Roasted Sweet Potatoes for the Holidays

Welcome to our monthly Dish segment. This month, we’ve provided some of our holiday favorites. We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling potatoes after cooked
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lay the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a roasting tray. Drizzle the oil, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper over the potatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes in oven or until tender.
  3. Take sweet potatoes out of the oven and transfer them to a serving platter. Drizzle with more extra-virgin olive oil.

This recipe was provided by Food Network. If you’d like to visit the original source, please click here.


Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.
  2. Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.
  3. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
  4. Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

This recipe was provided by Food Network. If you’d like to visit the original source, please click here.


**Holiday Hours

Our offices will be closed the following days in December and January:

Christmas Eve: Tuesday, December 24

Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25

New Year’s Day: Wednesday, January 1

We wish you all a warm and happy holiday season filled with family, friends and good times!

Thank-you for joining us for this month’s Dish! Don’t forget to come back next month for a new one.


Ashleigh Asleson Attains CISR Designation

The designation of Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) has been conferred on Ashleigh Asleson, Commercial Insurance Service Agent at Hierl Insurance, Inc, following her successful completion of a comprehensive insurance education program sponsored by the Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives.

This accomplishment is affirmed by the President of the Society of CISR, Dr. William T. Hold, Ph.D., CIC, CPCU, CLU. The full CISR credentials were sent to Asleson on November 8, 2019, in official confirmation of the achievement.

The Society of CISR is a key member of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, the nation’s preeminent provider of insurance and risk management education. The National Alliance conducts more than 2,500 programs annually throughout all 50 states, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Puerto Rico and around the world. This program is designed to serve a variety of individuals practicing insurance so that they may better serve their clients’ needs and requirements. Currently, more than 28,000 agents and insurance professionals throughout the country and world have received the CISR designation.

Asleson has demonstrated her professional competence through the successful completion of the five CISR courses and the corresponding comprehensive examinations that focus on all major fields of commercial casualty and property, personal residential and auto, personal lines, agency operations, life, and health, and risk management.

To learn more about Hierl Insurance, please contact Cathleen Christensen at (920) 921-5921.

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.


Scott Smeaton, CIC, CRM, Attends Certified Insurance Counselor Institute

Scott Smeaton, CIC, CRM, Attends Certified Insurance Counselor Institute

Scott Smeaton, CIC, CRM, Executive Vice President of Hierl Insurance Inc. of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin has successfully completed the annual continuing education requirement of the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors and Certified Risk Managers.

To earn these prestigious designations, Scott Smeaton attended ten courses covering all phases of the insurance and risk management business and passed ten comprehensive examinations.  Additionally, The National Alliance requires annual attendance in the program to maintain the designation.

Scott Smeaton, a thirty year veteran of the industry, believes the insurance and risk management profession is best served by those who acquire and maintain a high standard of professionalism by meeting the continuing education requirements of the Certified Insurance Counselor and Certified Risk Management programs.

About Hierl Insurance

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.


Nicole Sumner Promoted to Employee Benefits Service Agent and Earns Accident & Health License

Nicole Sumner Promoted to Employee Benefits Service Agent and Earns Accident & Health License

Nicole Sumner, EB Service Agent, Hierl Insurance, Inc. of Fond du Lac, has successfully completed the Accident and Health training course through Kaplan, as well as took and passed the licensing exam, earning her Accident and Health license.

Starting at Hierl as an Administrative Assistant, Nicole is an honors graduate from Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac with an Associates of Applied Sciences in Human Resources. She spent her earlier employment years at Agnesian Healthcare, where she filled multiple roles such as delivering patient meal trays, working the hospital coffee shop, and cashiering at the hospital cafeteria.

After a year, Nicole moved into the Pharmacy Department where she worked as a Salesclerk, helping customers with questions about their prescriptions and was the assistant to the Pharmacists and Technicians. This assistant work led her to be a perfect fit for the Administrative Assistant position at Hierl.

Due to her dedication, work ethic, and newly required qualifications, Nicole makes a great addition to the Hierl team as an Employee Benefits Service Agent. Having received this promotion, Nicole commented, “I’m very excited to join the EB team at Hierl. I look forward to learning about the EB processes in depth, as well as using my HR knowledge to assist the team.”

About Hierl Insurance

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.


Bolognese with Scott Smeaton

Welcome to our monthly Dish segment. This month, we asked Scott Smeaton to provide us with his favorite Dine In and Dine Out choices. Check them out below and let us know if you give them a try!

A Little Bit About Scott

Scott is Executive Vice President of the business insurance planning firm, Hierl Insurance, Inc.

Since 1988, Scott has been providing Employee Benefit and Business Risk Management services to businesses throughout N.E. Wisconsin. He joined Hierl in 1994, becoming a partner only a few years later. During his time at Hierl, he’s focused on helping businesses manage their risk, whether it be rising costs of healthcare and benefits or workers compensation claims. Read more on his bio.


Pasta Bolognese

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion or 2 small, cut into 1­inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2­inch dice
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1­inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Extra­virgin olive oil, for the pan
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds ground chuck, brisket or round or combination
  • 2 cups tomato paste
  • 3 cups hearty red wine
  • Water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano­Reggiano
  • High quality extra­virgin olive oil, for finishing

Directions

  1. In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently for about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient, this is where the big flavors develop.
  2. Add the ground beef and season again generously with salt. BROWN THE BEEF! Brown food tastes good. Don’t rush this step. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes. Add water to the pan until the water is about 1 inch above the meat. Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Don’t be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning, you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and TASTE frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will). Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
  4. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the spaghetti. Pasta water should ALWAYS be well salted. Salty as the ocean! TASTE IT! If your pasta water is under seasoned it doesn’t matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under seasoned. When the water is at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  5. While the pasta is cooking remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve. Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add some of the reserved sauce, if needed, to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and cook the pasta and sauce together over a medium heat until the water has reduced. Turn off the heat and give a big sprinkle of Parmigiano and a generous drizzle of the high-quality finishing olive oil. Toss or stir vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls or 1 big pasta bowl. Top with remaining grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.


When It’s a Great Time to Go Out

Scott and his family enjoy eating at the Draft Gastropub in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Learn more about the Draft Gastropub on the restaurant’s website.

Get directions.

View their menu.

The Draft Gastropub is rated 4.5 stars on Trip Advisor.

Thank-you for joining us for this month’s Dish! Don’t forget to come back next month for a new one.


Roast Spatchcock Turkey with Hierl

Welcome to our monthly Dish segment. This month, we’ve provided one of our favorite holiday dishes. We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Roast Spatchcock Turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 (10 pound) whole turkey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place a roasting rack on a baking sheet.
  2. Turn the turkey over, breast-side down. Using a pair of sharp heavy-duty kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone. Repeat on the other side of the backbone. Reserve the backbone for making turkey stock for gravy. Press firmly down onto both sides of turkey to flatten.
  3. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey and place on the roasting rack. Pat skin dry and rub olive oil over the entire turkey; season with salt, sage, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, rotating baking sheet every 30 minutes. Increase temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and roast until skin is crisp, about 15 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Remove turkey from the oven, cover loosely with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

This recipe was provided by AllRecipes. If you’d like to visit the original source, please click here.


**Holiday Hours

Our offices will be closed Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23 and will reopen Monday, November 26. All of us at Hierl wish you a happy Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and good food.

Thank-you for joining us for this month’s Dish! Don’t forget to come back next month for a new one.


Why You Should Be Benchmarking (and How Hierl Can Help)

As an employer, you have more than likely heard the term ‘benchmarking’ thrown around. It is becoming a critical tool in the development of competitive benefits programs, often helping drive down costs. At Hierl, we are strong advocates for benchmarking. Why? We believe good business decisions can only be made with accurate, meaningful information. Benchmarking is a fantastic way for us – and you – to measure where you stand in all aspects of your benefits against your industry’s standards and competitors. That’s why, in this installment of CenterStage, we interviewed our Executive Vice President, Scott Smeaton.

From an Employer's Eyes - The 3 Scenarios

“When we meet with a business that has not done benchmarking, we are sure to complete that process for them, showing them where they stand in their marketplace,” explained Scott. He emphasized that there are three scenarios that can happen once great advisors, such as those at Hierl, step in and get those results for the employer:

(1)The employer sees that everything around them has changed, they haven’t kept up with the times, and they’ve left money on the table.

(2)The employer is having a difficult time attracting and retaining key employees. With benchmarking, they can view where they should enhance their benefits to be more competitive in their marketplace.

With unemployment as low as it is, many businesses we meet with come from a third, different mindset:

(3) They want to look at their benefits from a total reward or total compensation strategy, where the benefits and the costs of providing benefits become part of a larger picture – time off, vacation, wages, etc.

These three approaches to benefits strategy are why, at Hierl, we strive to blend any and all concerns into a benefits plan strategically designed to get our clients where they need to be to compete for labor. “With a recent client of ours, they were specific about wanting their plans to be in the top 25% of all the plans out there – from a plan design perspective and from a premium cost-share perspective. Using benchmark, we were able to illustrate to this client what they needed to do to accomplish that goal specific to their industry and geographic location,” Scott explained. Benchmark is a powerful tool that can be in any employer’s toolbox, if only you partner with someone like Hierl.

He continued, “When we do our clients’ benchmarks, we take the results further than simply a generic comparison against their competitors. We look at our clients’ specific plan designs, analyzing their deductibles, their coinsurance, their out-of-pocket maximums, their prescription drug copays, and other specifics, as well as how much of the premium the employees must pay out of their paycheck to have coverage. We break down each into five competitive areas: national, regional, state, industry, and employers of similar size.”

Addressing Employers’ Fear of Cost

Some employers may not want to see the results because their current offering isn’t competitive, and it would cost money to adjust their programs to be closer to market. If getting closer to market to compete for labor is their goal, we work with them to create a three- to five-year plan to get there, making incremental adjustments each year. Another common finding is that employers are paying more of the premium than their competitors. Some acknowledge that’s what they want to be doing; others appreciate the information and adjust their cost share so they can reallocate those premium dollars to other benefits, wages, or expenses. This can be an eye-opener, and they likely would not have realized the difference without doing a benchmark test.

Another benefit of benchmarking is how we use the information to educate and engage employees, helping them understand the effort their employer is making to be competitive in the market and how fortunate they are to have the benefits they do compared to others. We use the data during employee meetings to drive the point home. The response is often amazing. We’ve had employees go to their employers and thank them after the employee meetings admitting that they didn’t realize how competitive their benefits are. This also highlights that their employer cares about its employees’ needs and wishes with their benefits, helping the employer retain their key talent.

Partner with Advisors that Listen

If your benefits program isn’t up-to-par – or you’re not even sure where it stands against others in your marketplace – then benchmarking is something you should seriously consider. Even more so, partner with advisors that will want to improve employee perception of your benefits as much as you do. Everyone at Hierl is extremely passionate about helping employers – large or small – identify what it takes to build a successful employee benefits program. To do that, we use the data and listen to the direction the employer wants to go, while also keeping in mind what the employees are looking for. Something we offer to our clients is to survey not only their company through benchmark but to also survey their employees, regarding how they feel and engage with their benefits. Every other year, we go in and do this test with our clients’ employees to ensure the benefits plans we design for our clients are fully comprehensive and hitting every mark. We’re not your traditional broker. We bring tools and resources to the conversation that make a difference. We’re driven to educate and improve both the employer and employee experience, driving down the overall cost of benefits at the same time.

To learn more about Hierl’s services or to begin your benchmark process, please contact our Executive Vice President, Scott Smeaton, at 920.921.5921 or ssmeaton@hierl.com.


What's in a Password?

What's in a Password?

Most websites and services encrypt passwords before storing them on their servers. As a result, even if hackers were to gain access to the password, they wouldn’t have access to the actual text that makes up your password.

Once criminals gain access to an encrypted password, they can use sophisticated programs to quickly guess every combination of letters, numbers and symbols until your password is cracked. As a result, longer passwords and those that contain a large variety of characters will be very difficult for programs to guess.

However, just because effective passwords should be complex, doesn’t mean that they should be difficult to remember.

The next time you need to think of a unique password, try using a favorite song lyric or quote. This will make a password that’s long and difficult for hackers to crack, and has the added benefit of being very memorable.

Turning a simple phrase like “your guess is as good as mine” into “yourguessisasgoodasmine” actually makes for a strong, and in this case ironic, password! However, be sure to add a capital letter or special character as well to make your password that much stronger.

A Balancing Act Between Memorable and Complex

Thinking of a new password can be frustrating—every service and website seems to have different requirements about length, complexity and special characters. In order to secure yourself against hackers, it’s important to think of a password that’s both memorable and complex.

Helpful Hints

Your password will only remain secure if you take steps to protect it. Be sure to never write your password down and leave it where someone can see it. Instead, consider using a password management tool. These online services will store all of your login IDs and passwords for you, but you should do some research and make sure that the service you use is reputable.

Provided by: Hierl's Property & Casualty Experts

Download the PDF.

What are the 25 most commonly stolen passwords?

Download the PDF.

Construction Risk Advisor - October 2018

Preparing for Hurricane Season: 5 Tips for Contractors

The 2018 hurricane season is here, and it’s time for contractors to prepare for emergency weather situations that can not only disrupt current projects, but also hamper recovery efforts. Heavy rain and winds, surges in demand for labor and materials, and job site hazards in storm-damaged areas can create dangerous and expensive risks for contractors.

Minimize your risks during hurricane season with these five tips:

  1. Identify the potential for flooding. Take steps to prevent on-site flooding, including installing drainage systems, moving large equipment and waiting to install finished products until the building is watertight.
  2. Protect your cranes. Lower any cranes before weather events, if possible. Consult with the manufacturer or a professional engineer regarding how to best lower and secure cranes.
  3. Create an employee communications plan. Devise an action plan with a list of contact information and a log of on-site workers so you can account for everyone if a storm hits.
  4. Check your business continuity plan. Make sure employees understand their roles, and regularly review, update and test your continuity plan for business disruption.
  5. Review your insurance coverage. Work with your insurance carrier or broker to make sure your business is adequately protected.

Assess whether a project will be affected by hurricane season, and weigh the risks before agreeing to a contract. Consider whether or not you have enough qualified staff to handle the work post-storm, as well as the materials needed to complete the job, so you’re prepared in case of supply shortages.

Newsletter Provided by: Hierl's Property & Casualty Experts

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Manufacturing Risk Advisor - May/June 2018

Mixed Reaction to New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

The Trump administration recently announced a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum in order to discourage imports of these materials. The administration also stated that the tariffs are part of an effort to increase jobs and protect U.S. businesses from foreign competition.

While the tariffs were established to help U.S. businesses, manufacturing experts believe that they may increase the price of new products and that sales will likely decrease as these costs are passed onto consumers. Although the tariffs only apply to imported materials, many U.S. steel and aluminum producers have raised prices in order to account for increased demand.

The Commerce Department also announced an exclusions process for the tariffs. However, businesses must first prove that they’re unable to obtain the materials from domestic sources.

For more information on the manufacturing industry, call us at 920-921-5921 today.

How Blockchain Technology Can Improve Supply Chains

Manufacturers need to rely on a consistent supply chain in order to operate. However, a lack of transparency between vendors and the use of separate management systems often leads to confusion, delays and lost business.

To solve these problems, many businesses have turned to blockchain technology—a platform that works by recording a separate record, or “block,” every time a supply chain progresses. This record is then encrypted and used to verify all subsequent blocks, which prevents any alterations to records.

Here are some of the potential benefits of a blockchain recordkeeping system:

  • Flexible scalability—Blockchain systems can be used internally to track projects and other workflows. Multiple organizations can share the platform to organize large-scale operations.
  • Security—Records that use blockchain are encrypted, verified and shared between all users. As a result, blockchain is very secure against tampering and cyber attacks.
  • Transparency—Advanced sensors and other tracking technology can update blockchain records to give businesses an ongoing view of a supply chain without fear of human error or biased reporting.
  • Innovation—New services are beginning to automate complex systems like contractual obligations, employee security credentials and personal data protection using blockchain technology.
  • Detailed analytics—Businesses can track individual products to gather important information at any time, such as the origin of a dysfunctional product or a food item’s expiration date.