Monday, December 26, 2016

Insure Your Business Before Disaster Strikes

As a business owner, you know how important it is to carry insurance. But many businessmen look at insurance as a necessary evil – one that must be dealt with and gotten out of the way as quickly as possible, and at the lowest cost. With margins always under pressure and balancing income and expenditure a constant juggling act, it’s easy to consider only what is likely to happen and insure only against that in order to keep premiums down. What you need to insure against are the things that could happen.

The Unlikely Happened

A fire broke out in the shop next to a specialty food store in Denver. The food store escaped fire damage but the water and smoke damage from next door caused it to down shutters for a year. The owner had $10,000 in lost income coverage, but that was not much help in the $100,000 of lost business in the 12 months the store was closed.

A Florida business owner had an old dilapidated barn full of imported furniture. The cost of insuring the old building, that would have to be pulled down sooner or later, appeared to be prohibitive and so the owner decided against it. When a flood hit the area, the furniture was heavily damaged and had to be sold off at a heavy discount. The overall loss was around $7,000. The gamble did not pay off.

The owner of a family run business passed away and his wife took over. Sometime later she found an employee had been embezzling money. Since it was a family owned business, the idea of taking out business fraud insurance never occurred to the owner. Recovering from the loss was a long struggle.

Think Of the “What Ifs…”

Suppose you run a small business out of your home. You keep inventory in the house or in another building on the property. You have homeowners insurance on your property and think everything in it is protected. But if there is a fire and the inventory is destroyed, the policy will not cover the loss.

Its human nature to not dwell on the worst case scenarios. But that does not always make good business sense. You can’t insure against every possibility. Paying for coverage to protect your business from being destroyed during an alien invasion by fire breathing dragons may be going too far. But there is a difference between the unlikely and the impossible. The unlikely does not always happen to the other guy. It could happen to you and if you have not planned for the possibility, your business may suffer more than you thought possible or may even cease to exist.

Get the Coverage You Need

Professional help in deciding what kind of insurance coverage your business should have, and how much of it, is best done by experts. Contact an insurance broker to have your coverage examined. If there are shortfalls, the broker will help you to get the additional coverage you need. Your premiums will go up and you may have to do a little more juggling of the income and expenditure. But if the worst should happen, you will still have a business and income and outflow to balance instead of nothing at all.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Life Insurance Benefits You May Not Know Of

Families today are scattered like never before. Education, work, marriage and a range of other factors mean that relatives now live not just across the country, but across the globe. While they usually try to keep in touch as much as possible, details of how life is lived, including financial issues, are often lost. This includes insurance benefits. Many people wonder if there are insurance benefits that may be due to them which they are unaware of. Or they may think that they could be beneficiaries of a policy, but do not know how to find out. According to Consumer Reports, an estimated $1 billion in benefits from life insurance policies are lying unclaimed. One reason for this is that locating possible insurance policies in which a person is a beneficiary used to be very time consuming and difficult. The number of insurance companies, the place where the policy was issued and the confidentiality and other restrictions on releasing the information made the search frustrating and legitimate benefits were often not found.

There Is Now A Way to Find Out

A recent press release by the California Department of Insurance says that there is now an online tool available that can help people search for possible life insurance or annuity proceeds that may be due to them. The search covers the entire nation. The tool has been created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and has been specifically developed to help those who think they, or others in the family, are beneficiaries of a policy but do not have the details, such as the name of the insurer or the policy number, that will help them to get the information they need.

Requests for information are encrypted to ensure confidentiality.When the tool is used to request information on possible unclaimed benefits, the insurance companies will search through policy holder information and if possible matches are located, report these to the relevant state insurance departments. The companies will then get in touch with the beneficiaries to determine the validity of the claims and process them accordingly. There is no charge for using the tool.

The Benefits Are Yours – Claim Them

There is often hesitation in searching for life insurance benefits. People feel that searching for money in the estate of a deceased person is questionable and self-serving. What should be remembered is that the policy was created with specific aims in mind and if these are not fulfilled, in terms of giving the beneficiaries their rightful proceeds, the purpose of the policy and the wishes of the person who had it are not being respected. Unclaimed insurance benefits remain in limbo and do not do anyone any good.

If you want to know more about the tool and how to use it, visit the California Department of Insurance website. Alternatively, you can get in touch with your insurance broker and ask for guidance on how to proceed.