Monthly Archives

January 2019

LumberYard KeyPersonFAQs

Key Person Disability Insurance FAQs

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Each company, regardless of size, employs persons who are essential to the continued success of the business. Key person disability insurance was created to protect the business in the event one of their key members suffers an illness, injury, or accident resulting in a disability. Investors, stakeholders, and business owners are able to continue operations and manage finances without major disruption.


How are Key Persons defined?

A key-person or employee is defined as someone who may hold either the most important relationships, accounts, or sensitive information, knowledge, or skills vital to the continued success of the business.

To whom is the payment dispersed?

If needed, coverage is paid to the employer or business.

How are these claim premiums taxed?

Generally, in the US the premiums are not tax-deductible.

Aside from finances, what is the benefit of Key Person Disability Insurance?

Planning for any unforeseen events allows the business to have a contingency plan in place for recruiting, hiring, and replacing the key person.

What types of companies should consider adding Key Person Disability Insurance?

Any business that employs someone whose contributions cannot easily be replaced should consider Key Person Disability Insurance.

Clients have come to rely on the Harbor America team for expert advice pertaining to the continued success of their businesses and protecting the future of their employees. Contact Harbor America to learn more.

Short-Term Disability (STD) Basics

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Front-loaded with a short waiting period, short-term disability plans are in place to assist employees in replacing all or part of their income due to temporary inability to work.

What You Need to Know:

  • Trigger events are any illness or injury that prevents you from working will initiate Short-Term Disability.
  • Depending on your policy, coverage will start anywhere from one to 15 days after the employee suffers a condition leaving them unable to work.
  • It is not uncommon for employers to require employees to use sick days and/or provide medical documentation prior to starting short-term disability as part of the terms.

Many states have varying rules about coverage. Contact Harbor America to understand your state’s mandatory coverage guidelines.



Long-Term Disability (LTD) Basics

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Employer management of disability benefits is an important aspect of the organization’s benefits package. This short video explains the primary elements of LTD coverage. In most cases, LTD works in tandem with the offered short-term disability (STD) coverage. Reach out to your HR Team to understand more about your organization’s LTD benefits and coverage.

What You Need to Know

  • Regardless of whether the injury was sustained at or away from work, covered conditions may include: stroke, pneumonia, and pregnancy complications.
  • LTD begins after a short-term disability policy runs out, typically between 90 -180 days after the initial event.
  • The length of coverage and rate schedule depends on the policy and the duration of benefits selected by the employer.

Certain industries or occupations can dictate certain coverage specifics. Contact Harbor America to learn more.

Creating a Reasonable Accommodation Process

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While the number of employed persons with disabilities is low (only about one-third of people with disabilities are employed[1]), growth through 2022 is expected. This is a compelling reason for employers to lay the right groundwork for a process around reasonable accommodation requests.

A strong and thought-out process allows employees to seek workplace accommodations with ease, and employers to maintain confidence in the health and safety of their employees.

Make the Process Interactive

Arguably, the most important piece of this or any organizational process is ensuring the process engages the right parties and encourages interaction between the employer and employees. Additionally, it is safe to assume that most employees are unaware of their rights in this area. Provide non-specific information to involved parties and aim to have accommodation conversations in-person (if preferred) or over live video conference.

Job Descriptions

Employers should review and update job descriptions regularly to ensure all aspects of the job are taken into consideration. This would include “equipment necessary to complete the job, any health and safety requirements, and conduct requirements.”[2] Aim to make job descriptions as specific as possible and provide to employees during their annual performance review or candidates during onboarding. Consider the job description of a working document and a crucial part of this iterative process.

Open Employer-Employee Communication

The moment a request is brought to the attention of the human resources team is when the documentation should begin, continuing throughout the employee’s journey at the company. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends keeping accommodation requests and fulfillment documentation separate from the employee’s personnel file.[3] Encourage the employee, management, and the HR team to communicate directly with one another. Ask for supplementary documentation (e.g. medical information or doctor’s note) early in the process to avoid roadblocks or inadvertently slowing the process.

Harbor America clients have access to a full human resources library. Featuring thousands of employee and employee-facing documents. Ask about our articles, brochures, forms, and more.



CollaborativeTeam Wheelchair ReasonableAccommodations

Understanding Reasonable Accommodations

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A recent report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics identified that the percentage of employed persons with a disability is nearly 18%.[1] With this growing statistic in the workforce, employers and their HR teams are lacking confidence on the subject of reasonable accommodations. How are employer responsibilities defined? What does it mean? What resources are available?

Employer Responsibilities

Employers are required, per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities to ensure they are able to perform their core job functions. However, employers are not required to make changes to the work environment or job duties if the accommodations result in a significant expense or difficulty for the employer.

What are Reasonable Accommodations?

Employees with disabilities may request that their employer provide reasonable accommodations to ensure they are able to perform their core job duties to the best of their ability. Reasonable accommodation requests may include:

  • Alternative work schedules
  • Workspace layout modifications
  • Additional training time or refresher courses
  • Memory software
  • Electronic organizers

Available Resources*

The Job Accommodation Network is among one of the top resources for employers and employees regarding reasonable accommodations. Their online resource (searchable online accommodation resource (SOAR)) allows users to search and explore the database for accommodation options. View the full database. []

The Computer Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) provides information on available technologies to “maintain, increase, or improve an individual’s job performance…”[2] Users are able to browse a list of solutions to accommodate persons with a variety of limitations, including blind/low vision, deaf/hard of hearing, and dexterity.

*This is not an inclusive list of all resources available to employers or employees.

Good to Know

Reasonable accommodations extend beyond civilians, also protecting service members with disabilities returning to work.

Harbor America supports employers’ good hiring practices and reasonable accommodations for disabled persons. Learn more about equal opportunity recruiting, human resources, and employee benefits.