Renters need to consider their recovery plan before disaster strikes

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California faces the constant threat of devastating fires, floods and earthquakes. In some communities that have experienced disasters in the past year, such as Weed, where the Boles fire ravaged over 150 homes and Napa, which experienced the most damaging earthquake in 25 years, the percentage of renters runs near or over 50 percent of residents. However, a 2014 Insurance Information Institute poll found that 95 percent of homeowners had insurance coverage while only 38 percent of renters had insurance to protect their belongings. “Many renters don’t know that their landlord’s policy covers the structure and does not protect their possessions in the event of a fire or other disaster,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “For relatively little money, renters can insure their belongings and make recovery from a disastrous event much easier. I urge renters to make sure they are prepared and protected from California’s next catastrophe.” To protect yourself from a devastating financial loss, the Department of Insurance offers the following tips to help determine if renters insurance is right for you. Renters insurance 101 • If you are a renter, your landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover your personal property in the event that it is stolen or damaged. • The premiums for renters insurance average between $15 and $30 per month. • In addition to personal belongings, some policies will also cover living expenses if your apartment or home is uninhabitable due to damage. • The personal liability portion of a renter’s policy will provide you with a legal defense and pay for damages if a court determines you are negligence resulting in an injury or property damage to another person. • Coverage generally provided under most renters insurance policies: • Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace personal belongings if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. • Additional living expenses coverage helps pay for reasonable and necessary costs incurred when a loss makes a residence uninhabitable, which may include hotel, food and other expenses. • Liability insurance provides coverage against a claim or lawsuit resulting from bodily injury or property damage to others caused by an accident while on the policyholder’s property. • One important factor to consider when shopping for renters insurance is actual cash value vs. replacement cost coverage settlement option. Actual cash value coverage will reimburse the renter for the depreciated value of the personal property at the time of the claim, minus the deductible. For example, if a flat screen television were stolen from an apartment, five years after the television was purchased, the policyholder would be reimbursed for the depreciated amount (i.e. what the old one is worth minus the deductible). Replacement cost coverage, on the other hand, allows the renter to replace the lost or damaged possessions with similar items at current market value (i.e. what it actually costs to replace the items lost minus the deductible). Beyond insurance: • Use our home inventory guide or an App like the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC’s) MyHOME home inventory tool to quickly document your belongings and calculate the value of your possessions. This way you know how much coverage you need and you have documentation if you experience any losses. • Make an emergency plan for yourself and your family so both you and your possessions are covered. Media Notes: • California Department of Insurance publications and resources: o Residential Insurance: Homeowner and Renters o Home Inventory Guide o Don’t Get Burned after a Disaster o Dealing with Catastrophes • More information about renters insurance can be found on the NAIC website. • Information regarding the NAIC’s home inventory app. • American Red Cross emergency preparedness checklist.


Changes due to ACA (Affordable Care Act) mandates as well as other federal employment law developments mean that POP (Premium Only Plan) documents must be updated to incorporate these requirements:
1. Under the ACA, waiting periods for medical plan enrollments cannot exceed 90 days, and many group medical plans have modified their eligibility period to comply. POP documents must also be amended to coincide with the eligibility date for your group medical plan.
2. Update dependent eligibility wording in your POP document to include same-sex spouse.
3. Change plan eligibility to include employees working 30+ hours.
4. Non-calendar year plans must change POPs to allow for enrollment in or disenrollment from the employer group plan, even though the employee has not had a “qualified status change.” This is to allow employees to enroll for Exchange coverage and to disenroll from employer group coverage, or to allow employees who previously declined employer coverage to enroll in it as of January 1 to avoid an “individual mandate” tax penalty. The employer can limit the period during which the employee can revoke or change his or her salary reduction election to a limited period (such as the first month of the year only), or can allow the change anytime during the current plan year.
If you need a 125 POP document,  speak with your insurance broker.

Too Much Sitting Can Be Deadly — Even if You Exercise

Too Much Sitting Can Be Deadly — Even if You Exercise, Review Finds
Researcher suggests ways to include movement in your day that goes beyond that hour at the gym

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter
MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Regular exercise doesn’t erase the higher risk of serious illness or premature death that comes from sitting too much each day, a new review reveals.
Combing through 47 prior studies, Canadian researchers found that prolonged daily sitting was linked to significantly higher odds of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dying.
And even if study participants exercised regularly, the accumulated evidence still showed worse health outcomes for those who sat for long periods, the researchers said. However, those who did little or no exercise faced even higher health risks.
“We found the association relatively consistent across all diseases. A pretty strong case can be made that sedentary behavior and sitting is probably linked with these diseases,” said study author Aviroop Biswas, a Ph.D. candidate at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network.
“When we’re standing, certain muscles in our body are working very hard to keep us upright,” added Biswas, offering one theory about why sitting is detrimental. “Once we sit for a long time . . . our metabolism is not as functional, and the inactivity is associated with a lot of negative effects.”
The research is published Jan. 19 in the online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
About 3.2 million people die each year because they are not active enough, according to the World Health Organization, making physical inactivity the fourth leading risk factor for mortality worldwide.
Among the studies reviewed by Biswas and his team, the definition of prolonged sitting ranged from eight hours a day to 12 hours or more. Sitting, or sedentary activities ubiquitous with sitting such as driving, using the computer or watching TV, shouldn’t comprise more than four to five hours of a person’s day, Biswas said, citing guidelines issued by Public Health Agency of Canada.
“We found that exercise is very good, but it’s what we do across our day,” he said. “Exercise is just one hour in our day, if we’re diligent; we need to do something when we’re not otherwise exercising, like finding excuses to move around, take the stairs, or carry groceries rather than use the [shopping cart] at the supermarket.”
The biggest health hazard stemming from prolonged sitting, according to the review, was a 90 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Among studies examining cancer incidence and deaths, significant links were specifically noted between sedentary behavior and breast, colon, uterine and ovarian cancers.
One study in the review showed that fewer than eight hours of sitting time per day was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of potentially preventable hospitalization.
Dr. Joshua Septimus, a clinical associate professor of internal medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, praised the new research, saying it “gives us more data to help counsel our patients.”
“The idea that we could exercise for 15 or 20 minutes a day and that could completely erase any harms of a sedentary lifestyle for the other 23 hours a day is just too hopeful,” Septimus noted. “This showed us that yes, there is some benefit to physical activity . . . but it’s not enough.”
Biswas and his colleagues offered additional tips to reduce sedentary time, including:
• Taking a one- to three-minute break every half-hour during the day to stand (which burns twice as many calories as sitting) or walk around,
• Standing or exercising while watching TV,
• Gradually reducing daily sitting time by 15 to 20 minutes per day, aiming for two to three fewer sedentary hours over a 12-hour day.
More information
The World Health Organization offers a fact sheet about physical inactivity.
SOURCES: Aviroop Biswas, B.Sc., Ph.D. candidate, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network, University of Toronto, Canada; Joshua Septimus, M.D., clinical associate professor, internal medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas; Jan. 19, 2015, Annals of Internal Medicine, online


Financial Penalties Rising This Year Mean It’s Smarter to Get Covered Than to Pay Steep Tax Penalties for 2015

Financial Penalties Rising This Year Mean It’s Smarter to Get Covered
Than to Pay Steep Tax Penalties for 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two days before the deadline for February coverage,
Covered California announced Tuesday it is stepping up messaging about the rising penalties for not having health insurance, encouraging Californians without coverage to explore their options and sign up to avoid a big bill at tax time next year.
“It’s important that consumers understand now that the cost of remaining uninsured is rising,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “This year, a family of four earning $70,000 a year could pay close to $1,000 in their taxes if they remain uninsured in 2015.”
The penalty, known as the “shared responsibility payment,” takes effect for 2014, and many who were uninsured will see an impact when they prepare their taxes due in April of this year. However, the penalty rises substantially for 2015, meaning it’s important that all uninsured Californians know this and take steps now — before open enrollment ends — to avoid significant penalties when they prepare their 2015 taxes due next year. “With some exceptions, everyone in America is now required to have health insurance — buying coverage for themselves and their families rather than relying on others to
pay for their care,” Lee said. “As the penalty increases, it makes more and more sense for those who have been waiting on the sidelines to get in and get coverage.”

In 2016, the shared responsibility payment for those without health insurance rises even more. The same family of four that would pay $988 for not being covered in 2015 would likely pay $2,085 in 2016 if they do not have health coverage, depending on their specific circumstances. Individuals and families with incomes that would qualify for Medi-Cal would also be affected if they don’t have coverage.
“This is an important message that should be heard by Californians of all income
levels,” said Toby Douglas, director of the California Department of Health Care
Services (DHCS), which operates the Medi-Cal program. “Applying for coverage not only gives you an opportunity to get comprehensive health care; it can help you avoid a penalty that could hurt you and your family.”
The shared responsibility payment is calculated based on the greater of two factors, a flat fee or a percentage fee based on one’s income and the national average cost of a Bronze health plan.

Lee said the penalty messaging will be stepped up through service channels, in social media and in paid advertising in the remaining weeks of open enrollment. Materials stress not only the financial consequences, but also the health consequences of remaining uninsured. “The financial penalties are just one part of the equation,” Lee said. “Putting off care when you need it can harm your health or even endanger your life. Every month a consumer goes without coverage is a month of risk, but if consumers sign up by this Thursday, their coverage can start next month.”
Also Tuesday, Covered California and DHCS released updated data on new enrollment during the open-enrollment period ending Feb. 15. More than 1,099,200 people sought coverage and were determined eligible for private health insurance and eligible or likely eligible for Medi-Cal from the start of open enrollment on Nov. 15 through Jan. 11. This includes 304,394 eligibility determinations and an additional 217,146 plan selections for private coverage, as well as 466,778 enrollments into Medi-Cal coverage and 110,913 who are likely eligible for Medi-Cal. Since January 2014, Medi-Cal has enrolled more than 2.2 million consumers. “We’re continuing to see strong interest in enrolling in coverage as open enrollment continues, but there are still hundreds of thousands of Californians who need to sign up,” Lee said. “Consumers must enroll soon to ensure they don’t miss the window of opportunity for buying subsidized health coverage this year and to avoid steep penalties taking effect for not having coverage in 2015.”
The consumers applied for coverage through Covered California since open enrollment began on Nov. 15. Although private insurance sold through Covered California is only available during open enrollment for most consumers, Medi-Cal enrollment is yearround. Individuals may apply for Medi-Cal online, through the Covered California Web portal, via mail by filling out a streamlined application and in person by visiting a county human services agency. Covered California has tens of thousands of Service Center representatives, Certified Insurance Agents, Certified Enrollment Counselors and county eligibility workers to help consumers obtain health coverage as soon as possible.

To find in-person assistance or an enrollment event that is close to them, consumers should visit and click on the “Find Local Help” button. The data Covered California released today relate to new enrollment only since open enrollment began on Nov. 15. Data about those consumers renewing their 2014 coverage will be released sometime in early 2015.

IRS Standard Mileage Reimbursement Rate Increases

The Internal Revenue Service has issued its 2015 optional standard mileage rates. Effective January 1st, 2015, the IRS standard rate will be 57.5 cents per mile driven for business purposes (an increase of one-and-a-half cents from the 2014 rate of 56 cents per mile). Use of this rate is optional, though it is widely seen by employers as a simple way to determine a standard rate for calculating mileage reimbursement for employees who use their personal vehicle for business purposes. If your organization uses the IRS rate to calculate mileage reimbursement, be sure to update your systems to account for this change.



The following is a summary of the 2015 cost-of living adjustments affecting pension plans and retirement accounts:

401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plans

  •  The elective deferral (contribution) limit increased from $17,500 to $18,000.
  • The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in these plans increased from $5,500 to $6,000.

Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)

  • The limit on annual contributions remains unchanged at $5,500.
  • The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs and Individual/Solo 401(k)s

  • Elective deferrals increase from $52,000 in 2014 to $53,000 in 2015, based on an increased annual compensation limit of $265,000, up from $260,000 in 2014.
  • The minimum compensation that may be required for participation in a SEP increases from $550 in 2014 to $600 in 2015.

SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) IRAs

  • The contribution limit on SIMPLE IRA retirement accounts for 2015is $12,500, up from $12,000 in 2014.
  • The SIMPLE catch-up limit is $3,000, up from $2,500 in 2014.

Defined Benefit Plans

  • The basic limitation on the annual benefits under a defined benefit plan is unchanged at $210,000.

Other Changes

  • Highly – compensated and key employee thresholds: The threshold for determining “highly compensated employees” increases from $115,000 to $120,000 in 2015; the threshold for officers who are “key employees” remains at $170,000 for 2015.
  • Social Security Cost of Living Announcement: In a separate announcement, the Social Security Administration increased the Taxable Wage Base from $117,000 in 2014 to $118,500.
  • The maximum “Old Age, Survivor and Disability Insurance” (OASDI) tax will be $7,347 for both employer s and employees; and
  • Hospitalization Insurance (Medicare) tax continues to apply to all wages.

IRS Plan Limits for 2015

The IRS released two pieces of separate guidance on inflation adjustments for the 2015 tax year. Revenue Procedure 2014-61 affects more than 40 tax provisions, including higher adjusted limits for health flexible spending account (FSA) contributions, and Revenue Procedure 2014-30 includes higher adjusted limits for health savings account (HSA) contributions and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) minimum deductible and out-of-pocket limits.
In addition, the IRS issued Notice 2014-79 detailing the standard mileage rates for 2015. Effective January 1, 2015, the adjusted rate is 23 cents per mile for medical-related mileage — a decrease of one-half cent from the 2014 rate. As a reminder, the use of a personal automobile to obtain medical care may be a deductible medical expense if primarily for, and essential to, medical care. This mileage is an eligible expense under FSAs and HSAs, and employers may include mileage as an eligible expense under their health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).
The 2015 plan limits and standard mileage rates are shown below:
    2015 IRS Plan Limits

Plan Year                                                                                  2015/ 2014 / 2013
Health FSA Maximum Annual Salary Reduction 1$2,550/ 1$2,500 /1$2,500
Standard Mileage Rate for Travel to Obtain Medical Care $0.23/ $0.235/ $0.24
Dependent Care Assistance Program
(Unless Married Filing Separately)                              2$5,000/ 2$5,000 /2$5,000
Dependent Care Assistance Program
(If Married Filing Separately)                                      2$2,500/ 2$2,500/ 2$2,500
Transit Passes and Vanpooling (Combined)
Monthly Maximum                                                          $130/ 3$130/ 3$245
Parking Monthly Maximum                                           $250 /$250/ $245
Highly Compensated Employee —
Section 414(q) (Officer Group)                                   $120,000/ $115,000 /$115,000
Key Employee — Section 416(i)                              $170,000/ $170,000/ $165,000
HSA Maximum Annual Contribution Limit
(Self-only)                                                                     4$3,350/ 4$3,300 /4$3,250
HSA Maximum Annual Contribution Limit
(Family)                                                                      4$6,650/ 4$6,550 /4$6,450
HSA Catch-up Contribution Limit                         $1,000/ $1,000/ $1,000
HDHP Minimum Annual Deductible
(Self-only)                                                                   $1,300/ $1,250 /$1,250
HDHP Minimum Annual Deductible (Family) $2,600/ $2,500/ $2,500
HDHP Maximum Out-of-pocket (Self-only) $6,450/ $6,350/ $6,250
HDHP Maximum Out-of-pocket (Family) $12,900 /$12,700/ $12,500
1As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health flexible spending account (FSA) salary reductions are limited for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2013 (the maximum limit may be indexed for inflation each year).
2Under Code Sections 129 and 21, the deemed income of a spouse who is incapable of self-care or a full-time student is $250 per month for one qualifying individual or $500 per month for two or more qualifying individuals.
3The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) made a retroactive change to the monthly pre-tax limit for eligible transit expenses incurred in 2012, and on January 1, 2013, the 2012 limit increased from $125 to $240 per month. That amount was indexed for inflation in 2013. On January 1, 2014, the expiration of the temporary increase under the ATRA caused the reduced amount.
4An employee is treated as being eligible for the entire calendar year as long as he or she is eligible during the last month of the calendar year. However, failure to maintain eligibility during the “testing period” will result in adverse tax consequences (including an additional excise tax). The testing period begins in December of the year in which the employee becomes eligible and ends the last day of December of the following year.


Aging Parents: 7 Warning Signs of Health Problems

Aging Parents: 7 Warning Signs of Health Problems
As your parents get older, how can you be sure they’re successfully taking care of themselves and staying healthy?
When you visit your aging parents, ask yourself the following questions. Then, if necessary, take steps to help your aging parents maintain their independence.
Concerned about your aging parents’ health? Use this guide to gauge how your aging parents are doing — and what to do if they need help.
1. Are your aging parents taking care of themselves?
Pay attention to your parents’ appearance. Are their clothes clean? Do they appear to be taking good care of themselves? Failure to keep up with daily routines — such as bathing, tooth brushing and other basic grooming — could indicate dementia, depression or physical impairments.
Also pay attention to your parents’ home. Are the lights working? Is the heat on? Are the bathrooms clean? Is the yard overgrown? Any big changes in the way your parents do things around the house could provide clues to their health. For example, scorched pots could mean your parents are forgetting about food cooking on the stove. Neglected housework could be a sign of depression, dementia or other concerns.
2. Are your aging parents experiencing memory loss?
Everyone forgets things from time to time. Modest memory problems are a fairly common part of aging, and sometimes medication side effects or underlying conditions contribute to memory loss. There’s a difference, though, between normal changes in memory and the type of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Consider your aging parents. Are memory changes limited to misplaced glasses or an occasionally forgotten appointment? Or are memory changes more concerning, such as forgetting common words when speaking, getting lost in familiar neighborhoods or being unable to follow directions? If you’re concerned about memory loss for either of your aging parents, schedule an evaluation with the doctor.
3. Are your aging parents safe in their home?
Take a look around your parents’ home, keeping an eye out for any red flags. Do your parents have difficulty navigating a narrow stairway? Has either parent fallen recently? Are they able to read directions on medication containers?
4. Are your aging parents safe on the road?
Driving can sometimes be challenging for older adults. If your aging parents become confused while driving or you’re concerned about their ability to drive safely, it might be time to stop driving. To help your aging parents maintain their independence, suggest other transportation options — such as taking the bus, using a van service, hiring a driver or taking advantage of other local transportation options.
5. Have your aging parents lost weight?
Losing weight without trying could be a sign that something’s wrong. For aging parents, weight loss could be related to many factors, including:

  • Difficulty cooking. Your parents could be having difficulty finding the energy to cook, grasping the tools necessary to cook, or reading labels or directions on food products.
  • Loss of taste or smell. Your parents might not be interested in eating if food doesn’t taste or smell as good as it used to.
  • Underlying conditions. Sometimes weight loss indicates a serious underlying condition, such as malnutrition, dementia, depression or cancer.

If you’re concerned about unexplained weight loss for either of your aging parents, schedule an evaluation with the doctor.
6. Are your aging parents in good spirits?
Note your parents’ moods and ask how they’re feeling. A drastically different mood or outlook could be a sign of depression or other health concerns. Also talk to your parents about their activities. Are they connecting with friends? Have they maintained interest in hobbies and other daily activities? Are they involved in organizations or clubs? If you’re concerned about your parents’ moods, schedule an evaluation. Depression can be treated at any age.
7. Are your aging parents able to get around?
Pay attention to how your parents are walking. Are they reluctant or unable to walk usual distances? Is knee or hip arthritis making it difficult to get around the house? Would either parent benefit from a cane or walker? Issues such as muscle weakness and joint pain can make it difficult to move around as well. If your parents are unsteady on their feet, they might be at risk of falling — a major cause of disability among older adults.
Taking action
There are many steps you can take to ensure your aging parents’ health and well-being, even if you live far away. For example:

  •  Share your concerns with your parents. Talk to your parents openly and honestly. Knowing that you’re concerned about their health might give your parents the motivation they need to see a doctor or make other changes. Consider including other people who care about your parents in the conversation, such as other loved ones, close friends or clergy.
  •  Encourage regular medical checkups. If you’re worried about a parent’s weight loss, depressed mood, or other signs and symptoms, encourage your parent to schedule a doctor’s visit. You might offer to schedule the visit yourself or to accompany your parent to the doctor — or to find someone else to attend the visit. Ask about follow-up visits as well.
  •  Address safety issues. Point out any potential safety issues to your parents — then make a plan to address the problems. For example, perhaps your parents could use assistive devices to help them reach items on high shelves or to help them stay steady on their feet. A higher toilet seat or handrails in the bathroom might help prevent falls.
  • Consider home care services. If your aging parents are having trouble taking care of themselves, perhaps you could hire someone to clean the house and run errands. A home health care aide could help your parents with daily activities such as bathing and dressing. You might also consider Meals on Wheels or other community services. If remaining at home is too challenging, you might suggest moving to an assisted living facility.
  •  Contact the doctor for guidance. If your parents dismiss your concerns, consider contacting the doctor directly. Your insights can help the doctor understand what to look for during upcoming visits. Keep in mind that the doctor might need to verify that he or she has permission to speak with you about your parents’ care, which might include a signed form or waiver from your parents.
  •  Seek help from local agencies. Your local agency on aging — which you can find using the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the Administration on Aging — can connect you with services in your parents’ area. For example, the county in which your parents live might have social workers who can evaluate your parents’ needs and put them in touch with pertinent services, such as home care workers and help with meals and transportation.

Sometimes aging parents won’t admit they need help around the house, and others don’t realize they need help. That’s where you come in. Remind your parents that you care about them and that you want to do what’s best to promote their health and well-being, both today and in the months and years to come.
Source: By Mayo Clinic Staff 2012-01-06


5 Compelling Reasons for Having a Disaster Plan

5 Compelling Reasons for Having a Disaster Plan

Ask any insurance professional what business they are in, and the answer will likely include the word “planning” – helping customers plan ahead so they are prepared and protected. Putting product and coverage solutions in place for customers helps them be prepared. Chances are, your clients can and should do more, particularly around planning for natural catastrophes. Take the opportunity today to share with your customers five compelling reasons for making a disaster plan and the steps to take to create one.
Natural disasters on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the recent Moore, Oklahoma tornado rivet our attention and evoke sympathy for the victims and survivors. Although such large-scale events are relatively rare, seventy-five percent of all American households are at risk for experiencing some type of natural disaster including earthquakes, floods, storms and wildfires. Equally startling is that relatively few have done much to prepare.
The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence partnered with the MIT Age Lab to conduct research to better understand peoples’ experiences with natural disasters. Eight focus groups were held with people age 50 or older in different locations around the country. We also conducted a series of interviews with Hartford claims adjusters to ask them about their experiences working with individuals and families in the wake of natural disasters.
Our research showed that it’s just human nature not to plan for a disaster – mainly because we think it won’t happen to us. But living through a disaster is a memory that is never forgotten. One research participant describes it this way: “I was five years old when I experienced my first tornado. To this day, I can hear my dad yelling ‘Go to cellar. Go to cellar.’ We weren’t there very long before we heard this roar. We came out of the cellar and the house was gone. … so I’ve been sensitive to tornadoes ever since.”
Take a look at what some of our research participants and The Hartford claims adjusters said as they reflected on the importance of being prepared.
1. It could save your life: Having a plan could mean the difference between life and death.
“[The earthquake] made me wake up, like ‘Hello! Reality check!’ [I realized] this really could cost me my life, my home and everything I own.”
2. Disasters are traumatic: Having a plan can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
“The customers cry a lot. Not when you get there, but when you walk around the house and they are flooded with memories, or are just overwhelmed. It affects your heart.”
3. A support network will be in place: Knowing whom you can count on brings peace of mind.
“We don’t know who is supposed to help us. Would it be the fire department? How do we know who’s going to be there for us? Most people don’t know.”
4. You will have more control: You may not have control over a disaster, but being prepared for one can give you some control in the aftermath.
“We had a severe hailstorm and it [broke] the windows … They said there was a big rainstorm on its way, too. So I immediately started covering those windows with plastic. I made sure that all of my neighbors got some plastic, and we went around and fixed their windows, too. We all got ready for the rain.”
5. Your expectations will be more realistic: It is easier to put your life back together when you know what to expect.
“If you’ve lost your home and your car is floating away, and then all of a sudden you have an [insurance] company representative saying, ‘We need an inventory of your contents,’ it puts a strain on people at a tough time.”
The Hartford created It Could Happen to Me: Family Conversations about Disaster Planning a consumer guidebook to help people better prepare for natural disasters and catastrophes by talking to – and planning with – family, friends and neighbors. The guidebook outlines the ABC’s of a comprehensive plan and includes checklists, worksheets and resources to make the planning process as easy as possible

What you may not know about disability insurance

What you may not know about disability insurance

If you got sick or hurt and couldn’t work, how would you pay for everyday living expenses?
While most of us like to think we won’t be affected by a disability, any one of us could be. In fact, common illnesses or health conditions make up 90% of paid disability claims. If you become disabled, you could be out of work for quite some time —several weeks for surgery, months for a serious injury, or a year or more for a chronic illness.

Working without a financial safety net?
More than 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled
before age 67. We’re under insured „. More than half (52%) of workers say they know “not very much” or “nothing at all” about disability insurance. Three times as many disabling injuries occur off-the-job as on-the-job and are therefore not covered
by workers’ compensation. The average Social Security Disability Insurance benefit is $1,100 a month and is reserved for eligible disabilities expected to last for at least a year or result in death. The Family and Medical Leave Act provides sick and family leave, but that time may end up not qualifying for payment. Half of all households are “financially fragile,” having a great difficulty raising $2,000 within a month, if needed. More than three-quarters (77%) of workers think that missing work for at least three months because of injury or illness would create a financial hardship, and half think it would cause a “great hardship”.

For More info please contact or Call 408-293-9923.