Ex-Mods Up, Ex-Mods Down – 2013 NCCI Changes

Workers Compensation insurers have long relied upon the theory that past results are the best indicator of future performance, and have utilized experience rating to increase or decrease an employer’s premium costs based on prior claims experience. As the underwriters’ actuaries would attest, frequency of claims is more indicative of a safe or unsafe workplace than severity, or cost, of those claims.

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L&I 2013 Workers’ Compensation Rates

After a tumultuous 2011 that threatened the very existence of the public Workers’ Compensation; monopoly in Washington, L&I has seen the path ahead and it is paved in eggshells. Thus, to everyone’s surprise they announced no raises in rates for 2013 despite their contingency reserve issues. This may leave you breathing a sigh of relief and moving on with your life and your business.

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How Do Your Employee Benefits Stack Up to the Big Boys?

In the tech industry, capturing and retaining the top employees in the market is hard enough. Coaxing them from a Fortune 500 company can seem like you’re a basketball team recruiting a European sports star; expensive with a lot of unknowns. Employee Benefits can be the factor that shore up your chances of capturing them.
The Big Boys

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How Concerned Should I Be About Cyber Fraud?

According to Information Week this month, cyber fraud; against medium and small businesses is up 42% this year over 2011. Cybercriminals can gain access to your sensitive banking information (account #, usernames, passwords) and start transferring large sums of cash out of business accounts.

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How Do You Protect From Coverage Gaps in Builder’s Risk Policies?

I am often asked “ Who is contractually responsible for placing Builder’s Risk Coverage on a construction project?” In the construction world, contractual obligations are established on paper and the trust is established with a handshake.

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Beware of Lender “One Size Fits All” Insurance Requirements

One of the stress points for lenders and their underwriters is the fear of a foreclosure due to substantial property damage and improper insurance held by a borrower.

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The latest Risk and Insurance News from around the world – Updated: October 2nd

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When Loss Ensues: Washington State Supreme Court Issues- Mixed Messages on Ensuing Loss Provisions in All-Risk Policies

All-risk property insurance policies generally provide coverage for any peril that causes property damage, except when the damage is caused by a risk specifically excluded in the policy. All-risk policies describe the scope of coverage by a list of exclusions.

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Adapting to Personal Technology

Who knew that there would come a time when you cannot go anywhere with a personal computer in your pocket?

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Turning Homeward: Fostering a New Direction

Kathy Bare, an Account Manager in our Commercial Department, started volunteering with PAWS as a high school student and she has continued to work closely with numerous groups, including PAWS and the Seattle Humane Society, ever since.


Kathy Bare, an Account Manager in our Commercial Department, started volunteering with PAWS as a high school student and she has continued to work closely with numerous groups, including PAWS and the Seattle Humane Society, ever since. For the past eight years, she has devoted most of her time and energy to the Homeward Pet Adoption Center, volunteering as an animal rescuer, foster care provider, shelter volunteer, and fundraiser.

Homeward Center, located in Woodinville, is one of the largest no-kill shelters in Washington. Its mission is to serve as an advocate for homeless animals and to give them a second chance through rescue, shelter, and adoption programs. Kathy works with Homeward Center because their mission mirrors her own strong commitment to caring for animals and because the non-profit organization offers a comprehensive, well-run program. In addition to providing shelter services for 1300 animals a year, Homeward facilitates the best possible adoption for each animal in their care.

Animals come from other shelters that euthanize, statewide rescue groups, and owners who can no longer care for pets. Every animal receives full medical care from Homeward Center’s on-site veterinary team, including spay or neuter, vaccination, and microchip prior to adoption. Many animals must be nursed back to health or socialized before they are ready for a forever home, usually through a network of foster care volunteers. Homeward Center is a good neighbor within the community, too, offering programs beyond their own shelter and adoption services. These include low-cost spay and neuter services for reduced income pet owners, and a food bank for pets.

Homeward Center’s ultimate goal is the best possible adoption for each pet and they will do whatever is necessary to make that happen. Potential owners are screened and interviewed, and Homeward Center recommends matches based on the needs and personalities of the animal as well as the adopting family. Staff will work with families post-adoption to help with transition issues. They also work with other agencies in the area when animals are better suited to a non-family adoption; Homeward has evaluated and placed dogs in service programs and K-9 units.

Kathy’s volunteer work with Homeward Center is as varied as the center’s work itself. You can find her behind the camera every year at their ‘Photos with Santa’ fundraiser sponsored by Petsmart. Each spring, she organizes and runs the popular egg hunt for dogs (and their people) at Camp Charlie’s off-leash park in Duvall. Her shelter work has run the gamut—walking dogs, socializing kittens, cleaning cages, feeding the animals, and doing the daily laundry. She has also conducted rescue transports throughout western Washington and, at one time, ran the Washington state standard poodle rescue group.

Kathy’s most important—and satisfying—work has been in the foster care program. She has cared for over 100 animals in her home (not all at the same time!), specializing in pregnant dogs from pre-delivery through mom’s recovery and weaning of the litter. Her favorite foster dog is the pit bull because she has found them to be the sweetest—and most misunderstood—dog. Kathy says that poor breeding creates the aggressive, unpredictable pit bulls that everyone knows about and that, unfortunately, the entire breed suffers from the prejudice and fear engendered by the behavior of a small number of the breed. Kathy’s most memorable foster experience is Nina, a pit bull that she rescued from a bad situation and then fostered for socialization. Nina is a success story, happily placed with a family, but Kathy still thinks about her—and wishes that she had adopted Nina herself.

Kathy is one of over 200 trained volunteers whose dedication and compassion make the Homeward Center possible. The center is a privately funded organization and receives no funds from local, state, or federal agencies. To learn more, get involved, or adopt a new pet, visit

The center’s main fundraiser, the annual Fur Ball Auction and Dinner (sounds yummy!) is May 19th. Check it out and, if you decide to attend, you’ll find Kathy in the middle of it all, helping to make another great year happen for the Homeward Pet Adoption Center.

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More Than Just Sheet Metal and Paint

In the recent Clint Eastwood film, ‘Gran Torino’, a car plays center stage in the story of a retired auto worker who is disillusioned with his life and with the changes in America and his Detroit neighborhood. The Gran Torino, produced by Ford from 1968 to 1976, was a muscle car, and symbolic of a time in history when US auto production reined supreme and America was the acknowledged muscle of the manufacturing world.

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Raising the Flag

Parker, Smith & Feek employees gathered together on April 11th to raise the flag on a newly installed flagpole at our Bellevue office. The ceremony was especially significant because of the history of the flag itself. Todd Syvrud, an Account Manager in our Benefits department, spent six months on deployment at the New Kabul Compound in Afghanistan in 2011.

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