All Well and Good: Fashioning an Effective Wellness Program

A wellness program assists employees and family members in making voluntary behavior changes that reduce their health risks and enhance their individual productivity. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to perform well when they are in optimal health. The following are benefits of implementing a wellness program:

  • Lower health care costs, due to a healthier workforce and improved disease management
  • Enhanced recruiting by attracting the most talented workers
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Improved on-the-job time utilization, decision making and productivity
  • Improved employee morale
  • Reduction in turnover

Because wellness programs must comply with state and federal law, legal review should precede a program’s introduction to employees.

The Wellness Council of America identifies these best practices for a successful workplace wellness program:

  1. Create committed and aligned leadership. A commitment from the top is key to the success of any wellness initiative, including commitment of adequate funding.
  2. Foster collaboration in support of wellness. Wellness teams should include a variety of people from all levels of your company.
  3. Collect meaningful data that will drive your health initiatives and wellness strategy. This may involve conducting a survey of employee interest in various health initiatives, health risk assessments, and claims analysis.
  4. Craft an operating plan. An annual operating plan is important for your program’s success and should include a mission statement along with specific, measurable short- and long-term goals and objectives.
  5. Choose appropriate health initiatives that support the whole employee. The health initiatives that you choose should flow naturally from your data, and support your goals and objectives.
  6. Create a supportive environment, policies and practices. A supportive environment provides employees with encouragement, opportunity and rewards.
  7. Conduct evaluations, communicate, celebrate and iterate. This allows you to celebrate goals achieved and to discontinue or change ineffective initiatives.

The Benefits team at The Reschini Group can help you fashion a Wellness Program for your particular situation.  Contact us to learn more.


Copyright 2019 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.

Inside Job: Safeguarding Against Internal Cyber Threats

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University defines insider cyber threats as “the potential for an individual who has or had authorized access to an organization’s assets to use that access, either maliciously or unintentionally, to act in a way that could negatively affect the organization.”

As such, a team from SEI recently issued the sixth edition of its Common Sense Guide to Mitigating Insider Threats, where it lists the following 21 recommendations for businesses to deploy:

  • Know and protect your critical assets.
  • Develop a formalized insider threat program.
  • Clearly document and consistently enforce policies and controls.
  • Beginning with the hiring process, monitor and respond to suspicious or disruptive behavior.
  • Anticipate and manage negative issues in the work environment.
  • Consider threats from insiders and business partners in enterprise-wide risk assessments.
  • Be especially vigilant regarding social media.
  • Structure management and tasks to minimize insider stress and mistakes.
  • Incorporate malicious insider threat awareness into periodic security training for all employees.
  • Implement strict password and account management policies and practices.
  • Institute strict access controls and monitoring policies on privileged users.
  • Deploy solutions for monitoring employee actions and correlating information from multiple data sources.
  • Monitor and control remote access from all end points, including mobile devices.
  • Establish a baseline of normal behavior for both networks and employees.
  • Enforce separation of duties and least privilege.
  • Define explicit security agreements for any cloud services, especially access restrictions and monitoring capabilities.
  • Institutionalize system change controls.
  • Implement secure backup and recovery processes.
  • Close the doors to unauthorized data exfiltration.
  • Develop a comprehensive employee termination procedure.
  • Adopt positive incentives to align the workforce with the organization.

Many of these guidelines appear to be just common sense business practices, but establishing them firmly, communicating them clearly, and enforcing them consistently makes the difference.  Insuring against internal cyber threats carries its own set of parameters and requirements, as well.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can help your organization protect your organization against losses from internal cyber fraud.  Contact us to talk more about this important consideration.

* https://resources.sei.cmu.edu/asset_files/TechnicalReport/2019_005_001_540647.pdf


Copyright 2019 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.

Nobody’s Home: Protection Using a Vacancy Clause

There are times when the phrase “The lights are on, but nobody’s home” can actually be pretty smart advice.  Vacant buildings are more prone to arson, theft of copper plumbing, vandals and water damage.  Vacant property, often an attractive nuisance, represents a liability.

The insurance coverage pertaining to vacant buildings needs to be understood and carefully managed.  In a typical homeowners policy, the vacancy exclusion applies after a home has been empty for 30 to 60 days, after which coverage begins to diminish.  For example, after 30 days vandalism may be removed, after 60 days fire damage is removed, and so on.

If the property is a home, it is considered “unoccupied” if the furnishings are there although the resident is elsewhere. A home is only considered “vacant” when the resident has moved out and removed the belongings.  Coverage differs depending on which designation applies.

A commercial building is seen as “vacant” unless at least 31% of its total square feet is occupied and operations conducted there must be those customary to the use of the building.  Standard commercial property policies state that if a building is vacant more than 60 days, no coverage will be provided for vandalism, sprinkler leakage, water damage, theft, or attempted theft.

Homes or commercial buildings should not appear to be vacant, if possible.  Owners should maintain the premises by making regular checks, mowing the lawn, picking up mail, putting lights on time switches, and leaving some furniture inside.

Homeowners and commercial insurance policies are not designed to protect vacant buildings indefinitely.  Special policies are available, with limited coverage such as covering fire and wind damage but not theft, vandalism or water damage.

The professionals at The Reschini Group understand the various options and conditions related to vacancy clauses for home and commercial properties.  Contact us to help determine the best approach to secure the right coverage for your specific situation.


Copyright 2019 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.

Prescription Drug Coverage: Options to Reduce Costs

While it may appear that so much of health insurance coverage is out of the direct control of businesses and the employees and families they protect, one element does in fact offer a level of control available to just about everyone – the cost of prescription drugs.

These costs can be reduced significantly, and mostly by using the same purchasing strategies applied to how consumers shop for other goods and services.  As more consumers comparison shop for drugs, more retailers will compete to win their business, which can drive costs lower.

Here are some tips on reducing the costs of prescription drugs:

  • Compare prices – Drug prices are not uniform, so consumers can save by shopping around.
  • Substitute drugs – When a doctor prescribes a drug, it pays to ask if a cheaper alternative can be used.
  • Buy in bulk – Purchasing drugs in larger quantities or for a longer period of time generally reduces the per-dose cost.
  • Use mail-order pharmacies – Mail-order or online pharmacies offer the best deals on prescription drugs, especially for patients with chronic conditions.
  • Explore an OTC option – Asking the doctor if an over-the-counter (OTC) drug would work as well as a prescription can cut costs. Many OTC drugs had previously been available only by prescription at first.
  • Insist on generic – Generic medications work the same as brand-name drugs and can cost from 20 percent to 80 percent less. This option applies to both prescription and OTC medications.
  • Inquire about assistance programs – Drug manufacturers and state governments offer drug assistance programs for elderly, low-income, and patients with disabilities.
  • Enroll in discount programs – National drug store chains and national insurance plans sometimes offer programs with additional discounts for a small monthly or annual fee.

Regardless of how one approaches efforts to reduce prescription drug costs, it remains important to never skip doses or stop taking medications based on financial issues.  Sticking to a medication schedule helps avoid more costly and potentially more complicated health issues later.

Check with your benefits provider to see how the cost of prescription drugs can potentially be lowered within the scope of your coverage.  The Benefits team at The Reschini Group can help in this regard.


Copyright 2019 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.

 

Safeguarding Cyber: Protecting Against Ransomware Attacks

If the sneak attack that got through your IT defenses was ransomware, the damage is done. Your files are encrypted, unusable. That’s why it makes sense to supplement antivirus software with a program focused solely on ransomware.

Depending on the nature of the business, every hour of lost productivity might cost thousands of dollars, or even more. Fortunately, while ransomware attacks are on the rise, so are techniques for fighting them.

As described by PC magazine*: “The premise of ransomware is simple. The attacker finds a way to take something of yours, and demands payment for its return. Encrypting ransomware, the most common type, takes away access to your important documents by replacing them with encrypted copies. Pay the ransom and you get the key to decrypt those documents (you hope).”

The article continues: “If you’re hit by a ransomware attack, you won’t know it at first. It doesn’t show the usual signs that you’ve got malware.  Encrypting ransomware works in the background, aiming to complete its nasty mission before you notice its presence. Once finished with the job, it gets in your face, displaying instructions for how to pay the ransom and get your files back.”

Cybersecurity insurance supplements specific ransomware software protection packages, helping to cover losses in time, productivity, and sales in the aftermath of an online attack.  No business is safe, regardless of location, industry segment, size, or level of sophistication.  It only makes good business sense to recognize ransomware for the danger it is and to make the appropriate steps to protect your company and your employees.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can help your organization understand the risks of ransomware and how best to protect your organization.  Contact us to talk more about this important consideration.

 

* https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/353231/the-best-ransomware-protection


Copyright 2019 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.

Sharing the Load: Utilizing Alternative Risk Financing

You’re sitting comfortably in your theater seat as the lights go down and the feature begins.  Flickering up on the big screen you see the name of the Hollywood studio that made the movie.  Then another studio’s logo appears, and another, and sometimes a fourth.

Why did it require so many studios to produce one motion picture, you start to wonder?

The fact is, it didn’t.  But it helped to spread the financial risk by having multiple studios involved.  If the film failed, the losses can be shared.  Positive returns can be split, as well.  But the prudent business always tries to minimize its risk.

The insurance industry is built on the idea of managing risk.  Business clients purchase traditional policies to protect in case of damage or loss.  Premiums are priced based on information and projections concerning the likelihood of those events occurring.

But what happens when the business client carries a higher level of risk, due to size, scope, multiple locations, or other factors?

That is when alternative risk financing – a different option to the standard insurance program – can become attractive.  Through alternative risk financing, very large companies with very large deductibles put up collateral against risk and associated losses, to spread that risk out.  By reducing the risk covered by the standard insurance policy, these large companies in effect begin to manage a portion of their own risk.

This is a growing segment that is becoming more and more attractive to large clients.  Alternative risk financing programs may generate less in commission for the traditional insurer, but clients remain connected to their insurance providers because not all risk is shifted to the alternative option.  Alternative risk financing – and the shifting of some risk internally – keeps large clients adequately insured while potentially reducing their premium costs.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can help your organization understand alternative risk financing and whether it could become a viable option for your organization.   Contact us to talk more about this important consideration or read more about Alternative Financing options and download our risk resource.


Copyright 2019 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.

Remote Control: Telemedicine Offers Wider Care Options

You can call up a quote from Shakespeare in seconds, send a message to the other side of the globe immediately, and even buy a car, all from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet.  So why not get checked by a physician?  Why not, indeed.

Such is the attraction of telemedicine – the practice of health care from a remote location, which is on the rise and has proven to be quite effective as an attractive option for many health care providers and their patients.

Using live video transmission, typically through an online app designated by the provider, doctors and patients can see each other and talk in real time about any health care concerns or questions – all without needing to be in the same exam room together.  Although telemedicine is not a complete replacement for direct patient care, it can be a useful tool for a variety of medical services, such as evaluation, diagnosis, and prescribing treatment.

Patients benefit from staying in the comfort of their own homes, oftentimes with a caregiver taking part in the telemedicine session to provide additional information and follow-up care.  The potential spread of germs and infection in clinics and hospitals is minimized.  Those patients living in rural areas, or who have difficulty arranging transportation, can access quality medical care in a much more convenient manner.  And those patients recovering from surgery or severe illness can be readily monitored through telemedicine visits.

For many patients, obtaining medical care represents a significant cost in time, resources, and money.  Telemedicine helps lower those barriers, while helping to enhance the value of regular visits with the doctor.  As access to electronic medical records expands, physicians can combine this technology with telemedicine to bring patients even higher quality care.

Check with your benefits provider to see how telemedicine fits into your medical coverage, potentially lowering costs while improving the doctor-patient relationship.  The Benefits team at The Reschini Group can help in this regard.


Copyright 2019 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.

The Shadow Knows: Cyber Insurance Needed for Small Businesses Too

The major data breaches may get all the press – 150 million accounts exposed at Under Armour, 92 million at genealogy firm MyHeritage, 87 million at Facebook, and 145 million at Equifax, the largest U.S. credit bureau, revealing even Social Security numbers.

But that doesn’t mean small businesses are immune to cyber crime.

According to the Insurance Information Institute’s (III) 2017 reportProtecting against #cyberfail: Small business and cyber insurance, insurers foresee substantial increase in coverage among the small business segment, as these companies become aware of the possibilities of liability, especially due to a breach and the resulting response costs arising out of the possession of private data.

According to the III, 10 percent of small businesses have suffered one or more cyber incidents in the prior year, with the average cost of cyber-related losses totaling $188,400. Only about one-third of firms surveyed had cyber insurance, nearly 60 percent of respondents said their company is very concerned about cyber incidents, and 70 percent think that the risk of being victimized by a cyberattack is growing at an alarming rate.

Cyber insurance evolved as a product in the United States in the mid- to late-1990s as insurers have had to expand coverage for a risk that continues to rapidly shift in scope and nature. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 140 U.S. insurers reported writing some cyber insurance premiums in 2016.

Online criminals keep adapting their techniques and level of sophistication just as quickly as technology evolves.  Convincing oneself that cybersecurity – and the attendant insurance coverage – is not necessary, just because a business isn’t “big enough” represents a bet that could be incredibly costly if lost.  Just because a danger may be hidden in the shadows doesn’t mean it’s not there.

The cyber insurance experts at The Reschini Group can help you fashion a coverage package that makes sense for your business and your budget. Read more and download cybersecurity resources by clicking here or contact us to talk more about this important consideration.


Copyright 2019 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 Driving Force: Selecting Safe Drivers for Your Business

Anyone behind the wheel – for any purpose, whether the employer or employee owns, rents, or leases the vehicle – during work hours is considered a driver for the company.  It remains imperative, then, for employers to do everything possible to ensure that every driver operates those vehicles safely, to limit liability and losses.

Those individuals hired as drivers are easy to identify, of course.  The occasional driver, though, can easily be overlooked as companies consider the risks associated with their fleets.

Safe drivers translate into savings related to losses.  The National Safety Council confirms that the cost of losses related to vehicle accidents can be substantial.

Safe drivers mean lower liability in case of loss.  Screening, training, and monitoring performance comes heavily into play here.

Safe drivers also can burnish your image with customers and the general public.  Vehicles are visibly unavoidable on the highway.  As a visual representation of an organization, drivers operating those vehicles safely and smartly can tell a positive story about the company they represent.

Some general tips for hiring safe drivers include:

  • Establish and clearly communicate a set of consistent standards for all drivers.
  • Spend the time to accurately verify and validate the employee’s work history and safety record.
  • Conduct thorough background checks.
  • Retrieve and evaluate motor vehicle records (MVRs) for any past violations.
  • Put the employee through driving-related tests, both written and on-road.
  • Verify any special certifications related to the ability and authorization to operate certain vehicle classifications.
  • Be sure that all applicable commercial vehicle driver qualification rules have been met and documented.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can help your organization get a fleet safety program in place that works for your specific needs.  Contact us to talk more about this important consideration.


Copyright 2019 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.

Safety Can Be Fleeting: Establishing a Workable Fleet Safety Program

Many businesses maintain a fleet of vehicles as a necessary element of their operations.  Drivers take the wheel every day, occasionally using multiple vehicles for differing purposes.  But do they know what is expected of them at all times?  What kind of training and instruction have they received?  How about purchasing fuel?  Personal usage?  Parking at their homes during non-working hours?

A consistent fleet safety program means not only cost savings, but also reduced liability, improved employee satisfaction, and enhanced safety performance.  While a program is best when tailored to the exact parameters of a specific business, here are some basic elements that every plan should include:

  • Secure and promote the support and commitment of all levels of management.
  • Issue written policies and procedures regarding all aspects of vehicle use related to the business, and ensure that all drivers have ongoing access to this information.
  • Create a roster of all drivers, including those who drive on behalf of the business using fleet vehicles, personal cars and trucks, and rented vehicles.
  • Screen and select drivers to create a reliable team of safe drivers as the key to ongoing fleet safety success. Clear hiring standards must be detailed and adhered to.
  • Offer and record completion of training to all drivers, covering vehicles safety policies and procedures, including defensive driving.
  • Formalize schedules and record keeping related to vehicle inspections, repairs, and maintenance, to avoid costly breakdowns and accidents due to faulty equipment.
  • Manage drivers regularly, offering additional training where needed. Also manage accidents carefully to better understand areas of exposure and reduce the likelihood of future accidents.

The professionals at The Reschini Group can help your organization get a fleet safety program in place that works for your specific needs.  Read more about safety issues and contact us to talk more about this important consideration.


Copyright 2019 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.