Wednesday, 03/08/23

Daily Insurance Report .com
Employee Benefits .Business
Robert S. Shestack  / Publisher /
856-200-8024 /

Walt Podgurski / Editor-In-Chief /
440-773-1108 /

Subscribe At No Cost
About  /  Media Kit  /

Benefits of employee retention credit for employers
Global Banking & Finance Review / / Read Article

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a valuable tax incentive that provides financial relief for eligible employers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception in March of 2020 as a provision of the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the ERC programme has been subject to a number of legislative amendments that have resulted in its expansion and extension. The ERC is designed to encourage businesses to retain employees during a time of economic uncertainty, and offers a range of benefits for eligible employers. In this article, we will explore the benefits of the ERC for employers, including reduced payroll costs, cash infusion, tax benefits, operational flexibility, and improved employee morale. Understanding these benefits is crucial for businesses looking to manage their finances and workforce during the ongoing pandemic and beyond.

Reduced Payroll Costs

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) can significantly reduce payroll costs for eligible employers, providing much-needed financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers that are eligible can reduce the amount of taxes that they owe to the government by claiming a credit against their payroll taxes through the ERC. The credit is equal to 70% of qualified wages paid to employees, up to a maximum of $10,000 per employee per quarter.

Crafting Benefits for Onsite vs. Offsite Employees
Lin Grensing-Pophal / SHRM / March 1, 2023 / / Read Article

When employers sent many staff members home to work three years ago this month, they quickly found that employees had differing technology needs. Rather than trusting in employees' personal devices, employers have stepped up to invest in better technology and equipment to support remote workers, said Walter Sabrin, senior vice president of recruiting services at Vensure, a Chandler, Ariz.-based professional employer organization. This investment can be especially economical when employers are also saving on office rent and supplies, he said.

Employers' hardware investments include computers, smartphones, and cameras and lighting for video calls, while software and app investments include Slack, Zoom and SharePoint.

Virtual Learning and Career Development Grows

A 2022 LinkedIn report indicates learning and career development opportunities are the top factors that employees identify as characterizing an exceptional work environment.

These offerings have been adjusted to accommodate remote workers, Sabrin said. Offering better virtual learning and career development programs in addition to in-person training ensures that all employees have equal access to these opportunities.

Many Workers Want Flexibility

One benefit that appeals to many employees—whether working remotely, in a hybrid model or entirely onsite—is flexibility, according to research from Gusto, a San Francisco-based payroll and benefits platform for small and medium-sized businesses.

Consumers can't get enough health and wellness
Sami Sparber / Axios on Facebook / Mar 4, 2023 / / Read Article

Data: McKinsey Health and Wellness Survey; Chart: Axios Visuals
Wellness is increasingly a key priority for consumers, according to the latest research from consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

The big picture: The estimated spend on wellness products and services is more than $450 billion in the United States and rising at more than 5% annually, McKinsey found.

Jonathan Watts-Lay / HR Director / 6 MARCH 2023 / / Read Article

Financial wellbeing support is integral to employers being able to meet their high-level HR objectives, according to research*. Nearly all (94%) respondents to the research hope to use their financial wellbeing strategy as a tool to meet their HR objective of improving employee wellbeing, while 81% hope to use their strategy to help retain employees and the same proportion hope to boost their employee engagement levels.

Opinion: How has American healthcare gone so wrong?
DANIEL J. STONE / Los Angeles Times / MARCH 4, 2023 / / Read Article

We all have bad weeks. Mine recently made me marvel at the astonishing dysfunction of our healthcare system. In calling out the system I intend no disrespect to the talented and heroic overachievers in nursing, pharmacy, medicine and the other providers who fight the system every day on behalf of our patients.

Despite such efforts, the sad but undeniable fact is that our healthcare system — the way the U.S. distributes and pays for healthcare — makes it the most expensive failed enterprise in the history of human civilization.

Part of what set me off that week was a series of examples of my patients’ chronic struggles to access mental health services. After years of poor funding and a deluge of demand since the pandemic began, providers are in short supply. Scarcity is coupled with barriers imposed by insurance networks. Absent reasonable access to services, primary care doctors like me become the psychiatrists of first and last resort, pushing the bounds of our competence. But what else can we do?

A second part of the week’s grind was the latest obstacles to drug therapy. The costs are so high for so many medicines that even insured patients struggle. Take Ozempic. There’s no generic, and it’s a financial stretch at nearly $900 a month, but it helps my diabetic patients — until last week, when they couldn’t find it. Why? Because of its newly recognized use for weight loss. It’s suddenly so popular that pharmacies run out. How can a system allow wealthy individuals looking to shed a few pounds to use their cash to elbow aside diabetics who actually need the drug?

The SECURE 2.0 Act includes several provisions to help small-business owners increase opportunities for their employees to save more.
JAMIE P. HOPKINS, ESQ., CFP, RICP / Kiplinger / 03/05/2023 / / Read Article

Expanded Savings Opportunities
Starter 401(k).
Saver’s Match.
Expanded mandatory automatic enrollment for new retirement accounts.
Enhanced credits for small-business retirement plan setup.

Expanded mandatory automatic enrollment for new retirement accounts. If you were to establish a new 401(k) for your employees, there would be a requirement to set up
IRA catch-up limit indexed for inflation.
Retirement plan sign-up incentives.

Enhanced Retirement Contribution Changes
Retirement plan sign-up incentives.

High deductible health plans offer employees some benefits and a few burdens
Ken Milani and Rick Klee, Guest columnists / South Bend Tribune / 03/05/2023 / / Read Article

One benefit is the above-the-line deduction for payments into a HSA. For example, if a married couple, who are both 55 and older and not Medicare enrollees, makes payments into a HSA of $8,000, the federal tax savings (assuming a 22% marginal tax bracket) is $1,760. Because the couple's Adjusted Gross Income is reduced, their state income bill (using a 5% rate) will be trimmed by $400.

Another positive of the HSA is the money in the account grows tax-free and does NOT have to be used in the year of payment, unlike flexible spending medical plans which either require spending and reimbursements to mirror one another or restrict the amount of carryover from one year to the next.

Another piece of good news is distributions from a HSA are tax-free if they cover medical expenses eligible for itemized deduction treatment PLUS other items such as over-the counter medicines, menstrual care products, and out-of-pocket costs whose primary purpose is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (e.g., masks, personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer). Also, employers can make tax-free payments into a HSA. Finally, the HSA is "portable," meaning it can move with the employee to a subsequent job.

It ‘stops at the door’: WTW’s benefit advisors say firm’s pay practices fall short of its guidance to employers
Workers described base pay rates that generally track market data, but said they face moving targets for bonuses and have been ignored or brushed off when raising pay concerns.
March 6, 2023 / Ryan Golden / HR DIVE / / Read Article

Pay practices at WTW — the global insurance broker and advisory firm formerly known as Willis Towers Watson — fall short of the company’s guidance to employers, according to a handful of current and former employees of the company’s Via Benefits Insurance Services division in Richardson, Texas.

Employees at the Richardson office, located in suburban Dallas, said that WTW last rolled out base pay increases of $2 per hour in July 2022. That news was of little consolation to those who said they saw few changes to their base pay over several previous years.

In a series of interviews, workers described to HR Dive base pay rates that generally track market data, but said they face moving targets for bonuses and have been ignored or brushed off when raising pay concerns. Those issues persisted as the firm continued to advise other employers to adopt transparent pay practices and approach compensation concerns with an eye toward retention.

2023 Life Insurance and Annuity Conference to Focus on Economic and Consumer Influences on Industry
limra / 3/7/2023 / / Read Article

Leaders attending the 2023 Life insurance and annuity conference, co-hosted by LIMRA and LOMA, the Society of Actuaries (SOA), and the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), will focus on influences impacting the future of the life insurance and annuity markets. The event will be held April 24 – 26 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Rising inflation and uncertain economic conditions have raised awareness about the important role life insurance and annuities can play in families’ financial security. As a result, sales of these financial protection products have flourished,” explains John Carroll, senior vice president, LIMRA and LOMA. “This year’s conference will equip industry leaders with new insights and strategies to continue delivering value to their customers.”

General sessions for the Life insurance and annuity conference include:

Jon Pike, Utah insurance commissioner and Eric T. Steigerwalt, president and chief executive officer for Brighthouse Financial, will discuss the broad range of issues impacting the insurance industry.
John Carroll will moderate two executive panels comprised of senior executives from the life insurance and annuity industries. The panels will focus on key market challenges, opportunities, the effects of interest rates and other economic opportunities. Attendees can use insights from these sessions to inform their business strategies and drive stronger results.
In addition to the compelling keynote speakers, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the 2023 Insurance barometer study results. In its 13th year, this study tracks consumers’ understanding of and preferences regarding life insurance and uncovers common purchase barriers and misconceptions.

Every year, the conference attracts more than 500 leaders and practitioners involved in the development, operations, marketing, distribution, technology, and administration of both individual life and annuity products.

For more information on the 2023 Life insurance and annuity conference, including registration and agenda, visit

Tuesday, 03/07/23 - - Can’t Give Employees Raises? Add Benefits

Wednesday, 03/01/23 - Why Employers Prefer Employer-Sponsored Health Plans Over Exchanges

Thursday, 03/02/23 - - Optavise Annual Benefits Broker Survey: Employers Turn to Voluntary Benefits, Communications Support from Brokers to Rein in Healthcare Costs?

Friday, 03/03/23 - - Businessolver Benefits Insights Data Reveals Impact of Personalization on Benefits Engagement
Editorial Mission Statement: The goal of this publication is to provide readers a broad selection of what is being written about the insurance industry and related issues. Some articles may have a “tilt” towards a particular perspective one way or another. Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of any views or content; but report the various and differing views appearing in media.
About Us: The "Daily Insurance Report" is now subscribed to by 25,000 elite insurance industry influencers who receive it Monday - Friday and have a quick overview of what is appearing in the media regarding the insurance industry; with an emphasis on life, health, and employee benefits