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T&W Names Two New Partners
By Greg Van Ness, CEO

Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services, LLC is pleased to announce that it has promoted two new partners to the firm, Mark D. Lyon and Vance W. Taylor. Both newly named “Members” (partners) of Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services, LLC are located in the firm’s Ventura office. Read More…

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Sustaining Successful Leadership
By Greg Van Ness, CEO

Leading successfully is challenging, as anyone who has tackled a leadership role knows well. Much has been written and will continue to be written about the keys to successful leadership – in fact, Amazon currently lists over 180,000 entries for “leadership books” on its website. Read More…

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Taking the Long View
By Greg Van Ness, CEO

Taking the long view, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, means thinking about the effects that something will have in the future instead of in the present. Whether it’s in our personal lives or our career pursuits, taking the long view is good for us, even though it means we sometimes defer immediate gratification or put forth extra effort now to obtain a future benefit. Read More…


EMPLOYEE BENEFITS


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Why Unfit Employees Are A Business Risk

Employees are not machines. It’s inevitable that they’ll get sick and need rest every now and then. That’s why we have paid sick days and health benefits. But when employees frequently fall ill, then businesses have to deal with big problems such as absenteeism and loss of productivity. Read More…

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Why Employee Engagement Has a Direct Impact on Your Business Bottom Line

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report for 2012 cited a disturbing trend in the workforce. Nearly 70 percent of employees were not actively engaged in their work. These employees cost employers approximately $500 billion in lost work, money, and time every year. Read More…

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Return On Human Capital: The Value of Training

In most cases, without training, employees’ skills and knowledge become less valuable as time passes and technology evolves. To keep up with the latest scientific discoveries and technological advances, employees must undergo training programs especially developed for the niches in which they work. Read More…


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Why The Hiring Process Is Your Biggest Business Risk

Hiring is a fundamental part of nearly every business, and plays a big part in determining how successful that business is. The cost to a business of underperforming employees is significant. Recent research by Robert Half International found that supervisors spend, on average, 17% of their time (or one day a week) Read More…

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Despite Delays, the Affordable Care Act Remains a Requirement

The recent postponement of the “Pay or Play” provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Healthcare Reform (or in some circles as Obamacare) has only temporarily postponed, not eliminated, that requirement of this wide-ranging, complex law. Read More…

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What Does Work-Life Balance Have to Do With Workplace Wellness?

Minimizing costs and maximizing resources are often the top goals of business leaders. After all, costly operations are not sustainable in the long run and efficiency is a key contributing factor to a company’s growth and development. Read More…


HEALTH & WELLNESS


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Why Workplace Wellness Is A Smart Business Strategy

Is wellness at work a smart business strategy? Or is it just a fad destined to fade? The number of organizations embracing workplace wellness programs is growing over the years and the vast majority of companies that have implemented wellness programs have found that workplace wellness opened up fiscal opportunities. Read More…

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Workplace Wellness: An Employer’s Guide to Promoting Wellness at the Workplace

There are many different types of wellness programs. The purpose of these programs is to promote healthy lifestyle wellness initiatives and can include smoking cessation programs, on-site gyms, healthy food initiatives, wellness education and much more. Read More…

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Communicating Wellness Through Social Media

Workplace wellness remains a vital initiative for companies striving toward a healthier employee population and reduced health care costs. A significant part of any workplace wellness program is employee communication and education, and social media can be a beneficial way to expand those efforts. Read More…


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Easy, Low Cost Wellness Ideas

Whether you’re working with a corporate wellness vendor or are taking small steps into the world of employee health, there are plenty of low-cost ways to promote a healthy workplace. Wellness programs can help businesses reduce health care costs and improve their bottom line. Read More…

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Employee Challenges Wellness Incentive under State Wage-Hour Law

A pharmacy chain is being sued over its requirement that employees undergo a “wellness exam” or pay a $600 surcharge on their health plan contribution. Read More…


PROPERTY & CASUALTY


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Insurance v. Risk Management: Why We Decided to Buck Conventional Wisdom

Conventional wisdom can only take you so far. Following the generally accepted way of doing things gives your business an opportunity to achieve the same general levels of performance as other similar businesses. What it doesn’t do is give you an opportunity to outpace the competition. Read More…

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Business Travel and Accident Insurance

In a global, mobile economy, it is not uncommon for employees to travel domestically and across international borders to conduct company business. The fact is that most business trips are completed successfully. Nonetheless, the more senior management, key persons, high producers and other employees Read More…

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Fire Safety and Prevention: Home Safety Tips

Fires are the leading cause of home injuries and death. Each year, more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Does your family have a plan if a fire started in your home? Read More…


RISK MANAGEMENT


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A Three Step Strategy for Reducing Business Risk

The small business owners I know eventually complain about life-work balance. It turns out that life-work balance often means panic. Panic generally sets in once the business owner understands the depth and breadth of the business risk they have taken on. You need a plan. Small business owners start out focused on hanging out their shingle and opening the door. Read More…

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If You Don’t Know, You Can’t Go: Why Every Client’s Risk Profile is Unique

Finding appropriate insurance policies for a customer can be very difficult. It is a process that requires knowledge and skill — but empathy as well in determining risk management profiles that effectively cover the unique risks that each individual or company faces. Read More…

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Sometimes, It Makes Sense to Embrace Risk

While it’s understandable that many would be risk averse during a recovering economy, current trends suggest that, as a nation, we may be losing our historical spirit. Without risk, the American dream is unachievable; without gambling, we lose the entrepreneurs that made our country great. Read More…


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7 Ways to Reduce Your Intellectual Property Risk

Theft. It’s every company’s biggest fear. Not binder clips or ballpoint pens, but intellectual property. A company’s competitive advantage is built around their ideas, and if a competitor got their hands on them, they could quickly leave a business with nothing. Read More…

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5 Financial Risks Every Business Should Avoid

Some CEOs and business owners go through years of making mistakes before they master the art of lowering financial risk. Knowing some of the common mistakes many successful entrepreneurs have made will help you make wiser business decisions. Use these five financial risks as a basic outline to keep you on track to reducing your overall business risk: Read More…

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Business Travel and Accident Risk: What You Need to Know

In a global, mobile economy, it is not uncommon for employees to travel domestically and across international borders to conduct company business. The fact is that most business trips are completed successfully. Nonetheless, the more senior management, key persons, high producers and other employees travel, the greater their potential exposure to illnesses, accidents and other risks, which always seem to loom in the background. Read More…


Cyber-Risk

Cyber Risk: What It Means For Your Business

As more and more businesses become increasingly dependent on online services and technology, the added level of cyber risk is often overlooked. Most organizations tend to focus on data privacy issues, however the possible impact of debilitating outages on day to day operations can be even more serious. Cyber risk is bigger than ever and it’s getting worse Read More…

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Reducing Cyber Risk With A BYOD Policy

The truth is, if you run a modern business, you’re going to incur cyber risk. Just about every business in existence today deals with some kind of technology, and even with the most secure computers or devices, there’s still some risk. However, some technologies increase risk more than others, and as a result, it’s up to each business to decide if the benefits of the technology outweigh the possible risk. Read More…

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Managing Emerging Risks: Cyber Liability

Not too long ago I walked into my local department store to purchase a new tie. When I approached the cashier and presented my debit card I was taken by surprise when the cashier said, “Sir I apologize, however your card has been declined.” Knowing that I had more than sufficient funds to cover my $45 purchase, I naturally asked the cashier to run it again. Read More…


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Reputational Risk: Does your brand support your image?

What do you consider to be a “risk” of doing business? Many owners asked immediately think about some form of litigation usually stemming from an employee, or third party bodily injury or property damage. These types of risk are known as hazard risks. Generally speaking these are risks you can transfer or finance through the purchase of insurance. Purchasing the right coverage is extremely important. Read More…


LEADERSHIP


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Worldwide Cyber Breach Puts Information of Millions at Risk

Better change those passwords. Now. A recent massive security breach perpetrated by cyber thieves has put sensitive information including passwords, credit card information and other data at risk for nearly a billion Internet users worldwide. The threat, which is being called “Heartbleed,” was discovered by a small team from the Finnish security firm Codenomicon. Hackers had cracked the encryption technology used to protect online accounts for emails, instant messaging and a wide range of electronic-funds transfer. Read More…

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Why Good Leaders Need to Stop Talking and Start Listening

Recently, a research team from the University of Michigan used a computer simulation of a Mount Everest Expedition to determine what kinds of leaders produce the best outcome in a group setting. Interestingly, they found that teams whose leaders had been induced to feel powerful (through suggestions such as “think about a time when you had power over someone”) achieved just 50% of their goals, whereas teams whose leaders were NOT induced to feel powerful achieved 76% of their goals. Read More…

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The ROI Of Passion

Earlier this week, Whitney Johnson wrote a blog for Harvard Business Review titled “Always, Always, Always Show Up.” Whitney is co-founder of Rose Park Advisers and Author of the book Dare-Dream-Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream. In her blog, she talks about the importance of having dreams and pursuing them, and makes the point that while the outcomes might not always match your expectations, it’s important to continue pursuing the things that matter to you. At the heart of what Whitney is talking about is passion. Read More…


Resolutions

Resolve to Achieve Your Business Goals in 2014

It’s another new year. For many people — including myself — this means it’s another fresh start, another chance to set and achieve goals. Forget the failures and disappointments of 2013 and earlier. We’ve got 2014 and beyond to start over. I suspect that’s the reason why we’re always optimistic about New Year’s resolutions. A new year holds so much promise. Read More…

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Return on Human Capital: Why Leadership Plays a Big Role

Business leadership often exclaim, “Our people are our most important assets.” Assets do turn into capital, and human capital holds the potential to bring a great return on investment in terms of innovation, efficiency, and productivity. But return on human capital is not always easily achieved. One of the many factors that can make or break that return on the investment in human capital is the role that leadership plays. Read More…

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Message from the CEO, July 2013

Summer is a Season for Fun, and a Season for Growth

Our personal lives, and our business lives, have seasonal rhythms. Here we are, in the middle of summer. In our business, we push hard through July 1 to serve a large volume of our clients’ renewal needs. In our personal lives, some of us may be spending a little more time with our children, who, if they’re still in school and living at home, are probably enjoying their summer vacation from school. Read More…


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The Key to Success in Achieving Your Goals

Driving to work early this January I was scanning the radio for something to listen to. I was sucked into an old rock-song which took me back to my high school sports days and I started to get pumped-up. You know, that Monday morning I’m going to conquer the world feeling. However this morning I was thinking about all of the positive changes I would be making in 2014. Read More…