With the 50th anniversary of ERISA upon us, our Compliance VP, Matthew LoPorto is set to guide you through its requirements and dive into how plan sponsors can stay true to their ERISA fiduciary duties.

Join Relation Insurance Services for our upcoming webinar, where we will be kicking off this year’s compliance series!

Matt will be covering topics, like: 

  • The must-knows of the ERISA Wrap Document.
  • ​​​​​​Break down the essentials of both the Plan Document and Summary Plan Description.
  • ​Walk you through when and how you can send these key documents electronically to your team.
  • Provide insights on the Summary of Material Modification.
  • Tackle the Section 125 Plan Document.
  • ​​​​​Provide insight from what we learned at the Council for Insurance Agents and Brokers’ Legislative Summit where our Compliance and Legal teams got to chat with Congress about the future of employee benefits.

Relation will be hosting the webinar on The Who, What, Where, Why, and How of ERISA Compliance on:

Wednesday, March 13, 2024
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST 

To make sure you’re on top of your employee benefits game and in sync with compliance, don’t miss out – save your seat today!

About The Speakers

Matthew LoPorto
Vice President, Compliance at Relation Insurance
Matthew LoPorto is the VP of Compliance for Relation’s employee benefits team. Matt leads a team that provides compliance support to ensure our groups are meeting federal and state requirements applicable to benefit plans. One of Matt’s responsibilities also includes monitoring newly proposed and enacted legislation at the State and Federal level to make sure that our teams are better prepared for the ever-changing regulatory landscape of insurance and employee benefits. Matt has over 10 years of experience in the insurance and group benefits industry with a focus on regulatory compliance and is a member of several industry advocacy groups including the Legal Counsel Working Group of the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers. Matthew graduated as an evening student from Brooklyn Law School.

On December 19, the Relation Insurance Employee Benefits Compliance Team hosted its Quarterly Compliance Webinar titled “Looking Towards 2024: What Regulatory Changes Will Impact Your Employee Benefit Plans.” The presentation began with our VP of Compliance, Matthew LoPorto, providing the latest updates from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers’ Legal Counsel Working Group. Matt discussed some of the high priority regulatory issues that the Legal Counsel Working Group will continue to engage in as we move into 2024 such as the proposed regulations applicable to pharmacy benefit managers and how those regulations impact group health plans.

The conversation then focused on the regulatory changes that are occurring in 2024 that are most impactful to employee benefit plans. Some of the items discussed were:

  • The updated Affordability Percentage for the ACA Employer Mandate and a review of the Affordability Safe Harbors;
  • New electronic filing requirements for the 1094-C and 1095-C Forms;
  • Implementation of a new Machine-Readable File for Prescription Drug Rates;
  • Updated requirements for the Self-Service Comparison Tool;
  • Extended tax benefits for employer-provided student loan payments;
  • Plan design changes to Medicare Part D and how that impacts creditable coverage; and
  • The requirement to complete, and document, an analysis of the design and application of the non-quantitative treatment limits to comply with the requirements of the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

We also discussed the annual filing requirements for RxDC Reporting and the Gag Clause Prohibition Compliance Attestation, as well as due dates for other annual filing requirements and potential penalties for non-compliance. The Compliance Team also provided documentation that included a compliance overview of State Disability Insurance Laws, and Paid Family and Medical Leave State Laws. The webinar concluded with the Team providing the 2024 Benefit Plan Limits for specific plan types.

Click below to watch an on-demand replay of the webinar:

 

If you have any questions regarding information that was discussed during the presentation please connect with us at [email protected]

 

Since the pandemic, the shift toward digital operations in the business world has become a vital evolution. However, with the many benefits of a connected, online enterprise comes a slew of risks that traditional insurance packages, such as Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) Coverage Insurance, may not address. This gap has led to the increasing importance of Cyber Insurance for businesses, and it’s time you find an insurance broker who understands this is a crucial aspect of modern insurance coverage.

Why Is Cyber Insurance Important?

A 2022 Official Cybercrime Report by Cybersecurity Ventures predicted the global annual cost of cybercrime would reach $8 trillion in 2023—an amount greater than the annual GDP of every nation on Earth, barring China and the United States. And the cost of cybercrime isn’t expected to slow down, with damages projected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. Along with significant financial losses, businesses of all sizes may suffer reputational harm and lawsuits from affected customers.

How Misconceptions About BOPs Can Affect Insurance Brokers

Many businesses erroneously think that cyber threats are already covered under their BOP. But what does a Business Owner’s Policy cover? Typically, BOP Coverage Insurance addresses property damage, liability, and other conventional business risks. Cyber threats often fall outside this umbrella.

The Real Cost of a Cyberattack

The real cost of a cyberattack might surprise you. While CNBC reports the average cost of a cyberattack is $200,000, Business.com says the average cost of a data breach to a small business ranges from $120,000 to $1.24 million. Whatever the number, these can feel like abstract stats that don’t really apply to your business.

So, here are a few real claims examples we know of that might bring it closer to home:

  • An online retailer went offline for six hours due to a cyberattack on the data center that hosted their site. The cost of recovering the website, lost revenue, and incident response expenses was $144,000.
  • A public relations firm was hacked, and its system was infected with malware. IT forensics, legal, and notification costs were $50,000.
  • A law firm had $118,830 fraudulently transferred overseas by cybercriminals posing as the firm’s bank.
  • An employee in a manufacturing company clicked on a malicious link in an email, infecting the system with malware and encrypting all data. Incident response and recovery costs totaled $60,000.

Fortunately, all the above had cyber liability insurance so those costs and losses were covered. But without a policy, each company here would have been responsible for every dollar.

Is Your Company Covered For A Cyberattack?

Cybersecurity has now become a necessity for every business that uses technology. Could your company afford to pay the above costs or lose revenue due to downtime while you figure out how to respond to a cyberattack? With cyber liability insurance, you wouldn’t have to.

We can work with you to find what coverage best fits your needs. We’ll walk you through the process at every step to ensure your bottom line is protected and you have the resources to respond in case you are targeted.

Call one of Insurance experts today to make sure your business is protected from Cyber Threats.

Each year, hurricane season presents a significant risk to homeowners. Not limited to coastal areas, hurricanes are dangerous and can cause major property damage due to storm surge, wind damage and flooding. Download these helpful Hurricane Preparedness Resources.

  1. Hurricane Assessment Checklist
  2. Hurricane Before the Storm Checklist
  3. Hurricane During the Storm Checklist
  4. Hurricane After the Storm Checklist
  5. Hurricane Recovery Checklist

Download Hurricane Preparedness Resources

Follow these eight tips can increase your readiness in the event of a hurricane.

Plan your evacuation.

Plan how you will leave and where you will go. Designate someone as the emergency contact in case of separation from others.

Print important items.

Print copies of emergency phone numbers, insurance cards and IDs, placing them in a secure, waterproof container.

Protect your vehicle.

Keep your vehicle away from trees and other potentially damaging items, such as utility poles.

Get emergency supplies.

Prepare a supply of nonperishable food, bottled water, medicine, flashlights and, if needed, pet supplies. Additionally, make sure to fill your gas tank and refill prescriptions.

Keep your cellphone charged.

If a hurricane is in the forecast, have your phone ready and purchase backup charging devices to power electronics.

Detail your possessions.

Create a list of your belongings, including photos and videos where possible. Review your homeowners policy with an insurance expert to ensure you have adequate coverage for key items.

Follow evacuation orders.

Obey all emergency orders from local authorities. Seek safety at your local emergency shelter.

Stay out of floodwater.

Don’t swim, walk or drive in stormwater.Stay away from fallen power lines.

Call one of Insurance experts today to make sure your Hurricane Preparation is adequate. It can help keep you safe and reduce stress, especially during a hurricane.

If you have loved ones who depend on you, life insurance can help provide that peace of mind they will continue to be taken care of when you pass. But determining the right policy and the amount of life insurance protection you need largely depends on your lifestyle, debts and financial plan.

Below we break down the basics of life insurance and other factors to help you and your family kickstart a conversation on protecting what matters most.

Why Do I Need Life Insurance?

Life insurance isn’t for you. It’s for those you’ve left behind, providing for your family once you’ve passed away. Here are a few things the right policy can do:

  1. Create a financial safety net with a lump sum payment for your loved ones.
  2. Provide replacement of your income to make sure your loved ones have the money they need.
  3. Leave funds for your spouse to pay off your mortgage, assuring that your family can remain in their home.
  4. Provide funds for your children to be able to pay for college.
  5. Eliminate debt, including personal loans, car loans, and credit card debt.

Why Should I Get Life Insurance?

The right time to buy life insurance varies from person to person, depending upon who and what needs to be taken care of after you’ve passed away. There are, however, some common life events that signal the need for life insurance:

Getting Married. Joining together legally means you depend upon each other in a lot of ways, and that includes financially. The right policy can take care of your spouse after you die.

Having A Baby. A growing family means that another life is financially dependent upon you. This is the most common time people purchase life insurance or update their current policy.

Buying A New Home. Most purchases come with a mortgage attached that will need to be paid should your spouse wish to remain there after your passing.

Sending Your Kids To College. The loss of a parent is devastating. Having this part of their future sorted is one less thing for them to worry about at a stressful time.

Why Kind of Life Insurance Should I Purchase?

Term life. Whole life. Universal life. Even variable life. With the many kinds of life insurance options available, it can get confusing.

Whether you are looking for a permanent policy, a low-cost policy that can help your beneficiary meet short term financial needs like paying off a mortgage or replace income. Or exploring life insurance policies that have a cash value or tax advantages. You can breathe easy, we’re here to help.

You Have Questions. We Have Answers

At Relation, our team of insurance professionals can walk you through the ins and outs of life insurance to help determine the right type of coverage for your specific situation.

  • Is your employer-provide policy enough?
  • Should you consider term life or a different type of policy?
  • What about policies for long-term care, burial expenses, or other expenses?

We can work with you to determine what coverage best fits your needs. We’ll walk you through the process, every step of the way, to make sure have peace of mind that things will be taken care of after you’ve passed.

The home insurance rate increase is stemming from the perfect storm of market trends that have driven up the cost of building homes — and with it the cost of insuring them for repair and replacement.

More severe weather

There have been 18 weather/climate disaster events in the U.S. in 2021 with losses exceeding $1 billion
in damage. The increase in severe weather caused 39% of all U.S. home insurance claims.

Higher material costs

With the cost of building materials up an average of 26%, homes have become more expensive to fix
and replace. Last year alone, the cost of building materials rose 14.1%. Lumber has played an outsized role in that inflationary trend, more than tripling in price since March 2020.

Increased shipping costs and delays

The pandemic has impacted almost every part of the global supply chain causing shipping delays and higher prices. 95% of Fortune 1000 companies have reported supply chain disruptions from COVID-19.

More fire damage

Newer homes burn more nearly 6x faster than older ones due to the use of synthetic materials and open-floor plans, resulting in more total losses from fire and higher rebuild costs.

Higher labor costs

The home-building industry is currently facing a shortfall of at least 200,000 skilled trade workers. About 60% of surveyed builders report a skilled labor shortage. Nearly 90% of contractors are having a hard time finding craft workers and 88% of firms are experiencing project delays. Higher labor costs drive up the price of materials leading to a rise in home insurance.

Bigger, upscale homes

Home interiors have become more upscale with custom cabinetry, hardwood floors, finished basements and more, leading to higher replacement costs when damages arise

Low housing inventory and historic demand

In March 2022, there were only 870,000 unsold homes on the market, down 60% over the past two years. As a result, the median price of homes sold in the U.S. has surged 23% since 2019.

Increase in water damage

Water damage and freezing losses have increased by more than 10% from 2017 to 2019.

We can help you avoid your home being underinsured. Contact a Relation Home Insurance expert today to make sure you have the right coverage… and enough of it.

Sources: NAHB, AGC, Accenture, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, AutoRentalNews, CCC Intelligent Solutions, CNBC

In this webinar, Kait Feeney, COO of the leave management platform Tilt and Matthew LoPorto, Vice President, Compliance of Relation Insurance Services will give an overview of current U.S. state-paid family and medical leave (PFML) laws as well as upcoming changes on the horizon. Along with covering the who and what of all things state PFML, we’ll also share best practices on how to navigate the ever-changing leave law landscape more effectively.

Join Relation Insurance and Tilt as they help you understand: The State of State Paid Family & Medical Leave in 2023 and Beyond

Register for Take It or Leave It The State of State Paid Family & Medical Leave in 2023 and Beyond

About The Speakers

Matthew LoPorto
Vice President, Compliance at Relation Insurance
Matthew LoPorto is the VP of Compliance for Relation’s employee benefits team. Matt leads a team that provides compliance support to ensure our groups are meeting federal and state requirements applicable to benefit plans. One of Matt’s responsibilities also includes monitoring newly proposed and enacted legislation at the State and Federal level to make sure that our teams are better prepared for the ever-changing regulatory landscape of insurance and employee benefits. Matt has over 10 years of experience in the insurance and group benefits industry with a focus on regulatory compliance, and is a member of several industry advocacy groups including the Legal Counsel Working Group of the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers. Matthew graduated as an evening student from Brooklyn Law School.

 

Kait Feeney
COO @ Tilt

On April 10, 2023, President Biden signed a resolution ending the COVID-19 national emergency that had been in place since 2020. The Biden administration had previously announced a May 11, 2023, end date to both the national emergency and the public health emergency (PHE), but the signing of the bipartisan legislation terminates the national emergency as of April 10, 2023. The PHE is still scheduled to end May 11, 2023.

Impacted Deadlines

Various employee benefit plan deadlines had been extended by disregarding an “outbreak period” from March 1, 2020, until 60 days after the announced end of the national emergency. Since the national emergency ended on April 10, 2023, the outbreak period will end on June 9, 2023. Once the outbreak period ends, health plans can return to their non-extended deadlines. Key deadlines extended during the outbreak period include:

  • HIPAA time frames—The 30-day period (or 60-day period, if applicable), to request special enrollment.
  • COBRA time frames—The period for qualified beneficiaries to elect COBRA coverage and make COBRA premium payments, as well as the date for individuals to notify the plan of a qualifying event or disability
  • Claims procedure time frames—The date to file a benefit claim or an appeal of an adverse benefit determination under the plan’s claims
  • External review process time frames—The date claimants may request an external review following an adverse or final internal adverse benefit

Public Health Emergency Still in Effect

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initially declared a PHE due to COVID-19 on Jan. 31, 2020. The PHE is still scheduled to end on May 11, 2023.

When the PHE ends, health plans will no longer be required to cover COVID-19 diagnostic tests and related services without cost sharing. Health plans will still be required to cover recommended preventive services, including COVID-19 immunizations, without cost sharing, but this coverage requirement will be limited to in- network providers.

Compliance Resources

The Biden administration has stated it will continue working with federal agencies to wind down the national emergency. Prior guidance issued on March 29, 2023, addresses how certain health plan requirements related to the COVID- 19 pandemic will change when the emergency periods end. While this guidance was issued before the resolution ended the national emergency, the clarifications regarding changes to benefits after the end of the emergency periods and the reinstatement of normal deadlines still apply.

According to federal agencies, if changes are made to a plan or coverage after the end of the PHE or national emergency, plan sponsors and employers must clearly communicate these changes, including any limitations on benefits, to participants and beneficiaries before they take effect. Additional resources on the ending of the COVID-19 emergency periods are available on the Department of Labor’s Response to COVID-19 website.

This information is educational only, and not intended to be legal or financial advice. Please consult with your own legal professional or Relation Insurance professional to ensure compliance with all applicable law.

America is facing a retirement crisis. Surveys conducted by the Federal Reserve have found that only 75% of non-retirees have any retirement savings whatsoever, and only 40% feel that their retirement savings are on track.

Secure Act 2.0 is Congress’s latest attempt to address this pressing issue. Signed into law in late December 2022, this package of retirement reforms aim to finish the job begun by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019.

Version 2.0 of the Secure Act introduces dozens of provisions intended to improve retirement outcomes. From better catch-up contributions to automatic 401(k) enrollment.

Join Relation Insurance and ERISSA expert Brad Campbell as they help you understand the important implications for both employers and employees.

 

About The Speakers

Whitney Jones
Vice President of Corporate Retirement Solutions at Premier Wealth – A Relation Company
In Whitney’s current role, she manages the company’s retirement plan business in all markets. Whitney holds the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor designation, multiple FINRA securities licenses, and is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary. In 2023, Whitney was recognized by the National Association of Plan Advisors as being a Top Women Advisor “Rising Star” and a Top Advisor Under 40 “Ace.” A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Whitney enjoys spending time with her husband, their teenager, toddler twins, and two doodle pups. Helping families succeed through employer-sponsored retirement plans is her passion. Helping plan sponsors navigate the retirement plan landscape is her calling.

 

Brad Campbell
Bradford Campbell is a nationally recognized figure in employer-sponsored retirement plans who leverages his prior experience as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits to advise clients across a broad range of issues related to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). As ERISA’s former “top cop” and primary regulator, Brad has detailed and wide-ranging knowledge of the structure and operation of ERISA plans, insight that he applies to client engagements.

 

Matt Harris
Business Development and Retirement @ American Century Investments

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The National Safety Council recognizes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and encourage motorists like you to minimize potential distractions behind the wheel. Learn more on ways you can help prevent distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Overview

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving refers to any activity that may divert a motorist’s attention from the road. There are three main types of distractions that can interfere with drivers’ attentiveness behind the wheel, including:

Visual distractions

These distractions involve motorists taking their eyes off the road. Some examples of visual distractions include reading emails or text messages, focusing on vehicle passengers, looking at maps or navigation systems, and observing nearby activities (e.g., accidents, traffic stops or roadside attractions) while driving.

Manual distractions

Such distractions entail motorists removing their hands from the steering wheel. Key examples of manual distractions include texting, adjusting the radio, programming navigation systems, eating, drinking or performing personal grooming tasks (e.g., applying makeup) while driving.

Cognitive distractions

These distractions stem from motorists taking their minds off driving. Primary examples of cognitive distractions include talking on the phone, conversing with vehicle passengers or daydreaming while driving.

Regardless of distraction type, distracted driving is a serious safety hazard that contributes to a significant number of accidents on the road. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that more than 2,800 people are killed and 400,000 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver each year—equating to approximately eight deaths and 1,095 injuries per day. Considering these findings, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent distracted driving.

Distracted Driving Prevention Tips

Whenever you get behind the wheel, keep these distracted driving prevention measures in mind:

  • Put away your phone. Silence your phone and store it in a location that is out of reach while driving to lower the temptation to check it.
  • Plan your trip before you leave. Program your navigation system prior to hitting the road to get familiar with your journey and feel confident in your route.
  • Don’t fumble with your playlist. Select a radio station or plug in a predetermined playlist before driving to limit the need for music adjustments.
  • Secure passengers. Ensure kids are properly situated in car seats (if needed) with seat belts fastened. Keep pets stationary in the back seat.
  • Avoid multitasking. Never complete additional tasks—such as eating or personal grooming—behind the wheel.
  • Stay focused. Concentrate your mind on the road by keeping distracting conversations to a minimum and looking straight ahead.

This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional at Relation Insurance for appropriate advice.

©2023 Zywave,Inc. All rights reserved.