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Capture 1Over the last few weeks, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of cyber incidents from companies around the world that have been affected by a fresh wave of coronavirus-themed cyberattacks. According to cybersecurity firm CYE, since the beginning of February cybercriminals have been increasingly exploiting the unfamiliar situation caused by the global pandemic.

By leveraging the public’s genuine fear and increased distraction associated with these events, there is an increased likelihood of employees clicking on malicious attachments or using unsecure networks to retrieve sensitive information when working from home or in remote locations. As quarantines become more prevalent and more and more individuals are authorized to work remotely, there must be a multi-departmental focus on maintaining proper controls.

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Commercial Lines COVID 19 Payments to Paid Furloughed EmployeesThe state of Florida has approved the National Council on Compensation Insurance’s (NCCI) B-1441 filing that addresses wage payments made to paid furloughed employees during a temporary layoff or an involuntary leave as a result of federal, state, and/or local emergency orders, laws, or regulations issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These particular wage payments will be excluded from premium and experience rating calculations, provided the employer maintains separate, accurate, and verifiable records.

If separate records are not maintained, this payroll will be assigned to the classification applicable to the employee’s normal work performed prior to the issuance of any emergency orders, laws, or regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any payments from appropriated funds or loans authorized by any law or regulation, or public governmental entity used by an employer specifically to retain or hire working employees are still included as payroll for the calculation of premium and experience rating.

The revisions within the filing are effective on and after March 1, 2020 for new and renewal policies, and also apply to the unexpired portion of any policy in force as of March 1, 2020. Code 0012 has been assigned to identify these payments for non-working employees.

What to do After Receiving a PPP Loan

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is designed to get cash in the hands of suffering small businesses quickly, with less stringent eligibility requirements than the existing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs. PPP loans are designed to incentivize business owners to keep employees on payroll. These loans provide 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses, through Jun. 30, 2020. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis.

Using Funds Appropriately to Remain Eligible for Forgiveness

U.S. small businesses that were able to secure financial relief through the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program should consider the following to help their cause for qualification of forgiveness of the full principal amount of the loan and any accrued interest:

  • Use the loan funds only toward: payroll, including salary, wages, tips and covered benefits for employees; rent or mortgage interest; and utilities.
  • Ensure at least 75% of loan funds are allocated for payroll costs.
  • Maintain the level of full-time employee (FTE) headcount without reduction during the eight-week covered period.
  • Maintain the salaries and wages of your workforce during the eight-week covered period. Any reduction of more than 25% for any employee who makes less than $100,000 will reduce the amount forgiven.
  • Preserve proper documentation to support the amount of proceeds used for payroll costs, rent or mortgage, and utilities.
  • Prior to June 30, 2020, restore all full-time employment and salary levels back from any reductions made between Feb. 15, 2020, and April 26, 2020.

 

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

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Joe Thompson is a Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance who specializes in managing risk for community associations and various contractorsComments and questions are welcome at jthompson@gulfshoreinsurance.com

CaptureEmployers seeking ways to help their employees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may want to consider implementing a leave-sharing program. These programs allow employees to donate some of their accrued paid leave time, such as paid time off (PTO), vacation or sick leave, for the benefit of other employees who need additional paid leave. During the COVID-19 crisis, many employees may exhaust the leave available to them through illness, quarantine or isolation, or care giving responsibilities.

Although the IRS has approved leave sharing in the context of medical emergencies and major disasters, it has not issued guidance on leave-sharing programs specifically for COVID-19, despite major disaster declarations for all 50 states due to the pandemic.

While these programs can be beneficial to both employers and employees, they need to be carefully structured in order to avoid negative tax consequences for the employees who donate their unused paid leave.

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

Ryan Laude is a Client Advisor at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in employee benefits. Ryan works with a wide range of businesses to create the best funding options that fit their needs. Comments and questions are welcome at rlaude@gulfshoreinsurance.com

 

Personal Lines 4 Questions to Determine Where to Keep Your ValuablesIf you’d like to keep your important papers and small valuables away from burglars, fire or natural disaster, here are four questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you should store them in a bank safety deposit box, an in-home safe, or both.

  1. How valuable are your items?
    If items are not replaceable or very valuable, such as expensive jewelry or special documents, you’ll want to keep them in a bank safe. If they are not as valuable or can be easily replaced, an in-home safe is probably good enough.
  2. How often do you need these items?
    If you only use items, such as fine jewelry, on special occasions, a bank safe may work well, but if you use them nearly every day or at least once a week, a bank safe would be inconvenient and a good in-home safe may be a better idea.
  3. Will you be away from home for an extended period of time?
    If you’re planning to be away from home for an extended period of time, be sure to put all of your valuables in a bank safe. If you’re gone for a weekend or a couple days, you probably don’t need to go to that length, and an in-home safe will work fine.
  4. How secure is your in-home safe?
    If you use an in-home safe, make sure it has a tool and torch resistant rating of 30 minutes or more (TL-30/TR-30), is too heavy for a burglar to carry or is bolted to the floor or home structure. If your safe doesn’t meet these requirements, you may want to keep your valuables in the bank safe instead.

If you need advice about where to store your specific valuables, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gulfshore Insurance.

Andrea Pelletier, CPRIA, CPIA is Client Advisor and Partner at Gulfshore Insurance specializing in Private Risk Services. Andrea works with successful individuals and their families on creating and customizing package insurance solutions in the areas of luxury homes, car collections, jewelry, fine arts, watercraft, and personal excess liability. Comments and questions are welcome at apelletier@gulfshoreinsurance.com