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Featured Insurance Blog

Avoiding Common Condo Insurance Mistakes

Are you uncertain of about your condo insurance and aren’t sure what kind of steps you need to take to protect yourself? Please reach out to us at Midwest Professional Insurance to learn more and to make sure that these common mistakes do not affect your policy options. 

Assuming the Owner’s Insurance Protects You 

Your condo association owner likely has specialized coverage for the structure of the building. You might think that this protects you – it does not. Condo insurance is designed to kick in when your belongings are damaged. The owner’s association only covers the structure – not your items. 

Not Knowing What is Covered 

Things like smoke, fire, explosions, vandalism, theft, injuries, plumbing, lighting system damage, alternative living expenses, and more are all covered in your condo insurance. It may not cover things like floods, wear and tear, earthquakes, intentional damage, pest damage, and sewage issues. 

Picking Cash-Value Reimbursement 

You might think you’ll get more money with a cash-value reimbursement policy. However, you are mistaken. Deprecation to the value of that good will cut back how much you get. By contrast, replacement coverage will pay to replace your good, no matter what its initial price. 

Trying to Save Money With Bare Walls Policies 

Don’t try to save money by buying a bare walls policy because it will only cover the bare structural design of the condo. An all-in policy will cover things like fixtures, structures, plumbing, wiring, and more. As a result, it is important to pay attention to this facet before buying a policy. 

Not Trusting Your Provider 

If you feel like you’re working with a condo insurance provider you cannot trust, please reach out to us at Midwest Professional Insurance right away. Our team fully understands the different processes needed to handle these steps. 

COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidance for Federal Contractor and Subcontractors

On Sept. 24, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) released new guidance (the Guidance) on COVID-19 workplace safety protocols for federal contractors and subcontractors. The goal of the Guidance is to get more people vaccinated.

The Guidance requires each covered contract and contract-like instrument to include a clause requiring the contractor and their subcontractors to comply with all guidelines for workplace locations published by the Task Force.

These workplace safety protocols will apply to all covered contractor employees, including contractor or subcontractor employees in covered contractor workplaces who are not working on a federal government contract or contract-like instrument.

Federal contractors and subcontractors with a covered contract will be required to conform to the following workplace safety protocols:

  1. COVID-19 vaccination;
  2. Masking and physical distancing; and
  3. and Appointment of COVID-19 coordinators

Action Steps

Covered contractors must review and adhere to the requirements of the Guidance. They are also responsible for ensuring that covered contractor employees comply with workplace safety protocols.

Visit our blog page to read the full COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidance for Federal Contractor and Subcontractors

https://www.mwpins.com/blog/

Covered Contractor Guidance

Covered contractor employees must comply with agency COVID-19 workplace safety requirements while in federal workplaces. Agencies are strongly encouraged to incorporate a clause requiring compliance with this Guidance into contracts that are not covered or directly addressed by the executive order—Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (the order) because the contractor is under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold as defined in section 2.101 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) or is a contract or subcontract for the manufacturing of products.

Covered Contractors

Federal contractors are subject to the Guidance if they have a covered contract. Covered contractors include executive departments and agencies, including independent establishments subject to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act.

Covered contracts include any new contract; contract-like instrument; solicitation for a contract or contract-like instrument; extension or renewal of an existing contract or contract-like instrument; and exercise of an option on an existing contract or contract-like instrument, if it is a:

  1. Procurement contract or contract-like instrument for services, construction, or a leasehold interest in real property;
  2. Contract or contract-like instrument for services covered by the Service Contract Act, 41 U.S.C. 6701 et seq.;
  3. Contract or contract-like instrument for concessions, including any concessions contract excluded by Department of Labor regulations at 29 C.F.R. 4.133(b); or
  4. Contract or contract-like instrument entered into with the federal government in connection with federal property or lands and related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents, or the general public.

The Guidance does not apply to (i) grants; (ii) contracts, contract-like instruments, or agreements with Indian Tribes under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638), as amended; (iii) contracts or subcontracts whose value is equal to or less than the simplified acquisition threshold, as the term is defined in section 2.101 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation; (iv) employees who perform work outside the United States or its outlying areas, as those terms are defined in section 2.101 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation; or (v) subcontracts solely for the provision of products.

Vaccination Requirements

Covered contractors must ensure that all covered contractor employees are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 unless the employee is legally entitled to an accommodation. Covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated no later than Dec. 8, 2021. After that date, all covered contractor employees must be fully vaccinated by the first day of the period of performance on an exercised option or extended or renewed contract when the clause has been incorporated into the covered contract.

Covered contractors may be required to provide accommodations to covered contractor employees who communicate to their covered contractor that they are not vaccinated against COVID-19 because of a disability (which would include medical conditions) or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Covered contractors should review and consider what accommodations they must offer. Requests for “medical accommodation” or “medical exceptions” should be treated as requests for disability accommodations.

Should a federal agency have an urgent, mission-critical need for a covered contractor to have covered contractor employees begin work on a covered contract or at a covered workplace before becoming fully vaccinated, the agency head may approve an exception for the covered contractor. In the case of such limited exceptions, covered contractors must ensure these covered contractor employees are fully vaccinated within 60 days of beginning work on a covered contract or at a covered workplace. Covered contractors must further ensure that such employees comply with masking and physical distancing requirements in covered workplaces prior to being fully vaccinated.

Covered contractors must review their covered employees’ documentation to prove vaccination status. Covered contractors must require covered contractor employees to show or provide one of the following copies:

  1. The record of immunization from a health care provider or pharmacy;
  2. The COVID-19 vaccination record card;
  3. Medical records documenting the vaccination;
  4. Immunization records from a public health or State immunization information system; or
  5. Any other official documentation verifying vaccination with information on the vaccine name, date(s) of administration, and the name of health care professional or clinic site administering vaccine.

Covered contractors may allow covered contractor employees to show or provide their employer with a digital copy of such records, including a:

  1. Digital photo;
  2. Scanned image; or
  3. PDF of such a record.

Covered contractors must ensure compliance with the requirements in this Guidance related to the showing or provision of proper vaccination documentation. They are strongly encouraged to incorporate similar vaccination requirements into their non-covered contracts and agreements with noncovered contractors whose employees perform work at covered contractor workplaces but who do not work on or in connection with a federal contract (e.g., such as those contracts and agreements related to the provision of food services, on-site security or grounds keeping services at covered contractor workplaces).

Face Coverings and Physical Distancing

Covered contractors must ensure that all individuals, including covered contractor employees and visitors, comply with published Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for masking and physical distancing at a covered contractor workplace. In addition to the face coverings and physical distance guidance, contractors must follow applicable CDC guidance for mask-wearing and physical distancing in specific settings, including health care, transportation, correctional and detention facilities, and schools.

Fully vaccinated individuals must wear a mask in indoor settings, except for limited exceptions in areas of high or substantial community transmission. In addition, fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask in areas of low or moderate community transmission, nor do they need to physically distance, regardless of the level of transmission in the area.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors and in certain outdoor settings, regardless of the level of community transmission in the area. To the extent practicable, individuals who are not fully vaccinated should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others at all times, including in offices, conference rooms, and all other communal and workspaces.

Covered contractors must require individuals in covered contractor workplaces who are required to wear a mask to:

  1. Wear appropriate masks consistently and correctly (over mouth and nose).
  2. Wear appropriate masks in any common area or shared workspace (including open floorplan office spaces, cubicle embankments, and conference rooms).
  3. Wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during outdoor activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated, consistent with CDC guidance.

Covered contractors may be required to provide an accommodation to covered contractor employees that cannot wear masks because of a disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance. Covered contractors should review and consider what accommodation they must offer. Covered contractors may provide exceptions to face covering and/or physical distancing requirements consistent with CDC guidelines. They may also provide exceptions for covered contractor employees who are unable to wear a mask because of difficulty breathing or activities for which wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace safety as determined by a workplace risk assessment. Any exceptions must be approved in writing by an authorized representative of the covered contractor to ensure compliance with this Guidance at covered contractor workplaces.

Employees with face coverings may be asked to lower their face coverings briefly for identification purposes in compliance with safety and security requirements. At least weekly, covered contractors must check the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker County View for community transmission information in all areas with a covered contractor workplace to determine proper workplace safety protocols. When the level of community transmission in the area of a covered contractor workplace increases from low or moderate to substantial or high, contractors and subcontractors should put in place more protective workplace safety protocols consistent with published guidelines.

However, when the level of community transmission in the area of a covered contractor workplace is reduced from high or substantial to moderate or low, it must remain at that lower level for at least two consecutive weeks before the covered contractor utilizes those protocols recommended for areas of moderate or low community transmission.

COVID-19 Workplace Safety Coordinator

Covered contractors must designate one or more workers to coordinate the implementation of and compliance with this Guidance. The COVID-19 coordinator(s) may be the same individual(s) responsible for implementing any COVID-19 workplace safety protocols required by local, state or federal law. Their responsibilities to coordinate COVID-19 workplace safety protocols may comprise some or all of their regular duties.

These coordinators must ensure that information on required COVID-19 workplace safety protocols is provided to covered contractor employees and all other individuals likely to be present at covered contractor workplaces. This includes communicating required workplace safety protocols and related policies by email, websites, memoranda, flyers, or other means.

Coordinators should also post signage at covered contractor workplaces that sets forth the requirements and workplace safety protocols in this Guidance in a readily understandable manner. Coordinator(s) must also ensure that covered contractor employees comply with the requirements in this Guidance related to the showing or provision of proper vaccination documentation.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer became the most common cancer this year, accounting for 12% of all new cancer cases worldwide. In addition, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among American women. However, some men are also at risk for breast cancer.

The main factors that influence your risk of breast cancer include being a woman and getting older. Additional risk factors that are out of your control include genetic mutations, exposure to radiation therapy, your reproductive history, and your family history.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As such, this is the perfect time to refamiliarize yourself with the following warning signs of breast cancer:

  1. Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
  2. New lumps in the breast or underarm
  3. Pain, thickening, or swelling in any area of the breast
  4. Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  5. Nipple discharge other than breast milk

Screenings can’t prevent cancer, but early detection can make treatment more effective. Women ages 45 to 54 should get a mammogram each year, while women age 55 and older can switch to biennial screening. For more information about breast cancer risk factors, talk to your doctor or visit breastcancer.org.

Breast Cancer Prevention Tips:

Research shows that making these lifestyle changes can help decrease your risk of breast cancer.

  1. Limiting your alcohol intake
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight
  3. Exercising regularly

This Year’s Flu Season

Influenza season typically runs from October through April, but you can get the flu at any time of the year. The United States experienced a light flu season last year due to the preventive health and safety measures being taken for COVID-19. Health experts warn that since fewer people developed immunity to the previous year’s flu strains, more people could be susceptible to influenza this year.

With emerging variants of coronavirus spreading across the United States and traditional flu season ramping up, it’s crucial to get a flu vaccination. Experts assure that there is no harm in getting a flu shot in addition to a COVID-19 vaccine. On top of getting a flu vaccine, it’s still important to practice good hygiene—such as washing your hands with soap and water, covering coughs or sneezes, and not going to work when you’re sick.

Health Insurance for Beginners

When purchasing health insurance, it is vital to know, precisely, what it is. Health insurance is when your insurer pays for some, or all, of your health care costs in exchange for a monthly premium. It sounds simple, but health insurance can be complex, and it is better navigated when you have the services of an insurance agent to guide you. That is why you should consider speaking to the folks at Midwest Professional Insurance.

To start, get comfortable and knowledgeable with health insurance lingo. Words like:

  • Allowed amount – the maximum amount your insurer will pay for a service.
  • Deductible – how much you need to pay to the provider before your plan begins to pay.
  • Co-payment – the fixed amount you pay for a covered service before you can receive the service.
  • Co-insurance – your share of the costs for a covered health care service.
  • Network – the providers and facilities that are contracted by your insurer to provide health care services.
  • Out of pocket limit – the maximum amount you will pay before your insurance starts to cover 100% of the cost.

Once you have a handle on the terms, establish what kind of cover you are looking for, for whom, and how much you are willing to spend on a monthly premium. Is the health insurance only for yourself, or do you need health insurance for your spouse and children?

Consider the minimum health benefits set out by certain plans and what they really cover, including but not limited to:

  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Preventative and wellness services
  • Prescription Drug coverage
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Pediatric Services

When it comes to your health, do your homework! Midwest Professional Insurance can help you navigate health insurance and the cover available. Contact them today!

What to Do If Your Life Insurance Policy Lapses

At Midwest Professional Insurance, we can help you find high-quality life insurance and other policies that will help you manage various difficulties in life. But what happens if your policy lapses? Are you unable to reinstate it, or can you get your coverage back? Understanding your options here is essential to ensure you have great coverage. 

You Can Get a Policy Back When It Lapses 

Life insurance is a unique type of policy because it doesn’t have a pressing need. For instance, auto insurance must be valid every month and, if it lapses, you can experience issues getting another policy again. However, life insurance is a long-term policy and, if it expires, you can get it reinstated. The process varies on how long you wait, though.

If you try to reinstate your policy before 30 days have lapsed, you probably just need to fill out a new application, pay your premiums, and get your policy back in order. Between 30 days to six months, though, you typically have to answer health questions and sign documents stating that you’ve experienced no severe health changes. 

And after 90 days and up to five years, you likely have to get a new medical examination and take other steps to get your life insurance policy back. Most companies are willing to reinstate your policy as long as you provide them with information about your health that helps to verify that your old policy is still appropriate for you. 

Getting a Great Life Insurance Policy 

As you can see, it is vital to avoid lapsing with your policy. While you can always work to get it reinstated after it expires, the extra work is sometimes frustrating and annoying for many people. So please don’t hesitate to contact us at Midwest Professional Insurance to learn more.

Business Owners Policies (BOPs)

Business owners have a lot to consider when choosing insurance that fully protects their business. One coverage option, a business owner’s policy (BOP), can take the guesswork out of the process. A BOP bundles several types of coverage in one package, similar to the way a homeowners policy works but is designed for small and midsized businesses.

BOP Key Features

A BOP generally combines the following types of coverage in one convenient bundle:

  1. Commercial property insurance—Covers losses to property from common perils. It also covers office equipment, furniture, inventory, machinery, raw materials, computers and anything else that is vital to business operations.
  2. General liability insurance—Covers a company’s legal responsibility for any harm it may cause to others, up to the policy limit. It also covers attorney fees and medical bills for anyone injured by the company.
  3. Business interruption insurance—Reimburses for loss of income if a covered disaster interferes with the successful operation of the business.

Exclusions

Although a BOP is a convenient insurance option for small to midsized business owners, it does not cover professional liability, auto insurance and workers’ compensation. Workers’ life, health, and disability coverage is also excluded. For those exclusions, business owners can purchase separate insurance policies. Other examples include the following:

  1. Crime coverage—Although it is minimal, crime coverage can be added to a BOP to cover losses as a result of crime, such as employee dishonesty and computer fraud. Typical crime coverage ranges between $1,000 and $5,000.
  2. Data breach coverage—This coverage is commonly added to BOPs to help remedy the following losses resulting from data breaches:

A. Notifying impacted individuals
B. Hiring crisis communication consultants
C. Defense and settlement costs from associated lawsuits
D. Replacement of lost income
E. Extortion and ransom payments

3. Errors and omissions (E&O) coverage—Businesses that provide services for a fee can be sued by customers who claim that they were harmed because the business failed to perform its job properly. E&O coverage pays for any judgment for which the insured is found legally liable, up to the policy limit. It also covers legal defense costs.

Ideal Candidates for a BOP

Businesses that have the following characteristics are ideal candidates for a BOP:

  1. Operate in a physical location, whether home-based or outside the home
  2. Have assets that can be stolen, including products, cash, furniture and digital property
  3. Are at a high risk for lawsuits
  4. Employ less than 100 employees and have less $5 million in sales

Eligibility

Small to midsized businesses need to meet specific criteria to be eligible for a BOP. When determining eligibility, insurers consider factors that include the type of business, size of its primary location, class of business, and revenue.

Premiums for BOP policies are based on eligibility factors, as well as financial stability, building construction, security features, and fire hazards.

When purchasing business insurance, it is important to obtain the right amount. Contact Midwest Professional Insurance for guidance as to whether a BOP is a logical choice for your business.

Summer Travel Safety Tips

As millions of Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and businesses resume normal operations, people are likely making plans to travel this summer.

Of those planning to travel, 74% will take a domestic trip and 13% will travel internationally. Also, millennials report being the most excited to plan trips and get back out there this summer.

If you’re trading your staycation for a getaway, here are some tips to keep you as safe as possible this summer:

  1. Get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends delaying travel until you are able to get fully vaccinated.
  2. Stay domestic. Although Europe continues to open up to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers, the global travel situation is in flux. Some countries are closing their borders again or enforcing strict curfews and mandates.
  3. Take a road trip. Traveling by car is still safer than flying as it involves less exposure to people.
  4. Explore the outdoors. Outdoor activities are generally safer. Get outdoorsy or visit small towns to distance yourself from others easily.
  5. Check travel restrictions. Be flexible and continue checking state and local policies for where you are, along your route and where you are going.
  6. Keep up with COVID-19 safety precautions. Pack extra masks and hand sanitizer for any outing. Regardless of your vaccination status, you should still wear a mask, avoid crowds and wash your hands frequently when traveling.

If you’re not traveling this summer, use your vacation time to reconnect with friends and family who you’ve missed.

CDC Travel Considerations

If you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and travel within the United States, the CDC says you do not need to get tested or self-quarantine after travel. If you are traveling with young children who aren’t eligible yet for vaccination, check out CDC recommendations at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

The most important aspect of traveling is to stay safe and healthy. If you’re not comfortable traveling this summer, you can always start planning your 2022 dream getaway.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice.

What to know before sending your student to college with a car

If you’re sending your child off to college, one of your discussion topics may be whether their car is going with them. Depending on where your child is going and the field of study, having a car may be beneficial. However, on the flip side you may have several concerns.

Before packing your college student’s car and saying good-bye, there are some things you should know and do.

Find out the college’s policy

Depending on where it’s located, the number of cars allowed on campus may be limited. For example, some college gives first priority to the juniors and seniors. If there are additional spots available, the remaining students are put into a lottery. So, spending a lot of time discussing if the car can go, may be a moot point.

Discuss your auto policy with your insurance agent

There are many variables that may come into play with your insurance policy. If your student is attending college 100 miles or less from your current residence and is full-time, it’s likely your policy provides coverage. Because the car will be parked in a different environment, you may want to discuss policy coverage and limits to make sure you have adequate coverage. For example, if the car was parked in your garage, but now it’ll be outside, having comprehensive coverage may be a good idea.

Even if your student is going to college out of state, they may still be able to stay on your policy. However, some states have different car insurance laws. Talking to your insurance agent can help you adjust your policy accordingly.

Lastly, just because your student is off to college, it doesn’t mean the good student discount automatically ends. Many companies will continue the discount for unmarried, full-time students up to age 25 if they maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Don’t forget about safety

To keep your student and car safe, here are some things you can do:

  1. Install a dashboard camera.
  2. Always keep the windows up and the doors locked.
  3. Remove valuables items.
  4. Install a car alarm.
  5. Put an anti-theft device on the steering wheel.
  6. Review the vehicle crime statistics at your school.
  7. Know where campus security/police are located.
  8. Purchase roadside assistance.

Discuss responsibility

There are many benefits of taking a car to college. However, doing so increases your student’s responsibility. Things to discuss include:

  1. How to handle a friend who wants to use the car.
  2. How to handle friends who want you to be their ride service.
  3. What to do if car warning light turns on.
  4. The car as a distraction i.e., grades come first.
  5. What to do if in an accident.

Understand state requirements

If your car is registered in your home state, there’s nothing you’ll need to do. However, if your student decides to become a permanent resident of the state where he/she is attending college, that changes the situation. Not only will a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) be necessary, your child will also need to get his/her own insurance policy.

Each year, it’s important to review your insurance needs before your student leaves for college. Just when you think you have it figured out, something changes.

Insurance for Students FAQs

Q: Will my child’s belongings be covered if his/her dorm is subject to theft, fire or other disasters?

A: Usually homeowners’ policies extend to a campus dorm room, but only up to a certain amount. If your student has expensive items, consider getting more coverage.

Q: Will my child’s belongings be covered if he/she lives in off-campus housing?

It depends. Call 913-747-1000 to determine whether your student’s property would be protected under your homeowners’ policy. If not, consider purchasing renter’s insurance, which ranges from $15 to $30 per month and also provides liability coverage if anyone is injured in the residence.

Q: Does my child need to be a full-time student to be covered under my health plan?

No. Your child is eligible as long as they are under 26 years old.

Q: What happens if my student gets seriously injured while at school?

A: This is a very real possibility, so it is important to contact Midwest Professional Insurance to discuss your health plan and whether there are providers near your child’s university or college.

Q: Can I get a discount on my auto policy if my young driver is away at school?

A: Usually you can, provided your son or daughter attends a school that is more than 100 miles away from your home. Your auto policy could also change if he or she takes a car to school, so be sure to contact Midwest Professional Insurance.

PLAN AHEAD

Call our office today at 913-747-1000 to learn more about insurance solutions for your student.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.

13 Risks Facing Professional Services Companies and How to Help Protect Your Business

Working with businesses, the stresses range from inability to meet staffing needs (very real right now) to lack of availability of materials. As your trying to navigate these, to have large equipment come up missing or have a data breach (or even an accusation of one) can put everything on hold and cost you time and money! Remember it’s a policies’ job to RESPOND to these claims and losses, you’re not just paying for the COVERAGE, you are paying for the REPRESENTATION. Call me today and let’s determine where and what to insure, and how.

– FELISHA MCDOUGALD CIC CPRM

Call 913-747-1000 | Text 913-359-9121

The exposure to risk for professional services businesses continues to grow as the world becomes more and more dependent on technology and as the industry faces other emerging risks. Here are 13 professional services risks to look out for and the types of insurance coverage that can help protect your business:

1. Cyber Risks

It takes only one cyber event or data security breach to impair a professional service company’s financial results, or even potentially put them out of business. One successful hack lost laptop or lost paper record can cause a data breach that impacts the privacy of customers, employees, and others.

Travelers can help protect your professional service business before, during, and after a breach. CyberRisk coverage* can be a crucial safeguard against the devastating financial consequences of a cyberattack, with protection that provides coverage solutions for digital forensic investigations, litigation expenses, regulatory defense expenses/fines, crisis management expenses, business interruption, cyber extortion, and betterment.

2. Employee Injuries

Work-related accidents are an unfortunate reality in any industry. For example, musculoskeletal injuries can occur in slippery walkways on your property, or as a result of prolonged hours at workstations that may not facilitate optimal employee efficiency and comfort.

Significant medical bills may result from workplace accidents or injuries. Travelers’ Workers Compensation insurance can provide resources aimed at helping employees make a timely recovery and smooth transition when they return to work.

3. Employment Practices

In an increasingly litigious environment, there’s a risk that an employee can sue your professional service company if they believe they were treated unfairly in your workplace. Terminations, promotions, hiring practices – all invite scrutiny and can increase your risk of being sued. And there is the potential publicity surrounding a wrongful termination or discrimination lawsuit that can harm your reputation and brand. Travelers Employment Practices liability insurance* can help protect your organization from the costs associated with an employment-related claim.

4. Equipment Failures

Equipment breakdown of heating, cooling or electrical components can disrupt operations and result in increased costs and lost profits. Often armed with digital sensors and microprocessors, much of this equipment’s sophisticated nature may render it more susceptible to failure and downtime.

Repair or replacement costs to get your operations back up and running can be covered through policies that insure equipment failures. Travelers’ Equipment Breakdown insurance can help cover costs and expedite a return to normal operations, and a comprehensive package like EnergyMax21SM can help cover your lost income caused by a shutdown.

5. Errors & Omissions

Regardless of how well you plan, the potential for mistakes in the performance of a professional service is very real. Your business’s financial security can depend on how well protected you are from a lawsuit or claim. Travelers Miscellaneous Professional Liability coverage* offers protection for an array of emerging exposures, as well as for losses resulting from negligence or errors and omissions in the performance of professional services.

6. Evolving Workforce Dynamics

Adopting a culture of safety starts with recruiting and hiring, and continues through to onboarding and day-to-day employee engagement.

To build and maintain a safe and healthy workforce, start by leveraging preventive programs designed by insurers. For instance, as a customer, you could take advantage of the traveler’s Workforce Advantage® platform, which can help you analyze working conditions in offices and facilities, as well as implement changes that emphasize ergonomic techniques to ensure people and equipment are interacting efficiently and safely.

7. Going Global

For companies with international operations, a vehicle accident or workplace injury could have costly ramifications if the occurrence isn’t adequately covered by domestic policies. Your insurance representative may help you conduct a quick check of covered risks and policy limits in foreign countries where you may operate to help you identify any potential gaps.

Insurance programs for international exposures seek to equate foreign coverages to U.S. standards. Extending to more than 100 countries, Travelers Global Companion Plus+ ℠ coverage is an effective solution for international exposures and includes Property, General Liability, Commercial Auto and Workers Compensation policies, and more.

8. Large Losses

There are routine claims and then there are incidents with the potential to generate catastrophic losses that exceed the limits of a primary liability policy. Consider the case of a sales rep who causes an at-fault accident with a company vehicle, resulting in severe injuries and extensive property damage.

Consider adding excess liability coverage that works with your primary insurance policies. Helping to insulate your organization from potentially crippling losses, Travelers’ Excess Casualty coverage can provide additional financial protection when a loss exceeds the limits of your primary general liability policy and other qualifying coverages.

9. Mobile Equipment

State-of-the-art surveying equipment that moves from job to job may hold value beyond prescribed policy limits. It’s not unreasonable to think that theft of or damage to that job-critical property may result in substantial costs for replacement or repair.

To appropriately cover property that is transported to different locations, the ability to schedule specific items and cover them for a stated or appraised value is important. With Inland Marine Coverage from Travelers, that coverage can extend to unique works of art or antiques displayed in offices or common areas.

10. Third-Party Risks

Hiring subcontractors can help expand your business’s capacity, but what happens if they make a mistake?

Transferring risk to the appropriate party is an important aspect of your insurance strategy. While Travelers’ General Liability insurance could help cover you for the negligence of a subcontractor, you should require these parties to carry their own insurance. In addition to securing Business Insurance from Travelers, consider discussing risk transfer strategies with your agent.

11. Vehicle Accidents

From company cars to vans and heavy trucks, your fleet can be both an asset and a liability. Serious vehicle accidents not only pose a threat to the value of your vehicles but can also involve serious injury to pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles. And the risk is ever-present.

Commercial Auto Insurance lets you select liability and property damage amounts that cover minor fender benders on accidents of a more complex nature. In addition, Travelers’ Commercial Automobile insurance coverage may extend to rented vehicles and medical expenses incurred by third parties.

12. Visitor Injuries

As clients and other visitors come and go, the odds of an on-site injury to those parties increase. Nowadays, litigation over these types of incidents is all too common and can lead to significant legal expenses as well as the possibility of verdicts that can carry devastatingly high damage awards.

In light of these possibilities, general liability coverage is critical. It can help protect your business from the costs of a legal defense and payments for damages when someone claims your business has caused them bodily injury or property damage.

13. Weather and Unexpected Events

Hurricanes along the Atlantic coast, California wildfires, and powerful storms just about anywhere typify the perils that businesses face. Damages to buildings and computer systems can upend operations and constrict cash flow.

Consider the right insurance that provides financial protection to enable your business to get back up and running as soon as possible after weather damage occurs. For offices and business equipment that are the backbone of your operations and comprise the bulk of your physical assets, commercial property insurance can provide coverage for your business’s physical assets, and coverage helps keep revenue flowing when the unexpected happens.

Solutions for All Risks

For service-oriented companies, insurance needs can be complex. Find a trusted partner who understands the unique risks facing your business and offers comprehensive solutions to help you prevent losses and mitigate claims costs. With Travelers, you get an insurer that has your back.

Call Midwest Professional Insurance at 913-747-1000 for all your business insurance needs.

How to Determine How Much Auto Coverage is Enough?

Trying to determine what auto insurance coverage you need can be like speaking a foreign language. Luckily the team at Midwest Professional Insurance can answer all of your questions. When deciding what coverage to carry, it is important to guarantee that you have not only enough to meet the minimum requirements of your state, but also that you’ve secured enough coverage that your personal finances will be amply guarded if you are in an accident. 

To determine your auto insurance coverage needs:

  • Find out what your state requires. Make sure you have all minimum requirements met.
  • Find out what the cash value of your car is and how much you owe on the vehicle. (This is integral particularly for Comprehensive and Collision coverage which are often not required by state law, but are usually required by lenders.
  • Figure out what your net worth is and how much liability insurance you would need to cover that full amount. For example, your state might only require a minimum coverage of $25,000 for a single person’s injuries, $50,000 for all injured parties and $25,000 for property damage (or 25/50/25) but if your vehicle itself is worth $30,000 this would be woefully inadequate coverage for you and you would be wise to purchase higher coverage amounts in order to make sure you are fully protected.

The level of coverage you carry will have an impact on your monthly premium and your deductible, so it is vital to take the factors mentioned above into consideration to decide what is acceptable to keep at a minimum and what you should bump up. The team at Midwest Professional Insurance is waiting to help you determine what level of coverage is right for you!

Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy – Impact on You and Insurance

The American economy is finally recovering President Joe Biden’s administration wants further stimulate the economy. So he recently signed an executive order aimed at increasing competition among businesses.

They say that corporate consolidation has been accelerating for many years, leaving the majority of industries in the hands of only a few entities. This is the main reason for slow wage growth and rising consumer prices. This latest executive order intends to reverse these effects.

The executive order includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to help address competition inequality.

Summary from Felisha McDougald, CIC CPRM

Competition is good, for you and for me. In the insurance industry, it ensures that my businesses are not unfairly penalized for losses by other companies in markets they rate in. While loyalty is important in insurance, no Commercial Agent can deny that Actuaries (those that gather data and make rate recommendations) ‘group’ data into buckets that often unfairly price smaller companies (especially those that cannot afford larger deductibles) out of the market. This is like a windfall effect, the carrier charges a higher price to Company x, y, z. Company y, z, get out, because they cannot be profitable. Company X has the staff to modify bids, and charge overages, however they pass that on to the Company requiring the insurance… and so it goes. In short: the more players we have in the game the better.

LABOR MARKET

Currently, nearly half of all private employers make employees sign non-compete agreements, limiting where employees can work during certain periods. Separately, many workplaces require certain licenses to perform specific jobs. The Biden administration believes these current trends are limiting growth.

In the first executive order, the White House encouraged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ban or limit noncompete agreements as well as occupational licensing restrictions. Additionally, the executive order urges the FTC and Department of Justice (DOJ) to strengthen antitrust guidance to prevent employers from collaborating to suppress wages or reduce

HEALTH CARE

The executive order addresses competition in health care in four main areas:

Prescription Drugs
Right now, large drug manufacturers enjoy incredible profits year over year. The White House alleges that this is due to

lack of competition and “pay for delay” tactics, where name-brand drug manufacturers pay generic manufacturers to stay out of the market. Such strategies result in Americans paying 2.5 times more for the same medications as peer countries.

The executive order directs the Food and Drug Administration to work with states and tribes to safely import prescription drugs from Canada, where drugs are less expensive. It also directs the Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration to increase support for generic and biosimilar drugs. Additionally, the order encourages the FTC to ban “pay for delay” and similar agreements.

Hearing Aids
The executive order directs the HHS to consider issuing proposed rules within 120 days for allowing hearing aids to be sold over the counter.

Hospitals
Charge far higher prices than hospitals in markets with more competition.

Hospital price transparency rules and finish implementing bipartisan federal legislation to address surprise hospital billing.

Health Insurance
The executive order directs the HHS to standardize plan options in the National Health Insurance Marketplace so people can comparison shop more easily.

TECHNOLOGY

The executive order addresses competition in the technology sector in four main areas:

Purchasing Would-be Competitors

Greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms, with particular attention to the acquisition of nascent competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition by ‘free’ products, and the effect on user privacy.

Gathering Personal Information

The current business model of many large tech platforms is the accumulation of individuals’ personal information. The Biden administration is concerned about the breadth of this collected information— information is sometimes compromised through security breaches.

The executive order encourages the FTC to establish rules on surveillance and the accumulation of data.

Unfairly Competing With Small Businesses

Big tech platforms have incredible control over the online marketplace. Often, small businesses rely on these platforms to reach their customers. However, large platforms will sometimes examine the most popular products sold by these small businesses, then replicate them and promote them more prominently on their websites.

FTC to establish rules barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces.

TRANSPORTATION

The transportation sector is dominated by a handful of corporations. The executive order addresses competition as it relates to:

Airlines
There are four commercial airlines that control two-thirds of the industry. This contributes to high prices for consumers, such as with baggage and cancellation fees. The Biden administration points out that these increases often come in lockstep, meaning the top airlines tend to raise them at the same time. These simultaneous increases demonstrate “a lack of meaningful competitive pressure,” according to the White House. Notably, despite this industry consolidation, airlines were late delivering 2.3 million checked bags in 2019, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The executive order directs the DOT to consider issuing clear rules requiring the refund of fees when baggage is delayed or when service isn’t actually provided, such as when the plane’s Wi-Fi or in-flight entertainment system is broken. Additionally, the order directs the DOT to consider issuing rules that require baggage, change and cancellation fees to be clearly disclosed to the customer.

Rail
The rail industry, like airliners, is heavily consolidated, going from 33 “Class I” freight railroads in 1980 to only seven today. Moreover, four rail companies dominate their respective geographic regions of the United States. These companies can prioritize their own freight traffic, sometimes to the detriment of passenger trains and other companies’ freight cars.

The executive order encourages the Surface Transportation Board to require railroad track owners to provide rights of way to passenger rails and strengthen their obligations to treat other freight companies fairly.

Shipping

The industry’s 10 largest shipping companies control more than 80% of the global market, leaving manufacturers who need to ship goods “at these large foreign companies’ mercy,” according to the Biden administration. These companies are allowed to charge exorbitant fees for when their shipments are sitting, waiting to be loaded, or unloaded.

The executive order encourages the Federal Maritime Commission to ensure vigorous enforcement against shippers charging American exporters exorbitant charges.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture consolidation is another concern for the Biden administration. Four companies now control most of the work’s seeds, and seed prices have increased as much as 30% annually. This consolidation also limits to whom small farmers can sell their goods, meaning lower price sharing for these farmers. Summarily, farmers are getting less for their goods, and consumers are paying more for them, all while large corporations are reaping profits.

current labeling rules allow for shady business practices that can harm consumers. For instance, foreign beef manufacturers may use the label “Product of USA” merely if the product was processed here. In fact, that beef may not be from the United States—the White House notes that most grass-fed beef labeled “Product of USA” is actually imported.

The executive order aims to combat these practices.

INTERNET SERVICE

The executive order addresses issues in the internet service sector in four primary areas:

Lack of Competition

According to the White House, more than 200 million U.S. residents live in an area with only one or two reliable high-speed internet providers, leading to prices as much as five times higher in these markets than in markets with more options. This situation is sometimes exacerbated when landlords enter exclusivity deals with internet service providers (ISPs), effectively blocking broadband internet expansion for an area.

The executive order encourages the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.

Lack of Price Transparency

High Termination Fees

Indiscriminate Service Slowdowns

BANKING AND CONSUMER FINANCE

In the last four decades, 70% of U.S. banks have been lost to closures, mergers, or acquisitions

SUMMARY

The executive order broadly addresses competition inequalities across market sectors. These proposed initiatives have the potential to help individuals and small businesses alike. However, it remains to be seen how all of these initiatives will play out, as executive orders are essentially a directive to federal agencies to revise their regulations. In other words, some of the proposals may never come to fruition, and those that do may take months to implement. At the very least, this executive order and its initiatives indicate the position of the Biden administration—signaling that it may pursue these agenda items through alternative means, if necessary.

Employers should continue to monitor exactly how the executive order plays out. In the meantime, employers can read the full overview of the order on www.whitehouse.gov.

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