short term disability

By: David Murdock, Life Insurance, Healthcare and Group Benefits Risk Consultant at The Prewitt Group

Short-term disability (STD) insurance is an insurance product that replaces a portion of an employee’s income for a short period of time, usually 3 to 6 months, when they experience an unexpected (or expected) medical condition that prevents them from working.

Essentially, if an employee uses all his/her sick and/or vacation days, the STD plan is there to provide economic support in a time of uncertainty. Pregnancy and maternity leave, back injuries and joint disorders and behavioral issues are the most common causes of short-term disability. STD plans are designed to only replace a portion (up to 67 percent) of an employee’s income, which encourages them to return to work to earn 100 percent of their income.

While this product clearly benefits employees in times of need, having an STD policy in place is also a big benefit for employers. Why? Most importantly, employer-paid STD prevents employers from having to make difficult decisions about employees who can’t perform their job due to unforeseen illnesses or injuries. Having a comprehensive STD plan enables employers to adopt a sick-pay policy that applies equally to all employees. For many employer groups, a disabled employee may cause you to pay someone to not be there while having to hire another employee to do their job. Fortunately, an STD policy mitigates that risk.

STD plans can be employer-paid or voluntary. In an employer-paid plan, all employees are covered equally with the same plan design and cost-per-volume of covered payroll. However, like any disability plan, the cost for each employee will vary according to his/her earnings. The higher the income of an employee, the higher the premium. Shorter waiting periods (how long the employee must be disabled before the benefit kicks in) and larger weekly benefits also affect the premium cost.

From an overall cost perspective, an employer-paid plan provides some pricing advantages that voluntary plans do not. For instance, a voluntary STD plan may have age-banded rates, which places a burden on older employees. On the other hand, voluntary plans do offer more flexible plan design in terms of the amount of benefit, duration of benefit and waiting periods.

All in all, STD plans are a win-win solution for both employees and employers. If you’re interested in learning more about short-term disability plans, contact me today!

 

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Have you stopped to think about the risks your business faces this year? Among other risks, cyber threats remain a high-ranking concern across businesses of all sizes and industries—especially those in technology, banking and professional services sectors.

In 2018, cybersecurity threats grew from small, local attacks to attacks causing disorder on a massive scale. Consequently, it’s critical to be informed of cyber security trends and prepared to prevent cyber attacks in 2019.  Risk Management Magazine reports that the “massive gap between confidence and key fundamental preparation may itself pose a risk.”

Recently, Chubb announced 3 key cybersecurity trends to watch this year:

  1. “Cybersecurity regulation and enforcement will increase and focus more on actions taken by businesses pre-incident, in addition to post-incident protocol.”

For instance, in March of 2018, Alabama enacted the Alabama Breach Notification Act of 2018 (2018-396), which requires business entities to have certain security measures in place and predetermined notification measures to alert impacted individuals of the breach within a reasonable amount of time. Chubb predicts that this year lawmakers will not only shift their attention to companies’ data collection and data usage practices, but also on the actions that organizations should take to better prevent a cyber incident from occurring.

  1. “Crime does pay, and business is booming: the business model of cybercrime will tilt heavily toward direct monetization attacks.”

According to Chubb, this means that cyber criminals will prioritize attacks that result in direct monetization, and in order to pursue these types of attacks, criminals will continue to employ ransomware. Consequently, ransomware will continue to grow and become more destructive.

  1. “Cyber criminals will target individuals just as much as businesses as billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices come online.”

IoT devices, such as vehicles, smart phones, nanny-cams and home appliances, will provide cyber criminals with more ways to target individuals and opportunities to gather personal information.

All in all, business leaders should strive to defend their companies from cyberattacks through preparedness rather than respond to cyber attacks. Cyber insurance plays a key role in protecting your company and managing cybersecurity risks. If you’re interested in obtaining cyber insurance, contact a consultant at The Prewitt Group today!

2019 healh resolutions

New year, new you? Are you resolving to improve your health this year? As healthcare costs continue to rise, being a smarter healthcare consumer can help combat these costs. However, being informed about healthcare and establishing these healthy habits starts with YOU.

Need some motivation? Here are 7 health-related resolutions to make this year:

  1. Review your health insurance policy: It’s important that you understand what your insurance policy really covers to make the most of your spending each year. Determine your deductible amount, out-of-pocket maximum, copays for regular office, urgent care and ER visits, and copay costs for generic, brand and specialty prescriptions.
  2. Consider obtaining secondary health insurance: By covering medical expenses that are not covered by your primary insurance plan, secondary insurance policies help bear the burdensome out-of-pocket expenses individuals and families encounter.
  3. Select health care providers: Visiting the emergency room after work hours or relying on urgent care visits is NOT a good practice. Before selecting a healthcare provider, seek recommendations from family and friends, check your health plan to see which physicians are in-network, and know what you want and need from a primary care provider.
  4. Schedule and attend yearly checkups and exams: Staying up-to-date with yearly checkups and age-appropriate health screenings and immunizations is vital to your health.
  5. Stock an at-home first-aid kit: Unfortunately, accidents and sickness occur from time to time. Be prepared for minor illnesses and injuries with a stocked first-aid or emergency kit at home.
  6. Eat healthy: While establishing a healthy and balanced diet is the overall goal, it’s helpful to start with baby steps. For example, aim to reduce your sugar intake, cut down on carbs or start meal prepping. Making and sticking to specific goals like these will help you establish a healthy eating plan that is sustainable for you.
  7. Exercise regularly: Like eating healthy, exercising regularly is vague and can be tough to stick to throughout the year. Whether it’s hitting the gym twice a week, getting 10,000 steps in a day, or trying a new training program, create an exercise plan that’s challenging, but doable.

With these 7 resolutions, you can make your health a priority this year. If you have questions about your health insurance policy or would like more information about secondary health insurance, contact The Prewitt Group today!