Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Technology Creates Yet Another Challenge For Parents



Okay, so this writing comes from the parental side of my brain.  It most definitely has impact on the insurance community. 

The new smartphone app Pokémon Go begins with a warning screen. It is not a parental warning about violence. It is not a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that kids should limit their gaming to about two hours daily. Pokémon Go wants players to avoid physical trauma.

While mobile games can be dangerously absorbing to begin with, playing them while walking down the street poses significant risks.

If that were not bad enough, criminals have already found a way to exploit the game. Reports of players being attacked, robbed and hospitalized are emerging. Players can send a “beacon” to other users via the game, signifying that a Pokémon might by nearby. It is feared this feature could be hijacked by criminals.

Security experts are warning that hundreds of thousands of people desperate to play the game are downloading unofficial versions which contain malware which reveals to criminals the entire contents of their phone, including their location. 

Risks of Playing the Game:

Robberies or abduction
A group of 11 youngsters were robbed in Missouri after criminals sent a beacon to a secluded area by using the game’s location technology to create a signal at a “Pokéstop” - a location that players can visit to replenish in-game supplies. Fears are now building that the game could be used by pedophiles to lure children into remote areas.

Personal injury
A number of players have reported injuring themselves while using the game. The main concerns here involve children not looking as they cross the road and wandering away from their parents into hazardous locations where they may hurt themselves.

Nasty findings
In the US, trying to catch Pokémon led a teenager to a dead body in a river.

Data theft
Experts are warning that fake versions of the game are designed by criminals who want to steal people’s data. Consumers who download versions containing malware risk the entire contents of their phone being stolen.

Additional reading can be found on this subject on propertycasualty360.com





Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How To Determine an Appropriate Salary Range?


Question:

Scot,

Can you possibly advise a salary range? I worked with another recruiter who advised that I was currently on the low end for salary.



Answer:

Hi Candidate,

Recruiters need to be careful what they say.  Everything has a context to it and everything is relative.  Companies vary in their base salary structures just as they vary in the non-guaranteed part of the comp.  One cannot simply make a statement as that recruiter made.  What is the reference point?  Salaries vary by the type of the organization.  However even within carriers, salaries are going to vary. A national carrier for example may have a different salary structure than a small carrier writing in three states.  The comparisons go on and on.  So again, to simply make a blanket statement as was made to you is reckless.

A better way to put it would be, there are carriers that may pay more than you are currently making.  There are carriers that may be paying the same as you are making.

You have shy of two years of commercial lines underwriting experience.  So the question is, what would someone expect as a typical base salary in your geographic area with a similar carrier and given two years of commercial lines underwriting experience?  You are presently at $50k on base.  Could you make more elsewhere?  Yes you could. Salaries could be anywhere from $55k to $60k. But they could be less. 

You stated that your salary expectations are $70k. For two years of experience, that is typically going to exceed the majority of carriers’ ranges for that experience.

But the real question regarding our specific situation comes down to internal equity.  The client carrier cannot justify bringing in someone with two years of experience at $70k when they have underwriters on staff with the same or more experience that are not making $70k.

Again, all things are relative and must be considered in the context of the specific scenario being considered.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ever Wonder Why You Don't Get Job Interview Feedback?


What 3 things should the candidate expect from the employer before, during and after an interview?

1.      “Yes, we’d like to continue the conversation” or “No” within five business days after each interview.
2.      An understanding of the pay range for the position before their first in-person interview.
3.      Time allowed in the interview for the job-seeker to ask questions.

I have not included post-interview feedback explaining why they didn’t get the job.  The exception to that however is when the candidate is presented by a recruiter.  It is part of the recruiter’s job to serve as a resource and advocate to the candidate.  Part of that service is being able to provide feedback to candidates regarding their interviews.  What I’m referring to is things such as:

1.      The candidate came in unprepared.
2.      The candidate was not properly dressed for the interview.
3.      The candidate gave us the sense that they were not truly interested in the position.
4.      The candidate had no questions for us.
5.      The candidate used profanity.
6.      The candidate was argumentative.

The potential possibilities could go on and on.  But these are types of things that the recruiter can discuss with the candidate to help coach them on their preparation or presentation skills.  Or can tell the recruiter that this is not a candidate they should even be representing depending on the actual feedback.

Not providing specific interview feedback directly to the candidate is not because job applicants can’t handle the truth or would rush to find a lawyer and try to sue every employer who didn’t hire them once they find out the reason.  But instead, truthfully, hiring decisions aren’t typically clear-cut.

You might not appreciate the feedback. You might feel that it was too subjective, but hiring is subjective. It has to be, because knowledge jobs aren’t cut and dried.

It can be very tough to choose between two competent job applicants. Sometimes one person gets the nod because they sent in a thank-you note or because they have glowing references from two vendors the company does business with.

That information is private. The Human Resources Manager can’t tell you, “Two of our vendors spoke highly of the person we hired, and none of our vendors recommended you.” The information that came from those vendors is relevant to a hiring decision.

A job search can be full of disappointments. There’s a lot that employers can do to make the experience more pleasant for job-seekers.

You deserve to know promptly when you’re not getting a job that you’ve interviewed for, but not necessarily the specific details of the hiring decision. Most likely, you didn’t do anything wrong in your interview — it’s just that someone else gave the hiring manager and his or her colleagues a stronger feeling that they understand the role and can step into it and make a difference.

Go over the interview and think about what you said and what they said and what you’d do differently the next time. That doesn’t mean you messed anything up.





Friday, July 1, 2016

Fireworks Safety Tips to Prevent Injuries and Property Damage


In the United States alone, each year fireworks cause an estimated 15,600 reported fires, including 1,400 total structure fires, 200 vehicle fires and 14,000 outside and other fires. These fires result in an estimated $21 million in direct property damage.

230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

Will your home insurance cover fireworks injuries and damage?

Most home insurance policies provide several different types of protection — each with varying payout limits. Also, there are different types of accidents. 

If you're shooting off illegal fireworks and set fire to your house, you may not be covered. Most policies exclude damage resulting from illegal acts or when you purposely caused injury or damage.

If fireworks set fire to leaves in your gutter, a section of your home insurance policy for fire incidents could cover the damage. Fireworks that malfunction and injure a friend on your property could be covered under a section for medical payments to others. Likewise, liability payments could cover your fireworks accidentally shooting into your neighbor’s house and breaking a window.

But if you get into a bottle-rocket war and injure someone, you may not be covered because the incident was intentional.

Safety Tips

·  Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
·  Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
·  A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
·  Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
·  Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
·  Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
·  Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
·  Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
·  Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
·  Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
·  Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
·  Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.


Have a happy and safe 4th of July Holiday!