“I’m Brian Fellows!”

I don’t know about you but I am geeking out a little over the return of Tracy Morgan to Saturday Night Live tomorrow. A super fan of SNL and 30 Rock, Tracy has made me laugh hysterically more times than I could ever count.

My happiness isn’t only about seeing an incredible comedy actor star on a favorite show but more so, alongside many of his fans, we’ve missed him and we’re relieved that he is once again capable of doing what he loves and comes so naturally to him…making us laugh.

If you hadn’t heard about it, Tracy was in a fatal 6 car crash back in June of 2014. After an 8 day coma he awakened to a broken femur, leg, nose, ribs, and a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Up until his recent appearance at the Emmys and one reported standup performance, Saturday’s SNL hosting gig will be Tracy’s first time back at it after having to put his life and career on hold in order to heal for the last 16 months.

If you missed him on the Emmy’s you can guess it was emotional. He cried, I cried, the audience applauded and gave a standing ovation and in true Tracy form, he made us laugh when he said that after he regained consciousness after the accident, “I was just ecstatic to learn that I wasn’t the one who messed up.”

Now because I’ve grown up in the insurance industry I can’t help but think about how disability insurance plays into this. I know that most people (including myself) believe that “something like this would never happen to me.” But let’s face it, it can happen to anyone. Car accidents happen every day and we could only hope for the full recovery that Tracy is beginning to experience.

So what happens in this situation if we aren’t able to perform our job for 16 months (or more or even less)? How do we pay for our homes, utilities, groceries, and other monthly expenses (while also potentially shelling out money for medical expenses)? If we have a spouse or family, how do also continue to provide for them? How do we keep from depleting our savings? And most importantly (I have said it before and I will say it a million more times), how do we heal when we’re stressed and anxious about money?

Disability insurance policies are there to provide you with a portion of your income if you can’t work due to injury or illness. If income protection is something you’ve never thought to look into, it’s worth the time. We can only control so much in this life and it’s important to have things in place to protect what’s most valuable to us; our families, our future, and our ability to earn an income.

I hope you will join me in celebrating Tracy’s recovery and return to the comedy world; welcome back Brian Fellows!

Melody I. Herman

Insurance Specialties, Inc., Pine Street Insurance
Broker specializing in Disability Insurance, Holistic Agent, Lover of Comedy
melodyherman@insurance-specialties.com
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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!

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

They Work Hard for the Money…So Help Them Protect It: Broker Newsletter

Disability Insurance: It’s as important to the living (and their families) as life insurance is to the beneficiaries; it’s not just for the societal elite.

  • For the white collar/executive market, we have companies that are extremely competitive and offer a true own-occupation with a residual/return to work benefit.  Though not inexpensive, there is a great value to these well-defined and constructed policies.
  • Contractors, roofers, trades people, police and fire department personnel, and truck drivers, to name a few, fit this blue-gray collar category.  Whether they own their own businesses or are employees, they all need disability coverage!  We work with multiple carriers and will share numerous approaches to help these clients.
  • Don’t forget about the availability of executive carve-out and salary continuation plans!  Many highly compensated executives are actually discriminated against in their company’s group plan.  (Stay tuned, we will share more on the solutions to this concept in a later issue.)

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

Instant Disability Quote

Business Owners and Disability…Keeping the Business Running: Broker Newsletter

Do you have business clients that:

  • Own a business?
  •  Are partners with 1 to 5 others?
  • Are members of a small corporation with less than 10 principals?
Business overhead is there to protect the business in the event the owner, partner, or working shareholder becomes disabled.  As agents and brokers, it is our responsibility to make certain we provide our business clients with Business Overhead Expense Insurance.

BOE will pay the expenses of the business in the event of a disability and is a 100% tax deductible expense to the business!

Here are a few covered expenses:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Employee Salaries
  • Telephone
  • Loan Payments
  • Professional Services (Legal/Accounting)
  • Professional Replacement
  • Advertising

For a few pennies on the dollar, your business client can protect all that he/she has built. In the event he/she is unable to return to work, the business can be sold as a going concern.

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

 

Join us for Health Insurance Awareness Day!

Due to the recent spate of inclement weather, the originally scheduled date of Thursday, February 19th has been changed to Tuesday, March 10th. Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, members of City Council, Buncombe County Officials, and citizens of North Carolina have been invited to participate in a community gathering to celebrate Health Insurance Awareness Day. The event will take place from noon to 1:30 P.M. at the Dr. Wesley Grant, Sr. Southside Center located at 285 Livingston Street (next to Fire Station #2), Asheville, NC 28801. Members of Western North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters will help educate the community at large regarding the vital role of the health insurance agent. It is essential that consumers fully understand that other insurance exists beyond The Affordable Care Act.  Our members are all licensed health insurance professionals whose careers are based on helping consumers with health insurance issues. Western North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters is the Regional arm of the North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters which belongs to the National Association of Health Underwriters headquartered in Washington, DC.

Light refreshments will be available.

For further information, please contact:

Andrea Block, WNCAHU Media Chair

828.667.1119

What’s Happening in our World of Insurance This Week

Our very own President of Insurance Specialties, David M. Block and Vice President, Andrea M. Block have headed to Washington, DC for the annual National Association of Health Underwriter’s (NAHU) Capitol Conference.  As Federal Law and Legislation Chair of both the Western North Carolina and North Carolina State Chapter, David and other Board Members will be lobbying NC Congressman Mark Meadows and Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr for changes to the Affordable Care Act for what David says, “would make an immediate impact on large employer groups.”

Here is what David had to say in his recent Letter to the Editor piece for The Citizen-Times, Asheville:

Let’s Get the Count Right – Full-Time means Forty Hours

Relief Needed for Employers in their efforts to comply with the Affordable Care Act

Many of you know I am a licensed insurance agent … I make no bones about my chosen profession and take pride in providing protection to individuals, businesses, and families.  I belong to several industry associations that serve the needs of agents and help keep us updated on pending legislation and its ramifications.

As a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters, representing over 100,000 employee benefit and individual health insurance professions, I am writing to address one easily fixed aspect of the Affordable Care Act — knowing who is actually eligible for employer sponsored health insurance.

The law requires employers with fifty or more “full-time equivalents” to allow their “full-time” employees (those working 30 or more hours per week on average) to enroll in the company’s health insurance plan.  The issue is, many business owners are finding it nearly impossible to know who those people are because they don’t have the time to figure that out, or money to buy software or services that would identify those folks.

 The fact is, that every other set of federal laws considers Full-Time to mean 40 hours per week.

Thus, they are left frustrated and confused by the process and the requirements of documenting why an employee was included or excluded from coverage.  In addition, by having this lower number of hours equal full-time, many employees (who already consider themselves part-time) cannot obtain subsidized coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The United States House of Representatives has already passed a bill (HR 30 – Save American Workers Act of 2015) and similar bipartisan legislation is being considered in the Senate (S. 30).  As someone who works with employers of all sizes, I know that if this legislation is passed and signed by the President, it will make the burdens of implementing the Affordable Care Act a little more bearable.

 Please encourage Senators Burr and Tillis to pass this legislation.  In addition, do not forget to write or call the President to ask for his help getting this law passed!

Best of luck to the all of the NAHU representatives from around the country in making an impact; as their motto says, “stand up and be heard.”