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R&R Insurance Blog

Diabetes Awareness Month

Posted by Taylor Almonte-Hahn

november is diabetes awareness monthNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month in hopes to bring awareness to the rise of diabetes and the risks associated with it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes costs the USA $327 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity.

In addition, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has ranked diabetes as the seventh leading cause of death for the states.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 cannot be prevented, but type 2 can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle and age increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Employers should consider a few programs in order to monitor employee health regarding diabetes:

  1. Make sure your health risk assessment covers a blood glucose section in order to identify those already diagnosed and sets a baseline.
  2. Implementing effective nutritional and physical activity programs should be included in wellbeing offerings.
  3. Covering diabetes screenings, coaching and management can help employees get the access they need and prevent large costs down the road.
  4. Those with diabetes are more likely to contract the flu or pneumonia, so make sure vaccinations are accessible and education is on the forefront.

Overall, taking a step towards encouraging employees to get screened regularly, educating and encouraging a healthy lifestyle can help lower health care costs and show employees you care about their wellbeing.

Do you know your diabetes risk?  Click here to find out.

Topics: Wellness

Loss Control Services Delivering Superior Outcomes

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Effective loss control begins with our experienced knowledge. R&R Insurance offers services to effectively lower the potential risk in your workplace and in your business practices. Our dedicated Resource Team does not believe in a "one size fits all" approach regarding Loss Control services.  We will review your loss experience, safety programs, and management commitment and accountability.  We'll then partner with you and your insurance carrier to provide "High Impact" loss control activities focused on reducing your costs by reducing claims. 

RRI-EP-JohnBrengosz_FeatHelping customers design effective loss prevention programs and providing safety consulting services for R&R clients has been John Brengosz’s focus for the last 15 years at R&R Insurance.  John has trained and educated thousands of employees during his career. John is a skilled teacher and presenter during these programs as well.

 

John carries with him a portfolio of skills and experience that are unmatched. Below is a listing of some recent engagements where John has created value for R&R Insurance clients:

 JB Value

 

 

RRI-EP-MaureenJoy_FeatHelping customers design effective loss prevention programs and providing safety consulting services for R&R clients has been Maureen Joy’s focus for the last 11 years at R&R Insurance.  Maureen’s strength is interacting and partnering with R&R clients in the facilities where they work, or these days, providing her loss prevention programs virtually, for our clients.

 

Maureen has delivered custom training programs and educated thousands of our clients' employees during her career.  As a licensed Occupational Therapist, Maureen is a skilled trainer and experienced presenter using a client-centered, interactive approach.  

 

Maureen’s combination of loss prevention knowledge, coupled with her medical background and training, makes her a unique resource for R&R Insurance clients. Below is a listing of some recent engagements where Maureen has created value for R&R Insurance clients:

MJ Value

 
 

For more information on R&R Professional Services, visit https://www.myknowledgebroker.com/business-insurance/risk-management.

Topics: Safety, Department of Safety & Professional Services

October is Dedicated to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted by Taylor Almonte-Hahn

October Breast Cancer Awareness

The American Cancer Society states, “1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime”. Breast cancer, like other cancers, occur when cells grow abnormally. It is the most common cancer in women next to skin cancer. It is important to note that even though it is rare, men can be diagnosed with breast cancer too. Any breast lump or noticeable difference should be checked out by a health care professional as some lumps can be benign, but it is important to confirm rather than ignore.

So, when is it appropriate to begin preventive mammogram screenings?

According to the American Cancer Society, women age 40-44 should have the choice to start an annual breast screening. If you have a family history of breast cancer you may want to begin to consider getting screenings. Women age 45-54 should receive a mammogram every year. Women 55 and older can continue a yearly screening or begin to get a screening once every two years. Some signs and symptoms to look out for are swelling, breast pain, discharge, swollen lymph nodes, red scaly skin and nipple retraction.

Take charge of your breast health. You can also perform self-exams in between your mammogram appointments. To perform a self-exam lie down with one arm behind your head, use your opposite hand to check your breast tissue in a circular motion. Feel for changes in your underarm all the way to the middle of your breast bone. In addition, stand in front of a mirror to look for visible changes in shape, size or contour.*

Early detection is key and can help avoid or diminish problems in the future. You should continue to visit your health care provider for annual screenings even if you are healthy.

Source: BreastCancer.org

 

*The self-examination content is not intended for medical advice and should be used for informational purpose only. Please seek and establish proper medical attention for exact methodology.

Topics: Wellness

Protect Yourself Against The Flu

Posted by Taylor Almonte-Hahn

Get a flu shot

This is your friendly reminder that flu season is right around the corner! If you are an employer, consider scheduling a flu shot clinic for your employees before dates fill up. If you are an employee, consider visiting a pharmacy or clinic covered by your medical plan or ask HR if an event will be held at your workplace. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends those 6 months of age and older should receive the vaccine annually.

There are many myths when it comes to the flu shot, such as those listed below:

  • Getting the flu doesn’t make you that sick
  • The flu vaccine itself will make you sick
  • The pain of the shot isn’t worth it
  • If you received the vaccine last year, you don’t need another one
  • The flu vaccine isn’t safe

Given the chain of events that have already occurred this year, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. The flu can still lead to serious illness which will keep you out of work. Side effects of the shot are generally short-term and mild.

In addition, flu vaccines are monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Drug Administration. The vaccine has been around for many years and since your body’s immunity declines throughout the year - you should get the vaccine each flu shot season.

If despite the vaccination, you still are sick with the flu please seek virtual medical care if possible, take antiviral drugs if prescribed, and stay home! Continue to avoid contact with those who are sick, wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth area.

Lastly, remember the benefits of staying active, eating well and what getting good quality sleep can do for your body and mind.

Topics: Wellness

Insurance for Your Adult Children: College Years and Beyond

Posted by Ryan Nowicki

People silhouettes on sunset meadow having funIt’s no secret, the average age that adult children continue to rely on their parents for financial support has fluctuated greatly over the years. College has become astronomically expensive, apartments and cost of living are on the rise, and the burden of becoming financially independent forces many adult children to remain dependent on their parents well into their late 20’s and early 30’s. These complex living situations can expose coverage gaps with many personal insurance policies including Auto, Homeowners and Umbrella.

Personal Auto Policy

Exposure on the family’s Personal Auto Policy can be dependent on many factors; where the adult child lives, who a car is titled and registered to, and who is listed on the policy as a Driver, Named Insured, and Additional Named Insured.

On most traditional Personal Auto Policies, the definition of who has coverage includes "Family Members". Family members are typically limited to a “person related to you by blood, marriage or adoption who is a resident of your household”. When a specific vehicle is titled to and insured by the parents alone, but in possession of a child who is no longer a resident of the parents household, this can create a gap in coverage. If a vehicle is co-titled between the parent and child, or titled solely to the child, a gap in coverage can exist if the child isn’t properly listed as a Named Insured or Additional Insured on the parent’s policy. A gap in coverage can also exist if the child isn’t listed properly on a personal auto policy and is injured as a pedestrian or a passenger in another vehicle with inadequate insurance limits.

Homeowners Policy

Exposure on a family’s Homeowners policy can include the adult child’s personal contents and personal liability. Coverage can be dependent on where the adult child lives, their age, and their status as a part-time or full-time student. Contents can include clothing, furniture, electronics, sports equipment, and other personal belongings.

Most traditional Homeowners policies list the definition of an “insured” as “residents of your household who are your relative”, but typically extend coverage to addresses away from the primary home for “a student enrolled in school full-time, as defined by the individual school, and is under the age of…” Different companies have different age limits, but typically you can expect the limit to be somewhere between 24 and 29. This can present coverage gaps on personal contents and personal liability as many adult children are attending college and remaining dependent on their parents well into their 30’s. Part-time students living away from home can be exposed to the same coverage gaps. Additionally, most Homeowners policies have smaller defined limits for “personal contents away from the primary residence” creating a need for a separate Renters policy to adequately cover the adult child’s personal contents.

It is also becoming increasingly common for parents to provide a residence for their adult children, including renting them an apartment or purchasing them a home or condo. The parents may fund the purchase but the adult child is most typically the primary resident and coverage may not extend from the parents primary Homeowners policy. In many cases the adult child is the only name listed on the lease or deed which requires them to carry the primary insurance coverage.

Umbrella Policy

When coverage gaps exists on either Auto or Homeowners policies, these gaps can also translate to the family’s Umbrella policy on large losses creating a massive financial impact on both parents and the adult child. Even if the adult child currently has limited income or assets, courts have the ability to garnish future wages creating a long-lasting impact on the adult child’s financial future.

It is extremely important to understand coverage limitations and exclusions and discuss your unique family situations with a qualified Personal Insurance Consultant at R&R. We can explain coverage limitations, identify gaps, and present solutions to ensure that your all members of the family are properly protected. In many cases it is imperative that an adult child obtain their own Personal Auto Policy, Renters Policy, or Homeowners policy, and we can assist in finding the most affordable coverage to meet their needs.

Below are real-world examples of situations where coverage gaps may exist:

  • Your adult child is not properly listed on a Personal Auto Policy and they borrow a friend's vehicle to run to the store. On the way, they hit a pedestrian crossing the road. Your child was unaware that the friend had no insurance on the vehicle and has no liability coverage for the injuries to the pedestrian.
  • Your adult child is not properly listed on a Personal Auto Policy and rents a truck to move some furniture. They choose not to buy the insurance offered by the rental company. Again, there’s no coverage for property damage to the rented truck or bodily injury to others if there’s an accident.
  • Your adult child is not properly listed on a Personal Auto Policy and is hit by an uninsured motorist while crossing the street. There are no medical payments or uninsured motorist's coverage for their own injuries.
  • Your adult child is not properly covered on your Homeowners policy and has a fire at their rented apartment. There is no coverage for damage to their personal contents or liability for damage caused to other units in the building.
  • Your adult child is not properly covered on your Homeowners policy and badly injures another golfer on the golf course. Since they have no liability coverage, there is no coverage for injuries to the other party.

Topics: Personal Insurance

Cyber Insurance: Protecting your Personal Data

Posted by Ryan Nowicki

Shocked young business woman using laptop looking at computer screen blown away in stupor sitting outside corporate office. Human face expression, emotion, feeling, perception, body language, reaction-1As a homeowner, you are more connected than ever – your phone, computer, network, security system, even household appliances and equipment. These connections have enhanced our everyday lives, but they’ve also opened homeowners up to a wide new range of Cyber Attacks, Extortion, Fraud, and Data Breach. Adding Cyber Insurance to your Homeowners policy can help mitigate the risk created by the modern dependency on data.

Some of the most common types of Cyber Claims include:

  • Cyber Attacks – A targeted attack or unauthorized access or use of a computer or connected home device, including viruses and malware
  • Cyber Extortion – A demand for compensation based on a credible threat to disable, damage, or deny access to your devices, systems, or data, including an offer to restore functionality in exchange for payment
  • Fraud – Unauthorized use of personal information including credit cards, checks, or account numbers. This can include accepting counterfeit currency or falling victim to criminal deception.
  • Data Breach – The theft, loss, release, or publication of personally identifiable information in your care, custody, or control.

Cyber Insurance Endorsements can include the following coverages:

  • Identity Fraud Expense Reimbursement and Recovery Assistance
  • Data Recovery and System Restoration
  • Credit Card Fraud, Forgery, Cyber Crime
  • Cyber Extortion and Cyber Bullying
  • Breach Notification Costs
  • Cyber Protection Legal Expense and Damages Reimbursement

If you haven’t discussed your individual Cyber Risk, an experienced Personal Lines Insurance Consultant from R&R can explain the various coverage options and limits that are available to you. We can help design a plan to meet your individual needs.

 

4 Real-World Claims Examples

  1. Cyber Attack An insured opened a file in an email he received that contained a virus. The virus affected their computer, requiring the need to hire an expert to reformat the hard drive, reinstall the operating system, and restore data from a backup.
    Paid Loss after Deductible: $1,200

  2. Cyber Extortion An insured received a ransom email on their computer after they noticed that all files were locked. The email demanded a payment of $2,000 to obtain the decryption key. If the insured failed to pay within three days, the price would go up to $3,000. After that, the decryption key would be destroyed and any chance of accessing the files would be lost forever. After consulting with an expert and approval by the insurance company, the insured decided to pay the ransom.
    Paid Loss after Deductible: $1,500

  3. Fraud An insured received an email that appeared to be from a grandson, stating that he had been in a car accident and was in trouble. He was facing criminal charges and needed payment for a lawyer. 20 minutes later the insured received another email from someone identifying himself as his grandson’s lawyer, including an accident report and the costs to cover the damage. According to the email, the injured individual agreed to accept $5,000 to cover costs. The grandfather was told that the victim would sign a release as soon as that amount was wired and the insured’s grandson would walk away with a clean record. The money was sent as instructed. The next morning, the insured called his grandson and learned that none of this actually happened; he had been defrauded.
    Paid Loss after Deductible: $4,500

  4. Data Breach An insured volunteers at her children’s school and one of her responsibilities is to keep the teachers aware of students’ birthdays and lunch account balances. The lunch account information contains credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information. She keeps track of all this information on a spreadsheet stored on her personal tablet. She does not secure the tablet with a password so the critical data is unencrypted. While on a field trip, she lost the tablet. After consulting with her lawyer, the insured learns that she must notify people that their personally identifiable information was compromised.
    Paid Loss after Deductible: $4,200

 

 

 

Topics: Personal Insurance

Mid-Year Checklist: 5 Tips for Financial Wellbeing

Posted by the knowledge brokers

checklist

For those of us in the Midwest, there is an uncomfortable reality that sets in about this time every year. Summer is reaching its waning days, and though Autumn is a favorite season for many of us we know all too well that Old Man Winter will not be far behind. But from a personal financial planning standpoint, this time of year does possess tremendous opportunity to make certain that we have not only done all of the things that we were supposed to do during the year, but that we were also intelligent in the manner that we did so.

With more than half of the year gone, we now can reflect on the things that we have done, and whether they have helped us to improve our situation. At the same time, however, there is still enough time to look at the things that still need to be done, and to make progress on them. What are the steps that you should be taking right now to ensure a successful finish to your year?

  1. Retirement Plan opportunities – Every American with a 401(k) retirement plan at work possesses the opportunity to improve their financial security, and perhaps their income tax situation, simply by utilizing this benefit. In 2020, every American with a 401(k) can contribute up to $19,500, and those who have reached the age of 50 can contribute up to $26,000 for the current year. Even if those levels are not feasible, make sure that you are contributing enough to receive the full match from your employer at your current contribution. Simply bumping your current contribution by 2-3% can create a significant improvement in the long-term.
  2. Flexible Spending Plans – If you are enjoying the benefits of a Flexible Spending Plan at work, either for Health Care or Child Care expenses, this is a great time to evaluate how much you have left to spend before year-end. This is critically important since these are “use it, or lose it” accounts, and unused dollars are wasted. If it looks like your medical reimbursements for the year appear lower, consider finding expenses to move into the current year so that you can use every last dollar. Need a new pair of eyeglasses? Move an annual checkup from January to December? Complete them prior to year-end and get them on the current year.
  3. Schedule a planning meeting with your CPA – This year has been an incredibly challenging one for all, and more than ever it is a wise idea to spend 30-60 minutes with your CPA or tax preparer to review the expectations for the year. Collect your pay stubs, your investment information, and review your expenses and potential deductions, and get them to your accountant so that they can “mock up” your 2020 income tax return and provide educated projections. Should you expect a refund? Are you going to owe more than expected? Are there things that you can do now to improve the outcome? Don’t wait until April 15th for an answer that is hard to stomach. (And if your CPA is not interested in planning ahead, you still have time to find a new one before the end of the year.)
  4. Review your expenses and cash flow – “I spend how much on coffee?!” Let us face it, no matter how frugal we believe ourselves to be, we each have areas within our spending patterns that could likely be adjusted. Thanks to programs like Quicken and Mint, tracking these spending patterns is easier than ever. And with so many of us on automatic payments to our vendors, when was the last time that you really asked if you could get a better price? Do you qualify for your Satellite TV provider’s $50 monthly customer loyalty discount? Is your home security provider willing to reduce your current monthly fee since you do not use every benefit that your system has to offer? Is your pest control service willing to waive the December quarterly bill since wasps are not a huge problem around the pool when the snow is flying? If you don’t ask, the answer is always “no”.
  5. Ask “What has changed?” – Life gets so busy at times that it is too easy to lose track of the changes that happen in a given year, and how those changes may impact us. Have you retired a mortgage? Has a child or grandchild graduated from high school (triggering new educational expenses) or college (creating less required spending)? Did you change jobs, and if so have you found the experience to be financially enabling, or is it creating new challenges? Has it forced you to rethink how you will approach your family’s health or insurance benefits when open enrollment comes up again in just a few short months? By taking the time to think through these issues now, you will find that you not only arrive at better answers, but that your stress level in getting there will be lower as well.

With as hard as you have worked this year to help your family to get ahead, don’t miss an opportunity to improve your situation with a few simple actions. The hour of time that you spend may pay you handsomely over the coming months, and should allow for many more nights of restful sleep along the way. Plan ahead, get ahead!

Topics: Wealth Management

What is the “COVID-15?”

Posted by Taylor Almonte-Hahn

Donuts at workMajority of people have most likely heard of the Freshman 15. Young adults go off to college and the new environment change causes stress and unhealthy habits to develop which contributes to weight gain. A new trend during quarantine has been labeled the COVID-15; with a lack of socialization, food directly in sight and boredom on the mind, many have found themselves gaining a few extra pounds.

 

“In a poll of more than 1,000 U.S. readers of WebMD, half of women and almost one-quarter of men have reported weight gain since COVID.”

 

Even social media has been trending with taglines of weight gain, over-consumption of alcohol and poor nutritional choices. Unfortunately, those who struggled with weight issues, eating habits and socialization before now possess extra risk. So what can you do to take action against the COVID-15?

  • Change your focus from frustration to optimism
  • Adjust your environment by creating an office setting away from the couch and kitchen
  • Try a new health meal or snack such as apples and almond butter or pretzels and hummus
  • Skip the alcohol or soda and try sparkling water
  • Shop smarter by making a detailed list, limit impulse buys, plan a week of meals ahead of time
  • Get active outside by walking, hiking, running, etc.
  • Seek help from a dietician, counselor or family when necessary

Look for the silver lining during these times and take healthy action in your life. Starting with the steps above will help you get right back on track.

Returning to the Workplace after COVID: Considerations for Businesses

Posted by Taylor Almonte-Hahn

As we navigate our new future, your business may currently be re-opening or considering how to move forward into the workplace again. With that said, you may be receiving an influx of remote work requests. Many businesses were faced to put technology and policies into place during COVID-19 regarding telecommute.  Some companies now know that working remote is possible for employees and may continue this way for safety measures, and childcare issues along with other personal reasons. On a positive note, some remote employees have reported being more productive plus reduced commute times are a major perk for longevity with a company.

Company Culture & Work/Life Balance

Among the pandemic, many companies are utilizing this time to rebuild a great culture. With virtual communication channels such as Zoom, employee intranets, email and more, culture can still shine even in a remote setting. Consider remodeling your culture to match not only your mission statement but a general theme. Maybe that theme is innovation, customer-centric, collaboration, respect, honesty, diversity—the list goes on. Remember you must gain leadership support and demonstration for culture to thrive.

Work/life balance must be instilled to prevent employee burnout regardless of telecommute or an office setting. Elevate and engage your employees by making appropriate workloads, facilitating communication, providing resources, celebrating success and encouraging appropriate work-life balance. It is impossible to eliminate work stress, however, by recognizing the burnout signs and providing resources your employees will feel appreciated. Continue to promote an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) line, if applicable, and other resources you find beneficial for your workforce. Ultimately, let your employees know you care and are thinking about their wellbeing during this time.

If employees have to return back to the workplace, measures must be taken to ensure one’s safety. Many companies have implemented the following:

  • temperature screenings prior to entering the building
  • removal of potluck style lunches
  • plexi-glass in-between cubicles
  • hand sanitizer and sanitation wipes readily available
  • no meetings greater than 10 people
  • a definite remote work strategy if an employee tests positive or a pandemic occurs again

These few items along with many others are important to implement and educate employees with the transition of coming back to the workplace.

So, what does wellness look like in the future?

A huge emphasis will be placed on mental health more than anything else. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a great resource to start with in order to find helplines, education, research, discussion groups and much more. Many vendors are now implementing at home biometrics in case an on-site cannot occur or employers just feel more comfortable with this option.

Last but not least, more virtual doctors and therapy appointments will continue to increase. Overall, there are many items to consider if you are allowing employees to continue to work remote or come back to the workplace. Remember to frequent the CDC guidelines regarding Coronavirus and keep your employees needs at the forefront.

Topics: Wellness

Your 401(k) plan’s investments.  Are you paying attention?

Posted by the knowledge brokers

When you made the decision to set up your company’s 401(k) retirement savings plan, you carefully considered the investment options that your plan provider had available.  Your choices were likely based upon factors such as management style, historical performance, the types of asset classes necessary to offer true diversification, and the underlying investment costs to your employees. 

Now, when was the last time that you went back and looked at them again with that type of scrutiny? 

Well, if it was within the last year, and your process was thorough and documented, you are likely in good shape.  But if it has been two years or more since your last analysis, you are creating a risk that must be addressed.  As is true in so many areas nowadays, even the best intentions can create litigation risk when proper due diligence and procedures are not consistently followed.  What are the primary risks?

  • Under-performance - Investment performance and rankings are always changing. Are the “top rated investments” that you originally picked still at the head of their class, or are they now lackluster shadows of what they once were?
  • Unreasonable Costs - Are the investments that are offered cost effective as compared to their peers, or are you effectively forcing employees to utilize options that are now expensive as compared to other readily available options?
  • Failure to Monitor - Within actively managed funds, investment managers at times tend to stray from their original investment goal. This “style drift” can result in stronger investment performance when effectively managed, but a failure to monitor these changes can create a lack of diversification and heighten investment risk.
  • Excessive Proprietary Investment Use - Has your plan made substitutions in their offerings leaving your employees with fewer independent investment options, and a slate of proprietary offerings that are more generous to the investment management firm than to your employees.

Any one of these issues, combined with a disgruntled employee, could be enough to trigger civil or class action litigation.  The good news, however, is that there are effective ways to protect your company and your Plan Fiduciaries.

Has your Plan Advisor prepared and presented to you a full review of your company’s 401(k) Plan within the last 18 months?  If they have not, you should be asking why.  And if they are not, let us know and we would be happy to do so.

At R&R we are specialists in helping to protect you against risk, and to work with you to mitigate your risks as you grow.  Our in house Retirement Plan specialists are available to provide a complete review of your company’s Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan, and to help you to understand what risks are present and how you should be working to address them.  There is no cost for this review service, and it requires only a modest investment of time and effort on your part.

You have the option to either work from the belief that your Retirement Plan is in good shape, or you can know for certain that it is.  Give us a call and let us provide you with greater peace of mind.  It’s what we do at R&R.

Topics: Wealth Management