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Insights

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With Hurricane Florence continuing its path towards land, many employers in North and South Carolina are bracing for its impact. Employers are starting to face questions about how to keep employees safe and whether employees must be paid during the storm, how to secure buildings and other property, how to best prepare for shut down of business operations, and what they can be doing now to plan for the clean-up operations following the storm.


In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma last year, Cobbs Allen posted a series of blogs to help organizations address these issues:

After the Storm:  Top Employee Considerations

After the Storm:  Disaster Cleanup and Recovery

After the Storm:  Post Loss Preparation for Claim

Whether this is the first time that you and your organization are preparing for an approaching hurricane or you are seasoned in dealing with the impact of natural disasters to your business operations, your Cobbs Allen risk management team is here for you. We are your partner to navigate through answering all questions and assisting in your evacuation and recovery plans.


Cobbs Allen Welcomes Chasity, Andie and Danielle

Posted by Caitlin Miley on September 5, 2018

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(Pictured left to right: Chasity Weaver, Danielle Nichols, Andie Diers)

 

Cobbs Allen is excited to welcome three new associates to our Birmingham team—Chasity Weaver, Andie Diers and Danielle Nichols.

Chasity joins Cobbs Allen as a client executive on our employee benefits team. Chasity previously worked in Opelika, AL, as a senior account manager for a natural gas company. She graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor's degree in public relations.

Andie Diers joins Cobbs Allen as a junior account executive in our P&C division. Specifically, Andie joins our Education Practice Group team and will help service our education clients on a daily basis. A recent graduate of Auburn University, Andie graduated summa cum laude with a degree in marketing.

Danielle joins Cobbs Allen’s worker’s compensation division assisting with account services. She has more than 15 years’ experience in account servicing including data entry.

 


The Cobbs Allen Internship: Just Right

Posted by Caitlin Miley on August 30, 2018

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Internships can often be a guessing game; somewhat of a Goldilocks experience, if you will. Intern somewhere too small and miss out on a true, structured program. Intern somewhere too big and the personal touches and flexibilities don’t exist.

But just like Goldilocks found her perfect bowl of porridge, students can find their ideal internship. At Cobbs Allen, we believe we have created an internship program that is just right.

Our nine-week curriculum provides structure—opportunity to rotate through each division, seeing both the service and sales sides—while also allowing for the personalization of each intern’s interests.

While each rotation—Employee Benefits, Property & Casualty and Personal Lines—looks a little different, the main constant throughout is exposure to both the service and the sales sides of our business. Interns spend much of their time in the office, learning from service team members, but they also have the chance to go out on client and prospect meetings.

In addition to rotating through each division, interns spend the entire summer working directly with one of our clients to review their insurance policies and employee benefit offerings. This summer our interns worked with Coca-Cola Bottling Company United—meeting with executive leadership, touring their facilities and presenting their findings at the end of the summer.

“It is important to us that our interns gain real-life, hands-on experience while at Cobbs Allen,” said Katie Langley, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Client Services and member of the internship committee. “Their professors have already taught them well, and we seek only to supplement that knowledge.”

It is equally important to us that our interns gain professional skills that can transfer to any job they may take. Therefore, we are diligent to provide workshops and training sessions focused on topics such as professional attire, LinkedIn and Microsoft Office.

Even though college students are just now getting back into the swing of a new school year, our internship committee is already prepping for next summer’s interns.

If you know a college student who is interested in gaining hands-on experience in an insurance brokerage firm, have them reach out to interns@cobbsallen.com or look for our team at college career fairs this fall!


August Client Spotlight: Speed Spa

Posted by Caitlin Miley on August 28, 2018

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Company Name: Speed Spa

Owner: Tricia Holbrook

Location: Mountain Brook Village (Birmingham, AL)

Time in Business: 9 months

Industry: Salon Spa

Website: Speedspa.io

 

Let me paint a picture for you: you’re a busy person. You work full time and/or take care of kids around the clock. Your hair is in desperate need of a cut and color, and you’d really like to treat yourself to a pedicure. But where is the time?!

Enter Speed Spa. This innovative salon offers best-in-class services in the most efficient ways. Think sinks that slide out so you stay in one chair for your entire hair service, a mani with a blowout, and fingers and toes at the same time.

“Our goal is to deliver the very best in salon spa services for your hair, face, nails and body in the most efficient time possible,” said Tricia Holbrook, owner of Speed Spa. “We do not cut any corners in our service but just worked efficiencies into the system.”

One key component of their efficient method lies within their mobile app where you can book an appointment, pay and add a tip all from your smart phone.

Cobbs Allen has been proud to consult on the Holbrook family’s personal insurance needs for many years now, and we’re delighted she turned to us when she opened her new business.

“My risk consultant, Cara Conaty, has done a fabulous job explaining what coverages I truly need for an industry I am brand new to,” Holbrook said. “As a first time business owner, I want to be well protected without wasting money, and Cara has helped me achieve that.”


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With the rise of golf cart communities and popularity of driving golf carts and other recreational-type vehicles, understanding proper coverage for them can be confusing to homeowners. Below is an article from a friend and colleague with ATA WorkComp Fund, Donald Boatright. While this article is centered around his Wynlakes Golf and Country Club community, the coverage information is relevant no matter where you live and provides insight into what a homeowner’s policy will and will not cover.

Now that fall is upon us, I have seen an increased amount of traffic with our residents riding around the neighborhood on ATVs, UTVs and golf carts, especially golf carts in Wynlakes.  While riding around the neighborhood on these recreational vehicles is a fun thing to do, they all present problems from being “street legal” and they all present problems with your personal liability.  Do you know that you could be placing all of your personal assets at risk by cruising the neighborhood with these recreational vehicles?  Do you know that your homeowner’s policy will include and exclude liability coverage for these recreational vehicles?

Well, this is a little confusing, so allow me to simplify most homeowner’s policies for you. Most homeowner’s policies will include liability coverage automatically for ATVs, UTVs and golf carts, but only while these recreational vehicles are being used on your property – specifically, within the boundaries of your lot.  So, the moment you leave your property, you (the property owner and all of your assets) will have no liability protection - none at all!  The only exception to this is a golf cart.  If you are using your golf cart while golfing on a golf course, most homeowner’s policies will automatically extend coverage while you are in the act of golfing.

However, for our community, you need to be aware the Wynlakes Golf and Country Club does not allow the use of privately owned golf carts on the golf course.  On the other hand, if you or your children are riding the neighborhood in your golf cart, even if it is “street legal”, most homeowner’s policies will exclude liability coverage because you have left the boundaries of your property.  This is a really big deal for you personally – take heed!

Do you know you can remedy these homeowner’s exclusions easily?  You can purchase liability coverage for ATVs, UTVs and golf carts by buying an individual liability policy for each.  These policies are very cheap and can be added to your personal umbrella liability schedule.  You should discuss your own situation with your personal lines agent.  Please use caution while using these recreational vehicles and please remember the speed limit in Wynlakes is 25 MPH.  I hope to see you around our beautiful neighborhood! 

If you would like a review of your policy or have questions about adding an individual liability policy, please contact your Cobbs Allen Personal Insurance Consultant.


HSA/HDHP Limits Will Increase for 2019

Posted by Megan Zimmerman on August 13, 2018

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The IRS recently announced the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts (H.S.A.) and high deductible health plans (HDHP). Effective January 1, 2019, the maximum H.S.A. contribution limit will increase. Additionally, for plan years on or after January 1, 2019, the maximum out-of-pocket expense limit will increase. The minimum deductible amount for HDHP plans remains unchanged.

 

 

Type of Limit

 

2018

 

2019

 

H.S.A. Contribution Limit

Self-Only Coverage

$3,450

$3,500

Family Coverage

$6,900

$7,000


H.S.A. Catch-Up Contribution

 

Age 55 or older

 

$1,000

 

$1,000

 

HDHP Minimum Deductible

Self-Only Coverage

$1,350

$1,350

Family Coverage

$2,700

$2,700

HDHP Maximum Out-of-Pocket Expense Limit

(deductibles, copays, and other amounts but not premiums)

 

Self-Only Coverage

 

$6,650

 

$6,750

 

Family Coverage

 

$13,300

 

$13,500

 

What Employers Should Know

Employers should prepare for possible plan design changes for 2019. In addition, employers should update open enrollment materials to reflect the increased limits.


July Client Spotlight: Girls Inc. of Central Alabama

Posted by Elizabeth Scull on July 30, 2018

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Company Name: Girls Inc. of Central Alabama

Executive Director: Connie Hill

Location: Birmingham, AL

Years in Business: 80

Industry: Nonprofit

Website: www.girlsinccentral-al.org

 

Since 1983, Girls Inc. of Central Alabama has provided gender-specific programs for school-age girls of diverse racial and economic backgrounds in the Birmingham area. An affiliate of Girls Inc. National, Girls Inc. of Central Alabama inspires all girls to be “strong, smart, and bold.” 

The Girls Inc. experience provides an environment, programs, and people that empower girls to succeed. Trained staff and volunteers build lasting, mentoring relationships in pro-girl spaces. The ultimate goal of Girls Inc. is to provide girls with the skills and knowledge to set goals, overcome obstacles, and improve academic performance.

This month Girls Inc. of Central Alabama was awarded a $130,000 grant from Girls Inc. National. This grant will double the number of girls who are able to receive their most intensive programming by 2020. It will also allow Girls Inc. clubs to provide in-school programming to 350 girls in Bessemer, Jasper, Shelby County and Birmingham schools. In addition, Girls Inc. will be partnering with the Housing Authority of Birmingham District (HABD) to provide programming to girls living in public housing through the new Campus of Hope.

“Cobbs Allen has been helpful to us as we’ve expanded programs and locations over the years,” said Connie Hill, Girls Inc. of Central Alabama’s Executive Director. “This is a long-term relationship that existed even before my time, and we look to them for advice and assistance with all of our insurance needs.”

Cobbs Allen encourages our associates to get involved with local nonprofits; in fact, Cobbs Allen Chief Development Officer Felix Drennen served on the board of Girls Inc. for over ten years and now serves on the Girls Inc. Trust.

“As a father of three young girls, I was impressed with Girls Inc.’s many programs,” said Drennen. “Later on, our daughters chose to volunteer at Girls Inc., and we saw firsthand what a ‘safe place’ they provided for after school care. The work Girls Inc. does in our community is vital—inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold. Mission accomplished!”

 


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