Phishing Attacks On The Rise

Office Phishing Attack







“In the last 30 days alone, we’ve seen an increase in cyber crime with more Clients falling prey to phishing scams*. Businesses need to review their cyber security and procedures, evaluate the adequacy of their limits, and certainly add coverage if none is in place. Alper works with carriers who provide cutting-edge protection to our Clients.”

– Bobette Puckett, Executive Vice President at Alper Services

Attacks that target business email accounts continued to increase in the second quarter of 2018, accounting for 23% of incidents reported to Beazley P.L.C. clients, the insurer said Tuesday in a report. This was particularly true for organizations using Microsoft Corp.’s Office 365, said Beazley’s breach response services unit in the Beazley Breach Insights Report. A Microsoft spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

London-based Beazley said in its report that email compromises totaled 184 during the second quarter compared with 173 during the first quarter of this year, 89 in 2017’s second quarter and just 45 during 2017’s first quarter.

“Business email compromises are efficient for the hacker because the compromise of a single account gives the hacker a platform from which to spear phish within and outside the organization. While these compromises can prove very expensive to a company that has been successfully attacked, they are also easily preventable,” says the report.

Read Stu Sjouwerman’s article, in its entirety for KnowBe4, by clicking here.

Contact your Account Manager at Alper to review your current cyber policy. Don’t have one? Email Bobette Puckett at or call 312-867-7351.

*Phishing Scams – The use of fraudulent electronic communications or malicious websites to impersonate you or any of your products or services in order to solicit personal or confidential information. 

Why Do We Need An Employee Assistance Program?







Your people are your most important asset so taking care of their needs beyond nine to five is smart business. Providing employees with an individual, full-service Employee Assistance Program (EAP) affords a more substantial range of services than the embedded EAPs that may be included in your Life and Disability coverage.

These services administer confidential assistance to employees and their families at no additional cost. Plus, they’re typically available 24/7 over the phone, in person and online, which saves employees valuable time not spent researching help for personal problems. Benefits include:

  1. Work Resources – Many EAPs offer professional development tutorials on topics ranging from how to avoid burnout, conflict intervention, project management and valuing diversity in the workplace.
  2. Talent Management – These group services include team building, wellness in your workplace, anti-harassment training, supervisors’ workshops and leadership development.
  3. Life Assistance and Resources – Access to specialists who assist families with finding child and eldercare services. Other issues employees often seek help to address include anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, couple counseling, mental health, divorce and adoption to name a few.
  4. Legal Assistance & Resources – Complimentary attorney consultations on matters such as divorce, contracts and identity theft, plus 24-hour emergency legal aid for arrests or jail.
  5. Financial Assistance & Resources – Financial concerns are often at the top of the list of stress inducers. EAPs offer budgeting help, planning for retirement or college, divorce as well as tax service consulting.

EAPs provide support, counseling and resources for life issues that can take time away from work and family. For more information, please contact Cindi Elstien, SVP-Human Resources at


New Rules For Association Health Plans

Are you a small employer or self-employed? Under a new rule your health care costs could decrease through an Association Health Plan. Association Health Plans (AHP) are arrangements that permit multiple employers to band together in order to purchase health coverage.

Register for our upcoming webinar to find out more about the new rules and how you may be able to take advantage of them. Brian Donnelly, Health and Benefits Practice Leader for Alper Services will review the final regulations, discuss advantages and the potential pitfalls of AHP solutions and provide actionable steps that small employers and the self-employed can take to consider an Association Health Plan approach.

1:00 – 2:00pm
Registration Link

Contact our Employee Benefits Team if you have any questions:

DOL Finalizes Rule To Expand Association Health Plans







On June 19, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that gives small businesses more freedom to join together as a single group to purchase health insurance in the large group market or to self-insure. These benefit arrangements are called association health plans (AHPs). By forming AHPs, small employers can avoid certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) reforms that apply to the small group market.

According to the DOL, this will provide small employers with more affordable health insurance options. However, in exchange for lower premiums, AHPs may cover fewer benefits. Most AHPs will not be subject to the ACA’s essential health benefits (EHB) reform, which requires small group plans to cover a core set of items and services, such as mental health care and maternity and newborn care. Continue reading

Alper’s All Star Summer Intern Ryan Whitaker-Cook

This summer Alper has welcomed Ryan Whitaker-Cook, our sixth intern through the Development School For Youth’s All-Stars Project. Ryan graduated from King College Prep last month where she was on The National Honor Society, the track team and the band’s dance team.

Ryan is looking forward to starting school in the fall as a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While still undecided, her love of math and science in high school is influencing her decision to major in either finance or pharmaceuticals. She’s excited for the freedom that living away from home affords but a little anxious about the workload. Ryan will continue to pursue her love of dance at U of I by joining one of the hip-hop dance teams on campus.

In the meantime, Ryan is working with Alper’s Employee Benefits Division where she is learning about the unique relationship between Carriers, Alper and our Clients as well as reviewing the renewal process with Employee Benefits Account Managers.

We’re enjoying having Ryan as part of the Alper Team and wish her the best of luck in her college career!

Compliance Overview: Wrap Documents For Benefits Plans


Wrap Documents for Welfare Benefit Plans

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for employee benefit plans maintained by private-sector employers. Under ERISA, employer-sponsored welfare benefit plans, such as group health plans, must be described in a written plan document. In addition, employers must explain the plans’ terms to participants by providing them with a summary plan description (SPD).

The insurance certificate or benefit booklet provided by an insurance carrier or other third party for a welfare benefit plan typically does not satisfy ERISA’s content requirements for plan documents and SPDs. Continue reading

Navigating The Labor Conundrum

Beyond skilled labor shortages stemming from the layoffs of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the construction industry faces much deeper systemic issues that pose significant risk to your business. The industry is challenged on both ends of the labor spectrum – both supply of workers, as well as the productivity of those employed. According to a study by the Associated General Contractors of America, 70% of construction firms report they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions, and the majority of builders today rank labor shortages at — or near the top — of their list of concerns. And as older talent retires, younger workers tend to shun careers in construction in favor of higher-prestige work in the tech industry. While increasing productivity can offset labor shortages by boosting the output of each worker employed, the construction industry faces challenges on this front, as well.  In fact, between 2005 and 2015, while other industries saw productivity increases of 2%, construction productivity increased by just 1% over the same period. And to make matters worse, construction companies also point to uncertainty around immigration reform as another, more-recent, contributor to worsening labor shortages. Continue reading

Bridging The Manufacturing Labor Gap


Mind the gap!

As technology and fast-evolving supply chain practices take hold, the future of American manufacturing will be increasingly high-value, high-tech and automated. Decades of offshoring, coupled with increased automation, has eliminated most low-skilled jobs leaving behind a set of higher-value jobs that are harder to fill. In fact, manufacturers and labor unions face a growth-constricting gap between the workers they need for this new paradigm and the talent they can actually find.

Current statistics illustrate the conundrum in greater detail — six out of 10 manufacturing positions remain unfilled, and it takes an average of 74 days to fill a skilled production position. Over the next decade, 3.5 million domestic manufacturing jobs will open — with 2 million of those jobs going unfilled due to the skills gap. And when you consider that for every 100 new jobs in manufacturing, 190 are created in ancillary fields, the domino effect of these unfilled positions on the greater economy is profound. Continue reading

National Life Insurance Day – May 2, 2018







Life insurance isn’t a topic that people are clamoring to discuss with their financial adviser. However, many people are unaware of what their policy provides. More importantly, we see quite a few cases where the premiums that are being paid to an insurance carrier will be insufficient to provide coverage beyond age 80.

When was the last time you reviewed your life insurance policy? 

Alper’s Financial Services Team is available, at no charge, to review your current life insurance policy. Our policy review form is only one page and will allow us to:
– Assess if your policy is performing “as planned”
– Advise you of the creditworthiness of the insurance carrier
– Advise if the policy is about to expire

To review your current policy, please contact Mark Jacobson at