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.

Dyman Associates Insurance Group Of Companies News: Insurance Saving Tips for SMEs

In the sometimes challenging economic environment, accounting for every cost is vital for many South African business owners. According to John Kerby, Corporate Accounts Director of Risk Benefit Solutions (RBS), an independent insurance and risk specialist, insurance policies are often one of the costs that businesses look to cut due to the incorrect view that insurance may not be a vital cost necessary for the business to operate.

He says that not only is this view incorrect, but very risky, as should something happen to the business, it is not likely that business will have excess funds available to cover these unexpected costs, and that this has in the past led to financial ruin for many businesses.

He adds however that often business owners may unknowingly be paying more for their insurance policies than necessary, and while it isn’t possible to do away with insurance costs altogether, given the protection and risk cover they provide for the unknown, there are smarter ways of getting value for money.

In light of savings month, Kerby offers businesses a number of suggestions that will assist a business in ensuring that the insurance premium they are paying provides the business with value for money, thereby ensuring that it is not paying more than you should be for the necessary cover.


Organisation is Key

Ensuring that the business has a dedicated insurance file which includes all the policy information is the first step in reducing insurance premiums. Reducing a business's insurance premiums is a continual process and reviewing the policies regularly can yield savings. This review can be conducted annually, or whenever there is a significant change within the business that may warrant a review.


Assess The Business's Assets And Named Employees On Policies

Analysis of the business's listed assets, equipment and motor vehicles is crucial to ensure that the business still owns the assets listed, and if not these assets should be removed from the policy. Businesses should also update and reduce the retail values of the vehicles as often as possible, which will ensure the premiums remain both accurate and competitive. The same can apply for the valuations of business' premises.

Businesses should also review all named drivers and/or key employees identified on policies to confirm that these people are still employed by the business. Many employers simply fail to adjust their listed insured employees when individuals leave the company, which can result in significant savings given that the risk will be lowered.


Look For Irrelevant Or Repetitive Coverage

As a business evolves some types of cover may no longer be necessary. For example, if a portion of a business closes, an operational change takes place, or a division is outsourced, a business may carry coverage that actually could be eliminated.


Discuss Your Premiums

Often businesses don't take the step of advising their insurer that they would like to apply for a better rate. Frequently, insurers will discuss the premium in detail and will suggest ways to have it reduced. During this discussion, an insurer or broker is also likely to learn something new about the business that may result in lower premiums given that they understand the risk profile more accurately.

A business may also be eligible for discounts on their insurance if the property has fire alarms, Automatic Sprinkler Inspection Bureau (ASIB) approved sprinkler systems installed or burglar alarm systems. For commercial motor insurance, anti-theft devices and employees with good driving records may also reduce premiums. The business's broker will be able to determine whether the business is eligible for these discounts.


Connect With Trade Associations

Many trade associations have affiliate members that are insurance companies, and often offer substantial business insurance discounts. Memberships to such organisations are often very reasonable, and can lead to increased business through networking too.


Risk Management

Make sure the business has a sound risk management policy in place, as this will ensure that the premiums remain sustainably low in the long term. The business's claims history has a direct correlation to the premium, so it is important that the claims remain low. Spending more on security, such as cameras, security gates, alarm systems, could also assist with this. In addition, if the premises are prone to flooding, businesses may choose to relocate or take proactive measures to resolve.

Many businesses are either under or over-insured, and it is therefore important for business owners to ensure that they have sufficient insurance cover in place, but at a cost-effective premium in relation to the risk. Talking to an insurance broker can help clarify what type of cover is needed for the business in question, and also highlight issues which may otherwise have been overlooked.


Manage Risk Effectively


A business should request various options to increase the excess on the company’s vehicles, and business policy. By doing so, a business can weigh up the perceived increased risk verses the reduction in premium. For example, an increased excess per vehicle could be requested depending on how frequently the vehicle is being driven and who the driver of the vehicle is - this is one such smart way of managing the business's risk effectively.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies News: First-hand experience (almost) with fake car accidents


On May 28 of this year, Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams charged a South Philadelphia auto body shop owner named Ronald Galati, Sr. and a group of 40 co-conspirators in a nearly $5 million insurance fraud scheme. These charges were the result of a 16-month Grand Jury investigation of American Collision and Auto Center at 1930 S. 20th St. According to prosecutors, Galati would stage single-vehicle accidents because insurance companies consider them “no-fault” and routinely pay the claims without raising the car owners’ premiums. According to Grand Jury witnesses, Galati would say, “I live my life to cheat insurance companies.” Among those arrested were a former Philadelphia police officer, Douglas DiEmidio, and a mechanic with the city’s Office of Fleet Management, Robert Otterson.

Upon reading this story, I could not help but reflect on an episode in my own background that was a virtual carbon copy (remember carbon copies?) of this one. It took place around 1972, when I was a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, the nation’s oldest African-American newspaper. I had written several times about an insurance agent in West Philadelphia named Warren Scruggs, and he would occasionally call me with suggestions for legitimate human interest stories.

Warren always dressed in expensive suits, drove high-octane cars and generally gave the impression of being a mover-and-shaker. He was always dropping the names of “friends” who were highly connected politicians, athletes, business executives, media personalities, etc. He ran for City Council himself once as a Republican but lost badly.

He and his model-thin lady friend, Barbara, took my wife and me out to dinner a few times to an upscale steak-and-seafood restaurant on City Line Avenue, where he handed out big tips to valet parkers, servers, managers, etc., as if they were after-dinner mints. Naturally I assumed Warren, who was a big guy with a big personality — always laughing, slapping you on the back, etc. — was mega-successful as an insurance agent.

Then one day Warren called me and said he had a proposal for me. “I know you don’t make much money there at the Tribune, and I know you put in long hours,” he said. (At the time I was paid about $150 a week before taxes, and I was working at least 50 hours a week.) “Well, I have a way for you to make about a couple months’ pay or more, and it will require very little work, just a few hours. I have quite a few other people involved, and I thought you deserve to be in on it, too. Want to hear more about it?”

Does a giraffe have a long neck? How could I say no? So here is the gist of what Warren said:

“All you have to do,” he said, “is drive down Chestnut Street between 52nd Street and 30th Street on the day and time that I tell you to do it. You will come to a stop at a red light. Another driver will come up behind you and hit your car but not very hard, just hard enough to put a small dent in your car. You will exchange information with this person, who will be insured by the John Hancock Insurance Company.

“A couple days later a claims representative for John Hancock whose territory is West Philly will come to see you to ask you questions about the accident. He will recommend that you take your car to a particular repair shop to be fixed. You will tell him that you have low back pain since the accident, and you will also call a particular chiropractor whose name I’ll give you to get a series of treatments for your back.

“After you go for a few visits, the claims adjuster for John Hancock will offer you a settlement, maybe $3,000 to $5,000 or even more if you sign away any future claims against them. And they will pay your chiropractic treatments and the car repair shop, of course, and they will be very glad to do so. A low back pain case can drag on for years and possibly cost them a fortune, so they will be delighted to offer you the settlement to get the case off the books. Then you can go to Hawaii and splurge, which you can’t do on your newspaper salary!”

Warren pointed out that the car repair guy, the claims adjuster and the chiropractor were all in on the deal, of course, and all would get a cut of the action. I would be lying if I said that I was not tempted to get in on it, too, but of course I said no. I told my wife about the proposal, and she insisted that she would not have much fun in Hawaii if I was sitting in a jail cell in Philadelphia.

I did not think any more about it until about 10 months later when the “Big Story on Action News” was a press conference called by then-District Attorney Arlen Specter to announce the arrest of 23 people, including insurance agents, claims adjusters, auto repair shop owners, chiropractors, a medical doctor, etc. Specter said his office had broken up a massive ring of insurance scammers, and he would do his best to make sure they all did jail time. (Not many did.)

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group of Companies News Savvy Consumer: Financial housekeeping includes cleaning up your credit report

A report from the Urban Institute this week said 44 percent of adults in the Metroplex with credit reports had collection dings.

While this number has huge consequences on how much we pay for mortgages, car loans and credit cards, as well as access to jobs or rental housing, local experts caution that things are not as financially dire as the report may indicate.

Widely dispersed by the media this week, the report also said that one in three Americans with credit reports had collection problems hanging on their credit histories.

But a closer look at the report showed that some of these issues were as small as an unpaid parking ticket or membership fees. The figures include credit card debt that has already been charged insurance off by the creditor as paid or settled, but still remains on your credit report for up to seven years. Much of that activity happened during the biggest financial collapse of a generation and may not represent a current debt problem.

So let’s look at what’s really going on here.

While many are still digging their way out of the economic collapse, personal bankruptcies are down 11 percent as of March compared to the year before, said Mitchell Allen, founder and president of Benbrook-based Debt Education and Certification Foundation, a call-in service center for financial education now required pre- and post-bankruptcy.

“Bankruptcies have had a steady decline over the last four years,” he said. “We’ve had a 25 percent reduction over that period.”

Allen, who also is the author of A Survival Guide to Debt. (Greenleaf Book Group Press, $11.36 on Amazon.com) — one of the best books I’ve read on the subject — said that bankruptcies are down because of better personal financial management and tighter lending requirements.

“People noticeably aren’t spending as much and have saved a little more,” Allen said. “And there is a huge difference in the documentation required to get a loan or a credit card than there was before the recession.”

Because of the decline in bankruptcies, Allen’s company has scaled back from 40 to 30 employees, he said.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, which provides a no-cost service, has also recently closed two offices in Tarrant County because of less activity and now operates just one office in Dallas, said Todd Mark, vice president of community affairs for the company.

“There is a lot less in terms of crisis calls today than we’ve seen in the past,” Mark said. “Nationally, CCCS reports that the demand for counseling is down 50 percent over the last year.”

Calls coming into the counseling service deal more with old credit problems than recent ones, Mark said.

“Most people are two or three years in recovery and are contacting us to deal with some of the issues of their past now that they have a stable income,” he said.

Those facing such credit repair issues should consider opening up new lines of credit, whether through a secured credit card or other type of loan, to re-establish health to their credit report, Mark advised.

“It’s like the lottery — you have to play to win,” Mark said. “Credit is about borrowing and paying it back. To have good credit, you have to display responsible behavior.”

Mark said the Urban Institute report showed more of the financial problems left over from the Great Recession.

“It’s representative of the wreckage left behind from the Great Recession,” he said. “It’s not a snapshot of today. The delinquency rate on credit cards today is just 5.3 percent and consumer debt overall is much lower.”


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Dyman Associates Insurance Group Of Companies News - Judge Stays Insurer's Case Against Dewey Defendants

A federal court judge in Iowa has granted a stay in Aviva Life and Annuity Company’s civil lawsuit against three former Dewey & LeBoeuf executives for allegedly making false and misleading statements as part of a 2010 bond offering.
The judge also allowed the defendants—former chairman Steven Davis, former executive director Stephen DiCarmine and former chief financial officer Joel Sanders—to ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to hear an interlocutory appeal of his May 19 decision denying their motion to dismiss the case on grounds that the insurance company has no standing because it sold off the bonds and claims that are at the center of the case.
Aviva filed its civil suit against Davis, DiCarmine and Sanders in December 2012, seven months after the collapse of Dewey. The insurer claimed it lost 45 percent of its $35 million investment in the firm’s 2010 bond offering “as a result of false and misleading statements” by the three defendants, who are accused of violating Iowa state and federal securities laws in obtaining loans for Dewey.
Last year, the former Dewey executives filed a motion to dismiss the suit, arguing that Aviva lacked standing to file the claim because it sold the securities in question to Sea Port Group Securities for $19.2 million in the same month that Dewey filed for bankruptcy. U.S. District Judge James Gritzner for the Southern District of Iowa denied the motion on May 19 of this year.
Then, in June, the defendants asked Gritzner to stay the civil proceedings pending the outcome of a criminal case filed in March by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance against Davis, DiCarmine and Sanders as well as a fourth defendant—former Dewey client relations manager Zachary Warren—accusing them of masterminding a fraudulent scheme to cover up Dewey’s financial troubles.
Davis, DiCarmine and Sanders argued to Gritzner that by proceeding with the civil case in Iowa while the criminal case is underway, the men would have to choose between preserving their Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination and participating in their defense of the criminal trial that is scheduled to go to trial in January 2015 because both cases use some of the same evidence.
Vance’s office joined in requesting a stay in the Aviva case in June. (The office also had filed and received a stay in April from federal court in Manhattan in civil proceedings by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission against Davis, DiCarmine and Sanders as well as finance director Frank Canellas and controller Tom Mullikin, in which the SEC accuses the men of accounting fraud.)
Aviva, represented by Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton partner Helen Michael, asked Gritzner to deny the stay request, arguing that the insurer’s civil case had been delayed long enough and that 18 months had already passed without having entered discovery.  The insurer was concerned that further delay could harm its case because of statutes of limitation, among other reasons.
On Tuesday, Gritzner agreed to put Aviva’s civil suit on hold until the criminal case is resolved, writing in his ruling that the court “agrees with the defendants and [the district attorney of New York County] that the criminal case should yield a great deal of evidence that can be utilized in this proceeding once a stay is lifted.”
He added: “This court is greatly concerned about the ability of witnesses to cooperate … due to cooperating agreements they may have with [the district attorney of New York County] as well as the logistical difficulties likely to arise during the six-month criminal trial next winter and spring. The task of managing discovery herein against the competing demands in New York offers the potential for substantial conflict.”
The criminal case is slated to move forward in August with the district attorney’s response to the defendants’ omnibus motions. The next court date is scheduled for Sept. 15.
In his order Tuesday, Gritzner refused to reconsider his motion to dismiss Aviva’s suit. Instead he allowed the defendants to file an interlocutory appeal with the Eighth Circuit, noting in his order that there is no assurance that the Eighth Circuit would accept the appeal.
“The case is one of the exceptional circumstances where a certification for interlocutory appeal is justified,” Gritzner wrote, adding, “An immediate appeal may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.”
Kevin Van Wart, Davis’ attorney and a senior litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis, told The Am Law Daily: “We are pleased with the ruling and believe it was a sensible resolution.” 
Michael did not respond to requests for comment.