Thursday, February 26, 2009

US travel insurer fails leaving customers without cover

Cruise travelers who purchased travel insurance from Colorado-based Prime Travel Protection are learning that the insurer has gone out of business. A statement on the company’s website informed customers that it had “initiated an orderly liquidation of services.” The brief statement added that customers would be contacted in writing regarding claims processing and that appointed counsel would handle all inquiries. Customers have been advised that if they hold a policy issued by Prime Travel Protection for upcoming cruise travel, they will not be covered and need to arrange for alternative travel insurance. They will need to dispute charges for any coverage purchased with their credit card company for a refund.

One particular situation that customers have been told to be aware of involves the waiting period for pre-existing medical conditions. Typically, to receive a waiver for such as condition the insurance needs to be purchased within 14 days of making an initial trip deposit.
For those affected by this provision, Access America, a travel insurer, has indicated that given the demise of Prime Travel exceptions might be possible and will be considered based on individual circumstances, according to spokesman Mark Cipoletti. One travel agency has come forward to help Prime Travel’s clients. Ron Russo, the vice president of Best Price Cruises has said that all of the failed insurer’s customers who purchased their travel insurance along with their booking with Best Price will receive a replacement policy at no additional charge, provided by the fully-licensed insurer, iTravel Insured, Inc.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Times Are Tough, But Cutting Car Insurance Costs Now Could Cost You Later

Cutting Car Insurance Costs is tempting when money is tight...but there can be some devastating consequences to doing that. Be careful how you decide to save money and cut costs. Auto insurance is an important asset! (NAPSI)-In times of economic uncertainty, people look for ways to save money--from clipping coupons to limiting meals out. But cutting back on certain things now could mean heftier bills later. That definitely holds true for car insurance--an accident could cost hundreds, and you don't want to be stuck with the bill. Drivers need to stay insured to protect themselves, but there are ways to save real money on your insurance. Here are a few tips from leading car insurer Progressive:

Stay Covered. If finances are tight, you might consider downgrading to minimum-limits, liability-only coverage to save money. But that may not be enough--if you cause an accident, your insurance might not cover all the damages. Carry the right physical damage and liability coverages with sufficient limits to meet your needs so that fender bender doesn't cost you big bucks. If you're considering dropping coverage altogether, you might want to reconsider: Doing that is illegal in most states, and if you drop your insurance now, you'll pay more to get a new policy later because most insurers want to see proof of continuous coverage.

Protect yourself from uninsured and underinsured drivers. You might not be the only one who's looking to save a little dough--other drivers might cut costs by canceling their policy or reducing their coverage. And if one of those drivers hits you, you could be left paying for the damages. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage can help protect you. Shop around. Rates can vary greatly from company to company, so shop around to find the best deal. A local independent insurance agent can offer more choices and savings because he or she can review multiple options to find the right mix of companies, policies and rates for you. Make sure your policy is up to date. If you've moved, gotten married or bought a home, check with your agent--you may be eligible for lower rates.

Raise your deductibles. According to the Insurance Information Institute, raising your deductibles to $500 could reduce your Collision and Comprehensive costs by 15 to 30 percent. Research before you buy. Before you buy a new car, ask your agent what it will cost to insure. Generally, smaller cars with lower horsepower are less expensive to cover. Check coverages. Owners of older or inexpensive cars could consider dropping Comprehensive and Collision coverages. Doing that can save hundreds of dollars each year. Check for available discounts. Talk to your agent about discounts your carrier provides. You might be eligible for a car insurance discount if you pay in full, are a loyal customer, sign up for paperless billing or list another car on your policy.

For information and to find an agent nearby, visit the Progressive Web site, If you've moved, gotten married or bought a home, check with your auto insurance agent--you may be eligible for lower rates.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Unemployment insurance payments might triple in Estonia in 2009

Employees' insurance payments in Estonia in 2009 may grow from 0.6% to 2% of gross salary, LETA reporteed via Eesti Päevaleht. Currently employees must pay 0.6% of their gross salary and employers add 0.3%. In November, the government increased the payments – 1% from employees and 0.5% from employers, the amendment will come to force on July 1.

Meelis Paavel, the chairperson of Unemployment Fund's management board, said that this growth is not enough in current economic situation. "The supervisory board should tell the government there is not enough funds, and the management board proposes the supervisory board to increase payments to maximum or to 2 and 1%, respectively," he said.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

D80 student insurance rates see increase

MT. VERNON — In spite of an increase in student accident insurance rates, the plan is still a good deal, according to District 80 Superintendent Dr. Kevin Settle. “During the past four years, they are paying out more than we are paying in premiums every year,” Settle said. “The increase is still much less than we would have paid without the insurance coverage.” Members of the District 80 Board agreed, and have approved renewing the insurance policy for another year. The cost of the insurance coverage will cost the district $12,625 annually, up 21 percent from $10,365.

Settle said an average of nine claims are made to the accident insurance company — First Agency — annually. “We have kids who may get hurt on the playground equipment or playing sports , things like that,” Settle explained. “The insurance company pays 100 percent of the claims. ... The parents’ insurance is still the primary, but for those who don’t have insurance and an accident happens while they are at school, this policy covers those students.”

And, Settle said with the number of students in the district whose families are at the poverty level, the number of children without insurance coverage has risen over the years. District 80 has about a 75.5 percent low income enrollment, according to state statistics.“Most schools don’t do this,” Settle reported. “We’re one of the few who provide insurance for our students.” The district began offering the accident insurance about eight years ago.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

KOCHI: The Ernakulam region of Life Insurance Corporation of India has been retaining the topmost position in terms of first premium receipts for several years. A boom in economy had prompted employees and businessmen to take insurance cover on a large scale. But the situation is not so bright now as the slowdown in the economy is taking its toll on the industry also.

About 40 per cent of the policyholders are postponing payment, says R. Sahasranaman, a senior member of the agency network of the LIC. The payment can be postponed for six months and will be accepted with interest. But there are many customers who want to surrender the policies as they are not confident of being able to remit the premium after a few months. The trend is more visible among those employed in the IT sector. About 20 per cent of his clients are interested in surrendering the policies, according to him. The policy-holders were being advised to hold the policies at least for a year so that the surrender value would be more, he said.

The people are not evincing much interest even in new policies. Jeevan Astha, a policy announced recently which had a minimum premium of Rs.25,000, could not get the expected support from clients, he said.
Development Officer N. Muraleedharan too aired a similar view. The business generally goes up in March every year, but the expectations are moderate this time because of the meltdown, according to him.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Business insurance from online companies. How to purchase?

If you are running your own business, you know that it can be hard to keep all the plates spinning at once. The success of your company depends on numerous factors. You need to deal with suppliers, manage your bank accounts, look after your employees, keep accurate records of business expenses and analyze where your business stands financially.

When you are so busy running a business, insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. But you can’t predict everything! Even if you run your business with the greatest care and attention, something unexpected may happen. For example, a courier may slip and fall on your front steps and you will face liability for his/her injury.
Business insurance will protect you against a variety of potential risks, for example fire, tornado, business interruption or a death of a key employee. You won’t need to pay a lot of money out of your pocket to cover expenses and keep your business running.

Most people know how home or automobile insurance works. It protects you financially in case of an accident or disaster to your home or vehicle. The same principle applies to business insurance. If unexpected events occur, then the insurance company will cover your financial loss.
That’s why getting business insurance is a necessary step. Just as you shouldn’t drive without car insurance, you should not run your company without business insurance! However, you need to understand your company’s needs to buy suitable coverage.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Health insurance falls prey to recession

BANGALORE: Battered by the current economic crisis, the Indian corporate sector is resorting to innovative methods to keep its balance sheet sound. One such method is scrapping of insurance benefits to the employees. Rising medical costs, slowdown and rising premium on employee health insurance policies are being attributed as the reasons, by the industry sources, behind the current decision. It is to be noted that healthcare cost is rising at an annual rate of 15 per cent in all metros and, consequently, premium for health insurance too.

An official of ICICI Lombard, which is the largest health insurance provider for the corporates, confirmed the development, “More than 75 big corporates have already asked for cancellation of group insurance policies.” The official who has to remain nameless, however, declined to name the companies owing to Lombard’s non-disclosure agreement with the companies.
Another cost-cutting method that is slightly employee friendly is the co-payment method that has been introduced by the companies. According to this method, the employee will have to share 50 per cent amount. This scheme, however, cannot be availed by freshers among many other allowances that they are denied of owing to recession.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Utah to increase jobless benefits

The 44,000 Utahns who receive unemployment benefits will receive an additional $25 to $75 per week beginning Sunday, although the amount may not be reflected in their checks until sometime around mid-March, according to a statement Wednesday by the Utah Department of Workforce Services, which administers the unemployment insurance program in Utah.

The increase is part of the federal stimulus package and lasts from Sunday through Dec. 31, with a phase-out program until June 30, 2010. The state is required to enter an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to send out the money. In the meantime, Workforce Services is programming its systems to begin paying the extra money by March 16 and backdating money from Feb. 22.

Also part of the federal stimulus package is the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which authorizes up to an extra 20 weeks of unemployment benefits, not for each claimant but rather for the entire program through Dec. 31 with a phase-out provision until May 31, 2010. About 4,400 Utahns have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits and are receiving emergency unemployment compensation.
Last year at this time, 16,400 unemployed workers were filing for unemployment.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The 10 most frequently stolen cars in 2008

Should you wait until your car is stolen to worry about protecting it? Of course not! Your car is a crucial part of your life, and it's important to keep it protected. With that in mind, here's the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's list of the most frequently stolen 2005-2007 model year vehicles in 2008:

1. Cadillac Escalade ESV 4-door 4WD

2. Ford F-250 SuperCrew 2WD/4WD

3. Cadillac Escalade 4-door 4WD

4. Dodge Charger

5. Ford F-350 SuperCrew 2WD/4WD

6. Hummer H2 SUT 4-door 4WD

7. Dodge Magnum

8. Hummer H2 4-door 4WD

9. Dodge Durango 4-door 2WD/4WD

10. Honda S2000 Convertible

If your vehicle is on the "most frequently stolen list," you're at even greater risk for theft -- and you're probably paying more for car insurance as a result.

4 Easy Ways to Prevent Car Theft

If your car made the "most frequently stolen" list, don't worry: there are a number of things you can do to keep it safe. Prevention is the best defense against car theft, and the NICB recommends using these four "layers of protection" to safeguard your vehicle from would-be thieves:

Layer 1 - Use Your Head!

This first layer is a no-brainer: lock your car's doors! An unlocked vehicle with a key in the ignition is an open invitation to any thief, regardless of which anti-theft device you use. Keeping your doors locked is the simplest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves.

Layer 2 - Purchase a Security Device

Installing a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected can help protect your car. As a bonus, a car alarm could land you a car insurance discount. Types of devices include audible alarms, steering column collars, steering wheel locks, brake locks and wheel locks.

Layer 3 - Immobilizing Device

If a thief does enter your vehicle, an immobilizing device can help prevent the car from being hotwired. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Popular third layer devices include smart keys, fuse cut-offs, kill switches and starter/ignition and fuel disablers.

Layer 4 - Tracking Device

The final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to a police or monitoring station when the vehicle is reported stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles.

Safety Devices = Car Insurance Discounts

Taking measures to protect your car against theft could save you money on car insurance! Anti-theft devices could save you 10% or more on your car insurance rate. Even better, using a LoJack® anti-theft device could cut your insurance costs as much as 30% with a participating insurer.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that over one million vehicles are stolen in the U.S. each year-35% of which are never recovered. Now more than ever, make sure your vehicle is protected with a car insurance policy.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Record Numbers Headed For Early Retirement

Unemployment is rising sharply among the older segment of the working population. According to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the rate at which over 56-year old workers are losing jobs is higher than during the depression of 90's. Compared to last year, twice as many have been shifted into early retirement plans.

Unemployment Insurance Fund Managing Director Heikki Pohja is critical of how many companies speak of pension arrangements for older workers, when it would be more honest to say that they are being fired. "In most cases, it is a matter of the employee losing his or her job and living on unemployment benefits for several years before it is time to get an old-age pension," points out Pohja..

The rise in firings of older employees is in conflict with the government's target of keeping people in the labour force as long as possible. The chairman of a committee that has been examining an overhaul of social welfare, Markku Lehto, has expressed fears that the same thing will happen as during the last serious economic downswing: the job market will lose skilled people and know-how that it will never get back.

"This is clearly a setback. Finland was just turning over a new leaf in appreciation of older people in the workforce. It will be very difficult to get them back into the job market, even if the situation changes within two or three years," argues Lehto.
Matti Kokkinen, in Forssa, is being moved into early retirement this summer after 34 years of working at a house construction plant. As late as at the end of 2008, his job looked secure, but the situation changed rapidly. While the early retirement scheme is voluntary, he feels that he is being forced into it.

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