Best Practices Win Three-Peat

The term “three-peat” brings to mind vivid memories of Bulls championships for most Chicagoans. That’s why our most recent honor of being voted a Best Practices agency by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America for the third year in a row has us grinning from ear to ear. Just as Michael Jordan relied on his teammates, we acknowledge that this win is thanks to the hard work and collaboration of the entire Alper Team.

The annual survey and Best Practices Study of leading independent insurance agencies documents the business practices of the “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices. The study provides performance benchmarks in six categories including income and expense distribution, revenue growth and profitability, staffing and productivity, producer performance and carrier representation.

Thank you to our Team of Insurance Architects who prove that we all deserve the title of MVP!

 

Client Spotlight: The Second City

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a fire ripped through the landmark building, the Alper Team sprang to action

Originating in a small cabaret theater in 1959, The Second City spawned a comedy and entertainment revolution that—to this day—has created an ongoing list of superstars. Alan Arkin, Tina Fey, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Stephen Colbert and a host of other entertainment and comedy legends got their start in the building situated in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. The neighborhood is nestled in an area of multi-million dollar residences, but the history, the laughter and the performances that originated there are priceless.

In August 2015, those laughs were temporarily silenced after a fire in an adjacent restaurant ravaged The Second City building. The property—including its offices—was severely damaged from smoke, fire and water. Once the smoke cleared, The Second City property had several million dollars of damage and remediation work that needed to be addressed. Continue reading

Alper Featured In Top Insurance Workplaces Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leading insurance publication Insurance Business America released their inaugural list of the Top Insurance Workplaces in America. “A Top Workplace can encompass many things—great benefits, great resources, great management—but to uncover the roots of what truly makes an organization a good place to work, one must look at its foundations: Its People” says IBA.

“Insurance firms both large and small, from all areas of the industry (carriers, agencies, third party vendors) were invited to participate…and only 51 earned the title of Top Insurance Workplace.” Alper Services is one of them and this award is because of our Team of People!

To earn the award, firms were evaluated—by their employees—on the following four attributes:
Culture: Flexible work options, family-friendly programs, employee recognition, paid time off for community services
Diversity: Gender balance, recruiting/retaining younger workers, retaining older workers, recruiting/retaining minority workers
Compensation: Employee benefits programs, bonus/incentive plans, retirement savings plan, competitive pay
Employee Development: Full reimbursement for continuing education, performance reviews, mentorship/leadership development programs, wellness programs/incentives

We are proud to be recognized as a Top Insurance Workplace by IBA and the votes of our Team, and know we must continue to do what we can to see our People succeed. With that mission driving us, we look forward to seeing our name on the list in 2019!

The Real Threat of Cybercrime for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

Cyber Crime

 

 

 

 

 

 

If cybercrime were a nation state, it would be the world’s 13th-largest by GDP, just ahead of Australia. The threat of cybercrime can take many forms – from hijacking sensitive robotics to holding consumer data at ransom – and the impact to your operation (and reputation) can be crippling.

To better understand how big the threat of cybercrime is becoming, consider these statistics:

  • In 2015, the cost of global ransomware, one of the fastest-growing pieces of cybercrime, was $325 million

NOTE: By 2017, this number had multiplied to $5 billion. By 2020, it will more than double to $12 billion

  • In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware worm held companies – large and small – to, in many cases, more than $100,000 in ransom
  • More than 4,000 ransomware attacks happen daily – or once every 22 seconds

NOTE: By 2020 a ransomware attack will happen every 14 seconds

  • According to Microsoft, 20% of small to mid-sized businesses have been cybercrime targets

You’re Never To Small For The Threat Of Cybercrime

While Fortune 500 companies have the resources to stay ahead of cybercrime, small to mid-size businesses are often woefully behind in cyber security practices and are increasingly easy targets for criminals. Continue reading

A Student Discount May Apply To Your Car Insurance

Student Car Insurance - Credit J.S. Romeo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 20 million students will attend colleges and universities in the U.S. this fall. As you review your freshman’s back-to-school list, add a line item to discuss their auto coverage with your personal insurance agent.

The good news: If your young driver attends college over 100 miles from home, you may be entitled to a discount!

Keeping them on your policy with the discount ensures they are covered while home on break and as a passenger or pedestrian. Also, when they leave your household (hopefully after earning that degree) they will have prior insurance which will make it easier and more cost effective as first-time auto owners.

Contact Deborah Shahpar with any questions regarding your auto coverage or policy structure at,  DShahpar@AlperServices.com.

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 BPuckett@AlperServices.com 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 CElstien@AlperServices.com.

 

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.


SEMINAR DETAILS
7/25/2018
1:00 – 2:00pm
Registration Link

Contact our Employee Benefits Team if you have any questions: EBTeam@AlperServices.com

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