By Cherry Guidry, Claims Specialist
If you carry Comprehensive coverage on the damaged auto, the VFIS policy will provide full glass breakage, without deductible, for loss caused by hitting a bird or animal or caused by falling objects or missiles. The VFIS policy will also provide towing (and labor at the scene of disablement) up to $2,500.
Just send the glass or towing invoice to one of our claims specialists, make sure the invoice has the vehicle VIN # on it, and a claim will be submitted for reimbursement. In most cases, a check for reimbursement will be on its way within a week.
Your Claims Specialists
As firefighters, paramedics and 911 dispatchers, you keep the safety and risk management practices of your community members top-of-mind, but how often do you evaluate your own risks? Considering the fact that a new cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, 64% of companies have experienced at least one cyberattack, and a cyberattack on your organization could impact your entire town—when it comes to cyber safety, it’s vital to think about your own risks, too.
VFIS has launched a brand-new cybersecurity microsite to help you understand your risks, know what to do if you experience a breach and understand key ways to help prevent one from happening in the first place.
You’ll find picks for who to follow on online to get the latest cyber risks and recommendations, as well as resources designed specifically for responders and answers to your top cyber-related questions.
In October of 1999, WinStar Insurance Group/VFIS of Texas created the Emergency Service Organization (ESO) Workers’ Compensation Safety Group underwritten by Texas Mutual Insurance Company. This safety group offered a group premium discount and dividends for maintaining an acceptable loss ratio.
Unfortunately, in recent years the group has sustained some very large claims involving fatal heart attacks and strokes, severe burns, cancer and Covid. These losses are not expected to slow any time soon especially with the passage of cancer and Covid presumption laws. Due to the deteriorating loss history and significant uptick in claims, the ESO Safety Group will be discontinued after October 1, 2021.
Texas Mutual will continue to insure emergency service organizations as they have for more than 30 years, but all policies will now be outside of the safety group. As the leader of the state’s Workers' Compensation market, Texas Mutual is committed to building a stronger, safer Texas. They were created in 1991 to offer a stable, competitive source of Workers' Compensation. Their mono-line focus has allowed them to excel in the industry. Texas Mutual exists to protect businesses, promote safe environments and help ensure Texas workers get home safely to their families.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your WC policy, please contact our office.
VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company are once again pleased to sponsor a need-based Health & Wellness Grant program for fire departments and non-profit EMS organizations in Texas. Grants up to $5,000 will be awarded based on financial need and are intended to assist emergency service organizations in developing a health & wellness program to prevent emergency responder deaths and injuries and for cancer prevention. Departments will need to apply for the grant, expend the funds and then send in copies of receipts in order to receive the grant funds.
Grant Application Deadline is December 31, 2021.
Who is eligible:
What is eligible:
How it works:
**THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS DECEMBER 31, 2021**
Any grant questions, please contact Kayla Bridgewaters at email@example.com or 512-628-5054.
by Marvin Vinson, Sales Executive
GRC (Guaranteed Replacement Cost) coverage pays to replace your building without deduction for depreciation, even if the replacement cost is greater than the limit you selected. You must carry a building value acceptable to VFIS to qualify for this coverage. When you qualify for GRC coverage, there is no coinsurance provision applicable to either partial or total losses.
The term Guaranteed Replacement Cost is designed to provide protection from inflation and other unforeseen costs to replace a property at time of loss. Without GRC, you could be held to a stated limit to replace the damaged property (Replacement Cost) or a depreciated value if insured at ACV (Actual Cash Value) at time of loss.
Please reach out to your Sales Executive or Account Manager for more information on GRC.
Under Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, your retirement plan will need to maintain an ERISA Fidelity Bond. A fidelity bond protects the assets in the plan from misuse or misappropriation by the plan fiduciaries. Plan fiduciaries include the plan trustees and any person who has control over the management of the plan and its assets.
REQUIRED ERISA FIDELITY BOND AMOUNT
At the very least, the bond must be equal to 10% of the value of the total plan assets, with a minimum bond value of $1000 and a maximum bond value of $500,000. For the first year, the bond amount will be based on the estimated amount of assets that will be handled by the plan for the year. If you have non-qualifying assets more than 5% of the total plan assets, the bond amount needs to be equal to 100% of these assets.
WHY DO I NEED AN ERISA FIDELITY BOND?
There are serious consequences for not purchasing and maintaining a sufficient ERISA fidelity bond. Not having this required coverage can be a red flag to the Department of Labor that they need to take a closer look at the plan. You are not only at risk for a DOL audit, but there are citations associated with not having this required coverage.
HOW DO I OBTAIN AN ERISA FIDELITY BOND?
Colonial Surety Company is a national online insurance company that is U.S. Treasury listed and licensed in all states and territories. As experts in all aspects of ERISA regulations, Colonial Surety Company will ensure that you are properly bonded and that your bond is renewed prior to expiration so that your plan remains in compliance.
Use the below link to obtain the ERISA Fidelity Bond:
by Logan Mangold, Employee Benefits Sales Executive
What are Voluntary Benefits?
Sometimes called “supplemental insurance,” these benefits are paid directly to the policyholder to help in the event of an unexpected injury or illness. The money received can be used for things other insurance may not cover, such as lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and household bills. The most popular coverages include Accident, Hospital Indemnity, Short-Term Disability, Cancer, and Critical Illness.
Companies can choose whether voluntary benefits are fully funded by the employee or contribute to cost in the form of a defined contribution. This ensures that voluntary benefits can fit into any budget and provide the employer with flexible billing options.
Why are Voluntary Benefits important to my business?
Voluntary benefits can help attract top talent by enabling a provision of a variety of benefits to help them stand out amongst competitors. At the same time, they can be a useful tool in retention: a benefits package that an employee has chosen and that’s tailored to their specific needs is difficult to give up. This shows your employees that you care about them enough to provide many options that can fit their unique circumstances.
Voluntary benefits can help employers with rising health care costs. With health care costs continuously increasing year after year businesses are struggling with how to offer the same quality of coverage without going over budget. One way voluntary benefits can help is by combining a Hospital Indemnity plan that acts as a GAP coverage with the major medical plan. Now the employer can look at a plan with a higher deductible which will save money but the employees are still experiencing the same out of pocket costs. This solution of combining a high deductible health plan with a supplemental hospital plan typically costs less than going with a lower deductible option and is very well received by the employees.
Why are Voluntary Benefits important to my employees?
Voluntary benefits provide flexibility and customization through a wide variety of plan options and even some guaranteed issue options. This ensures there is coverage available for their personal circumstances and lifestyle, regardless if they are 20 or 50 years old. Voluntary insurance is portable from job to job and upon retirement at the same rate, so these benefits can be utilized throughout their entire life. Affordability is key to voluntary benefits which is why most plans have multiple options to fit any budget.
Core benefits can be enhanced with voluntary benefits without breaking the bank. Even the best medical plans have out of pocket expenses associated with it and Americans are struggling to pay these expenses. 48% of the workforce say they couldn’t pay $1,000 or more in out-of-pocket medical expenses without going into debt or using a credit card if an unexpected injury or illness occurred today. Voluntary benefits help take on some of that financial burden and provides your employees with peace of mind.
Who qualifies for Voluntary Benefits?
Employers with at least two employees can offer voluntary benefits into their business and utilize payroll deductions. These benefits can be offered to part-time and full-time employees, up to the discretion of the employer.
Employers with 1099 contract workers are able to offer voluntary benefits plans with some limitations on coverage options and billing methods.
We also have a program set up through SFFMA to be able to offer voluntary benefits to volunteers and their families. The rates are the same as if going through an employer which is typically uncommon.
If you have questions or would like to see how voluntary benefits can positively affect your business and employees, please reach out to Logan Mangold at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 540-7736.
A recent Claims trend we have noticed recently is the increase in rollovers when driving to an emergency call. Remember to get to a call as safely as possible to help keep not only your staff safe, but your vehicles, your portable equipment and the general public.
We are looking for photos to be featured in our upcoming 2022 VFIS of Texas Wall Calendar. Photos need to be high resolution and horizontal. They can be staff photos, of apparatus, or buildings. Maybe a photo you are proud of that represents your department or the state of Texas. Please include who took the photo(s) submitted so we can give appropriate photo credit.
Please submit photos or questions to Kayla Bridgewaters - Due Date: August 31st, 2021.
During the SFFMA Business Conference, SFFMA and VFIS of Texas presented the EMS Responder of the Year and the Firefighter of the Year awards.
SFFMA Chaplain Ben Kennedy and VFIS of Texas President Barbara Marzean awarded Chad Reswik from Edgecliff Village the EMS Responder of the Year, and Brandon Heard from Edgecliff Village the Firefighter of the Year.
VFIS of Texas NEWS
Here you will find helpful information regarding firefighters, ems responders, and updates in insurance policies.