Small Business Saturday: One Business Owner to Another

Simple Work Comp Simple Insurance Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 30th and if you are a small business owner, you obviously know about your customers and all about running your business. Business owners are our customers and we know cutting the stressful things out of our customers daily operations gives them more time to focus on making their customers happy; and that makes us happy.

More businesses succeed when trusting to use a reputable partner to assist them with tasks and purchases that cost them the most time and money. Whether its finding adequate business insurance coverage, flawless payroll administration, or any other line of products associated with employee costs savings and tax liabilities, our business experts/agents do whatever it takes to be our customers’ difference maker.

We understand there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to shopping for business insurance or payroll administration; and those by themselves can be confusing.

Our customers choose us because of our years of experience and unmeasured willingness to address all their questions and concerns before ever having to purchase anything.

Being independent from carriers and having exclusive agreements allow us to give our customers what suits them best at competitive and affordable rates.

So, if you are a business owner and would like to talk about the possibilities of seriously saving time & money on peace of mind business insurance as well as eliminating business administration headaches.

Then give us a call 1-866-684-5684 or contact us to schedule a convenient consultation with one of our business experts.

Cut the stressful things out of your daily business operations and get back to focusing on growing your business and making your customers happy.

Contact Simple Insurance / Payroll Consultants today.

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Placing your work comp clients with the state fund, is it worth it?

Getting work comp coverage with the state fund

Do the commissions justify the paper work? How to get more reward from your hard-to-place work comp clients.

Sometimes we all need to know when to cut our losses and move on. However, that’s easier said than done. As a work comp insurance agent, you occasionally deal with people who own or operate companies, with employees, with losses (shock losses), and sometimes choose to perform risks that normal underwriters just won’t even return your calls or emails on.

So, what do you do? You’re stuck, right? Wrong! If you’re a savvy insurance agent, then you know there’s always a way via your state insurance fund. Now I’m going to wager if you know about the state insurance fund, then you know you can also refer to it as a ton of paperwork.

The state fund requires you to get the answers to a million and one questions and after all the questions are answered they then come back to you with a huge inflated premium amount that your client either has to pay or risk going out of business, by losing business due to lack of proper work comp coverage. This on some levels is almost as close as you can get to feeling what its like working a deal with the mob.

Now, if you’ve been persistent or lucky enough to reach the point where your client can afford to pay the over inflated premium and you still have all your hair. You can then look forward to receiving a nice commission from the aforementioned premium. After all, you did all the wok and got the deal done. Right, wrong again!

The agents placing their high-risk clients with the state are lucky to see three percent in commissions for all their hard work.

Let’s put that into perspective. At 3%, a $30k premium would only net you $900. And if you must split that with your agency then you can do that math.

Simple Work Comp is an alternative wholesale broker that provides professional work comp quote services to agents and brokers across the country.

We help agents keep their clients out of the state fund by trying to secure the best rates. On average our agents can save their clients as much as 40% off of premium and still could earn more in commissions than if they had placed their client with the overpriced state fund.

Avoiding all the work and sparing their clients the proverbial hoops and hurdle jumping.

Simple Work Comp makes it easy for insurance agents to submit their risks and get answers on available work comp coverages for their clients.

If you’re an agent and have clients that are in the state fund or are unquotable for whatever reason, contact us for assistance.

Thousands of insurance agents have trusted us to help them secure standard and alternative pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance solutions for over twenty years.

Overpriced state fund options with low low low commission percentages doesn’t have to be the norm and can be a thing of the past. Contact us today for a simple solution to your state fund woes.

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California Experience Rating

The Insurance Commissioner recently adopted changes to California experience rating (X-Mod).

Under the new California Experience Rating Plan (2019) only the amount of each of your claims, up to your primary threshold, is used in the X-Mod computation.

California experience rating mod formula

These changes make it easier for employers to understand:

  • How reducing workplace injuries will reduce their premium cost
  • The importance of reporting all claims

The new formula excludes the first $250 of each claim from the X-Mod computation. This change removes any experience rating incentive to not report the cost of small or “first aid” type claims to your insurer. The new California experience rating simplified formula also places a clear and direct emphasis on reducing the occurrence and cost of workplace injuries as reflected in the actual primary losses.

Contact us regarding your California Workers’ Comp and Experience Rating

Definition of Terms

  • Actual primary losses
    Equal to the cost of losses incurred with each loss limited to a policyholder’s primary threshold
     
  • Expected excess losses
    Equal to the average losses expected for businesses of similar size and industry in excess of the primary threshold
     
  • Expected losses
    Equal the total losses expected for businesses of similar size and industry

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the $250 loss exclusion work?
Under California’s Experience Rating Plan only the amount of each of your claims, up to your primary threshold, is used in the X-Mod computation. With the $250 loss exclusion, that amount is reduced by $250. For example, if you have a $10,000 primary threshold and a single claim of $5,000, the amount used in the X-Mod computation is $4,750. If you have a single claim of $15,000, the amount used in the X-Mod is your primary threshold ($10,000) less $250, or $9,750.

Is the first $250 excluded from all claims?
Yes, any claim incurred against policies incepting during the experience period for your 2019 experience modification, which includes 2015, 2016 and 2017 policies, will be used in the X-Mod computation at $250 less than its reported value.

What if I file a claim that’s valued at $250 or less?
A claim with a reported cost of $250 or less will continue to be shown on the experience rating worksheet, but will not be used in any way in the X-Mod calculation.

If I only have one claim over $250 during the experience period, do claims valued at $250 or less affect the 25 point cap to my lossfree X-Mod?
Any claim of $250 or less will not be considered in the determination of whether the single claim cap of 25% applies. In other words, if you have two claims during the experience period and one is reported at $250 or less, the single claim X-Mod cap of 25% will still apply.

Does the simplification of the formula affect my X-Mod?
No. It does not change the X-Mod value.

Can I lower my X-Mod if it is too high?
Yes! Simple Work Comp has programs in place that (if accepted to the program) can lower your California Experience Rating.

Please contact us for inquiries regarding lowering your X-mod and getting discounts on your workers’s comp insurance and unemployment taxes.

Source: WCIRB

how to lower your mod, lower work comp, simple work comp,
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Florida Supreme Court Ruling

Workers Compensation Rate Increase 17.1%

Florida business owners may soon be paying nearly 20% more for their workers compensation coverage. In response to a recent decision from the Florida Supreme Court, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) filed a 17.1 percent rate increase with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) on all new policies, as well as renewal and additional policies in effect on a “pro-rata” basis.

The Supreme Court’s decision is also expected to increase overall system costs in Florida for accidents that occurred prior to August 1, 2016 that are open or could be re-opened.  Unfortunately, the expected 17.1% mid-year across-the-board rate increase does not consider the retroactive impact of the Castellanos decision. The NCCI anticipates that this will create significant unfunded liability for the retroactive impact of the Castellanos decision.  Therefore, NCCI is still evaluating the expected retroactive impact at this time and MBA will update you again when additional information is available.

Lowering Workers Comp Rates – Use Employee Leasing

What is Employee Leasing?

The biggest misconception about “Employee Leasing” is its name, which implies “the leasing of employees”; the staffing by another party such as a “Temp Agency”, or “Staffing Company”.   This is not what an Employee Leasing Company does… not even close.

An Employee Leasing Company, aka PEO (Professional Employer Organization) is a firm that provides a service under which an employer can outsource employee administrative tasks, such as all payroll, employee benefits, workers’ compensation, risk/safety management and healthcare.  A PEO bundles all of these services together in one bill.

A key service provided by a PEO is securing work comp insurance coverage at a lower cost than their client can obtain on their own.

Benefits to Employer

Employers utilizing the services of a PEO are able to focus on the big picture of growing their business by eliminating day-to-day administrative tasks.  Small businesses have a better success rate when using a PEO.

  • Obtain High-Risk Work Comp
  • Compliance Assurance
  • Lower Premiums
  • Better Success Rate
  • Reduce Administrative Expenses

Is Employee Leasing right for your Florida Business?  Click here to learn more or call us at 1-866-684-5684.

Get Quote

 

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Truckers Facing Tough Economic Times

As if the cost of fuel wasn’t taking a toll, safety concerns and rising workers comp insurance is putting an even greater dent into the earnings of truckers throughout the nation.

 

If you are starting a trucking company safety is going to be a top priority.  Trucking is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country.  Most people believe that it’s dangerous because of the roadways.  In reality it is dangerous because of the roadways, but more and more injuries occur outside of the truck.  Not only do drivers deal with traffic and the elements while driving, they also deal with loading the truck and other variables.  The safety of your drivers will be important as will your workers’ compensation insurance.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance is going to be higher for a trucking business due to the dangers involved.  Depending on your state, it is wise to look for an insurance company that specializes in dealing with these types of companies.  Insurance companies that deal with trucking will have more understanding of your situation and will help you create a safer environment for your drivers.  Your workers’ compensation insurance will help cover drivers who get injured on the job.  This will protect you from lawsuits and keep your assets safe.

 

Part of overall trucking safety is following the rules and regulations set out by government.  You will have to get to know IFTA licensing requirements, registration requirements, permit requirements, fueling requirements, and how to file a BOC – 3.  There is a lot of information involved in trucking regulations.  This can become overwhelming and it may be a good idea to hire a compliance professional.  With some research you will be able to find a compliance professional.  They will make sure you dot all of the I’s and cross all of the T’s.  You never want to send drivers out on the road without following all the regulations.

 

Safety is an ongoing concern to both you and your drivers.  You can save on workers’ compensation by having a safe workplace.  The trick with trucking is that the workplace is often a mobile one.  It is wise to create a safety plan for all of your drivers.  This plan can include information on the safe loading and unloading of freight, keeping reasonable hours on the road, and driving safety.  Drivers can never have enough safety reviews.  Every driver you hire needs to be licensed and should know how to drive a truck in extreme conditions.  However, it is common to become lax once you’ve been doing something for a long time.  Fight this by having regular safety reviews.  The trucking business is very competitive.  Keep your trucks on the road by being safe, looking out for drivers, and following the regulations.

 

 

 

 

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HAZMAT Registration for Your Business

If you own a company that transports hazardous materials, it might be necessary to complete HAZMAT registration with the U.S. Department of Transportation.  This registration is annual and will include a fee payment.  Funds collected

under this program go towards education and preparation for emergency response for hazardous materials.  This program has been operating since 1992. 

 

Not everyone who transports HAZMAT materials is required to register.  There are 6 categories that need to register:

1.      Anyone transporting a highway route controlled quantity of radioactive material.

2.      Anyone transporting more than 55 pounds of Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosive materials.

3.      Anyone transporting more than one liter per package of material that is toxic if inhaled, needs to register. 

4.      Anyone transporting hazardous material in bulk packaging, that is 13,248 liters or more (for liquid and gas) and 13.24 cubic meters (for solids).

5.      Anyone transporting 2,268 kilograms of hazardous material in something other than a bulk package.

6.      Anyone transporting an amount of hazardous material that demands a placard.  Transportation of these substances can be by road, rail, or air.  Farmers are excempted on many of these requirements.

 

There are a number of exceptions for the required registration:

  • Federal government agencies.
  • State agencies.
  • Agencies of political subdivisions in the states.
  • The Indian tribes.
  • People employed by the above that have it specifically in their job description that they handle hazardous materials.
  • Employees of Hazmat companies.
  • under this program go towards education and preparation for emergency response for hazardous materials.  This program has been operating since 1992. 

     

    Not everyone who transports HAZMAT materials is required to register.  There are 6 categories that need to register:

    1.      Anyone transporting a highway route controlled quantity of radioactive material.

    2.      Anyone transporting more than 55 pounds of Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosive materials.

    3.      Anyone transporting more than one liter per package of material that is toxic if inhaled, needs to register. 

    4.      Anyone transporting hazardous material in bulk packaging, that is 13,248 liters or more (for liquid and gas) and 13.24 cubic meters (for solids).

    5.      Anyone transporting 2,268 kilograms of hazardous material in something other than a bulk package.

    6.      Anyone transporting an amount of hazardous material that demands a placard.  Transportation of these substances can be by road, rail, or air.  Farmers are excempted on many of these requirements.

     

    There are a number of exceptions for the required registration:

    • Federal government agencies.
    • State agencies.
    • Agencies of political subdivisions in the states.
    • The Indian tribes.
    • People employed by the above that have it specifically in their job description that they handle hazardous materials.
    • Employees of Hazmat companies.
    • Companies that transport hazardous materials from places around the world to the United States.  This employee has to live outside the United States in a place that does not have Hazmat registration or fees.  This employee also can’t transport hazardous material that fits the descriptions and amounts that require registration.
    • A farmer who uses hazardous material to support his or her farming.

     

    The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) allows companies to register by mail and online.  If your company registers online, you will be able to print a certificate of registration immediately after payment.  To register by mail, simply fill out the registration forma and mail it in with payment. 

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3 Simple Things to Make Your Small Business Look Professional

Whether you have a small business that you run out of a home office or a contracting business that you run primarily out of a truck or a plumbing business where you employ 20 other plumbers and cover half the state you can make it look as professional as IBM.  This article will discuss 3 simple ways to enhance your business image without breaking the bank.

 

#1. The first thing to do is get professional business cards made.  Don’t worry; it’s simple and inexpensive.  Most printing companies have online sites that allow you to easily design a professional looking card.  Be sure to carry them everywhere you go in order to distribute them to people you meet. You might be surprised to learn how many people you encounter every day that need your expertise. Make a practice out of handing them out to everyone you talk to about business and to every client you work for.  A good-looking business card is invaluable for marketing purposes.  This is a nice touch that is simple and cost effective.

 

#2. Get a toll free phone number for your business.  Toll free is a necessity unless you are strictly a local company.  However, even a local company while benefit from a toll free number. Toll free numbers lend an air of professionalism to your small business and make it appear larger and more professional. Also keep in mind, with internet telephones and VOIP, many local area business or individuals may have long distance numbers.  Toll free numbers are now easy to get and reasonable in cost.  There are Internet companies that assign toll free numbers and incorporate an entire call center operation.  People tend to feel more comfortable about a business when they can dial an 800 number.

 

#3. The final touch to your small business is a professional website.  Begin by finding a good domain name. Choose a name that relates to your business and is easy to type into a web browser.  Next, find a hosting company.  Buying a domain name and getting a contract at a hosting company are both quick and simple strategies to making your business appear bigger and more professional.  The most expensive part will be selecting someone to design and write your website.  You will want a professional appearance and content because a poor looking site or improperly written content will actually drive business away.  The website also needs to be easy to navigate, provide basic information about your business and offer enhancements to make doing business easier for both you and the customer.

 

These three steps are simple and will put you on the same playing field as bigger companies, at least in terms of marketing.

 

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Plumbers Plan on Problems to Protect Yourself

Most people starting a plumbing business understand that they need to follow state and local regulations when working.  Sending out licensed plumbers will assure customers that all the work will be up to code and the employees will follow proper procedure.  This is a proper way to build a good business.  To protect both the business and the assets every plumbing company needs workers’ compensation insurance and to be bonded.  These are 2 responsible steps to take that will cost some money but work to save the business entity in case of an accident.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees who get injured while on the job.  All insurance plans vary, but most of them cover the basics of medical bills, rehabilitation bills, and lost wages.  An injured employee accepts workers’ compensation in lieu of taking the employer to court for damages.  Not only does this insurance cover the business, but it signals to employees that you are looking out for their interests too.  Plumbing is a very physical job with heavy equipment, tight spaces, and waste products.  The possibility for injury is there.  Every state has different requirements for workers’ compensation insurance.  Please refer to state business laws to discover required coverage.  Setting up workers’ compensation insurance requires finding a licensed insurance company that provides that type of insurance in your area.

 

Becoming bonded is important in ensuring customers that they will get quality plumbing.  Many people hear the terms “licensed and bonded” but don’t know what they mean.  Being licensed means that you know how to repair or install plumbing as set by state and local requirements.  Being bonded is a financial guarantee to your customer.  There are different types of bonds that guarantee payment for damages and guarantee you will do the work bid on.  Becoming bonded is not a complicated process.  Find a bonding company through a phone directory or online.  When you speak with them about a bond they will ask for your personal information.  The personal information is basic.  They will also perform a background check on you to make sure you are upstanding.  If satisfied with your background they will offer you a bond.  This bond will pay, at a price you determined, for any losses or damages that occurred as a result of your company.

 

Being a responsible business owner means that you think ahead and take steps to protect assets, employees, and customers.  Accidents are an unavoidable part of business, especially the plumbing trade.  Being bonded and having workers’ compensation insurance will give everyone involved peace of mind.  They will cost money, but the cost of not having them could be the loss of your business.

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Logging Leading the Hazardous Occupation List

Logging may be the most dangerous job available.  In 1997 there were 128 logging deaths for every 100,000 loggers, and 14,000 injuries per 100,000 workers.  All this equals very expensive workers’ compensation insurance.  Besides wanting to cover employees in case of accidents, a logging business should take the steps necessary to reduce the number of accidents.

 

There are organizations available, including workers’ compensation insurance companies that specialize in dangerous occupations, that will help create a safe environment for workers.  Every logging company needs a strict safety plan in place.  This safety plan needs to include information on dangers in the woods, using equipment safely, first aid training, transportation safety, and handling wood safely.  Logging companies needs to consult OSHA to find out what specific safety standards are already in place.  Their website is http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/logging/index.html.  Some states enforce their own standards that differ from the Federal standards pushed by OSHA.  Beyond OSHA, logging companies can find information about safety from www.loggingsafety.com.  This site includes a first year safety program.  A high number of accidents occur during the first year of employment.

 

Another option to make sure your logging company is doing everything it can for safety is to hire a safety professional.  Workers’ compensation insurance companies that specialize in dangerous jobs, like PCG.com have dozens of choices to make sure you obtain the most competitive rates at the best possible prices. These safety professionals are always taking training courses that update the quality of safety requirements and products.  This is a great option to make sure your safety program stays current.

 

One of the problems with keeping a safe workplace is that standards keep changing.  New safety rules are put into place and better equipment comes on the market.  You want to make sure that your company keeps up with ever-changing safety standards.  An investment in safety is really an investment in the long-term financial security of your logging company.  It is wise to have an employee or department specifically dedicated to safety issues.  This way they can be sure to review your company’s safety plan on a regular basis and stay on top of any new happenings in regards to safety.

 

Workers’ compensation insurance is going to be expensive for your logging company.  The possible danger means that the insurance will be higher.  The best way to keep your workers’ compensation insurance low is to implement a great safety program for your company.  Not only will a safer environment keep your insurance price lower, it will be beneficial to the reputation of your company.  Nobody wants to work for or with an accident-prone company.  Logging is dangerous enough.  Take the steps necessary to make it safer for your workers.

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Taxing Small Business Owners Above $250,000

Taxing Small Business Owners Above $250,000

If Democrats have their way Obama’s small business tax plan will go into effect whether he wins the Presidential nomination or not; what Joe the Plumber has come to know is likely to impact every small to mid-sized company in the nation. If you are a little confused about the exact details then don’t worry – you aren’t alone. The fact is, there is still a lot of work to be done but it works something like this…

1.      If you own a small business that pays you more than $250,000 per year then your personal income would go up in the form of increased FICA and/or Social Security amounts above the current limit. This would not impact your earnings from investments or other sources of profit – only income taxes.

2.      If you own a business that makes a profit of $250,000 or more annually then it will also get taxed at a higher rate than currently; the exact level of tax increases is still open to debate with estimates ranging from 28 percent to 38 percent. Where the actual rate will end up is purely speculation at this point. Keep in mind, the government is anxious to make-up major deficit spending by increasing taxes whatever manner possible.

3.      Taxes on health benefits and other employee provided options is also on the table thanks to McCain’s proposals. Big bail-outs have led to near desperation as the government tries to support a sagging economy without throwing the nation into a recession. Either way, employees will bring home less of their paycheck and expect small business owners to make up the difference.

So, should small business owners prepare for the worst? Yes and no. Chances are changes are coming down the pipeline no matter who makes it into office this week. On the other hand, changes won’t be immediate and there is likely to be a work-around for almost any scenario. One of the main considerations is to remain flexible and keep your options open in order to streamline costs while still growing your business in any situation.  

As the government attempts to make-up for deficit spending and huge bail-out plans don’t be surprised to encounter more taxation rather than less. Reduce your costs now while the option is available; later you might find it more difficult to eliminate excess workers or reduce expenses.

 

 

 

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