Archive for January, 2014

WGA announces the Top Ten Risk Management issues for 2014

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

riskTop10What will be the risk management stories in 2014? Risk managers and insurers are well underway preparing to mitigate new and emerging industry trends and challenges. We take a look at some of the biggest issues facing companies over the coming year and what we think will pose a threat to their business:

  1. Social Media Risk: New areas of risk continue to come to light each day, from securities litigation risk for CEO’s tweets to Facebook boycotts of Snapchat videos. With each new social media platform comes a host of risk issues.
  2. Digital Currencies: As Bitcoin filters into conversation and acceptance, its risks multiply.
  3. Biometric Risks: It’s not just about IRS scans and fingerprint security for an iPhone – biometrics will be built into many electronics in the coming year and will generate new risks. Read more…

Health of Massachusetts residents improves after Romneycare

masshealthcareMassachusetts passed its own version of health care reform in 2006, known as Romneycare, which required every individual to obtain health insurance and to expand subsidized insurance options for certain chronically uninsured segments of the population. Since then, approximately 400,000 residents gained coverage due to those regulation changes. The percentage of Massachusetts residents now covered by health insurance is somewhere around 98%.

A recent study (reported in Milbank findings) showed how Romneycare impacted the health status of the residents of Massachusetts. Through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 345,211 adults ages 18 to 64 throughout New England were surveyed from the years 2001 through 2011. The surveys also captured the use of preventive Read more…

What to do when employee drivers rent vehicles

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

carJimShould employees purchase insurance when renting a car? Over the course of my insurance business, this has been the one question that has been posed by more clients than I can count. It is worth revisiting since this issue is as important to a start-up firm as it is to a Fortune 500 company.

The answer is that it depends on what types of insurance coverage your company currently carries, and whether the employees will be renting in the U.S. or internationally. There are nuances in the coverages purchased to mitigate issues when having employees rent vehicles. It also helps to develop a concise internal protocol to be followed when asked the insurance question.

Starting with the basics, when your employees rent vehicles for business purposes there are two main types of insurance coverages to consider: Liability and Physical Damage. Liability Read more…

EPA updates AAI rules to reflect Superfund liability standards

January 22, 2014 Leave a comment

superfundThe recent update of ASTM International’s industry standard for a Phase 1 environmental site assessment caused the EPA to amend its “All Appropriate Inquiry” (“AAI”) rule to include both the older and new standards. As a result, purchasers of contaminated property looking to take advantage of certain defenses to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) should review these changes in order to maximize their defenses and better manage the environmental due diligence process.

CERCLA is a U.S. federal law created to enforce the cleanup of sites contaminated with pollutants and other hazardous substances. The law permits natural agencies, individual states and Native American tribes the right to collect natural resource damages caused Read more…

Obamacare: Who signed up so far…and why it matters

obamacare updateThe website and the various state-run marketplaces saw more than 2 million individuals enroll in private health plans by the end of 2013. In addition 1.6 million enrollees were identified as Medicaid-eligible. This is an impressive result despite the rocky launch of the federal website when it went live in October.

In a recent report the government provided some insight as to the demographics of enrollees. Some interesting highlights from the data include:

  • Subsidy – 79% of the enrollees received some form of subsidy when they signed up
  • Gender – 54% of enrollees were women and 46% were men
  • Coverage – 60% selected a silver level plan and 20% selected a bronze level plan

Perhaps the most concerning data comes from the predominant advanced age bracket Read more…

New CalOPPA disclosure rules could pave way for federal cyberliability laws

January 14, 2014 Leave a comment

070117_cybercrimeAs network security breaches and cybercrimes continue to plague businesses and major corporations, the issue has come under strict scrutiny from federal regulators, with at least 46 states passing laws pertaining to data breach and disclosure requirements. Most recently, the State of California has amended the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) which requires that any person or business operating a commercial Web site or online service that collects “personally identifiable information” about state residents post privacy policies on their site. Effective January 1, 2014, businesses must also disclose how their sites respond to “do not track” (DNT) signals sent by web browsers . DNT signals are proposed HTTP header fields that allow users to opt-out from being tracked by certain Web sites, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms.  Read more…

DOL’s heightened focus on plan fiduciaries

January 8, 2014 Leave a comment

fiducblogWith an increase in the number of defined benefit plans and the use of alternative investments, the Department of Labor (DOL) is spending more time and manpower in scrutinizing these plans and the parties that are entrusted to oversee and administer them.

The various officers of an organization, as well other persons acting in various capacities, have always been exposed to liability imposed under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) when they are performing services for a qualified plan. But recent developments and market conditions have increased the focus on the fiduciary responsibility of these trustees, administrators and vendors.

The three biggest areas of concern for the DOL are Limited Scope Audits, Audit Quality and Fee Disclosures. ERISA allows for limited scope audits in situations where investment Read more…