4,000 newer Texas Mutual policyholders earn dividends

More than 68,000 business owners rely on Texas Mutual to meet the needs of 1.4 million workers every day. We have a responsibility to promote safety and help prevent workplace injuries, and that’s why we recognize the great efforts that many businesses take to keep these workers safe.

One way we recognize our policyholders who share our commitment to safety is through our dividend program. As we announced earlier this year, Texas Mutual distributed a record $260 million in dividends. We recently completed the final phase of the dividend payout by distributing $3 million to 4,000 newer policyholders who are already exhibiting safe workplaces.

Early qualifier dividend recipients are those who haven’t been a Texas Mutual policyholder long enough to qualify for a regular dividend but are implementing safe practices in their businesses. This includes those who have a good loss ratio on their first-year policy with Texas Mutual and have renewed with us during the first half of the year. Early qualifier dividends allow us to reward newer policyholders for their safe habits sooner. Watch the video below to learn more about our dividend program

You can find more than 2,000 safety resources in your Texas Mutual account, exclusive to policyholders, to support the safety culture at your workplace. We offer online training with our new e-Learning, posters, flyers and videos, available in both English and Spanish, to help you keep your workers safe. Workplace accidents can disrupt production and morale, and when you do your part to avoid them, we do our part to take notice.

Policyholders who earn a dividend can use the funds to support their safety programs, or invest it right back in to the bottom line. See how some of our policyholders celebrated their dividends earlier this year. Visit texasmutual.com/ownershippays to learn more about our dividend program.

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Rebuilding after Harvey with Texas Mutual’s help

The Houston area was devastated by Hurricane Harvey this fall. The disaster was personal for Texas Mutual because it affected our own employees and many of the businesses that contribute to Texas’ economy. In response, we launched a $10 million grant program for policyholders just 10 days after the storm hit.

Policyholders could apply for up to $10,000 each to help with their recovery, and more than 1,100 business owners received a grant. Each one was affected in a different way, but what they all had in common was the drive to rebuild and the help they received along the way.

Kevin Topek Permaculture DesignsKevin Topek, owner of Permaculture Design LLC located in Bellaire, is a perfect example of that. His landscape design and installation company has been in the Houston area for 16 years and focuses on creating natural habitats and ecosystems.

Ninety-five percent of his neighborhood was completely flooded by Hurricane Harvey. The storm brought two feet of water into his business’ sheds. Many tools were damaged from the floodwaters, requiring extensive man hours to repair, while others needed replacement. After the storm subsided, Kevin’s business took in non-paying jobs so he could help his neighbors with disaster cleanup.

Kevin’s insurance agent, Jan Weatherton of Harco Insurance, contacted him and suggested he apply for a Hurricane Harvey relief grant from Texas Mutual. Using his phone’s sluggish hot spot to connect to the internet on his computer, Kevin detailed the damage his business had suffered: gasoline power tools and lawn mowers were submerged, organic fertilizer and pest control materials were waterlogged and ruined, and dozens of hand tools that were exposed to water became rusty, unusable equipment.

Texas Mutual employees worked tirelessly to process the relief grant applications we received and get responses quickly to policyholders. About one week after submitting his application, Kevin received an email notification letting him know he was approved for a grant. In his words, the response left him “gobsmacked.” He was completely stunned. The check arrived just three days later, giving him the means to start rebuilding his business. Kevin was able to quickly process paychecks for his two employees and put the remaining funds back into his business to help ease the burden during recovery.

In Texas, it is not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but for Kevin, “it’s the right thing to do and I can’t imagine not doing it.” After receiving the grant funds, Kevin expressed his appreciation for Texas Mutual for helping to keep his business afloat in a challenging time.

“They have my loyalty as long as I’m in business in Texas,” he said.

The three-minute videos helping your employees receive better medical care

The health care industry is evolving every day with rapid growth particularly in digital health technologies like smart watches, calorie counter apps and pedometers. Patients can benefit from this transition when there is a united front between quality care and digital innovation.

Workplace diagnosis body map and logoKnowing how to diagnose a workplace injury like trigger finger requires training and experience in occupational medicine. That’s why Texas Mutual is addressing the need for innovation in the treatment of workplace injuries. Texas Mutual’s medical director, Dr. Nicholas Tsourmas, is helping to lead this effort, and one of the ways he is doing so is through Workplace Diagnosis. The tool is the first online, real-time patient diagnosis video tool for physicians treating workers’ comp patients.

By visiting texasmutual.com or using our mobile app, physicians can select an area of the body to watch a video and learn about specific injuries. Each video averages three minutes and features Dr. Tsourmas with a patient discussing a common workplace injury and offering tips on how to diagnose it.

Dr. TsourmasDr. Tsourmas was recently recognized for his achievements in the workers’ compensation health care field when he received the Medical Professional of the year award at Work Comp Central’s Comp Laude Awards. His work is helping ensure that Texans with occupational injuries are accurately diagnosed and treated, and have options for modified job duties during recovery.

Dr. Tsourmas has been with Texas Mutual since 1993. Since then, he has traveled throughout the state to give onsite training to our network providers and educate the medical community on workers’ comp and musculoskeletal ailments. The same training he shares with providers throughout the state is shared with Texas Mutual’s team of adjusters to improve the claim process for injured workers and give our team the tools to understand doctors’ recommendations.

At Texas Mutual, we put a lot of effort into preventing workplace injuries, but when they do occur, we are dedicated to making sure that the injured workers we cover receive the quality care they need. Innovative resources like Workplace Diagnosis are a part of that collective effort. Dr. Tsourmas’ recognition is reflective of his leadership in these areas and speaks to our ongoing commitment to creating a stronger, safer Texas.

Our commitment to a stronger, safer Texas

TXM for Texas LogoAt Texas Mutual, we are committed to helping you keep your employees safe on the job. When an injury does occur, we are there with compassion to help businesses recover and injured workers get back to a productive life. That compassion, rooted in each of our employees, extends far beyond the 68,000 businesses and 1.4 million employees that count on us for their workers’ compensation coverage. Take a look at the short video below to see the impact we are making.

Texas Mutual has a rich history of giving back to the communities in which we live, and our employees answer the call to help those in need time and time again. The collective impact of our efforts makes a difference for Texas, and that’s why we are introducing TXM for Texas. In many ways, TXM for Texas is the work we have always done and the partnerships we’ve always had. It speaks to our continuous commitment to the safety, wellness and education of our communities – all with the goal of creating a stronger, safer Texas.

Our commitment to you

At Texas Mutual, we view safety, wellness and education as the keys to success for our policyholders and our communities. We work with organizations that share that same commitment to improve the safety of workplaces and prevent injuries, to promote workplace wellness and healthy living, and to encourage education for those entering the workforce and beyond.

TXM for Safety

Safety is at the core of everything we do. Over the past year, Texas Mutual has awarded $1 million in safety grants for TXM policyholders, our employees created safety kits for cub scouts, and we distributed $228,000 to emergency responder organizations. We will continue these efforts to support the safety of our workplaces across the state of Texas.

TXM for Wellness

When your employees are healthy, they are less likely to get injured and more likely to return to work if an injury does occur. In 2017, Texas Mutual offered $1 million in wellness grants to our policyholders, our employees delivered Meals on Wheels, and we raised $52,000 for the MS-150. We know that healthy employees are safer employees, and we’ll continue to do our part to support healthy communities.

TXM for Education

We believe that education supports the strength of this great state. Our employees volunteer with local schools, we partner with colleges to provide safety-related courses, and we provide scholarships for dependents of workers who experienced catastrophic injuries. We advocate for education and will continue to do so to serve our future workforces.

The TXM for Texas difference you will see

In the coming weeks, we will feature each of our focus areas (safety, wellness and education) here on the Texas Mutual Blog. You can also join us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to see our commitment in action. We’ll highlight the compassionate work our employees do, recognize how our nonprofit partners make a difference in people’s lives every day, and share our efforts to make a measurable change in your communities. This is our commitment for a stronger, safer Texas.

Technology helps bring safer driving habits to Texas Mutual

You’re driving down the highway, minding your speed, when a truck flies by, cuts in front of you and slams on its brakes. You’re rightfully irritated and then you notice the truck has a “How’s My Driving?” bumper sticker. Do you take the time to pull over, call and report your experience?

driving car on highwayMore often than not, drivers don’t make the call. For years, Texas Mutual relied on these “How’s My Driving?” stickers to encourage safe driving among our employees, but with no real way to confirm if they were making a positive difference to improve driving behavior.

Safe driving is an issue we are especially aware of here at Texas Mutual. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of on-the-job injuries and death for our policyholders’ employees. It’s our mission to help our policyholders reduce these accidents and keep our own employees safe on the road as well.

That’s why in March 2015, we installed an in-vehicle monitoring system (IVMS) in more than 90 vehicles in our fleet. The IVMS uses telematics technology to transmit information about how someone is driving, which is used to identify potentially unsafe patterns.

For Texas Mutual, our IVMS is about more than just tracking driving behavior – it also offers peace of mind knowing those who travel for work on a daily basis stay safe by practicing good driving behaviors. We ask our policyholders to do all they can to ensure their workers are safe on the road, and we hold ourselves to the same standard.

How an IVMS works

The system, which takes less than one minute to install into your car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, monitors real-time data. It tracks three risk indicators: speed, rapid acceleration and hard braking. Drivers and their department managers receive a weekly scorecard, similar to a school report card, which assigns an overall letter grade and a letter grade for each of the three risk indicators. The intent is to improve driving habits by informing employees of their driving behavior in a timely manner, and identifying potentially unsafe patterns of driving behavior. The reports are not used in performance reviews for disciplinary action or negative feedback.

The weekly scorecards also include distance traveled, driving time, idling cost and engine usage. To encourage friendly competition, you can also have the scorecards rank business groups within the company. Many businesses also use the technology to track deliveries and manage their fleet, and more sophisticated systems include on-board cameras that monitor the driver’s face and eyes for signs of fatigue and distraction. The cost of an IVMS varies with its complexity. Basic systems cost a few hundred dollars, while more advanced ones cost up to $1,000.

Safer drivers, fewer accidents

The IVMS technology provides reliable information and gives us insight into driving performance in a way we never had before. Since implementing our IVMS, we have seen a 61 percent decrease in preventable accidents. In its first week of implementation in March 2015, the average safe driving score at Texas Mutual was 90 out of 100, but that number has increased to 94.5 in the time since then. Our goal is for our employees to return home safely at the end of the day and the IVMS is a tool helping us meet that goal.

car-crash-emergency-workersWhen used as part of a comprehensive fleet safety program, in-vehicle-monitoring systems can help change the behaviors that contribute to traffic accidents, the number one cause of on-the-job fatalities. The technology allows you to monitor risky driving behaviors so that accidents are reduced and most importantly, employees are safe on the road.

Texas Mutual has seen tremendous success from these systems. The majority of employees consistently receive a score of A, and habits are changing for the better, both on the clock and in their personal time.

In-vehicle-monitoring systems work best when it’s part of a comprehensive safe driving program. At Texas Mutual, it does not take the place of our ongoing effort to spread the message about safe driving. Take a look at how we are reshaping our company culture to put the brakes on distracted driving. We continue to educate our employees on safe driving, and those who are on the road as part of their job must still complete a defensive driving course every two years.

If you have any questions about using an IVMS, read more here or call the safety services support center at 844-WORKSAFE. Our safety service representatives can help you determine if this system would be a good fit for your business and help you keep your drivers safer on the road.

$10 million in Hurricane Harvey Relief Grants for policyholders

Texas flag

We are heartbroken, along with many of you, about the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and the gulf coast of Texas. Many of those impacted by the storm are the very people whose businesses we work hard to protect every day. We are committed to offering our full support to these employers, which is why Texas Mutual is pledging $10 million to the recovery effort for our policyholders.

This funding will help employers get their businesses on the road to recovery, pay employees’ wages, and rebuild. As these companies and employees work to repair the damage and move forward, we are honored to support them.

How to apply

If you are one of those employers in need, we are here for you. Grant applications open September 13 at noon and funds will be offered on a first come, first serve basis. Current policyholders who have sustained significant damage to a business location in one of the 58 counties on the governor’s Hurricane Harvey Disaster Declaration can apply for up to $10,000 in grant funds from Texas Mutual. Policyholders must have had an in-force policy effective September 12, 2017 or earlier.

Funds can be used for payroll, building rehab or repair, machinery and equipment repair or purchase, replacement of lost inventory, and other expenses associated with rebuilding. Your application will be sent to your agent to co-sign after you’ve submitted it to us. Our review committee is ready to process applications so that we can quickly get funding to those of you in need.

To apply for a grant, visit texasmutual.com/txmfortexas. Additional grant details are available in our frequently asked questions document, or on our website. There you can also find other recovery resources for your business.

Texas Mutual is proud to be your workers’ compensation provider. We know you are the backbone of Texas’ economy – that’s why we have a responsibility to ensure your success and contribute to the resilience of this great state.

Thank you for choosing Texas Mutual, and helping us build a stronger, safer Texas.

Rich Gergasko
President & CEO

rich-gergasko

Texas Mutual goes back to school

Students in Texas are back in school but summer ended earlier for their teachers and for school staff, who spent the last couple of weeks getting ready for the start of the year. Texas Mutual employees were there to help, sending volunteers to Austin’s Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten in partnership with the United Way for Greater Austin, and making donations to BookSpring, a nonprofit dedicated to early childhood literacy for lower income students, and Irving Schools Foundation’s Supplies for Success program in Dallas.

Thirty-five volunteers helped out at Lucy Read in Austin. They decorated, arranged furniture, made ID cards, laid colored tape paths on the floor to help students navigate the school hallways, organized the school’s office supplies and pulled weeds in nearly 20 garden beds around the campus. Texas Mutual donated glue sticks, colored pencils, construction paper, folders and other supplies, and our volunteers sorted them into 360 school supply packs topped off with good luck messages for the year. Because of Texas Mutual’s donation and the volunteers who assembled the packs, every student enrolled will have the school supplies they need for the school year, taking the burden off of parents.

book spring“I really like to be involved with our community service projects, especially with the school opportunities that we have,” said Brittany Rusciano, a Texas Mutual IT systems analyst who volunteered at Lucy Read.

She added, “I don’t think that the education system always gets the attention that it needs, so every little bit that we can help out, even if that’s just lending a hand to put some posters up or pull some weeds, that means a lot to me, and I think it means a lot to the community and the kids going to these schools.”

In addition to our Lucy Read visit, employees in our special investigations division organized a book drive for the Austin nonprofit BookSpring. They collected 219 books which will be donated to children learning to read.

“I have a big heart for books and the work that BookSpring does is very important to me,” said Fraud Investigator Mari Mendez, who helped organize the book drive.

Volunteers sort school supplies at Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten in Austin.

Jill Gonzalez, BookSpring’s associate director, added: “This donation was very exciting because we serve 40,000 kids in the Central Texas area and we take donations every day. We take in and give out between one and three thousand books a month, so every book helps and every book makes a difference.”

In Dallas, our employees raised $2,700 dollars to purchase 250 backpacks filled with school supplies. These were for students ranging from kindergarten to high school seniors and were part of Supplies for Success’ 6,800 overall donated packs. Nineteen Texas Mutual employees helped the Supplies for Success program distribute the backpacks to Irving families.

“It’s very rewarding to help out,” said Regina Glessner, a Texas Mutual underwriter who helped distribute the backpacks. “First of all, the amount of backpacks that you see there is incredible. Then it’s great to see the families that come through, and how appreciative they are that the community comes together like this for them. It’s just amazing how many families you really do touch who would not have been able to afford school supplies for their student.”

This year wasn’t the first time that our employees helped schools kick off the academic year. The United Way is one of our primary nonprofit partners, and we have been involved with their back-to-school efforts for the last five years. This is the third year that our Dallas office has organized for Supplies for Success.

“I think it’s awesome that Texas Mutual lets us do this,” Brittany, who volunteered at Lucy Read Pre-Kindergarten in Austin, said. “It’s an investment for Texas Mutual to allow us to do these things and I think it shows that they really care about the community.”

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