W3 Insurance Featured in Hales Top 100 US Agents & Brokers List

W3 Insurance has made the Hales Top 100 list of American insurance agencies and brokerages. This list, based on 2021 revenue, distinguishes W3 as one of the largest insurance agencies in the country. For the past 97 years, W3 has advised clients regarding the coverages of property & casualty and employee benefits.

“It’s taken a group effort to achieve this honor, and I’m proud to say that our different departments really worked together to reach this new level,” says W3 President Jonathan Hammond.

“To be recognized in Hales Top 100 is a great honor and a tribute to W3’s focus on our employees’ experience and our clients’ experience,” says W3 CEO Scott Gramling.

Founded in 1925, Wallace Welch & Willingham is an independent insurance agency with a rich history of providing quality service and unwavering commitment to its clients and community. The agency represents an extensive list of “A rated” insurance companies in order to provide the best coverage at the most affordable rates available.  Wallace Welch & Willingham has insurance products to fit the specific needs of both businesses and individuals, offering commercial, homeowners, auto, boat and life insurance, as well as employee benefits coverage. For more information, call (727) 522-7777 or visit www.w3ins.com.

Inflation and Homeowners Insurance in 2022

Inflation, meet Florida homeowners insurance. Like the rest of America, the Sunshine State is experiencing the effects of inflation. Supply shortages, repair costs, limited inventory and a struggling economy are affecting the cost and availability of homeowners insurance in Florida.

Let’s talk about how increased repair costs and supply chain issues continue to have an impact on Florida home insurance costs and how you can be an informed purchaser of this pivotal coverage.

First, it’s important to actually answer the question: Do I need homeowners insurance in Florida? Legally: no. Practically: a resounding yes.

A home is a major investment that nearly every homeowner is going to want to protect. Therefore, it is imperative to purchase, at the very least, minimum home insurance. Thanks to inflation, even the bare-bones coverage for Florida homeowners is more expensive today than before the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, it is possible to insure your Florida home in a smart manner. Working with an insurance professional can help to give you peace of mind that you have not over or under-insured. Whether you have a beachfront residence with stunning views of the Gulf or an inland ranch abode out of the sight of water, proper coverage hinges on matching your exact needs to the coverage available in the marketplace.

Inflation and its impact on Florida home insurance costs

Why is this price increase happening?

It should come as no surprise that COVID-19 is one of the main reasons for the increase in homeowners insurance costs. Thanks to inflation sparked by the novel coronavirus, home costs continue to rise. One example of this is the roofing sector, which is not immune to these rising costs. Material and labor prices have both risen. Supplies like shingles are harder to find because of supply chain issues, and scarcity leads to higher prices passed on to consumers.

Additionally, with a rise in home purchasing cost comes premium rate increases. Premiums are not arbitrary rates that insurance companies guesstimate, after all; they take into account property location, loss history, type of property, and, of course, the type of coverage you wish to elect. Since home prices continue to spike, premiums stand to do so as well.

The change is all around us, and Florida homeowners insurance is not immune to the higher price phenomenon. There is the sticker shock we feel at the grocery store, where the bill keeps getting larger for the same food we have purchased for years. Home repair and construction projects are priced at a premium due to supply shortages and consumer demand in the housing sector. Globally, shortages continue to affect the world’s citizens on multiple levels.

Inflation can be traced to this overall increase in cost of goods. The roofing sector is a prime example. Today, when a Florida homeowner files a claim for repair, the insurance company is going to have to pay more to repair the home in accordance with the policy. That means rising Florida homeowners insurance costs for all as insurance companies raise their rates in an attempt to remain solvent. Unfortunately, several insurance companies have become insolvent this year; others went insolvent as far back as 2018.

Within this ‘doom and gloom’ outlook comes a bit of light: policies are usually issued annually. That means you may not see any rate difference until that expiration date looms and the renewal of your policy is imminent. Partnering with Florida home insurance advisors who understand both insurance trends and your unique coverage needs is pivotal.

Affordable home insurance options

The way to find the most affordable Florida homeowners insurance options is to truly know how much insurance you need. This is a tough forecast to make, and it is an individual one. Based on certain risk factors and your own comfort level with risk, a Florida homeowners insurance election should be a carefully curated, individualized policy. Here are some elements that can help.

  • Work with a Florida homeowners insurance advisor who truly understands our insurance marketplace. The ideal partner in this decision is an advisor who makes it their duty to understand risk and how to mitigate it in today’s purchasing climate.
  • Consider different options. Perhaps a certain level of coverage that stood you well in the past no longer seems practical. In this state of change, it is worth looking at that past policy and seeing if there are any gaps – or if you assume more risk. For new construction, the options will be different.
  • Is it time to raise your deductible? -Perhaps. Yes, if you need to file a claim, this strategy is going to hit you in the pocketbook. Consider the cost/benefit analysis of this choice before making it.
  • Remember that there is a difference between rebuilding costs and what you actually paid for new construction. This is an important element because rebuilding in the current market is more expensive than in years past.
  • Now may be the time for those impact-resistant windows and other safety upgrades. You may see a decrease in the Florida homeowners insurance rate because of it. Remember the old saying “That place is strong like Fort Knox?” Fortify your structure and make it impervious to the elements, and your rates may decrease. This brings to mind the insurance policy on Fort Knox…but that is for us to examine in another article. Perhaps.
  • Secure, secure, secure. Have you been considering home security measures? Alarms, sensors, and the like? You may see a policy decrease because of such upgrades.
  • Ask for more savings. Skyrocketing interest rates and rising insurance premiums have some consumers wondering if they can still afford home insurance in Florida in 2022. That leads surfers of the Internet to type in queries like Who offers the cheapest homeowners insurance? It can be tempting to just type that question into a URL search engine and select the first option that’s visible.

It bears saying again and again that working with a Florida homeowners insurance advisor is likely the easiest way to procure this knowledge. Instead of spending your time researching, let the homeowners insurance specialists do it for you.

Homeowner financing options to consider

After home improvements such as safety upgrades and fortifying measures come different homeowner financing relief programs. These programs that are designed to cushion the blow of COVID-19 on homeowners include Homeowner Stimulus and Homeowner Assistance Fund.

Homeowner stimulus – Congress has not levied a homeowner stimulus package. Still, homeowners may be able to find refinancing options, and lenders still offer forbearance (or the ability to pay at a lower rate).

Homeowner Assistance Fund – For those most affected by the onslaught of COVID-19, the Homeowner Assistance Fund can help keep them afloat financially. These monies can be used for homeowners insurance, mortgages and more. Additional information about the Homeowner Assistance Fund, which is a national program, is found here.

Many factors affect Florida homeowners insurance costs, and understanding how much it costs to insure a home in Florida and how to best do it is possible. Trust the advisors of W3 Insurance to provide up-to-date guidance regarding Florida home insurance for your unique abode. Your needs are different from anyone else’s, and it takes a personalized examination of those needs and the insurance products available today to make the most informed decision regarding coverage.

Coverage prices may fluctuate, but solid advice does not. Contact W3 Insurance today and have an experienced advisor at your side as you make an informed decision regarding Florida homeowners insurance for your residence.

Flood Insurance: What You Need to Know

Is your property more likely to flood or not to flood? That is the overriding question when it comes to flood coverage and FEMA is attempting to answer it as accurately as possible. Whether your property has been designated in the past as being within a high hazard flood zone or not, changes are underway that could affect the insurance requirements of your business or residence. Read below as we discuss why this is happening, what this means for you, and what your coverage options are.


FEMA is using what they’ve deemed “Risk Rating 2.0” as a means to deduce fair and equitable rates across the board to property owners. Since 2021, this Risk Rating has combined such factors as data sets from the private sector, catastrophe models and actuarial science to determine rates.

Much thought has been given to this rating, with the intended results being rate increases and decreases are as transparent as possible. Elements that are considered within the data set include: frequency of flood, flood type and the common risk many property owners cite as an obvious reason for flood possibility – proximity to a body of water.

Why don’t you want a lapse in coverage?

A lapse will trigger additional consequences including a new application with a 30-day waiting period and the loss of glide path, which has a maximum year-over-year rate increase cap.

Glide path provides a discount from paying full risk rates.

  1. The benefit to glide path is that it provides the policyholder with a maximum year-over-year rate increase cap until the premium reaches full risk rates.
  2. This is significant, as the policyholder may experience a huge premium spike if they suffer a lapse in coverage.
  3. Example – The 2.0 renewal offer is $688. Payment is received by the insurance company after the grace period (29 days), or insufficient funds are received. The premium without glide path is now in excess of $4,000.

Helpful tips include:

  1. Consider using Certified Mail when sending premium payments. The certified mail date is used as the premium receipt date, which ensures the earliest receipt date possible. You can also track your payment from the post office to the remittance center at: www.usps.com/shipping/trackandconfirm.htm.
  2. Premium payment must be received by the insurance company, not the agent/insurance agency.
  3. If the premium payment is mortgage billed, be certain the lender remits payment on time. The grace period to avoid a lapse in coverage applies is regardless of being lender or insured paid. If the lender is late with an escrow payment, there is no recourse provided to the policyholder. Be certain the lender information shown on your policy is current.

More information regarding Risk Rating 2.0 can be found on the FEMA link: https://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance/risk-rating


Changes in premium are also happening due to remapping. These map changes are not just topographical; they potentially shift flood zones. Florida is currently being reviewed and remapped by FEMA. That means possible changes to flood insurance requirements for many homeowners are on the horizon, if not already in effect. FEMA carefully considers the risk profile of different areas; therefore, your home may be designated at a lower or higher risk of flood than previously indicated. Read further about remapping.


Whether you select coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or Private Market Flood coverage depends on your individual situation. Unlike the NFIP, Private Market Flood has no waiting period (the waiting period for NFIP is thirty days).

Look for additional important information from your flood insurance company, which accompanies your renewal offer, and call your W3 advisor with any further questions.

Funding a Buy-Sell Agreement with Life Insurance

Life Insurance to Fund Buy Sell AgreementsLife rarely goes according to plan. An unexpected death, disability, divorce, or another event can derail a business and create a huge financial impact on its success. Your business is likely your biggest investment and the future resource for funding your retirement.

All businesses should prepare for a multitude of issues that could put the future of the business in danger. For instance, who would manage/own the business upon retirement or unexpected death/disability of an owner?  Is there an internal candidate who is experienced enough to manage the business, or would the business need to be sold to an outside competitor? What about your family’s needs regarding the business?

A buy-sell agreement is an excellent solution to this risk. It is simply a “will” for how you want the business to transition on Your Terms based on certain triggers such as retirement, death or disability.

There are options for funding a buy-sell agreement, but some options open the door to other problems.

  • A company savings account would pay cash when an owner dies, but if death unexpectedly occurs, there may not be enough funds in the account to carry the business.
  • A loan could be obtained at the time. Unfortunately, interest could be high and it may create unnecessary risks for the surviving owners and business.

The best option to fund a buy-sell agreement is a life or disability insurance policy. These types of policies allow for instant cash/liquidity to be used in either continuing the business or preventing a fire sale, allowing proper time for a buyer to be found. Other advantages include: death benefits proceeds are generally income tax free, funds are purchased for pennies on the dollar, and premiums are likely to be significantly lower than loan interest.

Life insurance also offers the option of a Cross-Purchase Plan or an Entity Plan. In a Cross Purchase Plan, each owner purchases a life insurance policy on all other owners and is named beneficiary. In an Entity Plan the business purchases a life insurance policy on each owner and is named beneficiary of plan allowing the business to buy shares stock redemption style, preventing other owners from paying out of pocket.

Both a Cross Purchase Plan and an Entity Plan offers flexibility such as:

  • Price fixing, formula, or appraisal (most important! Establish fair market value of stock or business at time of agreement.)
  • Pay in cash or installment.
  • Different terms for different events (different prices for retirement, death, disability, etc).

Having a buy-sell agreement is imperative. Preparing one in advance eases negotiations and agreements as no one is sure what the next day will bring.

If you would like more information on how a life insurance product could fit into your business plans, contact Abbey Bowersox today at 727.522.7777 or by email at abowersox@w3ins.com.


What is Key Person Life Insurance?

Key Person Life Insurance (also known as Key Man Insurance) is a life insurance policy purchased by a company on a key employee such as the owner, partner(s), majority shareholders or another person(s) whom the continued successful operation of the business depends on.  The policy protects the company in the event of their unexpected death.  Separate key person life policies are purchased for each key employee.  The company pays the premium and is the beneficiary of the policy.

key person life insurance

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Why Child Life Insurance is a Great Investment

As a parent, life insurance for your child is probably the furthest thing from your mind. You have other decisions to think about like college funds and savings or a life insurance policy for yourself. The thought of talking about life insurance is probably like the sound of nails on a chalkboard, at least it was for a friend who is near and dear to me.  Thankfully, we discussed the need, and she decided to purchase child’s life insurance for her son who was just an infant at the time. Child Life insurance

When Child Life Insurance Hits Home

At the time, he was a healthy child and it was inexpensive and easy to obtain the coverage. Then, at the age of 7 years old, he was diagnosed with a devastating illness. Trying to get coverage post diagnosis would have been a challenge. He may not have qualified, and the cost may have been higher due to a now pre-existing condition. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen.  It has happened to several families close to me. I want to share this with as many parents and grandparents so that they can avoid this very unfortunate news. 

Securing child life insurance early on allows you to lock in your child’s insurability and to purchase coverage at inexpensive premiums.  The time to take action and secure their eligibility is now. 

Child Life Insurance Options

Did you know Auto-Owners Insurance Company has incredible products to meet your child’s life insurance needs?  When you obtain child life insurance through Auto-Owners Insurance Company’s Simplified Issue Whole Life policy, your child will have a policy amount that increases 50% automatically at both ages 18 and age 25 without a premium increase. The coverage, premiums, and the cash value is guaranteed to age 110. The greatest benefit: premiums never go up!  This product can be issued when the child is between 15 days old and 17 years old.  Auto-Owners has a great Whole Life policy for children that are over age 17.  They also offer different payment options including, a single paid in full payment or paying the premium for ten years. Once the premium is paid in full, your child/grandchild has a paid-up policy for life. Just think, now your child will not have to pay high monthly premiums on their life insurance, you took care of it for them! 

Help them with their financial planning and security.  Who wouldn’t want that for their child?  It is so important to invest in them and their future. What a wonderful, insightful gift you can give to your child or grandchild to protect their insurability. A gift that keeps giving!

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Nationally, workplace wellness programs highlight cholesterol each September. This month, make it a priority to share information about cholesterol with your employees. Even if your workforce appears mostly healthy on the exterior, high cholesterol levels can slowly be clogging arteries and leading to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cholesterol is like a comedy/tragedy mask. One side represents the body’s need for the waxy substance, its presence indicating a favorable buildup of vitamins, minerals and cells. This side recognizes that the body needs cholesterol. At the same time, the other side grimaces. Too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke. How does one find balance?

Here’s some advice:

  • Make sure your employees understand the difference between HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol. High LDL levels could indicate that a buildup is occurring in the arteries. Like a straw that’s clogged, those arteries could have difficulty delivering blood where it needs to go. Atherosclerosis is the term used for less-than-flexible arteries (You may also know it as ‘narrowed arteries’).
  • HDL, or high density lipoprotein, actually carries excess cholesterol to the liver, where it’s filtered and then leaves the body. Maintain healthy levels of HDL, and you’ll have less risk of cardiovascular disease. Ways to increase HDL include eating foods like olive oil, oatmeal and more. A list can be found here.
  • As with everything in life, too much of anything is a bad thing. That holds true for HDL cholesterol as well as LDL. That’s why it’s so important to have cholesterol levels checked.
  • Opt for the needle; that is, get a blood test. Phlebotomists will tell you that every person’s blood tells a story. A preventative visit is a great first step (and is covered by most insurance plans), but while a patient can embellish their dietary and exercise habits, the blood tells no lies.
  • According to Medical News Today, eating certain foods can help foster high levels of good cholesterol. The Mediterranean diet, with its olive oil and other ‘healthy’ fats, can boost that HDL. Low carb diets and regular exercise have proven benefits too. Read the whole list that recommends a no-smoking life and more.
  • Share educational resources with your workforce to help them make good decisions. While there is a genetic condition that can lead to an excess of bad cholesterol, most levels can be affected by diet and exercise. Smokers and those with high blood pressure are at extra risk as well.
  • Here’s a creative idea: Host a delicious Cholesterol-Happy Employee Breakfast. Include fatty fish such as salmon on the menu (bagels and lox, anyone)?

It’s simple to find information to disseminate in your workplace. The CDC provides educational videos, articles and more. Check out their Cholesterol Communications Kit here. Challenge your employees to take the Cholesterol Quiz to see how much they really know. Share resources – and don’t forget to have your own cholesterol levels checked!

For help setting up a biometric screening health fair that includes a cholesterol screen, contact Trish Blocker at tblocker@w3ins.com or 727-522-7777 x173

W3 Insurance Named to Business Insurance’s Annual ‘Best Places to Work in Insurance’ List

Award Showcases W3’s Dedication
to Employees, Clients

St. Petersburg, FL – For the sixth time, W3 Insurance has been named to the Best Places to Work in Insurance list. The honor demonstrates that Business Insurance recognizes W3 Insurance as a workplace where employees feel they can thrive. Collectively, W3 employees help the organization to grow and prosper; in turn, the agency fosters personal development.

“We maintain an employee experience (EX) focus,” says W3 Insurance Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Hammond. “Our ‘Raving Fans’ culture starts internally, with our employees.”

Earning a spot on the list is a multifaceted ordeal. The vetting process to identify leading agents, brokers, providers and insurance companies in the insurance industry includes a two-part questionnaire from Best Companies Group. Employees complete a confidential employee survey regarding engagement and satisfaction; employers are directed to answer questions explaining company policies, practices and demographics.

‘Best Places to Work in Insurance’ is an annual sponsored content feature presented by the Custom Publishing unit of Business Insurance and Best Companies Group. As to what makes W3 a consistent honoree, an employee response from 2019 explains it well:

 We have a culture of Integrity, Accountability, Success, and Passion. We’re a team and we love what we do…Our employees participate in internal committees that foster relationship-building activities within the W3 family. Our employees also create fundraising and volunteer opportunities and activities to support the Tampa Bay Area to improve the overall quality of life for those in need around us.


About W3 Insurance

Founded in 1925, Wallace Welch & Willingham Inc (W3 Insurance) is an independent insurance agency with a rich history of providing quality service and unwavering commitment to clients and community. The agency represents an extensive list of “A rated” insurance companies and offers insurance products to fit the specific needs of businesses and individuals. For more information, call (727) 522-7777 or visit www.w3ins.com.

About Business Insurance

Business Insurance is the authoritative news and information source for executives concerned about risk and the impact on their business. With information for risk managers, insurers, brokers and other providers of insurance products and services, Business Insurance delivers in-depth analysis on new and emerging risks, case studies of successful programs, market intelligence on trends, and guidance on how to capitalize on opportunities and overcome challenges.

In addition to a monthly print magazine, Business Insurance provides essential news via its website, BusinessInsurance.com, daily and weekly e-newsletters, and breaking news via email news alerts. To subscribe, contact Business Insurance at info@businessinsurance.com.

Best Companies Group works with partners to establish ‘Best Places to Work,’ ‘Best Companies,’ and ‘Best Employers’ lists on a national, state-wide and regional basis.

Fall Means FLU (shots)

It’s Time to Schedule Vaccine Clinics and Educate Employees

 Imagine Hit me with your best shot, the unofficial theme of every employer flu shot clinic, playing on a loop while every employee receives a flu vaccine. It’s heartening to see so many coworkers opting for the latest flu protection; every jabbed arm represents one less worker potentially sidelined by fever, nausea, headache and more.

Influenza (flu) is getting second billing on the vaccine front because of sickness star COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. Here’s why the workplace should embrace the availability of the latest flu vaccine and how you can either schedule a successful flu shot clinic at your place of business or promote receiving the vaccine off-site.

Influenza is serious.

These days, it seems as if you can’t turn on the news without learning about the latest COVID-19 vaccine. The novel coronavirus and its Delta variant may hog the spotlight, but a nasty viral veteran awaits to emerge in the Fall with fury. Influenza (commonly called flu) is exceedingly worse than a typical cold. It can demand weeks of recovery. In some cases, it can cause death.

But don’t worry – there’s a shot for that. And though it’s not 100% effective, opting for the flu shot in 2021 could be an especially good idea. After all, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Hospitals still need to dedicate resources to treating those who suffer from severe cases. An onslaught of flu victims could result in an overwhelming influx of patients and not enough medical professionals or equipment to adequately help them.

But what’s the big deal? How much absenteeism does the flu really cause?

What this question really hides is dollar signs. Related to the queries Will the cost of an employer-led flu clinic be worth it and How much productivity can I lose to the flu, that number varies. However, flu is highly contagious and can spread through an office like wildfire. Imagine just a few employees sidelined perhaps for weeks, and the effect usually becomes apparent. A flu vaccine is likely much less expensive to offer to employees. Plus, a clinic is often included in your health plan. It’s a win-win for employers.

It’s impossible to do anything but estimate the cost of absenteeism related to the flu, but according to flu.gov, it’s estimated that 111 million days of work are lost each year due to the virus. That amounts to approximately $7 billion in productivity loss. These are staggering numbers, to be sure – and they can be lowered through vaccination.

But what if the vaccine isn’t formulated to address the latest strain of flu?

For those workplaces returning to some semblance of water cooler chatter after so many months of remote work, the comments about flu vaccines run the gamut from believer to passionate objector. I get the shot every year, and I’ve never gotten sick is a popular refrain. So too is I’ve never gotten that shot, and I’ve never had the flu either.

The truth is that no flu shot is going to be 100% effective. The vaccine is formulated based on the best data scientists gather about the three or four strain most likely to win “Most prevalent of the year,” and it’s never simple to guess. Even a strong hypothesis can miss the mark. Still, when the strain of prevalent flu matches the vaccine, the shot is extremely potent.

That means the coworker strutting around saying I’ll never get that flu shot might be living on borrowed time. This could be the year he catches the flu, misses weeks of work, and decides that opting for a flu shot would have been a supremely good idea.

Are there side effects from the vaccine?

Here’s side effect number one: You’re likely protected from contracting a nasty virus. Other side effects that can occur with the flu shot (according to the CDC) include low grade headache, fever, nausea, muscle aches, fatigue, and soreness at the point of injection. Severe reactions are extremely rare.

 Who can benefit from the flu shot?

Nearly everyone aged six months and older can benefit from the flu shot. Pregnant women are often recommended to receive it because it does double-duty; the vaccine actually offers their unborn baby limited immunity upon birth. Vaccinated children have a much lower chance than other children of dying from influenza. The elderly are at higher risk for serious flu complications; therefore, the flu shot is a sound idea for them as well.

Is there a special flu shot for people over the age of 65?

There is. It’s called the trivalent flu vaccine, and it’s extra-strong in terms of creating an immune response. However, older adults in this age category can also opt for the normal flu shot. Learn more about the high-dose one here.

Is there an option other than the shot?

For the needle-averse, there’s good news: There is a nasal flu vaccine that, according to WebMD, can work just as well as the syringe method. However, those under the age of 2, over the age of 50, and pregnant women are not advised to vaccinate in this manner. It may not be available as part of your on-site flu shot clinic, either. Be sure to ask before you tell employees that it will be.

What does the CDC say about the flu vaccine?

Get it. That’s the main message from the CDC, which looks at the risk versus reward of contracting the flu compared with receiving the shot. Rare exceptions occur, but on the whole, most of the population can benefit from the vaccine.

Tell me about this year’s vaccine.

The CDC continually updates its information about this year’s vaccine to make it the most accurate possible. Any licensed vaccine provider is fine, they say, including approved vaccines not made with any eggs (good news for people with allergies). Note that the CDC does declare that getting vaccinated too early is a no-no; therefore, don’t opt for the vaccine in July or August. September and October are prime time vaccination months, but even stragglers can see benefits all the way through January.

In 2020, only about half the U.S. population opted for the flu shot. Therefore, manufacturers did not manufacture enough vaccine for every single American. Demand is expected to soar in 2021 thanks to COVID, so opting for your flu shot in that September-October time span is a sound idea.

It is possible to be infected with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time.

You read that correctly. And though at this moment it is believed that COVID-19 may be ultimately deadlier than the flu, having both simultaneously is both dangerous and likely exceedingly uncomfortable.

You’ve convinced me. How do I set up an effective flu shot clinic?

Do you work with a wellness coordinator? If so, call that person and ask how much guidance they can offer. Some will schedule the entire event; others will give you resources to do so yourself. A few elements are crucial for a successful workplace vaccination program:

  • Select the vaccine administrator. Will an outside provider pay a visit to your office, set up in the break room and start vaccinating? A community immunizer is an option as well. Find one of those here.
  • How will employees pay for the flu shot? Communicate in a clear, concise manner if employees are responsible for some or all of the cost. Note: If you can fund the flu shot clinic in-house, that may encourage more employees to vaccinate.
  • Schedule the clinic for an opportune time – preferably before late October. Fall is prime time for flu season.
  • Still mostly remote? Discover where your employees can receive the shot off-site and offer an incentive for those who select it. Effective rewards include time off of work to obtain the shot, department contests, etc.
  • Gain buy-in from multiple departments and C-suite members.
  • Advertise, advertise, advertise. The CDC has some informative flyers here.
  • Make sure employees know whether their dependents are also eligible for free or reduced-cost flu shots.

Dangers from COVID-19 and the flu are real and often preventable. Making sure your employees are educated regarding the facts of both vaccines and the viruses will help them make informed decisions. You don’t have to do this alone, either: for questions regarding health and vaccine clinic events, contact W3 wellness coordinator Trish Blocker at 727-522-7777 or tblocker@w3ins.com.

Here’s to a flu season where more people than ever before choose vaccination. The double-dose of COVID and flu viruses make it more important than ever.

Have Computer, Need Therapy?

Mental Health Awareness Via Screen: Sharing the Teletherapy Lowdown with Employees

The doctor will see you now has taken on new meaning during this pandemic, as social distancing necessitated a pivot from classical in-person sessions to online screen appointments. The therapist’s couch is now the living room loveseat, or the kitchen chair, or the breakfast nook — any place, really, that promises solid Internet access.

Teletherapy, also known as online therapy or e-therapy, is a secure, often-effective way to utilize therapy services. The client makes an appointment with a therapist, logs on at a precise moment, and voila! Professional help is there. In a world that often offers instant gratification in the form of computerization, therapy this accessible can be extremely effective.

Here’s the downlow on the virtual therapy office: It’s a way for people to seek help anytime, anywhere. Need last-second appointments? Real-time advice dealing with stressors? Just a sympathetic listener? Teletherapy provides all of the above. For those who may have been reticent about reaching out for mental health services, the computer screen offers a welcome buffer. Instead of gearing up for a potentially emotional experience throughout the continuum of scheduling, transportation to the appointment, and sitting in a foreign room with a stranger, teletherapy brings treatment to the patient on his or her terms.

It’s this stark difference to in-person therapy – along with other, notable advantages – that indicates teletherapy is here to stay. It was here before the pandemic, of course, but the uptick in virtual services currently being offered shows no sign of slowdown. It’s time to get on the teletherapy wagon, so to speak. Read onward to learn more about the virtual therapy session and how to share this safe, efficient and cost-effective solution with your workforce.

  • Many medical carriers offer the option through telehealth providers – Check with your carrier. Have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? There’s a solid chance therapy appointments are part of that. Remember: Your employees aren’t going to utilize services they know nothing about. It’s up to you to publicize what is available to them. The EAP may even extend to dependents.
  • If teletherapy is not covered under either your standard employee medical plan, consider sharing other resources with employees. Meditation, for example, has been shown to reduce stress levels, and while it isn’t a direct substitute for therapy, it has proved beneficial for centuries. Apps like Headspace that offer guided meditation are inexpensive or free.
  • Virtual therapy is safe and private – In fact, whether a therapist meets with a client at the office or via Zoom or another online portal, they are bound by the same laws of confidentiality. For a person to glean the most benefit from therapy, it’s important that the client offer full disclosure to the therapist. He or she is not going to turn around and tell the employer about the discussion. This is not a ‘Big Brother’ situation; it’s simply a way to nurture behavioral and mental health.
  • Bringing others into the therapy room is a seamless endeavor with teletherapy. A marked advantage of video conferencing software is its ability to bring people together with just a few clicks. For families that require group therapy, sessions via a screen connect grandpa in Idaho, say, with the rest of the grandkids in Tampa, et cetera.

Just as with everything in life, teletherapy won’t work for everyone, but it’s definitely worth educating employees about what is included as part of their work benefits. This safe, private and cost-efficient option offers potential peace of mind and help – all just a click away.

For more information about telehealth, visit here or contact W3 Insurance Wellness Coordinator Trish Blocker at 727-522-7777.