THE VANTAGE POINT

Introducing RISQ Consulting’s new blog, The Vantage Point! Get ready to learn about more than “just insurance”. We have experts on our team that know so much more than premiums and paperwork! At RISQ Consulting, we are proud to say we focus on educating ourselves in many areas of the business world, not just insurance. This quest for knowledge has inspired many of our team members to dive deeply into fascinating areas such as business technology, organizational management, team psychology, employee engagement and more! The Vantage Point is our way of sharing simple tips and valuable insights with you. Please enjoy!

LATEST BLOG POSTS

Read more +18 April 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

How to Talk To Your Health Insurance Company

By Ashley Snodgrass What do you do when you get a bill from your doctor or an Explanation of Benefits from your insurance company that doesn’t look quite right? Maybe you have been asked to pay more because a service wasn’t covered, or the claim was processed out-of-network (even when you know your doctor is in-network)? If you’re like most people, you likely grudgingly pay the bill and move on.  Before I worked in the
Read more +15 April 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Mining and Insurance- A Guide to Insuring Alaska’s Mining Industry

By Dena Lythgoe Mining is one of the toughest industries in Alaska with some of the toughest Alaskans running and operating these endeavors. With over 4,500 direct mining jobs in Alaska and 9,000 total direct and indirect jobs attributed to the Alaska mining industry it is surprising to know the majority of the operating mines in Alaska are considered small. There are countless small placer mines throughout Alaska with few employees and seasonal operations and no
Read more +11 April 2019 By ariggan in Blog

My Dog Went Viral

By Joshua Weinstein Luka is our family’s Siberian Husky.  I have many adjectives to describe him, but in short, he’s a friendly dog who rarely barks.  He prefers dirty over clean and sheds to no end. He also has allergies that make his vocal chords reverberate as though he and Chewbacca are related.  Like most huskies, he howls; however, Luka’s howling has always sounded more like a frantic and panicked guttural scream.  My daughters enjoy
Read more +08 April 2019 By ariggan in Blog

Voted Happiest App in the World

By Joshua Weinstein I don’t know about your headspace, but mine can race, get easily distracted, and go way too fast.  The world moves and changes so quickly, and quite frankly, unless I get a dose of mindfulness on a regular basis, I become a disservice to those around me.  The consequences of not slowing down and opening my eyes to what’s really important are numerous, and I gather you know they’re not good.  A
Read more +25 March 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Finding the Perfect TED Talk for You

By Alison Riggan With over 3,000 TED Talks available, finding the right one may seem like a daunting task. You don’t want to make it through half a talk just to realize that particular episode doesn’t interest you. You can search by topic but with main 20 categories and even more sub categories, it can be easy to become a bit overwhelmed.  I love listening to TED Talks throughout the day (especially during data entry!)
Read more +22 March 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Is there a place for April Fool’s Day in the workplace?

By Ashley Snodgrass Spring – the season of more sunlight, March Madness, St. Patrick’s day, and glorious winter breakup. At the peak of Spring, there is a polarizing holiday that can cause a lot of drama and trauma in the workplace: April Fool’s Day. So, here’s a good debate for you: Is there a place for April Fool’s Day in the workplace? Most guidance suggests that not all pranks are bad for the workplace, but
Read more +18 March 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Are you unmotivated at work? Take time to take this quiz and you definitely are!

By Jennifer Outcelt You’ve seen those click bait quizzes online while scrolling through Facebook, right? You know, the ones that will tell you what breed of dog you are based on your zodiac sign and what you ate for breakfast, or tell you what color underwear you are wearing based on your street name and favorite popsicle flavor. You’re aware that these are all BS (by the way, I’m a collie and the color is
Read more +12 March 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

A Roadmap to Choices

By Alesha Combs We are officially a quarter of the way through the year! So how are those new year resolutions going? I’m just kidding, I won’t put you on the spot like that. This year, along with many others, I decided to ditch the resolution and try something new. Instead of a resolution I decided to do an intentional assessment of the prior year. I wanted to identify the things that enhanced my life
Read more +07 March 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Generational Differences in Your Workforce

By Tiffany Stock Our office recently presented to the Northwest Human Resource Management Association for about three hours, providing a comprehensive overview of employee benefits and the role of the HR professional in providing them – don’t be too bummed out you missed it, because I’m going to give you a little recap on my favorite part of that presentation. While the whole presentation was important in discussing the big picture, and breaking down the
Read more +05 March 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

The Employee Experience Platform: A New Category Arrives

By Andrew Kupperman About 75% of business technology implementations fail to achieve the goals established before an organization decided to purchase technology. One of the main goals that is common across organizations is providing employees a better experience at work. This particular goal can tend to have a low success rate. I’ve discussed in other blog posts that technology is merely a tool to attain this goal. If your organization has the cornerstones of sound
Read more +27 February 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Alaska Employement Law- Drug and Alcohol Testing

For most private employers in Alaska, there is no state law that requires or prohibits workplace testing for drugs or alcohol. However, employers that choose to implement workplace testing programs in the state may gain protection against lawsuits if they voluntarily comply with requirements under the Alaska drug testing law. Alaska employers that conduct workplace drug testing should also consider certain provisions under the state’s legalized marijuana and disabilitylaws. This Employment Law Summary provides a
Read more +25 February 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Anchorage Septic Tank – Regulation Changes

By Tim Maudsley This article published in the ADN is important to all property owners here in Anchorage, as many are currently operating older septic systems that may not be in compliance with current regulations. These new 2019 regulations were not well distributed to the community as a whole previously, and, with the large financial as well as environmental responsibility these septic systems carry, it is in the best interest of all that everyone that we
Read more +19 February 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

How do you rebel in a family full of rebels?

By Tonya Mott My house is full of Rebels! I may be obligated to post a warning sign on my front door: How do I know my house is full of Rebels? My colleague, Ashley Snodgrass, shared The Four Tendencies quiz with our office and it was all downhill from there. The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act.  Basically, how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (a deadline,
Read more +14 February 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Are You Experienced?

By Andrew Kupperman Are there any Jimi fans reading this? Well, the experiences I want to talk about are a bit different (and work appropriate) from what he was probably talking about. It’s also a bit different from how we might talk about experiences within the scope of what we do at work on a day to day basis. Spoiler alert: this blog post isn’t about job interview questions such as “tell us about a
Read more +12 February 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Forget Your Ginko Supplements, and Keep on Forgetting Things: A Valuable Share “In Praise of Organizational Forgetting”

By Blanche Sheppard I had no idea who billionaire Barry Diller was until I read a recent article about his adoption of deliberate forgetfulness as a business concept. He mentioned that remembering all of your successes prevents you from future advancements, which seems so counterintuitive. Don’t past victories bolster your confidence so that you can go out and achieve more? Barry Diller argues instead that if you can brush away your wins, forcing yourself to
Read more +07 February 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

A Valuable Share from Must Read Alaska: Earthquake Recovery Funds Approved by President Trump

By Tim Maudsley Many of our current and prospective clients have asked RISQ about how to apply for funding and loans to help with earthquake damage sustained in the November 30th event. The Federal Government had not approved Alaska’s request for a major disaster declaration until January 31st, when President Trump approved the earthquake as a major disaster, opening additional recovery funding for Alaskan residents and businesses. The article below from Must Read Alaska summarizes
Read more +04 February 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Valuable Share: A Positive Economic Forecast for Anchorage

By Tim Maudsley RISQ Consulting attended the 2019 Anchorage Economic Development Corp (AEDC) Luncheon, and I am happy to hear that the news was relatively positive about the 2019 economy as well as the business confidence index. Surveys showed a mostly positive outlook for business since 2014, real estate sales and prices were higher in 2017, and Anchorage is projected to add jobs for 2019 for the first time in 3 years. Concern still centers
Read more +24 January 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Valuable Share: “How to Turn Small Talk into Smart Conversation”

By Alison Riggan We’ve all had them, those conversations that last 5 seconds and consist entirely of niceties and nothing of substance. We have been conditioned as a society to give auto-responses without a second thought, sacrificing quality conversation. But what happens if we throw a curveball into the conversation? I recently stumbled upon a comedic article by Chris Colin and Rob Baedeker that challenges people to break the mold of standard conversations and “turn
Read more +22 January 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

New Dependents, Who Dis?

By Blanche Sheppard You know those silly AFLAC commercials, where someone looks super worried as they sort through their bills in anticipation of an upcoming procedure, but then the annoying duck pops up and reminds them that they are covered? This article isn’t about the duck, but it is about considering how a new child impacts your benefits. The duck probably seems more exciting right about now…. I don’t usually write about benefits for the
Read more +18 January 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

A Valuable Share: “Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking”

By Tiffany Stock “Put your phone down” has become a common request in my house with a teenager and pre-teen. Have you ever thought about the impact smartphones have on all of us, even when you aren’t “looking” at your phone? Check out this study published by the Harvard Business Review on how having your smartphone near you impacts your cognitive capacity. After reading this article, some of their points definitely resonate with me and
Read more +15 January 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

What Happens If I Miss Open Enrollment?

An open enrollment period is a short period of time when you can enroll in or make changes to your employee benefits elections. Possible changes include adding or dropping coverage, adding or removing dependents, or enrolling in benefits for the first time. Open enrollment is your opportunity to take advantage of important benefits, such as health, vision, dental and life insurance, a health savings account (HSA), and a retirement plan. The decisions you make during
Read more +09 January 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

6 HR Trends to Monitor in 2019

A new year brings new issues for HR professionals to contend with. Some challenges are similar to previous years (overtime uncertainty), while others are more unique and complicated (legal marijuana and employment). Despite inherent difficulties, staying tuned in to these six trends can keep you ahead of the game in 2019. Ignoring them will only put you behind. Below are the top trends to monitor in the coming months. 1. Opioids, Marijuana and the Workplace
Read more +03 January 2019 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

Cyber Risks & Liabilities

Top Cyber Predictions for 2019 The average global cost of a data breach has risen to $3.86 million, magnifying the need for companies to be aware of all potential threats. Here are just a few of the threats that cyber security experts have forecast for 2019. Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a Weapon With AI being so young, it is still vulnerable to attacks that can affect its operations. However, AI could also be used defensively
Read more +19 December 2018 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

The ACA Remains In Place After Being Struck Down By Federal Court

OVERVIEW On Dec. 14, 2018, a federal judge ruled in Texas v. United States that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) is invalid due to the elimination of the individual mandate penalty in 2019. The decision was not stayed, but the White House announced that the ACA will remain in place pending appeal. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also confirmed that it will continue administering and enforcing all aspects of the ACA.
Read more +14 December 2018 By RISQ Consulting in Blog

The Busier You Are, the More You Need Quiet Time

By Natasha Kwachka Lately productivity has been a huge topic of discussion. Some would say productivity can be achieved by a few simple habits put into action. Although I agree with creating positive habits that can contribute to efficiencies, I wonder if there is more that goes into productivity. I recently read an article that discussed taking small moments to disengage, also known as Quiet Time. It caused me to take a deep look inward and
Read more +07 December 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Earthquake Relief

The State of Alaska released a notice containing directions for Alaskans affected by last week’s earthquake to apply for grants and disaster relief, which can be found at http://ready.alaska.gov. This can be very valuable to those struggling to rebuild after damages incurred last week. Please direct inquiries for disaster assistance to this site and feel free to forward this notice to those looking for help. We also posted this on the RISQ website. The link
Read more +04 December 2018 By ariggan in Blog

How To Save For Retirement

Once you have reduced your debt and created a workable spending plan, you’re ready to begin saving toward retirement. You may do this through a company retirement plan or on your own. Here are a few of the places where you might put your money for retirement: • Savings accounts, money market mutual funds, certificates of deposit (CDs) and U.S. Treasury bills. These are often referred to as cash or cash equivalents because you can
Read more +27 November 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Pet Insurance

Many American households have at least one pet. In any given year, one in three of these beloved family members will need costly veterinary care, even if it is for routine exam visits and vaccinations. Should a pet become severely ill and need emergency care, costs can sometimes be more than pet owners can bear. However, if they have pet insurance, owners will never have to make a decision about their pets wellbeing based on
Read more +20 November 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Marcus Buckingham Blog

By Andrew Kupperman   We all have something inside of us to share with the world. The work that we do 5 days a week hopefully leads us to unleash whatever that something is, in one way or another. I love reading, watching, and listening to Marcus Buckingham’s blog because he offers and explains the best ways for all of us to get there in such a simple, yet innovative way. It does not hurt
Read more +13 November 2018 By ariggan in Blog

The Power of Positive Thinking

By Tiffany Stock “The power of positive thinking” seems a little cliché, but James Clear’s article “How Positive Thinking Builds Your Skills, Boosts Your Health, and Improves Your Work,” demonstrates that those words should be considered more important. Bringing positivity into your life has many benefits beyond the obvious. I encourage you all to check out this article and not put limits on your potential in all areas of life!   https://jamesclear.com/positive-thinking
Read more +01 November 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Team Building Ideas

By Tonya Mott Over the past couple of years, my colleagues and I participated in various types of team building activities, which resulted in creating true team synergy and building relationships and trust; all of which are necessary assets for a high performing team.  The different types of team building events range from, ‘just for fun,’ to charitable and more structured.   Check out the different activities and pictures of us in action. Structured Team
Read more +30 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

theSkimm

By Ashley Snodgrass I start my morning with theSkimm – a short email newsletter designed to get you the day’s news in less time than it takes to brush your teeth.  I’ve always been a news junkie, but there are only so many hours in the day to read news stories from state, national, and international publications. theSkimm is email that arrives in your inbox each morning, bringing you the news highlights of the day
Read more +25 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Stress, There’s Not Room in This Moment for the Both of Us

By Alesha Combs You may have experienced the bittersweet nature of the holiday season. It’s a time for celebrating, socializing, parties and great food, but the stress that some of these events bring on can catch you off guard. Maybe you encounter a first holiday without a loved one, or feel overwhelmed with the thought of hosting Thanksgiving dinner or picking the perfect gift. If you work in health insurance, you know that the holiday
Read more +22 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Workers Compensation Rates in Alaska Coming Down in 2019

By Tim Maudsley Alaskan businesses will receive a welcome drop in workers’ compensation rates for 2019, based on the expected approval by the Alaska Division of Insurance, which will go into effect on January 1, 2019. If approved, this will be the largest single reduction of rates seen in Alaska in the past 40 years. The 2019 rate reductions follow 2018 rates that fell 5.4 percent from 2017. Alaska has reduced rates by approximately 25
Read more +18 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Work – Life Balance: Are You Teetering or Succeeding? Tips to Achieve This Illusive Proposition.

By Aimee Johnson   The average American works on average 47 hours per week; with many people saying they work 50 hours per week, that’s almost a third of our time being spent with our work families! I sure hope you like yours! It’s easy to see why the discussion of work-life balance is increasingly more relevant and an important value to modern day working Americans. Who wouldn’t want more time with our families, friends,
Read more +16 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

32-Hour Work Week – Eye-Roll or Intriguing Concept?

By Aimee Johnson Work-life balance is an ever-increasing topic of discussion and frustration. With five generations and seven values currently in the workplace today, how do you keep all of these employees happy? As the workforce continues to change, are you an employer that believes in the traditional way of doing things – keep your head down, do what your told, clock-in, clock-out, work your 9am-5pm, 40-60 hours per week, and collect your paycheck or
Read more +11 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Construction Coverage

By Tim Maudsley The construction industry is much more complex than drywall here, hammer there, paint this. It’s a complicated equation of materials, time, and funding. That’s why construction insurance is equally complex. Few people are familiar with “delay in start-up,” which, in its simplest interpretation, is a time element construction coverage to insure against potential loss of earning following a delay. Delay in start-up coverage for the construction market is one that is essentially
Read more +09 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

The Way We Work is Changing, are You Prepared?

By Andrew Kupperman, SHRM-CP Picture this: the business you work for provides you with a tool that allows you to do anything and everything you need from a single interface. This tool is similar to HAL 9000 from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” but without the malfunctions and antagonism that would lead to your entire team’s demise. Let’s call our tool WIT (Work Information Tool). WIT is similar to Siri or Alexa that we already have
Read more +04 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Tips For Being an Informed Health Care Consumer

By Tiffany Stock I really struggled with this post, trying to figure out what I could write about that would benefit you, our readers, but also be something I felt passionately about that we haven’t already posted. Then the light bulb came on – every day I talk with people about the best way to utilize their health insurance, the questions to ask, things to look out for so you can avoid unexpected charges and
Read more +03 October 2018 By ariggan in Blog

How to Be Indispensable While Suffering Under the Crushing Weight of Expectation

By Jennifer Outcelt   Warning: The following blog post is ripe with satire and sarcasm. The opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and should not be read by anyone.   It’s a good feeling to be needed. Not only does it feel good, some people NEED to be needed. One could even argue that the need to be needed needs to be added to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Pay attention, I NEED
Read more +25 September 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Read What? Reddit

By Blanche Sheppard It might seem overwhelming to add another social media or news site to your lineup, but understanding the current political, economic, and social climate should come from a variety of sources. One source to consider, if you haven’t already, is Reddit, the “front page of the internet.” There are subreddits for everything from cute puppies to home improvement, but I also especially like the /r/smallbusiness/ subreddits. Users hop on to discuss using
Read more +18 September 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Sharing is Caring: MyWave and Your Way

By Blanche Sheppard Many of our blog posts heavily feature technology. We talk about how it changed how we work, how we live, and how we interact with one another. This blog is about sharing the things that teach us to be better: better people, better employees, and better resources for our clients. Spotlighting the technology that helps us do that is just a natural part of that process. This week I’d like to discuss
Read more +13 September 2018 By ariggan in Blog

The Importance of Social Media for Your Small Business

By Alison Riggan “I have a small business, do I really need to use social media?” That’s the question I’ve heard asked on multiple occasions from owners of small businesses who don’t want to go through the hassle of learning about various social media platforms. The short answer? Yes! Utilizing social media in your small business can be extremely beneficial. In fact, small businesses can benefit more from utilizing social media than larger companies. You
Read more +11 September 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Bring Fido to Work

By Alison Riggan It’s no secret amongst those who know me- I’m a crazy dog lady. I have two dogs (Spock and Watson) who I absolutely adore and probably talk about more than I should, but again- crazy dog lady. I would LOVE to bring them to work with me during the day, and it turns out there could be some benefits to bringing your dog to the office! Bringing your dog to work can
Read more +06 September 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Trash, Servant Leadership, and Safety – What do they have in Common? Alaska Waste (Series – Part 2 of 2)

By Tonya Mott   Why am I hanging with Alaska Waste? A couple of reasons: 1. Servant Leadership – I’m on a mission to learn how to be the best leader I can be and help others do the same. As you read, you’ll find out why I would be learning this from employees at Alaska Waste. 2. Safety, from a risk management perspective – According to the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, the
Read more +04 September 2018 By ariggan in Blog

How to stop saying “Um”, “Ah,” and “You Know”

By Tiffany Stock   We’ve all been there before – listening to an in-person presentation or webinar, and the presenter keeps saying “um.” You even start counting “um’s” after the first four or five occurrences. It can be so distracting! Have you ever thought, “Oh my gosh, I hope I don’t sound like that!?” Well, fear no more! Check out this article I came across from the Harvard Business Review, giving you some useful tips
Read more +30 August 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Hey, Can You Hear Me Now?

By Bailey Penrose   “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood” – The Animals (Cover, 1964)   Everyone just wants to be heard. I don’t think anyone would dispute that point, especially in an age where it’s easier than ever to broadcast to a larger audience – a blog post, a YouTube video, a Tweet. However, in this new world of instant communication and sharing, there
Read more +28 August 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Trash Talk: Servant Leadership and Safety (Series – Part 1 of 2)

By Tonya Mott   Why am I hanging with Alaska Waste? A couple of reasons: 1. Servant Leadership – I’m on a mission to learn how to be the best leader I can be and help others do the same. As you read, you’ll find out why I would be learning this from employees at Alaska Waste. 2. Safety, from a risk management perspective – According to the 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries the
Read more +24 August 2018 By ariggan in Blog

Trust Your Business Gut

By Nicholas Wiandt Your gut is telling you something, and I don’t mean its lunchtime. No one knows your business better than you do, so it’s no surprise that you will often have a gut feeling or a hunch about what’s going on in the undercurrent. Often these feelings are spurred on by analyzing our own in house data, such as the amount of leads we have received lately, the kind of feedback we get
Read more +21 August 2018 By ariggan in Blog

‘Crucial Conversations’ and Positive Outcomes

By Bailey Penrose Have you ever read something that changed your outlook on life?  Maybe the change wasn’t drastic (maybe it was), but the Rubicon had been crossed and there was no going back. The book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switlzer did that for me. When I thought of the term ‘crucial’ before diving into this book, I always thought it meant events of apocalyptic
TOP