Vizance Continues Its Growth With Addition of Insurance Agency Serving Fox Valley Area
Vizance continues its growth with the addition of Valley Insurance Associates. The combined organization gives Vizance a geographic market stretching from Southeastern Wisconsin up through Northeastern Wisconsin, encompassing the entire Fox Valley.
“We recently changed our name from RC Insurance Services to Vizance, to help position our agency for accelerated growth,” explained Jeff Cardenas, President of Vizance. “This partnership follows our intent to grow Vizance strategically, and we are excited by the capacity that Valley Insurance Associates adds to our outstanding team.”
“The cultures among Vizance and Valley Insurance Associates are a perfect fit, and that’s what attracted us to Valley,” Vizance Vice President Dimas Ocampo said. “We succeed by our culture. We want to create the very best workplace for our associates and be the very best partner for our clients’ financial security.”
Founded in 1990, Valley Insurance Associates offers business insurance, home and auto insurance, employee benefits and individual health insurance, including Medicare. Valley Insurance Associates will continue to operate under that name from its office locations in Appleton, Oshkosh, Green Bay and Kaukauna.
More information is available here.
HHS Extends Transitional Relief for Small Groups
On February 23, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced that insurers in the small group market will be permitted to renew health insurance policies that would they otherwise have had to cancel due to noncompliance with the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”).
By way of background, the ACA includes market reforms that created new coverage standards for health insurance policies such as: premium rating rules, guaranteed availability and renewability, and the requirement to provide essential health benefits. Under the ACA the market reforms were to be effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. However, prior to the effective date President Obama implemented a transitional relief policy that, if permitted by the states, would allow insurers offering coverage in the individual and small group markets the option of renewing current policies for current enrollees without adopting all of the ACA market reforms. The transitional relief policy was extended several times, but was set to expire in 2017.
The HHS guidance again extends the transitional relief policy. Under the HSS guidance, states can permit insurers that have continually renewed health insurance coverage for small groups since 2014 under the transitional relief policy to again renew such coverage for a policy year beginning on or before October 1, 2018. However, any policy renewed under the transitional relief cannot extend beyond December 31, 2018. Also, state
2016 Food Drive
It was our best year yet for the annual food drive.
Vizance ended the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive last Friday. With a little friendly office competition, we graciously collected 26,058 food items, $9,197 in monetary donations and 755 requested women's shelter items. Thanks to all who participated and made this year's food drive such a success! We could not have reached the level of success we did without the teamwork, compassionate hearts and generous donations of our contributors.
Vizance Named to the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” List for 2nd Time
The Milwaukee Business Journal recently released their "Best Places to Work" winners list, and Vizance is honored to be among the winners.
According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, "44 southeastern Wisconsin companies are being honored for having the best culture and leadership and where employees feel the most engaged by their jobs and management. Nearly 160 Milwaukee-area firms were nominated for the awards and the winners were determined based on scores from a survey that employees filled out. Each company that was nominated was ranked according to the 10 core areas of engagement: teamwork, retention, alignment with goals, trust with co-workers, individual contribution, manager effectiveness, trust in senior leaders, feeling valued, job satisfaction and benefits."
Additional information, including rankings, will be published later this year.
Beth Ward joins Vizance as Compliance Attorney
Beth Ward will be serving as the Compliance Attorney at Vizance. She brings over 20 years of experience in the area of Employee Benefits Compliance. Beth will focus on helping Vizance’s clients understand the complex compliance obligations that govern health insurance plans, including the Affordable Care Act.
Beth’s expertise in ACA, FMLA, ERISA, COBRA, HIPAA, Section 125, Section 105, Wellness and other aspects of Employee Benefits will help the team deliver best-in-class solutions. Beth has represented employers in audits with the DOL and the IRS, and she is skilled at helping employers comply with federal and state mandates affecting employee benefit plans. Beth is a Principal Attorney at The Simandl Law Group, S.C., which specializes in labor and employment law.
On August 25th, Beth will present “Maintaining a Healthy Wellness Program: Issues and Compliance Strategies for Employers” at 8:30 am at MRA in Waukesha. To register, please send an email to email@example.com.
Vizance Named One of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Firms Again
The Milwaukee Business Journal recently released its annual list of the winners selected for the Fastest Growing Firms awards, and Vizance is honored to be among the 28 businesses selected for this award. The 2016 winners, who have each shown significant growth over the past three years, will be recognized at an awards luncheon on August 12th in Milwaukee, as well as in the Business Journal’s August 12th edition. Our dedicated associates and loyal clients makes this award possible, and we are very grateful for their on-going support.
New DOL Overtime Rules Effective December 1, 2016
On May 18, 2016, changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) increase the salary an employee must earn to qualify to be exempt. Employees that are currently not eligible for overtime but make less than $47,475 per year will be eligible for overtime pay beginning December 1, 2016.
Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime. In order for an employee to be exempt, they must meet all three of the following criteria:
Salary Basis Test: Employee is paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction due to variations in the quality or quantity of work.
Salary Level Test: Employee’s salary must meet a minimum specified amount to qualify for the exemption. This salary threshold provides employers with an objective and efficient way to determine whether an employee qualifies for a white collar exemption.
Duties Test: Employee’s job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties, as defined by law.
The new FLSA regulations modify the Salary Level Test to mean no less than $47,475 per year. An employer may include ten percent of non-discretionary incentive bonuses tied to productivity and profitability. The bonus must be paid at least quarterly in order to be factored into the Salary Level Test.
Because an employee must meet all three criteria to be exempt, an employee that makes less than $47,475 per year as of December 1, 2016 will no longer be exempt.
What should employers do now? Employers shoul
Workers’ Compensation Program – 2016 Overview and Update
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.
Employee Leave Administration Essentials
We help our clients avoid risk. Not only do we secure the appropriate insurance to cover losses, we also work proactively to prevent bad things from happening in the first place. Our Insight Series is designed to provide business owners and HR professionals with the information they need to improve upon their business practices. Attend our Vizance Insight Series to gain information that will help you avoid litigation or surprises during an audit.
Join us on May 5th to learn if your leave administration policy complies with FMLA, workers compensation, and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Managing employee absences well can save your organization money and avoid litigation.
Join us to learn:
What is required by FMLA, workers compensation, and the Americans with Disabilities Act
How your organization can establish consistent practices that are compliant, fair, and keep your organization out of trouble
What organizations that are not governed by FMLA can do to manage employee absences
Thursday, May 5th
8:30 am – 10:00 am
MRA – The Management Association
N19 W 24400 Riverwood Drive
Waukesha, WI 53188
Attendance is complimentary to clients and friends of Vizance, Inc
Space is limited.Please RSVP by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, click here.
Changes to Wisconsin’s Worker’s Compensation System
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