Loss Control Tips For Carpentry Contactors


Carpentry Contractors

Carpentry contractors construct, install and repair building frameworks and structures made from wood or other materials. Their duties may include reading blueprints, taking measurements, and cutting, shaping, and smoothing lumber and other materials. Due to their wide variety of operations, these professionals are often exposed to various safety, liability, and property risks. That’s why it’s vital to have effective loss control measures in place. This resource outlines common risks carpentry contractors must address and offers helpful strategies to avoid possible claims

Premise and Operations Liability

The nature of carpentry operations poses various liability concerns. For example, third-party damage and injuries to bystanders can lead to costly liability claims. Therefore, it’s important for carpentry contractors to take the following measures to limit their premises and operations liability:

  • Create a housekeeping program to make sure materials, tools, and other objects are stored properly to prevent struck-by injuries and slips, trips, and falls.
  • Ensure site security measures—such as fences or security personnel—prevent the general public from trespassing on job sites.
  • Establish a fire protection plan and communicate it to each employee. If smoking is allowed on the job site, create a designated smoking section. Keep fire extinguishers on site and make sure all employees are trained on how to use them.
  • Ensure there is a combustible dust program in place to prevent the accumulation of dust and debris in confined buildings that can cause fire or explosions.
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures for entering residents’ homes to prevent property damage.

Employee Safety

As an employer, carpentry contractors must protect their employees from illnesses and injuries on the job. Occupational risks related to carpentry include significant exposure to falls, back, and struck-by injuries, and slips, trips, and falls. Carpentry contractors should implement these employee safety precautions:

  • Establish a fall program and train employees on how to properly use fall protection.
  • Implement a ladder safety program and ensure employees have been appropriately trained in ladder safety.
  • Create a slip, trip, and fall program. Perform slip, trip, and fall assessments to determine the likelihood of occurrence on the job site.
  • Develop an effective workplace safety training program that requires all employees to participate in routine training. Doing so will allow new employees to prepare for their roles while refreshing experienced employees on important safety protocols.
  • Ensure employees receive sufficient training before using tools or equipment necessary for their work.
  • Create and implement an equipment maintenance plan to make sure equipment is kept in working order and safety mechanisms—such as wires, handles, and blades—are also in working order.
  • Create an incident investigation program that allows swift and thorough incident investigations to take place.
  • Establish a personal protective equipment (PPE) program and perform a PPE survey to determine which types of PPE are needed for each task.
  • Provide all necessary PPE to employees and educate them on the proper use of this equipment.

Inland Marine—Tools and Equipment

Carpentry contractors face many inland marine exposures, especially since they often use their own equipment at job sites. Inadequate maintenance procedures and a lack of prevention protocols can result in equipment damage, which could lead to significant interruptions and costly repair or replacement expenses. Carpentry contractors should consider these steps to limit risks:

  • Keep a detailed list of machinery and tools. Each item should include an identifying number, age, type, and condition. Never leave tools on-site or out in the open. Either put them in the vehicle or have a secure place to store them.
  • Add nonremovable labels to equipment to allow for easy and permanent identification.
  • Implement security measures to prevent the unauthorized use of equipment left at job sites. These measures may include installing security cameras, locking equipment doors, and hiring on-site security.
  • Create a program requiring inspections on equipment prior to use. Corded tools should be inspected to make sure there are no cuts or frayed wires.

Automobile Liability

Because carpentry contractors often have their own fleet of vehicles and employees frequently travel between different job sites, commercial auto exposures are substantial. In particular, accidents on the road could result in serious ramifications, including employee injuries, costly property damage, and potential liability issues between any pedestrians or other motorists involved. To minimize commercial auto exposures, carpentry contractors should follow these protocols:

  • Make sure all drivers possess acceptable driving records. Specifically, it’s important to secure motor vehicle records (MVRs) for all drivers. MVRs should be updated annually.
  • Provide employees with proper training on safe driving measures. Be sure to prioritize loading procedures so employees load vehicles appropriately.
  • Prohibit employees from using their cell phones while driving.
  • Consider utilizing telematics technology within commercial vehicles to identify employees’ risky driving behaviors (e.g., speeding and hard braking).
  • Implement an effective vehicle inspection and maintenance program. Such a program can help ensure all commercial vehicles remain in good condition and are safe to operate on the road.
  • Review all commercial vehicle and trailer characteristics (e.g., size and weight) to determine applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Routinely monitor compliance with FMCSA standards and make operational adjustments as needed.

Learn More

It’s essential for carpentry contractors to implement proper risk management precautions to limit costly insurance claims and lawsuits. Such preventive measures can also offer various benefits, such as greater customer satisfaction, bolstered employee safety, fewer liability concerns, and a lowered potential for property damage. Although this resource provides a range of loss control strategies, carpentry contractors don’t have to establish their risk management programs alone.

Working with a qualified and experienced insurance professional can make all the difference. Contact Midwest Insurance Group today at 262-646-5777  to discuss insurance solutions and additional loss control techniques for carpentry contractors.

New 2023 Benefit Plan Limits To Know



Many benefit plan limits have changed for the new calendar year. Here are some limits to review for 2023:

401(k) LIMITS

  • Pre-tax contributions: $22,500 (up $22,000 from 2022)
  • Catch-up contributions: $7,500 (up $1,000 from 2022)


  • Pre-tax contributions:

Single coverage: $3,850 (up $200 from 2022)

Family coverage: $7,750 (up $450 from 2022)

  • Catch-up contributions: $1,000 (no change from 2022)


  • HDHP minimum deductibles:

Single coverage: $1,500 (up $100 from 2022)

Family coverage: $3,000 (up $200 from 2022)

  • HDHP maximum out-of-pocket costs:

Single coverage: $7,500 (up $450 from 2022)

Family coverage: $15,000 (up $900 from 2022) Contributions: $3,050 (up $200 from 2022)


  • Contributions: $3,050 (up $200 from 2022)

Safety Matters – Why You Should Always Use Machine Guards

machine guards

Use Machine Guards

Machine guards are designed to protect you when working with dangerous equipment. Unfortunately, many workers also view them as an inconvenience or an obstacle to the task at hand. Regardless, guards are there for your protection, and using them properly is a safety requirement at Midwest Insurance Group.

Protecting Against Hazards

Specifically, machine guards are used to protect against:

  • Direct contact with moving parts
  • Flying chips or other debris
  • Kickbacks
  • Splashing of metal or harmful liquids
  • Mechanical and electrical failures
  • Any number of potential human errors

While guards may often appear to be a hindrance, overall they have proven to be otherwise for both security and production. Greater machine speeds are made possible through proper guarding, as production does not have to stop due to injuries and employees can often work quicker knowing they have the proper protection in place to do so safely.

Types of Guards

Two types of guards are used to protect machine operators: fixed guards and interlocking guards. Fixed guards are most commonly used and are generally preferred because they protect you from dangerous parts of machines at all times. Interlocking guards are used if a fixed guard is not practical. This type will not allow the machine to operate until dangerous parts are guarded. The interlocking guard is designed to disconnect the source of power from the machine.

Safety devices such as pullbacks, sweeps, and electronic devices are used where neither a fixed nor an interlocking guard can be used satisfactorily. Safety devices are operated by the machine itself. Regardless of the type of guard or safety device used, all provide the operator with the greatest possible protection.

Safety is Not an Option

Of course, no guard can do the job without the cooperation of the machine operator. Machine guards are a part of our workplace, and using them properly is your responsibility. Always follow these basic safety requirements:

  • Do not adjust or remove a guard unless your supervisor gives permission or unless the adjustment is a normal and accepted part of your job.
  • Do not start machinery without the guards in place.
  • If guards are missing or defective, report it to your supervisor immediately.
  • If guards are removed for repair or adjustment, the power for the machine should be turned off and the main switch locked and tagged.
  • Loose clothing, watches, rings, and other jewelry should not be worn around mechanical equipment, and long hair should be tied back.

Safety is a top priority at Midwest Insurance Group. To accomplish this, we need the commitment of all employees to respect our safety rules and to use machine guards as intended, to keep everyone on the job safe and productive. If you have any questions regarding guards or other safety issues, please ask your supervisor.

Contact Midwest Insurance Group at 262-646-5777 for more information about insurance coverage options.

Self Funded Insurance With Level Funding


Level Funding

If you desire the freedom of a self-funded insurance plan but need a little more certainty for your budgeting concerns, level funding might be an option for you. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages and decide what’s best for your company.

What is a Self-funded Plan?

In a self-funded health plan, the employer assumes the risk and responsibility of medical claims instead of contracting with an insurance carrier to pay claims. The employer sets premium rates based on claims history and typically benefits from lower administration costs and greater flexibility both in plan design and cash flow within the business.

A self-funded plan may contract with a third-party administrator (TPA), but it is still a self-funded plan because the company is responsible for funding the claims payments. Stop-loss insurance can be obtained to pay for excessively high claims, but the employer is responsible for the majority of the costs and the stop-loss insurance is simply a protection against extremely high, unpredictable claims.

Self-funded plans are not right for every company. One of the downsides to a self-funded plan is that the employer must pay out claims as they come in, leaving itself exposed to fluctuating expenses. Level funding is an option that can add predictability back into the equation if your company decides to implement a self-funded plan.

What is Level Funding?

Level funding is an option that can accompany a self-funded plan, aiding employers in their health coverage budgeting efforts. With level funding, employers pay a set amount each month to a carrier. This amount typically includes the cost of administrative and other fees and the maximum amount of expected claims based on underwriting projections, as well as embedded stop-loss insurance.

The carrier facilitating the level funding will pay your employees’ claims throughout the year. At the end of the year, if your payments exceeded claims, you will receive a refund from the excess you paid in monthly claim allotments. If the claims exceeded what you paid into the program, in most cases your stop-loss insurance will cover the overage amount.

Advantages of Level Funding

Level funding offers several advantages. Like other self-funded plans, you don’t have to pay premiums that are based on community rates, which might be higher than your employee group’s risk. Instead, you only pay the actual claims and an additional administrative fee. Another benefit of level funding is that if all the money you set aside each month to cover claims is not used, you will receive a refund at the end of the year from the surplus, instead of paying expensive premiums for a fully insured plan and essentially using or losing that money. If you are already self-funded, then you will enjoy a more budget-friendly method of monthly claims payment, with stop-loss insurance to protect you from unexpectedly high costs.

Generally, the monetary advantages of level funding are that you are better able to manage your budget and prepare for claims costs. You will benefit from a smoother cash flow and not worrying that a high claim near the beginning of the year will impact your business.

Additionally, many level funding plans provide detailed reporting on utilization trends, giving you important information on where employees may be causing overspending (such as unnecessary use of emergency room visits instead of urgent care).

Another advantage of level funding is having fewer governmental regulations than fully insured plans are subject to. Check with your legal counsel about regulatory benefits specific to your state and business.

Disadvantages of Level Funding

Although there are upsides to level funding, there are also some disadvantages. One is that when you choose to self-fund you are likely looking to cut costs—and with level funding, part of your monthly payment is to cover administrative fees. Depending on the plan and your other options, these fees have the potential to cut into the savings you hope to gain from running a self-funded plan. You’ll need to weigh the cost-effectiveness of administering your self-funded plan in-house, hiring a TPA or choosing a level-funded option with the attached administrative fees.

Additionally, you still have to pay the claims. With level funding you’re paying for the convenience of having equal payments throughout the year and the security of stop-loss coverage.

Another challenge of level funding to consider is the terms of the contract; make sure you understand how the contract will impact a business of your size—companies with smaller numbers of employees may benefit differently than those with larger numbers. Also, many level funding plans restrict their offerings to companies with a certain minimum or maximum number of employees, which may affect your ability to contract with your desired carrier.

Making Your Decision

Ultimately, if you want to operate a self-funded health plan, level funding is an option that must be considered in light of your company’s cash flow, risk tolerance, employee numbers, and preferred budgeting methods.

Contact Midwest Insurance Group at 262-646-5777 for more information about insurance coverage options.

Top Ways To Save On Your Auto Insurance Premium

muscle car

Tips For Lowering Your Car Insurance

  • Consider raising your deductible.
  • Keep up your good driving record.
  • Drive less to qualify for a low-mileage discount.
  • Drive a car with safety features such as anti-lock brakes and airbags.
  • Install an anti-theft device.
  • Ask about our multi-policy discounts.

The Basics

An automobile policy is designed to provide you with a level of protection against property, liability, and medical costs if you are involved in an accident. Optional custom parts and equipment coverage ensures that your customized details are covered too.

Customize Your Automobile Policy Too

If you’re one of those who enjoys getting more out of his or her car than just getting to your destination, you should be aware that any customizing that you do to your vehicle impacts your auto policy. Before you add custom paint and bodywork, it’s best that you customize your auto policy.

Custom Parts and Equipment Coverage

A basic auto policy’s collision or comprehensive policy provides insurance only for the original equipment included by the manufacturer. If your vehicle has special equipment or permanently installed custom parts that alter its appearance or performance, optional custom parts and equipment coverage may be for you. Special equipment includes the following:

  • Customized paint or decals
  • Customized wheels, spoilers, suspensions, or performance-related equipment
  • Stereo or television equipment
  • Running boards, roll bars, or brush bars
  • Undercarriage lighting
  • Bed liners, camper shells, and trailer hitches

Within the limits that you select in your policy, custom parts and equipment coverage reimburses you for the actual cash value, the declared value, or the actual cost to repair—whichever is lowest.

Keep in mind that every car has a standard book value which is used to calculate the payout in the event of a total loss. You should know that insurance payments reflect what a car would be worth at the time of the loss, not what was paid for it, so the cost for modifications may be difficult to recoup in the event of a total loss.

Riding around in style is enjoyable but carries additional risks. Before making any modifications, make sure the work you’re doing does not compromise the safety of your vehicle. If you’re in an accident, and the car is deemed unsafe due to non-factory reasons, your coverage may be void. Don’t be caught without coverage—check with us first!

The Bottom Line

Before you purchase those specialty rims or customize your grille, we can help you determine the best coverage options to keep your customized ride covered. Call Midwest Insurance Group, LLC today at 262.646.5777 to learn more about all of our insurance solutions for your auto, home, and life.

Midwest Insurance Group offers Wisconsin auto insurance coverage in the communities of BrookfieldJeffersonPewaukeeWatertownMukwonago, DelafieldWaukeshaMilwaukeeOconomowoc, and Hartland.

Electrical Contractors Industry Overview

electrical contractor

Electrical contractors are trained professionals who typically perform a range of operations related to installing, maintaining, repairing, and replacing electrical systems and machinery. They may provide residential or commercial services and conduct their work in various settings, such as their office spaces and customers’ homes or businesses.

Common tasks for electrical contractors include:

  • Reading blueprints or other technical diagrams associated with electrical elements
  • Installing and maintaining electrical wiring and lighting systems
  • Inspecting electrical components (e.g., transformers and circuit breakers) for potential issues
  • Identifying electrical problems through the use of certain testing devices
  • Repairing or replacing broken, damaged, or malfunctioning electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures
  • Ensuring electrical features remain compliant with applicable federal, state, and local building regulations

Electrical contractors have a number of risks to consider, including property concerns, employee safety issues, and liability exposures. As such, it’s crucial they protect both themselves and their operations against possible losses by securing proper insurance. Keep reading for an outline of common exposures within the electrical industry and associated coverage considerations. Take note that this document only applies to electrical contractors who work within residential and commercial buildings, not those who work outdoors to erect and maintain underground or overhead high-voltage power lines.

Common Exposures

Here’s a breakdown of key exposures electrical contractors may face in their operations:

Property—Electrical contractors often leverage several types of tools and equipment (e.g., nonconductive hand tools, portable power tools, circuit testing equipment, soldering and welding equipment, ladders, scaffolding, forklifts, and portable generators and heaters) to perform their services.

These professionals also tend to have office spaces and storage areas where they carry out general business activities and keep important job materials (e.g., electrical tape, drop cloths, utility belts, cables, connectors, anchors, switches, plates, and fuses). However, a range of unexpected events—including theft, vandalism, accidents, fires, and inclement weather—may result in this property becoming damaged, stolen, or destroyed, potentially leaving electrical contractors with significant recovery expenses.

In addition to repairing and replacing their affected property, these professionals may experience business interruptions (e.g., lost productivity, temporary closures, and delayed projects) amid the recovery process, compounding losses.

Auto—These professionals frequently use vehicles to travel between job sites and transport their materials, tools, and equipment. Whether it’s a single vehicle or a large fleet, owning and operating vehicles carries various exposures. After all, it only takes one accident on the road to cause major losses. Following auto accidents, electrical contractors could encounter substantial expenses stemming from vehicle repairs and bodily injuries.

Employee safety—Even if electrical contractors take proper precautions to protect their employees at work, job-related injuries and illnesses can still happen. Common occupational ailments in the electrical sector include musculoskeletal disorders from performing repetitive tasks; contact stress injuries related to using vibrating hand tools; sprains and strains from lifting heavy materials; hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud equipment; slips and falls stemming from working at heights; impact injuries related to auto accidents; and electric shock or electrocution from handling hazardous energy sources. If their employees get injured or become ill on the job, electrical contractors could be held responsible for costs stemming from their workers’ hospital bills, treatment expenses, and lost wages.

Liability—If any third parties (e.g., customers, suppliers, or passersby) experience injuries or damages on electrical contractors’ premises or as a result of their operations, these professionals could be held liable for the associated losses. For example, a supplier may file a lawsuit against an electrical contractor if they slip and fall while visiting the contractor’s storage area. Furthermore, electrical contractors could face completed operations losses if customers allege any finished services or projects injured them or damaged their property.

Cyber—Many electrical contractors have begun relying on digital systems and software to store customers’ personal and financial data, such as their names, phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, and bank information. Yet, amid growing cyber threats, using such technology could make these professionals increasingly vulnerable to data breaches and other digital attacks. Following such incidents, electrical contractors could encounter costs related to notifying impacted individuals, recovering lost or damaged data and technology, handling associated legal ramifications and reputational losses, and implementing additional cybersecurity measures to prevent future incidents.

Coverage Considerations

To help address their exposures and stay protected from potential losses, electrical contractors should consider the following forms of coverage:

  • Commercial property insurance—This coverage can help pay the resulting repair or replacement costs if an electrical contractor’s commercial property—such as their office area, storage space, tools, and equipment—gets damaged, stolen, or destroyed due to a covered event.
  • Commercial auto coverage—If any vehicles in an electrical contractor’s fleet end up in an accident on the road, this type of insurance can assist with the associated vehicle repair and bodily injury expenses.
  • Inland marine/installation floater insurance—Such coverage can help pay for losses stemming from an electrical contractor’s materials, tools, and equipment getting lost, stolen, or damaged while in transit.
  • Workers’ compensation coverage—If an electrical contractor’s employees get injured or become ill on the job, this coverage can help pay for hospital bills, treatment costs, and lost wages.
  • General liability insurance—This coverage can assist if an electrical contractor is held legally or financially liable for injuries, harm, or damage to another party or their property.
  • Completed operations coverage—If a customer holds an electrical contractor responsible for injuries or property damage that occurred due to the faulty completion of a project, this type of insurance can help pay the related costs.
  • Cyber liability insurance—Such coverage can assist with various first- and third-party expenses that may result from an electrical contractor experiencing a data breach or other cyber incidents.
  • Errors and omissions (E&O) coverage—E&O insurance can help pay expenses if a customer claims an electrical contractor provided negligent services, didn’t uphold contractual promises, conducted incomplete or substandard work, or made other professional mistakes or omissions.
  • Employment practices liability (EPL) insurance—In the event an electrical contractor is faced with employee lawsuits alleging workplace discrimination or harassment, wrongful termination or discipline, or failure to employ or promote, EPL coverage can assist with the associated defense costs.
  • Umbrella and excess coverage—If an electrical contractor’s claim costs exceed the limits for their primary liability policies (e.g., commercial auto and general liability insurance), this coverage can increase those limits. Additionally, umbrella policies can help broaden existing policy coverage.

For additional risk management guidance and insurance solutions for electrical contractors, contact Midwest Insurance Group today.

Make Sure To Insure The Actual Value Of Your Home

homeowner insurance

Top Ways to Save on Your Homeowner’s Insurance Premium

  • Consider raising your deductible
  • Invest in a home security system
  • Update exterior locks to dead bolts
  • Install smoke alarms
  • Select an automatic payment method
  • Monitor your credit rating
  • Ask about our multi-policy discounts

Insuring the Real Value of Your Home

Experts estimate that one-fourth of remodeling projects add at least 25 percent to the value of a home, yet often most homeowners forget to increase their coverage to protect their investment. Most homeowners insurance policies require 100 percent of the home’s replacement cost, so it’s important to raise your home’s policy limit before your project begins.

The Basics

When undertaking a remodeling project, people often forget to review their insurance needs, too. Whether your addition budget is large or small, you are adding both the value of your home and your exposure to risk. To ensure that your project goes smoothly and that you have the coverage you need, here’s what you need to know.

Working with General Contractors

The best way to minimize your renovation risk is to hire a reputable general contractor for the job. As part of the bidding process, ask the general contractor to provide a Certificate of Insurance and/or copies of the policies. Specifically, check for coverage for the following:

  • Workers’ compensation: Verify that he or she has workers’ compensation coverage in the event that an employee or subcontractor gets hurt on the job.
  • General liability: Ask if the contractor has liability insurance, which covers losses due to negligence and errors or omission, which results in property damage. Also, ask that you are added as an “additional insured.” (Continued)
  • Builders risk: This policy is designed to cover damage to your home and materials, including those not installed yet. We can help you verify whether you should require this from your contractor, based on your renovation project. If they don’t carry the proper coverage, they are not the right contractor for the job!

Your Insurance Partner

Adding to your home is exciting but poses financial risks. Contact Midwest Insurance Group, LLC at 262.646.5777 to learn more about all of our home, auto, and life personal risk management solutions.

Midwest Insurance Group provides comprehensive Wisconsin homeowner’s insurance in BrookfieldJeffersonPewaukeeWatertownMukwonagoDelafieldWaukeshaMilwaukeeOconomowoc, and Hartland.

Understanding The Quiet Quitting Trend

quiet quitting

“Quiet quitting” is an emerging trend where workers only do what their job description entails without going above and beyond. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees shifted their views on their work lives, and this has been reflected in movements such as the Great Reshuffle—a mass movement of workers to jobs that meet their demands for things such as more flexibility and better benefits—the shift to remote work and, now, the quiet quitting trend.

Employees who solely complete their job description and no more could continue to be valuable workers. However, employers can consider steps to engage employees and prevent quiet quitting from happening in the first place. To help eliminate the trend’s presence in their organizations, employers should focus on effective communication with their employees and methods to enhance employee engagement.

Signs of Quiet Quitting

Research conducted by Gallup found that only 32% of employees are engaged, and 17% are actively disengaged. Employees who are not engaged could be at risk for doing only their job and not going above and beyond. Further, 53% of workers reported they feel burnt out, according to Talkspace’s Employee Stress Check 2022 Report. To improve employee engagement and prevent these issues from turning from quiet quitting into actual quitting, employers need to know what signs to look for. Employers should pay attention to employees who are consistently doing the following:

  • Not attending meetings that are not mandatory
  • Not being as productive as they once were
  • Contributing to team projects less
  • Not participating in meetings
  • Displaying a lack of enthusiasm

It is important to know that there a several reasons an employee may choose to quiet quit. For example, they may simply refuse to do work outside their job description because they feel they are not being compensated for it. While it may not be clear why an employee is choosing to quiet quit, these signs are a good indicator that an employee may be thinking about it or trying to do so.

What Employers Can Do

Quiet quitting is often the result of decreased motivation and burnout. Further, a lack of effective communication between leaders and employees and a general failure of management and organizations can play a role. For example, failures may include a lack of honesty with employees and not delivering on promises. Consider the following ideas to help improve employee engagement and decrease the odds of quiet quitting among employees:

  • Provide clear job descriptions. Job descriptions let employees know exactly what is expected of them. Employers should review job descriptions to ensure they accurately reflect the duties they expect their employees to perform.
  • Conduct performance reviews. Performance reviews are opportunities to reward employees for the positive things they have done and inspire them to continue working hard. Without this feedback and indications of appreciation for hard work, such as title adjustments and salary raises, employees could lack motivation and start to feel burnt out and consider quiet quitting. Further, it is important to recognize employees who go above and beyond because they are likely to feel discouraged and decrease their performance if their contributions go unnoticed. Conversely, performance reviews are just as important for underperforming employees because they are opportunities to clearly communicate expectations and work together to correct the behavior.
  • Educate employees on employee handbooks. Employee handbooks are another tool employers can use to clearly communicate expectations to employees, but they are only truly effective if employees understand them. Employers should take time to educate employees on their handbook and its policies so they can ensure employee understanding. The handbook should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that expectations are up to date and that organizations are in compliance with current laws.
  • Provide learning and development opportunities. High employee engagement is crucial to preventing quiet quitting. One effective way to increase engagement is through learning and development initiatives. According to Zywave’s 2022 Attraction and Retention Benchmarking Overview, 29% of employers found career development opportunities to be a top priority of workers during the hiring process. Employees who have these opportunities are more likely to remain engaged and stay motivated to try their best at their jobs.
  • Focus on good management strategies. Effective management is essential to having efficient, happy employees, so it is important to focus on the techniques managers use. Provide resources to managers about effective strategies and meet with them to discuss ways they can improve. Further, consider conducting skip reviews, where employees talk with their manager’s manager to discuss feedback or concerns they may have. This will allow the manager to receive helpful feedback that can be mutually beneficial and improve their employees’ experiences.


Quiet quitting is the new term for the trend of employees doing only what their job requires without exceeding expectations. Employers should be aware of the trend and that it will impact every workplace differently. Employers should monitor for signs that employees may be disengaging and utilize different strategies to help prevent quiet quitting. In cases where quiet quitting may be negatively impacting the employer and they cannot seem to resolve the issue, employers should ensure compliance with federal and local employment laws before pursuing any termination action. For specific guidance about disciplining employees, employers are encouraged to seek local legal counsel.

Contact Midwest Insurance Group, LLC today at 262-646-5777 for more information on workplace trends, employee retention, and employment laws.

How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

catalytic converter

A catalytic converter is a device found in vehicles’ exhaust systems that converts environmentally hazardous exhaust into less harmful gasses. Though catalytic converters have been installed in every new vehicle since 1975, theft of these devices has skyrocketed in recent years due to the highly valuable precious metals they contain. This article discusses why catalytic converters get stolen and how vehicle owners can prevent their theft.

Why Catalytic Converters Get Stolen

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) found that the number of reported catalytic converter thefts increased from roughly 1,300 in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021. Several reasons thieves target these devices include:

  • They’re easy to steal. It only takes a few minutes to steal a catalytic converter using a saw or wrench, and most vehicles don’t need to be jacked up for thieves to access the device. Taller cars may be targeted more frequently since they’re easier for thieves to get underneath.
  • They’re highly valuable. In recent years, the rare earth metals— such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium—used to manufacture these devices have greatly increased in value. In 2021, platinum sold for $1,100 per ounce, palladium for $2,400 and rhodium for $18,000.
  • Catalytic converters are not made equally. Hybrid cars, for example, are highly targeted since their catalytic converters contain more precious metals.
  • They’re hard to trace. Catalytic converters don’t carry an identification number, so it’s nearly impossible to identify them as stolen property.

How to Prevent Theft

Some states, such as Indiana and Texas, have passed laws to help reduce the frequency of catalytic converter theft. These include requiring scrap metal dealers to ask for vehicle titles or other documentation before buying used devices. However, since replacing a stolen catalytic converter can cost upwards of $1,500, it’s still important for vehicle owners to take preventive action to reduce the possibility of theft. The following are ways to minimize catalytic converter theft:

  • Install an anti-theft device. Many manufacturers have developed anti-theft devices, such as steel plates that protect the underside of a vehicle or steel cable cages that make removal more difficult. Installing an alarm or a bright motion sensor light can also deter a thief.
  • Park in secure areas. If available, vehicles should be parked overnight in a locked garage or in a well-lit, enclosed lot. When parking on the street, pick a well-lit area with plenty of traffic.
  • Paint the catalytic converter. Using a high-temperature, fluorescent automotive exhaust spray paint on the auto part can create a visible deterrent to alert thieves to move on. Paint can also signal law enforcement and recyclers to look for etched numbers or identification marks.
  • Get the device etched. Some police departments and muffler shops will etch a vehicle’s identification number or license plate number onto the catalytic converter for free, making it harder for thieves to sell the part. Vehicle owners can also purchase an engraver’s machine for a minimal cost at a hardware/do-it-yourself store.
  • Purchase comprehensive auto insurance coverage. While having coverage in place won’t prevent catalytic converter theft, it will help cover expenses if the part gets stolen. Keep in mind that purchasing only auto liability coverage will not cover theft.


Even with the proper insurance coverage, victims of catalytic converter theft may still have to wait for repairs due to parts delivery delays and repair shop backups. With such thefts on the rise, taking preventive action is the best way to avoid becoming a target. Contact Midwest Insurance Group today for more risk management guidance.

Midwest Insurance Group offers Wisconsin auto insurance coverage in the communities of BrookfieldJeffersonPewaukeeWatertownMukwonago, DelafieldWaukeshaMilwaukeeOconomowoc, and Hartland.

6 Factors Driving Commercial Auto Losses

commercial vehicle

A variety of trends have contributed to the rise of commercial auto losses. These trends have contributed to a different market for buyers of commercial auto insurance. Here is a look at the most significant factors driving commercial auto losses across the country.

More vehicles on the road-A record number of vehicles on the road means more traffic and congestion, which increases the risk of collisions.

Distracted driving- Today’s drivers face more distractions than ever before. Distracted driving can reduce awareness, decision-making, and performance which can result in an accident.

Driver shortage- A shortage of experienced commercial drivers has caused employers to hire people with less experience. Newer drivers are more likely to get into accidents.

Litigation trends- Lawyers are getting involved in more and more auto claims. This litigation drives the cost of claims. What’s more, trial verdicts related to motor vehicle crashes can be as much as six figures.

Rising medical costs- Medical costs continue to rise. As a result, many injuries caused by auto incidents exceed coverage limits.

Increased vehicle repair costs- While technological advancements have made vehicles safer and more efficient, they also increase vehicle repair costs.

Contact Midwest Insurance Group today at 262-646-5777  for more recommendations for employers to reduce the risk associated with commercial vehicle fleets as well as insurance options.