Vacation All I Ever Wanted

 It’s a pretty incredible time of year if you’re living where seasons change.  The grass is still green, the leaves are changing colors and beginning to float to the ground, and there’s a crispness in the air.  While we want to bask in the present moment and enjoy all things Fall, we know that the holiday season is soon approaching.  And for many, that means travelling!

As insurance industry professionals we are hardwired and/or trained to educate others on ways to plan for the unexpected.  So if you, a client, or someone you know is anticipating overseas travel, an International Medical Insurance policy should be taken into consideration.

Why? Anything can happen!

Picture yourself savoring the taste of delicacies from a foreign land then uh oh, food poisoning! Or taking in your exotic surroundings and oh no, twisting your ankle! It can be aggravating enough to have to tend to these small things at home let alone a new place where you may not speak the language or know the lay of the land. This is where an International Medical policy steps in to help, especially if you need to be transported to another area to get the care you need!

Policies will vary based on needs, travel time, deductibles, and amount of coverage…but that’s why we are here to simplify and guide you through the various products and options available.

Common plans include:

  • Individual & Family
  • Business Travel
  • Employer Sponsored Group Plans
  • Student Exchange Programs, International Students, & Student Travel
  • Extreme Athletics & Adventure
  • Mission Trips
  • Marine Crew & Captain Members

 

Even if you have a tendency to over pack, do not fret! An International Medical Insurance policy won’t take up any space and you and your clients will be happy to have “brought it” along!

 

 

Safe Travels!

 

Melody

 

 

The Talk of The Town

Have you heard about the integral role Voluntary Benefits will be playing in the future of employee benefits???  If you are a group producer, we are certain you have!

For some companies, many of these benefits will be offered in lieu of the employer paying due to cost of providing health benefits to employees.  For others, it is a mechanism to enhance the value of being an employee of that business.

So what is being offered in today’s Voluntary (or Buy-Up) marketplace? It’s not just your group life, short or long-term disability, accident insurance, vision, or dental.  Today, the offerings go on to such plans as whole life, universal life, critical illness, legal shield and/or identity theft, concierge services, pet insurance, homeowners, and the like!  There appears to be no limit to what is being offered depending on the industry and company location.

Other changes to consider are the manner in which these benefits are offered.  We still have the traditional face-to-face group meetings followed by the one-on-one.  However, if there is a large group, that process is far too cumbersome and time consuming; that said, some insurers are offering to do this for you with no loss of compensation.

As a rule, if the case is large enough, you will want to offer a specialty web portal for the company that includes training pieces to help the employee (and their family) make the proper voluntary benefit selection.  At the very least, you will want online or telephonic enrollment.  The latter’s’ benefit is that there is a person that can help the employee to better understand what they have available.

Taking this to the next level are carriers that provide these benefits not on a group chassis but on an individual (and portable) platform.  Do not get lost in the analysis and try not to over complicate the process.  Even if you have an enrollment company assist you, it is better to let a group of professional enrollers take on the case then to sit and learn on the job.  The overall enrollment will increase and your client will be far happier with the results.

From the less expensive group basis to the individual platform, we can help you and your clients make the best-informed decision.  Please let us know how we can together, help your clients tailor and enhance their benefit offerings.

It is our advanced knowledge and understanding that drives us forward.  Let us share our expertise with you!

From My Perspective

May is considered Disability Insurance Awareness Month, but every month should be.

If you told me a year ago I’d fall in love with Disability Insurance I most likely would have laughed and rolled my eyes. Weirder things have happened but I’ve been struck by cupid’s arrow! Why am I so passionate about Income Protection? Thankfully I have never suffered from an injury or illness that kept me out of work; however, I have lived for a lengthy period of time without an income stream.  I can attest to the stress and anxiety that can accompany the inability to pay your bills and basic life expenses.  In addition, I have watched friends and families close to me struggle both emotionally and financially when either they,  a parent, or spouse had breast cancer, a stroke, a heart attack, became paralyzed from spinal nerve damage,  tore a rotator cuff, or endured a knee replacement to name a few. These disabilities and illnesses, all of them out of the blue, either temporarily or permanently took away the ability to earn an income.  Some suffered a tremendous financial loss without an income protection plan in place and some were able to focus solely on healing as they had a disability insurance policy.

Who is to say if I ever would have landed in the insurance business had it not been for growing up in it and joining forces in my family’s business, but here I am, destined to share knowledge and help others.   As we all know, insurance is all about protecting the “what-ifs.” We insure our cars, homes, and phones, but why not our life, income, and health?  The disconnect is evident and I am here to say, even as an industry professional and someone who believes in insurance, I totally get where the “non-believers” are coming from .

Personally, I embody the attitude of looking on the bright side and like most other Millennials and Gen-Xers, no matter what I have seen or heard about, I live with an attitude of, “that will never happen to me.” I take very good care of my mind, body, soul, and spirit; I eat nutritious and unprocessed foods, I do yoga, meditate, steer clear of drama, focus on what’s real, and regularly “check in” with myself.  I rarely get sick and to take it a step further I usually go for the homeopathic and spiritual remedy before taking medications or consulting a medical professional.   At the same time I cannot disregard the fact that really random and unexpected things happen in this world!   The more stories I hear from friends, strangers, clients, other industry professionals, and my parents (aka my business partners who have been both specializing in disability insurance for over 30 years), and the more in depth I get in on this topic, the more I have wondered, “if given the opportunity to protect your income in the event something happens to you, why wouldn’t you??”

There are so many facts, figures, numbers, and statistics that ultimately make the argument for income protection a no brainer, and while I feel it is important to share them all with you, I would rather throw out the what I consider to be the essentials (throw with love, of course):

  • A disability is an illness or injury that keeps you out of work for an extended period of time
  • Some of the most common causes for disability claims that you may be unaware of are cancer, stroke, pregnancy, depression, anxiety, heart attack, diabetes, back pain, arthritis, joint & musculoskelatal disorders, lyme disease, broken bones, and autoimmune disease
  • Disability Insurance replaces part of your salary if you’re unable to work due to the illness or injury
  • Worker’s comp does not cover illnesses or injuries unless they are caused on the job
    • 95% of disabling injuries and illnesses are not work related
  • Social security will only cover you if you are totally disabled and unable to perform any job
    • Before you can even file a claim you must have been totally disabled for at least 5 months
    • 65% of SSDI claims are denied
    • It could take up to 2 years to receive a benefit
    • The average benefit paid is around $1,000 per month (would that cover your expenses?)
  • If you are fortunate enough to have disability coverage from your employer you absolutely must review what you have with a licensed disability insurance specialist!
    • You may not have the coverage you think you have
    • If your employer pays for your coverage, you will be taxed on the benefit you receive (you already will receive only a percentage of your paycheck, usually 60%, if you then subtract taxes you may need additional coverage to cover the gap)
    • Depending on the stage of your career, unless you plan on staying at your company until retirement, you CANNOT take your disability insurance with you if you leave
    • After a financial review, any great agent will be more than pleased if they find you have all the coverage you need
    • If your employer doesn’t offer disability benefits, I would be happy to discuss various options with them
  • If you were smart enough to put an income protection plan in place at the beginning of your career, chances are your income has increased just as your financial responsibilities have. You may need more coverage, but as I mentioned above, any great agent will be excited to review your policy and find you are truly taken care of!
  • If you are at the beginning stages of your career (or have begun a new career), chances are you are not yet earning the income you expect in the future…plans can be customized with options as your income grows and needs change (without having to prove future medical insurability)
  • If you are in a profession where you have invested a great deal of time and money such as law or medicine, wouldn’t want to protect that investment?
  • The younger and healthier you are, the lower the cost of disability insurance (same goes for life insurance)
  • If you own a business you are responsible for more than just yourself!
  • If you have a family you are responsible for more than just yourself!
  • If you live with a significant other and share expenses you are responsible for more than just yourself!
  • If you are single, you ARE responsible for yourself!
  • You might want it, but not everyone can get disability insurance!!
    • Not only do you need the income and income stability, you also have to be in fairly good health (keep in mind if you do have an unfavorable medical history, we have expertise with hard to place cases).
    • Make sure you work with a broker that understands the underwriting requirements with different companies.

If we think we have control over our lives we are fooling ourselves! While there are actions we can take to minimize the risk of needing any insurance, doesn’t it make sense to protect that which we cannot predict?

We are here to help and answer questions. We have the knowledge and ability to tailor plans to your needs, desires, and financial capabilities. We work with many of the strongest insurance companies in the industry, and as a brokerage agency we only recommend carriers with the best plans for your occupation, health, and goals.  We are licensed in numerous states and can assist you no matter where you live.

While I will not negate the fact that I know my stuff, it is comforting to know that I have access to individuals with a deep understanding that can only come with decades of practice.

 

 

Protecting Partners and Saving Business Relationships: Broker Newsletter

The Role of Disability in the Buy-Sell Agreement

In today’s article, we want to spend a few minutes discussing an often overlooked plan for your business clients … a Disability Buy-Out Policy.  We will not apologize for the plethora of information, its dry nature, and the newsletter’s length; we know of no other way to discuss an involved product such as this!

Similar in nature to life insurance sold for buy-sell agreements, this plan exists to cover a need.  Instead of death, the trigger is a disability.  These plans have long elimination periods, 365 days, 540 days, or 730 days depending on the carrier. Unlike triggering a life insurance benefit, clients may be able to return to work so you don’t want the benefit started too soon. Besides, what partner or shareholder would not want to return to their business?

Valuation

We won’t get into valuation methodologies (which are important to help determine the partner/shareholder value) as they are too intricate.  However, the amount of coverage allowed for each partner/shareholder is predicated on his or her ownership percentage.

Who and how many to cover?

As a rule, you do not have insurers willing to cover more than 4 or 5 partners as it would prove too costly.  In addition, the principals can more easily fill in if another partner/shareholder becomes disabled.  According to Principal Financial, “A buy-sell agreement is not required in order to purchase DBO insurance, but one must be in place at the time of a disability claim.  In the state of New York, the buy-sell agreement must be in place before purchasing DBO insurance”.

How is it purchased?

There are two methods of paying for the coverage: entity purchase and cross purchase.  Once again, just like life insurance, you select the one that best fits the needs of the client.  Too many policies are cumbersome (and expensive), so often with 3 or more partners/shareholders, the entity purchase will make the most sense.

How does the policy pay out?

The payout on these policies will rely on the total amount at risk.  With multi-million dollar agreements, the benefit is normally paid as a partial lump-sum followed by monthly installments.  They can also pay out in monthly installments only with no lump sum.  Lastly, smaller amounts ($1 Million and less) can be paid in a lump-sum, which is the cleanest and easiest.  No matter, a buy-sell agreement will be required at time of claim to determine the valuation method used, the benefit amount (percent of business), and the validity of the claim.

How can we help?

If you need assistance in forming a plan for your business clients, we are here to help.  We have built a successful track record in developing buy-sell agreements, that when combined with new individual disability policies, have generated substantial premium discounts for the client.

Please reach out to us so we can make your process easier!

800.358.8844

info@insurance-specialties.com

http://www.insurance-specialties.com

http://www.facebook.com/insurancespecialtiesinc

https://twitter.com/isi_psi

When the Success of Your Business Lies in Someone Else’s Hands: Broker Newsletter

If you work with business clients, you know that many have at least one “key employee.” These individuals provide a vital service, fill an important role, and/or help generate income for the business. In turn, if that employee were to become ill or disabled, it would be difficult for the owner(s) to fill the shoes or find a replacement.

Think of:

  • A manufacturing company that has a key foreman or machinist, whose loss would be detrimental to the company,
  • A key salesperson whose relationships with certain accounts are vital to the survival of the business,
  • A small sales team whose administrator provides all of the operational, client management, and back-end support,
  • A CFO, CIO, or other C-Suite executive of a larger corporation.

The loss or absence of any of these key employees due to a disability or illness, even in the short term, could result in a financial loss to the business!

In order to help protect the business, Key Person Disability Insurance exists to provide the financial resources to keep the business moving and find a replacement if necessary.

  • Key Person Insurance can provide the means to Recruit, Hire, and Train a replacement, and/or offset a portion of the financial loss.
  • The employer is the Applicant, Owner, Payor, and Beneficiary of the policy, provided that the employee agrees to be insured.
  • Premiums are not deductible to the company; however, the benefits are tax free.

At Insurance Specialties Inc., we are here to help you design and implement the most comprehensive and competitive plan based on the carrier strength, occupation, health, and goal of your client.

It is our advanced knowledge and understanding that drives us forward.  Let us share our expertise with you! 

800.358.8844

info@insurance-specialties.com

http://www.insurance-specialties.com

http://www.facebook.com/insurancespecialtiesinc

https://twitter.com/isi_psi