1 Page 2 Retention and Recruitment in Emergency Services Page 3 Common Mistakes Your New LOSAP Can Avoid Pages 4 5 GSB s Missionary Travel Accident Coverage in Action: Operation Zambia Page 6 Encryption: GIG s Secure Solution Page 7 Investment Strategy for LOSAPs Published by Page 8 Critical Illness The Living Benefit BENEFITSNEWS Vol. 14 No. 1 Benefits that Make a Difference The Acronyms of By Dave Wyrwas GIG I don t think it would surprise anyone to know that insurance people love acronyms. As a client, you ve probably seen the initials GIG, GSB, VFIS and LOSAP. I suspect you are all aware that LOSAP stands for Length of Service Awards Program. This is the general term used in most parts of the country to define a pension-type program for volunteer firefighters. Wisconsin is an exception, where such a program is known simply as SAP (Service Awards Program). The interrelationship between the other acronyms may help figure out who we are and what we do. Our founder, Arthur J. Glatfelter, began his insurance career in the late 1940s. In the late 1960s, he learned that the insurance needs of volunteer fire departments were not being properly served. The insurance available was not sufficient to protect firefighters or their families in the event of a line of duty injury. He developed a program specifically for fire departments and began marketing it under the Volunteer Firemen s Insurance Services name. As time progressed, he was marketing to volunteer and career personnel, fire, rescue and ambulance services while also promoting education and training. The original (and rather lengthy) name created some confusion. As a result, we decided to do business under the name VFIS. VFIS is a subsidiary of Glatfelter Insurance Group, also known as GIG. There are other types of businesses within the GIG family. There are programs for religious organizations (Glatfelter Religious Practice, GRP), public entities (Glatfelter Public Practice, GPP) and hospices, home health care agencies and senior living facilities (Glatfelter Health Practice, GHP). These programs are designed to provide specialized insurance coverage for their particular market niches. While VFIS always had benefit-type products (LOSAP, Group Term and Accident & Health), the other divisions did not have a strong presence in the benefits area of insurance. As a result, Glatfelter Specialty Benefits (GSB) was created to develop and administer benefit programs for the various specialty markets we serve. The one notable exception to this is the original Volunteer Firemen s Insurance Services Accident & Sickness Program (VFIS A&S). Since that has been such an integral part of VFIS, it remains part of the core VFIS program. page 1
2 Retention and Recruitment in Emergency Services By Dave Wyrwas I ve often been asked, What impact does a LOSAP have on retention and recruitment? Are there any statistics available to prove the program works? Similar questions have been posed to me regarding other benefit programs as well. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any studies that objectively measure retention and recruitment statistics, thereby comparing departments with and without LOSAPs. However, based on my personal experiences in the industry throughout the years, departments with a LOSAP generally have fewer retention problems, a more active volunteer corps and sometimes even a waiting list of recruits. The challenge in actually being able to measure the effect that benefit programs have on departments is this: departments that have implemented these programs tend to be the ones that are most aware that recruitment and retention is vital to the ongoing success of the volunteer emergency service system. Therefore, these departments recognize and address the challenges in these areas. The United States Fire Administration recognized the challenges of recruitment and retention and responded by providing a grant to the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC). The resulting analysis identified three key finding statements that must be understood before approaching the issue of recruitment and retention: 1) Recruitment and retention are local problems. The department needs, leadership and issues faced therein must all be locally addressed. 2) Recruitment is marketing and marketing must be done all the time. However, it is necessary to determine what skill and knowledge sets are needed for a particular emergency service organization so that recruitment can yield the desired results. 3) An organization must know what its members want before a benefit program can be implemented as an effective incentive. The NVFC found that many volunteer emergency responders initially join their departments in order to help others.* Over time, other factors benefits in particular play a significant role in the reason and length of time volunteers stay. These benefits may include LOSAP, Group Term coverages, Critical Illness or an array of other insurance products. At the same time, the benefits may also be as basic as recognition, passes to local functions, conventions, news articles, firefighter of the month/year, uniforms or awards. Whatever form of incentive is used, the fact remains that progressive leadership of volunteer emergency service organizations will utilize various means to encourage their volunteers to remain active and grow within the organization. To learn more, visit the National Volunteer Fire Council (www.nvfc.org) or the United States Fire Administration (www.usfa.fema.gov) online. *http://www.nvfc.org/hot-topics/guides-and-resources page 2
3 Common Mistakes Your New LOSAP Can Avoid Considering setting up a LOSAP for your organization? Don't make one or more of the seven most common mistakes! They are easily avoidable if you know what they are. 1. Being price-focused versus fee conscious: Understand service-driven versus investment-driven fees. NOTHING IS FREE, so be aware that you ARE paying for services rendered (in the form of set up fees, asset-based fees, internal investment expenses, consulting fees, etc.). Competitive fees (not necessarily the lowest) and excellent service trump service providers selling based on the lowest fees as the service they provide is often minimal at best. 2. Going it alone: Partner with the experts, they will tell you what questions to ask and find the best fit for you! 3. Selecting a service provider simply because they provide support in other areas of your business: Just because a company is well-known for investments or Third Party Administration does not make them an expert on LOSAPs. 4. Not timing it right: Understand critical deadlines when putting a plan in place in order to maximize the contributions you make to the plan. 5. Delaying the decision to establish a LOSAP because there are so many plan design choices: Do it now, start off simple and let your provider help you move forward. When you set up your plan, choose the basic options that facilitate the ease of plan administration. Don t over-burden yourself with difficult plan design features that may make your day-to-day administration of the plan a burden. As your plan grows, ask your provider to present options for your consideration to help you maximize the benefit of the plan, while making administration as seamless as possible. Your organization will grow and change, members come and go; therefore, your plan will need to change too. 6. Forgetting that time is money: The time you spend on the phone with a service provider can eat up time you can spend working on other important emergency service organization business or personal time that is priceless. Ask yourself, If I choose the low-cost, service-challenged company to administer my LOSAP, how much time am I spending on each phone call with them? If I call my current service provider, do I have a single point of contact I can or call anytime? Do you have an experienced representative that can answer your questions and service your plan? How many times do you have to repeat your inquiry/request before you get the answer? When setting up a LOSAP, reach out to the specialists at VFIS who will set you up for success and proactively search for solutions. page 3
4 GSB s Missionary Travel Accident Coverage in Action: Operation Zambia By Stephanie Sutton Stephanie and Eunice Many people dream of traveling to a foreign country. Perhaps it is the intrigue of experiencing new cultures, seeing the sights or sampling the cuisine that entices them. I was one of these people. For more than 10 years, I had hoped to someday take a missions trip to Zambia. Having known families who went there as missionaries over the years, I dreamed of someday getting a glimpse of what life was like for them in such a far away land. It was on June 9, 2013 that my dream became a reality; for it was on that day that Hunt Valley Baptist Church sent a representative group on its very first missions trip. Early that evening, our group of 13 boarded a plane at Dulles International Airport that was bound for Africa! Thus began a trip we came to affectionately call Operation Zambia. Travel took the better part of an entire day, but we finally arrived in the Zambian capital of Lusaka where we spent our first night. The next day we boarded a chartered bus to make the two hour drive to Kabwe where our missionary family resides. We had the privilege of being part of special church services that evening at Independent Baptist Church of Kabwe. It was there I first experienced one of the things I was most looking forward to hearing the Zambian people sing! The beauty and harmony of their voices is not something I will soon forget. Early the next morning, we were treated to a hike in the Zambian bush. We climbed our way up the steep rocks to reach a spot overlooking one of the most beautiful landscapes I ve ever seen! We spent that afternoon hosting a teen activity at the church in Kabwe. It was great to see the smiles on the teens faces as they played games, threw water balloons and were taught lessons from the Bible. Another special church service followed and lasting friendships were made with some of the Zambian people during those brief hours we had with them. The following day, our bus made the long trip approximately 5 hours from Kabwe to Kalulushi. This is where we would work with a second missionary family. We found Kalulushi to be drastically different than Kabwe, as it is mostly bush. Bush areas are those that mostly consist of grasses, trees and small dirt roads; but not much of anything else. Our missionaries welcomed our large group into their home, where we spent five nights. During the days spent in Kalulushi, the abilities of each member of our group were used to their fullest. Having a team comprised of a doctor, a nurse (who spoke the local dialect of Bemba), several experienced teachers, builders, pastors and designated photographers allowed us to be a part of many exciting ministries and opportunities. A few of Building churches Bush school page 4
5 Medical clinic the events we were a part of while in the bush included teaching in the bush schools and Sunday School classes; preaching in the Bible institute; helping to build a bush church; and hosting a medical clinic. For me, one of the highlights of this leg of our journey was getting to teach the children in the bush schools. For me, one of the highlights of this leg of our journey was getting to teach the children in the bush schools. It was my first experience working through an interpreter. We had several different nationals who served as interpreters for us; one of which Eunice became a very dear friend in that short amount of time. At the schools, the Head Master would call an assembly of the entire school. From there, we worked through our interpreter to tell stories to the children, teach them songs and Bible verses and to leave them with gifts (such as balls, crayons and stickers) for their schools. I also really enjoyed helping in the medical clinic that our team was able to host. Some of the local people walked, with children in tow, for miles to be seen by the doctor. Without having medical care readily available to most of them, this was a rare and greatly appreciated opportunity. One of the most memorable cases at the clinic concerned a toddler who had come to the clinic with his mother. He had a serious hernia that would require surgery. Our doctor was able to help get a plan in place for him to get the needed medical care for this to happen. Without the surgery, the little boy would have died. After leaving Kalulushi, we headed south, spending the night in Lusaka. It was during this stay that we enjoyed a night spent in rustic Zambian chalets, with zebra, giraffes and monkeys roaming freely about the campground. The last leg of our journey would take us to Livingstone. There we were able to go on a safari, tour Victoria Falls (crossing into Zimbabwe), shop at the local marketplace and finish the day with a sunset boat ride down the Zambezi River. The morning of our scheduled departure, several members of the team squeezed in a last-minute helicopter ride over the falls while the rest of the group returned to the marketplace to hone our bargaining and bartering skills. We arrived back in the States on the evening of June 22. In some ways, we had just concluded the journey of a lifetime; but in other ways, it was the beginning of a new journey. For many on the team, including myself, our lives had been changed forever. A lot is to be said for good timing. Shortly before we left for our trip, Glatfelter Specialty Benefits offered a new product: Missionary Travel Accident Coverage, which is underwritten by ACE American Insurance Company. This product focuses on providing an array of medical coverages for groups traveling overseas on short-term missionary trips. It could not have been a more perfect fit for our team traveling to Zambia! As such, our group was the first to bind coverage since GSB offered the product. It truly gave us added peace of mind to know that Our team having this policy in place meant that good medical and dental care would be available to us if needed. Other services available in conjunction with the policy would have provided assistance with locating lost luggage, assisting with currency exchange, language translation and a variety of other helpful benefits. Thankfully, we did not need to make use of any of these coverages or benefits while on our trip; but having them in place was yet another notable part of our adventure. If you have a group preparing for an overseas missions trip, consider letting GSB be a part of your journey too. For more information on the Missionary Travel Accident Coverage, please contact Dave Wyrwas or Tina Carpenter page 5
6 Encryption: GIG s Secure Solution Statistically Speaking Norton, the company that specializes in software security, publishes a Cyber Crime Report every year. The report is based on input from more than 13,000 online surveys from adults living in 24 different countries. As of 2012, Norton s report 1 indicated that: Every 18 seconds, someone falls victim to a cyber crime $21 billion dollars was the estimated loss of revenue due to cyber crimes in the U.S. 40 percent of users do not use complex passwords or change their passwords regularly Our Commitment Glatfelter Insurance Group (GIG) and the Specialty Benefits Division understand the concerns and challenges related to cyber crime. We are committed to keeping our clients information secure and safe. As such, we recently implemented a new and easier to use encryption system. What is Encryption? Encryption refers to the process of adding protection to an to protect the confidentiality of the information contained therein. No special software is needed in order to open s sent via GIG s secure system. However, you will need to create an initial username and password this information will be needed each time you open a secure from our office. Q: When did this change go into effect? A: The new encryption system was put in place on April 10, Any encrypted s you may have received from our office prior to this date are no longer available. Should you need to access the information in any of these older messages, please contact the original sender to obtain another copy of the message. Q: Can I forward an encrypted to another account? A: No, the encryption is -specific, so it will not work on another account. Q: How will I know when I receive one of these secure encrypted s? Frequently Asked Questions A: When you open a secure from us, you will see an image like the one below with a pad lock and the GIG logo. 1 cybercrimereport/2012_norton_cybercrime_report_master_final_ pdf Q: How do I create my username and password? A: If this is the first secure message you have received from our office, you will be prompted to create an account and password. Your password will be used to open this and all other secure you may receive from GIG. Q: What if I am unable to open an encrypted ? page 6 A: This could be the result of a compatibility issue with the software you are using to access your . Please contact our technical team at , extension 7800 or for assistance.
7 INVESTMENT STRATEGY for LOSAPs Determination of an appropriate investment strategy is one of the most far-reaching and impactful decisions that the sponsor of any retirement plan can make. This is equally true of entities that sponsor a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) as a way to reward dedicated volunteers. At VFIS, we understand that most decision making bodies that sponsor a LOSAP are primarily comprised of volunteers. Typically these volunteers do not have the luxury of time or the expertise necessary to effectively and regularly monitor an investment manager s performance. Our clients appreciate the fact that through investing LOSAP assets in the VFIS Group Annuity Contract (GAC), the necessity to establish and regularly oversee an active investment strategy for their LOSAP is eliminated. The additional expense associated with paying an investment professional to actively manage LOSAP assets is also eliminated. There are no front-end or back-end loads assessed by the GAC; nor are there ad hoc fees associated with issuing benefit checks or preparing the associated tax reporting as benefits are paid to the volunteers. LOSAP sponsors find this aspect of GAC participation particularly valuable. GAC participants enjoy the peace of mind that market and credit risk has been transferred to the insurance carrier that markets the GAC. In terms of investment risk, one could compare the GAC to a Certificate of Deposit (CD) in that it offers a guaranteed annual minimum rate of return. Given that the guarantee period extends for the duration in which the LOSAP participates in the GAC, it is inherently better than a CD. For those of you who have shopped CD rates lately, we are certain that you will appreciate the value of a minimum annual return of at least 3%. We believe that this guarantee, coupled with the peace of mind that LOSAP assets are not subject to the ups and downs of the investment market, is just one of the reasons why you should contact us for assistance in the administrative and investment support for your LOSAP. For more information regarding LOSAPs and the VFIS GAC, contact Jeff Moore at page 7
8 Critical Illness The Living Benefit Cancer, heart attack or stroke a diagnosis no one wants to hear and yet a reality for many people due to the prevalence of these diseases in today s society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Heart Association compiled the following alarming statistics*: 41% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime 715,000 Americans have a heart attack every year More than 795,000 Americans have a stroke every year Unfortunately, the chance of falling victim to one of these diseases or knowing someone who will is not unlikely; however, some peace of mind can be gained through having Critical Illness Insurance. What does Glatfelter Specialty Benefits (GSB) offer? With those statistics in mind, Critical Illness Insurance is becoming increasingly necessary in this day and age. Glatfelter Specialty Benefits strives to offer a plan that is invaluable to our emergency service organizations. This plan is a perfect supplement accident and sickness and workers compensation program since it provides coverage where those policies may be limited. Critical Illness coverage is provided on a 24- hour on- and off- duty basis to help protect our heroes whenever they need it. Glatfelter Insurance Group is known for its commitment to the emergency services industry. Our years of experience and reputation put us above the rest. The Critical Illness insurance policy offered by GSB is underwritten by ACE American Insurance Company and is written on an Accidental Death & Dismemberment policy with the focus being on the additional coverage that is provided for cancer, heart attack or stroke. Critical Illness Insurance can be thought of as a living benefit, in that it provides a lump sum cash benefit when a covered person is diagnosed with a heart attack, stroke or life- threatening cancer. With this product, we hope to provide a service to this industry that gives a sense of security to the fire departments and to the members we insure for some of life s unfortunate circumstances. Why does Critical Illness Insurance matter? If the statistics for cancer, a heart attack or stroke for Americans in general are not shocking enough, the prevalence of these conditions among firefighters is even more significant. According to Firefighter Cancer Support Network, one in every three firefighters will be diagnosed with cancer and have statistically higher rates of various cancers compared to the general population as shown below: Testicular cancer 2.02 times greater risk Non-Hodgkin s Lymphoma 1.51 times greater risk Skin cancer 1.39 times greater risk Cancer statistics alone express how important Critical Illness coverage is for firefighters and emergency service workers. What better way to protect yourself, your family or your organization, than with having this coverage in place particularly to help relieve the financial burdens that these life threatening conditions can cause. Please note that Critical Illness Insurance is not available in the following states: ID, KS, MN, NH, NY, SD, VT and WA. For more information, please contact Glatfelter Specialty Benefits at or by calling *There are a number of statistics contained in the report. As the report is distributed, there is the possibility that other factors may contribute to the higher rates of cancer in the fire service. We urge you to review the report and objectively evaluate the results. Follow us on: page 8 Writers for this edition of Benefits News include: David Wyrwas (President, Glatfelter Specialty Benefits) Tanya Ferguson (Vice President, Glatfelter Specialty Benefits) Kathy Sibol (Assistant Manager, Glatfelter Specialty Benefits) Andrew Adams (Business Analyst) Stephanie Sutton (LOSAP Administrative Coordinator) Jennifer Golembewski (Special Risk Administrator) Lacy Phillips (Special Risk Administrator) Thoughts or comments regarding this newsletter? Please direct them to Stephanie Sutton at