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R&R Insurance Blog

Start Protecting the Future of Your Business Now

Posted by Pat Driscoll

Fri, Aug 26, 2016 @ 11:58 AM

iStock_82857389_LARGE.jpgMany high net worth business owners are going to be impacted by the Federal Estate Tax – a rate that is higher than the highest Income Tax Rate. It’s a 40% tax on any assets exceeding the Unified Credit level. The IRS has two “Trump Cards” to play that can push you into that tax bracket.

Personal or corporate-owned life insurance can unintentionally bump the values of their estates at the worst possible time – death. The second and potentially even more damaging trigger is pegging the value of their business. They may be operating with the notion that Book Value will be the accepted method used by the IRS. It typically is not. Some combination of Book Value and Capitalization of Earnings is a far more likely method.

Imagine what would happen if your business suddenly had to continue without you, a partner or key employee. The death, disability or retirement of a key executive causes a number of problems which can be addressed with proper planning.

Through R&R, you can make sure that you are covered in case the unexpected happens. Please contact Tom or Pat Driscoll to get more information on R&R's business valuation services and more.  

Topics: estate planning, business valuation

Don't Forget the Importance of Data Breach Coverage

Posted by Kimberly Strand

Wed, Aug 24, 2016 @ 01:09 PM

More than ever in this day in age, we hear about major retailers having a breach of customers' personal information. By the time you realize one happened to your business, its often too late. Therefore, it is best to be aware and protected just in case. Do you know if your business covered for a Data Compromise?

iStock_48001872_LARGE_data_breach.jpgWhat is a Data Compromise?
  • A breach of a company’s network, in which customer information is stored, processed,  transmitted, etc. 

What do I need to do to make sure my business is covered?

  • Be sure to talk to your insurance agent about Data Breach Coverage today! When purchasing Data Breach Coverage you will want to make sure Response Expense AND Defense & Liability Coverage is included.

Response Expense can help provide service to help your business comply with state laws requiring notification, credit monitoring, and identity restoration.  Some items you want to confirm are included in your insurance provider’s response expense are as follows:         

  • Provides coverage for notification to customers who may have been affected by a data breach
  • Provides 12 months of credit monitoring after data breach
  • Forensic IT Review coverage to cover costs associated with hiring a third party computer expert to help determine the extent and origin of the data breach
  • Legal review to pay for costs of professional advise
  • Public relations coverage to pay services needed to retain goodwill with your customers

Defense and Liability Coverage will cover defense and settlement costs in the event a customer/s bring suit against your company.

 

If you have any questions about your current coverage or want to learn more about setting up a policy, contact a Knowledge Broker.

Topics: Cyber Risk, Cyber Crime, data breach

OSHA | New Electronic Recordkeeping Requirements

Posted by John Brengosz

Mon, Aug 22, 2016 @ 09:15 AM

OSHA-Recordkeeping.jpgMandatory reporting of OSHA is just around the corner! Be sure you are completing your OSHA 300 log accurately because you will very likely be sending the information to OSHA in 2017.

OSHA has updated the rules that pertain to the reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. The new rule requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data beginning in 2017. The goal is to encourage employers to better identify hazards, address safety issues, and prevent future injuries and illnesses.

New Requirements:

  • Employers with 20-249 employees in high-hazard industries must electronically submit their OSHA 300A form for the year 2016. – Effective July 1, 2017
    • These same employers must electronically submit their OSHA 300A information for 2017 by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019, these employers must submit their OSHA 300A information (for 2018) by March 2, 2019.
    • These same employers must electronically submit their OSHA 300A, OSHA 300 and 301 forms. – Effective July 1, 2018.
    • Beginning in 2019, these employers must submit OSHA information (for 2018) by March 2, 2019.
  • Employers with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the record-keeping regulation must electronically submit their OSHA 300A form for the year 2016. – Effective July 1, 2017

 

Submission Year

 Establishments with 250 or More Employees

 Establishments with 20-249 Employees

 Submission Deadline

 2017

 Form 300A

 Form 300A

 July 1, 2017

 2018

 Forms 300A, 300, 301

 Form 300A

 July 1, 2018

2019

Forms 300A, 300, 301

Form 300A

March 2, 2019

 

In addition to these upcoming requirements, the information submitted will also be posted publically on the OSHA website. For more information about the new OSHA recordkeeping requirements, contact a Knowledge Broker or register for our upcoming webinar.

Topics: OSHA, osha 300 log recordkeeping, OSHA requirements, OSHA 300 webinar, OSHA 300 log, OSHA recordkeeping, recordkeeping requirements

Work Comp Rate Change - What You Need to Know

Posted by Jamie Vanderveldt

Thu, Aug 18, 2016 @ 03:02 PM

iStock_36758470_LARGE_work_injury_claim_form.jpgIn July 2016, the new Work Comp rates for policies, effective October 1st, 2016, were released.  Generally speaking, the rates went down by an average of 3.19%, which is great news.

What is catching companies by surprise is the WCRB also increased the Split Point for the 4th year in a row.  The new Split Point is going to be $16,000.

This is causing most Experience Modification Factors (EMR) to increase by 2 to 5 points before any other factors are input, i.e.: Payrolls and Losses.

Do you know what your projected EMR will be for your next renewal?
Do you know what the Spilt Point means and how if affects your EMR?

Please reach out if you would like to learn more about your EMR and how R&R's Professional Services manage this for customers.

Topics: Work Comp, WCRB, EMR

WEA Trust Provides Wellness Solution for Municipalities

Posted by Bill Lewis

Fri, Aug 05, 2016 @ 01:45 PM

iStock_000047451796_Double.jpgThe WEA trust is bringing a proven, best-in-class wellness solution to municipalities through their League Health Plan with Vitality.  Vitality is an interactive rewards based wellness program that engages its members through education and coaching to improve their health and lives.  It helps members realize how lifestyle choices impact health, and how activity and exercise can enhance their lives. 

A well implemented wellness plan can drive a handful of improvements for you as the employer as well.  A more active and healthy workforce improves productivity and lowers risk factors that drive your health claims.  Additionally, creating a wellness program provides opportunities for leadership among your employees who participate on a wellness committee, and can help brand your organization and make you an employer of choice in your community. 

Here are some of the key elements of the Vitality Wellness program through WEA and the League Health Plan:

  • Biometric Screenings – Your employees will ‘know their numbers’ for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides etc.
  • Vitality Health Review – This is a health risk assessment that helps bring lifestyle into the mix of your biometrics results and paints a picture of overall health.
  • Vitality Bucks – Employees earn points for the Biometric Screening, the Health Review, and also for tracking activities through a phone, smart watch or pedometer. Earning bucks allows you to buy rewards like movie passes, make charitable donations, gift cards.  Points do not expire!
  • Goal Setting – Vitality will set goals for activities like steps per day, workouts per week and provides motivation to improve results of the health screening. These goals are attached to bucks, so the more you participate the more you can gifts you can purchase.
  • Coaching – Vitality provides health content, articles and provides goals for improving the health of your whole organization

There are two levels of the program available.  Activate is the base level, and Elevate is a ‘buy up’ option that includes more involvement with spouses, higher levels of engagement with the program and some additional resources to help you build your wellness platform. 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how this wellness plan can be implemented into your organization, contact me.  We have our own Certified Wellness Specialist on staff, and I would be happy to help you improve the lives and health of your employees!

Topics: Employee Health, Wellness, group benefits, Municipalities LWMMI, municipalities

OSHA Penalties to Increase as of August 2016

Posted by Scott Shaver

Mon, Aug 01, 2016 @ 03:40 PM

OSHA.jpgIn 2015, Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act to advance the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties and to maintain their deterrent effect. That law directed agencies to adjust their penalties for inflation each year using a much more straightforward method than previously available, and required agencies to publish “catch up” rules this summer to make up for lost time since the last adjustments.

As a result, the U.S. Department of Labor announced recently an interim final rule to adjust its OSHA penalties for inflation based on the last time each penalty was increased.

So what does that mean to you? OSHA’s maximum penalties, which have not been raised since 1990, will increase by 78 percent. The top penalty for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471 and the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709.

Click here to download a complete list of the OSHA penalty increase.

Topics: OSHA, OSHA fines

Four Ways to Fund a Buy-Sell Plan

Posted by Pat Driscoll

Fri, Jul 29, 2016 @ 11:14 AM

Business-Owner-Buy-Sell-Plans.jpgIf you retired, died, or became disabled yesterday, who would own and manage your business today? Would you want your business interest retained for a family, sold, or liquidated? According to The Virtual Assistant, there are four ways to fund a buy-sell plan at an owner's death:

1. Cash Method

The purchaser(s) could accumulate sufficient cash to buy the business interest at the owner's death. Unfortunately, it could take many years to save the necessary funds, while the full amount may be needed in just a few months or years.

2. Installment Method

The purchase price could be paid in installments after the owner's death. For the purchaser(s), this could mean a drain on a business income for years. In addition, payments to the surviving family would be dependent on future business performance after the owner's death.

3. Loan Method

Assuming that the new owner(s) could obtain a business loan, borrowing the purchase price requires that future business income be used to repay the loan PLUS interest.

4. Insured Method

Only life insurance can guarantee that the cash needed to complete the sale will be available exactly when needed at the owner's death, assuming that the business has been accurately valued.

Click here to learn more about the Buy-Sell services provided by R&R Insurance Services.

Topics: buy-sell agreement, Buy-Sell Agreements, funding buy-sell agreements

Are Narrow Provider Networks For You?

Posted by Riley Enright

Thu, Jul 28, 2016 @ 02:18 PM

Narrow networks are health plans that offer Stethoscope-1.jpgtheir subscribers a limited choice in health care providers. Health plans contract with a select group of doctors, specialists and hospitals, making those entities considered the in-network.

Because all plan participants are directed toward certain facilities and physicians, these providers can then reduce the cost for each visit and service – operating under the idea of buying in bulk. This results in lower premiums for the consumer and cost savings for insurers.

 

Benefits of Narrow Networks:

  • Lower premiums
  • Lower costs – such as employers directing employees to providers in a lower range
  • Improve the heath care relationship – doctors in-network may use the same electronic medical record system allowing coordination of sharing medical info among health care providers
  • Greater consumer awareness – allows employees to better understand and budget for their health care expenses

Disadvantages of Narrow Networks:

  • Possible restricted access – restrictions and finding new health care providers who aren’t in the narrow network
  • Surprise out of network bills – many hospitals contract out for emergency physicians, radiologists, and anesthesiologists. So while the hospital may be in-network, the doctors performing a certain surgery may not be, resulting in huge out of network bills
  • Rural care – many times there are not enough in-network providers in the area resulting in long wait times or long distances

 

Educating employees about narrow networks is imperative. Provider listings must be kept up to date and employees should have easy access to this information. Transparency about access and costs is key, since failing to provide accurate information could result in surprise out of network bills.  

 

An alternative to narrow networks is a hybrid option which takes the selective ideas from narrow networks but broadens it, so users have a choice between which provider-tier they want to work with. Members still have the flexibility to choose any provider but they may pay more out of pocket costs when they do not seek care from quality and cost effective doctors.

 

For further information on narrow networks and the hybrid alternative, contact your knowledge broker.

Topics: Healthcare, savings, narrow networks

How Insurance Can Protect Corporate Bank Accounts

Posted by Carla Borda

Thu, Jul 14, 2016 @ 01:57 PM

iStock_66176239_XXXLARGE.jpgIt wasn’t long ago that once we deposited money received for goods and services into our bank account, we were able to sleep comfortably knowing that our money was safe.  After all, vaults and the security surrounding them were so secure that breaking into was left to the imagination of Hollywood producers.  But with the dawn of the technology age has also come the era of cyber heists with unknown and unseen actors hacking into computers and fooling people into parting with their hard earned cash.

There a number of ways that a business can insure for these risks.  But, as is common in the world of insurance, coverage is dependent on a number of factors including how the crime was perpetrated. 

Adding to the confusion is the term “cyber” which leads to misunderstanding that all crime committed with a computer is covered in the same way.  It is not. 

Crime policies have been available in the market for years.  Most insureds are more familiar with the term Employee Dishonesty and ERISA bond which are only part of what can be covered by a Crime policy.  I want to address two additional insuring agreements that are available on Crime policy and the new Social Engineering Fraud agreement that is available from some carriers. 

The first of these is Computer Fraud.  This part of the crime policy is intended to coverage a loss when the instruction received by the financial institution to transfer money from one account into another or to a location outside of the premises,  is fraudulent.  Typically the customer would have no knowledge that money has been transferred from their account until they review their account or statement.

The next is Electronic Funds Transfer.  As is the case with the Computer fraud , this agreement requires that an electronic , telegraphic, cable, teletype or telephone instruction be fraudulently sent to the financial institution directing the transfer of money from the account. 

The important part of both of these definitions, for purposes of this article is the instruction is fraudulent.

That is different from Social Engineering Fraud.  In this scheme, the account holder (financial institution customer) is tricked into believing that the transaction that they, the customer,  are sending to the financial institution to transfer money is legitimate.  In other words, the instruction being sent to the financial institution is correct.  This type of fraud is increasingly common.  Bad actors are drafting emails to trick people into believing that they are being instructed to transfer money from their account usually by someone in authority at their company.   

In considering this insurance it is important to understand how these terms are defined in the policy rather than assume that all things computer related and cyber mean the same in every instance. Contact Carla Borda to learn more about cyber liability insurance.

R&R Insurance Cyber Liability eBook

Topics: Cyber Liability, Cyber Risk, bank fraud, cybercrime, cyber attacks, cyber breach, cyber

Update on Wisconsin Cell Phone Laws While Driving

Posted by Shirley Poch

Tue, Jul 12, 2016 @ 08:05 AM

iStock_000017977754_Large.jpgIn the midst of summer, many of us are spending long weekends in the car. Whether we're traveling a few hundred miles up north, or a few thousand miles down south, we're probably all looking for a distraction during the drive. While cell phones can provide great entertainment, it's important to remember the laws surrounding their use in vehicles. Below is an update on what is currently prohibited in Wisconsin:

  • Text messaging outlawed for all drivers. Fines from $20 to $400 with a possible 4 points against the driver’s license. Primary enforcement.
  • Drivers with restricted licenses prohibited from using cell phones.
  • Drivers may not watch devices within vehicle providing entertainment through “primarily visual means.”
  • Drivers prohibited from using handheld cell phones in construction zones. Takes effect Sept. 1, 2016.
  • The state outlaws distracted driving, or “being so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of that vehicle.” The fine is $173 and 4 points.

Click here to learn more about these laws and the fines associated with them. We hope you have a happy, safe and enjoyable summer with family and friends!

Contact a Knowledge Broker for more information.

Topics: distracted driving, texting and driving, stop distracted driving, cell phones, cell phones and driving