January Benefits Focus

Our Benefits Focus newsletter provides updates on key Affordable Care Act legislature as well as trends we’re seeing in self-insurance and holistic wellness benefits that employees are requesting. Click here for those stories and more.

It’s Time To Rethink Succession Planning

Like most founder/owners, when Jeff and Sean started their booming tech business in their late 20s, the last thing on their minds was what would happen to the business should they eventually step away, or worse yet die. Twenty-five years later, the two are faced with the never-planned-for scenario: Jeff wants to cash out his shares; Sean’s wife filed for divorce and wants to liquidate her ownership shares, and there is no plan—or next-in-line leadership—to manage the transition while ensuring the longevity of the business.

Sound familiar? According to a 2017 Wilmington Trust survey of 200 small-to-mid-sized businesses, 58% of business owners have no specific succession plan. Like most founders, they enjoyed working together so much that they couldn’t imagine parting ways, and were far too young for their deaths to be a concern. They saw no reason to plan for the inevitable “when” moments that can cripple a business.

If you’re among those with no succession plan, it’s time you rethink the concept. Instead of solely a post-death planning tool, think of a succession plan as a road map to ensure that your goals for the business are realized after your involvement ends. Continue reading

Client Spotlight: Basic Crating & Packaging

With the rise of online shopping, we consumers are all too familiar with the packaging required to ship products without damage from coast to coast. Imagine the protection and complexity required to safely ship multi-ton semi-conductor factory components 10,000 miles around the world.

Alper Services’ Client Basic Crating & Packaging (“Basic Crating”) is a leader in packing, protecting and delivering goods throughout their customers’ value chains — from inbound raw material shipments to outbound delivery of finished goods to their final destination. Whether their customers are sending potentially hazardous materials across the Midwest, or industrial machinery to China, Basic Crating’s team ensures the goods are protected and delivered to their ultimate destination in pristine condition.

Alper’s Gregg Elstien has provided risk management and brokerage services to businesses with which Basic Crating’s CFO Jack Beaumont has been affiliated for more than 20 years, but Alper’s relationship with Basic Crating began when the firm was founded in 2011. Gregg describes, “At the onset of our relationship, Alper provided Basic Crating with workers’ compensation and property/casualty coverage, as well as guidance on facility safety improvements. In 2019, we were honored to take on their employee benefits programs.” Significant improvements in its claims experience and a desire for greater control of its insurance program led Basic Crating to join the Summit Captive in 2019. Continue reading

Dishing Out Care With Our Partners

The Alper and Chubb Volunteers

For the 11th year we partnered with Chubb and Weinstein Wholesale Meats to bring holiday cheer to the homes of 50 families this Thanksgiving. In their typical generous fashion, Weinstein delivered 50 frozen turkeys to the loading dock at The Wrigley Building days prior to celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. Close on their heels, our partners at Chubb pulled up with the ingredients to prepare all of the traditional sides dishes to accompany the meal.

The holiday meal boxes were assembled and picked up for delivery to families at Sertoma Centre and New Star organizations. Both non-profits serve individuals with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities and those living with mental illness in and around the Chicagoland area. We are thankful for partners who help us serve these exceptional non-profit organizations.

Recently-Passed Illinois Laws Require Important HR Policy Changes

New IL Laws

If you are an Illinois employer, do not delay implementing updates to your employee handbook to keep pace with the many new laws enacted by Governor Pritzker this year.

Significant amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act, which became effective September 29th, may require an immediate change in the way you screen candidates for employment. Employers are now prohibited from asking for the candidate’s salary or wage information from his/her current or former employers. The prohibition extends to oral interview questions and written applications. However, a candidate may volunteer prior salary info provided it’s not used by the employer as a basis for hiring.

The changes to the Equal Pay Act are an attempt by the State of Illinois to promote equal pay and reduce the gender pay gap. Employers who are found in violation of the new amendments may be subject to fines of $5,000 per violation and special damages up to $10,000. Read more here.

Two other laws which go into effect on January 1, 2020 aim to enlarge the protections afforded to employees from unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Continue reading

Proud To Be Recognized As A Best Practices Agency


For the 4th year in a row, Alper Services has been named a Best Practices Agency!  We are part of an elite group of just 267 independent insurance agencies around the U.S. participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) “Best Practices” Study Group.

In total, more than 1,300 agencies were nominated this year. To be considered, an IIABA affiliated state association or an insurance company must first nominate an agency. They must then qualify based on their outstanding customer retention, growth, stability and financial management.

“Winning the Best Practices Agency status for the fourth year in a row is a great honor and reflects the work our entire Team has put into upholding Alper’s cornerstone values of People, Communication, Technology, Premier Client Service and Growth.” says David Macknin, Alper’s CEO and President.

The Best Practices Study was initiated by IIABA in 1993 as the foundation for efforts to improve agency performance. The annual study of leading independent insurance agencies, which is conducted for IIABA by Reagan Consulting, documents the business practices of these high performance agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.