Wellness Program Ideas Worth Leveraging

A healthy and happy workforce is key to controlling costs in the workplace. By reducing stress and emphasizing wellness, employees benefit and spend less time on sick leave. The company benefits too with increased morale, productivity, and reduced insurance costs.

Other company’s are leveraging these techniques and you may want to consider them as well…

Run “Biggest Loser” Contests

Create a competition to reward the biggest healthy loss of weight within a definite period of time. Rather than measuring actual pounds lost, concentrate on percentage of body weight. This way, individuals who are sensitive about their weight can safely participate. Give bonus points for employees that achieve a healthy BMI regardless of percentage weight loss.

Zero-Gain Challenge

Offer employees the opportunity to earn zero-gain rewards around their birthdays and holidays. Participants will weigh themselves on November 1 and again on January 31. For birthdays they could weigh a month before and a month afterward. Award a prize to every worker who maintains his or her weight through the contest period.

Race Entry Reimbursement

Support your team’s fitness goals by sponsoring them for entry fees into races. These events will give them a challenge to train towards completing those races, furthering your wellness program efforts. Encourage your employees to race together, and you can realize team-building benefits as well.

Fitbit Challenge

Everyone can benefit from moving. Encourage your employees to walk, jog or run more each day by organizing a Fitbit challenge. Provide participants with tracking devices (you may be able to negotiate a discounted price if you purchase in bulk from a retailer) and set a variety of goals to accommodate workers at different fitness levels. Attach a reward to the achievement of each goal; you can award anything from medals or plaques to gift cards and extra time off.

Need other wellness program ideas? Contact us today for assistance with this or any other employee benefits assistance.

For a Better Night’s Sleep, Do This

Did you get at least seven hours of top quality sleep last night? If your response is no, you’re not alone. According to one nationwide survey, 30 percent of folks polled get 6 hrs or less of sleep.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that a lack of sleep is a public health concern. This is because a lack of sleep increases disease and lowers quality of life.

To fix sleep challenges, follow these steps…

 1. Get outside more.

One sleep deficiency study discovered that the more “fresh air” someone gets, the more likely they were to report a good night’s sleep. So spend a long time each weekend in your city’s parks or walk in your neighborhood after dinner. It’s much better than spending hours in front of the TV. The fresh air will improve your rest even if you’re only able to get outside a few times every week.

Also, being outside in all-natural sunlight is ideal. So many of us spend most of our days confined in windowless offices. Exposure to sunshine is needed to establish as well as keep a normal circadian rhythm.

2. Establish a regular routine.

Spontaneity can be exciting, but it’s not a ideal for rest. Scientists have determined that maintaining consistent habits — from when you get up, to when you work out — substantially affect one’s ability to rest. They believe that adhering to a regimen can program your body’s biological rhythms and better sleep is a natural outcome of this “programming”.

3. Make time for exercise.

It doesn’t matter what time you choose to work out. In fact even a vigorous workout right before bed is beneficial. Regardless of when the workout occurs, 97% of folks report significantly better sleep on the days they exercise.

Watch out For These Payroll Tax Mistakes

If you run a small company or a large one… you have many responsibilities. One that can cause quite a bit of headaches is taking care of pay-roll tax obligations. It’s easy to make mistakes and the penalties can be large.

So review these tips to avoid those headaches…

Misclassification of Employees

Hiring independent contractors to avoid paying typical expenses associated with employees is a growing trend. However, there are specific tests to determine whether these “independent contractors” should actually be classified as employees instead. For example, if you control what they do, when they show up for work they are not independent. (You can learn more about employee classification by visiting the IRS site here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/understanding-employee-vs-contractor-designation)

Reimbursements

If you regularly repay employees for job-related expenses such as traveling on the companies behalf, you need to have a solid system in place to track these expenses and prove they are legitimate business expenses. This way your workers will not pay tax on the reimbursements.

Insufficient Payroll Records

All companies with employees must maintain consistent reliable pay-roll records. This consists of time sheets and pay-roll tax calculations along with copies of W-2s and I-9s. It is important to save these records for at least 4 years.

Making Use Of Withholdings to Pay Other Operational Costs

Never make use of withholdings to cover other company expenses. Regardless of your company’s financial condition, you must ensure those funds are kept separate and untouchable. If you do, you’ll run afowl of the IRS and face significant penalties.

Skimping on Oversight

Yes you can outsource payroll to a 3rd party company. However, you are still ultimately responsible if they make a mistake. As the business owner, you must make sure all reporting is handled properly and is accurate.

For other insights on how we can help you protect yourself from the risks of running a business, be sure to reach out to one of our professionals. We are here to help!

Preventing Dog Bites

Preventing Dog Bites

We love our dogs… the wagging tails… the kisses. And yet dog ownership has challenges. Dogs bite more than 4.5 million people each year. Of those, nearly 900,000 are severe enough to require medical intervention.

In addition, dog bites are costly. The typical cost per canine attack case settled through insurance is over $28,000. It’s a big number. It’s also why home insurance rates go up when you get a new dog…

Thankfully, there are actions you can take to decrease the chances of your dog biting or attacking someone.

First, choose your dog carefully. There are varying viewpoints on whether dogs of certain types are much more hazardous than others are or if home atmosphere has more to do with a pet’s nature. Speak with your veterinarian regarding prospective behavior and also wellness problems connected with details breeds.

Also, talk to our team about potential dog breeds that may be excluded from being protected your insurance coverage representative regarding breeds omitted from protection under your house owner’s insurance plan.

Next, introduce your family pet to your pet early. Well-socialized puppies are more likely to become grown-up pets who feel comfortable around people and other animals. It’s also good to keep exposing your dog to new situations…

Also be sure you you keep your child is older because nearly 50% of all severe dog bites involve youngsters. A good age is at least 4 years old. Kids of this age are better able to understand how to behave around your dog. And NEVER leave your baby or young child alone with a dog, no matter how much you trust the dog.

Finally, be sure to take care of your dog’s health. From spaying or neutering to controlling parasites… your dog’s health impacts their attitude. Be sure your dog also is seen by a vet regularly an is properly vaccinated.

Whether you already own a pet dog or are considering bringing a pooch into your home, give us a call to assess your insurance coverage responsibility coverage for bites and various other pet-related injuries. We’re here to help!

 

Do You Need a Workplace Anti-Bullying Policy?

Workplace bullying is a growing concern in the U.S. 96 percent of American employees report having experienced work related intimidation or bullying occurring at least once in their career. Fully 89 percent reported harassing cases that had persisted for greater than one year.

One of the most common kinds of bullying reported was sabotage of the work or credibility of others. While just 4 percent indicate physical abuse, most report extreme verbal abuse and menacing threats as common elements of workplace bullying.

Such bullying invariably leads to negative productivity and is costly to the bottom line of companies. Bullying creates an uncomfortable work environment. Employees doubt their safety. They also doubt the leadership of the company. This brings about lower productivity and higher turnover. It can also lead to lawsuits if the work environment seems to “look the other way”.

While the development of an office anti-bullying plan is necessary, the process can be challenging due to both practical and legal factors to consider. For instance, how do you identify destructive intimidation from friendly teasing? The National Labor Relations Board has complicated the issue having challenged various company bullying policies, usually due to the fact that they find the language within them to be also broad.

As you examine your anti-bullying stand, watch out for these points…

  • Clearly state that your firm is devoted to promoting a considerate, bully-free environment.
  • Define work environment bullying as clearly as you can and include a declaration that your firm recognizes the degrees of harassing that may occur (between managers and also employees, between coworkers, between clients as well as workers, and so on).
    Include a detailed list of the sorts of habits you will not tolerate under the policy.
  • Define the process for reporting bullying incidents. Due to the fact that staff members could be scared of revenge, confidential reporting systems are typically preferred.
  • Outline what happens to employees for violating the anti-bullying plan.
  • Communicate the plan to staff members at all levels within your organization. Make sure each individual signs off that they have read and understood the policy.
  • Take all reported issues of bullying and harassing seriously.

You may want to consult with an attorney specializing in workplace issues to help you form your policy and action plans to be certain they are legal and adequately address the situation.

And once you have established a solid plan, be sure to review your insurance. An EPLI policy can help protect you and your company from claims against your company and its response to reported workplace bullying.

Active Shooter Preparedness

Preparing Your Workplace for an Active Shooter

It’s heartbreaking to acknowledge that violence in the workplace occurs. According to the CDC more than 15,000 employees became a workplace homicide victim over the last 20 years. Four-fifths of these injuries were a result of gunfire.

It’s difficult to imagine something like this would occur where you work. Yet nearly half of all shooting incidents take place in commercial locations.

Survivors of active shooting incidents have successfully sued their companies for neglect in not offering defensive training on how to handle such situations. Refusing to address the potential hazards of an energetic shooter in your office might also be a violation of the OSHA Health And Wellness Act.

It’s important to help your staff understand the potential danger of a situation as well as how handle one should it occur.

First, be on the lookout for employees that show signs of:

  • Radical changes in behavior.
  • Aggressive behavior such as yelling, pushing, or intimidating others.
  • Outward aggressive anger toward coworkers or supervisor.
  • Increasing frequency of referencing violent actions.

Encourage your staff to be aware of and report these indications to their supervisor, security or police as required.

You should also ensure your staff knows how to stay safe.

Most active shooter incidents happen quickly and last minutes. You need to train your team to be prepared for potential scenarios, as well as when to leave, shelter, or fight in place as necessary.

Leave– This is the primary way of protection, provided there is an available path to safely escape. Training should include emergency contact processes and how to quickly evacuate facilities.

Shelter– Occasionally escape is not possible. Your staff will need to find a safe hiding area. Places to hide should be out of the active shooter’s line of vision and be very easy to evacuate if the situation changes. Good hiding places allow your team to secure or blockade doors.

Fight– This is a last resort. The key is to distract or incapacitate. Methods can include screaming, hand-to-hand protection strategies, and also improvising weapons.

Finally, you should be sure your team understands how to behave when the authorities show up. When evacuating the building, advise staff to leave personal items behind and keep their hands empty, up, and clearly visible. They also must comply with instructions issued by law enforcement.

And also remember, we’re only a phone call or email away if you have questions about workplace safety and how it impacts your insurance costs.

How to Leverage America’s Aging Workforce in Your Business

The job market is tightening. Finding great workers is getting more difficult. Yet if you set age aside, there’s a great pool of folks with fantastic business experience, interpersonal capabilities, and general proficiency. (And it’s important to know… studies show that for each 90 days a position remains unfilled, a company loses $14,000.)

As companies battle each other to fill open positions, a number are looking at the pool of highly experienced, talented, slightly older workers to help fill the need.

Older workers also tend to carry institutional expertise and specific abilities that expand their worth. Smart companies are capturing this knowledge and implementing programs to ensure it is passed on to younger workers via mentoring, etc.

Recruitment

AARP has a program to help recruit older employes. (https://www.aarp.org/work/employers/) The website helps connect workers and employers…

One critical element to attract older workers is your benefits portfolio. You could provide additional plans that cover gaps in Medicare as an example. You can do the exact same with various other benefits too ranging from dental to vision. And remember pet insurance has also become a popular benefit to offer. These various benefit programs can be added in a way that is affordable to employees with little out-of-pocket costs to the company.

We recommend speaking with our team on options you can leverage to help you build a targeted benefits program that would be attractive to more mature workers.

Carefully Designate Life Insurance Beneficiaries to Avoid Challenges

Many people get life insurance. And one of the biggest mistakes they make is in picking beneficiaries. You are free to name nearly any person as your beneficiary. For most individuals, it’s usually a close family member. Nevertheless, you could select any type of competent person and even an entity, such as a charity.

Beneficiary designations can be made by naming specific individuals or entities. Use complete names to prevent confusion. You can be more certain by describing birth dates or social security numbers… or for charities… their Federal Tax Employee Identification Number.

You can name many beneficiaries to receive equivalent or unequal shares. For multiple beneficiaries, utilize percents instead of real dollars. Dollar amounts can create confusion, particularly if the life insurance policy has a value that fluctuates.

You may also choose a trust fund as a recipient. This can be useful in benefiting minors or handicapped persons. Your main beneficiary will certainly always get policy proceeds initially. If this is a person, she or he must be alive when you die. If that specific recipient is deceased, the plan continues to your next recipient.

Therefore, it is necessary to identify one or more contingent beneficiaries. If you and your key beneficiary pass away at the same time, your key beneficiary is presumed to have actually passed away first. Consequently, if there were no contingency plan, you would not have a named recipient. The life insurance would go to your estate. Having appropriately named beneficiaries prevents having your life insurance policy proceeds from traveling through your estate. This could protect against possible inheritance tax in addition to probate expenses.

For minors, you need to be particularly careful in stating beneficiaries. You should designate life insurance proceeds to a custodian for the benefit of minor beneficiaries.

Also, make certain to review your recipient classifications on a regular basis and if needed, make revisions because of marriages, divorces, births, and fatalities.

It is important to focus on two primary objectives in selecting beneficiaries: ensure your designations accomplish your objectives, and avoid unnecessary legal debates and taxation.

If you have life insurance questions, we have answers! Be sure to reach out to learn more about properly structuring life insurance to meet your specific needs.

Tips on Finding Home Insurance Savings

Have an apartment or a house? You naturally need home insurance. The challenge is most people get home insurance and then ignore it.

The thing is, as time goes by your living situation changes. You may acquire more things like jewelry or art. You may make improvements to your home. You might have added a home theater.

In any case, you need your insurance to keep pace with your personal situation and to ensure your property and things are sufficiently protected.

There’s no magic time to think about home insurance policy … so have a look at these tips on the best ways to get the most value in your home owners plan.

Manage Your Credit

Credit scores impact insurance costs in many situations. The better your credit, the lower your insurance costs. Maintaining a strong credit rating is in your favor.

Allow Us to Search For The Best Home Insurance Deals For You

As an independent insurance agency we offer insurance from a variety of carriers … one phone call to our team is all that’s required to have us spring into action and shop for fantastic rates among numerous insurance providers. We’ll save you time & stress in the process.

Examine Your Deductible

Talk with us about your insurance deductible. The key is to make certain your deductible is something you could manage to pay in case of a serious issue. For a claim on a residence, one general rule is to have the deductible be high enough that you don’t leverage your insurance for “simply anything” that fails with your house. Home insurance really should be reserved for urgent scenarios. The higher the deductible the more you can save … some premiums can be cut by up to 30 percent.

Look into Discounts

If you have two or even more insurance policies (car/ residence for example) with the same service provider, you could save up to 15% off the plans. Certainly give us a call to explore your options …

Ensure You Aren’t Over-Insured

Some people believe getting even more insurance than they need will give them some type of benefit. It will not. You need an adequate amount of protection to cover the cost of replacing your residence and also its valuables. As an example, if your home is of moderate construction, you won’t insure it to replace with luxury materials. Likewise, you also need to protect yourself from being under-insured as well. The key here is to have an candid conversation with our insurance team so that we could make certain you have the RIGHT insurance.

One Last Suggestion

Many carriers offer additional discounts when you have been with them at the very least 3 to 5 years … so keep that in mind as you examine your property owners policy. As always, remember we’re here to help you, so call us today to earn certain you are obtaining the greatest worth from your insurance.

Tips on How to Save on Life Insurance Premiums

Estimating Insurance Coverage Requirements

No matter whether you’re single or wedded, you’ll have to find out your expenditures, and also prepare for the future.

If you have dependents, you must get adequate insurance to change the revenue you currently generate for them, as well as compensate for any type of extra expenses they may sustain to replace the services you presently supply.

Although there isn’t really any specific formula to estimate life insurance policy needs, a fast and standard method to get a harsh quote is to take your yearly revenue and also increase it by 7.

An additional trick is that your strategy should adequately replace the “concealed earnings” that would be lost at fatality. Covert earnings is earnings that you obtain with your employment that isn’t part of your gross salaries. It consists of things like your company’s payment to your medical insurance costs, the matching contribution to your 401( k) strategy, as well as several various other “perks”.

You must likewise plan for expenditures that emerge at fatality. These include funeral costs, taxes as well as management expenses connected with “winding up” an estate and also passing the residential property on beneficiaries.

Do you have sufficient Health Insurance?

Many employers provide medical insurance to their workers. But also for others, it is up to them to offer their own health insurance. In either case, you may not have sufficient coverage for costly clinical expenses. Ideally, you need to make the effort to analyze your medical insurance strategy to establish if you should buy a lot more, alter your policy, or even minimize what you have.

Medical insurance plans vary from one company to an additional. Some require that you check out only authorized medical professionals and clinical centers for your needs, while others enable you to decide what is right for you. An increasingly prominent selection is wellness savings accounts that permit people to place money away each year right into authorized accounts to spend for their clinical expenditures. Any type of approach that you choose is better compared to having no clinical coverage.

Private health insurance plans are available to help you identify exactly what your needs are, and also to shield your health and wellness which of your family members. Such strategies likewise enable you to choose the physicians you wish to see. To have medical coverage in times of demand is valuable certainly, yet to have complete control over your policy is an added benefit!

If you do have medical insurance, spend time in recognizing just how it functions, and what it can supply you. You should know which medical professional you could see, as well as if you require approval for unique brows through. It is additionally essential to recognize what does it cost? of your medical expense is paid by the insurance plan. Some supply only 80 percent while others will not include prescription medications. Talk with your insurance policy representative today to identify just what medical insurance plan will finest fulfill your demands.

Temporary or Lasting, which one to get?

If you are unable to select the term of health insurance, you should have a clear image of the benefits of both in order to select tenure. A temporary medical insurance plan is right for those who are currently living in the United States, waiting on another strategy or between work. It is likewise ideal for those without any kind of medical wellness protection, and pupils who have actually simply graduated. The tenure of cover of a short-term health insurance policy ranges from one month to a year.

If you feel that you need an insurance coverage for greater than a year, it would be useful to take a look at other individual/family health insurance policies. A lasting treatment health insurance plan helps cover health care services utilized by insured clients that have actually prolonged health problem or special needs. Lasting treatment solutions also cover regular tasks like assistance in bathing, clothing, and also dishes. Neither Medicare nor Company Health Insurance covers these solutions. While long-term care insurance coverage do spend for such kind of services, they are expensive. Before you purchase such a plan, make sure that you could pay for to pay the costs currently as well as later.

Group Medical Insurance– Exactly how it works

A team medical insurance policy is insurance coverage applied by the company with an insurance company. The employer typically pays a part of the costs of the group medical insurance plan. A team health insurance policy offers a company the advantage of not paying the whole premium for the insurance plan in order to cover his employees. The best way to obtain group medical insurance is to get a quote from different firms as well as locate the one that best suits your business and also your workers.

Can Group Insurance policy be categorized under tax incentives?

Team medical insurance is tax deductible. Offering medical insurance to workers has many advantages. Not just are workers better, yet likewise they are less most likely to switch work.

Which Life Quote is right for me?

A life insurance policy shields your household financially if you or your spouse dies. Insurer comprehend that life is constantly transforming, so there are a selection of life insurance plans to fulfill your altering needs. Because many households depend on two incomes simply to make ends meet, insurance provider provide plans that can insure greater than someone, shielding the total family members earnings.

It is never prematurely or far too late to think about your life insurance policy alternatives. There are 2 major kinds of life insurance policy– term as well as entire life. Entire life is occasionally called permanent life insurance policy, and it inclusives several sub-categories, including conventional whole life, universal life, variable life and also variable global life. Term life insurance supplies monetary security for a restricted and specific time period, at a reduced expense than irreversible life insurance. These policies end without worth if the insured endures the stated period. Universal life insurance policy gives survivor benefit as well as income tax-deferred cost savings to assist you satisfy your economic goals while you are living. It has several adaptable functions and benefits that can transform with your changing financial demands. Whole life insurance provides the protection amount to your recipient in case of your death, in addition to cash-value financial savings you could use throughout your lifetime.

Variables you need to take into consideration before purchasing Medical insurance

Prior to acquiring your medical insurance coverage, you should consider these elements:

-The integrity of the insurance company. Does it deal with individuals relatively? Does it pay cases immediately? Does it have adequate team to answer your inquiries and resolve troubles?

-Most insurance coverage require you to cover part of your health and wellness expenses on your own (your part is called the “insurance deductible”) prior to the company pays anything. Under some policies the insurance deductible is yearly, and you pay just as soon as every year if you make use of the insurance. Under others, you pay the deductible each time you have a disease or injury. In selecting insurance policy, you should believe very carefully regarding just how much you could pay for to pay out of your own pocket each time you are sick or damaged, as well as consider the insurance deductible against the premium prior to you decide.

-Usually, after you have paid the deductible, an insurance plan pays only a percent of your medical expenditures. The plan might pay just 80 percent; the staying 20 percent, for which you are responsible, is called the coinsurance or co-payment.

-Some policies state specific buck limitations on what they will certainly spend for particular solutions. Various other plans pay “typical” or “affordable” costs, which indicates that they pay exactly what is typically butted in the town. Be really mindful in reviewing plans with specific buck restrictions; for significant health problems, the limit might be far too low and you might have large clinical costs not covered by your insurance policy.

-Some insurance plan placed a time frame on health problems and also injuries. In that case, after the advantage duration for a problem has run out, you need to pay for proceeding the treatment of the disease on actual expense basis, even if you are still insured by the firm.

-Lots of insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. If you get here with a condition that will require medical focus, validate the pre-existing facet of the plan that you are examining.

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