*Each month Neace Lukens will answer common insurance questions faced by our clients. To submit questions for consideration, contact us.
Tornado season is here, and now is a good time to double check your tornado plan and your insurance policy to ensure your home and valuables are covered. Storms can develop quickly, so take time now to review your policies and protect yourself from disaster. Read on for answers to three questions regarding your home and tornadoes:
Do I need to purchase wind coverage for my home?
Most homeowners policies include wind, however some homes, in coastal areas for example, exclude this coverage unless you purchase a separate policy and/or endorsement. Depending on your current home insurance policy, the answer may be yes, according to Insurance Journal magazine. The American Association of Insurance Services, an organization that develops policy forms used by many insurance carriers, recently filed a cosmetic damage endorsement. This means that cosmetic damage from wind and hail to your home may no longer be covered if your insurer chooses to use this new endorsement. Cosmetic damage is defined as damage that affects the appearance of your home, but not the functionality. Contact your agent and ask them to double check that cosmetic damage to your home is covered under your policy.
How does my deductible come into play after a tornado?
Check your policy to see if you have a separate wind deductible on policy before a tornado hits. Your policy may include an all-peril deductible, or it may have a wind deductible. All-peril deductibles mean that no matter if your home is damaged by fire, theft or wind, the deductible you pay is the same. If you have a separate wind deductible, your deductible could be one percent of the dwelling value. Check with your agent to determine if you have an all-peril or a split wind/hail deductible.
There’s been an increase in volume of catastrophic events nationally. As we experience more disasters and losses, insurance rates go up nationally. Our team can work with you to ensure that you’re receiving the best rate for your insurance policy, and receiving all discounts that you qualify for.
If I’m under a tornado warning, where is the best place to seek shelter?
According to Ready.gov, if you’re in or near a structure, like a residence, nursing home or businesses you should head to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level, such as a closet or hallway. If you’re in a trailer or mobile home, you should get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy building or storm shelter. For more details about seeking shelter during a tornado, visit Ready.gov.
Remember; take shelter immediately when dangerous weather strikes. For more details about how to prepare for a disaster, visit 15 Tips to Prepare for Spring Storms and Dangerous Weather. If you have questions about your home, auto and asset protection insurance policies, the Neace Lukens personal insurance team can help. Be sure to schedule an annual policy checkup to make sure that you’re adequately insured and getting all the discounts you qualify for. To learn more or to contact an agent, visit: Neace Lukens Personal Insurance.
Quality Assessment and Assurance Program Matures into Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement for Long Term Care
Nursing homes have long been required by federal regulations to create a Quality Assessment and Assurance (QAA) committee, which serve to periodically review and correct detected shortcomings in the delivered care. These meetings often result in action plans that focus more on changes to reduce the number of shortcomings, rather than analyzing the impact of changes on quality of care or how the achieved quality of care could be sustained. When the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) combined QAA with a more proactive program called Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI).
The QAPI requires nursing homes to establish and sustain accountability, providing both quality of care and quality of life opportunities for the residents. QAPI significantly expands the scope of the regulation, and challenges each nursing home to go beyond compliance to address deficiencies and focus on system correction for shortcomings. Nursing homes are now required to incorporate a formalized process, including five key elements and twelve action steps that act as the basic building blocks, into an effective QAPI program.
While QAA required nursing homes to identify and correct quality risks, QAPI shifts the focus to facility-wide involvement in data-driven continuous improvement activities. QAPI programs require a comprehensive, formalized plan and engaged leadership and greater involvement of all staff. CMS provided a preview of an online QAPI resource called “QAPI at a Glance” to help nursing homes build the foundation of their program. Each nursing home needs to submit a QAPI plan to CMS within a year of the regulation change announcement using these resources and tools. This could require organizational changes and creating new infrastructures, policies and procedures.
This new program focuses on a best practice system improvement more than individual regulatory compliance. Nursing homes will need various strategies to evaluate and implement their procedures to fit QAPI action steps into the organizations’ mission, vision and guiding principles. The Neace Lukens CORE Solutions and senior living professionals will work with you to make sure that your organization is on the right track with your QAPI plan. Our team of clinical risk management consultants is equipped to assist your organization throughout the transition. To learn more or to contact an agent, visit: Clinical Risk Management.
Resources: CMS QAPI Guide: What You Need to Know, CMS QAPI Module Operations Guide
With the weather heating up and school winding down, you may be starting to think ahead to the fun trips you have lined up for the summer. If you’re going on a vacation, consider adding travel insurance to your policy before you go. Travel insurance safeguards you against issues that could come up when you’re on your vacation – like theft, injury or sickness. The last thing you want to worry about on a relaxing vacation is what would happen if problems arise.
Travel insurance coverage can typically include the non-refundable costs of a trip, up to the policy’s limits; has emergency medical or dental coverage; and offers assistance for emergencies or accidents such as lost baggage, travel delays or trip interruption. In the event of inclement weather, including hurricanes or other natural disasters, your travel insurance policy can provide additional coverage and reimbursement options. Being protected can give you the peace of mind needed to truly relax and enjoy your vacation.
Whether you’re jet-setting or road-tripping, travel insurance can prepare you for the unexpected and bring you peace of mind. If you’re interested in adding travel insurance coverage, or to learn more about Neace Lukens personal insurance options, visit: Neace Lukens Personal Insurance. We wish everyone a safe, fun and relaxing summer!
Attendees of the recent Newburgh, Ind. and Lexington, Ky. Conferences on Health & Productivity had the opportunity to hear about health and wellness from a variety of viewpoints, such as the physical, psychological and emotional perspectives. Both conferences featured an exciting panel of speakers, including Eileen Kopsafis, MS, PT; Dr. Pamela Popper, PhD, ND, Executive Director, The Wellness Forum; and William Lessler, LPCC.
With a variety of perspectives on health presented by nationally-renowned experts, conference attendees explored several “prescriptions” to the escalating costs of health care and workers’ compensation. Along with a full schedule of creative sessions, conference attendees also had the chance to network and visit with exhibitors throughout the day.
Check out the photos below from the Newburgh Health and Productivity Conference on May 8, 2013 at the Rolling Hills Country Club:
Thank you for joining Neace Lukens at the recent Conferences on Health & Productivity in Newburgh and Lexington. To learn more about the upcoming Health & Productivity conference in Louisville, Ky., please visit: Neace Lukens Events. To learn more about how Neace Lukens can help your organization develop strategies for promoting healthful living and work productivity, please visit: Neace Lukens Health & Productivity.
How do you protect some of your most important possessions? A sound, comprehensive insurance policy that fits both your near and long-term goals can go a long way toward keeping your belongings safe and giving you peace of mind. The right personal insurance policies can protect you and your family by replacing or restoring your valuables should an accident or disaster occur.
Evaluating your policies for complete coverage is an important step toward safeguarding your belongings. The Neace Lukens personal insurance team can help you review your existing policies and determine if there are opportunities to extend coverage. We offer insurance services for the following areas:
Property: homeowners, condominium unit owners, tenant homeowners, rental dwellings, earthquake & flood, equipment breakdown, identity theft expenses.
Collections/scheduled property: jewelry, furs, silverware, fine arts, wine, stamps/coins, items of antiquity and other collectables.
Vehicles: automobiles, motorcycles/ATVs, jet skis/boats/yachts, RV/motor home/travel trailer, antique/classic autos, street rods/exotics, loan/lease gap coverage, non-owned liability.
Other specialty products: personal umbrella, employment practices liability, workers’ compensation, nonprofit directors and officers liability.
The right home, auto or asset protection can give you the comfort of knowing that you have a plan in place should disaster strike. While price is an important factor to consider with your policy, oftentimes individuals are unknowingly underinsured, and would be unprepared to deal with losses that could occur. Our team takes the time to thoroughly evaluate the coverage and determine proper asset or risk protection.
If you have questions about any of your insurance policies, or are interested in adding additional coverage, contact us today. To learn more, or to contact an agent, visit: Neace Lukens Personal Insurance.
If you’re a business owner, chances are you’re always on the lookout for new ways to reduce expenses and to save money for your organization. With a cost segregation study, your business can save thousands of dollars in long-term tax and cash flow benefits. Research shows that a minority of businesses are taking advantage of this IRS-compliant strategy—are you?
Read on to learn about cost segregation studies, and how the results could impact your bottom line:
What is a cost segregation study?
A cost segregation study is an IRS-compliant approach to more exactly classify all building components for tax purposes to accelerate depreciation. This translates into immediate tax payment benefits and increases cash flow.
Any business can qualify for the benefits of cost segregation, so long as they are taxpayers and either own commercial property valued at least $1 million (built acquired or renovated since 1987), or with leasehold improvements of $750,000 or more. Some organizations that take advantage of cost segregation include:
• Golf courses and resorts
• Hotels and hospitality
What are the benefits of a cost segregation study?
Cost segregation has many benefits, including:
• Increased cash flow
• Reduction of current federal and state liabilities
• Identification of “catch up” accelerated depreciation benefits
• Full write-offs of long-term assets at the time they are replaced
• Correction of any misclassified assets
• Enhancement of new construction design process to lower the cost per square foot
• Lowering of other costs, including insurance and real estate taxes
• Improvement of bank loan qualifications
• Bridging the gap between engineering, construction and accounting systems
• Possible refunds on prior taxes paid
What are the cost segregation study methods?
Engineering-based methodology for both purchase price allocation and new construction examines costs on a contract-by-contract basis. Once all assets are broken down to the simplest form, they are assigned tax life classifications. This approach creates the best document trail to support the fair and balanced approach the IRS seeks. While time consuming, this methodology ultimately produces the most accurate study, typically leading to the lowest audit time and highest client value. This recommended methodology is the one Neace Lukens CORE Solutions employs.
Residual methodology is an abbreviated approach which typically only details short life assets and assigned costs. These assets’ total cost is deducted from the total project cost, with the remaining “residual” amount assigned to the building/other long lived assets. Good residual providers err on the side of caution in valuing shorter life assets, acknowledging that the IRS desires a fair and balanced study under audit. The residual method’s abridged approach trades time and cost for detail, in both short-lived and particularly long-lived assets. Often, this means reduced accuracy, less client value and greater audit time.
In this method, the provider questions the construction team about the cost of the respective assets. The survey approach may be in a residual or engineering format, depending on if the CPA wants to be able to retire assets or not. If a study using this method comes under audit and the valuation of assets is questioned, the owner is responsible to support the contractor and sub-contractor valuation documentation for the IRS. The survey method can be reasonably reliable, but is subject to a wide range of disparity and increased owner documentation responsibilities.
CPAs and owners use the rule-of-thumb methodology each time they review an invoice or purchase order and decide how to treat the expense. A decision is made via individual knowledge of the asset and how it should be treated from a depreciable asset life classification. If there is not enough information available, additional questions are asked to develop documentation to support the decision. Since this method is based more on “experience” and less on documentation, the IRS views this approach with caution.
The Neace Lukens CORE Solutions team can facilitate a cost segregation study for your property. To learn more, or to contact an agent, please visit: Neace Lukens CORE Solutions.
When a fire, car accident, serious injury or other complex coverage issue occurs, it can be a confusing and emotional time. It’s important to initiate the claim process as soon as possible, but where do you start? Reporting your claim directly to your insurance carrier can expedite the process, and begin to move toward closure to the issue. At Neace Lukens, our claims team can help navigate you through the claim process, and act as your advocate when working with insurance companies.
When you notify us of a claim, we work with you to inspect losses and evaluate the situation. If the situation warrants, we’ll come onsite, and work either with or without an insurance carrier representative to inspect the claim. If needed, we’ll suggest a contractor or other vendors to evaluate damage and assist in the claim process. This could include property damage, serious injury or fatality.
When a claim situation arises, it’s especially important to be prepared and keep good records. Get contact information for everyone that you speak with, take notes on your conversations, and keep all associated paperwork together in a folder. Taking pictures and/or videos can also be helpful to document the loss. These steps can help you be more prepared and feel confident about the claims process. The Neace Lukens claims team is here to help and answer your questions, and provide support throughout the entire process. We work with you to try to get a favorable outcome for the claim.
If you have questions about an existing claim, or are looking for advice, our team of dedicated claims specialists can help. To learn more about Neace Lukens claims resources, or to contact the claims department, visit: Neace Lukens Claims.
Each month Neace Lukens will answer common insurance questions faced by our clients. To submit questions for consideration, contact us.
Not all claims can be prevented, so when a claim situation arises, it’s important to take advantage of the resources and tools available—including the Neace Lukens claims team. We act as your business partner and claims advisor to educate you on the ins and outs of reporting a claim, answers to commonly asked questions and more. Read on for answers to two common claims questions:
How do you determine if there are any coverage issues when damage is incurred?
When you file a claim, we start by reviewing your policy to determine the types of coverage afforded and available. We will work with your insurance carrier to submit the required paperwork, and also inspect the loss and review it to determine if there are any areas that could be interpreted in your favor. Our goal is to support you throughout the entire claims process, offering our expertise and knowledge to minimize harm, maximize compensation, and get you an outcome that is as favorable as possible.
How do contractual issues, such as hold harmless, waiver of subrogation and indemnification clauses impact who is responsible and for what?
Your policy of insurance is a contract. When you file a claim, there are other contracts and legally binding documents that can come into play. With these contracts, there may be certain contract language, including hold harmless, waiver of subrogation and indemnification clauses, which can impact your claim. Other terms and conditions could potentially be involved as well. The claims process is complex, even without contractual issues outside of the policy being involved. While we are not attorneys, the Neace Lukens claims team will review and evaluate the contractual and non-contractual factors involved in your claim to help you understand what’s going on, while advocating on your behalf with your insurance carriers.
If you have questions about the claims process, our team of dedicated specialists can help. To learn more or to contact us, visit: Neace Lukens Claims.
Each month Neace Lukens will discuss a different aspect of the Affordable Care Act. Stay tuned for more updates on the second Thursday of each month. Click here for more Affordable Care Act blogs.
The Affordable Care Act has brought about sweeping changes to the health care industry, and in turn, how organizations handle the administration of their employee benefits and insurance. Reading about the Affordable Care Act might instead leave you scratching your head—use this guide to help decode some of the confusing acronyms you may come across:
• CHIP (The Children’s Health Insurance Program): This program provides health insurance to low-income children who do not qualify for Medicaid, but are unable to afford private health insurance. In some states, this may cover pregnant women also.
• EBSA (Employee Benefits Security Administration): This is a division of the Department of Labor responsible for compliance assistance concerning benefit plans.
• EPO Plan (Exclusive Provider Organization Plan): A managed care plan that only covers services in the plan’s network of doctors, specialists or hospitals (except in emergencies).
• ERRP (Early Retiree Reinsurance Program): Created under health care reform to provide coverage to early retirees.
• FLSA (Federal Fair Labor Standards Act): Amended by PPACA to incorporate health care reform-specific revisions.
• HCERA (Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act): Enacted on March 30, 2010 to amend and supplement PPACA.
• IRO (Independent Review Organization): An organization that performs independent external reviews of adverse benefit determinations.
• MLR (Medical Loss Ratio): Refers to the claims costs and amounts expended on health care quality improvement as a percent of total premiums. This ratio excludes taxes, fees, risk adjustments, risk corridors and reinsurance.
• PCE (Pre-existing Condition Exclusion): A plan provision imposing an exclusion of benefits due to a pre-existing condition.
• PCIP (Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan): A temporary high-risk insurance pool to provide coverage to eligible individuals until 2014.
• PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act): The primary health care reform law enacted on March 23, 2010.
• QHP (Qualified Health Plan): A certified health plan that provides an essential health benefits package. A QHP is offered by a licensed health insurer.
• SHOP Exchange (Small Business Health Options Program): A program that each health insurance exchange must create to assist eligible small employers when enrolling their employees in qualified health plans offered in the small-group market.
Are you able to keep all these acronyms straight? Check back on the second Thursday of each month as we discuss the Affordable Care Act and what it means to you. For questions about the Affordable Care Act, contact a Neace Lukens representative.
This post is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.
*Information from Zywave
If you’re an owner operator or fleet owner in the trucking and transportation industry, you’re probably aware of the varied and wide-ranging insurance coverage needed to successfully protect your business. A fully comprehensive plan can protect your business, now and into the future. Insurance coverage to consider can range from workers’ compensation or liability policies to individual health insurance.
It can be frustrating trying to piece together these individual insurance products. With Neace Lukens TransGroup, we work directly with the insurance carriers for you, to create one simple plan that provides the solutions to all of your insurance requirements. We eliminate the need to work with multiple companies, and guarantee client satisfaction and affordable options for owner operators and fleet owners.
Whether it’s a fleet of limousines or semi-trucks, our talented TransGroup professionals offer:
• Trucker liability coverage
• Physical damage coverage
• Non-trucking liability
• Motor truck cargo coverage
• Workers’ compensation
• Occupational accidental insurance
• Individual health insurance
• Excess liability and bonding insurance
If you’re worried about gaps in your coverage, or would like to add increased coverage for your organization, we can help. To learn more, or to contact an agent, visit: Neace Lukens Property & Casualty.