeing of my staff and team, and the budget.

Workplace injuries drive up costs in many ways and often most significantly in your insurance premiums.  By investing in a safe workplace for your employees, you can achieve those two objectives.

Here are the Top 5 Workplace Injuries for Golf and Country Clubs

  1. Lifting & Handling: Strains and pulls (musculoskeletal)make up nearly 25% of all workplace injuries. Back pain, neck pain, leg pain can all result from lifting or handling something awkwardly or too heavy.
    Solution: Encourage employees to evaluate then lift. Get help from another co-worker and use mechanical aids if available.
  2. Slips, Trips and Falls: Many of these happen around the kitchen and when entering the building during wet weather.
    Solution: Kitchen staff must wear non-slip footwear at all times. Don’t just put mats and “slippery/wet” signs where your members enter and exit, but also where your employees do as well.
  3. Burns: Again, stemming from the kitchen, burns are common from hot surfaces and liquids.  Often times they are the result of inexperience or haste (hot plate, hot liquid spill).
    Solution: Make your staff aware of hot items or liquids. Train the new employees on potential hazards, especially if they are inexperienced in food service.
  4. Cuts: The Kitchen is a dangerous place. Cuts from knives and automated slicers are far too common.
    Solution: Staff sharp knives must use a cut resistant glove. Train proper cutting techniques.
  5. Golf Cart Injuries: Golf carts can be very dangerous. Most injuries occur when staff is not using caution, have body parts hanging outside of the golf cart, or using the cart improperly (i.e. riding on the back).
    Solution: Strict guidelines need to be in place and reviewed with the golf staff.  Specify the proper uses of golf carts (they are not utility carts) and identify areas of caution around your facility.  Under no circumstances should any person be allowed to ride on the back of a golf cart.

At Gulfshore Insurance, we specialize in insurance and risk management for golf and country clubs. We work with more than 50 clubs throughout Florida and we are happy to assist you with training materials, safety programs, and insurance for your club.

Jeffrey Sanders, TRIP is Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance. Jeff works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis, guidance, and insurance. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com