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?

ES1JJ1RI3I

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.

###

 

12 Oct

Does your wellness plan have a positive ROI?

Originally posted by Employee Benefit Adviser.

Without an effective strategy or the right tools to reduce costs, brokers and employers continue to embrace cost shifting through payroll contributions and changes to deductibles and coinsurance to manage rising healthcare cost. However, there are resources that can help employers effectively measure the success of a wellness plan, while incorporating specific cost-saving strategies.

Effective wellness plans improve the health status of members. When planning a population health management strategy, it’s important to focus on driving down costs associated with emergency room visits, inpatient hospital stays and claims associated with heart disease, diabetes and some highly curable cancers.

Read more about it.

11 Oct

Businesses Face Paid-Time-Off Challenges

Originally posted by Andy Roe on shrm.org.

The allocation of paid sick and vacation days for employees has long been a dilemma for employers and HR managers, especially for small businesses.

How many days do you give? Do they carry over from year to year? Should you just replace sick and vacation time with a combined paid-time-off (PTO) bank? How much vacation time do you need to offer to attract new employees? At what point does the issue of employees taking too much time off detract from your business?

The answers to these questions, of course, depend on a number of factors—the size of your organization, the type of work being done, the flexibility of a given department, the ability to do work from home and the competition you face when hiring.

Read more about it.

10 Oct

Four things you don’t know about the business of credit reporting

Originally posted by Jesse Campbell on June 8, 2015 on moneymanagement.org.

Recently, the three largest credit reporting agencies agreed to make some changes to their policies and procedures following an investigation by the attorneys general of 31 different states. In response to this story, we received a number of (often heated) questions about the business of collecting and reporting credit information.

It’s understandable why the subject of credit reporting can get people a bit riled up. Your credit report – and maybe even more importantly, your credit score – plays a huge role in everything from borrowing money to buying a house to finding a job and so on. Just exactly who are these people who hold so much power over our lives? And how is it even possible that they can all have different information and arrive at different conclusions about the same unique consumer?

Read more about it.

09 Oct

Cyber insurers add value with access to expert resources

Cyber insurers add value with access to expert resources

By Erin Ayers on April 24, 2015 on cyberrisknetwork.com.

As more organizations realize they need to improve their cybersecurity posture, insurers have begun to offer more than a simple risk transfer, adding pre-breach services, risk assessments, and expert resources to help clients prepare for what some consider “inevitable” breach events.

These value-added services come part and parcel with cyber insurance policies, but insureds don’t always avail themselves of the opportunities to examine their IT security and plan out a breach response. Taking these steps before a cyber incident can make significant differences in the outcome, from the financial, reputational, and regulatory perspectives, according to industry experts.

“When you think about what else cyber insurance can do for you, the operational side is just as important as the financial side,” said Bo Holland, CEO of AllClear ID. He cited the response of Target to its 2013 data breach – the retailer had the financial ability to respond, but it didn’t have a plan in place, leading to loss of customer confidence, lawsuits, and brand damage. Organizations need “defined, understood, and practiced” response plans, he told Advisen. Insurers can facilitate those relationships with vendors, but it’s up to individual businesses to engage with them, Holland added.
Read more about it.

08 Oct

ACA requires insurers to collect Social Security numbers

ACA requires insurers to collect Social Security numbers

Originally posted by aetna.com.

Beginning this year, health insurers have to send the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information about health plan members and their insurance coverage, including their Social Security number (or other tax identification number). It’s one of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The ACA requires that everyone have qualifying insurance, qualify for an exemption, or potentially pay a tax penalty. The IRS will cross-check the information in tax returns against the information health insurers are required to submit for every person they cover. This IRS review will confirm that individuals have the required coverage and don’t have to pay a tax penalty.

Read more about it.