Monthly Archives: April 2012

$1.3 Billion Health Insurance Rebates

Rebates totaling $1.3 billion from health insurance companies should go to more than 3 million individual policyholders and thousands of employers this year because of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Here’s how the law works:

– Insurers covering individual consumers and small employers must spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on medical care and quality improvements. The benchmark is 85 percent of premiums for insurers covering large employers.

– Insurance companies must provide rebates if they do not meet those standards.

Who gets refunds:

– Almost one-third of consumers in the individual market will get rebates averaging $127. These are consumers who are not covered by an employer and purchase their policies directly from an insurance company.

– Average amounts will vary significantly by state. The highest will be paid to consumers in Alaska (average of $305), Maryland ($294) and Pennsylvania ($243). On the opposite side of the scale, no individual market insurers in Hawaii, Maine and Washington, D.C., expect to issue rebates.

– Nationwide, rebates to individual consumers will total $426 million.

– In the small employer market, 146 insurance plans covering nearly 5 million workers and dependents will issue $377 million in refunds. Employers do not have to pass those on to workers. They can also opt for a discount on next year’s premiums.

-In the large employer market, 125 plans covering 7.5 million workers and dependents will issue $541 million in rebates.

Source Seattle Times

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance coverage is fairly new since it was generally unavailable until the federal government became involved. In 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to make flood insurance available to eligible communities through federal subsidization. What that means is that flood insurance is only available through government entities since insurance companies don’t provide coverage for it. The program is managed by the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA), which is a branch of FEMA.

There are two types of flood insurance programs available: emergency and regular. The emergency program goes into effect when the community applies to the NFIP and remains in effect until the government finalizes the flood insurance rates for that community. Under emergency program, insured may purchase limited amounts of flood insurance for buildings and contents at subsidized rates. Under regular program, additional coverage may be purchased that wouldn’t be allowed under emergency program.

The following scenarios are covered under flood insurance.

1. An overflow of inland or tidal waters

2. Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface water from any source, unless general flooding exists.

3. Mudslides caused by accumulations of water on the ground or underground.

4. Collapse of land as a result of excessive erosion due to flood.

(Sewer backup into a dwelling is not covered.)

Almost any building that is walled and roofed, is principally above ground, and is fixed to a permanent site is eligible for coverage under a flood policy. The policy may cover a building, its contents, or both. Coverage does not take effect until after a waiting period of 30 days following the date of application.

If you have any questions about flood insurance or would like to know more about it, give us a call at 860 684 2721 or visit our website for more information.

Cell Phones And Germs

We, as human beings, are undeniably creatures of habit. We tend to wake up at the same time, sit in the same seat on the bus and pack our bags in the same way. It’s a good way to stay organized, but according to Nowsourcing’s infographic below, some of our most seemingly benign habits, such as using a cell phone, may be making us sick!

If you like to stay healthy, clean your cell phone once a month. Just because you can’t see the bacteria doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

Just as personal umbrella policies are available to cover the catastrophic liability exposures of personal risks, high-limit Commercial Umbrella policies are designed to provide catastrophic liability coverage for business risks. Because the umbrella policy is not designed to handle usual or everyday exposures, the insured must have underlying liability coverage, such as Commercial Auto or Commercial General Liability coverage, before an Umbrella policy will be issued.

A commercial umbrella policy provides coverage in three types of situations:

1. The policy limits applying to a loss under an underlying policy have been exhausted.

2. A loss is excluded under an underlying contract but not excluded under the umbrella (the insured must first meet the retention limit)

3. Previous losses reimbursed under an underlying policy have reduced its aggregate limit so that a subsequent loss is not fully covered.

If you own a business, it is a wise decision to have an umbrella policy because if something were to go wrong, you’d have peace of mind knowing you’ll be covered.

Visit our website to get a free quote.

Happy Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is a rare occasion but this year alone we have three months with the superstitious date. The last one for this year will occur in July. Just for some laughs and maybe some scare for the superstitious people, here are 13 strange facts about this day of superstition.

1. This year is a special one for Friday the 13ths: There are three of them: Jan. 13, April 13 and July 13. The freaky thing? The dates fall exactly 13 weeks apart. That hasn’t happened since 1984.

2. If that scares you, you may have paraskavedekatriaphobia (also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia). Those are the scientific terms for fear of Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

3. It’s not clear when or why Friday the 13th became associated with bad luck. The association may be biblical, given that the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus. His crucifixion was the next day, apparently a Friday. Or maybe 13 suffers from coming after the more-pleasing number 12, which gets to number the months, the days of Christmas and even the eggs in a dozen. (There are also 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles of Jesus.)

4. Whatever the reason, fear of 13 has spread far and wide: Hotels and hospitals often skip the 13th floor, and even airports quietly omit gate 13 sometimes.

5. The next year in which we’ll have three Friday the 13ths is 2015. They’ll fall in February, March and November.

6. If you think your Friday the 13th is likely to be bad, be glad you aren’t a 14th-century Knight Templar. On Oct. 13, 1307, officers of King Philip IV of France raided the homes of thousands of these Crusades warriors, imprisoning them on charges of illegal activities. Though the charges weren’t proven, more than 100 died of terrible torture, according to “Tales of the Knights Templar” (Warner Books, 1995).

7. Fittingly, director of psychological thrillers Alfred Hitchcock was born on the 13th — Friday, Aug. 13, 1999, would have been his 100th birthday. Perhaps aptly titled “Number 13,” a film that was supposed to be Hitchcock’s directorial debut never made it past the first few scenes and was shut down due to financial problems. He allegedly said the film wasn’t very interesting. (Meanwhile, Fidel Castro was born on Friday the 13th, in August 1926.)

8. Why does the Friday the 13th superstition stick so firmly in our minds? According to Thomas Gilovich, who chairs the department of psychology at Cornell University, our brains are almost too good at making associations.

“If anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind, and all those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored,” Gilovich said in a statement. [ 13 Superstitions & Traditions Explained ]

9. For pagans, 13 is actually a lucky number. It corresponds with the number of full moons in a year.

10. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is said to have avoided travel on the 13th day of any month, and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

11. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. “It was bad luck,” Twain later told the friend. “They only had food for 12.” Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest. [ 13 Odd Occurrences on Friday the 13th ]

12. Stockbroker and author Thomas W. Lawson, in his 1907 novel “Friday the Thirteenth,” wrote of a stockbroker’s attempts to take down Wall Street on the unluckiest day of the month. Reportedly, stock brokers after this were as unlikely to buy or sell stocks on this unlucky day as they were to walk under a ladder, according to accounts of a 1925 New York Times article.

13. This fear of Friday the 13th can be serious business, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C., which, among other things, offers therapy to help people overcome their fear of the freaky Friday. Their estimates suggest hundreds of millions of dollars, up to $900 million, are lost due to people’s fear of flying or doing business as usual that day, though that number isn’t backed up with other estimates.

There you have it. Hopefully you’re not all that superstitious and can operate without fear on this uneventful day. And this is the only day Jason ever comes out to play 😉 so watch the Friday the 13th movies for a good scare.

Courtesy of MSN

Prevent Chimney Fires

Did you know that you should have your chimney cleaned once a year even if you do not burn wood in the fireplace?                                                                                                                                                             

Oil burning Chimneys can collect soot and clay over time which is the main reason to have your chimney cleaned annually but it also helps your oil burner work more efficiently.

Gas burning Chimney’s also need to be cleaned even though it is said that gas burns very efficiently.  If there is a blockage in the chimney flue, carbon monoxide could come into your home and put your family in danger.

Fireplace and wood burning chimneys needs to be cleaned more often since creosote builds up in the chimney which could cause a chimney fire.  It is said that Creosote is also harder to remove if it builds up over time.

The National Chimney Sweep Guild  and the National Fire Protection Association both recommend that homeowners call a professional chimney sweep for an annual chimney inspection.

Before they clean, make sure you ask the contractor for a certificate of insurance.

For more information on this topic, give us a call at 860 684 2721

Affordable Health Care – Is it Really Affordable?

The new Obama Care Law also known as Affordable Health Care Act is the hype nowadays. The bill hasn’t been passed yet, the Supreme Court will make a decision in June, but how this is going to play out in the next two years is going to be great for some or hinder many others with a burden.

There are obviously pros and cons to this act. The pros: preventative care, free wellness visits with doctors, insurance companies can’t deny coverage on pre-existing conditions, putting caps on deductibles, and the lower the income the lower the cap. Sounds good so far. Let’s look at the cons: shortage of doctors, supply doesn’t meet demand, the dreaded fine that everyone is worried about. That’s right. There will be a fine of $695/year if you don’t have health insurance (if the act was to pass).

This new health care law can go both ways. People living in poverty won’t be able to do much if they can’t afford it and it seems a bit unfair for them to pay the fine when they couldn’t do anything about it in the first place. I had mentioned a month before how young adults aged 18-26 were without health care and some are now on their parent’s healthcare because of the law passed in 2008-2009. The ones that aren’t on their parent’s healthcare can’t afford them on their own either and instead of saving the money, the government plans to rob them of it by fining them for failing to maintain insurance. The young adults that are living on their own have other responsibilities to take care of too such as housing, food, gas, etc without having to worry about paying the fine.

Overall, the government isn’t taking into consideration the poor and elderly in this whole Affordable Care Act. The ones that have much to lose with this new act are the ones who are unemployed (currently at 8.2 percent), living in poverty and the elderly. I wonder if Obama is trying to pass this just to get another term. Wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. After all, the government hasn’t thought about the people in a long time. It’s all about “What’s in it for me?”

What are your thoughts about the new Healthcare?

Courtesy of News-Leader