News Roundup: Cavalcade of Risk, good Samaritan update, Florida Murray decision follow-on, California fraud; more

March 2nd, 2009 by Julie Ferguson

Cavalcade of Risk went international last week with the Cavalcade of Risk, Downunder edition posted by New Zealand blogger Russell Hutchinson of the Chatswood Consulting blog.
Sorry for the brief hiatus last week – we have lots of news items to catch up on.
McDonald’s good Samaritan, part 2 – My colleague’s post on the McDonald’s employee who was denied workers comp for an injury sustained while playing good Samaritan elicited a lot of commentary both on our posting and beyond. Now, in a follow-on story by Fox16, the worker Nigel Haskett speaks about the incident and store owner Ray Nosler has stated that he expects McDonalds will support the claim, but states that “As a safeguard, if for some reason his claim is denied, and other insurance options are unavailable, I intend to cover the cost of his medical expenses. I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do for Nigel.” The story includes surveillance video of the event.
Market conditions – Daniel Hays of National Underwriter reports that the much-anticipated hard market in property-casualty insurance is proving elusive, with average rates declining by 9% in January, according to MarketScout. Workers’ comp rates saw an average decline of 7%.
Florida – The Florida Supreme Court’s November decision in the Murray v. Mariners Health/ACE USA case has been viewed by many as an unraveling of one of the major components in the 2003 reform. More recently, legislation has been introduced to try to clarify and restore these reforms in terms of attorney fees.
California – From our “if it seems too good to be true” department: Marc Lifsher of The L.A. Times reports that Attorney General Jerry Brown is suing Contractors Asset Protection Assn. Inc. of Rancho Santa Fe and its founder-president, Eugene J. Magre over a workers’ comp avoidance scheme. The firm was allegedly advising small companies to avoid the cost of workers’ comp insurance by turning employees into stock-owning corporate officers.
SafetyInsurance Journal reports that President Obama’s proposed budget would boost funding for workplace safety programs by 4.7%.
ComplianceEHS Today features a helpful article by Kenneth Cybart on the electrical safety questions OSHA will ask during an investigation, with advice for employers on how to be prepared.
Data security – A recent survey of 1,945 people who were laid off, fired or quit their jobs in the past 12 months found conducted by the Ponemon Institute revealed that 59 percent stole company data when they departed and 67 percent used confidential information to help secure a new job. Twenty percent of those surveyed had worked in the financial services industry, which included the insurance sector. “Ponemon said its study revealed that companies are doing a very poor job at preventing former employees from stealing data, with only 15 percent of respondents’ companies reviewing or performing an audit of the paper and/or electronic documents employees are taking.”