Cyber Security Insurance – Traps for the Unwary

It has been awhile since I last posted anything about cyber security, but it continues to be a very hot topic in the various insurance related newsletters that I receive.  As I noted in my first two posts of this year, cyber security is a two-edged sword for insurance agencies.  While they need to protect themselves from data breaches and their consequences, that same need of other businesses presents a selling opportunity for agencies.  With that selling opportunity come risks that are not present in more established lines of business due to the lack of standardized language for cyber security insurance policies.

A recent federal court case in Arizona involving the restaurant chain P.F. Chang is a good example of those risks.  P.F. Chang suffered a data breach involving its customers’ credit card information.  Like most businesses, P.F. Chang used a third-party payment service to process its credit card transactions.  Its agreement with that service required it to indemnify the service for any claims that may be made against it by the issuers of the credit cards for which payment services were provided.  Those issuers did make claims against the payment service as a result of P.F. Chang’s data breach in the amount of $1.9 million and when the payment service looked to P.F. Chang to pay those claims, P.F. Chang found out it did not have insurance coverage for them under its cyber insurance policy with Federated Insurance.

Even though Federated had marketed its cyber insurance policy as “a flexible insurance solution designed by cyber risk experts to address the full breadth of risks associated with doing business in today’s technology-dependent world” that “[c]overs direct loss, legal liability, and consequential loss resulting from cyber security breaches”, its coverage only applied to claims made by persons whose information had been taken and it excluded liability for any claims made as a result of P.F. Chang’s contractual assumption of liability. It did not include payment card industry coverage, which would have protected P.F. Chang in this situation.  It’s not hard to imagine the conversation that took place between P.F. Chang and its insurance agent when P.F. Chang lost its court case against Federated. Hopefully, that agent properly documented his or her discussions with P.F. Chang about the types of cyber coverage it wanted.  Even so, that agent will likely never sell another insurance policy to P.F. Chang.

To avoid being put in the situation of P.F. Chang’s insurance agent, it is essential that an agent find out all the possible exposures of their customers to a data breach.  A recent post on Property Casualty 360 discusses the five essential coverages that every cyber insurance policy should have.  Depending on the size and business activities of a particular customer, coverage for public relations expenses may not be necessary in every case, but the other four coverages should be a part of every cyber insurance policy sold.  Forensics and legal expenses are necessary to determine the scope of any breach and what legal responsibilities are created by it.  Those responsibilities will typically include notification of the affected customers and possibly, the provision of credit monitoring services.  Business interruption coverage will help the customer overcome the inevitable loss of income that will occur as the customer focuses on dealing with the consequences of the data breach and with the rise of ransom ware attacks this year, every business should have protection against having to pay a hacker to unlock their data that has been encrypted by malware.

Of course, every business that accepts credit cards as payment for their goods or services will need the payment card industry coverage that P.F. Chang lacked.  That includes insurance agencies, all of whom should be checking their cyber insurance policies to be sure they have such protection.

One More New Law of Interest to Insurance Agents

My last post concerned new laws affecting insurance agencies and agents that became effective as of July 1, 2016.  This post concerns a law that became effective on June 3, 2016.  That law effectively rewrote the procedures for the filing of garnishments to collect judgments that have been entered against a person.  Some changes were made to those procedures for garnishments served on employers of which all Georgia employers should be aware.

Before discussing the changes made to those procedures, I want to point out three things that were not changed.  First, it is still illegal to fire an employee because their wages were garnished for “any one obligation.”  It appears that it remains legal to fire an employee who has his or her wages garnished for more than one obligation.  Second, it remains legal for an “authorized officer or employee” of a legal entity to sign and file an answer to a summons of garnishment and to pay any money shown on the answer into the court’s registry.  However, if a traverse, or objection, is filed to the answer by the plaintiff or the employee, the legal entity must hire an attorney to represent it from that point forward.  Finally, if an answer to a summons of garnishment is not filed by the statutory deadline or within 15 days thereafter, a default judgment for the full amount of the debt owed by the employee can still be entered against the employer.

What has changed involves how an employer must answer a summons of garnishment and what the employer must give the employee at that time.  As of June 3, 2016, an employer’s answer to a summons of garnishment must state when the employee’s wages were earned, whether they were earned on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, the employee’s rate of pay and hours worked, and  “the basis for computation of earnings.”  If the employer has been served with a summons of garnishment for more than one debt of the employee, in its answers to all such summons, the employer must state to which court any money owed will be paid and the case numbers of all the cases in which a summons of garnishment has been served on it.

In addition to serving a copy of its answer to a summons of garnishment on the plaintiff or its attorney, an employer is now required to serve a copy of its answer on the employee or his or her attorney by personal delivery or mail and to include with that document two new documents, Notice to Defendant of Right Against Garnishment of Money, Including Wages, and Other Property and Defendant’s Claim Form.  Copies of these documents are to be provided to the employer by the plaintiff, along with the summons of garnishment.   Their purpose is to inform the employee of his or her right to claim that some or all the property shown on the employer’s answer is exempt from garnishment and to provide a form for the employee’s use in making an exemption claim.

The Georgia Attorney General is required to maintain a list of all the exemptions from garnishment and it can be found here.  There are a surprising number of exemptions, but very few, if any, will apply to the money or other property ordinarily owed employees by employers.

New Laws of Interest to Insurance Agents

July 1 is the date on which any law passed by the General Assembly earlier that year will take effect unless a different effective date is specified in the law itself.  This year, July 1 will bring two changes in Georgia’s insurance laws that should be of particular interest to insurance agents and agencies.

The first such change was the subject of an earlier post.  It concerns what are known as Stated Value, or Valued, Policies.  They are policies that provide coverage for certain residential buildings in a specified amount, which amount will be paid upon the complete destruction of the building without any proof by the insured that the building was actually worth the policy amount.  As noted in my earlier post, before July 1, 2016, such policies could only be issued to “a natural person or persons.”  Beginning on that date, such policies can be issued to ”any legal entity wholly owned by a natural person or persons.” Buildings or other structures that are residences for one or two families and that are owned by a legal entity that is in turn wholly owned by one or more individuals can be covered by a Stated Value policy.  Please see my earlier post for some potential traps for the unwary agent that such a policy presents.

The other, probably more significant, change that will occur on July 1 is a change in the anti-rebate law.  Up to now, it has been unclear whether an agent or agency could make gifts having a monetary value to their customers or potential customers as a way of thanking a customer for their business or encouraging a potential customer to get a quote or other information from the agent or agency.  Beginning on July 1, the making of such gifts “not exceeding $100.00 in value per customer in the aggregate in any one calendar year” will be permitted, as long as a customer or potential customer does not have to buy or renew an insurance policy to get the gift.  The type of gifts that can be made are limited to “prizes, goods, wares, store gift cards, gift certificates, sporting event tickets, or merchandise.”

Store gift cards and gift certificates are subject to the requirements of Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act of 1975.  That Act requires that a gift certificate or store gift card be limited to use at a single merchant or group of merchants that share the same “name, mark, or logo” and that it be issued in a specified amount that cannot be increased, in the case of a gift certificate, but may be increased, in the case of a store gift card.

The change made to the anti-rebate law, O.C.G.A. Section 33-6-4, was also made to the law governing the rates that can be charged by insurance companies, O.C.G.A. Section 33-9-36, because that change also allows insurance companies to make the permitted gifts to their customers or potential customers.   It is my understanding that a large insurance company with a captive agency force was involved in the effort to get this change made.  That likely means agents and agencies who are competitors with such companies better be ready to take advantage of this change in the law, because those companies will be doing so.

For those who are interested in the other changes made to Georgia’s insurance laws by this year’s General Assembly, click here for the IIAG’s Capital Report, which summarizes all the changes made.

BEST WISHES FOR A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE JULY 4 HOLIDAY FOR ALL MY READERS AND YOUR FAMILIES.  

IIAG Annual Convention – What You Missed

The Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia held its 119th Annual Meeting a couple of weeks ago at the beautiful Amelia Island Resort.  I had the most fun at the annual corn hole tournament held by the Young Agents Committee on the beach, and I learned the most at the presentation by John Immordino on Cyber Liability.  His presentation focused on both the challenge to agents and agencies of protecting their customer and business information and the opportunity presented by the need of every other business, small and large, in the U.S. and the world to do the same.

With respect to the challenge, Mr. Immordino made the point that, contrary to common belief, hacking is not the greatest risk a business faces when trying to protect its confidential customer and business information.  More such information is taken or lost due to the negligent or intentional acts of employees and other insiders than from attacks by hackers on a business’ computer system.  Mr. Immordino said his personal information had been improperly used four times and in only one instance was it due to the actions of a hacker.  The other three times involved current and former employees of his business who had obtained his personal information, along with other confidential business information, from the business’ computer system.

While it is important to protect your agency’s computer system from outside attack, it is just as, if not more, important to train your employees on the proper procedures to follow when dealing with confidential customer or business information and to keep reminding them of those procedures at regular intervals.  It is also a good idea to encrypt the data on any smartphones, laptop computers, or tablets that are supplied to an agency’s employees for their business use and to include remote data wiping software on any such devices if they are lost or stolen.  It is possible to install such software on any such devices that belong to the agency’s employees and limit the data wiped by it to just business related information.

Employee training should include how to recognize phishing, spear phishing (bogus e-mail comes from what appears to be a familiar source), and social engineering (hacker has taken over a valid e-mail address of company employee or customer and uses it to request the transfer of money to bogus account) and what to do if they suspect an email or other communication they have received is not genuine.  It is especially important to be vigilant for social engineering attempts because the voluntary payment of money in response to such a scheme is not a covered event under standard crime or cyber liability policies.  A fact that an agent can use when discussing the need for the various types of insurance coverage required to protect a business from loss due to data breaches.

Another fact mentioned by Mr. Immordino that can be used to convince a reluctant business owner that cyber and other related insurance coverage is needed is that 60% of small businesses that have a data breach go out of business within six months.  This is mostly due to the costs of dealing with such a breach, which average $217 a record according to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute.  Over one-third of this amount, $74 a record, is for hard costs incurred in detecting the breach, determining the number of the records affected, complying with the applicable notification requirements (which vary by state), and dealing with any claims made by the persons affected.  Insurance policies are available that will cover all these hard costs and will provide the help needed to deal with the various aspects of a data breach.  In many instances, the existence of such coverage is the difference between life and death for the small business affected.

There was a lot of other valuable information in Mr. Immordino’s presentation.  If any of my readers would like a copy of it, please contact me at mburnette@decatur-law.com and I will send it to you.

The New Overtime Rule – What You Can Do to Comply

My last post was about the requirements of the new rule for the payment of exempt employees.  This post will focus on the options available to an employer to comply with those requirements and the information needed to decide which option works best for each affected employee.  Almost every payroll service company has materials on this topic.  One of the best I have seen can be found here and it includes an online calculator to aid the employer in determining the financial impact of the available options.  For those who want a more focused presentation on the effect of the new rule on insurance agencies, the IIABA will have a free webinar on that subject on June 22, 2016 beginning at 3 p.m. EDT.

The new overtime rule will affect only those employees who are being treated as exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  If an employee is being paid a salary and is not paid anything extra if they work more than 40 hours in any one week, including time spent responding to e-mails or telephone calls or meeting with customers outside of normal working hours, they are effectively being treated as exempt employees.  If you have any such employees, beginning December 1, 2016, they must be paid a minimum salary of $913 a week, or $47,476 a year, and meet the other requirements of a recognized exemption to the overtime pay rules. (Click here for a good explanation of those other requirements.)

If an employee does not meet the requirements for an exemption from the overtime pay rules, they can still be paid on a salary basis, but they must be paid one and a half times their salaried hourly rate for any hour worked in excess of 40 in any one work week.  For such employees, an adjustment in their salary may be necessary to avoid an unsustainable increase in their total compensation once overtime pay is included. Similarly, if an employee does meet the requirements for an exemption from the overtime pay rules, but the employer cannot afford to increase their salary to meet the new minimum required, that employee will have to be paid at the overtime rate for any hours worked in excess of 40 in any one work week.  For such employees, the employer will have to decide if it can afford the increase in total compensation that will result.  If not, the employer can either change the employee to an hourly rate of pay or adjust the amount of salary paid, so that in either instance the employee will end up being paid the same amount of compensation as before after taking into account their expected overtime pay.

In both situations described above, the employer also has the option of forbidding the employee from working more than 40 hours in any one week.  In addition to being difficult to enforce, given the current emphasis on value added customer service, which usually includes responding to e-mails and telephone calls or meeting with customers outside of normal working hours, this option may not be a practical one for many agency owners.  In any event, those owners and other employers will have to begin tracking the hours worked of both types of employees, if they have not already been doing so.  Without such tracking, an employer is at the mercy of any employee who claims they worked more than 40 hours in any one week and demands to be paid overtime pay for those hours.  The burden is on the employer to prove such a claim to be untrue and without a good system for tracking the hours worked by its employees, an employer will be unable to meet that burden.

The bad news is that employers who have employees they have treated as exempt and not paid a salary of at least $47,476 a year have a lot of work to do to decide how best to respond to the new overtime rule’s requirements with respect to those employees. The good news is they until December 1, 2016 to do so.

The New Overtime Rule – What You Need to Know

Last July, I wrote a post about a new rule for the payment of overtime that had recently been proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor (“USDOL”).  That proposed rule was made final by the USDOL on May 23, 2016, with its formal publication in the Federal Register.  The final rule differs in several ways from the proposed rule that was described in my earlier post.  Those differences concern the amount of the minimum salary that must be paid before an employee can be considered exempt from the overtime pay rules, how often that minimum salary amount will be changed, the standard for determining the new minimum salary amount, the use of non-discretionary bonuses to satisfy part of the minimum salary amount, and the effective date of the new minimum salary amount requirement. (Click here for an IIABA summary of the new rule and how it applies to insurance agencies.)

In order:

1.  To be considered exempt from the overtime pay rules, an employee must be paid a salary of at least $913 a week, or $47,476 a year.  Those numbers under the proposed rule were $921 a week and $47,892 a year.  Not much of a difference, but every dollar counts.  It is important to remember that paying the required minimum salary does not mean an employee is exempt from the overtime rules. To be exempt from those rules, an employee must be paid the required minimum salary and satisfy the other requirements of a recognized exemption from those rules.  The three exemptions that would most likely apply to employees of an insurance agency are the administrative, executive, and outside sale exemptions.  I discussed two of these exemptions as they might apply to insurance agency employees in a earlier post.  It turns out that my suggestion in that post that the retail sales exemption may be used for producers who are paid mostly on commission is not going to work, as the USDOL has stated in the regulations adopted for that exemption that insurance is not considered to be a retail business for purposes of that exemption.  I find that conclusion to be puzzling given the explanation for what is such a business in the regulations.

2.  The required minimum salary will be adjusted every three years, instead of every year, with the first such adjustment to occur on January 1, 2020 and then on January 1 every three years thereafter.

3.  The required minimum salary will be set using the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest wage Census region, which at this time is the South/Southeastern U.S.  The proposed standard was the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the U.S.  Under the adopted standard, the required minimum salary is projected to rise to over $51,000 on January 1, 2020.  The USDOL will announce the new minimum salary amount 150 days before that date.

4.  The payment of non-discretionary bonuses, incentive payments, and commissions can be used to satisfy up to 10% of the required minimum salary amount, if those payments are made at least quarterly.  This is a totally new rule.  The USDOL considers individual or group production bonuses and bonuses for quality and accuracy of work to be non-discretionary.  The final rule also permits a catch up payment to be made in the pay period immediately following the end of a calendar quarter, if the salary paid to the employee during that quarter was less than 100%, but at least 90% of the required minimum amount. This will give some flexibility to employers who choose to use bonuses, incentive payments, or commissions to pay their exempt employees.

5.  The new rule takes effect on December 1, 2016, instead of 60 days after its publication, so employers have more time to decide how they will respond to the new requirements.

What options are available to employers to satisfy the new requirements will be the subject of my next post.

 

 

 

Summer Interns- What You Need to Know to Avoid Trouble

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner.  Since it is traditionally considered the unofficial start of summer and most schools have begun their summer break, I thought it would be a good idea to remind my readers of the rules that apply to the hiring of interns. If those rules are not followed, a business can find itself in trouble with the U.S. Department of Labor (the “USDOL”) and potentially, the IRS.

My last post on this subject was two years ago and the rules governing the hiring and compensation of interns remain essentially the same.  The issue that poses the biggest risk of trouble for an employer is whether an intern will be compensated and if so, how much compensation they will be paid.

If the intern is not paid anything or less than the current minimum wage for the time they spend working for a business, the burden is on the business to prove that the intern was in fact a “trainee”, who does not have to be paid anything for their services, and not an “employee”, who must be paid at least the minimum wage for their services.  That burden is higher for a profit-making business because the USDOL, which is responsible for enforcing the minimum wage law, will presume that such an intern is an “employee”.   The USDOL has issued a Fact Sheet in which it establishes six criteria that must be met to prove an intern is a “trainee.” (Click here for an article I have written that discusses those criteria.)  The bottom line is that if the business owner derives any significant benefit from the services of an intern, that intern will most likely be considered an “employee” by the USDOL for purposes of the minimum wage law.

The fact that the intern willingly agreed to perform the services in question without being paid any compensation or in exchange for small stipend, the amount of which is not tied to how many hours they may work is irrelevant, as the United States Supreme Court has held that an individual can not waive their rights under the minimum wage law. Thus, an intern could decide, up to three years later, that maybe they should have been paid the full minimum wage for all the services they performed for a business, if for whatever reason they now need the money or have a grievance of any kind against the business.

For a business that is considering hiring someone who is under 18 years of age, both the federal and state governments impose restrictions on the types of activities in which such a person can engage and for how long each day, regardless of whether they are a “trainee” or an “employee.”  The main difference between the two sets of restrictions is that Georgia law requires a person under 18 to get an employment certificate, or work permit, from the school they last attended or the local county school superintendent.  (Click here for a fact sheet from the USDOL on this subject and here for a summary of the restrictions imposed by federal and state law from the Georgia Department of Labor.)  As noted at the bottom of the Georgia Department of Labor’s summary sheet, if the child is working in a business owned by his or her parent or guardian, only the restrictions on prohibited occupations will apply.

A summer internship can be beneficial for both the intern and the employer, but to avoid trouble, the employer needs to know and follow the above rules.

Avoid, Deny, Defend – What is it?

Avoid, Deny, Defend is a program developed by the ALERRT Center at Texas State University for training people about what to do if they are involved in an active shooter incident (an individual is actively engaged in trying to kill other people).  According to an FBI study of such incidents, there were 160 from 2000 through 2013 and the rate at which they occurred steadily increased during that time period.  Recent events indicate that rise in the rate is still occurring.  The fact that slightly less than half of all such incidents took place in a commercial setting should be of concern to all business owners, including agency owners.  The “it can’t happen here” belief is refuted by the fact that such incidents occurred in 40 states and the District of Columbia during the study period.

That belief leaves most people unprepared when an active shooting occurs and leads to an increase in the death toll.  The Avoid, Deny, Defend program seeks to inform people what they should do in such situations to protect themselves.  As with many such programs, it seems to be mostly common sense when you think about it.  First, you should AVOID the shooter by seeking to get away from his or her location.  This requires a person to be aware of their surroundings and in particular, where the exits are.  If you can’t get away from the shooter’s location, DENY him or her an opportunity to shoot you by putting as many barriers (e.g., closed and preferably locked and barricaded doors) between you and the shooter as possible, turning off the lights, hiding from sight behind whatever large object (e.g., desk) you can find, and turning off your smart phone.  Only if you can’t avoid the shooter or deny him or her an opportunity to shoot you should you DEFEND.  In doing so, be aggressive and don’t fight fair.  This is about survival, so there are no rules.

The ALERRT Center website has a video that demonstrates the principles of the Avoid, Deny, Defend program.  The FBI website also has a video on this subject that can be downloaded.  It’s title is more direct, “Run, Hide, Fight.”  The Department of Homeland Security has an extensive resource page on this subject, that includes links to an online course for managers and employees and a 90 minute webinar on how to prepare for and respond to an active shooter situation.

Like life insurance or in my profession, Wills, this is a subject most people don’t want to think about, much less discuss.  While those two things are important, the failure to take action with respect to them is not life threatening.  Not knowing what to do if confronted with an active shooter situation can be fatal.  Offering information on this subject to your commercial lines customers can be another way to distinguish yourself from other agents and agencies.  It can be part of your discussion with such customers about their business risks and how best to insure and otherwise protect against them.  If done in partnership with your local police department or even on your own, a presentation on this subject can put you in front of potential new customers, for both commercial and personal lines policies.

Stated Value Policy Changes & New Trap for the Unwary

Last week, Governor Nathan Deal signed into law an important change to Georgia’s Stated Value policy law.  A Stated Value, or Valued Policy, is one which provides coverage for buildings in a specified amount, which amount will be paid upon the complete destruction of the building without any proof by the insured that the building was actually worth the policy amount.  What is such a policy and when it will pay off are governed by statute.  In Georgia, that statute is O.C.G.A. Section 33-32-5.

In an earlier post, I explained the requirements that must be met for such a policy and pointed out a trap for the unwary insurance agent who advises the insured on what value to assign to the building covered by the policy.  One of the requirements for such a policy was that it must be “issued to a natural person or persons.”  This presented a problem for people who own residential rental property and follow their attorney’s advice to transfer ownership of such property to a limited liability company or other legal entity to protect their personal assets from any claims that may arise out of the rental of the property.  Since a policy covering a building can only be issued to its owner, residential rental property that was owned by a limited liability company or other legal entity could not be covered by a Stated Value policy.  

The bill recently signed into law by Governor Deal expanded the entities to which a Stated Value policy could be issued to include ” any legal entity wholly owned by a natural person or persons.”  Effective on July 1, 2016, one or two residential family buildings or other structures in Georgia that are owned by a legal entity that is in turn wholly owned by one or more individuals can be covered by a Stated Value policy.

I am sure most insurance agents realize that where residential real property is being rented, a commercial general liability policy must be obtained instead of a homeowner’s policy to provide liability protection for the property owner.  However, what many agents may not realize is that even a commercial general liability policy will not provide complete protection for the owner.  This point is illustrated by a decision the Georgia Supreme Court rendered in March of this year.  In that decision, the court held that the absolute pollution exclusion in the CGL policy in question in that case meant the policy did not cover a claim by the tenant that her child was injured due to exposure to paint chips containing lead.  In its opinion, the court cited an earlier decision that had applied such an exclusion to a claim of injury by a tenant due to carbon monoxide poisoning as the result of a faulty furnace.  

Lead paint chips and carbon monoxide exposure are two conditions that could easily occur in situations involving the rental of residential real property.  A recent webinar presented by the IIABA explores the scope of the absolute pollution exclusion in this context and points out that it covers much more than what would ordinarily be thought of as hazardous substances, fungus, mold, and bacteria being the most common.

As with any other policy, an agent should be aware of any gaps in coverage provided by a CGL policy in each context in which it will be used and decide how best to fill those gaps.  Otherwise, the agent runs a substantial risk of being the subject of an E&O claim.         

Georgia Does Well at IIABA Legislative Conference

The state of Georgia was well represented in the awards handed out at the recently completed Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association’s annual Legislative Conference.  The old reliable when it comes to awards, Georgia’s Young Agents Committee, walked away with the first ever InsurPac Catalyst Award.   This is a new award that recognizes a state Young Agents Committee that shows great progress in InsurPac innovation and participation.  

Georgia’s YAC won the award due to its efforts that resulted in increased contributions from prior donors, a significant increase in new donors, and most notably, its introduction of the concept of making a monthly recurring contribution to InsurPac, instead of a one time donation.  My local public radio station, which just completed its Spring fund drive, introduced this concept a few years ago and it has allowed the station to significantly shorten the length of its fund drives.  This approach allows for the splitting up of a contribution amount that may be too large to make at one time into smaller monthly increments, which will continue to be paid using the donor’s credit card until the donor takes action to stop them.  Thus, there is no need to expend time and resources on soliciting contributions from such a donor year after year.  That time and those resources can be devoted to finding new donors.  I don’t know who came up with the idea of applying this concept to donations to InsurPac, but the co-chairs of Georgia YAC’s InsurPac committee, Sean Stewart and Will Argo, are to be congratulated on a job well done.

A Georgia insurance agency walked off with the prestigious Dan Fulwider Award for Community Involvement.  This award is sponsored by Trusted Choice and annually recognizes an independent insurance agency for outstanding community involvement. This year’s award went to Snellings Walters Insurance Agency in Dunwoody, Georgia for its work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides fundraiser event.  It is a 5K walk held each year in which teams raise money for their participants.  Snellings Walters has been the corporate sponsor for the Great Strides event in the Atlanta area for several years and through its efforts has made that event the largest such event in the nation, raising over $1.8 million last year.  This year’s goal is over $2 million.  The $2,500 that comes with the Dan Fulwider Award will go toward achieving that goal.  

Within the larger event, Snellings Walters has created an insurance industry focused group, known as Insure the Cure, which since 2011 has raised over $800,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  In accepting the award for Snellings Walters, Michael Iverson noted that all insurance agencies have people with passions who are looking for permission to release them.   In this case, it happened to be one of the agency’s owners whose daughter has cystic fibrosis.  He asked those in the audience to “Help your people release their passions. We have a great industry. We can make a big difference in so many ways, and I encourage you to do so.”