Being a better You: 6 Things I have Learned and Where I Learned It.

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Over the course of the last few years as I have driven many miles.  I began listening to several different podcast & audio books in my truck as a way to pass the time.  Basically, I would listen to anything I found it interesting or helpful.  So, I would listen if I thought it would help my agency somehow, if I thought a client might need me to know about it, if I thought it would be a good information when meeting someone new or if I thought it could help me a better person. I listened to a lot of stuff and these are my takeaways that I find true.

6 things I believe are worth passing on.

1.     It’s about others:  You have to be doing it for others.  You will have success this way too, but if you are doing it for selfish reasons people see it and know it.  Servant leadership.

2.    There are a thousand ways to skin a cat.  This is the most interesting part of my job and what I enjoy hearing about the most.  People are smart, I like hearing about how they capitalized on their efforts.

3.    It you are standing still you will be run over. All you need to do is look around.  No one is doing business the way they were 5 years ago.  You better be agile and willing to adapt.

4.    Old warhorses are old for a reason.  I regularly visit with a small number of retired businessmen.  Their knowledge and advice is worth a lot.  They just see things coming way earlier than others.

5.    My best clients work alongside their employees.  When employers segregate themselves from their employees they aren’t leading… they are dictating.  Never works.

6.    Prioritize your problems, then work the problem. You can’t fix everything at once. Analyze all your issues and take care of the biggest bleeders first.

 

My favorite Podcasts:

How I Built This

Planet Money

Business Wars

TED Radio Hour

 

The Books I enjoyed most in 2018.

The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life- Erwin Raphael McManus

Extreme Ownership- Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Building a Story Brand- Donald Miller

Peak Performance- Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness

 

Hard to believe we are already 6 weeks into 2019.  I hope that these things have reminded you that you can be a better you and that you should never stop trying to be a better you. Stick to your goals and objectives for the year.  Work hard and bring those around you along so they can be part of your accomplishments.  What fun is a party if no one is there to celebrate with you.

Jonathan Davis, Principal Agent.  254.826.7700  jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

Jonathan Davis, Principal Agent.

254.826.7700

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

There has to be a "WHY" to Offering Benefits

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Benefits are no longer considered a perk in today’s business world… it’s an expected part of compensation.  Employees and their leaders provide essential services to sustain the business’ long-term success. Once you put a good team in place that is performing well, it can cost the business to lose an indispensable employee. 

 

Why is offering benefits important?

 

1.     If you have 50 or more full time employees, you must offer an affordable health plan or be penaltized.

2.   Attract and retain your essential employees.  In the tight labor market these employees have choices.

3.   Can help boost morale.  Not having benefits will really have employees griping when medical attention is needed, but not affordable.

4.   Beat out the competition in the race for the best talent.By offering a health plan plus voluntary benefits, you can beat out 43% of your competitors that do not offer benefits. 

At WBS we know that offering employee benefits is a real cost to the company, but we also believe the value to the employee will even out over time. At WBS we work hard to curb the costs of coverage with many unique strategies that increase the value of the benefits to the employee and employers.

 If you would like to discuss them please contact me.

natasha@wbsinsurance.com  325.692.6600

natasha@wbsinsurance.com

325.692.6600

Being a Better You: Lions, Tigers and Ducks???

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I recently came across a blog by Darren Hardy, a success mentor to CEOs and High-Performance Achievers, had published. He was discussing building great teams and what animal species you would want to emulate to form a team. Lions, Eagles, Tigers, and even Salmon were guesses that were mentioned, but it was Ducks that were held up as the species to mimic when creating a team.

 You read right – Ducks.

 Ducks work together to accomplish feats unimaginable and impossible for almost all other animals. They fly hundreds, if not thousands, of miles because the work as a team.

 As you know, ducks fly in a V-formation and as each duck flaps its wings it creates an uplift for the duck behind it. This effect is perpetuated through their V-formation.

 By working together, the whole flock adds 71% more flying range than if each bird flew alone.  Imagine if your team worked together so well.  All the while everyone is working with stress and strain. 

 Another awesome thing about ducks is when a duck gets sick or wounded, two ducks will fall out of formation and follow it down to help protect it.They will stay with that duck until it is able to fly again, or it dies. Then they launch out to join another formation or work together to catch up with the flock. Isn’t that perfect? 

 Are we standing by our people when they are in need or do we turn a blind eye and say, “That sucks for you, duck.”  Being a part of a team is being there in the good times and the bad.

 Like ducks, people naturally gravitate towards organizations that will shelter and protect them and make life better than if they were left to fend for themselves.

 Let us at Workplace Benefits Solutions become the part of your team that protects your team members in good times and the bad, so you and your team can fly farther.

Joe Tallant  joet@wbsinsurance.com  254.692.6600

Joe Tallant

joet@wbsinsurance.com

254.692.6600

HR Admin: Why should you reconcile billing after open enrollment?

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 Open enrollment is a crazy time for HR and then we have the New Year beginning.  As the New Year starts then also comes the budget meetings, kickoff meetings, employee performance meeting … you get it, there are a lot of meetings.

 All the craziness going around the office can also lead to a few things slipping through the cracks and sometimes these cracks can be big and expensive hassles.  One item that my clients struggle to find the time to do is reconcile their bills after open enrollment.  Because of all the changes being made during open enrollment this is a very important task that the time needs to be taken to complete.

 

Reconcile the first billing cycle very closely after open enrollment:

-       Open enrollment is the time almost all the changes are made to the bills.

-       Check for changes, terms, adds and employees moving their coverage tiers.

-       Use the deductions information provided by your Broker or the enrollment platform as your guide.

-       Make your Broker aware of discrepancies that you may find quickly.  Within the first 30 days corrections are easy to make.

 

Why reconciling is a cost issue:

1.    Changes to medical plans can be done no later than the 3rdworking day of the month.  After that time the employer is responsible for the termed employee’s premium for the remainder of the month.

2.    When retro terming an employee the carrier has full discretion of what they allow.  Some carriers are lenient while others are strict.

3.    If a term is sent too late the premiums will not be returned and the employer will have to eat the cost.

4.    By making sure that the employee’s deductions are correct right off the bat neither the employer nor employee will have to make up the cost of the mistake 6 months later. This is a big burden on some employees especially.


Employee benefits are important and the administration of the benefits is too.  If you need help let us know, we know that when you offer employees benefits you also need a guiding hand with administration too.  WBS provides the tools an HR department needs to be efficient and effective.

Jonathan E. Davis  jdavis@wbsinsurance.com  254.826.7700

Jonathan E. Davis

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

254.826.7700

Employee Benefits: How Cancer Plans Really Help Cover the Costs of Treatment

Having a positive cancer diagnosis leaves everyone with a devastating feeling and impacts the lives of family and friends too. Cancer treatment is extremely expensive and not getting treatment isn’t a viable option. 

Providing your employees the opportunity to purchase a supplemental cancer policy helps them cover the costs of treatment that the medical policy may not cover. 

Cancer policies can cover expenses not covered by medical plans:

  • Deductibles

  • Household costs like childcare and housekeeping

  • Experimental treatment & reconstruction

  • Travel Expenses associated with treatment

  • Offset lost income during illness

What types of Cancer policies are there?

  1. Lump Sum Benefit- these policies are often known as a Critical Illness polices. The benefit is paid in a single payment to the employee and is usually either a $10,000 or $20,000 payment.

  2. Indemnity Policy- these policies will pay based on cost associated with treatment.  Each step of treatment has a benefit attached and the carrier pays based on the policy selected.


One important benefit that I personally like about cancer policies is that most offer a wellness benefit. The wellness benefit pays the employee for getting their check ups and is usually $100 annually for screenings.  Examples of what the wellness benefits pays for are pap smears, mammograms, chest x-rays, colonoscopies, PSA tests and more. This will help keep your mind at ease and save you money on your wellness checkups.

natasha@wbsinsurance.com    325.692.6600

natasha@wbsinsurance.com

325.692.6600

Being a Better You: It's OKAY to Change Your Mind

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It is better to be only sometimes right, than at all times wrong, so soon as I discover my opinions to be erroneous, I shall be ready to renounce them.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

I have been guilty of digging in my heels… so says my wife and kids.  But I have really made a conscious effort to look at situations from all angles to make sure that I have all the information needed to make a good decision.

When you are in a position of authority or influence, what you say and recommend matter.  Your reputation is on the line and you have to be right.  Sometimes it’s hard to change our minds… but, over time, things change and we have to be willing to consider a changing viewpoint as well.  The change could be because of technology, a new product to your market, or a government regulation.  We have to remind ourselves that the status quo in a changing market gets you beat.

I feel I change my mind all the time. And I sort of feel that's your responsibility as a person, as a human being – to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don't contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you're not thinking.” 
― Malcolm Gladwell

 

When you should consider a mind change:

  • The information changes.

  • A life experience that changes your perspective.

  • There’s a change in your business space.

  • You were just plain wrong.

We spend time defending and implementing our decisions and now we own them.  To admit that another course is better takes guts and leadership. Why do we not make ourselves change? We make employees change all of the time.  So, change your mind… this way you can be relieved of having to make every decision “right”, rather than having to go down with the ship.

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com  254.826.7700

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

254.826.7700

Employee Benefits: Make Sure Your Medical Offerings are Compliant

After the ACA law was passed in 2010, benefits compliance become a serious consideration for employers and an important service provided by Brokers.  Open enrollment is just around the corner.  Here is a skeleton look at several things that you need to know to remain compliant.

Grandfathered plans:

            A grandfathered plan is one that was in existence when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted.  If you make changes, be certain that the changes to your plan do not go beyond permitted guidelines.  If these changes do go beyond allowances, then your plan is no longer grandfathered. 

If your plan will lose its grandfathered status for 2019, confirm that the plan has all of the additional patient rights and benefits required by the ACA. This includes, for example, coverage of preventive care without cost-sharing requirements.

ACA Affordability Standard:

Under the ACA’s employer shared responsibility rules, employers are required to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to their full-time employees or risk paying a penalty.  If your renewal is prior to January 1st, the affordability percentage is set at 9.5%. January 1, 2019 and beyond is 9.56%. 

A safe rule of thumb is for a $10 an hour employee working 40 hours a week, their contribution to the base plan can not be more that $165 a month.

Out-of-pocket Maximum

The annual limit on total enrollee cost sharing for fully insured and self insured plans beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2019, is $7,900 for self-only coverage and $15,800 for family coverage.

A high deductible health plan (HDHP) that is compatible with a health savings account (HSA), for 2019 plan years is $6,750 for self-only coverage and $13,500 for family coverage.

Preventive Care Benefits

The ACA requires non-grandfathered health plans to cover certain preventive health services without imposing cost-sharing requirements (that is, deductibles, copayments or coinsurance) for the services. 

HDHP and HSA Limits for 2018/ 2019

HDHP deductible minimum:                     HSA contribution limits:               

Self: $1350/ $1350                                     Self: $3450/ $3500

Family: $2700/ $2700                              Family: $6900/ $7000      

 

if you have any questions or need additional information feel free to contact me.

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

jdavis@wbsisnurance.com  254.826.7700

jdavis@wbsisnurance.com

254.826.7700

                  

Being a Better You: Setting Your Schedule For Your Success.

Entering the 4th quarter, the insurance world is in high gear.  About 70 percent of the employer insurance business is done in this time period.  So, as you can imagine, time management and getting things done is something on my mind a lot.  Here are few of the things I do to better manage my time.

 

Time is limited, use all of it!

Start early. I try to be at the office early. I shoot for having at least an hour and half before I get a call.  There is a lot of work you can get done.  FYI… its 6:20 as I type this.

Put your phone away. I read Peak Performance earlier this year, by Steve Magness & Brad Stulberg. So much about being better these days is about less time with your smartphones.  Now, I often place my phone on the other side of the room while at work.  I feel I get more done.

Email is a killer. Schedule a time to answer emails. They can take your whole day because they dribble in constantly.  Pick 2-4x a day that you answer them and use the rest of the day to complete tasks that make you money.

Say NO.  People are always going to ask you to help in many areas of your life.  Think about and prioritize what matters and limit yourself to those tasks.  

Prioritize tasks. I keep a post it note on my desk that I scratch out the few tasks that are important as they are completed that day. On a white board next to my desk is a longer “to do” list too, but the post it note has the priorities for the day and they are always on my desk in front of me.

Delegate to others what they can do well.  I can do every task in my office, but I have help, too.  So, when I have requests to do certain things I have Vanessa do them. She is great and does things in many cases better than I do.  So, I let her do them.

Don’t procrastinateWe all have the part of our job we hate, do them first and get them done.  Make that call to a client you really don’t want to deal with, solve a problem with an employee or deal with a vendor.  Mine? I take the trash out every morning while my first cup of coffee is brewing.

Prioritize the time away from work.  Get away and stay away from work.  It allows you to be refreshed while you’re there.  Make having a life a priority, too.

 

Well, its 6:40 and I’m done.  Off to the next task.

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com  254.826.7700

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

254.826.7700

Employee Benefits: Employees NEED Benefits! Here's Why.

Insurance brokers are like every other person in the market place with a good.  We try to create relationships, provide good products and then service those products just like everybody else.  We know how to talk the talk like everyone else and can spit out all the reasons to offer benefits and they are valid.  

 

These are common valid reason given to offer benefits:

  • Recruit & retain employees

  • Reduce turnover and create loyalty

  • Premiums can be written off as a tax deduction

  • Increases employee wellness and productivity

 

But I think that the point of benefits is much more simple then these common reasons.  I think what we forget in the fancy talk that there is a real NEED.  So these are the real reasons I think that employees NEED benefits to be offered.

 

Why employees NEED benefits:

Employees are living paycheck to paycheck.  How many of our employees could go more than a week without a paycheck.  This is why you should offer disability.

Who can write a $10,000 check?  This is the cost of a basic funeral.  Provide for your employees a life insurance policy and allow them to buy some more on themselves and family.

Being sick is miserable.  Employees also want to be at work, they do it for the money too.  But when they can’t afford the cost of a doctor visit, OTC drugs become their best bet. This makes for a long road back to feeling better. Offer a medical plan that has an office visit & Rx copay.

Surgery, accidents and major illnesses happen.  Your medical plan offerings should have options that allow the employees to feel comfortable about the risk they will be taking.

Medical insurance doesn’t cover everything.  Allow your employees to choose other coverages that will make life easier for them… dental, vision, accident, cancer or critical illness.  They will be paying for them, just offer the choice.

 

At my home we talk a lot to our kids about NEEDs and wants.  Offering benefits to your employees is not a want to them but a NEED. Because, on the job benefits are better than anything that they can get or afford on their own in the individual market.

254.826.7700  jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

254.826.7700

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

HR Admin: How a Full HR Admin System Can Help You

My father-in-law calls computer the “confuser” and for a lot of people that is a true statement. But we all know that computers can make tasks much more efficient and we can get so much more done.  If there is one job that needs more help it is always the HR Director or the Payroll person who also is in charge of the HR functions at their business.  Computers can make many HR responsibilities easier by streamlining processes and duties.

 

Where can an HR Admin System be helpful?:

  • Streamline onboarding & termination process

  • Capture benefit deductions

  • Creating reports

  • Applicant tracking

  • Time, attendance & PTO tracking

  • 1094/1095s

 

Why should your HR Admin system be able to do everything?

  1. Improves the employee experience at the start.  From the time the employee is a new hire an impression will be made about your business.  Making their onboarding process easy is a great place to start.

  2. Benefits make a big impression about your business.  Having the same HR Admin system allows the employees to enroll in a system they are already familiar with.  This makes for an easier process.

  3. Pulling reports from a HR Admin System is very helpful. Having a system that can make it easier & in real time is important.  

  4. Compliance is still really important.  One thing that HR Admin systems force employers to have all their ducks in a row when they are fully utilized.

As you would expect WBS does have an HR Admin System that we provide to our clients because we know how important it is and how it helps you.  We would like to tell you about ours and how it helps our clients.  

254.826.7700  jdavis@wbsinsurance.com

254.826.7700

jdavis@wbsinsurance.com