June Is National Safety Month


Did you know at least 540 US workers are injured hourly on the job? To call awareness to National Safety Month we’re featuring a great infographic from the National Safety Council drawing attention to workplace injuries.

How does your workplace stack up? Alper has the resources to safeguard your environment and educate and train your employees on safety procedures that will reduce the number of claims that occur on site as well as their severity. For more information on how your organization can  improve safety and drive down the long-term cost of insurance, please contact our Director of Claims Management Services Darrell Mathis at DMathis@AlperServices.com or 312-654-4254.

Workplace Injuries By The Number


Client Spotlight: The Indak Group


If you listen to Martin Cobb, CEO of The Indak Group, some of his affection towards Alper Services comes from the most unlikely of places.

“My uncle, Russell Cobb, played tennis with Howie [Alper] back in the early days of the business,” Cobb explained. When asked who won those matches, Cobb thought that Howie might have let Russell win because he was the Client. And Cobb’s Northbrook, Illinois-based business is still a Client of Alper Services today.

Initially founded in the 1940s to provide switches and resistors for car heaters, Indak later moved into other automotive, truck and tractor controls—before the days of touch-screen instrument panels in today’s cars. The Indak Group evolved into assembling a wide variety of switches and electronics for the automotive and medical equipment industries, plus specializing in LED lighting for automotive (interior and exterior) and commercial buildings (indoor and outdoor). Today, Indak has five manufacturing plants in Illinois, Wisconsin and Georgia, and Alper Services works with all five locations.

As a second-generation owner, Martin Cobb is an extension of his father, Jesse, who helped establish the business as one of the leaders in its field. And it is that sort of extension that dovetails nicely into why Indak has been a Client of Alper for so long.

“Alper Services provides our team with friendly service and a quick response whenever someone here needs them,” Martin Cobb noted recently. “Honestly, we don’t have a good comparison about what sets them apart from other insurance brokers because they have been with us for so long. Some things are best left untouched.”

Today, the Alper Services Team headed by Chris Breck oversees all of Indak’s property and casualty insurance, as well as its workers’ compensation issues.

“Chris Breck is always around when our team needs help,” Cobb explained. “How many other partners of a company can say that?” And as far as we know, Martin has not challenged Chris to a game of tennis, but we have a feeling we know who will win!


Staying North On The Balance Sheet Border

Staying North of the Balance Sheet Border

By Gary Kirshenbaum, VP, Director of Alper Global Trade Risk Management

What impact will a border adjustment tax have on your business? There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air this spring. We’re not referring to whether or not the Cubs can repeat their World Series win. Rather, we’re talking about President Trump’s proposed changes to international trade and how businesses around the nation might be affected. Seemingly every media outlet in the United States has predicted how these policies will change international business, but nobody really knows anything yet. A business conducting importing or exporting activities can expect to see some impact on their bottom line. The changes could be negligible or they could create a level of financial distress they may not recover from. Trade credit insurance could be the warning siren that can help a company avoid catastrophe.

What If…
Suppose President Trump does enact a 20% tax increase on imported goods as has been reported. Some costs may be passed to customers or some may be mitigated by a stronger dollar and subsequently lower cost imports. If you own a business conducting commerce overseas, will the tax  increase affect the buying patterns of your customers or your customers’ customers? For a company already working on thin margins or one
that is highly leveraged, this could be what puts them into a position to default on their bills (or worse, close their doors). Continue reading

Wellness Is Dead

Brian Donnelly, VP, Health & Benefits Practice Leader and Ian Shea, CEO, I M Human. The first article in a two part series on Well-Being in the workplace.

Well-being in the workplace, once referred to as wellness, is now more important than ever. There was a time when wellness within companies was thought of in the context of charity 5k runs or team building competitions. Wellness as a core company value didn’t take hold as the importance was little understood and the stigmas surrounding it made cultural adoption difficult. Wellness support within companies was often something few employees knew existed or felt comfortable exploring.

Today, well-being in the workplace has taken over what was once “wellness” and encompasses a great deal more. The concept of well-being has quickly gained favor as priorities shift among today’s workforce and its tangible benefits are more deeply understood; benefits such as increased profitability, desirable company culture and favorable brand recognition. Continue reading

The Impact Of HIPAA Requirements On Workers’ Compensation Records


Prior to 1996 and the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act, medical records were in paper form. With the realization that like every other business medical providers would go digital HIPAA was enacted. Since then in 2003 the HIPAA Security Rule was published and subsequently the HIPAA Enforcement Rule and Breach Notification Rule all in an effort to keep up with technology and meet the demand of patient privacy. In the workers’ compensation arena this means obtaining and securing medical information within the HIPAA rules.

HIPAA-Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
HIPAA first came about from the need to create standards for the management of electronic medical records within the health care industry. Its purpose is to allow the safe transfer of medical information from one health insurance company to the next, and from one health care provider to another. The HIPAA Privacy Rule was finalized in 1999, and it requires safeguarding of patient information against unauthorized access and disclosure.

How are HIPAA and Workers’ Compensation linked?
HIPAA’s Privacy Rule allows workers’ compensation insurers, third-party administrators and some employers to obtain the necessary medical information to manage their workers’ compensation claims. Disclosure of medical information can vary from state to state, and in some instances you do not need a medical release/authorization whereas in others you do. The Privacy Rule for Workers’ Compensation is designed to provide the minimal necessary information needed to manage a claim. State laws allow for subpoenas to obtain full medical records when needed. Continue reading

Join Our P&C Team Of Experts!


Alper continues to see stable growth, and we owe much of that to our dynamic Team of Experts. Our steady expansion means we have openings for seasoned Property and Casualty Producers. We are looking for highly motivated individuals who can foster new Client relationships and grow their current book of business.  You will have access to leading insurance carriers and in-house resources to manage your Clients’ needs.

Send your resume and any questions to our HR Director Cindi Elstien. Check out our infographic for what makes Alper such a great place to work.



Client Spotlight: Hascall Steel Company


Oftentimes, when we work with Clients, we are asked to address a specific need of the business. As we become more familiar with their employees and routine, we uncover more areas that deserve attention. Such was the case with Michigan-based Hascall Steel Company. Through careful investigation, our Team, led by Gregg Elstien, found several opportunities to exhibit our worth, most notably when we reduced the cost of one of their coverages by $12,000 (25% savings) immediately.

Chris VanWingerden, Hascall Steel Company’s President, would tell you that this initial savings alone was great for his organization. But Alper proved its mettle by demonstrating other services that could benefit his company. “Alper Services showed us that we did not carry the proper business income coverage on five of our seven locations because of the lack of information provided by our past broker. Thanks to Alper’s Team, we now have blanket coverage over all of our locations.”

What’s more, we added six coverages to the Hascall Steel portfolio on properties that were either uninsured or underinsured including Property Off-Premises, Property of Others and Earthquake and uncovered various aircraft exposures on one of their aircrafts. Our expertise was further demonstrated when the company suffered a large property loss. “Our Tennessee location suffered significant damage due to a flood. Alper’s on-staff claims attorney recovered money under the policy that the insurance company originally declined.”

It’s stories like these which demonstrate the true benefit of doing business with us. Recently, we were appointed Hascall’s broker for its Group Health/Benefits Insurance after we offered a unique program that they feel will meet their long-term needs. “I wish all of our corporate partners had their eyes on our business like Alper Services has done,” VanWingerden said. “They are a great partner, and we look forward to finding other ways to work with them.”

Alper Welcomes Two New Team Members


We’ve announced the hiring of two leaders to strengthen our presence in the Midwest:

Brian Donnelly, Health & Benefits Practice Leader

Brian Donnelly has been named Vice President, Health & Benefits Practice Leader, where he will be charged with overseeing and growing the Alper’s growing Employee Benefits Client roster. He helps Clients to fully leverage Alper’s thought leadership to achieve their long-term human capital and benefits goals. Brian can be contacted at 312-654-4260 or through email at BDonnelly@AlperServices.com.

Darrell Mathis, Director of Claims Management Services

Darrell Mathis joins as Director of Claims Management Services to oversee all claims management activities. He directs the Claims Management Team, which includes a workers’ compensation claims specialist, loss control consultants, and claims administrators. Darrell can be reached at 312-654-4254 or email him at DMathis@AlperServices.com.