The United States economy remains fragile after the worst economic period since the Great Depression. The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard, experiencing decreasing occupancy and steeply declining REVPAR. Staffing levels and staff hours reduced - and employees are being asked to forgo pay raises while their workloads are increasing. These factors are creating “the perfect storm”. Hotel employees are apprehensive and concerned about their job security. Their uncertainty, coupled with personal financial strains is resulting in the prevalence of numerous fraud triangles. This article details the most common liabilities with this issue for the hospitality industry and how to best address your risk exposure.
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Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia, is caused by the legionella bacterium. These bacteria are commonly found in natural environments such as lakes, streams, rivers and moist soil. Typically, the levels of the bacteria are low in natural settings and will not cause illness. More commonly, Legionnaires’ disease is contracted from bacteria found in man-made bodies of water and in potable water systems. Common locations for the presence and growth of the legionella bacteria include hotel plumbing systems, air conditioning units (cooling towers) and indoor fountains and hot tubs. For these reasons and more, it’s easily understandable as to why the hospitality industry is at high risk for Legionnaires. This article details exposure situations and how to help prevent them in hotels and resorts.
“Political risk in emerging markets is expected to heighten in 2014 as governments look to balance lower economic growth with the increased expectations of their growing populations” (Lloyd’s of London, January 2014). Arthur J. Gallagher's Credit and Political Risk Insurance (CPRI) Market Update for January 2014 summarizes the changes in line structure and tenors available from commercial CPRI insurers since the last report in July 2013. The summary reflects the outcome of reinsurance negotiations where renewals have been completed in the intervening period - as well as the arrival of any new insurers. This report also features the economic impact of global market fluctuations as well as the financial implications of political unrest in various areas throughout the world.
Record corporate cash hoard burning a hole in some pockets? Why dividends may be back in vogue. Corporate profitability in the U.S. has recovered aggressively since the financial crisis/market bottom, but in large part that is thanks to cost cutting. Now corporations are holding record amounts of cash on their books and deciding to return it to shareholders via dividends. Can they not find intriguing projects to invest in, given the tepid economic growth expected in coming years? Are dividends more attractive than buybacks given the market is at all time highs?
The IRS recently released two Chief Counsel Memoranda clarifying rules for health FSAs. One memorandum describes the interaction between a health flexible spending account (“FSA”) with a carryover provision and the individual’s eligibility for a health savings account ("HSA"). The second clarifies correction procedures for improper health FSA claim payments.
Since its passage, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act ("The Act") has been something of a puzzle. In its original form, it forbid very little that wasn't forbidden already. As courts interpret the law, Congress amends it, and regulations flesh it out. However, the true impact of the law becomes clearer in issues such as whistleblower protection. This protection applies to employees of those publicly traded companies, but what about private ones?
Directions newsletter is a monthly publication of the Benefits & HR Consulting operations of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. The April 2014 issue includes healthcare reform updates, a technical bulletin, webinar information and a variety of benefits and HR news, including: Final Regulations on Employer 6055 and 6056 Reporting Requirements; Obama Signs Memorandum Calling for Expansion of Overtime Protection; and The IRS Answers Questions on the Application of Same-Sex Marriage to Qualified Retirement Plans.
In recent years, a number of law suits have been filed against the fiduciaries of benefit plans governed by ERISA. These suits alleged that fiduciaries had breached their duty to participants by failing to adequately negotiate and monitor fees charged by commercial entities that were retained to administer and maintain the trusts underlying the plans. A recent decision by the U.S. District Court of Missouri, Tussey v. ABB Inc., offers useful insight about this topic.
Preview April installment of Gallagher’s Pitfalls & Perils of 2014, focused on PPACA and the new rules and requirements that have created a storm of obligations for employer-provided health coverage.
Technology has changed the delivery of health care with the push to digitize all health care records. With that type of digital change, the Healthcare community is an increasing target for cybercriminals. Keeping electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) secure is a challenge for IT and an ongoing concern for HR managers, compliance and finance. For healthcare organizations and practices, the fines and penalties associated with HIPAA and HITECH can be crippling. This recorded webcast will help you understand some of the risks, how to help mitigate them and how to protect your organization's financial health.