climate change
Market Insights, Sustainability

How Climate Change Impacts Severe Weather and Role of Insurers

Although it’s hard to pinpoint whether climate change intensified a particular weather event, the trajectory is clear — we’re experiencing hotter heat waves, drier droughts, and bigger storm surges – with scientists detecting a strong link between the planet’s warming and its changing weather patterns. With record-setting temperatures year after year, it’s likely that global warming is making extreme heat events more frequent. Most recently, for example, wildfires in the Western U.S. have led to over four million acres burned so far (2.5 million in Northern California and over 1.5 million in Oregon and Washington) and over 13,500 structures damaged or destroyed as of September 20. Climate change has also led to more hurricanes, with rising sea levels that are leading to higher storm surges and more floods.

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Hospitality & Restaurants, Cultural Institutions, Market Insights, Sustainability, Restaurants

Up-and-Coming Employee Benefits

Having awesome employee benefits has always helped ease the 9 to 5. But as the standard 9 to 5 work routine changes with the times, so do the benefits. Up-and-coming benefits that attract quality employees—and help retain them—are all about making the work-life balance more flexible and forward-thinking.

Flexible Scheduling

The majority of office jobs now have options for remote work built in to the schedule. This frees an employee up to pick the hours they work. More and more, employees prefer flexible hours and scheduling. And not just during a time of illness or emergency, but a flexibility that is year-round.

Forbes magazine has noted that remote work accounts for half of the entire US workforce. And they predict freelancers will take over the majority of the workforce in by 2027. Companies are increasingly outsourcing to remote workers, which in itself is the employees’ biggest benefit.

Flexible Paydays

Another upcoming trend in employee benefits is faster, more flexible systems to get paid. Employees prefer to be paid on demand and not have to wait for a set payday. Companies are paying attention to this request and setting up systems to allow employees to request pay more frequently, after accruing hours, of course.

Additionally, employees seek better financial advising from their employers. People, more than ever, are focusing on their long-term financial stability. Employers who offer more than just a paycheck tend to retain their employees.

Sabbaticals and Professional Development

“I really didn’t get a lot out of my sabbatical,” said no one ever. Companies that offer sabbaticals win twice over. First, it gives current employees something to work toward. For example, if an employee must hit a milestone before they take a sabbatical, they are more likely to be retained. Second, the rejuvenation that comes during and after paid time off is unparalleled.

Professional development is also a win-win for both employee and employer. To stay competitive, constant learning is essential. Providing opportunities for employees to advance themselves is highly desirable. It not only provides motivation for the employee, but it often results in a greater commitment. Student loan assistance and tuition assistance are invaluable benefits.

Diversifying the Diversity

Equity in the workplace continues to be an important stride for businesses. Companies who focus on diversifying their workforce traditionally have been doing so in terms of race and gender equity, slowly changing the playing field across all levels of operation.

We’ve also seen companies step up to provide better parental leave for employees, for both men and women. Some provide on-site daycare. However, companies are widening those efforts, too. By providing benefits for employees who are caring for aging parents or sick partners, there is more equity.

Improving Health

Like flexible scheduling, we’re seeing employees seek remote health options more. This includes telemedicine ordering and telehealth visits: doctor evaluations via video chat or phone call. Patient portals abound, and employees appreciate a flexible approach to their healthcare.

Ultimately, a healthy employee is a happy employee. Health benefits for your employees can go far beyond the healthcare provided. Gym memberships are very popular. Money designated to go toward a variety of health and wellness options is a great choose-your-own benefit. Offering five- or ten-minute chair massages once a month in the office can really make a difference, too.

What Would Your Employees Like?

Every workplace is a little different than the next. Getting the pulse of your office can help determine what smaller benefits make the work day just a little bit nicer.

Maybe fresh flowers in common areas, or non-flowering plants scattered throughout. A variety of on-site snacks can be a crowd-pleaser. While one week doughnuts may be a hit, the next, cut watermelon and grapes are a welcome change. A company-wide retreat? Free weekly outings?

It’s best to poll the group to see what they’d like. However you are able to provide more benefits, it will be noticed and appreciated by the team.

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water conservation
Real Estate, Hospitality & Restaurants, Community Associations, Sustainability

Assessing Water Usage on Your Grounds

What if every time you filled a glass of water you threw half of it in your boss’s face? Well, that’d be bad! But that is kinda what happens with most landscaping water systems.

Half the water that is being used to sustain the grounds around your building is being wasted. That’s straight from the horse’s mouth—the EPA, that is. Community associations and other management looking to increase water conservation can target their landscaping areas as an integral place to conserve.

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give back
Sustainability, Distinguished Life

TPA Certus Claims Administration Paying Forward While Moving Forward

When it came time for Certus Claims Administration, LLC to relocate from Camarillo to Thousand Oaks, California, the firm was looking for a more modernized space to fit its needs. This meant cleaning house and looking for a new home for some of the office furniture that wasn’t being utilized in addition to the filing cabinets, shelving units, and other items no longer needed as a result of having gone paperless.

The solution was clear: Give back to local entities in need of these items, a hallmark tradition embedded in the culture of Distinguished and its DP Cares program.

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Yoga on Beach
Hospitality & Restaurants, Sustainability

Next Stop: Wellness

“Hi! I just checked in and I want to feel worse after I leave.” Said no hotel guest ever.

In fact, the pendulum keeps swinging way over in the other direction and sticking there. Guests are not just looking for a clean, comfortable place to stay with restaurant options and proximity to destinations, they are actively seeking hotels with wellness programs.

Their goal? To partner a vacation or work obligation with a built-in regiment that makes them feel better while they’re there. And it’s all about personalizing the options.

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3-D Food
Hospitality & Restaurants, Market Insights, Sustainability

All I Want For Christmas Is Some 3-D Food

3-D printers—they’re not just for making cool plastic things anymore. They’re for making dinner!

That’s right 3-D food. Consider it the hospitality wave of the future that’s already lapping on some shores. Just take some pureed raw chicken, add in some vitamins, minerals, and veggies, and print out this liquefied form into any shape you can imagine. Then just pop in the oven to cook! That’s what the innovative culinary company Food Inc. from London, England, has been up to these days as it showcases this new way of cooking on a restaurant world tour.

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Real Estate, Sustainability

Sustainability, Innovation, and Helping the Homeless

Taking care of each other is a good thing. Re-purposing potential waste is a good thing. Finding a way to do both simultaneously is just about as good as it gets. That’s why we’re excited to share this article about a construction project underway right now in California that will convert used shipping containers into housing units for those who may not be in a position to pay for more traditional housing.

Each of the 16 units will feature two walls of floor to ceiling windows, a kitchen, dining area, bathroom and sleeping area. Residents will also have access to low or no-cost support services.

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keyboard - internet connections
Hospitality & Restaurants, Sustainability

What Will the Internet of Things Connect to Next?

An egg carton that digitally lets you know when to buy more eggs.
A football helmet that reports head injuries immediately.
An elevator that sends out an error message before anyone notices a problem.

More and more people are living in a world where their coffee is ready before their feet even touch the kitchen floor, their car knows the fastest route to an appointment based on a calendar invite, and their business is implementing serious financial savings by monitoring its energy usage. Welcome to the ever-growing Internet of Things.

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Hospitality & Restaurants, Market Insights, Sustainability

More Fun in the Sun for Hotel Owners

Going solar: You can go big or you can go small.

Baby-stepping into solar? Pick up a little solar generator to charge up your cell phone. Cue winking emoji.

Looking for a mongo tax incentive? Go ahead and search Google images for “Mandalay Bay solar panels” to take a peek at a hotel industry leader that went solar. Cue wow emoji!

Luckily most businesses fall somewhere in between a solar-powered calculator and a twenty-acre solar array for a grand resort. And, in the past few years, prices to install solar panels have dropped, making it an affordable solution for many establishments.

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Real Estate, Market Insights, Sustainability

Student Housing and Sustainability Policies

Universities across the United States are committed to sustainability on and off campus, including for student housing. In fact, many universities have sustainable practices in place for their student housing facilities such as energy efficiencies, use of renewable resources, reduction of energy use, use of recycled and recyclable products, reduction of water use, waste reduction and more. They use the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system as a guide for new construction projects, renovation projects and on-going maintenance of facilities. They are also committed to educating residents and staff through presentations, work group involvement, focus groups and the development of living learning environments.

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Reasons to Secure Green Building
Real Estate, Market Insights, Sustainability

It Just Makes Cents: The 6 Reasons to Secure a Green Building Certification

Planning to build a new multifamily building? Before you finalize your construction plans, consider going green. Sounds pricey, doesn’t it? Truth is: it can save you money in the long run and help you attract new, responsible tenants in the short term—not to mention some reduced-premium insurance options, too. There’s a number of certifications and incentive programs out there, so you can find the one that’s right for you! Here are six reasons you should seek certification on your new construction:

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Sustainability, Distinguished Life

A Sustainable Culture

Photo- Business Paper PlaneCulture week. An opportunity for an organization to get together to share, learn, and grow to build a deeper connection to the core mission and values. We had ours last week, and it was great. Two full days of employee-led sessions on everything from stress management, communication, conflict resolution, to personal finance. We celebrated and came together. Only, we didn’t.

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Cultural Institutions, Sustainability

Earth Month Spotlight: Cultural Institutions

Earth Day has come and gone, but we aren’t quite finished with our Earth Month coverage. For our last segment, we look at how cultural institutions are trying to embrace sustainability despite considerable challenges.

Museums, especially art museums, tend to have very demanding and precise requirements for temperature and humidity control, making certain sustainability practices, and LEED certification, difficult. Some are taking strides, however, to show that it can be done: Museums can go green.

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