Blog
Monday, October 30, 2017

by Trent Hess, CIC, CRM
Business Risk Manager

 

As an HR Professional you play a critical role in your employer’s business, and in doing this you are often tasked with some heavy responsibilities. Hiring, firing, disciplining, making benefit decisions, staying compliant with laws, and so much more. These are all duties that unfortunately can invite lawsuits.

As an HR Professional, you can be held personally liable in some situations. I won’t go into detail about what those situations are, because I’m not an attorney and because you probably know this better than me already. What I want to focus on today are 3 insurance coverages that you should consider having your company carry that can help protect you if you are named in a suit.

 

#1: Employee Benefit Liability

 

This provides coverage for errors you make administering employee benefit programs. This one is important for you HR folks, because it protects you if you mess up. I know you never mess up, but if you did, this is what you want. So what are we talking about here?

The classic example involves your company’s Group Health Insurance. Let’s say your company’s policy has a 30 day waiting period. You hire a new employee, they fill out the paperwork after 30 days and give it to you, but it gets lost in the shuffle and falls through the cracks. You never send it in. A couple weeks later the employee has a serious accident at home that requires a hospital stay and surgery, but finds out they have no coverage because of your error. That’s Employee Benefit Liability. It can also apply to Group Life plans, Dental, Vision, etc.

These situations do happen. We’ve had claims, and let me tell you when these situations happen because of your error it makes you sick to your stomach. This coverage can help repair the situation.
This coverage can typically just be endorsed to your General Liability policy for a nominal cost – usually a couple hundred dollars at most. There’s really no excuse not to include this coverage, and a professional broker would have it included for you.


#2: Employment Practices Liability

 

If you’re in the HR world, you’re probably familiar with this one. This is the coverage that protects the company if a suit arises from discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and other issues that arise out of the employment process. Generally the policies also protect employees, so if you are named in a lawsuit as the HR person, the policy would defend you which is important.

At this point more of our clients than not carry this coverage. If I was an HR professional, I would want to see that my employer has this insurance so that I would be protected if something happened. The cost is dependent on your industry and number of employees. It’s very easy for us to provide you with a pricing indication.

On a side-note, most EPLI policies include a tool that gives you access to HR Professionals (usually attorneys) that you can ask questions of at no cost. Many times they also include a library of HR materials. This is all just value-added Risk Management material that can be very valuable to HR professionals and is really “icing on the cake” to having the coverage.


#3: Fiduciary Liability

 

This is the least used policy of the 3 that I’m discussing here. To be honest with you, not many of our clients carry this coverage. That’s not because it is unnecessary, it’s really because it’s less understood by agents, insurance carriers and you, the insureds. It’s also not as easy to write the insurance.

So what does it do?

The ERISA Act of 1974 creates the possibility that fiduciaries could be held personally liable for alleged errors or omissions or breach of duty with regard to benefit plans. This can involve pension or profit sharing plans and ESOPS among others. But it can also include 401K plans. Even if you hire a 3rd party to manage the plan, it could be alleged that you made a poor choice in what provider to use.

Fiduciary Liability claims include a broad range of allegations, such as:

  • Denial or reduction in benefits
  • Failure to adequately fund a plan
  • Conflict of interest
  • Improper advice or counsel
  • Lack of investment diversity
  • Imprudent choice of mutual fund or 3rd party provider
  • And many more…

Claims can come from current or former employees, or from a government entity such as the Department of Labor. Coverage is usually relatively inexpensive and written on a separate policy than your standard General Liability coverage.

So….

  • Employee Benefit Liability
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Fiduciary Liability

3 coverages you should be aware of and should explore to properly protect yourself as an HR Professional. Email me, call me, or look me up on LinkedIn. I’d love to answer your questions and talk with you more about this topic.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

 

 I’m sure you have seen the devastating destruction and heartache that the recent hurricanes have caused to the United States and Puerto Rico. While those of us in the north were not physically affected by the hurricanes, the ripple effect of rebuilding will touch us directly.

Houston alone will need to renovate or rebuild 200,000 plus homes, in additional to local businesses that are in desperate need of repair. Most homes and commercial businesses in Puerto Rico are in dire need of power, repair, and rebuilding. The Florida Keys were impacted from one end to the other. The number of damaged structures is on pace to match the annual output for new homes, and to increase by more than 10% the already planned renovations.

We feel for those who have lost loved ones, belongings, entire homes and businesses. No words can comfort those who have gone through this, and our hearts and prayers go out to them. It’s been amazing to watch the help of first responders, neighborhood volunteers, and those that put their own lives at risk to help others. We are inspired by you.

As rebuilding starts and lives begin to go back to fall back into routine, those that were not directly affected by the storm will start to slowly feel the changes that will take place in demand and pricing. From construction materials, electric, even those to do the physical work, prices will change, and rebuilding businesses will be spread thin. As claim adjusters cut their checks and pay out for damages, the effects of the devastation will slowly creep into the insurance rates of those much further away from the center of these terrible storms.

We wanted to keep you informed of future changes and price increases which may not be felt until about 6-18 months after these devastating events. It might be easier to understand why they are happening when you know the reasons behind the changes.

Monday, October 9, 2017


Are you covered under your auto insurance if you use your car as an Uber? This is a tricky question to answer! Ridesharing is becoming increasingly popular around us. This can be a great way to get around for many people. It’s also a way to make extra income. Here are some things you need to know:

 

 

  1. Some insurance companies will not cover you at all if you use your car as an Uber

  2. When you show yourself as “available” for rides as an Uber driver, your coverage is by Uber only, but are less than your coverage under them if you have a passenger ($50K Injury, $100K total, $25K Property)

  3. While driving with passengers, you are not covered under your personal auto policy at all. Uber will cover you up to $1M Liability and $1M Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist injury with a $1K deductible

  4. If you have state minimum coverages and are an Uber driver you could have much less than you need in the event of an accident

  5. The state of PA is one of the only states that will cover you medically if you get into an accident while driving for Uber. The minimum state limit is $5000.00 for medical which could be much less than what you typically need

  6. If your auto insurance has comp/collision, Uber will only cover this if you have an accident while you have passengers in the car (not in route to the fare). This has a $1K deductible

  7. In the state of Pennsylvania, you must tell your lienholder or lender that you are using your vehicle for ride sharing

 

Some reminders from your friendly agents at BCF: Please check with your agent about your particular carrier’s position on Uber and whether you will be covered by them. State limit coverage (or the coverage that you have while you are showing available on Uber) is something we do not recommend. We don’t write policies at our agency for minimum coverage because of our deep experience in seeing that it is not typically enough to cover you after an accident. We also always recommend more medical coverage than the minimum for the same reasons.

 

Monday, August 21, 2017

As Gen Z heads off to college, they need to secure their mobile devices and update their software to help avoid becoming a victim of a scam or identity theft.

Hackers also take advantage of the "broke college student" stereotype, targeting these young adults with offers that sound too good to be true.

 

Click here to read this important article on protecting your college student from online risks.

 

Did you know that BCF Group offers IDShield products? If you become a victim of identity theft, IDShield will spend up to $5 million to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to restore your identity.

Click here to schedule a consultation with one of our personal risk managers, or call us at 717.560.7730. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

In the early hours of July 28, Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ended when the Senate fell short of the 51 votes required to pass the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA), better known as the “skinny repeal bill.” If passed, it would have eliminated the individual mandate penalty and temporarily repealed the employer mandate penalty and medical device tax along with providing states flexibility on certain ACA requirements.

Earlier in the week, separate votes on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate’s alternative to the American Health Care Act and the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, the “repeal and delay” option, also failed.

Republican leadership in Congress or the Administration may also pursue other ways to dismantle, replace or reform the ACA including regulatory action, regulatory non-enforcement or other options.

What’s Next?

Both parties have indicated next steps may include bipartisan efforts to fix the ACA and stabilize the market.

Senator McCain called for a return to the committee process where they would hold hearings, allow input from both sides and produce a bill that truly delivers affordable health care. The future of health care reform continues to remain uncertain. We will continue to keep you apprised as new developments are released.

ACA Remains the Law of the Land

Regardless of the efforts put forth by both parties, The ACA remains the law of the land. Ongoing compliance with the law is required unless and until official guidance to the contrary is issued. We encourage our clients to continue to be diligent with their efforts surrounding ACA compliance.