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Compliance Counseling Services

We relieve your agency of the stress often associated with compliance to complex rules and regs.

We offer a growing suite of services to help agencies remain compliant with various state and federal regulations. Tiered packages make our services as hands-on as you need and as affordable as you like. Click each service below to learn more.

Dept. of Labor/Fair Labor Standards Act

DOL Overtime Compliance Support

We can help with a plan to comply with the multi-faceted Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Most independent agencies should have a plan in place. For busy agencies with little time, insufficient knowledge or simply no inclination to attempt to navigate the complex new rules, Independent Agency Solutions offers a custom compliance program priced according to our level of involvement.

Read two recent case studies.

Engagements typically include:
  1. One-on-one review of the rule with you, and what it means to your agencyOur staff has spent months reviewing this rule, and they know exactly what it means for independent agencies. We will clearly and concisely explain the rule and answer your questions.
  2. Creation of job descriptions, and exempt/non-exempt status for all employeesJob descriptions for agency staff will be analyzed, or drafted if necessary. We know under what circumstances certain positions in the agency may be treated as exempt (i.e. select CSRs and producers), and we'll advise you on using these exemptions.
  3. Revisions to your employee handbook to best protect youCertain provisions are required in your handbook for the benefit of the employees and the protection of the agency. We will provide you with the language you need.
  4. Instructions on timekeeping protocols required by this ruleAll non-exempt employees must record their hours worked. Whether you are doing that now or not, we will advise on best practices and options to meet your required documentation.
  5. Implementation discussion and checklistWe will meet with the agency principal and any HR staff to review the new agency resources and how to use them, including a comprehensive checklist for the agency to use.
Pay only for the level of support you need.

Knowing agencies will have a range of needs related to compliance, we have a tiered pricing structure that allows us to be as "hands-on" as you like.

Base Level ServiceCompliance program is conducted entirely via phone and/or video conferencing and Independent Agency Solutions work is done entirely from our office. You will be provided all documents and supplemental material to implement within the agency.

1-3 Agency Employees................$1,200
4-6 Agency Employees................$1,500
7-10 Agency Employees..............$1,800
10+ Agency Employees...............Call for pricing quote

Plus! Level ServiceCompliance program includes all services of the Base Level, and includes an Independent Agency Solutions staff person at the agency for a two-hour in-person implementation meeting. Instead of you explaining the rule to staff, bring in an expert to review the rule and the subsequent changes with staff in the agency.

1-3 Agency Employees................$1,800   
4-6 Agency Employees................$2,100
7-10 Agency Employees..............$2,400
10+ Agency Employees...............Call for pricing quote

Premium-Level ServiceCompliance program involves all of the services of the Plus! Level, but it is completed by Independent Agency Solutions staff at the agency.  Staff will review all agency operations relevant to this rule, and will then create customized compliance solutions. The most complete and comprehensive level of service, when Independent Agency Solutions leaves your agency, you will have in place a full DOL compliance program.

1-3 Agency Employees.................$2,400  
4-6 Agency Employees.................$2,700
7-10 Agency Employees...............$3,000
10+ Agency Employees................Call for pricing quote

*All services include a level of post-product delivery consultation to answer questions or provide further support.

Contact us about this program.

Producer Agreements

Producer Agreement Support

As agency principals and small business owners, you all know the agency’s core asset is its expirations. However, notwithstanding this knowledge and fundamental understanding, many agencies fail to undertake to adequately protect this core asset.

Case in point - Agency principals regularly contact IA&B to discuss a recent departure of a producer from the agency. Quite often, we learn the former employee removed detailed proprietary information regarding the agency’s accounts, often including the expirations list itself, and has immediately begun to solicit the agency’s customers. Unfortunately, we also often learn the agency failed to enter into a Producer Employment Agreement (or had entered into a poorly drafted agreement) with the departed producer, leaving the agency with little or no recourse, and limited leverage in the event of a legal battle over ownership of the agency’s core asset - its expirations.

You’ve often heard the old adage - An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, that ounce of prevention, and first line of defense, is for agency principals to enter into a Producer Employee Agreement with its producers (and/or with Producer Independent Contractor Agreements with its independent contractors).

The Independent Agency Solutions program includes:

  1. review of existing producer employee and independent-contractor agreements the agency may have in place
  2. development and implementation of a customized producer employee agreement and/or producer independent contractor agreement procedure to integrate into the agency workflow, and designed to complement the agency’s philosophy and practices
  3. sample producer employee agreement and/or producer independent contractor agreement personalized to the agency, which sample agreement(s) may incorporate the following components:
  • Trade secrets
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Compensation options
  • Enforcement and damages
  • Employee vs. Independent Contractor

4. Guidance regarding the core components of an agreement

5. Procedures to utilize when entering into an agreement, both with regard to agreements for a new hire, as well as for agreements to be implemented with current producers

6. Consultation with IAS staff on any of the components included in the producer agreement

7. Overview regarding the current status of existing state-specific case-law governing insurance agency related employee contacts

Contact us about this program.

Broker Agreements--Procedures & Protocols

Broker Agreement Support

When placing business with a carrier that has not appointed the agency (by brokering it through another producer, a wholesaler, a Surplus Lines licensee or other), Pennsylvania requires the retail producer to execute an agreement with the customer. This agreement explains that the producer is not acting on behalf of the carrier for this placement, and must contain certain mandatory disclosures. The penalty for failure to secure the agreement is significant (up to $5,000 per missing or faulty agreement). This requirement hinges on the state where business is written (generally where the risk is located).

The Independent Agency Solutions program includes:

  1. Implementation of a broker agreement procedure to integrate to the agency workflow and designed to comply with Pa. state law, for resident and non-resident agencies
  2. Sample broker agreement personalized to the agency
  3. Guidance on fee/compensation strategy based on state enforcement position
  4. Sample fee structure to use if/when the agency intends to charge a fee in connection with brokered business (to ensure consistency)
  5. Procedure to streamline when and how to use broker agreements, and properly identify business that falls under the requirement
  6. Revised workflow checklist (if a checklist was provided) to incorporate the execution of the broker agreement with the customer
  7. Overview of the statute &/or regulation to understand why broker agreements are required, and how the procedure complies with the requirement

Contact us about this program.

Implementing a Referral Fee Program

Referral Fee Program Support

The program includes:

  1. referral program tailored to the agency and designed to comply with Pa., Md. or De. state law, as applicable
  2. sample language promoting & describing the program for the web
  3. sample language promoting & describing the program to use in emails &/or letters to customers
  4. sample agreement to use with the prescribers I have identified for commercial referrals
  5. sample fee structure to use for my program c for Personal Lines c for Commercial Lines
  6. procedure for proper payment of the referral fee
  7. sample disclaimer to use for the website& /or for other communications regarding the program and the issue of multistate compliance.
  8. overview of the statute &/or regulation to understand how the program fits into compliance obligations

Contact us about this program.

Employee Handbook Preparation

Employee Handbook Support

Many agencies still operate without an employee handbook and other essential business documents, making them more vulnerable to different sets of issues from a compliance, vulnerability to lawsuit or simply a management standpoint.

The Independent Agency Solutions program includes:

  1. Development and implementation of a customized Employee Handbook that takes into account the agency’s specific operations and HR model
  2. Inclusion of various necessary provisions to protect the agency, including a confidentiality/non-disclosure provision for all staff, and a provision on use of mobile devices and work outside normal business hours in order to address possible issues with the Fair Labor Standards Act
  3. Acknowledgement form to be signed by the employee
  4. General guidance on use of the manual
  5. A handbook that incorporates the following components:
  • Handbook Introduction
  • Employment Policies
  • Timekeeping and Payroll Policies
  • Work Policies
  • Safety, Health and Security Policies
  • Benefits
  • Associate Non-Disclosure of Confidential Information
  • Associate Handbook Acknowledgement

6. Consultation with IAS staff on any of the components included in the handbook

Contact us about this program.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Audit

Employee vs. Contractor Audit Support

We frequently receive calls inquiring about properly identifying a worker (generally a subproducer) as an employee or independent contractor. The issue of the producer’s status sometimes arises out of another inquiry, be it E&O coverage, Workers’ Compensation coverage, ownership of expirations, or compliance with federal or state laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and/or tax laws.

Identifying the proper classification is important and has ramifications both from an agency management standpoint and from a compliance standpoint.

One of the challenges that many business owners face is that the tests to determine proper classification differ depending on the purpose of the classification (is it a taxation issue? Is it a WC issue? Is it a fair wage or overtime issue?).

  • The IRS control test takes into account various elements and uses a set of criteria to ascertain whether an employment relationship exists.
  • Insurers, be it for Workers’ Compensation or E&O, look at the issue from an exposure standpoint.
  • The Department of Labor uses an economic realities test, which further restricts a business’s ability to classify workers as independent contractors.

The Independent Agency Solutions program includes:

  1. Review of the different sets of criteria used by the regulators most often involved in classification issues, i.e. the IRS and the Department of Labor
  2. Mapped audit for review of each position that is subject to an inquiry, personalized to the agency
  3. Guidance on federal/state enforcement position
  4. Separate review of WC (& coverage) issues for the agency to consider

Contact us about this program.

GLBA Privacy Compliance Program

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Privacy Compliance 

Many agencies still operate without a privacy notice and/or a written information security program in spite of the fact that the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) was enacted in 1999, and corresponding state regulations were passed by the Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania regulators between 2001 and 2005. Since then, the concern for privacy of customer information has grown exponentially, and insurance agencies (which are financial institutions under the law) are under more scrutiny due to their perceived vulnerability to breach.
 
The Independent Agency Solutions program includes:
  1. General overview and guidance on the GLBA and corresponding regulation requirements
  2. The development and implementation of a privacy notice that is tailored to the agency and incorporates the components required by the rule
  3. An implementation plan for proper delivery of the privacy notice to the category of customers targeted by the rule
  4. A risk assessment based on current agency physical, technical and procedural safeguards 
  5. The development of an Information Security Program that corresponds to the risk assessment and complies with GLBA
  6. A list of improvements to consider implementing in order to strengthen protection
  7. Access to the online tool to update any changes enacted post analysis
  8. Consultation with IAS staff on any of the general requirements

Contact us about this program.

Other services coming soon.

 

 


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