Passage Of Legislation Providing Recognition Of Professional Employer Organizations In The Federal Tax Code Is Historic Moment For Industry

The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) hailed the passage of legislation defining professional employer organizations (PEOs) in the federal tax code and creation of a voluntary certification program for PEOs within the IRS. PEOs provide comprehensive HR, benefits, tax administration, and compliance services for small and mid-size businesses.

“PEOs play a key role in helping small businesses grow and thrive, and now Congress has recognized and codified a key element of that role so that even more small businesses can benefit from the services and expertise PEOs provide,” said NAPEO President and CEO Pat Cleary. “The economic data proves that small businesses using a PEO grow faster, have lower employee turnover, and are much less likely to go out of business. We are thrilled that Congress has now passed this legislation to formally recognize and certify PEOs so that small business owners have the assurance they need to let a PEO handle employment tax issues along with back office administrative and HR tasks while they focus on running a successful business.”

The legislation (the Small Business Efficiency Act/SBEA) was part of the tax extenders bill passed by the Senate this evening after having passed the House two weeks ago, and a proposal similar to the SBEA was included in President Obama’s 2014 budget. It creates a voluntary certification program for PEOs within the IRS. To become IRS-certified, a PEO would have to meet financial standards (including bonding and independent financial audit requirements) and satisfy reporting obligations and other appropriate standards set by the IRS. Once certified, a PEO would take on sole liability for the collection and remission of federal employment taxes for worksite employees. Small and mid-sized businesses that contract with certified PEOs would be assured that they would not be liable for employment taxes once they remit their employees’ tax withholdings to the PEO.

“This is truly a historic moment for the PEO industry. We urge the President to sign the extenders bill and we look forward to working with the administration on the regulations so we can get the necessary framework in place to broaden our reach within the small business community,” said NAPEO Chairman Brent Tilson, president and CEO of Tilson HR in Greenwood, IN. “Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation go out to the key champions of this bill, Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), and Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL). They should be commended for their commitment to and support of small businesses nationwide.”

Approximately 250,000 businesses use PEOs, and PEOs provide access to healthcare coverage for as many as six million people. Through a PEO, the employees of small businesses gain access to employee benefits such as 401(k) plans; health, dental, life, and other insurance; dependent care; and other benefits typically provided by large companies. According to a recent study, by noted economist Laurie Bassi, businesses in a PEO arrangement grow 7-9 percent faster, have 23-32 percent lower employee turnover, and are 50 percent less likely to go out of business than companies not using a PEO.

The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) represents about 85 percent of the industry’s estimated $92 billion in gross revenues. NAPEO has some 300 PEO members, ranging from start-ups to large publicly held companies with years of success in the industry, as well as some 200 service provider members. PEOs provide payroll, benefits, and other HR services to small and mid-sized businesses. Approximately 250,000 businesses and more than 2.5 million people are part of PEO arrangements. For more information about NAPEO, please visit

SOURCE National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO)

Florida Supreme Court Upholds Exclusive Remedy in Workers’ Compensation Case“The Florida Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision Thursday, December 4, in Leticia Morales v. Zenith Insurance Company, upholding the workers’ compensation system as the exclusive remedy for injured parties.”

Leticia Morales v. Zenith Insurance Company is one of three workers’ compensation challenges before the Florida Supreme Court. The others are Castellanos v. Next Door Company and Westphal v. St. Petersburg which have been featured in previous PEO Compass posts as we watch the case law battleground for the Constitutionality of the Florida Workers’ Compensation statutes.

Click here to read more…

OIR Issues Final Approval Order on NCCI’s Florida Workers Compensation Rate Filing

On August 22, 2014, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) proposed an overall workers compensation rate level decrease of 2.5% in Florida effective January 1, 2015. On September 22, 2014, NCCI amended the filing proposing an overall rate level decrease of 3.3% to reflect a rule change announced by the Division of Workers Compensation effective January 1, 2015. On November 5, 2014, the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) issued an order denying the 3.3% decrease and requesting that NCCI make an amended filing for an overall workers compensation rate level decrease of 5.2% effective January 1, 2015. NCCI submitted its amended filing on November 11, 2014 and received the final approval order from the OIR today, November 12, 2014.

The revised overall workers compensation rate level decrease of 5.2% breaks down as follows:

Rate Table Data (downloadable rates) and an approval circular including the amended pages will be posted on within the next couple of business days.

Meet 2014 40 Under 40 Honoree Bradley Isaacs

Congratulations to Bradley Isaacs for making the Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 List.  The annual awards honor Central Florida’s top up-and-comers and this year, the honorees are from a variety of industries ranging from law and finance to technology and tourism, and everything in between.  Bradley Isaacs is a partner at Risk Transfer Holdings LLC, which buys insurance, specializing in providing property and casualty insurance to the professional employer organization and temporary staffing industries. He’s also a co-founder and owner of, the largest provider of dog sports apparel in the world, which has more than $1 million in sales.

Click here to read more…

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ProSight Specialty Binds First PEO Client for Risk Transfer

Risk Transfer is pleased to announce our 1st workers’ compensation bind order with ProSight Specialty Insurance (PSI) for a major PEO client.  Risk Transfer considers this a significant milestone with PSI; we look forward to delivering on PSI’s growth objectives with a value-driven approach to differentiation in the PEO niche, and creating and sustaining a multi-line PEO program that will deliver profitable results for ProSight.  Having successfully bound a Workers’ Compensation policy with PSI, Risk Transfer is now in the process of implementing general liability and auto liability products for PEO client companies.

To learn more about ProSight’s Best in Class offering for PEO’s, please visit ProSight’s website or click here.

Dino Fabrizio
Risk Transfer


The Capacity Group and Dowling Capital Partners’ IDIG Announce They Have Acquired a Stake in Risk Transfer

ORLANDO, FL – October 24, 2014 — Insurance Distribution Investing Group, LLC (IDIG), a joint venture formed in June of this year and backed by the insurance industry executives of The Capacity Group and by Dowling Capital Partners, announced the close of their previously announced transaction by acquiring a 50% ownership stake in Risk Transfer and affiliated companies of Risk Transfer.  Risk Transfer, an innovative insurance program manager specializing in difficult-to-place risks, Libertate, its small traditional commercial and personal lines provider, as well as RiskAwareTM LLC, its loss control and claim advocacy division are all included in the transaction.  RiskMD® LLC, Risk Transfer’s patent-pending technology company is also included in the transaction with a future option for IDIG to purchase a greater equity stake.

IDIG was founded to bring together industry experts and professionals in all insurance disciplines and to support owners and managers with a focus on innovation, products, and relationships.  RiskMD technology paired with the industry expertise of IDIG will bring unprecedented capabilities and efficiencies to the Dowling/Capacity universe.  “We’re excited to achieve this type of partnership and begin to see it flourish,” IDIG’s Managing Partner, Gary S. Maier, stated.  “Risk Transfer’s standing in their chosen industry is quite impressive.  Their level of commitment and innovation to their customers and trading partners is a major differentiator.  IDIG will further enhance and expand on their model by improving market and product positioning, and offering ways to further differentiate on expertise and customer innovation.”

Paul Hughes, CEO of Risk Transfer, commented, “On so many levels, partnering with IDIG is a home run.  They believe as we do that the PEO model is an important part of the future of insurance distribution.  Besides the traditional market relationships we can leverage with our partners from Capacity and Dowling Capital, they are anything from traditional in their focus on helping us to better the PEO model to make it even more impactful for American business.  Our “Money Ball” approach to underwriting insurance allows us to value an insurance transaction utilizing the most credible data available in the most efficient manner possible.  The speed at which we have credible, available information will help the new Risk Transfer to make the smartest decisions faster.

This partnership will allow more time towards the creation of new solutions for Risk Transfer’s clients.  Carl Gerson, COO of The Capacity Group, said, “We’re in a unique position to expand on our already growing relationship with Dowling Capital.  I’m thrilled Paul Hughes and his talented team are joining us and we’re excited about the combination of Risk Transfer’s innovation with the exceptional trading partners Capacity can bring to this market segment.  There will be more exciting news that we plan to share in the coming months too.”

Click here to read the full release on Yahoo Finance

About Risk Transfer
Started in May of 2000 as a retail brokerage, Risk Transfer has always focused on risks that required a more sophisticated understanding of the client’s business, and broader insurance solutions and cost containment structures. Risk Transfer Programs (fka Lighthouse Programs) was formed in 2003 to be the underwriting company for the group. Risk Transfer’s brokerage/consultancy still remain as the flagship operating companies of the group. Risk Aware (outsourced underwriting platforms/cost containment programs) provides comprehensive risk management analytics. Risk Aware was formed in 2007 to focus on customer advocacy and cost containment for our clients.  Lastly, RiskMD was formed in 2008 to provide the “art and science” of risk management. The scientific or process portion of RiskMD currently is patent-pending by the being reviewed by the US Patent Office and should receive a final utilization application.  RiskMD is the first platform to introduce data vault technology to the insurance industry and is poised to provide services to a myriad of players within the insurance space.

About Capacity Group
The Capacity Group of Companies offers an expansive range of standard and customized insurance and financial products, while providing superior customer service for all types of businesses, industries, and individuals. The Capacity Group has a diversified insurance distribution and product platform in Retail, Wholesale and Specialty Program business, as well as all types of personal, commercial, specialty and benefits lines of business. The Capacity Group is located in Mahwah, NJ and has 14 offices nationwide. The Capacity Group has grown to become one of the 100 largest insurance brokerage firms in the U.S. It is currently ranked number 43 by Business Insurance magazine, and is among the Top 25 privately held brokerage firms in the U.S. by Insurance Journal magazine.

About Dowling Capital Partners
Dowling Capital Partners (DCP) is a private equity firm that invests exclusively in the insurance industry. Investments are focused on the three main sectors of the industry – underwriting, distribution and technology/services. DCP was formed in 2011 by insurance industry veterans with senior level industry experience, including insurance-related private equity investment management, investment banking, industry research and operational and board-level roles within major insurance, reinsurance and brokerage companies. DCP’s investors include highly regarded insurance industry organizations and professionals. DCP provides its portfolio companies and co-investors with industry expertise, broad relationships and operating experience. For additional information, please visit

California ranks highest for workers’ compensation costs

Not that it is any surprise, but in a newly released report California has been ranked as the most expensive state for workers’ compensation cost.

Going back historically California was ranked the third most expensive state in 2012 and the fifth most expensive in 2010.  This increasing trend has had a profound impact on businesses with $3.48 going toward workers’ comp for every $100 of payroll.

However, it has not always been this bad, since 2000 California’s lowest ranking was in 2008 when it was number 13 in comp costs, and most of that was attributed to the fact that legislative reforms helped reduce employer premiums by 66%.

While California was the most expensive from a workers’ comp standpoint the other states next in line are Connecticut ($2.87 per $100 in payroll), New Jersey ($2.82 per $100 in payroll), and New York ($2.75 per $100 in payroll).  North Dakota is currently the least expensive state from a comp standpoint with 88 cents of every $100 in payroll going toward workers’ comp.

Click below to read the full article.

California ranks highest for workers’ compensation costs.

Workers Comp Writers Using More Mobile Device Apps and Other Tech Advances

Workers compensation insurers are increasingly turning to mobile device applications and other technology innovations in their bid to remain a force in the industry and serve their clients.  New technology and approaches are invading daily workers compensation underwriting routines. How is this happening? Here are some major findings:

  • Mobile devices are getting bigger in the workers compensation space. Most mobile apps in this area are focused on loss control, and third party administrators are using apps that handle injury reporting and other claims self-service functions.
  • As insurers increasingly use third party and multidimensional data in their workers compensation analyses, they’re spending more on proactive analytics to figure out which claims will produce long-term payouts.
  • Agent portals, business intelligence and core claims/policy administration systems place at the top of workers compensation technology initiatives.
  • Insurers are also focusing on improving their technology for billing, customer portals, distribution management, document creation and management, rating, underwriting workstations and specialized elements.
  • Pay as you go policies, where businesses pay a premium every payroll period versus an annual premium, are becoming more commonplace, helping to simplify how coverage is sold and handled.

Click here to read the full article…

Click here to download the RiskMD white paper on data analytics and workers’ compensation…