I hope this finds all of you well. And if your household is like mine, I also hope you’re surviving the transition back-to-school this month. I’m sure many of you can relate to the mixed feelings I have sending my oldest daughter to kindergarten.
In part because I wanted to enjoy my own kids before they went back to school, my office invited all our kiddos to lunch. We called it our “teammate luncheon with our cubs,” and if any of you have visited our Portland office, you probably noticed the cheetah theme. Cheetahs are the mascot of Brown & Brown and in addition to photos of cheetahs, we have several large stuffed toy cheetahs.
We like to say that we run in a pack because the strength of the cheetah is the pack. We consider our families and our teammates’ families part of our pack. Valuing family is a cornerstone of Brown & Brown’s culture, and it starts at the very top. During my years at Brown & Brown, Hyatt Brown, now an octogenarian, has generously imparted so much wisdom and knowledge to me as has his son, Powell.
What I have found as both a parent and a leader is that it does take a pack to raise children and to run an office. I couldn’t do either in isolation. Like the constantly-changing demands of growing children, my office is constantly changing and growing. Change and growth create challenges that are positive; the result is that I am always adapting, growing and changing to keep pace.
What our hope is, is that we are a trusted resource for all of you and your proverbial packs. Sending this newsletter is one way we are trying to meet that objective. We know that the marketplace offers options, and we appreciate opportunity to service your insurance and Employee Benefits programs. Please take a moment to peruse this newsletter and then read the content that is compelling to you and dig deeper. I encourage all of you to reach out to your broker with questions or concerns. We want to have an on-going dialog with you.
Jessica Getman, President
State of the Insurance Market: Cyber Liability
In 2016 breaches were up 40% and to date in 2017 they are up 37% over last year. The average cost of a breach:
• 10,000 or fewer records is 1.9 million
• 10,000 to 25,000 records the cost is 2.8 million
• 25,001 to 50,000 is 4.6 million.
• The average number of records breached in the U.S. is 28,512
By 2020, industry experts believe that global cyber insurance premiums will reach $20 billion. In today’s business climate, cyber-attacks are no longer a question of if, but when. This is especially true in the United States, which remains one of the most wired countries in the world and has seen an increase in political hacktivism. It is no surprise that cyber security was ranked as the third most important issue facing the commercial insurance industry today.
Renewals for cyber liability insurance may continue to see average premium increases of up to 10% though locally we are seeing relatively flat renewals this year. Highly publicized data breaches across North America have created an environment where premium increases are to be expected. This is especially true for organizations in the retail and health care sectors due to their unique exposures.
While premium increases are expected over the course of 2017, organizations could soften the blow by implementing strong workplace controls to help curb the threat of cyber-attacks. In fact, carriers will be more aggressively scrutinizing the systems their clients have in place to ensure potential risks are being controlled wherever possible.
For questions on Cyber Insurance, please contact Brown & Brown Northwest.
Contact Brown & Brown Northwest to help you keep your premiums as low as possible in a hard market.
ACA Update: Senate Rejects Efforts to Repeal the ACA; IRS Confirms ACA Mandate Penalties Still in Effect
On July 28, 2017, the U.S. Senate voted to reject a “skinny” version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA).
On Jan. 20, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order intended to “to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the ACA until the law can be repealed and eventually replaced. The executive order broadly directs the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies to waive, delay or grant exemptions from ACA requirements that may impose a financial burden. However, the executive order does not include specific guidance regarding any particular ACA requirement or provision, and does not change any existing regulations.
In response to the confusion over the executive order, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Chief Counsel has recently issued several information letters regarding the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual and employer mandate penalties. These letters clarify that:
Employer shared responsibility penalties continue to apply for applicable large employers (ALEs) that fail to offer acceptable health coverage to their full-time employees (and dependents); and
Individual mandate penalties continue to apply for individuals that do not obtain acceptable health coverage (if they do not qualify for an exemption).
According to these letters, the executive order does not change the law. The ACA’s provisions are still effective until changed by Congress, and taxpayers are still required to follow the law, including paying any applicable penalties.
Allow both spouses to make catch-up contributions to the same HSA: It eligible for catch-up contributions, both spouses of a married couple could make catch-up contributions to one HSA, beginning in 2018.As the Health Care Reform puzzle unfolds, Brown & Brown is here to help you understand the changes that would impact your organization and employees.
Workplace Safety: OSHA Proposes New Deadline for Electronic Reporting Rule
In 2016, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule that requires certain employers to submit data from their injury and illness records electronically so it can be posted on the agency’s website. Although the rule initially required affected employers to submit this data by July 1, 2017, OSHA recently proposed a new deadline of Dec. 1, 2017.
The proposed deadline is the result of a delay to the Injury Tracking Application (ITA), the online tool that OSHA will use to collect data. The ITA is ready to receive electronic reports as of Aug. 1, 2017, and employers will be able use it to submit data in one of three ways:
1. Enter data into the tool manually.
2. Upload a basic comma separated value (CSV) file for one or more establishments.
3. Transmit data from automated record keeping systems using an application programming interface.
OSHA also stated that it intends to issue a separate proposal to reconsider, revise or remove other provisions of the electronic reporting rule at a later date, but did not give further details. Because the electronic reporting rule has not been revoked, employers affected by the rule should continue to record and report workplace injuries as required by law.
Who is required to submit electronically?
• Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries (OSHA Establishments) with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. Covered establishments with 250 or more employees must electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report).
• Covered establishments with 20-249 employees must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A.
OSHA Injury Tracking: OSHA Injury Tracking Application
Oregon-OSHA adopted the federal OSHA’s record keeping requirements for electronic submission of injury and illness records. With the portal now being operational as of August 1, 2017, Oregon OSHA encourages employers to begin using the electronic submission system as soon as it is activated, but will not enforce it until December 1, 2017.
Washington State Labor & Industries follows the federal OSHA reporting requirements. CalOSHA posts on their website that “employers are not required to follow the new requirements and will not be required to do so until “substantially similar” regulations go through formal rule making, which would culminate in adoption by the Director of the Department of Industrial Relations and approval by the Office of Administrative Law.”
Wildfire Season: Don’t Get Caught Without a Plan!
Wildfire Season is upon us. Brown & Brown Northwest wants to remind you to prepare and understand the dangers and what to do about it.
• There have been 845 reported wildfires so far this year in Oregon. Thirty-two are considered large, meaning they’re at least 100 acres in timber or 300 acres in grass or brush.
• Wildfires have affected about 296,837 acres across the Northwest, including 155,543 acres in Oregon.
• Estimated firefighting costs total more than $49,480,500 in the Northwest, including $27,121,512 in Oregon. All costs haven’t been reported.
• Of the total number of reported Oregon fires, 446 were caused by humans.
• The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC) fire map provides an up-to-date look at wildfires actively burning around the state as reported by federal and cooperating state wildland fire suppression agencies.
• The Oregonian is providing online news updates on the impact the fires are having around the state
• Before camping, hiking or otherwise spending time outside, be sure to find out about current fire dangers and restrictions on the Oregon.gov website.
• Be extra careful with campfires by making sure they are fully extinguished and the fire area is cool to the touch.
• Avoid activities that can cause accidental fires, such as dragging chains and parking in dry, grassy areas.
The most common wildfire danger is in the air that we breathe. Smoke from wildfires can travel for miles and is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Being exposed to smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.
Know Your Risk
• If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, COPD, emphysema or asthma, you are at higher risk of having health problems from smoke.
• Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have heart or lung diseases than younger people.
• Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children also are more likely to be active outdoors.
Recommendations for people with chronic diseases:
• Have an adequate supply of medication (more than five days).
• If you have asthma, make sure you have a written asthma management plan.
• If you have heart disease, check with your health care providers about precautions to take during smoke events.
• If you plan to use a portable air cleaner, buy one that matches the room size specified by the manufacturer.
• Call your health care provider if your condition gets worse when you are exposed to smoke.
Recommendations for everyone to limit exposure to smoke:
• Pay attention to local air quality reports.
• Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke. Also pay attention to public health messages about taking additional safety measures. You can also visit the Oregon DEQ Air Quality Index for the current status in your area.
• Refer to visibility guides if they are available.
• Not every community has a monitor that measures the number of particles that are in the air, but if you see noticeable haze or visibility is limited to less than 3 miles, it is a good idea to limit outdoor activity.
• If you are advised to stay indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible.
• Keep windows and doors closed unless it is extremely hot outside. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter elsewhere.
• Do not add to indoor pollution.
• When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves. Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.
• Do not rely on dust masks for protection.
• Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke. An “N95” mask, properly worn, will offer some protection. For more information about effective PPE for employers, visit Oregon OSHA employer resources.Guidance for school outdoor activities:
For recommendations on whether school kids should play outside, review the 2015 Public Health Guidance for School Outdoor Activities.
• Avoid strenuous outdoor exertion, such as sports practice or yard work, on days with poor air quality.
• Drink a lot of water! Staying hydrated keeps airways moist, which will help reduce respiratory irritation symptoms such as scratchy throat, running nose and coughing.
• Avoid driving in smoky areas. If you do need to drive in these areas, keep your windows rolled up and vents closed. If you need air conditioning, make sure you set your system on re-circulate to avoid bringing smoke into your car.
• People with health concerns, including those suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems, should follow their breathing management plans, keep medication on hand, and contact their healthcare provider if necessary.
In a nutshell, getting prepared and educating yourself could be the difference between an annoying smoggy day or a trip to the emergency room.
Earlier this year, our teammates had the opportunity to learn more about Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) from the organization’s Community Outreach & Education Specialist who shared a compelling and inspiring presentation.
Brown & Brown Northwest is proud to support CCA’s mission to spread joy. Teammates donated Packs of Joy with school supplies and backpacks that CCA will distribute to seriously ill children and their siblings.