Employee benefits: 3 Reasons Portability Matters

At our core we all want to be helpful.  I am working currently on a life insurance claim for a client's former employee who died over the weekend in an accident.  This person had not met the waiting period at the new job, meaning that there was no coverage in force there.  So the importance of portability is on my mind this morning.  

These are 3 reason I think portability is a good topic to discuss with your agent:

1.    Continued financial protection.

The whole purpose of insurance is to shift risk.  When a former employee is not able to port policies they have to carry all the risk in the case of an accident, illness or death.   As an employer making sure that portability is in place helps mitigate that risk.

2.    Why the policies remain in force even when an employee loses the ability to work.

There are circumstances when an employee can no longer perform their duties and have to be let go due to an illness or injury.  In these cases their policies already in force continue to be honored by the insurance carrier when portable.

3.    How to continue coverage until new hire enroll at a new job.

Like the right to COBRA a medical policy is important, supplemental policies portability is important too. Portability allows former employee, in a waiting period at their new job, to continue their coverage as long as needed. 

 

Please feel free to contact WBS if you have any questions.

 

Employee Benefits: Their role in a tight labor market.

Long before I started Workplace Benefits Solutions I remember having a conversation with my Dad about the employee benefits he offer his 25 employees.  He was a reluctant buyer and I remember him telling me to the cent how much this added to his hourly labor costs.  I haven’t forgotten that conversation, but there were a few things that Dad didn’t consider about his benefits package.

These are a few things that need to be considered:

1.     Talent attraction/ retention

There was a time before ACA, which I believed benefits really didn’t help with retention or at least it was overstated.  Now in a tight labor market your benefit package can attract new employees. But, on the other side competitors are good employees and a strong benefits package offering can make a difference.

2.     Employee can be proactive about their health

Productivity is a big deal!  The most valuable ability of an employee is availability.

3.     Employee Satisfaction

Not all benefit packages are the same.  I had one person tell their HR Director… “Now I finally have benefits that are actual a benefit for my family.”  That is a satisfied employee!

4.     Benefits are an effective use of resources

Research says it costs an average of 25% of person’s salary to replace them. So, to replace a $40,000 employee is about $10,000 in training, loss of productivity and the down time while finding their replacement.  If you look at the costs of a good benefits package it is not close to $10,000. 

5.     Having a long-term strategy.

Be strategic when buying benefits, but not stingy.  Work with a broker who tries to maximize your dollars. A benefit plan that is too skinny can cost in the other areas we discussed.  WBS helps our clients have a rolling 3-5 year strategy. 

If you want our help let us know.  helpwithmybenefits.com

HR: 7 Best Practices when terming and employee.

Everyone wants their new hires to be fantastic and work out… but that doesn’t always happen.  So, it is important when terming an employee to make sure that the business is shielded and has documented the employment history in case it is needed later.  Below are 7 Best Practices when terming an employee.

 

1.     Before you ever hire and employee make sure that you have an acknowledgment signature that an employee handbook was received.  Remember this is your rule book.

2.    Keep a progressive discipline policy.  Build into your discipline policy the ability to be discerning.  Not all employees should be treated the same - because, over time employees do build up good will toward the company.

3.    Document performance failures.  When it comes time to term an employee you have to have the documentation as to why it was necessary.

4.    Warning and suspensions.  Once documentation is made and discipline is carried out, make sure that you have a signed acknowledgement from the employee of the action and the disciplinary actions taken and keep in their folder.

5.    Record absences and tardiness.  When terming an employee have a record of attendance.  This is just additional firepower if needed later.

6.    Employment dates.  Make sure you keep good records of the date of hire, dates of infractions and termination dates.

7.    Performance reviews.  Many supervisors are not as willing to be critical when annual employee reviews are done.

 

The greatest protection a company has is the Employee Handbook.  Has your company updated their lately? WBS has several Handbook Templates that can be the starting point for your review.  Contact us and we will be happy to provide you with one. We want to help you so that you can get back to running your business.

Sent me an email, let us help.  jdavis@wbsinurance.com

Supplemental Benefits: Accidents can be devastating. Be ready!

My favorite supplemental policy is an Accident plan, which is also one of the most commonly known supplemental policies.  These plans can also cover family members to insure that everyone is protected. 

Most people do not want to even think about accidents occurring, but they happen all the time. Even something as small as getting dirt in your eye that causes an infection qualifies as an accident and you can make a claim.

Accidents can happen without warning and can be devastating.Most people are not financially or emotionally prepared for the cost associated with an accident.  However, when an employer offers a group accident insurance plan as part of their benefits package it can help employees make it through the event less scathed.   

Group accident insurance plans covers a variety of accidents, such as:

-Hospital admissions and confinement and expenses

-Burns, broken bones, blood & ambulance services

- Other medical & rehabilitation charges

-Accidental death and dismemberment

All of these are benefits are covered and more depending on the type of plan selected & are usually 100 % employee paid. 

Group accident insurance can be a financial lifesaver for your employees.  Consider offering it as a part of your benefits package this enrollment season.

If you have any comments, concerns or would like to set up a quick meeting with me to learn more about supplemental policies like this one or other policies and plans that we can provide for your employees, do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Written by: Natasha Yoakum an Agent in the Abilene office.

natasha@wbsinsurance.com

Technology: Helping HR be better and easing compliance strains.

At WBS we know that HR departments struggle with additional workload, less resources to do their work and then compliance, that huge gorilla, breathing down their necks.  So where does that leave a HR department?  Over worked, burned out, stressed and not satisfied or happy at work.  How do we know?  We have been working through this with our clients to help make HR and compliance easier.  

Here are a few ideas to help.

  • Technology really helps.  Look for a technology platforms that fits your needs and budget.  This will help streamline HR processes and make your HR department more efficient. 
  • Help the right people in your organization know there is a need.  Sometimes the person that can help the most is the person that doesn't know their is a problem.  Make sure to tailor your message to fit your needs.  Also have a solution or two that they can consider when you meet.  
  • Have the data to back up the need, but do it with a smile.  HR has a big role in compliance.  Make sure that the need to stay in compliance is stressed during the meeting.  When running a business making the money is the priority but fees and penalties can be a quick drain to the bottom line.   
  • Look for help outside your organization.  Look for the value added items that your current vendors can offer you.... but you have to ask about them.

We decided that WBS had you help our clients. 

  1. We decided to help by purchasing a HR Admin platform for our clients.  We provide this platform at no cost to our clients.
  2. We decided that our clients needed ongoing information about everything HR.  So, we send a weekly email about compliance, benefit trends, employee wellness and so on.
  3. We also decided that our clients need to be as paperless as possible and keep information secure.  So we now also provide and enrollment system for them to use at our expense.

Why would we decide to do all this?  Because its important!  This all allows our clients to get back to running your business.

See what our clients say about how they have been helped on our website.  Then set up a call.

Website: helpwithmybenefits.com

Employee Wellness: Sun rays aren't the only thing your employees can catch at the pool

As the temperature climbs, many of your employees will flock to the pool to find some relief from the heat. Unfortunately, sunrays aren’t the only thing you can catch at the pool. While the cool waters can be refreshing, they could also be contaminated with bacteria that can make you sick. One nasty chlorine-resistant parasite that causes diarrhea, stomach pain and nausea is Cryptosporidium (Crypto for short). This bug can stay in your system for up to two weeks. So, to avoid this sudden stop to your summer fun, don’t swallow pool water or touch your face until you’ve showered with soap and hot water.

Now, I’m not sure how you avoid touching your face while you’re swimming, but goggles are good compromise.

And for those who think goggles are just for little kids and Olympic athletes, the next time your visit your favorite collection of chemicals and bodily fluids (the pool), ponder why those kids at that birthday party have had 7 glasses of Kool-Aid each, but not one can tell you where the bathroom is. This mystery and similar pool oddities are why a pair of well-fitted goggles are recommended to protect you from something else frequently caught at the pool –pink eye.

So, as your employees head out to relax and recharge at the pool, remind them not forget their goggles and to keep their mouths shut.

To see how we are looking out for our client’s and their employees both at work and at play, visit our website: helpwithmybenefits.com

This blog was written by Joe Tallant, an Agent in the Abilene office of WBS.

 

So... What's the plan? You need a plan!

My Father was the hardest working, gentle, tough and most honest man I ever knew.  He was my Hero.  He was an incredible baker....respected and knowledgable.  He owned a bakery in Abilene, Texas, called Snowhite Bakery and his business thrived.  During college I worked at the bakery and learned the craft, but by no means mastered the art of baking.  Fast forward to 2002 and a conversation I had with him about joining his business and taking over when he retired in a year or two.  I enjoyed working at the bakery but did not want to be a baker as my career.  The next few years he had to spent coming up with the next plan.

Several of our WBS clients are family businesses or small businesses that will have to have a plan.  Start thinking about it now.  Make sure you have options at the end, just like you make sure you have options now.

Keep in mind when creating your succession plan:

  • Determine the roles and skills critical to the company’s growth

  • Identify employees who could fill other roles in the event of a vacancy and start cross training them now.

  • Identify and understand what training is needed for a smooth transition

  • Ensure that all employees recognize and understand their career paths and the

    roles that they are being trained to fill

  • Identify employees in all areas of the business and work to ensure they are

    highly engaged and satisfied with their roles and the organization itself

  • Understand the time needed to cultivate the talent needed to fill key roles

  • Review, evaluate and adjust the succession plan as employees transition in and

    out of key roles.

Knowing the direction of your business is so important.  Let me provide you with additional succession planning.  Email me at jdavis@wbsinsurance.com.

106*, 110* & 109*.... Its going to be hot. How can you help your employees?

July and August can get really hot and we are in the middle of them now.  The temperatures are triple digits for the next week at least.  Here are some helpful tips that your employees should know.

Heat exhaustion and a heat stroke are different.

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person cannot sweat enough to cool the body, usually the result of not drinking enough fluids during hot weather.

  • Dizziness, weakness, nausea, headache and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Body temperature rising to 101°F
  • Difficulty speaking

Heat stroke is the result of untreated heat exhaustion and  is a serious medical emergency that must be treated quickly by a trained professional. 

  • Sweating 
  • Unawareness of heat and thirst
  • Body temperature rising rapidly to above 101°F
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Loss of consciousness or seizure

Tips for Staying Cool

  • Drink plenty of water—In hot weather, drink enough to quench your thirst. 
  • Dress for the weather—When outside, wear lightweight clothing made of natural fabrics and a well-ventilated hat.
  • Eat light—Replace heavy or hot meals with lighter, refreshing foods.
  • Think cool! Take a cool shower or apply a cold compress to your pulse points. 

If you would like any additional information or ideas please follow up with Workplace Benefits Solutions.

Consider EQ along with IQ when hiring.

I know that I have looked across the table and wondered if that person was smart enough for the job.  Its hard to know because hiring practices and interviewing etiquette have changed so much.  Maybe just asking yourself if the person is smart enough (IQ) is the wrong question.  Maybe it's their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that matters most.  

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ, or emotional quotient) can be summed up by a few characteristics:

·       The ability to evaluate one’s own emotions and their greater impact

·       Solid understanding of one’s abilities and self-worth

·       An innate desire to help toward the greater good

In other words, having a high EQ means you work well with others because you understand how your and your co-workers’ emotions affect each other. The argument goes: if our behavior is dictated by our emotions, then understanding them is the key to long-term success. 

WBS helps keep our clients abreast of hiring norms and guidelines to make sure that they are great places to work from the start.  Not to mention that we also provide our clients a HR Admin system to keep all their employees data secure.

Request a call from our website and see how we can help you too.

helpwithmybenefits.com

ACA Affordability Test for 2019

Ramping up for the renewal season several things will begin to be updated.  A big one is the ACA Affordability test.  As part of the ACA, the coverage provided by the employer cannot exceed the amount set by the Federal Government. 

New standard and how it works.
     - All plans beginning 1.1.19 will be affected.
     - To be affordable, the employee's contribution cannot exceed 9.86% of their household income.  Most employers apply this to their employee's income only.
     - The percentage is based on the employee only cost for the "base" medical plan.

What does this mean and how will it be calculated?:
     - When deciding the contribution at renewal, the standard is applied to the lowest paid employee at the business.
     - This is a good rule of thumb that makes it easy to calculate.  If an employee makes $10 per hour and works a 40 hours a week, their monthly contribution toward their coverage cannot exceed $170 a month.
     
ACA will continue to rear its ugly head and together we can make the best decision for your business and the employee's benefit coverage options while staying compliant.

For additional information email me at jdavis@wbsinsurance.com.