SECURA earns coveted national wellness award

SECURA recently was honored as one of America’s healthiest companies. The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) presented us with its top designation: the Platinum Well Workplace Award.

It is rare for a company to achieve the Platinum level award on its first submission, and we are only the second company in Wisconsin ever to earn it.

WELCOA rates businesses based on seven criteria. Our success was evidence of a companywide commitment to wellness — ranging from an onsite fitness center and exercise classes, to wellness programs throughout the year, to educational seminars about nutrition, physical health, and emotional well-being.

Not only does the Platinum award recognize the integral role wellness plays in the way we do business; it also shows the company’s dedication to creating a healthy environment for its employees.

“We’re proud to be in the elite ranks of America’s healthiest companies,” said SECURA President and CEO John Bykowski. “It’s confirmation that our long-term integration of wellness into our culture has improved the quality of life for our associates. Plus, I’ve always believed that a healthy associate is happier, more productive, and provides that exceptional level of service we are known for. So it’s a win-win-win situation for us.”

5 New Year’s resolutions for your business

Ring in the new year with a safer, healthier, and more effective business by taking on these resolutions in 2013:

1. Develop an emergency preparedness program. Establish guidelines for medical, severe weather, and fire emergencies. Practice these procedures with all employees, reinforce them at all levels of the company, and post reminders in high traffic areas. Make sure you have an adequate supply of first aid equipment on hand, and have designated employees trained in CPR and standard first aid.

2. Create a return-to-work program. Develop a plan to help injured workers get back to work sooner after an incident. See how to get started.

3. Identify hazards and take steps to remove them. Workplace hazards could include electrical cords on the ground, defective equipment, tired drivers, heat stress, and more. If possible, eliminate the hazard. If not, create warnings (for example, back-up alarms, labels on chemicals). Train your employees on procedures for safely handling the hazards. Provide the appropriate protective equipment, like glasses, boots, reflective vests, earplugs, etc., and make sure employees use it.

4. Offer ergonomics training. Back injuries and cumulative trauma disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome can be costly for your employees and your company. Create a committee or provide employee training about adjusting workstations and computers to reduce wrist and back tension, and safely handling and lifting materials.
5. Update your insurance policy. Did you make any significant changes to your business operations in the past year, such as expanding your office or adding new drivers? Contact your insurance agent to make sure all aspects of your business are protected.

RFID credit card may be vulnerable to scam

Ker-chunk, ker-chunk. Those over age 35 will remember that as what paying with a credit card once sounded like. This was back when merchants used a giant contraption to take an imprint of your card. In addition to requiring some serious muscle power on the part of the checkout person, this process also was time consuming.

Today, however, cashiers barely have time to greet customers before they wave a card past the contactless scanner and head on their way. But like most things in today’s fast-paced world, there’s a tradeoff for speed.

Contactless cards owe their efficiency to the use of a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip, but this same technology also makes them vulnerable to thieves. Criminals could, with inexpensive equipment and from just a few inches away, skim your card information.

That could lead to fraudulent charges in a one-time transaction. The technology makes it unlikely that thieves could use the information multiple times.

Because it’s doubtful we’ll be seeing the old ker-chunk, ker-chunk machine make a comeback, below are some tips and links to help you stay protected from this type of theft.

How do I know if I have an RFID credit card?
A symbol like the one in the photo above may be imprinted on your credit card. Also, terms like PayPass® (MasterCard), payWave® (Visa), or BLINK® (Chase) are good indicators you have an RFID chip.

How can I prevent RFID credit card theft?
The most secure method is to ask your bank to give you a card without RFID technology. Alternatively, you can buy protective credit card sleeves — or even wrap your card in tinfoil.

Though criminals need to stand in close proximity to steal your RFID signal, it’s easy to become a victim of this scam. For more information, view a video at or an article at

How to heat your home safely

No matter how you choose to heat your home during winter, a heating source can become a fire hazard if it’s not properly maintained. Here are reminders to help keep your home warm and safe:

Wood-burning stove or
pellet stove
•  Leave the proper clearance around the stove. Brick, stone, and metal can get hot enough to ignite nearby combustible materials.
•  Keep curtains, clothing, furniture, paper, and kindling away from the stove.
•  Check the walls near the stove — they shouldn’t feel uncomfortably warm.
•  Clean the stove regularly. Creosote is a flammable coating that can build up on stove pipes and chimneys, and must be removed.
•  Never start a stove fire with gasoline, kerosene, or starter fluid. These substances could cause an explosion.


•  Clean out your chimney regularly, especially if you use your fireplace often or burn green wood — this can lead to an increased buildup of creosote.
•  Have your chimney checked for cracks, loose bricks, or unused flue openings that are improperly sealed.
•  Avoid large fires of paper or trash, which send dangerous flames and sparks up your chimney, and use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from escaping.
•  Have a professional inspect your gas fireplace, including cleaning the logs and checking the fan and vents.

Space heater

•  Stand the heater on a level surface, and keep it at least three feet away from any combustible materials.
•  Plug the heater into an outlet, not an extension cord.
•  Turn off the space heater when you leave the room and while you sleep.
•  Don’t use a space heater to dry wet clothing or to warm bedding.
•  Replace, don’t patch, damaged or frayed electrical cords.

For more heating safety tips, visit

FAQs — What is EPLI?

The insurance concept is pretty simple. We buy insurance to protect us from loss.

Where things can get confusing is when the talk turns to specific coverages. Take, for instance, Employment Practices Liability Insurance, which your agent may refer to as EPLI. If you run a business with employees, EPLI is almost certainly a must-have, even for businesses with only a few employees.

But what is it? And why do you need it?

EPLI protects businesses from the losses that could result from hiring and dismissing employees, harassment, and promotions and demotions. In today’s litigious society, these types of claims have become more frequent and at times costly to employers. While coverages can vary, generally EPLI protects against:

   •  Wrongful termination
   •  Wrongful demotion
   •  Harassment
   •  Defamation of character
   •  Acts that invade employees’ right to privacy
   •  Failure to promote a qualified employee

When purchasing EPLI coverage, businesses may want to look for a company that offers free value-added features that complement the protection with:

   •  Consultative services for employment practices questions

   •  Templates of employment and human resources documents
   •  Self-audit checklists
   •  Educational articles and resources

For employers both large and small, EPLI provides exceptional peace of mind and premiums are quite reasonable. To learn more about the coverage, speak with your independent insurance agent.