CalNonprofits Insurance Services

2020 has become the year of the remote worker, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic. Is your nonprofit one of the many that has transitioned to remote operations? Have you considered how that change affects your insurance liabilities as a nonprofit?  CalNonprofits Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent®, and our expert team can help you reassess your risk picture. Managing a remote workforce may be new to you, but we have rich expertise in helping nonprofits manage risk — whether employees work from home or on-site. And because we represent multiple insurance companies, as a Trusted Choice Agent, we can offer your nonprofit customized coverage based on your unique and changing needs.  In addition, we can offer you resources and advice for developing your organization’s remote work program. It should address, at a minimum:

  1. Safety guidelines for a home office setup.
  2. Designated work, break, and lunch times.
  3. Safety training.
  4. Physical inspections of remote workers’ home offices.
  5. The workers’ compensation rules for your state as they apply to remote workers. 

Here are a few insurance questions we can help you answer.

1.
Does the commercial general liability policy cover remote employees?

As part of your nonprofit insurance package, general liability protects your business against financial loss resulting from bodily injury, advertising injury, and property damage caused by your agency or employees. Our expert team, as Trusted Choice agents, can review your policy to be sure that you are still adequately covered while employing remote workers. 

If your remote employee must meet business clients from home, it will be your commercial general liability policy that must cover any injury, not the employee’s homeowner’s insurance.  We may suggest additional coverages such as management liability insurance to protect you and your workers from this and other risks not covered by your commercial general liability policy. 

2.
Do I need additional property insurance?

Business property insurance protects the physical location of your organization and any tools, equipment, and inventory. Your commercial property policy may exclude or limit the coverage for property that is not located at your nonprofit’s premises. Our team of experts can help you determine if you need additional coverage for property used off-premises by remote workers.  An employee’s own homeowner’s policy usually will not cover the loss of employer-owned equipment that is damaged or stolen in their home

3.
Are my remote workers covered by the workers’ compensation insurance my company purchases

It is incumbent on you as an employer to ensure a safe working environment for your employees — whether they work at your business location or from their homes. In general, your workers’ compensation insurance covers all of your workers for illness or injury arising out of or in the course of employment — no matter where they physically work.

Contact Us

Please contact us if you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation to review your insurance program. We can help you with reassessing your organization’s risk and help you with your nonprofit’s risk management plan. Also, see our Work From Home Kit. You can reach us at 888-427-5222 or info@cal-insurance.org. To request a consultation click below.

Reference

Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agents

We want you to know how to reach us if your nonprofit has been impacted by the wildfires in California. We are available for you during this difficult time and are here to help if you have losses related to the wildifires.

You Can Reach Us If You Need Assistance With Your Coverage

You can reach us anytime if you need assistance with your coverage. Below are your options for contacting us:

  • Contact your dedicated support team by phone or email.
  • Call our main phone at 888-427-5222
  • Email info@cal-insurance.org

Our hearts go out to you.

CalNonprofits Insurance Services

This is an unusual year for the 2020-2021 annual benefits enrollment season. Your staff might feel uneasy about the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many are coping with feelings of isolation. In addition, 77% of employers plan to adopt virtual enrollment meetings in 2020-2021, which may be new to your employees. We encourage benefits administrators to pay close attention to these 10 tips with a focus on communication methods with care and compassion, planning ahead for virtual benefits meetings, and preparing for more questions from employees than in past years. This will ensure you have a smooth renewal and open enrollment. 

Communicate Care and Compassion During Open Enrollment 

Employees may need more assistance to make their benefits decisions this year. Placing an emphasis on your communication strategy with employees leading up to, during, and after open enrollment will make a big difference. Communicate care and compassion during open enrollment with these four tips.

TIP 1: Keeping your goals in mind, frame your open enrollment messaging to help your employees feel safe or secure – emotions are close to the surface for most people. 

TIP 2: Consider how you to help your employees understand vital details often overlooked related to the benefit offerings. Use easy to understand materials and consider multiple delivery methods.  

TIP 3: Deliver benefits information in smaller amounts over a longer period to prepare your staff in advance of the virtual benefits meeting.

TIP 4: Repeat key information and vary the delivery to employees. For example, you could communicate important information about open enrollment by email and you can communicate the same information in a virtual staff meeting prior to open enrollment. Be consistent with your messaging when repeating important information. 

Virtual Annual Benefits Meetings

Virtual annual benefits meetings require different strategies and learning new platforms for both benefits administrators and employees.   Set goals, meet with key decision makers, and start the process well in advance. Anticipate technical questions along with benefits related questions from your staff. Tips 5 to 7 will further help you with planning for your virtual annual benefits meeting.

TIP 5:  Plan in advance. We recommend starting at least 3-4 months prior to the renewal.  

TIP 6:  Spend adequate time getting to know your virtual platform prior to  beginning  open enrollment so you are prepared for  technical  questions. If you will offer online self-service enrollment, set your employee profiles up in advance and offer them tutorials on the platform so that you do not get inundated with questions. Make sure they know who they can contact if they need help for both technical and benefits support. Create an easy to follow “cheat sheet”.  

TIP 7: Consider holding separate virtual enrollment meetings for each type of benefit. This way, meetings are shorter, and participants can more easily digest the information.   

Prepare for More Questions  During  Your Annual Benefits Enrollment 

According to Employee Benefit News there has been a 30% increase in benefits-related inquiries. Prepare for more questions during your annual benefits enrollment. Employees may want to know their benefits coverage for COVID-19 related illness and may switch plans and/or add dependents. Employees may need more support than ever.  Tips 8 to 10 to will assist you to prepare for more questions.

TIP 8: Use any support services offered through your broker and through your carrier and make sure your benefits team is staffed.  

TIP 9: Hold multiple mini Q&A virtual meetings to address questions so that you do not get repeat questions by individuals. Your employees will retain information better if meetings are short and held regularly over time.  Consider creating a Wiki or FAQ page to address questions and keep in a place accessible by all.  

TIP 10: Review detailed benefits information prior to meetings. Include in the virtual meeting comparison charts of benefits so participants can evaluate benefits in a straightforward manner. This could help them feel more confident in their decision. 

We Provide Benefits Solutions to Nonprofits 

CalNonprofits Insurance Services provides benefits solutions to nonprofits,  Our approach is consultative and we can help you craft robust employee benefits plans and help you conduct virtual open enrollment meetings.  We provide live support with a dedicated team who is available by phone, email and web conference. In addition, we offer a complimentary online benefits enrollment platform. Contact us for more information or request a consultation.  

References  

Annual Enrollment 2021: Benefits planning in an uncertain world, Part 2 (Webinar), Employee Benefit News

Framing Your Messages for Improved Business Communication  

Reminder! The Fair Pay for Northern California Nonprofits 2020 Compensation & Benefits Survey Report, published on April 17th by Oakland-based Nonprofit Compensation Associates (NCA), is available to order. If you have not purchased a copy, you still can! 

Six hundred thirteen (613) nonprofit organizations that employ over 44,000 employees participated in the survey. More than 33,000 individual salaries were categorized into two hundred fifty-two (252) job titles. According to Nonprofit Compensation Associates, “This is the largest nonprofit compensation and benefits survey ever produced for Northern California since the Management Center published the first survey in 1978 in terms of the number of survey jobs reported”.

Your organization will need the wealth of information produced by the 2020 survey to compete effectively in this ever-changing playing field. This year, a supplemental survey is also included with valuable insights on economic impacts related to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

When you order the 2020 survey, you receive:

  • Current, local compensation data and salary increases information.
  • Data to determine employee benefits, paid time off, insurance, and retirement information for the region.
  • Information for policies such as on-call work, overtime, shift differentials, pay for bilingual skills, introductory periods, performance reviews, and more!
  • Insight on COVID-19 economic impacts for Northern California.
  • A great discount on the purchase price if you participated in the survey. The purchase price and discount are based on your annual expenses. See the Survey Report Fee Schedule.

The survey serves nonprofit organizations in all 48 Northern California counties, a vast geographic area from Del Norte County in the far northwest to Inyo County in the far southeast. NCA makes special efforts to serve both larger and smaller nonprofit organizations, as well as those from traditionally under-served counties, both urban/suburban and rural. To see how they do it, visit How the Survey Serves All Kinds of Nonprofits .

CalNonprofits Insurance Services continues to be a sponsor of the survey to help California’s nonprofits remain competitive. To find out how your agency can acquire this must-have resource (published April 17th), visit www.nonprofitcomp.com, or contact NCA at survey@nonprofitcomp.com or (510) 645-1005. 

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The California Insurance Commissioner approved the proposed rules that we previously reported on our blog April 29th. Now is the time to take action and make sure you have clear and adequate records to take advantage of these new COVID-19 Work Comp rules as they could save your organization money.

New COVID-19 Work Comp Rules

There are three new rules that will lower your premium if you segregate your payroll and adequately document the changes. All of these rules are retroactive to March 19th – the effective date of the statewide Shelter In Place (SIP) order.

(COVID-19 Rule #1) One-Time Re-Classification of Employee Payroll to Clerical Office Employee Classification 8810

A one-time reclassification of employee payroll from other non-clerical classes to Clerical Office Employee (8810) class code is allowed during the shelter in place (SIP) order until employees resume their normal work duties or 60 days after the statewide SIP order is lifted (whichever is first).  Clerical class codes are usually the least expensive class code on your policy. An employee may be changed once during this time period from their regular classification to the clerical classification.

For example, if you have employees in other classifications, such as Day Care or Outside Salesperson, and they are working from home doing work that fits within the clerical classification, you can temporarily reclassify that payroll from March 19th (or the actual date they changed to clerical duties if later). You may not reclassify payroll for those employees whose standard classification includes clerical. Payroll records must be segregated for reclassified employees, meaning it must be clear which payroll is attributed to the time period covered by the rule change and a list of their duties during that time must be maintained. If they are still doing other non-clerical duties while at home, they cannot be reclassified.

(COVID-19 Rule #2) Employees Being Paid but Not Working May Be Excluded From Basis of Payroll

You may exclude payroll for those employees being paid but NOT performing work for your organization – from March 19th and continuing until up to 30 days after statewide SIP order is lifted (or until regular duties resume). You may also exclude payroll for sick leave and paid family leave. Exclusions can be intermittent, for example, if an employee worked 1 day per week but was paid for 5 days or if an employee worked 2 hours per day but was paid for a full day. If you continued to pay employees while they were not working, you can exclude that payroll from work comp charges. 

You will still need to report the excluded payroll for statistical purposes but that payroll won’t be included in the premium charges.  Your records must segregate the non-working payroll from working payroll and must not be anecdotal or verbal estimates. Additionally, the excluded amounts may not be more than the employee’s normal pay rate.

(COVID-19 Rule #3) Exclude COVID-19 Related Claims From Experience Rating

Claims that are due to a diagnosis of COVID-19 are to be excluded from the experience modification calculations. Claims that are determined to be the result of another workplace injury will not be excluded. For a claim to be excluded, the accident date must be on or after December 1, 2019. You will need to be sure to use the new COVID-19 Injury and Cause of Injury codes when filing claims. It is best practice to double-check that carriers report the claim on the Unit Statistical Report due on or after August 1, 2020, with the new Catastrophe #12 code. If the claim is not reported as a COVID-19 claim, it will not be excluded from the experience rating.

Some carriers will allow the employer to make the payroll changes now and see an immediate change to their premium instead of waiting until the audit, and others are waiting until the audit. You must be able to demonstrate the change of job duties and that they are clerical (for #1), that they were not working (for #2), and claims are reported on the August 2020 Unit Statistical Report with Catastrophe #12 (for #3). 

Contact your account team for further information or if you need assistance!

Reference

July 1, 2020 USRP and ERP Changes Quick Reference Guide

CalNonprofits Insurance Services is aligned with humanity and not just corporate profits – we care about what is important to our nonprofits, and we are not comfortable being silent or neutral. We stand together as a company with our staff, clients, and the world to call for change and the end of racism now.   

Our core values are rooted in diversity and inclusion. We believe that emotional, physical, economic, and psychological safety are essential  to thrive. We must step out of our comfort zone, look at our own implicit biases and processes, and take action to shine a light on the injustice, oppression, and systemic racism faced by our own staff and all BIPOC communities.  

While we are horrified by the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor,  Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, and Tony McDade, the list of people that have been murdered in this country due to the color of their skin is enormous and cannot continue. We raise our voices in protest and support for the Black Lives Matter movement and all other anti-racism and social justice organizations. 

CalNonprofits Insurance Services has been having deep  internal  conversations about injustice and oppression. We created a safe and inclusive space for staff to listen, learn, converse, and share about racism and social injustice. We have encouraged staff to use their paid volunteer hours so they can work with local organizations. We created an employee donation matching program to compound the benefits of individual donors to social justice causes (many of whom are clients).  Meaningful change to institutional racism begins at the local level so we encourage everyone to vote for the changes needed in our city, county, state elections – while still participating at the federal level elections too. 

We recognize and support the work being done by our incredible and dedicated clients.  We will continue to support your missions and remain an active force for change with you.  We are committed to active work toward change as individuals and as an organization now and in the future.  

Whether or not you are familiar with available employee training resources, it is worth your while to read on, because we have some good news!  A well-trained staff benefits an organization by increasing engagement, improving employee performance, better retention, providing for organizational consistency, and tracking employee skills. You can also reduce risk with our training resources.

Harassment Training Requirement for Employees

The State of California requires employers with five or more employees to ensure their non-supervisory employees complete one hour of harassment prevention training and supervisors complete two hours of training by January 1, 2021.

Ongoing training must be completed and every two years thereafter. In addition, employers must have a written Harassment Prevention Policy in place. By implementing a written Harassment Prevention Policy and providing anti-harassment training for staff and management, organizations reduce their risk of litigation, which can lead to significant costs for employers.

Good News! Free California Harassment Prevention Training Resource

Good News! The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) just released a free online training resource for non-supervisory employees to meet their California Sexual Harassment Prevention requirement. This one-hour online course must be completed once started and cannot be saved.  A version for supervisors is expected to be released in the near future.  We also have access to discounted training through a vendor if free training through DFEH does not work for you.

You can access more information on harassment prevention, including the non-supervisory training course by clicking here:  Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Supervisors must take a two-hour harassment prevention training and this is already available for our clients through their complimentary ThinkHR subscription.

Now, our nonprofit clients can ensure all harassment training requirements for California are met at no extra cost to the organization!

ThinkHR Offers a Wealth of Employee Training Resources

Our clients receive a complimentary subscription to ThinkHR, with free access to hundreds of training courses. Why is this important?  Some training, such as harassment prevention, safety, and privacy is required by law.  Other training can assist with employee development.  ThinkHR Administrators can create separate training tracks for employees and supervisors so that training is consistent, and completion of courses is tracked.

ThinkHR’s Learn Course Catalog offers online training modules in:

  • Harassment
  • Compliance & Legal
  • Workplace Safety
  • Human Resources
  • Computer & IT
  • Customer Service
  • Professional Development
  • Pandemic Response

 A Sample Employee Onboarding Training Course List

An effective training program during onboarding is a best practice for employers. ThinkHR’s New Hire Toolkit is a great resource to make sure that all requirements have been met for new employees. This kit ensures that new employees are adequately prepared to meet organizational expectations and that they know how to respond in emergency situations. Members can log in to ThinkHR to access the complete New Hire Toolkit, which includes guidance, checklists, form templates, and recommended training courses for new employees. Administrators can also create training tracks for different classes of employees in the ThinkHR Learn section (i.e. supervisory vs. non-supervisory). A sample non-supervisory track could consist of the following courses:

  1. Disaster Preparedness and Prevention
  2. Active Shooter
  3. Fire Safety & Prevention
  4. Back Safety & Injury Prevention
  5. Privacy and Information Security

If you have questions or would like to find out more about ThinkHR’s Learn courses, please contact your account manager directly or call 888-427-5222. Alternatively, you can email us at marketing@cal-insurance.org. For more information on People Risk Management watch the video below.

Watch People Risk Management from ThinkHR

References

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

The Importance of Training Employees for your Business

ThinkHR: 2 minute HR: COVID-19: Harassment Prevention Considerations with a Remote Workforce

Training Employees, ThinkHR

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) addresses a current top concern for employers; ensuring the health and safety of employees as part of a return to work program and helping with mental health during shelter in place orders.  EAP services help employees to cope with their personal or professional struggles and are a preventive measure against future serious mental or health issues occurring. By offering this type of resource as employees transition back to work, employers provide access to valuable resources to support wellness and communicate clearly to their employees that they are cared for.

What is an Employee Assistance Program?

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides various services to resolve issues that interfere with an individual’s wellbeing and work performance. The services are usually no cost to the employee and are usually include services to family members. They encompass both personal and professional support for employees as well as consultation for issues between management and employee(s).

An EAP provides counseling, referral services, apps, training, and access to educational information for some of the following issues:

  • substance abuse
  • legal concerns
  • job stress
  • personal problems
  • health issues
  • financial problems
  • coping with grief
  • eldercare or childcare
  • workplace difficulties
  • life planning
  • challenges of returning to work from a leave

Benefits of offering an EAP include:

  • motivating employees to self-help through no-cost, easy to access to resources
  • providing quality support for assessment and referral
  • potentially limiting healthcare costs through preventive services
  • may reduce worker’s compensation claims
  • may decrease employee turnover
  • proof of an EAP may be required when applying for some types of liability insurance

Work-Life Balance Program

Our exclusive UNUM Voluntary Life/AD&D Association Plan includes a complimentary Life Balance Employee Assistance Program. This is a great option for small to midsize employers who may not qualify for a full-service EAP package. The UNUM Work-Life Balance EAP provides the following solutions:

  • Confidential, short-term counseling from Licensed Professional Counselors
  • Child and/or eldercare referrals
  • Financial and legal referrals
  • Time management and relocation support
  • Unlimited access to legal forms
  • Career Development
  • Health Advocate
  • Wellness and other resources
  • HR tools and consultation for management on disciplinary measures for employees.

Issues discussed are confidential*, and they may be by phone or in-person with a limit of up to three in-person meetings per issue. Many group disability plans also offer this type of EAP, and HR administrators should check the group policy before adding a separate employee assistance program.

Excepted Benefit

If an EAP meets certain qualifications, it will be considered an excepted benefit. This means that it is exempt from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The qualifications for an EAP to be an excepted benefit are:

• “The EAP is offered at no cost and eligibility is not conditioned on participation in another plan;
• The EAP does not require cost-sharing for services (i.e., there are no co-pays, deductibles, or co-insurance);
• The EAP does not coordinate benefits with another plan; and
• The EAP does not provide significant benefits in the nature of medical care.” (ThinkHR)

Communication is Key

Whether your nonprofit already has an EAP in place or whether you are looking to add an EAP to the employee benefits, communication is key for a successful program. HR administrators need to educate staff on the services available through their EAP. In a 2019 UNUM study, it was found that 46% of workers did not know whether they had an EAP through their employer while a high percentage of employers do in fact offer an EAP to their employees. Developing a plan for communication strategies throughout the year to remind your staff of the services available may increase utilization by employees, which is one of the crucial components for a successful program.

References

Employee Assistance Programs

UNUM Mental Health in the Workplace May 2020 Update (to add link)