Archive for October, 2011

State budget cuts are a boost to renewable energy projects

October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Under the caption of “thinking outside of the box” Mass regulators have developed a draft plan to streamline the permitting process for alternative energy projects. Facing severe budget cuts, reduced staff and with duties expanding to include covering new legislation such as the Global Warming Solutions Act and the Massachusetts Mercury Management Act, the Massachusetts DEP finds its resources stretched to the limit. DEP Commissioner Ken Kimmell has asked his staff to identify areas where reform to existing regulations, policies, and practices can save time and money and not affect the vital activities of the DEP in protecting the environment.

As a result, a draft proposal has been developed to identify certain areas of potential regulatory reform to assist in combining and streamlining the duties of the DEP. Increased efficiencies Read more…

W-2 reporting for employer-sponsored healthcare will start in 2012

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

The IRS is holding an online webinar on October 31st which reviews the new requirement for employers to report the value of employer-sponsored healthcare coverage on employee’s Form W-2 beginning in 2012.

The cost of health insurance coverage that is made available to an employee by an employer and is excludable from the employee’s gross income under Code § 106 will have to be reported. Other coverage, such as coverage for Dental, Vision, Supplemental Coverage, Long Term Care Coverage and the like are excluded. Amounts contributed to an Archer MSA or an HSA, or salary reduction contributions to a Healthcare FSA are also excluded, although special rules apply. Small employers, defined as those who file fewer than 250 Forms W-2 for 2011, will not have to comply until 2013. Read more…

Reputation protection key in mitigating adverse publicity

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week, one of the world’s leading insurers released a new policy designed to help insureds cope with threats to their company’s brand and reputation.

This new coverage will assist an organization in finding, bringing in, and funding outside experts when there is either a potential or actual public relations crisis .

Companies often look for this type of assistance to formulate a response to an adverse event that could have a lasting impact on the firm’s reputation. Such public relations crisis events can range from an executive scandal,  a product recall, or even an environmental disaster. Read more…

More fuzzy math in Health Care Reform, death of the CLASS ACT

Last Friday evening, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius quietly closed the door on a key revenue component of Obamacare. The CLASS Act, a federally run long term care program that was set to launch next year and tasked with generating $80 billion in revenue over the next 10 years was cancelled. Sebelius in a press release finally openly questioned the programs ability to attract members and generate revenue for the federal government, an argument that opponents of the bill have been making since the concept was introduced.

The revenue claims attached to the CLASS Act have been highly controversial for several key reasons. Even if the wildly optimistic enrollment estimates were accurate, this program was a federally sponsored ponzi scheme in the making, Read more…

Strike in Greece causing delays

Major interruptions to transportation services in Greece are expected today and tomorrow as a result of a 48-hour strike by public and private sector workers. According to FreightWatch Intelligence Division, public transportation and commercial flights will be affected by the strike along with ferries serving Greek islands, local and national train services. Companies transporting goods throughout this area are urged to plan supply chain activities taking into account these events.

As for potential insurance coverage in the event of a strike, most Ocean Marine (aka Worldwide Transit) policies are written in accordance with the standard policy clauses established by the American Institute of Marine Underwriters (AIMU). At the time of purchase, a client has the option to elect or exclude coverage for War, Terrorism (including TRIA) and Strikes Read more…

Thailand floods lead to industrial disruptions

October 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Our WBN ( partner in Thailand, Asianet, reports extreme flooding conditions in major areas of the country. We quote them verbatim as follows:

“Great efforts were made to protect Bangkok and the industrial estates. Unfortunately these were not all successful and 3 metre high walls and dams collapsed. Many large industrial estates are submerged under up to 2 metres of water. Pumps are working but there is nowhere to pump the water.

The largest industrial estates which are submerged are Rojana, Hi-Tech, Bang Pa, and In Navanakorn. Read more…

Time element loss considerations for healthcare organizations

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

One of my colleagues recently posted a very good piece about what coverage is available in the wake of the torrid summer weather the Northeast had from a personal lines perspective. It got me thinking of some of the challenges that healthcare organizations face in the wake of Hurricane Irene or other natural disasters. While there will be much written about “off premises power” extensions and the great value of preparing for the protection of the lives and well-being of a providers patients (all critical issues, to be sure), I began to think about some of the nuances that non-hospital providers may be faced with in the wake of such a storm.

Most good property policies will cover losses resulting from a Hurricane Irene situation. Flood coverage, property damage and the inevitable Business Income (BI) and Extra Expense (EE) claims Read more…