Archive for June, 2013

Summer Time Jewelry Woes

Posted on: June 28th, 2013 by Personal Insurance No Comments

As we are relaxing on the deck enjoying a hot and humid late Saturday afternoon, Tim says, “I have a question about my friend.” I always love questions about friends. It seems that I always learn some thing any time that I am asked a question about a friend.

In this case the question involved stolen jewelry. It seems that Tim’s friend was away on vacation and the friend’s home was robbed. The thieves got off with at least $20,000 of jewelry. The question to me was, “The insurance company says they are only covered for $1000 of this. How can that be?”

Unfortunately for Tim’s friend a standard home insurance policy with NO additional jewelry coverage added does have specific limitations for a theft loss of jewelry. This limitation for loss by theft starts at $1000. Depending on your home insurance policy this theft limitation may be as high as $2500.

The interesting thing is if the jewelry had burned in a fire, it would have been covered for its value. However, when jewelry is stolen all home insurance policies have limitations for the amount they will pay on claims for theft of jewelry items.

What should jewelry owners do? Call or email your insurance agent and check on your home insurance coverage for your jewelry. Ask your agency about “scheduling” specific jewelry coverage for your more valuable items. Typically the cost to add additional jewelry coverage to a standard policy is about $16 per $1,000 of jewelry value. For Tim’s friend that would have been $320 of additional cost to protect that $20,000 of jewelry.

I am the first to admit that jewelry and how you chose to insure it is a personal thing. I have the jewelry that I consider valuable and then a bunch of other stuff. Do I really want to insure that sapphire ring that I got when I was eighteen? Although I do not want a thief in our house, I would not replace that sapphire ring, but my wedding ring? Yeah, I think that one would need to be replaced.

Many of our clients will say, “I really don’t have any valuable jewelry”. If that is the case for you, then no need to worry about a jewelry theft. Just do me a favor if you are reading this, go home and take a look around. Put all of your jewelry in one pile.
Ask yourself if a check for $1000 would be sufficient if all of that was stolen. If your answer is yes, then you are all set. If your answer is no, then give your insurance agent a call today.

Logan Airport and Flightcar and your Massachusetts Car Insurance

Posted on: June 24th, 2013 by Personal Insurance No Comments

I love going to the airport! Whether I am picking some one up or departing myself, the concept of welcoming friends or heading off to greet friends is always a welcome change. There are always so many variables that can impact the adventure! I consider the airport and the space surrounding the airport as its own country of sorts.

Starting in June there is a new business venture at Logan “airport country”. This new business is called Flightcar. FlightCar is a new car-sharing business operating at Logan. The San Francisco-based company rents departing airline passengers’ cars out of an East Boston parking lot. If someone rents a car, the owner gets a cut of the earnings as well as a free car wash and ride to the airport in a Lincoln Town Car.

Sounds intriguing for anyone who regularly parks at Logan and pays all those airport parking fees!

Being in the insurance world we always like to take a look at the “insurance angle” on these businesses. Flightcar advertises that they are providing many types of insurance protection for the car owner’s vehicle while the vehicle is being used by the renter. Sounds too good to be true! I hope for the participants that this provides them with the insurance protections that they need.

I do know about my own Massachusetts Insurance policy and it clearly states IF I

  • Change the way I will utilize my car during the year, I need to let them know.
  • Use my car in “business”; I need to let them know.

So if I do choose to sign up for Flightcar, I do know that I have to notify my own insurance company regarding this.

You can check out all the details of this new service at www.flightcar.com.

If you do decide to signup and your car is insured on a Massachusetts car insurance policy, please remember to also contact your agent and let them know! Your agency may need to update your insurance coverage to reflect your use of this service.

I am now thinking I may just bring my extra car to Logan and leave it with Flightcar for the month! Maybe start a little travel fund with our extra car. I’ll let you know how that works out for us. Could be a plan, but I will update my insurance policy if I do.

Safe Summer Travels to all!

Employee Benefits Liability

Posted on: June 21st, 2013 by Commercial Insurance No Comments

Regardless of what business you are operating, retaining your best employees is as important as increasing sales. In order to attract and retain the best talent, you must offer competitive pay and usually very competitive employee benefits. While employee benefits protect the employee, Employee Benefits Liability protects you (business owner) from administrative errors made handling the company’s employee benefits.

When you offer competitive employee benefits like; Medical, Disability, Life, Dental, etc… you are also assuming responsibility the benefits will be available when the employee needs them. We’ve had the calls come in for errors when employees were excluded or never added to the benefit plan. The employee with a route-canal and dental plan did not respond, cost $2,000-$3,000, that hurts. The employee with heart attack and emergency surgery and no health insurance, cost $30,000+, major problem. Both cases, administrative errors resulted in lack of benefits when the employee needed the benefits most.

There are hundreds of rules and regulations business owners are required to follow when offering employee benefits. Waiting periods, Deductibles, COBRA, Eligibility, all can trip up even the best HR departments, those without a full time HR employee make the challenge that much greater.

The good news, Employee Benefits Liability can often be added to your existing liability contract at a very reasonable rate. Typically a Claims-Made coverage, make certain your retro-active date remains the same year to year and in particular when you make a move from one insurance company to another.

Questions on Employee Benefits Liability, Call Us, We have the Answers.

Agency Goals, Thankfulness and A Skirt

Posted on: June 14th, 2013 by Personal Insurance 2 Comments

At Herlihy Insurance Group our office will close at 1pm on Friday June 14 for our office year end meeting. At our meeting we will review our agency goals and results for our corporate year which ended May 31, 2013 and present our plans for the new year.

It was a very good goal year for our agency. We exceeded our New Business Goal and hit 99% of our Agency Income Goal. I know ……at this point you are thinking…. Boring……, but working on our year end reminded me…………

Just two more things to share!

Share #1: We at Herlihy Insurance Group are very thankful for our clients , our business partners and our hard working staff that make these numbers possible. Our goal success would not be possible without the contributions of many individuals with many different talents. Thanks for letting us thank them here!

Share #2: This is the first time in over 4 decades that the Herlihy Insurance Group goals and results will not be reviewed by Jay Herlihy. He will be watching from above, but his spirit will be with us quite ironically in a “skirt”. This “skirt” was made 100% from a selection of Jay’s neck ties that he wore to work at the agency.

Neck Tie Skirt

Thanks for letting Herlihy Insurance Group “share” with you today! Isn’t this a great skirt?

Health Insurance & Medical Loss Ratio

Posted on: June 14th, 2013 by Commercial Insurance No Comments

Last year we received rebates from our group health insurer Tufts Health Plan because Tufts had not met their Medical Loss Ratio (MLR). Which begged the question from our HR department, “What’s a Medical Loss Ratio? and what do we do with the rebates?”

Both Massachusetts and the Affordable Care Act require insurance companies to spend a percentage of their revenue on claims and expenses that improve the quality of health care. MLR in Massachusetts for small employer groups (1-50) is 90% and for large employer groups (50+) is 85%. If your health insurer does not meet these aggressive spending amounts, they are required by law to provide a rebate of premium.

If you are to receive a rebate in Massachusetts, look for notification letters and rebates in your mail postmarked by June 30, 2013. Your employees will receive notification as well of the rebate. If employees pay a percentage of their health insurance premium, they are eligible for a percentage of the rebate. The employer is responsible for distributing the rebates to the employees.

Medical Loss Ratio rebates are often misunderstood by employers. If the group health plan is subject to ERISA other fiduciary responsibilities may exist.

If you receive a rebate on your health insurance this month and have questions, Call us, We have the answers.

Employee Dishonesty and Your Business

Posted on: June 7th, 2013 by Commercial Insurance No Comments

Today’s economic environment creates numerous challenges and increased risk for business owners. To remain profitable businesses are constantly looking at mergers, acquisitions, hiring’s and layoffs for their competitive edge. Often times when change is constant employees find themselves with increased work loads or a drop in pay which can lead some employees to feel justified in taking back from their employer.

Employee Dishonesty in businesses large and small is a serious concern for all business owners. Criminal acts like embezzlement, forgery, robbery and counterfeiting are showing up in more claim reports. Nationally many businesses will suffer criminal acts that will cost the business 6% of their income on a yearly basis or $9 per day for every employee.

Gone are the days when money was missing and we looked to the “book-keeper” or payroll clerk for answers. Today employees are more sophisticated and look at all angles to take advantage of weaknesses within the business. Long time employees are often the biggest risk takers and it may not be them but who they know that is the problem. Do not underestimate the long term employee “who would never steal from us” or “is just like family”. Employees need two things to be successful, Knowledge and Opportunity. Our most valuable, trusted, long term employees have, Knowledge and Opportunity.

While many insurance contracts include some coverage for acts of Employee Dishonesty, many contracts exclude coverage entirely or limit the amount of coverage. As is the best defense for all claims, take an active role in identifying the risks, and implement strong internal checks and balance systems. More than one person should play a role in all aspects of checks and balances to ensure procedures are followed and errors caught quickly.

Employee Dishonesty losses are real risks in today’s business world. Lower or eliminate your risks by being pro-active and asking questions. You have questions, We have the answers.

Controlling the Cost of Your Workers’ Compensation Policy

Posted on: June 3rd, 2013 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments

Workers' Compensation

For many companies, the workers’ compensation policy is the most expensive and most volatile insurance policy a business owner purchases.

A few small claims or one large claim can significantly increase the cost of your policy for three plus years. Here are few steps to control the cost of your workers’ compensation policy:

  1. Implement a Safety Program
    A safety program should include a written safety program, regularly scheduled safety meetings (weekly or monthly are preferred) and company provided safety equipment to name few basic tools. The most common safety equipment includes hard hats, ear protection, gloves, fall protection equipment and back braces.
  2. Incentive Program for No Claims
    A proven way for a company to show management’s commitment to their safety program is to reward their employees for having no workers’ compensation claims. An example could be a gift card or a free lunch for the company if there are no claims within a given time frame. It is amazing how the employees take ownership and self regulate the safety program.
  3. Review the Classification for each Employee
    When your policy renews each year, you should review which employees belong to which classification and verify that the estimated payroll is accurate. Please note – if you have an employee who performs multiple tasks for you, the standard rule is the employee’s payroll is assigned to the highest rated classification.
  4. Review the Overtime Pay
    You are only required to pay your workers’ compensation premium on an employee’s straight pay. Therefore you are allowed to deduct the extra overtime pay. Example – if an employee’s regular pay is $10 per hour and their overtime pay is $15 per hour, you are eligible to deduct the extra $5 per hour overtime pay.
  5. Subcontracted Work
    The use of “Independent Contractors” or “Subcontractors” has become a common practice the past several years. Some businesses use this type of labor so they will not have to pay the insurance premium for workers’ compensation coverage for these people. Be very careful with this relationship as this issue is a major focus for insurance companies, the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Bureau and the Department of Industrial Accidents. If you use subcontractors, all subcontractors need to purchase a workers’ compensation policy and the company owner(s) need to include themselves for workers’ compensation coverage. Failure to have the owner included themselves could result in a claim against your policy or an additional charge toward your workers’ compensation policy.

For additional information please contact Mark Herlihy.

Email: Mherlihy@HerlihyGroup.com
Phone: (508) 471-9660