All posts by Alex Moses

Pollution Insurance

Environmental pollution insurance policies are not just for oil industry giants and radioactive depositories anymore.  Further examples are airports, apartment complexes, pig farms and prisons.

According to Dan Persha, founder and director of Environmental Services Group (ESG),  a division of Insurance Concepts “ the market for pollution insurance is fluid and ever-changing”.

The market is fluctuating especially premiums.  In some areas, the market is firming. In other areas, it’s not.   There is not a lot of consistency in pollution insurance right now.   The division is expecting upward growth and increasing volumes.

 Transaction insurance environmental policies that provide coverage where a property is changing hands usually consists of pollution legal liability and cost cap coverage.

Real estate transactions are driving the market.  No one will buy a property unless it has had a Phase One or Phase Two inspection.  As those inspections are heavy, they tend to find problems.  Term lengths for transaction insurance are almost always more one year.  Three, five, seven and 10 year pollution policies are common for a “clean” site.

Although normally premiums run between $3,500 and $7,500 per year, some run less than that.  For a site with a known problem or a buyer or seller that needs pollution legal liability the premiums can start around $50 000.

According to Sheila Hailey, dry cleaners pollution policies “are a hot ticket right now”.  Although she also writes pollution coverage for USTs, Hailey said she gets an average of five calls per week for dry cleaning insurance and writes policies for about 95% of those calls.  The average bill for cleaning a spill from a dry cleaners is $50, 000 while the average clean-up from a gasoline station UST is $10,000.

Not only is Texas one of the largest states in terms of land mass, it also ranks highest in the nation for on-and-off site releases for toxic materials . These include traditionally heavy-polluting industries like oil and gas and chemical refineries.

Generally, environmental policies offered are:

Pollution Legal Liability

Insured are claims from unknown pollution conditions at covered locations specified in the policy.  Generally these policies cover both on-and off-site pollution conditions.  Furthermore they include claims for bodily injury, property damage and cleanup costs.   Pollution legal liability policies are modifiable to fit individual circumstances and many terms and coverages are negotiable.

Property Transfer

Similar to pollution legal liability policies, property transfer policies cover claims generating from a covered location for pre-existing, unknown contamination and known contamination below reportable levels.  In some cases it covers known contamination that may be at levels above regulatory limits but permitted by a governmental body and with a cap in place.  Like pollution legal liability insurance, these policies cover bodily injury, property damage and cleanup costs.  Limits, deductibles and exclusions are also similar to those found in pollution liability policies.

Cleanup Cost Cap or Stop Loss

Very specific policies that protect against cost overruns for remediation of individual projects.  Covered overruns may result from the discovery of additional amounts or newly discovered contaminants, or from charges in regulating requirements at a site.

Coverage is limited to cleanup costs, and claims for bodily injury;  property damage or other liability are not covered.  Also, commonly excluded are the costs of legal defense and governmental negotiations.  Other exclusions may include radioactive matter, asbestos, contractual liability, unknown conditions not disclosed to the insurance companies, and regulatory fines and penalties.

Other policies that may be obtained are:

  • Brownfields Restoration and Development
  • Secured Creditor
  • Professional and Contractor Environmental Liability
  • Transporter Insurance
  • Storage Tank Pollution Liability
  • Closure and Post Closure
  • Finite Risk

The cost for a pollution liability insurance policy will differ significantly from one business to the next.  A business that uses a lot of hazardous chemicals will have higher premiums than one that uses only a few.  Some factors that influence costs include:

The type of business being insured
The type of chemicals and hazardous materials used
The disposal method of hazardous waste
The proximity of the business to residential neighbourhoods

 

Alien Abduction Insurance

The term Alien Abduction describes “subjectively real memories of being taken secret against one’s will by apparently nonhuman entities and subjected to complex physical and psychological procedures.”

Abductees claim that they have been warned against environmental abuse as well as the damages of nuclear weapons.

The first alleged alien abduction claim to be widely publicised was the Betty and Barry Hill abduction in 1961.

An Alien Abduction Insurance policy is redeemed if the insured person is abducted by aliens.

A policy normally costs around $150 per $1.5 million in coverage. Policy offerings vary from $10, 000 to $10 million. Some companies offer policies for alien pregnancy, alien examination and death caused by aliens

More recently the Alien Abduction Insurance Corporation has launched the idea of abduction insurance certificates as a unique gift for a lifetime premium and sell it at $9.95.

The very first company to offer UFO abduction insurance was the St. Lawrence Agency in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The company says that it has paid out at least two claims under Alien Abduction Insurance when two people claimed that they have been bitten by vampires (they were actually bitten by a bat).

The company pays the claimant $1 per year until their death or for 1 million years whichever comes first. Over 20, 000 people have purchased the insurance. The insurance is normally purchased by the “feeble-minded”, according to Burgess, a former Lloyds of London Underwriter. Prominent policyholders have included Shirley Maclaine and a Harvard University professor who has written on aliens. Owner of St. Lawrence Agency read Whitley Streiber’s true-life novel Communion in 1987 and learned about the threat of alien abductions.

With the help of international investors, he added UFO abduction insurance to his existing agency. The $10 million policies offer payment for medical coverage, including psychiatric care, in the event of a physical abduction by alien aircraft. They pay $20 million if the policyholder has an alien child or is eaten by aliens.

In fact, the business is so good that several other companies have entered the market.  Policies offered range from $10, 000 to $10 million. Coverage varies from company to company. Smart shoppers will look for a company that has a good business record, a reasonable cost for coverage, and a wide range of benefits.

Heaven’s Gate Religious group purchased Alien Abduction Insurance from London Brokerage Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson (GRIP) before committing a suicide. Just after this GRIP stopped issuing Alien Abduction Insurance Policies to their customers.

Heaven’s Gate Religious group purchased Alien Abduction Insurance from London Brokerage Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson (GRIP) before committing suicide. Just after this issue, GRIP stopped issuing Alien Abduction Insurance Policies to their customers. Before this event, even they sold more than 4, 000 insurance policies of this type.

At a cost of roughly $155 a year, the GRIP policy would pay about $160, 000 to someone who could show that they had been abducted by a being who was not from Earth. The payment would double if the insured person was impregnated during the event. Men were also able to purchase the impregnation insurance for protection against the unknown capabilities of alien technology.

Celebrity Chefs

 

Chef Julia Child became a pop-culture icon and was one of the first true celebrity chefs.

She brought French Cuisine to the American Public.   Her debut cookbook was Mastering the Art of French Cooking.   As a result, Julia Child’s kitchen is a historic artefact. It is on display on the ground floor of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.  The kitchen is the actual kitchen used in several of her cooking shows.

Iron Chefs is a show produced by Food Network.  It also carried a dubbed version of the original Iron Chef.  Like the original Japanese program, the program is a culinary game show.  In each episode, a new challenger chef competes against one of the resident “Iron Chefs” in a one-hour cooking competition based on a secret ingredient or ingredients.

Celebrity Chefs are treated like rock stars.  Gordon Ramsay’s empire is reported to be worth $80 million.  His salary per episode is $225, 000.   He earns an additional $10 million per year from his media and restaurant empire.  Ramsay has opened a string of successful restaurants across the globe.  He also has a global partnership with WWRD (Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton) which offers quality home and lifestyle products.

Jamie Oliver is worth a whopping $243 million beating out Gordon Ramsay and Delia Smith. In 2000, Oliver became the face of the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’ through an endorsement deal worth $2 million a year.  In 2005 Oliver suggested that home cooks grate nutmeg over spaghetti bolognese.  This led to the supermarket sell more than 9 tons of the spice.  The tie-up which lasted 11 years is over but has earned the chef over over £10 million.

The kitchen is quite a dangerous place for celebrity chefs:  knives are sharp, pans are hot, floors are slippery.

There is the specific timing involved in a television show.  What happens if a celebrity chef is ill or injured and therefore unable to perform?  How does this affect the overall brand and the businesses that rely on their names?

The response of investors and corporate risk managers is to secure large blocks of key person life insurance. This is to protect against the untimely death of celebrity chefs.   They recognise how dependent the franchises are on the brand of their celebrity chefs.  Many risk managers ignore the greater risk of injury and forgo disability coverage.

Key person life and key person disability insurance should be procured. This is in order to protect the company, the employees, the shareholders and the board of directors.  Production and merchandising partners need similar protection as well.  This insurance is typically available through traditional life markets.

Accidents and illnesses happen.  Alton Brown, a chef who is a known aviation and motorcycle enthusiast, broke his collarbone after crashing a motorcycle while filming an episode of Feasting on Asphalt for Food Network.  A few years earlier, he shattered his wrist.  This injury required eight screws and a titanium plate to repair.  This furthermore took months of recovery and rehabilitation before he could resume filming.

Lower-profile chefs need similar protection.  The Gotham Bar & Grill in New York enlisted the talent of Alfred Portale.  He has brought the cuisine to a new level.  Furthermore he continuously evolves the menu, dining room, service standard and art collection.  Chef Portale was named Outstanding Chef in the nation in 2006. If Chef Portale suffered a serious injury or illness, there is definite potential for Gothams to be negatively affected. 

Key person life and disability insurance is  important.  This is therefore to either reorganise and replace a fallen chef, or simply wind down a venture.

The value of ensuring that a brand or restaurant can continue to prosper if an executive chef is no longer able to perform, is big business.  Cooking shows like Iron Chef, Masterchef, Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen promise to spawn new superstars that have strong brand crossover. Celebrity Chefs have ascended to a lofty perch once inhabited only by actors, athletes and rock stars and ensuring there are contingency plans in place makes good business sense

Bicycle Insurance

Bicycling has so many benefits such as enhanced health, decreased pollution and auto emissions. It helps in reducing obesity. Cycling also has positive economic impacts on the community. However, having bicycle insurance is very important.

However, there are certain risks you face when you share the road with automobiles.

1.  818 bicyclists were involved in fatal accidents in the US in 2016.
2. The above figures accounted for 2 percent of all auto/cyclist traffic fatalities.
3. 52,000 cyclists were injured in motor vehicle accidents.
4. 72 percent of all bicycling fatalities occurred in urban areas.  67 percent occurred somewhere other than an intersection.
5. In 2016, California and Florida ranked as the top 2 states in terms of cyclist casualties, with 99 and 83 respectively.

Bikes and other sporting equipment are fully covered under their Homeowner’s or Renter’s policies. Bicycle owners who fall victim to theft may be faced with much of the replacement cost of their bikes because of low coverage limits and high deductibles. A bicycle claim could cause a person’s Homeowner’s rates to go up. With a separate bicycle insurance policy, cyclists can protect their homeowner’s rates and protect their bikes from worst-case scenarios.

A Homeowner’s policy provides some bicycle insurance in the form of personal property coverage. The policy will cover damage to your bike to a certain extent. However, your bike’s replacement value may be much higher than the amount provided in a standard policy. As a general rule, you can expect to pay $7 – $20 per $1000 value of your bike per annum.

Under the following circumstances, it would be wise to purchase a bicycle insurance policy.

  1.  While the average bike costs a few hundred dollars, some enthusiasts do not think twice about spending $5, 000 – $10, 000 for top-of-the-line bikes. If you have a very expensive model, you may want to seriously consider buying comprehensive bicycle insurance.
  2. You regularly ride off road and want Mountain Bike insurance to cover you and your bike for damages and medical costs.
  3. Perhaps you participate in BMX Competitions or do stunt riding. Therefore you need bike insurance to cover your bike for damage and for your own medical costs.

In response to the insurance needs of bicycle riders nationwide, a company called Velosurance was formed by two avid cyclists. It provides multi-risk insurance policies for all types of cyclists. They have partnered up with an A.M. Best “A” rated Insurance Company, and have agreements with bike shops in most States, who can provide repair and/or replacement to a damaged bike. The locations of these bike shops is well presented on the Velosurance website.

When taking out a bike policy through Velosurance, you have the option of supplementing additional coverage to protect against multiple losses.  Your policy is customised to meet your individual needs. The bike will be insured for the value that you that you give them.  If the bike is damaged or lost, Velosurance will replace the old bike with a new one and they guarantee “no bike value depreciation”. Velosurance undertake to complete the whole process from claim to you being back pedalling on your bike in the shortest time possible.

Spoke Insurance is an insurance program designed exclusively for cyclists.  It covers:

Liability insurance up to $100, 000; uninsured and underinsured motorist liability with a limit of $25, 000 per occurrence $50, 000 Aggregate;  the value in the case of damage needing repair; roadside assistance (up to twice a year) within a 30 mile radius of your residence.  Spoke Insurance give members of the California Bicycle Coalition or affiliates discounts on cover.

Markel Insurance:  Their coverage includes all 50 states for those that bicycle tour and covers Canada, as well as offering coverage when your bike is in transit by land/air.

Factors to consider when searching for bike insurance quotes:

Value: The value of the bike is the main determinant when calculating the amount of coverage required. Additional items like tools, speedometers and panniers must be included. It is advisable to keep all receipts in case of a claim.

Type of Bike: A stunt bike is considered a bigger risk than a regular bike and will thus cost more to insure.

Use of bike: A bike used for commuting to work will not cost as much to ensure as a bike you use on mountain trails. Daily use needs more coverage than occasional riding.

Depreciation: Ascertain the insurance company’s policy on bike depreciation.

Limits and deductibles: With nearly all insurance plans, paying higher deductibles lowers your premium. However, a high deductible increases your out-of-pocket costs in the event of a loss.

Insurance for Collectables

If you have more than two of something, you have a collection.  You should therefore should obtain insurance for collectables. There are an estimated 90 million collectors in the United States.

Insurance for collectables policies used to ensure privately owned collections are referred to as “scheduled personal property floaters.”

Floater policies are offered through insurance companies that are classified as either: –

  1. Admitted”. These are insurance companies licensed by a state insurance department to conduct business in the particular state.  Generally, the coverage forms and rates are required to be submitted to the state insurance department for review and approval. (Your homeowner’s insurer is most likely an “admitted” insurance company).
  2. Non-Admitted” (also known as surplus lines) insurers are authorised by the state regulator to conduct business in the particular state, but the coverage forms and rates are not regulated. Because the coverage forms and rates are not regulated, these insurers have the flexibility to design insurance policies that can be used to cover unique or unusual types of property.

The difference between “admitted” and “nonadmitted” insurers: –

If an admitted insurer becomes financially impaired or insolvent, most state insurance departments have the authority to take over the operation of the company.    Most states have a guaranty fund in place to provide payments for covered claims to help minimise the financial loss to policyholders resulting from an insurer’s insolvency.

State insurance departments do not have the authority to take over the operation of a “non-admitted” insurer. The state’s guaranty fund does not respond to insolvencies of non-admitted insurers.

 The following items should be included in any insurance for collectables:-

  1. Specific coverage should include theft, vandalism, accidental breakage, fire, lightning, windstorm, flood, water damage, earthquake and shipping coverage.
  2. Additions to the collection should be automatically covered for a period of time until you can add them on.
  3. An inflation guard feature that automatically increases the value of your collection each year.
  4. A reasonable deductible.
  5. Replacement cost average, so that you will be paid the current market retail value of the loss.
  6. Affordable rate of premium to coverage value.
  7. Detailed inventories or professional appraisals should not be required.

In addition to the above, you may also wish to consider automatic travel and exhibit coverage and moving coverage.

Valuation, Appraisal and Inventory: For most collections, the insurer should not require a detailed inventory or any type of professional appraisal in order to obtain coverage. However, the company may require a list of single items with very high values. This is not uncommon.  It can be easily provided if you have kept receipts for your purchases.

An appraisal is one way of determining the value of your collection. This may be a good idea, particularly if you have no idea of its value. Generally, an appraiser will need to be physically present at the location of the collection, so that the collection can be viewed, measured, documented and photographed. The appraiser will then research your collection, and ultimately provide you with a written appraisal report. This report will contain information about the purpose and type of appraisal conducted.

The report should contain a complete description of each item, including size, markings, characteristics and value.

At a minimum, you should track the following information for each item:-

  1. Date of purchase
  2. Name of seller and location
  3. Category of item
  4. Good description of item, including shape, colour, markings and other unique features
  5. Size
  6. Purchase price
  7. Current value
  8. Picture of item (not required, but a good idea)

Antiques and Collectibles National Association require that only single items over $2500 need to be listed. The deductibles start at $250 per occurrence. They cover anything except jewellery, coin/currency, new guns and anything motorized.

(For collector automobile insurance, they recommend Hagerty Insurance Agency).

American Collectors offer broad coverage on your collectables which include damage caused by accident, fire, flood, theft, hurricane and earthquake. Scheduled items’ value over $2000 automatically will have increased coverage by 2% quarterly, and 8% annually at no extra cost.

Hagerty Classic Car Insurers use industry-leading tools to help you determine the true value of your classic car/s, then create an agreed value policy that covers it. Hagerty only insures collectable cars and therefore can provide coverage at a lower price than daily driver insurers.

The insurance for collectables will be customised to your needs whether you are travelling to a show or going out for lunch, or doing restorations on your car, you will be covered. In addition, they provide guaranteed flatbed roadside assistance when you need it.

Driving while high

Are you driving while high?

People are asking if it is ok? It is never ok to be caught driving while high. It is illegal!

Driving while high refers to alcohol toxication as well as other substances which interfere with your ability to drive. You can be charged even in a state that has legalized marijuana.

In order to define drugged driving is difficult. The reason is that there are many drugs which can impair driving ability. Furthermore, there is not a specific concentration that proves impairment.

State laws place the responsibility on law enforcement to decide if the driver is impaired whilst operating a vehicle. In addition, a drug recognition expert (DRE) may be called to the scene to check the driver for drug use.

Alternatively, the driver may be arrested immediately and then tested whilst in custody.

Driving under the while high results in unsafe driving habits and presents a higher risk for accidents. A DUI or DUID will result in higher auto insurance premiums. The premium could be increased by hundreds of dollars.

If found guilty of DUI or DUID you could be subject to:-
* Driver’s licence suspension
* Jail time
* Fines
* Reinstatement fees
* Mandatory driver’s training programs
* Alcohol and drug treatment programs
* DUI or DUID attorneys fees.

In certain instances, an auto policy could be cancelled. Finding vehicle insurance on the open market will be highly unlikely. You will need to join your state’s auto insurance plan, which usually costs more than the insurance in an open market.

Your driver’s licence may be suspended if you are stopped while driving high. In this instance, you will be required to file an SR-22 certificate in order to reinstate your licence.

This certificate is filed by your car insurance company on your behalf. It guarantees that you will hold insurance for a certain amount of time. (about 3 years). These certificates are expensive plus you will pay more for your car insurance.

Gun ownership

There have been several mass shootings in the country over the past 12 months. As a result, every aspect of gun ownership is being given closer scrutiny. Furthermore, this includes the responsibility and potential liability of owning a gun.

Insurance companies don’t typically take guns into consideration in home insurance premiums. Some companies do not need you to disclose gun ownership in an application for home cover.

Companies are not permitted to victimize gun owners when issuing homeowner’s policies. However, insurance companies will not cover every claim associated with gun ownership. You will be held liable for injury to another party if you own the gun. Claim payment is dependent upon the incident itself.

However, an accidental shooting in your home could result in the injured party filing a claim against the homeowner. Shootings outside the home also apply here. As long as the shooting is not classified as a crime, a claim will be considered by the insurance company.

The definition of a crime varies state by state. The storing of a gun where minors have access to it is considered a crime in some states. Accidents, where drugs and/or alcohol is involved, may also be regarded as a crime.

The above also depends upon the wording of the policy document. It is important to know the policy limits. If the limit is $150, 000, this may not be sufficient to cover legal and medical fees in the case of a lawsuit as a result of an accident.

Gun owners could obtain an umbrella policy could cover a higher limit than $150, 000. If you or a family member is shot, the cover is provided by your life assurance policy or medical cover.

Chubb, the insurance company, has stated that it will stop underwriting an insurance policy for gun owners called NRA Carry Guard. The NRA began selling this line of Carry Guard insurance last year. These policies help individuals who use firearms for self-defence cover their legal expenses.

Drone Safety

In recent years U. S. Aviation regulators hastily accepted commercial drone applications. This flurry has resulted in lax safety rules.

Over a period of 2 years, 5500 exemptions were approved. These drones are used for businesses from film-making to agriculture. However, limited training for safety inspectors was provided. In spite of this, these inspectors have had to cope with an enormous amount of new operators.

In its haste to grant approvals, the agency did not check whether applicants had pilots’ licences. The whereabouts of the Applicants operating were not recorded.  These inspections were almost impossible.

Over the last year, more than 500 000 people have registered unmanned aircraft. Safety incidents involving drones reached more than 100 per month.

A recently released government watchdog report stated that there is a lack of rigorous data.  This data reports and tracks system for drone movement. Furthermore, the report pointed out that the information available is fragmented.   It makes it difficult to interpret.

Recreational Drones

In 2012 Congress authorised the FAA to grant exemptions allowing commercial unmanned flights. This permission was for aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds. The agency proceeded to write formal regulations allowing such flights for hire. These regulations went into effect on 29 August 2012 and made provision exclusively for recreational users.

The FAA has now concentrated on educating ‘delinquent’ operators in safety rules rather than opening enforcement cases. Up until April, the agency has sent out 625 “Instructions for Operator” letters to drone users while only enforcing action against 30 for safety violations.

The agency has furthermore taken steps to improve compliance with drone operating rules. In addition, new training has been implemented for the education of its inspectors. A drone knowledge test has been compiled for commercial drone operators.

  •  Aviation authorities recommend flying below 400 feet or 121 meters AGL.  This is to avoid a collision with manned aircraft such as aeroplanes and helicopters.  AGL stands for “above ground level”
  • Maintain visual line of sight, i. e. always make sure you can see your drone at all times
  • Flights over people are not permitted.  This can include a group of people or even a single person
  • Abide by the rules of your city or town
  • If you’re flying within 5 miles of all airports you need to give notice to the airport.

In conclusion, the results of this government report will ensure the ongoing commitment of the FAA to minimise drone safety violations.

Event Cancellation

Event cancellation Insurance will cover any expenses or lost revenue that an event promoter might stand to lose if the event they are holding or attending is cancelled, abandoned or postponed for unforeseeable reasons beyond their control.

Types of events that may be covered

  • Sporting events and competitions
  • Trade shows, conferences and lectures
  • Festivals and fairs
  • Film, television and premiers
  • Concert tours
  • Corporate functions and community events
  • Weddings and other special family gatherings

The type of incidents that could endanger an event

  • Inclement weather
  • Natural catastrophes, such as earthquake, flood and fire
  • Structure damage
  • Utilities failure
  • Strike risks
  • Terrorism or threat of terrorism
  • The inability of speakers, performers, teams or exhibitors to appear
  • National Mourning – sometimes excluded
  • Communicable disease – sometimes excluded

In certain circumstances and when dealing with some insurance companies, there may be exclusions:

  1. Actual or threatened use of Biological/Chemical weapons
  2. Losses attributed to or arising from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
  3. Lack of sales, response or reduced attendance
  4. Variations in exchange rates or currency stability
  5. War and therefore civil commotion
  6. Losses resulting from National Mourning
  7. Financial Failure, insolvency or default, support or Withdrawal of support by any party
  8. Acts of Terrorism – a policy can be extended to include this cover.

Examples of possible major impacts:

National Concert Tour

The terrorist act of 9/11 resulted in the event cancellation of 1000s of functions including national touring groups.  The tour postponed 4 concerts but was able to make them up one month later.

These days with everyone downloading music, recording artists are having to tour more often to recoup losses.  They therefore have the high expense and risks associated with touring.

The reality of today’s music industry is that many recording artists have a very short window for top earnings, but when they tour, they are incredibly productive.  As a result, non-appearance coverage has become more popular, especially when a big act goes out on the road.  To make sure they are covered, the artist’s management has to figure out the potential income from tour guarantees plus percentages put up by the promoters.   They then factor in what the loss would be if the artist failed to complete all or part of the tour.

According to Pollstar, in 2012 the top 50 tours alone brought in a combined $3 billion.  Factors taken into account when assessing the risk is the artist’s prior non-appearance record.  In addition the tour schedule and where the artist is in their career financially.  There are however many aging rock stars (many over 50) touring these days.   Furthermore, the decades of screaming and back-stage indiscretions take their toll. This increases the chances of tour cancellation due to health problems.  Vocal hemorrhaging, vocal cord infections and inflammation.

Dr. Joseph Sugarman, one of the country’s leading ear, nose and throat specialists has assisted many recording artists over the years and says that the most common throat problems stem from upper respiratory infections, which cause the vocal cords to swell.  The fact is that performing with swollen vocal cords compounds the dangers.

Singers are at high risk as every time they use their vocal cords to sing or speak, one vocal cord vibrates against another.  The louder the voice is used, the more violent the collisions.  The higher the pitch, the more frequent the collisions.  Dr. Lee Akst, a laryngologist of the John Hopkins Voice Centre in Baltimore, explained that recording artists constantly on tour are at high risk to develop vocal cord problems.

Other physical problems can result in event cancellations and non-appearance.  According to Billboard, Lady Gaga, during her 2014 “This Way Ball” concert injured her hip resulting in the subsequent refund of tickets worth about $25 million.

A stadium tour like Lady Gaga’s employ well over 100 crew members.  They require local support staff and involves top-level partners like promoter Live Nation, which pays staggering upfront costs that it hopes to recoup over the course of the tour.  So what happens when the show cannot go on?

Travel delays may cause a major problem for touring recording artists.  During Madonna’s 2008-2009 “Sticky and Sweet” tour, she was traveling from Europe to the United States to South America with her four 747s full of cargo.  One of the planes was n’t cleared for flight from Mexico City to Buenos Aires and the show had to be postponed.

Physicians’ Group Annual Convention

Buying event cancellation insurance based on 100% of their gross profit potential also guarantees them continued year-round operations in the event of an interruption or cancellation of their event.

Film Production Company

Filming outdoor scenes in the Northeastern US in late April is chancy.  In addition, spring ice and snow storms can bring the production to a halt.  By ensuring the entire budget with event cancellation the production company is thus able to ensure against bad weather and cast non-appearance.

Circles Group expects demand for film insurance packages to increase in the next five years, as film budgets in Asia are increasing and co-productions with western producers.  Foreign investors are increasing.  This will drive demand for more sophisticated event insurance products which are tailored to local needs.

Major Golf Tournament

Faced with paying appearance fees to certain high profile players, the tournament organizers therefore want to make certain, in the event of cancellation, they are thus reimbursed their fees.  Concerned only in insuring their out of pocket expenses, they may also elect to buy a policy based on expenses only, not gross receipts, thereby significantly reducing the premium charged for the policy.

Car Insurance Fraud

The festive season requires extra monies for Christmas gifts and elaborate celebrations. Price hikes intensify in January. School fees, household and vehicle insurance increases. Therefore this makes car insurance fraud attractive to certain types of individuals.

Car insurance fraud is illegal in all 50 states in America. Insurance companies do all they can to investigate and expose car insurance fraud. The following are some ways these scams are committed: –

1. “Owner-give-up”, i. e. vehicle dumping where an owner disposes of the vehicle by leaving it somewhere, dumping it into a lake or river, burying it or even selling it. A claim of theft is then submitted to the insurance company, thus an owner committing car insurance fraud.

When the car is sold before a report of theft is made, the fraudster will claim that the vehicle was stolen and thus obtain funds from the insurance company. Extra monies too from the sale of the original vehicle.

2. Sometimes mechanics use shoddy parts to repair a vehicle. They also  present an over-exaggerated parts and/or labour claim to insurers. Some resort to fabricating the extent of the vehicle damage.

3. Another car repair scam involves the replacement of airbags after an accident. The repairers stuff the compartments with objects with items such as beer cans or pack in peanuts to keep the sensors activated. California passed a protective law against such practices and as a result the guilty party could face a year in prison plus a $5000 fine.

4. Fake traffic deaths or collisions staged by fraud rings may result in false or exaggerated claims. The group may consist of claims adjusters and dishonest officers who create bogus police reports to process claim application.

5. A well-known tactic swindlers use is to drive to a bustling junction or roundabout and apply brakes sharply therefore causing a motorist to collide with the back of the fraudster’s vehicle. Accusations of fast driving or tail-gating is labelled as the reason for the collision.
Claimants may use a “recruited” doctor to diagnose whiplash or other soft-tissue injuries. These are difficult to dispute later.

Many people do not realise that loss indicator insurance agents have “red flags” they look for in possible scams:

– A claimant who is totally unflustered after submitting a large claim.
– Hand-written receipts for repairs on a covered item.
– An insured who increases auto insurance coverage shortly before submitting a claim.

Many insurers have Special Investigation Units. Employees who work in SIUs generally have backgrounds as detectives, police officers and medical personnel. Insurers are now using social media on suspicious claims. Perhaps the claimant who said his car suffered hail damage will be bragging about his deception on Facebook or Twitter.

Car insurance fraud is not just a problem for insurance companies. It is your problem too. According to FBI statistics, non-health insurance fraud costs $40 billion annually, which you cover by paying annual premiums $400 to $700 higher than they would be if there were no fraud at all.

In 1993 The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud was founded. This organisation collects information on insurance fraud. Through its unique work it empowers consumers to fight back. It helps fraud fighters to detect this crime. The Coalition deters more people from committing fraud. It has information, research and data services and insight to help the anti-fraud community.

Genes and insurance

A genes test could inform you about the increased risk of certain diseases. More people may want to take this test. However, the insurance industry is displeased about these tests.

People can order these tests online. A company in California 23andMe has already collected more than 4000 litres of sputum since 2007. 23andMe is a privately held genomics and biotechnology company in Mountain View, California. The company is named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell. In 2007, 23andMe became the first company to begin offering autosomal DNA testing for ancestry. Two million people were given information about their ancestry and health risks.

23andMe received regulatory approval to screen for risk factors related to ten diseases and conditions. These diseases include Alzheimers and Parkinson’s.

Insurers want to have access to this information about genes. This information will harm the companies.

On the other hand, consumer groups feel that insurers will use genes information to exclude people from coverage. These advances will, however, impact insurance companies. These tests could influence medical as well as financial decisions. A person who has been shown to potentially have the risk of getting a critical illness could take out critical illness coverage, which pays a lump sum on diagnosis.

A person who has the risk of dying at a young age may take out a well-paying life assurance policy, payable upon his death to his spouse or relatives. Predictive tests need not be disclosed, unlike diagnostic tests.

Asymmetry information is when a customer knows more than the insurer. This is an insurer’s nightmare. On the other hand, for health and life insurers, who want to keep people alive and well, this information could be invaluable.

Discovery, a South African health insurer, plans to offer customers a test that maps part of their genome. The focus is on “actionable data” where medical intervention or lifestyle change that could mitigate risk.

High tech features

High-tech features on cars drive up insurance rates. The blind-spot monitoring, as well as backup cameras, are some of these features. We feel safer but with that comes a heavy price.

With lower gasoline prices, more miles are driven now. With more miles, comes increased risk of accidents.

The Information Insurance Institute admits that these high tech devices are expensive to repair. An example is the repair of a bumper. A 2014 model car bumper repair costs $1,845. In contrast, the cost for a 2016 model is $3,550.

Parts on 2016 vehicles are 130% higher. Labour costs are 18% higher.

Consumers are advised to check out insurance rates before purchasing a new vehicle. Other changes in life should also be considered. For example, marriage and a job change.

Michigan has a ‘no-fault’ insurance system. It is notorious for its high insurance rates. Other factors that result in higher car insurance rates are distracted driving, faster driving and legalized marijuana. Texting and cell phone usage are additional problems.

Some drivers have developed a false sense of security due to high tech assistance and are therefore less attentive when driving. A high tech feature such as antilock brakes did not reduce accidents but resulted in more aggressive driving. Drivers rely heavily on this feature. The same applies to collision warning systems.

High tech safety/driver assist systems on many new cars today as mentioned before, cost a lot to fix. Sensors and cameras are located in vulnerable places such as grilles and bumpers.

There is another factor that has yet to be built into new car insurance. This is the cost of hacking into new car systems. This will further increase the cost of vehicle insurance.

Cyber exposure

The fastest growing peril faced by businesses today is cyber exposure. Firms are driven by data and are dependent upon technology.

Occurrences in 2017 highlighted cybersecurity issues. Furthermore, we were shown how vulnerable we are to the hacking of our personal information. Hospitals, voting records and school districts were targeted. Not only were US consumers the focus of the hackers but also another 150 countries.

Three hundred thousand computer systems across the globe were affected by the malevolent Wannacry, NotPetya and Equifax malware. They caused extensive business interruption losses.

Brad Gow, global cyber product leader at Sompo International has warned that a threat could come from a dozen different directions. Cyber experts view the industry as unprepared for cyber exposure due to a lack of experience and data. This is troubling in a continually evolving cyber risk environment.

The NotPetya malware was composed to attack corporate networks. It used a hacked version of a well-known accounting program in Ukraine. It destroyed data and filesystems within each computer.

Most of the attacks happened in Ukraine and Russia. Losses amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars within a few weeks. However, business interruptions continued for months.

Brad Gow said that fortunately, it had not been a true zero-day event. If it had been, this would have turned the cyber insurance market on its head. A zero-day attack happens when developers have not had time to fix a recently discovered software vulnerability. Therefore, there is time for hackers to take advantage of the security gap.

Equifax Inc. expects the 2017 data breach costs to top $275 million this year. Reuters has stated that this could be the costliest hack in corporate history.

In May 2017 WannaCry targeted computers running Microsoft Windows operating system. Data was encrypted and then Bitcoin ransom payments were demanded.

It appears that companies are taking cyber insurance more seriously since the above attacks.

Maersk, a transport and logistics company, lost more than $200 million due to the NotPetya attack. As a result, the company has said that they are taking cyber insurance coverage very seriously.

Active shooter insurance

The McGowan Companies began selling active shooter insurance in 2016.  17 people were killed and a dozen injured on the 14th February 2018 at a Florida high school.

Subsequently, seven South Florida school district has bought $3 million active shooter coverage. Calls are received daily by the broker Paul Marshall of McGowan.

This insurance pays up to $250 000 per shooting victim. Building damage is also covered. It includes office buildings and concert halls. Furthermore, the insurance takes into consideration not only death but serious injuries such as total disability and loss of sight.

Many organisations are vulnerable to active shooters. These include educational, religious institutions, retailers and healthcare facilities. These places are difficult to secure. In addition, a high volume of people is often present every day.
Therefore an armed individual is able to enter unchallenged.

Additional costs include victim lawsuits, legal fees, medical expenses and trauma counselling. Companies hire Media consultants.

Accountants handle charitable contributions.  Buildings as well are reconstructed where bloodshed occurred.

Some desperate families were forced to crowdfunding sites. For instance, Roger Borges is using GoFundMe to raise $1 million for his son Anthony, a Parkland student who has undergone eight surgeries since being shot five times during the massacre.

Anthony has insurance through a government-sponsored program for children, but it is, however, unclear how much it will cover.

Premiums are $1,400 per anum for $1 million coverage for a small private school. A large public school district could be quoted $50,000 to $100,000 per year for a $5 million to $10 million policy.

The building at the Parkland high school where the shooting happened, will be replaced at a cost of $25.3 million. This safety law was signed on 9th March 2018.

According to Church Mutual Insurance Co., customers have called wanting to raise coverage up to $300,000 per victim per violent incident.

The vice president of Special Markets Insurance Consultants also said his firm was considering a name change for its Active Shooter Insurance policy. However, he concluded that these occurrences cannot be sugarcoated as they are what they are.

AI

The insurance industry has data at its centre.  Data is gathered in large amounts on a daily basis. In addition, this process happens at a tremendous speed.  AI and machine learning are transforming the industry. Human-like machines are thus being built.

According to surveys, humans do not, however, mind interacting with a bot.  Consumers are satisfied to get computer-generated insurance advice.

Tata Consultancy Services has invested $124 million in AI. Other industries invested on average $70 million.

Many claims, customer queries and huge amounts of data resulting in the insurance industry being a natural use case for AI.

* Claims are handled rapidly;
* AI identifies patterns in data and can, therefore, find fraudulent claims;
* The collection of this data helps with risk evaluation;
* Powered chatbots replace human assistants. This results in fast and efficient customer service;
* Chatbots are able to obtain customers’ geographic and social data. This increases personalised interactions;
* Wearable sensors will lower premiums for less risky behaviour. This includes driving and exercising.

Claims can be forwarded through a mobile app, photos taken of the accident and the claim submitted instantly. Trained algorithms via pictures from past claims can estimate the cost of damage.

Siri, Alexa and Google have become part of our daily lives. Through voice recognition, tones and emotions can thus give clues regarding customer service and fraud detection.

In addition, by means of past pattern analysis and actions, AI can recommend suitable action to management on how to retain a customer. Furthermore, additional recommendations can be made in which additional insurance products to sell to the client.

A Gartner report furthermore predicts that by 2020, 85% of interactions with customers will occur without human involvement. In addition, the savings by using bots instead of humans would be passed onto the consumers by means of cheaper premiums.

Drone Insurance

 Insurers now offer drone insurance to businesses who fly drones.

A startup called Verifly is available to drone users with a new mobile app.

The co-founder and CEO Jay Bregman said that he and co-founder and CTO Eugene Hertz  designed a user-friendly app. This app will meet the drone insurance needs of drone operators.

The Verifly app draws a quarter mile circle around users. It analyses information from Verifly’s geospatial and weather databases. The user is shown the estimated risk. A price is set for the drone user on a policy. This can be purchased on-the-spot. If a price is agreed upon, users pay with a credit card.  They get $1 million in 3rd party liability coverage with $10, 000 invasion of privacy coverage.

Unmanned Risk Management, the largest underwriter of aviation insurance in the world has insured  drones in all 50 U. S. States.   They also give insurance for drones for the seven film operators that received a Section 333 exemption from the FAA to use drones on Hollywood movie sets.

The FAA said that existing aviation regulations, give it the authority to ban commercial drone flights that have not received waivers to operate. The agency has issued fines against an unspecified number of drone operators.

In other cases the FAA has worked with law enforcement agencies to contact people who have operated drones that were unsafe or unauthorised.

Harry Arnold, owner of Detroit Drones, said he is hoping the FAA rules go into place as soon as possible. That has not stopped him from running a drone photography business for the last five years.  His website includes aerial video of real estate developments, construction sites and a car race.

Arnold, who said he does not have an FAA waiver, disputes the agency’s authority over commercial drone flights with regulations still incomplete. While some drone entrepreneurs may see their wings clipped once the FAA’s new restrictions become finalised, tighter standards are good news for the sometimes chaotic, unregulated industry Miller said.

Before writing drone insurance, Miller requires a drone flier to develop standard operating procedures.  He also requires clients to keep logs of flights and maintenance. Furthermore to have at least a basic understanding of FAA rules for traditional pilots.

Some of his standards in fact exceed those in the FAA proposals. His standards say pilots would have to pass an aviation knowledge test.  They could only fly below 500 feet and also within sight of the operator. There would be no requirements for logs or maintenance standards.

Perhaps most of all, insurers assess the likelihood of an accident involving people, as that is where the possibility of expensive litigation and indemnity payments exists.

Insurers routinely mandate higher safety standards than those set by the FAA for traditional aviation risks.

Electric Vehicles

There are many working parts in an internal combustion engine.  The owners of electric vehicles, however,  do not have to worry about these parts.

Most insurance companies regard electric vehicle drivers as more responsible.  They are therefore less likely to be involved in a car accident. A Chevy Volt costs an average of $1,452 per year to insure. Its non-electric counterpart, namely the Cadillac CTS is approximately $2,024 per annum. The most popular electric vehicle in 2016 was the Toyota Prius C and its annual insurance premium average $1,513 in comparison to $1,801 for a Nissan Altima.

Every electric vehicle is not, however, cheaper to insure.

Many well-known insurers have a problem reacting to new technology, such as electric vehicles, however, there are others who are highly flexible.

Zurich put into motion a worldwide drive which thus put emphasis on the advancement of products and services which would help consumers deal with climate-related risks. The conversion to electric vehicles is part of the solution. The ultimate goal is low carbon emissions. Zurich’s electric car insurance cover includes:

  • 20% discount on an electric car’s insurance premium;
  • 24-hour roadside assistance;
  • In the event of your car running out of charge, you will get free towing to the nearest public charge point or to your home charge point, whichever is the nearest;
  • Your car will be repaired if you have a mechanical failure. You will be towed to the nearest specialist electric car repairer at no charge.

Also. enquire about cable liability.

Does your insurance policy cover the possibility of somebody claiming liability should they trip over the cable and hurt themselves? The cables are short.

Nissan is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Nissan delivers a range of more than 60 models under Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility.

The Renault-Nissan alliance have sold 200,000 electric vehicles worldwide to date. They say that they control 58 percent of the segment. The CEO of the alliance, Carlos Ghosn claims that there are, in his opinion, four reasons why car buyers are making the switch to electric vehicles.

  Owners can make a “recharge” without making a trip. These recharge points include the drivers’ homes and workplaces.

Mr. Ghosn is to have said that the “cul-de-sac” effect is, therefore, helping the market share grow.
Ghosn claims furthermore that the Nissan and Renault EVs have the highest customer satisfaction rates of any vehicle that either company has ever produced to date.

Cyber insurers

The WannaCry ransom cyber attack started on Friday 12th May 2017.  Infection occurred within 24 hours. As a result, the virus spread to 230 00 computers.

The targeted computers ran on Microsoft Windows operating system.  The hackers encrypted the data.   In the result, they demanded ransom payments in Bitcoin.

The services in the United Kingdom provided were thus emergency-only.

A 22 year old web security researcher in England discovered an effective kill switch. He registered a domain name that he found in the code of the ransom ware. This therefore slowed down the spread of the infection.  New versions lack the kill switch.

Petya is a family of encrypting ransomware. Petya targets Microsoft Windows based systems. It prevents windows from booting and then demands payment in Bitcoin in order to regain access to the system. On 27 June 2017, a major global attack began utilising a new variant of Petya.

It is the opinion of Graeme Newman, chief innovation officer at CFC Underwriting that a combination of WannaCry’s wide reach and Petya’s destructive force could thus cost insurers about $2.5 billion in the near future.

Recently the manufacturers of Air Wick fresheners and Dettol cleaners had their manufacturing and distribution channels affected by a global attack.

CFC underwrites approximately $100 million of cyber insurance premiums. It is therefore one of Europe’s biggest sellers of the product.

The global market for insurance then grew to about $3.4 billion in premiums in 2016.  Many businesses are unable to deal with cyber attacks. This is stated in a report from specialist insurers Hiscox. The report found 53% of the companies assessed were ill-prepared to deal with an attack.

In 2016 cybercrime cost the global economy over $450 billion and furthermore over 2 billion personal records were stolen. In the US alone, over 100 million Americans had their medical records stolen.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is an online payment invented in 2008.  It was released as an open-source software in 2009. The system is peer-to-peer. Users can transact directly without needing an agent.  People find this currency attractive as no bank can control it.

Bitcoin. The ledger uses its own unit of account also called bitcoin. The system works without a central repository or single administrator. This has led the US Treasury to categorise it as a decentralised virtual currency. This is the first cryptocurrency.

Bitcoins are created as a reward for payment processing work.  Users offer their computing power to verify and record payments into the public ledger. This activity is called mining. There can only ever be 21 million bitcoins. The smallest denomination is called a Satoshi.  Besides mining,  they can be obtained in exchange for different currencies, products and services.

With an estimated $14 billion worth of Bitcoins in circulation 82,000 merchants now accept this currency.  Eight million users have set up wallets.   These are accounts where they store and manage the currency. The number is growing.

Bitcoins are a way of using and moving money without a bank account or credit card. The currency fluctuates in value against other currencies. Recently, a Bitcoin was worth about $10,571 in U. S. dollars.

Users can purchase this currency, store them in a virtual wallet linked to their smartphone.  They can then scan their account information at participating establishments to pay for merchandise.

Insurers that consider the possibilities of protecting Bitcoin users have other lingering concerns. For one thing, Bitcoin has some volatility. Therefore you can’t have the same approach to storing it as you would a commodity. Volatility in price is one of the things carriers are concerned about. An upward move in price can be beneficial to an owner. It is difficult to understand.  The price movements is a very complex problem for insurers.

Individuals or businesses are protected when holding bitcoins  This is in much the same way a safe deposit box at a bank secures valuable. Once stored in a virtual wallet, the currency can only be moved or accessed through the use of two “keys” – or codes. One held by the Bitcoin owner and the other held publicly. A person could lose the thumb drive that has the private key on it, then they are no longer able to unlock the Bitcoin wallet.

Investment in Bitcoins has been relatively robust. The growth in investment so far in the short life of the currency has been stronger than the growth of Internet-related investments during a similar period in its startup.

Venture capital companies have invested more than $670 million worth of Bitcoins into security-related enterprises. Insurers have viewed Bitcoin use as a cybersecurity risk. There is a distinction between ensuring Bitcoin value and covering the management of a Bitcoin company. The price of the currency cannot be insured but the company could be covered like any other Directors and Officers insurance.

Bitcoin theft insurance is available, however, it is pricey and there are only a few policies. However, over time more people will get involved.   Thus there will be more consistency in the security of the underwriting.

An interesting aspect of Bitcoin is the anonymity of users.  While every Bitcoin transaction is digitally recorded, parties to the transactions are identified only by account numbers, not names. The anonymity seems to be part of Bitcoin appeal for many users.

Any transaction that is done via email leaves an electronic “track” that can be followed back to the user, so the anonymity is hardly complete.

The vast majority of people in the world do not have bank accounts or credit cards, but many of them do have smartphones.

Bitcoins could become a simple and reliable currency for millions of people. Bitcoin is the cutting edge of where monetary systems may be going, although this would not happen overnight.

If Bitcoin is going to survive as a digital currency, it is going to have to convince investors that their holdings are safe. There has been a huge problem lately as two exchanges recently shut down due to hacker attacks.  This attracted unwanted headlines and added fuel to detractors who believe cryptocurrencies are untrustworthy stores of wealth.

Falcon Global Capital, a San Diego firm launched a fund that will offer investors access to insurance should their bitcoins suddenly disappear, as they have for other unfortunate believers operating in the MX GOX or Flexcoin exchanges.

Government Health Program

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) forms part of the Government Health Program. It is a system of managed competition through which employees health benefits are provided to :

Civilian Government employees
and
Annuitants of the United States Government.
The Government contributes 72% of the weighted average premium of all plans. The FEHB program which forms part of the Government Health Program allows some insurance companies, employee associations and labor unions to market health insurance plans to governmental employees.

“Open Enrollment” period:

In the Government Health Program, the employee will be fully covered in any plan he or she chooses without limitations regarding pre-existing conditions. Upon a life-qualifying event such as marriage, divorce, adoption or the birth of a child, changes may be made, even though open enrollment is closed. Part of the premium is paid for by the U. S. Government Agency the employee works for, but does not exceed 72%.

In 2010 about 250 plans participated in the Government Health Program. Employee unions that offer plans are:
National Association of Letter Carriers.
National Insurance Companies, such as:

Aetna
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Associations.

Indian Health Services (IHS)

Part of the Government Health Program is the IHS which is responsible for providing medical and public health services to members of federally recognized Tribes and Alaskan Natives. In fact, IHS provides healthcare at 33 hospitals, 59 Health Centers and 50 Health Stations. 34 urban Indian health projects supplement these facilities with a variety of health referral services.

The IHS which forms part of the Government Health Program employs approximately 2, 700 nurse, 900 physicians, 400 engineers, 500 pharmacists and 300 dentists as well as other health professionals totalling more than 15, 000 in all. The IHS is one of two federal agencies mandated to use Indian preference in hiring.

Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

Forming part of the Government Health Program, is Veterans Health Administration. To be eligible for VA care benefit programs you must have served in the active military, naval or air service. Veterans who enlisted after September 7 1980 or who entered active duty after October 16 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty.

Preventive Care Services:

The following is offered in VA care :
Counselling on inheritance of genetically determined disease
Immunization
Nutrition education
Physical examinations
Health Care Assessments
Screening tests
Health Education programs

Furthermore

Ambulatory (outpatient) and hospital (inpatient) diagnostic and treatment services:
Medical
Surgical (including plastic/reconstructive surgery)
Mental Health
Dialysis
Substance Abuse treatment
Prescription drugs (when prescribed by a VA physician)

The Military Health System

Part of the Government Health Program is the Military Health System that provides healthcare to active duty and retired U. S. Military Personnel and their dependents. Its primary mission is to maintain the health of military personnel so as to enable them to carry out their military missions, and to deliver health care during wartime.

The Military Health System has a $50 billion budget and serves about 9.6 million beneficiaries, including active duty personnel and their families and retirees and their families. MHS employs more than 137, 000 in 65 hospitals, 412 clinics and 414 dental clinics.

The U. S. Patient Protection and Affordable Act, enacted in 2010, has provisions intended to make it easier for uninsured veterans to obtain coverage. Under the Act, veterans with incomes at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Line ($30, 429 for a family of four in 2010) would qualify for coverage as of January 2014. This group constitutes nearly 50% of veterans who are currently uninsured.

Medicare

Part of the Government Health Program is Medicare, a national social insurance program administered by the U. S. federal government since 1966. It currently uses 30 private insurance companies across the United States and guarantees health insurance for America’s aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system, younger people with disabilities and people with end stage renal disease.
Benefits

Part A: Hospital Insurance
Part B: Medical Insurance
Part C: is a public supplement option
Part D: covers many prescription drugs

Part A:

This covers in-patient hospital stays including semi-private room, food and tests. The maximum length of stay is typically 90 days. The first 60 days would be paid by Medicare in full except for one copayment of $1, 216 at the beginning of the 60 days. Days 61-90 require a copayment of $304 per day.

Medicare penalises hospitals for re-admission. Medicare will take back from the hospital these payments, plus a penalty of 4 to 18 times the initial payment. The highest penalties on hospitals are charged after knee or hip replacements, $265, 000 per excess readmission. The goal is to encourage better post-hospital care.
The beneficiary is also allocated “lifetime reserve days” that can be used after 90 days. These lifetime reserve days require a copayment of $592 per day and the beneficiary can only use a total of 60 of these days throughout their lifetime.

Part B

Part B of the Government Health Program helps pay for some services and products not covered by Part A, generally on an outpatient basis.
This coverage begins once a patient meets his or her deductible of $147 (2013), then typically Medicare covers 80% of approved services, while the remaining 20% is paid by the patient. This section covers:

physician and nursing services
x-rays
laboratory and diagnostic tests
influenza and pneumonia vaccinations
blood transfusions
renal dialysis
outpatient hospital procedures
limited ambulance transportation
immunosuppressive drugs
chemotherapy
hormonal treatments
durable medical equipment
prosthetic devices
cataract surgery and spectacles
oxygen for home use

Part C

A Medicare Advantage Plan is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide you with all your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organisations, Preferred Provider Organisations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans and Medicare Medical Savings Accounts Plans.

Part D

Part D adds prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare, some Medicare Cost Plans, some Medicare Private-Fee-For-Service Plans and Medicare Medical Savings Accounts Plans. These plans are offered by insurance companies and other private companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans may also offer prescription drug coverage that follows the same rules as Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.