Investment-type Insurance Pays Out

Norwich Union customers last month found out that they would receive a slice of a ?2.3 billion bonus as part of their with-profits life insurance policy.

The insurer revealed that 1.1 million of its customers would receive ?1,900 and share holders will get a share of ?230 million. The bonuses will be paid in three blocks.

Mark Hodges, chief executive of Norwich Union Life, said: ?This special bonus is a major boost to policy values. We continue to believe that well-run, open, with-profits funds deliver real value for long term investors.

?Over the course of the next few weeks we will be writing to qualifying policyholders to give them more detailed information.?

Which? Draw attention to the fact that the actual surplus amount is ?5.5 billion and Norwich Union are releasing half to its customers. The surplus is called an ‘inherited estate’ and is the amount of money accumulated over a period of time from with-profits policies. The surplus is divided between the customers in the form of bonuses.

The actual amount received can depend on how the company has been performing. When there has been a good build up of funds bonuses may be retained and redistributed in years which have a lesser yield. This is called ‘smoothing’. The disadvantage often associated with this technique is that the insurer might retain too much money and policyholders in the more affluent years may lose out.

Dominic Lindley, personal finance campaigner a Which?, said: ?While this may seem like a generous gesture by Norwich Union, the fact remains that ?2.3 billion isn’t even half of the inherited estate.?

He added: ?Now there’s the question of the ?3.2 billion remaining in the inherited estate. We call on Norwich Union to act with integrity and to not hold back money from policyholders to pay its shareholders’ tax bill, subsidise new business or to pay mis-selling claims.?

The insurer are currently deciding how to distribute the remaining surplus.

Aviva, the company that owns Norwich Union insist that the payout is generous and well divided. Shareholders are receiving 10% of the bonus and policyholders 90% which is the standard ratio in these circumstances.

Mr Lindley said: ?This is the money that Norwich Union has held back from policyholders over the years, so it is only right that this payment is made on a 90:10 basis.?

With-profits life insurance is classed as an investment-type of policy that has an element of risk associated with it. Endowment insurance of this kind involves the policyholder paying their premium into a pool that is invested by the insurer. Profits are returned as a bonus but do rely on the stock market which can be unpredictable.

Another kind of investment policy are ‘unit-linked’. These are similar in that money is invested by the insurer and returned to the policyholder. In this type the customer can choose which companies it would like the insurer to invest in. A payout is received upon death of the insured and depends on the worth of the investments at this time.

Avoiding Disaster: Choosing The Right Auto Insurance Company

Luckily, there are certain steps you can follow to ensure that you select an auto insurance company that will meet your needs.

When choosing an insurance carrier, reputation carries a great deal of weight. For instance, Allstate, Nationwide, and State Farm are well-known companies that have managed to hold onto some clients for years. For additional guidance, you can consult your state’s department of insurance website. The website might offer consume complaint ratios which indicate exactly how many complaints an auto insurance company has received for every 1,000 claims filed. This information can help you to better evaluate companies so that you have some idea how their customer service rates. You can then compare the list of companies with low complaint ratios with the list of companies with low premiums and see if you can come up with any matches. Those companies that combine stellar customer service with low rates offer you the best deal for your money.

If for some reason you cannot locate complaint ratios for your state, try looking at the complaint ratios for other states. While an insurance company’s operations may vary from state to state, if a company posts a high complaint ratio in a number of states, you should consider that to be a warning sign. It is best to simply cross off your list any insurance company with consistently high complaint ratios.

Another technique you can use when evaluating insurance carriers is to determine which insurers body shops in your area recommend. Because body shop managers must deal with a number of insurance adjusters, they can provide you with an inside look at insurance companies. The managers will know, for instance, which companies offer the most convenient claims procedures. They’ll also know which companies are particularly slow in processing claims. Another important source of information is J.D. Power and Associates, which rates insurance companies in terms of variety of coverage, rates, claims processes, and customer service. In recent years, Amica and Erie have posted the best rankings with J.D. Power. These two companies have earned raves for finding ways to cover claims, when at all possible. You might also want to consider an insurer’s financial strength by checking out ratings from A.M. Best and Standard and Poor’s. These ratings determine an insurance company’s ability to pay claims. Still, you should be aware of the fact that most well-known carriers are considered to be financially sound.

Finally, you might select your insurance company based upon the professionalism of an individual agent. Since you will have to work closely with your agent, it is important to find one that you can trust. You might consider consulting a relative or friend to find out the names of some particularly efficient agents.

In the end, you may not find out just how responsive your insurance company is?until you are faced with an accident. However, if you conduct extensive research before selecting an insurance company and agent?if you pay close attention to complaint ratios?and you ask plenty of questions, chances are good you will find insurance coverage you will be happy with.

The Concept Of Group Of One Health Insurance

Small business forms the backbone of our economy. It is rather interesting then to realize what a raw deal small business gets. A classic example is the brutally difficult time a self-employed person with a pre-existing condition has trying to get health insurance. If you are lucky, some states have a concept known as a group of one that can help.

Health insurance companies are in business to make money. People seem to forget this. I am not standing up for these companies. They do some pretty brutal things in my opinion, but people need to remember they are businesses. As businesses, they don?t want to ensure someone they know is going to cost them a bundle. No business wants a customer like that. Self-employed individuals with pre-existing conditions are, unfortunately, just that.

The ?group of one? health insurance option is a real winner. It is based on the idea that a person cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition under a group policy. For instance, a person with a heart condition who works for Google cannot be denied coverage under their plan. In states that allow it, you can actually purchase group plans for your self-employed business and then join your own group. It sounds strange, but it works.

Are there any downsides to this strategy? Yes, there are a few. First, the group of one concept is so despised by insurance companies that a law has to be passed before they will submit to it. So far, only 12 states have it – Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont. If you live in another state, the group of one strategy cannot be used.

The second problem is the timing of coverage. While the 12 states above will allow the group of one concept, the coverage can be limited at first. A not uncommon regulation is the insurance company can avoid coverage on the pre-existing condition for the first six months of the policy. For individuals with ongoing health problems, this is a huge problem.

Is group of one health insurance the answer for individuals seeking health insurance with pre-existing conditions? Yes, if you live in one of the 12 golden states that allow it.

Keeping Safe On Wet Roads

At this time of year, the weather may not seem to be able to make up its mind about whether it wants to rain or shine. If it does decide to rain and you are out on the roads you need to take into account the weather conditions and tailor your driving accordingly. Heavy rainfall can lead to excess water remaining on the road surface which could make driving more hazardous. Modern roads have been designed to minimize the effects of weather conditions on driving a vehicle, but they are not able to remove the danger completely. If excess water is not able to drain away sufficiently it will remain on the road surface and could cause cars to skid or lead to aqua planning. So if you get caught out in heavy rain you need to think about the way you drive in order to minimize any potential dangers.

Firstly you should reduce your speed. Heavy rain will reduce visibility, which means it will be harder to see what is on the road in front of you. It can also reduce your stopping distance giving you less time to stop your vehicle safely if necessary. If you feel like the steering has become less responsive then you need to ease off the accelerator slowly and reduce your speed until you feel in control again. Whilst driving in these weather conditions you may find that you come across floodwater. If you do, make sure you only cross it if you are sure of how deep it is. Be aware that it would only take a small amount of water in the internal combustion chamber to cause serious harm to your engine. Crossing floodwater should be done slowly to avoid water seeping into the car and so that you do not cause bow waves. In these conditions not all roads and bridges will remain open. It is therefore advisable not to use your satellite navigation systems to guide you, as they may not be completely up to date on the latest closure. To find out what is happening on the roads in your area, you could tune into the local radio station and listen to the traffic report.

If you car does suffer from any conditions make sure that you pull over and stop in a safe place. If you believe it may be a fault with the engine, resist the urge to open the bonnet and take a look as water may get in and affect the electrics. Instead, call for breakdown assistance and wait for professional help as soaked through electrics could make the car harder to start. If you have not purchased a breakdown service you can often do this through your motor insurance provider who may be able to offer you a competitive rate. It is always best to try and keep your car in tip?top condition so it is better able to cope with extreme weather conditions. For example keeping your tyres inflated to the correct level and replacing old windscreen wipers will make all the difference when you are out on the roads.

What Are Annuities And Who Needs One?

Annuities, as an investment option, are often seen as restrictive, unexciting and dull. You pay money in, sometimes over many years, and eventually you get paid an income from that money. This is the traditional view of a retirement annuity: it?s the way grandpa saved up enough to keep the wolf from the door after he stopped working. But there are other uses for an annuity that can make it a versatile financial choice in certain circumstances.

Annuities don?t have to be paid in month by month, like grandpa did. They can be paid in as one large lump sum. And then, sooner or later, they can be paid out again as an income. Why would anyone want to do that?

One of the ways lump sum annuities can be used is in the case of high-earning sportspeople or showbiz celebrities. Suppose you are major league footballer and you earn megabucks every week for a few years while you are in your prime. Sure, you want the mansions and fast cars and jet-set lifestyle. But if you?re smart, you?ll put some of that money away in an annuity so that when your high-rolling days are over you don?t have to sweep the floor at Wal-Mart.

The same scenario applies to lottery winners. It is sadly often the case that people who suddenly find themselves millionaires have no experience at handling large sums of money and they spend their way through their good fortune over a few short years. Financial advisors will often recommend an annuity for at least some of that money so that it translates into some long-term security when the spending is over.

And another way lump sum annuities are used is in the case of lawsuits. If you are injured in an accident and you successfully sue someone, the lawyers will probably negotiate a settlement in the form of annuity. This means that you have an income to pay for your long-term nursing care, for example.

Anytime anyone comes into a large lump sum, an inheritance, for example, it makes sense to consider an annuity as a way of preserving that money so that you can eventually live off it. You can take the income immediately (provided that you are not too young) or you can wait until you really need the money and you can retire off it.

But don?t annuities have a bad press? Haven?t you read complaints from disappointed seniors that interest rates are low and that the expected golden nest-egg turned out to be a pittance? Are annuities really the best place for your money?

The answer depends on your financial objectives. The big attraction of annuities is that they are safe. A fixed-rate annuity is safer than a variable-rate annuity which, in turn, is safer than investing the money in the stock market. If you want the security of knowing that your money is safe and that you will get an income from it no matter how long you live, then an annuity should be at least a part of your investment strategy. Annuities buy peace of mind while blue-chip stocks crash and dotcom bubbles burst.

As with all financial products, watch out for high fees, both on the part of the financial advisor who sells it to you and on the part of the insurance company that will manage the funds. Find out what these are before you buy, and if you are not happy, then shop around until you find a deal you are happy with. Then you can relax, forget about the money and wait.

Cat Health Insurance – Should You Insure Your Senior Cat?

While many companies that offer cat health insurance are happy to insure a pet that is 8 years old of younger you might have to do a little digging to find a policy for your senior pet.

Many people question whether it is necessary to ensure a cat at all. One good reason is the rising cost of pet care in this high tech day and age. While there have been some wonderful breakthroughs in the technology surrounding veterinary care – laser treatment, radiation therapy, ultrasounds and more – this improved technology comes at a price, and getting treatment for a sick cat can be exorbitantly expensive. Compounded on this is the fact that emergency treatment comes at a premium over regular care, so if you have to bring in your pet after hours you can be hit with a huge bill.

With cat pet insurance you don’t have to worry about facing this massive one time charge, instead paying regularly, and easily budgeted for, monthly premiums.

Older cats are more prone to conditions like arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and cataracts, and though the premiums will be higher for these animals will be higher they can certainly pay off in the long run. Just one expensive procedure for your older pet will likely cost more than years of premiums.

Currently, it is estimated that only 1 in 20 pet owners opt for cat pet insurance. However, as prices have gone up for procedures in recent years this percentage has been rising steadily. Depending on your financial situation it might be time to consider this option for your pet.

Why A Florida Public Adjuster Is Great To Have Around During Hurricane Damage Season

A Florida Public Adjuster is an up and coming friend during hurricane season for homeowners and business owners in the South Florida community. With Public Adjusters still collecting underpaid insurance funds for policyholders from past hurricane damage, many people are putting Adjusters on speed dial for when another hurricane strikes.

Filing a property damage insurance claim is a daunting task. There are not many home and business owners that know how to deal with the insurance company all the way through, while at the same time, getting the most money for their property damage. Whether the damage is from a hurricane, flood, fire, theft, or wind, the insurance company handles the claim the same way. If a policyholder decides to rely on the insurance company to give them a proper settlement, there is a good chance that you will not get everything you deserve.

Now, you are probably thinking to yourself, ?I wonder if I was paid properly from past Florida Hurricane damage?? This is normal and there is a chance that you were not properly compensated by your insurance company. Your insurance company has Adjusters that work strictly for them, with only their interests in mind. The reason you get a bigger settlement with the help of a Public Adjuster is that they only have your interests in mind. They work for the policyholder and not the insurance company.

A Florida Public Adjuster is also handling insurance damage claims as they happen. You don?t have to wait until you have already settled a claim with your insurance company before seeking the advice of a Public Adjuster. The second you have a damage or catastrophe claim to file, you are able to contact a Public Adjuster right away, to insure that you get the biggest and fairest settlement possible.

Policyholders all over the state of Florida are now finding it beneficial to them to consult with a licensed Public Adjuster whenever there is property damage. Insurance companies reach a payment settlement that is good for them. Florida Public Adjusters work an Hurricane damage claims strictly for the good of the policyholder.

Simple Steps To Find Cheap Automobile Insurance

Almost each and every person in today’s world wants to save his money in whichever way possible. In case you have an accident or your automobile gets stolen, it can be a big loss. Until and unless you are insured or your automobile is insured. In case your car gets stolen or damaged due to accident, you need to submit your proof of car insurance, and the company would then take care of everything. But due to various reasons, the price of insurance is sky rocketing these days, and it is becoming like a luxurious good which only the rich can afford. Here below are mentioned ways by which a person can find insurance for cheap.
If the car you own is relatively new or if the auto insurance policy that you are currently holding needs to renewed instead of getting it renewed its better you start to search for a new policy. It will surprise you when you find out that 2 different companies may offer varying insurance premiums for a policy with the exactly identical coverage. Therefore, it will benefit you big time to find a policy which has a low premium and gives the maximum coverage that would be the best insurance deal for you. Searching the local market may not be sufficient for this, so the other option is to search the website of a company and ask them for their insurance quotes online.

While asking for auto insurance quotes online you need to give your details in completion to the car insurance company which includes your name, zip code, address, current marital status, the number of miles your car commutes in a year and the safety features that are present in your car for the reason that they are bound to offer you higher car insurance quotes online by default.
The credit history is a big issue for such insurance companies. Various reviews of different insurance companies has now shown a connection between credit card scores and risks which an automobile insurance company faces. Therefore, manage the credit scores to an affirmative level before you request for an auto insurance quote online.

If you hold a life insurance policy or some health insurance policies or any other kind of insurance, it’s recommended for you to take up car insurance from the same company. You being their client are bound to get cheaper online quotes as you are one of their clients.

Shop Around When It Comes To Car Insurance Quotes

When it comes to getting the cheapest car insurance quotes then the best deals available can be found right from the comfort of your own home using your home computer and the internet. There is a lot to know when it comes to getting the best deal on car insurance quotes and the more information you can gather together then the better deal you will be able to get.

Using one of the popular search engines you will be inundated with hundreds of insurers to choose from, not only will you be able to search quickly and easily through them for the best and cheapest premium for your car insurance but you will also be able to read what the various policies are and decide which might be the most suitable for you and your needs.

When it comes to car insurance the majority of insurers will offer you three types of insurance, this is third party only, third party fire and theft and fully comprehensive insurance.

Several factors will have to be taken into account when it comes to deciding which type is the most suitable for your needs. If you have a brand new car then of course you would be wise to take out fully comprehensive insurance, this will cover you for the majority of things. However it is the most expensive of the options and if you are a young driver it will cost you dearly.

If your car is an older model then of course third party might be the better option, this is cheaper than fully comp and is more suitable for the younger driver. Whichever option you choose to go with it is essential that you fully understand what the policy entails and what you are and are not covered for, above all use the internet to your advantage by shopping around and ensuring that when it comes to car insurance quotes you get the best deal.

Affordable Medical Insurance – Health Insurance 101

If you don’t know a deductible from a co-pay, or an HMO from HBO – you are not alone. But if you are among the growing number of Americans who are now using this marvelous tool known as the Internet to shop on their own for affordable medical coverage, these are terms you’ll need to get comfortable with, or it can cost you.

Lesson one – The Higher the Deductible The Lower the Premium

The deductible is the amount that you have to pay out of pocket for covered medical expenses before the health insurance benefit kicks in. Deductible amounts are usually based on a calendar year. The surest and easiest path towards a lower cost heath insurance premium is still to select a plan with the highest deductible. Once you do that it is also a good idea to open up a specific account such as a Medical Savings Account to pay for medical expenses until the deductible is reached.

Lesson Two – The Co-Payment

The Co-Payment or “co-pay” is a specific dollar amount paid by the policy holder at the time of service of each healthcare visit. It is a fixed amount and does not build to a maximum amount like a deductible. Co-pays are another aspect of lowering health insurance costs that are in your control. You may be able to lower your premium rates by requesting higher co-pay amounts. If you are generally healthy and do not make many trips to the doctor electing a higher co-pay is a great way to ensure more affordable health insurance payments.

Lesson Three – What Else you can do

While many of the costs that are involved in creating a health insurance premium are fixed and non-negotiable there are other areas that we have seen like choosing a higher deductible or co-pay amount that can help reduce your health insurance rates. There are other things in your control as well.

? Generic Drugs – if you do not have prescription drug coverage, always ask if there is a generic available for a given prescription medication. Several large pharmaceutical retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart have programs where many of the most popular generic drugs can be purchased for as little as $ 4.00.

? Lifestyle Changes and Wellness Programs – another way to reduce your health insurance costs is to get in better shape. Quitting smoking and losing weight, after choosing the highest deductible and co-pay amounts, is probably the surest way to reduce a heath insurance bill. Many HMO’s since it is in their best interest to have you remain healthy, will offer wellness programs, and preventive medicine screenings. Take advantage of these. Believe it or not some employer sponsored health insurance plans will even pay for all or part of a gym membership. It’s all part of the concept of paying a little now to keep you healthy, rather than paying more later on.

? Shop Around – get multiple quotes from multiple sources. Today it is very easy to get a free quote online