Am I Eligible for the NC Bar Association Health Plan?
Due to the legal framework that authorizes it, the NC Bar Association Health Benefit Trust is a group plan for law firms. As such, the employer law firm is the entity that joins, and it must be offered to all full-time employees. The good news for solos is that even a single full-time practicing lawyer with no other employees is eligible as an ‘employer,’ though any future employees hired by the lawyer should be offered coverage. However, a lawyer that is a partner/owner/employee of a larger law firm is not eligible to join individually, but only as part of a participating law firm. There are instances where law firms are really a collection of separate entities (such as a partnership of PLLC’s each established for the benefit of each lawyer), and in that case the underlying PLLC, along with any other employees employed by that PLLC, may be eligible for coverage without the entire law firm joining. Contact our office if you have further questions about eligibility.
How is the NC Bar Association Health Plan Different from Commercial Health Insurance?
The NC Bar Association Health Benefit Trust is a multiple-employer, self-funded health plan. As such, the rates reflect the experience of the health plan, and any gains or losses are reflected in the Trust’s financial results. The Trust uses Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to administer medical claims and networks, and Express Scripts to administer its pharmacy benefits. Both BCBS and Express Scripts are paid a fee for their administrative services and do not ‘insure’ the benefits under the plan. The Trust maintains reserves for claims, plus a large surplus to provide the plan with financial stability.
What is a BOP?
BOP is short for Business Owner Policy, and is also called a property and liability package. It is an essential coverage for most businesses, and is typically the first policy most businesses purchase. Often this coverage is required by lease agreement as well. The main coverage parts are general liability (think slips and falls) and property insurance for the contents of your office as well as the building if you own it. BOP’s can be customized to add other coverages as well, and are by nature very comprehensive in coverage. BOP’s are generally very easy to apply for, and renew automatically each year.
When am I required to purchase Workers’ Compensation insurance?
In North Carolina, most businesses are required to purchase workers’ compensation when it has 3 or more employees, regardless if they are full or part time. If the business is a corporation, the officers of the corporation are counted as employees. For sole proprietorships, partnerships, or limited liability companies, the respective owner, partners, or members are not counted as an employees. However, whether you are a corporation, LLC, sole proprietor, etc., the officers/partners/members can choose to be included or excluded in the coverage. Luckily, law firms are one of the least expensive classes for workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation premiums are based on a payroll estimate and you will be expected to complete an audit at the end of each policy term.
What is the difference between Crime and Cyber Insurance? Crime insurance is a first party coverage that protects your firm from the theft of funds and other property. The theft could committed by an employee or a 3rd party. Most crime policies provide coverage not only for your property, but also property in your care, custody and control – such as a trust account. Cyber insurance on the other hand protects the law firm from a data breach - for example, if there is fraudulent access to your network and client information is exposed. The cyber policy would respond to such an event, and provide both breach response coverages – notification to those affected, Identity monitoring and IT forensics to name a few - as well as liability protection in the event a lawsuit is brought against you either by those affected, or by a regulatory authority.
How Can I Get Quality Disability Insurance With No Medical Underwriting?
Disability insurance has strict medical underwriting guidelines that can make securing coverage difficult. Submitted cases often end up with modified offers, limitations or even declines. However, there are two ways you can achieve solid income protection with much more ease. The first piece of the puzzle is our Guaranteed Issue Group Disability products. Law Firms with 5+ full-time employees can secure Own Occupation with Specialty definitions to age 67. If your group size is smaller, you can still participate in our no medical underwriting plan that provides 36 months of Own Occupation coverage.
Also, law firms with 5+ attorneys may combine our group Long-Term Disability product and add guaranteed issue individual supplemental plans on top with no benefit reduction. This option opens the way to obtain protection for up to 75% of their Pre-Disability earnings.
Why should business partners consider Buy-Out coverage?
What exactly is a Buy-Out Agreement? To put in simplest terms, it is a contract funded by life insurance between business partners in the event of a partner’s death (it can also be funded with disability insurance to protect against a partner’s disability). Each partner is guaranteed fair compensation for their business share. The deceased partner’s heirs would be obligated to sell their interest, protecting the business interest of the surviving partners. In most cases the proceeds are tax free and usually available immediately in the event of a loss. These agreements benefit not only the business, but gives peace of mind to family, clients and creditors as well.