Alabama’s Workers Compensation Act Ruled Unconstitutional

Alabama Small Business

The Workers’ Compensation Act in Alabama was recently ruled unconstitutional by one of the State’s circuit judges, Pat Ballard from the Jefferson County. According to Judge Ballard, a weekly compensation cap of $220 and the 15% cap on fees for legal services are unlawful.

Two faulty provisions led to the entire bill being declared illegitimate, and you may think it has been dumped into the trash can. Well, not that fast. The Act has been offered 120 days; enough time for the Alabama Legislature to rectify the flaws.

So what can be the outcome of the revised bill? What could small businesses expect after the 120 days deadline? It turns out, there could be quite a lot to hope for.

Faster and easier than ever before – CoverWallet broadens payment options and online functionality

CoverWallet Digital Payment

We’re so excited to announce an expansion of our digital capabilities. While we’re certainly fans of our team of expert advisors, you can now do more than ever without even needing to hop on the phone:

  • Payments (NEW!): All our customers can now make payments online 24/7, through credit card or ACH, and have flexibility in how they cover their premium. And now, payments can be made at once, quarterly, or even monthly.
  • Quote & Purchase: Covering more industries than ever before, CoverWallet gives you the option to get a quote online in minutes, at any time. Holding a phone to try to get someone on the other line to help you is going to be a thing of the past.
  • Certificates of Insurance & Proof of Insurance: Unlimited free COIs and proof of insurance are available immediately in your CoverWallet account. Oh, you hadn’t tried that amazing functionality yet? It just takes a moment, go on, we’ll wait here.

Managing Accounts Receivable Risk as a Small Business Owner

Small Business Owner Accounting

One of the most critical elements of successfully running a small business is effective cash flow management. Your ability to cover day-to-day expenses and plan ahead for long-term growth hinge on whether you have a steady stream of cash coming in.

How you manage your accounts receivable has a direct impact on your cash flow. Analyzing your accounts receivable, and taking steps to minimize any risk associated with invoicing is essential for maintaining a healthy bottom line.

What Is Accounts Receivable?

Accounts receivable or AR refers to money that’s owed to your business—almost like an “IOU”. When a customer or client makes a purchase from your business but doesn’t pay for it right away, it becomes an account receivable. This is the opposite of accounts payable, which is money your business owes to vendors or service providers.

Accounts receivable are listed as current assets on your balance sheet. Depending on the payment terms you’ve established with your customer, accounts receivable may be due within 15 to 90 days.

Small Business Story: St. Louis Braid Co.’s Challenges & Facing Competition

The CoverWallet Small Business Scholarship encourages entrepreneurship in students by asking them to take on the perspective of a local small business owner. Students share their perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by a business in their community.

Student: Charles Goltermann, Western Michigan University, Cooley Law School

Small Business: St. Louis Braid Co.

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In 1929, St. Louis Braid Co. was founded as an American-made shoelace factory in bustling downtown St. Louis, MO. For fifty years, and just blocks from the Arch, 2035 Lucas Ave was home to hundreds of hard working blue collar Americans, who spent their days churning out high quality shoelaces and shoe care related products.

U.S. P&C Insurance Rates, Particularly Workers Compensation, Favor Shoppers

Premiums

As we move through the second quarter of 2017, increasing evidence indicates that the market for commercial property and casualty (P&C) insurance favors the buyers, thus providing the right setting for businesses to buy new policies.

The Lockton April Market Update points out that underwriting companies are refining their products and have a tendency to focus on industry specialization. They expect this to go on in the second quarter as far as favorable overall prices and insurance terms are concerned.

Workers compensation insurance rates continued to drop on top of the 2% decline that was already registered in the latest quarter. For clients that changed carrier upon renewal, the decline is even bigger, going up to 7%.

The NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act & What it Means For You

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a growing concern in the professional world. It’s wrong to think that only big companies and governmental institutions are subject to cyber threats. Hackers can make money by attacking small businesses too and the number of attacks is on the rise.

For example, a malicious individual can send you a type of software that blocks access to the digital assets on your computer or network. This is a ransomware attack meant to make victims pay to gain back the control of their network. It can be particularly effective because a digital information is often vital to a business, regardless of its size.

Awareness of such attacks must be raised among small businesses to eliminate the false, but common, belief that hackers have no reason to attack smaller entities. The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology managed to pass unanimously on May 2nd, 2017 a bill that’s meant to educate small business owners on the dangers of cyber threats and on how to prevent attacks.

Business Impacted by Small Portion of Fires, Yet Face 30% of Losses

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Data available from the United States Fire Administration (USFA) reveals some startling facts about where losses are more likely occur after a fire, as well as a few encouraging trends related to fires.

The positive side of this story relates to overall decreases in four key areas: number of fires, deaths, injuries and financial losses. Each category saw a remarkable decrease from 2005 to 2014, with the total number of fires dropping over 22% during that period. Deaths related to fires fell around 12%, while fire-related injuries dropped nearly 8%.

Somewhat predictably, monetary losses associated with fires were closely correlated with the number of fires. But although the dollar figure for fire losses dropped 21% between 2005 and 2014, there was a significant increase in 2007 and 2008, which consequently coincided with the housing market crash.

$2 Billion in Insurance Claims Due to Severe Weather & Property Damage

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The number and value of insurance claims increased in the first quarter of 2017 in significant part because of the numerous severe weather events that occurred in March throughout the U.S., some of which resulted in multiple casualties.

Aon’s catastrophe model development team, Impact Forecasting, has just released the Global Catastrophe Recap report. In the US, there were 6 major events that caused economic losses that exceeded $2 billion.

The month started with an outbreak of severe weather on March 6-10 that swept through the central parts of the US. Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota among others, suffered the most significant tornado, wind and hail damage. The economic loss amounts at $1.7 billion but no human lives were lost. From this event alone, more than 200,000 insurance claims were filed.

A Week of WannaCry: the Impact of Ransomware & How Small Businesses Can Protect Themselves

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On May 12, cyber security professionals and many businesses around the world went into a frenzy. While both businesses and security professionals are familiar with—and currently working diligently to counter—the newest iterations of encrypting ransomware, a brand-new virus, WannaCry, created unprecedented shockwaves.

How WannaCry Spread Across the Globe

Like many other ransomware and other viruses in general, WannaCry infects system through spear phishing techniques. Typically this happens through infected emails that contain files hosting the virus. Once onto a system (Microsoft Windows only, in this case), WannaCry uses a system exploit to access and encrypt both local and networked files.

What made WannaCry unique, however, was just how quickly it spread. Between May 12 and May 15, WannaCry infected over 200,000 computers and systems, making it the fastest-spreading encrypting ransomware to date. Notably, WannaCry hit National Health Service computers in the UK, causing significant disruptions to healthcare providers in that country and, as of May 17th, had also infected hospital computer systems in the US. WannaCry has impacted computer systems in over 150 countries.

Top 7 Industries with Most Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently recorded an incredible 2.9 million private industry workplace injuries and illnesses, as well as over 750,000 in the public sector. While these numbers (which exclude fatalities) mark a continued decrease in the overall number and rate of workplace injuries, there are also some particularly interesting findings within the data.

First, and perhaps one of the most surprising, is that individuals working for local governments are almost twice as likely to suffer a nonfatal workplace injury or illness than their private industry counterparts. Secondly, the vast majority of private sector cases were injuries (95.2%). Between public and private industries, however, certain types of jobs were far more likely to be the source of such incidents.