Last week one of our office’s college interns told me about a 60 Minutes re-run called “Not Paid”, which had originally aired earlier this year.The episode focused on the life insurance industry practice of not paying life benefits where no claim had been filed.My first reaction, as a professional in that industry, was not shock; I am aware that you are required to file a claim for benefits to be paid out.It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request on the part of the insurance company, does it?I have filed many life insurance claims in my career, it’s not an overly difficult process and how else would the insurance company know an insured had passed away unless someone related had informed them?So, at first, I didn’t quite understand the outrage of the 60 Minutes producers.What’s all the fuss about?
Soon after I started getting bored with the episode, I found out what all the fuss was about – the Social Security Death Master File.While I had an idea that it existed, because I’ve seen post-death social security benefits cut off within moments of the plug being pulled, I had no idea that the insurance companies had access to it.Not only do they have access to it, the insurers use it regularly to cut off annuity benefits.So, the insurance companies do have a current-day technology to help them determine when one of their insured dies, and they already use that technology to help them stop paying claims, just not to start paying them.State-level investigations have uncovered proof (in the insurers own files) that they knew their insureds had died, but neglected to pay out benefits and had even terminated coverage for non-payment.In some cases, the insurance companies had gone so far as to first use the cash value on whole life policies to pay down the premiums, when the regular payments had stopped, then kept the guaranteed benefit for themselves.
Insurance companies in the United States are regulated on a state-by-state basis and several states have begun conducting audits of their insurers for this kind of Practice.California’s State Controller’s Office started theirs in 2008 and continues to negotiate settlements with some of the largest insurance companies in the country.To learn more about those settlements, you can visit the State Controller’s Office link here.Also, if you think you may have been affected by this practice, you can search the California database of unclaimed life insurance settlement property here.You only need the last name of the beneficiary to search the database.
The lesson that can be learned here isn’t so much that insurance companies are bad, though this story only confirms the worst things consumers suspect of them.The moral here is that the brand of life insurance you buy is almost as important as the mayonnaise you buy at the grocery store.I can’t tell you how many purchasers of life insurance become obsessed with “knowing” the name of the brand of company they put their life insurance with.If you look at the names of settled companies on that link I provided earlier; you will recognize most of them as well-known, stable and highly rated insurance companies.What is more important is that you choose a broker who you trust to put all of your insurance business with. Someone you trust to advise you on your insurance purchases, and someone to help your family navigate through those choices in case you are not there to do it yourself.
Partners Direct Insurance Services is a full service agency; we pride ourselves in offering a comprehensive suite of insurance products for both businesses and individuals.If you don’t have a broker, or are interested in exploring a new broker relationship, learn more about our account management process on our website or call us at (877) 600-7437.
Summer is coming to a close and, to a health insurance broker, that means work-life is about to get chaotic.In the old days, health insurance policies renewed one year from inception; so our client renewal needs were mostly spread through-out the course of the year.For reasons that can be directly related to the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, 90% of all of health insurance policies now renew in December and January.This leaves your health insurance broker a very short window of time to help the vast majority of their clients.
To make things even more complicated, the insurance carriers are constantly looking for ways to keep their rates competitive and stay profitable, so they adjust things at renewal-time.For example, they might reduce doctor networks on certain plans and/or they may change the copayment and deductible benefits around.With hundreds of plans available to you at renewal, having a process of elimination based on your actual medical needs will make your time with your broker more valuable.This year, do yourself (and your broker) a favor; prepare yourself early.Here are some tips on how to accomplish this:
Look back at what types of claims you’ve had to for medical services in the past year.The best way to easily accomplish this is to log into your health insurance company’s member portal and extract a claims summary.This will help your broker determine whether you need to continue at the benefit level you were last year, or make some changes going forward.
Have a list of the doctors, hospitals and pharmacies that you must have access to in the coming year.
Be prepared to provide your broker with some financial data, specifically what you expect your household income will be for the coming year.
Whether you purchase your insurance directly, or through your employer, having this information handy will save you from having to blindly choose a health insurance policy.Partners Direct Insurance Services is a full service agency; we pride ourselves in offering a comprehensive suite of insurance products for both businesses and individuals.If you don’t have a broker, or are interested in exploring a new broker relationship, learn more about our account management process on our website or call us at (877) 600-7437.
You’ve budgeted and saved to pay for it, you’ve squeezed everything you possibly can into two small pieces of luggage; you’re impatiently waiting to leave for that international trip you have been dreaming about for so long.The question of whether or not to purchase travel insurance has come up, but you had already dispatched the idea as soon as you realized that it would cost about as much as your monthly car payment to buy.Surely, this wasn’t a decision you made quickly; you researched “travel insurance” online and found countless articles, blogs and even some travel horror stories about unexpected trip cancellations and baggage losses that were all very compelling.Despite the research, you’ve decided to play the numbers, because no one is canceling this trip and statistically you have less than a 1% chance of losing your luggage.
Fast forward a few days and now you’re headlong into your international voyage, with your luggage in tow, and marveling at your decision to save a few hundred dollars on travel insurance.Your marvel is unfortunately interrupted with the belly-rumblings of what will eventually become a serious health condition that requires ongoing hospital attention.At this point, you aren’t concerned with anything other than getting back into the United States for treatment, but you’ve just learned that you cannot fly on a commercial jet.You have tried to arrange for a medical evacuation jet but the best price you can find is $250K and they don’t take Monopoly money.So, you’re stuck in the middle of no-where, competing with chickens for space on your hospital bed.
While most health insurance plans (at least the ones I sell) have some sort of medical coverage for emergency service outside the country, the coverage is very limited.And, while medical procedures may be covered by your medical plan; what’s left over in coverage for your medical evacuation might be very limited.A brief survey of group health plans, Medi-Care plans and individual plans found that where foreign travel coverage was included, the benefit was limited to $50K for both the medical expenses and the cost of medical evacuation. In addition, if your health plan is not an international health plan, you would be left to coordinate the services of all of the doctors, hospitals and evacuation providers on your own; which could prove difficult if you are incapacitated yourself.
Travel insurance is expensive, but a very small part of the cost is the medical insurance coverage. If you have decided to go without a traditional travel insurance policy because you don’t want to pay for it’s costly logistical features, then simply purchase a medical-only plan that works with your United States health plan. For example, it would cost a 37-year-old person traveling out of the country for 2 weeks only $34.20 for $1,000,000 worth of medical coverage. There are lots of different plan options; plans for single trips, multiple trips and even plans which can accommodate you long-term while you hop in and out of the country. If you have any questions, or to obtain a quote; contact us at email@example.com or click here to check out the rates for yourself.
http://www.partnersdirectins.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/logo.jpg00Jacqueline Savidanhttp://www.partnersdirectins.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/logo.jpgJacqueline Savidan2016-07-06 15:07:052016-07-06 15:07:20Traveling Abroad? Make Sure You Packed Your Insurance Policy.
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