Whenever I hear about the deaths of celebrities like Heath Ledger and Brad Renfro, my first thought goes to the children they left behind. I pray that the surviving parents have the strength to help their children through this. I also hope that the celebrities listened to their financial advisors and arranged for trusts and Life Insurance.
Most of us can only dream of earning the kind of money these celebrities make, but events like these are an important reminder of why every parent, spouse, or adult child with dependent parents needs a solid life insurance plan to cover expenses after their death. Unfortunately, deaths like these are also a reminder that tragedy can strike anyone at any time, famous or not.
How Much Life Insurance Coverage to Buy
The general rule of thumb is that you need a policy that covers five to seven years of your salary. So, if you earn $50,000 a year, you should buy a $250,000 to $350,000 policy. If you have very young children, you may way to opt for a policy equal to ten years of salary as a precaution. Although insurance is designed to cover the salary of the working spouse, many advisors also recommend buying coverage for a non-working spouse. They reason that the working spouse will have to pay for childcare, household help, and other assistance that the non-working spouse provided.
Whether or not you’re a celebrity, Life Insurance is vital to anyone with dependents. Unfortunately, it often requires a tragedy to make us realize that and act upon it. If you don’t have life insurance, research plans today.
Scurich Insurance can help you find the right Life Insurance Policy for you!
Lindsay Lohan almost had to bow out of her latest film project, Labor Pains, because Insurance Companies did not want to cover her.
When actors have a history of substance abuse problems, they must gain cover from insurers before they can begin work on a movie. However, because of their issues with alcohol and drugs, they often have the most trouble getting such cover. And Lohan, who remains on probation for two DUI incidents last year, is no exception to the rule.
Producer of Labor Pains Rick Schwartz had extreme difficulty getting any Insurance Company to cover Lohan. A source says that the producer “could only find one insurance company to cover her, and even then he really had to vouch for her.”
With those logistics behind her, Lohan is now at work on the film, in which she plays a young woman who fakes pregnancy in attempt to avoid job termination. While getting Lohan on the books was a challenge, the film’s crew is happy things worked out and remain impressed with her attitude.
For more information on various types of Insurance policies and how Scurich Insurance can help, visit us today!
We have all heard the expression “24/7”and we’re likely to be hearing it more often as more countries move toward 24-hour societies. But shift work (shifts outside of the traditional 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. workday) brings with it a variety of problems for businesses: a higher rate of injuries, accidents and health-related problems; increased employee absenteeism and substance abuse; more production errors, etc. – all of which boost your insurance costs and slash your bottom line.
The good news: You can reduce or eliminate many of these problems by providing effective shift work training. “Worker lifestyle training provides measurable benefits for the company, its employees, and their families,” notes a 2007 report from Circadian Workforce Solutions. “In addition to improved alertness levels, health, and quality of life, such training can also reduce accidents, decrease legal liability, and reduce overall operating costs.” These programs can also help curb turnover; a Circadian survey found that shift training cut turnover rates by more than 4% — and replacing a single employee cost survey respondents from $12,000 to $60,000.
An effective worker lifestyle program should show your employees how to get enough rest off the job by following these Risk Management guidelines:
- Always go to bed at the same time, preferably as soon as possible after work.
- Sleep in a dark, quiet room. Use room-darkening shades or drapes and turn off the phone. If people or traffic noises disturb them, try using earplugs or turning on a fan that covers the noise.
- Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Eat only light snacks before bed. Avoid food that’s heavy, rich, or spicy. Also try to stop drinking alcohol or caffeine or smoking a few hours before going to bed.
- Exercise regularly, although not in the two hours before trying to sleep. Avoid sleeping pills. In case of insomnia, consult a physician.
To maximize safety during working hours, have your employees:
- Turn on all lights in their work area and in hallways, stairways, bathrooms, etc.
- Replace or report any burned-out bulbs promptly.
- Make sure that they have adequate task lighting. If they can’t see their equipment controls, read container labels, or have similar problems, have them alert their supervisor.
- Be sure that all work areas are ventilated, and report any ventilation systems that aren’t working properly.
For more information on Risk Management visit our website today!
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is an alternative to traditional Life Insurance that offers consumers a different way to pay for their health care. HSAs enable you to pay for current and future health expenses on a tax-free basis, while an attached high-deductible insurance policy protects you against catastrophic expenses.
Here are answers to some common questions concerning HSAs:
Can anyone open an HSA?
To be eligible for an HSA, you must be under 65 years old, and covered by a Qualified High-Deductible Health Policy (QHDHP).You are ineligible if covered by another Health insurance policy (except coverages such as Cancer, Dental, Disability, Long-Term Care or Vision insurance) that isn’t a qualified high-deductible plan.
Where can I open an HSA?
Accounts can be established with banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and other approved companies. Your employer might also set up a plan for its employees as well.
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What is a QHDHP?
To qualify the policy must meet current IRS requirements. For 2009 the requirements are as follows:
- The deductible must be at least $1,150 for individuals or $2,300 for families.
- The annual out-of-pocket expenses cannot be greater than $5,800 for an individual or $11,600 for a family. These figures include the deductible and any co-insurance, but not the premiums.
How much can I contribute to an HSA? What happens to unused funds at the end of the year?
Limits are updated annually by the IRS. For 2009, the contribution limits are $3,000 for singles and $5,950 for families. However, if you are 55 or older, you can contribute an extra $1,000.
The unused balance in an HSA rolls over automatically year after year. You won’t lose your money if you don’t spend it within the year.
How do I receive the tax benefits?
If you have an HSA through your employer, you might be able to make pre-tax payroll contributions. Otherwise, your contributions will be deductible when you file your taxes, even if you don’t itemize. Also, you are eligible to make a full contribution regardless of income unlike IRAs.
This simple but powerful technique identifies hazards before they occur, focusing on the relationships among the worker, task, tools and equipment, and the work environment. Once you’ve identified job hazards, you can eliminate or reduce them to an acceptable risk level.
This is a relatively easy task, although it takes time to analyze Risk Management hazards for each job category and each step in the job. You also have to do some digging into past performance.
Priority should go to jobs with the highest injury or illness rates; the potential to cause severe or disabling injuries or illness through simple human error, complex enough to require written instructions; or that have undergone changes in processes and procedures.
Risk Management hazard analysis involves these steps:
- Involve employees. Their unique understanding of the job can be invaluable for finding hazards. Involving employees will help minimize oversights, ensure quality analysis, and get workers to buy in to the solutions because they’ll share ownership in their safety and health program.
- Review accident history. This includes the workplace record of accidents and occupational illnesses, accident damage that required repair or replacement, and any near misses. These are indicators that existing hazard controls might be inadequate and need more scrutiny.
- Conduct a preliminary job review. Discuss with employees the hazards they know exist in their work and surroundings. Brainstorm with them for ideas to eliminate or control these perils.
- List, rank, and set priorities. List jobs with hazards that present unacceptable risks, based on those most likely to occur and with the most severe consequences. Make these jobs your first priority for analysis.
- Outline steps or tasks. Nearly every job can be broken down into job tasks or steps. When beginning a job hazard analysis, watch the employee perform the job and list each step (it might help to photograph or video the worker performing the job – these visual records can provide handy references when doing a more detailed analysis of the work). Record enough information to describe each job action without getting bogged down in details. Avoid making the breakdown so detailed that it becomes unnecessarily long or so broad that it fails to include basic steps. Review the job steps with the employee to make sure you haven’t omitted anything. Stress that you’re evaluating the job itself, not the employee’s job performance.
- Identify hazards. List the hazards you identified in Step 3 (as well as any additional hazards you discovered when observing the employee) with each step or task involved in the job.
Every employer should be prepared to conduct their own on the spot workplace injury investigation. In cases of serious injury, or injuries of a questionable nature, early intervention by the employer is essential. By being proactive, an employer can more readily reduce their liability to exposure by preventing a situation from spiraling out of control rather than engaging in a costly court action.
The main reasons to investigate are:
- This is your only opportunity to conduct your own discovery into the cause or legitimacy of the injury while the incident is fresh.
- Allows you to obtain the witness versions of the incident before details are forgotten, in some instances to prevent possible deception or collusion.
- Provides the best opportunity to understand the underlying cause of the incident and to make an informed management decision.
Understanding How to Conduct an Investigation
Every investigation is really nothing more than a step-by-step logical process. You are best served to have specific individuals designated to perform the investigation.
Your purpose as an investigator will be to determine whether the alleged workplace injury had a casual connection with the worker’s employment. You want to know whether the worker was exposed to a particular danger or possibly some other risk peculiar to the Worker’s Compensation actions at the time of the alleged injury.