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

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

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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.

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brant-watson

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

Managing the Remote Work Transition: Tips for Employers

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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.

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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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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

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

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

Workplace Harassment Prevention

We’ve partnered with ThinkHR to offer a solution to clients who are required to comply with this new law. ThinkHR 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.
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, ThinkHR 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

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.

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

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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