Texas Mutual Promotes Jeff Lentz To Vice President of Underwriting

Texas Mutual Insurance Company, the state’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance, announced the promotion of Jeff Lentz from senior manager of underwriting and marketing to vice president of underwriting.

In his new role, Lentz will be responsible for directing underwriting policies and procedures. In this capacity, he will oversee the integrity of the company’s risk selection and pricing decisions to achieve profitability, retention and growth. Lentz will also direct the company’s file review process, as well as strategies for enhancing the profitable growth of safety groups underwritten by the company. 

Lentz joined Texas Mutual in 2004 as manager of underwriting and marketing in the company’s Dallas regional office.

“During his time in our Dallas regional office, Jeff has built strong relationships with Texas Mutual’s agent partners,” Steve Math, senior vice president of underwriting, said. “He has spent the past seven years listening and responding to their needs, and his experience will be valuable in Texas Mutual’s ongoing commitment to delivering excellent service to the agents we do business with.”

Lentz has more than 18 years of experience executing underwriting strategies and more than 11 years in management. Prior to joining Texas Mutual, Lentz held underwriting management positions for Royal & Sunalliance USA.

Age is More Than Just a Number

Thanks to the Baby Boomer generation, America is seeing its workforce grow in the older population. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that between 1977 and 2007, the employment of workers 65 and older increased 101 percent, compared with an increase of 59 percent for total employment.

With the recession that hit in 2008, not only did aging workers see a large increase in the workforce, but they also hit a record-high unemployment rate. According to the U.S. BLS, in February 2010, the jobless rate among workers aged 55 and older was 7.1 percent—just shy of the record-high of 7.2 percent in December 2009. In addition, these older workers who become unemployed remain jobless for extended periods.

With people working past retirement age, technology upgrades and a competitive workforce in the recession, aging workers may need special consideration to remain safe and productive on the job. Just as new employees, seasonal employees or bilingual employees deserve targeted training and tools to help them excel, aging workers may benefit from similar opportunities.

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Eliminate Distractions Behind the Wheel

Auto accidents are the leading causes of on-the-job fatalities across the country. In 2008, they accounted for 1,215 deaths, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many of those fatalities—between 20 and 50 percent, according to reports—could have been prevented if the drivers had simply been paying attention.

Everyday tasks such as eating, putting on makeup, using the cell phone and changing the radio station divert our attention, putting us, our passengers and fellow drivers at risk.

In fact, a 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that people who send text messages while driving are over 23 times more likely to have an accident.

The monetary costs of on-the-job accidents are easy to quantify. Nobody, however, can put a price on the human costs.

Fortunately, most auto-related accidents are avoidable if employers and employees do their part.

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Texas Mutual Wraps Up $155M Dividend Distribution

Today, Texas Mutual Insurance Company began distributing about $1.5 million in workers’ compensation dividends among approximately 2,800 new policyholders.

The early-qualifier dividends represent the final component of Texas Mutual’s $155 million 2011 dividend distribution. Approximately 77 percent of the company’s policyholders received a dividend as a reward for preventing workplace accidents and helping injured workers return to productive employment.

“As a mutual insurance company, Texas Mutual is not publicly traded, and it does not answer to stockholders,” said Bob Barnes, chairman of Texas Mutual’s board of directors. “Our policyholders – the Texas entrepreneurs who put their trust in us every day – own the company. When Texas Mutual enjoys financial success, it has a solid history of sharing with those who have contributed to that success.”

Texas Mutual has distributed more than $1 billion in policyholder dividends since 2000. That number includes a combined $260 million in 2008 and 2009, at the height of the recession.

Texas Mutual President Ron Wright said the company’s dividend track record is a direct reflection of policyholders’ efforts to keep employees safe and on the job.

“Texas Mutual is fortunate to have more than 50,000 owners who share its vision of a safer, more productive state,” said Wright. “Our policyholders have invested in their safety programs and supported injured workers during their recoveries. I hope this return on their investments will keep their businesses strong far into the future.”

Texas Mutual notes that past dividends are not a guarantee of future dividends. All dividend plans require Texas Department of Insurance approval.

Workplace Violence Should Not Be an Occupational Hazard

Workplace violence is the second-leading cause of workplace deaths, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Workplace violence could include verbal outbursts due to stress, a co-worker disagreement, a disgruntled customer, or be part of a criminal act. In its most extreme and dangerous form, workplace violence results in injury or homicide. No matter where an incident lies on the spectrum, workplace violence is a reality that employers need to consider.

A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and NIOSH found that each week in the United States, there are nearly 20 homicides and 18,000 assaults in the workplace. Preparation and planning by employers may help minimize the number of employees involved in a violent workplace incident.

Employers should prepare by considering scenarios for a violent situation. It’s important to remember that violence in the workplace may not be limited to employees. Workplace violence may include domestic disputes that continue in the workplace, violence between customers and violence arising from criminal acts.

The most important tool that employees have in dealing with workplace violence is remembering that avoidance and de-escalation of a potentially violent situation will almost never result in an injury. Trying to take control or assert oneself in a violent situation will most likely result in an injury. Employees in higher risk jobs should know how to recognize a potentially violent situation before it gets out of hand and to respond early while it is still controllable. Read more of this post

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