The Richards Group is one of Vermont's and New England's top retirement and fiduciary advisors

The Department of Financial Regulation Approves Two Association Health Plans in Vermont

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Late last week, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation announced it had approved licenses for two Vermont-based associations to offer 2019 health plans to sole proprietors and employers with 100 employees or less. The Associations are:

Both associations are offering multiple plans designed to complete with the Exchange's Gold and Silver metal level plans. These plans, also known as Association Health Plans (AHPs), cover all the Essential Health Benefits and state mandates. The premium rates for these plans are, on average, less expensive than the Exchange rates.

The Richards Group is happy to provide its clients with a customized benefit analysis and model potential cost savings by enrolling in either one of these AHPs for 2019. If you haven't already heard from your Account Manager, please let us know.

Tammy Pollard Recognized with Safeco Award of Excellence

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August 2018 (Manchester, VT) – Tammy Pollard, Personal Lines Supervisor at The Richards Group in Manchester, VT has earned the Safeco Insurance Award of Excellence for her superior underwriting skills and long-term commitment to Safeco® Insurance for the second consecutive year.

This prestigious award recognizes those individuals with excellent underwriting skills who have developed a solid underwriting partnership with Safeco and whose agencies have qualified for the Safeco Insurance Premier Partner Award, the company’s top recognition program. Agents who earn this designation will have the ability to make selected underwriting decisions, in addition to being recognized publicly as an Award of Excellence recipient.

Pollard, a resident of Manchester, joined The Richards Group in 2013.   An Accredited Customer Service Representative (ACSR), Pollard is highly qualified to meet the complex insurance challenges facing today’s consumer. She helps The Richards Group deliver customized insurance solutions from many of the country’s finest insurance companies at competitive prices.

“Tammy’s expertise, skill and dedication have been a true asset to The Richards Group and our clients,” said Peter Richards, Vice President. “We’re honored to have Tammy on our award-winning Personal Lines team.”

About The Richards Group

Established in 1867, The Richards Group is one of the region’s leading insurance, employee benefits, retirement plan and HR consulting firms, serving over 10,000 clients in the tri-state area of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. For more information about the firm and its capabilities, please visit www.therichardsgrp.com.

Sara Kermenski of The Richards Group Earns Certified Financial Planner Designation

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Sara Kermenski of The Richards Group has recently earned the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation.  She has worked at The Richards Group since 2011 and is responsible for advising employers with the management of their 401(k) and 403(b) plans, as well as helping their employees prepare for retirement.

“Sara has been a valuable member of our team for many years and earning the CFP® designation is a significant step in her continued efforts to add value for her clients,” commented Ben Taggard, VP of Wealth Management at The Richards Group.  “The CFP® coursework will supplement Sara’s knowledge and help in both her work with individuals and when consulting with employers regarding their retirement plans.  We’re proud of Sara for the effort she has put into her professional development and for this accomplishment”.

The CFP® marks identify those individuals who have met the rigorous experience and ethical requirements of the CFP Board, have successfully completed financial planning coursework and have passed the CFP® Certification Examination covering the following areas:  the financial planning process, risk management, investments, tax planning and management, retirement and employee benefits, and estate planning.  CFP® professionals also agree to meet ongoing continuing education requirements and to uphold CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards.

The Richards Group, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vermont, has provided local Insurance, Employee Benefits and Retirement Plan solutions to clients throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts since 1867.  The firm currently has over 115 employees and was named one of the “Best Places to Work in Vermont” in each of the past 3 years by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 

The Richards Group named Best Employee Benefits Firm in Vermont

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The 2018 Best of Business Award winners have been announced by Vermont Business Magazine and The Richards Group has won as Best Employee Benefits Firm. This awards program celebrates the best Vermont companies in business-to-business categories.


“We’re very proud to be named Vermont’s Best Employee Benefits Company,” said Tom Scull, Vice President of Employee Benefits at The Richards Group. “Many of the surveyed readers of VBM are clients and know first-hand how important employee benefits are to a company. To be named a stand-out business in our field of expertise, a business that provides best-class customer service, a business who is known for going above and beyond, and a team of experts who pay close attention to detail demonstrates our success. Congratulations to our team of employee benefits experts and thanks to our clients for the recognition.”

The Richards Group’s Employee Benefits and Human Resources practice employs a ‘360 Degree’ strategy that focuses on employee benefits in the broadest sense of the phrase. We provide unique attention designed to meet each individual client’s needs and understand the challenges that HR leaders balance between maintaining a healthy workforce and fiscal responsibility. To that end, we provide clients with plan design and budgeting strategies, wellness expertise, leadership and training, robust technologies and compliance insights. We take a holistic approach to ensuring you have a healthy, engaged and dynamic workforce.

The Richards Group, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vermont, has provided local Insurance, Employee Benefits and Retirement Plan solutions to clients throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts since 1867. The firm currently has over 115 employees and was named one of the “Best Places to Work in Vermont” in each of the past 3 years by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

The Richards Group to Acquire Centurion Insurance from Mascoma Bank

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The Richards Group is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement to acquire Centurion Insurance Group from Mascoma Bank. The transaction will be completed in April of 2018. The Centurion office will remain at its current location while The Richards Group’s Norwich branch office, which has served Upper Valley clients for the past 10 years, will consolidate operations into Centurion’s office space. 

“We feel fortunate that the leadership of Mascoma Bank decided The Richards Group was the best fit to serve the needs of their insurance clients going forward,” said Drew Richards, Vice President of The Richards Group. “We’re thrilled to be part of the vibrant community in Hanover and to deepen the commitment we’ve made to the Upper Valley over the past decade.” 

“We are very pleased to be partnering with The Richards Group on this transaction,” commented Clay Adams, President & CEO of Mascoma Bank. “Both our customers and the Centurion employees will be well served working with the breadth and depth of their product offerings and expertise. Like Mascoma Bank, The Richards Group has a deep commitment to their communities, which they have dependably served for three generations. This acquisition allows them to strengthen their connections and service to the Upper Valley.” 

“Having spent the better part of my life in the Hanover community, this acquisition means a great deal to me and I’m excited with how The Richards Group is now positioned in the Upper Valley,” added Tom Scull, Vice President of The Richards Group. “With our expertise, technologies and service models, we bring outstanding capabilities to our local clients in the commercial and personal insurance, employee benefits consulting and retirement plan advisory areas. Our scale gives us access to the type of valuable resources and best practices you would typically find in a national firm, which we deliver through our local, high touch service model – it’s the best of both worlds. We’re excited to demonstrate this to our new clients.” 

“We appreciate our collaboration with Mascoma,” continued Scull “and we look forward to working closely with them going forward. We welcome the talented Centurion team to The Richards Group and look forward to helping them continue the excellent work they have done for clients.” 

Centurion will begin operating under The Richards Group name in the Spring of 2018. 

The Richards Group, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vermont, has provided local Insurance, Employee Benefits and Retirement Plan solutions to clients throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts since 1867. The firm currently has over 115 employees and was named one of the “Best Places to Work in Vermont” in each of the past 3 years by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Mascoma Bank, a mutually owned bank established in 1899, is headquartered in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The Bank has $1.7 billion in assets, 340 employees, and 26 locations throughout the Connecticut River Valley in New Hampshire and Vermont. Mutually owned and not for sale, the Bank has no stockholders to please. They are committed to remaining independent and to re-investing profits into the community. The bank has been serving the banking needs of the local community for generations by offering a full range of personal and business accounts and services.

The Richards Group Named One of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Vermont

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The Richards Group was recently named one of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Vermont, an award created by Vermont Business Magazine, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the Vermont Department of Economic Development, the Vermont Department of Labor, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – Vermont State Council and Best Companies Group.

This statewide survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Vermont, benefiting the state's economy, its workforce and businesses.

“We’re proud to once again be acknowledged as one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont,” said Ben Taggard, VP of Wealth Management at The Richards Group.  “We have experienced strong growth, both organically and through acquisitions, and The Richards Group has created many new jobs throughout the region in recent years.  To be recognized speaks volumes about the culture that we all contribute to and the outstanding colleagues that we work with every day.”

“It’s valuable to have the survey and benchmarking data that this process provides,” added Peter Richards, VP of Commercial Insurance and Risk Management. “It shows where our strengths are as an employer and where we have opportunities to improve.  We know our success as a firm is based on our ability to attract and retain talented employees and this process provides good insight on how we can compete effectively in the job market.”

The Richards Group, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vermont, has provided local Insurance, Employee Benefits and Retirement Plan solutions to clients throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts since 1867.  TRG locations include Brattleboro, Bennington, Norwich, Middlebury, Rutland, Bellows Falls, Manchester, Burlington, Wilmington as well as Concord and Keene, NH.  For more information about the firm and our capabilities, please visit www.therichardsgrp.com.   

VRGA Endorses The Richards Group for Member Program

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The Vermont Retail and Grocers Association is pleased to announce it has partnered with The Richards Group to manage its commercial insurance program for VRGA members.

“The Richards Group has made the association a top priority throughout the past several years and understands what small businesses in Vermont need in regards to insurance, information, and best practices,” said Erin Sigrist, President of the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association. “Our commercial insurance program is a key benefit for our members. We have hundreds of businesses throughout Vermont participating, so we look forward to working with The Richards Group as they bring their insurance expertise, technology and extensive knowledge of safety and risk management to VRGA members.”

“Over the years we have built some valuable industry knowledge and resources for industries including retail, grocery, breweries, wineries, and specialty foods manufacturers that we know will serve VRGA members well,” said Peter Richards, Vice President of Commercial Insurance and Risk Management at The Richards Group. “In today’s business environment, VRGA members need and deserve more than insurance coverage at a competitive price - they will benefit from capabilities such as OSHA compliance insights, workers compensation cost containment strategies and special Association coverage enhancements.”

VRGA, located in Montpelier, Vermont, is an association of merchants and trade partners united to promote the sustainable growth of our industry through the educational, economic and public policy needs of our members. Today, VRGA represents approximately 800 Vermont retail stores and 250 suppliers to the industry, including members of the Vermont Specialty Food Association, Vermont Alliance of Independent Country Stores and the Vermont Petroleum Association. The insurance program is extensive and provides members with coverages including property, liability, auto and workers compensation, along with the opportunity to earn back a dividend based on the Association’s experience. Past dividends have averaged 6% over the past 17 years and have been as high as 22%. For more information about VRGA, please visit www.vtrga.org.

The Richards Group, headquartered in Brattleboro, Vermont, has provided local Insurance, Employee Benefits and Retirement Plan solutions to clients throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts since 1867. The firm was named one of the 2017 “Best Places to Work in Vermont” by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

If you are a VRGA member, or may like to become a member, and want information about the VRGA commercial insurance program and its benefits, please contact Scott Olmstead or Shannon Prescott at (800) 222-6016.

The Richards Group expands Human Resources and Leadership Development services – rehires Ross Gibson

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July 2017 (Norwich, VT) - The Richards Group (TRG), a Vermont based professional services firm specializing in insurance, employee benefits and retirement plan consulting, is pleased to announce that Ross Gibson has rejoined the firm effective immediately. Ross will continue to build the Human Resources and Leadership Development Services capabilities of the firm as a key component of the Employee Benefits division. Ross previously worked for TRG but left briefly in 2016 to help establish a Human Resources function for a TRG client.

“I am very excited to have Ross back at TRG” stated Tom Scull Vice President, Employee Benefits. “As we continue to expand the service offerings to our clients, we increasingly have realized the need many of our clients have for human resources and management training support” Tom continued, adding “and Ross’ thirty plus years of senior level HR and training experience compliments the team exceptionally well”.

Ross will continue to work with clients in assisting in their leadership development and human resources offerings. Ross works directly with executives and leadership teams in delivering widely acknowledged training and development programs that are aimed at increasing leadership effectiveness. As Ross has stated many times “any organization is only as strong as its leaders”. Additionally, Ross consults on a variety of HR issues including retention strategies, succession planning, recruitment and many more.

Prior to having previously worked for TRG, Ross was Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources at World Learning, a global academic institution and Non-Governmental Organization with over 1,300 employees. Over the past 30 years working in the Human Resources field, Ross has held several senior level positions including Vice President, Learning and Organizational Development at Charles River Labs and Vice President, Human Resources at both American Superconductor and Cambridge Neuroscience, Inc. In addition, Ross is a certified facilitator in several of the award-winning and internationally recognized Franklin Covey courses including the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Ross is past president of the Northeast Human Resources Association and is currently an at-large member of the Vermont State HR Council. Locally in Brattleboro, Vermont, Ross is on the boards of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce and the Strolling of the Heifers as well as an active member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Brattleboro. Ross can be reached at (802) 451-6445 and rgibson@therichardsgrp.com.

Established in 1867, The Richards Group is one of the region’s leading insurance, employee benefits and retirement plan advisory firms, serving over 15,000 clients in the tri-state area of New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. The company currently has eleven offices in Vermont and New Hampshire.

The Richards Group Expands Employee Benefits Practice – Hires Deb Loughlin

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August 2017 (Burlington, VT) The Richards Groups is pleased to announce that
veteran Employee Benefits Consultant, Deb Loughlin, has joined The Richards Group
(TRG) team
. Loughlin has been in the industry for 20 years and held management positions in Vermont businesses for over 30 years. “We are excited to have Deb join our employee benefits team. She brings a breadth of industry knowledge, leadership experience, and a strong
reputation with local employer groups. She and I have long looked for an
opportunity to work together”, says Tom Scull, Vice President of Employee Benefits.

After many years working inside a family owned business, Deb co-founded The
Benefit Group of New England in 1997, merging it into a national firm in 2011. Her
roots are in her passion for the development of companies’ long-term benefit
strategies that support sustainable budgets and promote well employee cultures.

Early in her career, Deb developed a desire to support the health of Vermont
companies and spent time working with legislators, served on the board of
Associated Industries of Vermont as well as industry advisory boards. In the last
several years, Deb has dedicated time to the American Heart and Stroke Association;
now into her forth year working on the Go Red for Woman Executive Leadership
Team, two of which she acted as co-chair. Additionally, she is being honored with
the Chrystal Heart Award in early 2018 in appreciation.

Deb commented “I am very excited about the opportunity to work with Tom and his
team; they have an incredible amount of talent and a culture that is very supportive
of each other and TRG clients. Tom and I have always had a synergy and it’s fantastic
to finally see that energy converge”.

Established in 1867, The Richards Group is the region’s leading insurance, employee
benefits and retirement plan services firms, serving over 15,000 clients in New
Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Florida. The firm currently has 12 offices
located in New England.

Deb will be based out of our Burlington office and can be reached at (802) 309-9650
or via email at dloughlin@therichardsgrp.com.

The Society of CIC honors thirty-year member, Monique Johnson

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The Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC) recently recognized Monique Johnson, CIC of The Richards Group, Wilmington, Vermont with a certificate honoring her 30 years of faithful participation in advanced education. Monique earned the
designation through a series of rigorous examinations and has maintained her CIC designation by annual attendance at an approved CIC continuing education program.


“The professional dedication and commitment represented by Monique sets the standard within our industry,” said Dr. William T. Hold, CIC, CPCU, CLU, President of the Society of CIC. “This thirty-year accomplishment signifies a career of active leadership in advanced education. Monique’s emphasis on professional development positively reflects on the insurance profession as a whole.”


The Society of CIC is a member of The National Alliance for Insurance Education
& Research. This not-for-profit organization serves over 133,000 participants annually
throughout all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Island, and Puerto Rico. The National Alliance
is comprised of the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), Certified Risk
Managers (CRM), Certified Personal Risk Managers (CPRM), the Society of Certified
Insurance Service Representatives (CISR), Certified School Risk Managers (CSRM),
and The National Alliance Research Academy. Together, these programs offer a wide
variety of education, publications, and professional designation opportunities in the
insurance and risk management industries.

The Richards Group Joins The Northern United Agents Alliance

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The Richards Group Joins Davis & Towle Insurance Group and Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency as Owner of Northern United Agents Alliance

Concord, N.H. – The Northern United Agents Alliance (NUAA) announced today that The Richards Group of Brattleboro, VT, is an owner of the NUAA. The Richards Group joins the Davis & Towle Insurance Group of Concord, NH, and Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency of Nashua, NH, at the ownership level of the aggregation.

A third-generation family business, The Richards Group has provided local Insurance, Employee Benefits and Retirement Plan solutions to clients throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts since 1867. The firm employs roughly 120 professionals throughout its 11 offices and serves more than 20,000 clients.

 “We are thrilled to partner with such prominent agencies in the area that share our core values,” said Drew Richards, Vice President of The Richards Group. “We are eager to leverage this partnership to combine our resources, enhance our operations, and better serve our clients.” 

“It is with great excitement that we welcome The Richards Group as a NUAA owner,” said Marc Berube, President of Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency. “We are confident that together we will bring the NUAA to the next level as a stronger, more complete Northern New England aggregation.”

Headquartered in Concord, NH, the Northern United Agents Alliance is an alliance of independent insurance agents in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont dedicated to providing the highest level of client service through the group’s longstanding relationships with its insurance carrier partners.

The NUAA was formed in 2011 by four independent insurance agencies and has grown to include 14 agencies. 

Media Contact:
Alyssa Turcotte
Eaton & Berube Insurance Agency, LLC
603-689-7222
aturcotte@eatonberube.com
www.nuaalliance.com

Tammy Pollard has been awarded the 2017 SafeCo Award of Excellence

It is with much enthusiasm that we announce that Tammy Pollard of The Richards Group, Manchester has been awarded the 2017 SafeCo Award of Excellence for the Northeast Region.   A total of 279 agents across the United States have been awarded this honor.

 Tammy Pollard, The Richards Group Manchester

Tammy Pollard, The Richards Group Manchester

This elite group of agents possesses superior underwriting skills and meets strict criteria, including membership in Safeco’s Premier Partner program, appointment tenure and are recognized for their experience in the industry and exceptional customer relations skills.

The Award of Excellence is designed to honor strong, long-term agency partnerships and recognize those who have demonstrated a consistent effort in identifying the right business.

Recipients of Safeco’s Award of Excellence have displayed a track record of actively partnering with Safeco to provide an exceptional customer experience. Safeco deeply values this relationship and their commitment.

"The  Award of Excellence agents were nominated because they epitomize the definition of partnership," said Patricia Hoffman, a personal lines senior underwriter for Safeco. "It is a relationship of mutual respect and professional expertise”.

Congratulations Tammy!

The Richards Group, provides local Insurance, Employee Benefits and Retirement Plan solutions to clients throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  The firm was named one of the 2017 “Best Places to Work in Vermont” by Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.  

For more information please Contact Us.

HIPAA Cyber Attack Response Checklist

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a covered entity that experiences a ransomware attack or other cyber-related security incident must take immediate steps to prevent or mitigate any impermissible release of protected health information (PHI).  

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a checklist to help HIPAA-covered entities determine the specific steps they must take in the event of a data breach.

Entities subject to HIPAA should become familiar with the OCR’s checklist and other guidance for handling cyber security breaches involving PHI. These entities should also ensure they have plans for mitigating the effects of breaches.

OCR Quick-response Checklist

In the event of a cyber attack or similar emergency, a covered entity must do the following:

  • Execute its response and mitigation procedures and contingency plans.
  • Report the crime to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
  • Report all cyber threat indicators to federal and information-sharing and analysis organizations. 
  • Report the breach to affected individuals and to the OCR as soon as possible.

Reportable Incidents

HIPAA regulations also require covered entities to report certain cyber-related security incidents to affected individuals, the OCR and other agencies. In general, a reportable breach occurs anytime PHI was accessed, acquired, used or disclosed. 

For more information about this rule and its potential impact on your company, please contact The Richards Group.

How The Richards Group Reduced Insurance Premium for a Manufacturing Client after a Concerning $50K Spike

How The Richards Group Reduced Insurance Premium for a Manufacturing Client after a Concerning $50K Spike

ABC Company is a metal fabrication company located in NH and a client of The Richards Group (TRG), a regional insurance broker. ABC’s service team at TRG, received a report from the National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and saw that the Workers Compensation experience modification factor (mod) at ABC Company had increased significantly.