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About Andrea
Andrea Davis is a journalist | fixer based in Kingston, Jamaica.

Benny Award nominations now open

01 Oct 2023  |  www.benefitnews.com
The Benny Awards, now in their 24th year, recognize excellence in the employee benefits and human resources field. Categories include Benefits Professional of the Year, Benefits Leadership in Health Care, Benefits Leadership in Retirement Planning, and Judges' Choice. Nominations are open to benefits professionals, with a panel of EBN editors evaluating based on innovative projects, professional recognition, and experience. Winners will be announced at the annual Benefits Forum & Expo in Orlando, Florida.

Biden Administration Issues Restrictions On Travel From India

30 Apr 2021  |  www.mondaq.com
The Biden administration issued a proclamation on April 30, 2021, restricting entry to the United States for noncitizens who have been in India within 14 days of their travel, effective May 4, 2021. This decision was based on the CDC's assessment of the public health situation in India and the discovery of multiple COVID-19 variants. Exceptions to the restrictions include U.S. citizens, green card holders, and certain other categories of individuals. The restrictions will be reviewed every 30 days and are part of a series of travel bans, including those previously imposed by the Trump administration and reimposed by President Biden.

Area attractions appeal to winter adventurers

02 Jan 2019  |  ibj.com
Central Indiana offers a variety of winter attractions, including larger outdoor ice rinks like Noblesville's Federal Hill Commons Ice Plaza and Carmel's Ice at Center Green, which now features online ticketing. Avon Ice Rink introduces ice bumper cars, a mobile attraction by Premier Entertainment Group. Koteewi Run Seasonal Slopes in Hamilton County's Strawtown Koteewi Park is set to open for its second snow-tubing season, featuring a specialized hill with manmade snow and a tow line for tubes.

Bored with breakfast (and lunch)? Just add booze.

20 Dec 2018  |  www.ibj.com
Exploring non-traditional brunch spots in Indianapolis, the author reviews Liter House, LouVino, and Taxman Brewing Company Brasserie & Tap Room. Liter House offers a German-inspired brunch with live music, LouVino provides a Southern-inspired menu with creative dishes, and Taxman Brewing Company features a family-friendly atmosphere with a variety of sweet and savory options. The review includes detailed descriptions of the food, atmosphere, and overall experience at each location.

All aboard new Nickel Plate Express excursion train

20 Sep 2018  |  www.ibj.com
The Nickel Plate Express has resumed train excursions in northern Hamilton County, offering various themed rides for both adults and families. Departing from Atlanta, the train travels along a 12-mile track to Noblesville, featuring 1956 Santa Fe Railway Hi-Level passenger cars. The excursions provide a comfortable and scenic experience, with plans to make the cars handicap-accessible next year. The service aims to attract tourists with its unique offerings and charming views of the countryside.

Dockside dining when vacation is not an option

16 Aug 2018  |  www.ibj.com
Waterfront dining options in Indianapolis and surrounding areas offer a variety of atmospheres and cuisines, from the casual Wolfies Waterfront Grill to the upscale Rick's Cafe Boatyard. Upcoming events and openings, such as Dine on the Causeway and Boathouse Kitchen & Swan Dive, provide additional dining experiences for locals. The Our Town Cicero Main Street Association's fundraiser and the involvement of Hall's Catering and Matt Hall of the Don Hall's Restaurants family highlight the local business community's engagement in the dining scene.

Neighborhood festivals serve up culture with food

21 Jun 2018  |  www.ibj.com
Central Indiana celebrates summer with free neighborhood festivals that offer a mix of local food, beer, music, and culture. SausageFest at St. Thomas Aquinas Church and School features sausages from Kincaid’s Meat Market and a variety of beers from Sun King Brewery. Indianapolis GreekFest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church offers authentic Greek food and cultural experiences. The French Market at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church includes French cuisine and live entertainment. Lastly, the Indianapolis Italian Street Festival at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, although already passed, is noted for its Italian dishes and is an event to look forward to next June.

Indy Cultural Trail Food Tours offer walkable feasts

18 Apr 2018  |  www.ibj.com
The Indy Cultural Trail Food Tours, developed in collaboration with local food expert Jolene Ketzenberger, offer guided culinary adventures along the eight-mile downtown trail in Indianapolis. The tours have been recognized by publications such as Zagat, Conde Nast Traveler, and Food & Wine magazine. Participants can enjoy an afternoon exploring various kitchens and gaining insights into the local restaurant scene.

Restaurant week promotions drive customers to try new eateries

29 Mar 2018  |  ibj.com
Restaurant week promotions such as Devour Indy and Savor Hamilton County have been driving customers to try new eateries in Indianapolis and surrounding areas. These events feature special fixed-price menus and discounts to attract adventurous diners. Participating restaurants, including Stompin Barley, Bluebeard, and LouVino, have reported increased revenue and customer traffic. The promotions, inspired by New York City's Restaurant Week, have been popular since their inception and are expanding to include more geographical locations. Restaurant owners and chefs see these events as opportunities to showcase their best work and hope for repeat visits from new customers. Sales data from Sysco's Cake technology indicates a significant revenue boost for participating restaurants.

Explore drinking games

15 Feb 2018  |  ibj.com
Themed trivia nights are gaining popularity in Indianapolis, with local pubs like Claddagh Irish Pub and Tappers Arcade Bar hosting events that draw large crowds. These events focus on pop-culture topics such as 'Friends', 'Harry Potter', and 'Game of Thrones'. Whiz Trivia, a company founded by Kaitlyn Hayes and Nicole Risacher, specializes in organizing these trivia nights. The events are known for their engaging atmosphere and have become a way for pubs to attract new customers.

12 books benefit pros should read this summer

18 Jul 2016  |  www.benefitnews.com
Recruiters and employees discuss their experiences and challenges in career planning for 2024, highlighting the importance of strategic career moves and the role of beneficial reading materials.

Tech innovator spotlight: Dayne Williams

18 May 2016  |  www.employeebenefitadviser.com
Dayne Williams, CEO of PlanSource, has been recognized for his contributions to benefits technology, including innovations like a mobile app for employee benefits access and solutions for navigating the Affordable Care Act. Williams, a recipient of EBN’s Dig|Benefits Technology Innovator Awards, envisions a future where technology transforms the employee benefits landscape into a consumer-driven marketplace, with significant advancements in software streamlining benefits administration and enhancing employee control and personalization.

Tech innovator spotlight: Stuart Schulman

18 May 2016  |  www.employeebenefitadviser.com
Stuart Schulman, a principal at Buck Consultants LLC/Xerox HR Consulting, played a key role in creating the Pension Risk Navigator, a real-time interactive plan management tool for retirement programs. The tool helps employers set and monitor specific goals for their pension plans. Schulman's work has led to him receiving one of EBN’s Dig|Benefits Technology Innovator Awards, and he will be honored at the Dig|Benefits conference. He predicts that mobile devices will become the primary platform for employee benefit portals and that coordinating benefits globally will be a significant technological challenge.

Tech innovator spotlight: Dayne Williams

18 May 2016  |  www.benefitnews.com
Dayne Williams, CEO of PlanSource, has been recognized for his contributions to benefits technology, including innovations like a mobile app for employee benefits access and software enhancements for benefits administration. He is a recipient of EBN’s Dig|Benefits Technology Innovator Awards and will be honored at the Dig|Benefits conference in Austin. Williams envisions a future where technology transforms the employee benefits landscape, similar to changes in the pension and retirement space, with employers playing a key role in facilitating healthcare coverage and benefits.

Salary threshold in new overtime rules lowered

18 May 2016  |  Employee Benefit News
The Department of Labor is announcing changes to overtime rules, raising the salary threshold for overtime eligibility from $23,600/year to $47,476/year, effective December 1, 2016. The final rule's threshold is lower than the proposed rule but is criticized by Lisa Horn of the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity and the Society for Human Resources Management for its potential negative impact on small businesses, nonprofits, and local governments. Carolyn Richmond of Fox Rothschild notes the disproportionate effect on the hospitality and retail industries. The rule includes automatic updates every three years, which some argue do not consider economic conditions or budgetary constraints. The Department of Labor will also release guidance documents to assist employers with compliance.

Employers advised to revisit wellness programs

17 May 2016  |  benefitnews.com
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released final rules on employer-sponsored wellness programs, detailing compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Insurance Nondiscrimination Act. The rules, effective for plan years beginning January 1, 2017, apply to all wellness programs and include limitations on spousal incentives and prohibitions on incentives for children. Industry experts advise employers to review their wellness programs in light of these regulations and do not anticipate a negative impact on the investment in well-being programs.

Tech innovator spotlight: Kristen Booth

16 May 2016  |  employeebenefitadviser.com
Kristen Booth, director of benefits at Lakeland Regional Health, successfully implemented ALEX, a virtual benefits counselor, leading to over 80% of benefits-eligible employees using the tool and increases in benefits enrollment across almost every line of coverage. Booth's efforts earned her a Dig|Benefits Technology Innovator Award, and she will be honored at the Dig|Benefits conference in Austin, Texas.

Tech innovator spotlight: Vericred’s Mike Levin

10 May 2016  |  employeebenefitadviser.com
Mike Levin, co-founder of Vericred, has been recognized with a Dig|Benefits Technology Innovator Award for his work in creating a centralized database of health provider information. Vericred, launched in 2014, aims to facilitate employee benefits management through technology, offering transparency and tools for individuals to manage their benefits. The company was a finalist in a challenge by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and U.S. Health and Human Services in 2015 and has recently raised $3.1 million in a second round of seed financing to expand its data services and scale sales efforts.

Tech innovator spotlight: Hodges-Mace’s Kevin Andrews

09 May 2016  |  www.employeebenefitadviser.com
Kevin M. Andrews, CTO of Hodges-Mace, is recognized for his efforts to bridge the gap between employers, employees, and benefits through technology. He envisions a future where benefit delivery is consolidated and more efficient. Andrews, who previously co-founded SmartBen, has introduced several innovations, including predictive benefit modeling and interactive storyboards. He is a recipient of the Dig|Benefits Technology Innovator Award, which honors visionaries in the employee benefits technology space.

Tech innovator spotlight: Kevin Andrews

09 May 2016  |  www.benefitnews.com
Kevin M. Andrews, chief technology officer of Hodges-Mace, has been recognized for his efforts to bridge the gap between employers, employees, and benefits through technology. He predicts a future where benefit delivery is consolidated and more efficient. Andrews, who previously co-founded SmartBen, has introduced several innovations such as predictive benefit modeling and interactive storyboards to simplify benefit decisions for employees. He will be honored at the Dig|Benefits conference for his contributions to the field.

HSA enrollment up, employer contributions down

21 Mar 2016  |  employeebenefitadviser.com
Health Savings Account (HSA) enrollment has increased by 10.7% since 2014, while employer contributions have remained stagnant or decreased, influenced by the impending Cadillac tax of the Affordable Care Act. The tax encourages high-deductible health plans due to lower premiums but discourages high contributions to HSAs. Industry-specific data shows government employers as the most generous contributors to HSAs, while the accommodation/food services industries contribute the least. The utilities sector has the lowest and declining HSA enrollment. Employers are predicted to continue reducing HSA contributions in favor of health reimbursement arrangements.

Hixme’s private exchange offers big employers options

25 Feb 2016  |  benefitnews.com
Hixme, a technology company based in California, has launched a platform targeting large employers to facilitate employee access to the retail health insurance marketplace using employer contributions. The company, started in 2014, allows employees to purchase individual plans directly from carriers, not through public exchanges. Hixme's CEO, Denny Weinberg, believes that individual ownership is the future of employee benefits. The company's technology manages funds flow between carriers and benefit plans, offering a transition from group insurance to the individual market. Hixme is currently active in California and plans to expand to other states, competing with large benefits consulting firms.

Mobile apps driving 401(k) plan management

10 Feb 2016  |  www.employeebenefitadviser.com
Mobile applications are increasingly facilitating access to 401(k) plan information and aiding in retirement planning decisions. Benefits advisers like HORAN's David Lohre highlight the trend of websites with mobile capabilities simplifying enrollment processes. Transamerica Retirement Solutions and Charles Schwab have introduced apps like TRSRetire and ART, as well as added transaction capabilities and educational resources to their mobile offerings. The integration of technology is also streamlining data sharing between payroll companies and 401(k) providers, improving compliance and efficiency. Industry experts emphasize the importance of plan design and the role of advisers in guiding employers to adopt practices that lead to better retirement outcomes for participants. The rise of robo advisers and the use of technology in managing participant accounts is noted, with Schwab launching adviser managed accounts for 401(k) plans. Additionally, technology is lowering barriers for small businesses to set up and maintain 401(k) plans, with companies like Ubiquity Retirement + Savings working to expand access.

What to expect at this year’s BFE

01 Sep 2015  |  www.benefitnews.com
September marks a period of new beginnings and challenges for benefits professionals, particularly with the complexities of managing employer-sponsored benefit plans. The co-located Benefits Forum & Expo and Workplace Benefits Summit in Orlando aims to provide support and insights through various speakers and networking opportunities. Key speakers include Chris Dancy from Healthways, John Bunch from Zappos, and Amy Ostop from Harley-Davidson Motor Company, covering topics such as wellness engagement, voluntary enrollment, and employee data protection. The conference promises valuable insights for future health care, retirement, and voluntary benefit plans.

Tech innovator spotlight: Kristen Booth

19 May 2015  |  www.benefitnews.com
In 2015, under Kristen Booth's leadership, Lakeland Regional Health successfully launched ALEX, a virtual benefits counselor, significantly increasing employee engagement with benefits. Booth's efforts earned her a Dig|Benefits Technology Innovator Award, highlighting her role in advancing technology in the employee benefits sector. The implementation led to higher enrollment rates and personalized benefits education, showcasing the impact of digital communication solutions.

Hamilton County communities battle tax appeals

25 Oct 2014  |  www.ibj.com
Hamilton County communities, including Fishers, Noblesville, and Carmel, are implementing measures to mitigate the impact of property tax appeals on municipal finances. Fishers has included minimum-annual-tax provisions in development agreements, while Noblesville requires businesses to forgo tax appeals during economic development deals. Carmel is actively engaging property owners to ensure accurate revenue projections. The Indiana Association of Cities and Towns is advocating for legislation to mandate notification of local governments about tax appeals. These efforts aim to stabilize tax-increment-financing (TIF) revenue, which is crucial for funding local projects.

ESOP fiduciaries not entitled to presumption of prudence

26 Jun 2014  |  www.benefitnews.com
The Supreme Court's decision in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer has been described as a 'mish-mash' by Michael Keeling, president of the ESOP Association. The ruling, which affects ESOPs at both publicly traded and private companies, removes the 'Moench presumption' of prudence previously granted to ESOP fiduciaries. Legal experts, including Jamie Fleckner of Goodwin Procter and Barry Klein of Blank Rome, discuss the implications of the decision, noting the unique challenges it poses for plan fiduciaries, especially in light of insider trading laws. The impact on ESOPs, particularly those in private companies, and the potential for increased litigation against fiduciaries are highlighted as concerns.

2-1-1 call centers see demand soar, but funding tight

14 Dec 2013  |  www.ibj.com
Connect2Help, Indianapolis' 2-1-1 call center, faces soaring demand but struggles with tight funding. The center, which handles over 265,000 calls annually, provides crucial referrals for various community services. Despite its importance, funding remains a challenge, with the Indiana 2-1-1 Partnership and United Way organizations lobbying for state support. The service's capacity is limited, leading to long hold times and missed calls. Efforts to secure additional funding have seen mixed success, highlighting the need for greater public and governmental support to meet growing demands.

Westfield gearing up for big hospitality play

07 Dec 2013  |  www.ibj.com
Westfield is preparing for the opening of its Grand Park Sports Campus by establishing an Office of Hospitality to enhance visitor experiences and encourage repeat visits. Mayor Andy Cook is leading the initiative, inspired by the successful hospitality efforts of Indianapolis during the 2012 Super Bowl. The city is collaborating with key figures and organizations, including Allison Melangton of Indiana Sports Corp and Visit Indy, to develop hospitality training programs. The initiative aims to support local businesses and manage the expected influx of over a million visitors, positioning Westfield as a national youth-sports destination.

Carmel firm’s bird feeders perched in 2,700 Walmarts

23 Nov 2013  |  www.ibj.com
Mr. Canary Co., a Carmel-based firm, has achieved significant success with its recyclable bird feeders, now sold in 2,700 Walmart stores. Founded by sisters Jan Long and Chris Mowery, the company has grown from a simple idea to a major retail presence, thanks in part to partnerships with organizations like Carey Services, which employs disabled individuals for assembly and distribution. Walmart's support has been crucial, providing both credibility and challenges. The company's story underscores the importance of social responsibility and the potential for small businesses to thrive with the right partnerships and perseverance.

Indiana Landmarks nearing $25M fundraising goal

13 Jun 2013  |  ibj.com
Indiana Landmarks, an Indianapolis-based preservation group, is close to reaching its $25 million fundraising goal for the 'Saving Meaningful Places' campaign. The campaign, which began in 2010, will support the Indiana Landmarks Center project, fund acquisition and restoration projects, and enhance grant programs. The Cook family from Bloomington contributed $15.7 million towards the headquarters project. Funds will also support the Endangered Places Acquisition Fund and special initiatives like the National Preservation Conference in Indianapolis. The Stadium Lofts project, a development by Core Redevelopment, is a notable part of the campaign.

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