Straight Talk is the Best Talk

Insurance Is a Must When Storing Flammable Material

If your business involves the storage of flammable/explosive material-even if you’re only storing gasoline for use in company vehicles-it’s essential to obtain the insurance coverage you need to protect yourself from damages in case of an event. Here are guidelines to help you navigate the tricky waters involved in storing hazardous material:

Pollution Liability: If you store any potentially hazardous material, including gasoline, you may be required to have pollution liability insurance to protect you should the material leak into a water source or cause a fire or explosion. Cleanup from these events is extremely costly, as are other liability costs, including injuries or death.


It’s important to realize that many products are considered hazardous materials, and you will need the appropriate insurance if you store them. Your insurance advisor will help ensure your limits are appropriate to your business and the policy based on the type, amount, and potential hazards of the material stored.


Why Straight Talk Pays Off Bigtime in Today’s Workplace


Several years ago, authors James O’Toole and Warren Bennis wrote in the Harvard Business Review that candor improves performance. “Organizational transparency makes sense rationally and ethically, and it makes businesses run more efficiently and effectively.”

Now, as Jack Welch, chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute, recently told LinkedIn readers, “If there’s one thing that’s in short supply in almost every organization, at every level, it’s straight talk-candor. It’s business’s biggest dirty little secret that in most companies, most people would rather hide or spin the truth than share it, making it hard for everyone to bring the reality of the situation to the surface and fix it.”

While Welch is right, there are signs of a quantum change in attitudes to straight talking, as millennials, who greatly value “authenticity,” bring their “straight talk” expectations to the workplace. Sometimes called being “transparent” and sometimes being “honest,” saying what needs to be said is gaining traction in today’s businesses.

The “culture of candor,” as noted by O’Toole and Bennis, will alter our society. So if you’re not there yet, consider their suggestions: • Leaders should tell the truth to build trust.

  • Leaders should empower others people to speak the truth.
  • Contrarians should be rewarded.
  • Leaders should be willing to admit their mistakes.
  • An organizational architecture should be built that supports candor.
  • Finally, leaders need to be willing to set information free. Leaders who understand this know that openness and even dissent leads to better information that helps in making better decisions. In today’s workplace, straight talk pays off.


Adblocking Is Changing Your Reality: Is It Time to Rethink?



These days fewer people are reading print newspapers and magazines or even watching TV, so advertisers have turned to the Web and social media to promote their brands, services, and products.

As a result, the online world now imposes commercial messages on viewers who feel forced to watch pop-up ads, banners, beacons, blockers, videos, and scripts before they can access the content they want. Yes, they can click them away, but online ads also come with huge data loads plus tracking cookies and scripts to follow ad viewers without their knowledge or consent.

Indeed, online advertising is having an impact on your potential customers. But it’s probably not the kind of impact you’re expecting. Viewers are angry about online ads…and angry viewers are unlikely to buy your products or services.

There’s more. Fed up with ads that intrude and annoy them, many viewers have taken to installing adblockers to block offensive or irritating content from their devices. Although Google has removed several adblocking apps from Google Play, adblocking extensions can be sideloaded on Android devices. And in mid-September, Apple incorporated adblocking into its Safari browser as part of the iOS 9 operating system.

The wide-scale use of adblockers is sure to grow, and it will continue to have far-reaching effects on businesses. Advertisers are going to have to deal with the new online reality and find different ways to present products and services to consumers, and Web publishers may be forced to find other ways to underwrite their online presence.

Why not start to rethink your marketing strategy before you have to? After all, turning off potential customers may not be generating much business for you now.



How to Reduce Your Workers Comp Costs

Workers compensation can be a huge line item in your business budget. Rates vary fairly significantly by state, but in 2014, the national average cost of premium per $100 of workers’ wages was $1.85. If proper measures are not in place, this budget line can skyrocket.

Does your business have these measures in place? With a few careful steps, you can reduce the amount you spend on premiums. They are:

Get injured employees back to work – The faster you can get an injured worker back to work, the lower your costs. Modified duty is an important part of this process. When an employee is injured, an evaluation should be conducted to determine what duties can be performed, if the employee can be assigned to a different area, and what modifications are required. Get the worker back to work quickly by reassigning or adapting his or her duties.

Check your classification – Hundreds of classifications exist; if even one worker is misclassified, it can increase premiums unnecessarily. Track projects and employees carefully to ensure workers and work projects are classified correctly. If your construction firm’s work actually involves 10% HVAC maintenance, don’t label your projects 100% construction. It can make a difference. And misclassification can really impact your bottom line.

Pay a deductible – In many states, employers who pay a deductible on workers compensation can reduce their premiums by as much as 25%. Deductibles typically range from $100 to $1,000. Contact your insurance professional to see if your company can benefit from this.

Check your experience rating – Employers who pay more than $5,000 per year in workers compensation premiums receive an “experience rating.” This rating reflects your claims history compared to other companies in your industry. The lower your claims, the lower your premiums. Check with your insurance advisor to ensure your experience rating is correct.

Screen employees – Check with an employee’s previous employers about his or her safety record. Don’t hire a worker who previously has shown a lack of respect for company safety measures.

Put safety first – Having top-notch safety procedures in place will keep your workers compensation costs low. Obviously, the fewer accidents and injuries, the better the premiums. Good safety practices include use of appropriate safety equipment; proper training for lifting, sitting, and other procedures needed in your business; and regular inspections for safety hazards in the layout of work areas and use of equipment. You also may want to consider drug testing, if appropriate.

Communicate the importance of safety to your workers – Conduct regular health and safety meetings to keep everyone educated on proper safety measures and carefully document all procedures to demonstrate safety measures taken.

Make injury reports a priority – If an employee is injured on the job, respond with medical attention immediately and file all necessary paperwork completely and quickly. Delays may cause further injuries, lawsuits, and fines.

A company that takes steps to ensure workers are safe and healthy will not only save on premium costs but will show a commitment to their workers safety. Win-win.