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Workers’ Comp: Will You Be Paying More in 2017?

By David Freeman, Director, Commercial Sales

clock August 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Beginning in September, companies across California will learn whether they will be paying more for workers’ compensation insurance next year.

For some doing business in the Golden State, it will be an unwelcome surprise. The increase could be significant.

The potential rate changes are due to a rule approved last year by California Insurance Commissioner David Jones. Beginning in 2017, the formula to determine an organization’s “experience modification,” the rate used to calculate workers’ comp pricing, will change.

The rationale for the change was to level the playing field for small businesses. Previously, the one-size-fits all formula had the potential to unfairly penalize smaller organizations.  A few claims had a dramatic affect on their workers’ comp premiums, a consequence usually not seen with larger businesses.

For many, the new formula will likely result in little change in their workers’ comp premium. However, it’s likely that some large and small employers with a higher frequency of claims will see a dramatic impact.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends, Workers' Compensation

The Cyber Security Threat Remains Real

By Mike Grant, Director, Technology Practice

clock August 17, 2016 at 7:30 AM

Big companies usually make the headlines when hackers compromise the confidentiality of millions of customers, but the truth is that 60% of all cyber breaches last year involved small and midsize businesses.

What’s more, many small to midsize firms typically prudent in other aspects of their business haven’t taken the time to understand the data security threat nor are they effectively managing the issue, according to new survey data from MMA.

Unprepared and Unaware

The 12-page report, 2015/2016 Cyber & Data Security Risk Survey for Small and Midsize Employers, highlights the fact that many are underestimating the potential danger to their business. Notably, the survey found the following:

  • Just 6% of the respondents said they thought their organization’s data security was “bomb proof.”
  • 2% said they did not have a corporate recovery plan to deal with the loss of confidential, personally identifiable information.
  • 9% said their organization did not have the expertise to develop any kind of data security plan.
  • Not surprisingly, those organizations that regularly talk about data security and risk management at the C-level are twice as likely to have implemented a recovery program to help manage a data security breach.

What To Do

Do something.  Most companies get overwhelmed even thinking about how to prepare or prevent cyber attacks.  From our experience, preparation is key to a company’s success in surviving a data breach.  And that preparation can be as simple as 1-2-3.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Cyber & Data Security

Manufacturers: Are You Handling Overseas Suppliers Correctly?

By David Freeman, Director, Commercial Sales

clock August 8, 2016 at 10:00 AM

US manufacturers know all too well the competitive pressures and the shortage of stateside supplies that drive the use of overseas supplies. Foreign suppliers often deliver quality parts at affordable prices and for US manufacturers to stay competitive, there’s often no way around utilizing these resources. However, working with foreign suppliers can be confusing and risky for both new and experienced manufacturers.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Manufacturing

How to Save Your Benefits Program, Your Sanity, and a Tree

By Chloe Seipel, Employee Benefits Communication Coordinator

clock August 2, 2016 at 7:45 AM

For growing companies, providing competitive benefits is more than a luxury.  It’s often the difference between bringing in and keeping the talented employees you need to run your organization.  And once your benefit program is in place, its value is only as strong as your employees’ understanding of and use of those benefits. 

Employees and Human Resources teams are busy.  Put all that busy-ness together and it’s easy to see why informing employees about all they need to know about their benefits can be a challenge. Scatter employees across different locations and the challenge multiplies. 

One of our growing, multi-state pharmaceutical clients was feeling this pain more than ever, stuck in the habit of providing 40-page printed benefit guides. With 450 employees spread throughout multiple locations across the US, these guides had to be mailed to each office, sometimes only to sit unopened on employees’ desks. Any time the company needed to update the benefit information, new guides had to be printed and re-distributed across the different locations all over again.

Recognizing our client’s need for a better solution, our employee benefits team recommended a digital solution: Barney & Barney/MMA’s proprietary iBenefits app for mobile phones. iBenefits would allow the company to easily send the latest benefits information directly to their employees’ mobile phones or iPads. The client decided to give it a go and Barney & Barney/MMA provided them with a myriad of employee communication materials to promote the app. The iBenefits mobile app quickly became an effective solution, giving employees real-time access to their benefits and improving employee engagement with the benefits process. And the employees loved it.

With iBenefits, this employer is now able to:

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Topics: Employee Benefits

Workplace Wellness: Heat-Related Illnesses

By Kari Crow, Health & Productivity Representative

clock July 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM

With summer in full swing, high temperatures and humidity are prevalent. While this means more time at the beach and the pool, it can also quickly end a fun day in the sun. When it’s over ninety degrees, the risk of heat-related illnesses increases dramatically[1].

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Topics: Wellness

Insurance 101: How to Read an Insurance Policy

By Steven Shea, CRIS, Principal

clock July 18, 2016 at 10:30 AM

If you are like a lot of employers, you have a bookshelf or two containing a collection of three-ring binders full of every insurance policy your company has ever purchased. And if you haven’t had the time to crack open one of those binders in a while, then you are in good company. Unless of course, you’ve had the misfortune of experiencing a claim, then you may know all too well the sinking feeling of scrambling to read through the policy trying to figure out what is what.

So, let’s take a look at the important pieces of the policy so that when you read it, it’s not quite the puzzle you once thought. And in the event you need to file a claim, you’ll already be familiar with the workings of your policy. 

Basic Structure

An insurance policy is actually a contract, and all policies follow a similar format. Like with all contracts, each of the parties has rights and duties. In order to make the best use of your insurance policies, it is helpful to know what’s in it, how to find what you’re looking for, and to understand your responsibilities beyond writing out a check for the premium.

Your policy should include:

  • Declarations page.
  • Forms list.
  • General terms and conditions.
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Delaware Ruling May Have Positive Impact on Directors & Officers Liability Rates

By Kala Collett, RPLU, Marketing Speciality - Executive Liability

clock July 11, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The Delaware Supreme Court may have singled-handedly done what the market has been trying to do for years: Make Directors & Officers liability insurance more affordable.

In early May, the Delaware Supreme Court essentially instructed trial courts to throw out future lawsuits challenging corporate acquisitions or mergers that have been properly approved by shareholders. The implications in the Zales case are far-reaching and may discourage M&A litigation. The ruling should also continue to soften D&O rates for publicly traded companies.

A High Bar

The Delaware court’s decision spelled out the future hurdles necessary to oppose a merger or acquisition. If investors are fully informed and have the authority to turn down a takeover, a merger or acquisition cannot be challenged. That’s true even if there were significant mistakes made by directors in the process, so long as a majority of shares owned by disinterested stockholders voted in favor of the deal.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends

Barney & Barney Associates Volunteer Over 6,000 Hours

By Claudette Linzey, Communications Associate, Digital Media

clock June 27, 2016 at 10:00 AM

In April 2015, the Barney & Barney Foundation challenged associates to use their time and talent to make a difference in our local communities by volunteering 5,000 hours cumulatively in thirteen months. Our associates not only took on the challenge, they knocked it out of the park, donating 6,483 hours to their passion projects and favorite organizations. Here are the results by the numbers:

  • Total participants: 187
  • Most hours volunteered by one person: 390
  • Number of volunteers who served over 20 hours: 62

Encouraged to spend time with nonprofits close to their heart, our associates took on roles at over one hundred different organizations. Associates did everything from cleaning up local parks and beaches to teaching children about sustainable gardening and growing food locally. Barney & Barney associates could be found planting trees, serving meals, and tutoring high school students in preparation for college.

To encourage volunteers to go above and beyond, the Barney & Barney Foundation awarded grants to associates who volunteered 20 or more hours. The impact on their chosen non-profits was two-fold, the gift of time and treasure. Sixty-three associates qualified for a grant and because of their commitment to the community, the Barney & Barney Foundation donated $20,800 to local nonprofits, an increase of $6,000 over the previous year.

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Topics: Inside B&B, Community Outreach

Fleet Owners: Are You Hiring the Best of the Best?

By Julie Gasper, CSP, CRIS, CRM, CIC

clock June 20, 2016 at 10:30 AM

That high-end cargo van or semi-truck may sport safety features such as a back-up camera or technology that cues the driver when they are drifting out of their lane, but smart fleet owners recognize that no feature matters more than a highly skilled, safe driver.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2005 and 2007 ninety-four percent of all collisions were the result of driver error. Driver inattention and distraction accounted for almost half of those crashes. Fast forward to today when smartphones are grabbing the attention of drivers and the risks of distraction are even greater.

With life and property at stake, fleet owners cannot cut corners when screening drivers before hiring or monitoring their performance once they are on board.

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Topics: Property + Casualty

How to Keep Your Employees Happy—Part 2: Make Benefits Enrollment Easy

By Madalyn Altschuler, Manager, MarketLink & Benefits Communications

clock June 13, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Researchers in the social sciences are seeking to understand the components that create the elusive condition we call happiness.   The happiness factor is coming into play in the work arena as well with studies showing the importance of job satisfaction in retention of top talent. As discussed in How to Keep Your Employees Happy—Part 1: Quality Benefits, studies suggest that employee benefits play an important role in the overall satisfaction employees experience in their jobs.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Human Resources

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