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


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

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