Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Life insurance matters

Our friends at the Cincinnati Insurance blog have a helpful new post up answering some common questions about life insurance.

For example:

"How much do I need? What does life insurance do? How much will it cost? Where do I begin?"

As the author notes,while these are important questions, they're not particularly difficult ones, they just require a little planning and honest soul (and checkbook) searching.

Good stuff!

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Our Friend and Erie Insurance doing good

We've posted before about how carriers are giving back to their clients:

"In general, insurers that represent four out of five auto insurance policies sold in the United States have offered to refund some portion of driver premiums."

But Erie's taken it up a notch, by partnering with local agents to support communities. In this case, FoIB (and resident P&C Guru) Bill M has chosen KIND (Kinds in New Directions) as his worthy cause:

"KIND is a free, inner-city, after-school and summer learning program."

As Bill explains, KIND provides young people with help and guidance with academic classes and life-skills (such as sewing and nutrition). Kudos!

If you'd like to help, just click here.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Riots, Unrest, and Insurance: What Gives? [UPDATED]

Given the current circumstances, it seems valuable to revisit a post we did a half-decade ago when Baltimore went up in flames. The question then, as now, was whether or not the property destruction would likely be covered under one's insurance. Of course, it gets a bit more nuanced, as coverage will differ slightly by locale and policy form. I reached out to FoIB (and P&C Guru) Bill M, who reminded me that a key distinction lies with the difference between terrorism (generally excluded) and civil unrest (generally covered).

He also confirmed that coverage is likely under both homeowners and commercial lines policies. As he so often instructs us: look to the exclusions for the best answers.

And with that out of the way, here's what we wrote in '15, and which applies today, as well:

Homes, businesses and cars have been burned, looted and otherwise damaged, leaving owners wondering what, if any, insurance payments they can expect.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) has helpfully published a media advisory confirming that, generally speaking, such damage is considered a covered event, and claims will likely be honored:

"Auto, homeowners, and business insurance policies generally include coverage for property losses caused by riots and civil commotions, such as those occurring this week in Baltimore ... Standard business property insurance policies provide coverage for the structure of the building as well as the contents inside"


As always, be sure to check with your own carrier to confirm whether or not these exposures are, in fact, covered.

UPDATE: The folks at the Insurance Information Institute (III) have this timely update:

"Standard homeowners policies will cover damage to the property caused by fire, an explosion, a riot or civil commotion, vandalism or malicious mischief. This would include coverage to the structure of the home, as well as any personal possessions."

"Damage to the physical plant of a business and its contents that is caused by fire, riots, civil commotion or vandalism is covered under a Business Owners Policy (also known as a BOP). However, coverage for plate glass windows is often sold separately."

Friday, May 29, 2020

A Plea for Help

Our good friend Chris Van B is helping to raise funds for the Artemis Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence, a really noble cause, especially with domestic violence apparently on the rise as a result of the lock-downs. The Artemis Center, in Dayton (OH) "empowers survivors of domestic violence to make decisions and choices that will establish and maintain safety for themselves and their children. By working collaboratively with other community services, Artemis Center advocates are able to coordinate needed services."

This is especially necessary in these uncertain times, and one of Chris' vendors is offering to match contributions up to a total of $1,000. But the clock is running out on that offer.

Please click here if you can spare a few dollars for a very worthy cause. Or, you you prefer to send a check, just drop us an email for details.

By the way: Chris notes$36 could possibly buy a CASE - 24 (5 oz.) cans of tuna for Artemis. Wow!

Thank you!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

HSA News: 2021 edition

Our good friends at FlexBank/Navia sent along this helpful info for 2021 planning (hey, a head start can't hurt):
The IRS just announced the 2021 maximum HSA contribution limits:
Single Coverage  $3,600
Family Coverage  $7,200

By the way, those represent an increase of $50 over 2020 for singles, $100 for families. Not a fortune, to be sure, but something.

As usual, there's a "Catch Up" provision for folks 55 and up: $1,000 per. In case you're wondering, that stayed the same from this year.

Oh! I thought this was interesting:
Special Rule” for Married Individuals

Married individuals (same and/or opposite sex) who are both HSA-eligible individuals may divide their annual HSA contribution limit in any way they want, including allocating nothing to one spouse.

Details here.

Cool beans!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Strange Math: More means Less, ACA-syle

So, another day, another TwitterSpiration©:

"ACA Marketplace Plan Affordability Is Likely To Decrease For Subsidized Enrollees In 2020"

Okay, I'll bite: what gives?

Well, it seems that, across the board, 2020 ObamaPlan premiums have decreased a bit from last year.

Okay, Henry, that seems to be good news for folks stuck with them, why the glum face?

Well, it's because premiums have declined, so insureds are having to pay more.


I know, it's weird, but bear with me here. First, let's take a look at how Exchange-based ObamaPlans are priced:

One goes to the site, set up an account, and determines subsidy eligibility. It's important to note that there are actually two very different kinds of subsidy: the one everyone know about, which is the Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC), and the one that seems to always be under everyone's radar: Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR). We're going to focus on the former, because that's where the TwitterSpiraton© comes in.

Once one has determined subsidy-eligibility, the next step is to click through to the quoting engine, which provides a "menu" of various carriers and plans, complete with two prices for each plan: "retail" (no premium credit, so full cost) and "subsidized" (where the APTC is applied and you see how much the plan will cost you each month). There's a bit more to it, but this pretty much sets the stage.

The (online) dictionary defines 'counter-intuitive' as: "counter to what intuition would lead one to expect."

And so?

So the "glitch in the subsidy matrix" is that, contrary to what one might expect, when premiums decrease, the insured's monthly contribution increases.

Say what?

It turns out that "lower premium levels reduced premium spreads for subsidy-eligible individuals. Lower premium spreads mean that subsidy-eligible individuals will face higher premiums."


(If you're interested in the mechanics of how that works, do click on through to the linked article)

Heading further down the rabbit hole, I pondered just how many folks that might actually affect. Our friend Charles Gaba came through for us:

"About 84% of folks with ACA plans receive the Premium Tax Credit (APTC). That's 9.59 million out of 11.41 million nationally"

So more than 8 out of every 10 ObamaPlan enrollees receive premium subsidies. Wow, that's a lot of folks who may well be feeling additional pain this year (at least in terms of premiums).

So here's the $64,000 question:

How will this affect all those folks with plans now receiving premium reductions due to CV-19?


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

By the River of Babylon

Note: I really couldn't care less about this, but I have made a strong commitment to break any so-called "embargo" to which I have not previously and explicitly agreed.



Passing along the embargoed news that Babylon has invested in consumer health engagement company Higi, leading its series B funding. Full press release around the news pasted below

Any interested folks are free to click through to read the no doubt sordid scintillating details.

[Hat Tip: Kayleigh W]