Engage PEO Named 2018 Fast 50 Honoree by the South Florida Business Journal

(MENAFN Editorial) Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA — Engage PEO, a professional employer organization providing HR outsourcing solutions to small and mid-sized businesses across the U.S., was recently honored as one of South Florida Business Journal’s 2018 Fast 50, recognizing the region’s 50 fastest-growing private companies. The official award ceremony and celebration will take place on Thursday, August 16 in Miami.

Companies recognized with this honor have demonstrated significant growth in the past three years. The Fast 50 is a compilation of two Top 25 lists: one for companies with more than $25 million in annual revenue, and one for companies with less than $25 million in annual revenue.

“Joining the ranks of the South Florida Business Journal’s Fast 50 is a clear indication of our unparalleled industry growth and expertise, which translates to strong client relationships and sustained business growth,” said Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO. “We are proud to be listed amongst the fastest growing businesses in South Florida, and will continue to provide personalized human resource and compliance solutions so our clients can then focus on what truly matters: thriving.”

Engage was also named one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 5000 list in 2016 and 2017; over the course of the last four years, no PEO has grown faster. Additionally, Engage recently received another distinction from the Internal Revenue Service that recognizes the company as one of the first professional employer organizations in the U.S. to earn “Certified Professional Employer Organization” status. This new designation ensures greater benefits for small and mid-sized businesses, such as tax advantages and financial protections.

About Engage PEO
Engage PEO delivers comprehensive HR solutions to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide, sharpening their competitive advantage. Comprised of the industry’s most respected veteran professional employer organization executives, certified HR professionals and attorneys, Engage PEO provides hands-on, expert HR services and counsel to help clients minimize cost and maximize efficiency for stronger business performance. The company’s superior service offering includes a full range of health and workers’ compensation insurance products, payroll technology and tax administration, risk management services and advanced technology as part of an extensive suite of HR services. Engage PEO was recently awarded the designation of Certified Professional Employer Organization (CPEO) by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), ensuring greater benefits for small and mid-sized businesses such as tax advantages and financial protections. Engage PEO is also accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation. In 2016 and 2017, Engage PEO was named to Inc. magazine’s list of the 5000 fastest growing companies. For more information on Engage PEO visit http://www.engagepeo.com.

The IRS does not endorse any particular certified professional employer organization. For more information on certified professional employer organizations go to http://www.IRS.gov.

Contact Information


  • Name: Sloane FistelCompany: rbb Communications for Engage PEO
  • Telephone: 305-249-1171


Is Your Co-Employed Policy Being Evidenced Properly on your Acord 25 Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI)?


A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can secure workers’ compensation coverage for their client companies a number of different ways.  The structure and naming conventions used on each policy are often set by the state in which coverage is afforded.  The NCCI classes these policy types with an Policy Type Code of 1-8.  The attributes of each policy type dictates how coverage for that policy should be evidenced on an Acord 25 Certificate of Liability Insurance (COI).  Not surprisingly, however, many agencies servicing PEO clients, who have limited knowledge of the complex and varying PEO policy structures used to properly insure co-employed employees, often evidence coverage improperly on COIs.

Below is a brief tutorial outlining the 5 most common PEO policy types to help you make sure your COIs are being generated properly.

Common PEO Policy Types:

  1. Master Policy
    1. 1st Named insured is PEO
    2. Policy includes the applicable blanket Alternate Employer Endorsement(s) as required by each state, extending coverage to the client companies of the PEO
    3. Co-employment exists
    4. NCCI Policy Type 8
  2. Multiple Coordinated Policy (MCP)
    1. Naming convention is established by the State(s) where coverage is provided and typically includes both the PEO and Client Company as the 1st named insured
      1. i.e. “PEO Name L/C/F Client Name”
      2. i.e. “PEO Name for workers leased to Client Name”
    2. No alternate employer endorsement is needed as both the PEO and the Client are named as insureds on the policy
    3. Co-employment exists
    4. NCCI Policy Type 4
  3. Client Direct Purchase
    1. 1st Named insured is the Client Company
    2. Policy includes an alternate employer endorsement naming the PEO
    3. Co-employment exists; coverage is also extended to non-leased employees
    4. NCCI Policy Type Code 7
  4. Mini-Master Policy
    1. 1st Named insured is PEO
    2. Policy includes an alternate employer endorsement naming only one client company and its affiliated entities
    3. Co-employment exists
    4. NCCI Policy Type Code 5
  5. Alternate Services Offering (ASO)
    1. 1st Named insured is the Client Company
    2. Policy does not include an alternate employer endorsement and the PEO is not named on the policy
    3. NO co-employment exists
    4. NCCI Policy Type Code 1


Proper COI Structure by PEO Policy Type:

Policy Type Insured Section of COI Description of Operations (DOO) section of COI Notes
Master Name of PEO as listed on the Policy Dec Page Client Company being evidenced and effective date when coverage was extended to that Client Company is stated here DOO should include a disclaimer stating coverage is extended to leased employees except in monopolistic states and any other coverage details pertinent to evidenced policy
MCP Name of PEO and Client Company as listed on the Policy Dec Page Client Company being evidenced and effective date when coverage was extended to that Client Company is stated here DOO should include a disclaimer stating coverage is extended to leased employees except in monopolistic states and any other coverage details pertinent to evidenced policy
Client Direct Name of Client Company as listed on the Policy Dec Page PEO is listed as alternate employer DOO should include a disclaimer stating coverage is extended to leased and non-leased employees except in monopolistic states and any other coverage details pertinent to evidenced policy
Mini-Master Name of PEO as listed on the Policy Dec Page Client Company being evidenced and effective date when coverage was extended to that Client Company is stated here DOO should include a disclaimer stating coverage is extended to leased employees except in monopolistic states and any other coverage details pertinent to evidenced policy
ASO Name of Client Company as listed on the Policy Dec Page Nothing specific to co-employment is needed Nothing specific to co-employment is needed

Speak to an experienced PEO agent to learn more.

Why Insurance Industry Should Embrace, Not Fear, Artificial Intelligence

When discussing the use of artificial intelligence in insurance, there is often a glaze that develops in the eyes of many an underwriter.  Is it lacking the understanding of what it is? or fear of losing ones role to a computer?  

These types of statements make many wince as this is a large amount of payroll that could be removed or better allocated:

“…We’ve been hearing some scary stuff about AI. For instance, that it is on track to kill some 2.5 million financial jobs by around 2033. Should our insurance professional readers and listeners be worried about this?”

What this article misses the point on is predictability and accuracy as a result of AI versus the replacement of humans for computers.  The machines may be dead on in their predictions, but someone still needs to cull the data, interpret the data and most importantly give advice based on the data.  

Too much in insurance is done based on the subjective – instinct and intuition.  The true pros know there is an art and science to underwriting… and AI makes the science that much better to allow the underwriter more time in evaluating the art — 

Why Insurance Industry Should Embrace, Not Fear, Artificial Intelligence

By Don Jergler | May 22, 2018

Artificial intelligence isn’t the cold, job killing disruptor many fear it to be – at least it won’t be for many years to come, says Jeff Somers, president of Insureon.

Insureon, a bit of a disruptor itself, is a national online platform for small business commercial insurance.

According a recent report from U.K.-based Autonomous Research LLP, 2.5 million financial services employees in the U.S. are exposed to AI technologies.

And AI will be hard to resist for organizations looking to cut costs. AI represents a potential cost savings of $1 trillion to U.S. companies across banking, investment management and insurance, according to the report.

Somers, however, believes reports of the demise of insurance agents and brokers are premature, and that AI machine learning can actually benefit agents by augmenting what they are doing and making them more efficient and effective so they can spend more quality time on the most important tasks.

Jeff Somers, president of Insureon

Somers talked to Insurance Journal to offer his thoughts on AI. This has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Insurance Journal: We’ve been hearing some scary stuff about AI. For instance, that it is on track to kill some 2.5 million financial jobs by around 2033. Should our insurance professional readers and listeners be worried about this?

Somers: When I think about artificial intelligence and machine learning, I think about it in three waves, where the first wave is really about automating simple tasks. The second wave is effectively what I think of as an AI assistant wave. The third wave is the AI and machine learning technology taking the place of an expert. The expert wave.

I think the good news for insurance professionals is that most of what they do today is in that third wave. Which is not to say AI and machine learning won’t have an impact on their jobs and how it might help and provide experiences and service to customers, it’s just that this idea that they’re going to be replaced anytime soon by a platform like that is, I believe, probably a little misguided at this stage.

IJ: Isn’t it inevitable that we will all be having less and less contact with real humans in the future?

Somers: I think what’ll happen is that you’ll find that you’ll be in a situation where, as a customer, probably what matters most is getting to the information and answer you want quickly. In the past, the best way to do that certainly has been through talking to a person. As systems and platforms develop more data, get more intelligent about what customers are asking about, and then use technologies like AI and machine learning to guide customers to the right answer, I think that customers will become more and more accustomed and comfortable with dealing with a non-human, so long as they can have a great experience in getting to the answer they need.

IJ: How do you think AI will benefit the industry?

Somers: I think, to start with, you’ll find that AI and machine learning can automate some of these simple service tasks that might consume a typical agent or broker’s time today.

So, when you think about why a customer may call in, whether it’s for a certificate, whether it’s because they have a billing question, whether it’s because they want to provide some new information about their business for example, these are all theoretically conversations that could take place with a chat bot, for example, that could provide that customer with an experience that would allow them to either again get at that answer they’re looking for quickly, or provide information quickly that would then help the agent really focus on what they do best. Which is the expertise around understanding the markets, the services, the products, the carriers, and bringing the right solution back to the customer based on the information the customers provided to them.

IJ: Do you think AI will ever be smart enough to replace an agent, or a claims adjuster, or an underwriter or a president?

Somers: Forever is a pretty long time. So, the answer is unquestionably, “Yes,” it’s just a question of how long it takes before that actually happens. I think, again, as with most industries, what we’ll find is that the technology will allow us to step away from the tasks that are less value-added than other tasks that we might be able to provide on behalf of our customers.

So, if there’s a lot of time being spent by an agent, by a broker, by a president today on certain tasks that can be automated, that frees up that person to spend more time on the tasks that can’t be automated and those that are probably more complex and require that human touch, and frankly, that human brain to go get done today.

IJ: Anything else you’d add?

Somers: I think it’s an exciting time for sure. It’s not unusual when you see a new wave of innovation like this coming along to have that sense of concern or worry about what it might mean and what change might come with it.

Generally speaking, again, as a civilized world, we’ve been able to embrace these kinds of innovation changes and allow them to accelerate our growth and development. If that’s something we can do here, this is an incredibly powerful technology to harness and to help us evolve essentially.

But it does require some thought and it requires us to step into it with the understanding that we are going to have to live with some disruption, some change to some of the things we may have grown used to today. Ideally, when we come out the other side, it’s a better, safer, more interesting world that we live in as a result.

Where Will the Wind Blow this Year? …Ask Europe

As the owner of a coastal home, the start of hurricane season always gets my attention along with the predictive models that come with it.  As an early storm spins in the gulf, the threat of windstorms once against is on the forefront.

As a data geek, of huge interest is the data pools collected, weights they are given, intervals of understanding them and algorithms produced and interpretations made as a result.

Out of the shoot some fun facts from our friends at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (full article at end of blog):

  • “A total of 10 to 16 named storms, tropical-strength or stronger, will likely cross the basin…one to four may become major hurricanes with winds of 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour or more”
  • “Along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts there are more than 6.6 million homes with an estimated reconstruction cost of $1.5 trillion”

Unfortunately the past has not fared well for NOAA’s US predictive model (GFS) versus that executed by the European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF)  An article from last year that highlights the weaknesses of the US  v European model…  is accessible from the below link with highlights below.


  •  “The issue gained prominence after Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey in October 2012, which the European model hinted at at least a week in advance. The GFS model, however, didn’t catch on to the storm’s unusual track until about 5 days in advance”
  • Critics of the GFS say it needs to be improved with greater computer processing power. In addition, they say, the model needs to process weather information in more advanced ways, with greater resolution in both the horizontal and vertical scale, since the weather on the surface depends heavily on what is going on in the mid-to-upper atmosphere.
  • “Michael Farrar, who heads the Environmental Modeling Center (EMC), which is the lead office within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that develops and operates computer models, said “it’s no secret” that the GFS has been behind the competition. “While it’s continued to improve remarkably over time… it’s consistently behind the European model,” Farrar said in an interview. “

Because you have a predictive model means you have some basis to understand the future, but not necessarily the best.  The breadth of data ingested along with the timeliness in which it is done along with the proper weightings within are paramount to properly forecasting outcomes.

“Forecast skill score comparisons, maintained by Brian Tang at the University of Albany, show that the European model was far superior to the GFS model during the long trek that Hurricane Irma took from off the coast of Africa, through the northern Leeward Islands, the Caribbean, Bahamas, Cuba, and then into the mainland U.S.”

“Here’s how to read this chart: The GFS model is represented by the acronym, AVNO, while the ECMWF is the European model. All the others are models from other countries and groups, such as the CMC, or Canadian model, and the UKM, from the UK Met Office. Also, the acronym, “OFCL,” represents the official Hurricane Center human forecast.”
To be succinct, this shows we were half as predictive with GFS versus ECMWF.

Annotated version of model verification scores for weather models' forecasts for Hurricane Irma.

“For now, forecasters are stuck with a temperamental model that can fail to catch on to upcoming threats until days after the European model has sounded the alarm.”

As the most innovative country on the technology front, ever… we need to step up our game in predictive analytics on the weather front – volume, velocity and variety – in order to be the world’s front line in understanding the course of “Acts of God”.  For now, the better answers appear to be across the Atlantic.

What NOAA Forecasts for 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season

By Brian K. Sullivan | May 25, 2018

On the heels of the costliest hurricane year on record, the Atlantic is expected to produce five to nine of the mighty storms during the six-month season that starts June 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

A total of 10 to 16 named storms, tropical-strength or stronger, will likely cross the basin, threatening people, real estate, crops and energy resources in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, according to the agency’s annual forecast Thursday. Of those, one to four may become major hurricanes with winds of 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour or more

“Regardless of the seasonal prediction, Atlantic and Gulf coast residents need to prepare every year,” Gerry Bell, a forecaster with the Climate Prediction Center, said during a conference call. “There are over 80 million people between Atlantic coast and Gulf coast that can be affected by a hurricane.”

Hurricane season is closely watched by markets because about 5 percent of U.S. natural gas and 17 percent of crude comes out of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Energy Information Administration. In addition, the hurricane-vulnerable coastline also accounts for 45 percent of U.S. refining capacity and 51 percent of gas processing.

Florida is the world’s second-largest producer of orange juice. Along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts there are more than 6.6 million homes with an estimated reconstruction cost of $1.5 trillion, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York.

Costliest Year

Last year the U.S. was hit by three major hurricanes — Harvey, Irma and Maria — that helped drive total losses to more than $215 billion, according to Munich Re. It was the most costly season on record, surpassing 2005 which produced Katrina. Overall 17 named storms formed in 2017, which fell in line with NOAA’s prediction of 11 to 17.

The forecast is influenced by conditions across the equatorial Pacific. Earlier this year La Nina collapsed and the ocean returned to its neutral state with the possibility of an El Nino forming later this year. El Nino, when the Pacific warms and the atmosphere reacts, ,,increases wind shear across the Atlantic that can tear apart hurricanes and tropical storms, reducing the overall numbers.

Conditions in the Atlantic will also play a role. Hurricanes need warm water to fuel growth and the basin is currently running colder than normal. Forecasters are currently watching a system in the Gulf of Mexico that may become a tropical depression by Saturday.

An average to above-average season means there is a greater chance the U.S. coastline and Caribbean islands are at risk, said Bell.

“When you have a more active season you have more storms forming in the tropical Atlantic and those storms track further westward,” Bell said. “Certain areas have been compromised from last year’s storms that makes hurricane preparedness ever more important this year.”

FBI Issues Malware Warning Aimed at Internet Routers

If you haven’t got anything better to do this Memorial Day weekend, consider spending time with your home Internet router. Actually, your government needs you to, to help fend off a major international cyberattack.

According to a blog post from Cisco’s cyberintelligence unit Talos, known devices impacted by the “VPNFilter” malware include manufacturers Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear and TP-Link.

Talos said the malware can allow hackers to steal website credentials as well as render a router unusable, cutting off access to the Internet.

Then on Wednesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned consumers to reboot their Internet routers and install new software patches, to fight this nasty new malware attack called VPNFilter that has so far infected about half a million devices in more than 50 countries, including the United States. VPNFilter can be used to steal data, or to order routers to “self-destruct,” knocking thousands of Internet-connected devices offline.

That’s a big ask on the part of the government. While routers are as commonplace as PCs, hardly anybody knows how they work, or how to update their software. Most of us don’t even protect them with passwords, much less know how to log onto a router to download and install software updates. I can’t remember the last time I did, and I enjoy that kind of thing.

There’s no shortcut here: Look up your router’s brand, model and serial numbers, figure out its default password, log onto its internal control software, and download a patch from the company’s website. Easy enough, right?




Ohio’s Monopolistic State Fund approves $1.5 Billion Rebate

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s board of directors approved a $1.5 billion rebate on Thursday.

The bureau will mail checks to roughly 180,000 Ohio employers this summer, according to a statement.

It attributed the ability to provide the rebate to “healthy investment income, falling claims and prudent fiscal management.”



This news comes exactly one month after the rebate was proposed.

The rebate equals 85% of the premiums paid for the policy year that ended June 30, 2017, or calendar year 2016 for public employers. It would follow $1 billion rebates issued in 2013, 2014 and 2017, and a $15 million rebate in 2016 for counties, cities and other public employers, according to the release.

Of the $1.5 billion, an estimated $48 million would go to schools and $111 million would go to local government entities. That’s on top of $402 million in rebates those public taxing districts have received since 2013 — $125 million for schools, $277 million for others — according to the release.

When in every other financial vertical machine learning and artificial intelligence are not just buzz words but practical applications, the fact this is the case in insurance can be seen as primal… or a wonderful opportunity for the first adopters.

“Approximately 83 percent of respondents said that there is moderate or very limited understanding of advanced analytics models outside of their modeling teams.”

Insurers See Some Obstacles to Expanding Use of Advanced Analytics

May 9, 2018

Property/casualty insurers in the U.S. have big plans to boost their use of advanced analytics and data in their businesses in multiple ways, but there are potential roadblocks, according to a new Willis Towers Watson survey.

Approximately 83 percent of respondents said that there is moderate or very limited understanding of advanced analytics models outside of their modeling teams.

Companies also said they see challenges ahead including infrastructure, data warehouse limitations, data accessibility, difficult integration, lack of coordination and information technology/services bottlenecks.

“Insurers still have work to do to improve the levels of understanding around advanced analytics outputs for those who use them within their business,” Ben Williams, senior consultant, Insurance Consulting and Technology for Willis Towers Watson, said.

Williams added that “the benefits of advanced analytics are hard to attain if companies can’t access and use data at the right time, in the right place and deploy it to the right people, including the end customer, in a comprehensible way.”

Even so, the Willis Towers Watson survey found that U.S. property/casualty insurers have three main priorities with data and advanced analytics:

Customer Experience. Insurers said they’re trying to boost the customer experience, with 67 percent pledging to use data to create faster service, 65 percent promising to use it for easier information access, 61 saying they’ll weld it for more personalized experiences and 53 percent responding they’d use it to help create mobile-friendly applications. The use of data will else help 76 percent of respondents develop more customer-centric experiences, with customer interactions/surveys a focus of 69 percent who will use data to shape processes. About 57 percent plan to focus on data in terms of auto telematics.

Claims. Approximately 74 percent of respondents said they’d harness the technology to evaluate claims for litigation potential over the next two years, compared to 15 percent now. About 82 percent said they’d boost their use of advanced analytics through the same time period for evaluation of claims-related fraud potential, versus 26 percent now. Claims triage is also a priority, with 80 percent promising to use the technology within two years, compared to 26 percent now.

Telematics. Most respondents said they expect telematics to grow beyond auto. About 65 percent said they expect to use it and related technologies connected to the Internet of Things to personalize risk assessment for homeowners insurance (versus 0 percent today). Approximately 38 percent will use the tech combo for commercial property, versus none currently. Around 90 percent said that telematics will impact their pricing over the next two years, while 80 percent said it would influence underwriting.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of personal lines insurers expect to use UBI within two years, with 61 percent pointing to greater use of unstructured internal claim information over that period. Approximately 52 percent disclosed they’d incorporate smart home/smart building data, unstructured internal underwriting information and social media. For commercial insurers, 92 percent said they’d use more unstructured internal claim information and 54 percent would rely on other unstructured customer information.

Insurers also plan to use more artificial intelligence and machine learning to help identify high-risk cases and build risk models that lead to better decision making, Willis Towers Watson said.

Willis Towers Watson said 51 P/C insurers participated in their web-based survey, which was fielded in the 2017 fourth quarter. Broken down, that included 33 multiline carriers, 14 commercial lines carriers and four personal lines carriers.

Source: Willis Towers Watson

Greetings from the NCCI Annual Issues Symposium (AIS)

The National Council this morning gave its annual update on the state of the workers’ compensation line.  As always, Chief Actuary Kathy Antonello did an awesome job of updating the most senior workers’ comp professionals across the globe on all of the relevant economic performance indicators that help us to understand this line of insurance.

The full report can be found off the NCCI website…


…as well as other conference highlights.  Some key points to me from the report:

  • The expected combined ratio for this year is the lowest in almost half a century at an 89.  This is 5 points lower then last year’s 94.  This indicates an operating margin of 11 points on average.
  • The investment income gain went from 10.4% to 12% this year, effectively providing an overall return to workers’ compensation insurers of 23%
  • The overall market volume dropped from $45.6b to $45b in premiums, mostly due to rate drops countrywide.
  • The top five class codes (hardest to place) in the residual market are:
    • Carpentry 5645
    • Roofing 5551
    • Local Trucking 7228
    • Painting 5474
    • Long Haul Trucking 7229

I’d expect a lot of capital support for the line due to these results.

Always a great event and wonderful to catch up with so many friends –