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Commercial Lines Top 10 Blog Posts of 2020In 2020, Gulfshore Insurance published over 150 new articles. To make sure you don’t miss out, we’ve compiled a curated list featuring the top 10 most read and most shared articles from the past year.

  1. Insurance Market Update for Associations
    For many associations, insurance premiums are the largest overhead cost, so it’s very important to accurately forecast any changes. Each year, we review market conditions and trends that may impact your insurance renewal premiums, providing you with an educated look at how they may impact your association’s budget.
  2. Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map Changes
    FEMA recently released preliminary revisions to the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) in Florida. With many homeowners, unit owners, and associations compelled to purchase Flood insurance annually, this created many questions as to how the revisions may affect policyholders’ premiums.
  3. What To Do if an Employee Tests Positive for Coronavirus
    It’s very likely that if you’re considering reopening your office—or if you already have—that you’ve taken the time to communicate a return-to-work action plan to your employees. Likewise, it’s recommended that all employers consult a reopening checklist to ensure that they’re keeping their team as safe as possible before and during the first phases of workplace re-entry.
  4. DOL Outlines Coronavirus Relief Law’s Paid Leave Requirement
    On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued guidance explaining the paid leave requirements under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
  5. Coronavirus Bill Requiring Paid Employee Leave Signed to Law
    On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) into law. The Act requires employers to provide paid leave for some employees related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, among other measures. The leave provisions of the Act take effect no later than 15 days after it is signed by the president.
  6. NCCI Files 5.7% Workers Compensation Rate Decrease
    The 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.
  7. Home Replacement Cost Explained
    The replacement cost of a home on a homeowner’s insurance policy has always been a large part of the discussion among homeowners, insurance advisors, and insurance companies. This is due to the significant role a home’s replacement cost plays in insurance pricing as well as its lack of correlation to other home valuation methods.
  8. Top Five Reasons to Consult with a Florida Insurance Professional
    Florida insurance can be complicated. With so many new or seasonal residents purchasing additional properties in the sunshine state, it is critical to provide proper insight on the potential challenges of insuring a Florida home.
  9. Workers’ Compensation Rate Decrease Approved
    Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier recently issued an Order​ to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) requesting an amended rate filing to further reduce workers’ compensation rates for 2021.
  10. How Well Do You Know Your Business’ Cyber Exposure?
    In today’s world, doing business online is an everyday occurrence, but for businesses, it does carry increased risks.  Do you know what your exposure is? Gulfshore Insurance is pleased to offer Cyber Liability insurance. To find out if you may need this type of protection, take this 8-question quiz.

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

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your high net worth risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Port Royal, Park Shore, Pelican Bay, The Moorings, Naples Beach, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Emplyee Benefits Updated Guidance Regarding the COVID 19 VaccinesOn December 16, 2020, just days after the first doses of COVID-19 were administered in the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance providing employers with critical information regarding the intersections of mandated employee COVID vaccinations and federal employment laws. This guidance confirms the EEOC’s position that employers must first seek an accommodation for employees who refuse to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for disability or religious-related reasons before taking any action against them.

Employers cannot automatically terminate workers who refuse the vaccine because of a disability or religious beliefs before first conducting an individualized assessment that considers whether the workers pose a direct threat, said the agency in its update of COVID-19 related guidance.

In focusing on disability-related issues, the factors to be considered in determining whether there is a direct threat are: the severity of the potential harm; the likelihood the potential harm will occur; and the potential harm’s imminence. Employers cannot exclude the employee from the workplace “unless there is no way to provide a reasonable accommodation (absent undue hardship) that would eliminate or reduce this risk, so the unvaccinated employee does not pose a direct threat,” the guidance said.

Before terminating an employee, employers must also determine if any other rights apply under equal employment opportunity laws or other federal, state or local authorities. Similarly, employers must provide a reasonable accommodation if a worker refuses to be vaccinated because of “sincerely held” religious beliefs, unless it poses an undue hardship under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Among the other vaccine-related questions addressed by the new guidance, it states the vaccination itself is not a medical exam, although pre-screening vaccination questions may implicate the Americans with Disabilities Act’s provision on disability-related inquiries, and the employer must show that these questions are “‘job-related and consistent with business necessity.”

The guidance also states that requiring an employee to show proof of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination is not considered a disability-related inquiry. The guidance does not address issues including whether an employees’ anxiety about receiving a vaccination can be considered in deciding whether a reasonable accommodation should be considered.

Click here to read the updated guidance

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.

2020 was a challenging year for all. Instead of focusing on all the challenges we’ve had to navigate through the year, we’d like to take this time to highlight the moments that brought our team joy. From the team at Gulfshore Insurance, we wish you health and happiness this holiday season!

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.

Personal Lines CDC Guidelines for Holiday CelebrationsThe COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.

Below are some general considerations for hosting a gathering that brings together people from different households. Guests should be aware of these considerations and ask their host what mitigation measures will be in place during the gathering. Hosts should consider the following:

  • Check the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where attendees live on state, local, territorial, or tribal health department websites or on CDC’s COVID Data Tracker County View. Based on the current status of the pandemic, consider if it is safe to hold or attend the gathering on the proposed date.
  • Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.
  • Host outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible. Even outdoors, require guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
  • Avoid holding gatherings in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with persons who are not in your household.
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible based on the weather, or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
  • If setting up outdoor seating under a pop-up open air tent, ensure guests are still seated with physical distancing in mind. Enclosed 4-wall tents will have less air circulation than open air tents. If outdoor temperature or weather forces you to put up the tent sidewalls, consider leaving one or more sides open or rolling up the bottom 12 inches of each sidewall to enhance ventilation while still providing a wind break.
  • Require guests to wear masks. At gatherings that include persons of different households, everyone should always wear a mask that covers both the mouth and nose, except when eating or drinking. It is also important to stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not in your household at all times.
  • Encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors. Keep music levels down so people don’t have to shout or speak loudly to be heard.
  • Encourage attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Provide guests information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and steps that will be in place at the gathering to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Provide and/or encourage attendees to bring supplies to help everyone to stay healthy. These include extra masks (do not share or swap with others), hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and tissues. Stock bathrooms with enough hand soap and single use towels.
  • Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items, such as serving utensils.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
  • Use touchless garbage cans if available. Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.
  • Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
  • Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.

 

Click here to continue reading CDC Considerations for Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings

Please note that these considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which all gatherings must comply.

 

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your high net worth risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Port Royal, Park Shore, Pelican Bay, The Moorings, Naples Beach, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.

Personal Lines Four Tips for Disaster Free Holiday FestivitiesFamily, friends and festivities should be the focus of the holiday season, but don’t let this joyous time be marred by fire, theft, accidents and other disasters. Taking a few simple steps, and having the right insurance coverage can reduce these seasonal hazards. Start with these four safety tips:

  1. Be Fire Safe. December is the peak month for fires caused by candles. Christmas tree-related fires, while not as common as candle fires, are much more likely to be deadly. Decorations and cooking are the two leading causes of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Take care when decorating for the holidays and keep decorations far from a heat source, and never leave the stove unattended while cooking. Always be sure to have smoke alarms in working condition. In the event of a fire, evacuate immediately. And prepare by developing and practicing a home fire escape plan with the whole family.
  2. Protect Your Identity. The hustle and bustle of the holidays creates the perfect opportunity for thieves bent on stealing your credit card information. To protect yourself, shop at reputable stores and check your credit card statements regularly, and if you find anything unusual, report it to your credit card company immediately. If your wallet is either lost or stolen, contact the police and your credit card company as soon as you can.
  3. Burglar-Proof Your Home. If you’re traveling over the holidays, have mail and packages picked up or held by the post office, use automatic timers to turn lights on and off at appropriate times and have a dependable neighbor check on the house periodically. Consider making your home more secure with dead-bolt locks, window grates and smoke/fire/burglar alarms. An added benefit: most insurers provide discounts for devices that make a home safer.
  4. Drive Safely. Safe driving and well-maintained vehicles take on even greater importance in winter. Stay off the road between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m. when drunk driving accidents are most likely to occur. Obey speed limits and avoid all distractions (no texting, eating, grooming!) while behind the wheel. Make sure to also keep your gas tank full. Stormy weather or traffic delays that force you to change routes or turn back can result in the use of more gas.

Kevin Havemeier is an Associate Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Kevin works with successful individuals and families with complex insurance needs. He analyzes his clients’ risks and collaborates with them to design customized solutions with the goal of ultimately delivering peace of mind. Comments and questions are welcome at khavemeier@gulfshoreinsurance.com

Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in home and homeowners insurance, car and auto insurance, boat and yacht insurance, property insurance, umbrella insurance, valuables insurance for fine art, jewelry, wine, and more. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your high net worth risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Port Royal, Park Shore, Pelican Bay, The Moorings, Naples Beach, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Sanibel Island, Captiva, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.