Category: Insurance

August 24th, 2015 by syauthor

If you have been in the dark about discount prescription cards, here is all the information that you need to know:

How the cards work

When you (the customer) make a purchase at a pharmacy, you present the card to the pharmacy and you are provided with a quote for the amount of money that you will save by making the purchase using the card.

Once you are given the information you have to decide on whether you want to make the purchase using the card or not. You should note that the savings are realized at the point of sale and not later through a rebate process.

People who are fit for the cards

The cards are ideal for everyone: whether you have insurance or not. Although, the cards are ideal for everyone, people without insurance usually attract larger discounts.

You don’t have to kick yourself if you have insurance. This is because the cards are also beneficial to you even if you are insured; they allow you avoid high deductibles. You are also eligible for discounts that are not covered by your insurance policy.

Amount that you will save

The amount that you can save depends on a number of factors such as the drugs that you are purchasing and the issuer of the card.

In the best of situations, you can save up to 80% of the cost of the medications; however, the average discount is 15-20%. You should note that generic medications attract higher than average discounts.

How the cards make money

There are three main ways in which the cards make money:

Enrollment, annual or monthly fees: these fees are directly charged to the consumer. The fees can range from a few dollars to $100 per year. Although, this is one of the ways in which the cards make money, there are some cards that don’t charge a fee. To save money, you should go for cards that are free.

Transaction fees: these are charged every time you use your card. Although, the fees come at the consumer’s expense, they are minor and insignificant to the amount that you will save. Transaction fees are charged by every discount drug card.

Information sales: when you use your card, your information is collected by your card issuer. The information includes: your purchase history, name, and address.

When the card issuer collects the information, he/she sells it to marketers and the marketers use the information to market their products to you. You should note that the information cannot be used to harm you.

Posted in Credit Tips, Insurance, Tips Finance

August 6th, 2015 by sabaku

We have all had a dishwasher that puttered out or a washing machine that sat idle with clothes floating in a well of water. Fixing creaky old appliances can be costly, and it often seems there is no way of avoiding such expenses. However, many owners and renters have found a solution: purchasing a condo warranty.

Unlike insurance-which covers natural disasters, calamities, and theft-a warranty is a service contract that, among other things, covers major appliances for members of a condominium. These warranties are specifically designed to work within the existing support structure and services provided by your association, so you only pay for the protection you need. Here are four ways a condo warranty can benefit you.

Covers Major Home Appliances and Systems

While the definitions of major systems and appliances may vary from policy to policy, a condo warranty will typically cover HVAC, plumbing, electrical, hot water heaters, garbage disposals, dishwashers, stoves and ovens, washers and dryers, and garage doors. Refrigerators are often covered when they are in the property at the time of purchase. This can be even more beneficial in the event that a retailer or chain goes out of business and/or any coverage you have on the product lapses.

Enhances Market Value

Condo warranties are, in general, cost-saving tools when it comes to maintenance. However, they can also be an enhanced benefit in a competitive seller’s market because they increase a unit’s marketability. According to the National Home Warranty Association, units on the market that covered by warranties tend to sell about 50 percent faster than homes that are not.

Protects from Potential Post-Sale Legal Disputes

Warranties generally protect the condo’s seller from post-sale legal disputes. They allow for the purchaser to invest with confidence, as they are given more security than what is offered by a statute of limitations, which, in most cases, only lasts four years. On the flip side, sellers can avoid legal disputes based on faulty or dysfunctional appliances and systems because they are covered. Of course, reviewing the fine print for specifics is always highly encouraged before purchasing a property.

Provides Peace of Mind

Out of the nine most crucial appliances in the home, at least one is expected to break down at some point in its 13-year average lifespan. A new buyer is assured some peace of mind in knowing that if something goes awry with any of the condo’s major appliances or systems, they will likely be covered by the warranty.

Posted in Insurance

August 6th, 2015 by sabaku

Don’t invalidate your fire insurance policy.

I find this a very strange case but it just shows how important it is to read the small print as if you ignore the conditions of the policy your policy could be invalidated.

In this case it was a condition of the FIRE insurance that the SECURITY Alarm was maintained and monitored. Times had been tough for the insured and he let the maintenance of the security alarm lapse and as the ARC had not been paid for 6 months they stopped monitoring the site.

Vandals broke in and set fire to the factory. It was a furniture company and they incurred losses of over £750,000.

The case went to the High Court, the judge had nothing but sympathy for the Directors of the Company and he took ‘no pleasure’ in ruling that as it was a condition of the combined insurance policy that alarm was to be monitored by an external firm, the Insurers did not have to meet the claim.

There are often conditions attached to the insurance policies we take out which relate directly to the risk. We need to make sure our cars have valid MOTs in order not to invalidate the policy. We are required to notify the insurance company if we get a speeding fine but, to my mind oddly, you do not have to tell them if you decide to do the Speed Awareness Course rather than pay the fine.

I have just come across a case, now in front of the insurance Ombudsman, where an insurance company voided the policy and returned all the premiums because the policy holder had unwittingly exceed the value of the ‘valuables’ within their contents insurance. They had insured the contents of their house for £60,000 but there was a clause stating that the value of the valuables should not exceed 66% of this.

They had to rush their daughter to hospital, and while they were out the thieves struck taking goods and damaging the property to the value of £70,000. When assessing the claim the loss adjusters calculated that the value if the valuables in the house exceeded £40,000. Normally claims would be ‘averaged’ to reflect the under insurance, but the insurance company in this case argued that the under insurance voided the policy. As I said this case is in front of the ombudsman as I write.

Back to case in hand where a fire insurance claim was dismissed as a security alarm and monitoring were allowed to lapse. Clients of ours run a hotel and there is someone on reception all the time so if the fire alarm is activated there was always someone on duty to respond. We came round to the time when the annual contract with the ARC [monitoring station] needed to be renewed. The Hotel Manger wanted to cancel it as it was considered an unnecessary expense. I said I agreed but asked him to check with his insurers to make sure they had no objections. The Insurers confirmed; monitoring was a condition of the policy.

Often with in the insurance policy there is a clause that the fire alarm is maintained in accordance with British Standards. It would be interesting to know whether a similar claim has been dismissed as the Fire Alarm has not been adequately maintained.

Posted in Insurance

August 6th, 2015 by sabaku

Let’s begin with the question; why are agency values important? Agency values are important because they will likely determine the success or failure of your agency. Now that gets my attention.

Whenever the success or failure of a business venture rests on one concept, it warrants the time and effort to understand what’s behind the question; what focus or concept do we believe will best produce the result we desire. So, one might ask; just exactly what are some agency values.

To begin, Values are what drives effort and effort is what produces results, good or bad. Effort in the wrong places seldom produces the right results. So there are really two things here that are important-Effort and Direction. While both are important, Effort comes first-you gotta have some before you can direct it. Today we are only talking about Effort, Direction is for another day.

An example of how values drive Effort is often and most visibly played out in sales. A lot of sales activity (Effort) often produces more sales but possibly not the right sales (Direction). Now here is the exciting part-You can really, control your effort by choosing the right Values and matching the talent of new hire to those Values. The key here is to understand that people work to satisfy their values, not yours and don’t try to put into someone something that is not already there. All that boils down to looking for and hiring people who have values that match the agency needs.

So now it is beginning to get clear. Why do we want to know your agency values? Answer; so you can hire people with values similar to those of our agency. Now what are some agency Values of importance?

1. Theoretical Values- those who value knowledge and continuous learning or intellectual growth.
2. Traditional Values- those who value the tradition inherent in social structure, rules, regulations and principals.
3. Utilitarian Values- those who value achievement, results, and rewards for their investments of time, resources and energy.
4. Individualistic Values- those who value personal recognition, freedom and control over their future and the future of others.
5. Social Values- those who act to enhance the well-being of others.
6. Aesthetic Values- those who pursue a balance in their lives, who are creative, self-expressive and have a love for beauty and nature.

And here is the real important stuff, after 40 years of research and working with agencies, of all sizes, we know the values most likely to produce success in any situation.

Posted in Commercial, Insurance

August 4th, 2015 by syauthor

Up to this date, the usability, function and exchange of Bitcoins and other digital currencies have been limited and circulating around small communities-group of individuals or large enterprises-who have ventured into the world of digital currency. Since the community is small, the ability to spend or trade it for various products is also limited and a lot of this currency owners hope that it can be widely accepted in the future. Although these are possible, this will take time and a lot of discussions as the concern for safety and security is at large. Besides that, the government and some large institutions are threatened with the possibility of using such a system.

The Reluctance

Not many people widely accept digital currency. If you haven’t heard of it or aren’t one of those who have spent much of your time understanding, mining and acquiring the said currencies, you will not feel safe trading in or acquiring such currencies in exchange of items that you wish to sell or have. It has not been accepted widely and the fear of the loss it may acquire in the future is great due to the fact that there is no governing body in it. People would need to feel safe using it but this would normally require the interference and approval of the government and general sectors of the financial market.

The Need for a Controlling body

The transfer to digital currency would allow people to make online trading without issuing actual and paper money which are prone to being stolen. However, it is not a hidden fact that some digital currencies have been stolen too. The government would want to control it as there is a significant amount of income from the exchanges and trade. Other sectors not open to the actual value of digital currencies may find it hard to liquidate their assets and make use of digital currency exchanges.

Although the future of digital currency adoption is greatly possible, the greatest risk everyone has to deal with would be the security. For example, PayPal is trying to impose this on their system (the news of which eventually made the value of Bitcoin rise in one day) but the problem is, delivery schedules may often not be met and it would be hard to recover the said currency-also includes defects on products upon delivery. The possible adoption could take time and effort from both the government and independent sectors to work out the glitches in connection with fraudulent acts over the internet and sectors wishing to sabotage the project.

Posted in Business, Insurance, Tips Finance

July 5th, 2015 by parker

The reason agents fail learning how to sell final expense is fairly simple. The unfortunate reality of sales, no matter the industry, is that 90% of all sales people fail or quit within the first 12 months of starting their sales profession. Why is that the case?

The number one the reason agents fail selling final expense is because they give up on themselves. They go into the business with aspirations that didn’t match reality. Looking from the outside in, many new final expense agents have the perspective that to succeed in final expense it is only a matter of going out and talking to people. If it were only that simple!

It takes time to learn the skills necessary to sell final expense successfully. Final expense sales training is something that takes months if not years to develop. A lot of new agents don’t understand that sales is totally different from a typical salaried employee position. You have emotional ups and downs almost daily. Being on straight commission, you literally wake up every morning unemployed; you must “eat what you kill!”

If you don’t have experience, there is nothing to really prepare you for it until you understand what that is like and you are living it. It is something that many people just can’t handle.

Then the other reason people fail is because they don’t get involved with the right agency to help train them, to prepare them for the realities. They get involved with a business that sells “Blue Sky,” meaning all the benefits to a lifestyle of Final Expense and none of the gritty work that it takes to succeed in the long-run.

Also, new agents fail because they get involved in an agency that is designed to short change them and squeeze the dollars out of them at a ridiculous rate. It ends up being a revolving door type of sales agency.

It is important that agents do their research on the front-end. Talk to different agencies. Get a feel for your managers personality type. Figure out who has been successful. How long agents have been working with them? Ask for proof. Are they transparent with what to expect as far as commission and percentage advancements based on merit and production history?

What do you get for your investment? Because the manager makes money off of your production. You just have to make sure value is there. Take the time to ask these questions. Again, it is really important you are reading this because most agents don’t go into this business even knowing what to ask, much less what to expect.

Many agents don’t understand that you must come into this business with a business mindset. Most agents must buy direct mail, and won’t have the benefit of a referral network or an existing book of business. Instead, they have to buy leads to get going.

My recommendation is to have about $4,000 to $5,000 to invest into a final expense direct mail lead system, or if you have less than that keep a full-time job and then also you know if you got $2,000 or $3,000 minimum into a telemarketing final expense lead system.

You MUST start on the right foot. You MUST be prepared for the ups and downs. You MUST be willing to work through it with the understanding that the long-term is what makes it worth having. What makes it all worthwhile.

That’s the reasons why most agents fail learning how to sell final expense. The important thing is to go into this with the right group that shows you transparently what to do. When you know that you have got that on your side it is really up to you.

Do you have the X-Factor to work hard and follow the system that is laid out upon you?

That’s really the ultimate determinate of your success or failure.

David Duford is the owner of Final Expense Agent Mentor.

In addition to personally producing business each and every week, David specializes in training new and experienced agents on how to successfully sell final expense burial insurance.

Posted in Insurance, Tips Finance

July 5th, 2015 by parker

Who is responsible to prime the pump and fill the top of the funnel? Many agencies and brokers expect their sales team to cold call, network, and send emails to build their own pipeline, and fill the top of the funnel. It reminds me of the old slogan, “Let your fingers do the walking”. The slogan referred to the Yellow Pages, the omnipresent database of the time. Regardless of the database used, be it the online Yellow Pages, Google Pages, or an internally generated prospect list, the question still remains. Who is responsible to fill the pipeline, and what’s the most likely path to success.

Today insurance lead generation encompasses many new tools to help producers prospect, including eMarketing, Social Media Marketing, Blogging and Web Seminar Marketing, in addition to traditional cold calling and networking. Agencies and brokers must also add their website to this mix of tools, as many broker websites are out of date, difficult to navigate, and are not mobile compliant. The mobile compliance issue is very significant, as mobile searches are now exceeding PC based searches.

Many producers find these new web marketing tools, and in general the lead generation aspect of their jobs, to be arduous and challenging. That’s why so many producers fail, they are not insurance lead generation machines, nor are they savvy insurance web marketers. The results are self-evident, insufficient qualified prospects at the top of the sales funnel, usually translates into inadequate results at the bottom of the funnel.

A better path to success for many agencies and brokers begins with a comprehensive and consistent insurance marketing and lead generation program, providing producers with an influx of quality prospects, so they can spend more time selling and less time prospecting.

Why don’t more agencies invest in these types of programs?

They lack the internal resources necessary to execute these marketing initiatives
They plan on doing this type of marketing and lead gen, but never seem to find the time to get it done
They believe in doing business the old-fashioned way (I built my own pipeline and you can too)
They over invest in sales and under invest in marketing and lead generation
They tried it once and it didn’t work
They tried a short pilot program and didn’t see an immediate ROI

These are just a few of the reasons many agencies and brokers are unable to accomplish their insurance lead generation and top line growth goals. Regardless of the reasons, agency owners and executives should review current and past producer performance and determine if it’s time to refine their insurance marketing and lead generation programs, to improve the path to success for their producers specifically and their businesses in general. Agencies, brokers and wholesalers lacking the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake these marketing and lead generation initiatives can seek assistance outsourcing assistance from proficient insurance marketing agencies as a viable alternative to internal staffing.

Posted in Insurance

July 5th, 2015 by parker

Designed to cover professional practitioners against claims of negligence made by clients or patients, professional liability insurance goes by many names. When used in the medical profession, it is commonly called medical malpractice coverage. Notaries public also require this security, but they refer to it as errors and omissions insurance. Real estate brokers, management consultants, and even website developers are all eligible for protection.

What’s It For?

Insurance is used to protect people in case something unfortunate happens. Auto policies protect them in the event of an accident; medical policies protect them from unexpected illnesses; commercial policies protect them from a number of mishaps. If there is a fire, theft, or an accident on the job, the commercial variety will cover it.

Why You Need It

Few companies are fortunate enough to survive for a protracted period of time without getting sued by a client, customer, or employee. Liability coverage from an insurance company is the only shield most businesses have against litigious attorneys. This goes double when an employer competes in a risky industry like construction. Why?

A construction site is arguably the most dangerous working environment on earth. Not because people are careless, but because making something, anything, is risky. Workers fall down stairs; they trip on cords; they cut themselves. Builders must assume this risk and purchase the right amount of coverage from their insurance company to protect them from financial ruin. But that’s not all.

These policies not only shield the employer, but they also safeguard his workers. If an electrician falls off a ladder or a carpenter cuts himself, a liability policy will pay his medical bills. Commercial coverage will also cover most attorney fees and court costs if someone files a suit against you.

How Much Do You Need?

As you might expect, the size of the policy often depends on the size of the business. Most actuaries recommend at least one million dollars of professional liability coverage for small businesses. Large businesses and corporations obviously need a lot more and often carry huge policies. Because lawsuits are quite common in the medical profession, malpractice insurance is the most common form of liability coverage.

Most doctors have several million dollars of malpractice coverage at all times. When they work in a large practice, that figure might be five or even ten times as high. Lawyers and accountants must also carry liability because of the high rate of litigation in their fields. But what about everybody else?

Numerous Benefits

Any business that can be held financially responsible for failing to complete a project on time may need to purchase a professional liability policy from their insurance company. This includes general contractors, architects, builders, and many, many more. These policies also cover personal injury, breach of warranty, intellectual property, and security. In short, any company that has more than one employee should have liability coverage.

Posted in Insurance, Tips Finance

July 5th, 2015 by parker

Don’t invalidate your fire insurance policy.

I find this a very strange case but it just shows how important it is to read the small print as if you ignore the conditions of the policy your policy could be invalidated.

In this case it was a condition of the FIRE insurance that the SECURITY Alarm was maintained and monitored. Times had been tough for the insured and he let the maintenance of the security alarm lapse and as the ARC had not been paid for 6 months they stopped monitoring the site.

Vandals broke in and set fire to the factory. It was a furniture company and they incurred losses of over £750,000.

The case went to the High Court, the judge had nothing but sympathy for the Directors of the Company and he took ‘no pleasure’ in ruling that as it was a condition of the combined insurance policy that alarm was to be monitored by an external firm, the Insurers did not have to meet the claim.

There are often conditions attached to the insurance policies we take out which relate directly to the risk. We need to make sure our cars have valid MOTs in order not to invalidate the policy. We are required to notify the insurance company if we get a speeding fine but, to my mind oddly, you do not have to tell them if you decide to do the Speed Awareness Course rather than pay the fine.

I have just come across a case, now in front of the insurance Ombudsman, where an insurance company voided the policy and returned all the premiums because the policy holder had unwittingly exceed the value of the ‘valuables’ within their contents insurance. They had insured the contents of their house for £60,000 but there was a clause stating that the value of the valuables should not exceed 66% of this.

They had to rush their daughter to hospital, and while they were out the thieves struck taking goods and damaging the property to the value of £70,000. When assessing the claim the loss adjusters calculated that the value if the valuables in the house exceeded £40,000. Normally claims would be ‘averaged’ to reflect the under insurance, but the insurance company in this case argued that the under insurance voided the policy. As I said this case is in front of the ombudsman as I write.

Back to case in hand where a fire insurance claim was dismissed as a security alarm and monitoring were allowed to lapse. Clients of ours run a hotel and there is someone on reception all the time so if the fire alarm is activated there was always someone on duty to respond. We came round to the time when the annual contract with the ARC [monitoring station] needed to be renewed. The Hotel Manger wanted to cancel it as it was considered an unnecessary expense. I said I agreed but asked him to check with his insurers to make sure they had no objections. The Insurers confirmed; monitoring was a condition of the policy.

Often with in the insurance policy there is a clause that the fire alarm is maintained in accordance with British Standards. It would be interesting to know whether a similar claim has been dismissed as the Fire Alarm has not been adequately maintained.

Posted in Insurance

July 5th, 2015 by parker

Cyber security has become a growing concern for U.S. companies over the past couple of years, and for good reason. Information breaches have not only become increasingly common, but also much larger. Nothing illustrates the state of modern web security quite as well as the most recent breach, which saw hackers target the IRS by exploiting faulty security to compromise over 100,000 taxpayer records.

Similar breaches have also affected much smaller companies, and it’s common to see a forward-thinking insurance company racing to adapt. Here is what you need to know to determine if, first, you’re actually in need of cyber insurance and, second, what you should look for in a policy.

Are You At Risk?

If you work with customer information of any kind, then the answer is likely yes. The term to look out for here is Personally Identifiable Information, or PII. It’s not a technical term, but rather a legal term that carries some teeth if you have to deal with it.

At its root, PII is any piece of collected information that could potentially allow a third party to identify a business’s individual clients. Given how good the Internet is at leveraging even tiny hints to track down a person, that definition is awfully broad. Full names, email addresses, site nicknames, and (sometimes) even web cookies can all qualify as PII.

If you’re storing anything that falls under the PII umbrella, you’re at risk of a breach. Breaches are enormously costly, both for affected customers and for the company responsible for the loss. Companies in the healthcare and retail industries are obviously at an increased risk, but when it comes down to it, any business that makes a habit of collecting information should ask their insurance company about cyber policies.

What Your Cyber Policy Needs

You’ll need to look for a few things in any cyber insurance policy. As you may expect, a good policy should cover the financial damages directly caused by a breach. However, cyber attacks can cause financial damage in a wide variety of ways. In particular, make sure that your company is protected against:

– Losses caused by lost time and productivity. A major hack can cause company gears to grind to a halt. Find an insurance company that guarantees coverage for the revenue lost during this period.
– Indemnification caused by a third party. Few modern companies handle their data on their own. Outsourced IT support or other companies can fall victim to a breach that affects your customers.
– Loss of Reputation. Breached companies, even those that have done their due diligence, almost always take a PR hit in the wake of an attack. A good policy offers some cushioning against the customer losses that generally ensue.

Finally, also try your best to work with an insurance company that has an educational component. Some plans will also come with training to avoid a breach. As nice as protection is, it’s safe to say that it’s best left unused. Installing a set of best practices can help keep you from having to rely on a safety net in the first place.

Posted in Insurance, Tips Finance