Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Five Essential Personal Insurance Tips

At Hays, our Private Client Group works to insure protection for every lifestyle. Whether it’s Home and Auto, Directors and Officers liability, Life Insurance, Disability or Long Term Care or unique areas of risk, such as kidnap and ransom, aviation, equine, or valuable articles, we’re here to help.

With expertise in the industry spanning 35 years, we have gathered five essential tips you need to know to protect your home and other assets:

1. Your Advisor Should Help Organize your Insurance Program.

With numerous assets acquired over time, it’s common to insure them with many different programs, often leaving your assets unorganized and expensive to manage. This can lead to gaps in coverage that will only be revealed when a claim is unexpectedly denied.

2. Be Presented With Options.

The benefit of retaining an independent insurance agent or broker is that they are working in your best interest. You should be frequently presented with options to organize your coverage.

3. Have Enough Personal Liability Insurance.

If a lawsuit puts your assets at risk, the last thing you want to worry about are insufficient limits. Make sure your liability coverage limits exceed your net worth. The Hays team can help you determine this value.

4. Be Certain of Your Insurer’s Financial Strength.

Always look for financial stability when choosing your insurer. It’s important your provider is strongly capitalized and will be able to pay your claims. Look for insurance companies rated “A” or “Excellent” by A.M. Best.

5. Work With High Net Worth Insurance Specialists.

Complex insurance situations require specialists. If you have a net worth of $2 million or more, most insurance carriers are not equipped to address your complex personal risk management needs.

Hays Private Client Group thrives at being problem-solvers in complex insurance situations. To contact us or to discover how we can keep your valuable assets protected, visit us here. Come experience The Hays Difference.

Brian Whinnery named a “2017 Young Gun”

Brian Whinnery, director of Hays Financial Group at Hays Companies, has been named a “2017 Young Gun” by the National American Retirement Association (NAPA). The award recipients are recognized as the future leaders of the retirement plan advisor industry. Congratulations, Brian!

To read the full article, please click here.

Centered on fiduciary governance for employer groups and the individual financial goals of their employees, Brian provides customized solutions in the qualified retirement plan space. Brian was formerly a financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management for over 5 years prior to joining Hays Companies. He has over 12 years of corporate retirement plan experience and was previously named by the Financial Times as one of the top retirement plan advisors in the country in 2015.

If you have any questions, please contact Brian Whinnery at

Hays Companies Ranked in Top 25 in The 100 Largest Brokers of U.S. Business List

Hays Companies was listed again as one of the top 100 largest insurance brokers in the United States by Business Insurance, a leading commercial publication to the insurance industry. The list was based on 2015 brokerage revenues of U.S based clients. Hays Companies ranked 21st this year and achieved over a nine percent revenue increase from 2015, holding a position in the top 40 brokers for more than a decade.

With over 20 years in the business, Hays Companies is based in Minneapolis, MN, with 30 locations nationwide and over 700 expert professionals. Hays Companies has continued to grow while maintaining independence and an industry leading 94 percent client retention rate.

“Our customers are at the center of everything we do,” explained Jim Hays, CEO of Hays Companies. “Each year, we are growing organically and extending our reach to better meet the needs of our clients. We will continue to be an industry leading company by going above and beyond to ensure we are the broker of choice for our customers.”

Click here for the full list. A subscription may be required.

How Comfortable Are We Getting With Disrupters?

Most Disrupters aren’t all that disruptive anymore. Everyone, including our children, have become quite comfortable with Disrupters and the positive impact they have on business and our everyday lives. A true Disrupter turns a product or service upside-down and inside-out.

Consider one of the biggest Disrupters in recent history — the personal computer. Think of life without Google…  More recently, consider smartphones, drones, smart watches, FitBit, Netflix, Nest, Uber, and Airbnb. Since their introduction, life has not been the same. Many of these companies have been incredibly successful. Today, we’re comfortably accepting these Disrupters with open arms and we’re hungry for more.


The Disrupter mentality and Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley is home to some of the world’s most successful Disrupters. This continues to be true as many of the most visible Disrupters are technology-oriented.

In the first three months of 2015, venture capital (VC) funds invested $13.4 billion, much of it in the tech sector. Not since the dot-com era has there been such a run in VC funding and technology. Many young start-ups seeking funds are turning to crowdfunding and smaller investors, which is disrupting the very ground VC’s used to look to fund — Disrupters.


Two of the most successful Disrupters and their business strategy.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines and Virgin Mobile, and Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO, have a similar business philosophy: Constantly strive to improve the  customer experience. In fact, they have structured their companies to encourage disruptive thinking and innovation. Bezos has upended the book and publishing industry and nearly displaced electronics retailers. He continues to disrupt and reinvent online shopping and delivery by responding to changing technology.

“We innovate by starting with the customers and working backwards,” says Bezos. “That becomes the touchstone for how we invent. For Amazon, customer focus is a cultural issue.”


The “improve the experience credo” has sparked a revolution in business thinking that fuels most new Disrupter companies.

One of the biggest Disrupters of today is the smartphone. By its very nature, its features are designed to disrupt whatever we’re doing. As a mobile device they are indispensable and frustrating because we can’t seem to put them down. They have changed the way we communicate, live and do business.

Smartphones are also having a dramatic impact on many other businesses, both positively and negatively. Yet smartphones have also created a dynamic new business category — app design. They help promote shopping, banking, health and fitness, news, entertainment, restaurants and better communication between businesses and consumers, just to name a few.


Understanding how Disrupters are affecting insurance and employee benefits begins with big data.

The biggest Disrupter to date is big data and most agree that big data benefits customers by offering them tailored insurance and employee benefits programs for their specific experience, location and risk profile. Collecting this information is no easy feat: it means gathering financial, claims, risk, customer preference and sales data from multiple sources, then scrubbing and analyzing it, all while complying with protective regulations designed to safeguard the data and data-driven decisions.

IBM’s Big Data @ Work survey reported that big data’s influence in the insurance realm is strong: some 47 percent of insurers want to use it to develop customer-centric programs and another 66 percent are conducting or planning big data activities.*

Today, the use of these devices is ubiquitous. We’ve become so accustomed to formerly “disruptive” technology that it doesn’t faze us anymore.


At the heart of the trend is effectively aggregating the data … and we are doing that at Hays. 

We are on the edge of the big data trend, developing innovative programs and opportunities that will benefit our customers. At Hays, we have a proprietary technology platform that pulls together data. This allows us to audit the data, provide consistency of data extracts, show continuity of data across multiple vendors, simplify access to data through one portal, and reduce fees by eliminating ad hoc reports.

We help eliminate the “silos” that come from bucketing cost centers to give our customers a data-focused assessment of the true cost of employment.


The dark side of data.

When it comes to customer and employee privacy, however, we should never be complacent about the dark side of Disrupters.

Cyber terrorism and data breaches have shadowy technical roots in the so-called Deep Web and Dark Web, which most people don’t even know exist. Your company’s data is vulnerable through email links, apps, a compromised network, or a web download. But, the threats are not always through a coding attack. Hackers are increasingly using social engineering techniques to trick people into breaking normal security procedures because they think the phone or email contact is a trusted source.

That’s just the start. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) means personal data could be hacked or collected by cybercriminals in a way never before possible.

Does your wellness program encourage employees to use wearable fitness trackers or apps? Sure, they can improve employee health but there’s also a risk to private information: the FitBit cloud holding this personal health data has already been hacked, raising fears about their vulnerability. And that’s not even addressing their lack of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance.

With so many ways to hack into your company and your employees’ lives, it’s a top priority to have the best cyber security as well as the best insurance and employee benefits programs that protect your company’s people, property, data, reputation, and — ultimately — your bottom line, no matter what new Disrupter comes down the pike.

Technology is expanding at an unprecedented rate; there are new Disrupters in development that offer improvements and increased risks. Hays is at the forefront, watching the development and the impact on your business. We’ve always believed in providing the best resources available for our clients, so our representatives are prepared to provide guidance in managing the evolving  risks. We hope you call on us if you have any questions.


This issue is an excerpt from our quarterly FOCUS publication. If you would like to read more, you can request the full issue below.

Cyber Attacks. What Do They Damage Most: Revenue or Reputation?

Cyber attacks are a serious global problem. The number of successful attacks has risen drastically to an average of 138 per week.*  The constant national media coverage of high profile data breaches has brought cyber insurance into the spotlight. Companies hacked have the arduous task of rebuilding consumer loyalty, trust and revenue.

In this issue of FOCUS, we tackle the question of how companies can protect themselves against this new age of brand terrorism to stave off a cyber attack or lessen its impact.  We also explore how the government is attacking cyber and why the underwriting cycle might be different this time based upon market performance and trends.

Click here to view FOCUS. You may also view as an e-magazine.

To request a hard copy, please email

* Survey by the Ponemon Institute

Hays Companies Opens New York City Office

Hays Companies, one of the nation’s fastest growing risk management, insurance and employee benefits advisors in the country, recently opened an office in New York, New York. This new location will allow Hays Companies to better serve existing clients and future partners in the Northeastern United States.

“Hays Companies strong, steady growth and our expanding national footprint is a real tribute to the talent of our people,” says Jim Hays, CEO of Hays Companies. “Our consultants have an exceptional ability to work with clients to generate great value.”

The New York City office is a natural extension of Hays Companies Northeast office system, which includes offices in Jericho, NY, Boston, MA, Nashua, NH, Morristown, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. “New York offers a strong platform for developing deeper relationships with a host of current and prospective clients throughout the Northeast. We’re excited to have a greater presence in this large and growing market and look forward to serving a range of new clients,” said Mike Egan, President of Hays Companies.

Hays Companies has been providing risk management services for over twenty years. The company was founded in 1994 through the entrepreneurial spirit of Jim C. Hays and five senior level individuals from major insurance brokerage firms. They were determined to fill the void of customer service and creative new ideas in the marketplace. Today their vision remains alive and well. Hays Companies has grown to become a nationally recognized insurance broker with over 700+ insurance professionals located in 35 offices. In addition, Hays Companies currently ranks as the 18th largest insurance brokerage in the country (as ranked by Crain’s Business Insurance).

For more information contact Andrea Field (

Hollcroft Named Safety Professional of the Year

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently honored Hays team member Bruce Hollcroft with the Region I Safety Professional of the Year Award. The prestigious award for the West Region was based upon technical expertise, innovations to advance the safety profession, community involvement and endorsements from within the safety community.

ASSE represents the largest professional safety organization in the world with nearly 40,000 members worldwide. Congratulations Bruce on your significant impact on the safety profession!

New Technologies That Support Health Strategies


No matter what form of health strategies an organization offers, there is little chance of success without member engagement, and no chance for member engagement without member awareness. At Hays Companies, we understand while there are many kinds of employer-sponsored wellness programs, all of them present program administrators with the common challenge of effectively communicating to the target population. As anyone who has been involved in employer health initiative knows all too well, it is no simple task to create and sustain a dialogue with a diverse population of employees who may not have much in common in terms of geography, work schedule, or lifestyle choices.

Fortunately, continued advances in technology offer many promising new resources to help employers’ efforts to bring positive changes in the lives of their employees. Many of these new tools take the form of portals, devices, and applications (or apps).

Improvements in portal usability are making wellness programs more accessible than ever to employees and administrators. In just the last few years, wellness vendors have developed new offerings with portals that feature the following:

  • A seamless transition from an employer’s internal homepage to the external program’s portal.
  •  Online registration by employees for events and programs, which automates response tracking and communications.
  • Reporting capabilities regarding engagement indicators and health outcome changes.
  • The ability to sync devices and apps to the assigned wellness portal; allowing for example the secure uploading of exercise data directly to an employee’s personal page.

Innovations in digital health and fitness devices can leverage employee reliance on their phones, tablets and laptops, helping to link the passive activity of using a portable device to active endeavors such as exercise. Taking advantage of these new technologies can help employees to make healthier lifestyle choices and significantly increase positive outcomes. For example, incorporating wearable health-promoting devices such as FitBit, Nike Fuel Band or the Pebble by FitLinx and applications into a wellness program can be a simple and effective way to encourage participation. Many such devices offer new ways to help companies and employees achieve their shared fitness goals.

Downloadable apps can serve as either a complement or an inexpensive alternative to a fitness device. Program administrators can introduce employees to health-promoting apps via the employer wellness portal. Below are six of the most popular options.

Wellness programs that integrate these innovations will serve novice techies as well as tech-savvy staff, because these are technologies most employees already know and use.

All. Together. Simplified.

With the rapidly evolving technology marketplace, Hays Companies has partnered with independent technology consultants to simplify the evaluation, development and implementation process. We can build effective platforms that leverage technology such as portals, devices and apps, as well as care reminders, care access, financial wellbeing, advocacy tools and more. Our goal at Hays Companies is to deliver the best organizational solution for health strategy technology and create efficiencies to enhance the employee’s experience with their benefits.

Make technology your health and wellness program partner. To find out more, email our Director of Health Strategies, Holly Capelle (

Habitat for Humanity

Since 2009, Hays Companies has been in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in an effort to reduce homelessness and provide affordable housing for families in need.

This month, Hays Companies’ colleagues spent two days working on the final construction process of two homes in Crystal, Minnesota. The process involved landscaping, painting, cleaning, and putting finishing touches on the kitchens. The houses are now complete and are ready for homeowners to move in. Robert Rangel, Hays Companies’ Director of Claims Management and Volunteer Committee Chair, shared, “It was an exciting and fulfilling couple of days and a great experience to bond with coworkers, learn new skills, and help others in our community.”

One of Hays Companies’ core values is to give back to the communities we are a part of. “We encourage our employees to get involved with projects and organizations that they are passionate about. Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful example of that and one our employees are incredibly enthusiastic about,” said Jim Hays.

Hays Companies’ continued partnership with Habitat for Humanity is one way that we as a company, and as individuals, demonstrate our commitment to the communities where we do business, and where our clients and colleagues live and work.

Visit our Community Relations page to learn more about Hays Companies’ commitment to supporting charities in the communities we serve.

Red Habitat House


Working at Habitat