CDI Ends Applied Underwriters’ ‘Bait-And-Switch’ Practices in California

Last week, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) reached a settlement agreement with Applied Underwriters, holding the Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary accountable and ending its bait-and-switch marketing tactics to sell its workers’ compensation products. Applied Underwriters has agreed to drop its petition to block the CDI’s enforcement action and come into compliance with well recognized state filing requirements.

Applied Underwriters’ products has spurred a wave of litigation and enforcement actions from regulators in multiple states, including Vermont, Wisconsin and New York. In the California cases Luxor Cabs v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Company—which was successfully handled by RPNA—and Shasta Linen Supply, Inc. v. Applied Underwriters, Inc., the courts ruled against Applied Underwriters, voiding its EquityComp Reinsurance Participation Agreement since it was not filed with the CDI and was therefore unenforceable.

RPNA’s Drew Pomerance Speaks At RIMS 2017 National Conference

RPNA joined forces with Lockton to present an informative session at this year’s National RIMS Conference in Philadelphia, titled “Walking the FMLA-ADA-Workers’ Compensation Tightrope.“

RPNA Co-Managing Partner Drew Pomerance and Lockton Vice President Tamara Johnson discussed the interactive process between FMLA, the ADA, and workers’ compensation claims. They offered effective strategies and processes to minimize exposure to civil claims while improving claims outcomes for guaranteed cost, self-insured retention or qualified self-insured coverage. Additionally, they helped risk managers unravel the confusion caused by increased regulation and shared their insights on how to equip workers with the correct information and benefits, while being an advocate for their recovery.

Drew Pomerance & Michael Adreani Win Landmark CA Supreme Court Rest Break Class Action

Supreme Court Reinstates $89 Million Judgment in Landmark Class Action Employment Suit

Decision expected to carry significant ramifications for the California workplace for years to come.

The Supreme Court of California today overturned an appellate court ruling in the landmark case of Augustus v. ABM Security Services, ending an eleven-year battle and upholding the trial court decision that “on-duty” rest breaks are in violation of California wage and hour laws. The court reinstated the trial court’s award of $89.7 million in wages, interest and penalties to a class of approximately 15,000 former and present ABM security guards. Lead counsel for the class were Drew Pomerance and Michael Adreani of Roxborough, Pomerance, Nye & Adreani, LLP (RPNA).

The Supreme Court’s precedential decision clarifies and sets forth the standard for all California employers to easily follow: that employees need to be relieved of all duties during their rest break.

Federal Court Allows California Marijuana Discrimination Suit to Move Forward

The use of medical marijuana in the California workplace has been a popular, if not confusing, topic as of late. With conflicting views on medical marijuana usage at the federal and state levels, many employers are understandably perplexed, if not a little nervous, while attempting to walk the fine line between federal law (which continues to recognize marijuana as an illegal substance) and contrary state laws (permitting marijuana both for medical and recreational use).

Perhaps a recent case out of a federal court in California will help shed some light on the matter. The case involves an employee who had worked at Kohl’s Department Stores for five years when he was diagnosed with anxiety and given a prescription for medical marijuana. He did not inform his employer of his drug use.

Once Again, Berkshire Hathaway’s Applied Underwriters is Sued By Another Employer

When it comes to cases against Applied Underwriters, RPNA’s Nick Roxborough is the go-to expert for commentary. Workers’ Comp Executive reached out to Nick regarding the most recent lawsuit against Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiary filed in New York. The plaintiff is seeking a $6 million bond and at least $18 million in trebled damages.

According to a September 28 article, what makes this suit of particular interest is that it challenges the way Applied structures, sells, and operates its SolutionOne workers’ comp and payroll program. The plaintiff maintains that Applied Underwriters uses an unfiled and unapproved Reinsurance Participation Agreement (RPA) to siphon off money that should be reserved to pay claims, according to the article.

Roxborough Comments in Workers’ Comp Executive Article About New Oder Barring Applied Underwriters’ EquityComp Program

Workers’ Comp Executive recently reached out to Nicholas Roxborough to comment on the new cease and desist order signed by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, barring Applied Underwriters from selling its EquityComp program in California. Roxborough told Workers’ Comp Executive that, “the Order provides additional evidence that Applied has engaged in wrongdoing. It provides exquisite foundational evidence for existing lawsuits,…

Employee Wellness Program Notices Required Under New Rules

An employee wellness program, also called a “worksite wellness program”, is intended to promote and support employee health, safety, and well-being and “increase productivity, boost morale, and reduce stress”. Following a handful of discrimination lawsuits relating to these programs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued two new rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) that offer parameters for employers.

One parameter is the requirement that employers provide employees with notice concerning the purpose of, and limits on, the wellness program. The notice must outline what information will be collected, who will receive it, how it will be used, and how it will be kept confidential. Employees must receive the notice before providing any health information and with enough time to decide whether to participate. Not surprisingly, the EEOC indicated that these notices will be closely scrutinized and can be used in litigation when an employee claims that they were unaware that a particular test was part of a wellness program. Employers would be well-advised to obtain written acknowledgment of receipt of the notice from employees, the details of which can be discussed with experienced legal counsel.