college

DID YOU KNOW? Back to School Insurance Needs

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Most parents can clearly remember their child’s first day of school and the mix of emotions as they got on the school bus. Will they like their teacher? Will they make friends? Did I remember to put everything in their backpack?

For parents of college-bound students, the emotions are a little more intense and the questions a little different. Will they be safe? Will they do something harmful to themselves or others? Will they become homesick?

Whether your child is living in a dorm, a fraternity/sorority house, or off-campus housing, you should contact your insurance agent as part of the move-in process and confirm the following:

  • Will my home insurance policy respond to a liability claim associated with my child’s college address? 

  • Are my child’s belongings covered by my home insurance policy, or do I need to secure renter’s insurance?

  • Whether or not my child has a car at school, do I need to make changes to the auto insurance?

  • Do I need to update the personal umbrella policy as well? Or if I don’t have one, should I get one?

Perhaps more importantly than coverage for your child’s belongings, you need to confirm how your home insurance policy provides liability coverage to other locations. Your child might be a model citizen, but the combination of alcohol, lack of supervision, and peer pressure can lead to some dumb decisions and your homeowner’s liability insurance will likely provide coverage. Some policies automatically cover on-campus housing, but not off-campus housing, while others provide no coverage unless the policy is endorsed. The good news is that the cost to extend liability to another location is usually less than $50 per year, plus another $50 to $100 to add the location to an umbrella policy.

Most home insurance policies also provide coverage for personal property located away from the primary residence. This amount is usually limited to 10% of your policy limit, but that may be enough.  For example, if your home insurance policy provides you with $250,000 of personal property coverage, up to $25,000 of that coverage would cover personal property at your child’s college address. Keep in mind that your policy deductible would apply, so if you have a high deductible, the amount of coverage would be reduced accordingly. Also, if your child’s location becomes uninhabitable due to a covered cause of loss, your policy would not provide funds for temporary housing expenses. If these restrictions are too onerous, a separate renter’s insurance policy might be a better solution.

Many insurance companies also provide an auto insurance discount if your child is away at school without a vehicle and the school is located more than 100 miles from home. If your child is bringing a car to school, you need to inform the insurance company as well. Some states require you to carry state-specific auto insurance if your vehicle is “garaged” in the state for more than 30, 60, or 90 days. If your child is living full-time at school in order to secure in-state tuition, you may need to register the vehicle in that state as proof of residency. 

If you have a personal umbrella policy, you should also make sure your agent updates the coverage to reflect the changes to your home and/or auto insurance policies. Umbrella policies only cover the locations, vehicles, and drivers listed in the policy itself, so there could be a coverage problem if the agent forgets to list the off-campus apartment you rented for your son or daughter. 

If you don’t have a personal umbrella policy, you may want to consider purchasing one at this time. College is not just a place to gain academic knowledge. It’s also a place to learn how to become an adult and accept people and opinions different from your own. Sometimes that leads to bad decisions that can harm other people. A personal umbrella policy can provide you with the peace of mind that if your child unintentionally causes harm to someone else, it doesn’t have to be financially ruinous.

Going away to college is both exciting and challenging for parents and students. A quick insurance check-up with an associate at Plexus Private Client Solutions can reduce some of that anxiety. We look forward to assisting you.


David Miller, who writes the monthly, DID YOU KNOW? blog is The Plexus Groupe’s Vice President, Client Executive for Private Client Solutions. Miller can be reached by calling 846-307-6141.

Plexus Introduces 2018 Summer Internship Program

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Deer Park, IL, April 18, 2018. -- The Plexus Groupe, a national insurance brokerage, is proud to introduce its Summer Insurance Internship Program. The Insurance Internship Program allows students entering their junior or senior year in Fall 2018 to apply. Interns will gain valuable real-world business and insurance experience in a workplace environment annually honored as one of the "Best Places to Work in Insurance" by Business Insurance magazine and Best Companies Group. The firm seeks a pair of interns for its Deer Park, Ill. office. It also looks to fill one position in its Dallas office. The paid insurance internship program runs from Monday, June 11 through Friday, August 3.

"We're excited for the launch of our insurance internship program," said Stephanie Martinez, Plexus VP of Human Resources. "It's a wonderful opportunity for students pursuing a career in insurance, a fast-paced field that employs three million nationwide. Also, a field that is undergoing considerable change because of technology. These are exciting times for our firm and we are looking forward to working with these students."

Internship Qualifications

In order to qualify for a Plexus insurance internship, candidates must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. Candidates will preferably major in Risk Management, Insurance, Human Resources, Business, or Finance. Employee Benefits will have two internships open: one in Deer Park, one in Dallas. One intern will work with Plexus's Property & Casualty team in Deer Park.

The Plexus Groupe will nominate interns for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers' Scholarship. This will give them a chance to win $5,000 towards their college educations.

Who is The Plexus Groupe

Plexus offers expertise in employee benefits, property and casualty, corporate retirement plans, personal lines insurance, human resources administration / consulting, benefits technology services, and mergers and acquisitions. In each of the last eight years, the firm has been honored as one of the "Best Places to Work in Insurance" by Business Insurance magazine and Best Companies Group. Headquartered in suburban Chicago (Deer Park), Plexus also has offices in Chicago (Loop), Dallas and Oklahoma City.

For more information on Plexus's 2018 Summer Internship Program, please contact the firm at 847-307-6100 and ask to speak to a Human Resources team member, or visit the firm's Career Opportunities page to apply.

DOL announces new standard for unpaid interns 

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In January, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it would adopt a new standard for determining whether interns and students are “employees” who must receive pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The DOL clarified it would abandon its six-part test and adopt the “primary beneficiary” test used by federal courts. The six-part test says an intern at a for-profit company is an employee unless six factors are met. By contrast, the primary beneficiary test has a more flexible approach. It focuses on whether the intern or the business benefits more from the relationship.

The Old Six-Part Test

The benefit test is very specific and allows for interns to be unpaid if the following factors are met:

— The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training 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, impedes their operations.

— The intern's not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.

— The employer and the intern understand that the intern's not entitled to wages for the time in the internship.

The Primary Beneficiary Test

The primary beneficiary test looks at the “economic reality” nature of the employment relationship and includes seven factors to consider. However, unlike the six-part test, these factors provide only a reference frame to determine who is benefiting more from 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 given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.

— The extent to which the internship's 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 internships duration's 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's conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

Employers don't need to meet every factor, and also different considerations go with different factors. Instead, the courts will consider these seven factors and evaluate whether, in the totality of the circumstances, the employer is benefiting more from the relationship than the intern is.

When an employer is the primary beneficiary of the relationship, the intern is an employee for purposes of the FLSA. When the intern is the primary beneficiary, he or she is not an employee under the FLSA.

Action Steps

— Employers should review how the primary beneficiary test applies to interns at their organizations. The DOL has provided an updated fact sheet for employers to use.

— Employers should also make sure that any unpaid intern programs primarily benefit their interns and not the company.

Let Plexus lend a hand

Have questions regarding this newsletter or or other employee benefits matters? Then, Contact a Plexus client service team representative in Deer Park, Ill. (847.307.6100), Chicago (312.606.4800), Dallas (972.770.5010), or Oklahoma City (405.840.3033). We’re here to help – and we’re happy to help.

Disclaimer and publishing credit: This Compliance Bulletin is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. © 2018 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.