Penn National Declares 10 Percent Dividend This Year for Business Insurance Program

Chamber members that utilize the ChamberChoicebusiness insurance program through Penn National Insurance will receive a 10% dividend delivered back to them for policies written and retained during the program’s sixth year (May 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017), as Penn National recently announced a 10% dividend for this year. Members enrolled in the program that remained chamber members and policyholders through the end of the program year should expect to receive their checks in June or July. 

Since the program’s inception in 2011, over $9 million has been returned to member businesses in dividends out of over $31.5 million in paid premiums. The average annual dividend return in the six years of the program has been 7.8%. Columbia Montour Chamber members enrolled in the program have received over $173,000 in dividends over the last five years. 

“This program is not only a great benefit to our members, but has made a significant economic impact by putting dollars back into our local community and member businesses,” said Columbia Montour Chamber president Fred Gaffney.

An important aspect of this group insurance program is preventing loss and controlling claims costs. Because dividends are based on the group’s collective loss experience, a business that may have had a significant loss may still be eligible to receive a dividend.

The program is sold exclusively through local, independent agents who can offer chamber members a variety of coverages and pricing on property and casualty insurance, including business owners, commercial auto, general liability, inland marine and workers’ compensation. Dividends are paid on all of these coverages. In addition, through safety consulting, Penn National Insurance and local independent insurance agencies encourage member businesses to develop safety practices to substantially reduce or eliminate workplace injuries.

To see if this program could be a good fit for your business, contact Chamber members Associated Insurance Management at 570-275-0100 or Hutchison Insurance Agency at 570-784-5550, for a no-obligation quote. 

ChamberChoice Announces New Partnership to Save Members Money on Prescriptions and More

From ChamberChoice

ChamberChoice recently partnered with National Benefit Builders (NBBI) to offer discount programs to Chamber Members, their employees and family members.

Its new discount programs are a cost-effective way to enhance any benefits program! It provides people with choices that are affordable and voluntary. The benefits are portable and can fill the gaps in coverages – with significant savings for out-of-pocket expenses.

Do you pay full price for medications? Does your insurance force you to buy generic when you prefer the brand? Save an average of 15% on brand name and 55% on generic medications at over 80% of pharmacies. This discount prescription card can be used immediately and shared with family. You may also request additional cards for family and friends. Your personal information is never collected.

Available Programs include:

  • Discount Rx
  • DentaChoice Dental & Vision
  • Health Discount Network
  • Telehealth
  • NBBI Senior
  • NBBI Wellness
  • NBBI Pet
  • NBBI Lifestyles
  • Keystroke GuardTM

For more information on the programs and pricing, review this two-page descriptions flyer.

Discount Card Pilot to Welcome New Bloomsburg University Students Underway

This fall, Bloomsburg University will welcome over 300 new-to-Bloomsburg transfer students. A team at BU is working to welcome those students and help them become part of the Bloomsburg Town community with a convenient card listing discounts offered by area restaurants and other businesses. BU Student Life will handle design and printing of the cards. There is no fee for participating businesses or students. If the pilot is successful, the program could be expanded to include all incoming BU students in the future.

If your business offers a discount to BU students, or is willing to create one, send the information to Toni Bell, BU professor and Town Council member via email as soon as possible.

Manufacturers Invited to Discuss Ideas and Needs

Personal interaction is the best way for the Chamber to learn about member needs, help you make connections, and identify other ways we can support your organization. Downtown Bloomsburg Inc., the Montour County Task Force, and Berwick merchants are among the groups the Chamber supports in bringing businesses together to discuss and address issues. We are now proposing to form a manufacturers’ council, which would meet quarterly.

An initial meeting is scheduled for Friday, June 29, from 9-10:30 a.m. at The Greenly Center in downtown Bloomsburg. The focus will be on workforce development, specifically for existing employees. Any business interested in learning more about the manufacturers’ council should contact Fred Gaffney at the Chamber at 570-784-2522 or email.

How to Increase Employee Engagement With Alternative Benefits Offerings

From ChamberChoice and Smart Business Pittsburgh

As a trusted partner and advisor, benefits brokers have the opportunity to educate and counsel employees year-round on benefits offerings to keep them engaged. All too often though, benefits professionals become entangled in the process — only focusing on the employer or HR director. They develop tunnel vision when it comes to recognizing and minimizing the impact selecting benefits each year has on employees.

“The bottom line, benefits are confusing and stressful. Many employees make their benefits decisions without fully understanding the offerings available to them, how they work and more importantly whether or not a plan is suited for their unique needs,” says Ron Carmassi, sales executive at JRG Advisors.

Smart Business spoke with Carmassi about how alternative benefits can help alleviate dissatisfaction with benefits programs.

Where do some benefits programs fall short and how can employers fix this?

A 2016 Harris Poll revealed that half of employees find benefits decisions to be stressful, 20 percent regretted their choices and 41 percent found open enrollment to be extremely confusing. The poll also found that while HR directors spend a significant amount of time and effort throughout the year preparing and sourcing options for employees, only one-third of employees actually read the material. This lack of education and knowledge creates anxiety and dissatisfaction around the benefits program.

The secret ingredient lies in education. Most employees associate ‘benefits’ with ‘health insurance.’ While health insurance is the main staple, there are a wide array of lesser-known benefits to offer and employees may not be aware of all their options. Alternative benefits offerings, aside from standard health insurance, can play a vital role in increasing employee satisfaction and ultimately their engagement.

What are examples of alternative benefits?

Voluntary benefits: These benefits are a great way to enhance your total program and increase employee satisfaction, with little impact on the budget. Some types of voluntary benefits that can deliver convenience and value are accident, critical illness and pet insurance. Employees need a clear understanding of not only how the coverage works, but also the benefits of having coverage and the potential risks of going without.

Life insurance: While it can be depressing to prepare for your mortality, it’s an important topic. LIMRA, a research and consulting firm, determined that 30 percent of Americans don’t have life insurance, and 48 percent of households have an insurance gap of $200,000 or greater. The research also found that from 2010 to 2016, life insurance enrollment increased 10 percent among millennials as they began aging, buying homes and having children. A life insurance plan can be valuable to younger employees who may be starting families. If you already offer life insurance, all employees should be reminded to review and update their policies.

Short-term/long-term disability: Regardless of whether your workforce is young or old, long-term disability should be considered. No one is immune, so take a multi-generational approach. Many of the older employee population have families and recognize the importance of protecting themselves in the event they’re unable to work. For younger employees, it’s an opportunity to remind them that disabilities are a real possibility. While ‘disability’ is commonly associated with a catastrophic condition, it could simply mean being temporarily unable to work due to back problems or surgery. In any case, it’s always better for employees to be safe than sorry.

Retirement plans/401(k): Whether employees are close to retirement or have decades left in the workforce, saving for retirement is a key component of financial security. Offering a 401(k) or other retirement benefits can increase employee loyalty and is a great recruitment and retention tool. But they are only helpful if employees are aware of and understand them. Many people participate in a 401(k) contribution plan and develop an out-of-sight, out-of-mind mindset. Open enrollment is the perfect time to review retirement savings. If an employer provides a 401(k) match up to a certain percentage, employees should be encouraged to increase their contribution to that threshold.

Insights Employee Benefits is brought to you by JRG Advisors.