Ross & Yerger Included in IIABA’s Best Practices Study

Ross & Yerger Insurance, Inc. retains its Best Practices status, once again becoming a part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the United States. This status comes by participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) Best Practices Study group. The annual survey and Study of leading independent insurance agencies documents the business practices of the “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.

Since 1993, IIABA and Reagan Consulting, an Atlanta-based management consulting firm, have joined forces to study the country’s leading agencies in six revenue categories. The agencies comprising the study groups are selected every third year through a comprehensive nomination and qualifying process and awarded a “Best Practices Agency” designation. The agency was nominated by either an IIABA affiliated state association or an insurance company and qualified based on its operational excellence.

The selected Best Practices agencies retain their status during the three-year cycle by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review each year. This is the second year of the current three-year study cycle, where over 1500 independent agencies throughout the U.S. were nominated to take part in the annual study in 2016, but only 262 agencies qualified for the honor. To be chosen, the agency had to be among the 35-45 top-performing agencies in one of six revenue categories.

Dudley Wooley, Ross & Yerger’s CEO, stated “Ross & Yerger is proud to again be included in this group of high-performing organizations. The Best Practices designation distinguishes our firm and helps elevate the level of service and expertise we provide our clients.”

Ross & Yerger – one of the largest independent, privately-held insurance agencies in the Southeast – was established in 1860 and is headquartered in Jackson, MS. Our firm is 100 percent employee-owned, which allows all employees to participate in the profits of the agency and creates a family environment where we all have one unified goal. Currently, the agency employs 116 dedicated professionals in four locations including Jackson, Mississippi; Tupelo, Mississippi; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and New Orleans, Louisiana. As a niche-focused agency, the business acumen is unrivaled with industry expertise in the areas of Financial Institutions, Oil & Gas Services, Healthcare, Nonprofits, Property Management, Construction, Manufacturing, Personal Lines and Employee Benefits. The firm helps clients know the possibilities, and is committed to the communities it serves, cultivating a future of hope, prosperity and security. For more about Ross & Yerger, visit www.rossandyerger.com

Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance – property, casualty, life and health – as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. For more about IIABA, visit www.independentagent.com

Leighton Hill

Media & Marketing Coordinator

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Employee Spotlight: Niki Mitchell


​At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know one of our Account Managers in this month’s Employee Spotlight.

I have been with Ross & Yerger for about 9 ½ years. I started as an Assistant Account Manager in the Employee Benefits department and worked my way up to an Account Manager position in 2011. I work closely with our producers and our clients to help with claims, enrollment meetings, renewals and the list just goes on and on!

Where did you grow up? I was born and bred in Tupelo, MS – the fabulous birthplace of Elvis Presley ( you just can’t leave that part out)

What are three words that describe you best? Well I’m sure there are several that many would describe me as, but I would like to think the best ones are loyal, hard worker and a good sense of humor. Yes, that is more than three words, I know, but that’s a hard one. Some may even add clumsy to that!

What motto do you live by? Treat others how you would like to be treated and never settle!

What do you like to do outside of work? There are so many things – catch up on all of my very bad TV shows, being outside, reading (in the rain but the porch needs to be covered), spending time with my family and friends.

What is your favorite TV show/movie? I am a fan of all the mafia movies….Goodfellas, The Godfather, Scarface, The Untouchables…and this list too could go on forever!

What is your favorite sports team? Alabama – Roll Tide! – no negative comments please!

What is your favorite food? Wow, there are so many to choose from. I love Italian so anything related to that and has marinara sauce and pasta.

What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? There are too many songs to name so let’s go with Curtis Mayfield and Al Green.

What is one of your biggest pet peeves? When people use the word irregardless. It is not a word!!

What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? Oh goodness gracious there are so many. If I have to choose one, it would be the musical chairs game at the Annual Outing a couple of years ago. For those of you who saw it – you know what I’m talking about!!

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I’m pretty much an open book and can talk quite a bit so this is hard. The only thing I can think of is that I was a Marine Biology major at Alabama for two years. Originally I had wanted to be a talk show host or like Siskel & Ebert, but when that didn’t pan out I took to Marine Biology. Shark Week on Discovery was my favorite growing up and I really wanted to get in the cages and go under water and take pictures of all the different animals in the ocean. Yes, even sharks.

What is your proudest accomplishment? That is an easy one. Becoming a mother to my precious 10 year old, Ansley. She is fabulous and definitely one of a kind. I think I’ll keep her.

Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Niki!

Leighton Hill

Media & Marketing Coordinator

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Avoiding Scams When Doing Home Improvements

Remodels and other home improvements are an important part of being a property owner. When done correctly, these projects can add value to a home and make it more attractive to future buyers.

Unfortunately, hiring a contractor to complete home improvement projects is not always simple. The average homeowner is often unaware of the average cost of materials and labor. What’s more, construction projects can be stressful, and it’s common for individuals to rush when choosing a construction company just to get a job done faster.

As a result, homeowners are an easy target for contractor fraud, which is when a company performs substandard repairs or offers services that deliberately cheat another party. To avoid contractor fraud and ensure that your home improvements are done to a high standard, look out for the following:

• Contractors that contact you looking for work

• Unsolicited, free home inspections that turn up problems you were previously unaware of

• Contractors that want you to commit to repairs immediately

• Contractors that request money in advance

• Contractors that do not get the right permits or want to sell extra materials to you for a cheap price

When choosing a contractor, obtain as many references as you can and be diligent about researching reputable companies. If you are the victim of contractor fraud, you can report it to your local police department or notify services like the Federal Trade Commission.

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Make Your Disaster Dollars Count!


Make Sure Your Donations Reach the Right Cause

The damage caused by recent hurricanes is prompting people to help in whatever ways they can. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people who prey upon people’s good intentions, creating fake charity campaigns to exploit victims and take advantage of those who want to help.

Despite the sense of urgency to help when disaster strikes, it’s important to do some research before donating. Use these tips to make sure your money reaches the right cause:

• Never wire money to someone who claims to be a charity. Legitimate charities don’t ask for wire transfers.

• Be cautious about bloggers and social media posts that provide charity suggestions.

• Only donate through a charity’s official website, and never through emails.

• Ensure that the charity explains on its website how your money will be used.

• Be wary of charities that claim to give 100 percent of donations to victims. Well-structured organizations need to use some of their donations to cover administrative costs.

• Never offer unnecessary personal information. However, it’s common for legitimate charities to ask for your mailing address.

Helpful Hints

Donors looking for a worthy charity can access an unbiased, objective list on a website called Charity Navigator. The site receives a Form 990 for all of its charities directly from the IRS, so it knows exactly how the charities spend their money and use their donations. It also rates charities based on their location, tax status, length of operation, accountability, transparency and public support.

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“What Is Good to Buy Right Now? Municipals? Or Corporate Bonds?”

“What Is Good to Buy Right Now? Municipals? Or Corporate Bonds?”

Usually when I tell someone that I work for an insurance agency and that my product is bonds, the response from them is the question above. I’ve received that question so many times that I have a canned response, “The bonds I deal with are not something you want to buy. They are something someone makes you buy.”

So what is a bond? Simply put, it is a credit guarantee whereby a third party, usually an insurance company, guarantees an obligation from one party, the principal, to another, the obligee. The potential obligations cover contractual obligations for construction of bridges, buildings, roads, etc. to an obligation of a public official to faithfully perform the duties of their office.

The types of bonds can be broken down into three large categories:

Fidelity bonds are more like your typical insurance product. They protect an employer from embezzlement by employees. While some of these are written as a stand-alone product, today most fidelity coverage is written as a product of a company’s property coverage.

Contract bonds, or performance and payment bonds, guarantee that a construction contractor will complete a construction project according to the contract between the contractor and the project owner, and that they will pay all of the bills related to that project for labor, materials and subcontractors.

The largest category, and the one with the most variety, is commercial bonds. There are literally thousands of different types of commercial bonds and these are the types that most of our clients are required to obtain. This category contains everything from bonds on public officials guaranteeing their faithful performance, to simple compliance bonds which guarantee that a company will comply with the terms of a license or permit. When you have seen the trucks of an electrician, plumber, air conditioning contractor, roofer, etc. and they have the words “licensed, bonded and insured” on the side, usually all that means is they have posted a $5,000 to $10,000 bond required to obtain a license or permit to operate in a certain city or county.

This has been a basic introduction to bonds. Over the next several weeks we plan to explore in more detail the different types of bonds, what information is required to obtain them and how they are underwritten by the insurance company.

Ford Mosby

Bond Manager

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Employee Spotlight: Patrick Pierce


At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know one of our Resource Specialists in this month’s Employee Spotlight.

I started at Ross & Yerger in July of 2012 as a Marketing Specialist, which meant I spent time doing both small business marketing and small business account management. In December of 2013, I moved into my current Resource Specialist position and have been helping clients with their HR, safety, and compliance efforts for almost four years now.

Where did you grow up? I was born and raised right down the road in Clinton, MS and a graduate of Clinton High School.

What are three words that describe you best? Man I’ve never liked this question, even though it should be an easy answer. Once in college, when interviewing to become an MSU Alumni Delegate, I answered “tall, pale, and sweet – you know, like a banana”. Funny, right? No one laughed, it was awkward.

What motto do you live by? I try to be realistic and remember that nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems. With that said, my wife will tell you that I’m pretty over dramatic when it comes to Mississippi State sports.

What do you like to do outside of work? We have a very beautiful and sassy fifteen month old daughter named Kennedy, so a large portion of my time outside of work revolves around her. Other than that, I love to be outdoors – preferably in the mountains somewhere, riding my road bike, or kayaking – and never turn down an opportunity to be in Starkville. Spending time with family is also important to us.

What is your favorite TV show/movie? Game of Thrones. Shocker, right? I’ve been an avid fan of the show since it started. I also have a Word document of my top 20 all-time favorite shows – along with the top 5 shows I still want to watch. Yeah, I’m a nerd. What are some of my other favorite shows, you ask? Well I’ll tell you – Breaking Bad, Westworld, The Wire, Parenthood, True Detective (excluding season 2, which was terrible), Spartacus, and Band of Brothers to name a few.

What is your favorite sports team? If you’ve known me for more than 30 seconds, you know the answer to that question. I’m a die-hard Mississippi State supporter – which means I’ve seen a lot of losses in my 28 years.

What is your favorite food? I’m a steak and potatoes kind of guy, but I also love pasta. All the carbs, basically.

What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? I really don’t have a favorite band or song, but I do love music. As long as it’s not whiny country music or heavy metal rock I’m probably fine with it.

What is one of your biggest pet peeves? Bad drivers, no doubt. And we have some really, really bad ones here in Jackson. I also can’t stand when people misuse (or simply don’t use) commas. It’s not that hard, people!

What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? Too many to list, but some of my favorite memories are our kickball team winning the Jackson State intramural league, co-hosting the annual outing last year, and of course the long and always funny conversations with Mary Kirk. This month marks three years since her passing and I know we all miss her quick wit and big personality.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. Better yet, I’ll give you two. When I was a baby I couldn’t keep any food down, so my mom took me to the hospital to figure out what was wrong. Turns out I had pyloric stenosis which means my muscles were blocking normal passage of food and causing me to vomit. The surgery to fix it was fairly simple but it left a pretty big scar on my stomach that’s been with me ever since. The other thing, which most people already know, is that I lived in London for nearly a year when I was 6 and 7 years old. I wasn’t old enough to fully appreciate it at the time but as I got older I realized how fortunate I was to experience living abroad.

What is your proudest accomplishment? Allow me to change the question slightly to: “What is your proudest moment?” First, becoming a dad for the first time has been incredible. Challenging at times, for sure, and undoubtedly the biggest responsibility of my life, but more and more rewarding every day. The second is when I watched my wife, Erin, graduate from medical school this year. We’ve been together since freshman year of college so that moment was ten years in the making for us, and getting to that point wasn’t without its struggles. I was proud that day and I’ve been proud every day since.

Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Patrick!

Leighton Hill

Media & Marketing Coordinator

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Can I Fire the Pregnant Lady?

Congratulations! You just found the perfect candidate and she can start immediately. Shortly after they begin working, she explains that she’ll need a bit of time off. In seven months, she’ll be welcoming her second child and will need time off to recover and bond with the baby.

You panic and immediately decide this perfect candidate might not be the perfect candidate after all. You are toying with the idea of terminating the employee.

Not so fast.

The EEOC is pretty clear on its stance on pregnant employees. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes an amendment known as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Simply, an employer cannot refuse to hire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, because of a pregnancy-related condition, or because of the prejudices of co-workers, clients or customers.

“What about that whole “At Will” thing? Can’t I terminate anyone for any reason?” Sure, but one would be wise to reevaluate that decision and consider the significant costs and negative PR and ethical ramifications stemming from a law suit. Not to mention, the time handling such litigation will take away from an already stretched too thin staff.

Temporarily staffing an individual in the place of the employee mentioned above or restructuring job assignments during a leave of absence can often be far less costly and disruptive than legal defense.

Kellye Smith, PHR®

Resource Specialist

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OSHA Launches ITA and Extends Electronic Reporting Deadline

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) electronic reporting rule deadline has been extended until a proposed date of December 1st, 2017. The original deadline of July 1st, 2017 has come and gone as OSHA indicated that it would not be ready to receive electronic workplace injury and illness reports in time. OSHA states they are allowing affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation. For 2019 and beyond, all affected employers will be required to submit their required information by March 2nd. OSHA also launched the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) on August 1st, 2017. The ITA is a web-based form that allows employers to electronically submit their required injury and illness data from their 2016 OSHA 300A form.

The electronic reporting rule requires certain establishments to report information from their OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 forms electronically. Any establishment that has at least 250 employees or has between 20 and 249 employees and is part of an identified high-risk industry will be affected by this rule. OSHA’s secure website, that must be used to submit your electronic reports, will offer three submission options:

1. Manual entry;

2. Transmission of information via an application programming interface (API) that should accommodate most automated recordkeeping systems; and

3. Uploading a comma-separated values file (commonly referred to as a CSV file). A CSV file is a generic spreadsheet format that should be compatible with most spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel;

The electronic reporting rule allows OSHA to publicize the electronic data it collects on a public website. Due to this, the final rule also stipulates that certain personal identifying information such as the employee name, address, physician name or other health care professional, and where the treatment was given must be omitted from the electronic submissions. The intent behind this is so the public can use the information to learn about the health and safety hazards associated with working for specific employers.

All affected establishments should continue to record and report their workplace injuries as required by applicable laws and should continue to monitor these electronic reporting developments. If you would like more information or have any questions, please feel free to contact me at any time at 601-944-9737 or ssimpson@rossandyerger.com.

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Ross & Yerger Insurance, Inc. and Strategic M&A Advisors, LLC Announce Strategic Partnership

Ross & Yerger Insurance, Inc. and Strategic M&A Advisors, LLC Announce Strategic Partnership.

Ross & Yerger and Strategic M&A Advisors are proud to announce the creation of a strategic partnership between the two firms. The partnership has been created in order to bring Business Advisory and Sell-Side M&A Brokerage services to the mutual clientele of their respective firms.

75% of business owners plan to sell all or a portion of their businesses over the next 10 years. Dudley Wooley, Ross & Yerger’s CEO, stated “Ross & Yerger provides a large range of business services and resources to our commercial clients which are designed to reduce cost and maximize profit potential for business owners. Through our partnership with Strategic M&A Advisors, we are taking our value proposition to the next level by now helping clients identify and manage the top value-drivers of their businesses as they prepare for future liquidity events.”

Strategic M&A Advisors is a sell-side M&A brokerage firm that specializes in selling lower-middle market businesses for maximum value by utilizing a unique marketing approach that targets a vast marketplace of prospective business buyers. According to Greg Maloney, Co-Managing Director of Strategic M&A Advisors, “Many owners sell their businesses before they are completely ready and, as a result, end up settling for reduced value and less favorable terms in the end. Our partnership with Ross & Yerger will enable us to work with and advise mutual clients well in advance of a sale (total or partial sale), so that exit strategy goals and ultimate business value are maximized. We look forward to helping our mutual clients meet and exceed their liquidity goals.”

For more information about this strategic partnership and the many ways the firms are able to assist business owners accomplish their ultimate business goals, contact Greg Maloney at 601-944-0838.

ABOUT ROSS & YERGER

Ross & Yerger – one of the largest independent, privately-held insurance agencies in the Southeast – was established in 1860 and is headquartered in Jackson, MS. The firm has 116 employees throughout their four offices in Jackson, MS, Tupelo, MS, Baton Rouge, LA, and New Orleans, LA. Ross & Yerger is licensed in all 50 states, and offers a full range of brokerage services, including insurance benefits, bonds, financial services and consulting. As a niche-focused agency, the firm’s business acumen is unrivaled with industry expertise in the areas of Financial Institutions, Oil and Gas Services, Healthcare, Nonprofits, Property Management, Construction, Manufacturing, Personal Lines and Employee Benefits. The firm helps clients know the possibilities, and is committed to the communities it serves, cultivating a future of hope, prosperity and security. For more about Ross & Yerger, visit www.rossandyerger.com

ABOUT STRATEGIC M&A ADVISORS

Strategic M&A Advisors, LLC is a lower middle market M&A Brokerage Firm with offices in Jackson, MS and Little Rock, AR. The firm works with business owners through every step of selling a business in a manner that maximizes corporate value and deal terms. The team of professionals at Strategic M&A Advisors is tremendously experienced in the financial, legal, strategic and risk management areas of mergers and acquisitions. Our experienced deal team consists of business advisors, corporate risk managers, accountants and attorneys. Please see www.strategicmaadvisors.com for more information.

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Employee Spotlight: Becky Smith


At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know our Commercial Lines Senior Vice President & Team Leader/Account Manager in this month’s Employee Spotlight.

I was nineteen and fresh out of secretarial college at Hinds Jr. College when God put Ross & Yerger in my path. I had two great job offers and thankfully, I made the right choice. That was March, 1967. When I joined the firm, we were located on the 5th floor of the First National Bank building (now Trustmark in downtown Jackson). There were 6 employees on my first day at work – Mr. Yerger, Sr., Mr. Yerger, Jr., another young man who left that first week I was there, a bookkeeper/office manager, one account manager who handled both personal and commercial lines, and me. I was the secretary, the claims person, the mail room person, the supply person, the errand person, and anything else that the other two ladies didn’t do. There was no sick time or vacation time really, but even then, we were heads above everyone else with regard to technology. I had an IBM Selectric “top of the line” ELECTRIC typewriter and actual carbon copy sets (for you young ones under the age of 50, that’s paper with the carbon actually attached)! We wore only dresses and panty hose, and the men wore suits. Every day! Thank you, Lord, for some changes!

I left to have a baby, with no plans to come back – going to be a stay at home Mom, but that just wasn’t meant to be. After being off six weeks with a new baby, I came back helping out weekly in some form or fashion and then agreed to a full time, part time basis, working in bonds and claims and as the receptionist. Then, I agreed to work full time, and that really started the roller coaster ride. After a few more years, I changed roles again. We had an account manager who left and she was very behind in her renewals and it was December. Commercial Lines Account Managers, you know what that means, and I could barely spell commercial lines insurance…..but, I managed and made it through without a mental breakdown, and I’m still here. I’ve worn a lot of hats in my 50 plus years at Ross & Yerger, including Assistant Office Manager under Thetis Meagher, who was such a wonderful person and taught me so much; heading up small commercial lines; heading up personal lines; a team leader, and more. I think I’ve been a part of every department here except Employee Benefits. I have so many stories, some of which probably need to remain untold and some that keep a smile on my face. The journey has been wonderful. I love what I do, my clients and my co-workers. I see retirement on the horizon, and that’s something to look forward to. But, today, I’m still here and going strong.

Where did you grow up? I was born in Natchez, Mississippi, but moved to Jackson shortly thereafter. When I was four, we moved to Byram to a working farm on a gravel road. Yes, I am such a country girl. I have lived for the last 28 years less than a mile from that farm where I grew up.

What are three words that describe you best? A Christian, Strong, Outspoken

What motto do you live by? “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

What do you like to do outside of work? I stay busy. I love to cook, fish, watch football, travel, read good mysteries, garden, entertain with small, casual get-togethers in my home, and watch Mother Nature from my deck swing with a glass of tea or Diet Coke. Early weekend mornings are the best for this when the world is waking up. Every day is another blessed opportunity.

What is your favorite TV show/movie? The Blacklist, old classic John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies (Yes, I am any old man’s dream!!) Gone with the Wind, Silence of the Lambs, A Few Good Men, Sixth Sense, Gran Torino and this list could go on and on!

What is your favorite sports team? It was the Colts and then Denver, but now I guess I have to go with the Cowboys. I do like Dak!!

What is your favorite food? Okay, Wellness Committee and Blue Cross, read no further or skip NOW to the next question. What about food is there not to love? I love Mexican food, ham, homemade mac and cheese – no box stuff please, round steak smothered in gravy with rice and biscuits…..Yes, broccoli and green beans are on the list, but not at the top….sorry.

What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? Anything by George Straight, The Eagles, Elvis, and Classic Country Music.

What is one of your biggest pet peeves? You just want one? How about people who don’t know about RSVP, a “Not my Job” attitude and people who don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re”. Those little things just push me over the edge sometimes……

What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? With 50 plus years under my belt, I just need to write a book because there are so many worthwhile memories. I remember Magenta hair, an employee with panty hose trailing down the street and into the elevator for the entire world to see, a belly dancer for the Boss’ birthday, 1991-when we went live electronically, growth and lots of changes, good hires, and not so good hires.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. Do we really want to go there? Well, here it goes…. 1) I am very shy and an introvert…I hate speaking in public. 2) I have a passion for girls’ softball and played shortstop and pitcher on several independent Jackson teams well into my thirties….love it still and would love to play now; my mind says I should still play and my body says “Are you NUTS???” Of course, I’d have to find a geriatric team….3) In my younger and thinner life, I did a little belly dancing and was pretty good at it!! (and, no, I did not dance for the Boss on his birthday.)

What is your proudest accomplishment? Other than the fact I have accepted Christ as my Savior and am a Believer and a Christian, it would be my son. He is an amazing young man.

Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Becky!

Leighton Hill

Media & Marketing Coordinator

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Captive Insurance Lunch & Learn

We will be hosting a Captive Insurance lunch & learn on Wednesday, March 22 in Baton Rouge, LA. If you think your business could benefit from joining a Captive register today!

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MSA Indemnity Risk: A Key Driver of Insurance Rates and What You Can Do About It

Master Service Agreements (MSAs) are the “life-blood” for any Oil & Gas Service Contractor. Without the right MSAs, Contractors are without approved-vendor status and miss out on the opportunity to work with top tier Oil & Gas Companies. Therefore, Contractors seek to maximize the quantity of signed, quality MSAs. But what are the risks associated with this quest?

Simply stated, Oil & Gas Companies lower their own insurance premiums and self-insured exposures by systematically pushing risk to Contractors. The primary vehicle for this risk transfer is the indemnity section of an MSA. While a strongly worded MSA accomplishes the risk-reduction goals of the Oil & Gas Company, it is often done so at the expense of the Contractor. Carefully read of the indemnity sections of just one or two of your MSAs and you’ll quickly understand why your insurance premiums are so high.

Fortunately for the Contractor, there are alternatives, and MSAs are negotiable (if you have the right partnerships). Contractor clients of Ross & Yerger receive no-cost MSA review and negotiation services. Our firm has successfully negotiated hundreds of Oil & Gas Company MSAs on behalf of Contractor clients - leading to significant savings in the form of reduced insurance premiums and enhanced overall corporate value.

At Ross & Yerger, we examine each of our clients’ MSAs from 14 different perspectives. These 14 points are the primary drivers of risk and cost for Contractors, so successful negotiation of these points leads to insurance cost and risk reduction.

Does your insurance agent manage the indemnity risk of your MSAs in an effort to reduce your insurance costs and minimize your balance sheet (self-insured) exposure? If not, you’re paying too much for your insurance.

Contact Jacob Haralson (jharalson@rossandyerger.com, 601-944-0961) or Greg Maloney (gmaloney@rossandyerger.com, 601-944-0838) at Ross & Yerger today for a no-obligation assessment of your overall insurance and risk management program.

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Oil & Gas Service Contractors: Gain Market Share with PEC Training at No Cost

With less work around today, contractors have to do more than ever to elevate their company on the preferred vendor list to capture a shrinking pool of jobs.

Contractor clients of Ross & Yerger are able to rise to the top of bid lists by taking advantage of our in house PEC SafelandUSA and SafeGulf training services for all their employees. We provide these services to our clients at no cost other than the cost of the testing materials ($45). Not only does this elevate our contractor clients in the eyes of their customers, it also reduces risk, reduces insurance cost, and maximizes their Risk Management Investment return (RMI).

A contractor’s RMI is defined as the approximate 12% commission paid on every insurance dollar to its insurance agent in exchange for valuable Risk Management services – services that reduce cost and risk.

What are you receiving in return for your RMI dollars?

To schedule an appointment time for your Risk Management ROI analysis, please contact Jacob Haralson at Ross & Yerger at jharalson@rossandyerger.com or 601-944-0961.

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Dedicated Oil & Gas Team Designed to Improve your Risk Management Return on Investment

How Our Dedicated Team of Experts Can Help You Increase Your Risk Management ROI

In a recent newsletter, we talked about how oil and gas (O&G) service companies need to maximize every dollar of revenue they earn by ensuring an appropriate return on all investments. This includes your investment in O&G insurance.

About 12 cents of every dollar spent on O&G insurance premiums is commission. This 12 cents can also be viewed as your investment in risk management. So the question becomes: What kind of risk management return on investment (ROI) are you generating?

A Question Worth Considering

Few O&G service companies have ever thought about this. Worse yet, neither have most providers of O&G insurance. But at Ross & Yerger, we believe that generating a high, quantifiable risk management ROI is the most important service we can provide to our clients.

We do this by providing at no additional cost, a wealth of resources and added value. One of these resources is the expertise of a dedicated team of oilfield risk management specialists.

As a client of Ross & Yerger’s Oil & Gas Services Division, you will work with a dedicated team of eight O&G professionals. They are experts at driving down O&G risk and the costs associated with this risk. Team members’ functions include:

  • Overall stewardship of the account
  • Day-to-day servicing of COIs
  • Contractual risk management analysis
  • Safety and training assistance
  • Claims management

A Stark Contrast

Compare this to most other O&G insurance providers, which provide their clients with an insurance agent and a customer service rep. These employees may or may not specialize in the O&G industry.

In fact, this is one of the greatest frustrations faced by many O&G service companies. It’s not uncommon for them to call their insurance agent with a question, problem or concern that the agent can’t help them with. Oil and gas is a very specialized industry — if an insurer isn’t dedicated to O&G on a full-time basis, it won’t be equipped to provide the highest level of service to its clients.

Our experienced team of O&G specialists is 100% dedicated to oil and gas services — it’s all they do. This enables us to bring a tremendous amount of added value to the relationships with our O&G clients, thus reducing insurance costs and increasing risk management ROI.

To learn more about risk management ROI and how your O&G service company can benefit from this unique approach to risk management, please contact Jacob Haralson today!

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Construction Contracts Legal Seminar Recap - September 28, 2016

On September 28, 2016, Ross & Yerger Insurance, Inc. hosted a seminar to discuss the implications of this law featuring Michael Thompson and Judson Sanders, attorneys at the law firm Taylor, Wellons, Politz & Duhe.

The construction industry depends on teamwork. An owner teams with an architect to design a project and a general contractor to execute the project. The general contractor uses subcontractors to carry out the work. At the core of these relationships are contracts specifying what is expected and required from each party.

In 2012, Louisiana created a new wrinkle in this process when it passed R.S. 9:2780.1.

Michael and Judson’s analysis of this new law is that it could add much needed clarity to Louisiana’s prohibition against one party transferring its negligence to another. Also, there’s some precedent on how the law will be interpreted based on the construction industry changes being tacked onto the current Louisiana Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act, which has been in place for decades.

In general, one party can’t push its liability onto another party unless several conditions are met:

  • The assumed liability is supported by insurance and only up to the required limits of insurance;
  • Any request to be an additional insured requires the party providing additional insured coverage to be partially at fault;
  • The party paying for protection pays the cost of this required insurance.

The established oilfield law requires the party seeking protection provide definitive and conclusive proof it paid the entire cost of this insurance coverage, and the oil & gas insurance market has responded with specific endorsements to provide this proof. We’re still in the early stages of this rule being applied to construction, and are waiting to see if Louisiana courts will interpret the proof of payment requirements for construction contracts the same as they do for oil & gas contracts.

Michael and Judson discussed R.S. 9:2780.1 as an evolving issue that each contractor may choose to address a little differently than the next based on their risk tolerance and specific goals. And, contractors will need both attorneys and insurance agents who are aware of the implications this new law could have on the enforceability of their contracts and who are staying on top of new developments.

Contact information:

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Do You Know Your Risk Management ROI?

PROBABLY NOT, BUT YOU SHOULD: HERE’S WHY

In today’s challenging oilfield environment, Oil & Gas service companies need to maximize every dollar of revenue in order to protect profits and remain viable. This means ensuring that every investment dollar is generating an appropriate, quantifiable return — from oilfield equipment to research and development to employees out in the field and in the office.

One area that many O&G service companies overlook when it comes to gauging return on investment is insurance and the commission dollars allocated to the insurance agent. Many O&G service companies view insurance only as a sunk cost for which they will only see a return if they have a claim. However, this is a very narrow way of looking at insurance – one that severely limits your potential return on this large and important investment.

WHAT IS YOUR RISK MANAGEMENT INVESTMENT?

About 12 cents out of every insurance premium dollar (12%) is allocated to your insurance agent in the form of commissions. Think of these commissions as your Risk Management Investment, or RMI.

So the question is: What are you receiving in return for your RMI? Very few O&G service companies have ever considered this question — much less come up with a satisfactory answer.

Well, it’s time to change the way you think about the role your insurance agency plays in your business. It’s time to demand much more in exchange for those large commission dollars (RMI). This starts with determining your own Risk Management ROI and demanding that your insurance agent show you how the investment of those commission dollars translates in to maximum ROI.

LOOKING AT INSURANCE DIFFERENTLY

At Ross & Yerger, maximizing your Risk Management ROI is at the heart of everything we do. We view insurance for O&G service companies differently than other agencies. For example, our practice is not limited to the simple practice of “quoting” insurance. More importantly, in addition to utilizing our clout in the insurance market, we work with our clients to manage the factors that determine the cost of insurance. When risk levels are lowered as the result of our services, insurance costs fall as well. If the investment of your commission dollars fails to accomplish the goal of significant risk and cost reduction, then it’s time to find a new insurance agency.

In exchange for the commission dollars (RMI) we receive, we produce a high, quantifiable ROI for our clients by providing a wealth of resources and added value at no additional cost. In no particular order, some of these resources include:

  • Dedicated staff of oilfield risk management specialists
  • PEC SafeLand and SafeGulf training services
  • A proprietary Corporate Automobile Safety & Risk Management program
  • Review and Negotiation of MSA indemnity and insurance provisions
  • Cradle-to-Grave contractor management service (ISNet ®*, PEC’s SSQ, PICS, etc.)
  • Written OSHA and Safety program development
  • Online OSHA and Safety training programs
  • OSHA 300 Recordkeeping software
  • Complex Claim advocacy
  • EMOD Management, Verification and Projection

In short, we are investing our commission dollars into these and other resources in order to reduce your insurance costs and increase your Risk Management ROI. This is a different way of looking at insurance: from the perspective of “how can we produce a quantifiable Risk Management ROI for our clients?” rather than “how much commission can we earn?” What is your agent’s ultimate goal?

RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

As an O&G service business, you should expect a Risk Management ROI of well above 100%. Otherwise, your insurance expenditures are just sunk costs for which you are significantly overpaying.

Very few O&G service company owners have any idea what their Risk Management ROI is — and if they did know, they would be very disappointed to learn that it’s probably well below the breakeven point.

At your request, we will provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation Risk Management ROI analysis that will quantify your current Return on your commission dollar Investment. Then we’ll demonstrate how partnering with us and taking advantage of our portfolio of no-cost Risk Management services will significantly boost your Risk Management ROI and decrease future insurance costs, leading to enhanced profitability and elevated standing with your best customers.

To schedule an appointment time for your Risk Management ROI analysis, please contact Jacob Haralson at Ross & Yerger at jharalson@rossandyerger.com or 601-944-0961.

* ISN® and ISNet® are registered trademarks of ISN Software Corporation.

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Benefits of E-Payables

Would you like to generate a return on how you remit your payables? Ross & Yerger represents Comdata’s E-Payables program, an e-payable system that could generate significant income for your business. For example, if you pay $1,000,000 in expenses through the Comdata system, you get $15,000 straight to the bottom line.

Benefits of Electronic Payments
Save Time
Save Time
Reduce Costs
Reduce Costs
Simplify Processes
Simplify Processes
Improve Visibility of Cash Flow and Spend
Improve Visibility of Cash Flow and Spend
Capture Early Payment Discounts
Capture Early Payment Discounts
Greater Spend Control
Greater Spend Control

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Job Opening - Employee Benefits Account Manager Assistant

Summary

The Employee Benefits Account Manager Assistant acts as support within the Employee Benefits Department. The major duties and responsibilities of the position include assisting the Account Manager in the service to the group client at the time of new business placement or at renewal and as required throughout the year. Specific service responsibilities are to develop an ongoing relationship with clients, oversee their coverage program, fulfilling client requests and assisting Account Managers and Producers as needed in disseminating benefit information to potential and existing group clients. The Employee Benefits Account Manager Assistant will train to serve as liaison between the insurance carriers and group clients to ensure timeliness of claim payments, overall benefit plan implementation under the leadership of the Department Manager and Producer.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Receive phone calls and office visitors with requests for assistance on existing coverage and/or new policies. Obtain and process enrollment forms, change forms or benefit summaries as determined by client need.
  • Review existing benefits to determine best coverage alternatives when necessary. Maintain open lines of communication with the Account Manager and Producer regarding alternatives for the group.
  • Communicate renewal terms to client and work with the Account Manager to negotiate the renewal terms with carriers when necessary. Maintain open lines of communication with the Account Manager and Producer during this time.
  • Obtain group premium, enrollment contracts and group coverage agreements when necessary and submit timely to insurance carrier for processing.
  • Maintain own follow-up and suspense file within the Agency Management System on outstanding activity and correspondence. Follow up on all items thoroughly and timely.
  • Maintain group account files in an orderly, up-to-date manner.
  • Facilitate renewals and new business as directed by Department Manager.
  • Maintain group account information in Agency Management System by documenting conversations regarding benefit problems, claim difficulties or carrier options to be evaluated at the time of group renewal.
  • Demonstrate knowledge in rating applications and procedures for all types of group policies. Use web sites to obtain information as necessary to assist clients.
  • Explain coverage and exclusions to clients as necessary.
  • Keep Account Managers and Producers fully informed of important activities or challenges on their accounts.
  • Obtain proposals and generate coverage comparisons for renewal business as required.
  • Perform all actions relating to the public, customers and companies in a manner that will avoid issues involving potential errors and omissions or loss of business.
  • Participate in seminars and other training opportunities for knowledge and skill development, and maintain required licenses for current position.
  • Share knowledge that is useful to the department.
  • Perform other duties as requested by Department Manager.
  • Demonstrate understanding of employee benefit programs and coverage and ability to communicate effectively with potential and existing clients (and their employees) regarding these benefit programs.

Requirements

  • 4 year College degree preferred. Life & Health License required within 6 months of employment and satisfactory employment record.
  • Minimum two years’ experience in employee benefits, customer service or similar position with underwriting and/or health insurance background
  • Must be a self-starter, able to self-manage workload to ensure group accounts are satisfied with Ross & Yerger and their insurance carrier(s).
  • Must be detail oriented, charismatic, professional, and eager to learn and become an Account Manager. Ability to work in a fast-paced, multiple tasking and deadline sensitive environment.
  • Proficiency in both verbal and written forms of communication. Basic computer/data entry skills (agency management, word processing, and spreadsheet analysis) preferred and above average mathematical skills also required.
  • Maintain and provide excellent customer service to new and existing groups / clients at all times.

Please email resume to syates@rossandyerger.com.

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Job Opening - Employee Benefits Account Manager

Summary

The Employee Benefits Account Manager performs the major duties and responsibilities of the position which includes service to the group client at the time of new business placement or at renewal and as required throughout the year. Specific service responsibilities are fulfilling the group / client requests and assisting producers as needed in disseminating benefit information to potential and existing group clients. The Employee Benefits Account Manager will serve as liaison between the insurance carriers and group clients to ensure timeliness of claim payments, overall benefit plan implementation under the leadership of the Department Manager and Producer.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Receive phone calls and office visitors with requests for assistance on existing coverage and/or new policies. Obtain and process enrollment forms, change forms or benefit summaries as determined by client need.
  • Review existing benefits to determine best coverage alternatives when necessary. Maintain open lines of communication with Producer regarding alternatives for the group.
  • Communicate renewal terms to client and negotiate the renewal terms with carrier when necessary. Maintain open lines of communication with Producer during this time.
  • Obtain group premium, enrollment contracts and group coverage agreements when necessary and submit timely to insurance carrier for processing.
  • Maintain own follow-up and suspense file within the Agency Management System on outstanding activity and correspondence. Follow up on all items thoroughly and timely.
  • Maintain group account files in an orderly, up-to-date manner.
  • Facilitate renewals and new business as directed by Department Manager.
  • Maintain group account information in Agency Management System by documenting conversations regarding benefit problems, claim difficulties or carrier options to be evaluated at the time of group renewal.
  • Demonstrate knowledge in rating applications and procedures for all types of group policies. Use web sites to obtain information as necessary to assist clients.
  • Explain coverage and exclusions to clients as necessary.
  • Keep producers fully informed of important activities or challenges on their accounts.
  • Obtain proposals and generate coverage comparisons for renewal business as required.
  • Perform all actions relating to the public, customers and companies in a manner that will avoid issues involving potential errors and omissions or loss of business.
  • Participate in seminars and other training opportunities for knowledge and skill development, and maintain required licenses for current position.
  • Provide training to others as requested. Share knowledge that is useful to the department.
  • Perform other duties as requested by Department Manager.

Requirements

  • Must be a self-starter, able to self-manage workload to ensure group accounts are satisfied with Ross & Yerger and their insurance carrier(s).
  • Proficiency in both verbal and written forms of communication. Basic computer/data entry skills (agency management, word processing, and spreadsheet analysis) preferred and above average mathematical skills also required.
  • Demonstrate understanding of employee benefit programs and coverage and ability to communicate effectively with potential and existing clients (and their employees) regarding these benefit programs.
  • Minimum two years experience in employee benefits, customer service or similar position with underwriting and/or health insurance background.
  • 4 year College degree preferred. Life & Health License required within 6 months of employment and satisfactory employment record.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, multiple tasking and deadline sensitive environment.
  • Maintain and provide excellent customer service to new and existing groups / clients at all times.

Please email resume to syates@rossandyerger.com.

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Poetry Has Its Perks

Free shakes from Super Shakes
Free shakes from Super Shakes

Big thanks to Super Shakes for choosing Ross & Yerger as the “Healthiest Workplace of the Week” and bringing us free yummy shakes!

Below is the poem about our wellness program, Pulse, that R&Y’s own Kelsey Purvis submitted to Y101 for our chance to win free shakes. We had no idea we had such an awesome poet on staff!!


Pulse:

Pulse is the name of our wellness program.
There aren’t enough healthy tips to cram-
Between Healthy You Visits and the Health Fair,
There are plenty of fruit and veggie recipes to share.

But what makes us different from the rest?
Let’s put that to the test.
Does your company have a time slot,
An hour a week for exercising?- that’s a lot!

And in the summer, once a week
We taste Fruit and Veggies that are on fleek.
We call this activity the Food Kaleidoscope
To make heathier life changes, we sure do hope.

And intermural sports is a must
Especially when every other team is left in our dust.
2015 JSU Intermural Kickball champs
Because we eat healthy, we have no cramps.

R&Y sponsors walks and runs
To shape up all of our buns.
To show we aren’t all talk,
You should join us all at the annual JDRF Walk.

An exercise journal is what we keep,
But only benefits are what we reap.
And at the end of the year,
We are rewarded with some pretty cool gear.

The quarterly challenge is always a blast
“Win it by the minute” got our hearts beating fast.
The winning team had a nice lunch at Char
For showing the others how to set the bar.

In our office is a marvelous gym.
Running short on time is not our problem.
With treadmills, ellipticals, and punch bags galore
It’s pretty cool that working out isn’t a chore.

You see, Heathier Living is what we strive to promote
So please give Ross & Yerger the vote.
We all love an afternoon treat.
And yummy Super Shakes, you just can’t beat.

Our office is located at 200 S. Lamar
Good thing that isn’t too far.
We can’t wait to see you with shakes in hand
Now please go play on the radio a good band.

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Construction Contract Pitfalls

The reality of the construction industry is that contractors have to sign contracts to work. And they usually don’t have much in the way of negotiating leverage. This can put contractors into a financially dangerous risk management position if their insurance agents aren’t looking at their contracts and comparing them against their insurance policies.

One of our insureds (the Subcontractor) had the wording paraphrased below contained in one of their construction agreements:

Subcontractor will defend, indemnify, and save harmless Contractor from any and all claims which are caused in whole or in part, which arise from or occur in connection with work undertaken or to be performed by the Subcontractor, or which arise from or occur in connection with any other act or omission relating to the Subcontractor.

The key piece of this indemnity that could cause trouble is “which arise from or occur in connection with work undertaken or to be performed by the Subcontractor.” This statement makes the subcontractor responsible for all claims that are connected to its work; it doesn’t require that the subcontractor’s negligence or actions contribute to the loss. The mere presence of the subcontractor at a jobsite makes anything that happens to one of its employees “in connection” with the subcontractor’s work.

In our example scenario Capitol Plumbing has been hired by ABC General Contracting for a new office building. One morning Capitol Plumbing’s employee Joe is getting his equipment ready at the jobsite and the sheetrock supplier hired by ABC backs his truck over Joe causing serious injuries that require tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of surgeries and a lot of lost work time for Joe.

Of course Joe has his medical bills taken care of by Capitol’s workers’ compensation policy along with a portion of his lost wages. But Joe wants the rest of his lost wages and he wants someone to pay him for his suffering now that he can’t go out on the Reservoir every weekend in his boat and enjoy fishing the way he used to. So Joe sues ABC General Contracting for negligently hiring a sheetrock contractor with incompetent drivers who don’t know how to follow proper safety protocols at the jobsite.

As soon as ABC gets this claim, they pull the contract they have with Capitol and remind them that they agreed to defend and indemnify ABC from any claims that occurred in connection with Capitol’s work for ABC. Joe would not have been at the jobsite if it weren’t for Capitol’s work. So the claim bounces back to Capitol who is contractually obligated to take it. An unendorsed general liability policy would cover this as a contractual liability claim because Capitol’s contract with ABC is an “insured contract” and the workers’ compensation and employers’ liability exclusions wouldn’t apply because of an exception for this specific circumstance (an action over claim). Unfortunately, Capitol’s general liability carrier had just added an endorsement stating that insured contract coverage didn’t apply unless Capitol’s negligence was at least partially responsible for the loss. They also had an additional insured endorsement that required Capitol’s partial negligence to kick in. So Capitol has to take on this claim without any insurance to help pay for it.

At the end of the day, Capitol could have avoided this financial exposure by sending its contract to its insurance agent. We would have recommended that they add a statement to the indemnity explicitly exempting Capitol Plumbing for any liability associated with ABC’s (or its other subcontractors’) sole negligence. Most contractors will agree to this if it is negotiated in advance and it could have saved everyone in this scenario a lot of grief.

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