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

FMLA & Sick Leave Seminar







It can be an administrative nightmare for employers to stay on top of current requirements under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), in addition to changes in local sick leave laws. 

Join us on Thursday, May 17th at 9am for a complete overview of the FMLA’s  specifications as well as how the new Cook County sick leave ordinance affects your business and employees.

Attorneys Margaret Gisch and Laura Balson of Golan, Christie and Taglia LLP, and Attorney Larry Grudzien will provide answers to commonly asked questions such as:
• Which employers are covered by FMLA and which employees are eligible?
• What are the rules for the new tax credit under the new tax reform law?
• What are the risks of not complying with the sick leave laws?
• Does paid sick leave overlap with FMLA?
• What are the employer/employee rights and responsibilities?
Come prepared to ask our expert attorney speakers questions that relate to your specific business.

8:30AM – 11:15AM
410 N. Michigan Avenue, 12th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

Please RSVP to Brenda Cook at or call 312-867-7312.

Five Things To Know Before Renting A Car


As you plan for summer vacation, keep these five tips in mind when booking a car for your next trip.

1. Prepaying For Gasoline
Prepaid gasoline charges appeal to our desire for ease while traveling, and fear of missing a flight while stuck at the gas pump. As airport security lines have increased, rental companies have come up with new options for quick car refueling, and are giving them the hard sell at the rental desk.
Unless you are completely sure you will return the tank empty, or you have a pre-dawn flight that would make it worth the money not to have to refuel yourself, don’t fall for this. Even the option of being charged only for the fuel you actually use is tipped aggressively in the rental agency’s favor because of the high fee for having them refuel.

2. Don’t Buy Extra Insurance
For business purposes, your business auto insurance policy covers your business rental under your “full coverage” policy. In general, the coverage you have for your main vehicle extends to your rental vehicle, because the rental is considered a replacement vehicle under the policy.

3. Your Credit Card Provides Some Coverage
Anything your own car insurance does not cover, it is likely that your credit card will. In some cases the credit card  coverage is as good as or better than your auto insurance. In others, it is intended to be secondary insurance to help cover anything your auto insurance does not. Of course, you will need to pay for your car rental using that card! Consult with your credit card company before your trip.

4. Check Your Vehicle Before Departure
When you pick up your car, check it inside and out for anything that could potentially be considered damage before you drive away. Look for scratches, scuffs, loose parts, working power windows and mirrors, etc. Don’t assume that the car rental company has noticed any damage, big or small.
Your best protection: Take photos or a video of a slow walk around the car, and “kick the tires,” so to speak.

5. Don’t Leave The Final Inspection To Chance
The vehicle return process has been sped up to allow travelers to make their flight. Park, take your belongings, leave the key on the dashboard and walk away without speaking to anyone directly.
If it feels unsettling just to leave the car without an agent checking it over, it should; the most serious complaints about car rental companies in recent months have been disputes over damage claims. If no attendant is present at drop-off, the dispute later becomes your word against theirs.
Your best protection: Again, take photos or a video of a slow walk around the car.

Don’t Forget!
As a renter of the vehicle, report claim damages to Alper Services. Things to submit:
 Rental Agreement
Rental Accident Report

*Note: Personal Rentals are for “personal use” and are subject to an individual’s personal auto policy for coverage. Many auto policies are different. Please contact your agent to review your personal coverage before you to on your next trip!
Source: Smarter Travel


Client Spotlight: 33 Realty

Insurance providers do a lot of things for their clients. Risk management. Employee benefits. Liability coverage. If you’re in the real estate, property management and construction business such as the team at 33 Realty, you have a host of other needs. For example, each property needs its own protection, and within its general contractor division, it has a host of other protection and liability needs to address.

But how many times has an insurance broker brought a trend to a Client to think about—even if it had nothing to do with its policies?

Stacy Karamanos, CFO of 33 Realty, qualifies Alper Services’ Micah Kafitz as a trend watcher as much as an Insurance Architect, and his knowledge and insight has made him a part of the 33 Realty team.

“Alper Services is always on top of its game, both for insurance issues and other related activities that affect our business,” Karamanos said. “In the past couple of years our industry has seen an increase in electronic bank fraud attempts, and Micah was one of the first people to discuss the best ways to protect our Company in light of the alarming trend. In fact, Alper was so early in identifying the trend that Micah’s team equipped us with a thoughtful e-commerce fraud mitigation strategy—even before some of our banks presented their fraud prevention product offerings to us, which is truly impressive.”

33 Realty was recently named one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the country and as 33 continues to expand its business offerings, the insurance portfolio has kept up with that growth. Karamanos was quick to point out what makes Alper Services such an invaluable part of the organization.

“We have been working with Alper Services since 2013, when we only had a few employees and a mess of an insurance package,” Karamanos explained. “We were unsure of the adequacy of our coverage levels, as we were not relying on any one agent as our ‘go to’ resource. As a result, there was no cohesive strategy for insurance across the various business lines. Once we met Micah, he showed us how insurance could be a cohesive resource to help us mitigate risk as we grow our business, and Alper was well poised to grow with us.” She noted that with Micah and Alper Services being on top of the trends and issues that face 33 Realty’s business, it adds a layer of knowledge that other insurance organizations don’t bring to the table.

“Micah and the Alper team spent the time to review insurance coverage downstream—ensuring we were requiring the right amount of coverage from our vendors. They regularly review all policies and vendor contracts to ensure they have the right protection which ultimately mitigates our risk and eliminates any audit penalties to which we would otherwise be subjected. It’s an above-and-beyond service that we don’t ask for but know that Micah and Alper will bring to us.”

Workers’ Compensation Legal Update







It’s been almost seven years since the “reforms” in the Illinois Workers’ Comp Act. Yet when faced with ever-rising insurance premiums, pressures from societal changes, and mounting compliance questions, are Illinois employers really in a better place?

Please join Alper on Thursday, March 22nd at 9am for a complimentary seminar presented by attorneys Lynn Combs and Matthew Gorski of Kopka, Pinkus and Dolin, to discuss:

• Where is the pendulum swinging? Recent IWCC and Appellate decisions favoring Illinois employers

•Employers’ Rights: Medical marijuana, post-accident drug testing and OSHA

8:30AM – 10:30AM
410 N. Michigan Avenue, 12th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

Please RSVP to Brenda Cook at or call 312-867-7312

Looking Back At Moving Forward


Regardless of the industry, the past year was marked with “we never thought we’d see that happen” moments. This held true in our own business, as well. Yet in the midst of this constant swirl of change, one thing remained consistent — Alper Services’ commitment to putting your business at the center of ours.

Here are few snapshots of how we improved and evolved last year: Continue reading