Latest Insights on COVID-19

NFP is closely monitoring developments related to the coronavirus with a focus on the health and safety of our employees and clients. The situation is dynamic and we are following contingency plan protocols that ensure the continued delivery of resources and services to our clients.

We have activated work from home plans for many of our offices. Please continue to get in touch with your NFP contacts through normal channels (phone and email).

The NFP coronavirus critical response group, composed of leaders and subject matter experts across our business lines, is meeting daily to assess the impact across our businesses and in our communities, advise executive management, and develop and deploy action plans. Information, insight and guidance created and curated by this group will be posted below. Please check back periodically for updates.

On behalf of the entire NFP community, thank you for your trust and confidence. Please reach out to your NFP contact with questions and comments.

Resources

We continue to add new resources and expertise to help you navigate this crisis. Check out our Latest Insights page on NFP.com for what’s new, including:

  • A Business Owner Toolkit, including:
    • Templates You Can Use with Your Employees
    • Work from Home Tips
    • Telecommuting Policy Template
    • Communication Templates for the 4 Stages
    • Protecting Yourself Against Scams
  • Business Continuity Plan
  • Commercial Coverage Updates  
  • Benefits Compliance Updates
  • How to Stay the Course with Your Retirement
  • Markets FAQ
  • And more

Webinars

Join our weekly COVID-19 webinars. We will be adding weekly P&C and retirement webinars as well, so stay tuned for updates.

COVID-19 Benefits Compliance Weekly Update and FAQ – every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. CT | Register Here

HR Solutions Weekly Update and FAQ – every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. CT | Register Here


Corporate Benefits


Health Care Consumerism: New Tech, New Solutions

2 minute read

For years now employers have enacted several approaches to rein in the growth of health care costs. Many of the initial approaches included sharing costs with employees (e.g., raising plan deductibles, premium costs, etc.), and/or restricting employee choices (e.g., certain plan options are no longer offered or reimbursements apply to approved medical facilities).

While some of these approaches are still being enacted (with varying degrees of success), employers are starting to realize that partnering with employees can produce a win-win — programs that reduce health care costs and promote health care consumerism. But what are some of the strategies employers use to partner with their employees to promote consumerism and drive down health care costs?

Consumer-Driven Technology Tools

When employers were primarily relying upon cost-shifting strategies to limit the impact of health care costs, many did so with health care consumerism as an underlying theme. These employers, however, were not equipping their employees with the necessary knowledge, tools, and resources to assist them in making better health care decisions. Thus, the notion of health care consumerism was greater than its actual practice.

In the past decade, great advances have been made regarding the technology tools that assist employees in not only navigating the health care landscape but also in providing the information and education needed to make more informed health care decisions. For example, there are now technology tools for consumers that do everything from providing more transparency of health care prices to mobile device apps tracking glucose and insulin levels of those affected by type 2 diabetes. And employers are taking note: According to Willis Towers Watson, 56% of employers prioritize health technology solutions as important over the next three years, 26% are actively looking for the best new technology solutions or plan to pilot new technology solutions, and 65% are interested in technology that improves health care navigation or benefit experiences.1 Employees are also taking note: Younger employees in today’s workforce are increasingly demanding these technology tools and resources from their employers (or potential employers) because most employees already use this kind of technology outside of the workplace in their daily lives.

Telemedicine Offerings

As health care consumerism takes hold, it is changing the traditional paradigm of when and how health care services are consumed, particularly among millennials. Telemedicine offerings can be a natural fit for these younger workers who don’t often need office visits and, when a need arises, are more comfortable consuming health care in a virtual setting.

For those consumers more comfortable with the traditional model of health care consumption, telemedicine can still be advantageous by enabling patients to see a physician in a shorter time frame, especially for more routine services.

The adoption of telemedicine services is still currently low. However, 40% of millennials say this option is extremely or very important.2 With the millennial population making up the largest portion of today’s workforce, it’s not surprising that 91% of employers surveyed say they currently offer or will implement a telemedicine offering by the end of 2020.3

As tech has improved and evolved, and the public has become more comfortable with integrating it into the care experience, we’ve gained valuable tools for preventative care, condition management, and convenient care delivery. Paired with new efforts to improve accessibility and quality through on-site clinics and “centers of excellence,” technology is paving the way for health care consumerism.

Please stay tuned for next month’s edition of Industry Insights where we will feature additional strategies for lowering health care costs through partnership with employees.

1Willis Towers Watson 23rd Annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey, Willis Towers Watson, 2018, p.5
2
Beth Jones Sanborn. Millennials demand telehealth in a move away from traditional primary care model, Beth healthcareitnews.com, 2018.
3 2019 Healthcare Cost Containment Study, First Stop Health, 2019.

The Benefits of Matching Retirement Contributions

1 minute read

As the unemployment rate has dropped, hiring has grown increasingly competitive — especially for businesses with highly-specialized positions. It’s important to understand how retirement matches factor into the hiring process and how they can financially benefit your company. Here are a few reasons offering a retirement match helps your business.

Competitive Hiring

If you don’t offer a retirement match, chances are your competitors do, meaning it’s more difficult to attract top talent. A full benefits package that includes a retirement match may prevent you from paying top dollar to win candidates who might consider a job offer from your competitors.

Reduced Turnover

In order to reap the largest rewards attached to a retirement plan match, employees often must work for a particular period of time, known as vesting.1 This timeframe encourages employees to stay and maximize their contributions to receive the best benefits. Since replacing a departing worker is expensive,2 reduced turnover brings cost savings.

Tax Savings

Your finance department will love the savings received at tax time from your retirement plan match. Businesses can deduct every dollar they contribute toward employee retirement plans in addition to the tax savings employees reap for participating. Small and mid-sized business may also be able to deduct their retirement plan startup costs under the Credit for Small Employment Pension Plans Startup Costs.3

Future Compliance

In most states, businesses aren’t required to offer retirement plans for their employees, but that is changing. Seven states now have a government-mandated retirement option in place for residents,4 and in Oregon and Illinois employers are required to enroll their workers in a plan.5 By having an employer-matched retirement plan in place, your business will be prepared if a mandate impacts your workplace.

By understanding the benefits of a retirement plan match, your business can make informed decisions and save money. For further questions about matching or other questions relating to retirement plans, contact your plan advisor.

1 "How does vesting work exactly?" CNN Money, 2018.
2 Christina Merhar. Employee Retention - The Real Cost of Losing an Employee | 2019, PeopleKeep blog, 2019.
Retirement Plans Startup Costs Tax Credit, IRS, 2019.
4 State Retirement plans Now Mandatory in 8 States, Corpay.com, 2019.
5 Ashlea Ebeling. Small Business Retirement Plan Mandates Coming In 2017, Forbes.com, 2016.

3 Great Resources to Help Tackle the Issue of Caregiving in the Workplace

When caregiving employees are supported, everyone wins. Employees are less stressed, better able to care for their loved ones and can give more energy to their work, while employers reap the rewards of increased loyalty and reduced costs from absenteeism and lost productivity. Learn how to move beyond paid family leave for sustainable, future-forward caretaker support.

Read More

Property and Casualty


Hard Braking — The Harsh Reality of the Trucking Industry

3 minute read

If your business or employer has some aspect of trucking involved in its operations, you may already be aware of the current state of what it’s like to purchase trucking insurance. 2019 was a hard year for most trucking companies. As rates and premiums have increased and fewer insurance carriers are willing to take on the risks specific to this industry, we’ve been dealing with a difficult “hard” market.

What We’re Facing

With the rise in population density in areas where trucking is most prevalent, more drivers on the road means a greater opportunity for truckers to be involved in an accident. Distracted driving factors into this, of course, but this is ultimately where the law of large numbers comes into play. You may be wondering, “How does did 2019 look from a trucking company’s perspective?” Not good. In fact, hundreds of trucking companies had to shut down their operations.

As highlighted in a recent PropertyCasualty360 article, almost 640 trucking companies went bankrupt just in the first half of 2019, and while insurance costs are not entirely to blame, they remain a powerful pressure on these businesses. As you may know, when it comes time to quote your insurance program, the carrier is going to review your loss history, fleet safety and compliance records, payroll, and states of risk exposure, to name a few. Truckload Carrier Association’s TPP benchmark platform reports that truckload fleets currently pay $6,800 per truck on insurance. If you’ve had any catastrophic or severe losses in recent years, that could result in far higher premiums than your peers and competitors as they may classify you as a higher chance of risk (or loss). Even a carrier with a clear history can expect to pay up to $9,100 per truck in insurance depending on location and record, according to Reliance Partners, an insurance company specializing in trucking.

What Can Trucking Companies Do?

There are a handful of risk management and safety best practices that can be implemented to help strengthen your insurance and safety program. Telematics can monitor your company’s motor fleet performance and will report data back into a dashboard with indicators like close-following, near-misses, harsh braking, fast accelerating, and so on and so forth. This is helpful in monitoring which employees may need some driving behaviors corrected, and it helps keep safety in the driver’s mind. To further cement this idea, safe driving incentives can be put in place, offering safe drivers company-wide recognition or prizes. Building and maintaining a safety culture in your company will not only help employees return to their families in the same condition they left for work in, but as an added benefit, implementing risk management tools and practices often comes with a discount in insurance premiums costs. Your advisor can help you analyze your current safety landscape and find ways to improve.

While the outlook of this article may not seem promising, it’s the industry experts who are familiar with the markets and what they’re willing to write, along with their expertise in what has worked, that can strengthen a trucking company’s operations. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing your insurance agent is able to efficiently navigate the tougher industries in the insurance marketplace and can also work with you to strengthen your company’s operations?

Luckily, your friends at NFP have a handful of transportation experts at their fingertips, both in the US and Canada. NFP takes the consultative approach in getting to know you and learning your business to its core so that we can best serve you and your needs. From managing your loss history and experience modifications, to MVR audits and implementing risk management protocols, we’ll be there guiding you along the way. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your local NFP office and we’ll get you in contact with the right individual for your needs.


Individual Solutions


Reg 187 Approaches — What Do I Do Now?

1 minute read

For months – years even – you’ve been hearing about New York’s Best Interest and Suitability Reg 187, but now it’s finally happening. Starting February 1, 2020, Reg 187 will be effective for all new life insurance sales issued or delivered in New York and will apply to all carriers operating in New York. 

So now what do you need to do? To help you get started, NFP has developed an FAQ that outlines the key parts of Reg 187 and the all pieces that producers licensed to do business in New York State, or servicing clients with New York issued life insurance policies need to know. 

One of the most important components is that Reg 187 requires training of all individuals holding NY licenses (producers, staff, and anyone else involved in making a “recommendation” to a client). This training can be found at RegEd, Kaplan, or LIMRA. Most carriers are indicating that they prefer RegEd, but license holders who received training from Kaplan or LIMRA can submit a certificate of completion from Kaplan or LIMRA. In addition to the universal training offered by RegEd, Kaplan, and/or LIMRA, each carrier will require product-specific training that can be found on the new business websites of the various carriers. 

The other important change is that Reg 187 requires that each client’s specific “suitability information” be gathered, documented, submitted, and retained for all “recommendations.” Reg 187 has specific requirements for what constitutes “suitability information” and each carrier has created their own suitability form. To help simplify the process for our producers, NFP has created universal suitability forms – both for new recommendations and annual reviews – that can be submitted to the carriers with new business. 

As you can imagine, the full impact of Reg 187 has yet to be felt and there are a lot of outstanding questions that the Reg has raised, but not yet answered. Given this, NFP will continue to provide information as we get additional clarity from the New York State Department of Financial Services or from those carriers doing business in New York.

Innovation


Innovation Conversations Podcast

NFP is embracing innovation in a big way. In a series of podcasts, we’re featuring different topics and companies who embody innovation in everything they do. Tune in to our latest episode.

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NFP Corp. and its subsidiaries do not provide legal or tax advice. Compliance, regulatory and related content is for general informational purposes and is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete. You should consult an attorney or tax professional regarding the application or potential implications of laws, regulations or policies to your specific circumstances. Insurance services provided through licensed subsidiaries or affiliates of NFP. To locate an NFP office, visit nfp.com.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS) an affiliate of Kestra IS. Insurance services offered through a licensed subsidiary of NFP Corp. (NFP) or a member of PartnersFinancial or Benefits Partners, which are platforms of NFP Insurance Services, Inc. (NFPISI), a subsidiary of NFP. ESS is affiliated with NFP and NFPISI. Neither Kestra IS nor Kestra AS are affiliated with NFP or NFPISI.