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Reminder: NFIP Flood Insurance Rates to Change October 1GEN NFIP Flood Insurance Rates to Change October 1

New rates for all properties insured through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will go into effect nationwide on October 1, 2021. FEMA is pairing state-of-the-art technology with NFIP’s mapping data to establish a new risk-informed rating plan—Risk Rating 2.0, the largest change to the program in 50 years.

Risk Rating 2.0 uses the latest actuarial practices to set fairer, risk-based rates that better reflect a property’s true flood risk. All NFIP policies—including single-family homes, multi-unit, and commercial properties—will change over to the new rating system.

What is changing:

According to FEMA, the current NFIP pricing methodology has led to policyholders encountering average premium rate increases of $8 per month each year at renewal. After incorporating additional flood information and variables into the pricing methodology, FEMA provided that Risk Rating 2.0 will have the following impacts on current NFIP policyholders’ premium rates:

  • Nearly a quarter (23%) of policyholders will experience premium rate decreases.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of policyholders will encounter moderate premium rate increases.
  • The final 11% of policyholders will experience more significant premium rate increases.


To make the changes more equitable, FEMA will look at detailed flood risk variables such as distance to a water source, flood frequency, flood types, and property characteristics like the cost to rebuild and elevation.

What is not changing:

  • Setting limits on rate increases. Risk Rating 2.0 maintains limits on rate hikes. Rates may not increase by more than 18% per year.
  • Utilizing flood mapping. Risk Rating 2.0 will continue to use FIRMs to assess the flood risk, rebuild requirements, floodplain management strategies, and see if a location’s flood insurance is mandatory. FIRMs also remain as tools for creating flood management policies.
  • Offering discounts. Finally, Risk Rating 2.0 keeps features from the original risk ratings, including premium discounts for pre-FIRM subsidized and newly mapped properties. The discounts for participation in the Community Rating System continue to apply.


NFIP will roll out Risk Rating 2.0 in two phases:

  • Phase I. Risk Rating 2.0 starts for new policies beginning on October 1, 2021. Renewing policyholders may see discounts on their premiums.
  • Phase II. Policies with renewals on or after April 1, 2022, will price according to Risk Rating 2.0.

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

Commercial Lines Preventing Slip and Fall Incidents at Your AssociationDid you know slips, trips, and falls are one of the greatest personal injury hazards facing your association? In fact, according to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits. Any slip, trip, or fall incident brings the potential for your association to be held responsible for that person’s injury. To protect people from painful and potentially deadly injuries and to protect your association from liability and unnecessary claim costs, take action to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.

If a slip, trip, or fall occurs:

  • Provide assistance
  • Document the event
  • Keep your records in order

 

Responding to the incident:

  • Offer assistance
  • Provide first aid
  • Call for emergency medical assistance, when required
  • Demonstrate understanding and concern for the fallen person
  • As soon as possible, report the incident to appropriate management personnel
  • Do not give assurances that medical bills will be “taken care of”

 

Document the incident:

  • Promptly complete the incident report
  • Complete the form at the incident site as quickly as possible
  • Provide the signed incident form to management
  • Keep a copy of all incident reports
  • Review the incident reports to identify problem areas
  • Correct identified problems
  • Provide a copy to your insurance company

 

Other action plan steps include:

  • Regularly scheduled premises inspections
  • Floor care maintenance records
  • Keep copies of any maintenance agreements with outside vendors

 

Download the Slip and Fall Prevention Checklist

Below are areas of heightened concern for Community Associations that you should pay particular attention to:

  1. Outdoor Surfaces: Outdoor surfaces, such as parking lots, sidewalks, and walkways, are one of the leading areas for slip and fall injuries. Rain often makes these areas slippery and dangerous.
  2. Steps and Stairs: Steps and stairs pose a slip and fall hazard for several reasons, and falls down stairs are often more severe. Steps can become worn over time due to heavy use and be a serious trip and fall hazard. Carpeted stairs can become torn over time and create serious trip hazards as well.
  3. Pool Decks: Pool decks are a dangerous area due to the large amounts of moisture, slicks floors, and minimal footwear.
  4. Locker Rooms: Locker rooms are dangerous, like pool decks, due to the slippery conditions. Locker rooms are also dangerous due to clothes, bags, and towels that can clutter up the floor and cause trip and fall injuries.
  5. Entryways: These high-traffic areas are also an extremely common place for slip and fall injuries to occur. Due to the high amount of foot traffic, water and debris are consistently tracked in by shoes making the area slippery.

Jeff Sanders, works with associations and companies throughout the state of Florida to meet their insurance and risk management service needs. Jeff and his team have a proactive style and hands on approach to providing insurance services to their clients. Not only is Jeff a commercial property and casualty specialist, he also holds a TRIP designation, is a member of the Community Association Institute (CAI), Hospitality Financial & Tech Professionals (HFTP) association, and Community Owners – Managers – Associates (COMA). Jeff is also a certified Continuing Education instructor for the community management and construction industries. Comments and questions are welcome at jsanders@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance has been successfully insuring and protecting Community Associations throughout Florida for more nearly 50 years, and currently insure over 700 community and condominium associations throughout the state. We are committed to identifying your specific exposures; developing strategies to handle those risks; implementing insurance programs and coverages to meet your needs; and continuing to monitor and adjust your plan to ensure a perfect fit with your association. Contact us today for assistance with any insurance or risk management concerns.

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.

Click here to download the full bulletin 

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.

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 jkeller@gulfshoreinsurance.com

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 jkeller@gulfshoreinsurance.com