Straight forWARD - Volume 8


Darrin Godfrey

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Darrin Godfrey has been working at Ward Insurance since 2010 as a producer and as operations manager since 2013. He enjoys being able to find the best coverage to protect businesses, their assets and their employees. He strives to earn and retain business no matter how big or small. Darrin was drawn to the industry after a friend recommended he meet with Jim Cox - who at the time worked at Security Insurance Agency - and as they say... the rest is history.

An Oregon Native, Darrin grew up in Eugene Oregon. His first job was scooping ice cream at the Eugene Emerald baseball games before moving to Medford at the age of 21.

Outside of the office you can find Darrin balancing his time spent in the office in a variety of ways. He enjoys working out, spending time with his family, watching his grandson and granddaughter play sports, and enjoying the streams while fly fishing. He also spends his fall nights out on the field as Pleasant Hill High School's football coach.


Industry Insights

 

Wildfire Preparedness

In 2018 alone, there were 58,083 wildfires in the United States. The costs of these fires are still being tallied. However, if the 2017 losses are any indication, they will be in excess of $15 billion in damages. This number represents loss of building structures, consumer products, business functionality, and human life. With the hottest months of the year upon us, now is the time to ensure your business is adequately prepared for 2019's potential wildfires. Keep Reading

 

11 Steps to Help Protect your Business from Cyber Extortion

When a technology company was hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack by a hacker who had gained control of one of its critical control panels, it was asked to be paid in exchange for returning control to its operations. The company chose not to comply with the extortionists and instead worked to recover its account by changing passwords. Unfortunately, the hackers had created backup logins to the panel and started randomly deleting files once they saw the company’s actions. The situation unfortunately put the company out of business.

This scenario of extortion as a result of a cyber attack is becoming more and more common for all business types and sizes. One reason for the increase in incidents is that end-user software like Cryptolocker has commoditized the malware industry, making it accessible to a wider variety of criminals and less-skilled hackers.

Cyber criminals, for the purposes of extortion, can threaten to shut down computer systems or erase data, infect a company with a virus, publish private information or personally identifiable information on customers or employees, institute a denial-of-service attack or take over social media accounts.

Businesses can take the following 11 steps to help protect against cyber extortion.

Control, Travelers Risk. “11 Steps to Help Protect Your Business from Cyber Extortion.” 11 Steps to Help Protect Your Business from Cyber Extortion | Travelers Insurance, www.travelers.com/resources/cyber-security/11-steps-to-help-protect-your-business-from-cyber-extortion.

 

Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) Rules Expanded

On July 13, 2019, a final rule was issued with regard to the usability of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).  Effective in 2020, the final rule establishes two new types of HRAs:

  • Individual Coverage HRA – Allows employers to offer an HRA that employees can use to reimburse the cost of individual market premiums on a tax-deferred basis as an alternative to traditional group health plan coverage.

  • Excepted Benefits HRA – Allows employers that offer traditional group coverage to provide an HRA to employees of up to $1,800 per year to reimburse certain qualified medical expenses. For example, excepted benefits would include premiums for standalone dental, vision, accident or disability coverage.

This ruling is for plan years starting on or after January 1, 2020.  Employers must adhere to the specific requirements that apply to these types of HRAs, including written notice requirement outlining the details of the plan for each employee.  In addition, for the employee, gaining access to an individual HRA would provide a special enrollment period in the individual market. 
Please contact your Ward Insurance Employee Benefits consultant for additional information and plan design options.


Employee Spotlight

Jim Cox

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Jim Cox is an insurance veteran. His first job in insurance was during college years when the opportunity arose for him to work with Safeco Insurance. Jim enjoys the ability to help clients work through the insurance maze as it applies to their business. His goal is to be part of the team that makes Ward the dominant insurance agency in Southern Oregon. " We pride ourselves in responding quickly to our client's needs and helping them solve their insurance problems." Ward is lucky to have him as an Agent and our Medford Branch Manager as of early 2018.

Jim grew up in Medford, Oregon. He attended Southern Oregon University (Southern Oregon College at the time) where he graduated with a BS in Business Management and a minor in Marketing.

An avid car lover, Jim is the President of the Southern Oregon Sports Car Club and participates in Track Day events at Portland International Raceway and Thunderhill Racepark. If he is not working on his cars, he can be found at the golf course, spending time with his grandchildren or off on a trip in the RV.

 
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