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Earthquake Preparedness in the Pacific Northwest, Part II

June 25, 2020, Bellevue, WA—Ben Musser, Associate Account Executive, Personal Insurance

Expect the Unexpected

If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Large-scale disasters happen, and there’s only so much we can do to prepare. However, people that take precautions are often at an advantage in the aftermath of disaster. Not only are they better able to recover financially, they are usually in a better position to help others.

In the Pacific Northwest, one disaster we can prepare for is an earthquake. As mentioned in my previous post, experts say residents living west of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington are at risk of a “megathrust” earthquake with a magnitude that could reach levels never before recorded [1].

Earthquake Coverage Options

Coverage for earthquake damage is typically excluded on homeowners’ policies. However, you can purchase it as an endorsement or a standalone policy. Many of The Partners Group’s preferred carriers offer earthquake endorsements. We also work with carriers who provide standalone coverage.

Unlike typical insurance deductibles that specify the amount you will pay in the event of a covered loss, earthquake policies often use percentages. Deductibles range from as low as 2.5% up to 25%.

For example, imagine your dwelling coverage is $800,000 and you choose a 10% deductible. You would be responsible for the first $80,000 of loss in the event of an earthquake damaging your home. Choosing a deductible amount depends on the premium you are willing to pay for earthquake protection as well as the financial risk you are willing to absorb.

Earthquake policies provide flexibility in terms of how property is covered. Some coverage options available are:

  • Dwelling—covers the physical structure of your home or your condo unit.
  • Personal Property—replaces the contents of the dwelling you own, such as electronics, furniture, and clothing.
  • Loss […]

Rod Cruickshank Named Vice Chair of The Council of Employee Benefits Executives (CEBE) Advisory Committee

Portland, OR—Rod Cruickshank, CEO of The Partners Group has been appointed Vice Chair of The Council of Employee Benefits Executives (CEBE) Advisory Committee. Cruickshank will serve in this role for two years, after which he will become Chair of the CEBE Advisory Committee.

CEBE is a part of The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB), located in Washington, D.C. CIAB is a high-touch member-based trade association for 200 of the world’s top commercial insurance and employee benefits brokerages.

CEBE was formed in 2001 and serves to advise The Council’s leadership on the opportunities and challenges faced by the membership’s employee benefits businesses. CEBE has three primary responsibilities: informing and influencing The Council’s benefits policy agenda; providing perspective on employee benefits market trends and developments to support Council intel provided to the wider membership and industry stakeholders; and steering the ever-evolving annual Employee Benefits Leadership Forum (EBLF).

“It’s no surprise that healthcare is a leading topic to our nation,” said Cruickshank. “As the largest privately held benefit consulting firm in the Northwest and the only top 100 insurance firm headquartered in Oregon, The Partners Group needs to be at the table to represent our clients and community. I’m proud to be part of The Council and honored to help lead.”


How to Protect Your Classic Car

This infographic was originally published on Chubb


10 Tips to Stay Cyber Safe When You’re Working from Home

In these unprecedented times, many of our clients are working, studying, and entertaining their families from home—and relying on technology more than ever.

Cyber criminals know that, with more people online, there are more ways to take advantage of vulnerabilities and mistakes to gain access to protected and personal information. If you’re working virtually for a company or your kids are taking classes online, don’t count on the business or school to take the lead in detecting malicious activity. Make sure you’re doing your part too!
Following these ten tips may help you stay cyber safe, even in periods of uncertainty.
  1. Ensure your remote access technology, software, and applications are up to date.
    Remote access technologies have known vulnerabilities and are all too often the weak link that cyber criminals use to gain access to your personal information. Make sure to update all software and applications, so that any known weaknesses are patched and you and your family are better protected. 
  2. Only connect to the Internet through a secure network.
    When you connect to a public network, any information you share online or via a mobile app could be accessed by someone else. When accessing confidential information from your employer, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your activity. Most organizations provide a VPN to their employees to ensure secure, remote access for work use, and personal VPN accounts are available from various service providers. If your kids are accessing a website for online learning, make sure your router software is up to date and you’re using a strong password that only your family knows. 
  3. Use strong passwords.
    Many people use the same or similar version of a password for everything, even between work and home. Unfortunately, this means hackers can reuse a single stolen password on multiple sites to unlock dozens […]

Preventing Water Damage

Did you know that water damage is the second most frequently filed loss experienced by homeowners and renters each year? Check out this infographic to understand the water damage risks and how to prevent them. The techniques described below can minimize the chance of significant and costly water damage to your valuable home.

Your TPG Personal Insurance Team


Myth Busters: What impact is COVID-19 going to have on employer expenses?

Kim Seely, Managing Director of Employee Benefits and Case Escher, Managing Partner of Healthcare Analytics, discuss what impact COVID-19 will have on employer expenses.


Highlighting Healthcare-Specific Questions for the FFCRA

The Department of Labor released their FAQ page for the Families First Coronavirus Response act last week. We’d like to highlight specific information for the healthcare industry, taken directly from the DOL’s FAQ page on April 2, 2020. 

Health care providers are considered exempt from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA.

Who is a “health care provider” for purposes of determining individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave?

The term “health care provider,” as used to determine individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA.

Who is a “health care provider” who may be excluded by their employer from paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave?

For the purposes of employees who may be exempted from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA, a health care provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions. 

This definition includes any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of the above institutions, employers, or entities institutions to provide services or to maintain the operation of […]


Cyber Threat Email Template for Employees Working From Home

Cyber criminals are taking advantage of employees working from home. Reminding employees to be vigilant and to think before they click is essential for preventing a breach. The following is an email template your team can use to remind employees to be aware:

Dear Employees,

As we are all working remotely, our customers, clients, partners, and vendors are settling into new work environments as well. That means change and lots of it. Technology deployments and scaling are happening all across the landscape. With new technology comes opportunities for confusion which hackers/spammers/phishers prey upon. Don’t fear, but please be aware.

I’m asking that you keep these things items in mind:

  • “Am I expecting this document/email/link from this person?” – Feel free to forward anything to [the help desk, etc.] and we can help dissect the email. We are seeing a good amount of account breaches already. They may look to come from a legit source.
  • STOP and don’t enter your [website / platform] credentials into anything unfamiliar/non-[platform]. – Reach out to [the help desk, etc.] if you have any off feeling about it. Trust your gut.
  • You can always check something phishy –  Send [the help desk, etc.] an email; we are more than happy to quickly look at and advise when there are things “you just aren’t sure of.”
  • Nobody is asking you to buy gift cards during all this.  – Just don’t
  • Pick up the phone and call – Consider picking up the phone and calling the individual, client, or vendor. Do not use the phone number on the email. Look up the individual or business and call to verify.



Mental Well-Being Resources for COVID-19

Beyond Well / Beyond Well Solutions – A Mental Health podcast/company developed series. A podcast toolbox for living better that covers various areas and topics on Mental Health. 

Mental Health First Aid BlogHow to be the difference for people with mental health concerns during COVID-19.

Center for Workplace Mental Health: Employer ToolkitPrograms that can be implemented to kickstart positive mental health initiatives in the workplace.

NAMI – National Alliance on Mental IllnessCOVID-19 information and resources.

Ginger – Mental Health Support Offering US-based health systems free on-demand behavioral health coaching.

American Heart Association – Mental Health Awareness Campaign. Downloadable mental health awareness campaign and other workplace Mental Health tools.

Workable – Employer Tool. Employee mental health policy template.

LivingWorks Education – LivingWorks Start (online program). This online program teaches life-saving suicide prevention skills.

Suicide Prevention Resource CenterVariety of resources including online courses, webinars, SPARK talks, Micro-learning resources, and workshops.

Crisis Text Line24/7 Volunteer Crisis Counselors

SHRM – How to Accommodate Employees with Mental Illness. A great article with a lot of resources.

Psych Hub – Video Library of Mental Health Education. Hundreds of free short videos and certification courses on mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention topics.

Mental Health First Aid – Workplace Mental Health Training Program. Teaches participants how to notice and support an individual who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use concern or crisis and connect them with the appropriate employee resources. Mental Health First Aid at Work is a skills-based, experiential and evidence-based practice.


Medical Professional Liability Insurance: COVID-19 Updates & Resources

All practices are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical Professional Liability insurance companies are doing their part by waiving premium payments, easing telemedicine coverage requirements, allowing retired physicians to return to work, easing reporting requirements for providers working in other states, and much more. Our carriers have put together resource pages and FAQ’s to help answer questions and provide risk management strategies.    

We encourage all affected to reach out to Mike Arnold, marnold@tpgrp.com, 425-467-3152 or Roxanna Jessen, rjessen@tpgrp.com, 425-467-3161.



CDC Guidance for Community & Faith-Based Organizations

The CDC has released guidance for community and faith-based organizations. Preparing for the possibility of an outbreak in your community is essential to protect your employees, volunteers, and the people you serve. 

CDC Checklist

Health and Human Services Recommended Preventative Practices & FAQ


Property & Casualty COVID-19 Mandates: Washington, Oregon, Montana

Washington Updates

March 25, 2020—Washington State Insurance Commissioner orders all insurers to give grace periods, halt cancelations until May 9, with the option to extend

The emergency order pertains to both admitted and non-admitted property insurance. 

March 25, 2020—Washington State Insurance Commissioner Advisory Notice for Claims handling regarding COVID-19 disruption to businesses and loss of business income, read more.

The notice reads: 

“When you are contacted by an insured regarding a claim under their policy, I fully expect that you will follow the minimum standard of claims handling regulations found in WAC 284-30-330 through WAC 284-30-380.

This includes implementing a prompt investigation and fully disclosing all pertinent benefits and coverages of the insurance policy under which the claim is presented.

If a claim is denied, the Insurer must provide a written communication to their insured that cites the specific policy provision, condition, or exclusion that is the basis of the denial.

When a claim is accepted, the Insurer will promptly pay what it owes as soon as it knows a payment is owed under the policy.”

Oregon Updates

March 25, 2020—Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a temporary emergency order from March 25 through April 23, 2020, with the option to extend, read more

The emergency order applies to all insurers including property, casualty, auto, life, health, and all other lines of insurance.

The statement read as follows:

“The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a temporary emergency order today in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It requires all insurance companies to extend grace periods for premium payments, postpone policy cancellations and nonrenewals, and extend deadlines for reporting claims.

Insurance companies must take steps immediately to do the following until the order […]


Common Property & Casualty Coverage Issues Related to COVID-19

Posted by Mike Arnold, Commercial Lines Insurance, March 25, 2020

The following is intended to provide high-level information regarding your business insurance as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended to help educate and inform but is not a coverage determination. Your insurance carrier will review the facts of your loss and make a coverage determination.

Insurers have requirements on when a claim needs to be turned in. If you believe your business has suffered a loss due to COVID-19, please contact us or your insurance carrier as soon as possible so that a claim can be made.

Common losses associated with novel coronavirus (COVID-19) include:

  • Business Interruption
  • Lost Revenue or Income
  • Closure
  • Third-Party Liability Claims from Covid-19 Related Lawsuits
  • Supply Chain Disruption
  • Civil Authority Blocking or Restricting Access
  • Employment Related Lawsuits
  • Directors & Officers Claims
  • Event Cancellation
  • Workers’ Comp

Business Income

Most commercial insurance policies include coverage for loss of business income. Coverage for business income is commonly a part of your Property policy form, and the trigger for coverage is almost always tied to “direct physical loss or damage” or a variation of this language. Coverage is typically limited to “during the period of restoration” meaning the time necessary to repair, clean, or disinfect your property. Loss of market, loss of opportunity, or delay are typically not covered under Business Income policy forms.

That being said, coverage will not only depend on the wording in your policy but also the facts of the loss. In addition, you may see specific exclusions for virus or communicable disease. We recommend the following steps be taken even if you are unsure whether your business has suffered a loss:

Document, document, document. If you haven’t already, start gathering all documents, emails, government mandates, lost sales, and internal decisions. All insurers will require documentation so starting that process now, creating a timeline will help prove your claim.

Typically, insurers will […]


Commercial Insurance Claim Contact Information

Posted by Mike Arnold, Commercial Lines Insurance, March 25, 2020

During this unprecedented time, The Partners Group claims team is ready to assist you anytime a claim or potential claim arises. We will report claims and provide claims support and advocacy for situations including, but not limited to:

  • General Liability / Bodily Injury
  • Property Damage
  • Business Income
  • Business Auto – Owned, Hired, or Borrowed
  • Employment Practices
  • Directors & Officers
  • Cyber Incident
  • Workers’ Compensation (outside of Washington State)

When you need to report a claim or would like to discuss a potential claim, please contact: claims@tpgrp.com.

Tony Winsley, Commercial Claims Manager

(425) 467-3148


Mary Lou Evans, Director of Commercial Lines

(425) 467-3172



Your ‘Families First Coronavirus Response Act’ Questions Answered

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law. The bill provides paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expands food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requires employers to provide additional protections for health care workers. More about the bill

Please see the Department of Labor’s FFCRA FAQ page: FAQ Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Our Total Absence Management team has also created this valuable guide to Leave & ADA: Employer’s Guide to Leave & ADA During COVID-19

Visit our COVID-19 Client Resource Hub for more. 


Working From Home with Kids During COVID-19

Forming your own schedule and adjusting to a work-from-home environment if you typically work from an office can be hard enough! Now, with school closures due to COVID-19, here are a few credible school resources and ideas to keep your children busy and on a schedule during this time period. 

General Tips





Screenshot taken from kids.nationalgeographic.com on 3/19/2020



Meditation & Mindfulness Resources for COVID-19

Through this period of unknowns and high stress, it is incredibly important to take time to practice self-care and peaceful moments. Try one of these mindfulness or meditation apps that can guide you through exercises in as few as 2 minutes. Even on our busiest days we can take just two minutes to care for our mind and spirits!

Image sourced from calm.com

Meditation/Mindfulness Apps

Gratitude Tools


At-Home Live Stream Workouts for COVID-19

With the increase of gym closures and fitness facilities due to COVID-19, stream one of these low cost or no cost at-home workouts from the comfort of your own home. Movement can help keep stress levels low during a time filled with uncertainty. Many of these workout packages are offering extended free trials as well due to the current environment!

Workouts to stream from home:

Image sourced from classpass.com/go


Employee Benefits

The Employee Benefits Division of The Partners Group serves the employee benefit needs of over 500 West Coast employers, with offices in Portland, Lake Oswego, and Bend, OR; Bellevue, WA; and Bozeman MT. Our benefits consulting team specializes in providing a highly-consultative approach coupled with problem-solving wellness analytics, to help employers reduce healthcare costs, improve employee health, and create long-term health plan stability.

Business Consulting

The Business Consulting Division of The Partners Group is dedicated to consulting with healthcare systems and jumbo employers to manage the health and well being of their employees, families, and communities. Our focus is to provide an innovative, solution-oriented service that capitalizes on data to pinpoint potential problems. Whether it be uncovering potential sources of escalating healthcare costs, or other anomalies in data, this service provides endless, problem-solving advantages to a variety of industries.

Commercial Insurance

The Partners Group Commercial Insurance Division manages the business risks for hundreds of employers. We provide an unmatched depth and breadth in commercial insurance and risk management services combined with extraordinary people who possess an unusual ability to connect on a personal level. We work hard to understand the unique risks and exposures of your business, and identify the solutions to provide the right coverage for the right price. As an independent company The Partners Group can tailor solutions to work specifically for you, even creating new policies and programs, if that’s what you need.

Private Client Services

The Partners Group Private Client Services Division advises business owners and high income shareholder groups comprising just over 3,200 successful individuals, families and medical professionals on investment services, retirement planning, and personal insurance. We’ve been in business for over 30 years as a privately held company based in the Northwest, and we’re here to stay. Additionally, we are not tied to products and plans. We provide various platforms and a multitude of options to fit your needs, which can change over time as your life changes. When you work with TPG Private Client Services, you’re dealing with the shareholders of this firm, and we are honored to play a role your life, your family’s lives, and your next generation’s lives.