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Last week, I gave you a brief synopsis of my “love affair” with motorcycles and riding, as well a few sobering statistics about motorcycle safety in honor of Motorcycle Safety Month. This week, I want to take you through steps that will help to mitigate the risks and enjoy the rewards of closeness to the world around you.

Two of the most important things that will add to your safety are: 1) taking advantage of training courses offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or other reputable training vendors and 2) wearing full protective gear when you ride. 

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation training information can be accessed here and protective gear can be purchased at most motorcycle dealerships and online. Look for certification by the safety institutes and read reviews by other riders to help you make the best choices for your needs and type of riding. Protective gear can help in a crash but is not a panacea. Avoiding the crash is preferable and that requires mindful riding.

Most motorbike accidents involve other vehicles. Drivers in cars and trucks are looking for large vehicles and often say they “didn’t even see the motorcycle” they just hit. Unfortunately, a rider cannot force drivers to see him or her, but we can do our best to make ourselves as visible as possible with our protective gear choices. Most importantly, we must constantly anticipate the potential “bad moves” by others on the road.


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The IRS released the 2017 inflation-adjusted annual guidelines for health savings accounts (HSA) and high deductible health plans (HDHP):

  • HSA Contribution (maximum): $3,400 single / $6,750 family
  • HDHP Deductible (minimum): $1,300 single / $2,600 family
  • HDHP Out-of-Pocket (maximum): $6,550 single / $13,100 family

The only change from 2016 was the increase for single HSA contributions from $3,350 to $3,400.

View Rev Proc 2016-28 for official guidance.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO EMPLOYERS:  Employers who offer HSA benefits along with the required HDHP or are considering offering those benefits should take into account the change when planning for 2017.  That is, eligible individuals with single coverage can contribute an additional $50 in their HSA next year.

Contact your Cobbs Allen team to learn more about HSAs and how they can fit in your health plan offerings. 


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Wishes becoming reality….

As a child, I looked forward to the arrival of the Sears Catalogue. Among the many dreams that that iconic publication would elicit, the Allstate branded motor scooter was my favorite. To my chagrin, the $300 price tag was far beyond my means; however, settling for a 3-speed bicycle was certainly an improvement over my clunker when it came to hills. Thus began my obsession with 2-wheeled travel!

The motorized version of the dream took flight in my 20’s but suffered a long hiatus before I realized, at age 60, that if I didn’t bring that dream back to reality, that window would close. As it happens, that window opened and life on 2-wheels again took flight.

Then, there’s the matter of safety….

Riding safely on 2 wheels in the 21st century certainly has its challenges. You share the road with vehicles that are much bigger, the roads are busier, everyone is in a hurry, and …. there are calls to make, lunches to eat, makeup to put on…etc.


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This past Sunday, I drove down the country roads that lead to our small cabin on the lake surrounded by a few neighbors. I grabbed a float and some drinks from the Dollar General and spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the dock. I enjoyed the quietness of it all—no neighbors in sight, a dead iPhone, and the occasional splash of a fish jumping out of the water. As I was getting up to grab a book from the house, I knocked my sunscreen into the water and watched it float from the dock. Having just spent an arm and a leg on that sunscreen ($9.88 is in arm and a leg when you are three years out of college), it didn’t take more than two seconds for me to do my best impression of Will Ferrell's infamous Anchorman cannonball off the dock and retrieve the sunscreen. Pointless story? Yes, maybe. But little did I know, I could have been a victim with no help in sight.

Often, we don’t think twice about jumping into fresh water from a dock. We don’t realize that lethal amounts of electricity could be finding their way into the water from faulty wiring on the dock, boathouse, or boat if the dock has 120-volt AC power. Last summer, four children and one young adult were killed in separate electric shock drowning (ESD) incidents at docks on freshwater lakes in the span of one week. Just last week, a teen drowned at Smith Lake, Alabama after being electrocuted swimming near a boat dock. According to a random sampling of shore power cords in several fresh water marinas in the U.S. indicated that approximately 13% of the boats tested were leaking potentially lethal amounts of electrical (AC) current into the water.


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All covered employers are required to display and keep displayed a poster prepared by the Department of Labor summarizing the major provisions of The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and telling employees how to file a complaint. The poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants for employment can see it. A poster must be displayed at all locations even if there are no eligible employees.

A new version of the poster prepared by the Department (WH 1420) is available for your information or for posting in the workplace. The new poster does not include new information, rather is a new layout and easier to read format. So, employers can maintain their old (February 2013) FMLA posters or put up the new, reorganized version.

View and print the new 2016 poster here.


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Texting. Eating a spicy chicken sandwich (or two) from Wendy’s. Snapchatting a picture of your french fry that kind of looks like Donald Trump. Fidgeting with the radio because you just don’t think you can listen to “Uptown Funk” one more time. Peering out the window to check out the man holding the Firehouse Subs sign and dancing. Now, hungry again, punching ‘Chick-Fil-A’ into the navigation, because surely there is one within a 50 mile radius at all times. Tweeting at Chick-Fil-A when you realize there actually isn’t a Chick-Fil-A on your 4 hour route. How could this kind of injustice happen to you? We have all done one of these things (or let’s be honest—I am guilty of doing all these things).

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. These distractions can be cognitive, visual, and manual. Visual involves taking your eyes off the road, manual involves taking your hands off the wheel, and cognitive involves taking your mind off of driving. Texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention, making it one of the more destructive distractions.

At any given moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or fidgeting with electronic devices while driving (National Occupant Protection Use Survey). Your eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds for every text sent. While traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. Research has discovered that drivers are not fully engaged with the driving task for 27 seconds after “stopping” their distracting behavior. 27 seconds. We all know an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. So, what is being done to put a dent in this issue?


Costs of a Data Breach: Are You a Target?

Posted by John Lovell on April 20, 2016

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I continue to be amazed how many businesses are unprotected, or dramatically under-insured, by their current insurance policies for Data Breaches.

Think this is only a problem for the "Targets" of the world?  Wrong!  Hackers love small to medium sized businesses--especially manufacturers, contractors and law firms.  Why?  Because it's easier to compromise their data.

A few costs you will incur out of your OWN pocket should you have a data breach and be underinsured, or much worse, not have insurance at all:

  • Forensic Team hired to stop the "leak" and pinpoint the source
  • System Downtime
  • Reputation Damage/PR Costs (Anthem, Target ring a bell?)
  • Legal Team/ Outside Counsel
  • Notification Costs for all those whose data was compromised
  • Hire a Call Center
  • Credit Monitoring for all those whose data was compromised
  • Fines/Penalties
  • Lawsuits arising out of the data breach
  • Extortion Demands
  • Business Interruption

You can avoid these costs by hiring a knowledgeable consultant and having adequate cyber-insurance and a cyber-risk management program.


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