Recent Posts

March 8, 2019
February 26, 2019
February 19, 2019
February 18, 2019
February 1, 2019
January 24, 2019
December 21, 2018


HSA/HDHP Limits Will Increase for 2019

Posted by Megan Zimmerman on August 13, 2018


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






H.S.A. Contribution Limit

Self-Only Coverage



Family Coverage



H.S.A. Catch-Up Contribution


Age 55 or older






HDHP Minimum Deductible

Self-Only Coverage



Family Coverage



HDHP Maximum Out-of-Pocket Expense Limit

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


Self-Only Coverage






Family Coverage






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


Company Name: Girls Inc. of Central Alabama

Executive Director: Connie Hill

Location: Birmingham, AL

Years in Business: 80

Industry: Nonprofit



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!”


Cobbs Allen Welcomes New Associates

Posted by Elizabeth Scull on July 25, 2018


Cobbs Allen is pleased to welcome three new associates to our Birmingham office—Nicolas Connelly, Shelby Sessions and Hunt Guyton.

Nicolas Connelly joins as a Business Analyst. In this role, he will be assisting the Accounting Department. Nicolas joins Cobbs Allen as a recent graduate from Samford University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Shelby Sessions, joins as a Client Executive in Employee Benefits. Shelby graduated from the University of Alabama in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration. Prior to Cobbs Allen, Shelby served as a Small Business Account Executive at AT&T in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Hunt Guyton joins as a Loss Control Intern for the remainder of the summer and throughout the fall semester. Hunt is a senior at Jacksonville State University majoring in Occupational Health and Safety Management as well as Manufacturing Management.  He currently serves as the president for Jacksonville State University’s Kappa Sigma chapter and recently served as a Production Intern for Chassix-Georgia Machining.

Cobbs Allen Announces New Office Opening in Columbus, Ohio

Posted by Angela Wolfe on July 19, 2018


Cobbs Allen is pleased to announce its further expansion with a new office in Columbus, OH. The new office will be the company’s seventh location and will be led by Ted Allen and Sean Cogan. This expansion represents the continued success of the firm. Similar to its other locations, Cobbs Allen Columbus will utilize the proprietary guideline process to help organizations lower their costs while introducing more risk-based decision-making alternatives.

“The decision to open a location in Columbus was not centered around expanding for the sake of geography,” said Grantland Rice IV, Cobbs Allen COO.  “We chose Columbus because we found quality leadership in Ted and Sean who will help build the office around our niche practice groups.”

Ted Allen and Sean Cogan will both serve as Executive Vice Presidents. Ted has over 28 years’ of cross-industry experience with proven ability to build successful enterprises from initial concept through final implementation. Sean has over 30 years’ industry experience in commercial risk management and insurance programs for multinationals. Most recently, he managed the servicing deliverables for Japanese-owned clientele.

Margaret Ann Pyburn Recognized as an Elite Woman

Posted by Angela Wolfe on July 18, 2018


Insurance has historically been thought of as a male-dominated field. However, women like Margaret Ann Pyburn, executive vice president and director of marketing at Cobbs Allen, are making their mark as great leaders and empowering future generations of women to excel in the industry. Because of her leadership and drive, she was recognized by Insurance Business America in their June issue as one of the 95 Elite Women of 2018.

Since joining Cobbs Allen in 2002, Margaret Ann has been instrumental in the continued growth and success of Cobbs Allen. She continues to drive her division with double digit-growth and client retention while contributing her experience and expertise to industry organizations such as the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents Association, Travelers National Producer Council and Safeco Agents Advisory Council.

“Margaret Ann contributes so much to our organization,” said Bruce Denson Jr., Cobbs Allen president. “Her experience and perspective help her lead within our company, especially as it relates to helping our next generation grow into professionals. I’m thankful that other industry leaders value her as much as we do.”

Read more about Margaret Ann and the by Insurance Business America’s other Elite Women 2018 here.

Subcontractor Pre-qualification - What You Should Know

Posted by Elizabeth Scull on July 16, 2018


General contractors use many methods to evaluate potential partners, and one of the primary methods is subcontractor pre-qualification.

Banks, surety companies and general contractors all perform subcontractor pre-qualification, but so do brokers, SDI providers, and independent third-party providers. So, what exactly is subcontractor pre-qualification? Pre-qualification is used to determine the estimated amount that a person or company can afford to borrow based off their credit worthiness.

When considering if a subcontractor is a good candidate for insurance or a surety bond, financial stability, experience, current workload, payment and legal history are all taken into consideration. They take all the information—good and bad—and come up with a final decision.

While landing construction projects for subcontractors can be competitive, there are many tips you can follow that help your company look it’s best during the prequalification process. Monitoring your credit scores, remaining in good standing with the bank and even getting involved with local organizations all can contribute to gaining business in the construction industry.

Regardless who is doing the pre-qualifying, the basis of what contractor’s look for is the same. Keeping your company in good standing financially, being responsible and growing your company at a steady pace are all strategies that can that aid in bringing success—especially when it comes to smaller and newer contractors.

Affordability Percentages Will Increase for 2019

Posted by Megan Zimmerman on July 12, 2018


The IRS recently issued Revenue Procedure 2018-34 which increased the contribution percentages in 2019 for purposes of determining affordability under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For plan years beginning in 2019, employer-sponsored coverage will be considered affordable if the employee’s contribution for self-only coverage on an employer’s lowest-cost option (if more than one plan is offered) does not exceed:

  • 9.86% of the employee’s household income for the employer pay-or-play rules for applicable large employers and premium tax credit eligibility

What Employers Need to Know

Employers should work with their consultant to ensure that its funding strategies meet the affordability threshold for 2019 as this is a sizeable increase from the affordability percentage for 2018, which offers more flexibility in terms of employee contributions for medical coverage.

Since it can be difficult to determine an employee’s household income, employers may continue to use an affordability safe harbor to measure affordability of coverage. The three safe harbors measure affordability based upon Form W-2 wages, employee’s rate of pay or the federal poverty line (FPL) for a single individual.

Please click here for additional information.

This site uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the site to operate and have already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site will not work.