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2 hot topics that could impact 401(k) plans

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Just what is going on with Secure 2.0, whose official name is Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022? It’s a potential successor to the SECURE Act, but will the legislation pass? Will it further broaden and ease access to workplace retirement plans? And what’s the story on adding cryptocurrency assets to such plans?

Jennifer Gibbs Swets, a partner and director of relationship management at DWC – The 401(k) Experts Jennifer Gibbs Swets, a partner and director of relationship management at DWC – The 401(k) Experts.

Jennifer Gibbs Swets, a partner and director of relationship management at DWC – The 401(k) Experts in St. Paul, Minnesota, shares her take on these two hot topics. Sweets also sits on the contract relations for the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries.

BenefitsPRO: What’s the latest on the passage of Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 after the House in March gave a nearly unanimous blessing with a vote of 414 to 5?

We’re hoping that Congress keeps a focus on Secure 2.0 despite the fact that there are plenty of worthy distractions these days, not to mention plenty of partisan fighting going around. We’re hopeful optimism that Secure 2.0 will eventually pass, as there is strong bipartisan support for taking action that expands coverage for American bringing more people into the private retirement workers arena.

Round one, we all thought Secure 1.0 was going to pass in the summer of 2019, only to see it delayed until that December. It’s worth noting that even though this piece of legislation also enjoyed bipartisan support, it didn’t pass as a standalone bill – this language was incorporated into the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. Round two, we could easily see Secure 2.0 stall until it finds itself part of a “must pass” bill working its way through Congress.

What provisions within Secure 2.0 are you particularly watching?

First, the potential changes for catch-up contribution. For 2022, the catch-up limit that applies to plan participants over age 50 is $6,500 per year. SECURE 2.0 would increase that catch-up limit to $10,000 per year once a participant gets to age 62 – with that $10,000 limit adjusted for COLA on an annual basis.

This increased catch-up opportunity comes with an asterisk though. Secure 2.0 proposes that all catch-up contributions would need to be Roth contributions as opposed to participants having the option to make these contributions as pre-tax deferrals. This type of change may not be well-received by high earners looking to save as they approach retirement and would also impact the nitty-gritty of plan administration and compliance testing. All in all, this proposed change may not be a complete surprise since Congress has to find a way to pay for the bill.

We’re also interested in the provision that would enable employers to match, within the retirement plan, student loan payments made by employees. This is great from a coverage standpoint, bringing more American workers into the private retirement plan system sooner, but it will also require some strategic thought on how to roll this out from an administrative standpoint. Regardless of those logistical pieces, we love that this expands the number of participants who may receive contributions under 401(k) plans.

The other item that we’re all paying close attention to is related to the long-term part-time employee provision that requires those who work 500 hours for three years in a row to be covered by a plan (for 401(k) purposes ). Secure 2.0 proposes a change from three years to two years for this mandatory coverage. Once again we have a scenario where we’re looking forward to expanded coverage of American workers, but we’re anxious to see regulatory guidance on exactly how this provision – whether two years or the current three-year provision – will be applied.

Tell me your thoughts on including cryptocurrency assets in 401(k) plans.

It’s a timely topic that’s generating a lot of talk right now. Whether you love the idea or not, getting more folks talking about retirement plans, debating fiduciary responsibilities, and taking a hard look at participants’ savings opportunities is a good thing. That said, from a fiduciary standpoint, cryptocurrency seems – at the moment – ​​a risky choice.

In March, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration issued a release that cautions plan fiduciaries to “exercise extreme care” before they consider adding a cryptocurrency option to a 401(k) plan’s investment menu for plan participants. Regardless of any personal viewpoints on crypto, as a plan fiduciary I’m inclined to play it safe and follow that advice. Will that be the long term standing of EBSA? Maybe not, as Congress and the SEC seek to implement increased regulations on crypto.

Plan fiduciaries have a duty to ensure that the investment opportunities for their plan are monitored and to act with prodence regarding the appropriateness of investments offered. This feels like a challenge when it comes to crypto, which is where I think EBSA was coming from in March.

There’s a lot of partisan activity related to crypto in retirement plans with some saying EBSA has overreached with their compliance assistance release. I can appreciate differing viewpoints, the importance of diversification of assets, and a willingness to explore new investment opportunities for plan participants – these are all relevant and discussion-worthy. For me though, with the DOL having jurisdiction over plan fiduciaries, I think there’s value in heeding their advice and watching how crypto in plans evolves.

How to tell the difference

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Fact checked on May 26, 2022 by Vivianna Shields, a journalist and fact-checker with experience in health and wellness publishing.


For the past two years, COVID-19 has coincided with allergy seasons—and most recently, with the virus’ Omicron variant (and its BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 subvariants), it’s more difficult to distinguish between the two.


With Omicron and its subvariants specifically—due to increased exposure to COVID-19 through vaccination or prior illness, or other variables—the virus generally causes more mild disease. Though symptoms don’t stray too far from those typically associated with COVID-19 in general, Omicron and its subvariants, can look a lot like the common cold, and even seasonal allergies.


Allergy and [Omicron] symptoms may mimic one another,” Jeffrey Dlott, MD, senior medical director at Quest Diagnostics, told Health. “Because of this, someone may confuse COVID symptoms for allergy symptoms and not take the proper precautions to reduce spread.”


Here’s what to know about how similar Omicron symptoms can look compared to allergies, and steps to take to confirm either diagnosis.





Though COVID-19 and allergies are caused by significantly different things—the SARS-CoV-2 virus and airborne substances like pollen, respectively—the two can present similarly. Upper respiratory symptoms like nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, headache, and tiredness can show up with both conditions.


But once you get past those common respiratory symptoms, the two conditions start to look different. “With Omicron or other viral illnesses, people tend to feel under the weather and don’t feel well, but allergies don’t really give you that feeling,” Judith Berger, MD, director of the division of infectious diseases at SBH Health System in Bronx, New York , told Health. “Allergies also tend to not give you a fever or muscle aches.”


Fever specifically is a key indicator that you may have COVID-19 instead of allergies, according to Scott Fedlman, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the division of allergy and immunology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. That’s because fever, or a rise in body temperature, is one of the ways the body tries to fight off infection or illness—the body essentially makes itself inhospitable for viruses and bacteria to survive and multiply.


A sudden loss of taste and smell could tip you off to a COVID-19 infection more than allergies, too. “Allergies can cause some mild decrease in smell when your nose is stuffy,” said Dr. Feldman. “But the sudden loss of smell is less likely to be due to allergies.”


What might be due to allergies, however, are itchy or watery eyes—symptoms that are common with pet and seasonal allergies, but not with COVID-19, said Dr. Feldman.





If your symptoms alone have you on the fence about whether you’re dealing with omicron or allergies, there are other non symptom-based ways to help recognize the difference.


Allergy History

Patients who have allergies know they have allergies—there’s often a history of symptoms and certain exposures that people can recall, Jeanne Lomas, DO, Director of Allergy and Immunology at WellNow Allergy, told Health.


The timing can tip you off, too. According to Dr. Berger, people with a history of allergies tend to present symptoms around the same time each year and in the same situations.


But knowing you don’t have a history of allergies can help you out, as well. If you don’t typically experience seasonal allergies, and then suddenly develop cold-like symptoms, the condition is “more likely infectious than allergic,” said Dr. Feldman.


Unhelpful Allergy Medications

People who use medication to manage allergy symptoms may be able to distinguish between COVID-19 and allergies by narrowing down symptoms, said Dr. Berger.


Typically, allergy medications effectively treat symptoms like congestion, runny nose, and coughing—but they won’t treat other infection-based symptoms like body aches, fever, or loss of taste and smell.


“Allergy medicines will treat a few symptoms of congestion or runny nose” in people who have allergies, said Dr. Berger. “It doesn’t relieve the shortness of breath, extreme, [and] it doesn’t return your sense of smell and taste.”


COVID-19 Testing

If you are still unsure as to whether you have COVID-19 or allergies, it’s recommended to take a COVID-19 test, particularly if you have more COVID-specific symptoms.


“Testing is the best way to determine if someone has COVID or seasonal allergies,” said Dr. Dlot. This can be through an at-home antigen test or through a PCR test.


Sometimes, however, at-home antigen tests specifically may not be as sensitive in picking up COVID-19 infections. “A person with a low viral load may not test positive even if they have the virus, so it is always important to be cautious if you are experiencing symptoms.” In that situation, testing again in the next day or two can help confirm results further.


If you do test positive, even with milder COVID-19 symptoms, it’s important to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on proper isolation practices. That means staying at home for at least five days and until you’re fever-free for at least 24 hours. After that, you should continue to wear a well-fitting mask in public for five additional days.


The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHOand their local public health department as resources.


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Obesity alters molecular architecture of liver cells; repairing structure reverses metabolic disease | News

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For immediate release: Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Boston, MA – Cells use their molecular architecture to regulate their metabolic functions, and repair diseased cells’ architecture to a healthier state that can also repair metabolism, according to a study led by Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health researchers.

“Chronic metabolic disease, which includes obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular and liver diseases, is the biggest global public health problem,” said Gökhan Hotamışlıgil, James Stevens Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism at Harvard Chan School and the director of the Sabri Ülker Center for Nutrient, Genetic, and Metabolic Research. “The fundamental regulatory mechanism that we discovered can be used to evaluate the susceptibility—or resistance—of individuals to a disease state like obesity, and determine what steps, such as diet, nutrients, or fasting, will reduce, eliminate, or exacerbate these states. We can imagine a whole new array of therapeutic strategies targeting molecular architecture, similar to the restoration of an ailing building or preventing its deterioration.”

The study was published online on March 9, 2022, in Nature.

Led by researchers Güneş Parlakgül and Ana Paula Arruda at the Sabri Ülker Center, the study compared liver samples from healthy, lean mice with samples from obese mice with fatty liver disease. Using multiple computational platforms—artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks—and high-resolution imaging using enhanced focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy, Parlakgül, Arruda, and colleagues from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute generated three-dimensional reconstructions of Specialized structures, called organelles, inside cells and made a comparative analysis of organelle architecture and organization of liver cells from lean and obese samples. Through these analyses, the team determined that obesity leads to dramatic alterations in subcellular molecular architecture, particularly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), an organelle involved in the creation and shaping of proteins and lipids.

The team then partially restored the ER’s structure using technologies that can repair molecules and proteins that can reshape cellular membranes—which also repaired the cells’ metabolism. The restored cells looked normal, controlled lipid and glucose metabolism much better, and remained stress free and more responsive to stimuli.

“The outcome was really striking—when the structure is repaired, so is the cell’s metabolism,” said Arruda. “What we are describing here is a whole new way of controlling metabolism by regulating molecular architecture, which is critical for health and disease.”

The images produced from this research are also the most detailed visualization to date of subcellular structures while the cells are still intact in their tissue environment. Other researchers have created similar imaging before, but mostly in single cells or in culture.

“High-resolution imaging and deep-learning-based analysis helped us to see that structural regulation of the intracellular environment and organelle architecture is a key component of metabolic adaptation. Targeting this regulation may hold therapeutic opportunities to treat metabolic diseases such as diabetes and fatty liver disease,” said Parlakgül.

For Hotamışlıgil, the visuals are astonishing. “I was first mesmerized with the complexity, beauty, and harmony of the constructions in the extremely crowded internal space of a cell,” he said. “This is like watching an artistic masterpiece while traveling into the center of a cell.”

This research was supported by the Sabri Ülker Center at Harvard Chan School.

Other Harvard Chan School researchers involved in this research included Erika Cagampan, Nina Min, Ekin Güney, Grace Yankun Lee, and Karen Inouye.

“Regulation of liver subcellular architecture controls metabolic homeostasis,” Güneş Parlakgül, Ana Paula Arruda, Song Pang, Erika Cagampan, Nina Min, Ekin Güney, Grace Yankun Lee, Karen Inouye, Harald F. Hess, C. Shan Xu, and Gökhan S Hotamışlıgil, Nature, March 9,2022, doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04488-5

Image: Gökhan Hotamışlıgil/Sabri Ülker Center for Nutrient, Genetic, and Metabolic Research and Refik Anadol, Refik Anadol Studios, LA

Visit the Harvard Chan School website for the latest news, press releases, and multimedia offerings.

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Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health brings together dedicated experts from many disciplines to educate new generations of global health leaders and produce powerful ideas that improve the lives and health of people everywhere. As a community of leading scientists, educators, and students, we work together to take innovative ideas from the laboratory to people’s lives—not only making scientific breakthroughs, but also working to change individual behaviors, public policies, and health care practices. Each year, more than 400 faculty members at Harvard Chan School teach 1,000-plus full-time students from around the world and train thousands more through online and executive education courses. Founded in 1913 as the Harvard-MIT School of Health Officers, the School is recognized as America’s oldest professional training program in public health.

Assessing Tobacco Exposure Among Former Smokers Eligible for Lung Cancer Screening

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Results of a cross-sectional study showed former smokers eligible for lung cancer screening should be asked about recent tobacco use and exposure, while counseling about the harms of these 2 risk factors is warranted.

Results of a cross-sectional study of data from the 2013–2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) revealed former smokers eligible for lung cancer screening (LCS) should be asked about recent tobacco use and exposure, while counseling about the harms of These 2 risk factors are warranted.

The findings were published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Updated United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations indicate all adults aged 50 to 80 years with a 20 pack-year smoking history, and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years should undergo LCS, authors wrote.

However, “while recommendations are clear for current smokers who present for LCS, the guidelines for counseling former smokers are not well defined,” they added.

In an effort to better understand former smoker behavior and identify high-risk former smokers who would benefit from targeted counseling at the time of LCS, researchers assessed deidentified NHANES data from 472 former smokers eligible for LCS.

All participants had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and did not currently smoke at the time of the survey. Main study outcomes were recent tobacco use and exposure. “Former smokers without recent tobacco use were classified as having recent tobacco exposure if their cotinine levels were greater than 0.05 ng/mL,” researchers explained.

Cotinine is a nicotine metabolite reflecting recent exposure. Any cotinine level above the race/ethnic cut points for tobacco use, or reported tobacco use in the past 5 days constituted “recent tobacco use.”

The majority of former smokers eligible for LCS were non-Hispanic White (82.7%), male (67.1), and had incomes more than 100% over the federal poverty level (83.3%).

Analyses revealed:

  • 1 in 5 former smokers eligible for LCS, totaling 1,416,485 adults when extracted to the US population, had recent tobacco use (21.4%; 95% CI, 15.8%-27.0%), with about a third each using cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or other tobacco products
  • While 17.5% of former smokers reported recent use of a tobacco product in the past 5 days, 19.7% had cotinine levels indicating active tobacco use above racial/ethnic cut points
  • Among former smokers without recent tobacco use, over half (53.0%; 95% CI, 44.6%-61.4%) had cotinine levels indicating recent tobacco exposure
  • Groups with a higher percentage of recent tobacco use than their counterparts include men, those who quit within the past 0–3 years, and those living with a household smoker

The high levels of recent tobacco use and exposure among former smokers eligible for LCS underscore the need for improved assessment and provider counseling, researchers wrote.

“Providers can use this data to inform strategies that improve assessments and target former smokers for counseling on their continued risk for tobacco-related addiction, disease, and mortality, particularly for cardiovascular and respiratory disease,” they said.

Further clarification on guidance for assessing tobacco use may also be helpful to minimize misclassification of current smokers, while asking about any use in the past month may be better at characterizing this patient population.

Environmental interventions may be particularly useful for these patients, authors added. “Patients may be counseled that there is no risk-free level of smoke exposure and advised to make a smoke-free home rule, not just for the continued risk of developing lung cancer but more immediately for cardiovascular health.”

Biomarker based exposure via cotinine levels may also be beneficial to better classify former smokers with secondhand smoke exposure; However, high sensitivity lab tests for cotinine may not be widely available.

“Future studies should assess whether including cotinine levels may change patient behavior and outcomes, and what the cost-effectiveness of this approach might be,” researchers said.

The self-reported nature of current smoking status marks a limitation to the analysis.

Reference

Hood-Medland EA, Dove MS, Tong EK. Assessment and counseling gaps among former smokers eligible for lung cancer screening in US adults. J Gen Intern Med. Published online April 26, 2022. doi:10.1007/s11606-022-07542-0

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Caffeine– This medication can help curb hunger and keep excess calories away from the body.

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Dermatologist or Allergist for Eczema: Which Is Better?

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Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that can cause a skin rash, itching, and dryness. There are seven different types of eczema, and more than 31 million Americans have this condition.

While an allergy doesn’t always cause eczema, irritation from different chemicals, conditions, or even stressful situations can cause eczema to flare up.

This article reviews the different types of eczema and how both dermatologists and allergists may be needed to keep the condition under control.

A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating skin conditions. A dermatologist has to finish 4 graduate years of medical school, followed by a 1-year internship in general medicine and a residency in dermatology. The dermatology residence is usually 3 years of specialized training.

Dermatologists help diagnose and treat disorders of the skin, hair, and nails, including eczema.

An immunologist — often called an allergist — is a doctor who specializes in the immune system. They diagnose and treat ranging conditions from allergies and asthma to immunodeficiencies and immunologic disorders.

Both allergists and dermatologists do allergy testing, but an allergist usually tests for seasonal or year-round allergens, while a dermatologist can usually test for contact allergies.

Allergens are usually inhaled or injected allergies, while contact allergies are things the skin comes into contact with that can cause contact dermatitis. Some allergists will test for both types of allergies.

An allergist has similar training to a dermatologist. In addition to 4 years of medical school, they must complete a 2-3 year residency in internal medicine and then another 2 years in immunology.

A dermatologist can help diagnose and treat eczema. Some dermatologists may be able to do patch testing in their clinic to help determine the possible cause of the eczema rash. Others may refer you to an allergist or to a dermatologist who specializes in allergic dermatitis.

A dermatologist can also help you manage symptoms of this condition. They may recommend the following things to help control your eczema:

An allergist may be able to help you identify triggers and recommend treatments to help manage your eczema.

Your allergist may perform a skin prick test or blood testing to help discover the allergens that are triggering your eczema. These tests can be used to help identify food, seasonal, or year-round allergies that may be contributing to your symptoms.

After identifying possible triggers, an allergist can prescribe medications to help manage symptoms.

Allergists can also offer immunotherapy, which is used to help build up the immune system’s response to allergens.

There are seven types of eczema, and each has its own types of symptoms and triggers.

The different types of eczema include:

Once eczema is suspected, your primary care doctor or other healthcare professional may refer you to a dermatologist to diagnose your condition and manage your symptoms or to an allergist to identify an allergy that may be triggering your symptoms.

The following conditions are not usually caused by an allergen:

  • neurodermatitis
  • nummular eczema
  • seborrheic dermatitis
  • stasis dermatitis

If you’re diagnosed with one of these conditions, you should be referred to a dermatologist.

For most people with eczema, it’s a chronic condition that goes through periods of flare-ups and remission. If you know the things that trigger your eczema — like stress, dust, or certain detergents — it can help to avoid these things and make certain lifestyle changes.

Most types of eczema can be controlled with prescription medication, like a topical steroid or an oral medication. There are also newer biologics that may be prescribed in some cases.

If you have difficulty controlling your eczema, seeing more than one specialist may help to get your condition under control.

Both allergists and dermatologists can help diagnose and manage your eczema. You may be referred to one of both of these types of doctors, but either one can offer assistance in treating your condition.

If you need to find an allergist or dermatologist in your area, start by asking your primary care physician for a referral.

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I’m a gut health guru

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CONSTIPATION can be uncomfortable and it might feel as though you have tried everything to shift your stool.

It’s a common condition and can affect people of all ages – with a lack of fiber usually being the culprit.

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Constipation is an uncomfortable feeling, but there are many things you can do to relieve itCredit: Getty
Pelvic health specialist Oriana Barger revealed some exercises and moves that might help relieve the tension

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Pelvic health specialist Oriana Barger revealed some exercises and moves that might help relieve the tension
One of these moves is to find where your hip bones are and then almost scoop the skin up from there

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One of these moves is to find where your hip bones are and then almost scoop the skin up from there

If you’ve not been to the loo for a number two at least three times during the last week, then it’s likely you have the ailment.

Other signs include your poop being too large, dry, hard or lumpy.

But if you are straining when you go to the toilet or you’re in pain, this could also be a sign.

Now one expert has revealed the moves that could help you relieve those uncomfortable symptoms.

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Posting to TikTok, pelvic health specialist, Oriana Barger said you need to lay on the floor.

Rather than straining on the toilet, Oriana explained: “You need to lay down, have your knees bent, find your hip bones, your literal hip bones, and go ahead and scoop that tissue up.

“Scoop the skin up and find a nice solid point, because I know you’re going to have that solid point.

“I want you to breathe deeply into that space and we will hold it for three deep breaths.

“Make sure you’re allowing your belly to expand down as you breathe in and out.”

To add to the above exercise, the guru said you can also do the ‘IL U’, massage.

Oriana explained that this is when you go up on the right side of your stomach, across to the left side and then down that left side – making the shapes of each letter with your hands.

This acts almost like a stomach massage.

“You can also do some knee compressions or belly compressions”, she said.

To do these you again need to bring your knees to your chest.

You can also rock from side to side and make sure you take deep breaths whilst doing this.

What causes constipation?

For adults, constipation has many causes.

The most common are:

  • not eating enough fiber
  • not drinking enough fluids
  • being less active
  • ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
  • changing your diet or routine
  • side effects of medication
  • stress, anxiety or depression

Source: NHS

To finish off you can hug your knees to your chest and hold them in for a moment or so.

The NHS says that one of the main ways to both treat and prevent constipation if to make changes to your diet.

Medics state that drinking plenty of fluid and avoiding booze, as well as increasing the amount of fiber you consume can all help your poo become softer and easier to pass.

You can also improve your toilet routine by keeping to a regular time and place – and giving yourself plenty of time to go for a number two.

Official guidance states: “Do not delay if you feel the urge to poo.

“To make it easier to poo, try resting your feet on a low stool while going to the toilet. If possible, raise your knees above your hips.”

Experts say you should also consider increasing your activity, as this can help you poo more regulary.

It’s important to remember if you have any irregularities in your stools and spot things that are unusual for you then you should visit your GP.

Another move, Oriana said, is to hug your knees to your chest

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Another move, Oriana said, is to hug your knees to your chest

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GoAuto car insurance company bought by Pennsylvania private equity firm | Business

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GoAuto — the low-cost car insurance company based in Baton Rouge best known for its TV commercials featuring its CEO and founder, Greg “the GoAuto Guy” Tramontin — has been acquired by a Pennsylvania private equity firm.

Milestone Partners bought GoAuto and its technology platform, Adaptive Information Technologies, through a specialty auto insurance holding company called Drive Assurance Holdings. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tramontin said the acquisition should not affect policyholders or the company’s staff. He said he plans on staying as CEO, and his management staff will remain as well.

Tramontin indicated the grind of building an auto insurance company from the ground up — his second such effort — has worn him down a bit.

“This is something that we had taken quite a ways,” he said. “It was kind of an exit strategy for myself. We started this in ’09, and you kind of get tired. We decided to test the market. There was quite a bit of interest.”

GoAuto, founded in 2009, has 70 storefronts and operates in Louisiana, Texas, Nevada and Ohio. Its 3.99% market share for auto liability policy premiums was the seventh highest in Louisiana in 2020, according to the latest available data from the state Department of Insurance. That amounted to nearly $122.5 million in premium payments.

For physical damage auto policies, GoAuto was eighth in Louisiana in 2020 with a 2.65% market share, or $44.5 million in premiums. Auto liability policies cover damage caused by an insured driver, while physical damage policies cover damage to the insured driver’s vehicle.

Tramontin said the company had been looking for a buyer for at least a couple of years. GoAuto hired investment bank Piper Sandler to search for one. The hunt yielded Milestone Partners, whom Tramontin called “down to earth, very nice people, and very, very smart.”

What followed was a “grueling” 15 months of due diligence work. It would have been completed sooner if not for inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic. “It just dragged on for a while,” Tramontin said. “But at the end, we got it done.”

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Tramontin said the acquisition could lead to an expansion for GoAuto. Milestone Partners plans to acquire two or three similar car insurance companies and roll them under the GoAuto umbrella.

“There’s no downside to the policyholders. There could actually be an upside,” he said.

Milestone advertises itself as a private equity firm that targets niche companies in the insurance, specialty finance, payments and capital markets sectors. Its portfolio includes firms that offer “tech-enabled solutions” and “tech-driven manufacturing,” according to the company’s website.

The advantage GoAuto offers, according to Tramontin and Milestone, is its software platform.

Tramontin and James Holland, his partner at Adaptive Information Technologies, developed an ease-of-use online platform for insurance customers when Tramontin started USAgencies, his first low-cost car insurance firm, in 2004. He sold the business in 2007, and he and Holland spent the next two years — while under a non-compete clause — further tweaking the platform.

The platform makes it easier to modify policies, Tramontin said. Customers can update their coverage and add or subtract vehicles on their phone, on a computer or in a GoAuto store.

In a statement, Milestone Partners hailed the software and its ability to use data when writing policies for customers.

“GoAuto’s proprietary software enables superior customer analytics and data-driven operations that have established them as a market leader,” Milestone partner Adam Curtin said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the management team on executing their strategic initiatives.”

Aside from its low-cost policies, GoAuto stood out in the Baton Rouge market for its TV and radio commercials that showcased Tramontin and a memorable jingle featuring the company’s name.

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What is SEO marketing? | ITProPortal

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What is SEO marketing?

SEO marketing (search engine optimization) is an inbound digital marketing strategy that focuses on driving organic (unpaid) search traffic to your website by improving its visibility in the SERPs (search engine results pages). The best website builders come with built-in SEO features to make this process easier.

What does SEO marketing do?

SEO marketing helps businesses to rank higher on search engines like Google for their target keywords—the words and phrases that their target customers type into search engines. This, in turn, can help drive more qualified traffic to your website and generate new leads for your business.

There are several branches to SEO marketing, including:

  • On-page SEO: This involves optimizing the content on your web pages around target keywords and relevant ranking factors. For example, it might entail ensuring that the content is formatted correctly, with suitable heading tags, alt text, and internal/external links.
  • Off-page SEO: This involves actions taken outside of your website to improve your domain authority and organic ranking positions, such as backlink building and social media marketing.
  • Technical SEO: This involves optimizing your website’s backend to satisfy the technical requirements of search engines like Google. For example, it may involve taking steps to reduce page loading times by minifying code, or setting up redirects to conserve link equity.
  • Keyword research: All good SEO marketing strategies start with careful keyword research. Keyword research involves finding viable high-volume queries that your target customers are searching for using tools like Google Adwords and then validating them.

How departments can use SEO marketing

SEO is primarily the responsibility of the marketing department. However, in some cases, your marketing team may need a little input from the people in your IT and sales departments too.

SEO marketing is the responsibility of the marketing department but cross-department collaboration may also be required (Image credit: Fouxels on Unsplash)

The marketing department will take on the bulk of the tasks involved in SEO. They’ll be responsible for putting together your SEO strategy, carrying out keyword research, creating SEO content, and implementing off-page, on-page, and technical SEO.

SEO Agencies Market to Witness Huge Growth by 20230 | Straight North, 97th Floor, Ignite Visibility, SocialSEO – Carbon Valley Farmer and Miner

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• SEO Agencies Manufacturing Cost Structure
• SEO Agencies Raw Material and Suppliers
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Chapter 3: SEO Agencies Sales (Volume) and Revenue (Value) by Region (2015-2022)
• SEO Agencies Sales
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Chapter 4, 5 and 6: Global SEO Agencies Market by Type, Application & Players/Suppliers Profiles (2015-2022)
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Find more research reports on SEO Agencies Industry. By JC Market Research.

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