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Author:  David Griffiths, Insurance By Ken Brown, Inc.,
This article appeared in the October, 2014 issue of Florida Pool Pro

A few times a year we meet with our IBKB/FSPA team at the Amerisure Insurance Company.  As most of you know Amerisure is the insurance provider for a majority of the swimming pool industry throughout Florida.   Our meetings have a very specific agenda which is aimed at discussing ways to better serve FSPA members. 


In addition to areas of service, coverage, safety/loss control, and pricing we look very carefully at claims.  In fact, we review essentially every single claim.  As we review these claims, we look for trends and commonalities.  When those are discovered, we look for possible ways to mitigate those claims.   Here are a few examples and suggestions:


Workers’ Compensation (WC)

Eye protection:  We have seen a jump in injuries resulting from the use of bleach and acid.  In each instance the employee had not been wearing any eye protection.  In one instance acid has caused an 80% loss of sight in one eye.  Please mandate employees wear eye protection.  A good exercise would be to have employees wear a patch over one eye for a period of time (outside of work) to experience the effects of living with one eye.  Try it yourself.  It is amazingly uncomfortable, and the difference is significant.


Slips and falls:  Yes, this is primarily regarding your employees.  We have had a couple of our largest workers’ compensation claims recently due to an employee slip and/or fall.  Invariably it occurs as a result of improper foot wear.  Comfort is not as important as safety.  Please make sure your crews have good footwear with good non-slip soles.


Structure a Return to Work program:  Basically what this means is to bring injured workers back to the office/shop/field performing tasks that fall within doctor restrictions whenever possible.  A recent article discussed the new calculation formula for your experience modification factor which “doubled down” on the penalty for claims frequency.  The sooner you can get an employee off WC (partially) by paying him for returning to work early, the less of an affect that claim will have in the formula.


Post Hire Medical Questionnaire:  More often than you’d think, we have employees who suffer injuries primarily due to a pre-existing condition or injury.  Then they perform an activity which aggravates the injury and you end up with a significant workers’ compensation claim.  During the hiring process there are questions related to medical disabilities or prior workers’ compensation injuries you cannot ask.  However, once a job offer has been extended and accepted (preferably before they start work), that is the best time to have a questionnaire completed.


General Liability


Secure your jobsites:  In 2012 we had three separate claims of people falling into their own empty swimming pools which were under renovations.  In each instance they knew the pool was empty. They invited the pool company to perform repair or renovations which required the draining of the pool and, in each instance, the homeowner brought suit against the pool contractor after they had fallen in.  All three pool companies had followed general protocol and building codes.  Yet attorneys contended that they could have done more to secure the site.  Two of the three have been settled.



Defensive driving
:  I bet we could eliminate two thirds of our auto claims (at fault) if we could train drivers to allow more distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them.  These are the big $ ticket claims, too.  The ones which can ruin your good loss ratio fast.  Our roads are getting busier every day.  We see more drivers--some of which are good, responsible, and courteous while others seemingly don’t have a clue.  When was the last time you did some defensive driving training or even discussed it in a safety meeting?


The best suggestion we can give you is to have an active safety program.  Analyze and discuss potential exposures to claims and hazards to injuries with your staff and crew.  Review and implement procedures to help reduce and prevent future claims and injuries.  If there is anything we at IBKB can do to assist with this in any way, please let us know

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