How Many Years Is A One Year Extension? DOL Clarifies its Disaster Relief Guidance

Posted on February 26th, 2021

The Department of Labor (DOL) has released Notice 2021-01, which clarifies the end date for the relief provided in April 2020 under Notice 2020-01. Per the latest guidance, individuals (and plans) are granted relief based on their own fact-specific timeframes and, therefore, may still take advantage of the relief beyond February 28, 2021, until the earlier of (a) 1 year from the date they were first eligible for relief, or (b) 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency.

As background, in April 2020 the DOL announced that certain deadlines under ERISA were suspended starting March 1, 2020, until 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency or such other date determined by the agencies (the “Outbreak Period”). The following deadlines applicable to participants and beneficiaries are tolled (paused) during the Outbreak Period:

  • The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable) to request a HIPAA special enrollment;
  • The 60-day period for electing COBRA continuation coverage;
  • The date/deadline for making COBRA premium payments;
  • The deadline for individuals to notify the plan of a COBRA qualifying event or determination of disability;
  • The deadline within which employees can file a benefit claim, or a claimant can appeal an adverse benefit determination, under the group health plan or disability plan claims procedures described in the plan;
  • The deadline for claimants to file a request for an external review after receipt of an adverse benefit determination or final internal adverse benefit determination; and
  • The deadline for a claimant to file information to perfect a request for external review upon finding that the request was not complete.

Certain deadlines impacting employers/plan sponsors were also extended, such as the deadline to provide a COBRA election notice, among others. This alert focuses on the deadlines applicable to participants, as we recommend employers send any required notices as soon as practicable despite any extensions available from the DOL.

Section 518 of ERISA allows the DOL to suspend deadlines for a period of up to one year due to a declared public health emergency.  Generally, that would mean because the relief was announced effective March 1, 2020, it would end after February 28, 2021. However, the DOL (in coordination with IRS and HHS) has interpreted the one-year relief to apply on an individual or plan basis.  Accordingly, individuals and plans are granted relief for their own fact-specific timeframes and, therefore, may still take advantage of relief beyond February 28, 2021 until the earlier of (a) 1 year from the date they were first eligible for relief, or (b) 60 days after the announced end of the National Emergency (the end of the Outbreak Period).

For example, if an employee was required to make a COBRA election by March 1, 2020, they have until the earlier of March 1, 2021 or the end of the Outbreak Period to elect COBRA. Likewise, if someone was required to elect COBRA by March 1, 2021, they will have until the earlier of March 1, 2022 or the end of the Outbreak Period to make an election.

The guidance emphasizes the importance of notifying participants and beneficiaries regarding this relief and how it impacts them. The guidance provides the following examples:

  • If a plan administrator or other responsible plan fiduciary knows, or should reasonably know, that the end of the relief period for an individual action is exposing a participant or beneficiary to a risk of losing protections, benefits, or rights under the plan, then they should send a notice regarding the end of the relief period.
  • Any required plan disclosures issued prior to or during the pandemic may need to be reissued or amended if they failed to provide accurate information regarding the time in which participants and beneficiaries were required to take action, e.g., COBRA election notices and claims procedure notices.
  • Plan sponsors of group health plans should consider ways to ensure that participants and beneficiaries who are losing coverage under their group health plans are made aware of other coverage options that may be available to them, including the opportunity to obtain coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace in their state.

What Does This Mean For Employers and Group Health Plan Sponsors?

In an already complicated world, things just became increasingly more complicated.  Employers should work with their third-party administrators, such as COBRA vendors, to ensure any notices previously provided to individuals are updated pursuant to the new guidance.  This includes any COBRA general notices, election notices, grace period notices, SPDs, or other plan materials that may articulate the incorrect deadlines to individuals.  Further, employers and administrators should ensure participants and beneficiaries are adequately notified prior to their individualized relief is coming to an end.

 

 

About the Author.  This alert was prepared for Alera Group by Marathas Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP, a national law firm with recognized experts on ERISA-governed and non-ERISA-governed retirement and welfare plans, executive compensation and employment law.  Contact Stacy Barrow or Nicole Quinn-Gato at sbarrow@marbarlaw.com or nquinngato@marbarlaw.com.

The information provided in this alert is not, is not intended to be, and shall not be construed to be, either the provision of legal advice or an offer to provide legal services, nor does it necessarily reflect the opinions of the agency, our lawyers or our clients.  This is not legal advice.  No client-lawyer relationship between you and our lawyers is or may be created by your use of this information.  Rather, the content is intended as a general overview of the subject matter covered.  This agency and Marathas Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP are not obligated to provide updates on the information presented herein.  Those reading this alert are encouraged to seek direct counsel on legal questions.

© 2021 Marathas Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP.  All Rights Reserved.

Insurance for Nonprofits: Helpers Could Use Some Help

Posted on February 25th, 2021

Nonprofit organizations operate on two basic tracks. Track No. 1 is their mission, the reason they exist – be it to serve vulnerable members of a community, to combat disease, to protect the environment or to advance the interests of a business or trade association. Track No. 2 is fundraising – the task that makes fulfilling the nonprofit’s mission possible.

As it has so many aspects of our lives and society, COVID-19 has messed this all up.

The hardships the pandemic created – some directly as a result of the illness, some indirectly through job loss and related economic hardship – have made the work of nonprofits more in-demand than ever, with food insecurity a particular area of concern.

Concurrently, high unemployment has led to reduced donor capacity, and pandemic-related restrictions have caused cancellation of major fundraising events, greatly hindering organizations’ ability to raise capital. As a result, nonprofits themselves have added to the ranks of the unemployed, forced to reduce staffing while increasing services.

As Insurance Journal recently reported: “Almost three out of five nonprofits cut costs last year and more than half expect to continue cutting costs in 2021, according to The NonProfit Times. The 2020 Eagle Hill Consulting Nonprofit Survey, conducted by Ispos, included 505 respondents from a random sample of nonprofit employees across the United States. In recent months, nonprofits have implemented: program reductions (30%); hiring freezes (30%); furloughs (25%); salary reductions (24%) and layoffs, 20%. More than four out of five indicated that their organizations changed how they serve constituents, in response to COVID-19.”

In short, nonprofits are hurting. And the hard market for Property and Casualty Insurance is a significant cause of their pain.

The Outlook Entering 2021

Here’s the insurance outlook for nonprofit organizations as outlined in Alera Group’s Property & Casualty 2021 Market Outlook whitepaper, released in December 2020:

Rising insurance costs: While their focus is on doing good and serving the needs of their communities, nonprofit organizations face many of the same challenges in this renewal cycle as for-profit businesses. The number of claims and the cost of settling those claims is driving rates up and capacity down for many key insurance coverages. Even nonprofits without claims can expect to see single-digit rate increases across the board. This comes at a time when funding from governmental sources is less consistent and dependable than in prior years.

Only a handful of carriers offer policies tailored to nonprofits: Finding the right coverage can be tough in the best of market conditions. The hard market we’re in is making the task more burdensome. The #MeToo movement and large jury awards for sexual abuse cases have alarmed insurers who traditionally write nonprofit organizations. Some are pulling out of the market entirely while others are reducing limits on coverages such as Sexual Misconduct, Directors and Officers and Umbrella/Excess.

The organization’s mission will be a determining factor: Organizations that have high exposure to molestation or abuse, such as those who serve children and vulnerable adults, including the developmentally and physically disabled and the elderly, will find the insurance market more challenging.

More clients forced to rely on the Surplus Lines market: As the standard market tightens and underwriters become more selective about the nonprofits they will write, an increasing number of organizations will be forced into the Excess and Surplus Lines market.

We foresaw rates continuing to rise and underwriting scrutiny and selectivity continuing to increase in each of these lines of coverage:

Further exacerbating matters, Professional Liability, General Liability, Property and Excess/Umbrella all were trending toward reduced capacity, with Property and Excess/Umbrella also showing signs of worsened availability. Workers’ Compensation was the one line of coverage appearing to be stable, though some states were allowing a “presumption of compensability” for COVID-19 claims involving workers deemed as essential.

For additional details and the entire Property & Casualty 2021 Market Outlook whitepaper, click the link below.

GET THE WHITEPAPER

What’s New

The Property and Casualty market as a whole, and for nonprofits, in particular, hasn’t gotten any brighter, although in areas that haven’t suffered severe weather-related losses, Property Insurance rates have at least stabilized.

As we approach the final month of 2021’s first quarter, I’m seeing rate increases of 3.5 to 5% for General Liability, around 5% for Commercial Auto and 10 to 25% for Excess Liability/Umbrella coverage.

Even nonprofits who have been limiting operations due to the pandemic are seeing increases, and here’s why: The relatively few major carriers serving the nonprofit sector have experienced tremendous revenue loss  in this market due to decreases in and non-payment of premium. Already operating with slim margins – about 3% after claims – the carriers have to recoup their losses somehow, and they see raising rates as their only viable solution.

The Surplus market, meanwhile, has only gotten harder. With limits reduced in underlying coverages, more claims are getting into Umbrella/Excess coverage, and that’s meant increased rates and reduced capacity there.

What’s more, lawsuits against nonprofits filing for bankruptcy have turned to Directors and Officers policies, claiming mismanagement by nonprofit boards and causing D&O rates to escalate.

What You Can Do

Bleak as it is, the Property and Casualty market outlook for nonprofit organizations isn’t hopeless. There are cost-containment steps nonprofit leaders can take, and these include:

  1. Start the renewal process early. Containing costs requires work. You need to give yourself time to provide the information that will enable your agent or broker to market you favorably, and you need to give underwriters time to review your proposal.
  2. Explain to underwriters what changes your organization has undergone as a result of the pandemic. Look at your Workers’ Compensation policy to ensure you’re not being charged for furloughed workers, and make sure your payroll estimate for next year reflects any anticipated reductions.
  3. Estimate low on your expected revenue. If revenue exceeds your projection, your insurance carrier will automatically adjust for the following year, but if revenue doesn’t meet an overly optimistic estimate reflected in your rate, the carrier will not provide you with a discount.
  4. Walk the property with the carrier’s loss-control representative during inspection. This will help you contest any claim denial based on faulty safety conditions.
  5. Be diligent in your risk management practices, beginning with vigilant hiring and employment practices. Do extensive background checks, conduct annual employee reviews and do not allow staff or volunteers to work one-on-one with clients.
  6. Work with an agent or broker who understands the nonprofit world and has a thorough knowledge of your organization.
  7. Prepare your organization for the availability of coronavirus vaccines to the general population,  by reading the Alera Group guide COVID-19 Vaccines: What Employers Need to Know. The whitepaper includes:
    • An analysis of whether employers can mandate vaccination as a condition for return to the workplace
    • 10 steps to take in preparing your organization and employees for vaccination
    • A condensed version of the Q&A section of the CDC website, with answers to questions regarding not only employer policies but also employee questions about vaccine safety and efficacy.

                                                                         GET THE WHITEPAPER


About the Author                             

Joel Jarvis

Producer

Alera Group Las Vegas

Joel Jarvis specializes in property and casualty for Municipalities, Professional Liability, Errors and Omissions Insurance, and Directors and Officers coverage for Boards of Directors and Executives.  He has extensive experience developing property and casualty programs for clients in various industries: including attorneys, transportation, hospitality, nonprofits and construction.  He has sixteen years’ experience in the insurance industry and an additional seven years as an internal accountant working for Las Vegas Sands, Inc, Perlman Architecture, Capitol Pacific Homes.  Early in his insurance career he handled auto, home, life and annuities policies as an agent with Horace Mann Insurance Companies serving teachers of the Clark County School District.  Joel has served as a member of the boards of directors of Aid for Aids of Nevada (AFAN) and Opportunity Village ARC Board.  He also has served on the Accreditation Team for the United Way of Southern Nevada.  He has been actively involved in the Clark County Bar Association since 2005; acted as Social Chair for the New Lawyer Committee and as a Co-Chair of the Community Service Committee.  He was awarded Ambassador of the Year by the Clark County Bar Association in 2004, and he is the Liberty Bell Award winner for 2005 with the organization. Joel holds bachelor’s degrees in accounting/finance and law from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.

Contact information:

As COVID-19 Information Evolves, Employer Guide to Vaccination Becomes More Valuable

Posted on February 24th, 2021

Because the battle against COVID-19 is constant, information about prevention, treatment and cures for the disease changes frequently. Case in point: Wednesday’s news that a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of a single-shot vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson found it safe and highly effective.

As the Washington Post reported: “The review sets the stage for a third coronavirus vaccine to be authorized as soon as this weekend, a point of hope in the middle of a pandemic that has killed more than a half-million people in the United States.”

The recently released Alera Group whitepaper COVID-19 Vaccines: What Employers Need to Know recognizes the constantly evolving nature of information regarding the coronavirus. Its focus is on how and where employers can access the most reliable information – including from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from state agencies – and on how they should prepare their organizations for more widespread vaccination.

The document includes three main sections:

  • An analysis of whether employers can mandate vaccination as a condition for return to the workplace
  • 10 steps employers should take in preparing their organization and employees for vaccination
  • A condensed version of the Q&A section of the CDC website, with answers to questions regarding not only employer policies but also employee questions about vaccine safety and efficacy.

We’re certain that news regarding COVID-19 and vaccination against the disease will continue to develop at a rapid pace. For updates, webinars, legal alerts and additional vaccine resources, be sure to visit Alera Group’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

And to prepare for the coming time when vaccines will be available to the general public and workplace staffing will approach pre-pandemic levels, download COVID-19 Vaccines: What Employers Need to Know. Most businesses have done a remarkable job of adapting to the disruption the pandemic has caused. We’re here to help guide you through the recovery.

GET THE WHITEPAPER

 

About the Author

Gretchen Day

VP of Health Innovation & Advanced Strategies

AIA, Alera Group

Gretchen leads the DiscoverHealth® department in the Employee Benefits division of AIA, Alera Group. She provides support to clients in their cost containment, population health management and well-being initiatives. Gretchen believes that employers hold the key to improving healthcare and the health of their employees, and is passionate about bringing forth solutions to enhance the overall health and well-being of employees.

Gretchen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Delaware and a Master of Public Health degree from Pennsylvania State University with a focus in Health Systems Organization and Policy. Gretchen is certified as a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and holds a Pennsylvania Insurance Producer License for Life, Accident and Health, as well as a certification in Critical Outcomes Report Analysis from the Intel/GE Care Innovations Validation Institute. Gretchen joined the AIA team in 2014.

Contact information:

A Surety Thing: Stricter Underwriting in Otherwise Stable Insurance Bonds Market

Posted on February 23rd, 2021

On the turbulent sea that is the current Property and Casualty Insurance market, Surety has been a stable and steady vessel. Even amid the storm of disruptions caused by COVID-19, Surety bonds have continued to provide safe transport to projects embarking through uncertain waters.

As the coronavirus pandemic worsened last spring, threatening businesses including the ones most in need of Surety – those in the construction industry – fears escalated that the market for bonds would harden along with most other Property and Casualty lines of coverage. Yet, two developments appear to have averted a wave of Surety claims:

  • A much-needed infusion of federal cash from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans
  • The cooperation of partners determined to weather the storm and see their projects through to completion.

As the firm Robinson+Cole’s Construction Law Group wrote in a December article published on the business- and law-focused website JD Supra:

“Despite … project delays/cancellations and work slowdowns/suspensions, just as the concern that construction activity would grind to a complete halt in 2020 did not materialize, there has not been any reported significant increase in Surety claim activity directly attributable to the pandemic, as some initially expected. This appears to have been due, at least in part, to the fact that project participants have been able to negotiate equitable sharing arrangements for the additional costs caused by the stay-at-home orders and work shutdowns in the form of delays, reduced productivity, and health and safety compliance costs.”

No shortage of challenges remains for the construction industry in 2021 – including greater scrutiny and selectivity by Surety underwriters – but for those who can meet underwriters’ heightened standards, Surety is likely to maintain a steady, strictly adhered to course.

The Outlook Entering 2021

Here’s the outlook for Surety as outlined in Alera Group’s Property & Casualty 2021 Market Outlook whitepaper, released in December 2020:

► The Surety sector is coming off a decade of profitable growth, relaxed underwriting and significant surplus growth.

► The sufficiency of capital and prior underwriting profitability likely ensures sufficient market availability and capacity for 2021.

► Because of the economic uncertainty that influences construction and Surety markets, expect to experience a tightening of underwriting and more rigid selectivity requirements from insurers.

  • Emphasis will be on liquidity and cash/cash flow, and credit.
  • For general contractors, focus will be on financial health, quality and financial strength of subcontractors and the amount of work in the pipeline.

► Underwriters will give extra attention to businesses most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as retail, hospitality and travel, due to liquidity concerns.

► Unknown favorable impact could come from a federal stimulus bill and/or financial support for infrastructure improvements.

Buyers of Surety bonds were likely to face increased underwriting scrutiny and selectivity, the Market Outlook noted, but projected rates, availability and capacity all indicated a stable marketplace.

To obtain the entire Property & Casualty 2021 Market Outlook whitepaper, click the link below.

GET THE WHITEPAPER

What’s New

Although much has happened since Alera Group released its Market Outlook and Robinson+Cole published its relatively optimistic overview, little has changed in the outlook on the Surety market for the construction industry.

As Alera Group colleague Kurt Sokolowski of TriSure recently wrote, the construction industry in 2021 faces a good news/bad news scenario. The good news: the promise of an improved economy and green lights on delayed projects, continued progress in the battle against COVID-19 and an expected surge in infrastructure construction spending. The bad: a further-hardened P&C marketplace and endangered status of countless subcontractors.

Additionally, the rising costs of building materials and a shortage of skilled workers mean that contractors will be forced to operate with reduced margins, all the while facing the possibility that their subcontractors will be unable to honor their bids and commitments.

Assuming delayed projects do proceed and Biden administration plans for infrastructure construction projects come to fruition, Surety bond underwriters have a busy year ahead. As Business News Daily reports, “Under the Miller Act,” which became law in 1935, “contractors providing construction, alteration or repair services for federal building must have a surety bond for contracts that exceed $100,000. The Little Miller Act is the state version of the federal rule, requiring companies to have a bond when doing work on state buildings or bidding on state contracts.”

Ten large insurance carriers issue about 60 percent of all Surety bonds. They are highly selective in their underwriting approach, pricing and issuing bonds with no anticipation of losses. Based on this, we anticipate underwriting to become more detailed within this busy Surety marketplace.

What You Can Do

Be prepared to provide underwriters with the records, detailed business plans and forecasts they request. Underwriters will want to fully understand a client’s cash flow needs and projections before issuing a bond, and you should expect them to closely monitor your organization’s financial health and each project’s progress throughout its duration.

“The traditional ‘Three C’s’ of surety bond underwriting – capital, capacity and character – remain of paramount importance to the underwriting process,” noted the Robinson+Cole Construction Law Group, “and, of course, well-capitalized, historically-successful, reputable contractors remain the most credit-worthy type of bond applicants.”

Work with a well-established professional Surety agent who knows your industry, your region and your business – and who has the resources to access markets unavailable to others. Working with an Alera Group representative ensures both local service and national scope.

Gain a better understanding of commercial property insurance ratings. Alera Group’s brief guide provides insights on contributing factors such as construction, occupancy, protection and exposure.

                                                       GET THE PROPERTY INSURANCE RATINGS GUIDE


About the Author                             

Rob Striewig

Senior Vice President, Property and Casualty

AIA, Alera Group

Rob Striewig is a Senior Vice President in AIA, Alera Group’s Property and Casualty division.  He specializes in managing and negotiating the domestic and international contract/commercial Surety programs between clients and Surety companies throughout the United States.  Known as a trusted, professional and confidential business partner, Rob is able to provide ongoing strategic advice, working closely with clients and their other advisers.

Rob served as President of the Striewig Bonding Agency for more than 30 years prior to joining AIA, Alera Group as one of the principals in 2017.  He currently serves as a director on several boards within the industry and previously served on several national advisory boards. Rob is a past president of the MBX (Mid-Atlantic Builder’s Exchange) and is currently chairman of the annual scholarship event conducted by the Central Pennsylvania chapter of the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA).

Contact information:

11 Essential Pieces of the Stimulus Bill for Employers

Posted on February 23rd, 2021

The $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress at the end of 2020 is robust and nuanced. It covers a lot of ground, and can be confusing to navigate. As professionals in the insurance and benefits field, we went ahead and summarized the key points most relevant to our clients and colleagues.

1. FFCRA Paid Leave

The COVID-19 pandemic continues and the vaccine is unlikely to be available on a wide-scale basis in the next several months. In light of this, the refundable payroll tax credits for emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and extended family and medical leave (E-FMLA), which were enacted pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, is extended through March 31, 2021.  Notably, only the tax credits are extended, which means compliance with the EPSL or E-FMLA requirements is voluntary for employers after December 31, 2020.

The policy behind this may have been to incentivize employers to continue allowing employees in the middle of FFCRA leave as of January 1, 2021, to finish out, and be paid for, any remaining leave to which they would have otherwise been entitled.  The tax credit is only available for leave that would otherwise satisfy the FFCRA, had it remained in effect, i.e., if employees for whom the employer provides paid leave would otherwise meet the eligibility requirements under the FFCRA and did not use the full amount of EPSL or E-FMLA leave between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

2. FSAs and DCAPs

  • Employers offering a Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) or health FSA may allow participants to carry over all unused DCAP and health FSA contributions or benefits remaining at the end of the 2020 plan year to the 2021 plan year.
  • Employers offering a DCAP or health FSA may extend the grace period for using any benefits or contributions remaining at the end of a plan year ending in 202
    0 or 2021 to 12 months after the end of the applicable plan year.
  • Similar to DCAPs, employers offering a health FSA may allow participants who cease participation during the 2020 or 2021 plan year to continue to be
  • reimbursed from any unused benefits through the end of the plan year (and applicable grace period) in which participation ceased.  This is often referred to as a “spend down” provision when included in a traditional DCAP.
  • Employers offering DCAPs may reimburse employees for dependent care expenses for children who turned 13 during the pandemic.  The relief applies to plan years with open enrollments that ended on or before January 31, 2020 (e.g., calendar year 2020 plans).  It also applies for the subsequent plan year (e.g., calendar year 2021 plans
    ) to the extent the employee has a balance at the end of the 2020 plan year after any relief adopted by the employer, such as an extended grace period or carryover.  The relief allows the employer to substitute “age 14” for “age 13” for purposes of determining eligibility for reimbursement of a child’s expenses.  In general, DCAP eligibility ends at age 13, except in cases of mental or physical incapacity.
  • Employers offering a health FSA or DCAP may allow employees to make prospective election changes (subject to annual limitations) to their 2021 contributions without experiencing a change in status event.

3. Surprise Billing

A hot topic of late, surprise billing will be banned starting in 2022. This includes a ban on the consideration of reimbursement rates by MedicareMedicaid, CHIP, or TRICARE, as well as a ban on “usual and customary charges” which should prevent providers from suggesting higher rates.

More specifically, healthcare consumers won’t get balance bills when they seek emergency care, are transported by air ambulance, or upon receiving nonemergency care at an in-network facility but from an out-of-network physician or laboratory. Instead, they will pay the deductibles and copays outlines in their in-network plans, and the insurer and the provider will use arbitration to come to an agreement on acceptable payments, leaving the patient out of the process. For those without insurance, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services will create a provider-patient bill dispute resolution process.

4. Direct Economic Relief

While not quite as generous as the last wave, this $286 billion portion of the latest stimulus bill allows for:

  • Direct payments of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year, and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year, as well as a $600 payment for each dependent child
  • An additional $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits will be provided through March 14, 2021
  • An extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed, gig workers, and others with nontraditional work engagements
  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, giving additional weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their regular state benefits
  • An increase in the maximum number of weeks an individual can claim benefits through state employment, the PEUC program, or the PUA program, to 50 weeks

5. Small Business Relief

As the Amazons of the world rake in revenue, small businesses have been left in a tough spot throughout the pandemic. The $325 billion piece of the bill includes the following relief for small businesses:

  • Over $284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans
  • Lending options
  • Expanded PPP eligibility for 501(c(6) nonprofits
  • $20 billion in grants for small businesses in low-income communities
  • $3.5 billion worth of continued small business administration (SBA) relief
  • Enhancements for SBA lending
  • $15 billion allocated toward live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions

6. COVID-19 Testing, Treatment & Prevention

As the US grapples to keep up with the demand for testing and treatment as cases continue to surge, Congress has set aside $69 billion to address this dire situation. This section includes funding for the procurement of vaccines and therapeutics as well as for vaccine distribution. $300 million of this will be reserved for high risk and/or underserved areas. $22 billion will go to states for testing, tracing and mitigation programs. Mental health, support for healthcare providers, and COVID-19 research are all accounted for within this bucket.

7. Schools

As schools of all types and levels struggle with remote learning and protection from the virus, the bill includes $82 billion to assist, including allowances for states, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions that have been significantly impacted.

8. Child Care

Child care has become one of the biggest struggles for working parents throughout COVID-19. How can they mind their children at home while doing their jobs? Or, how can child care centers keep children and their families safe? As such, $10 billion has been allocated for the child care sector through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. The funds can be used to provide child care assistance to families, as well as to aid child care businesses with their new challenges. Of this, $250 million will be set aside for the Head Start providers for low-income children and families.

9. Coronavirus Relief Fund Extension

The bill includes a provision that extends the availability of funds provided to states and localities by the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the CARES Act from 12/30/20 to 12/31/21.

10. Employee Retention Tax Credit

The bill extends and expands the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), part of the CARES Act, helping to keep more employees on payroll and more small businesses and nonprofits afloat.

11. Student Loans

The student loan provision of the original bill was been extended, so through the end of 2025, employers can make payments toward employees’ student loans – up to $2,500 annually – and have that amount be excluded from workers’ taxable income.

 

 

In addition, the bill expanded the lifetime learning credit, a tax break worth up to $2,000 per return can be used to offset the cost of undergrad, grad, or professional degrees.

There are also two important, miscellaneous tax issues we wanted to mention:

  • You are able to deduct qualifying expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income on your federal income tax return, as long as you itemize your return. This is now permanent.
  • Workers whose payroll taxes have been deferred since September now have until 12/31/21 to pay back the government (extended from 4/30/21).

On top of our abbreviated list of must-knows, the bill also includes sections pertaining to Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), environmental tax credits, broadband, transportation, farming and agriculture, and more. What the bill does not include is state and local aid funding, liability protection from COVID-19 lawsuits, and relief for the restaurant industry, among other areas.

 

About the Author
Karin Landry
Managing Partner at Spring Consulting Group, an Alera Group Company

Karin Landry, ACI, CLTC, GBA is the Managing Partner for Spring Consulting Group. Karin has over 25 years of experience in the insurance, health care, risk financing, retirement and benefits industries. She is an internationally recognized leader in captive insurance strategy, benefits and financing. She is Past-Chairman of the Board of The Captive Insurance Company Association and a member of the ERISA Industry Committee and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for Fallon Community Health Plan. She is also a Professor of Employee Benefits and member of the finance committee for the International Center of Captive Insurance Education part of the University of Vermont. Karin’s expertise around benefits allowed her to co-author a white paper for Business Insurance Magazine titled “Captives for Benefits: How to Use a Captive to Save Money and Enhance Benefits Coverage”, which is currently a top seller. Both Vermont and the US Virgin Islands asked Karin for input and guidance with their recent legislative changes. Prior to joining Spring, Karin was President of Watson Wyatt Insurance & Financial Services in the United States and Head of the Health & Welfare division for the eastern region.

Weekly Wellbeing Resources: Zoom Mistakes, Carb Tracking and More

Posted on February 22nd, 2021

When it comes to wellbeing, employers often find themselves challenged by how to approach a shift from a traditional wellness model to a comprehensive and holistic program that supports the whole person. Below you’ll find this week’s curated list of wellbeing resources. Feel free to share these resources, as appropriate, with your team. Have a safe and healthy week!

Career Wellbeing

Social & Family Wellbeing

  • The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship – There’s a reason you miss the people you didn’t even know that well.  While friendships of weak or moderate strength are generally downplayed, they are critical in making us feel like part of a community and something bigger than ourselves.  This is an interesting article that discusses the importance of these relationships and also offers some optimism in terms of what we can expect when the isolation of COVID-19 ends.

Financial Wellbeing

Physical Wellbeing

  • How Many Carbs Can You Eat in a Day? – In this brief video, Integrative Dietician, Esther Blum, talks you through the steps to figure out your own unique carb tolerance (the number of carbs you can eat each day and still drop fat).

Emotional Wellbeing

  • Holding Focus During Stay-At-Home – Our screen time is higher than ever, and it’s time to start setting boundaries to protect our well-being.
  • How to Stop Remote Work Burnout – Working remotely may seem like a dream come true for introverts. But the reality has been exhausting – not only for introverts but for everyone.  Morra Aarons-Mele from The Anxious Achiever podcast speaks to TED Business about how she protects her energy and sets boundaries while working remotely.  She has some great tips.  Join at the 3-minute 30-second mark to jump right into her tips.

Community Wellbeing

  • How You Can Help Texans Following the Historic Winter Storm and Power Outages – Historic snowfall and record freezing temperatures in Texas left millions without water and power for days in Texas last week.  While much of the state now has power, residents are not out of the woods yet.  Disruptions in food supply chains, unsafe water, and financial losses from the storm are plaguing many.  Here’s how you can help.

Employer Focused Wellbeing

  • Breakthrough 2021: The Lyra Mental Health Conference –  On March 16th, leading employers will share their mental health success stories, with tried-and-true tips for investing in your employees, their families, and your business.  You will also hear expert-level insights and walk away with direct action steps you can apply to your own programs.
  • Why Women are Leaving the Workforce: From Mental Health to Social Determinants of Health – 1 in 4 working moms is considering leaving the workforce – and it’s not just from the stress of juggling work and childcare.  HR leaders who want an effective strategy to support their working parents need to dig deeper to get to the root of what’s really happening.  Ovia Health teamed up with Christine Michel Carter, the #1 global voice for working moms, to find out what working moms are really experiencing, and the most important steps employers can take now to retain their working parents. Watch the webinar replay.
  • Proposed Rules Related to Wellness Programs – While the EEOC has just withdrawn the proposed rules on employer wellness incentives, there are many questions as to what will happen next.  Join Alera Group and Stacy Barrow, Esq. as they discuss this important topic. Thursday, February 25th at 11 AM ET.

Good News/Bad News for Construction Industry: More Business, Hard Insurance Market

Posted on February 18th, 2021

Contractors who have survived an unprecedented combination of challenges in 2020 and early 2021 may be in for a windfall later this year, as a growing percentage of the population becomes vaccinated against COVID-19, the economy rebounds and government spending fuels an expected surge in infrastructure spending.

They’ll need the work to pay for the insurance necessary to remain in business.

While good times appear to be on the horizon, builders and associated businesses will continue to suffer effects of damage incurred in 2020 and earlier. The primary culprits of the hard market for Property and Casualty Insurance in the construction industry:

How they address their Property and Casualty Insurance program in 2021 will be a major factor in whether members of the construction industry position themselves to thrive in 2022.

The Outlook Entering 2021

Here’s the landscape for the construction industry as outlined in Alera Group’s Property & Casualty 2021 Market Outlook whitepaper, released in December 2020:

Higher pricing, more restrictive coverage terms and reduced availability and capacity continue: This is expected to last into the first half of 2021 as insurers grapple with increased claims cost, a lack of profitability, customer insolvencies, uncertainties about the construction industry outlook and the ultimate impact of COVID-19.

Commercial Auto and Umbrella/Excess Liability present the greatest challenge: The rate of increase in Commercial auto may be slowing, but it is accelerating in Umbrella and Excess Liability. In Excess Liability, insurers are reducing capacity and requiring higher primary attachment points. Excess Liability insurers continue to push for rate increases on larger fleets even when accounts are performing well.

Some segments are more impacted than others: These segments include frame construction, habitational and street and road operations.

Communicable Disease Exclusion increasingly common: This varies by carrier, coverage and state. Some states are strict about reductions in liability coverages for existing policyholders.

Uncertainty from an underwriting perspective: Labor shortages, restrictive working conditions due to COVID-19 safety concerns and breakdowns in the supply chain are hurting productivity and delaying projects. The longer projects take to complete, the higher the exposures and the likeliness that there will be claims. Uncertainty leads to additional scrutiny and more conservative underwriting.

Increased focus on jobsite conditions: Insurance companies want detailed information on the number of people on the job, jobsite infection rates and the COVID-19-related protocols that are in place.

Among lines of coverage, Commercial Auto, General Liability, Property (including Builders Risk) and Umbrella/Excess looked to be trending against insurance buyers in the construction industry, with rates continuing to rise, availability limited, capacity restricted (reduced limits, additional exclusions), and underwriters exercising greater scrutiny and selectivity.

The forecast was better for Pollution Liability coverage, though underwriters were showing heightened scrutiny and selectivity as regulators increased their focus on emerging contaminants. The one line of coverage exhibiting stability across the board was Workers’ Compensation, but that was subject to change, given an influx of unskilled labor and the likelihood of increased injuries as a result. In addition, the outlook for Workers’ Comp can vary based on individual state regulations.

To obtain the entire Property & Casualty 2021 Market Outlook whitepaper, click the link below.

GET THE WHITEPAPER

What’s New

One of the key takeaways from 6 trends that will influence construction this year, an article published in the trade publication Construction Drive, is that vaccinations and an economic revival will come too late to save many subcontractors. According to the president of one New York City builder, many general contractors are now keeping in-house work they formerly subbed out.

Citing insurance costs as one of the hardships subcontractors are facing, AA Jedson Company President Michael Bordes told Construction Dive, “We’re self-performing most of the construction tasks ourselves because the subcontractors that are out there are having a very hard time. The people we’re dealing with may not be transparent about saying ‘We’re having trouble with assurances’ or ‘We’re short on labor.’ If you keep [work typically performed by subcontractors] on your payroll, you at least have 95 percent control.”

Another key takeaway: Promising economic forecasts and a reluctance to hire subcontractors have not yet produced a boom in hiring and training.

“The story there is that projects are still getting pushed to the right, so companies are not hiring unless they have a job to put someone on,” Patrick Jones – who leads the architecture, engineering and construction division at Raleigh, North Carolina-based recruiting firm Orion Talent – told Construction Dive. “They’re not just out there building bench strength.”

From a risk management and insurance standpoint, that is not a good approach.

What You Can Do

Have a qualified workforce and proven risk management program. Do due diligence in hiring, provide your staff with training that exceeds government standards, implement and reinforce best practices in risk management, and be prepared to market yourself through your agent or broker. When seeking coverage for a particular project, document and demonstrate why it’s a good risk.

Underwriters will be paying close attention.

Here’s what John Shaw, Construction and Engineering Underwriter for the global specialty insurer Canopius, recently told Insurance Journal:

Clients and brokers who “engage early with specialist underwriters” and help them understand their approach to risk management will see preferential treatment through the underwriting market “because the underwriters understand what good looks like versus what the standard is.

“We want information. We want to delve into the project presented to us. I think by presenting a far more open book, we are able to see how you differentiate yourself from your neighbor, and ultimately, that’s going to result in additional offering coming forward.

Get an early start. Assembling the information your agent or broker will need to provide underwriters takes time, and in an increasingly selective market, a good agent/broker will want to cast a wide net to find the right carrier.

Work with an agent or broker who knows your industry, your region and your business. A knowledgeable agent/broker can design a customized program, matching your organization with a carrier whose strengths meet your needs. Working with an Alera Group representative ensures both local service and national scope.

Gain a better understanding of commercial property insurance ratings. Alera Group’s brief guide provides insights on contributing factors such as construction, occupancy, protection and exposure.

                                                       GET THE PROPERTY INSURANCE RATINGS GUIDE


About the Author                             

Kurt Sokolowski, CIC
TriSure, an Alera Group Company

Kurt Sokolowski is a senior partner at TriSure and a Certified Insurance Consultant (CIC). He assists two main groups of clients with insurance and risk management needs:

  • Construction: General contractors and subcontractors require comprehensive coverage and a partner who understands the industry. Kurt has worked with construction companies for more than 10 years.
  • Sports Camps: Kurt is a former assistant head soccer coach and player at North Carolina State University. He brings this experience and expertise to his work with coaches and assistant coaches who run youth sports camps in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Contact information:

9 Areas of Focus for HR Right Now – Part 8 and 9

Posted on February 18th, 2021

We are wrapping up our thoughts on key issues industry professionals are still up against as a result of the pandemic. We appreciate you taking the time to tune in, and we hope numbers 1-7 provided some useful insights or at least reassured you that you’re not alone. Here are our final thoughts (for now), numbers 8 and 9.
8. Benefits & Culture

No matter where you work, things looked markedly different this year. HR professionals have been tasked with maintaining a culture virtually. Benefits professionals are wondering if what they offer is what is needed. Employees are facing so many challenges that engaging with their organization might be the last thing on their minds – they just want to do their jobs and get by. Some employers are implementing outside-the-box ideas for fringe benefits, such as:

  • Childcare assistance
  • Caregiver benefits
  • Paying for Netflix or other streaming services
  • Money toward grocery delivery
  • Fitness app subscriptions
  • Virtual classes on meditation, cooking, or language learning
  • Sharing recipes
  • Start a virtual book club
  • Anything that can boost mental, physical, social and financial health

In addition, telehealth services are obviously more pertinent than ever, and employers need to be sure they have some sort of telehealth option. If you have employees that aren’t wild about the idea of telehealth, have conversations about why, or share your own experiences.

Another new trend we noticed popping up was that some organizations have taken “flexibility pledges,” where meetings are prohibited during certain hours, employees are encouraged to decline meetings they truly don’t need to attend, etc.

Something that has stuck with me and should stick with employers is that employees will remember what kind of support they received from their company during this time. When the dust settles, that will impact their loyalty. So, whatever you do, do something. Don’t pretend that nothing has changed.

When it comes to leadership, executives and managers need to be talking the talk. If you want to encourage a work-life balance, maybe avoid sending emails at 9 PM. Schedule calls that all parties take while on a walk outside. Say thank you on a regular basis for all of the hard work being put in.

9. Beyond COVID-19

As employers and employees alike get more comfortable with what is more like the “normal” now, versus the “new normal,” it’s important for us to look to the future, one that hopefully does not involve COVID-19. Regardless of any changes made by the Biden administration, the consensus seems to be that we’ve all seen the value and importance of having paid leave options, and we expect this to be more than a passing trend. We are starting to see a movement for caregiver leave specifically, and there was discussion around possible changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to accommodate more flexible work schedules. We definitely expect state leave laws to continue to develop at an increasing rate and to encompass a gamut of areas: sick leave, caregiver leave, paid family and medical leave, parental leave, etc.

While we are still in the thick of the pandemic, there are positive signs ahead – treatments are improving, vaccines being administered and we’ve figured out to some degree what safe behavior looks like. Once COVID-19 passes, testing and treatment of other viruses, like the flu or strep throat, might change when it comes to the workplace, and you can bet employees will think twice before showing up to work when sick.

At the end of the day, employers should remember that, above all else, we need to be extra human right now. This may manifest in different ways depending on the organization, but I hope these reflections on COVID challenges have given you some food for thought, and some ideas to take back to your company.

 

About the Author
Christine Culgin
Director of Marketing at Spring Consulting Group, an Alera Group Company

Christine Culgin is Spring Consulting Group,  Director of Marketing. She studied Spanish and Economics at Lafayette College and later went on to receive her master’s degree in global marketing communications and advertising from Emerson College. Christine specializes in B2B marketing and handles content creation, email marketing, social media, blogging, SEO and event management at Spring.

Commercial Auto Insurance: Hazardous Conditions Ahead

Posted on February 16th, 2021

If you’re looking for good news regarding Commercial Auto Insurance, consider this: Technological advances are increasingly available to monitor driver behavior and enhance vehicle safety.

And that’s about it. Amid a hard Property and Casualty Insurance market that includes sharply escalating rates for Commercial Auto coverage, carrier discounts based on various driver and vehicle metrics can provide some relief to businesses whose very existence may be at risk.

Beyond that, Commercial Auto presents a harrowing landscape that includes:

In addition, another prime contributor to the overall P&C hard market, catastrophic weather, has been leaving its mark on the Commercial Auto market, most dramatically in a crash involving more than 130 vehicles and at least six deaths near downtown Fort Worth, Texas, last Thursday.

Nuclear Verdicts and Commercial Trucking

But the greatest driver of the need to cut costs through risk management-related discounts may be a phenomenon affecting multiple industries and lines of coverage: nuclear verdicts in liability lawsuits.

In one industry, the impact of such court judgements has been so great that the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) published an 82-page whitepaper about it: “Understanding the Impact of Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry.” ATRI’s research revealed that in lawsuits resulting form truck-involved crashes, the number of plaintiff-favored judgements of $1 million or more rose from 79 in the years 2005-2011 to 265 from 2012-2019. The average size of plaintiff-friendly judgements, meanwhile, escalated from about $2.3 million in 2010 to $22.3 million in 2018.

As a result of such losses, the Wall Street Journal reported in January 2020, “The costs are weighing on trucking companies of all sizes, with some smaller operators that shut down recently citing insurance as a factor in their demise.”

ATRI concurred, noting that one smaller motor carrier saw its single-year rate more than double – from $340,000 per year to $700,000 per year.

“This cost increase ultimately forced the motor carrier out of business, putting more than 50 employees out of work,” ATRI noted. “Other fleets, many belonging to decades-old family businesses, experienced similar outcomes.”

Outlook Heading into 2021

Here’s the landscape for the public sector as outlined in Alera Group’s Property & Casualty 2021 Market Outlook whitepaper, released in December 2020:

► The industry is signaling its need to rein in declining results within the Commercial Auto market that are being driven by 10 successive years of underwriting losses, culminating in a $4 billion loss in 2019.

► Fleet rates are poised to increase between 10% and 20%, with large fleets facing greater increases, higher deductibles and lower limits.

► Underwriters will be influenced by an account’s loss history, drivers’ background checks and driving records, fleet maintenance and use of commercial vehicles. Long-haul, heavy construction and local delivery operations will be most closely scrutinized and more difficult to place in most markets.

► Contributing causes of loss performances and the resulting need for price increases include:

  • Underpricing and under-reserving for prior losses.
  • Higher accident frequency and substantial increases in loss severity.
  • Rising medical costs and loss adjustment expenses.
  • More inexperienced drivers.
  • Deterioration of highways and road infrastructure.
  • Distracted driving and sleep apnea, as 43% of the workforce identify as being sleep deprived.

► Increased use of delivery services.

Among lines of coverage, General Liability, Property and Umbrella/Excess looked to be trending against insurance buyers, with rising rates, limited availability, restricted capacity (reduced limits, additional exclusions), and increased underwriter scrutiny and selectivity.

To obtain the entire Property & Casualty 2021 Market Outlook whitepaper, click the link below.

GET THE WHITEPAPER

Broader Implications of ATRI Findings

While the American Transportation Research Institute report focuses on the trucking industry, its findings have implications for all drivers of commercial vehicles. Foremost among them: Factors that influenced nuclear verdicts were within either the employer’s or the employee’s control.

Among the hundreds of cases ATRI examined, five specific factors brought against a defendant resulted in 100 percent of verdicts favoring the plaintiff:

  • Hours-of-service (HOS) or log book violations
  • Lack of a clean driving history
  • Driving under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Fleeing the scene of the crash
  • Health-related issues.

The rate of verdicts favoring the plaintiff were also extraordinarily high, 91.7 percent, in cases citing two other factors: sleep/fatigue and driver phone use.

“As a result,” ATRI concluded, “motor carriers have fewer options for purchasing full coverage to protect their balance sheets. Consequently fleets continue to accrue increased risk (e.g. higher deductibles, less coverage) to mitigate costs … To offset this increased risk and fearing nuclear verdicts, motor carriers have generally increased their focus on safety and hiring practices.”

What You Can Do

Catastrophic weather, social inflation and vehicle repair costs may be beyond your organization’s control, but safety and hiring practices are not. Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Do due diligence in hiring, provide your staff with training that exceeds government standards, and reinforce best practices.
  • Document, document, document. Keep thorough records of training programs, driver hours and mileage, maintenance procedures and any driver-related incidents.
  • Train employees on reporting a claim immediately after an accident or act of vandalism.

In addition, work with an agent or broker who knows your industry and region. A knowledgeable agent/broker can design a customized program, matching your organization with a carrier whose strengths meet your needs and ensuring you receive any available discounts.

Finally, make sure you’ve protected your data – and that of your clients – by attending Alera Group’s April 28 webinar, “Cyber Security: What to do Before and After a Breach.” Cyber criminals are more organized, sophisticated and active than ever before – to the extent that there isn’t a question of whether your business will experience a breach but rather of when it will happen. Join World Synergy Chief Solution Officer Matt Jones and Security Principal Gunner Wagh to gain a better understanding of how your organization should be handling cybersecurity.

REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR


About the Author                             

Brenton Kidd, CIC

West Texas Insurance Exchange

Brenton Kidd is a multi-line producer for West Texas Insurance Exchange, Inc. His expertise is commercial insurance, with a focus on medium to large accounts, particularly in the oil and gas industry. Licensed to sell Property and Casualty Insurance, Brenton earned his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation through the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research in 2019.

Contact information:

Weekly Wellbeing Resources: Screen Time, Acts of Kindness and More!

Posted on February 15th, 2021

When it comes to wellbeing, employers often find themselves challenged by how to approach a shift from a traditional wellness model to a comprehensive and holistic program that supports the whole person. Below you’ll find this week’s curated list of wellbeing resources. Feel free to share these resources, as appropriate, with your team. Have a safe and healthy week!

Career Wellbeing

  • Quiet People in Meetings Are Incredible – Knowing when not to talk is an art.  Quiet people can change the world because they hear things others don’t.  This article provides an interesting lens with which to view your next meeting.

Social & Family Wellbeing

  • 7 Ways to Become a Better Listener – Now, probably more than ever, most people can use someone who really listens and understands them.  For someone who is struggling, having someone who simply listens can make all the difference in the world.  Here’s a great refresher on how to perfect your listening skills.

Financial Wellbeing

  • Get a Game Plan: Tackle Debt and Build Emergency Savings – No matter how much you make or what stage of life you’re in, it’s important to prioritize spending and saving so you can reach your financial goals. By creating a plan to tackle your debt and build an emergency fund, you can protect yourself from future unplanned expenses. Register to join Principal Financial for this webinar to learn how you could be on your way to a more financially secure future. Wednesday, February 17th at 12PM ET.

Physical Wellbeing

Emotional Wellbeing

  • 12 Small Ways to Take Breaks from Our Screens – Our screen time is higher than ever, and it’s time to start setting boundaries to protect our well-being.
  • 30 Tools to Help You Take Back Control of Your Life – Our lives have become complicated and our days so tightly packed that there is little room for error.  This often leads to us feeling rushed, frustrated, frazzled, and stressed. Here are some tools, motivation, and attitude changes to help you root out stress at its very source.

Community Wellbeing

  • 65 Ways to Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week – Random Acts of Kindness Week 2021 kicks off on Valentine’s Day this year and runs through Feb. 20, 2021—meaning you can have seven heart-warming days of giving back. Here are 55 easy ways you can spread kindness for Random Acts of Kindness Week. You can do most of these things right from your phone!

Employer Focused Wellbeing

  • Good Leadership is an Act of Kindness – From bolstering remote collaboration to scheduling meetings upon meetings, the business press and bloggers are buzzing with guidance about ways to sustain employee engagement and productivity in the chaos of a pandemic. Unfortunately, most Management 101 advice does not recognize that in times like these, the manager’s toolkit must expand in ways we haven’t seen before.  One of the most powerful, fundamental leadership strategies of our time is the most innately human one: Be kind.
  • Proposed Rules Related to Wellness Programs – There are many questions as to how the proposed EEOC rules will impact employers, and although still only proposed, it is very likely they will be implemented in 2021. Many of you have wellness programs that include wellness credits or surcharges as part of your overall health budget. These new proposed rules will impact what you need to do in order to keep your current wellness program in place and compliant. Join SIG, an Alera Group Company and Stacy Barrow, Esq. as they review these new proposed rules to help you be proactive and strategic. Thursday, February 25th at 11 AM ET.

 

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