Certified Risk Managers Honored Scott Smeaton For Ten-Year Dedication to Education

Scott Smeaton, CRM of Hierl Insurance, Inc., Fond du Lac Wisconsin was recently honored by Certified Risk Managers (CRM) for leadership and professionalism in the field of risk management.

Mr. Scott Smeaton was awarded a certificate of achievement recognizing ten consecutive years as active affiliation with Certified Risk Managers. The CRM designation requires an annual continuing education update ensuring that his education is always up-to-date and relevant.

“Scott Smeaton’s ten-year accomplishment signifies an active commitment to advanced knowledge and professional development,” stated William T. Hold, Ph.D., CIC, CPCU, CLU, President of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, and co-founder of Certified Risk Managers. “Having and applying up-to-date technical knowledge is what distinguishes the most successful risk management practitioners. Customers, associates, and the insurance profession as a whole benefit from such dedication and committed leadership.”

Certified Risk Managers is a member of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. The CRM Program is an independent education and designation program designed expressly for professionals in risk management and related fields.

To download the full press release click Here.


Local Innovation in Health Insurance Brings Affordability and Unique Plan Design

Innovative insurance plan exclusive to Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Dodge counties incorporates competitive rates and unique plan design.

MENASHA, WI (June 14, 2017) – A recent partnership between Network Health, Hierl Insurance and Agnesian HealthCare is bringing a new health insurance option to employer groups in Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Dodge counties. This new insurance plan, Assure Elite, allows businesses with two to 100 enrolled employees to offer quality health insurance coverage to their employees at a competitive, business-friendly rate.

Assure Elite is a hybrid level-funded health insurance plan. Level-funding is a cost-effective health plan funding solution that allows companies to benefit from the predictable, fixed monthly rates of a fully insured plan, while only paying for health care that employees receive. Assure Elite eliminates some of the cost concerns usually associated with self-funded plans, making them available to smaller, local businesses. The new plan offers an opportunity for an extended two-year (24 month) rate.

“Network Health is based right here in Wisconsin -  we’re local and we’ve been the go-to community health plan for 35 years,” said Coreen Dicus-Johnson, Network Health president and CEO. “This partnership with Hierl Insurance and Agnesian HealthCare provides affordable, high quality, local coverage to our communities, and it’s perfectly aligned with our mission to enhance the life, health and wellness of the communities we serve."

Headquartered in the Fox Valley, Network Health covers more than 129,000 people throughout Wisconsin on its commercial, Medicare Advantage and individual health insurance plans. Network Health currently insures nearly 14,000 people throughout Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Dodge counties.

Employers in Fond du Lac, Green Lake and Dodge counties with two to 100 enrolled employees may contact Hierl Insurance to purchase Assure Elite plans from Network Health. Coverage under Assure Elite plans can begin as soon as August 1. Please contact Hierl Insurance at 920-921-5921 or hierlquotes@hierl.com for more information or to begin your quote. Network Health and Hierl Insurance also have plan options available for larger employer groups.

“Hierl Insurance has been offering high value employee benefit solutions to the greater Fond du Lac area for close to 100 years,” said Mike Hierl, president of Hierl Insurance. “We’ve been around for 100 years because we believe in taking proactive measures to stay ahead of market trends, and offer our clients dynamic, cost effective solutions to the challenges presented by the ever changing health care and benefit environment. Assure Elite is another step forward in that direction – a partnership with Agnesian HealthCare and Network Health that allows us to provide employers with a solution for quality, cost-effective care close to home. We’re excited to be able to bring this new product to market.”

Agnesian’s Know & Go program will serve as the wellness benefit for Assure Elite plans. The program provides tools, education and incentives to help plan participants live healthier.

“Agnesian HealthCare is excited to partner with Network Health and Hierl Insurance to offer an employer-sponsored health plan that provides cost certainty and improves the well-being of the citizens in the communities we serve,” according to Steve Little, Agnesian HealthCare president and chief executive officer.

“Network Health is always looking for innovative ways to serve our community and provide exceptional service to our members,” said Network Health’s Coreen Dicus-Johnson. “Health insurance affordability is a nationwide problem. Assure Elite is the local solution.”

To Download our Group Health Plan Form Click Here.

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About Network Health
About Network Health Founded in 1982, Network Health offers customized commercial and Medicare health insurance services to employers, individuals and families in more than 23 counties throughout Wisconsin. Through its strong reputation for quality health care coverage and superior customer service, Network Health has grown to serve more than 129,000 members and 32,000 wellness participants. Learn more at networkhealth.com. Visit our blog at copilotwi.com.

About Hierl Insurance Inc.
A third-generation family owned business, Hierl’s goal is for you to “Expect More and Demand Better.” Since 1919, Hierl has earned the trust of Wisconsin employers by using insight and innovative technology to create unique strategies that protect business owners, their employees and their budgets. Hierl’s mission is to provide clients with the wisdom and tools necessary to build a more engaged, productive and loyal workforce. With locations in Fond du Lac and Appleton, Hierl’s expertise in employee benefits, commercial insurance, human resources and wellness creates a great business team. Learn more at hierl.com.

About Agnesian HealthCare
For more than 120 years, Agnesian HealthCare has been a cornerstone within the Fond du Lac region, and it continues its mission to offer high quality services with compassionate care. A total of 10 ministries offer a wide array of quality health and wellness services for individuals and families, including Agnesian Pharmacy/Prescription Centers and Agnesian Health Shoppe, Christian Home & Rehabilitation Center, Consultants Laboratory, Fond du Lac Regional Clinic, Ripon Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital, St. Francis Home, Villa Loretto & Villa Rosa, and Waupun Memorial Hospital.

With hospitals in Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun, and 18 Fond du Lac Regional Clinic offices, the care of more than 100 primary and specialty care physicians is available. A staff of more than 3,500 associates and physicians are the backbone of Agnesian HealthCare, which is sponsored by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes. To learn more, visit agnesian.com.


Safety Focused January 2017

Sedentary Working Is a Top Health Risk

Sedentary working is a new top health risk that is getting increased attention from health and safety professionals. Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body's ability to break down body fat and regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. However, more research is needed in order to clear up some confusion over how employers can protect their staff from the perils of sedentary working.

Although studies have linked excessive sitting with obesity, Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and early death, most of the evidence is based on observational studies, which have failed to show a direct connection between sitting and ill health. Furthermore, more reliable research is needed regarding workplace interventions, such as sit-to-stand desks.

While there is not yet a clear answer as to what employers should do to address sedentary employees, there are things that employees can do on their own in order to stay healthy, including the following best practices:

  •  Stand up for at least two hours per day.
  •  Set a reminder to stand up every 30 minutes.
  •  Stand instead of sit whenever it is practical, such as during meetings or while on the phone.
  •  Walk over to colleagues’ desks for conversations instead of emailing or phoning them.
  •  Use the stairs instead of the elevator as often as possible.

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

A poor night’s sleep may not only affect your productivity at work—it can also have adverse health effects.

Although the average recommended amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours per night, the average employee gets six hours and 28 minutes of sleep, according to a recent study of 1,060 participants. Two of the top reported side effects of sleep loss were a lack of attention and taking longer to complete tasks. Both suggest that sleep loss may negatively affect productivity.

The effects of a lack of sleep, such as feeling irritable and not working at your best, are well known, but they also include profound physical health consequences. Regular poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a shortened life expectancy.

Getting enough sleep is especially important during the cold winter months, when a lack of sunlight can make people feel more fatigued and sluggish.

With that in mind, the following tips can help ensure a good night’s sleep:

  •  Establish a regular bedtime routine. Doing so will help program your body to sleep better. Go to bed at the same time every night, and create a habit of winding down beforehand by doing activities such as reading a book or taking a bath.
  •  Create a restful sleeping environment. TVs and other electronic gadgets can interfere with your ability to wind down.
  •  Don’t overindulge before bedtime. Too much food or alcohol before bedtime can interfere with sleep patterns. While alcohol may help you fall asleep, it can interrupt your sleep later in the night

See the original article Here.


Whitepapers: Making Wellness Programs Work, from United Benefit Advisors

Great article from our partner, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) by Bill Olson

UBA Announces New Resources for Employers Covering the Latest Trends and Legal Requirements for Wellness Programs

Two-thirds of employers believe that good benefits increase employee productivity, according to the 2016 United Benefit Advisors Benefits Opinion Survey of employers. Given the ever increasing cost of health care, UBA finds that one of the best long-term cost-containment strategies available to employers today is an effective wellness program that strives to keep low-risk individuals from becoming high-risk, and helps high-risk individuals reduce their need for medical services.

UBA finds that wellness programs have evolved substantially since they first appeared on the market, and today announces a new Whitepaper: Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization, to educate employers about the latest trends in wellness program success.

“Wellness programs were initially tacked on to an employee’s benefits and consisted of just the basics — physical activity, nutrition, and smoking cessation,” says Travis Horne, MBA, and Director of Health & Well-Being at Massachusetts-based UBA Partner Firm, Borislow Insurance.

“But there’s been a shift: the new thought is that it’s more important to target the solution for a client, rather than just putting something fun in place,” says Horne. “Employers are taking the holistic view of the employee so that there is meaningful change. Basically, there are five different elements — physical, financial, workplace, community, and mind/spirit. Some employers may only focus on three, but the majority focus on all five elements in order to create a culture of health & wellbeing, change unhealthy behaviors and develop a sustainable wellness program.”

According to UBA, some of the latest wellness program trends, include:

  • Comprehensive health evaluations and physician verification forms to identify (and provide early interventions to) chronic conditions before they become catastrophic
  • On-site health clinics
  • Wellness committees made up of both healthy and unhealthy employees

In UBA’s new Whitepaper: Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization, readers will learn which aspects of wellness programs are finding the most success and the most critical five steps to making any wellness program work.

Download UBA’s Whitepaper: Wellness Programs — Good for You & Good for Your Organization, athttp://bit.ly/wellness-whitepaper.

Compliance Advisor: Understanding Wellness Programs and their Legal Requirements

One of the main reasons employers are slow to adopt wellness programs is a lack of time and resources, startup costs, and not knowing the legal requirements, finds UBA.

The new Affordable Care Act (ACA) Compliance Advisor paper from UBA, “Understanding Wellness Programs and Their Legal Requirements,” reviews the five most critical questions that wellness program sponsors should ask and work through to determine the obligations of their wellness program under the ACA, HIPAA, ADA, GINA, and ERISA, as well as considerations for wellness programs that involve tobacco use in any way. With over 20 pages of comprehensive guidance, examples and frequently asked questions, this is an invaluable employer resource.

Download the UBA Compliance Advisor, Understanding Wellness Programs and their Legal Requirements at http://bit.ly/wellness-requirements (free registration required).

“Employers are starting to recognize that promoting healthy behavior internally is also a way to educate and change behavior at home and in families,” says Les McPhearson, CEO of UBA. “When it comes to reducing health care premium costs, wellness is one area that employers cannot afford to ignore.”

See the original article Here.

Source:

Olson, B. (2016 September 8). Whitepapers: making wellness programs work, from united benefit advisors. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.ubabenefits.com/news/whitepapers-making-wellness-programs-work-from-united-benefit-advisors


Cathleen Christensen, VP of Property and Casualty, Honored as Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Club President

Join with us in congratulating Cathleen Christensen, VP of Property and Casualty, as the 2016-17 President for the Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Club. Along with installing new officers, the Rotary Club was also awarded a Presidential Citations for the clubs's achievements. See the full news release below.

Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Club Installs 2016-17 Leaders, Receives International Presidential Citation

Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Club installed the following Rotarians to lead the club during the 2016-2017 Rotary year:  President, Cathleen Christensen; President-elect, Brendan Stormo; Club Secretary, Erin Lund; Club Treasurer, Don Millage; Sergeant-at-Arms, Scott Richter; Club Directors:  Donna Braatz; Ben Dreifuerst; Valerie Graczyk; Ted Miller; Dan Nielsen; Elaine Riedel;  Barb Senn; and Alyson Zierdt.  Mary Jo Keating continues on the Board as Immediate Past President.

At the installation, outgoing President Mary Jo Keating announced that Morning Rotary has received a Presidential Citation from KR Ravindran, 2015-16 Rotary International President.  The award recognized the club’s 2015/16 achievement of goals including membership gains, humanitarian service projects, public image expansion and others.  Out of fifty-four clubs in Rotary District 6270, only three received this recognition.

Morning Rotary’s 2015-16 humanitarian service projects included “Picnic & Pages with Pier” and “Lighting for Literacy”.  “Picnic & Pages” is a twice-weekly summer reading and book distribution program at Maplewood Commons, initiated by Pier teachers to slow the “summer slide” reading loss.  Morning Rotary provided funds for the books and volunteer readers.  Morning Rotary partnered with Boys & Girls Club members and Mid-States Aluminum Corp. on Lighting for Literacy, building solar lighting units to illuminate homes and schools in developing nations after dark so children can learn and study in the evening.

Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Club has contributed over $700,000 to worthy local and international programs and projects, with special emphasis on projects to benefit youth and advance literacy in our community.  For more information: www.fdlmorningrotary.com, or like “Fond du Lac Morning Rotary” on Facebook.

Photo IdentificationL-R, front row: Treasurer Don Millage; Immediate Past President Mary Jo Keating; Sergeant-at-Arms Scott Richter; President Cathleen Christensen; Secretary Erin Lund; President-elect Brendan Stormo; Director-at-Large Barbara Senn.

L-R, back row:  Directors Ben Dreifuerst; Donna Braatz; Alyson Zierdt; Valerie Graczyk; Elaine Riedel; and Dan Nielsen.

Not pictured:  Director Ted Miller.


Hierl Insurance Launches New Brand: Strength. Heart. Results.

Fond du Lac, Wisc – Hierl Insurance is excited to announce the launch of its new brand and website beginning July 11 featuring a new logo, tag line and website revamp.

With the new brand, Hierl hopes to better define who they are at the core of the company through a clear, defined and consistent message.

“As we’ve grown throughout the years, we have discovered that what really matters to us is people-- those we work with, work for and the communities we serve. We believe this new brand better reflects our focus on helping both our employees and customers become successful. The new tag line, ‘Strength. Heart. Results.’ describes the essence of who Hierl is in one phrase”, said Mike Hierl, President.

STRENGTH represents Hierl’s dedication to their clients. Hierl is straightforward and transparent with their current and future clients to provide recommendations that are backed by expertise in all areas of service.

HEART is the passion Hierl has for people.  Hierl understands that what they do impacts more than the spreadsheet or the bottom line. It has a real impact, for real people and real families. It is the “extra mile” that is expected and delivered.

RESULTS   is what Hierl delivers. They hold themselves accountable for their promises and measure what they deliver to show its impact over time. This is reflected in their effort to develop meaningful relationships personally, professionally and financially. This is their ROR - Return on Relationship.

The new website redesign will feature a more user-friendly navigation, personalized tools and resources, and a modern design that emphasizes the Hierl brand.

For more information on Hierl’s new brand and website redesign, please visit www.hierl.com or contact Cathleen Christensen at 920.904.6556 or cchristensen@hierl.com.

About Hierl Insurance Inc.

A third generation family owned business, Hierl Insurance delivers results with the strength of industry expertise while developing strong meaningful relationships. Since 1919, Hierl Insurance Inc. has earned the trust of Wisconsin employers by using insight and innovative technology to create unique strategies that protect business owners, their employees and their budgets. Hierl’s mission is to provide clients with the wisdom and tools necessary to build a more engaged, productive and loyal workforce.  With locations in Fond du Lac and Appleton, Hierl’s expertise in employee benefits, commercial insurance, human resources and wellness delivers a great business team.

Download Press Release Here.


Technology: Top Talent Prefers Being Recruited Via Their Mobile Device

Original post ubabenefits.com

If you haven’t noticed, newspapers are shrinking in size. Fewer people, especially the younger demographic of 18- to 40-year-olds, read them and this especially applies to when they’re searching for jobs. Employers who continue to use only the older methods of recruitment -- classified ads and job boards -- may not attract the most coveted applicants due to them not seeing the posting, or worse, feeling that the company looking to fill the position is old-fashioned and not technologically up to date.

According to an article on the website of Society For Human Resource Management titled, “The Most Sought-After Talent Prefer Mobile Recruitment,” almost 70% of applicants labeled as “high-potentials” were attracted more to companies with mobile recruiting options versus just over 50% of other applicants. Another comparison of high-potentials shows that about 75% use mobile devices when searching for jobs while only 40% of other potential employees do.

Because most people tend to do everything on their tablets or smartphones, it makes sense that searching for a job would just be another addition to that list. The article bears that out, noting that convenience is one of the primary reasons that high-potentials do this. Besides convenience, another benefit noted is that information can be obtained quickly via mobile device and high-potentials can respond faster to job postings.

The article states that everyone, at some point, will use a mobile device when job hunting, but those who are high-potentials take it to the next level. Everything from researching companies, receiving job alerts, filling out job applications, and even taking assessments was more likely to be done by a high-potential candidate on a mobile device. Furthermore, high-potentials were nearly two times as likely to prefer text messages and communication through social media (e.g., LinkedIn).

So, what’s the message to employers? If you want to attract top talent, then you must utilize mobile recruiting. Employers can build such a program by integrating all their job search functions, such as listings, applications, assessment tests, etc. on a mobile platform. They also need to make it simple and streamlined. As the article states, you don’t want a candidate who’s a high-potential to skip through your job recruiting process due to frustration.


Executive Vice President, Hierl Insurance, Inc., Honored By National Society of CIC for 15-Year Commitment

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, March 10, 2016 –Scott Smeaton, CRM, CIC, Executive Vice President of Hierl Insurance, Inc. of Fond du Lac, was recently recognized for professional leadership and advanced knowledge by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), a leading national insurance professional organization.

Mr. Scott Smeaton was awarded a certificate marking more than fifteen years of participation as a designated CIC, which requires annual completion of advanced education and training.

Smeaton’s dedication and leadership brings added value to his clients, associates and the industry as a whole. His ongoing allegiance and support of the CIC Program is a testament to the value he places on “real world” education and customer satisfaction.

The Society of CIC is a not-for-profit organization of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, which is respected throughout the insurance industry for the high standards maintained in the hundreds of institutes conducted annually in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Other programs of The National Alliance include Certified Risk Managers (CRM), Certified Personal Risk Managers (CPRM), James K. Ruble Seminars, the Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR), Certified School Risk Managers (CSRM), and the National Alliance Research Academy.

Download the Press Release here.

Contact us to partner with a dedicated expert for your benefits needs. 


President, Hierl Insurance, Inc., Honored By National Society of CIC for 25-Year Commitment

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, March 7, 2016 – Mike Hierl, President of Hierl Insurance, Inc. of Fond du Lac, was recently recognized for professional leadership and advanced knowledge by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), a leading national insurance professional organization.

Mr. Mike Hierl was awarded a certificate marking more than twenty-five years of leadership as a designated CIC, which requires annual completion of advanced education and training.

Mike Hierl’s ongoing allegiance and support of the CIC Program is a testament to the value he places on “real world” education and customer satisfaction. “Your clients, associates and the insurance profession as a whole continue to benefit from such dedication,” cited Dr. William T. Hold, CIC, CPCU, CLU, President of the Society of CIC.

The CIC Program is nationally recognized as the premier continuing education program for insurance professionals, with programs offered in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the Society of CIC is a not-for-profit organization and the founding program of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research.

Download the Press Release here.

Contact us to partner with a dedicated expert for your benefits needs. 


Proposed Summary of Benefits and Coverage Template and Updates

Original post ubabenefits.com

A Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) is four-page (double-sided) communication required by the federal government. It must contain specific information, in a specific order and with a minimum size type, about a group health benefit's coverage and limitations. In February 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed revisions to the template and related materials. The agency expects final templates and materials to apply to plan or policy years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. The proposal includes both a blank template and a sample completed template along with instructions for completion. The agency has also invited public commentson the proposed template, to be submitted on or before March 28, 2016. All information about current and proposed SBCs, including a proposed uniform glossary and more can be found on the DOL's website.

For fully insured plans, the insurer is responsible for providing the SBC to the plan administrator (usually this is the employer). The plan administrator and the insurer are both responsible for providing the SBC to participants, although only one of them actually has to do this.

For self-funded plans, the plan administrator is responsible for providing the SBC to participants. Assistance may be available from the plan administrator's TPA, advisor, etc., but the plan administrator is ultimately responsible. (The plan administrator is generally the employer, not the claims administrator.)

Proposed Changes

The proposed template is shorter than the original four-page (double sided) communication. It includes a new "important question" that asks "Are there services covered before you meet your deductible?" and requires family plans to disclose whether or not the plan has embedded deductibles or out-of-pocket limits. This is reported in the "why this matters" column in relation to the question "what is the overall deductible?" and plans must list "If you have other family members on the policy, they have to meet their own individual deductible until the overall family deductible has been met" or alternatively, "If you have other family members on the policy, the overall family deductible must be met before the plan begins to pay."

Tiered networks must be disclosed and the question "Will you pay less if you use a network provider" is now included. The proposed SBC also includes language that warns participants that they could receive out-of-network providers while they are in an in-network facility. The SBC also indicates a consumer could receive a "balance bill" from an out-of-network provider.

The "explanatory coverage page" was dropped from the proposed template.

The provided coverage examples provide clarification to the "having a baby" example and the "managing type 2 diabetes" example, in addition to providing a third example of "dealing with a simple fracture." The coverage example must be calculated assuming that a participant does not earn wellness credits or participate in an employer's wellness program. If the employer has a wellness program that could reduce the employee's costs, they must include the following language: "These numbers assume the patient does not participate in the plan's wellness program. If you participate in the plan's wellness program, you may be able to reduce your costs. For more information about the wellness program, please contact: [insert]."

The column for "Limitations, Exceptions, & Other Important Information" must contain core limitations, which include:

  • When a service category or a substantial portion of a service category is excluded from coverage (i.e., column should indicate "brand name drugs excluded" in health benefit plans that only cover generic drugs);
  • When cost sharing for covered in-network services does not count toward the out-of-pocket limit;
  • Limits on the number of visits or on specific dollar amounts payable under the health benefit plan; and
  • When prior authorization is required for services.

The proposed template and instructions indicate that qualified health plans (those certified and sold on the Marketplace) that cover excepted abortions (such as those in cases of rape or incest, or when a mother's life is at stake) and plans that cover non-excepted abortion services must list "abortion" in the covered services box. Plans that exclude abortion must list it in the "excluded services" box, and plans that cover only excepted abortions must list in the "excluded services" box as "abortion (except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is endangered)." Health plans that are not qualified health plans are not required to disclose abortion coverage, but they may do so if they wish.