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Business Newsletter – March 2018


2205 Point Blvd., Suite 200 | Elgin, Illinois 60123
847-741-1000 | www.lundstrominsurance.com | Fax 847-428-8857

"Serving you, your business and your community since 1956"

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Vol. 26 No. 2

The Basic Three: Life, Health, and Disability Insurance

The sudden loss of a loved one, sustaining a serious injury, or becoming seriously ill can bring financial and emotional stress to your employees, and therefore, to your workplace. However, offering life, health, and disability income insurance policies in an employee benefits package can help your workers prepare for these situations and manage them more effectively. 

Life Insurance

The death of a loved one is an unfortunate reality that everyone faces at one time or another. If one of your employees dies unexpectedly, his or her family may experience some unexpected financial challenges. All family expenses continue, despite the sudden, very noticeable loss of income. Funeral costs, mortgages, and other outstanding debts, as well as daily expenditures, only add to the challenges. Providing employees with group life insurance or offering employees the option to buy into a policy can help them feel secure that, in the event of death, their families can receive the proceeds of the insurance policy. To protect your business from the loss of a key employee, consider obtaining key-person life insurance, which covers your business for losses sustained in the event of a key employee's death. 

Health Insurance

Employee health and well-being is critical to workplace productivity. Employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer qualified health coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours per week, or be faced with a penalty. Since more workers will be covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers may need to reconsider the level of benefits to offer and the amount they expect to contribute to the cost of the plan. It is important to note that continuing to offer health insurance to employees may serve to attract and retain top-performing employees. 

Disability Income Insurance

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 43% of all people age 40 will suffer a long-term disability (lasting 90 days or more) by the age of 65. Yet, disability income insurance is an often over-looked insurance policy. While employers generally recognize a need for a group life insurance policy or a group health insurance policy, they often overlook the importance of insurance for employees' paychecks. If, due to a severe illness or injury, one of your employees is unable to work for an extended period of time, a disability income insurance policy can replace a portion of the employee's income to help cover financial obligations. 
There are a variety of disability income insurance policies that differ in their coverage options. It is important to check the policy's definition of disability. Some may provide benefits only to those who are totally disabled and unable to work in any field. To protect your business from any loss that may occur should a key employee become disabled, consider the benefits of key-person disability insurance, which covers your business for losses sustained in the event of that valuable person's disability. 
Illness, death, and disability are challenging enough for your employees without adding the fear of financial difficulties. For your trusted staff to avoid gaps in their insurance plans, make sure the policies you offer contain adequate coverage. Regardless of which plans you choose, we can help you pick a group policy that fits your needs. We are happy to help you evaluate all aspects of the policy to be sure it can help protect you and your employees. 

Health and Safety Laws for Working Teens

Every industry has its unique occupational hazards. Food service jobs may expose workers to slippery floors, hot cooking equipment, and sharp objects. Janitorial work may require contact with hazardous chemicals in industrial cleaning supplies. Even retail workers may risk injury due to heavy lifting. 
However, if you employ teenage workers, it is important to know that they may be at higher risk than adults for being injured on the job. This is partly due to where teens work—restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, and retail stores—and the occupational hazards they may encounter. Also, teen workers may be asked to perform tasks they have not yet been completely trained for. Further,
 teen workers may not yet know how to assess risk, or handle it effectively at a worksite. 
To protect your business and your staff, be sure to read up on the laws protecting the safety of working teens. For starters, employers are required by law to provide all workers, including teens, with the following: 
  • A safe and healthy work place 
  • Safety and health training, especially regarding chemicals 
  • Paid medical care and sick leave for certain on-the-job injuries. 

Teen Labor Laws

Generally, Federal and state labor laws regulate the number of hours, schedules, and types of work teens are allowed to perform. Limitations for adolescents age 14 and 15 may be more stringent than for those aged 16 and older. Teens under age 16 may be restricted on the number of hours they can work each day and week, depending on whether it is a school day and whether school is in session. However, the laws do make exceptions for students in work experience programs. 
Age limits usually apply to dangerous work. For example, workers generally must be age 18 or older to drive a motor vehicle, operate most power equipment, and work in certain occupations such as wrecking, excavation, and roofing. Typically, no one aged 14 or 15 may work in construction, in warehouses, on ladders or scaffolds, or as a cocktail server, baker, or cook. Also, those under 16 may not unload trucks, conveyor belts, railroad cars. There may also be restrictions for other types of work. 
To encourage a safe work environment, employers must educate teens about basic safety and emergency procedures. Encourage them to follow all safety rules and instructions and to wear protective gear, as needed. Point out that a clean and tidy work area is more likely to be a safe work area. Post safety and training materials in more than one language, if necessary, and inform teens to promptly report safety and health hazards to their supervisor. 
Many injuries among teen workers can be prevented with industry-specific health and safety training, and adherence to safety laws. For more information on the regulations, potential concerns, and liabilities of employing teens in your business and state, visit the Department of Labor (DOL) website at www.youthrules.dol.gov for more information about working teens. 
First jobs are seldom forgotten. Early work experiences can be rewarding and provide opportunities for learning and growth. As a business owner, you can promote positive and safe work experiences that help prepare young workers for success in the workplace.

Did You Know?

Enhanced Tool to Track Energy 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released an upgrade to its online energy management and tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager (www.energystar.gov). The tool can help businesses make their commercial properties at least 20% more efficient by 2020. The upgraded Portfolio Manager has enhanced data sharing capabilities and reporting, and new is the ability to manage buildings from design to occupancy. The tool has become the standard platform across the nation for benchmarking energy use and is able to recognize the most energy-efficient buildings in the U.S. 

BBB Online 

The BBB Military Line at www.BBB.org has provided free resources to our military communities in the areas of financial literacy and consumer protection through the efforts of 113 BBBs across the U.S. The five main components of the program are: education, outreach, information, data collection, and complaint and dispute resolution. 

Small Business Innovation Research Program 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of 11 Federal agencies participating in the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program (www.epa.gov/ncer/sbir). SBIR provides incentive funding to small businesses for developing their advanced concepts into commercial products that address environmental problems awarding $2 million to small businesses for sustainable technology development. 

Protect the MVP from a Disability Disaster

You may be your business's most valuable player (MVP), and proper measures should be taken to protect both your income and the livelihood of your business in the event you suffer a disability. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must be severely disabled, and even then, you will have to wait at least six months for payments to begin. Social Security disability was not intended to be an individual's sole source of disability income; thus benefits are often less than what you might need to cover your regular living expenses.employee
Disability income insurance offers protection against an accident or health crisis that limits your ability to earn income. Depending on your income, the maximum coverage you can buy may replace 45% to 75% of your pre-disability earnings. The policy's cost generally depends on such factors as the risk level of your occupation, your age, health, and the scope of coverage. Consider the following policy features: 
Definition of Disability. Carefully review the definition of disability in your policy. Some policies cover you if you are unable to work in the occupation in which you were employed or for which you were trained, or if you can no longer earn as much as you once did in that field. In contrast, other policies cover you only if you are unable to work in any occupation. This distinction can make a big difference if you become disabled. 
Residual Benefits or Partial Disability Coverage. Under certain specified circumstances, if you become disabled but are able to earn a portion of your previous income, residual benefits or partial disability coverage pays a portion 
 of your benefits.
Guaranteed Renewable. With this feature, the insurer cannot refuse to renew your policy or change any terms, except for premium cost, as long as you continue to pay your premiums on time. 
Guaranteed Insurability. This provision allows you to increase your monthly benefit, even if you experience health changes that would otherwise prevent you from obtaining additional disability coverage. 
Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). This feature helps protect your bene-fits against the effects of inflation during a long-term disability. 
Also, consider a business overhead expense (BOE) policy that can help cover lost profits and continuing fixed costs, such as salaries and ongoing business expenses, in the event you suffer a disability. In general, benefits are paid monthly after a predetermined waiting period, limited to a maximum amount, and restricted to a specified length of time (often from one to two years). A thorough disability plan that includes both disability income and business overhead expense insurance can help protect your livelihood and ensure your business stays up and running.

For Your Information

Lack of Employee Engagement 

POPin recently released survey results which found that most companies still struggle with significant misalignment issues between management and employees, making it difficult to implement key initiatives and retain top talent. In the survey, 41% of respondents say town hall meetings are "typically one sided" with information flowing from management to employees. Furthermore, 47% say employee opinions are "only sometimes" heard and addressed in such meetings. In fact, 45% of respondents fail to conduct town hall meetings at all. 

More Full Time to Freelance 

According to the Q4 Talent Trends report by Randstad Source-right, more than half of global human capital leaders expect to transfer one-third of their permanent positions to contingent roles in the near future. The survey found that 61% of employers plan to replace up to 30% of their permanent positions with freelancers to become "more agile and flexible" in the changing economy. Nearly 40% of employers expect they will be able to reduce the impact of talent scarcity. 

Business Traveler Health Suffers 

On Call international found in a recent survey that the health of U.S.'s frequent business travelers may be quickly deteriorating due to high stress levels and the hectic nature of work-related work travel. In fact, 54% of business travelers say they are less likely to exercise on a work trip compared to when they are home. And, 44% say they are more likely to eat unhealthy foods during business travel. Furthermore, 36% believe work-related travel makes them more stressed than normal.

Being Your Own Boss

Running a business out of your home can be a lifestyle shift,particularly if you share your space with family members or a roommate. It may not be as easy to leave work at the office when the office is at home. Having a designated office space can help minimize the impact your home-based business has on your family. It may also reduce stress and increase the safety and security of your work. In addition, if you haven't done so already, you may want to consider a separate business phone line and Internet connection to further separate work from home.boss
Besides creating an inviting and exclusive workplace, here are a few tips for time management and planning of your home-based business:
  • Create a project schedule to help you manage your time more efficiently.
  • Minimize home distractions that might reduce your efficiency.
  • Log your work on a daily basis to track trends in your working habits.
A home-based business can create challenges involving where work ends and home begins. However, creating a designated office space, setting reasonable deadlines, and tracking your progress may help you adjust to the unregulated nature of a home office. 
Copyright © 2018 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
 The content of this newsletter is taken from sources that are believed to be reliable. 
 However, this newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal, financial, or professional counsel. 


2205 Point Blvd. Suite 200 | Elgin, IL 60123
p 847.741.1000 | f 847.428.8857