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175 W. College Avenue
Santa Rosa
CA, 95401
United States
(707) 525-4150
(707) 525-4175
Roland Galli

Building on Over 80 Years of Experience

Established in 1935, George Petersen Insurance Agency has grown to become one of the largest independent agencies in California.  With a client retention rate that consistently exceeds 95%, our success is rooted in the strong relationships we develop with our clients and our carriers.

At George Petersen Insurance Agency, we focus on managing sophisticated and complex risks with exposures that need a consultative approach, including insurance program development, risk transfer, and loss control.  Whether your company is local or global in reach, we have the resources, experience, and relationships in the marketplace to provide you with the strength and stability necessary to compete in today's business environment.

We offer three main lines of insurance coverage:

Business Insurance
All types of coverage for your business whether you're a sole proprietorship or a large corporate entity.

Employee Benefits
Comprehensive benefits services, including health, disability, executive benefits and retirement programs all designed to help you retain your employees.

Personal Insurance
Our dedicated personal insurance staff will review your insurance needs to develop a program that works to protect you from financial loss due to inadequate or improper coverage.

Insurance Programs

We offer three main lines of insurance coverage:

Business Insurance
All types of coverage for your business whether you're a sole proprietorship or a large corporate entity.

Employee Benefits
Comprehensive benefits services, including health, disability, executive benefits and retirement programs all designed to help you retain your employees.

Personal Insurance
Our dedicated personal insurance staff will review your insurance needs to develop a program that works to protect you from financial loss due to inadequate or improper coverage.

Business Insurance: All types of coverage for your business, whether you're a small proprietorship or a large corporate entity.
Employee Benefits: Comprehensive benefits services, including health, disability, executive benefits and retirement programs all designed to help you retain your employees.
Personal Insurance: Our dedicated personal insurance staff will review your insurance needs to develop a program that works to protect you from financial loss due to inadequate or improper coverage.
With offices located in the heart of California wine country, our agency has a long tradition of insuring some of the most recognizable and respected wineries and vineyards in the country.
We are proud to be the appointed broker of WineryPlus, an exclusive insurance program for wineries, vineyard estates and custom crush facilities.
With more than ten offices across Northern California and Oregon, our agency has the resources of a large firm and the customer service of a boutique agency. We have offices located in the following counties: Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Sacramento, Shasta, Humboldt, Placer and Deschutes, OR.
Our growth and success are rooted in the strong relationships we have developed with our clients and our carriers. By earning the confidence and respect of our customers, we are able to build lasting relationships as part of their decision-making team.
Our agency also offers an array of services provided by our in-house workers' compensation department, including claims review and management, review of loss runs and open claims and experience modification projection.

News Archive

George Petersen is Named Best Insurance Company by Spirited Magazine Readers
09 July, 2020

George Petersen Insurance Agency announced today that it has been named 2020’s Best Insurance Company by Spirited Magazine readers. Now more than ever, the importance of an exceptional insurance agency is top of mind. Today’s environment demands not only resiliency, but hard work and a positive attitude to overcome the social and economic blows we’ve been dealt. Having someone to help navigate the process is one way to ease the pressure.

“Everyone will be digging out of a hole,” says Robb Daer, partner, COO, and commercial producer for George Petersen Insurance Agency. “We want to do everything we can to help simplify the reopening process for clients,” he adds. “Different industries will bounce back at different times. It isn’t like after the [California] wildfires, where things were definable. This [pandemic] is so open and worldwide.”

Established in 1935, George Petersen Insurance Agency has grown along with the Northern California businesses it serves. Today, it has 10 offices throughout the area, and a good percentage of its clients are part of the alcohol beverage industry. One of its most recent focuses has been on safety and loss prevention. “There will be new protocols and compliance issues. Some will be required by law, while others will be implemented so employees and customers feel comfortable,” says Daer.

Helping different companies navigate the so-called “new normal” is one way the insurance industry can get things back on track. “Recovering will be complicated, and I hope everyone supports each other so we can get through this the best we can,” says Daer.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of Spirited Magazine.

About George Petersen Insurance Agency

Founded in 1935, George Petersen Insurance Agency offers commercial insurance, employee benefits, and personal insurance products, with an emphasis on intensive consultation, customized programs, and highly personalized service. The agency has grown to include ten regional offices, making it one of the largest independently owned agencies in Northern California.

More Employers Expand Mental Health Benefits
10 June, 2020

America’s workers are more stressed than ever, and an increasing number of people are also struggling with mental health issues. Sadly, the number of people dying from drugs, alcohol, and suicide hit record levels in 2019. When someone is battling addiction or has mental health issues, it affects all aspects of their life, including work.

Stress can have a significant adverse impact on business. It costs employers an average of $300 billion a year in stress-related health care and missed work, according to a Harris Poll conducted for Purchasing Power.

That’s why more employers are stepping up to provide their workers with benefits to support behavioral health and emotional wellbeing.

Employee assistance programs

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) offer a set amount of free therapy sessions, typically topping out at five to eight per year. But for many people who are experiencing mental health issues, this may not be enough.

Some employers are offering EAPs that cover a higher number of therapy sessions and wider range of treatment options, including therapy and mental health coaching. More employers are offering EAPs that cover a spectrum of behavioral health care options, such as:

  • Self-care apps for those with occasional stress
  • In-person therapy sessions
  • Virtual therapy sessions
  • Prescription medication.

Companies usually offer EAPs at no cost to their employees. Most employers operate their EAP through a third-party administrator, which can be crucial to the success of your EAP.

Don’t forget your health insurance

There is an extensive list of mental health services your health plan should provide your staff. These services include outpatient and inpatient treatment, telemedicine, medication, and counseling. There will likely be out-of-pocket costs for your employees that use these services under their group health plans.

Other options

Besides offering an EAP, there are other benefits that you can extend to your workers that can help them better deal with the ordeals of life and work, including:

  • Parental leave – Becoming a new parent is extremely stressful. If you don’t offer parental leave, and instead require parents to take unpaid time off, such as under the Family and Medical Leave Act, this stress is compounded. Paternal leave is paid time off for new parents, either mom or dad, after the birth or adoption of a child. It gives parents the opportunity to take care of their new child without the stress of work getting in the way. The benefit to the employer is that when the worker returns from their leave, they are more productive, sooner. Consider offering this to both male and female employees.
  • Paid time off – PTO combines sick leave and vacation time. It gives employees a set bank of time off at the beginning of each year. Employees can then choose whenever and however they want to use this time off.
  • Flexible work – Flexible work is a great way to help employees with mental health issues. This benefit can include flexible hours (selecting hours they will work), flexible schedules (selecting when they work), and flexible locations (like telecommuting).

Coronavirus & Workplace Hygiene
20 March, 2020

Objective: Increase your employees’ awareness of COVID-19 and ways to prevent its spread.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the latest communicable disease outbreak with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified this illness as a pandemic because of its worldwide spread with no pre-existing immunity. While it may be a novel illness, workplace hygiene best practices remain the same.

What is a Coronavirus?

The term coronavirus describes a broad category of viruses that affect both people and animals. The name is based on the crown-like spikes on the virus’s surface. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these types of viruses were identified in the mid-1960s and are a common cause of colds and upper respiratory infections. Note: Antibiotics have no effect on viruses.

  • COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. Evidence suggests it began with animal-to-person transmission then shifted to person-to-person spread.
  • Symptomatic people are the most frequent source of COVID-19 spread (as is true for the flu and colds).
  • The incubation period — the time frame between exposure and having symptoms — ranges from 2 to 14 days for COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 data to date suggests that 80% of infections are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe, requiring oxygen, and 5% are critical, requiring ventilation. The percentage of severe and critical infections are higher for COVID-19 than for influenza.
  • There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
  • People who have already had a coronavirus infection, including COVID-19, may get it again, particularly if it mutates.

Symptoms: Allergies vs. Flu vs. COVID-19

Many ailments share symptoms. Here are some ways to tell them apart.

How Viruses Spread

Person-to-Person Contact

  • Being in close contact with someone who is sick.
  • Coming in contact with droplets expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Contaminated Surfaces

  • With COVID-19 it may be possible to contract the virus by touching a surface or object that has a live virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Poor Hygiene

  • Not washing your hands long enough or often enough
  • Not covering your own coughs or sneezes.

Take Precautions to Protect Yourself

The CDC recommends taking the following steps to reduce your risk of contracting viruses, including COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick (staying 6 feet away or more is recommended).
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching things — elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, etc. — in public places. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Clean and disinfect your home and workplace to remove germs. Wipe down frequently touched surfaces, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, toilets, faucets, sinks, and cell phones.
  • Avoid crowds and keep your distance from others, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Avoid non-essential travel, including plane trips and cruises.

Personal Risk Factors 

Aspects of people’s personal health may increase their risk for more severe instances of COVID-19. People with a higher level of risk include:

  • Older adults (risk is highest for ages 80+)
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease

COVID-19 May Be OSHA Recordable

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicated COVID-19 may be a recordable illness as part of employer’s annual OSHA 300 log if a worker was infected as a result of performing work-related duties.

A COVID-19 case is only recordable if it meets all three of the following criteria:

  1. COVID-19 was confirmed as part of CDC protocols for a person under investigation, presumptive positive, or as a laboratory-confirmed case.
  2. The case is work-related as defined under OSHA standard 29 CFR 1904.5.
  3. The case involves one or more of the recording criteria specified in OSHA standard 29 CFR 1904.7.

Employees who have gotten the common cold or the flu are not considered reportable incidents. Follow your employer’s protocols.


Coverage Concerns as Cyber Threat Grows
27 February, 2020

Small and mid-sized businesses are increasingly bearing the burden of cyber threats, as criminals consider them low-hanging fruits that often do not have the resources in place to mount a strong defense. A severe attack on a small company can incapacitate its ability to do business, and the expenses of getting operations back on track ― coupled with loss of goodwill ― can easily force many firms into bankruptcy. That’s why it’s important to not only have safeguards in place to avoid being compromised in the first place, but to also take out the proper insurance.

Unfortunately, with more data breaches hitting the news, one of the main concerns that executives have is if their insurance will cover the costs associated with recovering from an attack. Many business owners and executives worry whether the policies they have in place will be adequate in case they are hit by a breach.

If you are running a small or mid-sized company, do not underestimate the growing threat to your business. According to a survey by online insurance news service Advisen and Nationwide Insurance Co., the types of cyber losses mid-sized business incur are:

  • Malicious breaches resulting in data losses, 52%
  • Unintentional data disclosure by staff: 16%
  • Physical loss or theft of data: 13%
  • Network or website disruptions: 5%
  • Phishing, spoofing and social engineering: 5%
  • Other: 9%

Insurance Concerns

One of the main concerns for executives is any overlap or gaps between their property, liability, crime and cyber policies when it comes to covering the costs of recovering from an attack, according to the report by Advisen and Nationwide. Some companies feel they don’t need cyber coverage because they believe their property and liability policies will cover any related losses.

Here are some of the main findings:

  • 95% of respondents named data breach as the number-one risk they expect to be covered by a cyber insurance policy.
  • 94.5% said they expected cyber-related business interruption to be covered by a cyber policy.
  • 89% said they expect their cyber policy to cover cyber extortion or ransom demands.
  • 36% said they have cyber-related property damage/bodily injury coverage under another policy, reflecting the belief that some coverage for cyber-related losses can be found under traditional policies.
  • 60% of respondents said they are concerned about perceived gaps and overlaps in their insurance coverage.
  • For funds-transfer fraud losses, the majority of respondents believed coverage should be found under the crime policy, but also stated they would like to be able to recover under both crime and cyber policies ― or have separate policies with higher limits.

These findings show that businesses are seeking clearer differentiation between cyber and traditional policies, and an understanding of which events are insured and which are not.

The Takeaway

One thing to be aware of is that since cyber insurance is a new and still evolving product, all policies do not cover the same thing. That’s why it’s important for businesses to weigh their choices carefully with our guidance. While the cyber threat has grown, more insurers have also changed language in their property and liability policies to limit coverage of cyber events.

Typical property insurance policies offered higher limits for business interruption for covered property damage. And because of the high costs associated with a data loss, more executives want to see similar limits for business interruption coverage on their cyber stand-alone policies. This market demand may drive insurers to refine their cyber insurance policies, including increasing cyber-related business interruption limits up to the level of standard property forms, according to the report.

It’s important that when shopping for a cyber policy, you work closely with a professional to find the one that best fits your needs. The team at George Petersen Insurance Agency can help you evaluate your risks and coverages and identify any gaps by looking at your existing policies. Click here to get started today.

Top New Laws and Regulations Affecting Businesses
29 January, 2020

The new decade is starting off with a tsunami of new laws and regulations that will affect California businesses. Companies operating in California will have to be prepared for significant changes or open themselves up to potential litigation, fines, and other risks. Here’s what you need to know coming into the new year:

1. AB 5

AB 5 creates a more stringent test for determining who is an independent contractor or employee in California. Known as the “ABC test,” the standard requires companies to prove that people working for them as independent contractors are:

A) Free from the firm’s control when working;
B) Doing work that falls outside the company’s normal business; and
C) Operating an independent business or trade beyond the job for which they were hired.

Legal experts recommend that employers:

  • Perform a worker classification audit, and review all contracts with personnel.
  • Notify any state agencies about corrections and changes to a worker’s status.
  • Discuss with legal counsel whether they should now also include them as employees for payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, federal income tax withholding, and FICA payment and withholding.

2. Wildfire safety regulations

Cal/OSHA issued emergency regulations that require employers of outdoor workers to take protective measures, including providing respiratory equipment, when air quality is significantly affected by wildfires. Under the new regulations, when the Air Quality Index (AQI) for particulate matter 2.5 is more than 150, employers with workers who are outdoors are required to comply with the new rules. These include providing workers with protection like respirators, changing work schedules or moving them to a safe location.

3. Arbitration agreements

Starting Jan. 1, the state will bar almost all employee arbitration agreements. AB 51 bars employers from requiring applicants, employees and independent contractors to sign mandatory arbitration agreements and waive rights to filing lawsuits if they lodge a complaint for discrimination, harassment, wage and hour issues. Business groups sued to overturn the law on the grounds that it is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.

4. Overtime rules

New federal overtime regulations are taking effect for non-exempt workers. Under the new rule, employers will be required to pay overtime to certain salaried workers who make less than $684 per week – or $35,568 per year – up from the current threshold of $455, or $23,660 in annual salary.


5. Consumer privacy

Starting Jan. 1, under the California Consumer Protection Act, businesses that keep personal data of residents are required to safeguard that information and inform website users how their personal data may be used. The law applies to firms with $25 million or more in annual revenues or those that regularly sell personal information.

6. Return of the individual mandate

A new law brings back the individual mandate requiring Californians to secure health insurance coverage or face tax penalties. This comes after the penalties for not abiding by the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate were abolished by Congress in late 2017. This will affect any of your staff who have opted out of your group health plan as it may mean they are going without coverage, unless they have opted to be covered by their spouse’s plan. If you have staff who didn’t enroll in your plan for 2020, they may have to wait until your group’s next open enrollment at the end of the year. That could force them to pay tax penalties.

7. Anti-harassment training deadline extended

In 2018 California passed SB1343, greatly expanding the requirement that employers provide anti-harassment training to employees. An amendment to this law was signed by Governor Newsom in2019 that extends the anti-harassment training deadline from Jan. 1, 2020 to Jan. 1, 2021. To be compliant by then, employers with five or more employees must provide harassment prevention training as follows:

  • At least two hours of training to all supervisors, and
  • At least one hour of training to all non-supervisory staff.


To help you satisfy the anti-harassment training requirements, all George Petersen Insurance clients have free access to anti-harassment training videos in English and Spanish using our GPTrack risk management system. Interested in learning more about GPTrack? Click here to learn more about GPTrack.

8. New audit, X-Mod thresholds

The threshold for physical workers’ compensation audits for California policies incepting on or after Jan. 1 is $10,500 in annual premium, a drop from$13,000. This means that any employer with an annual premium of $10,500 or more will be subject to a physical audit at least once a year. On top of that, the threshold for experience rating (to have an X-Mod) has also fallen – to $9,700 in annual premium as of Jan. 1, from $10,000.

9. Hairstyle discrimination

A new law bans firms from discriminating against employees and job applicants based on their hairstyle if it is part of their racial makeup. The CROWN Act defines race or ethnicity as “inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to hair texture and protective hairstyles like braids, locks, and twists.” This new definition means that natural hair traits fall under the context of racial discrimination in housing, employment, and school matters.

10. Reporting serious injuries

A new law broadens the scope of what will be classified as a serious illness or injury which regulations require employers to report to Cal/OSHA “immediately.” The new rules being implemented by AB 1805 are designed to bring California’s rules more in line with Federal OSHA’s regulations for reporting. It will mean that some injuries that were not reportable before will be, such as:

  • Any inpatient hospitalization for treatment of a workplace injury or illness will need to be reported to Cal/OSHA.
  • For reporting purposes, an inpatient hospitalization must be required for something “other than medical observation or diagnostic testing.”
  • Employers will need to report any “amputation” to Cal/OSHA. This replaces the terminology “loss of member.” Even if the tip of a finger is cut off, it’s considered an amputation.

As of yet, there is no effective date for this new law, as enabling regulations have to be written ― a process that will start in 2020.

Wildfire Smoke Protection Rules Now in Effect
01 November, 2019

Cal/OSHA has issued emergency regulations that require employers of outdoor workers to take protective measures, including providing respiratory equipment, when air quality is significantly affected by wildfires. The rules require employers to take action when the Air Quality Index (AQI) for particulate matter 2.5 is more than 150 (the “unhealthy” range). The protections also would be triggered when a state agency issues a wildfire smoke advisory or when there is a “realistic possibility” that workers would be exposed to wildfire smoke. The regs apply to all employers with “a worker who is outdoors for more than an hour cumulative during a shift.” Check the Air Quality Index Employers of outdoor workers must check the AQI at the worksite to see if it is above 150, which would require the employer to take protective measures for the workers. AQI can be checked in the following ways:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow website.
  • The California Air Resources Board website.
  • Your local air pollution control district website.
  • Checking PM2.5 levels at the worksite and converting them to the corresponding AQI (Appendix A of the regulations explains how).

Protection Options

When the AQI exceeds 150, employers with outdoor workers can implement:

Engineering controls

Such as providing enclosed structures where employees can continue working, or

Administrative controls

  • Relocating workers,
  • Changing work schedules,
  • Reducing work intensity, or
  • Giving them additional rest periods, or

Respiratory protective equipment

The employer must provide respirators to all employees for voluntary use, and encourage them to use them. Respirators shall be NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)-approved devices that effectively protect the wearers from inhalation of PM2.5, such as N95 filtering face-piece respirators. Respirators shall be cleaned, stored, maintained and replaced so that they do not present a health hazard to users. When the AQI for PM2.5 is 501 or more, respirators are required.


Employers must implement a system for communicating smoke hazards to affected employees, including allowing employees to inform the employer of such hazards at the worksite. Communications should include:

  • The current AQI for PM2.5.
  • Protective measures available to workers.
  • Reporting symptoms such as asthma attacks, difficulty breathing and chest pain

Employers with outside workers should train them in:

  • The health effects of wildfire smoke.
  • The right to obtain medical treatment without fear of reprisal.
  • How employees can obtain the current AQI for PM2.5.
  • The requirements in Cal/OSHA’s regulation about wildfire smoke.
  • The employer’s communication system.
  • The employer’s methods to protect employees from smoke.
  • The importance, limitations and benefits of using a respirator when exposed to wildfire smoke.
  • How to use and maintain respirators provided by the employer.

Getting Benefits Right for a Multi-Generational Workplace
13 September, 2019

With multiple generations working side-by-side in this economy, the needs of your staff in terms of employee benefits will vary greatly depending on their age. You may have baby boomers who are nearing retirement and have health issues, working with staff in their 30's who are newly married and have had their first kids. And there are those who are just entering the workforce, who have a different mindset about work and life than the generations before them. Because of this, employers have to be crafty in how they set up their benefits packages so that they address these various needs. But don’t fret, getting something that everyone likes into your package is not too expensive, particularly if you are offering voluntary benefits to which you may or may not contribute as an employer. Think about the multi-generational workforce:

  • Baby Boomers – These oldest workers are preparing to retire, and they likely have long-standing relationships with their doctors.
  • Generation X – These workers, who are trailing the baby boomers into retirement, are often either raising families or on the verge of becoming empty-nesters. They may have more health care needs and different financial priorities than their older colleagues.
  • Millennials and Generation Z – These workers may not be so concerned about the strength of their health plans and may have other priorities, like paying off student loans and starting to make plans for retirement savings.

Working out a Benefits Strategy
If you have a multi-generational workforce, you may want to consider sitting down and talking to us about a benefits strategy that keeps costs as low as possible while being useful to employees. This is crucial for any company that is competing for talent with other employers in a tight job market.

Baby Boomers
Baby boomers look heavily to retirement savings plans and incentives, health savings plans, and voluntary insurance (like long-term care and critical illness coverage) to protect them in the event of a serious illness or accident. You may also want to consider additional paid time off for doctor’s appointments, as many of these workers may have regular checkups for medical conditions they have (64% of baby boomers have at least one chronic condition, like heart disease or diabetes).

Generation X
This is the time of life when people often get divorced and their kids start going to college. Additionally, this generation arguably suffered more than any other during the financial crisis that hit in 2008. You can offer voluntary benefits such as legal and financial planning services to help these workers.

Millennials and Generation Z
Some employee benefits specialists suggest offering these youngest workers programs to help them save for their first home or additional time off to bond with their child after birth. Also, financially friendly benefits options, such as voluntary insurance and wellness initiatives, are two to think about including in an overall benefits package. Voluntary insurance, which helps cover the costs that major medical policies were never intended to cover, and wellness benefits, including company-sponsored sports teams or gym membership reimbursements, are both appealing to millennials and can often be implemented with little to no cost to you.

Preventing Heat Illness as Temperatures Soar
17 July, 2019

With summer here, employers with outdoor workers need to take steps to protect them from heat illness. Cal/OSHA has workplace safety regulations governing the prevention of heat illness. Progression to serious illness can be rapid. If left untreated, very high body temperatures might damage the brain and other vital organs – and ultimately cause a person’s death.

Workers with existing health problems or medical conditions – such as diabetes – that reduce tolerance to heat, need to be extra vigilant. Some high blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also increase a person’s risk of heat illness. To ensure you are in compliance with California workplace safety regulations, you need to ensure the following:

Access to Water
Staying hydrated is probably the single most important step in heat-illness prevention. Water must be “fresh, pure, suitably cool” and located as close as practicable to where employees are working (and enough to provide at least one quart per employee per hour for the entire shift). Employers should encourage workers to stay hydrated and drink water.

Access to Shade
When temperatures reach 80 degrees, you must have and maintain one or more areas of shade at all times, when employees are present. Locate the shade as close as practical to the area where employees are working and provide enough to accommodate the number of employees on meal, recovery or rest periods. Even if temperatures are less than 80 degrees, you must permit access to shade for workers to rest.

Preventative Cool-Downs
If an employee starts feeling unwell, they must be allowed to take a “preventative cool-down rest,” during which they must be monitored for symptoms of heat illness. They should be encouraged to remain in the shade and not ordered back to work until symptoms are gone. Employees with heat illness symptoms must be provided appropriate first aid or emergency response.

High-heat procedures
High-heat procedures (which are triggered at 95 degrees) must include:

1. “Effective” observation and monitoring of employees, including a mandatory buddy system.

2. Regular communication with employees working by themselves.

3. Designating one or more employees to call for emergency services, if needed.

4. Giving more frequent reminders to drink plenty of water.

5. Holding pre-shift meetings on prevention.

6. During high heat, agricultural employees must be provided with a minimum 10-minute cool-down period every two hours.

Employees should be trained in the following:

  • The company’s heat illness prevention procedures.
  • Their rights to take regular water and rest breaks.
  • Importance of frequent consumption of small quantities of water.
  • Signs and symptoms.
  • Appropriate first aid or emergency response.
  • Importance and methods of acclimatization.
  • Reporting signs or symptoms of heat illness to a supervisor.
  • Procedures for responding to possible heat illness.
  • Emergency services contact procedures and first aid.

Supervisors must be trained on the following:

  • The heat standard requirements.
  • The procedures they must follow to implement the requirements.
  • Procedures to follow when a worker exhibits or reports symptoms consistent with possible heat illness, including emergency response procedures and first aid.
  • How to monitor weather reports and how to respond to hot-weather advisories

George Petersen Insurance Completes the Rebranding of their Marin County Location
30 May, 2019

George Petersen Insurance Agency has completed the rebranding of its Marin County agencies. Minto & Wilkie was acquired by George Petersen in February 2017 and Allen, Bettini & Carter was purchased in November of 2017. Since April of 2018, the two agencies have operated under separate names at their shared location in San Rafael. The name change is the last step in fully unifying the three agencies.

Allen, Bettini & Carter serving Marin County since 1925 and Minto & Wilkie’s 100-year legacy in San Rafael, will be preserved in perpetuity under the George Petersen name. Since the acquisitions, George Petersen has expanded the acquired agencies access to the insurance marketplace, as well as provided enhanced employer resources and services.

“We look forward to upholding the great reputation these two long standing agencies have in the Marin County community” says Robb Daer, Chief Operating Officer and Partner at George Petersen Insurance Agency.

About George Petersen Insurance Agency

Founded in 1935, George Petersen Insurance Agency focuses in commercial insurance, employee benefits, and personal insurance products, with an emphasis on intensive consultation, customized programs, and highly personalized service. The agency has grown to include ten regional offices, making it one of the largest independently owned agencies in Northern California.  For more information about George Petersen Insurance Agency, please visit


OSHA Not Letting Up on Inspections, Penalties
29 April, 2019

Despite Widespread expectations, Fed-OSHA under the Trump administration has not backed off on enforcing workplace safety regulations. In fact, the agency is as aggressive as ever and citations issued have also risen, after fines increased substantially three years ago. Based on OSHA statistics, a company that’s inspected has only a 25% chance of not receiving a single citation.

In other words, employers should keep up their safety regimens to not only avoid being cited but also to avoid workplace injuries.

What’s going on with OSHA

Enforcement emphasis still going strong – there are more than 150 local and regional enforcement emphasis programs as well as nine national programs in effect that were implemented at the end of the Obama administration. OSHA is dutifully enforcing them all. Budget bucks the trend – Despite the budget-cutting at many federal agencies, OSHA saw a $5 million increase in its fiscal year 2019 budget from the year prior. Most notably, that was the first budget increase since 2014. In addition, state-run OSHA programs also received a small budget enhancement of $2 million.

Fines increasing – OSHA has not moved to reverse the maximum fines for safety violations after they were increased substantially in 2016. They increased 2.5% for 2019 from 2018 as the law requires that they keep pace with inflation.

Inspections stable – The number of inspections remains unchanged. Focus on repeat violators – A focus on repeat violations has continued, with 5.1% of all violations in this category. The percentage has been over 5% since FY2016.

General duty clause – There has been an expansion of the general duty clause to cite employers for heat stress, ergonomics, workplace violence, and chemical exposures below the permissible limit.

2019 Maximum Fines

  • Serious or other-than-serious posting requirements: Up to $13,260
  • Failure to abate beyond initial violation date: Up to $13,260 per day
  • Willful or repeat violations: Minimum of $9,472, up to $132,598

New Emphasis

2018 also saw a new effort by OSHA to fine-tune its work. It issued a memo in May that formalized the use of drones (with the employer’s consent) to collect evidence. This has been somewhat controversial because it could enhance its ability to find other violations it might not normally find. 

According to the Fiscal Year 2019 Congressional Budget Justification for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, increased enforcement seems to be more likely than a decrease. Also, although there have been no officially released statements, the new electronic injury and illness reporting information will be used by OSHA and state plans to increase enforcement.

The increased budget, according to the Congressional Budget Justification, will support additional compliance safety and health officers to provide a greater enforcement presence and provide enhanced technical assistance to employers who need help in understanding how to achieve compliance with OSHA standards.

Top 10 Laws and Regulations for 2019
29 March, 2019

Every year comes with new laws and regulations that affect employers. It pays to stay on top of all the new requirements, so we are here to help you understand those that are most likely to affect your business. The following are the top 10 laws, regulations and trends that you need to know about going into 2019.

1. Sexual Harassment Prevention Training
Since 2005, California law has required employers having 50 or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors every two years. SB 1343 changes this by requiring employers with five or more employees to provide non-supervisory employees with at least one hour by Jan. 1, 2020.

In addition, this training must be held every two years. Employers with five or more workers must provide (or continue to provide) two hours of the biennial supervisory training, as well.

2. Data Privacy
Companies that collect data on their customers online should start gearing up in 2019 for the Jan. 1, 2020 implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which is the state’s version of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The law gives consumers the following rights in relation to their personal information:

  • The right to know, through a general privacy policy and with more specifics available upon request, what personal information a business has collected about them, where it was sourced from, what it is being used for, whether it is being disclosed or sold, and to whom it is being disclosed or sold;
  • The right to “opt out” of allowing a business to sell their personal information to third parties;
  • The right to have a business delete their personal information; and
  • Not be discriminated against by opting out.

    The law applies to businesses that: 
  • Have annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million,
  • Annually buy, receive for their own commercial purposes, or sell or share for commercial purposes, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices, and/or
  • Derive 50% or more of their annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.

    3. Independent Contractors
    While this legal development happened in 2018, now is a good time to go over it. In May, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision that rewrites the state’s independent contractor law.

    In its decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. vs. Superior Court, the court rejected a test that’s been used for more than a decade in favor of a more rigid three-factor approach, often called the “ABC” test.

    Employers now must be able to answer ‘yes’ to all three parts of the ABC test if they want to classify workers as independent contractors:
  • The worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in relation to the performance of the work, both under the contract and in fact;
  • The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hirer’s business; and
  • The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hirer.

    The second prong of the ABC test is the sentence that really changes the game. Now, if you hire a worker to do anything that is central to your business’s offerings, you must classify them as an employee.

    4. Electronic submission of Form 300A
    In November 2018, Cal/OSHA issued an emergency regulation that requires California employers with more than 250 workers to submit Form 300A data covering the calendar year 2017 by Dec. 31, 2018. The new regulation was designed to put California’s regulations in line with those of Federal OSHA.

    Starting in 2019, affected employers will be required to submit their Form 300A data by March 2. For instance, the 2018 summary would have to be posted before March 2, 2019. The law applies to:
    •    All employers with 250 or more employees, and
    •    Employers with 20 to 249 employees in specified high-risk industries.

    5. Harassment Non-Disclosure
    This law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, bars California employers from entering into settlement agreements that prevent the disclosure of information regarding:
  • Acts of sexual assault;
  • Acts of sexual harassment; 
  • Acts of workplace sexual harassment;
  • Acts of workplace sex discrimination;
  • The failure to prevent acts of workplace sexual harassment or sex discrimination; and
  • Retaliation against a person for reporting sexual harassment or sex discrimination.

    The big issue employers will need to watch out for, according to experts, is that the new law could actually keep the employer and employee from reaching resolutions for disputes.

    6. New Tiered Minimum Wage
    On Jan. 1, 2019, the state minimum wage will increase, depending on employer size, to:
  • $11 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer workers.
  • $12 an hour for employers with 26 or more workers.

    Local municipalities may have their own minimum wage rules, so always check to make sure you don’t live in a city or county that has a higher minimum wage.

    7. Accommodating Lactating Mothers
    A new law brings California statute into conformity with federal law that requires employers to provide a location other than a bathroom for a lactating mother to express milk.

    8. New Bar for Harassment Liability
    A California Appeals Court ruling in 2018 set a new standard for what constitutes harassment in the workplace in a case that concerned a correctional officer at a prison who was mocked about his speech impediment on numerous occasions by co-workers.

    The significance of the case for employers is that even teasing and sporadic verbal harassment can be enough to create a hostile work environment and, hence, liability.

    To reduce the chances of liability, employers should have an anti-harassment policy in writing that their staff should know and understand. Include training and make sure there are steps for reporting harassment, a mechanism for investigating it, and that the ramifications for harassers are clear.

    9. Overtime Laws
    The U.S. Department of Labor plans to propose new regulations governing overtime exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act in March 2019.

    The DOL is aiming to update FLSA regulations that set a salary threshold below which employees must be paid overtime. Today, it remains at $23,660, after the Obama administration unsuccessfully attempted to raise it to $47,476. President Trump’s DOL is expected to propose a threshold somewhere between $32,000 and $35,000.

    10. Indoor Heat Illness Regulations
    The plan was for proposed indoor heat illness regulations to be issued before Jan. 1, 2019 for implementation before summer, but the Division of Occupational Safety and Health has said it can’t meet that deadline.

    Look for proposed regulations in the first quarter with possible implementation by the summer.

    So far, here’s what’s in the draft rules:
    The standard would apply to all indoor work areas where the temperature equals or exceeds 82 degrees. Employers that would be subject to all of the standard’s provisions include those who have workplaces where:
  • The temperature is at least 92 degrees,
  • The heat index is at least 90 degrees,
  • Employees wear clothing that restricts heat removal, or
  • Employees work in high-radiant-heat work areas.

    It would require employers subject to the rules to provide cool-down areas at all times, and they would be required to encourage and allow employees to take preventative cool-down rests when they feel the need to protect themselves from overheating.

    They must also implement control measures that could include engineering controls, isolating employees from heat, using air conditioning, cooling fans, cooling-mist fans, and natural ventilation when the outdoor temperature is lower than inside.  

Don’t Fall Victim to the E-mail Compromise Scam
27 February, 2019

West African organized-crime rings have been targeting U.S. business with “business e-mail compromise” scams that are costing firms millions of dollars every year. Losses to businesses that are targeted by these scams hit an all-time high in the first quarter of 2018, with $685 million in losses reported by 4,081 victims. That’s more than the amount lost for all of 2017 in such scams: $675 million.

The scammers send fake messages to businesses’ finance departments claiming to be a vendor for the company with an invoice requiring payment. These criminals do research before targeting companies, meaning they go to company websites and look for the right people to send e-mails to. They may even pull annual reports and find what companies they do business with, and then spoof those accounts (meaning they impersonate other firms in the e-mails).

Some criminals will fake a CEO’s e-mail account and e-mail that company’s finance office ordering payment to a certain account. In one case cited by Dow Jones Newswires, a real estate attorney received an e-mail from the supposed sellers of local property and asking the lawyer to wire the proceeds of the sale to the criminals’ bank account. The lawyer wired $246,218.83 to the scammers.

The Main Scams

Money request via compromised CEO account

1. A criminal compromises or spoofs the e-mail account of an executive, such as the CEO.

2. The criminal sends a request for a wire transfer from the compromised account to an employee who is responsible for processing these requests and is subordinate to the executive, such as the controller.

3. The controller submits a wire payment request, as per instructions from his or her “boss.”

Invoice from a Supplier Via a Spoofed E-mail Address

A fraudster compromises the e-mail of a business user employed by their target company; for example, someone in accounts payable. This is how it’s done:

1. The criminal monitors e-mail of the business user, looking for vendor invoices.

2. The criminal finds a legitimate invoice and modifies the beneficiary information, such as changing the routing number and account number to which payment is to be sent.

3. The scammer then spoofs the vendor’s e-mail to submit the modified invoice.

4. Accounts payable, recognizing the vendor name and services provided, processes the invoice and submits a wire request for payment. 

How to Avoid Getting Burned 

  • Confirm an e-mailed monetary request purportedly from a company executive by creating a new e-mail and entering their known e-mail address; don’t reply to the suspicious e-mail as it will likely go to the criminal. 
  • The e-mails typically have a similar tone, urging secrecy and expedience. Set up your e-mail gateway to flag key words such as “payment,” “urgent,” “sensitive” or “secret.”
  • Look for odd uses of the English language. Many of the scammers are foreigners abroad. 
  • Although the late-stage e-mails used in these scams may not contain malware, malicious code is often used as part of an overall scheme to initially compromise an employee’s e-mail account. So, make sure you have an effective malware detection solution in place.
  • Register all domains that are slightly different from the actual company domain. 
  • Scrutinize all e-mail requests for transfer of funds to determine if the requests are out of the ordinary. 
  • Ask accounts payable staff to get to know the habits of your clients, including the details of, reasons behind, and amount of payments.

Why Disability Insurance Is Vital for Your Employees
22 January, 2019

NEARLY 80% of Americans said that they had at least two types of insurance when it came to health, home and auto policies. But, only about 35% reported having disability insurance from an employer, according to a survey conducted by the Harris Poll for OneAmerica.

Of the 2,100 people surveyed who did not have disability insurance from an employer, more than 40% said that employers did not offer it. About 15% said that they did not have it because they could not afford the cost, and they felt that other living expenses were higher priorities.

Why disability insurance?

People are quick to insure their homes, cars and health but do not think about the possibility of a permanent or temporary disability. More than 25% of Americans will experience a disability before they turn 65, and many of these individuals will suffer from a permanent disability.

Government assistance for disabled individuals does not replace a previous salary before the disability happened. Most people have increasing medical costs in addition to their everyday living costs, and this puts a strain on themselves and their families.

The employer’s role

Employers can play their part by offering disability insurance as part of their overall benefits package.

Some workers can be retrained for other positions if a partial disability prevents them from returning to a previous position. If workers know this and have income while they are recovering and getting therapy, they may be more likely to return to work if they are able.

By offering voluntary disability insurance a company can show that it cares about the well-being of its workers, which speaks volumes to top talent about the company’s values.

Many don’t enroll, education needed

The survey also found that only about 20% of workers who had an annual household income below $50,000 were offered disability coverage by an employer.

Nearly 35% of women who were between the ages of 18 and 34 did not accept an employer’s disability coverage because they felt that they did not need it. Most women did not realize that disability insurance could benefit them for issues during maternity leave.

When a worker is injured and sustains a temporary or permanent disability, the insurance kicks in after several weeks to provide income replacement at a rate that is more sufficient than government benefits.

Sick time and paid time off do not usually suffice for an employee who needs a considerable amount of time off because of a disability.

Most employees assume that any injury will heal within the time allowed by their paid time off and sick time.

Employees should check with their HR department about this important and affordable coverage.

For employers considering this coverage for an enhanced benefits package, discuss the advantages with us.

Carmi Woods Joins George Petersen Insurance Agency
29 January, 2018

(Santa Rosa, CA – January 10, 2018) - Carmi Woods has joined George Petersen Insurance Agency’s Santa Rosa office as an Account Executive in the Employee Benefits Department.  Woods has worked in the insurance industry, focusing in Employee Benefits, for over fifteen years.  She will be working to build close relationships with clients, in order to provide tailored benefits programs to meet each client’s unique needs.  

Prior to joining George Petersen, Woods began her career in insurance at Vantreo Insurance Brokerage, where she worked for ten years, advancing to an Account Executive position.  In 2013 she transitioned to Advanced Benefits Group in Santa Rosa, where she worked as an Account Executive, handling group benefits accounts.  She was responsible for group accounts sizing from two employees up to five hundred employees in the areas of medical, dental, vision, disability, life, EAP and FSA.

Woods is a Santa Rosa native, who attended Ursuline High School, before relocating to Oregon to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration at the University of Oregon.  She later returned to Santa Rosa, where she now resides with her husband and three children.

About George Peterson Insurance Agency

Founded in 1935, George Petersen Insurance Agency specializes in commercial insurance, employee benefits and personal insurance products, with an emphasis on intensive consultation, customized programs and highly personalized service. With its acquisition of NorthWest Insurance Agency last year, the agency has grown to include twelve regional offices, making it one of the largest independently owned agencies in Northern California.

For more information about George Petersen Insurance Agency, please visit

How Management Can Demonstrate Safety Buy-In
23 August, 2017

We've had many articles about workplace safety and that to have a successful workplace safety program you need not only employee buy-in, but also management buy-in. If the management can show its leadership and commitment to promoting and ensuring a safe workplace, getting staff to fall in line is easier. 

Dr. Isabel Perry, CEO of The Safety Doctor, a workplace safety app, recently posted a blog about the 18 examples of management involvement she has observed visiting job sites and conducting workplace safety interviews, benchmarking, safety conferences and more.

These are the specific examples she identified of how a manager can show active safety leadership:

1. Creating a company safety committee.

2. Asking that safety functions, when assigned, report to the committee chair.

3. Having a board of directors’ safety and health committee.

4. Holding a monthly plant-wide safety meeting where management in charge of safety takes questions and addresses safety issues.

5. Having fatality and recordable incidents reported directly to management in charge of safety at the time of occurrence, or in a given time frame.

6. Ensuring that organizational safety expectations are absolutely clear by asking every member of the organization about them.

7. Being present, and supportive, whenever key safety issues are decided. Demonstrate they are as important as key product and quality decisions.

8. Management in charge of safety should spend daily time in the work environment (factory floor, construction site, work areas) asking people about safety and observing and commenting on issues.

9. Starting every meeting with a discussion of safety or a safety tip.

10. Requiring a formal safety and health plan from every manager, and holding them accountable for results.

11. Delivering the safety vision in person to every business/work unit (rather than sending it out in a memo).

12. Demonstrating commitment by picking up dropped items, moving obstructions, helping out with safety every day.

13. Making it clear that employees flouting safety rules is unacceptable and that management will probe each accident to find out what went wrong.

14. Empowering every employee to do what’s right for safety. Support and encourage them when they make a mistake.

15. Trying progressive approaches that fit into the company business strategy and workplace culture.

16. Management should personally attend safety training.

17. Senior leadership should rotate in kicking off safety classes. 

18. Management should be well acquainted with the facility safety rules and never violate any rule for any reason. Challenge and hold people responsible for anyone who does.

Workplace Safety: Using Near Misses, Other Indicators to Cut Injuries
19 July, 2017

The latest trend in workplace safety best practices is tracking “leading indicators” – or events that take the lessons learned from past events – to reduce the chances of future injuries.

Safety professionals are increasingly keeping track of near misses, hours spent on training and facility housekeeping and measuring the impact on the organization’s overall safety record. They are finding that this approach is having a significant impact in preventing injuries.

The trend is a new one. For years, workplace safety managers and industrial safety engineers used lagging indicators to track and manage workplace injuries and illness. They would evaluate:

• Injury rates

• Injury counts

• Days injury-free

In the last few years, safety-minded companies have been shifting their focus to using leading indicators to drive continuous improvement. Lagging indicators measure failure, but leading indicators measure performance.

As you can see, a leading indicator is a measure preceding or indicating a future event that you can use to drive activities or the use of safety devices to prevent and control injuries. Leading indicators are focused on future safety performance and continuous improvement.

These measures are proactive in nature and report what employees are doing on a regular basis to prevent injuries.

Creating a leading indicator plan

To reduce strain injuries, for example, you can start by identifying the factors that lead to these injuries, like pace of work, loads, repetitions and workstation design.

Track the data to see which areas are likely to cause future injuries. Once you do, you have a model for how injuries occur. Then, you can consider what interventions you may want to implement to prevent future strain injuries. 

For more information, click here

Sprinkler Damage from a Quake Can Be Costly. Do You Have the Right Coverage?
27 October, 2016

While you might expect cracks to the foundation of your building during an earthquake, there is another threat from these events.

Earthquakes can shake a building enough to activate or damage indoor sprinklers, which in turn spray water, wreaking havoc on office fixtures, machinery and inventory. This water sprinkler damage can often far exceed the damage to the structure itself.

Napa quake case study

A number of buildings suffered water damage from broken sprinklers in the Napa earthquake in 2014, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The systems that were damaged resulted in significant water damage because the quake happened early in the morning in a business district, meaning no employees were on site to shut off water valves.

When an earthquake occurs, the majority of sprinkler system damage is from the building shaking and swaying. This movement can cause a sprinkler system that has not been properly braced to come into contact with other building systems or structural members, damaging the sprinklers and fittings.

This damage can lead to leaking throughout the piping network.

If you have sprinklers, they should comply with the National Fire Protection Association Standard, Section 9.3 of which is designed to limit the impact of this differential movement so that the sprinkler system can function as intended after, and during, the seismic event.

To help maintain alignment of system components and prevent damage, the standard requires sway bracing and restraints for system piping. It is critical to have fire protection systems in place before an earthquake, because:

• Gas pipes can rupture.

• Wires and cables can become exposed, creating an electrical hazard.

• Fuel may spill from ruptured tanks or broken pipes.

Have the right insurance?

If your building is equipped with sprinklers for fire suppression, you may not have coverage if there is damage to your building, fixtures and inventory from water damage caused by earthquake damage to sprinkler pipes.

A commercial property policy will not cover this type of damage.

Earthquake sprinkler leakage (EQSL) or sprinkler leakage coverage can be added to your existing policy by endorsement, usually for an additional premium, depending on the insurance company.

An EQSL or sprinkler leakage endorsement would provide coverage for the building and/or contents inside the building should the sprinkler system leak due to an earthquake or accident. It would also provide coverage should the sprinklers become damaged.

CONTACT US TODAY and find out about your coverage.

Workers' Compensation - Return-to-work Program Key to Keeping Costs Down
27 June, 2016

One of the proven ways to reduce the cost of a workers’ comp claim is to get the injured worker back on the job whenever it is safe to do so. Preferably, employers should offer some type of modified work duty if they are still recovering from their injury and if that injury impedes them from performing the work they did before the accident. If you have an RTW program or are considering starting one, here are the top 12 things you should consider, courtesy of the Institute of WorkComp Professionals:

• Understand your state laws about returning an injured worker back to the job and the benefi ts they are entitled to after taking on transitional or light duty.

• Create an RTW program that outlines the steps the company will take to help a worker get back on the job as soon as it’s feasible after a workplace injury. Discuss transitional duty and light duty in the program documents and distribute copies of it to your staff.

• Be creative in identifying temporary alternative jobs. Appoint an employee-management committee to create temporary alternative jobs. Injured employee jobs should be meaningful, not demeaning or demoralizing – and for sure should not be punitive.

• If you have an injured worker, visit various worksites or departments of your company to identify tasks that are similar to the employee’s existing job.

• Provide the treating physician with job descriptions for any temporary transitional duty and the employee’s regular work.

• Obtain medical restrictions from the medical provider and a release so that you can put them in a job that will not strain them or risk reinjuring them. Be proactive and prepared for the release. Don’t wait to have the release in hand before you begin your process – a delay of even a few days costs you money.

Encourage Doctor to Approve Light, Alternative Duty

•Encourage the treating doctor to approve temporary alternative duty for injured employees.

• Communicate regularly (at least once a week) with any injured employees returning to work for a temporary alternative duty position. (At this time, therapy and treatment may still continue.)

• Inform the employee’s supervisors about the injured individual’s physical limitations from the injury and make sure they don’t push them too hard. Follow the restrictions ordered by the doctor, or risk upsetting the worker, or worse, reinjuring them.

• Continue to pay the injured employee at their regular rate of pay. Consider doing so even if the employee is working partial hours. This will help you avoid paying lost wage benefits and, in many states, reduce future seÆ© lements.

• Keep the employee engaged by asking them on a weekly basis about the transitional duty, to identify obstacles or ascertain if they feel they can do more.

• Provide feedback to the physician regarding the progress the injured employee is making at the temporary alternative duty position, to make sure the physician is geÆ«ting both sides of the ‘story.’


Vineyard Management Liability
26 May, 2016

Vineyard managers’ insurance needs are unique to the wine industry. Risk of claims and litigation are varied and extensive. A tight web of coverages is the only way to protect the manager. Our experience in the field and our access to specialized carriers give us a clear advantage for our clients. Let us design the plan to protect your business assets. 

Applicable Coverages & Services

  • Custom Farming Liability
  • Mobile Ag Equipment Blanket 
  • Tellis & Vine Coverage
  • Transportation Valuation
  • Off-Road Liability
  • Care, Custody & Control Endorsment
  • Borrowed, Leased & Rented Equipment 
  • WIne Maufacturing Liability
  • Chemical Application Options
  • Erros & Omissions Liability
  • MCP Filing
  • Pollution Clean-up
  • Employer Practices Liability
  • Directors & Officers Coverage
  • Client Additional Insureds
  • In-House Claims Management
  • OSHA Compliance Documentation
  • Web-Based Risk Management Center & Human Resources Platform
  • Coverage Audit & Risk Assessment
  • EXCLUSIVE VineComp Workers’ Compensation Program

For more information, please contact:


George Petersen Insurance Agency


Wine Industry Insurance Program
29 March, 2016


With offices located in the heart of the California wine country, George Petersen Insurance Agency has a long tradition of insuring some of the most recognizable and respected wineries and vineyards in the country. Our unique proximity to this industry allows for a perspective that seldom can be matched. Whether addressing the needs of wine contamination and leakage, or pollution and chemical drift exposures, our program creates solutions for your business that are designed to fit every need. 

Visit us for more info

George Petersen Insurance Agency Named "Best Insurance Brokerage"
19 June, 2015

We're honored to be voted the "Best Insurance Brokerage" for the third year in North Bay biz magazine's annual readers poll. We take pride in serving our clients and it's an honor to receive this distinction from the community.

You can read the full write-up here

Workplace Safety: Falling Objects Lethal During Earthquakes
21 May, 2015

WHILE EARTHQUAKE safety training should be a part of any California employer’s safety program, it’s important from a workplace safety perspecƟ ve to understand how your employees could be injured during a temblor. While ducking and taking cover are good skills for your employees to reduce the likelihood of injury, one oŌ en overlooked area is the dangers of the workplace itself to employees during a quake. Most earthquake-related injuries result from collapsing walls, fl ying glass and falling objects as a result of the ground shaking, or people trying to move more than a few feet during the shaking. Much of the damage in earthquakes is predictable and preventable. While Cal/OSHA does not specifi cally have regulaƟ ons to account for quake fall dangers, exisƟ ng regulaƟ ons and the Injury and Illness Preven- Ɵ on Standard require employers to evaluate and miƟ gate hazards. 

Best Places to Work 2014: George Petersen Insurance Agency
01 October, 2014

Six-time winner

Robb Daer, vice president and partner at George Petersen Insurance Agency, believes the reason his company is one of the best places to work boils down to the issue of trust. Not only do employees earn the trust of their clients, but they also have the trust of management.

“We spend a lot of our lives at work and so obviously we want people to be happy,” Mr. Daer said. “We understand that people have lives outside of work, they have kids and families. At the end of the day, that’s what’s really important. So, if someone needs to go and pick up their kids from school or take care of a sick family member, or whatever it is, that’s fine. We’re lucky to be a large enough operation that if we have a few people missing from the office, someone else will be able to handle it.

“The people who work here are smart and dedicated and they do a great job.  They are experts at what they do and there’s no need to micromanage them and beat them up over things that really just don’t matter.”

Management trust that employees will get the job done even if no one is hovering over them and they also trust their feedback and input.

“If someone comes up to me and says, ‘There’s a better way to do this,’ I’m going to think about what they have to say,” Mr. Daer continued. “After all, if they’re doing a job that I don’t usually do, chances are they’re going to know more about it than I am.”

“Overall, we are easygoing, fun, hard-working and dedicated in our approach. We are customer-focused. We have worked hard to empower our staff and provide a supportive environment as well as effective systems and processes. There is a commitment to educating our staff. Lastly, we believe we have strong trust relationships with our staff and with our customers.”

George Peterson Insurance Agency, Best Insurance Broker in the North Bay
04 August, 2014

We are very proud to announce that we have made a clean sweep of the 2014 NorthBay Biz Best Readers Poll! We have been named Best Insurance Broker in the North Bay, Best Company to Work For in the North Bay and Best Company to Work With in Sonoma County!

Seven Time-Tested Tips for Reducing Your Workers' Comp Costs
17 July, 2012

Seven Time-Tested Tips for Reducing Your Workers' Comp Costs

COST CONTAINMENT will be the chief workers’ comp insurance concern for U.S. employers over the next 12 months, according to a new survey conducted by Zywave, an insurance software company. There are a number of ways that employers can control those costs, including establishing a solid safety program and helping injured employees return to work.  Here are some basic strategies for keeping your workers' comp costs in check:

1. Establish a safety program

Develop policies, procedures and rules. Provide employees with the necessary training, proper tools and personal protective equipment to do their job safely. If you have not established one yet, you should start by forming a committee with representatives from each of your company’s departments who will help hammer out policies that can help keep your staff safe while on the job.

2. Enforce your rules

You can train your staff all you want, rehearse the safety policy with them and give them the tools they need to stay safe, but if you don’t enforce the rules, they won’t work. You can do so by conducting workplace audits, and holding safety meetings, toolbox talks and annual training.

3. Ensure prompt medical care

As part of your overall safety plan, you should pre-arrange which medical facilities employees are sent to in the event of a workplace injury. You should also be prepared to provide transportation for non-emergency cases. Call 911 or your local ambulance in case of emergency. You should also consider requiring that a post-accident drug test be administered to the injured worker.

4. Report injuries on time

Report any workplace injuries to your insurance carrier within 24 hours of the incident. One of the keys to good claims management is to keep open ongoing communication with the injured worker and the claims adjuster.

5. Investigate injuries and close calls

If an accident occurs in your workplace, or if one was narrowly averted, you need to investigate the incident thoroughly to find out exactly what happened. Talk to all witnesses, bring out your safety manual and figure out if someone wasn’t following protocol or if there is an oversight in your safety plan.

6. Focus on return to work

Injured workers that are away from their jobs for extended periods can grow disaffected, which often leads to a longer claims duration. To keep an injured worker in the game and eager to return to work soon, provide a return-to-work program with tasks modified to avoid strain on the injury. It could include reduced hours, and a doctor would have to clear the worker for light duty. And once they are cleared to fully return to work, you may have to keep them on modified work for a period of time. It’s worth the effort.

7. Recruit with care

Unfortunately, some people are serial workers’ comp claims filers and some have pasts that could be indicative of future behavior. You should screen your applicants carefully by using detailed employment applications, making reference checks, requiring pre-employment drug screening, asking for their motor vehicle driving history and conducting background checks.

Want to discuss how we can help you reduce your workers' comp rates?  Email us at or visit our website at

Workers' Comp - 15 Signs of Claims Fraud
12 April, 2012

Workers' Comp - 15 Signs of Claims Fraud

WORKERS' COMPENSATION fraud costs the insurance industry roughly $5 billion each year, according to estimates by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. And depending on whom you ask, fraud accounts for as much as 10% of the costs of all workers' comp claims.

This type of fraud is typically associated with malingering employees who fake injuries in order to collect compensation and some paid vacation time. In tougher economic times, particularly as lay-offs mount, some experts think there is an increased exposure for employees to claim a work-related injury for a variety of manufactured reasons, such as for an injury that occurred on personal time.

As an employer this can cost you in increased workers' comp premiums. Anytime you feel you have a suspicious claim on your hands, look for the tell-tale signs of fraudulent claims listed in this article.


Preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Your Staff
carpal tunnel victim
CARPAL TUNNEL syndrome is triggered when the nerve that
runs from your forearm to your wrist gets pinched at the wrist. This nerve controls a few of the small muscles in the hand and fingers as well as
all sensation.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common workplace injury that is caused by repetitive motion, particularly among people who frequently use a keyboard and mouse.

The syndrome is also common in professions that include other types of repetitive motion, such as in manufacturing. If you have staff that fall into these categories, you need to be aware of the causes and what you can do to mitigate any impact from carpal tunnel syndrome.

This article tells you how to identify symptoms and how to reduce the likelihood of your employees developing the syndrome. 


State Issues ConstructionSafety Training Guide

A JOINT LABOR-employer panel has released a case study guide on dangers in the construction industry to help your trainers engage company staff on workplace safety.

The Construction Case Study Training Guide, which includes a number of case studies that describe real events where a worker was injured or killed at work, has been designed to help employers give their staff insight into the severity of some injuries.

The guide, published by the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation, presents the stories of 13 construction workers who were injured, made sick or killed on the job. Each case study has been prepared as a teaching tool that can encourage discussion on injury prevention. The facts of the cases are summarized in stories that workers from across the building trades can relate to.

To find out more, read this article on page 4 of our newsletter.

George Petersen Named Appointed Broker of WineryPlus Insurance Program
01 September, 2011

Our agency has been appointed as the exclusive Sonoma County broker for WineryPlus, a specialty insurance program for wineries, vineyard estates and custom crush facilities.  With niche-specific coverages, such as wine contamination, spoilage, property in transit, wind drift, overspray and more, WineryPlus is a comprehensive and competitive program designed specifically for the wine industry. 

“With offices located in the heart of Sonoma County – one of the most respected wine regions in the country – we are proud to offer this exceptional program to our clients,” said Doug Dilley, chief operations officer and partner at George Petersen Insurance Agency.  “Our agency has been insuring some of the finest wineries and vineyards in California for over 75 years.  As a provider of the exclusive Wine­­­ryPlus program, we will continue to build upon our long-standing reputation as wine industry specialists.”

WineryPlus is a national winery program established in 2006 and administered by SN Potter Insurance Agency, Inc. (SNP), a California-based specialty program manager.  It is underwritten by Argonaut Insurance Company, rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best.

In addition to the WineryPlus program, George Petersen Insurance Agency is also an exclusive provider of the Risk Management Center, an online platform that helps clients develop their risk mitigation program and manage their safety needs.  With a comprehensive library of safety, risk management and human resource materials, the platform also contains unique software applications that automate many of the training, record keeping and reporting tasks required for compliance.

Rick Stark Named Personal Lines Manager
15 March, 2011

We are pleased to announce that thirty-three year insurance industry veteran Rich Stark has been named manager of the personal lines department at George Petersen Insurance Agency.  Stark will be based in George Petersen's Santa Rosa office while managing the personal lines staff spread among the agency's 12 locations in Northern California.

George Petersen's personal lines department, which specializes in home, auto and personal umbrella insurance, has been growing ever since the agency purchased NorthWest Insurance Agency last September.  With this growth came the need for a dynamic manager, and Rich Stark will fill this role perfectly.  For more information, please visit

Whether you're looking for business insurance, employee benefits or personal insurance (home, car, life insurance, etc.), one of our qualified agents will be happy to help you find the best insurance coverage for your needs.  Please contact one of our agents today at (707) 525-4150 or

Title Name Email Phone
Partner / Commercial Lines Agent Tony Guerrero (707) 525-4154
Partner / Employee Benefits Agent Mark Fess (707) 525-2735
Partner / Commercial Lines Agent Josh Johnsen (707) 525-4198
Commercial Lines Agent Sean Parsons (707) 525-2715
Commercial Lines Agent Daniel Walters (707) 525-4168
Commercial Lines Agent Rachel Adams (707) 525-4186
Partner / Commercial Lines Agent Doug Dilley (707) 525-4157

At George Petersen Insurance Agency, we have developed a focused expertise on the wine industry, including the winery, vineyard, hospitality and food/beverage manufacturing industries.  With offices located in the heart of California wine country, our unique proximity to these industries allow for a perspective that can seldom be matched.   Allow our experienced firm to guide you through the often complex system of risk transfer and asset protection with a collection of unique insurance coverages designed to provide the best possible security and most competitive rates.