Fall Protection and Prevention: Tips and Safety Training Ideas

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May 7-11 marks the fifth annual National Safety Stand-Down. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), with support from the National Safety Council, developed this weeklong event to help raise awareness of fall hazards nationwide in an effort to stop fatalities and injuries on the jobsite. Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 370 of the 991 construction fatalities recorded in 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor statistics.

In recognition of National Safety Stand-Down, here are some helpful tips for creating and implementing fall protection plans in the workplace, courtesy of our loss control professionals.

What is Fall Protection?

Fall protection, also called fall prevention, refers to any means used to protect workers from falls during work where such hazards exist. This includes areas like stairways, raised platforms, roofs and the use of ladders in general. In these areas, engineering or design measures are used to help reduce the fall hazards; however, further measures such as fall protection devices like lanyards, harnesses and guardrails must be used to help reduce the risk of falls.

Develop a Fall Protection Plan

Preventing falls in the workplace often begins with having a plan – a set of written procedures. Your plan should clearly lay out procedures for items such as fall prevention training, safe equipment use and inspection of the worksite for any potential hazards.

Make the Fall Protection Plan a Part of Your Safety Program

Include your fall protection plan as part of your workplace safety program. Many successful programs contain the following elements:

  • Education of employees through training programs that focus on fall protection practices.
  • Business owners and management show they are committed to workplace safety as they are to other aspects of the business.
  • Employees and their supervisors are involved in the safety program and fall protection plan, and held accountable for following workplace safety practices.
  • Investigate any fall-related injuries or near-miss accidents, and keep a record of these events for educational and prevention purposes.
  • Regular inspection of the fall protection equipment, replacing worn or broken equipment as needed.
  • Evaluate your plan regularly to identify how well it’s performing and if any updates are needed.

Provide the Proper Safety and Protection Elements in the Workplace

Employers must provide their employees with the proper equipment and fall prevention measures in order to avoid fall-related injuries. This might include items such as:

  • Body harnesses – Straps that may be secured about the employee in a manner that will distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders with means for attaching it to other components of a personal fall arrest system.
  • Guardrail systems – A top rail 42 plus or minus 3 inches high, a toeboard 4 inches high, and a midrail located between the top rail and toeboard. A guardrail system is capable of withstanding a force of 200 pounds in any outward or downward direction on the toprail and a force of 150 pounds in any outward or downward direction on the midrail without failure.
  • Personal fall arrest systems – A system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, a body harness, and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline or suitable combinations of these. All lanyards and other fall arrest devices have locking snap hooks.
  • Safety net systems – A net that is installed as close as practicable under the walking/working surface on which employees are working, but not more than 30 feet below such surface.
  • Lanyards/Lifelines – A flexible line of rope, wire rope or strap that generally has a connector at each end for connecting the body belt or body harness to a deceleration device, lifeline or anchorage.

Check out this helpful guide for more detailed information regarding fall protection.

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AmTrust offers a wealth of loss control resources and ways to help to avoid injuries in the workplace, plus we can help you with risk management support. Visit our blog regularly for more up-to-date news, tips and information on the insurance industry. Subscribe today.

For more details about AMT Warranty Corp feel free to visit: http://blog.amtrustgroup.com/policywire/fall-protection-prevention-safety-tips

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What to Do After a Data Breach or Cyber Attack

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Unfortunately, any small business could face the risk of a data breach or cyber attack. Regardless of how big or small your business is, if your data, important documents or customer information is exposed, recovering from the aftermath could be difficult.

If your business is the victim of a cyber attack and you’re wondering what to do after a data breach, consider the following steps to help minimize the damage.
1. Contain the breach

While you may be tempted to delete everything after a data breach occurs, preserving evidence is critical to assessing how the breach happened and who was responsible. The very first step you should take after a breach is to determine which servers have been compromised and to contain them as quickly as possible to ensure that other servers or devices won’t also be infected.

Here are a few immediate things you can do to attempt to contain a data breach:

  • Disconnect your internet
  • Disable remote access
  • Maintain your firewall settings
  • Install any pending security updates or patches
  • Change passwords

You should change all affected or vulnerable passwords immediately. Create new, strong passwords for each account, and refrain from reusing the same passwords on multiple accounts. That way, if a data breach happens again in the future, the damage may be limited.

2. Assess the breach

If you are one victim of a broader attack that’s affected multiple businesses, follow updates from trusted sources charged with monitoring the situation to make sure you know what to do next. Whether you’re part of a broader attack or the sole victim, you’ll also need to determine the cause of the breach within your specific facility so you can work to help prevent the same kind of attack from happening again. Ask yourself:

  • Who has access to the servers that were infected?
  • Which network connections were active when the breach occurred?
  • How was the attack initiated?

You may be able to pinpoint how the breach was initiated by checking your security data logs through your firewall or email providers, your antivirus program, or your Intrusion Detection System. If you have difficulty determining the source and scope of the breach, consider hiring a qualified cyber investigator – it may be worth the investment to help protect yourself moving forward.

Identify those affected by the breach

You’ll also need to find out who may have been affected by the breach, including employees, customers, and third-party vendors. Assess how severe the data breach was by determining what information was accessed or targeted, such as birthdays, mailing addresses, email accounts, and credit card numbers.

Educate your staff about data breach protocols

Your employees should be aware of your business’s policies regarding data breaches. After discovering the cause of the breach, adjust and communicate your security protocols to help ensure the same type of incident doesn’t occur again. Consider restricting your employees’ access to data based on their job roles. You should also regularly train your employees about how to prepare for a data breach or avoid a data breach in the first place.

3. Manage the fallout

Notify managers and employees of the breach

Communicate with your staff to let them know what happened. Remaining on the same page with your team is crucial while your business is recovering from a data breach. You may need to consult with legal counsel to figure out the best way to let your customers know about the breach.

If you have cyber liability insurance, notify your carrier

Cyber liability insurance is designed to help you recover from a data breach or cyber security attack. Contact your carrier as soon as possible to see how they can help assist you with what to do after a cyber attack. If you don’t have a cyber liability insurance policy, AmTrust’s appointed agents can assist you in the process of selecting cyber liability coverage that could help with costs associated with addressing future cyber incidents.

Notify customers

Emphasize your willingness to be transparent with your customers by considering a special action hotline specifically to address questions from affected individuals. Communication can be key to maintaining positive, professional relationships with your patrons.

A data breach can be stressful, but as long as you take the right steps, your business will be better prepared to recover successfully. Moving forward, conduct frequent security checks to help reduce the likelihood of an incident occurring again in the future.

For more details about AMT Warranty Corp feel free to visit: http://blog.amtrustgroup.com/policywire/what-to-do-after-a-data-breach-or-cyber-attack

Types of Business Insurance Coverage at AmTrust

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AmTrust is the third largest writer of workers’ compensation coverage for small businesses in the United States, according to SNL Financial’s 2016 Workers’ Comp market share report. While workers’ comp is largely what we are known for, our product portfolio contains a wide array of different coverages to suit the needs of our agents’ small business clients.

Keep reading to find out more about the selection of insurance products AmTrust has to offer.

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Let’s start with what we are most known for: workers’ comp insurance coverage. Having a dependable workers’ comp policy in place is so important for any business, but especially for small businesses. Damages for injuries suffered at work can amount to thousands or even millions of dollars. Without sufficient coverage, employers could be susceptible to punitive damages, pain and suffering lawsuits and astronomical medical bills.

AmTrust works closely with its agents to place insurance for small-business clients that is intended to comply with insurance requirements and help them succeed. We cover more than 350 eligible classes of business, including hotels, professional offices, restaurants, retail stores and more.

State Disability

A State Disability Benefits Insurance policy helps a business retain its most important asset – their employees. Simply put, it provides financial security to employees while they are out of work due to a covered off-the-job injury or illness.

AmTrust offers benefits coverage to bridge the gap and help your clients’ employees make ends meet while they try to survive on a disability benefits check. Below are some of the potential benefits to a business carrying a Statutory Disabilities Insurance policy:

  • Improved health outcomes of employees
  • Reduced out-of-work time for ill/injured employees
  • Increased employee loyalty
  • Higher team morale

Find out more about AmTrust’s State Disability Insurance coverage.

Commercial Insurance

Commercial Auto

As the saying goes, “accidents happen.” This is especially true when it comes to automobiles. A Commercial Auto policy is designed to provide coverage in the event of a collision between a commercial vehicle with another vehicle or an object. It also helps protect businesses from litigation related to automotive incidents. Perhaps most importantly, however, it helps ensure that your clients’ employees have medical expenses taken care of after a work related auto incident.

AmTrust’s Commercial Auto product covers a wide range of businesses, such as commercial and residential contractors (HVAC, landscaping, roofing) or distributors (food and beverage, auto parts, etc.)  to name just a few.

If your clients ask why they may need this type of coverage, check out “Why Small Businesses Need Commercial Auto Insurance.”

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

This type of insurance combines coverages a business normally would buy individually into one bundle. A standard BOP covers three things:

  • General Liability– If a customer is injured at your client’s place of business, General Liability insurance is designed to cover the potential medical costs and associated legal fees. It also covers advertising injury – certain offenses like copyright infringement and libel.
  • Property – This helps ensure that your client’s property is covered in the event of damage – ultimately helping to keep a business up and running. Property coverage can be “named-peril,” “open-peril,” or “special.”
  • Business Interruption– A major storm, an electrical outage, a hacking incident – any of these can abruptly stop a business in its tracks. This coverage is designed to protect your clients during a covered event, even potentially replacing money that would have been made if not for the incident.

To learn more about the benefits of BOP coverage, read our blog post “3 Reasons Small Businesses Need BOP Coverage.”

Additional Coverages

Cyber Liability Insurance

2017 report from CSO shows that the impact of cyber security events has increased. Additionally, they estimate that cybercrime damage costs could hit $6 trillion annually by 2021.

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What does all this mean? Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure your clients are covered for a cybercrime event, especially for smaller businesses according to an article from Trend Micro.

The level of coverage your client needs will vary from business to business. In addition to basic cyber liability coverage, AmTrust’s Cyber Liability policy also includes coverage for Website Media Content Liability, Regulatory Defense and Penalties as well as PCI Fines, Expenses and Costs. So as your client’s business expands into the digital and mobile space, so does their coverage to address risks associated with any violations of privacy, plagiarism or piracy, copyright and trademark infringement, alleged defamation, libel or slander relating to their website.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

This is a valuable insurance product specifically designed to help protect businesses from employment practices liability exposure. Insured events generally include alleged discrimination, wrongful termination or demotion, sexual harassment and retaliation. This coverage is inexpensive and includes free risk and employee management services previously available only to larger companies.

Regardless of company size, the possibility of being sued for one of the above infractions is a reality for any business. Without an EPLI policy in place, your client may have to pay for any losses associated with employment practice litigation out of pocket.

Learn more about EPLI coverage and its benefits.

Workers’ Compen Coverage and Much More

We are continuously evaluating the market and our agents’ needs to deliver new products from workers’ compensation to commercial insurance. Subscribe to our blog to learn more about our coverages and how you can write more business as an AmTrust appointed agent.

For more details about AMT Warranty Corp feel free to visit: http://blog.amtrustgroup.com/policywire/types-of-business-insurance-coverage-at-amtrust

How Loss Control Management Can Help Avoid Workplace Injuries

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Protecting a company’s most valuable asset – its employees – is of utmost importance. Promoting workplace safety to help reduce employee injuries and expensive claims is one way to help keep your workforce healthy and productive, and keep your premiums down.

Loss control is designed to help prevent or reduce the possibility of a loss, or to help reduce its severity if one does occur. Keep reading to find out more about how loss control professionals can help create a workplace safety plan to aid in reducing accident risks and workers’ comp claims.

Getting Started

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A hazard assessment should be conducted by a loss control consultant and/or a safety committee. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that two managers plus two additional employees make up your internal safety committee.

The object is to look for anything that could pose a threat to your workforce, like slippery floor surfaces or tripping hazards. Risks will vary depending upon the workplace environment (manufacturing versus office work). By identifying potential hazards and risks, this builds the foundation for a workplace safety plan.

Create an Action Plan

By creating an action plan for approaching these hazards, a business can help set themselves up to successfully achieve their workplace safety goals. The action plan should be unique to your workplace and be in alignment with the risks that were identified in the hazard assessment. The plan is simple: describe the problem/risk and provide a solution. The safety committee should be in charge of managing the action plan and making sure it is being effectively carried out.

Training and Implementation

Training employees to observe loss control guidelines is an important part of any program. This will help ensure that your employees keep safety top-of-mind and are aware of workplace hazards.

For example, AmTrust offers training programs, including a streaming safety video system that provides all active policyholders access to over 600 videos. The topics range from back injury prevention to electrical safety to machine guarding. A complete list of loss control training materials can be found here.

Effective communication is valuable in improving an overall safety system. Incorporating reminders about safety in the workplace will further emphasize to your employees the importance of following the company safety plan.

Record Keeping

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Keeping accurate and detailed records is a key aspect of a workplace safety program. It is also necessary for OSHA and other regulatory requirements. It creates accountability and effective business management, while keeping track of results for any safety inspections or insurance audits. In addition, it’s a form of loss control in itself – enabling a business to learn from past experiences and identify potential issues in the future, and ultimately help prevent losses.

Take Control of Your Losses

A good safety plan makes good business sense, and that starts with implementing loss control into the workplace. The goal of an employer should be to provide a safe work environment for all employees. This helps keeps your workplace healthy and productive, and can keep insurance costs down.

Learn more about the loss control capabilities AmTrust has to offer, and check out our blog post, “Take your loss control to the next level.”

For more details about AMT Service Corp feel free to visit: http://blog.amtrustgroup.com/policywire/workplace-safety-with-loss-control

3 Effective & Affordable Marketing Strategies & Tips for Your Small Business

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Promoting and positioning your small business is a never-ending endeavor. Sometimes a heavier marketing effort makes sense, such as when the business first opens or during the holidays. Even strictly seasonal businesses cannot afford to go completely dark during their off-peak time. To remain relevant and successful in today’s hyper-competitive and crowded marketplace, it’s important to stay top-of-mind, both online and off.

The seemingly infinite number of marketing strategies, tactics, and channels to choose from today can be overwhelming for small business owners. In this article, we will skip the basics, including touching on the importance of a great website, a growing customer database, and an active social media presence. Rather, we will focus on three affordable marketing tips for making a big — and quick — impact that small business owners like you can use immediately to help generate leads and (re)build your brand.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM ads are paid text ads that appear on the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) when you type in a search query. When you consider that 51% of all local mobile searches result in a store visit, the necessity of being found in a search query can be vital for both lead generation and keeping your brand top-of-mind. Some of the great features and benefits of an SEM campaign include:

  • Budget Control | Set a daily or monthly budget you are comfortable with. If you reach your budget limit, your ads will stop showing for that time-period. If you want to dip your toes in, start with a monthly budget of $500, monitor the results, and take it from there.
  • User-Friendly Platform | Setting up, monitoring and tweaking your SEM campaign on a pay-per-click platform is not complicated. They are very user-friendly, and easy to learn and navigate even for those who are not tech savvy. The reporting functions are also robust and insightful.
  • Targeting | Target your desired customers by keyword, topic, language, location, device, and a multitude of demographic options.

Tip! Free training certification courses are available online to help you learn, manage, and maximize your AdWords campaign.

Video Marketing

SEM is a low-cost, highly effective way to generate leads and drive foot traffic into your store. Content marketing on the other hand, can be necessary for brand identity, education, customer engagement, and search engine optimization (SEO). In addition to producing text content in the form of articles and newsletters, another option is to change the form. Arguably, the most engaging form of content available right now is video.

The bottom line: many people are visual learners and prefer video to text content. Consider the following:

  • Internet video traffic made up 69% of all global consumer internet traffic in 2017.
  • By 2019, internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic.
  • The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video.

Simply put, statistically speaking, your customers crave video. You can provide them with a great brand experience at a very low cost. You do not need expensive video equipment or a fancy studio. All you need is a steady hand (or a cheap tripod) and a smartphone. Take your videos to the next level with one of the many free and low-cost, user-friendly video editing software options available online.

Tip! Keep videos brief, informative, and snappy. Aim to keep your videos between one and three minutes long. For increased engagement, you might try asking your customers to participate in your videos, perhaps in a testimonial or as a tutorial assistant. Ensure that you have participating customers sign appropriate release forms before making the video public.

Bonus tip! Transcribe your videos and add this content to the landing page where you video resides (whether it’s self-hosted on your site or embedded from a site like YouTube). The text will be crawlable by search engine spiders and can help your page rank for organic searches.

Customer Feedback

There is nothing more important to a business than customer feedback and opinion. All companies need to welcome customer feedback with open arms… and react appropriately. Customers appreciate when companies are genuinely interested in what they have to say. Get their opinion on their personal views of your business/brand, their experience doing business with your brand (i.e., ease of use, satisfaction with your product, service, etc.), and media usage habits (so you know how and where to advertise).

Provide hard copy surveys in your store, send e-surveys to your opt-in database (find low-cost e-survey options online), hold focus groups with a small group of customers in your store after-hours, and hold one-on-one interviews with customers.

Tip! To increase the number of completed customer surveys and focus group participation, offer a 10-15% discount on their next purchase for participation.

The sheer number of marketing and advertising options available today is mind-boggling. The most important thing can be to focus on doing a few things really well, instead of many things with average results. These three cost-effective marketing strategies for small businesses can help address lead generation and your brand in an affordable, quick, and high-impact way.

To get more tips for marketing and protecting your small business, subscribe to the AmTrust North America blog now. AmTrust Financial provides small business insurance coverage including worker’s compensation and general liability.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors.

For more details about AMT Warranty feel free to visit: http://blog.amtrustgroup.com/policywire/3-effective-affordable-marketing-strategies-tips-for-your-small-business

AmTrust Mobile Solutions – Covered. Connected. Confident.

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Did you know that you can offer your customers smartphone coverage through our company?

AmTrust Mobile Solutions is a suite of mobile device protection and support services that provide your consumers with the protection that they need. Economic and hassle-free, this coverage allows for the repair or replacement of damaged or lost mobile devices quickly and efficiently with one of two options:

If the damaged device is repairable, your consumers may have access to an authorized local service center for repairs while they wait.

If an authorized local service center is not available, we will send a replacement unit, on an expedited basis, from our state-of the-art fulfillment center following claim submission.

Easy Claims Processing

AmTrust Mobile Solutions’ domestically located claims center is staffed with specialists who provide prompt and professional assistance. Available seven days a week, the claims center can also be accessed online. Our family of industry-leading customer support service centers has processed more than $1 billion in claims and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

Fully Supported

AmTrust Mobile Solutions appreciates that point-of-sale materials are critical in promoting and disclosing the various aspects of a program. That’s why we offer a marketing staff to design private label marketing materials or provide you with our own branded promotional items. Plus, we maintain strict adherence to each client’s branding requirements and possess an in-depth understanding of the legal and compliance issues associated with insurance product marketing.

A Dependable Business Partner

Working with AmTrust Mobile Solutions is easy. Whether your business is big or small, we can offer a carrier-grade program to suit your unique needs and exceed your customers’ expectations. From initial on-boarding to ongoing customer service, we can deliver customized mobile device protection solutions, provide complete administrative support and tailor the program to your financial requirements.

Get In Touch

For inquiries on how AmTrust Mobile Solutions can design a program for your business, contact us today at 1.888.328.4575 or visit our website at amtrustmobilesolutions.com

AmTrust Reports Second Quarter 2017 Net Income And Confidence In Long-Term Financial Strength

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AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:AFSI) today announced second quarter 2017 net income attributable to common stockholders of $5.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, compared to $127.2 million, or $0.73 per diluted share in the second quarter 2016. For the second quarter 2017, operating earnings were $72.9 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared to $135.3 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, in the second quarter 2016.

Net income and operating earnings in the current quarter were impacted by catastrophe losses of $16.1 million after-tax, or $0.09 per diluted share, ($24.8 million pre-tax).

“We took transformative steps in the second quarter, executing on a number of strategic initiatives to increase certainty and confidence in AmTrust’s long-term financial strength, and appointing a new CFO,” said Barry Zyskind, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AmTrust. “In particular, we enhanced our balance sheet and capital base through a $300 million equity investment by members of the Karfunkel family to further support our insurance business and organic growth opportunities. Our sale of approximately 86% of our equity position in National General simplifies our balance sheet and reduces concentration in our investment portfolio composition. The reinsurance agreement we entered provides up to $400 million of coverage for adverse net loss reserve development, in excess of our stated net loss reserves as of March 31, 2017, to insulate AmTrust from future reserve volatility. We undertook these actions with a long-term view for the Company and our shareholders, to demonstrate strength and stability to all of our partners, brokers, agents, and insureds, and to enhance our earnings consistency.”

Mr. Zyskind continued, “Our second quarter financial results reflect disciplined sales execution and high policy retention levels with gross written premium of $2.2 billion, up 6.1%. We are focused on maintaining underwriting and pricing rigor in our target markets, and are taking a conservative stance toward our book of business in order to support future profitability and balance sheet strength.”

Second Quarter 2017 Results

Total revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of $0.2 billion, or 18.2%, from $1.4 billion in the second quarter 2016. Gross written premium was $2.2 billion, an increase of $0.1 billion, or 6.1%, from $2.1 billion in the second quarter 2016. Net written premium was $1.4 billion, an increase of $0.1 billion, or 8.2%, compared to $1.3 billion in the second quarter 2016. Net earned premium was $1.4 billion, an increase of $0.2 billion, or 16.8%, from $1.2 billion in the second quarter 2016. The combined ratio was 101.2%, compared to 91.3% in second quarter 2016, and the adjusted combined ratio was 95.9%, after giving effect to the adverse development cover.

Year-to-Date 2017 Results

Total revenue was $3.1 billion, an increase of $0.4 billion, or 16.0%, from $2.6 billion YTD 2016. Gross written premium was $4.5 billion, an increase of $459.8 million, or 11.5%, from $4.0 billion YTD 2016. Net written premium was $2.7 billion, an increase of $0.2 billion, or 9.1%, compared to $2.5 billion YTD 2016. Net earned premium was $2.6 billion, an increase of $347.2 million, or 15.4%, from $2.3 billion YTD 2016. The combined ratio was 98.6% compared to 91.6% YTD 2016. The adjusted combined ratio was 95.8% compared to 91.6% YTD 2016.

A summary of Q2 results is listed below along with a link to the earnings release.

Financial Highlights

Second Quarter 2017 Highlights

• Second quarter gross written premium of $2.2 billion and net earned premium of $1.4 billion, up 6.1% and 16.8%, respectively, from the second quarter 2016
• Second quarter service and fee income of $168.4 million, up 35.5% from the second quarter of 2016
• Second quarter net income attributable to common stockholders of $5.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, compared to $127.2 million, or $0.73 per diluted share, in the second quarter 2016
• Second quarter operating earnings of $72.9 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, compared to $135.3 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, in the second quarter 2016
• Second quarter gain of $68.4 million on sale of 10.6 million shares of National General stock
• Second quarter loss ratio of 74.2% compared with 66.4% in the second quarter of 2016
• Second quarter loss ratio of 68.9% after giving effect to the adverse development cover
• Second quarter combined ratio of 101.2% compared with 91.3% in the second quarter 2016
• Adjusted combined ratio of 95.9%, after giving effect to the adverse development cover, versus 91.3% in the second quarter 2016
• Second quarter annualized return on common equity and annualized operating return on common equity of 0.9% and 11.4%, respectively
• Board of Directors approves payment of quarterly dividend on common stock of $0.17

Article Resource:-https://warrantech.com/blog/august-2017/amtrust-reports-second-quarter-2017-net-income-and/