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Insights

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As technology continues to drive the construction industry, drones are emerging as useful tools in project management. Effective use of drones can enhance efficiency, safety performance and emergency response—while also adding profitability.

The construction industry is starting to fly drones over jobsites in order to take aerial pictures and videos. These images can then be converted into 3D models on which you can overlay the plans and compare to the job specifications to ensure the project is on schedule.

Footage captured by drones can monitor job safety performance and identify potential areas of concern. Addressing these concerns may help enhance compliance and reduce job-related injuries.


Resolutions—do you need an app for that?

Posted by Caitlin Miley on January 25, 2017

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Discounted gym memberships, an abundance of workout selfies in my newsfeed, everyone around me at dinner ordered off the “healthy options” section of the menu…it must be new year’s resolution season—a time for self-improvement and healthier habits. But wouldn’t it be nice if there was something to help track your progress?

I’m reminded of a series of iPhone commercials circa 2009 that proudly proclaimed, “There’s an app for just about anything!” Don’t remember where you parked your car? There’s an app for that! Need to keep up with your abundance of passwords? There’s an app for that! Want to track your health and wellness progress? Well…there’s an app for that, too.

So many apps, in fact, that it can be overwhelming to choose which ones you should use! I wanted feedback from real people that I trust—so I took a lap around our office and asked what my Cobbs Allen coworkers use. Here’s what I found:

Sarah Grauel, employee benefits client executive, uses Walk for a Dog. When Sarah walks her dog, Finley, she opens the app, which tracks and maps her walk. Added bonus—the more she uses this app while walking her dog, the more money it donates to a local animal organization of her choice.


Cobbs Allen of Kansas City Hires Senior Vice President

Posted by Caitlin Miley on January 24, 2017

Cobbs Allen of Kansas City welcomes Brandon Scarborough as its new senior vice president. Brandon_Scarborough.jpg

“Brandon is a fantastic addition to our Kansas City team,” said Bruce Denson, Jr., president and COO of Cobbs Allen. “He’s one of the most respected brokers in the city and will bring both his talent for consulting and leadership experience for managing to our organization. Between the work we are doing in the PEO space and the strength Brandon adds to the team, Cobbs Allen KC is on track to do big things in 2017.”

A strategic and tactical planner, Scarborough will work to identify each client’s greatest needs, align them with the right solutions and implement affordable comprehensive benefit programs for their company. 

Previous to joining Cobbs Allen, he served as a business advisor for Truss; founded Benefit Design Group, a full-service employee benefits brokerage; and served as regional vice president for Healthcare Services Group.


Trump Issues ACA Executive Order

Posted by Tracy Leeth on January 23, 2017

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While awaiting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Trump issued an executive order Friday - “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal.”  The executive order broadly directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury and other agencies to ease the financial and regulatory burdens that the ACA places on purchasers of health insurance, individuals, and health care consumers, providers and insurers, amongst others.  In addition, the order affirms Trump’s intent to give States more control of the health market.

View Executive Order here

WHAT THIS MEANS TO EMPLOYERS:  The executive order sets the stage for flexibility in enforcing (or not) certain ACA provisions - potentially the individual and employer mandates.  Additional steps are required to make these changes, which could be further delayed pending the confirmation of Trump’s Cabinet appointees like Tom Price as Secretary of HHS.  In the meantime and until specific guidance is issued, employers should continue to comply with ACA requirements.


Cobbs Allen Announces New HR Director

Posted by Caitlin Miley on January 20, 2017

Cobbs Allen announced Tyrenda Williams-Reed as its new Human Resources Director.

“Without quality people on your team, a business will not be able to sustain substantial growth,” said Bruce Denson Jr., president and COO of Cobbs Allen. “We believe that Ty will help attract the best of the best as Cobbs Allen continues to grow.”

Ms. Reed will be responsible for company-wide human resource services, recruitment and talent development. As a member of the Cobbs Allen leadership team, she will serve as a champion for strategic growth by building brand and talent.

Ty-cropped.jpg Previous to joining Cobbs Allen, she served as Head of Human Resources for America’s Thrift Stores and Director of Outreach for the A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club.

Ms. Reed received a master’s degree in journalism and Latin American and Caribbean studies from New York University. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Birmingham Southern College.

She holds Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and Professional in Human Resources (PHR) professional certifications and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Alabama and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Birmingham.

In 2016, she was recognized as one of the city’s “Women to Watch” by the Birmingham Business Journal.


January Client Spotlight: Aviate

Posted by Caitlin Miley on January 16, 2017

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(Pictured from left to right: Randall Porter, Maddy Perry, Audrey Norton, Ben Lancaster)


Company Name: Aviate

Owner: Ben Lancaster

Location: Homewood, AL

Years in Business: 1 year, 9 months

Industry: Apparel

Website: www.shopaviate.com

Aviate—the original airport code brand—was born on the idea of bringing community to owner Ben Lancaster’s home city of Birmingham, Alabama. The company dedicates itself to crafting the highest quality apparel and gear for their customers to enjoy both while traveling and while at home. Their company has grown to include cities in four regional collections including the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest and Northwest.   

Aviate’s staff members have loved working with their risk consultant, Cara Conaty. As a company steeped in customer service, they appreciate the personalized attention they receive from her and Cobbs Allen. 


Should I File a Claim?

Posted by Davida Miller on January 12, 2017

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One of the most frequent questions asked by our personal lines clients at Cobbs Allen is, “Should I file a claim?” Most people think one of two things: one, “I have insurance so I am supposed to file a claim.” Or two, “Because I pay out so much money each year on my insurance premiums, I should have every right to file a claim.” Although insurance policies are designed to sustain you during a time of loss, there are some key factors to consider before filing a claim.    

Do not file small claims: Filing any type of claim can lead to future premium increases, which means small claims add up—not only on an individual basis, but also for companies. When a large volume of claims are paid out over time, it can cause other clients across the board within the same insurance company to also have an increase in premium, even if they are claims free.

Consider your deductible: Most insurance companies have raised their standard deductible to at least $1,000 to discourage the frequency of filing small claims. Whether you carry a $1,000 or $10,000 deductible, you should ask yourself, “Is this claim financially catastrophic to me, or is it just an inconvenience?” You should also weigh your options on the cost of the repair versus your deductible amount. For example, if you carry a deductible of $1,500 and the total repair estimate is only $3,500, then you may want to consider paying the cost out of pocket instead of filing the claim and risking an increase in premium.