Coverage Insights

Understanding Construction Contracts

Posted by Allen Baker
Allen Baker
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on Tuesday, 22 May 2012
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Construction contracts can contain terms that impact your company’s bottom line. Reviewing them carefully prior to signing is indispensable, and can save your company time and money. This contract review guide is meant to be a starting point for reviewing contracts in general. It highlights some common contract terms and their potential impact.

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Insuring Against Disability and Loss of Life After Terminations Without Just Cause

Posted by CFR Multimedia
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on Tuesday, 17 April 2012
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Written exclusively for Chubbworks

The former manager of a restaurant owned by a prominent Food Network chef and her brother has filed a lawsuit against the two owners, alleging an illegal hostile work environment. The white female manager claims that the chef's brother sexually harassed her after she started working at the restaurant in 2005.

The former manager claims that the brother targeted her for unwanted sexual advances soon after his sister appointed her manager of the restaurant. The brother watched pornography in the small office that he shared with the former manager, handed out sexually explicit pictures at an office meeting, and made frequent sexual innuendos.

Coupled with the sexual harassment allegations are complaints that the chef's brother physically intimidated black employees and made racial insults to them. Both owners allegedly used racial slurs. The brother demanded that black workers use a separate entrance from the one white workers used and that they were to use certain restrooms. The former manager also alleges that the brother physically shook a male black worker and challenged other workers to fight on other occasions.

The final straw came when the brother grabbed the former manager's face during a dinner for vendors stating, " I love you," and later screamed at her and spit in her face. The former manager, suffered panic attacks while at work, quit her job. "Paula Deen, brother sued for harassment," www.usatoday.com (Mar. 5, 2012).

Commentary and Checklist

This case involves both racial and sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines racial harassment as racial slurs, offensive or derogatory remarks about a person's race or color, or the display of racially-offensive symbols.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Under both forms of illegal harassment, an infrequent or casual offensive comment or joke may not rise to the level of actionable discrimination. However, either racial or sexual conduct may provide a basis for a hostile work environment claim when harassment is so frequent or severe that it creates a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Whether the conduct in this case crosses the "frequent or severe" threshold has yet to be decided. However, employers should pay attention to the fact that the manager's race discrimination claims in this case are based on conduct directed at her black co-workers, not at her, a white woman. An employee can sue an employer for a hostile work environment even if the employee is not the direct target of the abusive conduct.

The costs of harassment are high for both victims and employers. Victims often suffer psychologically, physically and emotionally, and this case shows that the damage caused by harassment can spread beyond the direct victims of the harassment to the greater workforce. For the employer, the effects may be far-reaching - damaging workforce morale, loyalty and productivity while allowing a fear-based environment to grow.

Establishing a productive workplace involves strong anti-harassment policies along with a safe and effective way for employees to report harassing behavior.

Here are some guidelines for managers and supervisors dealing with harassment in the workplace:
  • When a person is making a complaint of harassment, make certain that he or she does so without the accused in the room.
  • Consider having a neutral witness, preferably another manager, hear the complaint as well.
  • Report the harassment immediately to human resources, or have the person make his or her complaint to human resources directly.
  • If at all possible, separate the complainant and the accused until the matter is resolved.
  • Make certain that other employees who are not part of or a witness to the complaint stay uninvolved.
  • Be watchful for any signs of retaliation after the complaint is made.
  • Continue to watch for retaliation after the complaint is resolved.
  • Make sure that witnesses and others who cooperate with an investigation of harassment do not experience retaliation, either.


This informational piece was published on April 10, 2012.

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Rental Car Insurance Considerations for Your Company

Posted by Allen Baker
Allen Baker
Energy Risk Specialist
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on Wednesday, 28 March 2012
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When it comes to renting vehicles for business use, it’s important to understand your coverage options to smooth out any surprise bumps in the road.  Since coverage varies from one rental agency to the next, it’s important to know the risks and how to protect against them.

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Zappos.com: Lessons of a Data Breach

Posted by CFR Multimedia
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on Sunday, 25 March 2012
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On Jan. 15, hackers breached the internal network of Zappos.com and made off with private account information belonging to the online shoe retailer's 24 million customers. Less than 48 hours later, the first lawsuit was filed: a class action suit seeking compensation from Zappos (and its parent company, Amazon) for damages to the affected customers.

Are you a Hazardous Waste Generator?

Posted by CFR Multimedia
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Frequency and Severity of Professional Liability Claims Rising in Health Care

Posted by CFR Multimedia
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on Wednesday, 14 March 2012
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The frequency and severity of professional liability claims are on the rise, according to a Zurich study of the health care industry.

Directors & Officers Claims on the Rise

Posted by CFR Multimedia
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on Tuesday, 06 March 2012
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Corporate America has long understood the value of Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance, which provides liability coverage for a "wrongful act," such as an actual or alleged error or breach of duty.

Preparations for the Snow & Ice Season (Checklist)

Posted by CFR Multimedia
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on Monday, 05 December 2011
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Owners and managers of commercial property have an obligation to maintain safe conditions for employees and occupants. During the winter season, walkways, stairs, driveways, interior roadways and parking lots become slipping and tripping hazards as snow falls and ice forms. This is not only a safety hazard, it can also be an expensive legal issue for property owners, should an accident occur.

Protect Yourself Against Illegal Acts with Crime Coverage

Posted by CFR Multimedia
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on Thursday, 27 October 2011
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You may feel that your employees would never steal from you or that your business would never be the victim of theft, but the harsh reality is that nearly every business is eventually victimized by fraud or theft.

How Will You Survive a Data Security Breach?

Posted by CFR Multimedia
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on Wednesday, 31 August 2011
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Why cyber insurance might not be optional anymore

When it comes to a data security breach, it isn’t as much a matter of if it will happen as when.

So when a breach happens, you’ll need comprehensive protection from an insurer that specializes in handling cyber risks, offers a full suite of integrated insurance solutions to help minimize gaps in coverage, and understands how to tailor coverage to your business.