05 Aug 2020

Stop Loss 2021: Uncertainty is the Only Certainty

Employers are looking at an uncertain future as they mitigate the current pandemic crisis on top of predictive numbers of health insurance costs in 2021. Large, self-insured organizations worry that due to their employees reducing their use of coverage because of at-home orders and safety precautions, there will be a surge in sickness and procedures in the next year. That is in addition to increased COVID-19 testing that many businesses require for employees to return to work in the office. These companies worry they are going to see a rate increase of at least 3 to 4.5%*, if not more.

Unfortunately, it is hard to accurately confirm the rise in cost. According to analysts at PwC’s Health Research Institute, “there’s so much uncertainty because of the COVID-19 disruption that it’s difficult to pinpoint whether medical-cost trends will be significantly lower or higher next year”. With this in mind, the best thing our industry can do for our clients is continuing to educate ourselves on these trends and inform them on changes that could affect their health insurance needs.

BCS is dedicated to providing best in class Stop Loss products and sharing our expertise with our partners. Our annual conference Sept 1-3 (VIRTUAL) will cover a variety of topics with leading industry experts. We encourage your participation and hope you can join in on the conversation. As we look towards 2021, the only certainty we have is that things continue to change and we need to be prepared for a variety of outcomes while keeping a positive focus on our employer groups.
For more information about Stop Loss, or our Risk Navigator Conference, contact Kendal Sasso.

*SOURCE: Coronavirus outbreak is already upending health insurance premiums and copays for next year, by Bertha Coombs, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/15/coronavirus-already-upends-2021-health-insurance-premiums-and-copays.html
20 Jul 2020
Sasha Jimenez - Senior Communications Specialist

Meet the Team – Marketing & Communications

Internal communications are an important aspect of any company, but they are especially critical in the face of a pandemic. Sasha Jimenez, senior communication specialist, gives us a peek into some of the work she has done during the COVID-19 crisis to support BCS with communications, culture, and community service.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: Each day is so unique, which is one of the things I enjoy most about my job. My primary responsibilities fall under corporate communications however, we are a small but mighty team so there are many times I get involved in other projects as well. I’m also on our Culture Team and lead the Community Service Team which adds in even more variety to my days.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on.

A: With everyone working from home for the past couple of months we had to come up with ways to keep everyone engaged virtually. It was interesting to figure out how to keep everyone connected and keep the culture alive without actually physically being in the office.

An important aspect of our culture is helping others in our community. We organize community service activities quarterly and wanted to keep that going during a time like this. We were able to organize donations to causes like the Oakbrook Area Coronavirus Relief Fund, Dupage Meals on Wheels, Dupage Pads, and provide hospital meal trains. To get employees involved, and to support small businesses, all employees received gift cards to use at their favorite local restaurants for carry-out. In addition, we wanted to find a way to stay connected, so we began a weekly View From My Desk series where employees submitted photos, tips, and updates for that week.

Q: How long have you been with the company? What’s kept you at BCS?

A: I’ve been with BCS for six years and a huge part of what has kept me here is the people. Being surrounded by knowledgeable and dependable people that can also make you laugh throughout the day has been the greatest thing! I am able to interact with everyone across all levels and departments in the company which gives me the opportunity to learn so many new things. That leads me to the second reason I stay at BCS – they encourage development and are always open to new innovative ideas. If you want to get involved on a team and have a way to improve a process or innovate a product to stand out in the market, they are open ears.

Q: If you could swap jobs with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?

A: Ben E. Fits … our department puppet and mascot. He’s the real brains behind it all. I’ll just leave it at that.

Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?

A: I was born in Germany and visit there often. I have also been to Paris, Budapest, Prague, and Jamaica, just to name a few of the beautiful places I have been. However, I think at the end of the day my favorite place in the world is just at home, sitting in the backyard with my husband and watching our daughter run around and play!

22 Jun 2020
Meet the Team - Executive Assistant - Annette Chase

Meet the Team – Executive Administration

As Executive Assistant to our President and CEO, and an active member of several internal teams and committees, Annette Chase sees more of the company than most. Read on for her take on life at BCS, and the skills she needs to succeed in her role.

Q: Describe your/your team’s role at BCS.

A: I am the Executive Assistant to Peter Costello, our President and Chief Executive Officer. My main responsibility is taking care of everything he may need on a day-to-day basis, which mainly consists of travel, calendar, and meeting coordination both internally and externally. Most important is our Board Meetings which includes material gathering and distributing, meeting logistics, reports, presentations, meeting minutes, etc. There are often one-off requests from others in the organization, and I am more than happy to oblige as it allows me to work across departments and make sure people are getting whatever help they need.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: Luckily, I don’t have a typical day at BCS. Aside from being an EA, I am also on the Communications Team, the Culture Team and two subcommittees within that group called ePal (Event Planning and Logistics) and Community Service, and I also co-lead our Wellness Team. While the business side of my role is extremely important, I think employee morale and culture is just as important and I take great pride in getting to be able to help coordinate events and programs that are focused around our employees. My love for throwing an event has really come in handy! Being a part of these groups has confirmed that no two days are the same.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: The first is that I really value someone depending on me and knowing that if they ask me to do something, I will get it done. The other is the ability to work across different functions. I am in a rare spot that I have access to our entire Executive Leadership team, as well as many others at different levels of the organization and I get to see our company from all angles. Not many roles get this type of insight and accessibility and I believe it has allowed me to perform my job better.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: I think the single most important skill for an Executive Assistant is interpersonal skills. Assistants work with a wide range of people and personalities, and the ability to adjust and adapt is something that cannot be taught but is crucial. The other top skills are the ability to multi-task, flexibility, attention to detail and communication.

Q: Rumor has it you are quite the party planner, what has been your favorite event to plan and why?

A: The Holiday Party is my absolute favorite event to plan. I think it is the perfect way to come together and have great food, good drinks, laugh, dance, and give a thanks to all the employees for their hard work all year. I really enjoy DIY crafts and projects, and I have a great time coming up with the theme and decorations and seeing it all come together.

18 Jun 2020

EssentialCare Offers Support for Caregivers During Illness, Injury, or Hospitalization

In the 2019/2020 “Caregiving and the Workplace: Employer Benchmarking Survey” by the Northeast Business Group on Health, a significant majority of respondents (78%) said that caregiving would be an increasingly important issue over the next five years. The survey was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only accentuated the already growing number of employees shouldering caregiving responsibilities.

In fact, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 34 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult aged 50 or older in the last 12 months. As this number continues to grow, EssentialCare group voluntary products can help. EssentialCare Accident, Critical Illness, and Hospital Indemnity provide a lump-sum benefit in the event of an injury, illness, or hospitalization. Payments can be used to pay for major medical copays and deductibles, or additional expenses to help fill gaps in employees’ healthcare coverage.

The products offer a wide-range of coverage options to suite client needs, including benefits that support caring for dependent adult, children, and even pets*. These coverages can provide additional support by providing fixed payments to caregivers when they face the additional burden of an injury, illness, or hospitalization. For more information about EssentialCare and its support service coverages, visit essentialcare.com.

 

 

 

*Not all benefits available in all states. See policy for details.

ESSENTIALCARE PRODUCTS ARE LIMITED BENEFIT POLICIES—READ YOUR POLICY CAREFULLY. THESE POLICIES ARE NOT MAJOR MEDICAL INSURANCE AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR MAJOR MEDICAL COVERAGE.

BCS EssentialCare insurance is underwritten by BCS Insurance Company, OH (Administrative Offices: Oakbrook Terrace, IL). See policy documents for a complete description of benefits, exclusions, limitations, and conditions of coverage. Not all benefits available in all states. Features and availability vary by location, and are subject to change. Some products may be pending regulatory approval in certain states.

28 May 2020

BCS Provides $20,000 to Oak Brook Community in Partnership with Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago

BCS Financial is committed to supporting our customers and our communities, now more than ever.

Through the assistance of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, BCS has received a $20,000 grant that will allow us to amplify our support of the following local non-profit organizations:

  • DuPage Pads: DuPage Pads provides interim and permanent housing and support services to end homelessness
  • DuPage Senior Citizens Council: DuPage Senior Citizens Council initiates, delivers, monitors, and coordinates services, such as Meals on Wheels, that promote the ability of older persons to live their lives in dignity

BCS has also contributed to the Oakbrook Area Coronavirus Relief Fund via the Oakbrook Chamber of Commerce.

We are proud to participate in this initiative with Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, and to continue to support our community during this time of need. #BCSCares

18 May 2020

Meet the Team – Underwriting

This month, Erica Pickens, Senior Underwriter, describes her team’s role at BCS, what she likes about her job, and more.

Q: Describe you/your team’s role at BCS.

A: Our main role is to evaluate each group risk and ensure that the risks are appropriate and consistent with underwriting guidelines and state regulations. We also review large or ongoing claim concerns and adjust rates appropriately. We are actively involved with testing new rating, underwriting and front-end systems and analyzing statistical data. We work with all internal departments to continue to manage our risk.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: I really enjoy being able to use my problem-solving skills.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: Be able to make sound financial and risk assessments, advanced analytical skills, problem-solving skills, the ability to multi-task and collaborate.

Q: How long have you been with the company? What’s kept you at BCS?

A: I have been with BCS for 12 years and have really valued being able to mix up my time on a variety of different projects. This includes being a member of our Culture Team and the leader of the Event Planning Team (EPal).

Q: What’s your idea of the perfect day?

A: My perfect day is hanging out with my daughter.

27 Apr 2020

Meet the Team – Legal

Wendy Present, Associate Counsel, gives us insights to her job in Legal and her unique journey with BCS.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?

A: One of the things I like about my job is that there is no “typical” day. My primary responsibilities involve contract drafting, review, and negotiation. However, I review such a wide range of contracts that every day brings a new challenge and opportunity for learning.

Q: Tell us about a project you are working on.

A: I am currently working, along with other team members, to roll out a new automated contract management system and to ensure that the new system will produce enhanced efficiency and improved processes for our contract creation, review, approval, execution, and storage. I am proud to take part in a project that is so innovative and impactful to our organization.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?

A: In addition to a law degree, law license, and a specialization in contract law, the person serving in this role needs to possess solid organization and time management skills in order to manage competing priorities, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and great attention to detail.

Q: How long have you been with the company?

A: I have had an interesting and unique journey with BCS. I first began working for BCS right out of law school. Although my career and personal life took me in different directions for a time, I happily returned to BCS last year! My combined years of service now total about 7 ½ years. What drew me to BCS initially is what drew me back here again—the culture and the people. It is a collaborative, professional, and team-oriented group of people who truly seem to care about the work we do, our customers, and each other.

Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?

A: My favorite place in the world is wherever my family is (even better if my family happens to be in Santorini, Greece, or Lanai’, Hawaii).

Q: What is one thing on your bucket list?

A: I would love to experience a safari in Africa one day.

16 Mar 2020
Policy Issuance Analyst

Meet the Team – Service

Hear from Jonathan Jimenez about his Compliance Analyst role, and the skills needed to succeed at BCS.

Q: What does a typical day at BCS look like for you?
A: On Mondays I work from home in my pajamas so that’s nice. Besides that though, everyday consists of issuing policies, whether it be Limited Benefits (LB), Accident Indemnity (AI), Hospital Indemnity (HI), and/or Critical Illness (CI)  products. I’ve recently taken on the mantle of CODE Commander, so it’s been interesting steering BCS into a new way to handle our regulatory obligations. Beyond that, I take on whatever is asked of me by my teammates, or the Wellness Committee.

Q: What skills does someone need to succeed in your role?
A: Focus, Memory, and Flexibility. I deal with lots of repetitive tasks that can vary wildly from group to group and product to product, so focus and memory go hand in hand with issuing policies. Having a good memory and remaining focused on the task at hand is imperative to maintaining a low-error, high volume output. Flexibility has come into play more recently now that I’m under the Operations & Services department; since we all share in each other workloads, we have to be prepared to step in when needed. In the past, I was only exposed to issuing Limited Benefit policies; now I am included in many differing projects, which I enjoy. You never know what the day will bring so you must stay ready for the unexpected.

Q: Describe your department in three words.
A: (1) Fluid – because we are constantly reshaping ourselves to fit the needs of the company. (2) Resolute – despite the challenges we face, we remain committed to getting the job done, and done with precision. (3) Funny – we all have a good sense of humor, and we aren’t afraid to share our lives with one another, even the embarrassing moments (who accidentally cuts their eyeball with a toothbrush?!).

Q: What’s the biggest risk you have taken?
A: Showing my wife Sasha my Pokemon card collection way too early in our relationship.

Q: In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, would you rather find a pot of gold or find a four-leaf clover that will bring you good luck?
A: Right in front of my house, I found two 4-leaf clovers in a span of 10 minutes. I got zero luck from them. So definitely the pot of gold. Not sure how I’d explain it to my bank or the IRS, but I’m willing to cross that bridge when I get there.

12 Mar 2020
BCS Financial Icon

BCS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

A MESSAGE TO PLAN EXECUTIVES AND PARTNERS

Like most organizations, BCS is actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency as it begins to affect many communities worldwide. Since this is a fluid situation with new information emerging very quickly, we have been actively reviewing and fortifying our business continuity plans to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible to our operations should the situation escalate into something more severe.

The core intent of this message is to share with you how BCS is proactively responding to this current situation and any potential impact is has on our business with you.

• We have three guiding principles in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. 1) Continue to serve BCS’s insureds and customers with highest standards possible within the terms and conditions of their policies and contracts, 2) providing our customers timely and accurate information about their available benefits under their policies and contracts, and 3) keep BCS employees safe.

• We intend to fully honor the terms of the Excess of Loss reinsurance contracts. Our Excess Reinsurance program does not contain an exclusion for pandemics or epidemics such as COVID-19. Irregular regional and global epidemics like the Coronavirus are typically anticipated by the reinsurance markets and, in almost all incidents, are covered in traditional life and health reinsurance policies.

• We are actively managing our Stop Loss and Limited Benefit lines of business. “First dollar” health insurance business could be significantly impacted from a frequency standpoint. Our Stop Loss and Limited Benefit lines of business may be affected on an aggregate claim basis if the spread of the virus in the US increases in speed and frequency. At this time, we don’t believe the cost of treatment for otherwise healthy members is a sufficient cause of concern.

• We are closely monitoring our exposures in International Healthcare and Travel Insurance lines of business. We are working closely with our partners in these industries to strategically prepare for all possible outcomes which may impact premium and/or claims activity for our organization, all the while continuing to fulfill coverage obligations for our insured customers.

• We are fully remote-work enabled so our business continuity is at minimal risk. In recent years, we’ve moved infrastructure services to the cloud, established an appropriate work-from-home policy, and have a unified communication system, allowing us to interact with each other and our customers, whether working at home or in the office. Our cyber security systems and protocols remain robust, as we have adopted two-factor authentication, VPNs, and other security measures to protect remote workers’ connections. Our IT helpdesk procedures can scale to handle sudden increases in requests for remote working and credential renewals.

As this situation continues to unfold, we will continue to share any relevant information as it pertains to our business with your organization. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact BCS at info@bcsf.com.

BCS is here for you.