18 July 2017 By

The US Department of Labor has been conducting frequent ERISA compliance audits and, in many cases, imposing significant penalties for noncompliance. This should spur employers to make sure that they are in compliance with that law’s plan documentation, disclosure, and annual reporting requirements for all applicable plans.

Unfortunately, most employers are not in compliance with the Summary Plan Description (SPD) requirements. Why? Many companies mistakenly assume that insurance contracts, certificates of insurance, SBCs, and benefits summaries fulfill the ERISA requirements for an SPD. Those documents do not include the required or recommended provisions that protect the plan, the employer, and plan fiduciaries.

All group health plans subject to ERISA (and all size groups) are required to provide participants with an SPD. An SPD must be written in a manner calculated to be understood by the average plan participant and must be sufficiently comprehensive to explain the following: the plan’s benefits, its claims review procedures, and the participant’s rights and obligations under the plan.

11 July 2017 By

How many times have you heard someone say “Workers’ compensation rates are the rates” and you can’t change the pricing? Well, fortunately that is not accurate and there are a variety of ways for you to lower your workers’ compensation premiums.

Let’s first talk about how the insurance companies develop their pricing models that determine how much money you have to pull out of your checking account. The first step is to take your estimated annual payroll and break it down by class code. After this is accomplished, you take the set rates published by the state and multiply

it by your payroll (divided by 100) for that class. The set rates are based per $100 of payroll. The next step in calculating your manual premium is taking this number

[(Payroll/100) x Rate] and multiplying it by your experience modification, also known as your experience mod.

A company’s experience mod calculation is a very complex formula that incorporates a number of different factors. The primary factors are taking the losses from the three prior years (excluding the most recent year) and the corresponding premiums developed. Like most insurance polices, this is your basic loss ratio. The calculation will then take into account the payroll dollars for your company and benchmark them against the industry standards for that class code, the actual losses versus expected losses, frequency versus severity, and a few additional factors. Each one bears a certain weight on the overall calculation of the final experience mod.

30 June 2017 By

Spending time on the water is meant to be enjoyable, relaxing and refreshing. With that in mind, we encourage you to be mindful of certain circumstances that might put you and your family at risk. Freshwater boaters in particular should pay close attention to electricity that services boats, docks and marinas. If the electric service has not been installed or maintained properly, a swimmer may be at risk of electric shock drowning.

What you need to know

  • Electric shock drowning can occur when a typically low-level alternating current passes through the body while immersed in fresh water. The force can cause skeletal muscular paralysis, which may lead to drowning. This shock can happen in any natural water, but becomes fatal in fresh water due to lower water conductivity.
  • Large amounts of freshwater runoff into seawater also can produce the same conditions.
  • Electric shock can occur when a boat is powered by an external power source, such as a generator sharing power with another vessel.
  • If your generator is wired and maintained to American Boating and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards, your risk is greatly reduced—as long as the power is contained onboard, and not shared or improperly used.
27 June 2017 By

In today’s business world, your website is your calling card. Your customers depend on it to inform themselves about your business and make the critical decision of whether or not to pursue your services. But it is important to keep in mind that your customers are not the only ones evaluating your website on a regular basis. Your underwriter is too, and what your website is saying to customers is very different from what it is saying to your insurance company.

So what does this mean in terms of maintaining a website that will not only encourage customers to buy your goods or services but also appeal to underwriters who provide the critical support you need to insure your business?

In short, a challenge. You want to ensure your website is appealing to viewers while also highlighting your business as a low-hazard, safety-conscious operation because the first place an underwriter goes when evaluating a business is its company website.

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