Category: Industry News

Mike Lappin Joins Valley Insurance Associates, a Vizance Company, as Partner and President

Jun
29
2017
We are pleased to announce that Mike Lappin is joining Valley Insurance Associates, a Vizance Company, as Partner and President, effective July 11, 2017. Since 1999, Lappin has been employed with Motorists Insurance Group, most recently serving as President of Wilson Mutual since 2013. Under Lappin's direction, Wilson Mutual experienced increased revenue, while also improving a number of internal departments, furthering Wilson's position as a leader in the insurance industry. At Valley Insurance Associates, Lappin plans to add additional associates to the team, and will also be exploring further opportunities for mergers and acquisitions. "I am delighted to partner with the team at Valley Insurance Associates and Vizance," said Lappin. "This is a dynamic organization that has successfully evolved to meet the needs of an ever-changing business environment, and the values and vision of this company are in complete alignment with mine. This role provides the ideal leadership opportunity to merge my passion for insurance with my track record of robust business growth." Jeff Cardenas, President of Vizance, echoed Lappin's thoughts: "We are thrilled to welcome Mike to the team. His outstanding character and values, combined with his proven success in helping Wilson Mutual grow over time, indicate that he will provide the leadership that is needed to sustain our rapid organic growth rate. We will also continue to look at opportunities to acquire agencies that fit with our

Changes to SBC Forms

Apr
26
2017
As required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is a new version of the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) that all health insurers need to provide to their group health plan clients. The new SBC template includes an additional coverage example as well as language and terms to improve individuals' understanding of their health coverage. The updated template improves readability and includes more information about cost sharing, enhanced language to explain deductibles, and requires plans to address individual and overall out-of-pocket limits. The new version of the SBC must be distributed to all eligible individuals and beneficiaries beginning on the first day of the first open enrollment period that begins on or after April 1, 2017.  This means that upon your next renewal, the new SBC’s should be distributed to your employees.

OSHA To Delay Enforcing Crystalline Silica Standard

Apr
26
2017
OSHA recently announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry in order to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers. The agency has determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin September 23, 2017. OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

House Committees Release ACA Replacement Bills: The American Health Care Act

Mar
17
2017
On March 6, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives issued two bills, referred to together as the American Health Care Act, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If enacted, the American Health Care Act would not repeal the ACA in its entirety, but it would affect several key provisions impacting employers such as the employer mandate and the tax on high cost health coverage (i.e. the “Cadillac” tax). The American Health Care Act would also provide employers with greater flexibility in designing benefit plans by significantly enhancing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and eliminating the restrictions on Health Flexible Spending Accounts (Health FSAs). The key “employer” provisions of the American Health Care Act include: Eliminating the Employer Mandate Penalties. Under the ACA, large employers (employers with 50 or more full-time employees including full-time equivalents) must offer affordable, minimum value health care coverage or pay a penalty under Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code. The American Health Care Act would reduce the penalties under Section 4980H to zero retroactively for months beginning after December 31, 2015, effectively eliminating the employer mandate under the ACA. Delaying the “Cadillac” Tax. The ACA imposes a 40% excise tax, referred to as the “Cadillac” tax, on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage. The American Health Care Act would delay the effective date of the Cadillac tax for another five yea

Workers’ Compensation Program – 2016 Overview and Update

Apr
22
2016
The Wisconsin Workers Compensation -- 2016 Overview and Update Employment Law Summary further outlines the changes made to the Wisconsin Workers' Compensation system that became effective on March 2, 2016.

Changes to Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation System

Mar
03
2016
Amendments to the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Act were signed by Governor Walker on February 29, 2016 and went into effect on March 2. Several aspects of this bill represent significant changes. The Plain Language Summary Act 180 explains more, but some of the notable changes, and their place in the summary, include: #4. PPD Rate The maximum weekly permanent partial disability (PPD) rate will increase to $342 for injuries occurring throughout the rest of 2016. The rate increases to $362 for injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2017. #8. Statute of Limitations The statute of limitations for traumatic injuries will be reduced from 12 years to 6 years (the statute of limitations for occupational injuries did not change). #9. Permanent Disability Apportionment Apportionment of permanent disability resulting from accidental injuries will be based on their causes. Practitioners will determine the percentage of permanent disability caused by the direct result of the work-related injury and the percentage attributable to other factors before and after the injury. An employee who claims a work-related injury is required to disclose all previous permanent disabilities or physical impairments and the records needed to make an apportionment determination. #20. Discharge or Suspension for Misconduct or Substantial Fault Temporary disability benefits can be denied if an employee is brought back to work on light duty and is then fired due to misconduct or substantial faul

OSHA Issues New Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

Oct
21
2014
On September 11, 2014, OSHA announced a new final rule for reporting and recording severe work-related injuries and illnesses. Under the new rule, employers will be required to report any work-related fatality to OSHA within eight hours (same as current requirement) and any in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye within 24 hours (Updated requirement: Previously, employers only had to report in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees). The final rule also updates the list of partially exempt industries. The final rule becomes effective on January 1, 2015.

Understanding Common Aspects of Claims Resolution

May
19
2014
This Work Comp Insights investigates some common situations and processes an employer will have to deal with during claim resolution. Understanding Common Aspects of Claims Resolution

Five Steps to Reducing Workers’ Compensation Costs

Jun
21
2013
Learn more about the five steps your company can take to have a well-rounded safety program that produces a safe work environment, achieves OSHA compliance and reduces accidents in Five Steps to Reducing Workers' Compensation Costs.