combsandco


Tribute to my Father

Major General Roger E Combs (February 22, 1945 – August 22, 2018)

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Husband, Father, Grandpa, Brother, Son, Uncle, Friend, Mentor, Servant, General and Judge.  He’s gone by so many titles over the years.

He was born on the family farm in rural Stanberry, Missouri on February 22, 1945.  He was known for quoting a Senator who said, “When you’re born on a dairy farm, everything else is easy.”

He shared his successes with those he loved, like the incredible experience of his promotion party when he was given his 2nd Star (Major General).  He invited all his “circles” – family, church, courthouse, and military.  He had a Wikipedia page and hardly anyone in the family or King City knew about it.

This is how he lived.  He could talk to anyone.  No matter the successes he achieved, he never forgot he was that boy who was born on a farm and attended a one-room schoolhouse.  He was the son of H.H. and Ruby Fern.

He was a teacher.

This man taught me, “It’s important for you to be understood, but it’s more important for you to not be misunderstood.”  I think one of us kids quotes this weekly.

This man taught me to be independent and have a common knowledge of how to fix some things.  Then if all else fails, WD-40 and duct tape will fix almost anything.

This man taught me to parallel park between a horse trailer and a feed truck out on the Mule Shoe Ranch.  Living in NYC, this skill has become priceless.

But most importantly, this man taught me there are three major aspects of my life and he basically broke it down to me like this: “You have the person you are with, the place where you live, and the thing you do for a living.  If you’re happy with 3 out of 3 then you are living a golden life; but on any given day, if you can be happy in at least 2 of those aspects, you’re doing just fine.  But if you’re happy with only one or none, then get off your butt and do something about it.  Surround yourself with supportive people who “get” you; to whom you don’t have to explain yourself.  Live in a place that excites you and that cultivates who you are and who you want to be.  Choose to do something you love because invariably you’ll do it well.” He was a living example of this by showing us a deep love for our mother, passion for his career, and a fondness for his community.

His life was the definition of God, Family, and Country.  He had integrity, love, and sheer grit.  He loved his family, community, church, courthouse crew, and his brothers and sisters of the armed forces, with whom he served for more than 39 years.  The outpouring of stories and notes we have received reinforce the fact that he was not only our hero, but a hero to many.  He was the guy who would mentor young officers in the military; he made children feel safe when their home lives were in disarray during custody hearings; he would snow blow downtown King City to make sure the merchants were safe in the winter; he took the time to care when there were no witnesses.

He was a fighter.

Most recognizably as a CH-46 Helicopter pilot for the Purple Foxes in the US Marine Corp and until the very end, as he battled Agent Orange-related throat cancer for the past decade.  He never gave up and he never surrendered, until God took mercy on his soul on August 22, 2018.

To say this past year has changed me would be an understatement.  He helped make me who I am today.  I have been and will always be proud to call him my father and know that he still lives within each of the many lives he touched all over the world.  Over the past year of his life, I am so grateful that I was able to take the time, be quick to listen, fierce to love, slower to say yes to everything, and to find the serenity when I could.

You’ll always be in our hearts.

Susan



Insurance 101: What is a Formulary Drug

pexels-photo-259027.jpegCheck our our quick video to understand what you need to know about Formulary Drugs!

For more Insurance 101, check our our Combs & Co YouTube Channel!



Insurance 101: What is a Flexible Spending Account

Check our our quick video about Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)!

For more Insurance 101, check our our Combs & Co YouTube Channel!



Wonder Woman Wednesday: What’s the Good News, Ladies?

Happy Holidays! Man, this year went by quick! We are in the home stretch of open enrollment in our office and we are definitely looking forward to a break, as we have been very busy! It has been so much fun to meet so many wonderful women in our industry this year from around the country and feel inspired by their stories. I’m very happy to share the news of Erika, Grace and Pam as we round out the year, and the remarkable things they have been doing in 2017. Have fun getting to know these exceptional women. I know I did!  Click here to read more!



Wonder Woman Wednesday: What’s the Good News, Ladies?

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This is a special edition of “What’s the Good News, Ladies?” because I get to toot my horn a little and highlight some great women!  Last month, I mentioned I was getting ready to go to the Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) National Conference and I’m ecstatic to report that I was awarded the organization’s highest honor: the Woman of the Year award!  I was beyond thrilled and honored to be selected by my peers for this prestigious award from an organization that’s mission is to attract, develop and advance women in our industry.

While I was there, I got to meet Christine, Claudia and Kate. These fine women were the three finalists for the WIFS Fast & Furious session, where they are given 45 seconds to share their best business practice that has helped take their business to the next level.  Click here to continue reading and to be inspired!

 



New York Paid Family Leave – What you Need to Know!

FamilyWe have been getting a lot of questions on this so thought I’d give you a breakdown of how it works and what to expect for January 1, 2018 with New York Paid Family Leave.

What is it?

As of January 1, 2018, most employees who work in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave.  This is leave not for yourself, this is leave to take care of others which include:  spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, in-laws, grandparent or grandchild.  This is also available due to Active Military Duty Deployment.  They are not including siblings at this time, so keep that in mind.

Who is eligible?

  • Full-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of 20 or more hours per week, you are eligible after 26 consecutive weeks of employment.*
  • Part-time employees: If you work a regular work schedule of less than 20 hours per week, you are eligible after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.*
  • You are eligible regardless of your citizenship and/or immigration status.

*These weekly counts look back at 2017.  What this means is if you have been a full-time employee for 2017 and been working over 20 hours per week for the 26 weeks leading up to January 1, 2018 – you would be eligible to go out on claim January 1, 2018.

How much is taken out of my paycheck?

  • This is a prorated amount (no more than $1.65 per week) depending on how the company does payroll, but it is basically capped around $85 FOR THE YEAR, so you won’t even notice it coming out of your check! Here is the deductions calculator if you want to know exactly!

How much do I get?

  • This is going to be a 4-year phase in and you are going to start seeing these acronyms a lot: AWW and SAWW.  AWW stands for Average Weekly Wage and SAWW stands for State Average Weekly Wage.  The SAWW they are using for 2018 is $1305.92, which translates into the Max Weekly Benefit you can get is $652.96 for 8 weeks.
  • Here is a grid showing the phase in numbers from state website!

Benefits Increase Through 2021

Year Weeks of Leave Benefit
2018 8 weeks 50% of employee’s AWW, up to 50% of SAWW
2019 10 weeks 55% of employee’s AWW, up to 55% of SAWW
2020 10 weeks 60% of employee’s AWW, up to 60% of SAWW
2021 12 weeks 67% of employee’s AWW, up to 67% of SAWW
  • Example: An employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $500 a week (50% of $1,000). Another employee who makes $2,000 a week would receive a benefit of $652.96, because this employee is capped at one-half of New York State’s Average Weekly Wage —currently $1,305.92. Half of that amount is $652.96.
  • Leave can be taken either all at once or in full-day increments. You may take the maximum time-off benefit in any given 52-week period. The 52-week clock starts on the first day you take Paid Family Leave.

As an Employee, what do you need to do if you need to go out on claim?

  1. Notify your employer. You need to do this at least 30 days before you want your leave to start (if possible).  For example, if you are due with a baby 2/1, you can plan ahead, but if the baby comes 4 weeks early, you need to notify your employer as soon as possible.
  2. Submit a claim form. You’ll need to ask your employer or the employer’s insurance company what forms you should complete and get the supporting documentation that is requested.  Make sure to keep a copy for your records.  You can actually submit your claim form 30 days before or 30 days after the event and then the carrier has 18 days to respond to your claim.

Click here for the Employee Fact Sheet by New York State!

As an Employer, what do you need to do?

  1. If you have State Mandated Disability, your carrier will most likely offer the Paid Family Leave coverage. If you haven’t received an email or a letter from your carrier, you need to reach out to them ASAP.
  2. As this is an Employee Paid benefit, Employees will have deductions taken out of their paychecks for this. If your payroll company hasn’t reached out to you about this, check with them before your first January 2018 payroll run.
  3. You also must Post a Workforce Notice, which you should also be getting in the mail from your carrier.
  4. If you currently Self Insure your Disability, here’s a list of carriers that you can get this coverage from!
  5. Update your handbook to include the new policy if you have one!

Click here for the Employer Fact Sheet by New York State!

I know this doesn’t cover absolutely everything you might have a question on, but if you read and understand this, you’ll be more equipped than 99% of New Yorkers out there!



Saying “yes” to you

If you remember, my last blog post on the Women’s Insurance Network was about the art of saying “no.” Funny enough, I heard Oprah on “CBS This Morning” about a week after it came out. She hit the nail right on the head for me when she said, “The answer ‘No’ is a full sentence.”

As I sat on my umpteenth flight for 2017, I started reflecting on the things in my life I have chosen to say “yes” to that give me personal satisfaction. That’s one thing I love about the women I have met in our industry (as well as many men): we are givers. We’ll hand you our playbook, the budget and the strategy that built our businesses. So, after telling you all about saying “no” the last time, I wanted to tell you my “Seven Silos” of saying “yes.” These are things that I do that help me to be a better me, not only to my family and business, but a better me to me.

Click here to read all about my Seven Silos!