News Library

Preparing for an OSHA Inspection

May 9, 2019

Preparing for an OSHA Inspection Why does Cal/OSHA visit? There are five reasons why a Cal/OSHA Safety Compliance Officer may visit a jobsite.  These are in order of priority: Download the Article

Firing Injured Workers — Recipe for Disaster?

February 4, 2019

California Labor Code Section 132a – No coverage from insurance, so you are paying for it!  Not only can your employees hire attorneys to litigate their claims at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) for injuries potentially caused from industrial work at your company, they can also bring a petition for discrimination under California Labor Code Section …

Temporary/Permanent Modified Duty

January 8, 2019

When you just cannot create a temporary modified duty job within your organization for your injured worker, you may consider having your employee do charity work outside of your company. The benefit of a reduced experience modification rate (EMR) still exists, since no Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits will be paid on the claim, and …

2019 Workers’ Compensation and Safety Update

December 18, 2018

For the fifth year in a row, insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, has requested decreases averaging 17.85% in the loss cost rate for 69 construction classifications that we track. Download the Article

Modified Duty: Five Best Practices

November 27, 2018

For workers’ compensation claims, a physician has to agree that an injured worker can return to work in a modified job with certain restrictions. Without a doctor’s letter, or a primary treating physician’s progress report, your company cannot offer a modified job to your employee. Download the Article


October 29, 2018

This information also includes: Early Return-To Work Procedures, Employee’s Roles and Responsibilities, and a list of Transitional, Light & Modified Tasks that can be Performed in the Office, Shop or Field. Download the Article


October 29, 2018

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October 29, 2018

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October 29, 2018

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To Offer Temporary Modified Duty or not

September 18, 2018

Your employee is injured on the job, you send him to the doctor and he comes back with work restrictions. What do you do now? Download the Article


September 18, 2018

This is a sample letter for offering an injured employee light duty as an alternative to temporary total disability benefits (TTD). Download the Article

The 12 Most Overlooked Insurance Coverages for Contractors

August 29, 2018

Don’t overlook critical insurance coverages that can protect your bottom line. Here are the 12 coverages most often missed by contractors. Download the Article

What to do After an Auto Accident – A Simple Guide to Follow

August 1, 2018

It may seem incredible, but after an auto accident, most people don’t know how to record all the information to report a claim… To get the best results, you need to be prepared. If you have ever called your auto insurer to report a claim, you are aware that there are multiple questions about the …

Cyberattack – Everybody is at Risk

July 27, 2018

With online payment systems, certified payrolls and sharing of specifications and bid documents, contractors are exposed to cyber losses that are not covered by traditional insurance. Add on cyber-ransom and you really have several areas of concern. Download the Article

2018 Workers’ Compensation & Safety Update

June 19, 2018

On May 29, 2018, insurance commissioner, Dave Jones approved a 10% reduction in pure premium rates for policies renewing on or after July 1, 2018. Not all insurers will update existing rates, however, market competition will continue to drive down workers’ compensation costs due to lower taxes, quicker closing of claims and lower loss ratios. …

Record Retention for Contractors

April 4, 2018

The proper retention of records for all contractors is an important task when dealing with construction claims. If this task is ignored, your ability to transfer the financial risk of construction lawsuits to your insurer or your subcontractors’ insurers could suffer, and cost you time and money to protect and defend your company. Download the …

7 Strategies to Improve Sub Insurance Compliance

March 19, 2018

The cornerstone of a successful contractual risk transfer program is a uniform, consistently followed approach to subcontractor insurance compliance. Download the Article

Subcontractor Insurance Requirements

March 19, 2018

The cornerstone of a successful contractual risk transfer program is a consistent approach to Subcontractor Insurance Compliance. Download the Article

Cal/OSHA Reporting Requirements

March 19, 2018

Protect your company by reporting promptly to avoid fines! Download the Article

Subcontractor Workers’ Compensation Success Story – 2017

February 26, 2018

How a $19,000 investment returned $65,775 and lowered an EMR by 20 points! Download the Article

2018 Workers’ Compensation & Safety Update

December 20, 2017

Insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, approved an overall rate decrease of 12.31% in loss cost rates for policies renewing 1/1/18 or later. For the 69 construction classifications on page 2, rates are down an average of 6.6% from 1/1/17 loss cost rates. Download the Article

2017 Workers’ Compensation Mid-Year Update

July 19, 2017

The insurance commissioner approved an average rate decrease of 7.8% to be effective 7/1/17 for all new and renewing policies after this date. Several insurers have filed lower rates as of 7/1/17, and will continue to take clients’ loss history into consideration when determining final net rates. Download the Article

Proof of Loss as a Tool to Resolve Disputed Property Claims

June 28, 2017

First Party Property losses such as stolen construction tools and equipment, should be a straight forward claim. You send in documents to support the value of your claim, and then you expect to be paid by your property insurer. Typically, the claim is paid but sometimes things get derailed. Your property insurer may dispute the …

Workers’ Compensation Understanding the True Cost of an Employee Injury

June 28, 2017

A safe job is a profitable job—especially when you add up the direct and indirect costs of an accident! For example, a $25,000 sprain/lost time injury might take between $500,000 and $2,500,000 of additional company sales to pay for the cost of the injury. Download the Article

Increasing Cost of Automobile Claims – Automobile Black Boxes and Economic Damages

June 28, 2017

California auto insurance rates are going up due to the escalating cost of claims. On average, insurers are paying out $1.14 for every $1.00 of premium they collect. Increased traffic on roadways, distracted drivers, escalating medical costs, rising repair costs, and finally, economic damages from severe auto injuries, are the reasons for these increased claim …

2017 Workers’ Compensation and Safety Update

December 16, 2016

Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, has requested additional rate decreases for new and renewal policies starting January 1, 2017. The schedule in this article shows the requested pure premium rate changes to be effective January 1, 2017. We expect slightly lower rates to be approved in early December 2016. Download the Article

2015 Insurance Legal Case Update From SDV Law

April 7, 2016

1. Capital City Real Estate LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London – U.S. Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit, June 10, 2015 788 F.3d 375 (4th Cir. 2015) Importance of Case: The case addresses a common issue presented by additional insured claims – whether extrinsic evidence can be utilized to determine an insurer’s duty …

Workers’ Compensation Red Flags and Fraud

March 23, 2016

There are hundreds of thousands of active workers’ compensation claims in California. During the fiscal year 2013-2014, the California Fraud Division identified 5,729 suspected fraud cases. Of those, only 248 cases were sent to prosecuting authorities (County District Attorneys). For those convicted at trial or who entered a plea bargain, what were the penalties? Not …

Pollution Liability: Contract and Jobsite Exposures

February 15, 2016

Pollution liability insurance has been available for more than 15 years, so why aren’t more subcontractors purchasing this coverage? Do they realize that pollution claims are excluded from general liability policies? Are they aware of how reasonable premiums are, starting at less than $5,000 a year for $1,000,000 of coverage? Download the Article

Claim Reserving

February 4, 2016

Claim reserving is an art form coupled with an educated guess of the most probable outcome for any given claim. Reserves are set by insurance adjusters. For large and more complex claims, a claims manager or vice president will approve the final reserve. Download the Article

2016 Workers’ Compensation Update

December 10, 2015

Highlights: Construction rates are going down on average 13% in 2016 Wage threshold changes California loss ratios improving Top 10 workers’ compensation insurers EMR average for northern CA is 90% Download the Article

Broker Prequalification

August 10, 2015

Owners have been prequalifying general contractors and, in turn, general contractors have been prequalifying subcontractors for expertise, performance, safety, and innovative ideas for years. You should do the same with your insurance and surety broker. Download the Article

Builder’s Risk Insurance – Don’t get burned

July 30, 2015

Builder’s risk insurance is essential coverage for new and remodel construction projects. The construction contract often requires that it be purchased by the project owner or general contractor. Unfortunately this does no always happen, and when a property damage claim is incurred, you don’t want to get burned. Here is an actual claim regarding a …

Cyber Liability: A Growing Concern for Contractors

June 15, 2015

Cybersecurity attacks have become not only more numerous and diverse, but also more damaging and disruptive. Contractors are not immune from cyber-attacks, or the costs and liabilities caused by these attacks. Download the Article

2015 Workers’ Compensation Mid-Year Update

June 4, 2015

July 1st 10.2% Rate Reduction Approved. On May 7th, the California Insurance commissioner approved the WCIRB’s request to lower the existing advisory pure premium rates by 10.2%, effective for policies renewing on or after 7/1/15. Download the Article

Selecting and Monitoring Drivers to Avoid Punitive Damages

April 28, 2015

Are you properly screening your drivers and enforcing your written rules for the use of your company vehicles? If not, punitive damages are possible under the theory of negligent entrustment, and they are not insurable under California Insurance Code Section 533. Download the Article

30 Tips for Preventing Injuries, Reducing Workers’ Compensation Costs, and Lowering Your EMR

April 22, 2015

Workers’ compensation costs and Experience Modification Rate (EMR) ranking are two key components of any competitive bid. Experience has shown that it takes a total team effort from internal and external champions to be best in class. Here is a checklist of 30 ideas to help you succeed in reducing your premiums and EMR: Download …

Workers’ Compensation – First Aid

April 22, 2015

As you know, workers’ compensation costs and your Experience Modification Rate (EMR) are two key components of any competitive bid. Multiple small claims (below $7,001) can, and often do, adversely affect your EMR more than one very large claim. Accordingly, when thinking about how to reduce your premiums and EMR, one of the primary goals …

2nd Quarter 2015 Safety Update

April 7, 2015

New Heat Illness Requirements May Take Effect May 1st: The Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board (OSHSB) recently proposed amendments to the current heat illness regulations. The new regulations are not yet in effect, as they have to be approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL), but they are worth discussing nonetheless. Download the …

Employment Practices Liability Insurance Lawsuits on the Rise

April 7, 2015

Daily news reports continue to highlight the need for Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). The recent high profile case of Ellen Pao v. Kleiner Perkins received daily media attention. Greg Bauman, the editor in chief of the Silicon Valley Business Journal, reported on April 2, 2-15 that “Even though the verdict rejected Pao’s claims…the damage …

Preparing for an Insurance Audit

March 27, 2015

Most general liability and workers’ compensation insurance policies are issued on an auditable basis. At expiration, insurers will use in-house or independent auditors to review your records, adjusting your premiums to actual exposures. Audits are typically conducted 60-120 days following your insurance policy expiration. The auditor will make an appointment to visit your office and …

The Narrowing of Coverage from Additional Insured Endorsements

March 17, 2015

The Insurance Service Office (ISO) provides standard insurance coverage forms used by most insurance companies. As updated forms are released, the older forms are taken out of publication and are generally no longer used by admitted insurance companies, as a result of their licensing agreements with ISO. In April of 2013, ISO issued several new …

Umbrella Limits

March 11, 2015

BY GREG ROUSH Umbrella coverage is your best line of defense for general and auto liability catastrophes. When most businesses consider an umbrella insurance policy, they think about the premium cost and the possible benefits of the coverage. Some business owners may reach the immediate conclusion that they will never see a catastrophic loss, so …

Best Practices for Newly Licensed Drivers

March 3, 2015

Managing the Risk of Newly Licensed Drivers. Driver Selection and entrustment of a company vehicle is a critical part of every contractor’s overall risk management program. One of the most important steps in allowing employees to drive company vehicles is to follow a consistent process of driver selection, and evaluation of experience/expertise in driving assigned …

Managing Your Contract Risk – 6 Steps to Protect Your Balance Sheet

February 24, 2015

BY JIM UNTIEDT Construction is a risky business. Successful contractors can reduce risk to their balance sheet by managing and mitigating their contract risk with their clients and subcontractors. Here are six steps you can take to manage your contract risk: Download the Article

40 Tips for Contractors to Reduce Insurance Costs

February 24, 2015

BY JIM UNTIEDT The following list of 40 tips provides suggestions on how to reduce your insurance costs. Not all of these suggestions may apply to your company. We offer these ideas to reduce your insurance costs and to offer insight into the viewpoint of underwriters who price the risks associated with construction business! Download …

Construction Litigation – Best Practices to Win

February 17, 2015

BY GREG ROUSH At PentaRisk, we have represented Prime and General Contractors that have been defendants in civil litigation arising from serious construction site accidents. Many of these accidents were caused by negligent subcontractors. From our past experience, we have developed advanced risk management and defense tender strategies to ensure that the third party claim …

2015 Safety Update

January 13, 2015

PentaRisk Insurance Services Newsletterer ‐ Volume 2 Issue 1 Announcing Owners’ Safety Dashboard App In keeping with our mantra that we help our clients be more successful, we have developed an Owners’ Safety Dashboard software application to be launched January 1, 2015.  This application will provide our clients with a simple solution for tracking the …

2015 Workers’ Compensation Update

December 22, 2014

PentaRisk Insurance Services Newsletterer ‐ Volume 1 Issue 1 On November 14, 2014, California Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, approved new pure premium rates for workers’ compensation insurance policies that renew on January 1, 2015 or later. Overall, the average rate increase for California classifications is 2.2%, however for the 62 construction classifications we track, the …

Seven Strategies to Improve Subcontractor Insurance Compliance

December 21, 2014

BY JAMES UNTIEDT & CYNTHIA JOHNSON This article first appeared in CFMA Building Profits. The cornerstone of a successful contractual risk transfer program is a uniform, consistently followed approach to subcontractor insurance compliance. Managing subcontractor risk transfer and perfecting the process of protecting the upstream party’s interests can be challenging for both contractors and subcontractors. …