Policyholder Duties Following a Commercial Property Loss

insurance

What Policyholders Are Required To Do

Many commercial property policies detail duties insureds owe to their carrier following a loss. Failure to fulfill these responsibilities can potentially lead to denied claims, delayed payments, and unrenewed or even canceled policies.

Here are common duties most policies require insureds to uphold in the event of a loss:

Notify the police if any laws may have been broken amid the loss.

Contact the carrier as soon as possible, detailing how, when, and where the loss occurred. Include a description of the property involved.

Take all reasonable steps to protect the property from further damage. Keep a record of the expenses required to do so, including hours and wages.

Provide the carrier with an inventory of the damaged and undamaged property if requested, including quantities, costs, values, and the amount of loss claimed.

Set aside the damaged property, keeping it in the best possible condition for examination.

Allow the carrier to inspect the property and any related records.

Permit the carrier to take samples of damaged or undamaged property for further inspection, testing, and analysis.

Cooperate fully with any claim investigations, which may include being questioned under oath.

Complying with the typical responsibilities required by commercial property policies can help insureds remain protected following a loss.

For more information, contact Midwest Insurance Group today at 262-646-5777.

Loss Control Tips For Electrical Contractors

electrical contractors

Electrical Contractors

Electrical contractors construct, install, repair, and maintain electrical wiring in industrial, commercial, and residential properties. Their duties may include installing and maintaining electrical equipment, completing administrative duties, and delivering high-quality customer service. This complex profession requires a great deal of training, skill, and experience. Due to their wide variety of operations, these professionals are often exposed to various safety, liability, and property risks. That’s why it’s vital to have effective loss control measures in place. This resource outlines common risks electrical contractors must address and offers helpful strategies to avoid potential claims.

Premise and Operations Liability

The nature of electrical operations poses various liability concerns. For example, issues arising from faulty wiring, malfunctioning electrical equipment, and possible smoking hazards could cause third-party damage and injuries to bystanders and lead to costly liability claims. Therefore, it’s important for electrical contractors to take the following measures to limit their premises and operations liability:

  • Create a housekeeping program to make sure materials, tools, and other objects are stored properly to prevent struck-by injuries and to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Any spills should be cleaned up promptly, and all areas should be kept free of debris.
  • Ensure there is a fire protection plan in place and that it is communicated to each employee. If smoking is allowed on the job site, create a designated smoking section.
  • Ensure site security measures—such as fences or security personnel—prevent the general public from trespassing on job sites. • Develop and implement policies and procedures for entering residents’ homes to prevent property damage.
  • Ensure there is a hot work program in place. Keep fire extinguishers near any area in which hot work is being performed, and make sure all employees are trained on how to use them.

Employee Safety

As an employer, electrical contractors must protect their employees from illnesses and injuries on the job. Occupational risks of electrical contracting include significant exposure to back and struck-by injuries, and slips, trips, and falls. To prevent these and related illnesses or injuries, electrical contractors should implement these employee safety precautions:

  • Establish a fall program and train employees on how to properly use fall protection. • Implement a ladder safety program and ensure employees have been appropriately trained in ladder safety.
  • Create a slip, trip, and fall program. Perform slip, trip, and fall assessments to determine the likelihood of occurrence on the job site.
  • Develop an effective workplace safety training program that requires all employees to participate in routine training. Doing so will allow new employees to prepare for their roles while refreshing experienced employees on important safety protocols. This process may include requiring employees to have the necessary licenses to complete work and maintain that license by continuing education to stay current.
  • Ensure employees receive sufficient training before using tools or equipment necessary for their work. • Create and implement an equipment maintenance plan to make sure equipment is kept in working order and safety mechanisms—such as wires, handles, and blades—are also functional.
  • Create an incident investigation program that allows for swift and thorough incident investigations.
  • Establish a personal protective equipment (PPE) program and perform a PPE survey to determine which types of PPE are needed for each task. Provide all necessary PPE to employees and educate them on the proper use of this equipment.

Inland Marine—Tools and Equipment

Electrical contractors face many inland marine exposures, especially since they often use their own equipment at job sites, such as laptops and special electrical tools. Inadequate maintenance procedures and a lack of prevention protocols can result in equipment damage, which could lead to significant interruptions and costly repair or replacement expenses. Electrical contractors should consider these steps to limit risks:

  • Keep a detailed list of machinery and tools. Each item should include an identifying number, age, type, and condition. Never leave tools on-site or out in the open. They should be in the vehicle or stored in a secure place.
  • Add nonremovable labels to equipment to allow for easy and permanent identification. • Implement security measures to prevent the unauthorized use of equipment left at job sites. These measures can include installing security cameras, locking equipment doors, and hiring on-site security.
  • Create a program requiring inspections on equipment prior to use. Corded tools should be inspected to make sure there are no cuts or frayed wires.

Automobile Liability

Because electrical contractors often have their own fleet of vehicles and employees frequently travel between different job sites, commercial auto exposures are substantial. In particular, accidents on the road could result in serious ramifications, including employee injuries, costly property damage, and potential liability issues between any pedestrians or other motorists involved. To minimize commercial auto exposures, electrical contractors should follow these protocols:

  • Make sure all drivers possess acceptable driving records. Specifically, it’s important to secure motor vehicle records (MVRs) for all drivers. MVRs should be updated annually.
  • Provide employees will proper training on safe driving measures. Be sure to prioritize loading procedures so employees load vehicles appropriately.
  • Prohibit employees from using their cell phones while driving.
  • Consider utilizing telematics technology within commercial vehicles to identify employees’ risky driving behaviors (e.g., speeding and hard braking).
  • Implement an effective vehicle inspection and maintenance program. Such a program can help ensure all commercial vehicles remain in good condition and are safe to operate on the road.
  • Review all commercial vehicle and trailer characteristics (e.g., size and weight) to determine applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Routinely monitor compliance with FMCSA standards and make operational adjustments as needed.

Learn More About Loss Control And Risk Management

It’s essential for electrical contractors to implement proper risk management precautions to limit costly insurance claims and lawsuits. Such measures can offer various benefits, such as greater customer satisfaction, bolstered employee safety, fewer liability concerns, and a lowered potential for property damage.

Although this resource provides a range of loss control strategies, electrical contractors don’t have to establish their risk management programs alone. Working with a qualified and experienced insurance professional can make all the difference. Contact us today to discuss insurance solutions and additional loss control techniques for electrical contractors.

Contact Midwest Insurance Group today at 262-646-5777  to discuss insurance solutions, additional loss control techniques, and risk management strategies for electrical contractors in Wisconsin.

Media Liability Insurance

media liability insurance

Why You Need Media Liability Insurance

Today’s society has become increasingly digital in nature, prompting businesses to leverage additional technology and online services in their operations. Specifically, some businesses have grown more reliant on the internet and social media platforms to market their products and services, allowing them to connect with a wider range of customers.

While engaging in digital strategies may pose various benefits, doing so also carries media liability exposures. After all, any business that posts or shares content—physically and online—could be held liable for third-party harm or damage resulting from such content. What’s more, media liability losses are on the rise, both in cost and frequency; industry research recently revealed that these losses can reach up to $150,000 per incident. Further, this research found that most business executives plan to increase their social media budgets in the coming years, generating additional avenues for media liability losses.

Although some businesses assume they will be protected against these losses under their commercial general liability (CGL) coverage, particularly against personal and advertising injury incidents, CGL policies often contain media-related exclusions. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to consider media liability insurance to prevent possible coverage gaps. This article offers more information on media liability insurance, identifies which businesses need such coverage, and explores potential claim scenarios.

Media Liability Insurance Explained

Media liability insurance is considered a specialized type of errors and omissions coverage. It can provide protection for costs related to businesses being held responsible for third-party harm and damage—actual or alleged—stemming from posted or shared content (e.g., videos, articles, blogs, photographs, illustrations, music, films, advertisements, and short-form promotional copy). Covered incidents under media liability insurance may include the following:

  • Libel, slander, product disparagement, and other forms of defamation
  • Invasion of privacy (e.g., intentionally intruding on the solitude or seclusion of another party, publicly disclosing private information, or misappropriating an individual’s name or likeness)
  • Infliction of emotional harm on another party (e.g., posting content that distresses certain individuals or is deemed unsuitable for some audiences)
  • Copyright and intellectual property infringement, piracy, plagiarism, and other instances of posting another party’s content without credit or permission
  • Breach of professional duty, confidentiality, and licensing agreements
  • Professional negligence (e.g., including or omitting information within content that leads to the false portrayal of a situation, individual, or organization)

Following these incidents, media liability insurance can provide coverage for policyholders’ legal defense costs and potential settlements or payouts to third parties. It could also cover third parties’ legal fees, investigations from regulators or other authorities, content revision and restoration costs (e.g., recalling content, correcting content, and reprinting or reposting content), and public relations and crisis management expenses.

However, media liability insurance generally excludes losses related to fraudulent or dishonest acts, employment practices, patent infringement, property damage, bodily injuries, faulty products or services, breach of contract, and allegations from parties with controlling interest in policyholders’ operations.

What Kind Of  Businesses Need Media Liability Insurance?

Any businesses that create or provide physical or digital content may need media liability insurance. Such businesses include the following:

  • Brand development, public relations, marketing, and advertising agencies
  • Social media and editorial consulting firms
  • Record labels and other music companies
  • Market research and telemarketing organizations
  • Graphic design, photography, videography, and blogging companies
  • Television and radio broadcasting firms
  • Copywriting, proofreading, printing, and publishing organizations
  • Media production companies, including those that provide streaming services
  • Consulting firms involved in publishing white papers or training materials
  • Non-media companies that frequently post or share content on digital platforms (e.g., websites and social media)

Media Liability Insurance Claim Scenarios

Here’s an outline of possible claim scenarios that media liability insurance could cover:

  • A food blogger posts a negative online review of a popular restaurant, accusing the restaurant of using spoiled ingredients. The restaurant sues the blogger for libel, asserting that this accusation is false and has resulted in lost customers.
  • A marketing agency creates a video advertisement and shares the advertisement on social media. A music company sues the agency for copyright infringement, alleging that it used one of the company’s songs in the advertisement without getting it licensed.
  • A radio broadcaster befriends a celebrity to gather “dirt” for an upcoming gossip segment on their show. Unaware of the broadcaster’s intentions, the celebrity divulges private information. The broadcaster then reveals this information on their show. Upon release of the show, the celebrity sues the broadcaster for invasion of privacy.

Consult Trusted Illinois Insurance Professionals

It’s evident that media liability exposures can lead to significant losses for businesses. Especially as a growing number of businesses utilize digital strategies and invest in social media, it’s critical that they secure proper coverage for potential media liability incidents. Businesses should consult our trusted insurance professionals at Midwest Insurance Group to discuss particular coverage needs.

For further insurance guidance and solutions, contact us today at 262-646-5777.

Virtual Primary Care

virtual primary care

Virtual primary care—primary health care services delivered online or via phone—has increased in popularity as telemedicine has become more prominent. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, telemedicine allowed more people to access healthcare services remotely. Now, virtual primary care is an increasingly preferred means to receive health care without going to a physical doctor’s office. With virtual primary care, people can receive comprehensive health care services from the comfort of their homes. The following article discusses virtual primary care, who delivers it, and why online health care is important.

Virtual Primary Care Explained

Virtual primary care is a way to receive primary health care services without needing to go to an in-person doctor’s office. Such care can be thought of in three parts: 24/7 urgent care services, chronic care, and preventative screenings. Virtual primary care can be used to manage chronic conditions like diabetes, or it can be used to screen for issues like anxiety and depression through the administration of questionnaire-based screenings. Additionally, doctors can write prescriptions for some acute illnesses during virtual visits that do not require an in-person assessment.

Virtual Primary Care Delivery

A variety of doctors provide virtual primary health care, and it is more than just urgent care services. Virtual primary care doctors are licensed to prescribe ongoing medication, schedule follow-up visits and refer patients to other specialists. Further, most virtual providers have a workforce of physicians, nurse practitioners, and care coordinators to ensure that patients receive the comprehensive care they need. While urgent care generally only helps patients treat immediate health concerns, virtual primary care is a digital alternative to long-term, whole-body care.

There are also a variety of organizations that provide virtual primary care. For example, digital health companies have begun to contract with employers to provide it to employees, and some previously in-person practices moved entirely online due to the pandemic.

The Importance of Online Health Care

There are several reasons that virtual primary care is important. Foremost, online health services expand access to health care more generally. People who may not have access to in-person providers now have the option to get substantial care online. Further, online health care is more convenient for most people, even if traveling to in-person offices may be an option for them. Meeting with providers online can be much faster and help people receive the care they need more quickly.

Additionally, virtual primary health care is often less expensive than traditional medical visits, as it can reduce costs associated with traveling to see a doctor or taking time off from work.

Takeaway

Virtual primary care is an efficient, cost-effective way for more people to access health care more easily. While not every doctor’s visit will be able to happen online, many will, and it is worthwhile to look into which virtual care options are available to you. For more information about virtual primary care and telemedicine, contact Midwest Insurance Group, LLC today.

Save Money On Energy In Your Household

health savings plan

According to the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, energy costs will reach a decade-long high this winter. Heating costs are predicted to rise 28% for U.S. households relying on natural gas and 27% for those using heating oil. Electricity costs are also anticipated to increase 10% per the U.S. Energy Department. Read on for tips on how you can lower the energy bills for your home.

Why Are Heating Costs Rising?

Many factors have contributed to the rapidly increasing energy costs this year including the following:

  • A predicted colder-than-average winter
  • Rising wholesale gas prices
  • Depleted energy stores from increased demand during the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns
  • Lowered supply stemming from financial sanctions put on Russian oil after the invasion of Ukraine

How Can I Reduce Energy Costs in My Household?

With skyrocketing prices, you may be wondering how you can reduce or control your winter utility bills. Many may be tempted to simply turn down the thermostat. Fortunately, there are ways you can lower your energy bills while staying warm this winter.

Here are some tips to help you lower your energy bills:

  • Use a programmable thermostat to automatically lower your temperature when you’re not home.
  • Seal areas where heat could escape from your windows and doors.
  • Ensure radiators and vents are unobstructed.
  • Open curtains and windows during the day and close them at night.
  • Replace your furnace filter if it’s dirty.
  • Have a professional inspect your HVAC systems for leaks.
  • Close the vents and shut the doors to rooms you’re not using.
  • Consider other sources of energy waste (e.g., leaky faucets, and inefficient light bulbs).

Cold weather may make some increased energy costs inevitable. By using the above tips, and consulting the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver Guide, you can be well on your way to managing your winter utility bill.

For additional winter home safety tips,  contact Midwest Insurance Group today.

Loss Control Tips For Carpentry Contactors

carpenters

Carpentry Contractors

Carpentry contractors construct, install and repair building frameworks and structures made from wood or other materials. Their duties may include reading blueprints, taking measurements, and cutting, shaping, and smoothing lumber and other materials. Due to their wide variety of operations, these professionals are often exposed to various safety, liability, and property risks. That’s why it’s vital to have effective loss control measures in place. This resource outlines common risks carpentry contractors must address and offers helpful strategies to avoid possible claims

Premise and Operations Liability

The nature of carpentry operations poses various liability concerns. For example, third-party damage and injuries to bystanders can lead to costly liability claims. Therefore, it’s important for carpentry contractors to take the following measures to limit their premises and operations liability:

  • Create a housekeeping program to make sure materials, tools, and other objects are stored properly to prevent struck-by injuries and slips, trips, and falls.
  • Ensure site security measures—such as fences or security personnel—prevent the general public from trespassing on job sites.
  • Establish a fire protection plan and communicate it to each employee. If smoking is allowed on the job site, create a designated smoking section. Keep fire extinguishers on site and make sure all employees are trained on how to use them.
  • Ensure there is a combustible dust program in place to prevent the accumulation of dust and debris in confined buildings that can cause fire or explosions.
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures for entering residents’ homes to prevent property damage.

Employee Safety

As an employer, carpentry contractors must protect their employees from illnesses and injuries on the job. Occupational risks related to carpentry include significant exposure to falls, back, and struck-by injuries, and slips, trips, and falls. Carpentry contractors should implement these employee safety precautions:

  • Establish a fall program and train employees on how to properly use fall protection.
  • Implement a ladder safety program and ensure employees have been appropriately trained in ladder safety.
  • Create a slip, trip, and fall program. Perform slip, trip, and fall assessments to determine the likelihood of occurrence on the job site.
  • Develop an effective workplace safety training program that requires all employees to participate in routine training. Doing so will allow new employees to prepare for their roles while refreshing experienced employees on important safety protocols.
  • Ensure employees receive sufficient training before using tools or equipment necessary for their work.
  • Create and implement an equipment maintenance plan to make sure equipment is kept in working order and safety mechanisms—such as wires, handles, and blades—are also in working order.
  • Create an incident investigation program that allows swift and thorough incident investigations to take place.
  • Establish a personal protective equipment (PPE) program and perform a PPE survey to determine which types of PPE are needed for each task.
  • Provide all necessary PPE to employees and educate them on the proper use of this equipment.

Inland Marine—Tools and Equipment

Carpentry contractors face many inland marine exposures, especially since they often use their own equipment at job sites. Inadequate maintenance procedures and a lack of prevention protocols can result in equipment damage, which could lead to significant interruptions and costly repair or replacement expenses. Carpentry contractors should consider these steps to limit risks:

  • Keep a detailed list of machinery and tools. Each item should include an identifying number, age, type, and condition. Never leave tools on-site or out in the open. Either put them in the vehicle or have a secure place to store them.
  • Add nonremovable labels to equipment to allow for easy and permanent identification.
  • Implement security measures to prevent the unauthorized use of equipment left at job sites. These measures may include installing security cameras, locking equipment doors, and hiring on-site security.
  • Create a program requiring inspections on equipment prior to use. Corded tools should be inspected to make sure there are no cuts or frayed wires.

Automobile Liability

Because carpentry contractors often have their own fleet of vehicles and employees frequently travel between different job sites, commercial auto exposures are substantial. In particular, accidents on the road could result in serious ramifications, including employee injuries, costly property damage, and potential liability issues between any pedestrians or other motorists involved. To minimize commercial auto exposures, carpentry contractors should follow these protocols:

  • Make sure all drivers possess acceptable driving records. Specifically, it’s important to secure motor vehicle records (MVRs) for all drivers. MVRs should be updated annually.
  • Provide employees with proper training on safe driving measures. Be sure to prioritize loading procedures so employees load vehicles appropriately.
  • Prohibit employees from using their cell phones while driving.
  • Consider utilizing telematics technology within commercial vehicles to identify employees’ risky driving behaviors (e.g., speeding and hard braking).
  • Implement an effective vehicle inspection and maintenance program. Such a program can help ensure all commercial vehicles remain in good condition and are safe to operate on the road.
  • Review all commercial vehicle and trailer characteristics (e.g., size and weight) to determine applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Routinely monitor compliance with FMCSA standards and make operational adjustments as needed.

Learn More

It’s essential for carpentry contractors to implement proper risk management precautions to limit costly insurance claims and lawsuits. Such preventive measures can also offer various benefits, such as greater customer satisfaction, bolstered employee safety, fewer liability concerns, and a lowered potential for property damage. Although this resource provides a range of loss control strategies, carpentry contractors don’t have to establish their risk management programs alone.

Working with a qualified and experienced insurance professional can make all the difference. Contact Midwest Insurance Group today at 262-646-5777  to discuss insurance solutions and additional loss control techniques for carpentry contractors.

New 2023 Benefit Plan Limits To Know

2023

2023  LIMITS TO KNOW

Many benefit plan limits have changed for the new calendar year. Here are some limits to review for 2023:

401(k) LIMITS

  • Pre-tax contributions: $22,500 (up $22,000 from 2022)
  • Catch-up contributions: $7,500 (up $1,000 from 2022)

HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT (HSA) LIMITS

  • Pre-tax contributions:

Single coverage: $3,850 (up $200 from 2022)

Family coverage: $7,750 (up $450 from 2022)

  • Catch-up contributions: $1,000 (no change from 2022)

HIGH DEDUCTIBLE HEALTH PLAN (HDHP) LIMITS

  • HDHP minimum deductibles:

Single coverage: $1,500 (up $100 from 2022)

Family coverage: $3,000 (up $200 from 2022)

  • HDHP maximum out-of-pocket costs:

Single coverage: $7,500 (up $450 from 2022)

Family coverage: $15,000 (up $900 from 2022) Contributions: $3,050 (up $200 from 2022)

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT (FSA) LIMITS

  • Contributions: $3,050 (up $200 from 2022)

Safety Matters – Why You Should Always Use Machine Guards

machine guards

Use Machine Guards

Machine guards are designed to protect you when working with dangerous equipment. Unfortunately, many workers also view them as an inconvenience or an obstacle to the task at hand. Regardless, guards are there for your protection, and using them properly is a safety requirement at Midwest Insurance Group.

Protecting Against Hazards

Specifically, machine guards are used to protect against:

  • Direct contact with moving parts
  • Flying chips or other debris
  • Kickbacks
  • Splashing of metal or harmful liquids
  • Mechanical and electrical failures
  • Any number of potential human errors

While guards may often appear to be a hindrance, overall they have proven to be otherwise for both security and production. Greater machine speeds are made possible through proper guarding, as production does not have to stop due to injuries and employees can often work quicker knowing they have the proper protection in place to do so safely.

Types of Guards

Two types of guards are used to protect machine operators: fixed guards and interlocking guards. Fixed guards are most commonly used and are generally preferred because they protect you from dangerous parts of machines at all times. Interlocking guards are used if a fixed guard is not practical. This type will not allow the machine to operate until dangerous parts are guarded. The interlocking guard is designed to disconnect the source of power from the machine.

Safety devices such as pullbacks, sweeps, and electronic devices are used where neither a fixed nor an interlocking guard can be used satisfactorily. Safety devices are operated by the machine itself. Regardless of the type of guard or safety device used, all provide the operator with the greatest possible protection.

Safety is Not an Option

Of course, no guard can do the job without the cooperation of the machine operator. Machine guards are a part of our workplace, and using them properly is your responsibility. Always follow these basic safety requirements:

  • Do not adjust or remove a guard unless your supervisor gives permission or unless the adjustment is a normal and accepted part of your job.
  • Do not start machinery without the guards in place.
  • If guards are missing or defective, report it to your supervisor immediately.
  • If guards are removed for repair or adjustment, the power for the machine should be turned off and the main switch locked and tagged.
  • Loose clothing, watches, rings, and other jewelry should not be worn around mechanical equipment, and long hair should be tied back.

Safety is a top priority at Midwest Insurance Group. To accomplish this, we need the commitment of all employees to respect our safety rules and to use machine guards as intended, to keep everyone on the job safe and productive. If you have any questions regarding guards or other safety issues, please ask your supervisor.

Contact Midwest Insurance Group at 262-646-5777 for more information about insurance coverage options.

Self Funded Insurance With Level Funding

insurance

Level Funding

If you desire the freedom of a self-funded insurance plan but need a little more certainty for your budgeting concerns, level funding might be an option for you. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages and decide what’s best for your company.

What is a Self-funded Plan?

In a self-funded health plan, the employer assumes the risk and responsibility of medical claims instead of contracting with an insurance carrier to pay claims. The employer sets premium rates based on claims history and typically benefits from lower administration costs and greater flexibility both in plan design and cash flow within the business.

A self-funded plan may contract with a third-party administrator (TPA), but it is still a self-funded plan because the company is responsible for funding the claims payments. Stop-loss insurance can be obtained to pay for excessively high claims, but the employer is responsible for the majority of the costs and the stop-loss insurance is simply a protection against extremely high, unpredictable claims.

Self-funded plans are not right for every company. One of the downsides to a self-funded plan is that the employer must pay out claims as they come in, leaving itself exposed to fluctuating expenses. Level funding is an option that can add predictability back into the equation if your company decides to implement a self-funded plan.

What is Level Funding?

Level funding is an option that can accompany a self-funded plan, aiding employers in their health coverage budgeting efforts. With level funding, employers pay a set amount each month to a carrier. This amount typically includes the cost of administrative and other fees and the maximum amount of expected claims based on underwriting projections, as well as embedded stop-loss insurance.

The carrier facilitating the level funding will pay your employees’ claims throughout the year. At the end of the year, if your payments exceeded claims, you will receive a refund from the excess you paid in monthly claim allotments. If the claims exceeded what you paid into the program, in most cases your stop-loss insurance will cover the overage amount.

Advantages of Level Funding

Level funding offers several advantages. Like other self-funded plans, you don’t have to pay premiums that are based on community rates, which might be higher than your employee group’s risk. Instead, you only pay the actual claims and an additional administrative fee. Another benefit of level funding is that if all the money you set aside each month to cover claims is not used, you will receive a refund at the end of the year from the surplus, instead of paying expensive premiums for a fully insured plan and essentially using or losing that money. If you are already self-funded, then you will enjoy a more budget-friendly method of monthly claims payment, with stop-loss insurance to protect you from unexpectedly high costs.

Generally, the monetary advantages of level funding are that you are better able to manage your budget and prepare for claims costs. You will benefit from a smoother cash flow and not worrying that a high claim near the beginning of the year will impact your business.

Additionally, many level funding plans provide detailed reporting on utilization trends, giving you important information on where employees may be causing overspending (such as unnecessary use of emergency room visits instead of urgent care).

Another advantage of level funding is having fewer governmental regulations than fully insured plans are subject to. Check with your legal counsel about regulatory benefits specific to your state and business.

Disadvantages of Level Funding

Although there are upsides to level funding, there are also some disadvantages. One is that when you choose to self-fund you are likely looking to cut costs—and with level funding, part of your monthly payment is to cover administrative fees. Depending on the plan and your other options, these fees have the potential to cut into the savings you hope to gain from running a self-funded plan. You’ll need to weigh the cost-effectiveness of administering your self-funded plan in-house, hiring a TPA or choosing a level-funded option with the attached administrative fees.

Additionally, you still have to pay the claims. With level funding you’re paying for the convenience of having equal payments throughout the year and the security of stop-loss coverage.

Another challenge of level funding to consider is the terms of the contract; make sure you understand how the contract will impact a business of your size—companies with smaller numbers of employees may benefit differently than those with larger numbers. Also, many level funding plans restrict their offerings to companies with a certain minimum or maximum number of employees, which may affect your ability to contract with your desired carrier.

Making Your Decision

Ultimately, if you want to operate a self-funded health plan, level funding is an option that must be considered in light of your company’s cash flow, risk tolerance, employee numbers, and preferred budgeting methods.

Contact Midwest Insurance Group at 262-646-5777 for more information about insurance coverage options.

Top Ways To Save On Your Auto Insurance Premium

muscle car

Tips For Lowering Your Car Insurance

  • Consider raising your deductible.
  • Keep up your good driving record.
  • Drive less to qualify for a low-mileage discount.
  • Drive a car with safety features such as anti-lock brakes and airbags.
  • Install an anti-theft device.
  • Ask about our multi-policy discounts.

The Basics

An automobile policy is designed to provide you with a level of protection against property, liability, and medical costs if you are involved in an accident. Optional custom parts and equipment coverage ensures that your customized details are covered too.

Customize Your Automobile Policy Too

If you’re one of those who enjoys getting more out of his or her car than just getting to your destination, you should be aware that any customizing that you do to your vehicle impacts your auto policy. Before you add custom paint and bodywork, it’s best that you customize your auto policy.

Custom Parts and Equipment Coverage

A basic auto policy’s collision or comprehensive policy provides insurance only for the original equipment included by the manufacturer. If your vehicle has special equipment or permanently installed custom parts that alter its appearance or performance, optional custom parts and equipment coverage may be for you. Special equipment includes the following:

  • Customized paint or decals
  • Customized wheels, spoilers, suspensions, or performance-related equipment
  • Stereo or television equipment
  • Running boards, roll bars, or brush bars
  • Undercarriage lighting
  • Bed liners, camper shells, and trailer hitches

Within the limits that you select in your policy, custom parts and equipment coverage reimburses you for the actual cash value, the declared value, or the actual cost to repair—whichever is lowest.

Keep in mind that every car has a standard book value which is used to calculate the payout in the event of a total loss. You should know that insurance payments reflect what a car would be worth at the time of the loss, not what was paid for it, so the cost for modifications may be difficult to recoup in the event of a total loss.

Riding around in style is enjoyable but carries additional risks. Before making any modifications, make sure the work you’re doing does not compromise the safety of your vehicle. If you’re in an accident, and the car is deemed unsafe due to non-factory reasons, your coverage may be void. Don’t be caught without coverage—check with us first!

The Bottom Line

Before you purchase those specialty rims or customize your grille, we can help you determine the best coverage options to keep your customized ride covered. Call Midwest Insurance Group, LLC today at 262.646.5777 to learn more about all of our insurance solutions for your auto, home, and life.

Midwest Insurance Group offers Wisconsin auto insurance coverage in the communities of BrookfieldJeffersonPewaukeeWatertownMukwonago, DelafieldWaukeshaMilwaukeeOconomowoc, and Hartland.