News

The Fifth Circuit declined to extend precedent allowing the waiver of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims in certain settlement agreements in its recent decision, Bodle v. TXL Mortgage Corp.  Generally speaking, the FLSA forbids waiver of the right to statutory wages or liquidated damages. However, in Martin v. Spring Break '83 Productions, L.L.C., 688 F. 3d 247 (5th Cir. 2012), the Fifth Circuit permitted an exception where a private settlement agreement was reached over a bona fide dispute regarding FLSA claims.
Officer Jamie Harvel was temporarily reassigned by the Austin Police Department to a training camp in a different part of the city. Officer Harvel was injured while riding his motorcycle to the new assignment. The Division of Workers Compensation of the Texas Division of Insurance denied his claim for workman’s comp benefits. Find out why:
When you apply for homeowner or auto insurance coverage, you likely read through the policy coverage limits pretty closely, but what exactly does supplemental coverage actually cover? Investigation of an accident? Bail bonds? Attorney’s fees? This article breaks out what you can expect and questions you should ask:
Think your company is immune to employee theft because it’s small and your most valued employees have been with you long term? A recent Hiscox survey on employee theft found most instances of employee theft involved employees with long tenures and companies with less than 500 employees--and half of those organizations had fewer than 25 employees. Find out how you can protect your company:
The “connected home” offers opportunities for insurers to better protect policyholders' homes and make filing claims easier and faster. With the new technologies, however, come challenges including how to manage the new data and how to protect customers’ privacy. This article explores how insurers can test the waters of the connected home market.  
An InsuranceQuotes.com survey finds millenials are the most underinsured generation. This generation isn’t just low on health insurance, but they are also less likely to have basic insurance like life, auto and homeowners policies. For a group that ranks education high on their list of priorities, here are five things they should understand about insurance:
The Risk Management Society’s first annual cyber survey finds most industries purchasing cyber insurance are trying to protect against reputational harm, business interruption, and data breach response and notification. Find out more about the types of insurance policies they are purchasing in the full article: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/06/12/371607.htm
After more than 40 years, AllState reunited a stolen 1972 Corvette Stingray with its owner thanks to some research by a used car dealer who realized some of the documentation didn’t match up with the vehicle. AllState says most stolen vehicles are recovered within five or six weeks or not at all. Read more about the car and how it was found here: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/06/09/370923.htm
Following an October 2009 automobile accident with an uninsured motorist, Daniel Dey filed a claim with his insurance company State Farm. Dey and State Farm negotiated a settlement until February 2012 when State Farm notified Dey they had reached an impasse and issued him a check for $37,000 ($63,000 short of his policy maximum coverage.) In September 2012, Dey filed a bad faith claim. Read the details and why the court upheld his State Farm policy limits.
If you’re in the good hands of AllState or took advantage of Geico’s 15% savings on auto insurance, you may be seeing a rate increase. Both companies announced rate increases on auto insurance policies. Allstate attributes their rate increase to an increase in accidents brought on by more driving due to a better economy. Read more about both companies’ increases: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/05/04/366720.htm
Insurance companies who use Verisk Insurance Solutions may soon have new options when it comes to tracking clients’ vehicle mileage through a product called OdometerConfirm. The product captures policyholders actual odometer readers through their smart phone.
Kicking off June as National Safety Month, we find the statistics in the National Safety Council’s Odds of Dying infographic pretty interesting...and, admittedly, perhaps a bit morbid. If you’re concerned about dying in a plane crash or by being struck by lightning, you’re probably worrying about the wrong thing.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) battles 2.5 billion attacks to its computer systems every  month. One of those attacks breached 4 million records of current and former government employees. OPM outlines how it’s handling the breach, what they are doing to inform those whose information may have been stolen and what victims can do to protect themselves.  
When a concrete laborer injured himself as a result of horseplay on the job, the South Dakota Department of Labor denied his claim for workers compensation. The South Dakota Supreme Court overturned their denial. Although company policy forbids horseplay, periods of idleness “were to be anticipated” and therefore the horseplay was “in the course of employment”. Read more about the ruling here:
In suit by general contractor's commercial liability carrier against carrier for subcontractor  for coverage following settlement of personal injury claim by inspector, district court  determined that responsibility for the injuries would be prorated between the two carriers.  Read the full opinion here for more information.
The questions of what separates right to privacy on electronic work devices are ever evolving. For instance, what if in the process of a legitimate work related review of a company’s mobile device you discover your employee’s personal use of the device has resulted in plan overages, can you discipline that employee? Does an employee’s communication with her attorney through a private, password protected email account on a company computer waive her right to attorney client privilege?
According to a website maintained by the claims administrator, BP has paid out around $5.3 billion dollars of the $7.8 billion dollars it expected to pay out following the 2012 settlement over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On May 8, a U. S. Federal Appeals court granted BP the right to appeal some of those claims. Find out more here: http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/05/11/367500.htm
From Google Glasses to tattoos embedded with computer chips, wearable technology is increasing in use. In a recent survey, Strategy Meets Action found only 3% of insurers are actively using wearable technology while 22% are developing a strategy for using the technology. Uses for wearable technology include return to work issues, catastrophe claims and marketing, but all the benefits may come with a price to customer privacy.
In the fall of 2010, Dr. Scott Klingler was a tenured professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. After reading an online class chat transcript, where students spoke unkindly of him, Klingler allegedly made the following comment to a graduate assistant, “I have never shot a student and what that girl said does not bother me, but I think about it and I think about it a lot.”  He was then placed on administrative leave and ultimately his contract was not renewed. Klingler filed suit against USM, Dr. Martha Saunders (the President of USM), and Dr.
Multiple federal agencies have begun scrutinizing employee handbooks and non-disclosure agreements for language that might violate whistleblower laws. Companies with non-disclosure agreements are encouraged to seek legal advice when drafting new non-disclosure agreements and in reviewing current agreements. http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-cost-of-buying-silence-non-disclos-27931/

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