Florida House Bill 1305 Stalls for Now

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One in Four construction workers in Florida lack workers compensation – a bigger issue is at hand; premium fraud in the construction industry.

When the House Commerce Committee agenda for April 14, 2021 was announced in Florida at 4:30 yesterday the 12’th, thankfully, HB 1305 was not a part of it. While this does not mean that the bill still cannot be taken up by the House Commerce Committee when it meets again Monday April 19’th, every day that passes is one less in the Legislative Session for this bill to get further traction.

We appreciate foremost the grass roots efforts of all PEO industry advocates in making sure that the real issue is addressed; the plight of uninsured worker. Further research by industry insiders has found that there are material amounts of workers in Florida whom are being passed off as 1099 employees (more on that to come) and still others that are being flatly paid under the table in cash. Add a language barrier that often exists with a typical construction worker in Florida and it is the backdrop for at best confusion and often times, unnecessary litigation. This is the dirty little secret trying to be pinned on the PEO industry.

Both FAPEO and NAPEO continue to do a good job in communicating the issues at hand and making sure that we are well represented in Tallahassee and the real issues are being addressed.

The focus of uninsured employees in workers’ compensation must be addressed. The lobbyist of the opposition went on public record that one in four workers on any given job site lack workers’ compensation insurance. Since PEO’s supply only one of seven checks to construction workers in Florida and these are workers that must be submitted as employees, that leaves a lot of claimants may finally be realized is not an offshoot of being in a PEO relationship,

Please continue to reach out to the following lawmakers to enforce that premium fraud is addressed in the State of Florida, not the legislation of it:

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. This is not over and will not be in my mind until we prove the point that this is a premium fraud issue, not a PEO issue. Please reach out and let those that represent us know!

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

Challenges or opportunities for brokers placing cyber risk

Content used to write this post was originally written by NU Property Casualty 360’s Managing Editor, Ms. Heather A. Turner

According to a Guidewire report the numbers for cybercrime in 2020, have almost doubled! In addition to an increase in attacks and breaches are the related budgetary allocations being made by small to mid-sized businesses for cyber insurance over the next 2 years. Ramping up cyber sturdy tools and in an effort to prevent cyber attacks are a necessary play in prevention for the ever evolving cyber market and being fought across the property and casualty landscape.


According to a report published by CyberCube, a data-driven cyber analytics company for the insurance industry, the growing cyber market is creating unique opportunities for brokers to set themselves apart from their competitors. By marrying their existing areas of expertise with their new found and or improved fundamental comprehension of insurable cyber risk and exposure, brokers can show and or remind buyers and prospects alike why they are indispensable.

The following list was created by CyberCube to further explore examples of challenges and opportunities brokers face in the cyber market today.

Click here to read the detail following Opportunities 1-4 written by Heather A. Turner, of NU Property Casualty 360. You must register for free account.

  • Opportunity No. 1: Brokers are trusted advisors
  • Opportunity No. 2: Brokers can add value by mapping exposure to coverages and policy terms.
  • Opportunity No. 3: Getting a “yes” from insurers.
  • Opportunity No.4: Standalone cyber is just one aspect of a well rounded insurance program.

Finding Subs Who Really Work

The recent activities surrounding the Florida House Bill 1305 has forced a lot of attention and thought regarding subcontractors. We continue to monitor the progression of this bill, however one powerful takeaway from this conversation can already be appreciated: the importance of hiring and working with good subcontractors. But what makes a subcontractor “good”?

A good subcontractor is willing to work within reasonable parameters which should always be set out in a written agreement. A sound Subcontractor Agreement should outline important items such as:

  • The Subcontractor’s responsibilities,
  • Terms and conditions of the work to be undertaken,
  • Safety requirements,
  • Indemnity stipulations,
  • Insurance requirements, and
  • Any additional provisions related specifically to the job.

Here is a sample Subcontractor Agreement which speaks to recommended details for each of the above provisions. 

Any company using Subcontractors should have a Subcontractor Management Plan (SMP) in place and should require all subs to adhere to the stipulations outlined in the plan.  A SMP provides guidance for subcontract management activities, including the following:

  • Prequalification and bidding process
  • Insurance considerations
  • Beginning work
  • Work site’s written safety plan
  • Safety training and recordkeeping policies
  • Safety inspections
  • Work-in-progress and post-project reviews

We have included a downloadable copy of our SMP as an example, which includes a detailed and useful safety inspection checklist, among many other important guidelines.

Well documented and verifiable proof of insurance is of upmost importance when dealing with a sub.  Subcontractors should maintain Commercial General Liability, Auto Liability, Umbrella or Excess Liability and Workers’ Compensation.  Of these coverages, Florida House Bill 1305 specifically focus on Workers’ Compensation.  The subcontractor should secure a workers’ compensation insurance policy. The workers’ compensation policy must cover all of the subcontractor’s work and performance and provide coverage for all employees, executive officers, sole proprietors, and partners and members of a limited liability company, in the amounts required by all applicable laws.  In addition, the subcontractor should secure an employers’ liability insurance policy (part II of the standard workers’ compensation policy). This type of coverage covers the damages that become due in case of bodily injury, occupational sickness or disease or death of subcontractor employees that are not covered by the workers’ compensation policy.

The attached Subcontractor Certificate of Insurance Letter is a great, single page Word document which can be used to concisely outline your insurance requirements to a sub.  The document is in Word and can be amended as needed to suit you or your clients’ needs. Work with a sub should never be initiated until the items requested in this letter are received and verified.

We hope you find these documents helpful!  Work smart and stay safe everyone! 

Interesting Tidbits for Your Week!

Expecting the Unexpected for Your Small Business. Common insurance types for small businesses.

For better or worse is generally a term related to marriage vows, but in business its just as important! Luckily for business owners there are ways to mitigate the risks associated with the “worse.” Pie Insurance recently released an article covering the types of common insurance for small businesses as well as some not so common options like a business owner’s policy (BOP); I thought it was worth sharing.

A Business Owner’s policy can include professional liability insurance (errors and omissions insurance), a commercial umbrella policy, employment practices liability insurance, directors and offices liability insurance and terrorism insurance. You can check out the full article here. The key to insurance is never needing it, but having it in place when you do. It can make the difference in saving your company when the unexpected happens. Contact us at Libertate Insurance, we can help.

1st Qtr 2021 Small Business Data

NAPEO issued small business snapshot data on Q1 of 2021. Check out the full review here.

High points from the data include:

Percentage change of Daily Small Business Revenue from January 2020 to January 2021 showing 50% decrease in revenues at April 1, 2020 with slowing increase about 31% overall increase at January 1, 2021. Small businesses are slowly pulling back.

Job losses in the United States are reported at 9.6 million; with the expected hardest hit industry of Leisure and Hospitality accounting for nearly 40% of all loss reported.

On a state by state analysis the numbers are showing more increase than decrease with the average unemployment rate reporting at 5.6% at the close of February 2021. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Overall jobless rates are down in 23 states as of March and higher in only 4.

US Small Business Administration (SBA) Updates

If your business previously received the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance from the SBA for less than $10,000, the SBA is allowing applicants to re-apply to receive the full amount of the advance up to $10,000.

If your business was also a recipient of the EIDL these loans were previously limited to six months of economic injury up to a maximum of $150,000; the SBA has announced a change that will allow loan limits up to 24 months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000. Be advised and proceed with caution, as the SBA takes security interest in the business assets for loan amounts over $25,000.

The SBA is also sending out emails to the EIDL loan recipients extending the first payment due on the EIDL loans to 2022 for loans issued in 2020. The first payment due date is extended 24 months from the date on the note. They have indicated that 2021 loans will have initial payments due 18 months from the note date. Interest continues to accrue during the deferment period.

Follow these instructions if you wish to request a loan increase:

  • Send email to CovidEIDLIncreaseRequests@sba.gov
  • Use subject line “EIDL Increase Request for [insert your 10-digit application number]”
  • Be sure to include in the body of your email identifying information for your current loan including application number, loan number, business name, business address, business owner name(s), and phone number.

Important: Do not include any financial documents or tax records with your initial request. You will receive a follow up email notification if we need additional documents.

You can check out all of the updates for offerings available from the SBA here.

History of Workers’ Compensation

AND last but not least, for those insurance nerds, another very interesting release from Pie Insurance is a history of workers’ compensation insurance. Covering where the laws stand today, where it started and how it has changed the benefits to workers in the United States. Interesting and educational read, check it out here.

Be sure to check out our continual updates here, on PEO Compass, regarding Florida’s House Bill 1305 and its impact on workers’ compensation and the PEO industry.

Managing COVID-19 Employment Practice-Related Exposure

We found this article, made available by Insurance Journal, most informative. The original content can be accessed by clicking here.

This post is part of a series sponsored by The Hanover Insurance Group.

As the pandemic continues, we’re seeing new COVID-19-related regulations, restrictions and advisories issued and adjusted by federal, state, and local officials on a regular basis. Each jurisdiction can create and enforce its own laws, leaving many employers faced with varying—and at times conflicting—orders and guidance. This creates a decision point for employers. Which should they follow? And, how can that decision impact their business?

From decisions about workplace safety, such as personal protective equipment, visitor policies and vaccine requirements, to handling work-from-home, family, and medical leave requests, there are a lot of business issues to sort through and a great deal of exposure, which could leave them open to the threat of an employment-related lawsuit. As trusted advisers to these businesses, independent agents can help guide their clients through the maze of regulations and guidance, sharing thoughtful risk management practices and key coverages to evaluate.

Growing threat of litigation

More than 2,000 COVID-related employment lawsuits have been filed already, and the number is expected to grow as businesses respond to ever-evolving circumstances. Business leaders can prepare by educating themselves and seeking out resources and guidance to navigate health, safety, and economic issues. Whether it’s subsequent waves, a change of jurisdictional guidance and/or regulations, or the availability of a vaccine, forward -thinking leaders will be well prepared to understand the options and their impact and make informed, proactive decisions.

With the pandemic, employers should be especially mindful of the following types of employment practice claims:

  • Workplace safety: Allegations of failure to provide a safe working environment
  • Discrimination: Allegations of age and disability bias in employment termination
  • Wage and hour: Allegations of failure to pay non-exempt employees for remote work or time spent completing employer-mandated COVID-19-realted health and safety activities, such as daily screenings
  • Retaliation: Allegations of retribution for complaints about workplace safety or use of medical leave

Thoughtful risk management

With questions like ‘can employees be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine?’, ‘how do we manage continued work-from-home requests?’, ‘what accommodations should be made for employees with disabilities?’, and ‘how do we address employees’ workplace safety concerns?’, it can be difficult for businesses to know where to start. Independent agents can play an important role in helping their clients think critically about their risks and take proactive steps. Similarly, top insurance carriers understand this, and have acted to provide employers with guidance and services that can help them minimize the risk of litigation.

For example, The Hanover has negotiated agreements with leading labor and employment practices firms to offer a range of services to Hanover policyholders that can help reduce the risk of employment practice lawsuits related to COVID-19. These value-added services are offered to policyholders no cost, or at a significant discount, such as:

Holistic insurance solution

  • COVID-19 return-to-work guide, including a robust testing and screening guide, sample policy language and detailed guidance on workplace safety, disability accommodations, and more
  • Family First Coronavirus Response Act compliance assistance, including sample policies, template forms, a flowchart for managing requests and attorney consultation
  • COVID-19 online training module for employees on personal hygiene practices and more
  • A COVID-19 customer information center with key information from the CDC, EEOPC, and state-specific resources

Beyond risk management, agents can help their clients by partnering with insurance carriers that offer employment practices liability insurance that can be tailored to the needs of each business.

As businesses wonder if they have adequate insurance protection, agents can help them understand their coverage and identify possible risk areas by considering these three important factors:

  1. Definitions: As agents know, not all definitions are created equal. Carefully assess definitions of wrongful acts to ensure a business’s unique risks are covered.
  2. Who to cover: Ensure coverage applies to the acts of all individuals who work at the organization. For example, does the business use contractors?
  3. Key coverage provisions: These should include punitive damages where insurable, and coverage for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or state equivalent proceedings.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, employers face increasing risks from employment-related lawsuits. Fortunately, agents can play an important role in guiding their business clients to risk management practices and coverages that help best protect their operations, their interests, and their employees.

Disruption in the Marketplace

This post utilized content from Property Casualty 360’s Heather Turner & PRNewswire.

On January 4th, 2021 PRNewswire announced Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY) acquisition of the Staffing Insurance Business offered by Worldwide Specialty Programs, Inc. The transaction closed on December 31, 2020 complimenting PHLY’s broad suite of specialty services. PHLY markets and underwrites commercial property/casualty & professional liability insurance products. PHLY has an “A++” (Superior) rating by AM Best Company.

We anticipated the post-acquisition news being focused on PHLY’s delivery of industry-specific services to the temporary staffing space. Similarly, we are committed to a different industry niche, the Professional Employer Organization (PEO). We remain hopeful that PHLY will continue to support PEO, just as World-Wide has done for many years.

Entering the 2nd Quarter of 2021, uncertainty has become part of our new normal. In a recent article, Property Casualty 360 discussed fluctuation within the marketplace (4th Quarter 2020 – 1st Quarter 2021). Pre-COVID validated the firming of the marketplace. The initial impact increased underwriting scrutiny, rate increases, higher retentions, jurisdictional scrutiny and capacity reduction. As a result of COVID-19 related case uncertainty, higher than normal judgements, and developing CAT losses, there has been a continual hardening of the market. We expect rate increases, lowering capacity, limiting or transferring risk, and insurers scrutinization of risk profiles.

In conclusion, industry and marketplace changes or shifts have always been and will continue to be.  As the industry constricts, options, terms and conditions tend to constrict with it.  Your upcoming casualty lines renewal may look different, and we highly recommend staying out in front of it.

With that being said, contact Libertate Insurance Services for all your PEO-related insurance needs by emailing us here.