Crop Insurance Can Save Your Vineyard If Disaster Strikes

Ukiah California

The continuing impact of drought and wildfires continues cutting into crop yields for agricultural operators in the Golden State. Surface-water deliveries were reduced by nearly 43% in the Central Valley as a whole in both 2021 and 2022. Compared to 2019, statewide irrigated crops dropped by 563,000 acres in 2021 (7.4% of the total acreage)…

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Contractors with No Employees Face New Workers’ Compensation Requirement

concrete construction workers

A new law will require almost all contractors in California to carry workers’ compensation coverage, regardless of if they have employees or not. According to the author of the bill, State Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) the new law was necessary due to the tendency of many small contractors to claim they have no employees, when…

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CSLB Reminds Licensees of Contractor’s Bond Increase to $25,000


The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is reminding all licensees that the contractor’s bond amount is increasing to $25,000 on January 1, 2023. CSLB first announced this increase in December 2021 which resulted from Senate Bill 607, signed into law in 2021. The increase applies to the contractor license bond (from $15,000 to $25,000) and…

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Workers’ Compensation: Reporting Claims Later Can Push up Costs 50%

One major factor in keeping the costs of a workers’ compensation claim from spiraling out of control is to report the claim promptly. Claims are routinely filed late, either by the injured worker who fails to report it to the employer, or the employer procrastinating and not reporting the claim to its insurer. Both of…

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Workers’ Comp Construction Dual-Wage Threshold Increase

Business Insurance Claims Services

Nearly all the workers’ compensation dual-wage class codes for the construction sector have increased as of Sept. 1, 2022. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara approved the recommendation by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) of California to increase the wage thresholds for high-wage workers. What are Dual-Wage Thresholds Dual-wage thresholds divide high and low-wage workers…

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How to Protect Workers Against Heat Illness

Worker with Heat-Illness

As another scorching summer is upon us, Cal/OSHA is reminding employers with outdoor workers to take precautions to protect them against the heat. California employers need to be especially mindful as Cal/OSHA has workplace safety regulations governing the prevention of heat illness. The agency actively enforces its heat illness prevention standard. Employers should also comply…

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Software Security Hole Puts Businesses at Risk

software security hole puts businesses at risk

The federal government has warned that a newly discovered computer software vulnerability poses a major threat to the security of computer networks around the country. Cybercriminals are exploiting holes in open-source code software commonly used in computer applications, websites, and cloud services. This can allow cybercriminals to seize control of a business’s computer network if…

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Control Losses by Identifying Top Factors Leading to Injury

professional using tablet risk management graphs

The latest trend in workplace safety best practices is tracking “leading indicators” – or building on the lessons learned from past events – to reduce the chances of future injuries. Safety professionals are increasingly keeping track of near misses, hours spent on training and facility housekeeping and measuring the impact on the organization’s overall safety…

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California’s New COVID-19 Sick Leave (SB114)

money sign and covid virus - california covid sick pay

The law is effective February 19, 2022 and retroactive to January 1, 2022. While the new legislation is similar to California’s prior bill (SB 95), which expired September 30, 2021, there are some notable differences this time around. Which Employers Does the New Law Apply To? Like SB 95, the new law applies to employers…

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IRS to Get Tough on ACA Reporting Form Mistakes – Forms 1094-C & 1095-C

employee benefits filling out irs forms

The time when the IRS offers relief from financial penalties to employers that make errors on their group health insurance reporting forms has come to an end. Starting this year, the IRS will no longer offer protection against reporting error penalties when “applicable large employers” (ALEs) file their Forms 1094-C and 1095-C and the employer…

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Wildfires Make for Difficult Insurance Market

firefighters fighting fire

More businesses in wildfire-prone areas are facing a difficult commercial property insurance market as insurers reduce their exposure and some have left the market altogether. Many businesses in areas that have already been ravaged by fires in the past, or those located in areas that are near forests and large grassy areas, are seeing their…

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As Workplaces Open, Experts Fear Lawsuit Tsunami

As more Americans return to the workplace, employers are now faced with the difficult issue of transitioning reluctant staff back as well as complaints and legal action from the most reluctant of workers. Already some returning workers have started to sue their employers, often accusing them of not adequately protecting their workers against COVID-19 in…

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American Rescue Plan Act: Stimulus Plan Expands Business Assistance

Coronavirus Economy Money Mask

The $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that President Biden signed into law on March 11 contains a number of provisions intended to help small businesses and other organizations hurt by the pandemic. Foremost, it includes additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to struggling businesses, and a number of special grants to companies in…

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Top 10 Business Laws and Regulations for 2021

2021 Laws and Regulations

Every year starts with a bevy of new laws and regulations affecting employers and business in California, and many of the new rules this time around are an outgrowth of the COVID-19pandemic and its effects on workers. Employers in the year ahead have a number of changes they will have to contend with, some of…

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COVID-19 Relief Bill Extends Unemployment Benefits and Paycheck Protection Program

The $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, passed by Congress and signed into law on Dec. 27, includes a number of provisions that affect employers and their workers in terms of paid sick leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act provisions. The legislation also boosts unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans, as well as reopening and…

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Coverage Concerns as Cyber Threat Grows

Coverage Concerns as Cyber Threat Grows

Small and mid-sized businesses are increasingly bearing the burden of cyber threats, as criminals are betting they do not have the resources in place to mount a strong defense. A severe attack on a small company can incapacitate its ability to do business, and the expenses of getting operations back on track coupled with loss…

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AB 5: New State Law Alters Employment Landscape

delivery driver independent contractor

Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill into law that codifies a court ruling from last year that set new ground rules for what constitutes an independent contractor, and which expands on that ruling. There’s been a lot written in the media about the law, AB 5, and much of it misses the point. Some…

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Wildfire Smoke Protection Rules Now in Effect

wildfire smoke

Cal/OSHA has issued emergency regulations* that require employers of outdoor workers to take protective measures, including providing respiratory equipment, when air quality is significantly affected by wildfires. The rules require employers to take action when the Air Quality Index (AQI) for particulate matter 2.5 is more than 150 (the “unhealthy” range). The protections also would…

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How to Prepare for Possible PG&E Power Shutdowns

power lines next to trees

PG&E has warned California residents and businesses that it may shut down the power grid for as long as five days for large portions of the state when there are high-wind conditions during the dry fire season. That’s because PG&E’s infrastructure was found to be the cause of several recent California wildfires. PG&E has sent…

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Don’t Fall Victim to the E-mail Compromise Scam

cyber security email compromise

West African organized-crime rings have been targeting U.S. business with “business e-mail compromise” scams that are costing firms millions of dollars every year. Losses to businesses that are targeted by these scams hit an all-time high in the first quarter of 2018, with $685 million in losses reported by 4,081 victims. That’s more than the…

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Commercial Auto Rates Continue Climbing

By now, you’ve likely noticed that your commercial automotive insurance rates have been increasing since last year, and for now there seems to be no slowing the momentum. The increase is probably noticeable since the period between 2011 and 2016 saw rates drop thanks to a number of factors, including fewer accidents, fewer cars on…

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