Clear and Credible: Developing a Benefits Communication Program

Employee benefits represent roughly a third of the typical individual’s total compensation package, so it’s in everyone’s interest that the terms, guidelines, and options inherent in those benefits are communicated clearly and with credibility.

That’s the rationale for developing a well-crafted, consistently executed benefits communication program.  Achieving this can take time and careful planning.  Here are some tips and best practices to streamline the path to success:

  • Know what benefits your organization provides and how they work.
  • Ask how your employees feel about your benefit program.
  • Keep employees and beneficiaries informed of changes to their benefits, and explain confusing terms and features of the plans.
  • Determine a communications plan and timeline, as well as who will prepare your benefit communications and the costs involved.
  • Decide what type of communication will be most appropriate for relaying messages to employees.
  • Sell your communication plan to your manager by determining HR and other benefit staff productivity loss due to employee confusion about their benefits.
  • Set measurable objectives for how much money and time your communications will save.
  • Prioritize compliance with government regulations and clarification of complicated issues, procedures and terms.
  • Prepare and distribute communications to fit corporate objectives and employee needs.
  • Target segments of employees who would profit most from specific features of a benefit by sending tailored communications.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your benefits communications through employee surveys and revise as warranted.

The time and resources devoted to researching, building, and following through on a solid benefits communication plan can prevent confusion, delays, lost productivity, and even bottom-line financial results.  It is well worth the effort and can yield important returns to your organization.

The Benefits team at The Reschini Group has more information on this subject and is ready to help your business benefit from an effective benefits communication plan.


Copyright 2018 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Getting Personal: Insuring Fiduciary Responsibilities

Being asked to serve on a board or to help manage a company can be a very rewarding experience.  Challenges will come, of course, as will moments of success and victory.  Yet the wise leader will always make sure he or she is protected from damage or loss, and in this case, that can take the form of fiduciary-related lawsuits.

Fiduciary liability insurance helps to protect the personal assets of company fiduciaries, as well as the financial assets of the company and employee benefit plans against lawsuits.  This specialized area of insurance also pays for legal defense and may include provisions for the insurer to provide expert legal counsel.

Employers are increasingly being held accountable for the benefits options they offer employees.  Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), fiduciaries can be held personally liable for losses to a benefit plan incurred as a result of their alleged errors or omissions or breach of their fiduciary duties.

Allegations made in fiduciary liability claims may include:

  • Denial or change of benefits.
  • Administrative error.
  • Improper advice or counsel.
  • Wrongful termination of plan.
  • Failure to adequately fund a plan.
  • Conflict of interest.
  • Imprudent investment of assets or lack of investment diversity.
  • Imprudent choice of insurance company, mutual fund, or third-party service provider.

Some leaders of privately held companies may not believe that retirees would sue their companies, and they may be right.  But playing those odds would indeed be a gamble, since fiduciaries without adequate fiduciary liability insurance coverage may be forced to pay out of their own pocket for lawsuit defense costs, judgments, and settlements.

The team of experts at The Reschini Group can advise you on exposure and the proper insurance to cover your fiduciary responsibilities.

Because you don’t want a situation like this to get personal.


Copyright 2017 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

No Immunity Against Cyber Attacks

The greatest deception is the one we play on ourselves.  That could never happen here, right?  I’m too small for anyone to bother hassling with me, don’t you think?  But that same self-deception opens the door to individuals and organizations that, in fact, look for ways to steal, cheat, and do harm.

And the area of cybersecurity – especially for small businesses – has emerged as the place where so much of this harm is being done, and on a regular basis.

Recent surveys sponsored in part by the National Cybersecurity Authority found that most U.S. small businesses lack a formal Internet security policy, only about half have rudimentary cybersecurity measures in place, roughly one-quarter have outside experts test their systems for hacker-resistance, and an alarming 40 percent do not back up data in more than one location.  Yet 85 percent of small business owners believe their organizations are safe from hackers, viruses, malware, and data breaches.

The harsh truth, however, remains that hackers look for the path of least resistance.  The massive credit card information theft affecting Target department stores began by a single hacker getting into a small subcontractor’s computer systems.  Small businesses – and those that neglect cybersecurity threats – represent a path to much larger targets, and therefore exist as attractive targets themselves.

Cost concerns do not have to preclude taking some sensible, cost-effective precautions.  The Federal Communications Commission recommends the following steps be taken among small business owners:

  • Train employees in cybersecurity principles.
  • Install and update anti-virus and anti-spyware on every computer.
  • Use a firewall for your Internet connection.
  • Download software updates as they become available.
  • Make backup copies of important data.
  • Control access to computers and network components.
  • Secure your wi-fi networks.
  • Require individual user accounts for each employee.
  • Limit employee access to data and limit authority to install software.
  • Regularly change passwords.

Don’t fool yourself that it can’t happen to you, because it can.  Cybersecurity must rise to the top of your priority list, to safeguard your company’s critical information.  The Reschini Group can work with you to determine a proper protection strategy, and our experts are here to help.

Here are some additional resources that may be beneficial:

More About Cybersecurity

Read The Reschini Blog: Protecting Yourself from Online Data Breaches

Read The Reschini Blog: Guiding Parameters for Preparedness in Cybersecurity

Get: Cyber Risk Exposure scorecard

Get: Cybersecurity for Small Business

Get: Cybersecurity for Healthcare Organizations


Copyright 2017 The Reschini Group

 The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Reschini Buying Evergreen Insurance

The Reschini Group Buying Majority Ownership of Evergreen Insurance from S&T Bank

Company will Continue Operations Under Evergreen Name

INDIANA, Pa., November 15, 2017 – S&T Bank, a full-service financial institution with assets of $7.2 billion, and locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, announced today that it is selling majority ownership of S&T Evergreen Insurance (Evergreen) to The Reschini Group (Reschini). Evergreen Insurance will begin independent operation on January 1, 2018 with no change to its locations. S&T and Reschini have a long history of doing business together and S&T will serve as an ongoing referral source to Evergreen.

“The strengths of Evergreen and The Reschini Group complement each other, and the customers of both companies will benefit from working together,” said Joe Reschini, president of The Reschini Group. “Our two organizations have similar missions as well as a philosophy of customer advocacy and strong carrier relationships, which are advantages for both Evergreen and Reschini.”

“We are excited to announce our strategic partnership with The Reschini Group, as they share a common vision on serving our clients,” said Todd D. Brice, president and CEO of S&T Bank. “The Reschini Group is well regarded in the insurance industry. This partnership will provide additional resources to meet our customers’ growing insurance needs.”

Evergreen Insurance has locations in Altoona, Brookville, Ebensburg, Greensburg and Indiana. The Reschini Group is headquartered in Indiana, Pa. and has a location in Pittsburgh.


 

Focus: Cybersecurity

 

Periodically, The Reschini Group will focus on a particular topic related to Risk Management or Property and Casualty issues. This month, we focus on Cybersecurity. Read on, and be sure to check out the resources available through the links.

Worth the Investment: Defining Cybersecurity Insurance

Insurance coverage is meant to protect one’s assets in the event of theft, damage, or disruption.  When your online information gets hacked, all three factors come into play.  So why not carry insurance to protect yourself from this potential disaster?

Cybersecurity insurance does just that.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines it as follows:

“Cybersecurity insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, business interruption, and network damage. A robust cybersecurity insurance market could help reduce the number of successful cyber attacks by: (1) promoting the adoption of preventative measures in return for more coverage; and (2) encouraging the implementation of best practices by basing premiums on an insured’s level of self-protection. Many companies forego available policies, however, citing as rationales the perceived high cost of those policies, confusion about what they cover, and uncertainty that their organizations will suffer a cyber attack. In recent years, the Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) has engaged key stakeholders to address this emerging cyber risk area.”

The 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study, conducted by the Identity Theft Resource Center, has stated that:

  • The overall cost per data breach worldwide decreased from $4 million to $3.62 million over the past year, but those same costs increased in the U.S. by 5 percent, to $7.35 million per data breach.
  • Having an incident response team reduced the cost of a data breach by nearly $1 million.
  • Health care is the most costly industry for data breaches, costing organizations $380 per compromised record.

Having a cybersecurity protocol, backed by the proper level of insurance coverage, is not only smart business – it could keep your business from disappearing altogether.  The National Cybersecurity Alliance reported that nearly 60 percent of small businesses victimized by cyber attack closed permanently within six months.  Putting the right protection in place is not difficult, and can be achieved more cost-effectively than might be assumed.

Fitch Ratings said that cybersecurity insurance policies in the U.S. have risen by 35 percent, reflecting a growing awareness and appreciation of the risks and how to reduce them.  The cybersecurity insurance specialists at The Reschini Group can work with you to help safeguard your organization in the same way.

More About Cybersecurity

Read The Reschini Blog: Protecting Yourself from Online Data Breaches

Read The Reschini Blog: Guiding Parameters for Preparedness in Cybersecurity

Get: Cyber Risk Exposure scorecard

Get: Cybersecurity for Small Business

Get: Cybersecurity for Healthcare Organizations


Copyright 2017 The Reschini Group

 The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

On the Same Team: Serving as Client Advocates

By Mike Drew, The Reschini Group

Mistakes, they say, offer avenues to enlightenment and growth.  They also very often lead to insurance claims of one sort or another.  The claims process can go relatively simply and quickly, or arduously and lengthy, as competing interests vie for advantage and financial objectives.  Wouldn’t it be great to have an advocate, familiar with the intricacies and inner-workings of the insurance industry, at your side?

Often, insurance brokers report claims but provide no management support to maximize the efficacy of insurance dollars, and no advocacy in defense of a claim when a carrier denies coverage.  These brokers are happy to renew your coverage but maintain minimal involvement until the next renewal.

Conversely, other insurance brokers bring decades of underwriting and analytics experience to report your claims to the appropriate insurance company, proactively manage the data, and advocate for you when necessary.  Such value-added service costs you nothing and provides peace of mind that insurance carriers will meet contractual obligations requirements. The results can have a direct and positive effect on your bottom line.

As part of the normal course of business, the professionals at The Reschini Group manage our customers’ claims by careful collection and analysis of their loss data.  This approach creates an active, functional tool from which we can present options to determine the best program structure for your business. Our Claims Team reviews and analyzes coverage opinions and reservation of rights letters issued by your carriers. If pushback is warranted, and you authorize us to do so, we will attempt to convince the carrier to reconsider and, ultimately, to reverse any adverse decision we feel is not sound. Although we cannot legally represent you, we can parallel our efforts with your attorneys and supply any necessary support in order that your rights are protected at a high level.

People learn from their mistakes.  That’s human nature.  But when mistakes result in insurance claims, you should have a knowledgeable advocate on your side, to protect your interests.  Contact our team at The Reschini Group for more information on this important aspect of your coverage.


Copyright 2017 The Reschini Group

 The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Peace of Mind: Offering Critical Illness Benefits to Employees

Normal medical and disability insurance plans do not always cover the potentially significant expenses related to critical injury or illness, with costs accumulating especially during the recovery process. That’s why offering critical illness insurance can play an important role in strengthening the financial safety net for employees.

With a growing share of the population having limited savings, employees may have a large financial exposure in the event of a critical illness. Beyond traditional medical costs, financial challenges may also result from:

  • Traveling expenses related to treatment
  • Lost wages from taking time to care for a critically ill relative
  • Out-of-network treatment charges
  • Alternative treatment charges

Critical illness insurance coverage provides a lump sum benefit for the six leading illnesses and health events:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Major organ transplant
  • Kidney failure
  • Coronary artery bypass graft

Offering critical illness coverage complements high deductible health plans (HDHPs) by eliminating the worry of having to pay for a high deductible in the middle of suffering a major illness.  It also serves as an affordable way to fill a gap in coverage.

Employees can reduce their financial risks in the event that serious illness occurs, while also offering the benefit as a recruiting tool or as a way to compensate for changes in core medical plans.  Employers can offer a wellness benefit option under a critical illness plan that reimburses an employee each year for having certain tests and routine exams done, as well.

Most important, offering this coverage can help blunt the devastating impact critical illness can have on employees, both in terms of health and finances.  Contact the Benefits team at The Reschini Group for more information on critical illness insurance.


Copyright 2017 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice. To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

Fair Share: Understanding Waiver of Subrogation

By Mike Drew, The Reschini Group

Avoid risk by understanding the concept of "waiver of subrogation".

Unless you’re a rockface climber, a skydiver, or a firewalker, you probably try to avoid taking on any level of risk that could otherwise be avoided.  That goes double for your business, most likely.

Because of this natural and understandable risk-avoidance tendency among business people, the concept of “waiver of subrogation” has become a commonplace element of basic business contractual relationships – yet it can become a confusing notion without the proper explanation.  The International Risk Management Institute, on its website*, defines waiver of subrogation as follows:

“A waiver of subrogation clause is placed in the professional services contract to minimize lawsuits and claims among the parties. The result is that the risk of loss is agreed among the parties to lie with the insurers, and the cost of the insurance coverage is contractually allocated among the parties as they may agree. The risk, once assigned to the insurers by the parties, is determined to stop there, without allowing the insurer to seek redress from the party ‘at fault.’”

At its most basic definition, for example, that means when a general contractor hires a subcontractor, they both sign a waiver of subrogation clause ensuring that – even if employees get hurt or equipment gets damaged in the course of their business relationship – neither side will come after the other for losses.  Instead, their insurers take the risk and pay the claims.

In the oil and gas industry, in particular, the goal remains minimizing or eliminating risk.

Having a clear understanding of how the waiver of subrogation clause may impact your particular business is extremely important.  Of course, it is not mandatory that a subcontracting business agree to this clause, but without doing so that business runs a much greater risk – namely, to not get hired at all by the general contractor.

The professionals at The Reschini Group are well-versed in the waiver of subrogation topic and how it applies to all types of businesses and contractual agreements.  A review by the team at Reschini also includes making sure that your insurance coverage currently in place is, in fact, adequate as well.  We stand ready to help you evaluate how all of these factors could affect your enterprise.

* https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/what-is-subrogation-and-why-is-my-contract-waiving-it


Copyright 2017 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice. To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm

Focus: Claims Management & Advocacy

Focus: Claims Management & Advocacy

Periodically, The Reschini Group will focus on a particular topic related to Risk Management or Property and Casualty issues. This month, we focus on Claims Management and Advocacy. Read on, and be sure to check out the resources available through the links.

Claims Management and Advocacy: A Game Changer

As in life, the business world accepts death and taxes as a certainty. But there is a third inevitability that must be added to that list when considering your business insurance program – claims.

Insurance brokers will often report claims but provide no management support to maximize the efficacy of insurance dollars, and no advocacy when a carrier denies coverage and/or the defense of a claim. This is the broker who renews your coverage but performs only minimal requirements until the next renewal.

At the Reschini Group, our team of professionals brings decades of underwriting, analytics and legal experience in the insurance industry. We report your claims to the appropriate insurance company, proactively manage the data and advocate for you when necessary. This year-round, value-added service provides you with the peace of mind that your insurance carriers will be called upon to meet contractual obligations and abide by legal requirements. The results can have a direct effect on your bottom line and truly can change your game.

Our team manages your claims by careful collection and analysis of your loss data.  This approach creates an active, functional tool from which we can present options to determine the best program structure for your business. Whether you have a loss-sensitive, high-deductible/self-retention line or first-dollar coverage, our claims team advises you regarding loss history, trends in claim activity, and areas of opportunity for improvement. If a third-party administrator is involved, we provide a second set of eyes and work closely to ensure that quality, up-to-date information is always available. We do this in the usual course of business so you can make the most of the dollars you spend for this important business line item.

In terms of advocacy, the Reschini Claims Team reviews and analyzes coverage opinions and reservation of rights letters issued by your carriers. If push back is warranted, and you authorize us to do so, we will attempt to convince the carrier to reconsider and, ultimately, to reverse any adverse decision we feel is not sound. Although we cannot legally represent you, we can parallel our efforts with your attorneys and supply any necessary support in order that your rights are protected at a high level.

Effective Claims Management and Advocacy is vital to a successful business. Our dedication to high quality service in this area sets us apart from other brokers.

The professionals at The Reschini Group offer client’s guidance related to Claims Management and Advocacy. Contact Norman White or Doug Schwab at 724-349-1300 to set up a time to talk.

More About Claims

Read: Fair Share: Understanding Waiver of Subrogation
Get: Our Introduction to Claims Management
Get: Resource: In the Event of a Claim
Get: Accident Investigations Resource


Copyright 2017 The Reschini Group

The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice. To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.

A Little Now for a Lot Later: Offering Voluntary Employee Benefits

As a responsible employer, you offer your team members the standard, expected suite of benefits – health care coverage, a 401(k) savings plan, and so on.  There are ways to extend and enhance the value your employees assign to you as an employer, though, and it may cost you very little, if anything at all.

We’re referring to employers offering a select group of voluntary employee benefit options to their people.

Unlike the traditional benefits package, voluntary employee benefits are just that – employees have the freedom to purchase them on their own or not.  The advantage they represent to employers comes in the fact that employees can select these additional voluntary options more conveniently (selected during open enrollment and paid for through payroll deductions already in place), with less work (the choices already have been vetted), and usually at a lower cost (since the options are purchased at a group rate for the company).

A sampling of voluntary employee benefit options would include:

  • Life insurance, sometimes without requiring medical underwriting.
  • Vision insurance, that can include annual eye exams and discounts on corrective lenses.
  • Dental insurance, covering preventive services.
  • Long-term care insurance, for those who have lost the ability to perform basic daily activities (care not covered under Medicare or Medicaid).
  • Short-term disability, covering a portion of wages lost due to disability, usually up to three to six months.
  • Critical illness
  • Accident
  • Hospital indemnity

As with any insurance coverage, voluntary employee benefits options exist to protect employees and their family members in case of unforeseen, even seemingly unlikely, events and occurrences – situations where, if no coverage is in place, the ramifications can be devastating.  A little investment now can pay huge dividends later, should the unexpected strike.

Contact The Reschini Group for more information on how offering voluntary employee benefits could work for your particular employment situation.

Copyright 2017 The Reschini Group


The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only, and does not provide legal advice.  To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.