I hope that you find these articles of interest. If you have a topic for future discussion, please let me know. Please call anytime, we can answer questions or be of help with your business or personal insurance needs.
Insurance For Green Construction
A study by the U.S. Green Building Council estimated that environmentally-friendly, or "green" construction, would grow at a compound annual rate of 9.5 percent between 2014 and 2019. Traditional property insurance products do not adequately cover these innovative construction methods and materials. In recent years, the insurance industry has unveiled new coverages to help cover environmentally-friendly buildings and property.
The Insurance Services Office (ISO), which publishes standard coverage forms used by many insurance companies, developed a policy change form that covers the increased costs of green upgrades and related expenses. It defines "green" as enhanced energy efficiency or the use of "environmentally-preferable, sustainable" materials, products and methods in design, construction, manufacture or operation. Something is green only if recognized as such by a "Green standards-setter," which can be a private organization or government agency. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Energy Star program of the federal government are examples of Green standards-setters.
The form contains fields for entering the maximum amount of coverage that will apply to green upgrades for both buildings and personal property. It also has a field for entering an "Increased Cost of Loss percentage". If a loss occurs, the insurance company calculates the cost of repairing or replacing without green upgrades (before subtracting the deductible) and multiplies that amount by the Increased Cost of Loss percentage. The insurer will then pay either the actual cost of repairing or replacing; the result of multiplying the loss by the percentage; or the maximum amount shown on the form, whichever is least.
The form also covers expenses such as waste reduction and recycling; design and engineering professional fees; certification fees and equipment testing; and the costs of flushing air out of the building and related air quality testing.
The American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS), a competing publisher of standard forms, offers a product that covers:
Green buildings, so that they can be restored to standards required for certification. Covered costs include restoration of air quality; debris recycling; recertification; vegetative roofs; and replacement of water and electricity lost when onsite renewable energy generators or water conservation equipment are damaged.
Upgrades to non-green buildings and personal property so that they can meet certification standards after a loss.
Lost income when using green construction lengthens the time a business is shut down after a loss. Lost income from damage to renewable energy systems that provide power to public utilities is also covered.
Rather than using a formula to calculate the available amount of insurance, this form lets the property owner choose the coverage amounts.
Some insurance companies have developed their own green coverage products. They provide similar coverages with different arrangements for amounts of coverage. One provides 25 percent of the cost of the damaged property, up to amounts that vary by the policyholder's needs.
Green construction is becoming more important to property owners. These new insurance products will enable them to pay the cost of erecting and repairing sustainable buildings.
How To Set Up A Neighborhood Watch Program
One of the oldest and most trusted forms of neighborhood security is a neighborhood monitoring program. These programs have prevented thousands of crimes each month across the United States, and more neighborhoods are joining the fight every year. Citizen-based neighborhood watch programs have been around since the colonial days when night watchmen took turns patrolling the village. The modern form of this developed when police chiefs and sheriffs were looking for ways to put citizens in more proactive roles to address a growing burglary problem.
Neighborhood Watch was a special program developed and named in 1972. It connected law enforcement with citizens to provide important training. Citizens learned how to watch for suspicious activities and report them. By working together with neighbors to take shifts for watching, neighborhood residents who participated in the original program helped cut crime in their local areas. After just 10 years of the program being in existence, the National Security Agency reported that 12 percent of the population participated in Neighborhood Watch.
How To Start A Neighborhood Watch Program
Starting a program is easy when people have willing neighbors. Most homeowners are concerned about protecting their property, and this is especially true when they know that a safer neighborhood means higher property values as well. These are some helpful tips for starting a program:
Contact the local police department or sheriff's office for training information.
Contact the local victim services bureau to set up victim services training.
Look for housing authorities or other associations to link with for the program.
Host regular meetings for neighborhood residents to share ideas and become acquainted.
To recruit members, distribute information packets to all neighbors.
People who are usually home should be designated window watchers.
Set up an annual drug and crime prevention fair at a local venue.
Sponsor regular neighborhood cleanups since well-kept areas are less attractive to criminals.
Pass out pamphlets with neighborhood crime statistics to emphasize an urgency for the program.
Ask neighborhood businesses to maintain their storefronts and clean up litter.
Start a sub-program with area parents to help children walk home safely from school in adult-supervised groups.
Proper training is essential before assuming watch duties. Participants should understand that a watch program does not create vigilante roles. Everyone should know when and how to contact law enforcement for help when needed. To learn more about these beneficial programs, discuss with an agent at 314-351-HALO(4256).
Why Affluent People are More Prone to Being Sued
Because affluent people basically have a lot to lose, they make attractive lawsuit targets for attorneys who represent injured parties. This is why it is extremely important for the affluent to consider their insurance very seriously. Nobody wants to lose their entire net worth and future wages because of a very bad incident. However, this risk must be addressed before an incident happens and before it is too late to get coverage. There is no legal way to pre-date a coverage change, and dealing with a shortfall of insurance is very unpleasant and a life altering experience.
What can Happen?
All one has to do is go to Google Scholar to view the thousands of cases that have judgements of more than a million dollars. Although the most common incident is an auto accident, lawsuits can arise from a myriad of circumstances ranging from swimming pool drownings to social media libel accusations and everything in between. Whether incidents are legitimate or not, people know that affluent people have money, and, because of this, they are good targets.
Is Bankruptcy a Way Out?
Bankruptcy is not for everyone. It is harder for affluent people to be discharged in bankruptcy, because courts do not grant bankruptcy to those whose assets exceed their debts. Asset movements can be traced, and hiding money is not a solution. Even if a wealthy person qualifies for bankruptcy due to a very large judgement, the person will still lose much of his or her assets, and the person's credit will be damaged for at least 7 years. Bankruptcy can also adversely impact a person's employment, especially if the person's employer can perform an employment credit check. Bankruptcy can also affect business owners, because it hinders their ability to get loans or reasonable interest rates. For such people, if bankruptcy is even an option, it is a very bad option.
When there is more at stake, attorneys will spend more time on a case. Attorneys in these cases often work for a contingency of about 30%. Consequently, they have a lot of skin in the game. They have a lot to go after, which includes your assets and your wages. They can wear you down until they get what they want or what they think the case is worth. They can emotionally drain you through this process. If they do not get what they want, they will file a lawsuit against you, which can put you in a difficult situation.
How to Protect with Insurance
Insurance effectively applies in serious incidents only if you have a lot of coverage, which means an umbrella policy that covers you above and beyond the amounts of coverage provided by your auto and homeowners liability policies. The more coverage you have, the more protection you have against losing your assets and having your wages garnished. Affluent people should carry at least 5 million dollars of umbrella insurance coverage, although a few insurance companies offer 50 million dollars of coverage or more for the very wealthy. There are no rules about how much coverage you should get, and getting only the amount of your net worth may not be enough, since injured parties can still come after you once your insurance company has paid its policy limits. It is wise to discuss coverage amounts with an attorney and your insurance agent. Nevertheless, it is necessary for affluent people to purchase an umbrella policy.
The best part about an umbrella policy is the legal protection that you will receive from Insurance companies and their attorneys, who know how to manage these incidents. Actually, insurance companies on average spend significantly less than someone would on their own, simply because they have the experience and expertise to handle these claims. They will manage your case and will pay damages up to your policy limits. This takes a significant load off of everyone who has the misfortune of enduring this process.
Successful people have too much going on in their lives and too much to lose. This is why it is extremely important to address insurance issues as your finances change and not to wait for a serious incident to turn your life upside down.
Is It Time to Consider Long-Term Care Insurance
There are many reasons why you should consider long term care insurance: it allows you to better protect your savings and assets; it helps you control both the type of care you receive and the location or setting where care can be provided, and it gives you and your family peace of mind knowing a plan is in place - should the need for long term care arise.
Nationwide the average cost for a Nursing Home care stay is now over $6,000 a month, Home care (not home health), but assistance with Activities of Daily Living is a non-covered service by Medicare, nor are home modifications are non-covered services by Medicare, such as ramps, stair lifts, bathroom modifications or hand rails. With Long-Term Care beneficiaries can still maintain a decent lifestyle without exhausting their estate just before death due to modifications that were necessary to help keep the loved one at home.
Not sure you are a right fit for Long Term Care Insurance? Ask yourself a couple of questions and see which ones apply to you:
1) Do you know anyone who has ever been in a nursing home?
Did their insurance cover everything? If not, how did they cover the costs?
Did they go to the best facility, or just one they could afford?
2) Do you know anyone who has needed temporary help after a medical procedure?
Did their loved ones have to miss work to help take care of them?
Did they need help with everyday things? (dressing, bathing, going to the bathroom, eating, moving around, etc.)
3) Do you have the resources to cover an extended stay in a facility?
Do you want to leave your loved ones something when you pass?
Do you want your family to be financially responsible for this?
You might be thinking Medicare will help with you or your spouse's long term care expenses. Unfortunately, that may not be the case. You will find in the Medicare Buyers Guide that Medicare covers inpatient skilled nursing care - but only if it's necessary to treat an improving medical condition and services are provided at a Medicare approved facility and the person spent 3 days as an inpatient at a hospital (page 35). You will also find Medicare covers home health care - but only if it's ordered by a Medicare approved physician and the person is incapable of leaving the home and services are rendered by a Medicare approved provider and the person requires more than just assistance with activities of daily living. (page 32). What many are surprised to know is Medicare doesn't cover assisted living or adult day care.
What may be of concern to you and your family is according to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the government agency that administers these benefits, 70% of people 65+ will need Long-Term Care Service at some point (page 122). Moreover Medicare does not cover any services related to Long-Term Care. So if you answered yes to any of the questions above, it may be time to meet with your trusted adviser and plan for the changes you will experience with age. Call us today 314-351-HALO(4256)