Shift in workers’ compensation set

“In January 2012, the government got together with a workers’ compensation group and asked, ‘How do we get it right?’” Abbie Hudgens said on Thursday. “Sixteen months later, a law passed.”

Read more: http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20130726/BUSINESS/307260011/Shift-workers-compensation-set

Posted by Bill Arowood, Appalachian Underwriters

TN to Discuss Work Comp Reform

Posted by: Bill Arowood

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is holding a series of seminars across the state to explain the Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 2013.

These seminars are designed to educate employers concerning the new rules and give information on ways to avoid workplace injuries.

July 25 through Aug. 29 – Dates, times and locations can be found on the department’s website at http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd

http://billarowood.brandyourself.com/

Technology Continues to Offer Better Customer Experience

Bill Arowood, Appalachian Underwriters

Many states have passed laws allowing digital proof of insurance via smart phones. Not only does this provide a convenient service for the insured, but it also allow the provider a powerful tool for delivery of information to the client base. As state and federal laws catch up to technology, you can expect many new innovations in the delivery of products and services to the insurance market.

http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/mobile-apps-legal-for-auto-insurance-proof/article_af0010ca-edbc-11e2-8066-001a4bcf887a.html

Staffing Industry Set for Continued Expansion

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Bureau of Labor Statistics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oak Ridge, TN: 16, July, 2013—For the last decade the temporary staffing industry has seen some ups and downs, but recent years have shown a strong trend of expansion. The climate is ready for a decade of continued expansion, according to Bill Arowood of Appalachian Underwriters.

“Employers are facing rising costs associated with employees. From health care to workers compensation to compliance, it can be challenging for companies to justify expansion to meet production needs,” stated Arowood

According to Arowood, the staffing industry is no longer a just tool for companies to satisfy temporary workers needs. It continues to expand into offering more long term assignments. “This allows companies to have fixed costs associated with those employees, but it also allows them to share some of the liability with a staffing partner.”

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, temporary helps services jobs in the U.S. rose by 9,500 in June. Arowood says that he is seeing the rise in staffing affecting industries that have typically not used temp agencies historically. “Information technology and engineering firms have long been consumers of staffing agency services, but the growth we are seeing is expanding into other white and gray color companies that need production expansion, but need to offset the growing costs of employment,” says Arowood.

Statistical information on the role of temp staffing and professional employer organizations can be found on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics web site and from the American Staffing Association.

Small Business Efficiency Act

The Small Business Efficiency Act, or SBEA, was re-introduced in 2013 by Senators Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., as S.479. NAPEO (National Association of Professional Employer Organizations) president and CEO Pat Cleary said,

“The Small Business Efficiency Act (S.479) will improve tax compliance and create needed certainty for small businesses so that they can focus on growing their companies while leaving benefits administration and tax compliance to the experts in the PEO industry. Legislation is long overdue to recognize and certify PEOs, an important provider of solutions for small businesses on everything from health care to regulatory compliance.”

The SBEA would provide important legal clarity in several ways. First, it would give credit to clients for federal payroll taxes paid by the client in a mid-year initial engagement of a PEO (under current conditions, the tax base would restart upon engagement with a PEO). Second, the SBEA would provide that a client satisfies its federal payroll tax obligation when it remits payment to a PEO. Finally, it would clarify that a PEO is not to be treated as a successor employer for the purposes of prior client liabilities. The protections of the SBEA would only be afforded to a certified PEO (CPEO).

The requirements contained in S. 479 for becoming a CPEO are very similar to requirements already found in many state laws. This year’s version of the legislation has several changes from previous versions in previous years. Language was included to 1) increase the fee for a PEO to register for certification with the IRS to no higher than $1,000; 2) clarify that the fee paid to the IRS as part of the certification process is to be paid on an annual basis; and 3) require the IRS to better track clients of PEOs.

In order for a PEO to be a CPEO, it would have to post a performance bond and provide the IRS with the opinion of an independent CPA that the PEO has paid all of its federal taxes and its financial statements are in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. If the SBEA is passed, it would grant legal status to PEOs, allowing them to collect and remit federal payroll taxes and therefore improve small business compliance with federal payroll tax law. The certification process would be voluntary for PEOs and would provide a safe harbor for small businesses that use certified PEOs. Ultimately the SBEA would provide needed certainty for small business, allowing that sector to better focus on growth and job creation.

Posted by: Bill Arowood, Appalachian Underwriters

How Will Health Insurance Exchanges Work?

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wall Street Journal’s Anna Wilde Mathews examines how state exchanges will work under the Affordable Care Act in this editorial. She says in this article that “in Nashville, Tenn., a plan is set to be available for $149 a month.”

Read the article here.

Posted by: Bill Arowood, Appalachian Underwriters