Friday, March 13, 2009

Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is “vital” even in the UK

Holidaymakers must not assume that travel insurance is unnecessary when travelling even in the UK, it has been warned. With a growing number of travellers opting to spend their holidays in the UK this year, according to a number of insurers, a majority of Brits are forging travel insurance assuming that it is not required if they are staying in the UK.

According to research by a price comparison website, only two per cent of holidaymakers planning to spend their holiday in the UK have sought travel insurance quotes. Steve Williams, head of travel insurance of the price comparison website said that “travel insurance should be seen as a vital part of any holiday.”

He said: "The number of UK insurance policies sold is dwarfed by that of European and worldwide policies, and in our experience fewer people shop around for UK cover.” Williams advised that travel insurance would be “vital” especially during the current financial crisis as although holidaymakers travelling in the UK would not be required to purchase the insurance for medical reasons, flight cancellations or airline failures could leave holidaymakers losing more cash than what they would have spent on the cover.

According to Direct Travel Insurance, redundancy is one of the common reasons of cancellations and without insurance, holidaymakers would be left with large cancellation charges.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Brunswick city employees to pay portion of health insurance costs to help cut budget

BRUNSWICK -- Several employee policy changes have been implemented at city hall over the past week in an ongoing effort to slash the city's operating budget. After approving more than $500,000 in cuts to the 2009 budget last month, City Manager Robert Zienkowski said city council OK'd several emergency cost-saving measures Monday, starting with a move that will require city employees to pick up a portion of their medical insurance premiums. Effective April 1 all city employees will be required to pay 10 percent of their medical insurance, in addition to any regular deductibles and co-pays. The policy change is expected to save the city approximately $30,000 in 2009, said Finance Director Bill White.

Efforts to lower the cost of city medical benefits will continue in 2010, Zienkowski said, at which time the city is looking to rework its medical plan. In addition to raising co-pays, he said the city is also considering an increase in its deductibles. The changes, Zienkowski says, will be permanent and will not change even if voters approve the proposed 0.5 percent income tax increase on the ballot in May. "We can't continue to operate the way we did 10 to 15 years ago," Zienkowski said. "Moving forward, we're going to have to continue to makes changes based on the economic times in order to be able to provide the level of service the community expects."

Among the policy changes that are temporary, Zienkowski says, is the citywide hiring freeze the city enacted in February. Along with that, he has opted to suspend all out-of state travel until further notice unless employees are willing to pick up 100 percent of their travel costs. Additionally, he said, the city has revoked its employee meal reimbursement policy that allocated employees a daily stipend for breakfast, lunch and dinner when they were traveling in or out of state. It has also eliminated paid vacations for part-time employees hired after March 15. Zienkowski says the city has also implemented a wage freeze for all non-bargaining employees starting in 2010.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Job losses jeopardize health coverage

RALEIGH, N.C. _ Nettie Shafer has a house, a car and about $1,000 left in savings. But the 59-year-old divorced bank teller risks losing all if she doesn't find a job with health insurance soon. Shafer, who lives in Raleigh, is on about a dozen medicines, seven of them to prevent a third heart attack. Now, the insurance coverage she retained from her former job at Wachovia has run out _ and the backup she has available covers only a fraction of her medical costs. "I'm still looking for a job, every day," Shafer said. "Something's around the corner. I truly believe that. "A survival job is all I need," she said.

The recession has not only cost thousands of people their jobs, it has also cost them affordable health insurance. People who had employer-sponsored health insurance are, when laid off, usually eligible for up to 18 months of continued coverage under COBRA, the federal law more formally known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. But COBRA is expensive.
Unemployed workers must pay the total premium. The monthly average is more than three times as expensive as what workers with employer-sponsored health insurance pay, according to data by the Kaiser Family Foundation and FamiliesUSA.

That can take a hefty chunk out of unemployment benefits. In North Carolina, the average COBRA premium for a family eats 82.4 percent of an unemployment check, according to data from FamiliesUSA, a consumer advocacy group. Many decide to take their chances and don't sign up for COBRA.At the end of 2008, an estimated 175,000 North Carolinians were out of work and uninsured, according to the N.C. Institute of Medicine. Though this includes people who lacked insurance before they became unemployed, the estimate represents a 75 percent increase since the end of 2007. The fourth quarter was particularly brutal in boosting the state's growing number of unemployed who are at risk of becoming uninsured, said John Quinterno of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

ING Confirms It May Pull Out Of One China Insurance JV

AMSTERDAM -(Dow Jones)- ING Groep N.V. (ING) confirmed Monday that it may pull out of one of its two insurance joint ventures in China.

The South China Morning Post Monday cited the chairman and chief executive of ING Insurance and Investment Management for Asia-Pacific as saying that ING is reviewing the joint venture operations to improve capital allocation and comply with Chinese regulation.

ING spokesman Nanne Bos confirmed Monday that the group is reviewing its position in Chinese insurance business, including pulling out of one of the joint ventures. "We have been looking at this for quite some time, even before the financial crisis started," Bos said, adding that no further announcements will be made at the moment.

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Self-employed Likely to Get Unemployment Benefits

Mom-and-pop store owners who go out of business will likely be eligible for unemployment benefits or job training incentives. The Strategy and Budget Ministry and the Labor Ministry said yesterday that employment insurance law will undergo revision before the end of June in the wake of the rising number of small business owners going under amid the economic recession.

A finance official said the Strategy and Finance Ministry has considered allowing small business owners to be eligible for
unemployment insurance, but is now discussing with the Labor Ministry advancing implementation due to the economic crisis. Unemployment insurance gives money to workers who have lost their jobs for a certain period of time and offers incentives for those who take job training.

The government is considering giving choices to small business owners to join the unemployment insurance system, but will limit it to those who run a business employing less than five workers. In addition, the state contribution to regional credit insurance funds will rise to offer low-interest loans to unregistered business owners running street stalls.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Auto Insurance Agent Alert: Smart Consumers are Shopping For Auto Insurance

Auto insurance rates may be on the rise in the United States, but shopping for auto insurance can ease consumers’ worries about saving. While consumers are witnessing auto insurance rates rising by the day, reviewing auto insurance policies is one of the best ways to save money.

Consumers everywhere are noticing big-time insurance companies increasing their car insurance rates at a faster pace than usual to make up for clients who have dropped their policies. In Florida and other states, auto insurance policyholders are facing the chance of their auto insurance premiums increasing exponentially by 10 percent in the upcoming years.

Most auto insurance companies are asking for higher premiums from strapped policyholders. But with job loss on the rise, a stifling recession, and a growing amount of people making strict budget cuts in the way they live and spend money, more policyholders are likely to drop their insurance. However, consumers can save money by receiving multiple insurance quotes from several different insurance carriers to gain the best coverage package at the lowest rate.

Although it will take some time for the recession to end, the article posted by encourages consumers to follow its tips to better organize their finances and to get the best out of their insurance plan with specialized auto insurance agents. Its goal is to help consumers save money during one of the worst financial crisis in America.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Older drivers offered help to find car insurance

People who have been refused car insurance by direct providers and big name brands can get help, it has been claimed. The British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) stated older motorists, particularly those with certain medical conditions, can struggle to find cover. However, it pointed out it has already managed to assist tens of thousands of individuals in the same situation. The group urged drivers who were having trouble even securing a quote to contact its consumer helpline.

Graeme Trudgill, technical and corporate affairs executive at Biba, explained: "Insurance brokers use their expertise to arrange cover for older consumers and those with medical conditions, placing them with suitable providers." The organisation issued this latest advice after the Association of British Insurers released a report titled Age and Insurance: Helping older customers find the cover they need. Although some older drivers may have difficulty finding insurance, others may find the cost of their premiums start to fall, as more mature motorists are generally regarded as a lower risk.

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Health agreement with UK to end next month

ISLANDERS who fall ill or have accidents in the UK will soon have to pay for their treatment, Health announced today following confirmation that the UK is scrapping the reciprocal health agreement from 1 April.

Health Minister Jim Perchard was notified of the decision by Dawn Primarolo, the UK’s Minister of State for the Department of Health on Friday. Not only does the ruling open the possibility that Islanders will be left with huge bills for medical care if they do not have adequate travel insurance, it also leaves Health significantly out of pocket.

The JEP has learned that the agreement was extremely profitable for Jersey and will leave Health with a £3.9-million hole in its budget. Health’s finance director, Russell Pearson, has already warned that that could mean Jersey patients suffer. ‘Health and Social Services cannot afford to take a reduction of £3.9 million,’ he said. ‘We would have to prioritise and reduce services to manage that. The Council of Ministers are aware of that impact.’ As of 1 April, Islanders visiting the UK will only be eligible for free treatment in accident and emergency departments.

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