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Understanding the Stimulus PackageOn Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law an emergency stimulus package designed to deliver approximately $900 billion in COVID-19-related aid. This bill was passed by Congress after months of negotiation, and was attached to a $1.4 trillion spending package that will keep the government open for the fiscal year. Notably, this bill provides funding for unemployment benefits, small businesses, direct economic payments to individuals, vaccine distribution and rental assistance.

Unemployment Benefits Funding and Extension
The bill includes funding for unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans. Specifically, this bill allows unemployed Americans to receive $300 per week in federal funding in addition to the existing unemployment aid they may be collecting from their state, if those state-level benefits have not already run out. The additional unemployment benefits and extensions included within this bill would provide aid for 11 weeks from their expiration at the end of December 2020 through at least March 14, 2021.

Initial COVID-19 relief for unemployment benefits was introduced by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was enacted on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act provided funding for states to waive any waiting week requirements for unemployment income (UI) benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide an additional $600 per week to all individuals receiving UI benefits for weeks of unemployment ending before July 31, 2020. President Trump signed a memorandum to extend a portion of unemployment wages after the initial $600 per week expired.

Additionally, the bill includes an extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is a program that allows workers who are not traditionally eligible to receive unemployment benefits, including self-employed and gig workers, to do so. An 11-week extension in base benefits through this program is also included within the bill. 

Aid for Businesses
The bill includes approximately $325 billion in funding to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist U.S. businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, the bill allocates $284 billion in funding to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides forgivable small business loans to eligible applicants. Under the bill, certain firms that had already applied for, received and exhausted PPP funds will be eligible to apply for another PPP loan. To be eligible for a second PPP loan, a small business must have less than 300 employees and have sustained at least a 25% loss in revenue during any quarter of 2020 when compared to the same quarter in 2019. Additionally, small 501(c)(6) organizations with 150 or fewer employees that are not lobbying organizations would be eligible for a PPP loan with this round of funding.

The bill also provides the following with regard to the PPP:

  • Expansion of expenses eligible for loan forgiveness to include supplier costs and investment costs related to modifying facilities and obtaining personal protective equipment for safety
  • Simplified loan forgiveness process for businesses that have borrowed $150,000 or less in PPP loans
  • Confirmation that business expenses paid for with PPP loan funds are tax deductible

Businesses interested in applying for a PPP loan should contact their lender for more information.
The bill also directs $15 billion in funding for independent live-venue operators affected by COVID-19 and another $20 billion for small business grants.

Direct Economic Impact Payments
The bill includes another round of economic impact payments—commonly referred to as stimulus checks. The CARES Act provided the first round of stimulus checks for eligible Americans. Under the CARES Act, tax filers with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns were eligible to receive the full payment of $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per married couple. Parents were also eligible to receive $500 for each qualifying child.

The bill follows the same eligibility guidelines as the CARES Act, but the amount of the stimulus check is less this time around. Instead of being eligible for a $1,200 payment, qualifying taxpayers are eligible for a payment of $600 per individual or $1,200 per married couple. Parents will also be eligible to receive $600 for each qualifying child.

Other Provisions Included in the Bill
The bipartisan bill provides funding for a variety of other issues, including:

  • U.S. Postal Service—$10 billion
  • Health Care Provider Relief Fund—$35 billion
  • COVID-19 Testing and Tracing and Vaccine Distribution—$69 billion
  • Transportation Industry Relief (Airlines, Airports, Buses, Transit and Amtrak)—$45 billion
  • Education—$82 billion
  • Housing Assistance (Rental)—$25 billion
    • Additionally, the bill extends the federal moratorium on evictions until the end of January 2021.

Another provision included in the bill is a ban on surprise medical bills—to help protect insured patients from large medical bills when they unknowingly receive out-of-network care. The bill also includes enhanced tax credits, including the employee retention tax credit for employers that keep employees on payroll and provide paid sick leave. Under the bill, the earned income tax credit and child tax credit would become available to those who lost wages or their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expand the low-income housing tax credit.

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We will continue to share information as it becomes available and keep you informed.

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in employee benefits insurance including group medical, dental, vision, life insurance, short and long term disability, voluntary life, employee assistance programs, wellness programs, individual life insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are experts can provide valuable services including benefits plan design and administration, human resources support, funding options, compliance assistance, benefit administration, and enrollment services. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Commercial Lines Proposed Decrease to Florida Work Comp Rates 2021The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) recently delivered its annual workers’ compensation insurance rate filing to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Based upon its review of the most recent data available, NCCI has proposed an overall average rate level decrease of 5.7 percent, effective January 1, 2021 in Florida.

To view NCCI’s Overview of the proposed rate filing, click here.

Ryan Schmidt is a Client Advisor and Partner with Gulfshore Insurance. Ryan specializes in working with commercial clients. Comments and questions are welcome at

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.


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COVID 19 Live Streaming Most Recommended Cameras Insurance Risk Management for Churches Non Profit Religious Organizations John Keller Southwest Florida Naples Fort MyersDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, your church leadership team has been left to figure out how to lead your congregation, how to continue the fellowship of believers, and how to continue ministering to your community as a virtual church in a safe and effective way. Many have utilized live streaming video to maximize your impact and keep your congregation as physically safe as possible.

As you continue to navigate the realities of virtual church and trying to make a visual impact, we have compiled a list of the most popular cameras available on the market, ranging in price from an entry level, minimal budget all the way to the top tier, professional gear. Thankfully, while you can spend thousands on camera, lighting, and audio equipment to produce high-quality content, this doesn’t need to be the case. As with most aspects of photography and videography, the financial barrier to entry is low, with your creativity being the most important key to success.


Best Cameras for Video:

Logitech C920 $
Microsoft Lifecam Studio for Business $
Logitech BRIO Webcam $
Canon Vixia HF R800 $$
Panasonic H-V770 $$
Canon 80D $$$
Panasonic Lumix GH4 $$$
Sony a6300 $$$
Sony A7 II $$$
Canon Vixia HF G21 $$$
Canon XA11 $$$
Epiphan LUMiO 12x PTZ Camera $$$
Panasonic Lumix GH5 $$$$
Canon EOS C100 II $$$$
Panasonic AG UX180 $$$$
Canon XF400 $$$$


While it may seem overwhelming to figure out how to get your service online quickly, start with a road map of where you are now and where you want to be. Take note if you already have video equipment available and what type of new equipment you would like to invest in. Consider where you want to stream your sermon. This will determine the platform you end up using to live stream the church service.

It is also important to ensure that your internet connection is fast enough to stream. You can get a dedicated internet connection for your stream. Work on your lighting. When you work on your lighting within the church, your live stream will have a better-quality picture for those watching. Set up your camera with the view you want people tuning in to see. Pick a live streaming platform that’s right for your church. Create your account, set up your stream, practice streaming it and then hit go on Sunday morning.

To view our complete risk management library of articles for churches and non-profits, click here.

John Keller, CRM ARM CIC AAI is Client Advisor & Risk Manager at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in non-profit and religious organizations. John works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at

COVID 19 Liablity Waivers What Churches Should Know John Keller Risk Management Insurance Religious Non Profit Organizations Southwest Florida Naples Fort MyersAfter weeks of mandatory lockdown to help slow the spread of COVID-19, churches across the country are reopening their doors to parishioners. Many are grappling with the risk that worshipers may contract COVID-19 and may try to hold the ministry liable for the resulting damages. Thoughtful deliberation is needed when considering the potential impact of COVID-19 on your congregation.

One option to help minimize this risk is to require worshipers to contractually waive their right to hold the church liable if they contract COVID-19 on premises. Although requiring churchgoers to sign a COVID-19 liability waiver may help insulate you from liability, the enforceability of COVID-19 liability waivers presents some legal uncertainties, as courts have not yet analyzed such waivers in any detail. The enforceability of liability waivers is a matter of state law, some of the more specific legal questions about waivers will have different answers in different jurisdictions.

Guidelines for churches drafting COVID-19 liability waivers:

  • All COVID-19 liability waivers should be drafted in clear language that is understandable to the ordinary person, and these provisions should be very conspicuous if included within a larger contract.
  • Waivers should include language regarding the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and warn that even with heightened cleaning procedures, social distancing, face masks, etc., the church cannot fully eliminate the risk that churchgoers may contract COVID-19. They should be drafted so that visitors agree that (1) they understand this heightened risk, and (2) with that understanding, they agree not to hold the church liable for any damages resulting from contraction of COVID‑19 due to the organization’s negligence.
  • Waivers should comply with the applicable state laws and public policies regarding traditional liability waivers.
  • Even organizations with COVID-19 liability waivers should strive to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local recommendations for practices that can help lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission. If a court determines that deviance from such guidelines is grossly negligent or reckless, a COVID-19 liability waiver may not protect you from being liable for a visitor’s resulting damages.

Click here to download a sample COVID-19 liability waiver. It is recommended to always have a licensed attorney review any waiver to determine how it would be viewed by a court in a particular situation.

To view our complete risk management library of articles for churches and non-profits, click here.

John Keller, CRM ARM CIC AAI is Client Advisor & Risk Manager at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in non-profit and religious organizations. John works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at

Low Cost Hurricane Prep for Churches John Keller Risk Management Insurance for Churches Non Profit

Hurricane damage can’t always be prevented or eliminated, but with some careful forethought, it can be mitigated long before a storm arrives. There are some obvious preventative measures that can be conducted that require out of pocket expense like inspecting/repairing/upgrading the roof cover and perimeter flashing or installing hurricane shutters, but for the purposes of this article we will focus on the activities that churches can perform that require little to no investment other than time and energy.  These are broken into Pre-Hurricane, Warning, During, and After-Hurricane phases.

In most cases, hurricane planning activities should be implemented prior to Hurricane Season which begins June 1st and continues through October 31st. However, there are plenty of measures you can take immediately before, during, and after a hurricane to reduce loss.

Click here to download an Emergency Action Plan for Churches

How Does Hurricane Damage Occur?

Widespread damage begins when a hurricane reaches around 110 mph.  At this speed, the wind is sufficient enough to literally suck the roof cover from all or part of the building.  In addition, high winds have the ability to turn most windblown debris into missiles, thereby breaking windows and doors.  These openings then allow more wind to enter the building which creates additional upward forces on the roof.  If a roof hasn’t been sucked off the building from the primary forces, once there are openings in the building, these secondary forces are sure to help blow the roof off the building. Once the roof is all or partially removed, and additional secondary holes have been punched in a building, the interior and contents are much more likely to be damaged or destroyed by rain that typically accompanies a hurricane.

Pre-Hurricane Preventive Measures

Once a hurricane is on its way, resources start to become scarce and much more expensive. Highlighted below are activities churches can perform prior to hurricane season so that they can resume operations as quickly as possible after the storm.

  1. Create or customize a checklist of activities that can be used during all phases of the storm.
  2. Appoint an individual to monitor weather forecasts and track impending hurricanes.
  3. Compile an Emergency Contact List with 24-hour contact numbers for essential employees and volunteers.
  4. Identify vital records and make backup copies.
  5. Qualify and pre-commit contractors and suppliers for post-hurricane repairs. (Use firms not likely to be affected by the same hurricane.)
  6. Stock supplies and prepare needed equipment (rations, generators, radios, flashlights w/ batteries, medical supplies, and lumber/tools/hardware).
  7. Relocate valuable on-floor equipment/storage to protect from water damage.

As the Hurricane Approaches (Warning Phase)

  1. CASH is king! Obtain and keep accessible as much as possible as banks may not be open following the storm.
  2. Brace lightweight doors from the inside to minimize the chance of them blowing in.
  3. Fill fuel tanks, generators, vehicles, etc.
  4. Protect or move valuable papers and important documents to a safe location.
  5. Print a complete copy of the property insurance policy and note the policy number and claim filing information
  6. Close valves on gas lines and, if possible, disconnect the electric supply at the service entrance.
  7. Clean the roof drains, gutters, and downspouts.
  8. Initiate orderly shutdown of equipment sensitive to sudden loss of power.
  9. Evacuate personnel.

During the Hurricane

  1. Remaining personnel should check for roof leaks, broken windows and piping, fires, and initiate emergency responses as needed.
  2. If power failure does occur, disconnect circuits so they cannot be reenergized without checking for damage.

After the Hurricane

  1. Survey the damage and establish priorities.
  2. Board up openings.
  3. Check circuits and equipment before restoring power.
  4. Follow your pre-established salvage reconstruction and recovery plan using key employees and outside contractors.
  5. Photograph and/or video all damage and contact the insurance carrier directly to submit a claim.

Damage from hurricanes may be inevitable, but with some careful pre-planning and diligent execution of strategic activities, you can significantly reduce the cost associated with a hurricane. Costs can escalate significantly once you consider property/wind insurance deductibles, lost production time, and supply chain disruptions.  A risk manager or insurance agent can help you identify and prioritize the most critical exposures for your church.

To view our complete risk management library of articles for churches and non-profits, click here.

John Keller, CRM ARM CIC AAI is Client Advisor & Risk Manager at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in non-profit and religious organizations. John works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at