Central Insurance

Central’s Nurse Hotline: A Modern Solution for Work Injury Reporting

work injury

Most of the time, with proper precautions, employees can avoid a work injury on the job. However, in certain fields or trades, no amount of preparation can prevent an accident. 

In fact, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are still roughly 2.8 million injuries experienced per 100 full-time workers in the average organization—a figure that has remained fairly consistent since 2019.

The common goal among employers, however, is to limit the number of injuries that occur in the workplace and keep employees as safe as possible. 

Filing a Claim for a Work Injury

When an injury occurs on the job, certain processes must be followed from a legal and an employee care standpoint. One of the earliest steps in this process is filing a Worker’s Compensation claim.

Depending on your insurance company, you may have a medical management program that can assist with claim filings like this. At Central, for example, we offer the Nurse Hotline, which helps policyholders with claims reporting.

In this article, we’ll explore what the Nurse Hotline is, the benefits it offers, and how to navigate the program as an employer and an employee.

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5 Top Tips for Winter Weather Prep

winter weather

Winter weather brings a slew of potential dangers for property owners. Whether you’re maintaining a commercial space or a home, preparing your space for the season can go a long way in protecting it. 

In this article, the experts at Central offer five tips for keeping your buildings secure during snow, sleet, ice, and more. 

Tip #1: Have a snow removal plan in place

Snow removal is a crucial aspect of winter weather preparation.

For homeowners who don’t have snow removal equipment or businesses without the maintenance staff to stay on top of snowfall, it’s important to set a snow removal plan in place before the season starts. 

Get in touch with local contractors and set up a custom snow removal and maintenance plan that best fits your needs. For instance, if your property contains a long walkway, ensure the contractor is prepared to shovel the snow there. Similarly, consider investing in salt application services alongside generic plowing if your property is located up a steep driveway .

Next Step: How to Pick The Right Snow Removal Service

Tip #2: Prepare your thermostat settings

Maintaining proper temperatures in your home or office space is important for the comfort of your family or employees during winter weather, and for the protection of your home’s plumbing systems and pipes. 

According to the Department of Energy & Environment, thermostats should be set to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit during winter when a space is occupied. Whenever the space is not occupied (i.e. when a family is away on vacation or a company is off business hours), the temperature can drop to anywhere between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but should never be kept lower or turned off completely.

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How to Pick the Right Snow Removal Service

snow removal service

Choosing the right snow removal service is a crucial step in winter preparation for businesses and homeowners alike. Here are seven expert tips for choosing a reputable and reliable contractor this season.

Step #1: Require an on-site visit or evaluation

Your snow removal contractor should visit the property and take notes about requested services and potential obstacles prior to the first snowfall. By doing so, they can accurately estimate the time and manpower required to service the area. 

Step #2: Ask for a schedule

Different properties have varying needs when it comes to snow removal. Where one might need a weekly plowing, another might require bi-weekly or only a clean-up after a fresh snowfall. Knowing when you can expect your contractor to arrive can help you plan alternate snow removal practices for between visits, such as shoveling, salting, etc. 

Keep in Mind: Some contractors do snowplow services as a part-time job, which may affect their availability. Be sure to confirm their hours of operation before the winter begins. 

Step #3: Check their references

It’s important that you have a well-known, licensed, and bonded professional in charge of your snow removal service.

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5 Steps to Improve Your Customer Service

good customer service

At Central, our top priority is maintaining positive relationships with our agents, policyholders, and employees. Every move we make is an effort to improve the experience of these vital individuals. Whether we’re honing our product offerings to meet policyholders’ changing needs, re-configuring employee benefits to exceed evolving industry standards, or adjusting our catalog of services to better align with our agents’ preferred areas of business, Central is dedicated to a business model based in exceptional customer service.

While this dedication has been the crux of our business model since Central’s inception in 1876, the practice of heightened customer service is becoming a crucial component of business-consumer relationships across industries today.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, 50% of U.S. consumers report prioritizing customer service more highly than before when deciding whether or not they want to do business with a brand. Similarly, 80% of consumers generally feel more emotionally connected to brands with customer service teams dedicated to solving their problems.

So how can you start investing in customer service within your organization?

In this article, we explore the H.E.A.T. model of customer service—a tried and true method for tackling a difficult customer service situation—and offer some expert tips for improving customer service in your business.

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Do I Really Need Boat Insurance?

do I need boat insurance

Every year, boatowners weigh the risk against the reward of insuring their boats for the summer season. When considering “do I need boat insurance?” some try to weigh the chances of an incident vs. the cost of protection, while others simply accept that coverage provides the peace of mind they need to enjoy their time on the water.

If you’re trying to decide whether to invest in boat insurance, start by comparing this coverage to another common type of summer protection: sunscreen.

Though some people feel their chances of getting a sunburn aren’t enough to warrant the use of sunscreen while outdoors, others have done their research and understand the risks of spending time in the sun unprotected. 

The same holds true with boat insurance. Not every person who invests in this coverage will need it—much like wearing sunscreen can’t 100% guarantee someone won’t get skin cancer—but the odds are a lot better with coverage if something happens.

In this article, we will explore the potential risks associated with boating, review the general benefits of consistent coverage, and uncover some of the factors that contribute to the price of a boat insurance policy.

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How to Handle a Total Loss Vehicle Claim

total loss

Hearing that your vehicle has been declared a total loss can be frustrating. But not knowing what to do after that declaration can be downright stressful.

In this article, we define a total loss, outline the five steps you should take following a total loss to streamline your settlement, and provide expert advice on how to help best prepare for the unexpected. 

What does it mean when my car is declared a total loss?

When the damages to your vehicle are equal to or greater than a certain percentage of your vehicle’s Actual Cash Value (ACV), it’s considered a total loss. This percentage varies by state, with the average total loss threshold averaging 75%.

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You Just Had a Car Wreck: Now What?

car wreck

Being involved in a car wreck is a scary event. There are many things to think about after. Is everyone okay? Are there any witnesses? How is this going to affect my auto insurance rates?

If the accident is serious enough that your vehicle is a total loss, it can magnify the scariness and confusion. Here, we explore some of the steps you can take immediately following an accident that you believe might result in a total loss declaration for your vehicle. 

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The Impact of Inflation on Commercial Property Insurance

construction cost inflation

From supply chain shortages to COVID-related shutdowns to worker shortages, 2022 brought the highest U.S. inflation rates of the past 40 years. Inflation is affecting everything from the price of that (former) “dollar pizza” to the value of used cars to raw building materials, making these trends particularly relevant to commercial insureds with building and business income coverages. 

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Get to Know Central’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team

diversity equity and inclusion

May 25, 2020, began as an ordinary spring morning in Minneapolis, but the events that unfolded over the course of the day would turn out to be anything but typical. That evening, news of the murder of George Floyd swept the country, sparking important questions and conversations about systematic racism and racial injustice in America.  

Senior leadership at Central Insurance recognized a clear opportunity to do more and do better. As a company and culture rooted in caring for and about our people, it was no longer enough to just talk about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We were ready to go all-in on prioritizing inclusivity and opportunity throughout the organization to ensure everyone at Central felt comfortable being their most authentic selves. To accomplish this goal, we knew we’d need a dedicated group of people excited to help make it happen. From there, assembling a group of individuals dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace became a top priority—and Central rose to the occasion.

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10 Steps for Maintaining Your Fire Sprinkler System

fire sprinkler system

One of the best investments you can make in your commercial building is the installation of a fire sprinkler system. A properly designed sprinkler system can greatly reduce your exposure to loss of property and lives from fires.

That same system can also reduce your property insurance costs. However, installing the sprinkler system is just the beginning. Just like specialized machinery used in a manufacturing process, sprinkler systems need regular inspection, maintenance, and testing in order to function at their full potential.

To help ensure your sprinkler system performs properly in the event of a fire, these basic maintenance and inspection requirements should be followed:

10 Steps For Maintaining Your Fire Sprinkler System

Test Every 5 Years 

1. Complete an internal pipe exam every five years. The purpose of this test is to inspect for the presence of foreign materials that might obstruct the flow of water from through the pipes to the sprinklers. Follow the full inspection process here.

2. Test or replace pressure gauges in comparison with a calibrated gauge. Those deemed not to be accurate within the standard scale reading must be recalibrated or replaced. (Explore these scales and requirements here.)

Test Every Year

3. Complete an annual flow test. This includes testing to ensure water flow detecting devices are operational, and that a signal is properly triggered when you allow the water to flow for 60 seconds. Follow the full testing process here.

4. Visually inspect piping on an annual basis to ensure the system is in operating condition and free of physical damage. 

5. Perform an annual visual inspection of the fire department connection to be sure the caps have not been removed. If the caps have been removed, debris or insects may build nests in the connection, resulting in obstructions in the system during sprinkler head operations. 

6. Visually inspect sprinkler heads annually. Heads over 50 years old (especially those manufactured before 1920) should be replaced or a representative sample of heads should be sent to a recognized laboratory for testing. If one head were to fail testing, all heads in the representative area should be replaced. Testing is then required every ten years.

Test Every Quarter

7. Test alarms quarterly. To do this, communicate with your local fire department or central station and warn them you will be testing these systems. Then trigger activation of alarms through the running of water through the inspector test valve, and confirm whether or not the alarm sounds.

Test Every Week

8. Visually inspect the control valves on a weekly basis. This includes ensuring that the valves are open and secured, and confirming there are no visible leaks in the equipment.

9. Ensure all storage is at least 18-inches below sprinkler heads in order to prevent interference with the spray of water from a sprinkler head during a fire.

Check As Often As Desired

10. Reference the full and comprehensive list of testing and maintenance requirements from the NFPA 25 to ensure your system is up-to-date.

Keep In Mind

All testing should be performed by qualified personnel, preferably a licensed and insured sprinkler fire protection contractor. Always keep sprinkler design and testing paperwork onsite to allow easy access for contractors, insurance carrier loss control representatives, and insurance property rate promulgation companies such as Verisk. 

The Central Difference

Central Insurance was first founded as a fire insurance company in 1876 and, as such, has an ongoing vested interest in fire safety. Our loss control consultants are trained to evaluate the basic adequacy of sprinkler systems, and are happy to address any concerns as part of the general survey process for Commercial Property Insurance policyholders. 

Not already covered by Central? Find an independent Central agent today to get a quote.