Monday, March 30, 2015

The 11 rules every homeowner needs to follow when creating a home inventory

Imagine trying to list every possession you own, along with each item’s worth, after your home has been destroyed by fire or a natural disaster. The task will feel overwhelming and will be nearly impossible.

However, having a detailed home inventory can make the difference between a paid insurance claim and a disputed claim. Relying solely on your memory could be expensive.



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cyber insurance: It’s not just for data breaches anymore

In the 2007 film, “Live Free or Die Hard,” Bruce Willis as New York City Police Detective John McClane stops the villain who has sabotaged the U.S.’s network of traffic signals, rail transport and air traffic control. The villain also has forced the evacuation of numerous federal buildings with a false anthrax alarm, with some of his men infiltrating a Maryland facility by posing as a hazmat cleanup team to sneak in and kill the guards.

This scenario is no longer fiction. In its Jan.-April 2014 issue of the ICS-CERT Monitor, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed that a public utility was compromised when a “sophisticated threat actor” gained unauthorized access to its control system network, demonstrating that fictional attacks have become all too real. After notification of the incident, ICS-CERT (Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team), an agency within DHS, validated that the software used to administer the control system assets was accessible via Internet facing hosts.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Do I need Flood Insurance?

Anyone who owns a home near a body of water—including lakes and streams—should buy a flood insurance policy to protect their property. As a general rule, flooding is not covered by typical homeowners policies.

If you live anywhere near water of any sort you're at risk. In the deluge of claims following Superstorm Sandy, many policyholders did not know that their homeowners' coverage did not include flood.



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

So what's it worth? The 4 rules for insuring classic cars.

Americans have a love affair with classic cars. From James Bond’s Aston Martin to Thomas Magnum’s red Ferrari 308 GTS, some were iconic in their time and have since gone on to become famous classics. Consider the ’69 Chevrolet Camaro SS, the ’66 Ford Mustang GT or the Pontiac GTO Judge. These and others have more than stood the test of time.

As anyone who is a classic car aficionado knows, this is not a hobby for those with small wallets. Some well-known gearheads include Jay Leno, Reggie Jackson, Tim Allen, David Letterman, Mark Harmon, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), James Garner, Steve McQueen, Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Newman. Leno even hosts a show now about restoring classic cars.



Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy Pi Day! Here Are 10 Irrational Insurance Numbers

Known as the “Math Geek Mardi Gras”, Pi Day is a growing international event that underscores the wonder of numbers, by celebrating everyone’s favorite irrational number: Pi.
So says the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

And there is no better time than Pi Day to recognize that the insurance world is a treasure trove of facts and figures showcasing irrational decision-making, the I.I.I. believes.
Named in honor of March 14, a date which spells out the first three digits of Pi—3.14—Pi Day is a red-letter day in schools and communities around the world. This year, Pi Day is a rare, once-in-a-century event: on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m., Pi will be spelled out to a total of 10 digits.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Senn Dunn's New Risk Management Center

Senn Dunn has a new Risk Management Center (RMC) designed to help companies enhance their resources, improve efficiencies, and provide bottom line results.  This risk mitigation program is a secure, web-based platform that will help improve your company’s risk management, loss control and prevention, and OSHA-compliance efforts with core results.  The RMC is easy to set-up with software wizards that will walk you through the process.  As a web-based platform, it is accessible anywhere and anytime and provides a cost-effective risk management and safety center for your entire organization across all departments and locations.

The risk management center is very flexible, allowing you to import aspects of your current safety and risk management program as well as enhance and expand your safety culture to the next level.  The RMC has a variety of built-in functions to provide assistance in managing and improving your safety and risk management program.  In addition, the user-friendly and flexible platform allows you to use one or all of the applications for your organization.  The RMC system includes:

Risk Management Library – Safety resource library containing an extensive variety of training documents, sample policies, and webinars.

HR Library – Human Resource reference and resource for all 50 states.

COI Track – Manages Certificates of Insurance to help avoid liabilities.

Training Track – Conduct, organize and maintain training along with properly documenting completed training activities.

SDS Track – Compile and organize Safety Data Sheets and give employees access anywhere they can get internet access.

BBS Track – Build your own Job Hazard Analysis and behavior based safety programs, including safety observations.

Job Description – Create Job Descriptions and Return to Work Programs.

To learn more about our new RMC platform, visit it at our internet website resource page, or contact one of our Risk Control staff members:
Jessica Rasoulyan:
Dan Warnock:

IRS Releases Final Forms and Instructions for ACA Reporting

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created new reporting requirements under Internal Revenue Code (Code) Sections 6055 and 6056. Under these new reporting rules, certain employers must provide information to the IRS about the health plan coverage they offer (or do not offer) to their employees.

On Feb. 8, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final versions of forms and related instructions that employers may use to report under Sections 6055 and 6056 for 2014. These forms are not required to be filed for 2014, but reporting entities may voluntarily file them in 2015 for 2014 coverage.

Forms and instructions for 2015 reporting have not yet been released and may contain some changes from these 2014 versions.

On Feb. 9, 2015, the IRS also issued Publication 5196, Understanding Employer Reporting Requirements of the Health Care Law, to help employers prepare for reporting in 2016.
Few Changes in Final Forms

The final versions of the forms do not differ significantly from the draft versions. In general, the final instructions were edited to clarify existing requirements. However, the final instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C did include a new option for applicable large employers (ALEs) reporting information for nonemployees (such as nonemployee directors, retired employees or nonemployee COBRA beneficiaries) covered under employer-sponsored self-insured health coverage.
Section 6055 Forms and Instructions

Section 6056 Forms and Instructions

Section 6055 Reporting
Under Section 6055, every person that provides minimum essential coverage (MEC) to an individual during a calendar year must file Forms 1094-B (a transmittal) and 1095-B (an information return), including:

Health insurance issuers or carriers;

Self-insured health plan sponsors;

Government agencies that administer government-sponsored health insurance programs; and

Any other entity that provides MEC.

Self-insured plan sponsors that are also ALEs subject to the employer shared responsibility rules will report information about the coverage in Part III of Form 1095-C, instead of on Form 1095-B. In general, an employer with 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time equivalents) during the prior calendar year is considered an ALE.
Section 6056 Reporting

All ALEs (as defined under the employer shared responsibility rules) must file Form 1094-C (a transmittal) and Form 1095-C (an information return) for each full-time employee.
Form 1094-C is used to report summary information for each employer to the IRS and to transmit Forms 1095-C to the IRS.

Form 1095-C is used to report information about each employee.

These forms help the IRS determine whether an ALE owes penalties under the employer shared responsibility rules, as well as whether an employee is eligible for premium tax credits.
Combined Reporting

Form 1095-C will generally be used by ALEs to satisfy both the Section 6055 and 6056 reporting requirements, as applicable.

An ALE that sponsors a self-insured plan will complete all sections of Form 1095-C to report the information required under both Sections 6055 and 6056. Therefore, these ALEs will be able to use a single form to report information regarding whether an employee was covered.

An ALE that provides insured coverage will also report on Form 1095-C, but will complete only the sections of Form 1095-C related to Section 6056.

ALEs will also be providing only a single employee statement (with the Section 6056 information, and, with respect to employers with a self-insured group health plan, Section 6055 information).
New Option for ALEs Reporting Enrollment Information for Nonemployees

The final instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C include a new option for ALEs reporting information for nonemployees (such as nonemployee directors, retirees or nonemployee COBRA beneficiaries).
This new option allows employers to report employer-sponsored self-insured health coverage for nonemployees (and their family members) using either Forms 1094-B and 1095-B or Form 1095-C, Part III.

This option applies only for ALEs offering self-insured health coverage for any individual who enrolled in the coverage for one or more calendar months of the year, but was not an employee for any calendar month of the year, such as:
A nonemployee director;
A retired employee who retired in a previous year;
A terminated employee receiving COBRA coverage who terminated employment during a previous year; and
A nonemployee COBRA beneficiary.
A nonemployee does not include an individual who obtained coverage through the employee’s enrollment, such as a spouse or dependent obtaining coverage when an employee elects family coverage.

Under this new option, ALEs may report enrollment for these individuals using either:
Forms 1094-B and 1095-B or Form 1095-C, Part III.

If the Form 1095-C is used with respect to an individual who was not an employee for any month of the calendar year, Part II must also be completed by using Code 1G on Line 14 in the “All 12 Months” box (or the box for each month of the calendar year).
In the case of a nonemployee who enrolls in the coverage under a self-insured health plan, all family members who are covered individuals due to the individual’s enrollment must be included on the same Form 1095-B or Form 1095-C as the individual who is offered, and enrolls in, the coverage.

Changes to Alternative Methods of Reporting Under Section 6056

The final instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C also made several changes to the alternative methods of reporting under Section 6056. Two alternative methods of reporting are available under Section 6056—the Qualifying Offer Method (and the Qualifying Offer Method Transition Relief for 2015) and the 98 Percent Offer Method.
The Qualifying Offer Method (and the Qualifying Offer Method Transition Relief for 2015) allows eligible ALEs to provide simplified employee statements to certain employees, in lieu of a copy of the Form 1095-C. The final instructions added to the list of information that must be included in these simplified employee statements. A statement is now required that directs the employee to see IRS Publication 974, Premium Tax Credit (PTC), (currently in draft form) for more information on eligibility for the premium tax credit.

Also, the final instructions clarified that ALEs may not use the alternative method of furnishing Form 1095-C to employees under the Qualifying Offer Method (or the Qualifying Offer Method Transition Relief for 2015) for employees who enrolled in self-insured coverage. For these employees, the ALE must furnish the information reporting enrollment in the self-insured coverage on Form 1095-C, Part III. The ALE may provide this information to the employee by furnishing a copy of Form 1095-C as filed with the IRS (with or without the statements regarding any qualifying offer the employee received or the employee’s premium tax credit eligibility).
The 98 Percent Offer Method is generally available to ALEs that offer MEC that is affordable and provides minimum value to at least 98 percent of the employees on whom it reports in its Section 6056 return. The final instructions clarify that ALEs must also offer MEC to those employees’ dependents to be eligible to use the 98 Percent Offer Method. For this purpose, the term “dependent” is defined to include an employee’s child, but does not include a spouse.

Additional Changes in the Final Instructions

The final instructions also made the following changes and clarifications:

The Employer Identification Number (EIN) may be truncated on any statements furnished to employees or individuals, but not on any forms filed with the IRS (previously, truncation of EINs was not allowed on any forms).

When determining the total employee count for the ALE for purposes of Form 1094-C, Part III, Column (c), an ALE may now choose to use either the first or last day of the first payroll period that starts during each month, or the first or last day of each month.

All ALEs, including U.S. ALEs, should include a country code with the employee’s address in Part I of Form 1095-C.

An offer of coverage is treated as having been made to an employee’s dependents only if the offer of coverage is made to an unlimited number of dependents, regardless of the actual number of dependents (if any) an employee has during any particular calendar month.

If spouses (or employee and dependent) are employed by the same ALE, and one employee enrolled in a coverage option that also covered the other employee(s) (for example, family coverage that provided coverage to the other employee spouse and their employee dependent child), the enrollment information should be reflected only on the Form 1095-C for the employee who enrolled in the coverage (but it would report the other employee family members as covered individuals).

An ALE is not required to file a Form 1095-C for an individual who, for all months of a calendar year, is either not an employee of the ALE or is in a limited non-assessment period. However, for the months in which the employee was an employee of the ALE, he or she would be included in the total employee count reported on Form 1094-C, Part III, Column (c). (Also, if the employee enrolled in self-insured employer-sponsored coverage during the limited non-assessment period, the employer must file a Form 1095-C for the employee in order to report coverage information for the year.)

For purposes of reporting, an offer to a spouse includes an offer to a spouse that is subject to a reasonable, objective condition, regardless of whether the spouse meets the condition. For example, an offer to a spouse that is available only if the spouse certifies that he or she does not have access to health coverage from another employer is treated as an offer of coverage to the spouse for reporting purposes. (Note that this treatment is for reporting purposes only, and generally will not affect the spouse’s eligibility for the premium tax credit if the spouse did not meet the condition and therefore did not have an actual offer of coverage.)

More Information
Please contact Senn Dunn for more information on reporting under Code Sections 6055 and 6056, or see the IRS’ Q&As on Section 6055 and Q&As on Section 6056.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Senn Dunn Insurance Named to North Carolina Best Employer List

Senn Dunn Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, was recently honored as one of the 2015 Best Employers in North Carolina. The list of the Best Employers in North Carolina was created by Business North Carolina, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – NC State Council and Best Companies Group.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Weather mythbusters: 7 weather myths that you should stop believing

During the harshest of weather, many people come to their own conclusions about how to fight against Mother Nature. But the problems only get worse when people truly believe in some of the myths they're being told.

Some myths are a product of old science and observation, such as standing in a doorway during an earthquake. Others are old wives' tales.

Misconceptions about the weather can prove to be dangerous or even life-threatening. Here is a list of seven of the most common weather-related myths and the facts to set the record straight.



Expiration of Department of Labor Model FMLA Forms

On February 28, 2015, the model FMLA forms available on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) website expired.

The DOL has extended the expiration date on the forms to March 31, 2015, and all copies of the forms reflecting the March 31, 2015 date are available on the DOL website via the links below:

WH-380-E Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition

WH-380-F Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition

WH-381 Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities

WH-382 Designation Notice

WH-384 Certification of Qualifying Exigency For Military Family Leave

WH-385 Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember -- for Military Family Leave

WH-385-V Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of a Veteran for Military Caregiver Leave

As an option, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is allowing employers to continue to use the expired forms until new forms are issued.

Just prior to the expiration of the forms, the DOL submitted an information collection request (ICR) to OMB to request input on how the forms should be revised. Public comments on the ICR are welcome, and are due by March 27, 2015. For information on how to submit comments, see the attached Federal Register Notice.

This notification is provided as a service to our Senn Dunn HR Consulting clients and friends. Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you need assistance with human resource matters.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Here are the 8 most common fire hazards in the home

A recent fire at a 16,000 square foot mansion on the waterfront in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, took the lives of six people including two grandparents and their four grandchildren. The cause of the fire, according to investigators, was a 16-foot tall Christmas tree that the owners left lit most of the time in the great room of the house. An electrical failure ignited the two-month-old tree, which swiftly fueled the fire in the rest of the house.

The lack of a sprinkler system inside the house or fire hydrants and other water sources near the home made it extremely challenging for fire fighters who responded to the call.

But that is just one example. The cold weather often means that people are spending more time at home and all of this time indoors increases the risks of house fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says there are more than 360,000 home structure fires each year, resulting in about $6-8 billion dollars in damage.



Monday, March 2, 2015

The top 5 reasons to promptly report a claim

Your insurance policy is merely a promise until you have a claim, but many people hesitate to report a claim to their insurer. Here are five reasons why you should promptly report a claim if you have an incident.