CyberON unites Maryland partners providing cyber risk detection, protection, and incident management HUNT VALLEY, Md. (June 11, 2019)—PSA Insurance & Financial Services (PSA) announced the launch of a new cybersecurity solution, CyberON, specifically ...

 

PSA Insurance and Financial Services - 5 new articles


PSA Insurance & Financial Services Launches Turnkey Cyber Risk Management Solution for SMBs

CyberON unites Maryland partners providing cyber risk detection, protection, and incident management

 

HUNT VALLEY, Md. (June 11, 2019)—PSA Insurance & Financial Services (PSA) announced the launch of a new cybersecurity solution, CyberON, specifically designed for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs). CyberON brings enterprise grade cyber risk management capabilities to SMBs in flexible and affordable plans as a result of the collaboration of local companies in Baltimore and throughout the DMV.

According to a recent report published by the Better Business Bureau, SMBs in particular struggle to keep up in areas that are critical to managing cyber risk. The report reveals only 20% conduct internal threat assessments, about 20% have threat monitoring and analysis capabilities, 15% have an Incident Response Plan and 15% purchase cyber insurance. It is often assumed that SMBs are ignoring cyber threats leading to inaction. However, the BBB survey suggests that low adoption in these areas is not due to a lack of awareness; rather, it appears to be the result of a lack of resources, expertise, and information.

After working with SMBs in a variety of industries, PSA recognized that while leaders know cybersecurity should be an organizational priority, they are often overwhelmed by the complexity of where to spend limited dollars and how to implement and execute a comprehensive cybersecurity plan with limited staff. The firm is partnering with local and international cybersecurity service and solutions providers to offer an innovative solution: CyberON.

CyberON is a turnkey, affordable solution designed specifically to help SMBs immediately achieve a baseline level of cybersecurity maturity. The program offers three tiers starting as low as $66 a month – each package includes a custom cyber risk report, cyber insurance coverage and access to incident response providers to help you prepare a sound response strategy.

Mike Volk, PSA’s VP, Cyber Risk Solutions explains,

We didn’t simplify cybersecurity, and we can’t eliminate cyber risk. No one can really do that. What we did is make it a whole lot easier to do something about it.

CyberON is possible thanks to the cutting-edge cyber ecosystem in Maryland. A known state leader in cybersecurity nationwide, CyberON primarily capitalizes on the expertise of Maryland companies collaborating to provide innovative cyber solutions at an affordable cost. CyberON partners include:

Fallston GroupCoraxWhiteford, Taylor & Preston LLPAtlantic Data ForensicsOPAQCyberPoint, and Wingman Insurance.

Please direct all media inquiries to Andrea Lynn at 410-420-2001 or by email at andrea.lynn@fallstongroup.com.

 

Learn more about CyberON >>

 

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PSA in Good Health June Tips

Summer Safety Tips
Summer can be a fun season, but safety should always be a priority for you, your friends, and your family. When preparing for your favorite summer activities, don’t forget to follow these summer safety tips.

For more information, click on the buttons below to download the flyers in English and Spanish, or contact me at Dherndon@psafinancial.com

Download English Download Spanish

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Perk Up! Job Perks Can Help Retain Talent and Support Your Company Goals

Does your company offer some great, but underused employee benefits? Or, do you have a hard time attracting and retaining top-quality employees? Implementing a job perks program that aligns with your company goals and then maintaining and advertising the work perks is key to recruitment and employee satisfaction. If you’re already offering great company perks, make sure your employees know about and use them! Follow these steps and best practices to create successful employee perk programs at your company.

Step 1: Know your budget and job perks program goals

Each year, determining the budget and goals are crucial, as they will be the driving force behind the types of programs and vendors your company chooses to work with. Examples of goals may include focusing on enhancing employees’ personal life, professional life, a mix of both, retirement, or standing out as the leading company within a certain job market to attract and retain employees.

Below are some tips to help you evaluate and select your company perks based on your goals and budget:

  1. Evaluate the success/failure of each existing program. Decide if they should cease or continue.
  2. Employee surveys can provide insight to employees’ attitudes and opinions toward the programs being offered to them. If employees are not using certain programs, it can be an indication that the company should change things up a bit. Ask specific questions in the surveys so the company gets specific feedback. Keep these surveys confidential to ensure employee privacy and integrity.
  3. When looking into new programs, ask the vendor for references who are currently using their platform or ask a colleague with a connection to the vendor for feedback on the program details before moving forward.

Step 2: Include all mandatory benefits

Be sure to include ALL Federal AND State regulations when developing your company perks program. There are certain benefits you have to offer, but these can still be highlighted as job perks to your employees. Some laws only apply if there is a certain amount of employees within the company/office locations, so know which regulations apply to your organization.

Examples of mandatory Federal and State laws may include (depending on size of company): sick leave, parental leave, FMLA, unemployment insurance, accommodations for nursing mothers, and Social Security.

Bottom line, do thorough research or ask an HR professional for assistance in understanding which Federal and State Laws apply to your company.

Step 3: Customize the job perks

This is the fun part! There are a countless general and industry-specific work perks that companies can offer.

Examples of some typical employee perks include sports game tickets, gym memberships, paid parking, company-provided cell phones, health insurance, life insurance, EAP programs, holiday parties, and PTO.

Examples of some not-so-typical work perks include a free coffee a week, on-site daycare, a birthday gift, flex work time, store shopping discounts, and employee professional development trainings.

Here are some tips to help you customize your program:

  1. Look at what your competitors are offering because they are the ones competing for the same talent you are.
  2. Understand what interests your work force and what motivates them.
  3. Align the “extra” work perks with your work place culture AND GOALS.

Step 4: Communicate your benefits and perks to your employees often

Here are some ways to communicate your work perks to your employees—using multiple mediums of communication is ideal:

  1. Create a one-pager that outlines the most attractive benefits that the company offers. Posting it with a job opening, giving it to new hires, and posting it on a company’s intranet or on a bulletin board in the employee break room can help serve as a constant reminder that these benefits and employee perks are available and should be used.
  2. Distribute total compensation statements on a yearly basis to help employees get the FULL picture of how much they make/save by working for your company. These statements generally include all forms of cash compensation (salary, bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing etc.), employer and employee contributions to all benefits plans, and tax savings. Benefits without a monetary value should also be listed on these summaries. Some examples may include holiday parties, maternity/paternity leave, or other job perks.
  3. Create easy-to-understand and visually appealing Open Enrollment communications to make sure your employees know about and understand all of the benefit plans offered. Distribute multiple types of communications via different mediums (i.e. printed guides, postcards mailed to homes, recorded presentations, and in-person meetings).

Step 5: Connect with your benefits advisor

Ask your employee benefits advisor for assistance in implementing and maintaining each program. You’ll want to know about any compliance requirements for your health benefits offering, protect confidentiality for perks like an employee assistance program, and be aware of legal ramifications of other benefits (such as onsite gym memberships). A professional can help.

Have questions about how you could create successful job perks or alleviate your HR admin burden? Please feel free to contact me at nkahn@psafinancial.com.

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More States Require Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefit (Benefit Minute)

Massachusetts, Washington, and the District of Columbia are the latest jurisdictions to pass paid family and medical leave laws.  The paid leave laws of all three jurisdictions include job protection during the paid leave.

District of Columbia

Effective July 1, 2020, covered employees in the District of Columbia will be entitled to paid leave benefits for the following reasons:

  • Bonding with new child – 8 weeks
  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition – 6 weeks
  • Own serious health condition – 2 weeks

Benefits will be paid for a maximum of 8 weeks per year in an amount of up to 90% of average weekly wages (determined on a sliding scale basis) with a weekly maximum of $1,000.   Claims will be adjudicated and paid by the District of Columbia.

A covered employer is any private sector employer that pays DC unemployment taxes, and a covered employee is an individual who spends more than 50% of work time in DC or who spends a substantial amount of work time in DC and not more than 50% of work time in another single jurisdiction.

DC paid family and medical leave is employer-funded.  On a quarterly basis beginning July 1, 2020 (for wages paid from April 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019), covered employers are required to remit payment equal to .62% of wages.

The law also includes a notice requirement effective January 1, 2020.  Notice of DC paid family and medical leave must be posted and also provided in paper or electronic form to all employees on an annual basis, to new employees at the time of hire and to any employee at the time paid family and medical leave is needed.  The program will be administered by the Department of Employment Services.

Massachusetts

Beginning in 2021, covered employees will be entitled to paid leave for all FMLA-eligible reasons, including:

  • Bonding with new child – 12 weeks
  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition – 12 weeks
  • Own serious health condition – 20 weeks
  • Qualifying exigency for a family member called to active duty – 12 weeks
  • Care for a family member who is a covered service member – 26 weeks.

The program will be administered by the Department of Family and Medical Leave.  A covered employer is any employer in Massachusetts and all employees working in Massachusetts are covered employees.  The law includes health benefit continuation provisions.

Benefits will be payable beginning January 1, 2021 for all reasons except an employee’s own serious health condition which will begin July 1, 2021.  Benefits will be available to any employee with at least 15 weeks of cumulative earnings in Massachusetts, and earnings of at least $4,700 in the prior 12 months.  For wages up to 50% of the statewide average weekly wage, the benefit rate is 80%, plus 50% of wages that are above 50% of the average statewide weekly wage, with a maximum of $850 per week.

The benefits will be funded by a combination of employee payroll deductions and employer contributions in a total amount of .63% of wages (.52% for medical leave and .11% for family leave), capped at the Social Security wage base.  Employers may deduct the full cost of family leave and up to 40% of the cost of medical leave from employees’ wages. Employers are responsible for the remaining cost, except that employers with fewer than 25 covered employees are only responsible for deducting and remitting the employees’ share (no employer contribution required).  Payroll deductions will begin on July 1, 2019, and both payroll deductions and employer contributions must be remitted within 30 days after the end of each quarter.

Claims will generally be adjudicated and paid by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  However, employers may apply for and be granted an exemption from the state plan if they offer benefits and protections equal to or greater than the required paid family and medical leave benefits.  The exemption, which can apply to medical leave, family leave or both, is prospective only once approval is granted.

By June 30, 2019, employers must post a notice describing paid family and medical leave benefits and also provide written notice to all employees.  New hires must receive the notice within 30 days.  Acknowledgement of the notice is required.

Washington

Beginning January 1, 2020, covered employees will be entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the following reasons:

  • Bonding with new child
  • Care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Own serious health condition
  • Qualifying exigency for family member called to active duty

The program will be administered by the Employment Security Department.  A covered employer is any employer with a least one employee in the State of Washington, and all employees working in Washington are covered.  Benefits will be available to employees who have worked 820 hours for any employer over the course of a year.  The benefit amount will be 90% of weekly wages up to a maximum of $1,000 per week.  There is a seven day waiting period before benefits are paid, and they will be paid for a maximum of 16 weeks per year for a combination of reasons (18 weeks in a year if a serious health condition during pregnancy results in incapacity).  The law includes health insurance continuation provisions.

The benefits will be funded by a combination of employee payroll deductions and employer contributions in a total amount of .4% of gross wages, capped at the Social Security wage base.  Employers may deduct up to 63% of the total from wages, and are responsible for paying the remainder, except that businesses with fewer than 50 employees will not be required to contribute and will only be assessed the employee portion.  Payment for wages paid in the first and second quarters of 2019 is due July 31, 2019; thereafter, payments are due one month after the end of each calendar quarter.

Claims will be adjudicated and paid by the State of Washington unless an employer chooses to implement a voluntary plan that meets or exceeds all requirements of the state plan.  Any employee deductions for a voluntary plan must be held in trust.

By January 1, 2020, employers must post a notice describing the paid family and medical leave benefits in places customarily used for other employment-related notices.

 

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Why Appraising Valuables Is Important, and How to Find a Qualified Appraiser

Have you recently inherited a piece of jewelry or art that is not yet insured? It’s also possible that the worth of a valuable you own has increased over the years without your knowledge, and it’s no longer adequately protected by your policy.

I cannot stress enough that appraising your valuables is critical for securing adequate insurance. But how do you go about having the appraisal done? Read my interview with Colleen Boyle of Pall Mall Art Advisors below. With over 20 years of experience in the art and financial world, she shares her views on the importance of appraising your valuables to secure adequate insurance coverage and how to find a qualified appraiser.

Q: Why is the appraisal of any valuable important?

A: Having adequate insurance coverage—An appraisal process will help you identify what you own, know the value, and document your valuables in the form of either a visual inventory (photographs/videos), a written report, or a combination of both. This is extremely helpful, if not a must, to adjust your existing contents coverage within your Homeowners policy or to select sufficient insurance coverage for all your items so you can be made whole should a loss occur.

To demonstrate my point, here’s an example. Pall Mall conducted an appraisal for a client of mine who had a total contents coverage at $250,000. As a result of the evaluation, we discovered they had a little less than $1 million worth of books and manuscripts—they had absolutely no idea they were worth that amount of money. They scheduled some of the valuables on their insurance policy, and they also increased their contents coverage on their Homeowners’ policy to cover all the other items in their house (furniture, decorative items, etc.). Approximately a year and a half later, that client had an electrical fire.

Because they had proper visual and written documentation of all of their lost valuables, it helped make the claims process more efficient, and they were reimbursed for everything they had lost in the fire.

Q: How do you select the right appraiser?

A: Work with your insurance advisor to select an appraiser that fits your needs; your advisor might even already have a trusted relationship with a reputable appraiser. This relationship will provide you with more comprehensive protection all around, because it takes both a proper appraisal and a strong policy to protect your valuables. When your insurance and appraiser professionals work together closely, they are more likely to catch gaps in coverage and value changes.

For instance, a client of mine wanted to make sure their Andy Warhol screen print scheduled on their insurance for $22,000 was protected during their move. Pall Mall reviewed the schedule, and it turned out the piece was actually worth over $200,000. We recommended that the piece be revalued at the current retail replacement value, and we worked with the insurance advisor to have the client’s current policy changed to reflect the correct value so that it would be protected during transportation.

Q: What qualifications should a good appraiser have?

A: Here are six selection criteria to consider:

  1. Industry recognition

I highly recommend selecting an appraiser who is a member of at least one of the three industry associations (Appraisers Association of America, International Society of Appraisers, and American Society of Appraisers). These associations have strict criteria for accepting new members, and they require annual continuing education to keep current.

  1. Certification

A good appraiser should also stay up-to-date on their USPAP—an exam taken every other year that keeps appraisers current on tax law changes, updates in IRS appraisal requirements, and insurance market developments.

  1. Specialized expertise

Many appraisers don’t have deep expertise in every valuable you might have. But, it behooves you to find an appraiser who specializes in knowledge of multiple valuables (jewelry, art, antiques, wine collection, sports memorabilia) so you are receiving an accurate evaluation and recommendations for protecting all of your different assets.

  1. Security

If an appraiser is coming to your home, would you be concerned with your privacy and security? Only a few companies address this concern. For instance, at Pall Mall we conduct background checks on our appraisers, and we also send a bio and a photograph of the appraiser to you prior to the appointment. This is not a standard process, so be sure to select an appraisal company that makes you feel comfortable.

  1. Confidentiality

Although non-disclosure agreements are important for people who are concerned with confidentiality, they are not offered by all appraisal companies. Make sure to work with an appraiser that ensures your information won’t be shared with anyone, including attorneys, wealth advisors, and fellow coworkers, without your express permission.

  1. Fiduciary and advocate

Appraising is more than just a transaction. A good appraiser serves in a fiduciary role protecting your best interests when providing guidance on handling your valuables and ensuring you have proper insurance coverage. For example, at Pall Mall we protected the interests of one of our clients by identifying the best international auction house where their artwork would sell for the most money (which was overseas), and then also helped ship the piece.

If you have any questions about selecting the right appraiser or evaluating and insuring your valuables, contact me at john@psafinancial.com.

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