Reduce Work Comp costs with a proactive approach to treating injuries

When injuries happen on the job, they can turn into expensive claims, ultimately driving an employer’s Work Comp insurance premiums higher. There are, however, ways to keep costs in check. The key is taking action before non-emergency work injuries become insurance claims.

Value-added features offered by select insurance companies, such as SECURA’s Nurse Hotline, connect employees hurt on the job with registered nurses via a 24-hour phone line. The goal of the service is to provide workers with immediate answers to the best way to treat their non-emergency injuries. These minor strains, sprains, and such respond well to simple treatments. That means no visit to the ER or a battery of expensive diagnostic tests.

The rewards of Nurse Hotline extend to both employers and employees.

Benefits to the employer
• Reduced claims. Many injuries reported to the hotline can be
  treated simply with self-care methods. That translates into no
  hospital visit and no claim.

• Reduced costs. When claims are reduced in both number and
  size, premiums typically follow.

• Reduced lost time. When injuries are treated immediately, workers stay at work or return to work sooner.
• Expert guidance. Highly skilled medical professionals are providing answers. No more supervisor judgment
  calls or overtreating injuries.

Benefits to the employee
• Instant care. Injured employees get sound medical guidance immediately.
• No stress. A skilled independent medical professional advises employees on treatment.
• A true benefit. Employees will see such a hotline as an extension of the benefits package a company offers.

A proactive approach focusing on early assessment of work injuries can have a significant impact on reducing a company’s insurance claims. However, in order to reap the benefits, organizations must be partnered with insurance providers that offer them access to these value-added features, and employees must use them.

For more information about the benefits of Nurse Hotline, view a short video.

SECURA congratulates 2012 top-performing agencies

This week, we celebrate the achievements of our 2012 top-performing agencies.

Our top-performing agency was three-time award winner Johnson Insurance Services, LLC. Mark Behrens accepted the award from John Bykowski, SECURA President and CEO, at a ceremony during our Premier Agent Professional Development Conference. Johnson Insurance has represented SECURA as an independent agency since 1979.

Also receiving awards were:

•  Family Insurance Center, Inc. in Seymour, Wis., a first-time award winner and partner since 1976. Eric DeBruin accepted the award.
•  The McClone Agency, Inc. in Menasha, Wis., a three-time award winner and partner since 1976. Ryan McClone accepted the award.

•  R&R Insurance Services, Inc. in Waukesha, Wis., a seven-time award winner and partner since 1976. Frank Maurer and Ken Riesch accepted the award.

•  Trottier Agency, Inc
. in Kenosha, Wis., our Rookie of the Year award winner. Trottier Agency was appointed in 2009. Michelle Trottier accepted the award.

•  Van Gorp Insurors, Ltd
. in Pella, Iowa, a first-time award winner and partner since 1980. Dennis Van Gorp accepted the award.

•  Winona Agency, Inc
. in Winona, Minn., a first-time award winner and partner since 2001. Gary Watts accepted the award.

Congratulations and thank you to these outstanding agencies.

John Bykowski, SECURA's President & CEO, congratulates the 2012 top-performing agents. From left: Dennis Van Gorp, Van Gorp Insurors; Garry Watts, Winona Agency; Michelle Trottier, Trottier Agency; Mark Behrens, Johnson Insurance Services; John Bykowski; Frank Maurer, R&R Insurance Services; Ken Riesch, R&R Insurance Services; Eric DeBruin, Family Insurance Center; and Ryan McClone, The McClone Agency.

Don’t get caught on thin ice this winter

A frozen pond or lake extends the winter landscape, offering opportunities for ice skating, hockey, ice fishing, and more. But treading on thin ice can be dangerous, potentially causing hypothermia or even death.

That’s why you need to know whether the ice is strong enough to support you, your snowmobile, or your vehicle before you venture out.

Just how thick does ice need to be? Unfortunately, there isn’t a perfect rule. Ice doesn’t freeze uniformly, so it won’t be the same thickness throughout the body of water.

Here are some guidelines to help you determine the thickness of
the ice:

  •  Ask a local business, such as a resort that frequently hosts ice
     fishermen, about the ice conditions.
  •  Create a hole in the ice using a chisel, auger, or cordless drill.
     Use a tape measure to find the thickness of the ice.

  •  New ice typically is stronger than old ice, even if the old ice
     is thicker.

Don’t walk on ice that is 2 inches thick or less, and avoid driving on ice whenever possible. If you do drive on the ice, it should be at least 5 inches thick for a snowmobile or ATV, 8-12 inches for a car, and 12-15 inches for a medium truck, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Remember, there is no way to be 100 percent certain that ice is safe. If you’re unsure about the strength of the ice or your safety, stay off the ice.

Find more safety tips at

Should you warm up to writing snow forts?

Snow forts are great fun, but are they a good risk? When considering whether to write seasonal coverage for kids’ ice castles, you have to stick with the basics of COPE — Construction, Occupancy, Protection, External Exposures. Below are some thoughts to help keep a cool snow fort book of business.

Construction. Umm, they’re snow forts so they are all pretty much equal in this area, right? Wrong. With a keen eye, you’ll be able to spot a good risk from a couple of haphazardly piled ice chunks. Look for walls that are packed into place and joints that are filled with extra snow (the wet stuff) for greater stability. Did the young builder take time to mist interior and exterior walls with water for even more protection? That’s a good sign and probably means dad or an older brother assisted in the project. Don’t forget that light fluffy snow — the non-packy stuff — piled up isn’t really a snow fort; it’s what we in the business refer to as a “snow heap.”

Occupancy. This is tricky. The last thing you want is a frozen flophouse for all the neighborhood kids to mistreat. You know that little Billy Mumphrey is a real wildcard and will eventually claim ownership “because he lugged waaay more snow than anyone.” When that happens, it’s only a matter of time before a wall or two is mysteriously demolished. Let’s face it, this thing goes unoccupied most of the night and, unfortunately, these “accidents” are all too frequent. How about dogs? Not a good situation if there’s one on the premises. Dogs can lead to all sorts of losses.

Protection. Snowballs are a good deterrent for intruders. Also, look for short doorways that help keep the high schoolers out.

External exposures. We’re trained to look to the left and right, but in this case we should look up. Unless you’re writing policies in the Arctic, the sun is a real problem. So is the snowplow that may pass too close and crush the structure with a tidal wave of road slush after the next snowstorm. And on that note, why is Ned the plow driver always smiling when he does that? Makes us think it may not be an accident. Snowplow subrogation? Think about it.

Bottom line: Latest building reports call for an increase in new snow fort starts in January and February. Writing snow forts poses challenges, but really, they’re made of snow. How expensive can they be to rebuild? Just don’t write too many in Billy Mumphrey’s neighborhood.