Lloyds of London View of Industry

The insurance industry as we know it was created in 1686 by Edward Lloyd in his coffee/tea shop. Our friends across the pond arguably know more about our domestic insurance marketplace than the underwriters here. The article below is a nice analysis of how they view the marketplace today, with a focus on casualty.

We are seeing dramatic increases in both premiums and retentions on specialty casualty lines of insurance (employment practices, directors and officers and professional liability). It is especially volatile in California.

Make sure you budget accordingly. Loss history dependent of course, but minimum 10% +

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2020/11/19/591273.htm

“According to the underwriters, there are the usual suspects responsible for today’s market conditions, including years of poor results, social inflation, litigation funding, the current economic recession and uncertainty over the effects of COVID-19.

“The tort environment has suddenly become very challenged. In addition to that, we’ve got a lot of back year loss deterioration on people’s portfolios,” said Aspen’s Bland.

— Message is to make sure you give proper time to correct client company pricing with the understanding of with increased terminations, furloughs, wage reductions… the lawyers will follow and claims thereafter.

Let us know if we can be of help.

Happy Thanksgiving Week! Finding Thanks in a Crazy Year.

With the looming reality of what 2020 has brought to us, and we have all been impacted in some way or another, it’s difficult to truly feel thanks and appreciation. It has definitely been a tough year! Even if you have been fortunate enough to have had little to no impact from the hurricanes, the fires across different continents, the U.K.s withdrawal from the EU, the craziness of the election, the cancellation of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the murder hornets, the VIRUS and its economic effects and hardship, and the riots, somewhere deep within us 2020 will leave a lasting impression. So as we start the season of friends and family I thought sharing some reminders of the “good, simple things” would be fitting.

Life – It seems pretty basic, but in stating the obvious, not everyone has the chance to wake up and live another day. The daily stresses of existence and the drive to continue in times of uncertainty can weigh us all down, but waking up each morning to strive to be better than the day before is something that should lift us and give us strength to push forward.

Love and kindness of others – If there is one thing that has been constant in 2020 it is change. This year has certainly opened my eyes and while we see so many headlines of the terrible things that have happened this year behind what is being broadcast, there are great things rising. I have seen more people reaching out to help others than I have ever experienced. The schools are organizing more efforts than ever to help teachers (sending home projects for parents to help out with for classroom use, supplies and food drives to help families within the schools, even just in the neighborhood (offerings of people to shop for others that can’t afford it or need to quarantine), social media posts of individuals just willing to help random strangers if they need to feed their families, fund-raising efforts to support school programs that were underfunded due to the PPE needs to keep the schools going, parents working together to support group, at-home learning while they are figuring out how to work remotely themselves. Behind the scenes, if we take a closer look, 2020 has brought out more caring for one another.

Nature and all of her beauty – It may sound a bit quirky, but when I have a rough day you can often find me trying to locate a section grass so I can take my shoes off and “earth.” Earthing or grounding is making contact with the Earth’s surface electrons; transferring energy from the ground into the body. While I can not speak to the scientific data supporting the actual effects of earthing, I do know that taking a minute or two in nature revives my senses and clears my mind to reset on my path, whatever level of greatness or lack there of! You can check out studies on earthing here at the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Laughter, “the best medicine” – HelpGuide.org has listed out some of the ways that support why laughter is good for our health. I love to giggle, who doesn’t? I will say that my laughing can become so outrageous at times that its embarrassing. Once it starts it doesn’t stop and at this point in time, my husband has coined me with the nickname of “Chuckles.” “Oh boy, Chuckles is here!” I always feel better after a laugh, especially when its a shared laugh and everyone’s eyes tear up. It’s reported that laughter can release stress and tension for up to 45 minutes after, the decrease in stress hormones boosts the body’s immune system, overall benefits to mental health and a really good laugh session can actually burn calories. I recommend finding a couple of good comedies to watch this Thanksgiving.

Ability to Learn – whether it’s as simple as learning to read for the first time or re-learning how to brush your teeth again, education and the ability to learn gives us confidence and is crucial in our overall growth. Learning also provides us with the ability to acclimate and 2020 has pushed us into uncharted territories. We have had to learn a new way of survival. New jobs, no jobs, new workspace, new schooling applications, A Completely New Norm. Just take a minute and think of all that you learn on a daily basis and the better you are for being able to.

And for those that find simple pleasure in football, you will be able to kick back and find thanks that the season continues! We have 3 Games on Thanksgiving; brunch, dinner and pie: Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions will be contending with Deshaun Watson and the Texans (12:30 pm ET CBS), The Cowboys will be avenging the 22 point loss they suffered to Washington (4:30 pm ET Fox) and The Ravens are set to battle the Steelers in the AFC North matchup (8:20 pm ET NBC).

We at Libertate Insurance, are looking forward to Thanksgiving and we are going to do our best to spend it in the most joyous and positive way possible. We hope that you are able to do the same.

Chief Actuary Antonello to Be Next CEO of Employers Holdings

Excited to announce that former NCCI Chief Actuary, Katherine H. Antonello, will take the helm at Employers beginning next April. Here’s to hoping 2021 will bring this great carrier into the PEO space!

Source: Insurance Journal

Small business workers’ compensation insurance specialist Employers Holdings Inc. has named Katherine H. Antonello as its president and chief executive officer.

She will take over upon the retirement of Douglas D. Dirks on April 1, 2021. Dirks will be retiring after heading the company for more than 27 years.

Antonello joined EMPLOYERS in August 2019 as executive vice president and chief actuary of the company. Prior to joining EMPLOYERS, Antonello served as the chief actuary for the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) from 2013-2019.

Antonello has more than 25 years of workers’ compensation insurance experience having held leadership roles in actuarial, policy services, claims and internal audit functions. In addition to working at NCCI, she has worked at Lumbermen’s Underwriting Alliance and the consultant Milliman.

Katherine Antonello

Michael J. McSally, chairman of the board, said that in her “relatively short tenure” with the company, Antonello has demonstrated her “ability to be a visionary and think strategically” about the business.

“As a mono-line company, we have the size, talent and entrepreneurial spirit to excel at what we do best,” commented Antonello. “We understand comp. I look forward to continuing our digital transformation, focusing on exceptional service to injured workers and ease of doing business for our agents, partners and policyholders.”

Reno, Nevada-based Employers Holdings operates throughout the United States, with the exception of four states that are served exclusively by their state funds. It offers its coverages through Employers Insurance Company of Nevada, Employers Compensation Insurance Co., Employers Preferred Insurance Co., Employers Assurance Co. and Cerity Insurance Co. Not all companies do business in all jurisdictions.

Florida Workers’ Comp Rates for 2021

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) announces the release 2021 workers’ compensation rates. OIR has lowered rates for 2021 for both renewed and newly written workers’ compensation policies. The overall average rate decrease is -6.6%, but individual class codes may see increases.

Below is a 2020 vs 2021 rate comparison of common workers’ comp class codes.

Class CodeDescription2020 Rates2021 Rates Rate Change
7219Trucking NOC6.856.63-3%
8018Store Wholesale-NOC2.932.91-1%
8742Salesperson.35.33-6%
8810Clerical.17.16-6%
8829Convalescent Home-All Employees2.292.25-2%
8864Social Services Organizations1.591.622%
9014Janitorial3.763.60-4%
9015Building or Property Management3.893.81-2%
9082Restaurant NOC1.801.67-7%
9083Restaurant Fast Food1.741.59-9%

The Florida United Businesses Association (FUBA) has provided some additional insight on what to expect.

  • The maximum weekly payroll for executive officers will increase from $2,800 per week to $2,900 per week.
     
  • The minimum weekly payroll for officers in the construction industry will increase from $450 per week to $500 per week.
     
  • The minimum weekly payroll for all other officers will remain at $950 per week.
     
  • The annual payroll for sole proprietors and partners will increase from $48,800 to $50,500 per year.
     
  • There will not be a surcharge from the Florida Workers’ Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association on policies in 2021. 

If you have any questions regarding the rates and upcoming changes, please reach out to our experienced staff at Libertate Insurance 888-501-0014.

Congratulations SUNZ !

Some big things happening in Bradenton with our partners at SUNZ. Great NEWS to hear that Mr. Leonard was promoted and Mr. Brodsky hired. Excellent moves that provides a great future –

BUSINESS OBSERVERWEDNESDAY, NOV. 11, 2020 5 days ago

Insurance firm builds up leadership team in recent months 

Insurance executive Steve Herrig has learned some big lessons about hiring top leaders over the years. A big one: don’t do it alone. 

by: Grier Ferguson Sarasota-Manatee Editor

Amid the turmoil of the pandemic, one area firm has kept its sights on the sunny side of the street.

That company, Bradenton-based Sunz Insurance, has worked in recent months to build up its leadership team, making several additions through external hires as well as through internal promotions. The growing leadership bench comes during an era of significant growth for the 350-employee firm, with $415.02 million in revenue in 2019. That’s up from $137 million in 2016, a 203% increase over four years. The firm is a national provider of workers’ compensation insurance and insurance services to professional employer organizations, staffing companies and large employers. 

Sunz CEO and chairman Steven Herrig says the first key move was promoting Rick Leonard to president, in May. In early October, Sunz  announced it had hired a new executive vice president and CFO, Jeffrey Marshall. Then, later in the month, it announced a new chief underwriting officer, David Brodsky. That came after Alicia Christiansen was promoted to director of sales operations and Glen Distefano was promoted to chief information security officer in August. 

Leonard started with Sunz as broker relations executive and was then promoted to director of sales. “Rick’s skill set and leadership style is very broad-based and expands beyond an understanding of sales,” says Herrig. “Rick is a gifted individual and an exceptional leader and has a good understanding of business. He was the natural selection to be president of Sunz.”

‘I probably have grown in the process by letting others be more involved in also interviewing the person and getting their perspective of what they thought.’ — Steven Herrig, Sunz Insurance

Leonard, with Sunz since 2011, is also an asset because he understands the Sunz model, Herrig says, and its vision for the future. “Where Rick, I think, is exceptional and will help the most is he’s very hands on, he meets with the various teams and does a really nice job of interacting with the other managers and pretty much everyone in the company,” says Herrig.

The hiring of Marshall as CFO was predicated by need since Sunz’s CFO was retiring. The company used an executive search firm to find a good fit.

Marshall, with over 35 years in finance and accounting, was with Ategrity Specialty Holdings Insurance Co. as a senior vice president, group CFO and chief risk officer prior to joining Sunz. “The vetting process was long and arduous, and we selected Jeff because of his broad-based understanding of business,” says Herrig. “His resume was tailor made for us, and then after having met him and interviewed him, the decision was made clear.”

Brodsky, Sunz’s new chief underwriting officer, filled a spot the company wasn’t actively searching for, and was, instead, an example of the firm’s opportunistic nature. “He was someone who was well known and highly regarded in the industry,” says Herrig. “We heard he became available and we just went after him.”

Herrig, who previously helped grow a PEO, Bradenton-based Professional Employer Services, to a $50 million business, among other ventures, says his approach to hiring has evolved over the years. “I probably have grown in the process by letting others be more involved in also interviewing the person and getting their perspective of what they thought,” he says. “In past years, I pretty much made those decisions without additional input from others.” That change has been gradual, adding one person into the process, then another and so on. “As you grow, you have to do things at a higher level,” says Herrig. “It requires a greater degree of sophistication.”

The leadership team now includes people from outside, like Brodsky, and people from inside the company, like Leonard. That’s an asset, says Herrig, who doesn’t want to limit the company’s prospects by sticking to solely internal or external candidates. Both sets will help lead growth. “The internal people will help drive it from the standpoint that they have a solid understanding of Sunz’s unique model and how we serve our clients,” he says. “The external people will drive it by bringing in new ideas and ways of viewing things.”

In the coming months, Herrig says Sunz will unveil additional plans for growth. Early in the pandemic, Sunz, like many companies, experienced a contraction. But now it’s on better footing. 

The leadership additions and promotions, meanwhile, are just part of its larger big-picture plan. “Our strategy, like most businesses, is always to improve and evolve along with your growth,” says Herrig. “We’re always looking to elevate and become better.” Prev ArticleFirms sue insurers over unpaid pandemic claims Next Article Transition plan: Insurance firm tackles two big moves at once

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Friday the 13th! Weekly Round Up

Did you know that Friday the 13th occurs in any month that begins on a Sunday? Quite simple math but I never really thought about it! The fear of Friday the 13th affects an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute. However, studies on accident trends show that fewer accidents are reported on this day, as people are likely more cautious and limit travel and activities. You can find more interesting tidbits on the history of Friday the 13th at Earthsky.org

Here are our highlights from the week

Veteran’s Day 2020

The United States just honored its Veterans with the observance of Veteran’s Day. The anniversary of Veteran’s Day marks the end of World War I back in 1918. Originally coined as Armistice Day, to reflect the signing of the armistice between the Allies of World War I and Germany, was renamed Veteran’s Day in 1954 to honor all those that have served in the U.S. Military. November 11th is also celebrated by other countries as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day. While times have certainly changed for our Country since the early 1900’s, I thought sharing the below quote from President Woodrow Wilson, on the first anniversary of such an important day, was fitting for the times.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.” You can find more on the History of Veteran’s Day, here at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is also always accepting donations and volunteers. Learn more on how you can show thanks and give back, year-round, to those whom have given us so much.

MilitaryBenefits.info has put together a listing of the 2020 Veteran’s Day Free Meals and Deals for those of our Veterans reading this post, many of them throughout the week and month of November.

To all Veterans, We thank you for your sacrifice, your bravery, and our freedom.

Hot for PEOs and Small Business

AllRisks is pushing their Self-Storage Facility Program in light of non-renewal trends related to program administrators losing their markets. AllRisks has been providing solutions for storage-related exposures including products for boat/RV storage operators, self-storage facilities and converted buildings. They have 2 exclusive Self-Storage Programs with National Capabilities. AllRisks offers over 30 National Specialty Insurance Programs ranging from Amusement Insurance to Tattoo Shops. Contact Libertate Insurance today for more information.

PIE Insurance released updates of important need to know facts about workers compensation claims fraud and how to protect your business. Types of workers’ comp insurance fraud fall into three categories:

1- Employees committing claim-related fraud by fabricating details surrounding an injury. Injury claim indicates injury happened at work in the warehouse, when it really happened on a ski trip over the weekend

2- Employers may engage in policy-related fraud by falsely reporting employees as contractors or by improper employee classification; i.e. admin desk position is reported when employee is actually a warehouse worker performing manual labor

3- Healthcare professionals can commit medical provider fraud by performing unnecessary services to collect insurance payments, fraudulent billing or partaking in kick-back programs

Workers’ comp fraud has historically cost between $6 and $7 billion dollars each year based on estimates from CAIF (Coalition Against Insurance Fraud) and the NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau). Insurance fraud is a white-collar crime and can lead to fines and imprisonment, and increased premiums and penalties for small businesses. The Claims Journal issued an article in August of 2020, indicating that with COVID-19 the California Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau is estimating annual losses in the state of $1.2 billion, extrapolated nationally approximating $5 billion. The plan to combat fraud? Data! Insurers are accessing cross-payer, multi-year claims data to identify repeat claimants, attorneys and medical providers.

How do we protect ourselves and our businesses? Educate and Document!

  • Be forthcoming about physical requirements and hazards of the job
  • Educate employees as to the proper way to lift, pull, and carry objects
  • Provide training on work-related hazards, exposure risks, and safety equipment
  • Inform employees and new hires about a zero-tolerance policy for false claims
  • Teach employees how workers’ comp works and how to correctly report injuries
  • Provide a safe way for employees to report suspicious workers’ comp activity
  • Maintain and report accurate records regarding employee roles and numbers

This is great HR information to help support businesses and mitigate risk. If you have questions or are limited in your HR resources contact Libertate Insurance today, we can help.

NAPEO released its November 2020 edition of PEO Insider, for members. Interesting Featured Articles in this month’s release include Q&A on State Legislative and Regulatory Trends, Non-COVID-19 Developments in the States, What PEOs Need to Know About the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act, and so much more. Take a few minutes and dive into some of these interesting and useful articles. NAPEO is a great organization for all things PEO.

NAPEO also hosted an online webinar last night, for members, going over the 2020 Election and what’s next! Georgia and Washington are in recount and lawsuits have been filed in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada as well as Pennsylvania.

Notable key dates in the upcoming months:

December 8th – states are required to settle all disputes

December 14th – Electoral College meets at state level and votes for President

January 6th – Joint Session of Congress counts electoral votes and declares a winner

January 21st – President is sworn in

If you are not currently a member of NAPEO, visit their site here and learn how to join.

Weekend in Sports

There are a ton of football events continuing this weekend with football seemingly back in full swing. South Alabama vs Louisiana, Notre Dame vs. Boston College, Miami vs. Virginia Tech, USC vs. Arizona, Florida State vs. NC State and the list continues, hope you have the opportunity to catch your favorite team. For our NFL roster Kansas City comes in the first ranking spot for week 10, they have a bye week so we won’t be able to watch them play this weekend. The next highest ranking teams are Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Pittsburgh squares off against Cincinnati 4:25pm ET catch them on FOX and Baltimore will battle New England at 8:20pm (ET) available on NBC. Find more on your favorites here at ESPN.com

Have a Great Weekend Everyone!

Thank You For Your Protection and Support of our Country

Veterans Day to me is not a “hallmark holiday”, it is a celebration of those that have gone the distance and beyond for our country.

“I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

– Nathan Hale, 1776, in his alleged last words prior to being executed by the British for being a spy.

…love this.

So my Grandfather got to Boston in 1634. Have had one in French and Indian war… 2 in Revolutionary war, War of 1812, Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam.

As my Dad would say, thank God you can push pencils. As I will say, thank God for him and the the other patriots over the last 244 years.

Thank you for your service.

California Workers’ Comp COVID-19 Claim Count Tops 50,000

Below is a quick COVID update from workerscompensation.com regarding COVID claims in California. Let’s hope this downward trend continues!

Oakland, CA (WorkersCompensation.com) – The California workers’ compensation COVID-19 monthly claim count may have peaked in July, but the latest tally by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) shows that as of November 2, there have been 50,592 COVID-19 claims reported to the state Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) so far this year – including 282 death claims. That translates to 1 out of every 9 California job injury claims reported for accident year (AY) 2020.

The latest figures show that after climbing rapidly over the first 7 months of this year and hitting a record 14,453 claims in July, the number of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims reported to the DWC began to dwindle. The updated count shows 6,710 claims with August injury dates, 3,779 claims with September injury dates, and 2,016 claims with October injury dates. A significant number of claims from September and October could still be reported, but the initial claim counts from both these months were well below the early counts from June and July, so even accounting for the reporting lag associated with COVID-19 claims, those figures suggest a significant downtrend. Using claim development factors based on historical claim development from 2019 and the fluctuating development pattern for 2020 COVID-19 claims, CWCI now projects that there could ultimately be 15,786 COVID-19 claims with July injury dates, 6,910 claims with August injury dates, 4,535 claims with September injury dates, and 5,242 claims with October injury dates, which puts the projected number of COVID-19 claims for the first 10 months of AY 2020 at 57,833. Notably, denial rates for COVID-19 claims have stabilized within a narrow range, holding between 28.7 percent and 31.3 percent from April through August, while denial data on September and October claims is still too green for analysis as many of those claims remain under investigation. The distribution by industry shows that COVID-19 claims remain heavily concentrated among a small number of industry sectors, with more than three quarters of the claims from the first 10 months of this year involving workers in health care (37.1 percent); public safety/government (15.0 percent); manufacturing (8.3 percent); retail (7.9 percent); transportation (5.1 percent), and food service (4.4 percent).

The data on claims reported through October is included in the latest update to CWCI’s COVID-19 and Non-COVID-19 Interactive Claim Application, an online tool that integrates data from CWCI, the DWC, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics to provide detailed information on California workers’ comp claims from comparable periods of 2019 and 2020. The new version features data on 1,047,448 claims from the first 10 months of AY 2019 and AY 2020, including the 50,592 COVID-19 claims reported for AY 2020. As of November 2, the DWC had received reports on 458,941 workers’ compensation claims with January through October 2020 injury dates, which even with the COVID-19 claims, was 22 percent less than the total reported for the corresponding period of 2019, or 12.5 percent less after factoring in the projected claim development for AY 2020. The decline in the overall claim count reflects the economic slowdown and declining employment, as well as the millions of Californians who continue to work from home.

CWCI updates its COVID-19/Non-COVID 19 data app with new data every two weeks and plans to expand its features as more data on claim type and systemwide costs become available. The application is available to the public here.