Thursday, November 20, 2014

Be Careful: Here are the 3 Technologies Most Susceptible to Cyber Attack

Cyber breaches are becoming increasingly common for businesses. But many aren’t yet talking about how to protect themselves in the case of a breach, according to a new report released this week by Zurich Insurance.

Over 88% of companies involved in the report said they thought cyber threats were a moderate risk, but only 52% of companies actually purchased related insurance coverage this year, according to the report.

Here are the biggest cyber risks for corporations as of 2014.



The 4 Insurance Truths that Customers Still Don’t Understand

Between obtaining coverage for your home, your car and your family’s health, taking care of your insurance needs can be exhausting. If you’re like most people, you don’t take the time (or have the desire) to consider the ins and outs of all of your policies.

“Consumers’ primary experience with insurance is being forced to contemplate unpleasant circumstances,” said Zach Finn, professor and director of the Davey Risk Management and Insurance Program at Butler University. “They will derive no value from the product unless tragedy befalls them. Seriously, who wants to be a party to that transaction?”



Industry Leaders' Top Risk Concerns for 2015

What is driving industry growth? According to a recent survey of insurance industry players, two emerging risks will rank among the top for next year.

Cyber-attacks and terrorism are ranked among the top emerging risks concerning the insurance and reinsurance industry in the year ahead, according to Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, a leading global risk and reinsurance specialist and member of Marsh & McLennan Companies.

And according to the findings, new products, expansion into new geographic markets and access to new distribution channels will be the primary drivers of profitable growth in 2015.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Experts See Gradual Transition to Accident-Free Driving

As millions of cars are under recall for potentially lethal air bags, designers are trying to reduce the need for the device – using sensors, radar, cameras and lasers to prevent collisions in the first place.

With driver error blamed for over 90 percent of road accidents, the thinking is it would be better to have them do less of the driving. The U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that forward-collision warning systems cut vehicle-to-vehicle crashes by 7 percent – not a quantum leap, but a potential life saver. Nearly 31,000 people died in car accidents in 2012 in the United States alone.



Friday, November 14, 2014

Open Enrollment begins on November 15, 2014

Individual medical insurance open enrollment for 2015 begins November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015. We can help you with questions about individual insurance, eligibility criteria for premium tax credits, comparing individual insurance to group insurance/COBRA and more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

10 Ways That Technology Will Change The Insurance Business in 2015

The top tech trends for 2015 cover three themes: the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere and the technological impact of the digital business shift, said analysts at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, held in October in Orlando.

Gartner defines a strategic tech trend as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise within the next three years. "Significant" includes the high potential for disruption to the business, end users and IT, the need for major investment, or the risks brought on by late or failure to adopt.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Keep Planning For Your Future: Buy Life Insurance as a Young Adult

With the struggle to manage burdensome student loans, balance the cost of mortgages and meet the endless barrage of other living expenses, why should life insurance be a priority for us as young adults? 

The answer is simple: it provides invaluable protection for our family’s financial future. We spend so much of our time and energy working to provide the best life for our loved ones, it is critical that we have a plan in place to protect those efforts in our absence.



IRS Releases Draft Forms for Reporting of Health Insurance Coverage

Employers are going to need a strong benefits administration platform. The Pay or Play rules of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) require applicable large employers (ALE's); employers with an average of 50 full-time employees; to report to the IRS employee and dependent health care coverage offered. On July 24, 2014, the IRS released draft informational returns which employers will use to report this health insurance coverage in accordance with Section 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Section 6056 requires every applicable large employer (ALE) to file a return with the IRS that reports the terms and conditions of the health care coverage offered to the employer's full-time employees during the year. Form 1095-C is to be used to satisfy this requirement. Reports must include and identify each employee who was full-time for 1 or more months and include details of any health care coverage offered. This form will be required of employers with either a fully insured or self-funded plan. Form 1094-C is to be used to transmit these returns to the IRS.

Applicable large employers that sponsor self-insured plans are required to report the information required under both Sections 6055 and 6056 on a single combined form using Form 1095-C.

The draft Form 1095-C features three rows of monthly information for each full-time employee, along with draft Indicator codes.

Row 1: The first series of codes relate to offers of coverage, and indicate whether coverage is offered to the employee, the employee's spouse and dependents during each month in the year and the type of coverage offered. Code 1A, for example, identifies employees that receive a qualified offer, which is minimum essential coverage (MEC) providing minimum value with employee contribution for self-only coverage equal to or less than 9.5% of the mainland single federal poverty line, as well as MEC offered to spouse and dependent(s).  Other codes denote whether MEC providing minimum value was offered to the employee only; the employee and dependent(s); the employee and spouse, or to all. Additional codes identify whether MEC offered did not provide minimum value; whether coverage was offered to an employee who was not a full-time employee, or whether a full-time employee was not offered coverage.

Row 2: Provides for monthly reporting of the employee's share of the lowest-cost monthly premium for self-only minimum value coverage.

Row 3: Used to report whether the employer is exempt from the employer shared responsibility mandate for a particular month because the employer qualified for safe harbor relief provided by the IRS in regulations. Examples of "safe harbor" codes include:

*    Not employed during the month
*    Not a full-time employee
*    Employee enrolled in coverage offered
*    Section 4980H(b) limited non-assessment period
*    Affordability Form W-2 safe harbor
*    Affordability federal poverty line safe harbor
*    Affordability rate-of-pay safe harbor   

Section 6055 requires every health insurance issuer, sponsor of a self-insured health plan, and other entities that provide minimum essential coverage to file annual returns reporting each covered individual and dependents and their respective months of coverage. Form 1095-B is to be used to comply with Section 6055 and goes to employees by January 31st of the year following the coverage. Form 1094-B is to be used to transmit these returns to the IRS.

The IRS is accepting comments on the draft forms. Comments may be submitted on the Comment on Tax Forms and Publications page on Although no comment deadline is identified, comments should be submitted as soon as possible as final forms are expected to be posted by the end of the year. Instructions were not released today, but it is anticipated that they will be issued in draft form sometime in August.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Senn Dunn Insurance Announces Two New Hires in October

Senn Dunn Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, is excited to announce the hiring of two new associates in October.

Angie Smith
Personal Insurance Account Manager
Greensboro Office

Murphy Holderness
Business Insurance Strategic Account Executive
Charlotte Office

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Senn Dunn Insurance Consultant Named IIANC Young Agent of the Year

Senn Dunn Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, is pleased to announce the recognition of Jamie Lowrey, Business Insurance Consultant, as the 2014 Young Agent of the Year by IIANC (Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina) at their recent annual convention held in Myrtle Beach, SC.

 Congratulations Jamie!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

These Companies Are Dropping Group Health Insurance Fast

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees are dropping group health insurance plans at a fast rate, surprising the industry beyond even what many health insurers expected. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the trend is especially significant among America’s smallest businesses—those employing just two to 10 workers.



Monday, November 3, 2014

The 13 Most Expensive American Cities to Buy Auto Insurance

As auto insurance increasingly moves into the ranks of commoditization, Americans find themselves more or less satisfied with their automobile insurance. Still, the debate rages on over which factors—such as education, credit score or income level—can be used to calculate insurance rates.

A combination of these factors, as well as the quantity of uninsured motorists and local regulations, means that some Americans also pay more than their neighbors for car insurance.

A study from Bankrate’s reveals the most expensive American cities in which to buy auto insurance, compared by an average $797 for annual coverage.