Alera Group Acquires West Park Insurance

Posted on September 6th, 2017

DEERFIELD, IL (September 21, 2017) — Alera Group, a leading national employee benefits, property/casualty, risk management and wealth management firm, has acquired West Park Insurance and Risk Management of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The acquisition became effective September 1, 2017.

“We are excited to welcome Gene Nosovitch and the West Park team to Alera Group,” said Alan Levitz, CEO of Alera Group. “Their unique specialties, particularly in the area of environmental insurance and malpractice coverage, bring new resources to Alera Group clients across the United States. The collaborative culture of West Park makes them an excellent fit as an Alera Group company.”

Formed in 2002, West Park Insurance and Risk Management provides clients with excellent service, emphasizing business, medical malpractice, senior healthcare and environmental liability insurance. As experts in the areas of environmental claims and subrogation, West Park Insurance has insight, experience and expertise into the industry that allows for client protection through multi-disciplinary services and solutions.

West Park Insurance will join Alera Group through its local firm HMK Insurance, an Alera Group company in Bethlehem, PA. Clients will not experience any disruption in service as the West Park Insurance team continues in their roles with the added resources of Alera Group.

The West Park Insurance acquisition comes on the heels of Alera Group’s acquisition of Lebanon, Pennsylvania-based Zinn Insurance earlier this month.

This transaction furthers the Alera Group’s goal to continue growing organically and through acquisitions since its formation in December 2016. For more information about partnering with Alera Group, visit Partnership Opportunities at www.jmjwebconsulting.com.

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About Alera Group

Based in Deerfield, IL, Alera Group’s more than 750 employees serve more than 20,000 clients nationally in employee benefits, property and casualty, risk management and wealth management. Alera Group was created by merging 24 high-performing, entrepreneurial firms across the U.S. It is the 14th largest independent insurance agency and the 7th largest independent employee benefits firm in the country. For more information, visit www.jmjwebconsulting.com or follow Alera Group on Twitter: @AleraGroupUS

About West Park Insurance

West Park Insurance seeks to provide outstanding service and superior coverage to each unique client, identifying individual insurance needs to develop the most comprehensive, cost-effective solution. Located in Allentown, PA, West Park Insurance specializes in business, medical, senior healthcare and environmental liability insurance.

Media Contact: 
Rob Lieblein, Chief Development Officer
Email: rob.lieblein@aleragroup.com
Phone: 717-329-2451

Alera Group Acquires Zinn Insurance

Posted on September 6th, 2017

DEERFIELD, IL (September 6, 2017) — Alera Group has acquired Zinn Insurance Agency headquartered in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, effective September 1, 2017. Terms of the transaction were not announced.

“We are excited to welcome the Zinn Insurance team to Alera Group. This acquisition expands the risk management resources of Alera Group in Pennsylvania, providing a wider and deeper breadth of resources for our clients,” said Alan Levitz, CEO of Alera Group. “The Zinn Insurance team is a tremendous complement and fit for the collaborative culture, values and vision of Alera Group.”

Zinn Insurance specializes in risk management, utilizing strategic planning, excellent service and cutting-edge technology to provide clients with tailored plans that meet their specific needs. Built on values of professionalism, citizenship and advocacy, Zinn Insurance focuses on giving each client peace of mind with insurance they can trust.

“As an Alera Group company, we are looking forward to the unique resources and capabilities we will be able to offer our clients,” said Greg Zinn, President-Principal of Zinn Insurance. “We look forward to a future of partnership with like-minded firms across the United States that leverages resources and knowledge to the benefit of our clients.”

This acquisition is the latest announcement from Alera Group, as the firm continues to grow organically and through acquisitions since its formation in December 2016. For more information on partnering with Alera Group, visit Partnership Opportunities at www.jmjwebconsulting.com.

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About Alera Group

Based in Deerfield, IL, Alera Group’s over 750 employees serve more than 20,000 clients nationally in employee benefits, property and casualty, risk management and wealth management. Alera Group was created by merging 24 high-performing, entrepreneurial firms across the U.S. It is the 14th largest independent insurance agency and the 7th largest independent employee benefits firm in the country. For more information, visit www.jmjwebconsulting.com or follow Alera Group on Twitter: @AleraGroupUS

About Zinn Insurance
Zinn Insurance has a rich community history with the experience and resources to give clients coverage they can depend on. Since 1938, Zinn Insurance has maintained a strong commitment to serving others and instilling a level of trust that has yielded long-term relationships and friendships. With cutting-edge technology and access to over 60 carriers, Zinn Insurance is uniquely positioned to provide exceptional products and services that continually meet the unique and evolving needs of each client.

Media Contact: 
Rob Lieblein, Chief Development Officer
Email: rob.lieblein@aleragroup.com
Phone: 717-329-2451

What Safety Regulations Apply to Your Business?

Posted on September 6th, 2017

OSHA Extends Electronic Form 300A Filing Compliance Date

The extension is being made to give the new administration an opportunity to review reporting requirements.

At the end of June, OSHA filed a proposal to delay the compliance date of its rule entitled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.” The initial deadline “by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A to OSHA electronically” was originally set for July 1, 2017. The action extends the submission deadline to December 1, 2017.

Waiting for the New Administration

The Department of Labor announced that it was extending the deadline “to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation and allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, which will not be available until August.” This rule would simply require that employers with 250 or more employees and those with at least 20 employees in certain high-risk industries start to submit electronically information already being kept in their OHSA logs. (For establishments OSHA deems high-risk, please see this list:

https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/ NAICScodesforelectronicsubmission.pdf)

Lack of Resources

“They just don’t have the resources right now to be able to put all that into place,” Edwin Foulke, an Atlanta-based partner at Fisher & Phillips L.L.P. and a former OSHA assistant secretary of labor told Business Insurance. “To me, it seemed like it was a stretch anyway to require all this. The (Occupational Safety and Health) Act talks about recordkeeping and collecting data, but it never envisioned such a broad sweeping thing. I just don’t think the agency is equipped to handle all the data they would get from a technical standpoint.”

Proposal to Reconsider, Revise or Remove Certain Provisions

In addition to postponing the compliance effective date, OSHA “also intends to issue a separate proposal to reconsider, revise or remove other provisions of the prior final rule.” OSHA is referring to the rule’s public reporting and anti-retaliation provision, which employers have strongly objected to.

Much of the reason for delaying compliance and forestalling decisions about whether the other rule requirements will be “reconsidered, revised or removed” are in recognition of the fact that an assistant secretary of labor of occupational safety and health has not yet been nominated. That could change a lot of things.

But it doesn’t mean employers should be lax about these rules. “Employers need to make sure the logs are right,” Mr. Foulke told Business Insurance. “They should be making sure that all that data is in place and correct and available. Assuming that come Dec. 1 (OSHA) decides that they’re not going to change that, (employers) should be able to put that information quickly into the system.” Foulke also thinks that if OSHA was able to collect and mine all the data from OSHA 300A logs the information would be quite valuable for improving safety and health programs, investigating accidents and determining their root causes.

When it comes to workplace safety, ignorance is no defense.

OSHA safety and health regulations often apply to all businesses, regardless of size. If you’re not sure which regulations apply to your business, OSHA provides some resources. It has created a Web-based step-by-step guide to help small employers identify some of the regulations that might apply to them. You can find this OSHA Compliance Assistance Quick Start at

https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/ quickstarts/index.html.

OSHA also offers employers an on-site consultation service. Trained state government staff will visit your site and provide free advice. The service is completely separate from any enforcement programs that OSHA operates, and is entirely confidential. Sessions identify and uncover potential workplace hazards and are intended to help small business owners improve their workplace safety and health systems.

If that isn’t sufficient incentive, then this might be — you could qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections if you participate! Find out more at https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html. Your insurance broker can also help you with compliance and safety issues. For more information, please contact us.

https://www.smartspublishing.com/dart/wcsn_dart/wcsn_1708/wcsn_1708_art4.html

3 Tips for a Successful Business Interruption Claim

Posted on September 5th, 2017

The damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey has left many businesses in Texas and Louisiana in a state of crisis. Sustaining serious property damage, these organizations may be facing weeks of interrupted business.

If property damage results in the suspension of your organizational operations and may result in a Business Interruption Claim, use the checklist below as you manage the claim with your independent agent and claims adjuster.

  1. Document all expenses you incur as a result of the loss, which may include:
  • Payroll for employees who assist in the cleanup and repair process
  • Overtime wages paid that are necessary to minimize or eliminate the loss of business
  • Additional lease expense for a suitable temporary location in order to continue operations
  • Expenses incurred to provide suitable power, communication and other utilities to the temporary space
  • Purchase of equipment necessary to continue operations
  • Loss of any contracts due to the suspension of operations
  1. Document all expenses you continue to incur during the suspension of your operations, such as:
  • Continued payroll required to retain key employees
  • Insurance expenses: employee benefits, auto and general liability
  • Taxes
  • Utilities
  • Advertising
  1. Document any business you have lost as a result to the damage to your property. This may include:
  • Cancelled orders
  • Declined orders
  • Loss of rental income

To successfully navigate the property claims process, you must work closely with your independent insurance agent and the insurance adjuster assigned by your insurance carrier. Due to the volume of claims Hurricane Harvey will create, it may take 48 hours or more until you are contacted by the claims adjuster. Insurance carriers are re-assigning additional personnel to the gulf region in order to assist with the increased volume of claims.

The damage caused by Hurricane Harvey will have serious effects on businesses in the affected region. Documenting the expenses as a result of the loss is one way to start on the road to recovery for businesses of all sizes.

10 Tips for Processing Your Insurance Claim

Posted on September 5th, 2017

As Hurricane Harvey has flooded Southern Texas and Louisiana, business owners are left scrambling to protect not only their personal property but their businesses as well. If you are facing property loss and the resulting insurance claims, there are several things to keep in mind.

After the wind has subsided and the waters have recessed, you will need to begin the process of reporting your claim to your independent insurance agent and your insurance company. It is important to stay engaged with your agent and the insurance company adjuster as you work through the claim adjustment process.

The following checklist will assist you in gathering the necessary information your insurance carrier will require in order to process your claim in a timely manner.

  1. Document your damage with photos or videos as soon as possible.
  2. Protect your property from further damage and make temporary repairs, if possible. Your policy requires you to make every effort to protect the property from suffering additional damage but do not begin permanent repairs. This may mean placing a tarp over the roof or boarding up broken windows and doors.
  3. If the property is structurally unsound or unsafe you must report this to your local police and fire department.
  4. Contact a professional and capable mitigation company to abate any water and/or smoke damage. Your insurance agent will be able to recommend a resource for you.
  5. Secure the property as necessary.
  6. Maintain a record of all expenses incurred in protecting the property and provide this information to your insurance adjuster.
  7. Separate damaged from undamaged business personal property if at all possible. Do not discard of any damaged property as your insurance adjuster will want to inspect these items.
  8. Prepare an inventory of the damaged Business Personal Property. Provide a detailed description of the damaged items, list the quantity and your estimated value of the damaged items. Include any available bills, receipts, appraisals and any related documents that will support your valuation.
  9. Do not dispose of the damaged property until your claims adjuster approves of the disposal. The adjuster will need to inspect the property and determine if there is any salvage value for the items.
  10. Be prepared to provide additional information requested by your claims adjuster.

A majority of the property damage caused by Hurricane Harvey will be caused by flooding. Flood damage is typically excluded by most property insurance policies, so you will want to carefully review your particular policy with your agent to determine if Flood is a covered cause of loss.  If your property policy affords flood coverage, follow the guide above to manage your claim with your insurance carrier.

If you have purchased a Flood Insurance Policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), FEMA has a specific Flood Claims Process outlined on their website: https://www.fema.gov/nfip-file-your-claim

To successfully navigate the property claims process, it is vital that you work closely with your independent insurance agent and the insurance adjuster assigned by your insurance carrier.

Due to the volume of claims Hurricane Harvey will create, it may take 48 hours or more until you are contacted by the claims adjuster. Insurance carriers are re-assigning additional personnel to the gulf region in order to assist with the increased volume of claims.

Be sure to be in contact with your independent insurance agent to review your Commercial Property and Inland Marine coverage forms. Your insurance program may include enhancement endorsements that provide additional limits of insurance that can be applied to your loss, so ask your insurance agent to review these coverage terms with you as well.

The havoc wreaked by Hurricane Harvey is an important reminder to business owners that unexpected loss and damage can occur at any time, particularly by external forces that can’t be controlled. Having an emergency plan in place to combat unexpected loss and damage is key to remaining successful in the face of disaster.

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