Dickerson Update April 2 – Let Us Be Your Partner in Trying Times, CARES Act Close-Up and More!

Let Us Be Your Partner In Trying Times…

A Note from Managing Partner, Michael Wolff….

Dear Valued Broker Partner,

It’s been almost two weeks since government recommendations to combat COVID-19 prompted us to close our physical locations in Los Angeles and Sacramento.

Within a few days, our entire staff smoothly transitioned to working from home, as we migrated all our systems to the cloud many years ago. Our telephone numbers, emails, and mailing addresses remain the same.  

Our number one goal is to continue to service your business and your clients with no disruptions or impact on the support you’ve come to expect from the Dickerson team. 

Here’s how we can continue to help you:

  1. With our online Group Quoting tool, you can quote groups, or have our team assist you with quotes.
  2. Our team of knowledgeable experts is here to help you assess quotes and strategize with you on the best options for closing opportunities while saving your clients money.
  3. Our expert enrollment team can assist you with paperless enrollment and submission to carriers via Ease. 
  4. Our stellar customer service team is still available to address your questions and help with group renewals.
  5. It’s hard to keep up with the constant changes we’re seeing related to COVID-19. This is why we’ve built this centralized resource hub that we’re updating daily with a wealth of resources, including the latest regulations regarding paycheck protection measures and loans to cover health insurance premiums and other business operational costs. 
  6. We’re hosting webinars with our carrier partners about what they’re doing to ease the burden on your employer groups.

Consider us your partner in these trying times. We encourage you to share your needs and experiences, and to provide us with feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. 

While all of these changes have been difficult to acclimate to, there is some silver lining.

Insurance brokerages have historically demonstrated remarkable stability during economic downturns. Health insurance is a necessity and not a “nice-to-have.” This statement rings especially true in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Additionally, California reintroduced the health insurance mandate, which bodes well for insurance distribution, business retention, and high levels of recurring revenue. Expense controls also translate into predictable cash flow. Our industry comes with no fixed overhead like the hospitality and manufacturing industries. 

But most importantly, you have the privilege of providing the invaluable service of helping people stay healthy and protect their assets. We will get through this together.

Please reach out to your Account Executive or directly to me at michael@dickerson-group.com with your questions or concerns.

Sincerely, 

Michael Wolf, Managing Partner

Dickerson Insurance Services 

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

On March 27, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to negatively impact the United States economy and millions of individuals’ livelihoods. The CARES Act is a $2.2 trillion economic package meant to provide some stability to individuals and employers alike in the wake of shelter-in-place mandates that have led to mass job loss and business closures. 

The CARES Act expands the scope and reach of several laws and appropriates funds to assist individuals, families, and businesses experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19. Below are resources to help you understand how you can capitalize on the benefits of this legislation, whether you’re unemployed or are a small employer considering applying for a loan before shuttering business and terminating employees. 

Alera Legal Alert: Congress passes CARES Act

This legal alert explores the implications of the CARES Act, which amends several laws and appropriates funds to assist individuals, families, and businesses that are experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19. 

Learn how the CARES Act impacts the following:

  • HSA and telehealth expansion
  • Prescription drug reimbursement under FSA/HRA/HSA
  • COVID-19 testing assistance for businesses
  • Payroll protection program assistance for individuals
  • Student loan relief
  • Amendments to Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Click here to read the alert in its entirety. 

Two trillion dollar stimulus: what’s next?

The U.S. government approved a $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at helping the U.S. weather the economic challenges posed by COVID-19, and this includes funds for payroll protection loans for small business owners. But now what? Business owners everywhere need to find out how to capitalize on the potential opportunities now available to them, which could lead to fewer employee layoffs. 

Prior to filing a loan application, business owners should consider how big of a loan they might need to deal with overhead expenses and familiarize themselves with Small Business Administration (SBA) loan qualification guidelines.

Click here to read about what small business owners should keep in mind if they’re thinking about applying for a payroll protection loan.
 

Key summaries and takeaways of the CARES Act

The CARES Act is a far-reaching piece of legislation with several moving parts that will provide much-needed aid to individuals, businesses, and hospitals. 

Here are some key takeaways for you to see how the CARES Act might benefit you:

  • Creation of a $349 billion loan program for small businesses, which can be forgiven through a process that incentivizes companies to retain employees
  • Allocation of $130 billion in relief to the medical and hospital industries
  • Expansion of telehealth services in Medicare, including services unrelated to COVID-19 treatments
  • Provides $1,200 to Americans making $75,000 or less ($150,000 in the case of joint returns and $112,500 for the head of household) and $500 for each child
  • Expansion of eligibility for unemployment insurance. It also provides an additional $600 per week on top of the unemployment amounts determined by each state. 

For a full summary, click here

SBA creates a detailed resource guide for small businesses and loan resources

As COVID-19 continues to affect our economy, it’s important to be aware of the available resources for small businesses and loans. The SBA created a thorough resource guide that includes detailed information on loans, grants and much more.   

This resource guide includes information on the following:

  • Paycheck Protection Program
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advances
  • SBA Debt Relief
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans
  • Guidance for Businesses and Employers and more! 

For full details, click here. 

SBA offering federal disaster loans for businesses who have been affected by COVID-19 

The SBA decided to offer loans to businesses, private non-profits, homeowners, and renters that have been affected by COVID-19. The SBA relies on applicants to complete an application which will verify eligibility to receive a loan. Remember to submit all the information requested by the SBA, or your loan won’t be processed. The entire application takes an estimated two hours and 10 minutes to complete.  

To get started on the application or to see if you qualify, click here. 

Small businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program

The United States Small Business Administration understands that small businesses have been severely affected by COVID-19 which is why they are now offering the Paycheck Protection Program. Small businesses that are eligible can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program at any participating lending institution. Small businesses that employ 500 or fewer can qualify for this program. 

In addition, sole proprietors, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and self-employed individuals are also eligible. The amount any small business can apply for is 250% of their average monthly expenses. The deadline to apply is June 30, 2020. 

For more details on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here. 

Approved Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) grants $350 billion to aid small businesses affected by COVID-19

The United States recently approved a stimulus package that includes much needed financial assistance for small businesses recently been affected by COVID-19. The CARES Act allocates $350 billion dollars to provide assistance to small businesses aimed to keep workers employed during this pandemic. The CARES Act includes the Paycheck Protection Program, which will provide guaranteed loans to small businesses that qualify. Additionally, these loans can also be forgiven if the businesses maintain their payroll during the crisis and fully restore it afterward.  

For a detailed summary of the CARES Act, click here.

Social distancing showing promising results in California and Washington

Preliminary data from two weeks of mandatory social distancing shows that stay-at-home orders are working as they should. Both California and Washington were the first states to enact stay-at-home orders, and both states seem to be “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 infections, especially when compared to the spikes in COVID-19 cases and deaths we’re seeing in the East Coast.   

Boston and California’s Bay Area have similar population densities, yet the latter has just one-third of the cases per capita compared to Boston. Boston instituted a stay-at-home order eight days ago, while San Francisco did so sixteen days ago. 

While social distancing efforts won’t stop COVID-19 from spreading, the goal is to slow the spread of the disease to not overwhelm hospital systems and deprive patients of life-saving resources. By implementing strict social distancing measures, the state’s total projected death toll went from 6,100 to about 5,100. This number could continue to go down should people continue to practice social distancing.

To read the full story, click here.