How to Open a Daycare

We have compiled licensing procedures for New York City. Make sure to follow your state’s specific requirements. Regardless this will give you a general idea of what you will have to do Read More »

What Daycare Owners Must Know About Lead Based Paint

The most common cause of childhood lead poisoning is the dust that comes from lead based paint. While lead paint was banned for NYC residential use in 1960, and nationwide in 1978, Read More »

How to Manage Abuse & Molestation Risks – Part 1

Above all else a school’s primary responsibility is to keep their children and teens safe at all times. Unfortunately this is not always the case as during the past few years several Read More »

Proper Insurance Claims Follow Up Procedures Yield Big Dividends for Schools & Non Profits

If you read our first article in the series “Managing Insurance Claims First Reports Can Have Big Impact  for Schools  & Non Profits” then you know that it’s a two part process, Read More »

 

Category Archives: Private & Charter Schools

Think Twice Before Purchasing Your Workers Comp Insurance Through Your Payroll Provider

We just posted an article on our company website but figured it was important enough to post here as well. The article speaks to Adult Day Care Centers, Nursery Schools, Private and Charter Schools, Home Health Care Agencies, Non Profits,  Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Centers considering purchasing workers comp through a payroll provider such as ADP and Paychex. We give you the skinny on the pros & cons relating to admin costs, rates, and claims. When it comes down to it, the cost/benefit analysis reveals that the costs are significantly higher for most businesses. Click here to read the full article!

Risk Tip: Take Extra Care When Documenting Employees

As is often the case with risk and insurance, a few extra steps and attention to detail can pay an enormous dividend. We all have basic employee files with the standard information. We suggest to many of our clients however that they should include a few extra details about their employees for future reference.

1. Take a Digital Picture (Head Shot)  –  You never know when and how valuable this one picture could be. Here a just a few examples of future potential uses:

  • If the employee travels domestically or internationally and runs into trouble either from a kidnapping or other nefarious event, the ability to respond quickly to local authorities request for recent information can make a huge difference.
  • In larger organizations, or organizations with a transitional workforce where you might not know all employees, a photo on file might help identify a potential assailant in a workplace violence event.
  • If you are ever in the unenviable position of having to hire a private investigator to track an ex employee it’s very helpful if the investigators have a recent photo to help them identify the person they are investigating as it saves time, and insures accuracy.

2. If employees travel with their own personal vehicle on business, such as sales people, job superintendents, e.t.c., it is helpful to have the declarations page of their personal auto policy showing coverage limits, effective dates, and the policy number. If they are involved in a motor vehicle accident HR will want to be sure a claim has been filed on their personal auto policy first. It also offers the opportunity to increase limits to protect the corporate P&L.

In our business the more info we have the better as I have yet to meet anyone smart enough to see it all coming from a mile away!

An Update on New York Non Profit Sector Reforms

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman first introduced a plan in February to reform and revitalize New York’s nonprofit sector. A major component of that plan is the “Non Profit Revitalization Act” which was brought to the New York State Senate in May. The act is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2013. The attorney general’s plan includes legislation to eliminate outdated and costly burdens on nonprofits, strengthen oversight and accountability, and reaffirm his commitment to policing fraud and abuse. Acknowledging that organizations throughout New York have been facing historic financial and strategic challenges, the attorney general’s plan also includes several new partnerships with the business and academic communities to enhance nonprofit governance.

Schneiderman’s legislation includes a number of key reforms:

  • Streamlining bureaucratic processes to expedite the formation of nonprofits and approval of key nonprofit transactions;

  • Modernizing outdated requirements, such as permitting the use of technology to facilitate more efficient operations and to reduce costs;

  • Requiring that boards provide improved and independent oversight of executive compensation;

  • Increasing board responsibilities to oversee financial audits;

  • Enhancing the Attorney General’s tools to police self-dealing and other forms of corruption;

  • Requiring nonprofits adopt conflict-of-interest and whistleblower policies.

The Nonprofit Revitalization Act represents the most comprehensive reform to New York’s nonprofit laws in over 40 years. If implemented, it will revitalize the nonprofit sector by substantially reducing burdens and costs on nonprofits and strengthening governance and accountability.

What does this have to do with risk and insurance? Simple, risk comes in all sizes and shapes. Insurance is just one way to transfer risk. However, not all risk can be transferred to insure such a legislative risk. It’s important that you engage with a risk advisor who works in the Non Profit industry instead of purchasing insurance through a broker who simply handles a transaction that deals with only a small part of your risk.

We think this report is a critical read for anyone who works in or leads a Non Profit in New York. Make sure to give the full report a read and as always contact us with any questions you may have on how this could affect your non profit.

5 Ways to Get Facebook Likes for Your Non Profit

Why is a Facebook “like” important; because every like means another person receiving your status updates in their newsfeed. Every like means another person who can share a story with all of their friends. This is why likes grow exponentially, especially with non profits. People love to help, or at least feel like they are helping a great cause. This could be through donations or through awareness. To put it simply, with every like there is a greater chance of donations, participation, and ultimately exposure for your non profit all done on the cheap as it costs nothing but your time.

If you are still reading this then you agree that likes are important; but how do you get them? As I mentioned it’s a much easier feat for a non-profit than a for-profit business. Here are a few strategies to get lots of likes.

1. Email campaign – Simply ask your current contacts to “like” your page. If you’re new to using a mass email service, consider utilizing Mail Chimp’s “Forever Free Plan.” They say you get up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month for free.

2. Run a contest – To be eligible to win people must like the Facebook page. Give away an item or an experience to the lucky winner. We’ve seen groups raffle free ipads, but anything from t-shirts to water bottles could help.

3. Ask someone to match a donation – For every “like” the non-profit receives Person X will donate $1. Or maybe to put it differently, “If the Facebook page reaches 1000 followers Person X will make a $1000 donation.”

4. Create Interesting content that people will share – This is the most important thing you can do. Post photos of the great work you are doing. Write articles that your followers can share all over the web. Put videos on Youtube. Your work will spread naturally.

5. Write press releases – Media sources are always on the lookout for content, and non profit work is often an easy sell. Ask to include a mention about your Facebook page at the end of the article.

These were just a few ideas to get you started. Be creative, think outside of the box and be genuine. Good luck!

Using Facebook for Non Profit Fundraising

Every Non Profit business should be utilizing Facebook to some extent. It is a great tool to help with fundraising whether you collect your donations through it or not. The major benefits Facebook brings to your business are increased awareness and efficiency. In this article we will get those of you who do not currently utilize Facebook for fundraising started. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Step 1. Obviously step one is to create your Facebook page. Under “Company, Organization, or Institution,” make sure to categorize yourself as a “non profit.” Add a description about your cause, and start inviting employees, friends, family, etc. Gaining followers or “likes” is an exponential process so invite as many as you can to start out. Periodically ask for your fans to invite their friends to “like” your page.

Step 2. Setup a Paypal account if you don’t already have one. There are no startup, cancellation, monthly or annual fees.

“PayPal has partnered with FundRazr to bring you an app that helps raise money and awareness for causes you care about. Reach out to your friends on Facebook, your Website, blog and more. Get the FundRazr app now

It’s Shareable – Your friends can share your FundRazr with their friends. Before you know it, your cause can go viral.

It’s Easy to Donate – Friends can donate right from their Facebook News Feed, your Website, your blog-wherever they view your FundRazr.

It’s Flexible – You can personalize app content, colors and payment options. Add a picture or a video. FundRazr works for personal causes, groups and other organizations.

Pricing – No setup or monthly charges-there’s a fee per transaction. (Click the image below)”

You could skip the PayPal badge if you’d like and direct people to your website, or other methods that you currently use. This will avoid the transaction fees which can add up over time (See above). For example an employee of mine recently ran a charity hockey event for wounded veterans. Since it was just a one time event they created a Facebook page, invited hundreds and hundreds of people over time and directed most donations to at the door ticket sales, in game events, and old fashioned checks. They ended up raising over $12,000 in just about 1 month! They did sell some tickets and collect some donations ahead of time by using a site called ticketriver.com. Worth checking out if you plan to have an event where tickets are needed. They also take a transaction fee, but a smaller one than Paypal. The Facebook page became the source of information for media outlets and the hub for people to find out what was going on.

Step 3. Now that you have your page and possibly a means of collecting donations, the hard stuff is done. If you plan to hold charity/fundraising events, make sure to create a Facebook event (hosted by your business page) for EVERY event you are planning. To spare the length of this article here is a great resource on setting up a Facebook event.

Step 4. Continue to update your timeline with comments, LOTS of pictures and videos, and track your metrics. Finally, send a friendly email to your contact list asking for people to “like” your page.

We hope this is a good starting point for you if you haven’t yet thought about using Facebook for fundraising. We will add a few more articles on the subject. In the meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions.

Tips On Preventing Playground Injuries

In speaking with several insurance claims adjusters and underwriters of insurance carriers who write Nursery School Insurance and Daycare Insurance,  playgrounds yield consistently the highest injury rates. Makes sense right? Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes on a playground has certainly been witness to a “near miss”.
As someone who underwrites insurance coverage for many types of nursery schools , day cares,  and community centers  we think it’s critically important to remind folks who own and manage these facilities of some of the basics. In fact we encourage you the reader to pass this article around your facility to boost playground safety awareness.
We found a great site entitled www.brainline.org whose whole mission is to provide information to families and care givers who have had an experience with traumatic brain injuries. We offer these tips so your kids could avoid this terrible fate.

Playground Injury & Death Statistics

  • Over 200,000 children visit emergency rooms each year due to playground injuries.3

  • Every year 15 children perish due to incidents involving playground equipment.4

  • 79% of ALL playground injuries involve falls.

  • Playground Falls account for 90% of the worst playground injuries.5

  • 58% of playground fatalities are due to strangulation.6

Kid at playground

Playground Injuries Occur When….

  • 62% of organized sports injuries occur during practice, and 75% of all school-related spinal cord injuries happen during sports activities.7

  • Football is responsible for the highest injury rate among school-organized sports.8

  • Home injuries on playground equipment account for 23% of the annual injury rates.9

  • 76% of all injuries take place on public playgrounds.10

Who Is Most Likely to Incur This Type of Injury?

  • Males account for 62% of all playground deaths.11

  • Males are three times more likely to incur a school-related injury.12

  • 46% of school-related injuries are to those ages 10-14.13

  • 49% of injuries to the head and face are to children age four and under.14

The High Cost Of Playground  Injuries

  • School-related medical costs for children age 14 and under account for more than $2 billion in medical spending each year.15

  • The total annual cost of school-related injuries to children ages 14 and under exceeds $74 billion, which includes medical spending, loss in quality of life and future earnings.16

Playground Injury Safety  Tips

  • Playground equipment is designed for children of various ages and groups. Be sure your equipment is age appropriate.

  • Equipment under four feet tall is suitable for children under 5, equipment under eight feet tall is typically designed  for those ages 5-12.

  • Never EVER leave children unsupervised. Basic but often forgotten.

  • Ban cell phone use for aides, teachers, or supervisors that are on playground duty so they are not distracted.

  • To better absorb shocks from falls, make sure at least 12 inches of loose fill like wood chips, gravel, shredded tires, double shredded bark mulch, fine gravel or sand covers the entire playground floor.

  • Make sure any “S” hooks , or other hooking related hazards are closed as much as possible. We want to avoid anything a child may become caught, eliminating the threat of strangulation.

  • Place a bar at the top of a slide so children will have to sit before going down.

  • Make sure guardrails protect children from unintended falls from elevated platforms.

  • Consistently inspect the equipment. Institute a strict maintenance schedule and have sign offs that the equipment has been inspected.

  • Maintain inspection and repair logs for the equipment.

Inspect children’s clothes for hoods or drawstrings that may catch on equipment. Remove them prior to letting the children on the equipment.

Footnotes:

You Can’t Buy Enough Insurance For This !!

Like most everyone else in the country you can’t help but get wrapped up in the Penn State scandal. As a long time fan of Penn State Football , and a parent of 3 young children I am horrified, disappointed, and angry all in the same potent elixir. I have yet to speak to anyone who doesn’t share at least some point of view.

 

What strikes me most when viewing this situation from the prism of my own profession (risk management & insurance broker) are a few very interesting observations that jump out at me which I feel compelled to share.

RISK MANAGEMENT TAKEAWAYS :

 

1)   Sandusky would have passed most if not all of the State run, or vendor purchased background checks any responsible Non Profit or teaching institution would have conducted before entrusting their resources and most precious treasure their children.  He had no history of child abuse or being a sexual predator. My takeaway here is that background checks, while a critical safety net and an important tool are not the end all be all in protecting any business , institution or non profit from the perils of a poor hire or rogue employee. Your responsibility and the continuity of your organization goes far beyond an initial background check. Background checks are step A in the responsibility alphabet.

 

2)   You can’t buy enough insurance to cover the Board of Directors or the Non Profit itself  of Second Mile. The potential net income loss on their financial statements is enormous, further  the potential litigation each Board Member may encounter that may pierce the corporate veil and into their personal assets is a potential nightmare scenario. As of this writing according to the NY Times the Board just decided to begin the process of shutting it’s doors. The result of poor risk or any other form of basic management.

 

 

3)   When your work product is children, seniors, or the disenfranchised you must be vigilant every single day in watching, monitoring and training your staff. Having a systematic set of protocols, making sure your staff is aware of the red flags and how to respond to a query or red flag is critical. Failure to do so kills your “brand” and your work product  which is not covered by insurance. It’s not uncommon for a Nursery School to lose 80% of their clientele if abuse is asserted. There is NO insurance for that.

 

4)   There is no substitute for “Awareness & Communication”. We are strong proponents of properly educating both parents and children on what is appropriate and what is not. Keeping the lines of communication as open as possible between child, parent , and facility. A child’s safety is the mutual responsibility of everyone not just the facility. Share that responsibility thru education and communication with ALL stakeholders. If your systems fail, which invariably they can, creating a culture of “Awareness” and Communication” can stop a predator dead in their tracks preventing further damage. The survival of your organization and business will then depend on the actions or in actions taken after the knowledge an “event” had taken place.

 

 

5)   Have a very clear reporting policy consistent with your goals and values as an institution; share it with staff, and parents. Be open about it, scream it from the hills. If a predator sees that your facility is aggressive and vigilant about child safety they may pick an easier target. Set up the protocols in advance to take the emotion out of it. Make it a check list so no one has to think. We strongly advocate retaining the services of a specialist labor attorney who can help you craft a policy that strikes a balance between legal compliance , your goals and values. If you don’t know a good one, please let us recommend Jackson Lewis LP which specializes in this arena and has offices all over the country. Richard Landau is attorney we have had great results with for a number of our clients.

 

I can drone on here however I will spare you . There are so many rich discussion points when a tragedy like the Penn State Scandal occurs. I will post further  on this topic as I believe it so important. The perils and the strategies for being a best practices facility, non profit or business can really dictate both continuity of care for your constituents as well as helping attract future donors and board members. We hope to have in the future examples of best practice action plans,  steps to take, guest speakers and panelist that will add substantive value , assisting our clients, and readership in avoiding being a target of a Sandusky like predator.

 

There is no substitute for being proactive about creating a culture of awareness and communication in your organization. A child’s safety is our mutual responsibility  so let’s treat it that way to achieve the best possible outcome because you just can’t buy enough insurance if you fail!

Did You Know That Non Profits Can Avoid Unemployment Insurance?

In case you didn’t know, 501(c)(3) organizations are not obligated to pay unemployment taxes.  Non profit organizations typically are not aware of this option since the state unemployment office rarely provides this information. Nonprofits can choose to protect themselves by participating in a private unemployment trust such as The Nonprofit Trust. Funding unemployment obligations this way can help nonprofits substantially reduce their costs, especially if the organization has over $1,000,000 in payroll.

The option has existed since 1972 which was when nonprofits were required to provide unemployment benefits to their employees. They were given an option that the private sector does not have – Becoming a reimbursing employer.
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Lets go in to a bit more detail. The employee laid off from a reimbursing employer still files a claim at the unemployment office and still receives checks from the department. The difference is a reimbursing employer does not pay unemployment taxes, but instead reimburses the state for actual unemployment claims paid on their behalf.
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So the only change is in how the organization funds the benefit. Typically they fund it by paying the unemployment tax, but this is rarely the best way for a nonprofit organization to fund unemployment claims because of the following:
  1. Nonprofit employees often make less in wages yet nonprofit employers are still charged just as much, if not more, than private sector employers.
  2. Nonprofit employers tend to have more part-time labor which actually increases unemployment tax expenses.
  3. Nonprofits usually have lower unemployment claims than private sector employers.
Contact a Risk Advisor at Metropolitan Risk Advisory to get more information about the program as well as our other cost saving programs.
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The tax system as a whole has contributed to the problem because:
  1. Due to the economy, unemployment taxes increased in 29 states last year. (Increases were as high as 161% in certain states).
  2. Over 25 state unemployment departments are now insolvent and borrowing money from the Fed. just to pay claims, increasing the need to increase tax rates. This number is expected to climb to nearly 40 by the end of 2011!
  3. States are overpaying claims in error by more than $1,000,000,000 per year!, and the problem is increasing due to the sheer volume of claims being processed due to the economy.
The Nonprofit Trust, mentioned above, offers your clients a safe, secure and cost effective alternative to the unemployment tax system in every state. In addition to the savings, the Nonprofit Trust offers a variety of services not available through State Tax systems:
  1. Savings average between 40% and 50% EVERY year.
  2. Claims administration handles all communications with the unemployment office including initial notifications, claims protests, hearing representation, etc., reducing staff time spent on unemployment, driving claims costs down by winning more cases than employers do on their own (94% vs. less than 50% for employers) and by auditing every single claim processed, catching overpayments made by the states and they are corrected.
  3. Free Human Resources Hotline that assists with any type of HR issue, not just unemployment related issues, which can save the nonprofit time and money in getting the answer they need.
Contact a Risk Advisor at Metropolitan Risk Advisory  to get more information about the program as well as our other cost saving programs for non profits.