Sunday, 7 December 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies: 10 Insurance Mistakes to Avoid in 2015

At least a few of the 365 days in 2015 will include a calamity or two for your bank.

Many will be small. A few might be large. Some that start small might morph into large.

Make sure your bank’s insurance is up to the task of protecting your assets from the calamities.

Here are some insurance mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1: Ignoring coinsurance penalties in your policies.

Coinsurance is a penalty inside many policies that can hurt you at the time of a loss. It’s a penalty assessed when your insurance company thinks you are underinsured.

Ask your agent if you have coinsurance provisions in any of your property insurance policies. If so, ask why.

I have long held that having coinsurance penalties in an insurance policy is a good indication that your agent is not looking out for your best interests. Push hard to have the coinsurance penalties removed from your insurance coverage—and take a hard look at the quality of your insurance agent.

Mistake 2: Maintaining inadequate umbrella liability limits.

Umbrella liability insurance provides protection above and beyond the coverage included in your general liability, auto liability, and employer’s liability insurance. It’s an inexpensive way to increase your level of protection against someone suing you.

Premiums can be as low as $750 per $1 million of coverage. My minimum recommended limit for any bank is $5 million. (If your bank has over $300 million in assets, consider $8 million.)

The coverage is cheap, and the exposure can be huge. The most likely cause of a multi-million dollar lawsuit for a bank is an auto accident, probably an employee of the bank driving his or her personal vehicle. Consider the potential lawsuit against your bank if a vice-president driving her personal car hits a school bus.

Mistake 3: Having inadequate data-breach/privacy mitigation coverage.

Insurance agents have been (correctly) pushing cyber-liability insurance for several years. While I want my bank clients to have cyber-liability insurance, it’s the second part of the policy—privacy mitigation—that I'm most concerned with.

If you have a data breach, you’ll have to notify your customers. Expenses in mitigating a privacy event can reach $100 to $200 per breached name. Have a breach involving three thousand names and you have just spent between $300,000 and $600,000.

I see $500,000 of coverage as a minimum. Consider $1 million.

Several insurers are now expressing coverage in terms of a number of affected people. (One insurer provides coverage to notify up to 10 million individuals.) Your agent can get you information on your coverage and the cost of higher limits.

The extra coverage is almost always worth the relatively small premiums.

Mistake 4: Inadequate extra expense coverage.

Undoubtedly your property insurance covers the repair of a building damaged by fire or windstorm.

But how about the increased cost of operations for the six to eight months it takes to get you back into the building?

• How will you pay for rental of a temporary location?

• Or the cost of bringing in a mobile banking center?

• How about the cost of fitting out your temporary office quarters with power, phone, and internet connections?

Your branches should have at least $250,000 of extra expense coverage. Your main offices may need as much as $1 million.

Mistake 5: Tracking customer property insurance yourself.

Banks can no longer afford to track customer’s insurance. Why?

The insurance is too cheap and the cost of outsourcing too low for your staff to take on this onerous task. Taking this off your plate will also make your regulators happier. (There is currently a regulatory hate-fest going on over force-placed insurance coverage.)

Talk with the insurance broker handling your force-placed insurance about alternatives to in-house insurance tracking.

Costs are as low as $6 per year, per mortgage for insurance tracking.

Mistake 6: Failure to understand the call-back exclusion in your bond.

Your bond insurer has certain expectations regarding how you will prevent funds-transfer fraud. A common policy provision is the requirement that you perform call-back verifications on transactions over a certain dollar amount. (Insurers often use your deductible as the threshold for requiring a call-back.)

Some insurers are adding additional warranty provisions. One insurer requires that call-backs be documented with a voice recording of the call-back. Understand the provisions in your policy. Talk with your agent. Negotiate the removal of onerous requirements.

Mistake 7: Not knowing about—and addressing—shared directors and officers limits.

Do lender liability or employment practices liability claims reduce your coverage for future directors and officers claims?

Many management liability policies have an aggregate limit that is equal to the limit of coverage for D&O claims. This has the effect of reducing coverage for future claims.

For example, if you have a policy with a $5 million aggregate limit, a $5 million D&O  limit, a $2 million employment practices liability limit, and a $2 million lender liability limit, then a $1 million employment practices liability claim means there is only $4 million left available to pay a later D&O liability claim.

Check with your insurance advisor. Ask if your limits of coverage within the management liability insurance are separate. Show your agent this article.

Mistake 8: Not looking carefully at your bank’s own flood insurance.

Your bank’s package policy may include flood insurance. Many have an exclusion for locations located in flood zones. Some policies exclude locations where you could have purchased NFIP/FEMA flood insurance.

Ask your agent to detail for you which locations are included in flood coverage and which are not. Better yet, have your agent build a spreadsheet of your locations showing each location as a row. Columns should be the amount of property insurance, the flood coverage at that location, extra expense coverage at that location, and other coverage limitations that apply individually to buildings you use.

Mistake 9A: Not reviewing your coverage’s employee dishonesty exclusions.

Your bond insurer expects that you will be diligent in whom you hire. Your bond includes restrictions of coverage that are automatically activated if an employee has committed a past dishonest act. These exclusions can be triggered by events many years ago that have nothing to do with employment or your bank.

I urge management to discuss known dishonest acts by any employee to assess the insurability of an employee. A shoplifting incident when a teller was in high school can mean no coverage if that teller embezzles from the bank.

Mistake 9B: Not understanding that employee dishonesty losses involve intent to defraud and personal gain.

Lately I have received a number of calls from bankers complaining that their bond did not pay for a loan officer who falsified documents so that a friend could get a loan.

You may wonder how this can happen.

The employee dishonesty coverage in your bank’s bond pays for an employee stealing from the bank for his personal gain. There must be an intent to defraud or hurt the bank—and the employee must also realize a financial gain (or expect to gain) from the fraud.

No intent to defraud, no coverage—and no actual or expected personal gain, no coverage.

Mistake 10: Failing to review your bank’s insurance annually.

You rely on your insurance agent to provide advice and insurance guidance. He is a resource you should be able to depend on. An annual review of your insurance coverage will help keep your coverage up-to-date.

Meet with your agent about 120 days before your insurance expires. Go over the coverage you have now and your agent’s plan for the upcoming renewal.

Here are a few questions that can prompt useful actions:

1. Which insurers would you suggest we consider at renewal in addition to our current insurance company? Why?

2. What coverage limits should we consider increasing? What is your basis for determining if we have the right amount of coverage?

3. What are your three most pressing concerns regarding our insurance program? What coverages are we missing that we should have?

4. What actions can we take that will make us more attractive to insurance companies?

5. What trends do you see affecting our insurance over the next three years?

Your coverage isn’t perfect—count on that.

What I’ve outlined in this article are just some of the issues I find when I review the insurance coverage purchased by a bank.

I have worked with over 400 financial institutions. Not once have I seen the perfect insurance program. On average I identify over 20 insurance issues to be considered and discussed in my coverage reviews. I think the record is 65 potential gaps and overlaps.

When we do get the policies straightened out, a renewal comes up and insurers change the policies they offer you. The insurance policies you buy this year are dramatically different from those your bank bought five years ago. Coverages change. New insurers come on the scene. The insurance marketplace evolves, devolves, improves, and regresses.

Share this article with your insurance advisor. It can start the conversation towards improving your confidence in your bank’s insurance coverage.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies: What Hospitals Can Do to Prevent Health Insurance Fraud


Health insurance scams are on the rise, and the government and health care organizations are renewing their focus on stopping them.

While most health insurance providers are honest, there are some that sell fake policies and medical discount cards to their customers.

Advances in technology, better availability of information and greater awareness have helped the government, medical facilities, physicians and consumers combat fraud more effectively these days, but there is still a lot more to be done.

Here is a look at some common health insurance scams and measures that hospitals and other medical outlets can take to prevent them.

Fake Health Insurance Policies

Health insurance scammers often target individuals, small businesses and associations, and they try to trick them into buying their fake policies by promising low premiums and guaranteed approval without medical exams.

Many of them operate through sophisticated syndicates that have strong marketing and money-laundering capabilities, and they may even be linked to organized crime.

Usually, people who have purchased fake health insurance do not know that their policies are fake until they need to file claims.

Fake Obamacare Policies

While the implementation of Obamacare promises better health coverage for Americans, it also opened a new way for scammers to prey on health insurance buyers.

According to an article entitled "Health Insurance Scams Using Health Care Bill," health insurance scam artists began targeting seniors, low-income people and others who need health insurance desperately as soon as the new health care bill was passed.

While some of them offer fake Obamacare policies, others try to commit identity theft by telling their targets that they need their social security and bank account numbers to help them get a national health card.

Phony Medical Discount Cards

Phony medical discount cards are usually presented as a way to get discounts for various medical services or an alternative to health insurance.

These cards are often sold to low-income individuals and families. They come with lists of phony health care providers, fake discounts and high hidden fees, but they do not provide actual benefits.

Some of the sellers of phony medical discount cards also try to get people to disclose their personal information in an attempt to steal their identities.

Reducing Health Insurance Scams

There are a number of things that hospitals can do to prevent health insurance scams.
First of all, they can try to raise awareness of these scams and provide advice on how to avoid them. This can be done by sharing information about health insurance scams on their websites or newsletters, or during consultations.

Additionally, hospitals can use fraud detection software to combat health insurance fraud.
The Fraud and Abuse Management System developed by IBM is an example of software that can help them reduce financial losses that result from health insurance scams.

It detects fraud by analyzing claims data and identifying insurance providers that deviate from the norms of their peer groups. Some hospitals have set up special investigation units to prevent health insurance fraud.

Health insurance fraud can have serious consequences for patients, medical organizations, insurance providers and the government.

It is a costly crime that should not be overlooked.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance: Province drives through auto insurance rate reductions

Ontario has passed the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014, which will help the provincial government continue to fight fraud and abuse, reduce costs and uncertainty in the auto insurance system and protect more than nine million licensed drivers across the province.

With the passage of the bill, the province will strengthen consumer protection and help keep the auto insurance system fair, reliable and affordable by:

-Transforming Ontario's auto insurance dispute resolution system to help injured Ontario drivers have their disputed claims settled faster and get the benefits they require sooner;

-Providing consumer protections specific to the towing and vehicle storage industries through measures that require tow and storage providers to make their rates available publicly; accept alternative forms of payment from consumers, such as credit cards, and not insist on cash only; and provide an invoice, including an itemized list of the services provided and the total cost, before demanding or receiving payment;

-Giving the province authority to change the current 60-day period that a vehicle can be stored after an accident, accruing charges, without notice to the owner where required.

These changes will contribute to lower claim costs for insurers and more certainty in Ontario's auto insurance system, helping to reduce rates for drivers.

-Reducing auto insurance rates is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

In August 2013, the province announced its plan to reduce auto insurance rates for Ontario drivers by a target of 15 per cent on average within the next two years.

From August 2013 to August 2014, auto insurance rates dropped by an average of more than six per cent.

An independent third party has assessed the impact of auto insurance reforms introduced to date on both costs and premiums. Its 2014 Annual Report was recently delivered to the Minister of Finance, who is now reviewing it.

The report affirms that the September 2010 auto insurance reforms have been successful in reducing costs and stabilizing rates for Ontarians and that the government’s current strategy has reduced average rates for Ontario’s drivers.However, it also notes that more action must be taken in order to meet the government’s average rate reduction target by August 2015. The full report will be released very soon.

So far, the province has taken action to address more than half of the 38 recommendations made by Ontario's Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force aimed at preventing fraud and helping to protect consumers, including key proposals for licensing health service providers that bill auto insurance companies directly, enhancing oversight of the towing industry and transforming the auto insurance dispute resolution system



Sunday, 7 September 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies Tips: 10 Answers To Credit Card Questions





Credit cards come with a lot of fine print. But the scene isn’t just complicated for cardholders; it’s complicated for the retailers that accept them, too. What needs signing, and what doesn’t? When can a store ask for ID? Are they allowed to charge different prices for cash and credit?

Six years ago, Consumerist answered your questions about these rules and others.

But since then, the law has changed, and so have the agreements the credit card companies have with the merchants who accept plastic. Here’s what you need to know now.

1. Can a merchant set a minimum purchase amount for credit card transactions?

Yes. According to both the Visa (PDF) and MasterCard (PDF) merchant agreements, a merchant may set a minimum transaction threshold for credit card purchases.

There are some conditions, though. For both MasterCard and for Visa, the minimum purchase amount…

- must not exceed $10
- must apply equally to card types from all issuers — so a Signature card or a Gold card from Capital One or from Chase all face the same minimum.
- The MasterCard agreement that also specifies a merchant may not establish a different minimum for “MasterCard and another acceptance brand,” which basically translates to “if you want to take MasterCard, your minimum transaction threshold needs to be the same for every credit card user.”

2. Can a merchant charge more (or add a fee) for using a credit card?

Yes, they can — and that’s a relatively new thing. Since a legal settlement in 2013, merchants have been able to charge their customers additional surcharges for paying with a credit card.

3. Can a merchant ask to see my ID? / I wrote ‘See ID’ on my card, so I am protected from fraud… right?

This one is a little complicated. Sometimes merchants are supposed to ask to see your ID, and sometimes they’re not. Writing the words “See ID” on the back of your card doesn’t actually help you.

4. Sometimes I have to sign for purchases and sometimes I don’t. What’s the deal?

Over the past few years, credit card companies have rolled out programs allowing for faster, no-signature-required transactions at many businesses.

5. Will I still have to sign for purchases after the big upgrade next year? What is the change next year?

American credit cards are getting an upgrade in 2015 to become more secure, less susceptible to fraud, and more like their European siblings.

6. Can a merchant put a “hold” on my card for more than I spent, or for what they think I will spend?

A “hold is when a merchant effectively tells your bank or credit card company to set aside a certain amount of money for an impending purchase. It’s most frequently seen at restaurants and hotels, where customers’ tips or add-on charges can’t be predicted in advance.

7. Can a merchant make me agree to not issue a chargeback if something’s wrong?

Nope. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have a right to dispute transactions.

MasterCard’s merchant agreement simply says, “A Merchant must not impose, as a condition of MasterCard or Maestro Card acceptance, a requirement that the Cardholder waive a right to dispute a Transaction.

8. Everyone says I should never use my debit card, because credit cards have fraud protection and debit cards don’t. Is that true?

They both have some fraud protection. However, if someone takes your debit card on an Xbox-buying spree, that’s a few hundred dollars missing from your bank account until the situation is fixed. If someone does it with your credit card, the problem can be sorted out before you have to pay the bill.

9. Doesn’t my credit card give me extended warranties and other benefits?

Probably! Card-issuing banks offer a wide variety of quiet benefits, not really advertised, to their cardholders.

10. How do I report a merchant that’s not playing by the rules?

If a merchant does try to pull anything they’re not allowed to around credit cards, you can report them. Visa and MasterCard both have easy-to-use online forms for doing just that. American Express card holders can do it by calling the 800 number on the back of their cards.



Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies Tips: Be Careful Where Personal Information is Shared


TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - On July 23, law enforcement officials arrested seven suspects, from Russia to New York, after they allegedly hacked into more than 1,000 StubHub accounts and placed orders for over 1.6 million tickets.

According to the BBB of Southern Arizona this data hack was different from the one Target experienced in 2013; this information was stolen directly from consumers computers via viruses downloaded onto personal computers or through smaller data breaches on other websites.  The victims of this StubHub breach have been notified and many have already received refunds.  The BBB of Southern Arizona is reminding consumers to be careful and aware of where they share personal and financial information online, this stored information can easily be stolen by scammers and used to steal identities or empty bank accounts. 

The BBB reminds the public to check their credit reports and bank statements regularly for unusual activity, as well as to make sure anti-virus software is updated.  They are also offering the following tips to avoid falling victim to a data breach or identity theft:

Quick action - act fast to dispute the charges and limit liability; many companies have a 'zero' liability policy after reporting the loss or theft of a credit card, or when there is a data breach.  Write a follow-up letter to confirm the loss was reported.

Know your rights - policies are not the same across all credit cards or debit cards, though federal laws protect both. Many credit card consumer liability is largely limited; if the loss is reported before the card is used under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you are not responsible for any charges you did not authorize.  If the card number is stolen, but not the card, you are not liable for unauthorized use.  Debit cards are protected under a separate Electronic Funds Transfer Act, protection is tied in to how fast the theft is reported.

Check with insurance provider - check policies (homeowners or renters) they may cover losses due to fraud. 

Credit freezes/alerts - a credit freeze prevents any lender from accessing credit reports or scores as part of a credit application.  For those who been a victim of ID theft or accounts have been compromised and an Identity Theft Report has been created, an extended credit alert can be placed on the account as well. A minimal fee may be required.  An extended alert could last for almost seven years.

For more infomation visit our facebook page and follow us on twitter @DymanAssocIns.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies Tips: How to avoid being victim of insurance fraud

DALLAS - For years Frenchitt Collins worked as a legitimate insurance adjustor. He was able to pull off a major insurance fraud by luring in victims with ads.

Ultimately Collins was sentenced to 15 years in prison and was ordered to pay $700,000 in restitution to his victims.

"Those P.O. boxes were rented by him (Collins), his wife, his brothers, or his girlfriends," said Bodon.

In order to attract clients with ads, he would go ahead and offer them $100 or $200 to use their identifiers.

Once that information was received, Collins went ahead and completed medical forms necessary and sent them to insurance companies.

The goal of these ads was to lure in more victims.

Insurance companies would then send Collins checks, lots of checks.

Federal officials said insurance fraud is a $30 billion business in the U.S.

"It is very lucrative for the criminal to perpetrate the crime because it’s low risk and it’s high reward and they know that," said Fred Lohmann of the National Insurance Crime Burea.

Experts are saying this abuse is costing all of us.

"The fact that this crime is occurring and is so prevalent in the U.S. it taxes resources federal, state and local that have to actually go in and investigate the crimes," said Lohmann.

To avoid becoming part of insurance scams do not give your Social Security number unless you are positive you are dealing with someone legitimate.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies Tips: Money-saving tips plentiful; small changes add up

Don’t buy a tech device just as a new version comes out, David Pogue says.

Who doesn’t want to save money? You’ve probably heard basic money-saving advice, such as never buy an expensive item on impulse. Wait a day or two and mull it over.

Then there’s the old standby tip: Put aside your loose change from your wallet or pocket every day. At the rate of 50 cents a day, you would have a small emergency fund of $182.50 in a year. But making small changes can add up, too

AARP’s fifth annual ‘‘99 Great Ways to Save,’’ published this month in AARP Bulletin, provides some interesting tips from experts in home improvement, finance, food, and more.

To see all 99 ways to save, go to aarp.org and search for “99 great ways to save.”

Even if you’ve heard them before, it’s good to be reminded how little effort some saving tips take.

Home improvement expert Bob Vila’s tips include:

- Unplug it! ‘‘Vampire’’ electronics consume power even when turned off. A typical household can save $100 a year using smart power strips, which cut electricity to devices in standby mode.

- Install a low-flow showerhead. You won’t even notice the difference, Vila says, because a low-flow fixture reduces the volume of water but does not affect the water pressure.

Yahoo Tech founder David Pogue offers these tips:

- Learn when new gadgets come out, so you don’t buy something just before it’s made obsolete. In general, a new iPhone model debuts each September, and a new iPad every November. New cameras come out in February and October, and everything else is timed for the holidays.

- Consider a prepaid cellphone. You pay before you make calls, instead of after you’ve made them.

- Talk to far-away family members using an app like Skype, which is available for smartphones, tablets, and computers, or FaceTime, for Apple phones, tablets, and computers. You chat for free over the Internet.

Jean Chatzky, AARP financial ambassador says:

- Shop around for insurance. Auto insurers have a tactic called ‘‘price optimization.’’ They raise premiums based not on your risk factor, but on how much of an increase they believe you will accept. When it’s time to renew, ask your current insurer to do better.

- You can get your credit score for free at creditkarma.com and credit.com.

- At what age should you start collecting Social Security? The magic number is 80. If you’re single and you think you will live past it, wait until age 70 to begin collecting, to receive the maximum benefit. For couples, as long as you believe one of you will live past 80, the higher earner should delay as long as possible.

Tips from Holly Phillips, internist and medical contributor for CBS News:

- Switch to generic drugs. The price is usually lower, as well as the copay.

- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smokers pay more for insurance and require more medications and doctors visits. Cigarette smoking costs the United States up to $333 billion annually, including at least $130 billion in health care costs.

- Ask about independent facilities for radiologic tests. Having an MRI at a hospital costs an average of $1,200, but the same procedure at independent facilities costs about half that.

- Take advantage of wellness benefits. Many employers offer incentives for participation in exercise and other health programs. Insurance companies may offer a payment to those with gym memberships.

- Take your medications regularly. Many costly hospital visits are for conditions (like asthma or high blood pressure) that were managed well with medications until they worsened when the patients skipped doses.

Tips from Samantha Brown, AARP’s travel ambassador:

- For cheaper flights, look to the earliest and latest flights of the day.

- For weekend travel, stay in a business hotel. The road warriors are gone and so are the high prices. These hotels will be in the business district, which isn’t always the most vibrant part of town. But that’s a small trade-off if you gett a good deal.

- Avoid conventions. Cities such as Washington, Las Vegas, and Orlando have the best hotel rates when conventions are not in town. Check out a city’s official tourism website under Convention Calendar to spot the best times for a visit.

- Head to ski resorts in summer and beach locations in late August or early September.

- If hotel rates seem sky-high, there are often cheaper alternatives. Consider finding a room on sites like homeaway.com and airbnb.com; you’ll pay less and feel like a local.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies Tips to Consider for First Home Buyers

Stay Focused on Home Purchases

THUNDER BAY – MONEY – The housing market is hot, in part to low interest rates and home prices that were low for many years. Given that the purchase of a home is typically the largest purchase one will make in their life, jumping into the market and competing against other aggressive bids can be intimidating. The last thing anyone would want when buying a home or property is to have regrets afterwards, especially for those first time home buyers. Here are some tips to consider for first time home buyers.

Make sure to get Pre-Approved

It would seem like it’s a given, but many first time home buyers will assume they’ll know how much they can spend on their home based on online mortgage calculators. It’s important to setup a meeting with your bank or mortgage specialist, since they can provide information to you on what price range you should be looking in, and specifics to consider like property taxes, and other monthly expenses you’ll want to factor in.

Consider Renting for the Short-Term

Despite all the good that comes in owning a house, such as building home equity, it’s important to ask yourself how long you plan on staying in that house. If your long term plan is still not known because of your job, or personal situation, it may be better to rent in the short term. Buyers need to realize all of the expenses renters don’t need to worry about like property taxes, and home owners insurance. This also isn’t considering any unforeseen maintenance costs that could arise.

Skipping the Home Inspection

Many new home buyers may try to cut costs and skip out on a home inspection. Forgoing the fee that inspectors charge to perform a search to flag defects of the property could potentially save you thousands in the long run. These are the types of decisions that you do not want to regret down the road.

Leave your Emotions at the Door

In a competitive market like we’re in, where multiple offers are made, you don’t want to make an emotional decision. Over bidding for a house that you’re not in love with and that has some red flags may not be the best move. Put in a bid that you deem to be fair value for the house, instead of putting in a bid based on what you believe will out bid other offers.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of important factors to consider when purchasing your first home. You want to make sure you feel good about the purchase, and it’s not something to grow to regret. Should you have any questions about getting pre-approved for a mortgage, or refinancing your current mortgage, feel free to contact me.

If you would like to sign up for my free monthly investment newsletter, feel free to email me at anthony.talarico@f55f.com with your name and email.

Anthony M. Talarico
Financial Security & Investment Representative

W: (807)343-4788 ext. 424

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies Tips: Your options for Medicare supplemental coverage

Medicare health coverage is fairly comprehensive. But if you need a lot of care, Medicare can leave you with significant out-of-pocket costs. That’s why most people have some kind of supplemental insurance to help cover the costs that Medicare doesn’t.

Choosing a supplemental plan that makes sense for you is not always easy. Here are some tips that will help.

What are the types of supplemental coverage?

About a third of people with Medicare have supplemental insurance from a former employer. If you are lucky enough to have this type of coverage, it is probably your best option. Be careful if you ever decide to drop it—you may not be able to get it back.

People with low incomes may qualify for their state’s Medicaid program (and other related programs) that cover Medicare premiums and prescription drug costs.

If you don’t fall into these categories, you may want to consider buying either a private Medicare supplement plan (often called “Medigap”) or a Medicare Advantage plan. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and you should do careful research before selecting one or deciding to change your current coverage.

What are Medigap plans?

Medigap plans work with original Medicare and pay costs that are left over after Medicare has paid what it covers. Depending on the plan, they pay for some amount of Medicare’s deductibles and co-insurance. They do not usually offer additional services, so they will not pay for an item or service that Medicare does not cover. For example, they do not cover prescription drugs, so most people with original Medicare and a Medigap plan also buy a Part D plan.

Medigap plans are sold by private insurance companies. These plans come in several different categories, each designated by a letter: For example, “Medigap Plan F.” Every plan with the same letter must offer the same benefits, so it is easy to compare plans from different insurers. In addition, these plans have to follow state and federal rules.

What are Medicare Advantage plans?

Medicare Advantage plans are different from Medigap plans. Medicare Advantage plans are run by private insurers that contract with Medicare to provide all Medicare benefits. Many of these plans include prescription drug coverage, and some plans also offer extra services that are not covered by traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans usually have provider networks that limit which doctors and hospitals you can go to.

Medicare Advantage plans also have rules about what you will have to pay out of pocket that differ from the rules for traditional Medicare. Sometimes these rules are beneficial and can protect you from high out-of-pocket costs. For example, a Medicare Advantage plan may have a low copayment for office visits. But sometimes you may pay more for a service if you have a Medicare Advantage plan compared to traditional Medicare.

What factors should I consider if I’m deciding between buying a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan?

There is no insurance that is right for everyone. Here are some key factors to consider:

·         Medicare Advantage premiums may be more affordable than Medigap premiums.
·         Medigap may offer better protection against high out-of-pocket costs (deductibles, copayments, and co-insurance) than Medicare Advantage.
·         Medicare Advantage plans may offer extra services not covered by Medicare.
·         Medicare Advantage plans can change what services they cover every year. Medigap plans usually do not change what they cover, but they can, and do, raise premiums.
·         Medicare Advantage may limit your choice of doctors to a particular network and may require you to get a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist. Medigap will not.

One key concern is that in many states, Medigap premiums can increase as you get older. And if you decide to drop your Medigap plan, you may have to pay a much higher premium to get that plan back in the future—if you can get it back at all. So be careful about making any changes to your Medigap coverage.

When can I enroll?

Normally, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7. Once you pick a Medicare Advantage plan, you must stick with it for the whole year (unless you qualify for a special enrollment period).

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies News: Tips to get low mileage car insurance companies

In the event that you drive short of what the standard miles, then you must select the low mileage auto protection to spare cash. Here are the points of interest that you must think about it.

Get a low mileage auto protection can aid individuals in sparing a lot of their month to month accident coverage installments.

Despite the fact that not all the auto protection suppliers offer this sort of rebates, yet now various accident coverage suppliers offer this. The explanation for it is very basic. The drives, who drive less meet with less mishaps than those drivers, who invest heaps of time on the streets. Presently how about we observe the approaches to seek the low mileage accident coverage cites from the collision protection companies.

Search for the companies that offer low mileage collision protection:
If your present accident coverage company is not offering the low mileage collision protection rebates, then you can look for the low mileage auto insurance agencies, which have practical experience in offering this kind of protection scope. Take the assistance of the Internet to search for the companies that offer this kind of protection. In the wake of discovering the companies that offer this kind of low mileage accident protection, you will have the capacity to spare heaps of cash on your collision protection. Be that as it may in the meantime, remember that you need to hold up till the time you get the extension to recharge your arrangements before exchanging the companies. It is on the grounds that, there are various companies that involve robust scratch-off punishments on the off chance that the auto managers drop their approaches early.

Ask the neighborhood auto protection executor:
Another most critical venture of getting low mileage accident coverage rates is to contact with your nearby accident protection operator. Yet before you apply, illuminate the accident protection supplier about the progressions throughout your life for which you have begun driving less. Plus, likewise say on the off chance that you have any second vehicle that you utilize once in a while or just while heading off to the work. At that point protect that vehicle as the non-essential vehicle and spare heaps of cash by driving lesser miles.

The collision protection companies, which offer low mileage accident coverage scope chiefly consider the subtle elements like where you live or the location of your working environment. Along these lines, on the off chance that your working environment is found close to your home, there are risks that the accident coverage company will offer the rebates without asking any extra inquiries. Yet on the off chance that your home and work environment are placed at an impressive separation, then you may need to face a couple of inquiries before getting the low mileage rebates.

Search for the pay as you drive choices:

This is one of the new alternatives in the auto protection approach in the USA. Nowadays, there are various accident coverage companies that compensate the drivers, who drive truly less with this kind of collision protection approach with low rates. With this kind of strategy, the accident protection rates are charged on the premise of the amount of the miles that the auto managers drive.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies News: Don’t Let Car Rentals Burn A Hole In Your Pocket – Check Out These 5 Tips



You have planned your holiday well; taken the train/plane to the nearest destination; found a good hotel and booked a car to take you to the exotic locations nearby. But when you have to pay for the rented car, you get the shock of your life. The final bill is way over what was advertised or what you expected. And then it becomes a brain-racking, loathsome exercise as you try to decipher the extra costs and charges that have been added to the bill while you continue to argue that those things were never mentioned in the first place.

Such incidents typically spoil the holiday mood, but you can actually avoid it and need not allow car rental to burn a huge hole in your pocket. Just follow these five tips and things will change for the better.

1. Try to research and book well in advance
If you are planning a holiday, you mostly book flights and hotels/resorts well in advance after proper research. Do the same for car rentals if you don't want to pay exuberant prices. You will find plenty of options and information online. What's more, you will also find numerous consumer forums on the Web where reviews and ratings of various car rental agencies are posted. Thus, it is best to decide and book in advance. You should have a good idea about costs and options before going.

2. Try to avoid booking from airports, major city markets
Many people book their cars from airports that are nearest to their holiday destinations. But it usually costs you more as car rentals present there will charge much more and some useless taxes will be added as well, depending on city limits. And the same thing happens when you opt for a car rental operating in the main city areas. They are bound to charge you more than the suburban car rental agencies. But those operating far away from established marketplaces like airports, bus stands and big hotels often face tough competition due to their out-of-city presence and their charges are usually lower than the city and airport-based agencies. Therefore, first take a cab to your hotel and settle down. Next, go to those car rental offices located at the outskirts of the city and hire a car for your entire trip.

3. Get the fuel policy right
Sometimes, car hiring services insist that you have to bring the car back with the tank full. If you are accompanied by a driver, the charges could be higher than self-driven rental cars. Some agencies opt for fixed charges for the first few hundred km covered and then a cost per kilometer travelled. But when the pricing also depends on the amount of fuel used and the fuel in the tank on return of the car, it is best to go for a full tank policy where you pay upfront for the total fuel in the tank at a fixed fuel rate per liter. It doesn't matter how much fuel you use on the trip. If you use more than one tank, you only have to pay for the extra at a petrol station.

But the full tank policy may not be too good if you are not going to use the entire tank. It means you will have to pay for the fuel you have not used. In such cases, go for the fixed charge plus the rate per kilometer one if you have a fairly accurate idea of the distance to be covered. Else, go for the full tank policy.

4. Beware of the insurance whammy
Car rental companies usually provide a standard insurance for the rented vehicle that states the standard charges to be paid as insurance. But at the end of the trip, you may get a punch of extra charges on account of stuff like damage to parts of the car like tires and windshield, which are not covered under standard insurance.

In order to insure against those additional damages to the parts of the car which are not covered by standard insurance, there is a provision called excess damage waiver insurance. This will insure you against damages to windshield, tires, etc. (these often occur if the person driving is not an experienced driver). But this is where car rental companies charge a huge amount, which can be double your total insurance cost. So it is important to read the entire insurance document before making the choice of the policy. Enquire about all possible terms and conditions before you pay up.

5. Photograph your car before and after the trip
Quite often, car rental agencies charge you extra for minor damages (at the sides or near the bottom are the most likely places) even though you have not caused them during the trip. However, there is no evidence to support your claim and you will end up paying the extra amount. It is, therefore, judicious to take proper photographs of the car before you start the trip and get them endorsed by the car rental people to determine the actual state of the car. Also take photographs just before the end of the trip and it will show that you did not cause those scratches or dents which were already there. Matching the two sets of photographs will help resolve any issue that the car company may try to raise in order to charge extra under the miscellaneous or admin costs.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies News on 9 Need-to-Know Tips for Buying Annuities

You're probably something of an expert in your own field—and that field probably isn't insurance or annuities. How, then, can you work through the minefield of clauses, guarantees, and pages of small print? Here are nine ways to start.

While you may feel uncomfortable doing this, you're the one putting down thousands of dollars, and you have every right demand this. Remember: caveat emptor! It's the buyer who must beware; you must protect yourself. Ultimately, the language in the annuity contract is what matters, but it doesn’t hurt to memorialize your verbal agreement with the agent in writing.

Hopefully your agent is totally honest and will help write the agreement, and both parties can sign and date it. If the agent starts to waffle, trust your instincts.

Tip No. 1 – Buy an annuity only for the contractual guarantee. You're only guaranteed what's written into the contract. The language must be simple to understand. If you don't understand it, don't sign it.

Tip No. 2 – Protect yourself against default by the insurer. At a minimum, the insurance company should be A rated or higher by all rating agencies. In addition, many states have a fund that insures annuities up to a certain point. If your state has a $100,000 per policy limit, and you wanted to spend $200,000 on annuities, you're better off with two separate $100,000 policies. While annuities seem low risk, many people who had annuities written by AIG were quite concerned when the company went under.

Tip No. 3 – Demand full disclosure of fees. Many variable annuities can have management fees as high as 3%, but the fees are often hidden. There is, however, a simple way to make them very clear. Insurance agents often have a program that can project the yield from the variable component of the annuity based on any number that they put in. Ask the agent to run the projection at 0%.

Tip No. 4 – Avoid a "captive" agent. Instead of buying directly from the insurance company (a captive agent) consider dealing with a general agent who represents several companies. The agent can shop prices and coverage and get the best package to suit your needs.

Tip No. 5 – Consider taxes. While no one I know enjoys paying taxes, keep them in perspective. The right product with a safe company should be the first issue you deal with. However, the tax structure for each product is slightly different. The agent should be able to easily show you your liability per payment.

Tip No. 6 – If it sounds too good to be true, it normally is. You may have heard of annuities offering great yields – well above what you could expect to earn in the current market. Much like credit cards offering big rebates, when you read the small print, you are likely to find it's only for a short period of time or there's some other limit on it. Don't get caught up in the hype. The better it sounds, the more due diligence you should do.

Tip No. 7 – Get the agent to sign on his promises. When both parties finally come to agreement, you (the party writing the check) should look at the other person and say something to the effect of: "To protect both of us, let's agree upon what we agreed upon." Write the date and the names of the parties, and then start numbering the points.

Tip No. 8 – Demand a quote for a single premium immediate lifetime annuity with a death benefit, and compare it to the other options. The monthly income for the single premium life annuity should be your base number, as it’s one of the simplest annuities out there. As the agent starts to add "smoke and mirrors" to the equation with additional features, compare the payout to your original single premium immediate lifetime annuity.

Tip No. 9 – Compare one annuity feature at a time. Don't let the agent bamboozle you with multiple new features at once. If he wants to sell you an inflation rider, a death benefit, and a ramp-up period, don't compare this annuity to the basic one.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies News: Wealthy Wednesdays - Insurance Tips to Remember


Have you chosen the right insurance for yourself? Sarju Simaria, CFO, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance gives you few points to keep in mind

Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. This means you as a customer make an offer that, in lieu of a premium payment, the life insurance company shall upon an occurrence of a contingency (death, disability, or an accident) linked with your life, secure the financial needs for your family by paying them the amount assured.

On the onset of any of the above said mishaps, it's important that you know how to make the best out of your life insurance policy. For this you need to:

Understand your needs and get the right advice

The uncertainties of life, death, sickness and old age support cannot be left unattended or uncovered. Financial security and protection are sacrosanct under any situation–unexpected emergencies, demise or living for too long. Therefore it is imperative that you recognize the risks in your life and take appropriate measures.

Having recognized the risks, spend some time understanding your needs. In order to do this, make an assessment of your income flow, your expenditure, and your present and future obligations vis-a-vis your lifestyle. Once that is done, consult an insurance advisor, a person whom you can trust and who can offer you honest advice.

Be candid with your insurance advisor

Be candid with your insurance advisor about your risks, your needs, your financial assessment and your aspirations. Evaluate product options and features, and ensure that your needs are met from his/ her propositions. Get a full understanding on premium terms and the cycle of premium payments, availability of guarantee of return, lock in period, implications of premium default etc. Compare a number of policies before narrowing down on one; since it will help you get the best deal.

Read, understand and check the details

Understand the benefits illustrated in case of a term cum savings product, where attention should be paid on deductions and the value allocated to the fund. Do not buy an insurance product to oblige a relative or a friend. Learn to say 'no' if you are not convinced.

Never sign a blank proposal form. Provide honest and correct disclosure in the proposal form and do not hide or distort your medical history. Wrong statements or information would defeat the whole purpose of seeking an insurance cover as it can lead to non-payment of insurance claim by the insurance company to your family.

Do not ask for a rebate from your agent. This is prohibited.

In case of medical complications an insurance company may make a counter offer to provide you insurance with higher premium. This should ring alarm bells, since this means that the doctors and underwriters think your medical condition puts your health in a higher risk category. Hence, think carefully before you reject the counter offer.

Carefully read and check your details in the policy and pay special attention to the details of your name, age, contact, nominee, plan name, policy term, premium amount, premium paying term, premium due dates etc. The policy document set also contains a copy of the proposer form submitted by you, so don't forget to check it. Rectify any errors in the details of your policy documents, immediately.