Our Team Approach…
Under the direction of our Benefit Advisors, clients will have a designated team suited to their needs, to assist and oversee solutions from implementation through ongoing service delivery.
Our teams of dedicated professionals create a detailed client partner project plan to transition clients onto Heffernan’s platform and into our optimal service delivery and compliance procedures. Our teams strive to become a seamless extension of the clients HR department, to maximize the engagement of the clients employees and their dependents, and to free up our clients to handle more important initiatives within each organization.
We implement a number of resource solutions to ensure we provide our clients and their employees with the information to best achieve your Group Benefits objectives. Examples include benchmarking, underwriting, account service plans, renewal planning, financial analysis, and alternative funding options and strategies.
As businesses reopen, they must take stringent measures to keep workers and customers safe from the coronavirus. Common efforts might include signage to promote social distancing and the use of masks and sneeze guards – but some employers may be wondering whether they should also use testing.
Although virus testing seems like one of the most efficient ways to control the virus, it also brings up legal complications. Here’s what the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advises.
The ADA Still Applies
The pandemic does not grant employers license to ignore the ADA or other anti-discrimination laws. However, the EEOC explains that employers should follow CDC guidelines for workplace safety.
Certain safety measures should be taken in light of the pandemic. According to the EEOC:
Telehealth use surged from 8% of Americans in December to 29% in May as primary care, mental health and specialists turned to remote care out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a UnitedHealth Group report.
Telehealth evangelists long have touted using high-speed Internet connections and a range of devices to link providers and patients for remote care. But regulatory hurdles and medicine’s conservative culturelimited virtual checkups to largely minor conditions like sinus infections or unique circumstances such as connecting neurologists to rural hospitals that lack specialized care.
Many people are worried about the health impact of coronavirus, but if you’re planning your retirement, you have other issues to think about to as well. The pandemic has had a big impact on the economy and investments. Here’s what it means for your retirement plan.
What’s Happening with 401(k)s and Investments?
The economic shutdowns brought about by the pandemic have had a ripple effect on 401(k)s and other investments.
Some employers are ending employer matching. Employer match programs make 401(k) plans attractive to many employees, but some employers have paused matches amid the current economic problems. According to MarketWatch, at least 16 large companies had suspended employer match programs as of April 21.
Accounts are being raided. A provision in the CARES Act made is easier for people who have been economically impacted by the coronavirus to make early withdrawals of up to $100,000 from eligible retirement plans, including 401(k)s, 403(k)s and IRAs. According to the IRS, the 10 percent additional tax on early distributions does not apply to these withdrawals. Some people have taken advantage of this to raid their retirement accounts.
Should You Invest Now? The Pros and Cons
Another impact of the pandemic has been stock market volatility. This has prompted many people to question whether this is a very bad time – or perhaps a very good time – to invest.
As always, the situation isn’t straightforward. No one can know for certain how stocks will perform in the future, and how or whether you decide to invest will depend on your own appetite for risk.
Here are some of the reasons some people may not want to invest now:
We are in a recession. After a great deal of speculation that the pandemic would cause a recession, the National Bureau of Economic Research has announced that we are officially in a recession. According to CNBC, this marks the end of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.
The pandemic may be far from over. Despite hopes that a vaccine will end the current crisis, some experts say that coronavirus might be an issue for a long time. According to Bloomberg, a report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy warns that the pandemic may last for two years. The economic impact may be long-lasting, too.
And here are some of the reasons you may want to consider investing now:
Some stocks may perform well. Even during a down market, some individual stocks may perform very well. Investment strategies that focus on “boring” stocks may succeed even in difficult times – although, as always, there are no guarantees.
Prices may be low. Some stocks that took a hit because of the pandemic may now be available at an attractively low price. If you think the stock will rebound, this may be a good time to purchase.
According to a June order from the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California, Uber, Lyft and other Transportation Network Company (TNC) drivers are now presumed to be employees in California. This is the latest development in an ongoing battle over the classification of gig workers, and the ramifications may not be limited to the two ridesharing companies or even to the state.
AB5 and Worker Classification
In explaining the justification behind the new order, the Commission described the impact of AB5 on TNCs. AB5 is a new California law that went into effect on January 1, 2020. It says that a worker should be considered an employee, and not an independent contractor, unless three conditions can be met:
A. The worker is free from the direction and control of the hiring entity.
B. The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
C. The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business that is of the same nature as the work being performed.
Some TNCs claim that they meet the three requirements of the so-called ABC rule. However, on May 5, 2020, a suit was filed against Uber and Lyft over misclassification.
According to the order, Uber and Lyft have gotten a measure that would exclude app-based drivers from AB5 on the November 2020 ballot. Nevertheless, the Commission asserted its right to enforce the current law, which it interprets as classifying TNC drivers as employees.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.