Archive for the ‘Featured Stories’ Category

Webinar: M&A Impacts on Benefit Compliance

Corporate transitions like mergers and acquisitions are continuing at a rapid pace. When considering how these transactions and changes will impact employee benefit compliance, time is often limited.

This 3o-minute webinar, presented by the Hays Benefits Research and Compliance Department, addresses the M&A impacts on Benefits Compliance. It covers common issues that companies need to be aware of if they’re in the merger and acquisition field.

Other topics this webinar will address:

  • Integration of similar benefit offerings
  • COBRA implications
  • FSA implications
  • Employer mandate considerations
  • And more

You can watch the webinar here. 

If you’re interested in accessing a PDF version of the presentation, please complete the form here to download.

Please contact your Hays Companies representative for more information.

 



Hays Companies of Wisconsin Named One of the Top Workplaces

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has named Hays Companies of Wisconsin one of Wisconsin’s Top Workplaces for the eighth year in a row. Consequently, they have been inducted into The Journal Sentinel’s 2018 Top Workplaces Hall of Fame, a prestigious position that reflects the quality of our culture and employees.

Results were based on survey responses from employees on items such as how employees felt about their job and overall satisfaction with the company.

Highlights from the survey included the following comments:

“We are given the ability to succeed in whatever our career aspirations may be.”

“It’s challenging and something new every day. I enjoy my co-workers and feel that people are working together to deliver the best results for our clients.”

The people I work with are great, caring people. We all are working towards a common goal.”

“This is a great recognition and something that all of us are very proud of. It’s imperative to the management team to have built and to continue to create a healthy work environment where people love what they do and who they work with. Most importantly, this happiness translates to an exceptionally high level of customer service resulting in very high levels of client satisfaction,” Dan Kwiecinski, Executive Vice President of Hays Companies of Wisconsin said.  

Here at Hays Companies, we have created a culture that is unmatched in our industry. Inspired by our Founders’ entrepreneurial spirit and drive, our team thrives in a collaborative work environment, and an engaging and meaningful workplace, which allows our employees to deliver the best results to our clients.

Hays Companies is one of the fastest growing Property & Casualty and Employee Benefits advisers in the country. We are dedicated to providing expert counsel to our clients that assist them in minimizing or mitigating their “total cost of risk” in a well thought out and planned manner. We collaborate with clients to find business efficient solutions that you can improve upon incrementally over time. Our 700+ team represents a dynamic, entrepreneurial assembly of the best and brightest in the industry. With over 30 offices across the country, we draw from a pool of unrivaled expertise, in legal, certified public accountants, financial services, and claims to design a team devoted to your needs alone.

Cyber Insurance Webinar

Hays Companies VP and National Cyber Liability Practice Leader Dave Wasson was invited by Lathrop Gage to discuss uncommon approaches to cyber threats. This 60-minute webinar addresses the increased threat to companies being targets of data breach, insurance policies and coverage for losses and how this area has evolved in the past 10 years.

 

Throughout the 60-minute webinar, these cyber insurance and legal professionals covered:

·         Current risks that companies face and those predicted in the near future

·         The State of Law surrounding cyber incidents & insurance coverage around those incidents.

·         Types of policies and products that are currently available to businesses

·         Common pitfalls to avoid obtaining cyber liability insurance

 

Watch the webinar here – https://vimeo.com/260789216

If you have any further questions, please contact your Hays representative.

Financial Wellness: The Impact on Employee Health & Your Organization

By Pari Luna and Brian Whinnery, Hays Companies

Over the years, more and more data has demonstrated a clear link between an employee’s physical and financial health. Consider the following:

70 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck [1]
84 percent of employees reported they have some degree of financial stress [1]
24 percent of people who have financial stress also have higher healthcare costs[2]

Individuals living with financial stress are more likely to suffer from chronic ailments, such as fatigue, depression and headaches, in addition to the health behaviors that are most strongly affected by financial stress, such as sleep, hygiene, nutrition, exercise and stress management.  As there is such an intertwined relationship between our physical and financial health, it can be difficult at times to determine causation.

Moreover, in a professional sphere, financial stress typically results in lower productivity at work and a higher use of sick time, even when the individual isn’t ill. Recent studies indicate that the combined cost of these financial stress losses can cost an employer $413 per employee per year.

These are among the evident reasons for strategically expanding cohesive wellness and financial programs into a business’s overall benefit program, with preparing for retirement and reduction of healthcare costs as the ultimate goal. By taking a holistic approach to physical and financial wellness, employers are able to promote a higher quality of life. This in turn results in employees who are more productive and effective.

At Hays Companies, we have developed an integrated three-pronged financial retirement approach, which is driven by the desire to create a culture of wellness that improves employees’ health and retirement readiness.

Here is a snapshot into our consultative process:

  1. When all employees are automatically enrolled in a well-designed 401k program at a certain level (typically 3 or 6 percent), roughly 90 percent of people will remain enrolled. However, if you do not have auto enrollment, only about 70 percent will opt-in. Studies examining participation levels of opt-in and opt-out programs have shown that people who are auto enrolled in a program are more likely to stay there, rather than opting out and investigating retirement investment alternatives.

A 401k strategy that incorporates automatic enrollment is positively correlated with health improvements, As Timothy Gubler identified in “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” [3], retirement contribution habits are highly associated with health improvements. Essentially, those who invest in their retirement through a 401K improved their health factors by 27% as opposed to those who did not contribute. By assuring employees that their investment is being well-managed, they are liberated from the worry and uncertainty that is tied to many investment decisions.

  1. Boost 401k contribution levels by adding an automatic increase feature into the retirement program. With automatic increases, an employee’s deferral contribution increases a little each year until the employee reaches 10 percent.

To put the correlation of financial wellness into perspective, in a survey of American adults and their goal-setting habits, 80% of those surveyed set annual resolutions related to their physical health, while 69% set financial goals.  Those who reported satisfaction with their current financial condition fared better at achieving their health resolution.

By increasing an individual’s contribution to their financial future in a manageable fashion, the employee has the opportunity to learn that other financial goals can be achieved in a similar manner. In turn, they may see the value in using a similar approach in their wellness goals.

  1. With automatic investment, employee contributions are enrolled in investment models that match an employee’s risk level with his or her proximity to retirement. Only about 10 percent of people will want to make changes to their 401k investment model, while the remaining 90 percent will stay with the model assigned to them. This is done with the knowledge of the model shift from aggressive to more conservative as retirement approaches.

There is a close association between retirement contribution habits and health improvements. Employer contributions to a 401k can reduce present and future healthcare costs, while employees can benefit from increased financial wellbeing and retirement readiness.

This three-pronged approach—automatic enrollment, automatic increase, and automatic investment—sets a secure baseline to prepare employees for the future. For example, to reach full income replacement in retirement, employees will have to invest an equivalent of 10 to 15 percent of their salaries into a 401k plan. Our approach emphasizes financial fitness as a sustainable practice to achieve the long term goal of receiving the highest return on their investment.

Financial planning and employee wellness both benefit from employer support, with our practical, three-pronged strategy ensuring a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce while companies benefit from lower health-related costs. That’s a true win-win situation for everyone.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Hays Financial Group Vice President Brian Whinnery at bwhinnery@hayscompanies.com or Pari Luna, Director of Health Strategies, Minneapolis at pluna@hayscompanies.com.

About the authors:

Pari Luna is Director of Health Strategies at Hays Companies, Minneapolis. Brian Whinnery, AIF, Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor at Hays Companies in Minneapolis.

Sources:

[1] Financial Finesse 2013 Financial Stress Report
[2] Higher Health Care Costs for Metabolic Syndrome Risk, Disabled World, 2010
[3] Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. Timothy Gubler, Lamar PierceOlin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis (10.1177/0956797614540467)

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month.

Here at Hays Companies, we want to work together to keep employees safe at all times, especially on the roads. We are here to help with workplace policies and education. To learn more on how we can help, contact your Hays representative or email us at info@hayscompanies.com

2018 Compliance Webinar: Medicare and the Group Health Plan

 

According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 59% more individuals aged 65 or older remain in the workforce compared to 2006. Additionally, the number of post-war baby boomers under age 65 who are actively employed has increased by more than 100% over a 30-year period (1977-2007). With these changes to the workforce demographics, employers face challenges surrounding how Medicare eligibility and entitlement affect group health plans.

Hays Companies’ Amanda Swanson, Compliance Consultant, will host a webinar on “Medicare and the Group Health Plan.”

The webinar slated for Thursday, April 26th at 1:00pm Central Time will cover:

  • What are the various components of Medicare, and what are the costs?
  • What are the Medicare eligibility, enrollment and entitlement dates for disabled individuals and individuals who are age 65 or older?
  • For active employees, does eligibility for Medicare affect the coverage we provide under our group health plan?

 

About the presenter:

Amanda Swanson is a licensed attorney in the state of Minnesota who specializes in the area of Employee Benefits. She joined Hays Companies in August of 2016 after completing her MN Bar Exam. Currently, she is responsible for assisting with form 5500 filings and provides in-depth employee welfare benefit laws and guidance research and analysis in support of Hays Companies Research and Compliance Team. Amanda has a particular focus in the area of Employer Wellness Programs and has developed several wellness tools for consultants to utilize while assisting clients.

Amanda graduated Magna Cum Laude from William Mitchell College of Law where she was a Mitchell Fellow.

To attend the webinar, register here.

Hays Companies Congratulates Bruce Lyon on Prestigious Industry Award

Bruce Lyon, Hays Vice President and Director of Risk Management, recently received first place honors by The American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Editorial Board and the Council on Professional Development for his article, Communicating and Managing Risk: The Key Result of Risk Assessment.

The article, co-authored by Dr. Georgi Popov, speaks to the critical impact that communication has on effectively managing risk. Without communication, risk assessments lack the power for positive change within an organization. To implement effective change, key-decision makers must be informed and safety professionals empowered to share potential for risk.

By establishing risk assessment methods that identify, assess and communicate potential operating risks, a trickledown effect is established that demonstrates downstream business consequences and the link between operational risk, occupational safety and health (OSH) risk, and business risk – an essential aspect for future planning.

The article, which was published in the November 2017 issue of the Professional Safety Journal, can be viewed in full, here: Communicating & Managing Risk – The Key Result of Risk Assessment.

This prestigious accomplishment demonstrates the depth of professionalism and risk control expertise that organizations can expect to receive from Hays Companies. To learn more about how Hays can help you manage your risk, please contact your local Hays Representative.

Bio: Lyon is a professional member and past president of ASSE’s Heart of America Chapter and a recipient of the Region V Safety Professional of the Year Award. He is advisory board chair to UCM’s Safety Sciences Program and co-author of Risk Assessment: A Practical Guide for Assessing Operational Risk.

Hays Companies Joins the National Safety Council’s Road to Zero initiative

Hays Companies recently joined the National Safety Council’s Road to Zero initiative, a partnership focused on ending traffic fatalities – a leading cause of unintentional deaths. The goal is safe mobility for all people through a coordinated, data-driven approach. As a partner of the Road to Zero Coalition, Hays will work to develop priorities and encourage stakeholders to take action to meet the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities by 2050.

It might seem like a lofty goal, but key stakeholders believe it is possible. “The aim of Road to Zero is to get to zero deaths by 2050,” says Debbie Hersman, the president and CEO of the National Safety Council, the lead on the Road to Zero initiative. “That’s the goal. We’ve done this with aviation—there have been several years with zero deaths in commercial aviation—and a lot of people thought that was impossible.”

At Hays Companies, we have continued to make distracted driving our national safety focus as an organization.

We are committed to the safety of our employees and clients on our roadways. We’ve been incredibly moved by our VP of Risk Management Services, Tom Goeltz, and his personal story with losing his daughter due to an alleged distracted driver. Goeltz is actively building national awareness as a legislative advocate and frequent public speaker on how to help keep employees and their families safe. Our Road to Zero Coalition partnership exemplifies the importance and value we at Hays Companies place on safety, and how we can work together to combat this epidemic.

“It’s not impossible – it just hasn’t been done yet. Working together, we will find new solutions to old problems and eliminate these preventable deaths,” said Tom Goeltz.

Looking for an employer toolkit on Distracted Driving? Consider these resources:

  • Safe Driving Kit with infographics, myth busters, videos, and more
  • Join in on the upcoming “Engaging Ways to Address Distracted Driving at Work” webinar hosted by the National Safety Council
  • Learn about cell phone blocking technology and tips to reduce distracted driving
  • Ask Hays about cell phone slips to block cell signals while driving
  • View a video series about workplace cell phone policies and related topics
  • Consider hosting Tom Goeltz for a personalized presentation on workplace safety

Visit nsc.org/roadtozero about the Road to Zero initiative or contact Tom Goeltz (tgoeltz@hayscompanies.com) for additional information.

Take Back Our Roads: Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving

Pandora. GPS. Radio Commercials. Drinking Coffee. Talking to your kids in the backseat. Even if you’re not texting behind the wheel, chances are high that something happens while you’re driving that prevents you from giving the road your full attention. And while most of these activities seem fairly innocent, taking only a second or two to address, they each represent a different form of distracted driving that can dramatically increase your risk of an accident.

Fully 94% of all vehicle crashes are caused by human error – a sobering fact when you consider the real life implications behind the statistics. Hays Vice President of Risk Management Services, Tom Goeltz, understands this better than most as his daughter, Megan Goeltz, was killed at the age of 22 by alleged distracted driver, leaving behind a three-year-old daughter and a loving family.

For Goeltz, distracted driving is a national epidemic. OSHA agrees, having launched a distracted driving initiative in recent months. In a supporting compliance article, the administration states “The top priority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is keeping workers safe. While workplace fatalities have been decreasing in recent years, motor vehicle crashes continue to be one of the leading causes of death among American workers.” In addition, a study conducted by the University of Utah discovered that cell phone users demonstrated higher levels of impairment then drivers who had been drinking.

To prevent distracted driving, OSHA recommends implementing policies that prevent individuals from reaching for their phones in the first place. Goeltz supports the position, arguing that breaking the habit of distracted driving requires a similar mentality shift as our approach to drinking and driving. In our society, driving under the influence has become a universal taboo, resulting in using a designated driver or a service like Uber. As Goeltz says, the same can be done with distracted driving habits.

With their most recent iOS update, Apple will be doing their part to keep the roads safe with the new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature. The feature, which will be triggered when a phone is connected to a car via Bluetooth or cable, will withhold all notifications while the car is moving. Users will still be able to access Apple Maps, but the majority of apps will stay locked for the duration of the drive.

Not an iPhone user? Goeltz offers some additional tips to prevent distracted driving:

  1. Turn your phone off or put it in airplane mode.
  2. Use a Cell Slip, which blocks all incoming and outgoing cell phone signals while the phone is in the slip or keep your phone out of reach.
  3. Have an App installed on your phone to silence incoming texts, emails, phone calls.  We recommend one of the following:
    1. In-Traffic Reply (Samsung Exclusive)
    2. DriveMode (AT&T exclusive)
    3. Drivewise (Allstate Exclusive)
    4. Drive Safe & Save (State Farm Exclusive)
    5. Cellcontrol (Subscription-based app that blocks phone use while driving)
    6. Drive Safe Mode (Control and monitor mobile use while driving – perfect for teens!)
    7. Live2Text (Blocks incoming calls and texts while driving)

But most importantly, remember that no message is worth life or death. It can wait.

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.