Personal Lines

DID YOU KNOW? Beating Black Ice Could Mean A Better Insurance Rate

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Winter is officially here and the arctic air has arrived, making it dangerous to be outside, much less on the roads. Even though we like to think we’re accustomed to tough Midwestern winters, the fact is we all tend to forget to adapt our driving styles when the season arrives. 

Black ice can be one of the worst causes of auto accidents because it forms quickly and is very hard to see.  It isn’t actually black, but it appears that way because if forms without bubbles, allowing it to blend in with any surface it forms over.  It forms most commonly at night or in the early morning when temperatures are at their lowest, and it tends to form on parts of the road that do not get much sunshine, or on elevated roadways.   

But if it happens quickly, and it’s hard to see, what are some of the signs to look for? 

  • If you are driving and suddenly see cars swerve for no apparent reason, black ice is a likely cause. 

  • If you are driving and your steering starts to feel very “light”, you may be driving on black ice.  Even when you are driving in a straight line, you are constantly making small steering corrections and you should be able to feel your car respond.  If you make a steering correction and there is no corresponding response from the tires, you are probably driving on black ice. 

  • Black ice almost always forms in very smooth, very glossy sheets.  In the right lighting conditions, you will be able to distinguish this shiny patch of pavement from the normally flat and dull-black pavement.   

What can you do if you find yourself sliding on black ice? 

  • First, get yourself familiar with that feeling before you’re on a crowded highway.  Practice driving on ice in a safe surrounding.  Find a large, empty parking lot that is covered in ice or snow and drive faster than you normally might.  Hit the brakes hard to get familiar with the pulsing feeling of your anti-lock braking system.  Over-correct with the steering wheel to induce a slide and steer your way out of it.   

  • If you do hit black ice, you need to remain calm and avoid over-correcting.  If you’ve practiced this, you know how quickly your car will slide and spin if you make sudden movements with the steering or brakes.  The general rule is to do as little as possible and allow the car to pass over the ice.  Roll your foot off the gas, keep the steering wheel straight and don’t touch the brakes.  Also, hold the steering wheel loosely.  If you have a death grip on the steering wheel, you won’t allow for any wheel travel if you are driving on bumps or uneven pavement.   

  • If you can, gently head for areas of traction.  This may include textured ice, snow covered areas, or the rumble strips on the shoulder.   

OK, I’m skidding.  Now what? 

  • Black ice is often patchy, so hopefully your tires will soon find traction.  Keep in mind that once your tires find traction, your car will want to start heading in the direction of that traction.  This is another reason why you want to loosely hold the steering wheel, because it will jerk back when you hit dry pavement.   

  • Now’s the time to hit the brakes.  Most cars have ABS, so you will start to hear and feel that pulsing/vibrating sound.  Keep your foot on the brake and let the car find whatever deceleration is possible. 

  • Always steer your car in the direction you want it to go.  You may get the car out of a skid, but it could snap back and skid in the opposite direction.  If this happens, you are probably going to wind up in a spin.  At this point, try to steer the car into something that will cause a minimum amount of damage, like a snowbank or a field.  You may not have any choice in the matter, but you can at least try. 

  • Once you stop, stay calm and assess the situation.  Are you hurt?  Are your passengers ok?  Is the car driveable, and if so, can you slowly move it to a safe spot where it won’t get hit by other cars? 

Have questions about auto insurance after a black ice accident? David Miller has answers. 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.

 

House Method article features The Plexus Groupe’s Personal Lines Insurance Expert David Miller

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David Miller, Vice President, Client Executive for Private Client Solutions, was quoted this week in a blog about owning and caring for upscale homes called House Method. The article is about 16 items usually not covered in a homeowner’s insurance policy. 

This is Miller’s second time this month that he has been cited in a national publication. Last week, he was featured in a Consumer Reports article.

The Plexus Groupe is stocked with experts just like Miller who work in various practice areas like employee benefits and property and casualty to technology solutions and mergers and acquisitions. Contact a strategic insurance expert in Deer Park, Illinois at 847-307-6100, Chicago at 312-606-4800, Dallas at 972-770-5010 or Oklahoma City at 405-840-3033.

DID YOU KNOW? Texting While Driving Deaths On The Rise

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Drunk driving is down by 65 percent since 1982, but deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving – like texting while driving – are on the rise. People are busier than ever, juggling home and work lives, managing kids' schedules and rushing from one thing to the next. It is no wonder that people use their time in the car to navigate their day -- making appointments, responding to email, returning a text -- when instead they should just navigate the road.

This wasn't always the most prevalent problem on the road. Alcohol was.

According to the National Institutes of Health, in the mid-1970s, alcohol was:

  • a factor in over 60 percent of traffic fatalities
  • involved in two-thirds of traffic deaths among persons 16 to 20
  • allowed to be purchased by anyone 18-years old.

Since then, a number of factors have been implemented to reduce drunk driving fatalities. Some of those reasons include:

  • the drinking age is now 21 in all 50 states.
  • The level at which a person can be arrested for drunk driving has dropped from a 0.10% blood alcohol content (BAC) to 0.08%
  • a zero tolerance law of 0% BAC for underage drinking have been adopted.
  • drunk driving has been stigmatized
  • the use of designated driving has been promoted.

 

According to Responsibility.org, these efforts have reduced alcohol-impaired driving fatalties by 65% since record keeping began in 1982.

But with the onslaught of cell-phone use -- over 330 billion Americans use one daily -- the statistics for distracted driving are going in the other direction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 9 people are killed and 1,100 people are injured per day due to distracted driving and these statistics don’t include near-misses where an accident was avoided at the last second.

A number of years ago, Car and Driver magazine conducted a test that measured the reaction time of a drunk driver compared to a texting driver. The texting drivers took significantly longer to react to an alert than drivers who were legally drunk, yet texting and driving continues virtually unabated.

Despite these statistics, legal deterrents for distracted driving lag far behind those that have been implemented for drunk driving. In Illinois, the average fine for texting and driving is $75 for a first offense and little or no change in your insurance premium with most insurance companies.  Contrast this with a first-offense DUI in Illinois – A one-year suspension of your driver’s license, a fine of up to $2,500 (not counting attorney fees), and up to one year in jail.  From an insurance standpoint, a DUI may also result in non-renewal of your auto insurance, or astronomical increases in your premium combined with coverage restrictions or eliminations for up to seven years.

In order to fill this void, the insurance industry needs to get tougher on distracted driving. Awareness campaigns are a good first step, but meaningful financial penalties need to be implemented as a deterrent. Perhaps tripling a policyholder’s collision deductible for a distracted driving claim would work because it would have an immediate financial impact at the time of loss.

Have questions about your home and auto insurance coverage and want to make sure you are covered if a texting while driving accident occurs? David Miller has answers. 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 Points: Insurance stories we're reading

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We enjoy reading about insurance. Here are seven insurance stories we're sharing, bookmarking, and highlighting as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

The Economist takes a look at how insurance is working to tailor policies for the freelance workforce.

→ Fixing something and need insurance fast? One agency is offering on-demand coverage.

→ Why are major non-insurers like Walmart suddenly looking to get into the business?

→ Dog bite insurance claims totaled close to $690 million in 2017, according to one study.

→ The state of Kansas allows teachers to be armed in schools, but the state schools' insurer has made it clear it won't cover schools with armed teachers.

→ Here's a neat story from the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal on how area insurers and schools are working to attract students to careers in insurance.

→ The deadly Montecito mudslide has led to more than $400 million in insurance claims.

 

Why checking your homeowners insurance should be a rite of spring

Double-checking your homeowners insurance probably isn’t on many spring to-do lists. But it should be.

That’s the advice from David Miller, Vice President and risk management expert at Plexus Private Client Solutions, a suburban Chicagoland personal insurance agency protecting the life’s work of successful families and individuals with tailored home, auto, and umbrella coverage solutions.

In his recent article, “Eight Things That Might Surprise You About Your Home Insurance Policy,” Miller highlights some hot-button issues for homeowners, including:

Your home may be underinsured. Via Consumer Reports, which cited data from analytics firm CoreLogic, three out of every five homes are 20% underinsured on average. In the case of a total rebuild, this could leave homeowners left to pick up the pieces — while also picking up the check.

Take a look at your deductible, because it may have changed. Miller, who has more than two decades of insurance experience, cautions homeowners to be aware of wind and hail deductibles. These have been on the rise, with an uptick in roof-related claims particularly an issue. An insurance company can only change your coverage at renewal; make sure to read the fine print. Your agent can help.

Do not assume you have sump pump failure coverage. Most insurance companies will exclude this damage as a cause of loss. However, you can usually buy back a limited amount of coverage. Writes Miller: “Even if you have an unfinished basement, the costs associated with a sump pump/sewer claim might surprise you.”

For more information on the home and personal insurance expertise offered by Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact David Miller at 847-307-6100, or visit plexusgroupe.com. The firm's located at 21805 W. Field Parkway, Suite 300, in Deer Park, Illinois.

About Plexus Private Client Solutions

The personal insurance practice of national insurance brokerage The Plexus Groupe LLC, Plexus Private Client Solutions delivers a superior client experience and comprehensive personal insurance for successful individuals and families, including auto, home, and umbrella coverage. Our experienced, dedicated team takes a consultative approach to your personal risk management needs. For more information on Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact the firm at 847.307.6100 or via the Web.

Plexus Points: Insurance stories we're reading

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At Plexus, we enjoy reading about insurance. Here are a half-dozen insurance stories we are sharing, bookmarking, and highlighting as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

-- A major carmarker will begin a program allowing owners to rent their cars out when they are not using them, a la Airbnb and homes.

-- In case you are wondering, Airbnb does provide some free liability coverage to users, and homeowners insurance may also cover some issues, as this Kiplinger's Personal Finance article points out.

-- Here's a look at the type of coverages home-based businesses may want to explore.

-- Will marijuana-related businesses utilize captives for insurance solutions?

-- Dental implants are effective, but will your insurance cover them?

-- On homeowners policies and firearms.

Eight things that might surprise you about your home insurance policy

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By David Miller, Vice PresidentPlexus Private Client Solutions 

Home insurance is essential, but only having the right home insurance offers true piece of mind.

What's more, there is nothing worse than being surprised by an expense not covered by your insurance.

With these points in mind, here are eight things to consider as you think about your homeowner's coverage.

Finally, if you want to discuss issues raised in this article, please contact me at 847-307-6141 or dmiller@plexusgroupe.com.

Eight Considerations

1. Your home's probably underinsured.  According to CoreLogic, which provides analytics information to insurers and other businesses, 60% of U.S homes seem uninsured by an average of 20%.  Most home insurance companies will provide additional coverage if the amount listed in your policy's not enough to rebuild your home. The amount of this cushion varies from one company to the next.

The bigger concern, however, is not working with an agent that insures the home correctly in the first place.  You don’t want to find out at the time of loss that your policy provides you with 20 percent additional coverage when you need 50 percent more coverage to completely rebuild your home.

2. Your deductible may be too low.  Many insurance companies are starting to provide meaningful premium reductions at higher policy deductibles.  Our rule of thumb is to accept a higher deductible when the increase in deductible divided by the premium savings is five years or less.

For example, let’s assume your current deductible is $1,000.  The insurance company would decrease your premium by $450 if you increased the deductible to $2,500.  If you divide the additional out-of-pocket expense ($1,500) by the premium savings ($450), the result is 3.3 years.  In this example, we would recommend moving to the higher deductible.

3. Your deductible may have changed.  We have started to notice that some direct writers are moving towards a percentage deductible as opposed to a flat deductible for all causes of loss.  Other companies are implementing higher deductibles for certain types of losses. Many range from one percent to as high as five percent for losses due to wind or hail.

4. You may have little or no coverage for losses due to sump pump failure or sewer backup.  Most policies issued by direct writers provide no coverage if water enters your home through a sump pump failure or a sewer drain backup.  Many of these same companies will allow you to buy back some coverage. The amounts may be low ($10,000 is common), or the buyback includes restrictions on the types of property covered.

Even if you have an unfinished basement, the costs associated with a sump pump/sewer claim might surprise you.  We represent companies that offer higher limits, all the way up to limits on your home and/or contents.

5. You may have a depreciation schedule for hail damage claims to your roof.  Some companies are including a depreciation table in their policies that list how much less they will pay for your roof, based on the type and age of your shingles.  For example, if you have a 20-year-old roof and asphalt shingles that  hail damaged, your company might only pay for 50 percent of the claim.

6. Your policy might not cover claims for Personal Injury.  Personal Injury refers to such things as libel, defamation, and invasion of privacy.  While these types of claims may seem far-fetched, they are on the rise with the pervasive use of social media.  And while you may be careful with what you post about your neighbors or friends, your children may not.  They might send an inappropriate photo or text to a friend, and that message's forwarded and quickly goes viral.  Adding this coverage to your home insurance is inexpensive (less than $50 a year) and often overlooked by the agent.

7. Your jewelry or other valuables may not be insured.  Most policies limit the amount of coverage for lost or stolen jewelry to no more than $2,500 – and that's after your deductible's applied.  For additional premium, you can insure your jewelry for its full value at a $0 deductible.

You can insure collections of just about anything. Whether it's sports memorabilia, old movie posters, or wine, your passion's included.

8 Your homeowner’s liability limit may be too low.  Many home insurance policies carry a liability limit of $100,000 or $300,000.  For less than $50 per year, this limit can be increased to $500,000, or even $1 million.

About Plexus Private Client Solutions 

Plexus Private Client Solutions protects the life’s work of families and individuals, offering tailored, comprehensive personal insurance solutions, including home, auto, and umbrella policies. Click here for a personalized quote.

 

Worried about distracted driving? There's an app for that.

We lead our latest personal insurance news roundup with a look at a phone feature aimed to reduce distracted driving. Now there is some technology we can all get behind. For more information on The Plexus Groupe's home and auto coverage solutions,  contact us at 847-307-6100 or via the Web.

Getting to know the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" iPhone feature

iPhone owners seeking a little peace and quiet during their commute, try out the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature. The application is available on devices using iOS 11, and Apple has a handy how-to guide for using the feature. There is some evidence the app can reduce iPhone use in the car. Via Insurance Business America, the online auto-coverage quoting service EverQuote surveyed iPhone users last September and October and found that device use while driving decreased eight percent with the Do Not Disturb function employed.

Don't let an ice dam ruin the final weeks of winter

We've reached the homestretch of winter, but that does not mean the risk of ice-related damage has passed just yet. Homeowners should look out for ice dams, which grow at the edges of roofs and cause problems if they melt. The resulting water has nowhere to go, leaving it to leak inside the house, potentially damaging walls and other fixtures. Travelers Insurance offers some helpful tips on how to prevent ice dams.

Introducing our new online home & auto quoting platform 

Plexus is proud to unveil a new online platform designed to streamline the home & auto quoting process for our personal insurance clients. Fill out this brief online form, and one of our dedicated Plexus Private Client Solutions representatives will contact you to begin the process of finding the right insurance for your needs. At Plexus, you are a valued client partner, not an account, and we will protect all you've earned and achieved with a tailored, comprehensive risk management strategy. Want to know more about what Private Client Solutions can do for you? Contact Client Executive David Miller at 847.307.6141 or via email at dmiller@plexusgroupe.com.

Insurance stories we're reading

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At The Plexus Groupe, we enjoy reading about insurance stories. Here are five industry-related stories we're bookmarking, sharing, and thumbing through as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

→ Here's a closer look at the kinds of insurance that major motion pictures might utilize.

→ Will Maryland require individuals to have health insurance?

→ Auto insurance rates are seemingly up everywhere, but they are really going up in Colorado.

→ A fisherman, a boat, and a half-million dollars in liability insurance.

→ Wisconsin recently adjusted the insurance program available to dairy farmers that pays out when the cost of producing milk nears the cost of selling milk.

Plexus, Hunton & Williams to host Cybersecurity Seminar in Dallas on February 20

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International law firm Hunton & Williams and insurance brokerage / risk management consultancy The Plexus Groupe are excited to host a series of cyber risk management panel discussions tomorrow, Tuesday, February 20, from 1-5 p.m. at Hunton and Williams's offices at 1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 3700, in Dallas. An on-site cocktail hour will follow the panel discussions. Join other local executives for cutting edge, actionable threat mitigation insights and fruitful networking opportunities featuring leading legal, security, insurance, and risk management experts.

To RSVP, contact Michael Iannaccone of Plexus Financial Services at miannaccone@plexusfs.com or 630.347.5939.

Topics to be covered by our panelists include:

Cyber Threats: Fixed and Mobile

The Internet of Things brings great opportunity for businesses. But hackers need just cheap, easily accessible technology to wreak havoc on your firm. We take an in-depth look at this dangerous landscape.

Panelists

Chris Risley, CEO, Bastille Networks Internet Security; has led nine venture-backed startups.

Andrew Hoog, Founder, NowSecure; mobile security expert.

Cyber Risk Management: Direct and Indirect

Every day, your brand and your business are on the line.

Panelists

Paul M. Tiao, Partner, Hunton & Williams; co-chair of firm's cyber and physical security task force and former senior counsel under FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.

Michael Berman, Founder & CEO, Ncontracts; leading risk management software provider for financial institutions.

Cyber Risk Mitigation

So you’ve been hacked. What’s the cost? Get ready for some sticker shock.

Panelists

Erik Tammearu, National Benefits Distribution, Symantec.

Michael Iannaccone, Vice President, Plexus Financial Services; banking and risk management consultant.

Cyber Liability

When cyber-attackers hit, cyber insurance and its many components can save the day.

Panelists

Lorelie S. Masters, Partner, Hunton & Williams; nationally recognized insurance coverage litigator.

Willie T. Lindsey, Vice President, Executive Liability, The Plexus Groupe; Executive Liability underwriting and insurance brokerage leader.

 

 

While a stormy 2017 was expensive for insurers, it could have been worse

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In our latest look at Property & Casualty news and notes, we dive into the subject of 2018 commerical insurance pricing for insurers after a disaster-laden 2017.

Market watch: Though plenty of roofs caved in last year, the sky isn't falling in 2018

Global weather and storm losses reached $330 billion in 2017, with insured losses at $135 billion, according to reinsurer MunichRe. However, these losses do not necessarily mean that insurance rates will significantly rise, with numerous published reports suggesting that insurers built up excess capacity before a tumultuous 2017 -- and that losses were within acceptable limits. Nevertheless, property, conmercial auto, business owners, and general liability rates were up slightly in the fourth quarter of last year, per the IVANS index, which tracks rate renewals from more than 380 insurers.

Report: Securities lawsuit filings jumped 53% in 2017

Directors and officers of publicly traded companies found themselves at the center of more lawsuits than usual in 2017. Per Business Insurance magazine, securities lawsuits increased from 271 in 2016 to 415 in 2017, according to data from Kevin LaCroix, executive vice president at RT ProExec, a division of insurance wholesaler RT Specialty. That's a 53 percent increase over the previous year. Whether your firm is publicly traded or not, having the right directors and officers is key. We can help. For more information, contact Plexus Vice President of Executive Liability Willie Lindsey at wlindsey@plexusgroupe.com or 847-307-6100.

Getting to know Plexus's Cyber Indication Form

Ever thought about getting cyber insurance for your business but didn't know where to start? Check out our quick and easy Cyber Liability Indication Form. Fill it out, and one of our client service team representatives can give you a sense of the coverage you need -- and what it could cost.

Dr. Rick Rigsby to Plexus associates: Selfishness is dangerous, growth is essential, change is up to you

Selflessness is a virtue -- and a necessity for a business to move foward. And if a business isn't growing, forget about it.

These were among the lessons from Dr. Rick Rigsby during Thursday's keynote address at the 2018 Plexus Team Building Event.

The best-selling author of "Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout," Rigsby imparted wisdom learned from his late father, whose formal schooling ended not long after kindergarden but whose committment to education never stopped. Among his father's lessons: Be a servant to others.

"Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity," said Rigsby, a former professor and TV sports anchor turned motivational speaker.

To begin his talk, Rigsby spoke of the risks people and businesses face when they do not keep evolving.

"I want to talk about forward momentum, because without forward momentum, entropy sets in," he said.

Rigsby also drew a link between entropy and the pursuit of adulation.

"We love hearing the accolades from others. Guess that that invites?" Rigsby said.

Rigsby also called on Plexus staff and other assembled guests at the American Society of Anesthesiologists to think and act strategically.

"Great people are thinking in muitiple dimentions," he said. "They’re not just showing up for a paycheck and some benefits."

Rigsby also took aim at the idea that businesspeople are just too busy to change their habits.

"The issue is not time. The issue is our management, or lack thereof, of time," Rigsby said.

Then, in his closing remarks, Rigsby told Plexus associates to look inside themselves. Company management, he said, shouldn't be expected to "raise your expectations for you."

Said Rigsby: "You raise them yourself."


For more information on Dr. Rick Rigsby, including booking information, please visit his website, RickRigsby.com. And be sure to check out the 2017 speech he delivered to California State University Maritime University, which has been viewed more than 130 million times. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg_Q7KYWG1g

 

The 2018 Plexus Team Building Event kicks off Wednesday. Here's what to look for.

It's time again for one of the biggest events on The Plexus Groupe's calendar, a foundational piece for our corporate culture. On Wednesday and Thursday, all Plexus associates will gather in suburban Chicago for our 2018 Team Building Event. It's a chance for our 100-plus team members to connect, learn, and grow, and it's an opportunity for our firm to look ahead to what's in store for the coming year. We also get a wonderful chance to connect with our insurance carrier partners, who will be attending a number of the events over the next two days.

Once again, we have lined up an outstanding and impactful keynote speaker to cap off the event: Dr. Rick Rigsby, author of the best-selling book, "Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout." We are thrilled to have him speak to us on Thursday.

We’ll be posting here all week, as well as on our social media accounts, so you’ll want to be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Instagram for the latest.

It is hard to put into words what Team Building means to Plexus. It is a jumping-off point for the rest of the year, a catalyst for growth. And on Day One, it feels a lot like the first day of school, when seeing friends after the summer break. There are smiles and handshakes and greetings with our colleagues from other offices.

Frankly, we can't wait to get started.

Want to join a growing Best Places to Work in Insurance honoree? Try Plexus.

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The new year brings new resolutions, such as a focus on eating healthier, or exercising more, or telling the people closest to us that we love them. For many, this list of resolutions also includes a vow to change jobs, to move up in their careers, to take the next step. Maybe this can be done at a current place of employment, but maybe not. Maybe it will take a fresh start at a new company to get to where you want to be.

This can be a tough decision to make. There is comfort in familiarity. Maybe your current role isn't so bad, and if you stick around, it might get better. That is possible.

So if you're going to look for another job in 2018, it better be worth your time. It better deliver a superior experience to what you already have.

That's why career seekers do their due diligence on prospective new companies.

And if you do your due diligence on The Plexus Groupe, you will find the following:

-- We're a Best Places to Work in Insurance honoree in each of the last eight years.

-- Our associates are proud of the workplace culture they have created, and a strong commitment to philanthropy and service is found throughout our organization.

-- We are a growing firm, with more than 100 employees across four offices in Deer Park, Illinois (corporate headquarters), Chicago (Loop), Dallas, and Oklahoma City.  The firm has more than 100 employees across offices in Deer Park, Illinois (corporate headquarters), Chicago (Loop), Dallas, and Oklahoma City.

-- We deliver advisory services and a superior client experience in the areas of property and casualty, employee benefits, retirement plans, personal lines insurance, HR consulting, and technology services.

-- A number of our team members have received recognition for excellence in their field. Furthermore, our associates are routinely interviewed by media, and asked to speak at conferences. We also jump at the opportunity to talk to students about our industry.

-- We offer our employees a wide variety of employee benefits, including medical, dental, life, short- and long-term disability, 401(k) retirement savings (with a generous employer match), wellness programs, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Additionally, we offer many other workday benefits, including walking workstations and complementary fruits, vegetables, waters, iced teas, and other healthy drinks.

-- Each year, we set aside two days for an all-company Team Building Event to plan ahead for the coming year, and we invite a keynote speaker to deliver an address to inspire and inform our team.

Next Steps 

Interested in career opportunities at Plexus? Click here to be directed to our Careers page for our updated list of openings.

We get it: a career search can be intimidating. It takes work. You need a reason to go on with it. And if you are going to change jobs, it better be for something rewarding, fun, legit.

To this we say: welcome. You have come to the right place.

Insurance stories we're reading

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We enjoy reading about insurance at Plexus. Here are a half-dozen industry stories we are bookmarking, sharing, and perusing as the work week rolls on: -- Wildfires are leading to soaring insurance costs in some areas of California.

-- On Netflix, HBO, and the future of insurance.

-- One of college football's top programs took insurance to cover incentive payouts related to team performance in 2016. It did not take out the coverage in 2017. Read on for the rest of this interesting story.

-- How much does $1 million in drone liability insurance cost?

-- Receiving an insurance payout after Hurricane Irma? Better read the fine print.

-- Iowa's Insurance Division is warning that bitcoin is not insurable.

Plexus Personal Insurance News & Notes: Study shows candle fires occur at higher rates on Christmas, New Year's

In our latest Plexus Personal Insurance Newsletter, we take a closer look at a variety of holiday- and winter-related topics to ponder. Candles + decorations = a bad mix

This holiday season, practice good candle safety. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, more candle fires occur on Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day than any other days. The agency also reports that candle-caused decoration fires spike in December. Finally, more than 35 percent of candle fires from 2011 through 2015 started in bedrooms, per agency data.

Be sure to add those special holiday gifts to your policies

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Holiday shopping season is winding down, and the race is on to cross off the final items on your list. A quick reminder: if you need to add new valuables to your insurance policies, contact Plexus Private Client Solutions Client Executive David Miller at 847-307-6141 or dmiller@plexusgroupe.com. We will get you the coverage you need -- and we will work to ensure we do not spoil the surprise.

Winter is coming. Do you have the right coverage for slip-and-falls?

We are nearly into the teeth of shoveling and de-icing season, and the more you can do to keep your driveway and sidewalks snow- and ice-free, the better. By working to ensure visitors have good footing on your property, you can reduce the risk of injuries (and lawsuits). You may want to review your homeowners insurance to ensure you have adequate coverage and liability limits. Have questions? Contact Plexus Private Client Solutions Client Coordinator Terri Lyons at 847-307-6129 or tlyons@plexusgroupe.com

Contact us

For more information on The Plexus Groupe's personal insurance solutions, contact us at 847-307-6100 or via the Web.

Insurance stories we're reading

The Plexus Groupe is releasing this week's insurance reading list. Here are a half-dozen industry stories we are sharing, thumbing through, and bookmarking as the work week rolls on: -- An NFL quarterback who could garner a nine-figure contract in 2018 made sure to take out an insurance policy on himself before the season. (Among those suggesting he have insurance: former GM CEO Jack Welch.)

-- Is a global e-commerce giant thinking about getting into the insurance business?

-- Are frozen pipes covered by your homeowners insurance? It depends.

-- If you take a self-driving taxi in Phoenix next year, you will automatically have insurance coverage.

-- Estimated insured losses from Hurricane Irma have reached $6.55 billion.

-- A leading insurer has made a big investment in a company that's bringing microinsurance via mobile phones to emerging markets.

 

Does your company have the right directors & officers insurance?

In late 2015, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memorandum to federal prosecutor — commonly known as the Yates Memo — that emphasizes the accountability of individuals involved in corporate wrongdoing. Consequently, businesses and culpable employees are both targets during federal investigations. This can lead to a number of liabilities for your organization.

The Yates Memo specifies that businesses must identify all culpable individuals during a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation. This will likely result in frayed relationships with employees, longer investigations and higher defense costs. Additionally, the DOJ will expect your business to cooperate during both corporate and individual cases, as the Yates Memo removed many protections for individuals.

To ensure that you are adequately protected, you need to examine your business’s directors and officers (D&O) insurance coverage before an investigation takes place.

Primary Focus of the Yates Memo

The Yates Memo consists of six “key steps” to encourage businesses to focus on individual accountability as well as to encourage federal attorneys to bring civil and criminal charges against culpable employees.

Two of these steps will have a large impact on the focus of investigations:

1.  Businesses must identify individuals involved in corporate wrongdoing to qualify for cooperation credit in case resolution.

2.  Federal attorneys will target individuals during the onset of an investigation. They will not focus solely on the business as a whole.

Employees’ Reactions

Because businesses must identify culpable individuals to receive cooperation credit during a federal investigation. The priorities of your business and your employees will likely diverge over the course of a case.

Additionally, the Yates Memo states individuals don't have to partake in wrongdoing to be a target of investigations. Board members, directors, officers and managers that do not provide sufficient oversight of their respective responsibilities can be found negligent and targeted during a case. This broad range will likely make it more difficult to determine who caused any wrongdoing.

While it is in your business’s best interests to conduct thorough internal investigations and find all culpable individuals, employees may be less willing to reveal relevant information and may even request their own legal counsel to represent their best interests. And, if your D&O coverage provides funding for this defense, there will be less funds available to provide protection for your business as a whole.

Protection for Individuals

As the Yates Memo emphasizes individual accountability, it takes away protections that individuals could turn to when resolving cases. The key steps in the memorandum specify the following:

→ There must be a plan to resolve any related cases involving culpable individuals before corporate cases are handled.

→ Resolutions between businesses and the DOJ will provide no protection for culpable individuals.

→ Civil charges against individuals will not account for the ability to pay financial penalties.

These points will serve to lengthen cases because businesses need to cooperate with individual and corporate cases. This means that your business must continue to devote time and resources to internal investigations and provide for legal counsel. As a result, your current D&O coverage is likely inadequate given the new priorities found in the Yates Memo.

D&O Coverage Considerations

To ensure that you have adequate D&O coverage to defend both your business and its employees during an investigation, you should review the following topics:

→ Type of coverage: Ensure that your D&O policy will provide adequate protection for all parties involved in a case. Coverage should include funds for your employees’ defense, any additional funds your business provides for their defense and your business’s defense if you are sued by a third party as a result of a federal investigation.

→ Investigation coverage: Consider purchasing investigation coverage as an endorsement to your D&O policy. This will help protect you from the financial burden of lengthy internal investigations.

→ Policy limits: Consider raising your policy limits to ensure that you have adequate protection. Defending more individuals and assisting federal prosecutors will lead to longer cases and higher defense costs.

→ Conduct exclusions: Examine your current D&O policy to see if it has conduct exclusions for fraud, dishonesty and other misconduct. These exclusions may also include final adjunction provisions, which prevent carriers from withholding funds until a case has been resolved.

→ Balance between indemnification and insurance: Conduct a review of your business’s balance between indemnification and D&O coverage. If you provide for the majority of a case’s defense costs, you may face severe financial hardship after it's resolved.

Let’s have a conversation

The risk prevention experts at The Plexus Groupe transform complexity into simplicity to empower growth-orientated companies like yours by reducing exposures, improving cost efficiencies, and protecting your most valued assets.

Have questions regarding directors & officers coverage? You have come to the right place. Contact Plexus Vice President of Executive Liability Willie Lindsey at 847-307-6100 or wlindsey@plexusgroupe.com. We will work with you to protect what you have earned and achieved.

Disclaimer and publishing credit: This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2016 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

TechAssure earns Insurance Business America honor

The Plexus Groupe salutes TechAssure for winning Network  / Alliance of the Year honors among insurance-industry groups with 100 or fewer member agencies at the 2017 Insurance Business America Awards on Wednesday night in Chicago. Since 2006, Plexus has been a proud member of TechAssure, a select, cutting-edge group of global independent insurance brokers with expertise in the technology, life science, clean technology, cyber risk and venture/private equity markets. The association with TechAssure allows Plexus access to products developed specifically for the technology, private equity and venture capital marketplaces, as well as current market and product trends in the field of technology risk management.

TechAssure Executive Director Garrett Droege -- pictured here speaking at Plexus's 2017 Team Building Event -- accepted the Insurance Business America award on behalf of his organization.

 

 

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