31 Aug

September 2017 TrussConnect



Webinar on Thursday, September 7 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CST.

With recreational and medical marijuana now legal in multiple states, employers may be left wondering what restrictions they can, and can’t, have in the workplace. We’ll discuss the legal landscape for both recreational and medical marijuana use, including potential ADA issues. And we’ll go over other drugs employers should be concerned about. Join us as we discuss testing options and tips on crafting a drug and alcohol policy that best fits your company. Register Here.


Health care benefits can be a top recruitment toll for attracting top talent, making it essential that you ensure your employees clearly understand their options and are able to make an informed decision. Truss recommends HR and benefits professionals make this process easier by thoroughly explaining any changes before and during the busy open enrollment period.

Even when employers offer only two or three health plan options, the serious decision to select the right coverage at open enrollment can overwhelm employees.

Are there any changes?

Years ago employer-offered coverage varied little year to year making it easy to simply roll over benefit elections. Unfortunately, the days of easy selection have passed.

Today, we more and more employers are looking for ways to reduce the cost of health care. This includes offering plan designs with higher out-of-pocket cost costs, which means employees must compare plans and understand the potential costs. For example, deductibles might double or co-pays could rise.

Change is normal but even with just a slight increase, families need to understand out-of-pocket costs so they can budget appropriately.

Over Communicate

Many employers successfully use a multipronged approach before, during and after open enrollment by holding in-person meetings, health fairs, webinars, and online portals or apps that centralize all of the year’s benefit information.

Most companies should begin their Open Enrollment communication campaigns 60 to 90 days before open enrollment starts. Larger companies may see the need to start earlier. The industry standard for the open enrollment period is 30 days; most small to mid-size companies still hold it in November.

In the end, a successful open enrollment campaign helps employees understand any impending health plan changes, review their options, and select the right plan for themselves and for their family.


Surety bond vs Insurance: What’s the difference?
Both surety bonds and insurance are needed for obtaining license, or to be in compliance with local laws. So what’s the difference? Simply put, insurance protects a business against loss, while a surety bond protects a third-party from a breach of contract from said business.

How does it work?
A surety bond is a third-party guarantee that a business will meet their legal and contractual obligations. It is guaranteed by a bonding company on behalf of the issuer, but does not protect the purchaser of the bond; it is similar to co-signing on a loan. The bonding company guarantees that the business will fulfill their obligations. Insurance is a two-party agreement, where the risk is transferred from the insured to the insurance company.

What should I look for when selecting a surety agent?
There are two aspects you need to evaluate before you hire any surety agent. First, they must possess the knowledge to be your business partner by providing you with advice, suggestions and feedback on many aspects of your business. This would include accounting, operations, internal controls, business perpetuation and more. Their knowledge ensures you will be properly represented as the agent seeks surety support on your behalf in the market.

Second, because every surety is different, your surety agent must have detailed knowledge of the various surety markets. A knowledgeable surety agent with strong connections across multiple markets will be able to match you to the best surety partner for your required bond needs.

There are four things you should do when interviewing a potential agent:

  1. Ask them about their relationships within their surety markets.
  2. Test their accounting and business law skills.
  3. Obtain a list of client contractor referrals.
  4. Ask your other valued business partners (such as your attorney, banker, or CPA) about the agents you are considering.

How does surety pricing work?
It depends on the situation and many factors affect pricing. If you upgrade your financial statement presentation as part of the bonding process, it may affect your rates favorably. A new company may have more challenges acquiring rates than a more established one. The quality of your agent is also an important factor. An agent who has good working relationships with markets will be more likely to place you in a better market.

More questions on assessing your surety team can be found here: http://trussadvantage.com/our-services/surety-bonds/


Finally, a new approach to “harassment training.” We’ve all seen the cheesy videos with paid actors and cringe-worthy animations that are often associated with training videos. Preventing discrimination, harassment and retaliation is important for every workplace, and should not just be left to an outdated video or boring lawyer-led lecture.

Workplace of Respect™ is an innovative program offered in partnership with Wolf Prairie LLC that replaces those dated, awkward, and ineffective ‘harassment’ training programs that we’ve all endured.

This real-life learning program addresses all the legal requirements while focusing on the real purpose of this sort of training: Creating a great workplace filled with respect, honor, and welcome behavior.

For pricing and more information on our Workplace of Respect program and workshops, contact 913.735.5354 | jdewolf@TrussAdvantage.com.


As a reminder, Truss offices will close early on Friday, September 1 and also be closed on Monday, September 4 in observance of Labor Day.