10,000 meals and counting delivered to those in need

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Texas Mutual employee makes a delivery to a Meals on Wheels participant

At Texas Mutual, wellness and safety are at the heart of everything we do. That mission shapes our giving and empowers our employees to support their communities as well. One way Texas Mutual employees have chosen to do that is by spending their lunch hour taking care of those in need.

While some use their noontime break to run errands or dine out, one group of colleagues at Texas Mutual takes a different approach and delivers meals to feed the elderly in our neighborhood. This changing group of about 26 employees has delivered more than 10,000 meals over the span of 15 years.

The group volunteers with Meals on Wheels Central Texas, a chapter of Meals on Wheel and More, which is a national charity that makes sure housebound seniors have enough to food to eat. The volunteers pick up prepared food from the nonprofit’s kitchens and deliver it to program participants, who receive a hot meal to eat for lunch that day and a refrigerated one for later. This provides valuable assistance to seniors who have limited mobility and may not have family members nearby to help care for them.

That purpose is exactly what drives Lori Keegan, a quality assurance supervisor in our IT department. Lori is the volunteer coordinator of Texas Mutual’s Meals on Wheels partnership.

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Texas Mutual employees pack up meals before delivering in the community

“I’m fortunate enough to live close to my family, so I’m there for them, but other people aren’t that fortunate,” she said. “This is a way to help people who aren’t as fortunate as I am.”

Lori coordinates the schedules of the Texas Mutual volunteers, who each drive our route once or twice per month. Together, they deliver about 80 meals every month, building relationships with everyone they bring meals to.

“It’s more than just delivering the meal,” Lori said. “It’s about the total well-being of the person. Sometimes we’re the only person they might see all day.”

When our employees volunteer and support our mission, they make a difference in people’s lives and help us to build stronger, safer communities. Join us in supporting Meals on Wheels and visit our website to see how we’re making a difference in Texas.

Celebrating this year’s dividend payout

This year, Texas Mutual awarded almost 50,000 business owners with dividend checks in a company-record $260 million dividend payout. Dividends are a way for us to reward safety-conscious employers, and we’re proud to have done so for 19 consecutive years. Take a look at some of this year’s dividend recipients in the slideshow below.

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Dividends can be used to help offset workers’ comp costs, re-invest into safety equipment and training, or just give a boost to your bottom line. However you choose to utilize your dividend, we love hearing your dividend stories. Be sure to share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and use #TXMDividends.

Qualifying policyholders are rewarded dividends based on two components: safety and loyalty. Take a look at the dividend video below to see how the dividend process works.

Safety in your workplace is where you have the greatest opportunity to make an impact when it comes to dividends. Texas Mutual offers thousands of free resources, including our new e-learning online training modules, to help you launch safety programs, educate employees, and maintain safe environments. Visit the safety resource center of your texasmutual.com account. Our safety services support center is also available at 844-WORKSAFE Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help you identify the best resources for your business or connect you with a safety services consultant.

Another way to improve your chance of receiving a dividend is to have a solid return-to-work program in place so that when accidents do occur, you have a plan for minimizing losses and getting workers back on the job. Texas Mutual has a number of resources to help with this, and our recent post on creating a return-to-work program from our Your Claims Questions Answered series is a great place to start.

These resources and plans may seem like small steps, but they could add up to a dividend for your business. Find out more about Texas Mutual’s dividend program by clicking here.

Apply for a Texas Mutual safety or wellness grant

Safety and wellness programs are proving their value in the workplace, and as a business owner, your employees are looking to you. At Texas Mutual, we want to make it easier for you to invest in safety and wellness, and our new safety and wellness grants do just that. This opportunity is exclusively for our Texas Mutual policyholders, and we encourage you to apply by July 21 for the best chance at receiving a grant. These programs are designed to help make your business a healthier, safer place to work. See the details below on how you can get funding to buy safety equipment or start a wellness program in your workplace.

Start a wellness program with a wellness grantdumbbell and apple with measuring tape

Healthier employees save you money on workers’ comp claims, health care costs, missed work days and so much more. Wellness grant recipients will get a one-year workplace wellness program, which includes health screenings for employees, ongoing support, wellness challenge ideas, helpful webinars and more. A program like this could transform the health of your employees. Click here for more information on the wellness grants.

Get new safety equipment with a safety grantProtective clothes

Safety grant recipients will receive reimbursement of up to $1,500 for the purchase of ergonomic, safety or industrial hygiene equipment to reduce and prevent workplace injuries. If you are awarded a safety grant, you’ll have 60 days to purchase the equipment and submit a form for reimbursement. Click here for more information on the safety grants.

How to apply

You could be one of the hundreds of policyholders awarded through our Safety and Wellness Grant Program. If you are ready to apply, log in to texasmutual.com and click the Safety menu option. Then, click the orange Safety and Wellness Grants button. See the steps below for more information.

Applying for Safety and Wellness Grants

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Safety Services Support Center at 844-WORKSAFE (967-5723). We look forward to seeing the health and safety improvements this program will bring to Texas businesses.

Texas Mutual’s Day of Giving for the Cub Scouts

Texas heat can be overwhelming but with school out for the summer, plenty of children will be playing outdoors. Heat safety precautions are important, which is why Texas Mutual employees put together 4,500 summer safety kits last week for Cub Scouts in Texas. Each one contains bottled water, sunscreen and lip balm to ensure that the scouts can have a safe and fun time at summer camp. Each of our offices, in Lubbock, Austin, Houston and Dallas contributed, so the kits will reach Scouts all over the state.

“Safety is really important to us,” said Joel Rice, director of development for the Capitol Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. “We follow some pretty strict safety guidelines that are approved by our national organization because we care about keeping kids healthy.

“It seems like the most basic summer safety rules are the ones that young kids struggle with the most: use sunscreen, stay hydrated, don’t over-exert yourself. These kits will help them stay cool, safe and hydrated and still have fun in the sun.”

Putting together these safety kits was part of Texas Mutual’s first ever Day of Giving, in which all of our employees had the opportunity to work on a single community service project on the same day. Employees donated a part of their workday to assemble the summer safety kits. They will reach scouts at the Capitol Area Council in Central Texas, the South Plains Council in the Lubbock area, Dallas’ Circle Ten Council, and the Sam Houston Area Council in Houston.

Texas Mutual employees visiting the Capitol Area Council to deliver completed safety kits. Joel Rice is on the far right and Jon Yates, scout executive of the Capitol Area Council, is on the left in uniform.

The Cub Scouts will be swimming, hiking, playing sports, making arts and crafts, and learning skills like orienteering and leather work during day camps and longer stays. Most are aged between seven and 14. Consider these heat safety tips for kids and teens from the National Weather Service, and for your workplace, take a look at our recent post on keeping your employees safe in the Texas heat.

Putting the brakes on distracted driving

When you are behind the wheel, do you glance at your new texts or Facebook alerts? It only takes a second to lose focus on driving and mistakes behind the wheel can be fatal. While not all accidents can be prevented, at Texas Mutual, we’re putting the brakes on distracted driving by changing our culture.

Texting while driving using cell phone in carSmart phones give us the power to be constantly connected, but our new company policy requires that our employees eliminate the use of phones, even handheld devices, while operating any vehicle during work hours or when on a company trip. We’re asking our employees to wait to return a call or text until they make it safely to their destination or pull over behind picking up the phone and conversely, we should be mindful of our coworkers’ schedules. It’s about more than just putting the phone down. It’s about shifting our mindset about what safe driving looks like.

We invite you and your employees to adopt this same habit as well. The risk is just not worth the reward. By requiring your employees to drive distraction free, you can eliminate near misses, lower the number of driving accidents your workforce experiences and most importantly, help employees stay safe on the road and on the job.

Here are some tips on what you should do to eliminate distractions before you start driving:

  • If needed, alert any coworkers or family members that you will be unavailable while you are driving.
  • If you use your phone for navigation, make sure you have a safe docking solution so that you can stay focused on the road.
  • Pick your podcast, music or audio book before the wheels start rolling.
  • Put your phone in a center console or better yet, just turn it off.
  • Don’t contact employees when you know they could be on the road.
  • Let go of the expectation for employees to answer or return your message immediately.
  • Set an example for your workforce by adopting safe habits and letting your team know what and why you’re doing it.

For a sample policy from the National Safety Council, click here. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or EndDD (End Distracted Driving) for statistics and resources to educate your workplace on the dangers of distracted driving. Also, watch our 60 Seconds to Safe Driving series for practical tips to be safe behind the wheel.

Bottom line, when you are behind the wheel, you should be focused on one thing: driving. We want to make sure our company culture supports that mindset for employees, and we hope you will as well.

Texas Mutual cyclists complete 150 mile trek and raise $52,000 for multiple sclerosis research

At Texas Mutual, we not only give back to the communities that we serve, but also empower our employees to make a difference through charity.

Making it to the finish line in Austin

For the fourth year in a row, Texas Mutual participated in the BP MS 150, a charity two-day bicycle ride from Houston to Austin that took place the last weekend of April.

In addition to the ride itself, Texas Mutual’s MS 150 team has been fundraising for the cause for weeks. The team raised $52,000 and counting, while the MS 150 as a whole surpassed its $16 million goal.

While many riders are drawn to the team camaraderie, the physical challenge, and the philanthropic mission, for Texas Mutual Claims Supervisor Jennifer Abrams, it was personal. Her sister passed away due to multiple sclerosis so this ride, which raises money for research and treatment of the disease, is very important to her.

“I choke up with tears every time I talk about that because I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity to ride for a cause that matters to me, with the support of Texas Mutual,” she said.

In addition to our 35 riders, Texas Mutual sent 54 volunteers to the MS 150 to help our team and the event at large. They dispensed food, water and snacks, set up the overnight camp in La Grange, transported luggage, gave rides back from the finish line, and supported any riders who lagged behind from mechanical breakdowns or other problems.

This year, the riders overcame some tough weather, with heat and humidity on day one, and hail on day two that delayed the start time. On day two, riders also dealt with a headwind for dozens of miles that made for tough going.

Texas Mutual’s 2017 MS 150 riders and volunteers getting ready to depart for Houston.

The ride, which brings in 13,000 cyclists and 3,500 volunteers, has been held each year since 1985 and has been a core charitable event for Texas Mutual since 2014. Some riders are avid cyclists, like CEO Rich Gergasko, and some are getting into the sport for the first time. Either way, it’s the cause that brings our team back every year.

“I ride the MS 150 because I get to participate in an event with people of all ages and all walks of life, pushing their limits for a great cause,” said team co-captain Alan Cullen, a senior manager of IT at Texas Mutual.

Click here to learn about more about the 2017 BP MS 150 and for more information on Texas Mutual’s charitable giving, visit the Community Involvement page on texasmutual.com.

Other states claim data download now available on texasmutual.com

iStock-484100324[1].jpgWhen it comes to determining what type of safety training your employees need, a little information can go a long way. From understanding the most common risks for your industry to knowing exactly where things are going wrong on the job, having this type of insight can help keep workers safe.

Now, Texas Mutual is making it even simpler for policyholders with other states coverage to get valuable information about their claims by downloading data as an Excel file in the same way that Texas data has been available. This can reveal trends, such as employee knowledge gaps, unsafe practices, new employees lacking adequate training or a specific time of day injuries occur. With this information you can put safety training in place that will make a difference.

The other states data shows all the claims that have been filed outside of Texas and provides specific information about each claim, including the injured worker’s occupation, location of injury, date and time of the injury, description of the incident, date of hire, and more. Texas data is available in a similar format and provide the same great benefits that the new other states data download provides. These reports can be extensive depending on the business size, but having the data in an Excel files gives you the ability to sort and filter data in a way that best fits your needs and helps provide more targeted training. By focusing your training on key areas that have historically been an issue, you have the power to lower your e-mod, keep your workers’ comp costs down, and most importantly, keep your employees safe.

At Texas Mutual, we work hard to give you the tools and resources you need to keep employees safe. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to access loss data, loss runs and other insightful reports by simply logging in to texasmutual.com. When you’re ready to review claims history for your Texas or out-of-state operations, visit our website and click on Loss Runs & Claims to access your data.

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