Process endorsements, policies, cancellations, client payments with carriers, and invoicing according to the Ross & Yerger Agency Procedures Manual within acceptable time frames, using carrier interface when possible, and verify all transactions for accuracy.
Pull and process Daily Activity Reports from each carrier on a daily basis.
Process daily interface downloads into the agency management system.
Process notices of cancellation per Ross & Yerger procedures.
Process endorsement requests and requests for proof of insurance, such as EPI’s and Auto ID cards.
Assist Account Managers in renewal/remarketing process as needed.
Assist with Docusign and ESignature documents.
Maintain thorough documentation through use of scanning, telephone logs, notes, etc. in Sagitta.
Maintain and monitor daily suspense to follow up on items requested from clients and carriers.
Assist with new business marketing data entry
Process welcome packets
Process Binders for Platinum reviews
Become a licensed Property and Casualty agent.**
At least a two-year college degree, or high school diploma and at least one year of full time work experience.
Basic computer/data entry skills (agency management, word processing, spreadsheets).
Good interpersonal skills and customer focus.
Ability to do detail work effectively and efficiently.
Ability to effectively communicate both orally and in writing.
Willingness to perform in a fast pace environment.
Ross & Yerger is hosting a Lunch and Learn Captive Insurance Seminar on Wednesday, March 27th in Metairie, LA to discuss how Captive Insurance differs from Standard Insurance and specific ways companies benefit from being in a Captive. Seating is limited so please email firstname.lastname@example.org your name and list of people from your company attending the seminar.
What is the difference between admitted and non-admitted insurance carriers?
Admitted insurance carriers have been approved by a state’s insurance department, whereas the non-admitted insurance company has not been licensed or regulated by a state. In an admitted carrier situation, the insurance company must comply with all the state regulations regarding insurance. In the event that the carrier is insolvent, there is a guaranty fund that would respond in the event of claims and actually pay claims on behalf of those insolvent, admitted carriers. In the event that non-admitted carriers go insolvent, they are not supported by the state’s fund.
How does a dental plan’s annual maximum benefit work?
The annual maximum benefit is the amount that a dental carrier will pay for you and your family each year, starting in January and ending in December. This includes preventative, basic and major services. Although, some carriers do not include preventative services. Watch the video below for an example of how the annual maximum benefit works:
I own a trucking company and want to know how my towing limits work within my policy?
First, grab your policy and take a look. If you have specific towing limits, there are two ways those limits can apply in a policy: inside the limit and outside the limit. If you have a $15,000 towing limit on a $100,000 policy, you would have a $85,000 limit for the vehicle and $15,000 for towing. Preferably, you would have your towing limits outside of the policy. This would allow you to have $100,000 for your vehicle and an additional $15,000 for towing outside the policy.
How long can my dependent child remain on my insurance?
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, as long as your group health plan allows dependent coverage, your dependent can remain on your policy until they are age 26. That is regardless of their student status, marital status or whether or not they have a child. What about your dental or vision policy? The ACA only made it mandatory for health insurance to allow dependents up to age 26. Dental and vision contracts can vary. A copy of the plan’s summary plan document would tell you the requirements for that particular policy as far as dependents go.
Can an employee who terminates employment, but still has money is his HFSA, use it for claims?
Internal Revenue Code 125 regulations governing health flexible spending accounts do not permit disbursements, transfers or rollovers. HFSA contributions can only be used to reimburse eligible expenses incurred while the employee is covered during the plan year. If the employee terminates, his or her HFSA coverage period ends unless COBRA continuation coverage is elected. For instance, if the plan year begins January 1st and your employee’s last day of employment is June 30th, he may submit claims for eligible expenses incurred between January 1st and June 30th only. If, however, he elects COBRA to continue making HFSA contributions, he may continue to incur claims eligible for reimbursement.
What changes can I make to my current safety policy?
First, does your safety policy tell employees how and whom they should report accidents, injuries or potential safety hazards? If not, this is an easy addition that can give employees clear instruction on what they should do in the event of any of the scenarios previously described. Second, does your safety policy tell employees they should immediately report accidents or injuries or risk disciplinary action up to and including termination? If so, replace “immediately” with “as soon as possible” and remove the threat of any negative employment action. We have found that the presence of this language actually causes employees to not want to report information that you need to know about out of fear of discipline. Getting information about an accident as soon as possible is key. The sooner an accident is reported, the more accurate that information usually is which means that, in the event the accident becomes a claim, that information is fundamental to the processing of that claim.
Why do I not have workers’ compensation coverage for my employee who was hurt working on a barge?
Under a standard workers’ comp policy, an employee working on or near a navigable body of water is excluded from workers’ comp coverage. The United States Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act applies to employees working on or near navigable waters. Some of these employees may include barge workers, ship builders and pier workers. Be sure to talk to your agent about how to properly cover your employees while working on or near a navigable body of water.
What do I need to know if I decide to rent out my house on a vacation rental service?
It’s a great opportunity for individuals to make extra money when they rent out their homes or condos, but it comes with inherent risk from an insurance perspective. The best thing to do is always check with your insurance company. Don’t ever assume that you have coverage just because your insurance company is insuring your home. There are policy exclusions that exist in most policies that would exclude coverage as the average homeowners policy is not designed for commercial use. Some other important things to keep in mind:
Store valuables in a locked place or outside of the home
Remove any cash or valuables and store in a vault or outside the home
Do NOT share alarm codes. If you do, change them after you are done renting
Photograph or video all areas of your home before renting it out in case damage occurs during the rental
Notify your neighbors so they can watch over your home
Have your mail forwarded until you return so they don’t get personal information
Provide the renter’s contact information as well as the neighbor’s contact information in case of an emergency during their stay
I am starting my own trucking company. What insurance coverages do I need?
First, we would start with auto liability to cover the liability exposure of the truck and trailer on the highway. Second, we would want to make sure that the truck has physical damage to cover any damage to the actual unit itself. Third, we would look at motor truck cargo which will cover whatever particular commodity that the trucking company is going to haul. Finally, we would want to cover the driver within the truck with workers’ compensation.
I’m a MS business owner with only 3 employees. Am I legally required to carry workers’ compensation?
The state of Mississippi requires any employer with five employees or more to carry workers’ compensation. In this example our employer only has 3 employees, and while not legally required to carry workers’ compensation, he is still liable for those employees’ injuries. Failure to carry workers’ compensation when you have five employees or more results in a criminal and civil penalty.
What does consent to settle mean and what is a hammer clause?
Consent to settle is a provision in liability policies that states the insurance company will not settle any claim without your prior consent. Most policies have a hammer clause which comes into play if the final settlement to the other party is higher than the insurance company’s original settlement offer. The hammer clause is usually a split percentage such as 80/20 and represents a sharing of the amount paid to the other party that exceeds the original offer.
The Affordable Care Act requires employers who have at least 50 full-time employees who work at least 30 hours a week to offer affordable health insurance. Each year, those employers must send a statement form 1095C to all employees that are eligible for coverage. This is sent to both employees that elect or decline coverage, and show which months during the year the employee was eligible for coverage. While form 1095C includes health insurance information, the form 1094C is essentially a cover sheet for 1095C. The 1094C form has the following information listed: the employer’s personal information, the number of employees, a contact person and the number of 1095C forms that will be sent to the IRS. The IRS must receive the 1094C and 1095C paper forms by the end of February, or by the end of March if filed electronically.
What is the difference between blanket limit insurance and specific limit insurance?
Blanket limit coverage provides a total limit of insurance which can be applied to multiple locations or buildings. By contrast, a specific limit of insurance defines separate limits which are applied to each individual property. Blanket limit is a powerful coverage for a landlord or business owner who have more than one location.
Telemedicine allows your employees access to providers for little or no cost and from anywhere. Advances in IT infrastructure, communications and connected medical devices are enabling medical professionals to evaluate, diagnose and in most instances, treat patients remotely. Many insurance carriers are beginning to include some sort of Visual Visit or telemedicine within their offered plans, but you can also purchase a stand-alone telemedicine policy. These policies can be voluntary or provided by employers. They can also be structured to charge a copay for a visit or to be free and unlimited. Accessibility to providers through these plans include phone calls, smart phone video chat and desktop computer video chat.
Are there employee vacation requirements for crime applications?
One of the coverages provided in a crime policy is protection against employee dishonesty. These losses can go undetected for extended periods of time because the dishonest employee is able to cover up their theft by virtue of the nature of their duties. Solid accounting principles recommend requiring an employee to take a vacation of at least 5 days in a row. This period of time provides a greater likelihood that the actions of a dishonest employee can be uncovered in a timely manner and this reduces your exposure to loss as well as the carrier’s exposure to loss.
My daughter is under age 26 and on my insurance. Will her pregnancy be covered?
Before the Affordable Care Act, maternity and newborn care was not mandatory as it relates to health insurance. However, after the ACA, maternity and newborn care became one of the ten essential health benefits that were mandatory for all individual and new small group employer sponsored health plans. To answer this question, it would depend on the type of health plan your employer sponsors. If your dependent child is covered under your health plan and you work for a large employer, the maternity benefits for your dependent child are not mandatory and are not normally covered under the plan. However, contracts can vary from state to state. More carriers are adopting this policy now that adult children can remain on their parent’s plan until the age of 26. If you work for a small employer that has a ACA small group employer sponsored health plan, then your dependent child’s maternity care would be covered under your policy as part of the essential health benefits.
A.M. Best is a U.S. based company that provides news, credit ratings and financial data for the insurance industry. Each insurance carrier is given an A.M. Best rating based on their financial stability and their ability to pay out potential claims.
What is the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost?
These terms are used often times when you are insuring various types of property. Replacement cost is exactly what it sounds like. You are insuring for the replacement cost of a particular piece of property. For example, if your iPhone is insured for replacement cost and gets damaged, lost or stolen, the insurance for it will replace it. If you are insured on actual cash value, they will give you replacement cost but they will subtract the depreciation. So if the iPhone is insured on actual cash value, but it is three years old, you will get the replacement cost minus the depreciation for a three year old device. So instead of $1000 to replace the phone, they may only give you $600 for it.
What does an additional insured mean and why am I providing this on a specific form?
An additional insured requirement is usually found in different contracts such as leases, subcontractor agreements, master service agreements, but it affords liability to the party requiring they be listed as an additional insured. This means that your insurance will pay and defend first as a result of your negligent acts.
What is UCR and why is it important in dental insurance?
UCR (Usual, Customary, and Reasonable) refers to the fee guidelines used to pay a claim when seeing a non-network dentist. If you have a dental PPO plan and visit a dentist out of network, the UCR fees provide a fair charge for the dental services. The UCR is calculated by how much a certain procedure costs in your geographic area. For example, if you have your teeth cleaned by a dentist that does not accept insurance, the UCR fee guideline provides a basis for how much a cleaning in your area should cost you. The insurance carrier can determine how much a cleaning costs, and then they pay a certain percentage for those services.
The Family Medical Leave Act is NOT required to be paid. An employer with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius is required to hold an eligible employee’s job open for them for up to 12 weeks while that employee is out on an FMLA qualifying absence. The employer is required to maintain that employee’s benefits in the same manner as if that employee was actively working. That, however, is all dependent on whether the employee is making timely and appropriate payments of any share of their benefits that they are responsible for.
Why are financials so important to a bond underwriter?
A bond is a three party obligation in which one party guarantees the obligations of a second party to a third party. Cash, working capital, debt to wealth and profitability are key points of a financial statement. The stronger the financial statement, the easier it is to obtain a bond.
Drive other car coverage is when you are driving a non-owned, borrowed, rented or leased vehicle. In most cases when this coverage comes into play, is when an executive officer has been given a company vehicle. If he were to rent, borrow or lease a car, he would have no personal auto policy for the coverage to extend. So, the drive other car coverage endorsement would give him coverage when he’s away from his company vehicle.
What does it mean when a carrier has a duty to defend?
When a carrier has a duty to defend, it means that the insurance company will provide a defense for you under a liability policy. The insurance carrier has an obligation to defend you even if the allegations are groundless, false or fraudulent, as long as there is a possibility of coverage under the policy. The duty to defend also means that the company will manage the entire litigation process. As part of that process, they will choose the attorney on your behalf to defend your claim. If you have strong feelings about wanting to use your own attorney to represent you, the key is to request that early in the process or before the policy is issued.
At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know our Personal Lines Marketing Client Manager in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
I started with R&Y in 2009 as Personal Lines Client Representative. After growth in our department, I was promoted to a position that was created in Personal Lines as a Marketing Client Manager in 2011.I am responsible for marketing all new business prospects for our producers and transferring the clients over to their new client managers after policies are issued.
Where did you grow up? I was born in Raleigh, NC and moved to Lilburn, Georgia for 12 years. My family then moved to Booneville, MS to be closer to my Granny after the 1994 Ice Storm (Talk about a big culture shock of moving from a big city to a small town, “where everyone knows your name!”) I graduated from Booneville High School and attended Mississippi State University. After marriage, we moved to Tupelo, MS, Saltillo MS, and now our family roots are planted back in my husband’s hometown of Ripley, MS.
What motto do you live by?A verse that I hold dear to my heart, for various reasons, is Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
What do you like to do outside of work?I’m a mom, so spending time with my two kids playing ball, dancing, reading stories, building forts, laughing and acting silly! I am also fortunate to have date nights with my husband every other Friday night. Most of the times, we choose to stay at home and enjoy the peace and quietness like it used to be before our lively kiddos came along.
What is your favorite TV show/movie?Well, I’m a sucker for Romance movies. I’ve fallen into the trap of the Hallmark movie marathons. But if you glance at my Netflix list, you will also see that I’m a war documentary enthusiast, I enjoy 90’s and early 2000’s comedies, spy action thrillers, and Elizabethan era dramas.
What is your favorite sports team?Mississippi State Bulldawgs, who have had the greatest 2017-2018 seasons of all time in football, Men’s and Women’s basketball and baseball! Hail State! MLB- St. Louis Cardinals, NFL- Dallas Cowboys (Dak of course!)
What is your favorite food? Sweets is a food group, right? Soft, warm, gooey, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with a glass (preferably a Mason jar) of cold milk!
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? My playlist is compiled of a variety of genres from classic rock, traditional country, pop, oldies, and classic rock. Just a few songs and artists from my youth that I still enjoy are Tom Petty- Free Falling, Coldplay- Yellow, Pearl Jam- Better Man, Extreme-More Than Words, Dolly Parton-9 to 5, Patsy Cline- I Fall to Pieces, and Jewel’s Pieces of You album. I also find myself listening to public broadcasting and news channels more often now during my morning commutes.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves?Slowpokes driving in the fast lane putt-putting along!
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? Hmm, well there are too many that I’m afraid I am unable to tell and have forever promised to remain silent! So,one of my first memories was on April Fool’s day in 2009. I surprised my boss, Marilyn, after only 2 months of working with R&Y. I snickered with Peggy beforehand and when Marilyn walked into the office, I announced to her that my new position was too hard and I just couldn’t keep up with the pace. I apologized but I had to quit and out the door I went! I recall all too well the shock Marilyn had on her face and she immediately came outside to see what was the matter. Then I told her “Happy April Fool’s!” I think this broke the ice very quickly! 9 years later, I’ve been in the clear, but I still watch my back on April Fool’s Day. Payback could very well come at any time…
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I have two Presidents in my family bloodline- very distant of course. Our 9th President, William Harrison, who is the grandfather of our 23rd President, Benjamin Harrison. They were the only grandfather-grandson duo to have held office.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Simple enough- being a MOM! Not a perfect mom, but a loving mother to Griffin and Madelyn who are my greatest blessings!
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Emily!
A qualified high deductible health plan is one that does not necessarily cover your first dollar of medical expenses. Instead, your deductible has to be met first before most services are covered at 100%. So, why would you want a high deductible health plan? If you have a high deductible health plan, you are eligible to open a health savings account (HSA). These HSA’s allow employees tax exempt contributions and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses.
Employment Practices Liability Coverage provides coverage to employers against claims made by employees alleging discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, violation of the Family Medical Leave Act and other employment related issues. At Ross & Yerger, we encourage all of our clients to buy EPL coverage.
A coinsurance provision is found in a commercial property policy. A coinsurance penalty limits the insured’s loss of recovery for a claim if the limit of insurance purchased is NOT greater than or equal to the value of the insured property. A coinsurance penalty formula = did over should times the loss.
ERISA is an acronym for the Employees Retirement Income Security Act. This is a law passed by Congress that outlines the responsibilities and guidelines that have to be followed by trustees of employee profit sharing and retirement plans. One of those requirements is that the trustees must obtain a fidelity bond in the amount of 10% of the plan’s assets.
An e-mod is short for Experience Modification Factor. An e-mod is a business’s report card for their loss history with regard to their workers’ compensation. If a business has not had a lot of claims involving employees, then their e-mod is going to be credited. If a business has had a lot of claims, then their e-mod is going to be surcharged. In the end, a good e-mod is going to be reflective of a credit on your premium.
While not required, employee handbooks can do a lot of good for your company. Employee handbooks can highlight your company’s culture and values and provide a roadmap for your employees. What is in an employee handbook depends on your size, the state or states you’re in and your industry. Employers who have 15 or more employees should have an ADA policy. Those with 20 or more employees, should have a COBRA policy. And finally, employers with 50 or more employees should have an FMLA policy.
Eligible dependents are usually defined as an employee’s legal spouse, an employee’s dependent children, including newborn children, stepchildren, children for whom the subscriber has been appointed legal guardianship and adopted children. The Affordable Care Act requires plans and issuers that offer dependent child coverage to make the coverage available until the child reaches the age 26. Both married and unmarried children qualify for this coverage. It’s also important to discuss who or what is NOT an eligible dependent…
What is the difference between market value and replacement cost?
Market value and replacement cost mean two different things when it comes to your home. A lot of times people will assume that the coverage on their home is what they should sell their house for. Market value is what you buy and sell homes for. It has nothing to do with insurance. Insurance, however, is replacement cost. Replacement cost takes into consideration the cost of materials like drywall, sheetrock, permits, surveys, contractor fees etc.
With the rise of services like Airbnb, you may be considering renting out your home for extra income while you’re away for an extended period of time. Though this seems like an ideal solution for families with extra room to spare, it can create issues for those who don’t properly prepare.
To get the most out of renting your home, keep in mind the following:
Review the terms of your insurance policy closely and talk with your insurance broker about renting out your home.
Draw up a rental agreement that defines the terms of the rental, including restrictions, liabilities and occupancy guidelines.
Request a security deposit. Explain that this deposit will be refunded if there is no damage to your home.
Set aside a secure place in your home to store personal items, such as clothing and valuables.
Take pictures of all areas of your home before the rental takes place in case damage occurs while you are away.
If you uncover any red flags while checking references, do not agree to rent your home. Your first priority should be to protect yourself and your property.
At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know our Bond Manager in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
My career with Ross & Yerger began in November 2008 when I was asked to manage the bond department as well as work with our producers focused on the construction industry.
Where did you grow up? I have spent almost my entire life in Jackson. I was born and raised here and attended Casey Elementary and St. Andrews School. I lived in Nashville for 10 years, which is where both my sons were born, moving back to Jackson in 1992 in order to be closer to family.
What motto do you live by?“Serve others well” is one I try to live by.
What do you like to do outside of work?Read, hunt, travel and cook.
What is your favorite TV show/movie?My favorite movie is probably Shawshank Redemption while my favorite TV show is NCIS – all three versions.
What is your favorite sports team?New Orleans Saints.
What is your favorite food?Has to be either a good steak or seafood.
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? Pretty much all music.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves?It has to be people riding in the left lane, not moving over to let someone pass.
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? I don’t know that I have one individual memory but rather a series of them, watching our construction clients account list grow from less than 20 to approximately 100.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you.I’ve run two full marathons and three half-marathons.
What is your proudest accomplishment?Raising two boys into becoming fine young men.
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Ford!
At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know our Vice President and Commercial Operations Manager in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
I will have been at R&Y for 25 years this August. I started as an account representative, then moved to a small commercial account manager, then a large commercial account manager, then small commercial/personal lines team leader, then commercial operations manager.
Where did you grow up? I was a navy brat, so I moved a lot. I was born in Meridian, then moved to Oxford, Memphis, Jacksonville and then Mandeville, LA. That is where I still call my hometown.
What do you like to do outside of work? Spend time with my family and watching my children’s different sporting activities.
What is your favorite TV show/movie? The Middle.
What is your favorite sports team? Ole Miss.
What is your favorite food? Red Beans & Rice.
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? Pretty much all music.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves? People pulling out in front of me while driving.
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? My most interesting memory at R&Y was funny, but not all that fun. I was on the way back from a business trip in Alabama with the commercial lines manager at the time, and the vehicle we were in broke down. We had to drive all the way back to Jackson in a cramped, very hot tow truck. Most people didn’t have a cell phone at that time, so I didn’t get to speak to anyone at the office. The next day, I found out that the manager told everyone (as a joke) a crazy story about how I broke the car.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I have a degree in Accounting and my MBA.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Being a wife and a mom.
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Dian!
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 Vice Presidents/Producers in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
After spending several years at another agency, I joined Ross & Yerger in 2008 with a focus in insurance and surety for the construction industry. Ten years later, I lead the Construction Practice Group and serve the agency as a Vice President and Board Member.
Where did you grow up?I was born and raised in Aberdeen and West Point, MS. I graduated from Oak Hill Academy and Mississippi State University before beginning my career in the insurance and surety industry.
What do you like to do outside of work?I love spending time with my family and friends. I grew up in a close-knit family, and I enjoy continuing that tradition with my children. My personal life revolves around George and Pate’s (my sons) busy sports and social schedules! Gracie and I love listening to good music while we cook, and I persistently try to improve my very mediocre golf game when I can.
What is your favorite TV show/movie? Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Bloodline and Ozark.
What is your favorite sports team? Mississippi State, St. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys (yes, I’m a bandwagon fan) and any team on which George and Pate are playing.
What is your favorite food? My wife would say all that I want is Asian cuisine, which is often true; however, my favorite is a ribeye from my grill.
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? Wow. This one is tough to answer, because it changes often. I like a variety of different music from all genres. Umphrey’s McGee, The Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, My Morning Jacket, The Allman Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, The Revivalists, The Police and Kamasi Washington to name a few…
What is one of your biggest pet peeves?People chewing ice!!!
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? There are too many to name! The family environment, the Tupelo office (should be a reality TV show), becoming a Shareholder and Vice President, Producer Retreats, Markow “replying to all”…
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I have an extensive vinyl record collection. My collection is currently in excess of 800 albums.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Being married to Gracie and raising our two boys together.
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Bailey!
Keeping up with seasonal repairs and upkeep not only shows pride of ownership, but can reduce the risk of costly and preventable home expenses. Prepare your home for the summer with the following considerations:
Check all window and door locks to make sure they are secure. Open and close them, and apply lubricant when they are hard to open.
Inspect your roof and gutters, clean out gutter debris and check shingle integrity.
Inspect your home’s foundation, sealing cracks and levelling yard depressions with compacted soil.
Check wooden structures, such as decks and steps, for rotting, loose wood or exposed nails.
Hire a qualified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor to tune up your air conditioning unit.
Examine electrical outlets and cords for potential fire hazards, such as frayed wires.
Examine your garage door to ensure that it is in proper working order.
Declutter by reviewing the contents of your garage. Donate or dispose of items you no longer use or need.
Driveways and walkways
Inspect your pavement for cracks and holes, and remedy them. This can go a long way in preventing accidental slips, trips and falls.
At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know our Marketing Specialist in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
I started fresh out of college as an Account Representative on both the new business/marketing and small commercial teams. In 2016, Ross & Yerger created a position for me on the new business/marketing team as a Commercial Lines Marketing Specialist. I work with new business prospects and I am responsible for placement of coverage and a seamless transition to R&Y. Once coverage has been bound and policies checked, the account is moved to its permanent home in one of our commercial lines practice groups where the renewals will be handled each year.
Where did you grow up?Rankin.
What are three words that describe you best?Shy, introvert, recluse. Totally kidding!
What motto do you live by?Know the Possibilities.
What do you like to do outside of work?Travel- favorite place: Singapore.
What is your favorite TV show/movie?Friends, Gilmore Girls, The Office, Friends, This Is Us, Friends, Game of Thrones.
What is your favorite sports team?College: MSU Professional: Dallas Cowboys #dak4ever #HailState
What is your favorite food?Anything Debbie (mi madre) cooks.
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song?I have been known to frequent the dance floor of any live music/band at weddings. Although, I do love a good Avett Brothers sing-along every now and then.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves?Chipped fingernail polish.
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y?Amy Smith calling me into her office to explain that we had to have a meeting RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT in the conference room about a situation concerning a new business client. I followed her to the conference room (low key freaking out) to realize it was a surprise party with cake to celebrate earning my CPCU designation. I actually already knew about the “surprise” but after the show Amy put on, I was 100% surprised.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you.Though I love international traveling, my goal is to visit all 50 states by the age of 50.
What is your proudest accomplishment?Not calling an Uber during the St. Jude Half Marathon (the only time I’d ever be proud of doing half of something).
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Kelsey!
Floods can happen without warning, jeopardizing your home and valuables. While it’s impossible to prevent floods, there are a number of steps you should take when a flood watch or warning is issued:
Check your sump pump. Test the pump by pouring water into the pit. Make sure the discharge hose sends the water several feet away from the house and slopes away from the property.
Move valuables to higher locations. If you have time, move important items like photo albums, insurance policies, money and jewelry to the highest floor in your house.
Shut off electricity in areas that might flood. This will reduce the potential for electrical shock.
Above all, it’s important for you to have an emergency plan. This plan should include evacuation procedures, methods for securing valuables, written instructions for turning off utilities and contact information for your insurance broker.
At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know our Accounts Payable Specialist in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
I have been employed at Ross & Yerger for a little over 3 years. I am in charge of accounts payable, from taking care of our carriers, brokers and vendors to our employees.
Where did you grow up? I was born in Birmingham, AL. I moved to MS when I was 2 and grew up in Pearl, MS.
What are three words that describe you best? Dedicated, Loyal and Hardworking.
What motto do you live by? ‘No one can make you successful; the will to succeed comes from within.’ I’ve made this my motto. I’ve internalized it to the point of understanding that the success of my actions and/or endeavors doesn’t depend on anyone else, and that includes a possible failure.
What do you like to do outside of work? I love to watch my youngest son play soccer. I also love to listen to music and I am an avid reader.
What is your favorite TV show/movie? Big Brother.
What is your favorite sports team? Alabama. ROLL TIDE!
What is your favorite food? Pasta.
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? I love all music.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves? Lying.
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? This might be the funniest and scariest thing that has ever happened to me. Now in order for this to make sense, you have to know that in my interview I told Vivian I DO NOT do public speaking, and so did all my references. Then, in less than two months after I started I was told I would have to do a project called “get to know your neighbor” where we would have to go up on stage at the Annual Meeting and tell everyone what we had learned about each other. I went to Vivian and told her I just couldn’t do it. She volunteered to be my “neighbor” and said she would do all the talking. Then, the plans changed and she wanted us to be funny and do a skit. I got up on that stage and could not face the crowd. I was terrified, but somehow we made it through. Thank goodness Amy and Amanda went after us and performed their epic rap and all was forgotten!
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I got emancipated at the age of 18 and became a cocktail waitress at a casino.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Definitely my family. It is not picture perfect. We have our good days and our bad days; however, they are truly my greatest accomplishment!
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Christina!
As a homeowner, one of your top priorities is keeping your property and family safe from intruders. With the advent of smart homes and new technology, home security is easier and more affordable than ever.
The following are some new technologies that can protect you and your loved ones from criminals:
Doorbell cameras—Doorbell cameras are a great way to see who is at the door before you open it. This is especially useful if you have children who are frequently home alone.
Smart door locks—Smart door locks allow you to lock or unlock your doors remotely. This can be helpful if you forget to lock your doors before you leave the house.
Motion sensors—Homeowners can attach motion sensors to doors and windows. Even the slightest movement can trigger these devices and alert you to intruders.
Above all, it’s important to have a strong security system in place. These systems should include Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, smart smoke detectors and an alarm system that notifies the authorities in an emergency.
If a poll was conducted about life choices people made during their youth, chances are that everyone might have a few bad decisions they wish could be wiped from their record. For some people, those bad decisions resulted in a felony conviction and that can mean difficulty in securing employment in the future.
While employers should definitely consider a potential employee’s questionable history when evaluating a candidate, a conviction alone should not be the sole variable that cuts a prospect out of the running. Currently, 30 states have adopted statewide laws or policies so that employers consider a candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a conviction or arrest record.
It is important to weigh all of the information before making the decision not to hire a person on conviction history. Best practice would be to ask the following questions:
How long has it been since the conviction? If it was 20 years ago and they have a clean record with no repeat offenses, it’s worth considering the conviction as a poor decision they learned from.
How does the conviction relate to the job and what was the seriousness of the offense? There are some instances where a conviction history prevents a person from certain jobs altogether. For example, if you run a daycare, you can and must reject convicted sex offenders. Banks, can and must reject anyone with some type of financial conviction like embezzlement.
Has the employee had a chance to explain the circumstances? Often, we need more information from the employee before we move forward with our decision.
The name of the game here is actually seeking to really look at a job candidate before we make a decision. Sometimes a background check isn’t all that it seems.
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 Producers/Shareholders in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
I started at Ross & Yerger January of 2014 as a producer in the Future Partner Group. I did not come from an insurance background so had to learn quickly. Fortunately, we have great teachers. I have a tendency to ask a lot of questions, so I feel a need to recognize the patience of my co-workers. Nobody enjoys an insurance claim, but it is a proud moment to see your clients taken care of when they happen. I can’t say a claim is my favorite thing, but knowing your clients’ assets have been protected when bad things happen is very rewarding.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Jackson, MS, just around the corner from our new office. I went to St. Richards Elementary and St. Joe Junior High. In my elementary days, I took lessons to learn several instruments but none of them stuck…violin, piano, drums, guitar….In fact, my piano teacher told my mom that she could not take her money anymore. She felt bad that I had not improved at all and basically fired me as a student. That said, at least I developed an appreciation for music. In 9th grade, I moved to Jackson Prep for high school. My senior year, I led the Jackson Prep Patriots to a state football championship…from the sidelines as a male cheerleader.
What are three words that describe you best? Entertaining, Genuine, Determined.
What motto do you live by?Live each day to the fullest.
What do you like to do outside of work? I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I like golf, tennis, the outdoors, hunting, fishing, snow skiing and being on the water. I enjoy cooking, especially if it involves a grill or smoker. I like a good story and learning about random topics. I believe everything is better with music, and can be found listening to various genres most all the time. Also, I try to make sure my 8 year old little girl is well-rounded, so I attempt to immerse her in many of the activities I enjoy.
What is your favorite TV show/movie? I like watching sports. Currently, I’m enjoying lots of winter Olympics. It’s tough to pick a favorite movie, but I’ll go with Office Space – it picks up on so many different comical topics of working with others.
What is your favorite sports team? College – Ole Miss. I also like LSU as both my parents went there. NFL – New Orleans Saints. NBA – Memphis Grizzlies. MLB – Atlanta Braves. NHL – Nashville Predators (I’ve only watched a couple games but like that they throw catfish on the ice). OLYMPICS – USA
What is your favorite food? Sushi
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? Band - Phish. Song – Ripple by the Grateful Dead. The 23rd Psalm was part of the inspiration for this song. My favorite lyric is “reach out your hand if your cup be empty, If your cup is full may it be again”. I like the positivity and generosity of that thought.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves? Inefficiency
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? I can’t name a specific one, but the time we spend around the lunch table in Tupelo is special. I have heard many tall tales and hilarious stories, and laughed until I cried!
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I’m a pretty open book, but I will admit that I thought about getting into falconry once. I researched it heavily and ultimately decided I should not pursue it. One source stated that you would lose your job, family, belongings etc. if you became a falconer – those didn’t sound like good outcomes.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Personally – My daughter is my proudest accomplishment. My wife and I made the decision to only have one child and we are committed to developing her into a good person who will make a positive impact on the world. Professionally – I’m very proud of the work I have done at Ross & Yerger and proud to be a shareholder in the agency. I know it could not have been done without the team surrounding and supporting me. I am optimistic about the future and hope to continue sharing in success with Ross & Yerger.
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Michael!
Umbrella Insurance for Your Business and Peace of Mind
Umbrella coverage is designed to protect an organization against monumental liability claims that can demolish a business through a large financial judgment. Typically, an umbrella policy serves the following purposes:
Provides coverage for potential damages and court defense fees that exceed underlying insurance policies (typically CGL policies).
Provides coverage in situations that are not covered by underlying insurance policies but are not excluded from the umbrella policy. This benefit is subject to a self-insured retention (SIR), similar to a deductible, in which the policy holder is responsible for losses up to the SIR amount.
Applies to claims where the aggregate limit of the underlying policy has been met. The umbrella policy will cover the portion of the claim that cannot be paid with the underlying policy because there are not enough funds available in the policy to cover the entire claim. For instance, if at the time of a claim your CGL policy has $500,000 remaining and the claim in question is $1.5 million, then the CGL policy will cover $500,000 and then the umbrella policy will cover the remaining $1 million.
A typical umbrella policy has the following features:
Offers coverage for worldwide; personal injury; blanket contractual liability protection; care, custody and control; non-owned aircraft liability; watercraft liability; advertisers liability; liquor law liability; and explosion, collapse and underground (XCU) liability.
Offers an extension of insurance protection for additional insureds.
Policies follow form, meaning they abide by similar provisions and cover similar losses as the underlying policy. If claims are not covered by an underlying policy, the umbrella policy makes the business responsible for the loss if it exceeds SIR limits. The damage must also involve personal injury, property damage or advertising injury.
The insurer has the right to investigate all claims not covered by any underlying insurance.
Policies either cover all individuals or cover parties that gain insured status within the contract. Policies also protect an organization’s executive officers, regular employees, directors and stockholders acting on behalf of the organization. Protection for additional insureds is typically excluded when claims involve motorized vehicles, watercrafts and aircrafts.
Beyond these stipulations, a commercial umbrella policy ascertains that an organization must hold an underlying insurance policy during the term of the policy. To learn more about averting your business risks with commercial umbrella insurance, contact Ross & Yerger Insurance, Inc. at (601) 948-2900 today.
On January 5th, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would be adopting a new standard for determining whether interns and students are “employees” who must be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Previously, the DOL used a very specific six-part test in which all factors had to be met in order for an intern to qualify as unpaid. Those six factors were:
The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;
The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and, on occasion, its operations may actually be impeded;
The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
Going forward, the new “primary beneficiary” test, which is used by the federal courts, will provide companies with more flexibility in determining whether an intern should be paid or unpaid. The primary beneficiary test considers the “economic reality” nature of the employment relationship and includes seven, non-mandatory factors that should be used as a reference when considering the intern-employer relationship. The seven factors are:
The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.
The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.
Since these guidelines do not have to be met and are provided merely as a frame of reference, companies can use their own judgment when determining how much weight to give each factor. The primary thing to consider, however, is quite simple – who benefitted more from this arrangement? If the answer is the company, then the intern should be paid. If it’s the opposite and the intern received more benefit, and at least some consideration was given to the above referenced factors, then it’s likely this position can be classified as unpaid. Want to avoid the primary beneficiary test and weighing different factors altogether? You can – simply pay your interns no less than minimum wage and the information above becomes irrelevant.
Accidents and natural disasters can strike without warning, causing costly damage to your home, vehicles and personal belongings. When this happens, you will have to file an insurance claim in order for your policy to kick in and recoup your losses.
In order to get the most out of the claims process, consider the following tips:
Call your insurer as soon as an incident occurs. The quicker you get the process moving, the better. After you’ve contacted your insurer, you can ask an adjuster to come and inspect the damage.
Document your losses before the adjuster comes. Make a thorough list of property that has been impacted by a disaster. Provide purchase receipts, or estimate how much the belongings cost and when you bought them.
Take photographs of the accident scene, and don’t throw out damaged items before notifying your insurer.
Above all, it’s important to document the claims process, noting when you speak with your insurers and what the conversations entailed. This will help you track the amount of reimbursement you should receive and allow you to keep a record of insurance claims for future use.
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 Employee Benefits Account Managers in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
I have been a proud team member of the Employee Benefits division at Ross & Yerger Insurance. I began this journey 4 years and 9 months ago as an Account Manager Assistant and I currently am an Account Manager with big dreams.
Where did you grow up? A two stop light town called Meadville, MS… But that was the big city. I lived on the outskirts of Meadville on a gravel road—Rural Route 3 was my address and the community is called Yap. We had three television channels until I was 13 because the satellite dishes could not pick up a signal. I moved to Clinton to attend Mississippi College and have lived in the metro Jackson area ever since.
What are three words that describe you best? Kind, Sarcastic and Hungry.
What motto do you live by? “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” Just kidding, I wanted to say something other than the Golden Rule. I truly try to put myself in others shoes before making a decision. It’s hard to help someone when you are only viewing the situation from one angle.
What do you like to do outside of work? I have three dogs: Hank, Jack and Lilly. Their Instagram is @twodogsandaprincess if you want to be overwhelmed with adorableness.
What is your favorite TV show/movie? I like anything on Bravo to be on TV in the background when I am doing something and don’t have to pay attention. I love love love Law & Order: SVU and Criminal Intent though… every time I watch and rewatch those, I feel accomplished because I catch a “bad guy”.
What is your favorite sports team? My parents graduated from Ole Miss, so I will always be a Rebel. As far as professional, I’m always happy for the Saints when they win.
What is your favorite food? Pasta.
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? The Revivalists… and pretty much anything that band does. The different members collaborate on different projects and they are all extremely talented musicians.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves? When someone’s lack of planning is suddenly MY emergency. I am a planner… not an organized one, but a planner nonetheless. I like to know what’s going to happen. It’s so bad that I will GPS my entire trip to New Orleans or Memphis even though I’ve been there a million times because I like to know exactly when I’ll get there and exactly how far I am from everything.
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? Working in the Benefits department involves too many favorite/funny memories to type up. I do have a favorite memory from a quarterly meeting that involved me and a co-worker producing/performing a “get to know your neighbor” rap and a selfie stick. Oh, AND that time I won the “Champagne Award” for most sparkling personality—one of the proudest moments in my career thus far.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I was trained in classical vocals and in high school sang the solo in “O, Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion” at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church from Handel’s “Messiah”. I am definitely not normally a soloist because I don’t have a strong voice, but I sound pretty awesome in a choir! I love all music.
What is your proudest accomplishment? My parents are older—I was a midlife crisis for them—and my proudest accomplishment happens every time I make them proud.
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Amy!
2017 saw the rise and fall of potential legislation that would change the game as far as who could be classified as exempt. For a long time, companies operated under the assumption that if an employee made a salary, they were exempt from overtime. This legislation opened the door to show that logic was dangerous and outdated and caused many employers to take a fine-tooth comb to their classifications.
Whether an employee is paid with a salary or at an hourly rate is at the discretion of the employer. Just because an employee is paid by salary, does not necessarily mean they are exempt. How an employee is paid is a separate issue from exempt/non-exempt status. Exemption is a bit grayer and has everything to do with whether an employee is eligible for overtime payments.
To determine if an employee should be exempt from overtime payments and therefore “exempt”, they must look at a few variables with the individual employee.
1. Is the employee paid the same amount every week with no deductions for quantity or quality of work?
If the answer to even 1 of those questions is no, the employee could actually be non-exempt and if that employee works even 1 hour of overtime, they are due compensation for that hour. Failure to pay overtime comes at a higher price than just the overtime payments.
Employers would do well to spend some time investigating whether employees are appropriately classified.
One of the messiest and most costly homeowner repairs is fixing a burst frozen pipe. Water from a burst pipe can cause damage to carpeting, short out electrical appliances and ruin furniture. Luckily, there are several products on the market that offer some security against these nightmares:
Spray Foam- Foam is sprayed into the wall to fill cavities around pipes when the temperature cools.
Foam insulates walls and blocks airflow
Make sure you also caulk exterior joints on the outside wall near pipes
Heat Tape- The tape plugs into a grounded outlet and is then spiral wrapped around pipes.
Tapes have built-in thermostats that automatically call for power when the temperature drops near freezing
When the temperature rises, the power cuts off
In-pipe Heating Elements- Devices are placed in water and sewer pipes and conduct heat directly into the pipe as needed.
Valve Units- Products are screwed onto faucets (usually outside) and prohibit water from going through when temperatures are too low.
The valve sensor detects low and high temperatures
When the low temperature is detected, the sensor opens a micro-valve to produce heat
As the temperature rises, the valve closes
Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. Pipes that are exposed to extreme cold can burst when water expands; these can include outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in basements, attics and garages.
At Ross & Yerger, we believe our employees are a vital part of our company’s continued success and advancement. Get to know our Personal Lines Vice President & Team Leader/Account Manager in this month’s Employee Spotlight.
I have been a part of Ross & Yerger for 31 years. I began as a Personal Lines Account Manager and some years later became the Personal Lines Team Leader. In 2011, I was named a Vice President with Ross & Yerger.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Union County, MS in a community known as Graham. Our nearest town was about 12 miles from my house, so I am a true country girl.
What are three words that describe you best? This is a hard question. Three words describing me that immediately come to mind are hard-working, kind, and happy. I try to do my best at whatever I am doing, and I try to be kind and friendly to others. I have a wonderful family, a great job, wonderful friends, and everything I really need, so I consider myself very fortunate and happy.
What motto do you live by? I treat other people as I would want them to treat me. So, I guess that is the “Golden Rule”!
What do you like to do outside of work? My favorite thing to do outside of work is love on and play with my one-year-old grandson. He is the joy of my life! I also love to relax while reading, and, of course, I like to shop!
What is your favorite TV show/movie? I like TV shows and movies with a little mystery and drama. I can’t say I really have a favorite, but I enjoy watching something that can keep me guessing and hold my interest.
What is your favorite sports team? My favorite sports team would be the Olive Branch Conquistadors! My son is a coach, and I am a big fan.
What is your favorite food? It would be a toss-up between fried chicken and barbecue. I never tire of either of these foods.
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? I don’t really have a favorite band or song. I do enjoy the oldies (70’s), though. Guess that makes me old, too, doesn’t it?
What is one of your biggest pet peeves? People who are constantly whining and complaining about something really grinds my gears!
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? I guess the funniest memory I have while working at R&Y would be the day a co-worker and I were leaving work late, and just as we locked the front door, a spider fell from the ceiling down the front of my shirt. Our office is on Broadway Street, and I’m afraid I gave a new meaning to the words “Broadway Show”! It wasn’t so funny to me at the time, but I’m sure I gave everyone a good laugh if they looked at the camera footage from the bank across the street!
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I enjoy playing the piano and organ. I have been the pianist or organist at my church since I was 15 years old.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I am most thankful for my family. My husband and I have one son, and he and his wife have given us a wonderful, sweet grandson who we absolutely adore.
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Marilyn!
The scenario happens quite frequently. An employee needs some time off outside of the parameters of traditional paid time off. With a heart of generosity, the company allows the employee to take as much time as they need, except it reaches a certain point that now, the company desperately needs to fill the slot of the employee on leave.
And so, they unfortunately decide to terminate. When pressed with regard to the offer of FMLA, the employer retorts that it was never offered, because the employee never asked.
FMLA, or the Family Medical Leave Act, entitles eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job and benefits protected leave. Where employers can get into hot water is assuming that in order to provide FMLA to an eligible employee, that the employee needs to say the words FMLA.
This is not the case. The burden of responsibility is on the employer to initiate the FMLA process. If they can reasonably assume that an employee will need time off beyond that of a typical sick leave, it is always appropriate to send the Notice of Rights and Responsibilities to the employee. Then, investigate the process further, if necessary.
Asking the question “When was the last time your employee handbook was updated?” is usually met with a laugh or pause, followed by “not recently enough.” It’s no secret that labor laws, both on the federal and state level, change at a rapid pace and create a difficult task from a compliance standpoint. It’s also true that company growth can lead to additional requirements and employee protections. Considering this, it might be a good time to have your employee handbook reviewed.
Whether you do an internal review or have someone outside of the company take a look, remember that the policies you have are just as important as the policies you don’t have. Likewise, the wording you use can be the difference in whether your policy is compliant or not. For example, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled last year that Chipotle’s social media policy violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because the wording used was too broad and did not provide a clear definition of what was and wasn’t acceptable. This was only one of several issues the NLRB found, and almost all of those cited are present in a large number of social media policies today. The lesson here is that your wording – such as handbooks that prohibit employees from discussing their pay – can get you into trouble. Consider your wording carefully and remember that it’s important to be specific, but not too specific. Easy enough, right?
As for your policies, having ones you don’t actually need or enforce “just in case” is no better than omitting those you should have. For instance, a company with 40 employees that includes a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy in the handbook simply because they’ll eventually need it is setting themselves up for problems. Keep it simple and only incorporate the policies you actually enforce, and update when necessary. On the flip side, make sure you aren’t forgetting important policies. Some of the ones we see omitted most often are COBRA, Workers’ Compensation, and I-9 Immigration Reform, to name a few.
Finally, be sure to inform your employees after any notable changes are made and give them the opportunity to ask questions, should they need to. The handbook and policies in question do affect them the most, after all.
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 worked at Ross and Yerger for right at 6 years. I interviewed with Ross and Yerger twice for different positions before I accepted the position of Account Manager on the Oil & Gas Team in December 2011.
Where did you grow up?Well this question can be difficult since I was a military dependent. When people ask, you wonder how you should respond – do you tell them where you were born, the base you lived at the longest, where your parents were originally from, where most of your family lives, where you graduated high school, etc? I was born in Germany. I have lived in several different states. My Dad was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) in New Mexico the longest and I graduated from Alamogordo Senior High School in New Mexico. Both my father and mother are originally from Chattanooga, TN. So to answer the question, I grew up in Germany, England, Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri, and Tennessee.
What are three words that describe you best? I really had to think hard on this because picking three was difficult, but I believe serious, tenacious and well-rounded sums it up. Serious because, well I believe that is self-explanatory. Tenacious because I like to think I am pretty tough. Well-rounded because I am able to see different perspectives in most situations.
What motto do you live by? The Golden Rule-Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
What do you like to do outside of work? I enjoy traveling, reading, watching TV and just relaxing. I also love spending time with my grandson, Denim aka “Itty Bug.”
What is your favorite TV show/movie? “Power” hands down is my favorite TV Show – it is not a PG show but definitely good!!!!
What is your favorite sports team? I like several but don’t have a favorite.
What is your favorite food? My favorite food is food. The better question should have been what food don’t you like? I am not overly picky however I love shrimp any way you can cook them. Also, I love potatoes any way you cook them.
What or who is your favorite band/singer/song? I like a mixture of different music. Right now I would say one of my favorite songs is “Made a Way” by Travis Greene.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves? When a person doesn’t do what they said they were going to do.
What has been your best memory while working at R&Y? One of the best memories, even though it wasn’t a happy time, was when my mother passed away in April 2013. At that time, I had not been with Ross and Yerger very long at all, but I will never forget the cards, notes, words of encouragement, sympathy, thoughts for my family and I and most importantly prayers I received from so many.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you. I think I am actually a pretty funny person, however most people wouldn’t guess that since I am so serious.
What is your proudest accomplishment? Motherhood would be my proudest accomplishment. I believe that my children Shayla (26) and Zaveon (20) are two of the most respectful, loving, giving, amazing and gifted treasures God has given me. I am loving watching them come into their own individual selves.
Thanks for being such a great part of the R&Y family, Rena!
A LinkedIn company page can be an incredible resource, but many businesses fail to understand why it’s so important to the overall digital marketing strategy. LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world, with more than 450 million members in over 200 countries and territories. And no-this is not a paid endorsement for LinkedIn, I just believe it’s on the top 10 list of must do’s in order to gain recognition for your brand while building trust and credibility for your company.
Many people view the social media site only as a site for job hunters and for growing your professional network, but it is an equally effective tool for uncovering new business leads and connecting with customers and partners. Having a LinkedIn company page gives you a public avenue to share more information about your company. This helps you create a carefully crafted image of who your company is in terms of your history and how your business started, your goals, achievements, and share career opportunities to interested job candidates.
Here are some of the business benefits of having a LinkedIn company page:
1. Increased visibility for your brand
2. Employees act as brand ambassadors
3. Increases traffic to your website
4. Attracts top talent
5. Provides an outlet to promote your products, services and important content
6. Enhances credibility and attracts new business
Needless to say, companies have so much more to gain from being on LinkedIn. It is a relatively free platform that extends their reach far beyond the usual and gives them an opportunity to promote themselves on a global scale. Feel free to follow the Ross & Yerger LinkedIn page to keep up with our weekly blog posts and company updates.
In our prior post on bonds we mentioned the fact that bonds are three party contracts involving a principal, a surety and an obligee. The principal is someone who has a legal or contractual obligation to another, the obligee, and that obligation is guaranteed by a third party, the surety, which is usually an insurance company. Fidelity bonds are the exception in that they are two party contracts and most resemble the insurance products with which most of us are familiar.
Fidelity bonds protect a company against theft from their employees. Pretty simple and straightforward. In the event an employee steals money and/or materials from their employer, the fidelity bond responds. The bonds are priced based on the limit of coverage chosen, the number of employees at the time of application and the amount of the deductible chosen. The underwriting is based on an application and possibly a supplemental questionnaire concerning your accounting system and internal controls.
Our agency has a few fidelity bonds that are a stand-alone bond, but today most fidelity coverage is written in conjunction with your commercial insurance. Several years ago, the insurance industry recognized that fidelity coverage is more similar to a standard insurance product than a bond, and it is now offered as a part of a crime policy available to a company alongside their general liability, workers’ comp, automobile and property. In either situation, the underwriting information needed is similar: a completed application and information on internal controls.
Fidelity coverage is usually an optional or voluntary coverage that a business owner might choose based on his or her own appetite for risk. However, there is one instance in which fidelity coverage is required by law. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires that employee benefit plans be protected against fraud or theft by plan administrators and corporate officers who may have access to plan assets. The named insured on the bond is the benefit plan and the coverage amount must be at least 10% of the total amount of assets in the plan.
If you have any questions about this article, or wonder if this is a coverage you might need, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
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
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!
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Two United Plaza
8550 United Plaza Blvd, Suite #702
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Telephone: (225) 927-3198
Fax: (225) 612-6755
Ross & Yerger New Orleans, LA Office
3900 N Causeway Blvd. Suite 1200
Metairie, LA 70002
Telephone: (504) 210-7074
Fax: (601) 326-4591
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