We can all use a refresher on how to save money when buying homeowners insurance. The editors from Kiplinger and the nice people at YouTube have enabled us to share the following video, that offers some key tips.
Archive for July, 2010
Okay, we all know that insurance underwrites use actuarial tables to asses risk factors and set premiums for each applicant. When it comes to life insurance, the higher your risk of dying early in life, the more expensive your insurance will be. There are two risk factors that you can control, and doing so will not only improve your quality of life, but also help you save money on life insurance.
If you’re overweight, and want to improve your health, lower your risk factors, and save on life insurance premiums, shedding pounds will help do all of those things. Please understand, we believe people are beautiful whatever their sizes, and we understand that one’s weight is not a measure of his or her self-worth, but losing weight can also help reduce high blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and take you out of risk categories for heart disease and some kinds of diabetes.
The other act of self improvement that can lower your life insurance rates is quitting smoking. Again, we understand that smoking is an addiction, and we’re not judging anyone, but if you run any kind of search for life insurance as a smoker, and then again as a non-smoker, you’ll notice that those folks who are nicotine-free get lower premiums. Kick the habit, save some money.
Now, no one is saying that serious weight loss or ending decades-old smoking habit is easy, but many health insurance plans actually include coverage that can help you with guidance and/or treatment for both factors, and the hard work you’ll have to do may have positive effects beyond those you’ll see in your life insurance payments.
Two cities in Mississippi have enacted legislation making it mandatory for owners of pit bull dogs to have insurance.
In Brandon, owners of pit bulls have two months to obtain necessary permits, and will be required to have liability insurance and special pens for the dogs. Flowood residents, on the other hand, have only one month to obtain their permits.
The local paper, the Clarion Ledger is reporting that leaders in both cities were unanimous in their adoption of regulations of pit bull dogs and similar breeds last week.
Under the new regulations, pit bull owners must have a pen of at least 100 square feet, with a roof, a concrete floor, and a chain link fence at least six feet tall. Those residing in Brandon must have their pens in a fenced back yard. In addition, owners must have at least $100,000 of liability insurance.
Violators of the new regulations can be fined up to $1,000 and jailed for up to three months.
You already know that shopping online can save you money on health insurance, but now the state of California has established a system that will alert consumers via email when new health insurance rates are filed in their individual markets.
Speaking to the press, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said, “We want as many people as possible scouring these rate filings to ensure they are mistake-free. The e-mail notification tool will expand access to these documents by informing the public of when there are new filings to peruse. This additional analysis, in conjunction with scrutiny by the Department of Insurance’s in house actuaries and independent actuaries retained by the Department, will help ensure that consumers are protected and insurers are spending 70 percent of premiums on medical benefits, as required by state law.”
Consumers who wish to participate in this program should visit http://www.insurance.ca.gov/email-updates/ and select which of the Department of Insurance’s updates they would like to receive.
Recently, Commissioner Poizner also that he wanted to create transparency by posting all health insurance rate filings for the individual market on the California Department of Insurance’s Web site. They can be found at http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0250-insurers/IndHlthRateFilings/, where interested readers are also able to post comments which will be read by CDI attorneys.
Additionally, Poizner announced that the rate filings of the four largest insurers in California’s individual health insurance will be subject to deeper scrutiny, by having them analyzed by an outside actuary. After today, the only large insurer that doesn’t have an active filing with the CDI is Health Net.
Health insurance rates in California do not require prior approval from the Department of Insurance the way homeowners and auto insurance rates do, but state law does require that seventy cents of every dollar collected in health insurance premiums must be spent on medical benefits. The actuarial review being instituted will allow verification that insurers are complying with this law.
There’s a common statistic which says that roughly fifty percent of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce.
If you’re among the fifty percent, because you’re in the process of or have gone through a divorce, chances are good that your life insurance policy wasn’t a major point of concern. After all, when you’re discussing custody or arguing over who gets the house and who gets the dog, insurance policies don’t seem all that important.
Nevertheless, one of the questions that will eventually arise is what to do about the spouse who is the designated beneficiary on your life insurance policy.
Unfortunately, there is no one true solution to this issue. In some cases, you may not have a choice in how the policy should be handled, because the divorce settlement will dictate that, perhaps by preventing any changes to benificiaries or ownership, or making subsequent changes invalid. Alternatively, the court could rule that in order to ensure that child support or alimony continues, the life insurance policy must be maintained for a specific length of time. The court can also rule on which party will maintain ownership of the policy, and therefore has the ultimate decision on beneficiaries.
In some cases, courts also establish a lapse provision, which ruling will generally specify that if the policy lapses, the divorced spouse and children are entitled to a percentage of the policyholder’s estate that is usually equal to the death benefit of the lapsed policy.
We aren’t lawyers, and wouldn’t presume to offer legal advice, but if you are in the process of a divorce, we suggest you bring up any life insurance policies during the settlement negotiations. Doing so now could save a lot more heartache later.
Three months after the passage of the health care insurance reform plan, people are still complaining that we don’t need universal health care. Some state governments are even suing the feds because they feel universal health care is somehow unconstitutional. Rather than going into a long-winded explanation of why we’re for universal health care, we offer this video, gleaned from YouTube.
Amidst constant concern about the next extension of unemployment benefits (due in September) come some numbers from theAmerican South. Specifically, there were job gains posted in Louisiana and Texas last month, but losses in both Arkansas and Oklahoma.
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, that state’s seasonally adjusted non-farm employment improved by 5,800 jobs in the period from May through June, with the first recorded over-the-year increase in jobs since December 2008.
In Texas, the total non-agricultural jobs increased by 14,000 in June for a total of 166,100 since the beginning of this year, making it the sixth month in a row that the Lone Star State has seen improvement, at least according to Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken. Sectors that added jobs in June include, manufacturing, construction, mining, and logging, as well as education, health services, and professional and business services.
The numbers out of Arkansas and Oklahoma are less encouraging, however. In the former, there was an 8.200 decline in the workforce, with most of the lost jobs coming in the public sector, though some jobs were added in educational and health services, manufacturing trade, transportation, and utilities.
In Oklahoma, on the other hand, the number of unemployed people (after seasonal adjustment) grew by 1,010, or about 0.8 percent of the state’s population. Despite this, Oklahoma’s 6.8 percent jobless rate is below the national average of 9.5%, and below the other states in it’s region, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
The June seasonally adjusted unemployment rates are 7.0 in Louisiana, 7.5 in Arkansas, and 8.2 percent in Texas.