EMC names AW Welt Ambrisco a Leading Partner

Posted on March 02, 2018

AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance Recognized for Outstanding Performance

Iowa City, IA, March 2, 2018 – AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance of Iowa City, IA, has been named a Premier Partner by EMC Insurance Companies, which means the agency is one of the highest-performing EMC agencies in the country. This designation places the agency in the top five percent of all EMC agencies nationally.

The Premier Partner award is based on key indicators including retention, profitability and growth, which are reviewed over a three-year period.

EMC developed its signature Agency Performance Value (APV) tool in 2005 to measure an agency’s performance against all other EMC agencies nationally. Agencies are evaluated on loss ratio, premium volume, policy and premium growth, policy and premium retention, and EMC’s position within the agency.

About EMC

EMC Insurance Companies is among the top 60 insurance organizations in the country based on net written premium, with more than 2,300 employees. The company was organized in 1911 to write workers’ compensation protection in Iowa. Today, EMC provides property and casualty insurance products and services throughout the United States and writes reinsurance contracts worldwide. Operating under the trade name EMC Insurance Companies, Employers Mutual Casualty Company and one or more of its affiliated companies is licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit emcins.com.

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The IMT Group Names AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance, Inc. 2018 Gem Agency

Posted on February 05, 2018

IA, January 29, 2018– The IMT Group, a Midwest-based provider of personal and commercial insurance products recently announced its list of 2018 Gem Agencies, distinguishing AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance, Inc. as one of the qualifying recipients.

The IMT Group is proud to recognize AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance, Inc. as one of the highest performing IMT and Wadena Insurance agencies in its six state territories (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin).  Of the approximately 1,000 IMT Group agencies eligible for consideration, only 84 of the top performing agencies received the honorable Gem distinction this year.

Each year, The IMT Group awards the Gem distinction to only those agencies that demonstrate outstanding performance in the areas of rank, growth, loss ratio, and profitability. In 2017, AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance, Inc. was one of the Top 100 IMT Group agencies to produce a positive premium growth or policy count growth.  In addition, AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance, Inc. also sustained a favorable loss ratio.

The IMT Group is proud to partner with AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance, Inc. to represent IMT and Wadena Insurance Companies.  It is the superior performance and unwavering commitment of Independent Insurance Agencies like AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance, Inc. that enables IMT to continue to live up to their slogan, “Be Worry Free with IMT!”

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AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance named a Top Workplace in Iowa

Posted on September 18, 2017

THE DES MOINES REGISTER NAMES AW WELT AMBRISCO INSURANCE A WINNER OF THE STATE OF IOWA 2017 TOP WORKPLACES AWARD

Iowa City, Iowa, September 18, 2017– AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance has been awarded a 2017 Top Workplaces honor by The Des Moines Register. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few.

“The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits.” says Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together. Claffey adds, “Without this sense of connection, an organization doesn’t have a shot at being named a Top Workplace.”

AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance

AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance had come about from several mergers over the years.  The last being April 1, 1998 but their history dates back to 1879 with the S.T. Morrison Agency.

AW Welt Ambrisco is not your typical insurance agency. Their mission is “Discovering what’s important to you, because that’s important to us.” They help businesses and individuals manage risk through precise strategies tailored to fit their unique needs.   Whether your home, life, health, business or auto insurance they work to recognize your needs are ever-changing.  With an attentive, personalized service, AW Welt Ambrisco can monitor and adjust your risk management program as your family and/or business evolves and grows.

“We take great pride in this our third  Top Workplaces honor by The Des Moines Register.  Our culture, referred to as the AW360 Advantage is based on always doing what is best for our Clients, Companies, Community and certainly our Co-Workers. While we are ever evolving and changing our cornerstone is caring for these four areas”.

Joe Wegman, President AW Welt Ambrisco.

About WorkplaceDynamics, LLC

Headquartered in Exton, PA, WorkplaceDynamics specializes in employee feedback surveys and workplace improvement. This year alone, more than two million employees in over 6,000 organizations will participate in the Top Workplaces™ campaign—a program it conducts in partnership with more than 40 prestigious media partners across the United States. Workplace Dynamics also provides consulting services to improve employee engagement and organizational health. WorkplaceDynamics is a founding B Corporation member, a coalition of organizations that are leading a global movement to redefine success in business by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.

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When you know a storm is coming, take steps to prepare

Posted on September 08, 2017

When a hurricane or tropical storm turns inland, it may diminish in strength, but the potential remains for severe damage from winds and heavy rain. When you know a storm is coming, take steps to minimize damage and speed recovery.

First and foremost, take whatever precautions are necessary to protect yourself and your family. While property preparations are important, they’re not worth risking life or health. If you need to evacuate, do so, as long as you have time to reach a place of safety. Don’t be caught on the roads in your car or attempt to drive through water-covered streets. Once the storm reaches your area, stay inside, away from windows and possible flying debris.

If you have sufficient time, here are some simple things you can do to prepare your home or business:

PROPERTY

Clean out your gutters. Remove leaves and other debris, first by hand to get rid of the large particles and then with a scraping tool and water hose. This helps to prevent overflows that could cause interior damage.

Make sure downspouts and window drains properly guide the water away from the structure. Direct downspouts at least 6 feet from the foundation. Clear any obstructions.

Clear your yard of potential flying debris. Store lawn furniture, potted plants, bicycles, trash cans or other loose items.

Protect your windows and glass doors. If you have functional shutters, secure them.

Move business and construction vehicles to higher ground. Keeping vehicles and other movable property out of harm’s way can shorten the downtime faced by your organization and get you back in business sooner after the storm has passed.

EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

Test your generator or battery backup. Be prepared for an extended power outage, especially if you have electrically powered medical equipment. Store extra fuel safely and only in approved containers. Don’t operate portable gas generators indoors or in enclosed spaces where it could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Charge your cell phone and any extra batteries. Adjust settings to eliminate non-essential apps and preserve battery life. Store emergency phone numbers in your contacts, including family members, your doctor, your insurance agent and your insurance company’s claims phone number. Keep a paper copy in case you lose power.

Stock up on flashlights, spare batteries, food and water. Keep your emergency kit supplied with provisions for each family member. Don’t forget your pets. Keep extra diapers on hand for little ones.

Check your first aid kit. Keep it stocked with the basics to treat minor scrapes or injuries; in the case of a disaster, emergency medical services may be limited to life-threatening cases. Keep several days’ supply of prescription medications on hand.

Know where your emergency shutoff valves are located. In the event of damage, you may need to cut off electricity, water or gas.

GENERAL PREPARATIONS

Understand the coverage provided in your insurance policy. No one should be surprised that things like “flood” and “earth movement” may be limited or excluded under some insurance policies. If something isn’t clear to you, contact your agent and get an explanation of exactly what your policy will provide for you.

Store a copy of your insurance policy. It’s best to keep a copy offsite, in a safe deposit box or digitally in a location you can access from anywhere. If you must evacuate, take copies of key papers with you, including birth certificates, marriage records, property deeds, bank accounts, etc.

Identify the safe places in your home. Know where to go away from windows, skylights and glass doors in case the storm spawns a tornado.

Keep a home inventory. If a storm is imminent, it may be too late to thoroughly document your belongings, but even taking cellphone photos of each room can help if you need to file an insurance claim later.

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article. For policy and coverage questions, contact your local, independent insurance agent.

 

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OSHA Update

Posted on July 21, 2017

OSHA Update: Agency to Provide New Application for Submission of Electronic Injury and Illness Records

2016 OSHA 300A forms will be due on Dec. 1, 2017

Following a number of postponements, OSHA has announced the launch of a new application for the electronic submission of injury and illness records to the agency. Employers will be required to upload their 2016 OSHA 300A form by Dec. 1, 2017, which was extended from the earlier deadline of July 1. The Injury Tracking Application (ITA), the system allowing for electronic submission of forms to the agency, will be accessible here on Aug. 1.

OSHA recently clarified that electronic reporting requirements are based on the size of the establishment or physical location, not the firm. A firm may have more than one establishment. Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records will be required to submit all necessary records electronically using one of three data submission options provided by OSHA.

  1. Manually enter data into a web form.
  2. Upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time.
  3. Transmit data electronically via an application programming interface (for users of automated recordkeeping systems).

Additionally, establishments with 20 to 249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses will also be required to submit injury and illness records electronically. However, these covered establishments will only be required to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A. A full list of these industries can be found here.

The new reporting requirements became effective on Jan. 1, 2017, and will be phased in over the next two years. All covered establishments must submit information from their completed 2016 Form 300A by Dec. 1, 2017.

In 2018, covered establishments with 250 or more employees must submit information from all completed 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018, and covered establishments with 20 to 249 employees must submit information from their completed 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018.

Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, covered establishments must submit the information by March 2. For more on this topic, you can review our updated Risk Connection that was developed on this topic that details the reporting requirements and related provisions.

The information in the email and summaries are for informational use only and does not constitute legal counsel or advice. Agents and customers are advised to consult with their employment labor counsel before taking any action based on the information contained in the communications.

Information courtesy of AF Group.

Lightning Safety

Posted on June 26, 2017

The 2017 storm season is upon us and lightning storms are incredibly dangerous – more deadly than tornadoes, floods and hurricanes. When a storm is on the verge of striking your area, you need to know the steps to take in order to protect your family and home.

Use these tips to stay safe during a lightning storm:

  • Seek shelter in an enclosed building, if possible.
  • If you are in a car, stay inside and keep the windows securely rolled up.
  • Do not use a small shed, pavilion or lean-to as shelter—they do not provide enough protection.
  • Do not use a landline telephone during a storm. Instead, use a cellular or cordless phone that is not connected to the building’s wiring.
  • If you’re outside during a lightning storm, get as close to the ground as possible without placing your hands or knees on the ground.
  • Avoid seeking shelter near trees, metal fences, pipes or tall and long objects.
  • If you are swimming, boating or fishing, seek shelter on land immediately.

Safety First

If someone you know is struck by lightning, contact emergency personnel immediately. A lightning strike can cause the heart to stop and a person to stop breathing.

If you have the proper medical training, administer CPR to victims who do not have a pulse and treat conscious victims for burns, fractures and other wounds.

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New Law Impacts Workers’ Compensation Rules in Iowa

Posted on April 19, 2017

On March 30, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a new workers’ compensation reform bill into law, which made significant changes to the previous law. The bill will affect injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2017, and do not apply to ongoing claims.

The changes to the law impact the following areas:

  • Intoxication defense
  • Notice of injury
  • Statute of limitations
  • Suitable work
  • Commencement date for permanent partial disability benefits
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Vocational rehabilitation benefits for shoulder injuries
  • Industrial disability provisions
  • Functional impairment provisions
  • Permanent partial impairment and permanent total disability
  • Permanent total disability provisions
  • Credits for overpayments
  • Pre-existing/successive disabilities
  • Independent medical examinations
  • Commutation settlements
  • Jurisdiction over injuries occurring outside of Iowa
  • Judicial review/appeals
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Interest

A more detailed explanation of the law changes can be accessed here.

The information in the email and summaries are for informational use only and does not constitute legal counsel or advice. Agents and customers are advised to consult with their employment labor counsel before taking any action based on the information contained in the communications.

Information courtesy of AF Group. 

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President Overturns OSHA Ongoing Recordkeeping Rule

Posted on April 12, 2017

Overview

On April 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law House Joint Resolution 83 (H.J. Res. 83). This bill nullifies a recordkeeping final rule issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA issued this final rule to amend its recordkeeping regulations and clarify that an employer’s duty to create and maintain work-related injury or illness records is an ongoing obligation. The final rule did not create any additional or new recordkeeping obligations for employers.

The clarification explained that an employer remains under an obligation to record a qualifying injury or illness throughout the five-year record storage period, even if the incident was not originally recorded during the first six months after its occurrence.

This Compliance Bulletin contains information regarding the nullified final rule and clarifies which legal requirements no longer affect employers subject to OSHA recordkeeping rules.

Action Steps

The final rule is no longer valid. Therefore, employers are no longer required to comply with any of its provisions. Employers that were affected by the final rule should review their workplace injury and illness recordkeeping procedures and ensure that they are consistent with the nullification of this rule.

OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements

OSHA requires employers to create and maintain records about workplace injuries and illnesses that meet one or more recording criteria. Specifically, employers must:

  • Create and update a log of work-related injuries and illnesses (OSHA Form 300);
  • Create and maintain injury and illness incident reports (OSHA Form 301); and
  • Create and display an annual summary of workplace incidents (OSHA Form 300A) between Feb. 1 and April 30 of each year.

Employers must keep these records for at least five years. The five-year retention period begins on Jan. 1 of the year following the year covered by the records. For example, the five-year retention period for incident reports created on Jan. 23, 2015, June 15, 2015, and Nov. 4, 2015, begins on Jan. 1, 2016.

Penalties for Noncompliance

OSHA has the authority to issue citations and assess fines against employers that violate recordkeeping laws. However, in general, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) does not allow for a citation to be issued more than six months after the occurrence of a violation.

OSHA is of the opinion that a violation exists until it is corrected. Therefore, according to OSHA, the six-month period to issue citations and assess penalties begins on the date of the last instance of the violation. For example, if a violation that started on Feb. 1 was corrected on May 15, the six-month period would begin on May 15, and OSHA would have until Nov. 15 to issue a citation.

OSHA also asserts that uncorrected violations are considered ongoing violations, and that each day of noncompliance is subject to a separate penalty.

The Final Rule

According to OSHA, adopting the final rule and amending its recordkeeping regulations was necessary because the previous regulations did not allow OSHA to enforce an employer’s incident recording obligation as an ongoing requirement. In fact, a federal circuit court has held that the former regulations did not authorize OSHA to “cite the employer for a record-making violation more than six months after the recording failure.” The court also noted that there is a discrepancy between the OSH Act and the regulations, and that while the OSH Act allows for continuing violations of recordkeeping requirements, the specific language in the regulations does not implement this statutory authority and does not create continuing recordkeeping obligations.

The federal court interpretation of the regulations meant that employers were no longer responsible for recording or storing workplace incidents if OSHA failed to detect and penalize employers for omitted recordable incidents within the six-month period. For this reason, OSHA issued its proposed amendments on July 29, 2015.

Impact on Employers

Because the final rule has been effectively repealed, employers are no longer required to comply with any of its provisions. This means that OSHA cannot enforce an employer’s recordkeeping obligation if the employer fails to record an incident within the first six months of when the incident took place. In practical terms, this means that OSHA will have to limit the scope of its recordkeeping investigations to the previous six months, rather than the previous five years.

However, because some OSHA records span entire calendar years, employers that fail to create injury and illness records in a timely fashion risk the possibility of keeping inaccurate records or reporting erroneous information to OSHA. Therefore, employers should not interpret this legislative development as an opportunity to bypass or contravene existing OSHA recordkeeping obligations.

This Compliance Bulletin is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.

© 2017 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Johanna Rundlett named a 2016 Wellmark Promise Award Winner

Posted on March 20, 2017

Johanna RundlettJohanna Rundlett has been named one of Iowa’s top agents by Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® as part of the company’s annual Promise Awards. The Promise Awards recognize Wellmark agents and agencies for their success during the past year as well as their dedication to serving the needs of Wellmark members.

Johanna is an agent at A W Welt Ambrisco in Iowa City. Johanna has been in the insurance industry for six years and enjoys spending time with friends and family, camping, and being outdoors.

“Wellmark agents are trusted advisors for our members,” said Sean McTaggart, Vice President Sales and Performance for Wellmark. “We are proud to honor Johanna for her hard work and commitment to integrity and excellence.”

This is Johanna’s second consecutive year winning Wellmark’s Promise Award.

Johanna can be reached at (319) 887-3772 or jrundlett@awwelt.com.

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March is National Ladder Safety Month

Posted on March 10, 2017

You need to use a ladder for some household jobs, such as cleaning the leaves out of your gutters or touching up the paint on your exterior trim. However, if you reach just a little too far, you may suddenly find yourself on the ground! A fall from a ladder can cause major injuries, some of which can be fatal.

 

LADDER SAFETY BASICS

Setup with Caution:

  • Make sure that you select the right ladder for the task you are doing by checking the length of the ladder and its duty rating.
  • If you are doing work near power lines, never use a metal ladder because they conduct electricity.
  • Before using a ladder, inspect it for damage to the rungs, spreaders and safety feet.
  • Do not place a ladder in front of a door that is not locked or guarded.
  • Place ladders on steady surfaces that are flat and firm.

Usage Warnings:

  • Do not be in a rush to finish a job, especially when working up high.
  • Make sure that the weight your ladder is supporting does not exceed the maximum load rating.
  • Do not allow more than one person on a ladder at a time.
  • Stay centered between the rails of a ladder at all times and do not lean too far to the sides when working.
  • Never step on the top step or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.
  • Come down from a ladder if you start to feel dizzy or tired.

Safety First

Kids are curious by nature and most are also fascinated by tools and gadgets. Do not leave a raised ladder unattended—a curious little one could come by, climb up and take a big tumble.

There are approximately 2,000 ladder injuries every day. Whether you use a ladder at work or at home, make sure to follow these tips to stay safe!

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