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.
- Hurricane Assessment Checklist
- Hurricane Before the Storm Checklist
- Hurricane During the Storm Checklist
- Hurricane After the Storm Checklist
- Hurricane Recovery Checklist
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:
- Create a financial safety net with a lump sum payment for your loved ones.
- Provide replacement of your income to make sure your loved ones have the money they need.
- Leave funds for your spouse to pay off your mortgage, assuring that your family can remain in their home.
- Provide funds for your children to be able to pay for college.
- 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
About The Speakers
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
Recent market developments have demonstrated signs of an improving commercial insurance landscape. Yet, industry experts asserted that ongoing headwinds facing certain lines of coverage will continue to generate hardened conditions overall, therefore driving up premiums. As such, it’s essential for businesses to be aware of the following market trends and how they may impact coverage costs:
Labor shortages trends impacting commercial insurance costs
The last few years have seen widespread labor shortages, largely stemming from employees adjusting their job priorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such shortages have motivated some businesses to hire less experienced workers and place extra demands on existing employees to fill labor gaps; however, doing so can heighten liability exposures and increase the risk of workplace accidents, paving the way for rate jumps in several commercial insurance segments.
Supply chain disruptions trends impacting commercial insurance costs
Continued pandemic-related challenges, global transportation breakdowns and commercial driver shortages have slowed shipment and delivery times for many high-demand goods, creating supply chain issues for businesses across industry lines. These issues have led to considerable disruptions, prolonged recovery times, compounded claim expenses and elevated premiums in multiple commercial insurance segments.
Inflation issues trends impacting commercial insurance costs
In recent years, labor shortages and supply chain issues have fueled rising inflation concerns throughout the commercial insurance space, as evidenced by a surging consumer price index (CPI). Altogether, the elevated CPI has driven up claim costs, inflated total loss expenses and prompted rate hikes for various lines of coverage.
Recession risks trends impacting commercial insurance costs
Some economic experts have forecasted that the United States is headed toward a recession in the near future. During a recession, businesses usually experience decreased sales and profits, which may cause them to reduce their workforces and cut their spending to help maintain financial stability. Although having fewer employees could minimize occupational injuries and associated claims, limited funding for risk management and cybersecurity initiatives may create further liability exposures, making busi- nesses more vulnerable to increased losses and higher commercial insurance premiums.
Social inflation trends impacting commercial insurance costs
Social inflation refers to societal trends that push insurance costs above the overall inflation rate. Current drivers of social inflation include increased third-party litigation funding and the rise of anti-corporate culture. Amid these trends, businesses have been held more ac- countable for their wrongdoings, sometimes resulting in nuclear verdicts (jury awards exceeding $10 million). Social inflation has been a main factor in rising claim severity and rate jumps across many commercial insurance segments.
Extreme weather events impacting commercial insurance costs
Natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, hailstorms and wildfires) continue to make headlines as they become increasingly devastating and costly. Making matters worse, these events aren’t limited to one geographic area; they impact establishments across the United States. Natural disasters have left businesses with significant repair and re- placement expenses, exacerbating losses and resulting in higher commercial insurance premiums.
During these challenging times, we are here to provide much-needed market expertise. Contact us today for additional risk management guidance and insurance solutions.
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.
The current state of the world has made it more important than ever for employers to align with employees in all aspects of their lives.
Join Relation Insurance and Franklin Templeton as they help you:
- Identify why there has never been a more urgent time for employers to evaluate their benefit offerings and consider ways to evolve the way they support employee needs
- Understand how personalization has empowered consumers and is becoming the market standard
- Understand the lack of employee well-being has an impact on their work
- Recognize that workers are looking to their employers for help
President Biden Discusses Employee Benefits and the Workplace in State of the Union Address
On Tuesday, Feb. 7, President Joe Biden delivered the 2023 State of the Union (SOTU) address. The SOTU address is an annual speech the president delivers near the beginning of each year, outlining how the country is doing and identifying future initiatives the current administration wants to pursue. For employers, the SOTU address is important as it often provides insight into proposed plans and initiatives relevant to the workplace. The 2023 SOTU address focused on health care and the economy. Read on for the main takeaways from the speech.
“Let’s also make sure working parents can afford to raise a family with sick days, paid family and medical leave, and affordable child care that will enable millions more people to go to work.”
– President Biden, in the SOTU address
President Biden pushed for passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (or PRO Act), which strengthens the federal laws protecting employees’ rights to organize and collectively bargain.
Additionally, the administration advocated for sick days, paid family and medical leave and affordable child care. He also mentioned a need to restore the full child tax credit to offer parents more breathing room. President Biden stressed that steps must be taken to help working parents afford to raise a family and access more benefits. Ultimately, it was a call for guaranteeing all workers a living wage.
The administration is also moving to ban noncompete agreements to make organizations compete for workers and pay them what they’re worth, removing time limitations on industries or companies after leaving a job.
Health Care Prices
While progress has been made in lowering health care costs, there is still more work to be done. President Biden outlined steps to strengthen Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (or ACA), as well as give more families the peace of mind of affordable health care.
If drug companies hike prescription drug prices faster than inflation, they will have to pay the difference back to Medicare. And as part of a new prescription drug law that goes into effect in 2025, Medicare will cap out-of-pocket pharmacy costs at $2,000 per year under Part D. Such changes are intended to help elderly individuals save more on their health care-related expenses. Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries will pay no more than$35 per month per insulin prescription. President Biden called on Congress to extend this protection to all Americans.
Mental Health Crisis
One of the more detailed talking points in last year’s SOTU address focused on handling the mental health crisis and the White House’s related implementation strategy. While the administration made strides in 2022, including launching the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and helping address the negative impacts of social media on today’s youth, it plans to continue tackling the mental health crisis in 2023 by:
- Creating healthy environments, such as safe online platforms for children and resources to support and build resilience in the health care workforce
- Connecting more Americans to care (e.g., affordable and accessible health insurance, integrated mental health services in schools and expanded telehealth access)
- Strengthening health care system capacity as the nation experiences a behavioral health professional shortage
Mental health is a serious concern for many Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted individuals’ mental health and substance use, with such challenges likely to continue as the country navigates economic uncertainty.
Over the past year, the administration has expanded benefits for veterans, their caregivers and survivors. In 2022, the Department of Veterans Affairs processed a record 1.7 million veteran claims and delivered $128 billion in earned benefits to 6.1 million veterans and survivors. The administration plans to continue those efforts by focusing on:
- Reducing veteran suicide
- Expanding access to peer support, including mental health services
- Ensuring access to affordable, stable housing for low-income veterans
- Delivering job training for veterans and their spouses
Overall, these plans are meant to expand support and outreach to help the nation’s veterans.
Reproductive Health and Equality
President Biden called on Congress to protect people’s rights and freedoms. First, he urged Congress to restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade. As more than a dozen states enforce abortion bans, President Biden reinforced that he would veto any national abortion ban passed by Congress.
Additionally, the administration called for Congress to pass the Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially young transgender people, can live safely.
Opioid and Overdose Epidemic
Another significant health care talking point involved the opioid and overdose epidemic. While overdose deaths and poisonings have decreased for five consecutive months, these drug-related deaths remain high and are primarily caused by fentanyl. As a result, the administration plans to address this by:
- Disrupting the trafficking, distribution and sale of fentanyl
- Expanding access to prevention, treatment and recovery for substance use disorders
President Biden also highlighted the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (or MAT Act) passing, which removes barriers for health care providers prescribing life-saving medications for opioid use.
Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in America. Last year, President Biden announced a plan to “supercharge the Cancer Moonshot,” a program that aims to cut cancer’s death rate by at least half over the next 25 years and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer. Over the past year, Cancer Moonshot announced nearly 30 new federal programs, policies and resources to close gaps, decrease preventable cancers and support patients and caregivers.
President Biden called on Congress to drive further progress this year by:
- Urging the reauthorization of the National Cancer Act to update and modernize the nation’s cancer research and care systems
- Ensuring patient navigation services are covered benefits going forward for as many people as possible
- Helping people avoid smoking in the first place and supporting Americans who want to quit
Additionally, President Biden and Congress have already provided an initial investment of $2.5 billion to fund the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) to drive breakthroughs in cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and other diseases. The Inflation Reduction Act will also lower prescription drug costs for thousands of cancer patients with Medicare coverage.
Part of the administration’s efforts for a strong economic recovery includes bringing manufacturing operations back to the United States. Additionally, President Biden touted the Junk Fee Prevention Act to stop excessive junk fees, which are hidden surcharges from companies associated with the purchase of their products or services. Junk fees can make it more challenging for Americans to pay their bills or afford other expenses.
COVID-19 Emergency Periods
Prior to the SOTU address, the administration announced plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and national emergency on May 11, 2023. The end of the COVID-19 emergency periods triggers the end of numerous measures related to the federal government’s pandemic response, including some requirements for employer-sponsored health plans. For example, when the PHE ends, health plans will no longer be required to cover COVID-19 diagnostic tests and related services without cost sharing. Non-grandfathered health plans will still be required to cover recommended preventive services, including COVID-19 immunizations, without cost sharing; however, this coverage requirement will be limited to in-network providers.
The SOTU address serves mainly as a presidential wish list; it’s a chance for the current administration to outline where it wants to take the country over the next year. It’s unreasonable to speculate on how some of the agenda items may take shape at this time. As such, employers should look for more details about the SOTU proposals in the coming weeks and months. While some of the discussed initiatives have the potential to significantly affect the workplace, these impacts won’t be evident until more information is released.
Relation Insurance Services will keep you apprised of any additional government updates and other pertinent matters. In the meantime, contact us for additional workplace guidance.
The content of this News Brief is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It should not be regarded as legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. © 2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.