Written by Michael Weintraub
I was the Chair of the Life Happens® board back when the nonprofit was called the LIFE Foundation. (My wife loved to introduce me to others as the Chair of LIFE!) Last year, the board asked me to return as a member of its executive committee and take the position as Treasurer for its general board. I accepted the roles, as I can say I genuinely love and appreciate this organization for what they do. While many insurance companies and salespeople often make the simple complex by using complicated jargon and confusing spreadsheets, Life Happens® is all about presenting life insurance in a framework everyone can understand. They help consumers (and advisors) understand that people buy life insurance because of their love for someone else.
Check out one of their videos below on the long-lasting effects of life insurance. It’s short, only 90 seconds, but it’s truly powerful. The premiums for life insurance are at historical lows, so if this video helps motivate others to review their life-insurance policies, we want to help by sharing it.
About Life Happens
Life Happens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Americans take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products, including disability and long-term care insurance. They were formed in 1994 by seven leading insurance producer organizations, which recognized the need to better educate the public about important insurance planning topics.
Life Happens consistently creates impactful and award-winning content that consumers see and the industry uses. They’ve garnered awards and nominations from the Webby Awards, Best in Biz Awards, Web Awards, The Telly Awards, and others.
If you are considering making a career move to Ascension Insurance, Inc. (and I hope you are!), allow me to offer you the insider’s perspective from someone who has six months under her belt.
First, a little bit about me. Like most millennials, I want to be part of an innovative, cutting-edge organization. When the opportunity to join the Ascension Human Resources team came up, I initially felt as though I’d be taking a huge leap. I wasn’t actively looking for a new opportunity, and I was happily working from home, at a job I was good at and enjoyed. And to be honest, when thinking on the insurance industry, “innovative” and “cutting edge” weren’t the first words to come to mind. Besides, I knew it would take a lot to make me feel like driving into work, every day, again.
But after spending some time in the Ascension world, my perspective shifted. Ascension seeks out people who complement its company culture, so the interview process is thorough—mine comprised two phone interviews followed by two in-person meetings. One thing I noticed, which is what ultimately led me to accept the job offer, was present throughout the interviewing process: the employees’ caring attitude, at every level of the company.
A few weeks into my new role, I attended a sales-leadership meeting at our corporate headquarters in Walnut Creek, CA. Upon arriving, I was given a tour. Every person we ran into stopped and greeted me as they would a longtime friend. The President & COO, Ed Page, and the CEO, Joe Tatum, waved us into Ed’s office as we passed by. I introduced myself, but they already knew who I was, and asked me about my March Madness brackets. Later, at the sales meeting, Joe asked me, with sincerity and a genuine curiosity, what my thoughts were on key initiatives, pain points, room for improvement, and various other topics. Does that kind of welcome and soliciting of input happen everywhere?
Here are a few other things that have stood out to me in the last six months:
- People here really care about one another. They’re dedicated to each other’s success, and they work hard to help one another.
- We celebrate small victories on a day-to-day basis, which keeps morale high.
- Birthdays, work anniversaries, and/or retirements don’t go unnoticed by colleagues, who quickly become friends.
- If you’re lucky enough to work in the Overland Park, KS office as I do, you’ll never go hungry!
- Ascension IS cutting edge and innovative.
- Everything you do and every initiative you see through, results in a measurable, meaningful value-add that gets traced back to you.
- Even with 450+ employees, the executive team is accessible and transparent. I can pick up the phone and call any one of them. They know who I am, and they take the time to listen and help if necessary.
Many of my coworkers have been here for thirty, forty years, and that makes this a special place. We aren’t looking for warm bodies to fill roles here. We want “A” players, the best of the best. And once you’re in the Ascension family, you’re in. To me, that’s worth jumping in my car every day. To fully understand what it means to be a part of the Ascension family, you’ll have to join us and find out for yourself!
Click here to visit our Careers center and learn more about how you can join us!
For the first time since 2010, the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California (WCIRB) is changing the formula for calculating experience modifications, effective January 1, 2017. This could impact your Workers’ Compensation premiums.
What is an Experience Modification?
Experience rating is a method that compares an employer to other companies in its industry class based on their historical claims experience. It is expressed as a percentage—called an experience modification factor, or “Ex Mod”—and utilizes past loss experience to help predict future losses. The Ex Mod is applied against premium and either penalizes a company (if its loss experience is worse than the industry average) or rewards it (if its loss experience is better than the industry average). Experience modifications create a powerful incentive for employers to prevent claims and control claims costs.
How is it Currently Calculated?
The experience modification rating process uses what is known as a split point of $7,000. An insured’s actual losses below $7,000 are considered primary and go into the formula at full value. Losses above the split point (to a maximum of $175,000) are considered excess losses and have less weight in the formula. Dividing losses into primary and excess components gives greater weight to loss frequency, which is typically more controllable by the employer, than to loss severity, which is typically caused by less predictable catastrophic claims. The current formula, in effect since 2010, is a one-size-fits-all approach for all employers regardless of company size.
How will it be Calculated Starting January 1, 2017?
WCIRB found that the pattern of claim frequency and severity in California has changed over time, and the single $7,000 fixed split point was “no longer producing optimal results.” On January 1, 2017 it will be implementing a variable split point methodology where, depending on the size of the employer, there will be 94 different primary loss split points between $7,000 and $75,000. Losses above an insured’s split point will no longer be used in the experience modification calculation. The overall effect of the change will be to give greater weight to claims frequency while claims severity, although still a factor, will be limited at no more than $75,000.
What is the Potential Impact?
The WCIRB states: “While the variable split point plan represents a fundamental change in the values used to calculate experience modifications, there is no expectation that experience modifications for California employers as a whole (emphasis added) will change.” However, each individual insured’s experience modification will be dependent not only on its losses, but also on its size. Under the new formula, insureds whose split points increase above the current $7,000 level will have a greater amount of their losses designated as primary and will be more negatively affected by frequency than severity. This in turn could lead to an increase in their Ex Mod. On the positive side, the $75,000 excess cut off limits the impact of catastrophic losses which should especially benefit smaller employers.
Ascension is pleased to announce that we will be sponsoring a booth at The CSLN Annual Leadership Conference 2016, at the Dana Hotel on Mission Bay, San Diego, California, from April 14th and 15th
Hosts Nichole Bogue and Jeff Chenu will be discussing insurance/risk management options unique to the Independent/Supported living care community. We look forward to seeing you there!
Click here for more information on the conference and to register.
Date: Tuesday, February 23 2016
Time: 10am PST
Who Should Attend: Forward thinking Sr HR and Financial Professionals in the Technology Industry
Duration: 60 minutes
Captive Launch Date: January 1 2017
While projections vary, the indisputable facts are that your health care costs will continue to increase, the competition for talent will intensify and you will be tasked with offering a competitive, relevant benefits package that attracts and retains talent. Consider this:
- Almost 50% of CFOs rate the cost of benefits and attracting & retaining talent as top concerns in 2016. Click HERE for survey
- 78% of hiring managers said finding highly-skilled tech talent will be a top hiring priority in 2016. Click HERE for survey
- Median unemployment and starting salary for tech workers in the Bay Area is <3% and $176k, respectively compared to national averages of 7% and $107k
If you have a Total Rewards philosophy and an interest in innovative strategies, funding your benefits through the Technology Captive and sharing risk with like-minded technology leaders may be the solution for your 2017 calendar year.
Join us to learn more about the timeline, opportunities, risks and rewards of funding your benefits through a Captive.
Please join us for a seminar and panel discussion, led by Shiraz Saeed, Cyber Specialist at AIG, and John Simios, ARM, AAI, Vice President, Captive Resources LLC.
This seminar will focus on sharing ideas and expertise regarding creative risk transfer solutions and assessing new and growing exposures for middle- market companies.
Questions Answered/Topics Covered:
- Market Update: Property & Casualty and Employee Benefits
- How can I assess my Cyber Risk?
- Am I large enough for a Captive? Isn’t that only for large companies?
- What are rates doing? Should I expect an increase in next year’s renewal?
- Regulatory Environment Changes: OSHA, ACA Compliance
- Learn about current Trends and Best Practices
Thursday, October 29th, from 8:00am to 10:00am
Charlotte Country Club, 2465 Mecklenburg Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205
Most of us love summer. But long, hot days, coupled with heavy summer storms, hurricanes and periodic heat waves, all tax the power grid and can lead to inevitable blackouts. Now that summer’s officially on its way, what can you as a homeowner do to protect what matters to you most?
As with any disaster, building an emergency kit and having a family communications plan in place are two vital items to consider. And following your local utility energy company conservation measures helps utility companies avoid imposing rolling brownouts in the first place.
In addition, here’s a checklist that can help you protect your family before, during and after a blackout.
- Keep bottled water handy. You can also fill plastic containers with water and place in your freezer.
- Keep your car gassed up.
- Make sure you would know how to manually release your garage door if the garage door opener was not operating.
- Check with your pharmacist regarding any medications you are currently taking, especially if they need to be refrigerated.
- Use flashlights whenever possible; leave the candles for another time.
- Disconnect appliances, computers and other electrical equipment. A power surge or spike may damage these items.
- Run your generator outdoors, never inside the house as carbon monoxide will build in closed spaces.
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed whenever possible. Keep the cold air in.
- Keep a portable radio handy. Listen to local news whenever possible for updates.
- Keep cool whenever possible, paying special attention to the elderly and younger children. Towels soaked in water may provide some relief, applying to the back of the neck.
- Take the stairs, even if you think the power is back on.
- Follow the advice of emergency personnel, whenever possible.
- Unless forced to evacuate, try to keep traveling to a minimum. (Traffic lights may stop working during blackouts.)
- Use 911 for emergency situations only.
- After the blackout, throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures over 40 degrees fahrenheit for a prolonged period of time. When in doubt, throw it out!
Learn more about family communications plans and disaster preparedness, in this article, from ready.gov.