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The Insurance Risks Involved with Reopening Your Business

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Businesses may be finding themselves stuck between a rock and hard place. Those that stay closed will struggle with lost income. Those that open too quickly may face the possibility of coronavirus outbreaks and associated legal issues. As governments announce plans to reopen, businesses will have to consider the risk management implications carefully.

The Debates Rages On

President Trump recently unveiled the Guidelines for Opening Up American Again. The guidelines include criteria that state and local governments can use as they go through the three phases for reopening their economies.

Several governors have already announced plans to reopen their states. According to CNN, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee have announced plans to loosen restrictions and restart their economies. The mayor of Las Vegas has also called for the city to reopen even though, in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, she said that she would not provide social distancing guidelines and that such decisions would be up to the business owners.

Not everyone agrees that this is the right course of action. According to the Los Angeles Times, top federal health officials have warned that reopening too soon could result in new outbreaks of COVID-19.

The Risks of Reopening

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M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
(800) 234-6787
(925) 295-2506 Direct
(925) 330 1151 Mobile
Heffernan Insurance Brokers – CA Insurance License # 0564249
This communication, including attachments, is for the exclusive use of addressee and may contain proprietary or confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, copying, disclosure, dissemination or distribution is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return email and delete this communication and destroy all copies. Please note, any request to bind coverage, modify coverage or report a claim is not valid until you receive confirmation from Heffernan Insurance Brokers that we have processed your request.
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COVID-19 Safety Resources for the Nonprofit Sector

The coronavirus pandemic has not stopped the need for nonprofit services. Although some nonprofit organizations have been forced to suspend operations to comply with stay-at-home orders, others provide essential services that are critically needed right now. For these organizations, there are many new challenges.
Determining What’s Essential
Under state-issued stay-at-home orders, people are only supposed to leave their homes for essential activities. Whether a nonprofit is considered essential will depend on the services it provides.
In California, the list of essential workers is long, and it includes many workers in the healthcare sector. Caregivers, behavioral health workers, and workers at blood banks are all among those labeled essential. Food banks are also labeled essential – and they may be more essential than ever. Food bank demand has surged as people struggle with school closures and unemployment because of coronavirus.
Nonprofit organizations should check with their state, county, and city to determine whether they are considered essential under relevant stay-at-home orders.
Volunteer and Funding Shortages
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Heffernan Insurance | Website
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Broker
Office 800-234-6787
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Risk Management

Risk Management

Welcome, we provide periodic emails witch includes training short(s) The COVID-19 Coronavirus is having a major impact on organizations throughout the world. During this challenging and uncertain time, we are here to support you, now more than ever.

New & Updated Training Courses
The following courses have been updated in the Risk Management Center:
  • Valley Fever Training Short (updated – California construction employees affected by AB 203 must train employees by May 1, 2020)
  • Personal Protective Equipment Awareness (formerly called Personal Protective Equipment Training for Employees)
  • Anti-Harassment for Connecticut Managers (this training meets the 2 hour requirement and complies with SB3)
  • Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Classification (complies with the new 2020 Fair Labor Standards Act)
HR Regulatory Content
We’ve rounded up the latest HR-related state regulatory content (not related to COVID-19) you need to know for April and May. Check the state regulatory updates.
Learn more about the Risk Management Center, a unique web-based software suite of safety and risk management tools designed to empower your organization’s risk prevention efforts. The Risk Management Center is right for any organization that wants to.

You’ll learn:

  • Proactively manage risk exposures
  • Develop effective workplace safety programs
  • Reduce claims, losses, and associated costs
For more information Just Contact me.
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Office 800-234-6787
Mobile  925-330-1151
Featured

Commissioner Lara Orders Insurance Companies to Refund Premiums

California Insurance Commissioner
Commissioner Lara Orders Insurance Companies to Refund Premiums to Drivers and Businesses Affected by the COVID-19 Emergency
Commissioner’s action reflects reduced risk of loss due to “shelter in place” restrictions

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara ordered insurance companies to return insurance premiums to consumers and businesses and provide much-needed financial relief during the COVID-19 emergency. The Commissioner’s Bulletin covers premiums paid for at least the months of March and April — including the month of May if “shelter in place” restrictions continue — in at least six different insurance lines: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers’ compensation, commercial multi-peril, commercial liability, medical malpractice, and any other insurance line where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With Californians driving fewer miles and many businesses closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, consumers need relief from premiums that no longer reflect their present-day risk of accident or loss,” said Commissioner Lara. “Today’s mandatory action will put money back in people’s pockets when they need it most.”

The Commissioner’s Bulletin requires insurance companies to provide a premium credit, reduction, return of premium, or other appropriate premium adjustment as soon as possible, and no later than August 2020. Commissioner Lara has already requested at least a 60-day grace period for policyholders to pay their premiums so that insurance policies are not cancelled for nonpayment of premium during this challenging time. Together, these two actions will give consumers and businesses substantial financial relief.

According to a UC Davis Special Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on California Traffic Accidents, reduced driving has resulted in fewer accidents, injuries, and fatalities on public highways and roads. Falling payroll and receipts due to closure orders have also dramatically reduced risk of a liability loss for businesses.

Several auto insurance companies have recently announced voluntary premium refunds to drivers. Today’s Bulletin extends these private personal auto policy reductions to more companies and adds commercial lines while monitoring insurance companies’ compliance with California’s consumer protection laws so that refunds are not discriminatory or inadequate.

A premium refund will not require prior approval by the Department of Insurance if an insurance company follows certain methods outlined in the Commissioner’s Bulletin, such as using an average percentage based on estimated change in risk or exposure. Consumers will also have the opportunity to provide their individual actual or estimated experience to their insurance company.

Good Information.. Read More Here 

 

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PEACE OF MIND MEDICAL CARE ACCESS 24/7/365 FOR YOUR ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD

Protect all members of your household with a medical access membership that can help you with gaining access to certified and licensed doctors that can help you with up to 70% of the non-emergency medical reasons that you would elect to use a Primary Care Physician, Urgent Care or Emergency Rooms.

The plans and pricing shown below are for individuals.  If you are a business, please contact us and we will have your associate contact you with more details.

Complete Detail Here

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The Corporate D&O Implications of COVID-19

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As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts life in the United States and around the world, company after company has issued corporate statements regarding the virus.

These statements are important. Given the rapidly changing and high stress nature of the situation, however, it is easy to say the wrong thing. In some cases, these statements could even open the door to directors and officers (D&O) exposures.

The Hardening D&O Market

D&O is a type of liability insurance that covers the directors and officers of a company. It covers a range of claims related to the management of the organization, including shareholder suits and breach of fiduciary duty.

As we’re currently seeing with many other commercial insurance lines, D&O rates have been rising. According to Property Casualty 360, several factors are at play, including securities action lawsuits with higher settlements, social issues including the #MeToo movement and leadership coverups, and growing cyber security issues.

Now COVID-19 could add to the list.

The Coronavirus Impact

According to Carrier Management, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to impact D&O litigation. In fact, at least two lawsuits have already been filed. One is against Norwegian Cruise Lines, and it alleges that the cruise line used unproven or false statements about COVID-19 to encourage customers to purchase cruises. The other lawsuit is against Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and it alleges that the CEO made inaccurate claims regarding its work on a COVID-19 vaccine, causing the company’s stocks to soar before dropping.

This may be just the beginning. As the pandemic continues, more lawsuits could emerge. Businesses should proceed carefully to reduce their liability.

Avoiding Lawsuits      Read More 

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The CARES Act: Relief for Small Businesses

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for many restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses. Small businesses are especially vulnerable to sudden loss of revenue and forced closures. Although the situation seems bleak, legislation is being enacted to help both businesses and workers hurt by coronavirus. The new $2 trillion Phase III coronavirus relief package could provide even more relief.

Phase III of COVID-19 Legislation and Economic Relief

According to Investopedia, H.R. 758, or the CARES Act, is Phase III of COVID-19 legislation. It is also the largest stimulus bill ever in the United States. The $2 trillion bill includes expanded unemployment benefits, direct payments to individuals, relief for small businesses and more. The bill was passed by the Senate on March 25 and passed by the House of Representatives on March 27. It is expected to be signed by President Trump shortly.

In a March 26 interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin discussed the relief package. Mnuchin said he hoped to get the small business program up and running the following week, allowing small businesses to get a loan immediately, and the loan could be forgiven if the businesses keep their employees. This will help small businesses continue to employ their workers while struggling with circumstances beyond their control.

CNBC reports that eligible businesses may be able to borrow up to the lesser amount of $10 million or 2.5 times their payroll. Businesses may also be eligible for a $10,000 emergency grant. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees may be eligible, and the loans are provided through private financial institutions. Loan forgiveness is also available.

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M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151
Featured

IRS Issues Guidance on Tax Credits for Coronavirus Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

tax-money

Small and midsize employers may begin using two new refundable payroll tax credits to obtain reimbursement for the costs of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on March 20, 2020.

This relief is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act), which was enacted on March 18, 2020. The Act provides funds for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid leave, either for their employees’ own health needs or to care for their family members. The Act aims to help employers keep workers on their payrolls while ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Highlights of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Paid Leave Requirements

The federal coronavirus relief law requires employers to provide paid sick and family leave for COVID-19-related reasons, including lack of child care.

Employer Tax Credits

Eligible employers may claim two tax credits based on the COVID-19-related paid leave that they provide between April 2 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Read More

brant-watson

M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D:  (925) 295-2506
M:  (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

Featured

Managing the Remote Work Transition: Tips for Employers

work-from-home

As more cases of COVID-19 are detected in the United States, people are being asked to do what they can to stop the spread. Schools have been closed, events have been cancelled and many people are working from home.

In this situation, work-from-home policies are being implemented as an emergency measure, but the arrangement had already been gaining popularity for a while now. With modern technology, it’s easier than ever to telecommute, and it can give workers the flexibility they need to achieve better work-life balance. No one misses rush hour commutes, either.

Nevertheless, the transition can be tricky, especially when it comes unexpectedly. Here are some tips for employers managing the remote work transition.

Read More

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Insurance renewal creates an excellent opportunity

What is Social Inflation?

Social inflation generally refers to the rising costs of insurance claims that are a result of societal trends and views toward increased litigation, broader contract interpretations, plaintiff friendly legal decisions, and larger jury awards.

For those who are serious about controlling the total cost of risk, we offer a wide range of loss sensitive, alternative risk management capabilities including self-insurance, partial self-insurance, large deductible and captive insurance arrangements.

Heffernan continues to offer a client platform that features unique carrier access and proactive, and hands on advocacy in the rapidly changing and challenging commercial insurance marketplace.
 I believe the odds are very good that we can make a very favorable impact on your commercial insurance placements via a fiercely proactive brokerage experience.

Just contact me.. Thanks

Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Office 800-234-6787
Mobile  925-330-1151
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Featured

Why Business Should Prepare Now for Insurance Market Hardening

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You might not realize it, but times have been pretty good for insurance customers. Although there have been some exceptions, for the most part, premiums have been steady or even reducing for years now. This may be about to change.

Why are market conditions changing? Because insurers are experiencing higher than expected losses. According to the 2019 A.M. Best Market Segment Report, the reported combined ratio for the P&C insurance industry has been above 100 – indicating an underwriting loss – since 2016. In 2017, the combined ratio reached 104.

If these losses continue, rate increases will follow. Securing coverage may become more challenging. Essentially, we may be looking at a hard market.

What’s driving higher-than-expected losses?
With property insurance, natural disasters are mostly to blame. The A.M. Best report says that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria contributed to near-record high U.S. catastrophe losses in 2017, with net catastrophe losses of $53 billion. Then in late 2018, the U.S. was hit with Hurricane Michael as well as the California wildfires, resulting in net catastrophe losses of more than $37 billion.
How can you prepare for a hard market?
Brant Watson
Senior VP
D: 925.295.2506
C: 925.330.1151
Featured

How Employers Can Help Fight Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction has reached a crisis point, and the impact is reaching workplaces around the country. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety:

  • Opioids killed more than 47,600 people in the U.S. in 2017.
  • Two-thirds of self-reported illicit opioid users were employed either full or part time.
  • In 2017, 272 overdose deaths occurred in the workplace, a 25 percent increase from 2013. This accounts for 5.3 percent of all occupational injury deaths.
  • Workers with substance use disorder miss 14.8 days each year on average, and workers with pain medication use disorder miss 29 days on average. For most employees, the average number of missed days is only 10.5.
The Causes of Addiction      Read More 

Want more information contact me.
Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151
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Social Inflation: A Concerning – and Costly – Trend

Social inflation generally refers to the rising costs of insurance claims that are a result of societal trends and views toward increased litigation, broader contract interpretations, plaintiff friendly legal decisions, and larger jury awards.
What is causing social inflation?
There are four major factors that are driving social inflation in the United States today. They are litigation funding, the erosion of tort reform, negative public sentiment toward larger businesses and corporations, and desensitization to large jury awards.
There are four major factors that are driving social inflation in the United States today. They are litigation funding, the erosion of tort reform, negative public sentiment toward larger businesses and corporations, and desensitization to large jury awards.
Leverage your insurance partners. This means working with an independent insurance agent to make sure he or she understands your business and associated risks, and assists you in updating your insurance coverages and limits accordingly.

Just Contact me.
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Office 800-234-6787
Mobile  925-330-1151
Featured

Life Insurance for Every Life Phase

family-life

Life insurance is an important financial planning tool – but it’s not actually one single tool. There are many different types of life insurance, and they have different advantages and disadvantages. What works well for you in one phase of life may not be the most suitable option in another phase. As your needs change, your coverage may need to be updated.

Life Insurance for Children

Buying life insurance for children can seem strange at first, but there are some practical benefits. Sometimes people (often the grandparents) purchase permanent life insurance for a young child. While this policy could cover funeral expenses if the child were to pass away, this is not generally the primary intention.

A permanent life insurance policy, such as whole or universal life insurance, can last for the entire length of the insured’s life, as long as the premiums are kept up with, and purchasing one early can lock in good rates. These policies also accumulate a cash value that can be borrowed or withdrawn for any purpose. If the policy is purchased for a very young child, it will have time to accumulate a cash value as the child matures, and the cash value may be used for any purpose, such as paying for college or putting a down payment on a first home.

Life Insurance for Young Adults and New Parents

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Workplace Harassment Prevention

We’ve partnered with ThinkHR to offer a solution to clients who are required to comply with this new law. Think HR has developed a completely new product to meet state requirements called Workplace Harassment Prevention.  Workplace Harassment Prevention gives employers access to new and existing mandated training courses and best practices for updating policies and procedures, reporting incidents, and following up on complaints within each state they operate.

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What Every Employer Needs to Know
California has expanded its current sexual harassment training standards for employers beginning January 1, 2019. The newly expanded law requires all employers with five or more employees, including temporary and seasonal employees, to train all supervisory and non supervisory employees in California by January 1, 2020.
As part of your People Risk Management strategy, Think HR offers workplace harassment prevention courses for both managers and employees, including specialized harassment training for the states of California, Connecticut, Maine, and New York. Each course incorporates the necessary state references to meet the standards for California’s sexual harassment prevention training.
Want to know more about the California law? Read more here.
Want more information contact me.

Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151
Featured

Cannabis Industry Risk Management: The Vape Crisis

e cigarette vape

E-cigarettes were supposed to be a healthier alternative to smoking. Millions of people started vaping as the fad took off. Now new concerns are raising alarm bells over these products. Vaping might not be as safe as people thought. As the cannabis industry continues to grow and tries to establish itself as a legitimate – and insurable – business, it will need to grapple with the vape crisis.

Reports of Lung Injuries

E-cigarettes turn a liquid into a vapor that users can inhale. The liquid is often flavored, and it can contain THC or nicotine. Fans of e-cigarettes point out that they do not contain the toxins commonly associated with traditional cigarettes.

But this does not necessarily mean they’re safe. In recent months, cases of lung injuries associated with vaping have made headlines. According to the CDC, there have been 2,409 reported hospitalizations for vaping-associated lung injuries as of December 10, 2019, and 52 people have died.

The CDC has concluded that Vitamin E acetate is the culprit – or one of the culprits, at least. More research is being done, and other harmful additives may be discovered. In the meantime, the CDC says that Vitamin E acetate should not be added to e-cigarettes and that people should avoid THC-containing e-cigarette products, particularly those obtained from informal sources.

Targeting Teens

While reports of lung injuries stream in, another issue has been plaguing the vaping industry – teens love to vape.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. While 66 percent of teens say their e-cigarettes only contain flavor, 13.2 percent say they’re vaping nicotine, 5.8 percent say they’re vaping marijuana, and 13.7 percent don’t know what they’re vaping.

Vaping companies have been accused of targeting teens. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 70 percent of teens are exposed to ads for e-cigarettes. Both high school students and middle school students have seen ads in various forms, including retail, movie and internet ads. According to Bloomberg, both California and New York are suing Juul Labs Inc., an e-cigarette company, for allegedly targeting teens.

Read More 

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Nonprofits: Plug the “Money Leaks”

As we enter another year, it’s an exciting time for nonprofits.  However, with substantially more donations coming in this time of year, you need to be on your game when it comes to money management.Beware of these money leaks:
Theft and Fraud
. Theft can be perpetrated by anyone including vendors and contractors. A dishonest party could impersonate your nonprofit to host a fundraising event, and then pocket the profits and run.

  • Cybercrime. Internet and phishing scams are getting more sophisticated every day. Even Portland Public Schools almost transferred $2.9 million to a scammer pretending to be one of their trusted building contractors.
  • Regulatory compliance. The IRS has strict rules for nonprofits to maintain their tax-exempt status. Don’t let a slip-up cost you fines or loss of your tax exemption.
  • D&O liability. Your board’s directors and officers make the business decisions, including managing funds. A liability claim against one of them for misallocation of funds, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, or another event could be costly.
  • Rogue volunteers. If one of your volunteers steals or causes injury or damage, your organization could get hit with a negligence claim, and that can be costly to defend and settle.

Read More 

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Webinar business insurance

On behalf of Heffernan, please join us for this interactive and informative Webinar!

Heffernan’s reputation and success was built through our work in industry niches s such as nonprofit, construction, healthcare, transportation, hospitality, food distribution, real estate and technology. With ten branch offices coast-to-coast and approximately 450 staff members, Heffernan’s reach spans to most industries!
With 30 years of underwriting and brokerage experience, I will evaluate your current and historic insurance placements and in many cases be able to offer your business meaningful and impact alternative cost, coverage and risk management program options to optimize your protection and competitiveness in your industry!

Contact me today to learn more about the best possible insurance for your needs.
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Office 800-234-6787
Mobile  925-330-1151
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Heffernan Insurance Brokers Acquires Henderson Insurance

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.Dec. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Heffernan Insurance Brokers, one of the largest full-service, independent insurance brokerage firms in the United States, has acquired Henderson Insurance. The firm has purchased the assets of the Newport Beach-based Henderson to join HeffDirect, a division of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, effective December 1, 2019Scott HendersonLaura HendersonJackie SmithJulie Nii, and Eric Manzo have all joined Heffernan’s operations.

Heffernan Insurance Brokers logo (PRNewsFoto/Heffernan Insurance Brokers)

With over 47 years of dry cleaner and laundry insurance expertise, Henderson has a strong background and understanding of the industry’s insurance needs.  This specialized expertise will be a pronounced enhancement to Heffernan’s niche practices.

“Henderson’s unique skillset and knowledge of the dry cleaning and laundry industry will be a great addition to the team,” said F. Michael Heffernan, President and CEO of Heffernan Insurance Brokers. “We’re looking forward to expanding our niche practices and our future together.”

“47 years ago we started by insuring the single-location cleaner,” said Scott Henderson, President of Henderson Insurance.  “Since then, cleaners and laundries have evolved into sophisticated, multi-location enterprises with complicated insurance needs.  Heffernan gives us broad policy offerings to allow us to fully serve the insurance needs of every cleaner and laundry, regardless of size.  And the acquisition allows us to expand from serving cleaners and laundries in only seven states to being able to serve them anywhere in the country.”

About Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Heffernan Insurance Brokers, formed in 1988, is one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms in the United States. Heffernan provides insurance and financial services products to a range of businesses and individuals. Headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., Heffernan has offices in San FranciscoPetalumaMenlo ParkLos Angeles and Irvine, CAPortland, ORSt. Louis, MO and Phoenix, AZ.

Employee-owned, Heffernan Insurance Brokers was named the Top Mid-Sized Broker in the United States to work for in 2009 by Business Insurance Magazine. The firm has been among the Top Greater Bay Area Philanthropists since 2003, donating more than 13 percent of profits to charity in 2015.

For more information, visit www.heffins.com.
License #0564249

SOURCE Heffernan Insurance Brokers

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Careful Hiring Practices: An Essential Step in Reducing the Incidence of Workers’ Compensation Claims

The home health industry needs workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of 1,208,800 new home health aide and personal care aide positions between 2016 and 2026.  Finding workers to fill those positions may be difficult, leading to worries of a major worker shortage. But despite the need for workers, there’s also a need for smart hiring practices. To keep workers’ compensation claims down, employers must take precautions.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Home health workers face risks that can lead to injuries, and these injuries can lead to workers’ compensation claims. These risks include:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries, often the result of lifting or maneuvering patients
  • Automobile crashes, which can occur when workers drive from one patient’s home to another
  • Assaults, which can occur if patients or others become violent
  • Other accidents, such as tripping and falling, which can occur because workers are constantly visiting different homes with unique layouts and risks

These risks can be made worse if workers are not physically capable of performing essential duties, such as lifting or maneuvering patients, or if they use poor techniques when doing heavy lifting. Dangerous driving habits and criminal tendencies – including filing fraudulent claims – can also result in expensive workers’ compensation claims.

Although these risks cannot be eliminated entirely, careful hiring practices can reduce them.

Want more information contact me.
Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D: (925) 295-2506
M: (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

Careful Hiring Practices

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Five Things to Know About Retirement Income Taxation

accounting-black-and-whitePlanning for retirement? Don’t forget to plan for taxes. Uncle Sam can take a big chunk from your retirement income. If you’re trying to make your money last, high tax rates can be a major concern. As you plan for the future, keep a close eye on the  following tax impacts.

1. Social Security retirement benefits may be taxed.
Many retirees depend on Social Security for a big chunk of their retirement income. However, this income may be reduced by taxes.
On the federal level, retirees may have to pay taxes on up to 85 percent of their Social Security benefits if they have significant income from other sources.
If combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000 when filing as an individual, or between $32,000 and $44,000 when filing jointly, 50 percent of Social Security benefits may be taxed.
If combined income is more than $34,000 when filing as an individual, or more than $44,000 when filing jointly, up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits may be taxed.
This means that it is important to consider how wages, dividends and other income sources will impact a retiree’s annual income. (Thresholds are subject to change; see the Social Security Benefits Planner for more information on calculating combined income.
It’s also important to consider state taxes. Some states tax Social Security benefits, but others do not. As a result, where you live can make a big difference in how much of your benefits you actually get to pocket.

2. 401(k) and IRA withdrawals are typically taxed.   Read More

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California AB5 – What Does It Mean for Your Business?

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Classifying workers as independent contractors is about to get more difficult in California. The state has recently passed a new law, Assembly Bill 5, which establishes new rules for gig work. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2020, and it could have major implications for any business that uses contract workers.
January 14, 2020 Top Ten Ways to Prevent Employee Lawsuits Enroll Here
January 22, 2020 Heffernan Retirement eLearning: What You Need to Know About CalSavers Enroll Here
On-Demand Insurance –
Get the coverage you need immediately with our Thimble

Heffernan’s reputation and success was built through niche practice business such as nonprofit, construction, healthcare, transportation, hospitality, food industry, real estate and technology. With ten branch offices coast-to-coast and approximately 450 staff, Heffernan’s reach spans virtually every industry.
M. Brant Watson| (925) 330-1151 |E-mail | Website
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Commercial Insurance renewal creates an excellent opportunity

When your commercial insurance renewals comes due keep us in mind. Heffernan’s access and service platforms are exceptionally unique.
This creates an excellent opportunity for you to explore multiple coverage, cost and service options in the changing marketplace, especially If you have not shopped outside your current brokerage relationship recently.
Would you be open to updating me on your current placement and interest level in a brief conversation or email exchange?   10 minutes or so should be enough time for us to determine if next steps are mutually beneficial.

Contact me today to learn more about the best possible insurance for your needs.

Best Regards,
M. Brant Watson
Senior VP
Featured

Would Your Manufacturing Business Survive a Product Liability Lawsuit?

As NBC News recently reported, seven people in the U.S. have died from vaping-related lung illnesses, with 530 cases of illnesses now reported in 38 states. The federal government is investigating, and many local and state authorities are working to ban e-cigarettes and vaping.

The vaping crisis is the latest high-profile product liability case, and it highlights some of the challenges faced by manufacturers in bringing new products to market.

When you manufacture a product, the last thing you want to hear is that your product has harmed someone – or worse, caused a death. But tragically, defective products cause thousands of injuries and dozens of deaths in the U.S. every year according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And that leads to thousands of product liability and personal injury lawsuits.

Read More

M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D:  (925) 295-2506
M:  (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

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How Annuities Can Help Fund Retirement

How much will you need for retirement? It’s a difficult question to answer, but one thing is clear – many Americans are worried that they don’t have enough. According to Retirement Insecurity 2019, a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, 58 percent of Americans are concerned that they won’t achieve financial security in retirement, while 79 percent admit they don’t know enough about investing to ensure that their savings last through retirement.

For people looking for a more secure retirement, annuities could help. Before deciding whether annuities are right for you, it’s important to understand how they work and how they differ from other financial tools.

Annuities and Longevity

There are many reasons that make it difficult to calculate how much money you’ll need in retirement, but one variable stands out: your lifespan. No one knows how long they will live. While most people hope that they will enjoy a very long life, longevity comes with a financial drawback. The longer you live after retirement, the more money you need. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a very long life, your retirement savings may run out.

Annuities provide a solution. Because lifetime annuities will continue paying out for as long as a person lives, the insured never has to worry about running out of money.  This guaranteed income is good news for the millions of Americans worried about achieving a financially secure retirement.

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M. Brant Watson
Senior Vice President
Heffernan Insurance Brokers
D:  (925) 295-2506
M:  (925) 330-1151
Email brantw@heffins.com

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Beware of Nonprofit Board and Reputation Exposures

Nonprofits can be sued over a wide range of claims, just like their for-profit counterparts. In fact, Insurance Journal reports that directors and officers liability claims occur twice as often in nonprofits compared to private companies.

The increase in lawsuits could stem from a number of possible issues.  Nonprofits may be so focused on their cause that they neglect other issues.
Nonprofits may incorrectly believe their nonprofit status makes them an unlikely target.
Individuals serving on nonprofits may be busy with other duties, and they may be working outside their normal sphere.
Donors often have high expectations for how funds are managed.
Nonprofits often work with vulnerable populations.
Volunteers may not be screened properly.
Regardless of the cause, nonprofits get sued – a lot. When this happens, the nonprofit’s financial stability and reputation can be put in jeopardy.
Nonprofits depend on their reputation.
Reputation is important to all corporations, but this is especially true in the case of nonprofits. As Risk & Insurance explains, nonprofits depend on their reputations to secure grants and donations.

Many things can damage a nonprofit’s reputation, from claims of mismanaged funds to inappropriate actions of volunteers. Some threats may come from outside. For example, cyber attacks that reveal personal data could damage a nonprofit’s reputation. Fundraising fraud, described in Risk & Insurance as people who impersonate nonprofits to elicit and steal donations, is another worrisome threat.

Contact me today to learn more about the best possible insurance for your needs.

Best Regards,

M. Brant Watson
Senior VP
D: 925.295.2506
C: 925.330.1151
 brantw@heffins.com

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Selecting A Business Insurance Broker: 5 Questions to Consider

Business insurance is a complicated matter. To make sure you’re getting the best coverage, rates and services, you need to enlist the help of the right business insurance broker. To find that perfect match, consider these issues.

Independent or Captive?
Once you have a policy, your insurance carrier will provide your coverage and pay out any claims. To get a policy, you typically need to go through an agent, also called a broker. There are different types of agents, but they’ll generally be classified as either captive or independent.
A captive agent works for one carrier. This means that the agent will only be able to offer you policies from a single carrier, even if other carriers may be a better fit for you.
An independent agent, on the other hand, is contracted with multiple carriers. This means that the agent can select from a much wider range of policy options in order to find that coverage and rates that best fit your needs.

Multiple Agents or One?
Employee benefits. General liability insurance. Workers’ compensation. The list goes on. You need a lot of different types of insurance. So, should you deal with multiple agents – or get everything you need from one agent? Read More 

Contact me today to learn more about the best possible insurance for your needs.
Best Regards,
brant-sig

M. Brant Watson
Senior VP
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Advocacy and Guidance in the Commercial Insurance Marketplace

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Heffernan’s reputation and success was built through our work in industry niches s such as nonprofit, construction, healthcare, transportation, hospitality, food distribution, real estate and technology. With ten branch offices coast-to-coast and approximately 450 staff members, Heffernan’s reach spans to most industries!
With 30 years of underwriting and brokerage experience, I will evaluate your current and historic insurance placements and in many cases be able to offer your business meaningful and impact alternative cost, coverage and risk management program options to optimize your protection and competitiveness in your industry!
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Insurance for Senior Care & Living Communities

As an insurance broker dedicated to the senior living sector, I am amazed and impressed by how many of our current and future clients have expanded their resident services offerings in order to meet increased acuity levels and the socialization needs of residents and their families given the regulatory, legal and labor climate challenges that exist.
At the same time, the commercial insurance marketplace has become increasingly challenging given the recent tragic natural disasters, the withdrawal of casualty insurance carriers form the marketplace, and the increasingly hostile litigation environment.
Heffernan continues to offer a client platform that features unique carrier access and proactive, and hands on advocacy in the rapidly changing and challenging commercial insurance marketplace. I believe the odds are very good that we can make a very favorable impact on your commercial insurance placements via a fiercely proactive brokerage experience.
Would you be open to updating me on your current placement and interest level in a brief conversation or email exchange?   10 minutes or so should be enough time for us to determine if next steps are mutually beneficial.
Thank you for your ongoing consideration!
Brant Watson
Senior VP
D: 925.295.2506
C: 925.330.1151
Featured

Heffernan Insurance Brokers Acquires Mahan Insurance Brokers

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.Oct. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Heffernan Insurance Brokers, one of the largest full-service, independent insurance brokerage firms in the United States, acquires Mahan Insurance Brokers. The firm has purchased the assets of the Newport-based Mahan effective October 1, 2019Michael Mahan and Marissa Garmendia will join Heffernan’s Irvine, California office, and Robert Mahan will continue to play an active role in advising clients.

Heffernan Insurance Brokers logo (PRNewsFoto/Heffernan Insurance Brokers)

With over 30 years of expertise, Mahan has a strong understanding of insurance needs of businesses and professionals. Their specialty in construction insurance will be a pronounced enhancement to Heffernan’s construction niche practice.

“The team’s deep knowledge of the construction industry, along with the high standard of customer service they’re known for, will be great complements to our Irvine office,” said F. Michael Heffernan, President and CEO of Heffernan Insurance Brokers. “We’re happy to have them on board and look forward to a bright future together.”

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Insurance for Senior Care & Living Communities

As an insurance broker dedicated to the senior living sector, I am amazed and impressed by how many of our current and future clients have expanded their resident services offerings in order to meet increased acuity levels and the socialization needs of residents and their families given the regulatory, legal and labor climate challenges that exist.

At the same time, the commercial insurance marketplace has become increasingly challenging given the recent tragic natural disasters, the withdrawal of casualty insurance carriers form the marketplace, and the increasingly hostile litigation environment.

Heffernan continues to offer a client platform that features unique carrier access and proactive, and hands on advocacy in the rapidly changing and challenging commercial insurance marketplace. I believe the odds are very good that we can make a very favorable impact on your commercial insurance placements via a fiercely proactive brokerage experience.
Would you be open to updating me on your current placement and interest level in a brief conversation or email exchange?   10 minutes or so should be enough time for us to determine if next steps are mutually beneficial.
Thank you for your consideration!

Brant Watson
Senior VP
D: 925.295.2506
C: 925.330.1151
Heffernan Insurance Brokers – CA Insurance License # 0564249
This communication, including attachments, is for the exclusive use of addressee and may contain proprietary or confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, copying, disclosure, dissemination or distribution is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return email and delete this communication and destroy all copies. Please note, any request to bind coverage, modify coverage or report a claim is not valid until you receive confirmation from Heffernan Insurance Brokers that we have processed your request.
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Why Business Should Prepare Now for Insurance Market Hardening

Why Business Should Prepare Now for Insurance Market Hardening
You might not realize it, but times have been pretty good for insurance customers. Although there have been some exceptions, for the most part, premiums have been steady or even reducing for years now. This may be about to change.
Why are market conditions changing? Because insurers are experiencing higher than expected losses. According to the 2019 A.M. Best Market Segment Report, the reported combined ratio for the P&C insurance industry has been above 100 – indicating an underwriting loss – since 2016. In 2017, the combined ratio reached 104.
If these losses continue, rate increases will follow. Securing coverage may become more challenging. Essentially, we may be looking at a hard market.
What’s driving higher-than-expected losses?
With property insurance, natural disasters are mostly to blame. The A.M. Best report says that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria contributed to near-record high U.S. catastrophe losses in 2017, with net catastrophe losses of $53 billion. Then in late 2018, the U.S. was hit with Hurricane Michael as well as the California wildfires, resulting in net catastrophe losses of more than $37 billion.
How can you prepare for a hard market?

Brant Watson
Senior VP
D: 925.295.2506
C: 925.330.1151
Featured

Protect Your IPO with Technology Insurance

Lyft’s stock prices plunged soon after the ride-sharing company went public. According to the Insurance Journal, lawsuits from investors caused the stock price to drop 17 percent just weeks after the initial offering.  For many startups, going public is the dream – but that dream can lead to legal nightmares. As more tech companies are going public with an Initial Public Offering (IPO), they need to brace for the possibility of lawsuits and protect themselves with insurance coverage.

The Problems Goes Beyond Lyft

Lyft’s legal woes have received a fair amount of attention, but it isn’t the only company to face legal challenges soon after going public.

In an article on the recent flood of IPOs, Inc. lists several other companies – Eventbrite, Facebook, Twitter, Snap and Blue Apron – that faced shareholder lawsuits soon after going public. ISS Securities Class Action Services says that IPO-related lawsuits have doubled since 2013.

Bloomberg Law issued another warning: While shareholder litigation against IPOs is increasing, dismissals of IPO-related lawsuits are becoming less common. As a result, companies are more likely to deal with time-consuming and costly legal battles.

Why IPOs Needs Tech Insurance

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Contact me and explore the possibilities.

Brant Watson
Senior VP
D: 925.295.2506
C: 925.330.1151
brantw@heffins.com

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