PPP Loan Forgiveness Update

On October 1st, FUBA (Florida United Business Association) issued a status update on PPP loan forgiveness. Check out their article below for helpful links and information.

As a reminder, the forgiveness application process is handled through your lender. The necessary forms for loan forgiveness are included in this article, however your lender may have a separate set of forms (hopefully electronic and online) for application filing. Use the forms provided below to prepare your business for what is needed when filing.

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PPP Loan Forgiveness Update – Still No Automatic Forgiveness

For the past few months, a bill has been pending in Congress that would automatically forgive PPP loans under $150,000. If this law is approved, small businesses who received a PPP loan of less than $150,000 can have their loan automatically forgiven without having to file a forgiveness application with their bank.

As of today, Congress still has not approved automatic forgiveness of PPP loans for small businesses.

Because the loan forgiveness application is lengthy, many small businesses are waiting to file their application in the hopes that Congress will approve automatic forgiveness. As of now, there is still plenty of time for you to wait and see if Congress acts.

The current deadline to apply for PPP forgiveness is 10 months after the end of your loan’s “covered period.” The covered period for your loan started the day you received the PPP loan and either lasts 8 weeks or 24 weeks, depending on the date you received your loan.

If you received your PPP loan before June 5, 2020, your loan’s covered period is either 8 weeks or 24 weeks, whichever you choose. If you received your PPP loan after June 5, 2020, your loan’s covered period is 24 weeks after the date you received your loan.

Your 10-month period to apply your loan forgiveness application starts after your loan’s covered period ends. For example, if you received your PPP loan on May 1st, you could choose either 8 weeks or 24 weeks to spend your loan. If you chose an 8-week covered period, you must have spent your entire PPP loan by June 26th and you have 10 months after that to apply for forgiveness. If you choose the 24-week covered period, you have until October 16th to spend your PPP loan, and then you have 10 months from that date to apply for forgiveness.

If you do not apply for forgiveness within 10 months of the end of your loan’s covered period, your PPP loan will become an actual loan that you will have to pay back with a 1% interest rate for a term of 2 years (if your loan was approved prior to June 5, 2020) or 5 years (if your loan was approved after June 5, 2020).

To apply for loan forgiveness, you will need to file the Small Business Administration’s application (Form 3508) with the bank that issued the loan to you. If your business did not reduce the number of its employees or their wages, you can use the more streamlined Form 3508EZ. Both forgiveness applications as well as their instructions are available from our Coronavirus Resources for small businesses. FUBA members with questions about PPP loan forgiveness can ask our experts by calling us at 800-262-4483.

Lifting Travel Restrictions

As the country slowly starts to reopen and travel restrictions begin to be lifted, it reminds me of how hard the travel industry has been impacted by COVID-19. Finding workers compensation coverage for this industry can be difficult due to the exposures associated with these risks. Libertate Insurance Services works closely with Beacon Aviation in placing coverage for this industry.  Beacon Aviation Insurance Services knows the ins-and-outs and provides workers compensation coverage for general aviation businesses.

Beacon’s Program offers the following:

Payment Options

  • Pay As You Owe
  • Carrier Direct Bill
  • Carrier Direct Debit
  • Credit Card

Endorsement Options

  • Foreign Voluntary Compensation
  • Voluntary Compensation
  • Waiver of Subrogation
  • Defense Base Act (DBA) Coverage
  • Employer Liability Coverage “Stop GAP”

If you need help placing your workers compensation with your travel or aviation risk, contact Jenny Bush, at jbush@libertateins.com. Click the link below for more details on Beacon’s Program.

Beacon Aviation Program Appetite

 

Report: COVID-19 Accounts for 1-in-9 California Workers’ Comp Claims in 2020

Wow — We are seeing a depletion of capacity/increased costs for health care and other “client-facing” industries.  The why —

“CWCI says that brings the total for the year to 41,861 claims, or 11.2% of all California job injury claims reported for accident year 2020. Those claims included 224 death claims, up from 160 reported as of Aug. 10.”

.005 of all claims in California are a COVID19 fatality year to date.  The unknowns are the reopens, adjusted reserves and longevity of the severe and critical patients.  Still much unknown –

September 28, 2020

The California workers’ compensation COVID-19 claim count continued to grow in August, albeit at a much slower rate than in July, with new data showing that as of Sept. 21, the state had recorded 5,130 COVID-19 claims with August injury dates, according to data compiled by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute.

CWCI says that brings the total for the year to 41,861 claims, or 11.2% of all California job injury claims reported for accident year 2020. Those claims included 224 death claims, up from 160 reported as of Aug. 10.

The latest claim count shows that the number of COVID-19 claims reported to the Division of Workers’ Compensation doubled from May to June, then increased another 16% in July. The numbers reported for August, however, fell sharply, even accounting for the lag in the reporting of COVID-19 claims, according to CWCI.

The CWCI projects there could ultimately be 8,208 COVID-19 claims with August injury dates. Given that the latest tally suggests COVID-19 claim volume may have peaked in July, CWCI is now projecting 48,086 COVID-19 claims with January through August injury dates, which is less than the January through July projection from last month.

CWCI reports that the distribution by industry shows health care workers continue to account for the largest share of California’s COVID-19 claims, filing 38.1% of the claims recorded for the first 8 months of this year, followed by public safety/government workers who accounted for 15.8%. Rounding out the top five industries based on COVID-19 claim volume were retail trade (7.6%), manufacturing (7.6%), and transportation (5.0%). In addition, the percentage of denied COVID-19 claims declined to 28.6% from CWCI’s May report of 35.5%.

Related:

NAPEO and How to Price Your Workers’ Compensation Exposure

While this year’s “Super Bowl” for NAPEO was a bit different, I was very impressed in what was put together under the shadow of the pandemic.  Great content and albeit virtually, great to catch up with folks.

My dear friend and colleague Tom Stypla did a lunch and learn on how to price client companies for workers’ compensation that is linked here…

How to Price Your Workers’ Compensation Exposure Final

Tom has priced more PEO business than anyone I know.  His understanding of PEO workers’ compensation is extremely impactful.

If we can help you with an underwriting strategy or an individual client, let us know!  321.217.7477 is my cell….

Expect Open Enrollment to be Virtual! How to Prepare.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Open Enrollment Employers can expect major disruptions to open enrollment this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As such, employers should stay apprised of current trends and begin preparing sooner rather than later.  Contact your PEO for additional insight or Contact Libertate Insurance if you are considering a PEO.

Trends to Watch

Many organizations are expected to hold entirely virtual open enrollment due to the coronavirus. Virtual enrollment has been trending for several years, and the COVID-19 pandemic is helping to solidify its prominence. A virtual enrollment process typically includes an online enrollment platform for selecting benefits, hosting remote meetings between employees and HR, and downloading benefits resources.

Also, many employers are meeting current employee needs through supplemental health plans with an emphasis on overall well-being. Adding optional health benefits can be a way to limit additional employer spending and provide assistance to employees who need it.

Ways Employers Can Prepare

Open enrollment isn’t always a clear-cut process. Employers can review the following strategies and consider how similar initiatives might improve their own open enrollment efforts:

  • Reach out to employees to determine what kind of enrollment process will work best for them.
  • Confer with management about any operational restrictions that may influence open enrollment.
  • Meet with stakeholders to solidify what the enrollment process will look like.
  • Inform all stakeholders about the enrollment process and where to find benefits resources.
  • Communicate to employees about open enrollment using multiple channels.
  • Understand what additional, supplemental plans are available:
    • Critical illness insurance
    • Cancer insurance
    • Hospital indemnity insurance
    • Accident insurance

Speak with Libertate Insurance today for additional open enrollment resources.

Jay Starkman One of the 500 Most Influential Business Leaders in Florida

Very deserved award for Jay and his team behind him.  Not many can build what they did and it is because of focus, execution and the right people.  I have been blessed to be able to watch…

Congrats!

ENGAGE PEO CEO JAY STARKMAN RECOGNIZED ON FLORIDA TREND’S “FLORIDA 500” LIST OF MOST INFLUENTIAL BUSINESS LEADERS

Florida Trend Florida 500

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – September 18, 2020 – Engage PEO, a professional employer organization providing HR outsourcing solutions to small and mid-sized businesses across the U.S., announced today that the company’s CEO, Jay Starkman, has been recognized in the second edition of Florida Trend’s Florida 500 list as one of the most influential business leaders in the state.

The Florida 500 is a special section created by Florida Trend magazine that highlights the 500 most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout the state of Florida. Selection of the 500 executives recognized on this year’s list was based on a year-long research initiative and spans more than 60 business categories.

“Since founding Engage in 2011, it has always been my priority to provide innovative solutions that help clients navigate the ever-evolving workplace environment; that mission has never been more relevant than it is today,” said Jay Starkman, CEO of Engage PEO. “To be recognized on the Florida 500 list during such a trying time – alongside some of the most inspiring leaders in the state – is a true honor, and one that I could not have achieved without my dedicated employees, valued partners, and long-time clients.”

The complete list of the recipients of the Florida 500 can be found in the September special issue of Florida Trend magazine. More information can be found here.

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. Engage PEO was named to Inc. magazine’s list of the 5000 fastest growing companies every year since 2016. For more information on Engage PEO visit www.engagepeo.com. The IRS does not endorse any particular certified professional employer organization. For more information on certified professional employer organizations go towww.IRS.gov.

Congrats Abram Finkelstein…this year’s recipient of NAPEO’s Michaeline A. Doyle Award!

As most know, NAPEO is hosting its annual conference virtually this week.  It is with great excitement we announce that our client and friend, Abram Finkelstein, received this year’s Michaeline A. Doyle Award.

The purpose of this award it to recognize an individual who has provided exemplary leadership and service in devoting his/her time to association or industry activities on a local or national basis, with little or no previous recognition for his/her efforts. The award aims to recognize the person whose business philosophy is to improve the industry while improving his/her own PEO.

This award is in memory of Michaeline A. Doyle who exemplified these characteristics in her relationships with our industry and association.

Again, congrats to Abram!  Well deserved!

Overview of the Proposed Florida Workers Compensation Rate Filing Effective January 1, 2021

The NCCI has released the following publication discussing the proposed rate filing for Florida workers’ compensation rates effective January 1, 2021.  This discussion includes a summary of the proposed filing, an overview of the methodology behind the rate-making process, a review of the impact of the Castellanos v. Next Door Company et al Supreme Court decision from 2016 and assumed impacts of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases on the workers’ compensation system.

The attached power point authored by Dawn Ingham and Jay Rosen was released by the NCCI and provides many meaningful datasets considered by the bureau in the rate-making process.

Florida January 1, 2021 Workers Compensation Rate Filing Power Point

Overview of the Proposed Florida Workers Compensation Rate Filing Effective January 1, 2021

  1. Summary of Filing

The purpose of this overview is to provide context and further explanation for the accompanying proposed workers compensation insurance rate filing that was filed under separate cover by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) on August 27, 2020, with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) for its review and approval. NCCI is a licensed rating organization authorized to make recommended rate filings on behalf of workers compensation insurance companies in Florida. NCCI’s filing is objectively prepared, in compliance with actuarial standards. The filing proposes a -5.7% average rate level decrease in the voluntary market effective January 1, 2021.

This filing comes at a time when, nationally, the workers compensation system is experiencing unprecedented results. The combination of underwriting discipline, moderating severity, declining frequency, and adequate reserves has resulted in six straight years of combined ratios under 100% (below 100% is indicative of an underwriting profit). For decades, with few annual exceptions, frequency has continued on a clear downward path driven by technology, safer workplaces, improved risk management, and a long-term shift from manufacturing to service sectors. NCCI has no expectation that this trend will change course. For the last several years, severity trends have remained fairly moderate, tracking very closely with wage inflation. For these reasons, NCCI’s analysis has indicated decreases across most of its jurisdictions in recent years.

The filing is based on experience data as of year-end 2019 from Policy Years 2017 and 2018. Favorable experience has been observed in each of these years. Florida’s lost-time claim frequency continues its decline while the state’s average indemnity and medical costs per lost-time claim have exhibited relatively more year-to-year volatility. The final proposed rate level change results after incorporating changes to several expense components.

 

  1. Overview of Ratemaking Methodology

NCCI’s approach to determining the proposed overall average rate level change utilizes widely accepted actuarial ratemaking methodologies. The approach employed in this filing includes the following steps:

  • Premium and loss information is adjusted to the latest approved rate and benefit levels
  • These adjusted losses and premiums are used to calculate a loss ratio for each historical year (loss ratio = losses / premium)
  • Loss ratios, along with other information, are analyzed in order to determine trend factors. Trend factors are applied to historical loss ratios to estimate loss ratios for the effective period in this filing.
  • As a final step, any proposed benefit and/or expense changes are applied to the projected loss ratios

The average rate level change indicated by the data is calculated for the years in the filing’s experience period. If the final projected loss ratios are greater (less) than 1.000, then an increase (decrease) in the average rate level is indicated.

Once the proposed voluntary rate level change is determined, NCCI separately determines rates for each workers compensation job classification (class); the rates and year-over-year changes vary by class and are based on the available data for each job class.

 

III. Impact of the Castellanos Decision

In 2016, a Florida Supreme Court decision in the case of Castellanos v. Next Door Company, et al. brought about retroactive changes to claimant attorney fee levels for workers compensation insurance. An assessment of the emerging impact of the Castellanos decision on Florida’s workers compensation marketplace was undertaken as part of last year’s rate filing pursuant to the Order on Rate Filing issued by the OIR on October 31, 2017. As part of this year’s filing review, NCCI again reviewed insurance company feedback, the change in claimant attorney fees, and the change in loss ratios that have occurred since the Castellanos decision.

Insurance Company Feedback

Individual feedback was obtained from the state’s largest workers compensation writers reporting financial data to NCCI. Feedback received this year was very consistent with and largely unchanged from that received last year. Most carriers said they experienced claim cost increases after the Supreme Court’s decision. Since 2016, increases in claimant attorney fees were reported by all carriers interviewed. The carriers reported that over the last couple of years claimant attorneys have increasingly become involved with:

  • relatively smaller claims, such as those focused on obtaining a slight change to the injured worker’s average weekly benefit
  • types of claims that went without representation prior to the Castellanos decision

Carriers reported that litigated claims generally take longer to close and are costlier when compared with non-litigated claims. Some carriers reported that litigated claims now represent a relatively larger portion of their book of business versus their experience prior to the Castellanos decision.

Claimant Attorney Fees

Claimant attorney fees are reported as indemnity losses in the NCCI Financial Call data on which this filing is based. An analysis of these loss development factors shows a marked increase for valuation dates before and after the Castellanos decision. The increase in claimant attorney fees communicated by the carriers is supported by data obtained from the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH). DOAH data received through the middle of June 2020 shows that claimant attorney fee percentages have increased from 13% prior to the Castellanos decision to more than 20% in recent years. The derivation of the claimant attorney fee percentages by year is shown in the rate filing.

Loss Ratios

A review of Florida’s historical indemnity paid loss ratios illustrates two general patterns. When focused on a single year, results are worsening over time. The impact of the Castellanos decision has likely contributed to this pattern. When looking across years, results are improving over time. This pattern is consistent with the very favorable WC industry results observed countrywide over this period.

The combination of two counteracting impacts has contributed to the current state of the Florida WC system. To date, the especially-favorable WC industry results observed across the country have more than offset the observed cost increases associated with the Castellanos decision.

 

  1. COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) is the latest in a series of infectious diseases that have emerged over the last 20 years. Since 2003, the world has seen the emergence of SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and Zika viruses. While the overall impact of each of those diseases has been well documented, potential impact of COVID-19 to the workers compensation system is in the very beginning stages of being understood; therefore, the data underlying this filing does not include claims from COVID-19. Due to the lack of this COVID-19-related ratemaking data and the current level of uncertainty, NCCI has not yet assessed the potential impact on future rate levels. As such, no explicit adjustments have been made in this filing for COVID-19. While it is possible that COVID-19 may result in significant adverse loss development and deteriorating loss ratios, the impact on overall system costs could be small.

It is reasonable to believe COVID-19 will give rise to component changes that may, to some extent, have offsetting impacts on system costs. For example:

  • There could be an increase in the number of compensable workers compensation claims arising in frontline, COVID-19-related occupations
  • There could be a decrease in workers compensation claims due to the increased number of employees who are teleworking

Short- and long-term COVID-19-related impacts may also differ. For example:

  • In the short term, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a reduction in the number of physical therapy sessions attended by injured employees and/or a deferral in the number of workers compensation-related surgeries that are not deemed to be immediately critical
  • Over the longer term, an increase in these types of services may be expected as the current burden on medical-related personnel and facilities is lessened
  • In economic downturns, workers may forego filing claims for relatively minor injuries to maintain active employment as the economy navigates these uncertain times—leading to temporary downward pressure on claim frequency

NCCI has begun researching and gathering information to preliminarily gauge the pandemic’s direct and indirect impacts on claim frequency, severity, and durations. More in-depth analyses related to COVID-19’s impact on frequency and severity will be conducted over time as additional aggregate data becomes available. It is anticipated that assessing the impact of the pandemic on claim durations will likely take longer, as claim-specific data would be required.

NCCI has also started accumulating pre-COVID-19-level benchmarks that will help facilitate pre- to post-COVID-19 comparisons in the future. For example, detailed medical reports along with associated metrics are being developed to analyze both the direct impacts (e.g., claim costs) and indirect impacts (e.g., whether the slowdown of medical treatments has returned to normal) of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, NCCI published a white paper, “COVID-19 and Workers Compensation: Modeling Potential Impacts,” which provides estimates of workers compensation system cost impacts under various hypothetical scenarios. NCCI also released an interactive tool that allows users to choose their own assumptions and model the potential impact to expected losses for the associated jurisdiction and workforce under the scenario framework described in the research brief.

These and other related materials are available on NCCI’s website at www.ncci.com.