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As costs for litigation and damage awards climb, experts predict that employment liability will only become more complex. It is critical for business owners to understand their exposures and options for managing risks.


What Our Customers are Saying about Our Property and Casualty Department


"We had been experiencing a less than pleasant situation with our previous company not returning phone messages and being very vague with explanations when we had questions regarding our coverage. Subsequently, it was recommended that we speak to COPIC Financial regarding our workers' compensation. We were received very graciously by Kristin Stepien. She answered our questions quickly and efficiently. When a quote was requested, to our amazement, we received preliminary information by the end of that business day with a complete quote the next day." -- Marge Smith, RN; SCEMA office manager


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In This Issue-February 2012
Low-Cost Wellness Strategies to Improve the Health of Your Workers
Are Your Group Long-Term Disability Insurance Benefits Enough?
Benefit Plan Managers: How to Protect Yourself from Liability
Reduce Costs on the Products and Services You Already Buy
Complying with Health Care Reform: Your 2012 Checklist
Reduce Workers Compensation Claims by Considering Ergonomics


Low-Cost Wellness Strategies to Improve the Health of Your Workers

Are you sold on the benefits of wellness, but having trouble fitting it into your budget? There are plenty of low-cost wellness strategies and ideas that can help improve the health of your workforce.



  • Offer healthy food and beverages in vending machines, office meetings and parties, cafeteria, etc.
  • Make kitchen equipment available to employees.
  • Provide an on-site garden, if possible.

Physical Activity

  • Host walk-and-talk meetings.
  • Offer flexible work hours to allow for exercise during the day.
  • Offer on-site fitness opportunities, such as classes, walking trails, exercise equipment, etc. Provide changing and showering facilities, if possible.
  • Provide motivational and educational signs in stairwells and other areas.
  • Start employee walking clubs, fitness challenges, sports teams or other groups.
  • Offer safely and conveniently located bicycle racks.

General Health

  • Develop policies that support wellness initiatives, such as prohibiting tobacco use on company property.
  • Promote and encourage employee participation in wellness activities.
  • Host an annual health fair.
  • Provide regular health and wellness education for employees.
  • Make your health plan more wellness-oriented, such as providing weight management counseling, tobacco cessation treatment and other wellness services at no cost.
  • Encourage employees to get recommended preventive screenings and immunizations, and emphasize if they are cost-free under your plan.

Contact Andrea Levine at 720-858-6287 with all of your employer health plan questions.

Are Your Group Long-Term Disability Insurance Benefits Enough?

Your financial future may not be as secure as you think. Although group long-term disability (LTD) insurance -- provided as a benefit by employers to employees -- can provide a great foundation for protecting income from the financial setbacks of a disability, it may not be enough.  


Most group and association LTD contracts at first glance are appealing as they cover 60 percent of gross income and are employer-provided. However, often they do not include bonuses and the benefits are usually taxable. This translates into a potential "pay cut" of up to 40 percent after taxes. In addition, you may be surprised to know your LTD benefits will be offset by any payments received due to Social Security disability, worker's compensation, and even your auto insurances. With all of these reductions, your ability to sustain your lifestyle in the event of a long-term disability could be significantly compromised.


Most financial experts recommend individual disability income (DI) insurance as part of a sound financial plan.


How Individual DI Insurance Can Help


Individual DI insurance can help protect your hard-earned savings and your family's future from a financial catastrophe. If you were to become disabled, the individual DI policy would pay benefits in addition to any disability benefits you may receive from your employer. And, when you buy individual disability coverage with after-tax dollars, the benefit payments are tax-free.


Qualifying for individual DI insurance can be painless. Some insurance companies offer policies with streamlined underwriting processes that allow you to bypass the usual blood tests and physical exams. Such policies typically also offer faster application approvals.


See For Yourself


Online calculators can help you determine your need for individual DI insurance.


COPIC offers a disability program featuring a 20 percent discount and streamlined underwriting process.


Contact Mike Edwards at 720-858-6289 for more information.


Benefit Plan Managers: How to Protect Yourself from Liability 

Company representatives involved in managing pensions, savings, profit-sharing, employee benefits and welfare plans are liable if they breach their fiduciary duties.


If this responsibility belongs to you, it is imperative that you understand your responsibilities to avoid potential liability. In fact, fiduciaries that do not follow the basic standards of conduct may be personally liable to restore any losses to the plan, or to restore any profits made through an improper use of the plan's assets resulting from their actions. Consider Fiduciary Liability Insurance to protect you and your organization against losses associated with fiduciary error.


Fiduciary Liability Insurance


Fiduciary Liability Insurance protects fiduciaries against legal liability for claims arising out of their roles. These policies are stand-alone, yet there are several other protections available for organizations wishing to protect themselves:

  • Fidelity bonds are required under ERISA and are designed for safeguarding beneficiaries when administrators or trustees financially harm an employee benefit plan. This bonding insurance is only designed to benefit the plan and beneficiaries, and will not protect the trustees from liability claims (the difference as compared to Fiduciary Liability Insurance).
  • Employment Benefit Liability (EBL) insurance covers claims arising out of errors or omissions while administering a benefit plan. EBL does not protect against all fiduciary responsibilities and may be included in a Fiduciary Liability policy.

In addition to these coverages, similar protection may be adopted using Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability Insurance, Commercial General Liability (CGL) or Trust E&O/Professional Liability coverage with an endorsement covering fiduciary liabilities.


Contact Kristin Stepien at 720-858-6297 for help determining the right coverage for you.

Reduce Costs on the Products and Services You Already Buy

Join the other COPIC members who are enjoying significant savings on their supplies and services through the CO-POWER group purchasing program.


Average savings are 12 to 18 percent on medical and office supplies; 40 percent savings on medical waste.


Call Taylor Schierburg at 720-858-6179 to see what CO-POWER can do for your practice.


Complying with Health Care Reform: Your 2012 Checklist

Health care reform continues to bring changes for employers and health plans. Here's what employers need to know for 2012. 

  • Determine whether you have a grandfathered plan, and whether your plan will maintain that status in 2012. If you make certain plan changes, the plan is no longer grandfathered. If you have a non-grandfathered plan, it must comply with various health care reform provisions.

The deadline to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) was extended until final regulations are issued. The former proposed deadline was March 23, 2012. It is unknown when final regulations will be issued.

  • Once the SBC requirement becomes effective, plans must provide 60 days' notice of any material modifications to the plan that are not related to renewals of coverage.
  • For non-grandfathered plans starting on or after Aug. 1, 2012, certain women's preventive health services must be covered with no cost sharing.
  • Fully insured plans may receive rebates in August 2012 if they qualify for one under the new medical loss ratio rules. The rebates must be used for the benefit of plan members, which may include reducing enrollees' premium payments.
  • Beginning with the 2012 tax year, employers who issue 250 or more W-2 forms must report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored group health coverage on employees' W-2 forms. The cost must be reported beginning with the 2012 W-2 forms, which are issued January 2013. The requirement is optional for smaller employers until further guidance is issued.
  • If your state previously required you to impute income for covering dependents up to age 26, check for changes to your state's tax code. All states should now conform to federal tax law, which permits this coverage to be provided tax-free.
  • Self-funded plans must pay a $1 per covered life fee for comparative effectiveness research. Fees are effective for the first renewal after Oct. 1, 2012.
  • Small employers that qualify for the tax credit provided by health care reform can claim it by filing Form 8941 with their annual tax filings. Employers with fewer than 25 employees and who pay average annual wages of less than $50,000 generally qualify.

Contact Andrea Levine at 720-858-6287 for help navigating the complexities of health care reform.


Reduce Workers' Compensation Claims by Considering Ergonomics

Health care workers, especially those employed by nursing homes, perform a variety of lifting tasks that put extreme strain on their bodies. Often, an employee must physically support and move residents who are larger and heavier than he/she can reasonably handle. As a result, these workers are at high risk for developing job-related injuries.


In 2009, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants had the highest incidence rate of musculoskeletal disorders, two times greater the average rate of all occupations. These health care workers sustained 50,620 injuries that required days away from work, the second highest of any occupation. Overexertion was the leading cause or exposure for those injuries.


You can take measures to reduce the physical strain on your employees by practicing and encouraging ergonomics, the science of designing tasks to fit the physical make-up of the workers. Proper lifting equipment, training, and modification of tasks will prevent injuries and reduce workers' compensation claims.


Here is what to consider:

  • Benefits of portable mechanical lifts. At a cost of $3,000-$6,000, these machines may seem like a costly investment; however, your investment will be recovered in two to three years through reductions in workers' compensation expenses.
  • Implementing a safety program. Provide continuous training on injury prevention and teach your employees how to recognize musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Analyzing your facility. Identify potential hazards by observing your employees and getting employee feedback on potential hazards.
  • Obtain expert guidance. Consider hiring a musculoskeletal disorder expert to assist injured employees, including identifying injuries and monitoring employees for when they can return to their normal duties.

Questions about your workers' compensation program? Contact Kristin Stepien at 720-858-6297.

Even if you're not currently in the market for insurance products, we're always available to help make sure you're getting the best coverages at the best prices. Call us at 720-858-6280!

Wendy Heckman
President, COPIC Financial Service Group
COPIC Better Medicine, Better Lives
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Copyright 2012 by the COPIC Trust. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be produced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.

  COPIC Financial Service Group, Ltd. is an insurance brokerage firm representing a variety of insurance carriers. Products offered by COPIC Financial are not issued by COPIC Insurance Company.