Joe West Company



Tim Driskill
Bob Turner
Barry Tims
Bill Johnson
Harold Craig
Jeff Cleveland
Mike Robinson
Guy Griggs   
Bruce Wilson                              


Insurance for manufacturers requires markets with the ability to provide products liability for all types of products. Our markets can provide coverage for almost every industry, including:

    Aviation Parts
    Oil & Gas Components
    Heat Exchangers
    Medical Diagnostic & Treatment Equipment

We offer a full range of coverage including:

    Products Liability
    General Liability
    Umbrella Liability
    Workers Compensation
    Supply Bonds

If you would like one of our experts to review your current coverage with you to assess your current risk level and to see if we can offer a more comprehensive and cost effective policy, contact us here.


A private company can be sued for the way it conducts its business.  Don’t believe it?

Claim Examples

Theft of assets — $600,000
After a manufacturer of corrugated piping filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the Creditors’ Committee filed a complaint against the company’s directors and officers. The committee alleged that the insured’s CEO had moved the company’s operations to another country without its knowledge. The complaint further claimed that the CEO had improperly transferred assets, failed to properly protect the interests of creditors and failed to evaluate financial problems. A shareholder action soon followed, alleging the CEO had transferred the insured’s assets to another company, in another country, without adequate compensation. Both cases were resolved. Travelers paid in excess of $100,000 in legal defense fees, and paid more than $500,000 to settle the case.*

*The Wrap+ Private Company Directors and Officers Liability Coverage Insured Versus Insured exclusion does not apply to claims by a receiver, liquidator, bankruptcy trustee or similar official of the Insured Organization.

Breach of non-compete clause — $125,000
A competitor sued a manufacturer of parts used by power plants and in the mining companies, claiming interference with an employment contract containing a non-compete clause. The insured allegedly courted and hired a former employee of the plaintiff, an action that violated the employee’s non-compete agreement. The plaintiff also contended that, by hiring the individual, the insured interfered with the plaintiff’s business relationships. As a result, the plaintiff asserted, its trade secrets were improperly taken. Travelers paid $125,000 in legal defense fees.**Although Wrap+ does not provide coverage for trademark claims against the corporate entity, the Duty to Defend policy provides coverage for 100% of the defense expenses in the event only one potentially covered claim is made.

Did you know:

  • Directors & Officers risk their personal assets. They
    are personally liable for their decisions and can be
    sued as individuals
  • Fiduciaries of pension and benefit plans are personally
    liable for their decisions as well as for the actions
    of outside providers
  • Small companies cannot bear the financial impact of
    unexpected and costly directors & officers, employment
    practices or fiduciary liability litigation without
  • Private companies face claims from their employees,
    customers, suppliers, competitors, lenders and shareholders

Joe West Company places D&O coverage through a variety of “A”rated carriers for publicly traded, privately held corporations and non-profit organizations.

For more information on Directors & Officers Professional Liability visit with our contacts for more information.


Are you a risk taker?
By: Chris Boggs

Each question is ranked on a 1 to 5 scale. The higher the number the more the insured
AGREES with the statement presented; thus "1" indicates strong disagreement and "5"
translates into strong agreement. The higher the score, the more willing the insured is
to explore alternative risk financing techniques. Each level can point to different

  • Low (18 -30) - Traditional Insurance (First Dollar). Not ready for too much of the
  • Low-to-Medium (31-45) - Leaning towards risk averse, but might want to consider
    a retrospective type plan for liability coupled with a high deductible property

  • Medium (46-60) - A high deductible program for casualty lines along with the
    same for property lines. Casualty lines would require a stop-loss provision of some
    type for those in this range;
  • Medium-to-High (61-75) - A high deductible program for all lines with no
    aggregate or stop loss. Essentially the amount out of pocket is unlimited with the
    exception of the per-occurrence deductible. A protected cell captive may also be
    an option; and
  • High (76-90) - Insureds in this range may be ready for a captive without a stop
    loss or a fully self-insured program. 

1= strongly disagree     3 = neutral   5 = strongly agree                                                                


We are willing to risk potentially very high “out-of-pocket” costs for property and
liability losses in exchange for potentially great savings in our risk financing program.

 Large fluctuations in our cost of risk are easily absorbed into our operating cost.

 We have a favorable credit rating that will not be seriously affected by the need to
provide a Letter of Credit (LOC). Future credit needs are not in jeopardy because of a
LOC. ________

 Large unexpected loss-related expenses can be easily covered from available capital.

 We have an active loss control program in place to protect plant, people and contents
from injury or damage. ________

 Our safety and loss control program and procedures are stringently enforced on and at
all levels of personnel. ________

 Upper management actively promotes, participates in and models the loss control and
risk management program and procedures in place.  ________

 We are willing to make all necessary investments in safety (this includes but is not
limited to safety equipment, machine guards and full-time or consulting loss control
personnel). ________

 We make full use of contractual risk transfer and any available insurance transfer
(requesting addition as an additional insured, etc.) anytime we contract work to an
external entity. ________

 All safety and security systems are well maintained and regularly inspected to insure
proper response when needed. ________

 Every employee is well-trained in the job they do (and cross-trained where necessary).
Also, the employee is versed in all loss control and risk management procedures.

 Our claims (property and casualty) are relatively predictable within a narrow margin
from year to year. ________

 We want to take an active role in managing our claims and losses. ________

 We have the staff necessary to internally manage our claims and losses. ________

 We are willing to hire the staff necessary to manage our claims and losses. ________

 We are willing to learn and comply with all statutory requirements necessary to manage
our own claims and losses. ________

 We have access to and a relationship with counsel well-versed in insurance law and
property and casualty insurance claims management. ________

 We are willing and able to set funds aside for claims and losses without the need to use
those funds latter for other purposes. ________


Is the Small-Biz Sector Smaller than We Thought?

Small business plays a much smaller role in the U.S. economy than is generally believed, a new report claims. Should we reevaluate American entrepreneurship, or are there other factors at work? Small businesses are considered by many to be the backbone of the United States economy, driving net new job creation and productivity while cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit that has come to define our perception of business. However, new data asserts that small businesses constitute a significantly smaller portion of the overall workforce in the U.S. than in other countries.

While the U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms in the U.S., a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) claims that — despite the powerful role of small business in the national identity and the perception of the U.S. fostering strong pro-business conditions — the U.S. small-business sector is actually among the smallest in the world as a proportion of total national employment.

The study, released by the Washington, D.C.-based think-tank this month, determined that only 7.2 percent of the U.S. workforce is self-employed, thus ranking the country second-lowest in self-employment among the 22 affluent democracies assessed. Although the U.S. outpaces Luxembourg, which has 6.1 percent self-employment, it falls far behind Italy (26.4 percent), the United Kingdom (13.8 percent), the Netherlands (12.4 percent), Germany (12 percent), France (9 percent) and 14 other wealthy countries.

In manufacturing, the proportion of Americans employed at firms with fewer than 20 employees is 11.1 percent, placing it above Ireland and Luxembourg, but still behind the U.K. (18.1 percent), Japan (20.5percent), France (18 percent) and far below Greece, which has 36.3 percent of its manufacturing workforce in small businesses, according to the study.

American employment in manufacturing companies with fewer than 500 employees is also near the bottom of the list, with 51.2 percent of the workforce, compared to Japan (79.8 percent), the Netherlands (76.2 percent), the U.K. (67.4 percent) and France (63.7 percent), the CEPR found.

Likewise, American small-business employment in the high-tech services industry ranks low, with 32 percent of the workforce in computer-related enterprises with fewer than 100 employees, as well as research and development, with 25.3 of employees working at smaller firms.

"We think of ourselves as offering the most business-friendly environment in the world, but almost every other rich country in the world does a much better job creating and sustaining small businesses,"John Schmitt, a co-author of the report, said in a statement.

What are the possible causes for this disparity between American small businesses and those abroad? CEPR suggests that either small business is a less important indicator of entrepreneurship, or health care costs may be the motivating factor.

"The high cost to self-employed workers and small businesses of the private, employer-based health-care system in place in the United States may act as a significant deterrent to small start-up companies,"the report concludes.

This argument posits that certain health care reform measures, such as universal coverage or the removal of employer-paid insurance, would provide a safety net for smaller businesses that might not otherwise be able to afford the benefits that a larger firm can provide.

According to, some economists are criticizing the study for presenting universal health care as a solution for building a stronger small-business climate, despite a lack of evidence or support for this alternative in the report's data.

In addition, while the U.S. falls relatively low on most of the CEPR report's rankings, the handful of countries rated even lower do provide universal health care in one form or another, suggesting the correlation between health care and small-business success may be tenuous, at best. cites numerous other factors that may be responsible for America's smaller proportion of small businesses, including "heavy tax burdens, cultural differences, namely Americans' willingness to take risks; and a higher per-capita income."

Moreover, small business health can be measured along a broader range of indicators than proportional employment statistics, and the concept of entrepreneurial drive can vary depending on whether one is evaluating "high growth start-ups like Google or mom and pop stores."

Another reason for the purported lower proportion of small businesses in the U.S. may be the country's wealth. As the New York Times' You're the Boss small-business blog states, "Across the 21 countries examined in the CEPR study, self-employment rates correlate -0.67 with the World Bank's measure of gross national income per capita, a correlation that is significant at less than the 1 percent level."

In essence, this means that richer countries have a lower percentage of their workforce under self-employment than poorer ones. In terms of generating long-term wealth, the small-business sector may have exceeded the need for a higher proportion of the workforce.

Courtesy of:
Christopher J. Boggs, CPCU, ARM, ALCM, LPCS, AAI, APA, CWCA, CRIS
Insurance Journal
Associate Editor


Prepare for a More Active Consumer Product Safety Commission

For nearly 2 decades, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has functioned without a full complement of five commissioners. However, President Barack Obama has completed the appointments of, and the U.S. Senate has approved the selections of, a new chairperson and two new commissioners to fill the vacant posts.

With all five now in place, the CPSC will be at full strength once again. Foremost for the newly selected and existing commissioners will be the implementation of the far-reaching Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. This legislation, signed into law by President George W. Bush, dramatically increases the penalties for noncompliance, focuses on removal of lead paint exposure, and creates a database for consumer complaints for greater transparency.

Manufacturers who have relaxed their products liability risk management or compliance programs should take note of this development and take proactive steps to correct any deficiencies. Especially in these challenging economic times, this new environment will require greater product safety diligence from all stakeholders. For more information about these initiatives and product safety, consult the CPSC Web site, which provides a wealth of information for manufacturers, distributors, consumers, and affiliated organizations.

Howard Franco Jr., Partner
Collins Collins Muir + Stewart, LLP
Orange County, CA



Is the Workplace Safer?

2008 saw a ten percent drop in the rate of fatal injury for U.S. workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2008, there were 5,071 fatal work injuries compared to 5,657 in 2007. Laura Walker, "BLS Date Shows Decline in Worker Deaths in 2008," (Aug. 24, 2009).

Based on the BLS data, the fatal injury rate in 2008 was 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers compared to a rate of 4.0 in 2007. This rate represents the lowest annual preliminary rate since the first Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries was taken in 1992.

Findings from the 2008 Census include:
  • Fatal work injuries in the private construction sector in 2008 declined by 20 percent from the updated 2007 total, perhaps due to heavy layoffs in this sector.
  • Fatal workplace falls, which had risen to a series high in 2007, also declined by 20 percent in 2008.
  • Workplace suicides were up 28 percent to a series high of 251 cases in 2008, but workplace homicides declined 18 percent in 2008.
  • The number and rate of fatal work injuries among 16 to 17 year-old workers were higher in 2008.
  • Fatal occupational injuries involving Hispanic or Latino workers in 2008 were 17 percent lower than in 2007. Fatalities among non-Hispanic Black or African American workers were down 16 percent.
  • The number of fatal workplace injuries in farming, fishing and forestry occupations rose 6 percent in 2008 after declining in 2007.
  • Transportation incidents, which accounted for approximately two-fifths of all the workplace fatalities in 2008, fell 13 percent from the previous series low of 2,351 cases reported in 2007.

The BLS attributes some of the decline in fatal injuries to the recession because average hours worked fell by one percent nationally in 2008. In addition, some of the industries that typically account for a significant portion of fatalities, such as construction, experienced larger cuts in employment and hours worked.

The recession and the job stress it brings may be the cause of the spike in workplace suicides, however.

Even if the slow economy played a role in the decline in workplace fatalities, the ten percent decrease is excellent news and signifies improved safety procedures in the workplace.

This informational piece is part of "News to Use" published on September 29, 2009.

Bob Turner
Joe West Company
406 S Boulder, #600
Tulsa, OK 74105
918-346-6973 direct line
918-660-0836 fax


Objective Data Adds Value to the Performance Evaluation Process

Key Points
  • It is impossible to hire the right people with the right skill-sets without a detailed job description.
  • Goals and responsibilities must compliment each other in the job description.
  • Employee input is important in the goal-setting process so that the employee understands and agrees to the commitments made.
The performance evaluation is a comprehensive tool-set used to advance the strategic objectives of an organization. It is not a single document or a single event; it is an ongoing process—one that begins before each employee’s initial job interview. As such, it is important for the process to receive the focus and attention of senior management, managers, and employees.

Performance Evaluations Begin with a Job Description

It is imperative for every position within a company to have a detailed job description. Without it, it is impossible to ensure the right jobs exist, and that the right people—with the right skill-sets—are hired. Job descriptions also help managers and employees set meaningful goals that adhere to the strategic goals of department managers.

Job descriptions, the foundation for the entire performance evaluation process, must be as complete as possible to ensure success. All job descriptions should include the following information:

  • Responsibilities of the position
  • Skill-set needed by the employee
  • Whom the position will interact with and support
  • Logical career path for the position
Employee Input Is Important During the Goal-Setting Process

Set goals according to the responsibilities contained within the job description. If the two do not complement each other, update the job description to align with the responsibilities of the position. Otherwise, the goals will be too far removed from the job the employee was hired to perform. The goal-setting process should leverage job responsibilities. The process should also assign quantities, time frames, or service levels for each job task (as applicable), including goals for special projects or short-term initiatives.

Goals need to be set with input from the employee so that he or she understands and agrees to the commitments made. Employees who contribute to the goal-setting process are more likely to achieve those goals because they feel a sense of ownership. Building a formal goal-setting process enables managers (and employees) to objectively evaluate employee performance.

SMARTS (objective) goals are the most achievable:
  • Specific—Make sure goals are specific and detailed. Employees are more likely to         achieve their goals if they understand what is being asked of them.
  • Measurable—When goals are measurable, employees are able to track their progress.
  • Agreed Upon—Employees need to participate in and understand the commitments made.
  • Realistic—Employees need to know that their goals are achievable with existing resources and skill-sets.
  • Timely—It is important for goals to have start-to-finish time restraints.
  • Stretch—Slightly increase existing goals to further incentivize employees.
In some cases, additional rewards are provided for employees who meet stretch goals.

Goal Reports Enhance Performance Evaluations

Reviewing documented goal reports with employees each week helps them work through issues or obstacles they may be encountering, and gives managers a better understanding of any gaps that exist in employee skill-sets; progress against key topics, and key strategic deliverables that may be behind schedule. This allows managers and senior management to
forecast how well their company will meet future goals, and determine if strategy changes need to be implemented. Moreover, a formal goal process provides managers and senior management an additional tool that contains real data—not opinion—to assist the organizational leadership in making well-informed decisions.

Goals serve as the basis metric for future employee evaluations so they should be documented and approved by both the employee and the direct supervisor before they are finalized.

Strengthen and Add Value to Your Performance Evaluation Process

You will strengthen and add value to your current performance evaluation process by using these building blocks effectively. Solid job descriptions, goals, and metrics provide objective data that will ensure that employee evaluations are conducted fairly, and senior managers are making informed decisions. Moreover, these tools ensure that employees are
focused on the strategies of the organization, and you will be confident that you are hiring the right people for the right job.