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Tips to Protect your Business from a Fire-Related Emergency

October is National Fire Safety Month. Although the prevention of residential fires is the focal point of the month, employers should also spend some time reviewing workplace fire safety and prevention as it pertains to employees, equipment and property. In 2019, there were 99 occupational fatalities involving fire according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Here are some steps to help prevent or prepare for a fire-related emergency at your facility:

  1. Practice good housekeeping throughout your facility to eliminate potential fuel sources as well as trip hazards when evacuating the premises.
  2. Maintain the proper…

What Businesses Need to Know About Preventing a Cyber-Attack

October is Cybersecurity Awareness month, and it’s imperative that insurance brokers do our part to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity for individuals and businesses. Cyber insurance is a component of a healthy cybersecurity strategy yet many businesses, both small and large, continue to operate without proper coverage. I recently sat down with Travis Whitmill, Vice President of Evolve, a nationally recognized cybersecurity insurance specialist, to discuss everything cyber insurance.  Evolve was named “Advisen Cyber MGA of the Year” in 2020 and 2021.

1. Cyber insurance is still foreign to many businesses. How would you describe it in 30 seconds to a…


Dear HR – ADA Implications of Extended Medical Leaves

Prolonged medical absences with indefinite timelines and lack of clear justification can be paralyzing to business leaders and HR managers, particularly in smaller work environments. Although employers may feel entitled to more information than the employee is providing, they may not be entirely clear about the implications of asking for medical documentation.

Employers with less than 50 employees not subject to the Family & Medical Leave Act in particular, may adopt less rigorous procedures when dealing with medical leaves. And, in what I’ve seen become more of the norm, employers in this space are not requiring documentation from employees to…


Univest Insurance Appoints Kristen Dougherty as Employee Benefits Practice Leader

Univest Insurance, LLC, a subsidiary of Univest Financial (NASDAQ: UVSP), recently announced the appointment of Kristen Dougherty as Senior Vice President and Employee Benefits Practice Leader. As Employee Benefits Practice Leader, she is responsible for leading a team of approximately 20 employee benefits consultants who serve as strategic partners for local businesses. Dougherty will guide the team in providing effective and comprehensive benefits plans aimed at attracting and retaining quality employees. She is also responsible for driving client growth.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kristen back to the Univest Insurance team,” said Ronald Flaherty, president, Univest Insurance, LLC. “The time…


OSHA Guidance on Preventing Falls

As we shift towards a post-pandemic normal with more people returning to the office and construction and seasonal job markets increasing their workforces, it is important to remember that employers must prioritize safe work practices. You should revisit the policies that your company has implemented to ensure the safety of your workforce, remind your employees of required practices and consider if anything needs to be updated.

One of the most common risks on the job is falls. While we commonly think falls occur at height, falls also occur at ground level. To reduce or eliminate the potential for a slip and fall…


Shift Your Company Culture by Investing in Relationships

What is your company’s culture and engagement strategy? Employers who embrace the power of cultural fundamentals and have strategies in place to communicate their culture and promote employee engagement are in a position to accomplish more. By incorporating your company’s principles into daily business practices, you can cultivate a high-performing culture that drives performance and encourages employees to work together to serve their customers and communities. When an engaged workforce follows a common set of fundamental behaviors, it results in success.

At Univest, we highly value our culture and truly believe it drives performance. We also realize that culture isn’t…


Workers’ Compensation Cost Containment Strategies

Workers’ compensation is a required benefit that all employers must provide for their employees. By 1949, it was adopted by all 50 states and it used to pay for lost wages and medical bills when an employee is injured on the job. Some employers look at workers’ comp as a sunk cost or a cost of doing business. These businesses typically spend more for workers’ comp than businesses that work to proactively improve their safety culture and minimize on-the-job accidents. The rate in Pennsylvania for a carpenter can range from $5.91 per $100 of payroll to as much as…


Dear HR – Employees with Valid Medical Marijuana Credentials

The ongoing emotional stress, isolation and uncertainty of COVID-19 has, unfortunately, led to dramatic increases in substance abuse and overdoses. According to a CDC study conducted in June 2020, 13% of Americans reported starting or increasing substance use as a way of coping with stress or emotions related to COVID-19. Another grim statistic from the CDC is the number of people who died from drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending last June. The total number was more than 81,000, a 20% increase year-over-year, and the highest number of fatal overdoses ever recorded in the U.S. in a single…


Is Your Business Protected from Cyber Threats?

Businesses were already becoming more and more digital, then the pandemic hit and that transition increased significantly – even businesses that may not have considered online solutions before were forced to adapt. With more business happening online, there are new threats that business owners need to be prepared for – computer viruses, data breaches, malicious hacking, and other cyber-crimes. To help cover the cost related to these potential exposures, the insurance industry has policies tailored to cover the loss and damages.

What is Cyber Liability Insurance?
Cyber liability insurance is a newer coverage that has evolved from the digitization of…


Dear HR – How to Handle an Employee’s Positive COVID Test

As restrictions continue to be lifted and “COVID fatigue” accelerates, it is important for employers to continue to manage the challenges presented by the pandemic. Here is some insight on current quarantine guidelines that may help you navigate the ongoing pandemic.

For those who may have been exposed – if they have not been vaccinated or have not had COVID-19 within the past three months and were in “close contact” with the employee, they’ll need to get tested and wait until a negative test result is confirmed before returning to their work location. If the test result is positive, they’ll…

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