The 2003 – 2004 Season is slowly coming to a close and all of us here at CHAPP, Inc. and Citrus Insurance Services want to thank you for helping us make it through another year.  We have been truly blessed and we thank you for putting your confidence in us!

A new law takes effect July 1st and it will affect all Farm Labor Contractors in Florida.  The new law called  the “Alfredo Bahena Act” (HB 1307) has several provisions that will affect anyone who uses Farm Labor Contractors (FLCs).  The first important change is in the cost of registration for FLCs.  New and renewal certificates (crew leader cards)will increase in cost from the current $75 to $125 effective  July 1, 2004.  The next change is in civil money penalties (fines) that can be assessed for each infraction.  In the past, each infraction could cost you up to $1,000.  As of July 1st, each individual violation can be charged up to $2,500.  The new law also places emphasis on agricultural worker housing and requires employers to inform their workers about pesticides they may encounter in the workplace in writing upon request.  There are also provisions for creating a “best practices” designation for FLCs and developing an incentive program for FLCs who participate.  You can view this new law at www.myflorida.com or call our office if you would like a copy! (FL HB 1307 2004 session)

Florida Statue 440.381(4) requires all employers to provide a copy of their quarterly earnings report that is submitted for Unemployment Tax to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.  The first quarter of 2004 has passed and to date our client response to this requirement has been quite low.  We would appreciate all our CHAPP employers sending in those copies as soon as possible!  Thanks for your help!

Injury Reporting is the most important part of every claim!   We know you get tired of hearing about the importance of timely and proper claims reporting but it still is our main problem here at CHAPP.  It is very important that you advise your employees to notify you immediately of any injury, and if you have written work rules we would appreciate your adding a company policy of reporting all injuries within 24 hours to their supervisor.  Training then must follow for all your supervisors/crew leaders and office staff to understand the importance of timely reporting of injuries.   Reporting a claim late can result in fines and penalties that are assessed by the State of Florida to you, the employer, and are required to be paid directly to the injured employee by the employer – not paid by your insurance carrier.  And with the state looking for new sources of revenue, they have become very proficient at issuing fines!  A claim is troubling enough without finding out weeks later that a supervisor / crew leader knew about the accident but “forgot to tell you…” – and now Florida says you must pay the injured employee extra monies for this error in performance.  We would also appreciate your having all the claim information ready when you call in an accident – we must have the name, date of birth, date of injury, what is injured, and social security number to properly authorize a clinic or doctor to treat an employee.   Please call our claims staff with any questions!

With summer comes time to re-group before another season starts – time to clean, inspect, and repair equipment.  This should also be a time for reviewing company policies and procedures.  We have sample  crew leader contracts, vehicle driver responsibilities, incentive plans, written safety programs, sample driver and vehicle files – all the things necessary to help you with your business.  Please feel free to contact our loss control staff with any areas of your operation on which you would like some information!

We wish to again extend our thanks for having the confidence in us to allow CHAPP to handle your insurance needs – please feel free to call us with any questions you may have!  We can be reached at (800)242-7898 or e-mail us at info@chappinc.com .  Remember: safety comes in cans – I can, YOU can WE can!