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R&R Insurance Blog

the knowledge brokers

Recent Posts

Preventing Fraud & Phishing Attacks

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Conceptual digital image of lock on circuit backgroundLarge or small, all businesses are a target for cyber-attacks. Whether it’s a fraudulent email being sent from someone disguised as the COO, or an intercepted wire transfer - businesses must continue to be diligent in preventing these situations from occurring within their four walls.

With the help of experienced professionals, we’ve developed a list of tips to help your organization avoid fraud activity (such as forged checks or stolen cards) and business email compromise.

Payments & Checks

  • Convert all paper based payments to electronic. Checks contain a company’s entire banking identity, so the more they can be avoided, the better.
  • Keep checks in a locked drawer that only specific employees have access to.
    • If using signature stamps, keep these in a locked drawer as well - but separate from any checks.
  • Monitor check orders and limit those who handle the checks.
  • Review and update the signature cards at your bank annually (at a minimum).
  • Never pre-sign checks – under any circumstance.
  • Implement ACH filters and Positive Pay.
  • Use dual authorization for ACH and wire transactions.
  • Review transactions before they’re sent to the bank.

IT Systems

  • Work with your IT department or vendor to ensure safeguards are in place.
  • Flag all outside emails as “external.”
  • Be aware of fraudulent emails (typos, poor grammar, inconsistencies in email addresses, etc.).
  • Change passwords frequently and don’t have your internet browser “save passwords.”

Employee Processes

  • Provide education to employees on fraud and fraud prevention.
  • Have a social media policy in place to limit what is being used in the workplace and while connected to the company’s wi-fi network.
  • Have a process in place for when employee involved with Accounting leave the organization.
    • Alert your bank of employees who’ve left that had banking responsibilities.
    • Change passwords that previous employees had access to.

For more information about having the right insurance in place to properly protect your business, contact a KnowledgeBroker at R&R Insurance or take the free cyber risk calculator below.

Cyber Risk Calculator

 

Sources:
Westbury Bank

Association for Financial Professionals
BVS Performance Solutions
JP Morgan Chase

Topics: Cyber

Employee Benefits: Attract, Retain, and Secure Employees

Posted by the knowledge brokers

employee-retentionA consistent challenge for majority of businesses is how to effectively attract and retain employees. With millennials making up the majority of the workforce, businesses must alter their tactics in order to stay ahead.

Like years before it, 2018 was no exception to the rising increases of health insurance coverage.  Since 2017, single coverage insurance premiums have increased by 3% while family coverage has increased by 5%. Nowadays, employees get their pick of affordable health care coverage options that best suit their lifestyle. That being said, employers must be able to differentiate themselves if they want to attract and secure talented employees.

A successful tactic for retaining employees is taking a look at the needs of the employee and stacking them against financial realities. The outcome of this is to offer meaningful benefits and cover majority of their costs.

Meaningful Benefits: Benefits employees actually want and will use.

Securing Talent

Turnover is a reality that all businesses have to cope with. But poor retention is something you can change. To do this you have to know and have these three things:

  • Know the reasons behind why employees have decided to part from your company
  • Data: have analytics and information for why people leave as well as why people are staying
  • Analyze: be able to put all of the information gathered so you can implement effective tactics and change the future outcome

Amongst the information gathered, you want to design strategies that will better your goal of securing talent. Look for patterns and brainstorm ways that you can break that particular trend (ex. Why people are leaving?).

Understanding the Millennial Mindset

As mentioned earlier, millennials are flooding today’s workforce. This makes them the prime target for your attracting efforts. Medical, dental and vision insurance alone are not going to have millennials flocking to your company. So how do you start from here? You need to understand the mindset of a millennial. They put choice and affordability at the top of their list. The main goal in all of this is to enhance lives by reducing financial burdens.

To learn more about how to effectively attract and retain employees, click here or contact a KnowledgeBroker for more information.

Topics: Employee Benefits

Employee Benefit Plan Limits for 2019

Posted by the knowledge brokers

ComplianceMany employee benefits are subject to annual dollar limits that are periodically updated for inflation, such as HSAs, health FSAs, and transportation fringe benefit plans. This Compliance Overview includes a chart of the inflation-adjusted limits for 2019. Although some of the limits will remain the same, many of the limits increase for 2019.

The IRS typically announces the dollar limits that will apply for the next calendar year well in advance of the beginning of that year to give employers time to update their plan designs and make sure their plan administration will be consistent with the new limits.

Contact a Knowledge Broker for more information.

Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance

OSHA Launches Program Targeting High Injury and Illness Rates

Posted by the knowledge brokers

OSHAEffective October 16, 2018, OSHA launched a "Site-Specific Targeting (SST) inspection program".  The goal of the program is to ensure that employers provide safe and healthful workplaces by directing enforcement resources to those workplaces with the highest rates of injuries and illness.  Read the full OSHA notice here

Targeted Employers or Workplaces for SST Inspection Program:

  • All industries EXCLUDING construction, schools, or municipalities
  • 20+ employees
  • Injury and illness information submitted calendar year 2016 under 29 CFR 1904.41

How can you prepare for a potential OSHA visit?

  1. Awareness: do your company have a plan if OSHA would come knocking? 
  2. Benchmark: how does your company's injury and illness rates compare to industry peers?  Are you a red flag for OSHA? 
  3. Review applicable OSHA compliance programs compared to your company practices.

Preparing for any type of OSHA audit takes commitment from leadership.  The best success are organizations with safety teams to champion safety 24/7.  R&R Insurance can help support safety personnel with self-audits, policy review, training content, and much more.  Start the conversation with an email: safety@rrins.com.

 

Topics: Safety, OSHA

10 Tips to Prevent Chimney Fires

Posted by the knowledge brokers

house on fireWhether we're ready for it or not, winter weather is upon us. And with colder temps comes an obvious increase in the use of fireplaces. For many of us, our fireplaces/chimneys haven't been touched in months. However, chimneys account for 75% of home heating fires - meaning homeowners should actively maintain and follow the necessary upkeep.

Property Casualty 360 provides the following tips to prevent chimney fires in your home.

  1. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a professional, and more than that if creosote builds up on the chimney walls more rapidly.
  2. Consider installing a stainless steel liner that will withstand even the highest temperatures and will keep the embers contained.
  3. Watch out for soot buildup. Soot is softer than creosote, but is also flammable and should be cleaned up regularly. 
  4. Between the professional inspections / cleanings, be sure to check and monitor your wood-burning fireplace for signs of buildup or other problems.
  5. Clean the interior of your fireplace, including the floor, regularly. Sweep or vacuum up cold ashes.
  6. Your chimney has a cap on the top of it with open sides (usually covered in mesh to keep rain, birds, squirrels, and debris out). Make sure this cap is regularly inspected and replaced when necessary.
  7. Check the interior of your fireplace for creosote buildup. It is flammable, therefore too much buildup is a fire hazard and should be cleaned away with a creosote remover as soon as possible. 
  8. Anytime there is smoke indoors from your fireplace, troubleshoot and immediately correct any problems you find. Possible causes are a dirty chimney, soot or creosote buildup, other debris, a sample that isn't open or fully opened, or wood not building completely.
  9. To improve your fireplace's efficiency, you should also consider installing heat-proof glass doors to protect against heat loss and a fan or blower to direct heat into the room.
  10. If possible, burn hardwoods like oak, maple, ash, and birch. These woods burn hot and long, are cleaner to handle, and have less pitched sap. They also tend to leave less creosote buildup but can be more expensive.

Looking for additional safety tips for your home? Contact a KnowledgeBroker at R&R Insurance.

Topics: Personal Insurance

Trade Credit Insurance | A Sales Growth Solution

Posted by the knowledge brokers

iStock-638615786In simple terms, Trade Credit Insurance protects B2B companies or sellers of goods and services against bad debt, including insolvency, slow payment, and political risks. When these issues arise, they can be detrimental to a business. In fact, approximately 82% of bankruptcies are triggered by cash flow problems caused by issues like customer non-payment. In addition, accounts receivables typically represent more than 40% of a company's assets, and one in ten invoices becomes delinquent.

When should businesses consider Trade Credit Insurance?

Trade Credit Insurance applies to businesses of all sizes and in a variety of industries. Trusted Choice states that companies that sell goods and services on credit terms rather than requiring payment up front are exposed to the risk of nonpayment and should consider this coverage. In addition, companies that work with international exports have an increased risk and should take this insurance into account as well.

While there are alternatives to Trade Credit Insurance, they may not be the best option for businesses. According to James Daly, CEO and President of Euler Hermes, the main alternative is self-insurance, a practice many US organizations opt for. Businesses can put a reserve on their balance sheet to cover any bad debt that may occur over the year. However as Daly states, "rather than have capital in your balance sheet doing nothing but waiting for bad debt, why not purchase Trade Credit Insurance and then invest that excess capital into growth or new products?"

How can Trade Credit Insurance benefit your business?

Trade credit solutions can support sales growth while reducing trade risk and giving you the ability to:

  • Avoid catastrophic bad debt losses
  • Expand sales to new and existing customer with less risk
  • Secure better borrowing terms with a lender
  • Reduce bad debt reserves
  • Enhance credit department efficiencies and results

The value of Trade Credit protection extends well beyond the insurance policy.  A key benefit is the extensive financial database available from partners of R&R such as Euler-Hermes, the world's largest Trade Credit provider. The information available at their fingertips provides proactive notifications and protection from adverse financial issues that could be developing with your key business partners. In addition, their data is an excellent evaluation tool when making decisions on partnering or prospecting potential growth partners. 

As a partner of premier trade credit insurers, R&R can assist your company with properly protecting its largest asset - accounts receivable. Contact a KnowledgeBroker for more information.

Topics: Business Insurance

OSHA's Top 5 Most Popular Videos

Posted by the knowledge brokers

OSHAAs of 2018, the videos below are ranked as the most popular by OSHA and the US Department of Labor.

Whether you're looking to train employees, or just share knowledge with members of your organization - these videos provide insight into serious safety topics.

  1. Five Ways to Prevent Workplace Falls
  2. Stop Silicosis (Inhalation of Silica Dust)
  3. Excavation in Construction: Trenching
  4. OSHA Heat Illness Prevention
  5. Falls in Construction: Floor Openings

For more information on any of these topics, contact safety@rrins.com.

Topics: OSHA

Prevent Heat Illness With OSHA's Heat Safety App

Posted by the knowledge brokers

OSHAWhile it may be mid-summer, there are plenty of hot days ahead of us. And studies show that working in direct sunlight can increase the heat index by 15 degrees. If you or your employees are working in the heat, OSHA's Heat Safety App is an important one to have at your fingertips.

According to OSHA, the App allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their worksite, and based on the heat index, display a risk level to workers.

With a simple click, you can also receive reminders about:

  • Protective measures that should be taken at specific risk levels
  • Drinking enough fluids
  • Scheduling rest breaks
  • Planning for emergencies
  • Adjusting work operations
  • Monitoring each other for symptoms of heat-related issues

Click here for more information about OSHA's App and for download instructions.

Topics: OSHA

Water Leaks: The Number One Loss When Going on Vacation

Posted by the knowledge brokers

house180% of Homeowners Overlook Costly Water Leak Exposure When Heading on Vacation

A study by Chubb Insurance shows that while on vacation, just 19% of homeowners view internal water leak damage as the most concerning threat to their home, despite the fact that water leaks are a more frequent risk than fire and theft. Homeowners are particularly vulnerable during summer travel season.

According to Chubb, "the time between when a leak occurs and when it is discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage. As a result, leaks that occur while you're away result in greater amounts of damage in terms of both cost and severity."

Water damage claims have been rising over the last few years as well. In the last 10 years, the frequency of pipe bursts has nearly doubled. In addition to the increase in leaks, 90% of homeowners rate themselves as "vigilant" at preventative home maintenance, yet only 22% shut off the water main before heading out of town.

Before leaving on your next vacation, here are quick steps to properly protect your property:

  1. Be sure all appliances and hoses are in good working condition
  2. Inspect your sump pump 
  3. Have your gutters cleared of debris
  4. Ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your house
  5. Install a water leak detection device
  6. Add a yellow tag to your water main shut off valve in case of a water emergency. Click here to receive free tags from us!

To learn more about water leak damage and protecting your home, view the following infographic, "Don't Get Water Logged" or contact a KnowledgeBroker.

Topics: water damage, Personal Lines, Personal Insurance

Summer is Peak Season for Lightning

Posted by the knowledge brokers

iStock-908647482Summer in Wisconsin is filled with a wide range of temperatures, which can lead to severe storms. While many of us enjoy a good summer storm and the lightning show that comes along with it, we can't forget how dangerous they can be.

In May of 2018, the National Weather Service reported two fatalities from lightning strikes, including a field worker and a child playing underneath a tree.

According to AAA, lightning can strike up to 15 miles from thunderstorms - even when skies are clear. If you hear thunder, slow rumbles, or loud cracks, lightning is close enough to strike you or your home. In recent years, the average cost of lightning damage to a home was $7,639.

Our partners at West Bend Mutual provided the following tips for Lightning Safety.

Real Life Example:
Ted Marino, resident of Brookfield, WI and an R&R customer since 1984, explains the peace-of-mind he had immediately after his home caught fire from a lightning strike during a storm in 2010. Ted and Chris escaped without harm, but their house was another story...

For additional resources to protect your personal assets from storm damage, contact a KnowledgeBroker at R&R.