13 Dec

Preventing a Social Engineering Attack

Protect your employees — and company —by following these tips for helping to prevent a social engineering attack. No matter how tight a security network is, hackers will exploit employees to execute a variety of hacking techniques and phishing scams via social engineering tactics. Remember to educate your employees on this important information.

  1. Never provide confidential information, data or credentials via email, chat messenger, phone or in person to an unknown source.
  2. If you receive an email with a link to an unknown site, DO NOT click it immediately. Review the URL to ensure it is not suspicious. Hackers can create emails that appear to have come from a known source but are not legitimate. If it looks fishy, it probably is!
  3. Before clicking on links in emails, or on websites, look for misspellings, @signs and suspicious sub-domains.
  4. Look out for uninitiated or automatic downloads when clicking on links. It could be malware piggybacking on your system. Report such activity immediately to your security manager.
  5. Follow ATE AWARENESS, TRAINING and EDUCATION. No matter the level or position of an employee, all employees should be held to the same level of security awareness.
  6. Website administrators should regularly check for any private or confidential information that could have been inadvertently uploaded.
  7. Block USB devices in order to reduce the risk of baiting. Baiting is when an attacker tempts users with free, or found USB drives, and relies on their curiosity – if the device is plugged in then the attackers can access the network.
  8. Use two—factor authorization in order to make it difficult for hackers to enter your system.


07 Dec

Truss Presents: Recruiting & Hiring Best Practices

Recruiting Webinar Sept 21

Finding and attracting the best talent is key to building a successful business. This webinar will help you identify and hire the right people for your organization so you can be an employer of choice in your industry. We’ll focus on writing appropriate job descriptions, effective and compliant interviews, and essential documentations during the selection process.

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CDT
Host: Jeff DeWolf, Truss Human Capital Practice Leader
Speaker: Rebecca Seaman, SPHR, SHRM-CP

Sign-up today!


01 Dec

Reminder: 2017 FSA Contribution Limit $2,600

The IRS recently released Revenue Procedure 2016-55, which officially raised the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) salary reduction contribution limit from $2,550 to $2,600.  This change will be allowed at the group’s first renewal on or after 1/1/2017.

There are no changes to the already released HSA limits for 2017 at this time. For more information about this change, please visit: www.shrm.org.

08 Feb

Congrats to our 2015 Surety Partner of the Year: Merchants Bonding Company

We are pleased to recognize Merchants Bonding Company as our Surety Partner of the Year; throughout 2015, they provided exceptional service to our Surety Department. Their employees were a real pleasure to work with and always quick to respond, even when they were unable to say “yes” to us!

The relationships we have with all of our sureties are very important to us. This award is our way of saying thanks to Merchants Bonding Company for their extra efforts this past year.

The winner of the award is determined through the opinions of the various people in the Surety Department, total surety premium writings, and premium growth. Merchants Bonding Company currently is not our largest surety, but they very well could be in the near future.

Previous winners of this award include the following:

  • 2007 – Zurich
  • 2008 – CNA Surety and United Fire & Casualty Company
  • 2009 – Merchants Bonding
  • 2010 – Old Republic Surety Company
  • 2011 – Old Republic Surety Company
  • 2012 – Berkley Surety
  • 2013 – Old Republic Surety Company
  • 2014 – CNA Surety

Thanks again to Merchants Bonding Company for a job well done and good luck to all of our sureties in 2016.

22 Jan

Are Your New Year’s Resolutions Sticking?


Did you know that only 8% of folks are able to follow through with their New Year’s resolutions? What can you do to stay on track and achieve yours?

The difference between making or breaking your plan lies in whether or not you are able to alter your behavior; by focusing on your strengths, rather than your weaknesses, you can better manage your behavior.

Learn more here.

21 Jan

Important News Concerning the Affordable Care Act

The IRS has extended the deadline(s) for the Affordable Care Act Forms 1094/1095. Information regarding the extension is hot off the press, and details thus far include:

Form 1094: Extended until May 31, 2016 (paper) and June 30, 2016 (electronic)
Form 1095: Extended until March 31, 2016

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have, and we’ll keep you in the loop as we acquire more updates!

11 Nov

CHPG Takes on New Brand to Show Off Added Capabilities

This article by James Dornbrook originally appeared on the Kansas City Business Journal website on November 6, 2015.

In the year and a half since its merger with Power Group Cos., Overland Park-based Cretcher Heartland LLC has been able to bring more services to market, and now it’s bringing a new brand to reflect how much it has changed.

The independent insurance brokerage now will be known as Truss, a brand identity designed to be a symbol of the company’s strength in supporting clients.

CEO Steve Nicholson said the company added a lot of capabilities through mergers and acquisitions and key hires during the past few years. The company launched a mergers-and-acquisitions practice, executive benefits practice and a fully integrated human capital consulting practice. It was starting to become more diverse and needed a new brand to reflect the change.

“After several transactions, including the Power Group merger (in February 2014), we started to take a look at what we have and thought it was time to create a new identity,” Nicholson said. “We’ve had so many opportunities to pull different products and skill sets into the company over the past five years that we just felt it was time to put a new stamp on it. We needed something bigger.”

Nicholson said the new brand identity allows the entire company to move forward together, communicating one strategic vision in the marketplace.

Truss is the metro area’s second-largest independent and locally owned insurance brokerage. It has 170 employees and more than $450 million in premium volume.

06 Nov

Cretcher Heartland/Power Group Rebrands as “Truss”

OVERLAND PARK, KS, Nov. 6, 2015— Cretcher Heartland/Power Group, a privately held insurance broker offering risk management solutions, employee benefits, human resources consulting, insurance, surety bonds and retirement planning, announced today that it has changed its name from Cretcher Heartland/Power Group to TRUSS. “There has never been a more exciting time than now to be an associate at Truss. This new brand reflects our company’s focus on client relationships and enthusiasm moving forward,” said Chief Executive Officer, Steve Nicholson.

Reflecting on the decision to rebrand, Nicholson says, “Where and what Truss is today is a result of several mergers and acquisitions over the years. The proud histories of all of these companies are represented in the strength of our new name.” As an integrated organization with plans for continued growth, the rebranding has provided the company further alignment in identity, goals and values. “The majority of our industry has the name of a founder or owner represented in the company name, as we previously did. In order to showcase the talent of our associates, we knew we had to act and look different.”

Truss means “a framework that spans support to all of the members of its structure”. While the term is relevant to construction, which is one of the many industries that Truss serves, it also represents the unified company’s mission to provide unwavering and proactive service for clients, partners and carriers. Truss is committed to cultivating and strengthening personal and business relationships that create empowering experiences.

Recent growth has not only allowed Truss to bring to market a mergers and acquisitions practice, executive benefits practice and a fully integrated human capital consulting practice, but it has positioned the company for future expansion in all markets.

“With our new brand identity, we feel we will be better able to communicate our organization’s strategic vision in the marketplace, and we look forward to an exciting road ahead as we take our business to the next level.”

About Truss

Cretcher Heartland was founded in 1974; Power Group was founded in 1983. They merged in 2014 to become Cretcher Heartland/Power Group. Truss serves thousands of clients as the 2nd largest independent and locally-owned insurance brokerage in the Kansas City region, with 170 employees and over $450 million in premium volume. The Kansas City-based insurance brokerage specializes in risk management solutions, employee benefits, human resources consulting, insurance, surety bonds and retirement planning.