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California Wildfires: Could Your Homeowners Insurance Be Doing More to Protect Your Family?

Posted by Chris Sanga, Client Executive on January 15, 2018 at 10:00 AM

wildfire blog.jpg2017 came to a close as the costliest wildfire season in California history. The Thomas fire burned into 2018, leaving in its wake 281,000 acres of charred earth and solidifying itself as the largest recorded wildfire in the state’s modern history[1]. A year that started with the encouraging end of a four-year drought transitioned to one marred by destruction, displacement, and loss of life.

Currently, Cal Fire has totaled the acres burned in 2017 at over 1.4 million and the structures lost at over ten thousand. These staggering numbers remind us that no one is immune to catastrophe. Communities that in the past had been safe from wildfire were forced to flee and in some cases were left with no homes to come back to. In spite of our best plans, natural disasters can impact our lives in ways we never imagined.

Families often have good homeowners policies in place.  But what many people don’t know is that there are additional features available that—if disaster strikes—can make a critical difference in both the overall impact of the wildfire and the experience for the family during and after the event.

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Commercial Insurance Trends and Managing Risk in 2018

Posted by Trindl Reeves, Principal, Chief Sales Officer on January 9, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Commercial Insurance Trends and Managing Risk in 2018

As we begin 2018, there are three areas to keep an eye on due to the uptick of claims and changing landscape: property, cyber and data security, and employment practices liability.

Property

In 2017, the US experienced many natural disasters. Damages from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and California fires are expected to result in record property losses. We can anticipate an increase in premium for all property, including vehicles. Auto premiums are already through the roof because of an increase in claims and expenses due to distracted driving and expensive technology. With almost 1 million cars lost during the hurricanes, the rates are bound to increase further.

Takeaway: 2017 losses were at a record high, but there is ample surplus in the insurance marketplace to absorb these claims. This year, we expect insurance companies to increase rates.  If you have a favorable claims history, work with your broker to maintain your current pricing.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Human Resources, Cyber & Data Security, Market Trends

Staying Top-Of-Mind: Compliance Requirements for 2018

Posted by Christopher K. Bao, Esq, Compliance Manager on January 3, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Staying Top-Of-Mind: Compliance Requirements for 2018

With the ever-changing landscape of the many compliance related requirements imposed on employers, it can feel like a full-time job to keep up with the many legal obligations and deadlines related to their health plans. To help employers stay on track, our in-house ERISA Attorneys have developed two step-by-step tools to assist with benefits plan administration in 2018.

2018 COMPLIANCE CALENDAR

The Compliance Calendar includes specific health plan deadlines that your company may need to meet during the 2018 calendar year. Although this calendar is intended for calendar year plans, it also contains some important deadlines for non-calendar year plans.

2017 FORM 1094-C AND FORM 1095-C CHEAT SHEET

Understanding how to complete the 1094-C and 1095-C Forms can be complicated and time consuming. To make the process more efficient and to assist employers with their general questions, we developed a line-by-line explanation of Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Please note: As of December 22, 2017 the IRS has provided a thirty (30) day extension for employers/insurers to furnish Forms 1095-C and Form 1095-B to employees and insureds.

The 2018 Compliance Planning toolkit includes the 2018 Welfare Plan Compliance Calendar and 1094-C/1095-C Forms Cheat Sheet. Download your toolkit below.

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If you have any questions, please reach out to your broker.

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Topics: Employee Benefits, Legislative Compliance

Happy Holidays from MMA!

Posted by Paul Hering, CEO, MMA West Region on December 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Happy Holidays from MMA!
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Topics: Inside MMA

Foundation Season Closes by Granting $260,000 to Nine Nonprofits

Posted by Claudette Renault, Digital Media Specialist on December 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM
Foundation Season Closes by Granting $260,000 to Nine Nonprofits

Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) is committed to giving back to the community and we fulfill this commitment though the work of the Barney & Barney Foundation. Since 2009, the foundation has awarded more than $2.8 million to over 80 nonprofits.

Each year, the Barney & Barney Foundation holds three events in order to raise awareness and provide grants to local nonprofits. In total, the Barney & Barney Foundation awarded $260,000 in grants to nine nonprofits in California this year.

Rock the Foundation Benefit Concert

On September 29, 2017, MMA hosted the 8th Annual Rock the Foundation benefit concert featuring cover band Liquid Blue. Attendees also enjoyed great food, drinks, a fun green screen photo booth and much more at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Home Start and Alzheimer’s San Diego each received $35,000 and Foundation of the Children of the Californias and Access Youth Academy both received $20,000 to further their mission. 

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Topics: Community Outreach, Inside MMA

Preventing Holiday House Fires: 8 Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

Posted by Jennifer Johnson, Client Executive on November 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Preventing Holiday House Fires: 8 Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

The holidays are a time for family, food, and fun.  A house fire is the last thing on our minds. So, it’s easy to overlook the potential fire risk from common holiday items such as candles, indoor trees, and twinkle lights.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 47,000[1] fires take place during the holiday season and, tragically, one in thirty-one Christmas tree fires result in death.[2] 

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Topics: Individuals, Homeowners

Marsh & McLennan Agency Colleagues Give Back: 2017 Grant Recipient Volunteer Events

Posted by Sara Bergmark, Communications Event Coordinator on November 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Marsh & McLennan Agency Colleagues Give Back: 2017 Grant Recipient Volunteer Events

Each fall, Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) kicks off a season of giving through the Barney & Barney Foundation. The foundation awards grants to local non-profits, raising funds through the annual Rock the Foundation rock concert and golf tournaments in Orange County and the Bay Area. In addition to donating their time and resources at these events, our colleagues enjoy getting to know the grant recipients and the work they do by spending time volunteering. This year colleagues took advantage of volunteer opportunities at Home Start in San Diego, George Mark Children’s House in the Bay Area, and Laura’s House in Orange County.

Here’s a recap:

At Home Start

Home Start is dedicated to effectively preventing and treating child abuse. The team at Home Start provides a variety of services in the community to help eliminate the causes of abuse.  From their Maternity Shelter Program to parenting classes to child development specialists and so much more, children and their families depend on Home Start.  Key to their success is a focus on a variety of self-sufficiency programs which allow their clients to develop the skills needed to thrive.

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Topics: Community Outreach, Inside MMA

A Time of Uncertain Risk for Benefit Plan Fiduciaries

Posted by Tim McClellan, RPLU, AFSB, ARM on October 30, 2017 at 10:00 AM
A Time of Uncertain Risk for Benefit Plan Fiduciaries

Beginning in 1974, with the advent of The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), those who manage employer benefit plans are considered fiduciaries acting on behalf of participants and beneficiaries are subject to specific standards of conduct.

The standards of conduct required by ERISA are separated into four primary categories:

  • Duty of Loyalty – Be loyal to participants and beneficiaries
  • Duty of Prudence – Be prudent in making decisions
  • Duty of Diversify – Offer a variety of investments
  • Duty to Follow Plan Documents – Adhere to plan documents

Fiduciaries agree to make decisions about employee benefits in the best interest of plan participants. The law sees the responsibility as the fiduciary’s, at times holding them personally accountable, negatively impacting their personal assets. 

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Topics: Employee Benefits

America’s Opioid Epidemic and Workplace Injuries:  How Employers and Insurance Companies Can Work Together to Combat Addiction

Posted by Michelle Landver, CIC on October 16, 2017 at 10:00 AM
America’s Opioid Epidemic and Workplace Injuries:  How Employers and Insurance Companies Can Work Together to Combat Addiction

The opioid epidemic in America has become so severe that not a day goes by without hearing stories or reading about it in the news. For employers, opioid addiction has has a huge negative impact on the workplace and workforce.

Many workers who are injured on the job and are treated within the workers’ compensation system are prescribed opioids for pain management[1]. In an effort to reduce claims and costs, insurance carriers are introducing new solutions to combat opioid addiction.

In 2015, Travelers established the Early Severity Predictor model, which cut the use of opioids in over 500,000 injured employees by 30% and has helped employers reduce medical claims expenses by up to 50%[2]. The model works by identifying the likelihood that someone will develop chronic pain, a leading cause of opioid dependency. Travelers shares the results with the injured employee’s physician, helping them to identify effective treatment alternatives in order to avoid opioids.  The insurer’s claims handling professionals can also use this information to evaluate requests for prescription payments.

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Topics: Property + Casualty, Market Trends, Workers' Compensation

California Wildfires: Quick List of Resources for Businesses, Homeowners, and Volunteers

Posted by Jennifer Johnson, Client Executive on October 10, 2017 at 3:15 PM
California Wildfires: Quick List of Resources for Businesses, Homeowners, and Volunteers

California is suffering unprecedented devastation as wildfires spread through both rural and urban communities. Many of our colleagues, clients and business partners in the affected regions are facing evacuations, fear of the unknown and in some cases, loss of property.  In the midst of a crisis, it can be hard to know what to do or how to help. We put together a quick list of resources, depending on individual needs.

For up to the minute updates on wildfire progression and evacuation areas, visit Cal Fire’s Incident Information page: http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents

If you are a homeowner and have a home that was lost or damaged as a result of the fire, contact your broker right away.

If you are a business owner and have suffered a loss related to your business, once you and your employees are safe, contact your broker right away.

If you are not currently in an area threatened by fire and are concerned about precautions you can take to protect your own home or business, contact your broker to discuss the best plans and policies to have in place.

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Topics: Individuals, Property + Casualty

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