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Biden Administration Considers Winding Down the Public Health Emergency

February 24, 2022

As COVID-19 cases continue to fall across the country, the Biden Administration is considering the official end of the related Public Health Emergency (PHE). First declared in early 2020, the PHE ensures that states cannot involuntarily disenroll anyone from Medicaid who was enrolled on or after March 18, 2020, regardless of changes..

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Senate Overcomes Last Minute Hurdles in Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Debate

February 18, 2022

By: Christopher Findlay

The Senate overcame last minute hurdles to pass a short-term spending bill on Thursday night and avoid a government shutdown. The vote inched close to a Friday deadline due to a push by some Senators to address smaller policy issues, such as President Biden’s vaccine mandate and a balanced budget amendment, which delayed quick passage.

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Reconciliation Bill Negotiations Continue While Congress Finalizes FY2022 Funding

February 11, 2022

Negotiations on a New Reconciliation Bill Continue While Congress Moves Toward Finalizing Fiscal Year 2022 Funding While Democrats are still working toward drafting a budget reconciliation bill to enact some aspects of President Biden’s human infrastructure plan, addressing government funding has taken priority due to the current deadline of February..

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Weaving Together for Others

February 9, 2022

A joint project between Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) communities Meridian Village and Dunn Road Manor is providing a little comfort to people experiencing need. Residents from Meridian Village, located in Glen Carbon, Illinois, visited Dunn Road Manor, an LSS Affordable Housing community in Florissant, Missouri, to teach their craft group how to crochet plastic mats from..

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Act Now! Temporary Expansions of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

February 7, 2022

The federal government recently created two new limited-time opportunities for nonprofit employees to request full forgiveness of their direct federal student loans. These opportunities expand the availability of the existing Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) and represent an important benefit for nonprofit employees! Significantly, loan forgiveness is now potentially available to borrowers whose..

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New Board Member Eric Gurley Adds Unique Experience to our Unique Network

The Lutheran Services in America network is unlike any other nonprofit network in the United States. From the services we provide to the people for whom we care, we are a network with a unique approach to empowering people and communities.

That unique approach is built into our core, from the frontline workers in 1,400 communities across the country to our very leadership. Lutheran Services in America has a board of directors comprised of 10 to 13 members that brings together diverse insights to our work.

We are pleased to add yet another trusted member to the board with invaluable perspective and depth of experience: Eric Gurley, the president and CEO of our member Immanuel. Eric has worked in the senior living space for 31 years and has extensive experience with strategic planning, implementation and reporting in senior housing and healthcare.

A native East Coaster, Eric migrated to the Omaha-based Immanuel, where he expanded services to cover 2,500 older adults, up from 800. Under his leadership, Immanuel grew from 300 employees to 1,400 and expanded missional service to underserved populations through the implementation of three innovative models of care, including the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Eric also oversaw the creation of the Immanuel Vision Foundation, which has given more than $15 million to the Church and other nonprofits, and the Immanuel Community Foundation, which fulfills the promise that no one will be asked to leave Immanuel due to the inability to pay.

Eric has broad experience serving on the boards of directors of other nonprofit organizations, including Lutheran Giving, Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, the Omaha Symphony and the Experimental Aircraft Association and its foundation (fun fact: Eric is a licensed pilot!).

Lutheran Services in America member CEOs elected Eric to the board at the Annual Meeting in January. Eric’s term, which began on July 1, runs through June 30, 2025. We look forward to the next three years of Eric’s talent and perspective!

Visit our Leadership page to meet our board of directors.

Celebrating National Disabilities Independence Day

Thirty-two years ago today, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. The passing of the ADA was a landmark event that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities across the country.

The ADA’s passage was a momentous occasion that advanced the cause for equal opportunity for millions. Three decades later, we continue to take steps forward to ensure that people with disabilities have access to services and supports that are critical for maintaining a life of independence, dignity and respect.

For many people living with disabilities, funding and other support is incredibly helpful in preserving their quality of life. For Deb, assistance in making improvements to her house was vital. With the help of additional resources, Deb worked with her service provider Gretchen at our member Mosaic to make the necessary updates to her home to meet her needs. Deb’s story is one of inspiration and success. “I feel so independent,” she said.

All people deserve the opportunity to live abundantly and independently. Additional resources are required for accessible housing and long-term services and supports for those who need them. The path to improved services includes a broad approach to address the challenges facing the disability community. Strengthening the direct care workforce and expanding home- and community-based services are a must. But we must also take care to shore up the financial security and independence of those receiving care while expanding civil rights and protections.

In taking these approaches, our nation can make the investment needed to lift up the direct care workforce and provide equal opportunity to people with disabilities to realize their potential.

Learn more about our work to champion services for people with disabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Broker Selection Process

Now that you’ve learned about the broker selection process, you may have additional questions. While JKJ is always available to answer questions that you might have, here are some that we commonly hear from other organizations.

At what point during the insurance renewal cycle should this process take place?

Under ideal circumstances, it should be completed by the time you are ready to consider getting options for your insurance program renewal and before your current broker begins the renewal efforts. Give yourself time to conduct this process. This is an important decision. Six months before your renewal is not too soon.

How frequently should the broker relationship be reviewed?

This varies. Management may wish to review the relationship every 3-6 years. If things are going along well in the partnership, there may not be any need to review the relationship unless there is a concern. A good broker should be performing a stewardship review with you annually, which will probably drive this decision.

Are there times when this system doesn’t work at all?

Yes. If you have a situation where none of the brokers are specialists in your line of work, you may very likely end up in a situation where no single broker has a wide array of insurance markets. If this is the case, you may need to consider the traditional selection approach, or you could use this approach to determine which two brokers will have a chance to bid on your program. Either way, the system gives you the tools to select quality brokers and limit the number of brokers involved.

Are there times when this system works particularly well?

Yes. If you have multiple brokers who generally all represent the same markets, this allows the brokers to differentiate on something other than the insurance company relationships.

What are some of the most important variables to consider when using this approach?

The Risk Management resources and services that the broker can provide can make or break a program.

Who actually will be available to you and what are their qualifications and experience?

The expertise of the broker when working with your class of business is critical. It is important to know that the broker that you ultimately choose actually represents the insurance companies who will be the more likely ones that you will do business with. If five insurers control 90% of the market and the broker you chose only represents two of the five, then this could be a big problem!

What markets do the broker represent? What volume of business does the broker have with each? What insurance companies are most likely to earn the business? Why? Discuss the relationships involved. The opinions of references are key. If good references that can vouch for all the promises that the broker is making are not available, then you may just be listening to a hollow sales pitch!

Do I tell the brokers how they will be scored? Why not?

Don’t make the broker be a mind reader. Be open to the brokers you will interview and let them know what is important to you. You can do this verbally, in the form of a form letter, or in the form of specifications that you want to be sure that they respond to in their interview. Or … you may want to just leave this to the broker. If they know their business, they will have a pretty good feeling for what the important variables are for your business. Whether or not you choose to communicate this prior to the selection process, it is obviously important that you ultimately communicate these areas of importance to your broker.

How do I know the broker is bringing the best alternative to me?

There are several ways to accomplish this. Require the broker to present alternatives to you and provide you with sound reasoning for the basis of their recommendation. Analysis of the options should be standard protocol. Most people can determine fairly quickly if their partners are being open and honest with them. At a point, you need to trust your broker. This individual should be a trusted advisor just like your attorney or accountant. If you don’t trust them, you should fire them. Compensation Disclosure of broker compensation is completely appropriate. Feel free to ask that it be disclosed when quotes are provided, or in advance if you would like.

Remember, though, that fees/commissions are determined in large part based on the services that are provided. If you expect the fee to be charged to be part of the initial broker presentation, you will need to have clearly communicated what services you want in advance so that these fees can be set appropriately. The “chicken or egg” scenario arises here, because you may not know what you want until you know what is available. We recommend that you save the compensation question until a second interview after you have a complete understanding of what services you want, the frequency that you want them, etc… While compensation is fair game for discussion, you want to be fair about it. In the end, you will get what you paid for.

Conclusion

Let this system work for you. Don’t make it too complicated. Ask brokers what variables they think are important. Most of the brokers will guide you to their strong points and what they think is important! It is good to get input on your comparison variables from numerous sources. When you have been through this process and see the results that it can produce, you will likely be hard pressed to go back to the way you use to do it. Good luck!

This is the third entry of a three-part series of blog posts. Read the first and second posts. Find out more from Johnson, Kendall & Johnson or contact Rafael Haciski.

Managing the Broker Selection Process Effectively

The broker selection process is a great tool for an organization to effectively and efficiently select the best broker and the best insurance company. The following outlines the steps that you can take to use the Broker Selection Process effectively:

#1: Management Commitment to the Broker Selection Process

It is important to determine in advance that you will either use or not use this process. You don’t want to get in a position where you start off using this process and then go back to the traditional way of selecting your insurance coverage during the same purchasing cycle. If you don’t like the end result, then you can go back to the traditional approach (or a hybrid scenario).

#2: Identify Potential Brokers

You might limit the number of brokers that you interview; however, this is the time to give a fair evaluation to many of the brokers/agents that call on you. However, many won’t know how to respond because they are just in the business of “quoting” insurance. This is a great time to hear what a few them have to say without having to go through “the quoting process” with all of them! Be reasonable with the number of interviews that you plan and don’t wear yourself out!

#3: Determine Selection Criteria

It is very helpful to do this in advance. Often, management will create a comparison tool to help fairly evaluate different brokers. After determining the variables to compare, you can give a weight to each variable in order to help you focus on the more important areas. Remember, this is your tool. You determine what variables are important and how important they are. We have provided a sample. Remember to think through all different dimensions of your broker relationship. In addition to the obvious insurance company considerations, policy differences and traditional agency services, consider risk management and claims management services as well. How can a particular broker assist you in managing all the costs of risk – both pre- and post-loss – not just your insurance premiums?

#4: Management Team Involvement

Consider incorporating your financial, clinical, and human resource staff into these presentations, as the material covered likely will affect all of these disciplines. All decision makers should be involved in the process. They will also benefit by learning what other services may be available in the marketplace.

#5: Interviews

Explain the process to the brokers who you will interview and let them know how much time that they will have with you for the interview/presentation. You might ultimately communicate what you are looking for from the brokers you will be interviewing in advance. This will involve far less time than you will spend with each broker if you have multiple brokers participate in “quoting” in the traditional sense. A broker that has a very thorough service driven program will likely need at least 60 minutes. Follow-up interviews may be granted to finalists if this will help.

#6: Rate Brokers

Some may prefer to use the tool more formally while others may allow instinct to guide them. Either way, be sure that you apply what works for you consistently.

#7: Communicate Decision

Upon selecting a broker, let all parties involved know your decision.

#8: Partnership

Your new broker should understand that they are now a partner with your organization in all aspects of your Risk Management and Insurance program. Your new broker should now solicit proposals from all appropriate companies and bring all proposals to you for your renewal along with an analysis of program options.

This is the second entry of a three-part series of blog posts. Read the first and third posts. Find out more from Johnson, Kendall & Johnson or contact Rafael Haciski.

Why Use the Broker Selection Process?

The broker selection process is a great tool for an organization to effectively and efficiently select the best broker and the best insurance company. There are several manners in which to choose an insurance brokerage and risk management partner. The words “insurance” and “partner” may seem like an unlikely pair, but the alliance can be one of the most important for a company’s executive team.

Selection Model #1: Selection by Quote Process

Some organizations will choose a few insurance brokers to “quote” their insurance program. Ultimately, significant work and resources are spent providing underwriting information, completing applications and hosting loss control visits for multiple brokers and insurance companies. Much wasted energy is consumed in the jockey for and allocation of insurance markets. Proposals must be reviewed from each of the brokers. At the end of the day, only one of the brokers is awarded the business.

This process does not place value on a long tenured partnership; instead, the model focuses on the premiums of the various insurance companies and broker services, putting the impact of total cost of risk are secondary.

In the unfortunate scenario in which the organization prefers to work with one broker but gets the “best quote” from a second broker, the organization is forced to either work with the broker that isn’t its first choice, or they resort to signing a “Broker of Record Letter” to give the work of one broker to another. This always leads to a difficult situation and hard feelings and a breach in trust is inevitable or they opt for “best quote” and second-choice broker. The organization can also develop a tarnished reputation in the underwriting community.

Selection Model #2: Broker Selection Process

A broker selection process can greatly simplify the process of looking at options and ultimately provide you with the best value for the insurance dollar or total cost of risk. In this model, an organization ends up with the best broker and the best insurance company per the organizations criteria. It allows the organizations to choose a broker through a competitive process that separately evaluates the benefits of each broker’s resources and services. Brokers can present their case for why you should do business with their organization and why they would make a good partner to develop and implement your risk management program.

Brokers should be your representatives. This becomes more critical as insurance companies continue to cut the services they provide. Once a broker is selected, you are in a position to have one broker clearly represent you to the insurance market. The insurance companies will know they have a fair chance of writing your business and will not have to be concerned that they are with the right broker. The entire process of selecting an insurance company is then the responsibility of your “best” broker. Management does not have to do analysis of all the different proposals. While management is welcome and should be a part of this process, the burden of the analysis rests on the part of your broker.

Ultimately, the organization seeking alternatives is guaranteed that they will end up doing business with the broker of their choice and the insurer of their choice. The elimination of agents is done early in process before significant work is requested of the agents, thereby creating a much more efficient process and much more effective result.

This is the second entry of a three-part series of blog posts. Read the second and third posts. Find out more from Johnson, Kendall & Johnson or contact Rafael Haciski.