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Avoiding litigation: ways to prevent disputes that land claims in court

When an attorney gets involved in a workers’ compensation claim, it can increase claim costs and harm outcomes for everyone involved. There are a number of steps that employers can take to prevent the kinds of scenarios that cause workers to seek representation from an attorney.

Retaliation claims: what they are and best practices to avoid them

If an employee feels they’ve been wrongfully targeted for exercising their protected right, they may in turn file a retaliation claim. Learn best practices to avoid them.

Reducing repetitive motion workplace injuries

The potential for injury from repetitive motion and awkward positions in jobs is widespread across many industries and businesses. You can greatly reduce the likelihood of these injuries by implementing best practices in workplace ergonomics.

How to prevent safety hazards due to impairment

Drug and alcohol use and misuse are on the rise. As an employer you can establish or update your drug and alcohol program to prevent the safety risks of drug and alcohol use on the job. Learn how to prevent safety hazards due to drug and alcohol impairment.

Letter from the President: Strong partnerships drive solid financial results

Through the whirlwinds of a global pandemic and continued economic uncertainty, policyholders are consistently choosing to stay with SFM, and independent agents are bringing more and more new accounts into the fold. We thank our valued agency partners for sharing our dedication to service, safety and positive results for our customers.

SFM expands appetite in Kansas, preps for entrance into Tennessee

SFM’s territory expansion hits a new high as we broaden our appetite in Kansas and continue efforts to grow in Tennessee in 2023.

Encourage employers to report injuries immediately

Employers don’t always know how important it is to report work injuries immediately. As an agent, you can provide vital information on how timely reporting can impact the trajectory of a workers’ compensation claim.

Get to know claims trainee Elyse Porter

Elyse Porter is a member SFM’s newest class of claims trainees, which started in June of 2022. She now handles claims as part of our Small Business Accounts team. We asked her about her background and her role at SFM.

Agents can now set up AutoPay and one-time payments at binding

Agents can now set up AutoPay and one-time payments for your customers while binding new business in SAM.

SFM Wisconsin pool continues to grow

Since SFM was named a servicing carrier for the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Insurance Pool in late 2021, new pool business has been coming in steadily and is currently ahead of plan.

SFM supports local communities in 2022

SFM strives to maintain a positive presence in communities and invests heavily in charitable causes. Here’s a snapshot of what SFM team members have been up to in 2022.

Why watching prescriptions closely is so important
Why watching prescriptions closely is so important

SFM works hard to make sure injured workers’ medications are managed well, and as part of that effort, SFM partners with pharmacy benefits manager, myMatrixx.

Opioids and workers' compensation: Why employers should care

Opioid painkiller misuse not only threatens the general wellbeing of employees, but can create on-the-job safety risks and inhibit recovery and return-to-work.

SFM Foundation holds fall event; 2023 golf events planned

Nearly $35,000 was raised for the Foundation’s scholarship program at the SFM Foundation’s in-person fall fundraising event returned in November. Mark your calendars for the 2023 golf events on Monday, June 12, 2023, at Prestwick Golf Club in Woodbury, Minnesota, and Monday, May 22, 2023, at Hyperion Field Club in Johnston, Iowa.

What are employer liability limits?

Employer liability coverage is rarely used in most states, and makes up a very small part of the workers' compensation insurance premium.

Health care worker and patient safety

Equipment designed to help health care workers lift and move patients safely doesn’t just benefit the workers. It can also improve patients’ quality of life.

Minnesota, Iowa governors proclaim Nov. 7-11 Kids' Chance Awareness Week

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds both proclaimed November 9-13, 2020 Kids' Chance Awareness Week. The SFM Foundation fall fundraising event coincides with Kids' Chance Awareness Week with a silent auction that runs from November 7-10 and an in-person event at the Westin Galleria Edina in Edina, Minnesota from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, November 10.

SFM adds time-saving features for agents

We know your days are busy, and we continue working to streamline processes and offer time-saving tools to our agency partners.

Changing marijuana laws and the impact on work comp

Given the prevalence of THC-infused products, employers are asking about the impact of these potentially intoxicating substances on the workers’ compensation system.

SFM territory expansion: Sights set on Tennessee

SFM has selected the Volunteer State as our 2023 expansion state, continuing our plans for growth. Our team is already meeting with key industry contacts in the state to develop relationships with regulators, agencies, and agency associations.

SFM and Underwriter Jeff Magee recognized by the IIAN

The Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska recognized SFM for outstanding effort and service with two annual awards for 2022.

Agents can update policy effective dates on SAM applications

Users of SFM Agency Manager (SAM) now have the ability to change effective dates on quoted applications, including approved quotes. We added this feature earlier this year in response to feedback from agents.

20% commission promotion for new small business extended through 2023

SFM’s 20% commission program for new small business accounts has been very popular with agents, and it’s set to continue for another year.

Get to know SFM premium auditor Jeremy Brandt

Jeremy Brandt has worked in SFM’s premium audit department for 15 years, starting as an Internal Premium Auditor and now serving as Premium Audit Technical Specialist. We asked him about his background and his role at SFM.

Minnesota rating structure changes in 2023

Starting in 2023, the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Insurers Association will be including trend, tail development, and loss adjustment expense data in pure premium base rates.

SFM Foundation in-person fall fundraising event returns

Back by popular demand, the SFM Foundation’s live fall fundraising event is scheduled for this November.

Policyholders receive portion of WCRA distribution

The Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Association is distributing $35 million to policyholders who had Minnesota workers’ compensation policies in 2020.

Legal and safety considerations for hybrid workers

If you have employees who work both remotely and on-site, there are some important legal and workplace safety considerations to be aware of.

Loss prevention insight from the experts

The only controllable item in an organization’s workers’ compensation premium cost is its experience modifier (e-mod) which is directly impacted by claim costs and severity.

Supporting injured employees’ mental and emotional health

As an employer, you can play an important role in helping an injured worker maintain their mental health. Read on to learn how.

Bob Lund Scholarship invests in future insurance leaders

SFM established a new scholarship program designed to identify and support future leaders and introduce them to rewarding careers in the insurance industry. The Bob Lund Scholarship is named for SFM’s former CEO, who is widely known for his service to the field of insurance and his continuing passion for making the world a better place.

SFM Foundation holds golf fundraisers, announces new scholarships and fall event

The SFM Foundation 2022 Minnesota and Iowa golf events raised approximately $325,000 for the Foundation’s scholarship program. This fall brings yet another opportunity to support the Foundation, with the popular live fall fundraising event returning to the calendar in November. The in-person event is scheduled for Thursday, November 10, at the Westin Edina Galleria in Edina, Minnesota, near SFM’s Bloomington headquarters.

Winter-proof your workplace to stop slips and falls feature image
Winter-proof your workplace to stop slips and falls

Follow these steps to get your employees ready for the risks of winter weather and cut down on slips and falls in the workplace.

SFM’s Wisconsin pool business grows steadily

In late 2021, SFM became a servicing carrier for the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Insurance Pool and the first year has been busy. Through the first two quarters of the year, SFM has been writing 60-80 new policies per week, totaling 1,800 policies for $5.3 million in premium. SFM will take on new pool accounts until reaching 20% of the state’s pool policyholders.

Expert claim handling lets agents rest easy

Our unique combination of effort, expertise and empathy allows us to provide the superior service that our customers and their employees rely on.

Get to know an SFM underwriter: Rick Spaulding

Wisconsin-based Marketing Underwriter Specialist Rick Spaulding has worked at SFM for nine years, and in the insurance industry for 16 years. We asked Rick a few questions about his role and his background.

Wisconsin law changes impact part-time workers, PPD benefits

A number of changes to the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act were signed into law in April.

Iowa Supreme Court defines ‘shoulder’ in rotator cuff work comp injury case

On April 1, 2022, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed a district court’s finding in Chavez v MS Technology LLC/Westfield Insurance Co. that an employee’s injury was a scheduled member injury to her shoulder rather than an unscheduled whole-body injury, agreeing that the definition of “shoulder” should not just be limited to the joint.

MN Supreme Court upholds benefits award in multi-employer work comp hearing loss case

On May 16, 2022, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld an award of workers’ compensation benefits to an employee for his hearing loss due to long-term exposure to noise over a 30-year period working for five employers.

Policyholders give premium audit experience high marks

Policyholders continue to give SFM’s premium audit experience high marks in follow-up surveys.

SFM Foundation holds fundraisers, new scholarships awarded

Since its inception in 2008, the Foundation’s scholarship program has helped 216 students, including the 13 new recipients announced this summer.

SFM employees connect with college students

A number of SFM employees took time recently to talk with students about issues in insurance, and careers in the field.

SFM grows employee base in Iowa, Wisconsin

SFM continues to expand its employee base in states beyond its Minnesota headquarters.

Talking about safety: Techniques for effective safety training and communication

A strong safety culture starts with a high level of safety awareness among employees. Getting there requires consistent, effective communication between leadership and front-line workers.

Get to know an SFM employee: Sarah Hunter

Sarah Hunter was recently promoted to SFM’s Vice President, Claims, and previously worked as Staff Counsel with SFM’s in-house law firm. We asked Sarah about her new role and her background.

Protect your workers from the threats of extreme heat

Prevent heat-related illness among your employees with these tips and tools for working in extreme heat.

Workplace ergonomics: Tips to create a neutral posture

Read our ergonomics in the workplace tips to learn how to adjust your work space to allow for neutral posture at work; both in and out of the office.

SFM releases 2021 annual review

SFM’s 2021 financial results illustrate a trend of positive outcomes for the company and the policyholders we serve.

Work injuries among school employees

SFM conducted an in-depth study of school employees in Minnesota to learn which employees were most likely to be injured, and how. What they learned might surprise you.

Bray receives Minnesota Lawyer In-House Counsel Award

SFM Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Kathy Bray is among this year’s recipients of the Minnesota Lawyer In-House Counsel Awards.

Compensability of adverse COVID-19 vaccine reactions

U.S. employers have the right to encourage or require employees to vaccinate against COVID-19. This raises the question of compensability for adverse reactions from the COVID-19 vaccine, and related medical treatment and time lost from work. A key factor for workers’ compensation compensability is whether the vaccination was required by the employer.

Get to know a claims representative: Beth Couette

Small Business Accounts Claims Specialist Beth Couette has worked at SFM for nine years, and in the workers’ compensation industry for 35 years. We asked Beth for some details about herself and her role.

SFM’s Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) reaffirmed by AM Best

SFM Mutual Insurance Co. announced that its Financial Strength Rating of “A- (Excellent)” and Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” have been reaffirmed by AM Best Rating Services, Inc.

2021 results: Remarkable performance on a solid foundation of customer service

By all objective measures, SFM’s financial results for 2021 are outstanding. From reaching new heights in customer retention to setting records in new business and total written premium, the company has excelled in virtually every category of performance.

SFM offers advantages for employers of all sizes

At SFM, we write business of all types and sizes. No matter what size of employer you’re trying to place, there are important advantages to placing it with SFM.

Sign up now for direct deposit commissions

Hundreds of agencies have signed up to have their commissions deposited directly into their bank accounts. If you haven’t signed up yet, now is the time!

Hunter named VP, Claims

SFM recently promoted Sarah Hunter to Vice President, Claims, succeeding the retiring Meg Kasting.

SFM’s footprint in Kansas gets larger; more strides made in Indiana

SFM’s territory expansion successes continue as the team finds opportunities to get their feet on the ground in our two newest states.

SFM attends 2022 KAIA Convention

Three SFM representatives participated in this year’s Kansas Association of Insurance Agents (KAIA) Annual Convention in Wichita, Kansas on January 24-26.

Reminder: SFM offers pay-as-you-go option

SFM’s pay-as-you-go wage reporting system allows policyholders to make premium payments that match with payroll throughout the year.

Agents give SFM high marks in survey

The results of our latest agent survey are in, and agents gave SFM high marks on ease of doing business.

LSH attorneys named to MN leadership roles

Two attorneys from SFM’s in-house law firm Lynn, Scharfenberg & Hollick (LSH) have taken up leadership roles in the Minnesota legal community.

LSH attorneys look back at 2021, celebrate performance

The attorneys of Lynn, Scharfenberg & Hollick compiled a win/loss record of almost 80% (15-4) in 2021 for hearings at the Office of Administrative Hearings in St. Paul, Minnesota.

SFM Foundation to host annual golf fundraisers in MN, IA

For over a dozen years, the SFM Foundation’s annual golf tournaments have been the charity’s top source for fundraising.

WCRA announces surplus redistribution, Minnesota insurers and policyholders to receive $600 million

The WCRA has announced a $600 million surplus distribution to its members and insurer policyholders. Approximately $383 million will go to workers’ compensation insurers, $182 million will be distributed to self-insurers, and $35 million will go to policyholders.

SFM Foundation scholarship applications accepted until March 31

SFM Foundation will be accepting scholarship applications for the 2022-2023 academic year until March 31, 2022.

SFM leaders receive promotions

SFM recently promoted several of the organization’s leaders to the role of Vice President.

SFM supports over 55 charities in 2021

In 2021, SFM supported more than 55 organizations through direct donations, sponsorships, and employee matching.

Resumption of the presumption: Minnesota's COVID-19 presumption law

Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law has been temporarily amended to include a presumption of liability for certain workers with a positive COVID-19 laboratory test or clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 when a test is not available.

How hobbies can improve mental health and overall well-being

Just as eating fruits and vegetables can play an important role in physical health, research suggests there may be a similarly simple way to improve mental health – having a hobby.

Get to know an SFM loss prevention specialist: Jason Clausen

SFM Loss Prevention Specialist Jason Clausen hopes employers he works with will see him not as a safety inspector, but as a safety champion and business partner.

Fostering good relationships among employees

On average, employees will spend a third of their lives at work, so it’s safe to say their jobs have a huge impact on their quality of life. That means it’s important to ensure their time is spent in an organization where they can have healthy relationships with their colleagues.

Letter from the President: Standing on firm ground, focused on a strong future

Many hoped the year 2021 would leave the challenges of the prior year behind entirely. While this past 12 months didn’t see the return to normalcy that some envisioned it would, it did see another year of unprecedented success for SFM.

SFM territory expansion: Officially open for business in Indiana, celebrating successes in Kansas

SFM representatives have been on the ground in Indiana working to form agent relationships and meeting with insurance regulators.

Get to know an SFM employee: DeAnne Misgen

DeAnne Misgen has been an Underwriting Technical Specialist with SFM for two years, and in the insurance industry for 24 years. If you’ve been involved with onboarding a new agency or requesting a change to your agency records, you may have heard from DeAnne.

Get 20% commission for new accounts up to $25K in premium

Agents get 20% commission on new business up to $25,000 in premium that’s written in the SFM Mutual rate set with an effective date from January 1-December 31, 2022.

Webinar planned for policyholders on loss prevention basics

SFM will start 2022 off by hosting another educational webinar for our policyholders and agents titled “Loss Prevention 101.” Mark your calendars for February 23 from 10 to 11 a.m. to join us as we discuss some crucial and impactful aspects of loss prevention for any business type.

MWCIA eliminates hard copy ERM-14 forms

The Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Insurers Association is no longer accepting hard copy ERM-14 forms as of January 1, 2022, according to a recent circular letter.

2022 SFM Foundation golf events scheduled

Please mark your calendar for the SFM Foundation’s 2022 Minnesota and Iowa Golfing for Scholarships fundraisers.

New safety committee resource now available

SFM’s loss prevention professionals are sharing their best advice for making safety committees successful through two new resources available now on sfmic.com.

Get to know a claims representative: Joanne Connolly

Small Business Accounts Claim Specialist Joanne Connolly has worked at SFM for more than 20 years. We asked Joanne for some details about herself and her role.

Minnesota governor proclaims Nov. 8-12, 2021 Kids' Chance Awareness Week

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz proclaimed November 8-12, 2021 Kids' Chance Awareness Week.

MN Supreme Court rules on medical cannabis in work comp

Recent MN Supreme Court decisions create a new bright-line rule about the compensability of medical marijuana in workers’ compensation claims.

When is PTSD covered by workers’ compensation?

For PTSD to be covered by workers’ compensation, it must meet the criteria as described in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and be diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Bray to give keynote address at NWCDN virtual conference

The National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network has invited SFM’s Senior Vice President & Chief Legal Officer Kathy Bray to give the keynote address at the organization’s next monthly virtual conference, “Today’s Trends & Tomorrow’s Solutions: The COVID Conundrum.”

SFM wins Wisconsin pool bid

The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance is awarding SFM a five-year contract with the option for three one-year extensions.

SFM Foundation virtual auction set for November 8-12

The SFM Foundation is hosting its second annual virtual silent auction fundraiser the week of November 8-12, 2021. This year's goal is to raise $30,000 to fund SFM Foundation scholarships. Learn how you can participate in the event.

SFM’s expanding territory: Kansas rollout off to a strong start, Indiana up next

With SFM’s Kansas expansion now over a year old, the company has appointed just over 100 agencies in the state, accounting for nearly $800,000 in written premium.

20 percent commission on new small business extended through 2022

Agents get 20% commission on new business up to $25,000 in premium that’s written in the SFM Mutual rate set with an effective date from January 1-December 31, 2022.

7 ways agents can help clients through the work comp claims process

Agents sometimes get involved when a client files a workers’ compensation claim, so it’s good to understand the claims process and best practices for handling claims.

Autorenewal quotes are now available in SAM

Quotes for policies eligible to automatically renew are now available in SFM Agency Manager (SAM).

Now seeking additional class codes from the WI pool

Since 2020, SFM has written more than 400 accounts totaling $2.4 million that were previously in the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Insurance Pool.

Direct deposit commissions now available

SFM can now deposit commission payments directly into your agency’s bank account.

WI Supreme Court decision highlights exclusive remedy provision in state’s work comp act

On May 20, 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act prevents an employee’s tort claim against his work comp insurer because the Act provides an exclusive remedy.

‘Rare case’ exception to MN work comp treatment parameters tested at the MN Supreme Court

The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed a decision on August 18 in a workers’ compensation case involving long-term opioid treatment.

Get to know an SFM employee: Patty Busse

When it comes to the important work of ensuring a consistently positive experience for its partners, SFM looks to Senior Content Strategist and User Experience Lead Patty Busse.

SFM Foundation golf fundraisers exceed expectations, events planned

The results are in for the 2021 SFM Foundation golf events, and the fundraising totals have set a new high-water mark. The golf events in Minnesota and Iowa raised more than $300,000 for the Foundation’s scholarship program.

SFM safety professional instructs shop teachers

SFM Loss Prevention Specialist Steve Lichtenberg gave a safety presentation to current and future middle school and high school shop teachers recently at St. Cloud State University.

Prepare to prevent winter slips and falls

Winter slips and falls are among the most common causes of workplace injuries. As an employer, there’s a great deal you can do to prevent these injuries at your workplace.

Get to know an SFM claims representative: Laurie Neagbour

SFM Claims Specialist Laurie Neagbour is a veteran of the workers’ compensation insurance business. She joined SFM in April of 1990 and has held positions in just about every corner of the company over the years.

Artificial intelligence-powered tool helps prevent pain and strain

A new artificial intelligence-powered tool helps loss prevention representatives quickly identify any high-risk body positions during a job task.

COVID-19 workplace safety and health guidance

With COVID-19 vaccines readily available, and new cases declining, federal guidance on how to keep employees safe and healthy is changing.

Allen honored with IAIABC NextGen Award

SFM Mutual Insurance Company Business Development Specialist, Cody Allen, was selected as a 2021 IAIABC NextGen Award recipient.

Claim adjusters’ best tips to avoid workers’ comp missteps

SFM’s claims representatives share their top tips for employers when dealing with workers’ compensation claims.

A man yelling at a coworker in an office
Why you need to watch out for workplace bullies

The Workplace Bullying Institute estimates that 60.3 million U.S. workers are affected by bullying. Here are tips to prevent it in your workplace.

Working to make life easier for our agents

We’re continually working to streamline processes and make life easier for our agency partners. The following are a few of our recent initiatives.

Get to know an SFM employee: Mark Lewis

With a newly expanded position as Small Business Marketing Representative, Mark Lewis works hard to show agents all the ways that SFM can bring advantages to new policyholders.

3 ways to help customers through a premium audit

There are several ways you can help guide your customer through the audit to make the process easier for them and ensure the audit is completed. This is especially true for first-year or new policies.

Internships and youth employment

One topic we get questions about from employers and agents is youth employment and internships. Generally speaking, a youth worker or intern who is being compensated to do a job is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an injury.

SFM Foundation holds golf fundraisers, announces new scholarship recipients

Now in its 13th year of making college more affordable for families affected by workplace injuries, the SFM Foundation held successful golf events in both Minnesota and Iowa this June.

Wisconsin law allows benefits for public safety officers with PTSD

A new Wisconsin law alters the conditions of liability for workers’ compensation benefits for some public safety officers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

July state news roundup

Here’s what’s going on in the workers’ compensation world in our core states.

Lafontaine joins SFM board of directors

SFM appointed Laurie Lafontaine to its board of directors in June 2021.

Avoid common mistakes when reporting work injuries

Fast, accurate injury reporting can reduce frustration for everyone involved. Watch out for these common mistakes.

Top blog posts of all time

SFM's most viewed blog posts cover important safety and workers' compensation claims topics.

Increasing blue light exposure has a dark side

Relatively short exposure to blue light can temporarily stimulate the brain and improve mood. Prolonged exposure, however, is likely to damage retinal cells over time.

Tips to cut down on virtual meeting fatigue

A recent study by global staffing firm Robert Half indicates that workers may be suffering from video call fatigue. Among the 1,000 people surveyed, 76% said they participate in virtual meetings and that they spend about one-third of their workday in front of a camera.

Subrogation: When third parties bear responsibility for work injuries

When one of your employees is injured in the course and scope of employment and a negligent third party bears some responsibility, we can sometimes recover a portion or all of the workers’ compensation claim costs from the responsible party through subrogation.

Work injuries 101: Reporting injuries and supporting workers

On-the-job injuries are unanticipated, urgent and unfortunate for everyone involved, but there are best practices you can follow to make a bad situation better for you and your injured employee.

Letter from the President

Customers who are treated right tend to stick around for more, and we strive every day to make sure our partners have the best possible experience with SFM.

SFM Foundation and Maguire Agency send care packages to scholarship recipients

The SFM Foundation and Maguire Agency recently sent 13 finals week care packages to SFM Foundation scholarship recipients as part of a recent effort to increase student engagement and outreach.

2020 results: Excellence in the face of adversity

When 2020 began, none of us could have anticipated the historical challenges we’d face together. Through a global pandemic and a complete disruption of our collective workforce, SFM remained steadfast in its commitment to delivering excellent customer service.

SFM now accepting credit cards for small business customers

SFM is now accepting premium payments by credit card for small business policyholders. Policyholders with under $10,000 in premium at the date their policy is issued are eligible to pay online with credit card.

Pay-as-you-go wage reporting increases premium flexibility

SFM’s pay-as-you-go wage reporting system makes it easy to make premium payments that match with payroll throughout the year. The pay-as-you-go option is available to any SFM policyholder with at least $1,000 in annual premium, and it’s especially valuable for businesses that experience fluctuations in staffing throughout the year.

Working from home in another state

Some employers may not realize that remote work can introduce important insurance considerations, especially when employees are working from other states. This applies whether employees are working from across the country or just over the state border because if the employee is injured on the job, the other state’s workers’ compensation laws could come into play.

Renewal commission increased, small business commission extended

SFM has increased commissions on Mutual and Select renewal policies in the $10,000-$25,000 premium band from 6.5% to 8%.

Quick Class Code Check available in SAM

The Quick Class Code Check tool in SFM Agency Manager (SAM) allows you to get a quick read on our appetite for certain classes of business for accounts up to $25,000 in premium.

Reminder: Injured workers can log in to see claim info

Injured workers can register for an account to see the status of their medical and wage loss payments, set up email or text notifications, and access commonly used forms and billing information through SFM's Claim Connection.

Policyholders give SFM high marks in recent survey

Policyholders had positive things to say about SFM’s ease of doing business and loss prevention services in a recent survey.

SFM promotes Allen to new business development position

SFM has promoted Cody Allen to a newly established Business Development Specialist role. This position will focus on growth in existing business areas and new market opportunities.

AM Best reaffirms SFM’s Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent)

SFM is pleased to announce that its Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) and Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” have been reaffirmed by AM Best Rating Services, Inc.

SFM Foundation to host annual golf fundraisers in Minnesota, Iowa

SFM Foundation will be hosting their annual golf fundraisers in Minnesota and Iowa in June 2021. Register to attend or sponsor the events.

Workers’ compensation waiting periods

What workers' compensation waiting periods are, what they mean for bringing employees back to work and how they differ between states.

Why early return-to-work benefits your employees and bottom line

Strong return-to-work programs lead to better outcomes for injured workers and can help control workers’ compensation premium costs for employers.

Reporting injuries to OSHA and your workers' comp insurer — what's the difference?

You must report all workplace injuries to your workers’ compensation insurer, but in some cases you must also report injuries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

How your workers’ compensation e-mod is calculated

Your e-mod is used to calculate your workers’ compensation premium that’s based on your workers’ compensation claims experience.

Four quick tips for safe snow shoveling this winter

Follow these four tips to reduce the risk of injuries while shoveling snow, so you can get back inside safely.

Easy way to avoid winter falls: Step down, not out.

Using the “Step down, not out” method when getting out of a vehicle or stepping off a curb forces you to stand up or step flat footed, eliminating the chances of slipping.

From the President: Hanging tough in tough times

While the COVID-19 pandemic definitely put us all on the defensive, continued support from our agent partners has helped SFM remain strong. Throughout 2020, we’ve sustained a steady flow of new business and a remarkably high renewal rate (almost 97% of our policies).

Agent Agenda goes fully digital

After years of delivering agents a quarterly newsletter in both print and digital versions, SFM is moving to a digital-only format for the publication. The decision comes as a response to a strong preference expressed by readers of the Agent Agenda.

SFM is open for business in 34 states

Having completed a multi-year push to expand its territory of coverage, SFM now offers agents the ability to write business throughout 34 states.

MN Supreme Court addresses workers’ compensation case

The Minnesota Supreme Court addressed the rights of intervenors in workers’ compensation proceedings in the August 12, 2020, decision of Koehnen v. Flagship Marine Company and Auto Owners Insurance Company.

Iowa commissioner deems rotator cuff a ‘shoulder’ injury

Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Joseph Cortese determined that an injury to a muscle in the rotator cuff is considered a shoulder injury for the purpose of determining permanent partial disability benefits.

Wisconsin pool initiative sees success

In less than a year, SFM has already written more than 175 Wisconsin worker’s compensation pool accounts totaling more than $1 million in premium.

Kansas initiative off to a good start

SFM began issuing policies for small businesses located in Kansas on September 1, 2020, and our presence in the state has already exceeded expectations.

Four steps toward building a successful safety program

Creating an organizational culture where everyone is dedicated to building and maintaining a safe work environment requires commitment to safety from the top down. It’s everyone’s job to set an example and make safety part of the foundation of your organization.

De-escalation tactics can prevent violence in the workplace

Employees in a variety of occupations can find themselves in situations with the potential to become violent at work. De-escalation tactics can be used to defuse volatile situations so they don’t reach the point of violence.

COVID-19 brings new challenges for those with opioid use disorder

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), more than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Iowa commissioner deems rotator cuff a ‘shoulder’ injury

Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Joseph Cortese determined that an injury to a muscle in the rotator cuff is considered a shoulder injury for the purpose of determining permanent partial disability benefits.

MN Supreme Court addresses workers’ compensation case

The Minnesota Supreme Court addressed the rights of intervenors in workers’ compensation proceedings in the August 12, 2020, decision of Koehnen v. Flagship Marine Company and Auto Owners Insurance Company.

How to help employees combat sleeplessness

Sleep physicians around the world are now treating a growing number of patients with symptoms of insomnia.

Renewal commission up, small business commission extended

SFM has increased commissions on Mutual and Select renewal policies in the $10,000-$25,000 premium band effective January 1, 2021. The commission for policies in this range is increasing from 6.5% to 8%.

Chemical safety tips for your employees

Keep employees safe by providing them training and personal protective equipment tailored to the specific chemicals they’re using.

SFM Foundation featured on KARE 11

SFM Foundation was featured on Kare11's "Communities that Kare" segment, showcasing the impact scholarships have made on families.

SFM Foundation virtual fall fundraising event set for November 9-13

The SFM Foundation is hosting a virtual fall fundraising event the week of November 9-13. Bid on items in their virtual silent auction. Proceeds fund SFM Foundation scholarships. Learn more at sfmfoundation.com/events.

Do you have a plan for investigating work injuries?

You hope a work injury doesn’t occur, but if one does, use this four-point accident analysis plan to investigate.

The value in reporting minor work injuries

Reporting minor injuries helps create a record in case the injury becomes more severe. Incident-only claims won’t affect your premium.

SFM Foundation awards 2020-2021 scholarships

The SFM Foundation awarded 14 post-secondary scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic school year. The 2020 recipients will receive scholarship dollars over the course of the next four to five years, collectively totaling $250,000.

SFM state expansion project takes a focus on Kansas

SFM is now writing small business based in Kansas, and we plan to expand our small business presence into more states in the future.

Take the steps to protect your operation from cyberattacks

A particular form of online crime that’s surging right now is a scam known as business email compromise. The FBI considers business email compromise to be one of the most financially damaging forms of cybercrime, warning about it in an article on fbi.gov.

Serving schools in difficult times

With a large and ever growing book of school business, SFM has been working hard to assist school policyholders wherever possible.

SFM offers safety resources for trucking

SFM offers resources to address the many safety challenges unique to truck drivers. Our Supervisor Initiated Trainings (SITs) and 5-Minute Solutions include more than 35 training topics.

Court: Insurer can’t charge premium for IA ‘seamen’ employees

An appeals court recently ruled that an insurer could not charge an Iowa employer workers’ compensation premiums for employees who are excluded from coverage.

Motor vehicle fatality rates up, urge safe driving

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has seen significantly fewer motor vehicles on the road.

SFM now offering IVANS Download

You can now have SFM data transferred automatically into your agency management system via IVANS Download.

Work Comp Campus launch delayed

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has delayed the launch of its new workers’ compensation claims portal until Nov. 2.

NCCI changes class codes for senior living and nursing homes

The states of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota have removed two class codes related to senior living and nursing home employees.

Keeping employees safe and engaged while working from home

Amid the frenzied transition for many people to work from home, some important aspects of a healthy workplace may have taken a backseat, such as mental health considerations, communication practices, ergonomic adjustments and general safety preparations.

SFM leaders receive promotions, new responsibilities

SFM announced new job titles and responsibilities for several of the organization’s senior leaders.

Streamlined phone reporting option available

In response to feedback from employers and workers, we’re offering a new option when you call the SFM Work Injury Hotline to report injuries.

A legal perspective on injuries while working from home

It can be challenging to determine whether an employee’s injury is considered work related, even in the typical work environment. Working from home can present unique workers’ compensation issues due to the inevitable mix of work-related and personal activities.

Four things you need to do after an employee is injured

Help prevent future workplace injuries, get the employee on the road to recovery and ensure a smooth claim process with these four post-injury tips.

Ladder safety poster
Ladder safety resources

Falls from ladders continue to be a top cause of workplace injuries. Remind yourself and your employees about proper ladder safety with resources from SFM.

SFM rolls out online portal for injured workers

Injured workers covered by SFM now have 24/7 digital access to their claim information through SFM’s website through a new online portal.

Safe lifting techniques for preventing injury

Methods for safe lifting include: keep your head up, keep the load close, use a staggered stance, and remember "nose follows toes" to avoid twisting.

SFM Foundation cancels 2020 golf events

The SFM Foundation 2020 golf events are cancelled due to the coronavirus.

SFM Foundation cancels 2020 golf fundraisers

The SFM Foundation/Kids’ Chance board and many volunteers have made the difficult decision to cancel the organization’s popular golf outings for 2020 due to COVID-19. The 2021 event dates have been announced.

A manager talking to an employee on a warehouse floor
Why you have to stay vigilant on work injuries

Ideally, your employees will let you know if they are injured, but what if they don’t? You might still be legally required to report.

What happens when you choose the SFM Work Injury Hotline nurse option?

Reporting injuries through the SFM Work Injury Hotline provides injured employees the opportunity to speak with a nurse and get a treatment recommendation. Here's what to expect when you call.

Four reasons why reporting work injuries immediately helps you and your employees

Immediately reporting injuries improves medical care, accident investigation, contact with medical providers and communication with injured employees.

SFM now open to trucking business

We’re excited to share that we are now a market for trucking clients. To make it easy for you to determine whether your accounts are a fit, we’re providing clear and specific guidelines about what we’re looking for.

Reminder: SFM offers pay-as-you-go wage reporting

If you have clients with fluctuating payrolls. SFM’s pay-as-you-go wage reporting might be the solution.

SFM offering streamlined phone reporting option

In response to customer feedback, we’re offering a streamlined report-only option when employers call the SFM Work Injury Hotline.

South Dakota passes hands-free law

A new South Dakota law prohibits most handheld use of mobile devices while driving.

Star Tribune names SFM a Top Workplace for 2020

SFM ranked ninth among medium-sized employers in the Star Tribune's Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota for 2020 based on anonymous surveys of employees.

SFM targets small business accounts in Kansas

SFM is actively seeking new accounts up to $25,000 in premium in the state of Kansas and will be issuing policies for businesses located in Kansas beginning September 1.

SFM rolls out online portal for injured workers

Through a new self-service tool called SFM Claim Connection, workers with SFM claims can access claim details, review payments, download forms and set up text alerts to be notified of payment activity.

COVID-19 impacts rates and experience ratings

Furloughs and claims due to COVID-19 could have an impact on employers’ current and future premiums.

IVANS Download launches soon

SFM will be offering IVANS Download starting in the third quarter of this year. SFM will offer the following types of downloads through the service: Policy information, Commission data, Claims data, eDocs.

Iowa Supreme Court denies cumulative injury claim

The Iowa Supreme Court found that an employee who claimed a cumulative injury was not due workers’ compensation benefits because it was an aggravation of an earlier injury that had passed the statute of limitations, according to an opinion filed May 1.

Star Tribune names SFM a Top Workplace for 2020

SFM ranked ninth among medium-sized employers in the Star Tribune's Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota for 2020. The Star Tribune's top workplaces were chosen based on anonymous surveys of employees which asked them to rank their employers. 92 percent of SFM's 250+ employees participated in the survey.

OSHA increasing inspections, enforcing COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements

As more businesses reopen, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is increasing its enforcement efforts, according to a news release.

Laptop and tablet ergonomics

Mobile devices like laptops, tablets and cell phones all pose ergonomic challenges, but here are ways to minimize the risk.

Class code change for furloughed employees

Workers’ compensation ratings bureaus have addressed the situation of workers who have been furloughed, but are still being paid.

How to safely resume business after COVID-19

There are many things to consider when it comes time to reopen a business that's been closed due to COVID-19. Learn about safety guidelines, cleaning and disinfecting recommendations and how to bring your employees back into the workplace.

Research finds stress is bad for workers, bad for business

Research paints a picture of just how expensive work-related stress can be, both for workers’ health and for their employers.

SFM Foundation golf events postponed

The SFM Foundation has made the decision to postpone its annual golf events to August due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Here to support you and our policyholders

We’ve worked hard to continue delivering consistent service to you, our policyholders and their employees throughout the COVID-19 situation.

Retirement presumption can affect workers’ comp benefits

Most Minnesota workers retire at 67, but employers may have to continue permanent total disability benefits if an employee continues working past the expected age.

Combat the dangers of sitting: Add movement to your workday

Here are six ideas for cutting back on sitting time and adding movement to your day.

Information for employers: Injuries while working from home

With more employees working from home due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many policyholders have turned to SFM for answers on liability questions concerning the home office. 

SFM receives financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) from AM Best

SFM Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates (SFM Safe Insurance Company and SFM Select Insurance Company) have received a Financial Strength Rating of “A- (Excellent)” and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-” from AM Best Rating Services, Inc.

Designate an agency administrator in SAM

You can save time and improve security by designating an agency administrator for SFM Agency Manager (SAM).

Minnesota medical marijuana program sees changes

The Minnesota Department of Health has added chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as qualifying conditions for the state medical marijuana program, according to a news release.

Minnesota proposes law changes for PTSD treatment

Proposed changes to the medical treatment parameters for post-traumatic stress disorder in Minnesota are expected to be approved this spring.

SFM’s territory of coverage continues to grow

SFM has just added licensing in the states of Connecticut, Maryland and New Mexico, bringing our overall coverage territory to 30 states.

Sign up for SAM alerts

Did you know you can get email alerts to help you keep up with your clients’ claim developments?

MWCIA rolls out Manage Ownership product

The Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Insurers Association has introduced a new product — Manage Ownership. This is Minnesota’s answer to the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s online ownership user reporting and tracking system.

SFM Foundation golf event a leading fundraiser

Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal ranked SFM Foundation’s annual Golfing for Scholarships event eighth out of the metro area’s top 25 charity tournaments in 2019.

Jirak named Large Accounts leader

SFM recently promoted Ryan Jirak to lead its Large Accounts Team, replacing the retiring Craig Stroinski.

Cumulative injury coverage under workers' compensation

Some work injuries don’t occur at a specific time, but rather they are the result of a degenerative process that takes place over months or years.

Ergonomic and safety tips when working from home

Follow these guidelines to avoid pain and strain while working from home.

Even unpaid interns may be eligible for workers’ comp

If your organization offers internships, be aware that even unpaid interns could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

SFM CEO message on COVID-19

Message from SFM President & CEO Terry Miller on COVID-19 and SFM's preparedness.

Standing desks and other alternative workstations come with both risks and benefits

Standing desks or sit/stand workstations are becoming an increasingly common option, but they come with their own risks and benefits for worker health and safety.

SFM receives Financial Strength Rating of A- (Excellent) from AM Best

SFM Mutual Insurance Co. has received a Financial Strength Rating of “A- (Excellent)” and a Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a-“ from AM Best Rating Services, Inc. The rating was announced in a press release issued by A.M. Best on March 2, 2020.

Our most popular safety videos

We have many safety-related videos on our YouTube Channel that you can watch and share with your staff.

Jirak named Large Accounts Leader

SFM recently promoted Ryan Jirak to Large Accounts Leader. He will replace Craig Stroinski, who is scheduled to retire in April 2020.

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What employers need to know about concussions

Because the duration, symptoms, diagnostic testing and treatment in each case are so varied, concussions can be very complex and costly to treat.

SFM supports over 75 charities within the last year

SFM supported more than 75 community organizations in 2019 through direct donations, sponsorships and employee matches.

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How to hire the right people

The Supremes famously recounted a mother’s sage advice in the song “You can’t hurry love.” Here's why “You can’t hurry hiring” is equally true.

Preventing depression among injured workers

Post-injury depression can prolong a claim and delay return-to-work. Here are steps employers can take to lower the risk of depression.

Managing claims Q&A: Answers to some of our most common claims questions

Managing claims Q&A. Claims representatives answer common employer questions about workers' compensation claims.

What employers should know about marijuana safety and impairment policies

An employer's legal marijuana safety and impairment policy options may depend on the level of operations the company has with the federal government.

Employee well-being

Workplace safety and health are moving beyond "do no harm" to include overall employee well-being.

Seven things employers should know about independent medical examinations

Here are a few things you should know about independent medical examinations.

SFM Foundation golf outing named top local charity tournament

SFM Foundation's Golfing for Scholarships event ranks #8 of top 25 metro-area golf tournaments in 2019 as published in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Productive aging in the workplace

Supporting an aging workforce benefits everyone

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Who's calling me? The roles of workers' compensation claims, medical, rehab and legal professionals

While claims representatives are injured workers’ primary contact, they might also hear from medical, rehabilitation or legal professionals.

Safety tips for manufacturing

Workers in manufacturing are exposed to a variety of dangers in the workplace. Although manufacturing can be a fast-paced environment, it's important to slow down and focus on worker safety.

An easy way to prevent falls: Use handrails

Serious injuries can result from falling down stairs. Using a handrail and staying free from distractions can prevent you from slips and falls when going up or down stairs.

Safety video: Avoid slipping this winter

Watch this video to learn how to avoid slipping and sliding this winter.

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Don’t overlook depression and anxiety at work

Depression and anxiety. Let’s talk about them. It’s time to shine a light on common disorders that often go unmentioned at work.

Forward-looking safety

If you’re like many employers, you spend considerable time and money making sure your organization adheres to OSHA requirements. It may be tempting to view this as the finish line for preventing injuries, but in reality, maintaining a truly safe workplace means going well beyond compliance.

Why chasing shoplifters is an unsafe choice for retail employees

You might see retailers chasing shoplifters in the movies, but in the real world it’s not a great idea. An employee could fall, get hit by a car or worse.

Current generations in the workforce infographic: Baby boomers 1946-1964, Generation X 1965-1980, Millennials 1981-1995, Generation Z, 1996-2012
Work-life balance: Evolving views by generation

As new generations enter the workforce, employers are being expected to provide more work-life balance as viewpoints evolve over time.

Preventing opioid addictions before they start

Learn how SFM is working to prevent opioid addictions with injured workers before they start.

Welding and cutting torches: Protect yourself from ear damage caused by hot slag

Ear injuries can occur anytime someone is welding without ear protection, and the risk is especially high when a welder is working at an odd angle.

Are employees compensated when injured while violating company rules?

Employers are can be frustrated to learn that employees injured while violating company safety rules can still receive workers’ compensation benefits in some cases.

SFM recognized as breastfeeding supportive employer

SFM was recently recognized by the City of Bloomington as one of eight local employers who are supportive of breastfeeding mothers. 

Apple Valley eSTEM students complete SFM internships

Two Apple Valley High School eSTEM participants recently completed summer internships at SFM.

Preventing and responding to burns in kitchen environments

Use these tips to avoid burns while working in a kitchen.

Creating a policy for employee cell phone use while driving

If you have employees who drive as part of their jobs, your driving policy should address cell phone use. Use our sample cell phone policy as a guide to create your own.

15 ways to be your own SAFETY HERO, like Skip

Defend yourself against workplace accidents by being aware of hazards. Be a good example. Practice safety in every aspect of your job.

Tips for a smooth premium audit

Read our premium audit tips to make sure yours goes smoothly, and understand why your annual workers' compensation premium audit is so important.

Tips to prevent re-injury after return-to-work

When an employee returns to work after an injury, make sure the employee understands the importance of working within medical restrictions and take these steps to prevent re-injury.

Video: Claims representatives talk about their role

Claims representatives talk about how they help injured workers recover and return to work in a new SFM recruiting video.

Cut down the risk of injury for your new employees

Make sure prospective hires understand the job and that new employees are properly trained to cut down the risk of injury.

Are employee injuries at parties and wellness events eligible for workers' comp benefits?

Typically, an injury sustained in an activity that is truly voluntary is not compensable. But if the employee is encouraged or required to participate, or the company benefits from the participation in some way, it could be.

Outdoor hazards to watch for during warm weather months

Warm weather is not without its own risks, especially for people who work outdoors. Watch out for tripping hazards, heat stress, severe weather and insects.

Constant distraction can harm employees’ well-being

Employees can experience stress and burnout when they don’t take enough time to fully disconnect from work.

Workers' compensation and home office telecommuting

Employees who are injured while taking a short break from work can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. What happens when the injury occurs while the employee is working from home?

Can you screen job applicants for prior workers' compensation claims?

Asking job candidates about past work injuries, disabilities or medical histories isn't appropriate under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or state laws.

Workers’ comp exemptions for MN small business owners and families

Minnesota law allows employers to exclude certain types of employees from coverage, such as small business owners and their close relatives.

Free return-to-work resource provides ideas for light-duty jobs

When injured workers have medical restrictions, it’s sometimes tough to find transitional jobs. That's why SFM created a free listing of ideas, broken down by industry.

Are employees working overseas covered by work comp?

Employees who are working overseas temporarily are generally covered by their employers' domestic workers' compensation policies.

Slip-resistant shoes prevent falls in kitchen environments

Lessen the risk of a slip-and-fall injury by encouraging or requiring your employees to wear slip-resistant shoes, and providing a stipend to make compliance more likely.

How opioid painkiller use can impact a workers' compensation claim

Taking opioid painkillers long term, or in high doses can have a major impact on an injured worker’s recovery and return to work.

Ways to help employees struggling with mental health

You may have employees who are struggling with their mental health. Offering assistance and education about mental health can help them get back to a healthy place.

Prevent late-winter slips and falls at the workplace

Thawing and freezing in late winter can cause dangerous slips and falls. Keep an eye on weather conditions and use caution to prevent injuries.

How to prevent eye injuries in the workplace

An estimated 2,000 eye injuries happen every day in the workplace. You can reduce the risk by knowing the hazards and wearing proper protective eyewear.

Expert tips and best practices to make your safety committee thrive

Are you looking for ideas to start or re-invigorate your safety committee?

OSHA electronic reporting requirements for employers

You may have questions about whether your business is required to submit information to OSHA electronically, and what information you will need to submit.

Fatigue and sleep deprivation in the workplace common, studies find

Fatigue and sleep deprivation in the workplace come with severe costs to health, safety and the economy.

Managing hazardous chemical risks in the workplace

Keeping workers safe from dangerous materials is vital, yet compliance standards for proper management of hazardous chemicals can present challenges.

The health care workers at greatest risk for on-the-job injuries

It’s more dangerous to work in a hospital than to construct one. That’s based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on non-fatal injuries by occupation.

What safety pros keep in their winter emergency kits

We asked SFM’s loss prevention representatives what we’d find in the safety kits they keep in their cars in case of roadside emergencies. Here's what they said.

Prevent litigation, stay in contact with injured employees

Many litigated workers’ compensation cases could have been avoided if the employer had taken the time to show concern for the employee’s welfare during the early stages of the claim.

Keeping problem employees on staff can increase workers’ compensation costs

Dealing with employee performance problems can be much more challenging if that employee claims a work injury. To avoid this, address performance issues right away.

Preventing injuries among aging workers

Why older workers are more at risk for workers’ comp injuries, and four tips for preventing injuries among older workers

Help your employees achieve the four elements of financial well-being

Address financial stress in your employees by applying the four elements of personal financial well-being to a financial wellness program.

Inexpensive safety solution: Replace old utility knives

Consider replacing old manually retractable and fixed-blade utility knives with a concealed blade version for a safer option.

Safety video: Moves you can use to avoid winter slips and falls

Use this lighthearted video to remind and train your employees to avoid winter slips and falls, a common cause of workplace injuries.

Snow days aren’t just for schools: How to develop a workplace severe weather policy

When winter weather turns dangerous and it’s unsafe to travel, do you have a plan – for yourself and your employees?

The dangers of drowsy driving

Driving while drowsy can cause drivers to pay less attention to the road, slows their reaction time and affects the ability to make good decisions.

Watch out for these top 10 OSHA violations

List of the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA violations of 2018, with training resources for each

School bus drivers can be safety heroes

This year’s theme for National School Bus Safety Week, “My Driver – My Safety Hero,” reminds us of bus drivers’ important roles in getting people where they’re going safely.

Safe driving isn’t an accident

While technology and safe driving don't always go together, technology can help increase safe driving behaviors with in-vehicle monitoring systems.

Minnesota manufacturer invests in safety

SFM policyholder Jones Metal takes full advantage of SFM’s safety resources, including help applying for a MN OSHA safety grant.

From the president: Another blown opportunity to save lives in Minnesota

SFM has been an active supporter of proposed state laws banning the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving.

Safety tips for home health care workers

Home health care workers face many unique safety risks. Hazards include getting to and from work, transferring clients, slips and falls and more.

Optimizing safety programs for all generations

Employers must tailor safety and health programs for four distinct generations in the workforce.

10 statistics that make the case for workplace wellness programs

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce report “Winning With Wellness” makes the case for workplace wellness programs with some key employee health statistics.

Second annual Safe + Sound Week approaching

The second annual Safe + Sound Week raises awareness about the value of safety and health programs.

Help your employees with these smoking cessation resources

Smoking can significantly increase the length and cost of a workers’ compensation claim. Here are several state and national resources to help your employees quit smoking.

"Ban the Box" doesn't prevent criminal background check

"Ban the box" is a national movement that prevents employers from asking about criminal history prior to interviewing applicants. In some cases, criminal background checks can be a useful hiring tool.

Total Worker Health: What you need to know

Total Worker Health offers an integrated approach to worker health, safety and well-being with a proactive approach to overall health and wellness.

What the 'gig economy' means for worker protections

A growing gig economy might leave some workers with gaps in workers' compensation and other protections.

Alternatives to opioids for treating chronic pain

The medical community is identifying alternative ways to help individuals with chronic pain such as exercise, acupuncture and virtual reality.

Teach your employees about trench and excavation safety

Trench and excavation hazards cause more than 100 deaths and 1,000 injuries every year. Knowing the proper safety procedures and what hazards to watch for will reduce risk of injury.

Are your workers independent contractors or employees?

Employers' workers' compensation requirements differ for workers considered employees versus those considered independent contractors.

Hidden costs of work injuries

Few employers realize just how costly a work injury can be until they experience one at their organization. That’s because there are so many hidden costs of work injuries that aren’t covered by workers’ compensation benefits, such as lost productivity, overtime costs, and impacts on the injured worker and their family.

Why employers should get to know medical providers

Building relationships with the local doctors most likely to treat your injured workers lays the groundwork for teamwork between you, the physician and your insurer.

Fall prevention focus of Safety Stand-Down week

May 7-11, 2018 is the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. Take the time to educate your workers on the importance of fall prevention.

Watch out for everyday electrical safety hazards

It’s easy to forget that everyday activities like using extension cords and outlets can pose a risk for fires, shock and even electrocution if done improperly.

Prevent obesity in the workplace to reduce costs, research says

Obesity has high costs both in terms of a worker’s health and costs to the employer, and the workplace can be a contributing factor.

New studies on opioids show ineffectiveness, high cost

Recent studies have shown that opioids are less effective than common painkillers and delay return to work. SFM has been working since 2014 to reduce long-term use of opioids by injured workers.

How loss prevention visits target business safety risks

What to expect during a loss prevention visit from one of SFM’s trained occupational health and safety professionals

Checklist helps keep employees safe during school construction projects

SFM’s loss prevention staff created a checklist to help schools keep employees safe throughout construction projects.

Health care worker safety closely tied to patient safety

In healthcare, patient and caregiver safety go hand-in-hand. Based on independent research and SFM's claims data, moving patients manually puts healthcare workers at risk for severe injuries.

Wisconsin law makes workers’ compensation ‘exclusive remedy’ for temp worker injuries

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law on February 28 that prevents temporary employees who sustain work injuries from suing their employers, rather than going through workers’ compensation.

Hand and power tool safety

When using hand and power tools, it's important to use a tool that fits the job and is in good condition. Most injuries result from misuse and improper maintenance.

Safety tips to protect warehouse workers

The rate of fatal injuries in the warehouse industry is higher than the average for all other injuries. Here's how to keep your employees safe.

Be on your guard for slips and falls all winter long

Snow and ice can cause severe injuries at any time throughout the winter season.

A healthier workforce in 2018: Tips for starting and building your workplace wellness program

Tips for starting and building your workplace wellness program: If you’ve been thinking about offering a wellness program, but don’t know where to begin, start here.

Eight tips for defensive driving

Learn how to keep safe on the road by following these tips for defensive driving

Does workers’ compensation insurance cover injuries from car accidents?

In some cases, automobile accidents are covered by workers’ compensation. Here’s what to if you’re involved in a work-related car accident.

Workplace safety and claims resources for employees with limited English proficiency

SFM offers a number of resources to help keep employees with limited English proficiency safe, and assist if they are injured.

Can employers pay small medical bills without submitting them to their workers’ compensation insurer?

Choosing to pay a workers' compensation medical bill yourself can create a ripple effect of future problems.

Business owner using a mobile safety app
Three apps to make your workplace safer

Mobile safety apps can help you identify heat-related risks, use ladders safely and encourage better ergonomics.

The risks of multitasking: Why single-tasking is more productive — and safer

Multitasking has infiltrated our work and home lives. Distracted driving and walking both pose dangers.

Are injuries at a work holiday party compensable?

Although in most cases injuries that occur during a work holiday party would not be compensable, there are some exceptions.

Does your workplace offer a wellness program? Survey results from SFM policyholders

In a recent wellness program survey, we found out which employers are more likely to have a workplace wellness program and what topics they address.

Video highlights danger of falls in parking lots

As the weather brings colder and more slippery conditions, it’s a good time to remind your employees to walk carefully when outdoors.

Forklift safety tips for drivers and pedestrians

Forklift-related injuries most often result from inattention, distraction, excessive speed, poor driving habits and lack of training. See our forklift safety tips infographic.

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In harm’s way: Workplace violence in health care

Injuries from workplace violence are much greater for health care workers than the average.

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OSHA updates walking-working surfaces and fall protection standards

OSHA’s final rule for general industry walking-working surfaces and fall protection standards was updated in 2017.

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Reduce workplace injuries with job hazard recognition

Using job hazard recognition is a great way to review a work area in order to identify, eliminate or control work-related risks that could cause injury.

Two workers speaking at a construction site
Q & A with researcher Katie Schofield, Ph.D.

Research has quantified the connection between contact by loss prevention representatives and reduced lost-time injuries in the construction industry.

Survey: U.S. working conditions taxing, but also friendly

A Rand Corporation survey released this week sheds light on working conditions in the United States, and results are mixed.

man sweeping construction site
Four housekeeping tips for a safer construction site

Accidents such as trips and falls, being struck by falling objects and cutting or puncturing the skin can often be avoided by keeping a construction site neat and organized.

Do volunteers qualify for workers' compensation?

Volunteers generally aren’t eligible for workers' compensation benefits, but there are exceptions, and state laws can differ.

The danger of distracted walking

Walking while distracted can cause you to miss a potential hazard like ice, snow or a change in the walking surface, putting you at risk for a fall.

Four signs you genuinely value workplace safety

It’s easy to say “safety first.” It’s tougher to truly carry it out. Does your organization practice what you preach when it comes to employee safety?

Two key factors for a successful workplace wellness program

What makes a workplace wellness program successful? Here are two best practices revealed by researchers.

Top 7 workplace safety tips

These seven essential safety tips, identified by SFM's loss prevention staff, will earn your company a gold star in workplace safety.

How three school districts reduced their workers’ comp losses

Safety improvements and early return-to-work have carried many school districts insured by SFM to the head of the class.

ROI and VOI: A strong wellness program measures both

When making the case for wellness programs, measuring both ROI and VOI will illustrate the impact the program has on your organization.

Tips for hiring temporary workers or subcontractors

Before you hire temporary employees or independent subcontractors, get answers to your questions about their safety and workers’ compensation coverage.

How employers can take charge of health-related productivity losses

How do you reduce absenteeism and presenteeism in your employees? Start by maintaining a safe workplace and encouraging health and wellness.

Ladder inspections: What to look for

A fall from a ladder can be devastating, so take the time to make sure your ladder is in good shape with these ladder inspection safety tips.

Why employee happiness is so important

The numerous benefits of a positive workplace make a compelling case for building a supportive, affirming work environment where employee happiness is valued.

Top seven safety tips for office workers

While office jobs are generally considered safer than others, they do have their own unique hazards. Here are seven tips for office workers to prevent workplace injuries.

New equipment and culture change cut hospital’s lifting injuries

As a side benefit of a patient-first mentality and focus on employee safety, St. Luke’s Hospital has kept workers’ compensation costs in check.

Nine expert tips that can lower your workers’ compensation costs

Employers have some control over workers’ compensation premiums. Here are our best tips for controlling your losses, and as a result, your premiums.

Strategies to combat work-related stress

People think stress is a natural by-product of work. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Use these tips to prevent negative health impacts of work stress.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad
What Iowa’s new workers’ compensation changes mean

Iowa’s workers’ compensation system will see some significant changes on July 1, 2017, under a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad in March.

How to add mindfulness to your workplace wellness program

Workplaces can build on successful physical wellness programs by incorporating a popular — and proven — technique for emotional health: mindfulness.

How floors can help prevent slips and falls

Slips and falls can happen to anyone. Doing what you can to make your floors more slip resistant is one way you can prevent workplace injuries.

11 common sense tips for safe winter weather driving

Follow these tips to keep safe while driving in snowy and icy winter weather.

How to boost workplace safety efforts by connecting wellness

If your organization treats workplace safety and wellness as two separate initiatives, maybe it's time to start thinking about the connections between the two.

Iowa manufacturer builds machine to prevent lifting injuries

In an effort to prevent lifting injuries, Iowa-based manufacturer Katecho built a machine that would do the lifting for them.

Bart Anderson, U.S. SiteWork CEO
CEO Q&A: Planning for safety helps projects run more efficiently

Our interview with U.S. SiteWork CEO Bart Anderson on why safety is his company’s mission.

Hospital staff trains for a frightening possibility

The Dallas County Hospital in Perry, Iowa, held an active shooter drill. This allowed staff to practice sheltering in place or escaping during such an event.

Wisconsin medical board adopts opioid prescribing guidelines

The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board adopted new guidelines for prescribing opioid painkillers aimed at combating heroin use.

Aaron Holm
After severe injury, man recovers, thrives, then helps others

SFM employees recently heard the inspiring story of a man who not only overcame a tragic accident that cost him both legs, but used the experience to help others.

Minnesota implements new rules for prescribing opioid painkillers

To prevent injured workers from ending up with painkiller addictions, the state of Minnesota has adopted stronger requirements for prescribing physicians.

Nebraska Supreme Court reverses workers’ comp ruling

This 2015 ruling from the Nebraska Supreme court reversed a lower court’s ruling on the workers’ compensation case.

Iowa Supreme Court says workers’ compensation surveillance footage need not be disclosed before deposition

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that employers do not need to provide surveillance footage to workers’ compensation claimants before they are deposed.

How one school district prevents falls among staff

The Cambridge-Isanti Public Schools decreased falls by making stepladders easily accessible throughout its buildings.

The four most effective tactics to avoid workers' compensation litigation

On-the-job injuries can cost your company time, productivity, money and even employee morale — costs that are compounded when you become engaged in a legal battle.

Jim Andrews, CEO of ADO products
CEO Q&A: Company's emphasis on safety starts at the top

ADO Products CEO Jim Andrews talks about his company’s emphasis on employee safety.

What your employee handbook should say about workers' compensation

Incorporating workers' compensation into your employee handbook shows your staff that you take work injuries seriously.

How to discipline employees who’ve experienced work injuries

Simply because an employee sustained a work injury does not excuse that employee from performing the duties and expected standards of the job.

Minnesota Supreme Court maintains status quo for PTSD claims

The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed that an employee’s post-traumatic stress disorder was a non-compensable mental injury under the law in effect at the time of injury.

Minnesota Supreme Court reverses appeals court's Dykhoff decision

The 2013 Dykhoff decision provides insight into what it means for an injury to “arise out of” employment, making it eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Injuries while entering and leaving the workplace: A primer

State law requires that employers provide safe, well-maintained and accessible routes for employees to and from their parked vehicles into their place of work.

Police officer’s mental injury might have been compensable under amended Minnesota workers’ compensation law

Minnesota law previously did not allow workers' compensation benefits for mental injuries unless they caused or were accompanied by physical injuries.

First ‘GINA’ lawsuit settled by EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settled the first lawsuit it had filed under the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

Summer can increase schools' workers' comp exposure

At schools, the summer months can present high potential for workers' compensation exposure, because wage-loss benefits can drag out longer than they would otherwise.

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