NewsLink: October 2021
Message From Mike: October 2021
Tune in for a video update from Accident Fund Vice President of Business Development and Operations Mike Valiante. Watch video.
VP of Claim Operations Dean Holland to Retire in Feb. 2022
With mixed emotions, we’re announcing the retirement of Dean Holland, vice president of Claim Operations for AF Group, effective Feb. 2, 2022. Dean has been an invaluable asset to our Claim team and organization as a whole for more than 30 years. He has played an instrumental role in several big Claim initiatives, including our transition to a new medical bill review vendor and most recently was one of the key leaders who developed of the Claim Center of Excellence, which is expected to help us improve the performance of our claim operation and help us grow our claim capabilities for years to come.
“In his years at AF Group, Dean has consistently shown that listening to the customer is the best way to make improvements, and he’s used this feedback to build a Claim operation that has earned the respect of our agents and customers alike,” said Steve Cooper, president, AF Group Workers’ Compensation Division. “His relationship with you — our agent partners — has grown through the years, and his presence (and humor) as a presenter during our annual Accident Fund agent meetings will be hard to replace.”
While we will miss his remarkable leadership, we’re excited for Dean as he begins this new chapter of his life. Please join us in wishing him well in his retirement!
New Self-Service Capabilities Are Now Live — Register for Training Today!
On Tuesday, Sept. 7 we introduced new and expanded online capabilities for business effective Jan. 5, 2022. With these enhancements, you now have access to:
- New policy and billing inquiry applications
- New quote and bind application via our portal
We understand the importance of being able to do business with us easily — which is why we have a planned transition period during which we’ll operate in both our current and new systems.
To be clear, you will continue to have access to eLink for policies issued in that system, including all the information, applications, processes and support you have today.
As we mentioned previously, policy effective dates determine when the new applications will be available to write business — an automated process that removes any guesswork on your part:
- Continue to access online applications via our portal on our brand websites
- You’ll be prompted to identify the policy effective date
- This date will automatically determine which application you will use to submit business — and will route you there (regardless of system, you’ll use the same credentials to log in as you do today)
Q&A/Demo Sessions Available
To ensure you are supported through this major milestone, we’re providing a variety of options for upcoming virtual demo sessions — with time for Q&A at each.
You and any agency team members who submit business through our current online portal (eLink) are encouraged to participate in one of the demo sessions (offered through Microsoft Teams) — to register, please click here. And even if you don’t use our portal today, anyone interested in learning more is encouraged to attend to understand these new capabilities!
Note: Training resources, including user guides and quick reference tools, will also be available to help you learn to use our new applications — all available in the portal.
Thank you for your valued partnership. Should you have questions, please reach out to your business development consultant.
Reporting System Enhancements Coming Soon!
We’re excited to announce new enhancements coming to our digital reporting experience. Early next year, you and our mutual customers can look forward to accessing new, more dynamic data 24/7. Refreshed agency reporting options and improved loss run data will be available to you. These reports will be available via the ‘quick links’ on our secure customer portal homepage just as you access them today. We’ll be sure to share updates with you as our launch date approaches.
Introducing ErgoView — Taking Ergonomic Assessments to the Next Level
As businesses continue to evolve, with many turning to a more virtual environment, our team of loss control experts has the tools to allow virtual and in-person visits to work in tandem – ensuring that our customers receive the appropriate solution and service for the risk at hand. In short, we provide the right service, the right way, at the right time!
As part of our loss control offerings, customers have access to our online Resource Library, online training and tutorials, helpful links and other tools. We are also excited to announce that we are elevating our virtual offerings even further with the rollout of ErgoView: Powered by TuMeke – a motion capture technology tool that helps identify musculoskeletal risk factors. Click here for more details about this exciting new offering!
AF Group: Keeping COVID-19 in Focus
Hear from AF Group Chief Claims Officer Paul Kearney as he provides an update on claims trends our workers’ compensation brands are seeing, as well as the efforts AF Group is taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Watch the video update, and visit our Preventing the Spread of Virus web page.
AF Group Named To “Best Places to Work in Insurance” List for 12th Straight Year!
Business Insurance magazine has recognized AF Group and its brands as one of the best employers in the insurance industry for 12 years running. They base their decision on a company’s ability to establish a workplace where employees can thrive, enjoy their work and help their company grow. We’re so proud to be included on the list once again this year — and thank our agent partners for supporting us through continued partnership. Read more.
eLearning: Health and Wellness While Working Remote
Health and wellness play a critical role in our quality of life and productivity. As many of us are working remotely, it’s important we pay close attention to the factors that contribute to our overall wellbeing. We recently developed this eLearning for our mutual customers, but thought you might benefit from this short refresher as well. Click here to view the eLearning course and here to see other topics in our on-demand eLearning library.
Fundamental Underwriters Introduces Primary Non-Owned Auto
Did you know that your health and human service policyholders may face a significant financial risk every time an employee climbs in the driver’s seat to commute for business purposes? With many of their employees driving to clients’ homes and various medical facilities for work, the employer could be risking a substantial financial loss during every commute without even realizing it.
When it comes to auto insurance, there is often a coverage gap for employers whose employees use their own vehicles for business purposes, which may cause claim issues. That’s why we’re excited to offer Primary Non-Owned Auto (PNOA), through AF Group Brand Fundamental Underwriters, insurance to help bridge that gap!
PNOA allows insureds to cover liability and optional physical damage on a primary basis, protecting both the employer and employee while personal vehicles are being driven in the scope of employment duties. PNOA is a complementary product to our workers’ compensation customers. Here are a few details about PNOA:
- Limits offered up to $500K with optional APD
- Optional collision coverage up to $50,000 per accident at a $500 deductible per occurrence – requires collision coverage on an underlying personal vehicle
- Benefits to the employer include: better protection for staff, improved risk profile, streamlined coverage, consistent management of employee vehicle operation and assists with employee recruitment and retention.
- Currently available in select states
Many of our agent partners have already taken advantage of this product – and we would love to have the opportunity to discuss PNOA with you as well.
COVID-19 Policy Environment
Throughout 2021, AF Group generated positive advocacy results in numerous priority markets, but in these unprecedented times, legislative and regulatory environments remain impulsive. The majority of states (42) have considered some form of COVID workers’ comp presumption policy initiative to date. As we move forward into 2022, the primary risk from AF Group’s perspective is the overall presumption debate will evolve into a much broader public policy discussion surrounding infectious disease, and the system’s responsibility and coverage of these increased exposures.
Cannabis Industry Evolution
States are moving quickly to create and implement new laws intended to monitor and regulate cannabis production and distribution, in addition to creating pathways for recreational use. As of June 2021, 19 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. AF Group is leveraging our established political network to strengthen knowledge and understanding of this continually evolving industry and the possible impacts/opportunities it’s generating for our Enterprise.
Federal Budget Process – Tax & State-Based Workers’ Comp System
- S. Congress will likely increase the corporate income tax rate, impacting corporate 2022 financials. Currently, the corporate tax rate sits at 21% (prior to Trump tax cuts, corporate tax rate was 35%). Under President Biden and Democratic leadership in Congress, we anticipate roughly a 6-8% increase. The formal budget reconciliation legislation has yet to be finalized, as the debate continues.
- State-Based Workers’ Comp System
- The Department of Labor’s Office of Workers Compensation (OWCP) has an annual discretionary budget of approximately $117 million. A section of the Federal Budget proposal receiving media attention lately (House Build Back Better, or Reconciliation Package) recommends a $121 million appropriation for OWCP “for carrying out activities of the Office relating to claims activity, policy and standards development, and monitoring of State workers’ compensation programs.”
- The increased dollars are intended to restore the “National Commission.” In summary, the Commission’s objective is to execute an analysis/critique of the overall state-based workers’ compensation system, particularly analyzing the Federal Government’s role and oversight of state workers’ compensation programs.
- There’s a belief among some stakeholders in Washington that the state-based programs are inadequate and the Feds should play an enhanced role.
- AF Group’s Government Affairs team will continue to monitor the Federal budgetary process/politics and work to influence this overall process where necessary.
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC)
AF Group will formally become a member of NAMIC in October. This partnership will enhance our advocacy strength, visibility and influence throughout the property casualty industry and within our priority political environments in which we have a significant book of business.