The 2021 PACE Conference is Right Around the Corner!

Who’s excited about an in person conference? We are!

PACE is next week (May 2 – 5) in beautiful Asheville, NC at the Omni Grove Park Inn. Below is additional information. Hope to see you there!

Your Clients Need You Now, More Than Ever!

Recover, Regroup, and Rebuild – Together

This is the most important conference we have ever had. It is a must-attend experience for success.

Tomorrow belongs to the bold, agile, and digital. Luckily, that’s us. It has to be. Now, more than ever, we need each other – and we need technology, not only to survive, but to bounce back — no, FORWARD! — full force and really thrive.

We can rebound so much faster if we combine our genius. Friends before competitors, right? We’re all going through an unprecedented, difficult time. The world’s business landscape has changed in ways that we never imagined. We’re in the trenches and we need each other to get back to high ground. For almost 40 years, we’ve been on the cutting edge of innovation, making history. We can’t stop now.

We need concrete, actionable strategies to reboot and triumph – and that’s what the 2021 PACE Annual Conference is all about.

Sales, marketing and technology: we need to excel in all three in order to charge ahead. Our speakers are experts at digital success. The sessions are practical and aimed at capitalizing on newfound opportunity caused by the pandemic, and protecting your company from future uncertainty. Be sure to bring your senior sales and marketing managers to keep them on the digital forefront.

Come to where senior PEO leaders freely share their insights on what’s working and what’s not, in a fun and spirited environment, where transparency, honesty, and friendship come standard.

We’re going to succeed – together.

For more information, click here

Sunz Holdings Advocates for Employee Rights and Business Protection

Great article from our friends at Sunz regarding their efforts to protect small businesses and worksite employees. Bravo!

Bradenton, FL, April 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SUNZ Holdings has long served as the bridge connecting employees, businesses, and lawmakers. As a national insurance provider, the company is in the unique position of being able to effectively translate the needs of businesses while also highlighting the potential voids in employee protection. This ability to see all sides and understand how various lawmakers across the country draft legislation has become an important part of protecting employees under the Professional Employer Organization (PEO) model.

Providing perspective is essential to the ongoing relationship between government entities and the business community. Naturally, the two want to work together to form a symbiotic relationship, which ultimately leads to a stable workforce and robust economy. However, sometimes it can be difficult for the two sides to communicate effectively, often leaving workers in the crossfire. The role of SUNZ is to create an ongoing conversation that values the views of both parties and seeks to achieve a shared understanding. Through advocacy, education, and transparency, SUNZ creates that conversation in state capitals and board rooms across the country.

To foster an open dialogue with lawmakers, SUNZ will meet one-on-one or in small committee groups with representatives. These meetings serve as working thought leader sessions where representatives can dive into important constituent issues specific to employment and workers’ compensation. Intimately understanding these issues, SUNZ provides lawmakers with a clear picture of how each decision will ultimately affect workers and businesses.

Take, for example, HB 1305 introduced in the Florida House of Representatives in March of 2021. On its own, the bill does little to protect employees or ensure they are provided safe working conditions. That is a significant problem considering that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 million nonfatal injuries occurred in the private sector in 2019 alone (2020 statistics are not available). One step further, according to the BLS, one worker died every 99 minutes in that same year. With such high numbers of workplace injuries, it is no surprise that American companies spend roughly $1 billion in workers’ compensation per week.

Putting increased burden on PEO organizations, the bill was missing a crucial point of view. Working closely with lawmakers, the SUNZ team illustrated how “The Gap” left vulnerable employees uninsured. Since the early days of workmen’s compensation, “The Gap” has allowed contractors to underreport their employee roster to cut costs. By underreporting, contractors alleviate themselves of the responsibility and expense of insurance while employees are left in coverage limbo.

In the above case of HB 1305, SUNZ serves a crucial role as voice and translator. Through its working relationship with legislators, SUNZ has carefully illustrated the reality of “The Gap.” If passed, this legislation would make it virtually impossible for PEOs to work with small construction companies, but it would not put a stop to the real problem, which is fraud. As a third party, the SUNZ team can provide a bird’s eye view of the situation and effectively advocate for the employees who suffer when fraud occurs.

HB 1305 is only one of many national legislative priorities that the SUNZ team monitors on a daily basis. Clients of the organization come to SUNZ looking to streamline their employee insurance coverage while also providing the highest level of protection for their workforce. This need takes many different forms depending on the industry and is heavily influenced by state and federal legislation.

Legislation can have profound and extended consequences for companies and their employees. While lawmakers often have the best intentions, it is vital that advocates provide a picture of how a decision will affect those downstream of it. SUNZ has and will continue to serve as that advocate, giving voice to the concerns of its clients and everyday employees nationwide. This mission is not about deal-making or lobbying; it is about providing companies and workers with the confidence that they and their families are protected in a risky world.

SUNZ Holdings, LLC is the parent company of SUNZ Insurance, a national workers’ compensation insurance company headquartered in Bradenton, Florida. SUNZ Insurance develops unique workers’ compensation programs that deliver innovative and tailored solutions to protect businesses and their employees. SUNZ understands its clients’ needs for fluidity, offering workers’ compensation insurance options that do not begin and end with the printed policy. SUNZ believes that a safe work environment and a healthy workforce are the foundation for a successful business. There are several affiliate companies within the SUNZ Holdings enterprise that provide related and ancillary services to the workers’ compensation insurance industry. These companies include Next Level Administrators, WatchPoint, Avalon Subrogation Partners, and Ascential Care Partners. For more information, visit www.sunzinsurance.com.

CONTACT: Rick Leonard SUNZ Insurance 9413063077 rleonard@sunzinsurance.com Matt Solomon HCP Associates 8133180565 msolomon@hcpassociates.com

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/sunz-holdings-advocates-employee-rights-184100488.html

Florida PEO Legislative and Legal Update: April 21st at 2p est.

SAVE THE DATE: Given all of the recent legislative activity in Florida, you will not want to miss the upcoming FAPEO PEO Legislative and Legal Update on 4/21/21 at 2p est. See details and login information below.

On April 21st there will be ten days left of Florida’s legislative session and there remain a lot of unanswered questions. One bill provides SUTA rate relief for all Florida job creators hit with rate increases from social costs from the pandemic. Another bill would shift liability for workers’ compensation fraud from construction contractors to PEOs. You’ll discover which bills have stopped moving forward as well as which ones are likely to become law.  And, what this means for your PEO. 

No registration necessary.  Just show-up on April 21st at 2:00 pm Eastern by clicking: HERE

If you don’t have an electronic device with an internet connection you may access via phone: 

Phone: (929) 205-6099

Meeting ID: 829 5013 3757

Passcode: 738647

Florida PEO Legislative & Legal Update

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern/1:00 pm – 3:00 PM Central

Florida PEO Legislative Briefing

  • David Daniel, Florida PEO Governmental Affairs, Smith, Bryan & Myers 

Legal Issues Impacting Your PEO

  • Michael Miller, FAPEO General Counsel, Fisher & Phillips LLP

Deputy General Counsel Report

  • Torben Madson, FAPEO Deputy General Counsel, The PEO Law Firm

National PEO Legislative & Legal Issues Briefing

  • Nick Kapiotis, General Counsel
  • Michael Kreiter, Senior Director of State Government Affairs, National Association of Professional Employer Organizations

Latest from FAPEO regarding HB 1305

HB 1305 – Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Employee Leasing Companies has been assigned to the House Commerce Committee.  At 4:30 pm this Friday we will find out if the bill will be considered at the House Commerce Committee next Tuesday.  

The time for outreach to members of the committee is NOW.   

Here’s text of the bill so you can see how damaging that language could be to the PEO Industry. 

Like the bill before, the amended bill shifts liability from construction contractors to PEOs for workers compensation fraud.  

Will you support our efforts to kill this bad bill by sending  an email to members of the House Commerce Committee? If this bill moves forward, these are the individuals who will consider this bad proposal.  It’s important to start our outreach now.  

If you know any of these Representatives personally, please let me know.  

Here are some talking points to select from and adapt for this communication:  

·        An employee leasing company covers 100 percent of their employees with workers compensation coverage.

·        What bill proponents call a “gap in coverage” is simply workers compensation fraud in construction (paying under the table) and has been persistent in Florida in the traditional business model as well with subcontractors utilizing an employee leasing company arrangement.

·        Rather than work to address the underlying problem of workers comp fraud, the bill only shifts liability from general contractors to employee leasing companies for workers comp fraud.

·        This bill would only increase workers compensation fraud in construction in Florida.

·        It financially encourages general contractors to turn a blind eye to both the price of a subcontractors work and checking workers for employees of subcontractors who are on their jobsite forwithout  required workers compensation coverage. 

Here are the individuals to contact: 

Representative Webster Barnaby (Orange City)  Webster.Barnaby@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Dan Daley (Sunrise) Dan.Daley@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Brad Drake (DeFuniak Springs) rad.drake@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Joe Geller (Dania Beach) joseph.geller@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Chris Latvala (Clearwater) Chris.Latvala@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Randy Maggard (Zephyrhills) randy.maggard@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Lawrence McClure (Plant City) Lawrence.McClure@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Angela ‘Angie’ Nixon (Jacksonville) Angie.Nixon@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Anika Tene Omphroy (Sunrise) Anika.Omphroy@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Scott Plakon (Longwood) Scott.Plakon@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Rene Plasencia (Titusville) Rene.Plasencia@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Anthony Rodriguez (Miami) Anthony.Rodriguez@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Bob Rommel (Naples) Bob.Rommel@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Jason Shoaf (Blountstown) jason.shoaf@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative David Silvers (West Palm Beach) David.Silvers@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Emily Slosberg (Delray Beach) Emily.Slosberg@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Josie Tomkow (Auburndale) Josie.Tomkow@myfloridahouse.gov

Representative Matt Willhite (Wellington)   Matt.Willhite@myfloridahouse.gov

Thank you for your help. 

To give you a bit of perspective on where this bill is in the Legislative process.  To become law this bill would have to pass House Commerce Committee before reaching the House floor, getting on the agenda and passing the House.  In addition, this bill would need to pass through three committees in the Senate and pass through the Senate floor vote with the exact same language as the House bill.  And, all of this would have to happen by April 30th

We are fighting to kill this bill every step of the way.  Your efforts are a huge help. Thank you!

Happy Women’s History Month from PEO Compass!!

In addition to the United States, Women’s History Month is celebrated in the UK and Australia. Though declared a formal ‘month’ by Congress in 1987, many have been celebrating the vital role of women dating as far back as March of 1911!

To discover more, visit the National Women’s History Museum or the Women’s History Month website sponsored by the Library of Congress.

For NAPEO members, this Thursday is the next Women in NAPEO (WIN) event of which Libertate is a proud sponsor. Teresa Carroll, President of Oasis, a Paychex Company will discuss the habits and behaviors that are holding women back as outlined in the book How Women Rise by Sally Helgeson and Marshall Goldsmith. For registration information, click here.

Finally, as a woman who has been fortunate enough to be surrounded by intelligent hard-working female role models her entire life (my grandmother being one of them – pictured below), I am so proud of this month! Sharlene Singleton, here’s to you!

Start the New Year with a Digital Declutter

Fantastic advice from Fast Company to kick off 2021!

“How do you simplify your digital life?” is quickly becoming the question of our generation. Between packed calendars, overflowing inboxes, and the constant pull of social media and news (and Netflix) it can feel like how you spend your time online isn’t really up to you.

But what if there was a way to use your technology without feeling used by it? The answer is Digital minimalism.

Coined by author and computer science professor Cal Newport in his book of the same name, digital minimalism is a philosophy of technology use based on the understanding that our relationship with our apps, tools, and phones is nuanced and deserves more intention than we give it.

The problem–as Cal sees it– is that email and chat can be both stressful and productive.

Facebook can be both distracting and empowering.

Our phones are equally annoying interruptions and powerful tools for navigating the world.

How you use your apps and tools can bring you value or be a frustrating distraction. And finding a balance between the negative and positive aspects of technology is a delicate balancing act that digital minimalism tries to solve.

THE BASICS OF DIGITAL MINIMALISM

The concept of “minimalism” has become more and more popular over the past few decades.

As many of us find ourselves sucked into a lifestyle of overconsumption and “more,” the idea of living happily with less becomes more alluring.

However, minimalism–in all its forms–isn’t just about reducing how much “stuff” you have but being intentional about why you have what you do and how you can use it in the best way possible.

As Cal explains:

“Minimalists tend to spend much less money and own many fewer things than their peers. They also tend to be much more intentional and often quite radical in shaping their lives around things that matter to them.”

Digital minimalism, in the same way, isn’t just about deleting Facebook or learning a better way to clear out your inbox. It’s about intentionally shaping your digital life around your values so you can feel good about the apps and tools you use on a daily basis.

However, this is harder than it sounds.

The problem isn’t just the sheer usage of technology. It’s in how digital technologies lump together the good with the bad like some omnibus bill.

Few of us are willing to give up the good technology does (getting around via Google Maps, seeing family photos on Instagram, etc . . .) in return for reducing the harm. Yet constantly policing your apps and your own behaviors can only lead to one thing: exhaustion.

According to our own research, we found that on average, you’re likely to:

  • Check email and chat every six minutes or less
  • Use 56+ apps and tools a day and switch between them more than 300 times
  • Spend up to 4.5 hours on your phone
  • Multitask for at least 40% of our day

It’s hard to imagine a worse situation for deep thinking, focus, and even mental health.

The more we accept a life full of attention-sucking apps, devices, and tools, the less time and energy we have for the kind of deep thinking that leads to big ideas, real creativity, and satisfaction.

Instead, digital minimalism presents a different view of technology–one where you focus your time on “a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.”

On the surface, the core elements of digital minimalism are simple:

First, there’s choice and intention. You’re still using technology, but only what you want and only in ways that connect to your values.

Then, there’s optimizing the tools you use. What you allow into your life needs to work for you. This means separating the good from the bad.

Finally, there’s accepting you won’t be everywhere all the time. Tech companies survive on FOMO–the fear of missing out. But digital minimalists are happy to miss out on the things they know don’t bring value to their lives.

However, this can be a strange process if you’ve never really thought about how you use technology. But as you’ll see, the results are worth it: less stress, more focus, and a better, more fulfilling life.

THE DIGITAL DECLUTTER: A 30-DAY PLAN FOR BUILDING A PRACTICE OF DIGITAL MINIMALISM

Developing a digital minimalist mindset isn’t easy. However, in his book, Cal provides a powerful tool in a 30-day plan to kickstart your minimalist lifestyle.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Define your core values (and how technology helps and hurts them)

Digital minimalism relies on a deeper understanding of your values. This is what you’ll be judging the value of each digital tool against.

So ask yourself: What is it that’s important to you? What do you want to achieve from how you spend your time?

Values can be things like authenticity or creativity or even compassion and friendship. These are intentionally large and somewhat vague. However, they’re powerful lenses to look at your technology through.

What part of using Facebook connects with your sense of authenticity? Does being on Twitter or in numerous Slack channels make you feel compassionate?

When you clearly understand your values and how they influence your philosophy of technology use, you can make informed and confident decisions about what to use and when. You become able to prioritize long-term meaning over short-term satisfaction.

(If you need help, author James Clear has a great list of core values you can use as inspiration.)

Step 2: Drop all “optional” technologies for 30 days

Instead of immediately trying to judge whether the tools you use connect to your values, Cal suggests the opposite:

Set aside a 30-day period during which you will take a break from all optional technologies in your life.

“Optional,” in this case, means any tool or app where their “temporary removal would harm or significantly disrupt the daily operation of your profession or personal life.”

Make a list of apps, tools, and services (like Netflix, gaming, etc . . .) that are effectively ‘banned’ for the next 30 days. Work email is not optional. Twitter—most likely—is. Write these down and put them somewhere you’ll be able to see them every day.

The reason for such a drastic change is because the pull of the attention economy has simply become too strong. Trying to gradually change your habits won’t work. Instead, you need the experience of a full break before you can make unbiased decisions about what to let back into your life.

Step 3: Track your “technology triggers” and explore other activities

During the 30 days of your “declutter” you have two goals:

Pay special attention to when you feel the pull of technology. When do you find yourself reaching for your phone? Do you procrastinate on work tasks or sending emails by checking Twitter? Often our technology usage masks some other underlying issue.

Explore “higher quality” activities to fill the void of time. A major part of this declutter is actively trying out other activities in place of technology. Fill the space by reading books or going for walks with friends or working on a hobby you’ve neglected or just daydreaming.

As Cal explains, by the end of the declutter you want to discover “the type of activities that generate real satisfaction, enabling you to confidently craft a better life–one in which technology serves only a supporting role for more meaningful ends.”

Step 4: Create “operating procedures” for the tools you let back in

After your break is done, you’re allowed to reintroduce optional technologies back into your life under two conditions.

First, for each tool, app, or device, ask:

“Does this technology directly support something that I deeply value?”

It doesn’t matter if the tool or app provides some value. It must be intrinsically linked to one of your core values.

For example, you might decide that reading hot takes on Twitter is just a distraction, while chatting with old friends from your hometown over Instagram deeply connects to your value of friendship.

This brings us to the second point. Once an app or tool has made it through the first pass, ask:

“Is this technology set up in the best way to support this value?”

To pass this test, Cal suggests creating operating procedures–clear rules for when and how you use each of the optional technologies you let back in.

For example, you wouldn’t just say “I use Instagram because it helps me feel connected to my friends.” Instead, you would make a more detailed rule such as:

“I check Instagram once a day after working days and limit my usage to just 20 minutes. I’ve reduced my list of friends down to just the most meaningful ones I want to keep up with.”

Every new tool you bring in must also pass these tests.

Step 5: Actively ignore the rest

With your list of allowed tools and apps, clear operating procedures, and high-quality activities to fill your time, you shouldn’t be too stressed about keeping up with Facebook or checking the news every 30 minutes.

But being a digital minimalist is an ongoing process.

As Cal explains:

“The fact that [a piece of technology] offers some value is irrelevant–the digital minimalist deploys technology to serve the things they find most important in their life, and is happy missing out on everything else.”

5 BEST PRACTICES FOR MAINTAINING A DIGITAL MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE FOR THE LONG-TERM

As we’ve written in the past, the hardest part of any productivity strategy is sticking with it for the long-term. The same goes for maintaining your new practice of digital minimalism.

The key to staying away from attention-sucking technologies is to fill that time with other, more meaningful activities. Yet this isn’t always easy if you’ve spent years scrolling, tapping, and swiping away.

To help you rebuild your curiosity in non-technologically driven pastimes, Cal outlines a number of ways to support your newfound digital autonomy:

  1. Spend time alone. Solitude—both physical and mental—is important for thinking clearly. Rather than feeling the FOMO of social media, try leaving your phone at home while you go for a walk.
  2. Don’t click like. Social media and digital communication have become digital versions of fast food–easy to consume yet with little nutritional value. To combat this, Cal suggests you specifically limit the performative aspect of these tools. Yes, you can stay in touch and connect with loved ones. But don’t click ‘like’ or allow yourself to be always available.
  3. Reclaim leisure. One of the reasons we lean so heavily on digital technologies is that we’ve lost our hobbies. It’s easier to scroll through your phone than read a book. Try reclaiming leisure time for analog tasks you enjoy.
  4. Join the Attention Resistance. You don’t have to use all the features on your phone or be constantly connected to social media. As Cal writes, digital minimalists give themselves less ‘entry points’ to distraction. Try deleting social media off your phone. Or treat it like a professional task—something you do as needed and not more.
  5. Imagine you have to pay for every click, swipe, or tap. If you can’t give your time and attention the value it deserves, then give it a monetary value. Ask how your behavior would change if every swipe on Instagram, click of a clickbait-y infographic, or scroll of your Twitter feed costs $1.

Digital minimalism is a way to not only clearly define what technologies you let into your life but how you use them.

Once you understand your true values you can build your technology use around them. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, you become more intentional, empowered, and productive.


Insurance Rates Will Continue to Rise in 2021

See below from Business Insurance. The newest line of insurance to join the ‘rates are increasing’ club is workers’ compensation…..

Property/casualty insurance buyers, who have endured price hikes for more than a year in many cases, will likely see rate increases extending into 2021, with some lines continuing to see double-digit rate hikes, experts say.

The size of the increases could be blunted, however, as the hardening market draws new capital and insurers looking to take advantage of the rising tide.

recent survey by brokerage Alera Group Inc., which included insurers, wholesalers and Alera’s agent and broker affiliates, showed an average forecasted rate increase across all lines of 11.6% next year, with increases ranging from a high of 17.5% for medical malpractice insurance to a low of 4.7% for workers compensation.

The survey was conducted in the third quarter, said Mark Englert, national property and casualty leader at Alera in New York. He said the increases are driven by insurers’ attempts to return lines to profitability.

“When you start to go by line of business, you can see why some lines are more aggressive in the request for rate,” Mr. Englert said.

Workers comp, for example, has been profitable for insurers since 2012, and showed an underwriting profit from 2015 to 2019. By contrast, commercial auto was unprofitable from 2015 to 2019 and generated underwriting losses from 2012 through 2019.

In addition, low interest rates have restricted insurers’ ability to make up for underwriting losses with investment income. “Investment income is challenged, so what you are seeing in the carrier community is a real need to drive strong underwriting results,” Mr. Englert said.

Insurers’ “books were not profitable,” said Renee Dube, vice president, national property and casualty practice, in Valhalla, New York, for USI Insurance Services LLC.

In its recently published outlook for the commercial property/casualty market for the fourth quarter of this year and the first half of 2021, USI forecasts that at one end of the pricing spectrum workers comp could rise up to 5%, while at the other end public company directors and officers insurance liability rates may see increases of up to 100%.

The hard market “will probably last for some time,” said J. Paul Newsome Jr., Chicago-based managing director at investment brokerage Piper Sandler Cos.

Mr. Newsome noted, however, that higher rates and premiums are attracting fresh capital, which could help slow rate increases. “Private equity has been quick to try to build new companies, and this might reduce the length of the hard market,” he said.

“Challenging conditions continue to exist across most coverage lines in the U.S., but especially in the umbrella/excess casualty and directors and officers liability market,” said Christopher Lang, global placement leader, U.S. and Canada, for Marsh LLC in New York, in a statement emailed to Business Insurance. “We expect these conditions to persist into 2021.” 

Next year should see “persistent rate increases and solid core underwriting margin expansion for most commercial, especially specialty, insurance lines and for reinsurance,” according to a Dec. 18 report from Meyer Shields, Baltimore-based managing director at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.

“Heightened property and casualty loss cost inflation, pressured investment yields, and rising reinsurance costs should support enduring rate increases for most commercial lines,” he said in the report.