A child born in 2016 that begins kindergarten in the fall of 2021 would attend college between the years of 2034 and 2038. If that child attended an average public in-state 4-year college and if the annual price increases for public colleges experienced over the last 30 years continued into the future, the aggregate 4-year cost of the child’s college education (including tuition, fees, room & board) would be $227,984 or $56,996 per year (source: College Board). If you are a young family starting out, proper prior planning is key to providing your children with the tools they will need to prosper in tomorrow’s environment. Please feel free to call me for ideas that will bring solutions to this for you and your family!
I get many questions concerning Umbrella Liability Insurance coverage and wondering whether it is something that one should add to their insurance portfolio. The easiest way to answer that question is with a question; “Is protecting your assets in the event of a catastrophic loss something that is important to you?”
Many think “Well something like this will never happen to me”. The fact is that for a catastrophic loss to occur really doesn’t take much and unfortunately it happens all too often. Below is an actual case that occurred that I share only to illustrate the simple things that can add up to a major event.
Real-World Case Study: Drowsy Driver Put Lives in Peril
Tired of the unrelenting snowfall, best couple friends, Lori and Scott and Kim and Jay, decided it was the perfect time for a road trip to Las Vegas. After a busy weekend with good memories made, the four headed home with Scott at the wheel. A short while later, Scott dozed off, awoke suddenly and over-corrected, hitting two oncoming cars. All of those involved sustained serious trauma, including head injuries, lung collapse and multiple major fractures. Two of the injured were airlifted to the hospital for immediate treatment. In addition to hospital stays, recovery would include physical and cognitive therapy and Jay needed extensive reconstructive surgery.
After Scott’s auto liability limits were exhausted, his standalone personal umbrella policy responded to cover their care. The umbrella carrier ended up paying a claim in the amount of $750,000.
In most cases for under $300 per year you can have a $1,000,000 extra layer of protection over your auto, home and other underlying liability exposures. Well worth looking into if you have assets worth more than your underlying liability coverage. Amounts available in one million increments to $5,000,000 and excess is available over that amount.
Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate now (as of 01/01/2016) requires businesses with at least 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide health coverage for their employees and dependents or face a tax penalty. Many clients in the service industry have asked me “what constitutes a Full Time Equivalent?”
Here is the definition directly from the IRS –
A full-time employee for any calendar month is an employee who has on average at least 30 hours of service per week during the calendar month, or at least 130 hours of service during the calendar month.
Full-Time Equivalent Employees
An employer determines its number of full-time-equivalent employees for a month in the two steps that follow:
- Combine the number of hours of service of all non-full-time employees for the month but do not include more than 120 hours of service per employee, and
- divide the total by 120.
The other significant change that occurred on January 1, 2016 is that the definition of a small business in California has expanded to include groups with 1-100 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
Covered California for Small Business has expanded its eligibility requirements to allow small groups with 1-100 FTE employees to join the program as of January 1, 2016. This “small business expansion,” in combination with the ACA’s employer mandate, means that many businesses may be shopping for coverage for the first time. If a group’s FTE number is at least 50, the employer will be required to offer coverage to all dependent children up to the age of 26. If the employer chooses to not offer dependent coverage, the employer may be subject to tax penalties under the IRS Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions.
Remember, 01/31/2016 is the deadline for open enrollment in 2016.
Please give us a call if we can help answer any questions for you!
The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) has published coverage enhancements not previously available including options of $150,000 and $200,000 for Coverage C – Personal Property; options of $50, $75 and $100,000 for Loss of Use; increased coverage amount on Building Code Upgrade of $30,000; and a new limit for Loss Assessment in the amount of $100,000 is now available. They have also added some sub limit items that will benefit the policyholders as well.
Along with this announcement the CEA said that on a statewide basis, rates are averaging a reduction of 10% that will vary depending on the type of policy, coverage and rating territory.
Remember that with Earthquake it is not about if, but of when. Protection is a serious consideration in order to protect the equity that you have in your property. Please feel free to give us a call for a quote and coverage recommendations. There is also additional information available on the CEA website which is www.earthquakeauthority.com.
Don’t forget that effective with August 2015 renewals Farmers is also offering a discount on Homeowners Insurance to those who protect their property with a CEA policy.
Every year it seems we kick off Wildfire season with a horrific event and this year is no different. After the Fire of last week and scenes of burned out vehicles on the 15, now strong winds and heavy rain have caused damage to properties in Ramona, Perris, Moreno Valley and surrounding areas. The current drought conditions seem to be in contrast with the heavy rain we have experienced but be assured that even with last weekends storms and the prediction of El Nino conditions this winter, we need to be extra cautious about protecting our property. Here is a list of items you can perform on your property to help prevent a loss.
- Contact your nearest local fire department and ask about the local fire danger levels in your area.
- Create a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is the 100 foot radius zone around your property. Trim back all trees or branches that hang over or touch your roof. Keep plants and trees trimmed and remove all dry branches, bushes, shrubs and vegetation. Did you know that some plants are more fire resistant than others? (Learn more about that here.)
- Keep all flammable materials at least 50 feet away from your home. These items include firewood, paint cans, propane tanks and debris.
- If your home has a wood roof, consider replacing it with ignition resistant roofing materials.
- If the exterior of your home is made of wood siding or other combustible home siding, consider replacing it with fire-resistant materials such as stucco, brick, fiber-cement or wood products factory-treated with fire retardant.
- Inspect your home (including decks) for any signs of dry rot and repair these areas. Decaying wood is very flammable.
- Review your home insurance policy. Do you have enough coverage? Every year, the cost to rebuild a home can change. Maybe you’ve made some upgrades that your current home policy doesn’t cover? The cost of labor and materials may have increased since your last policy review.
Of course, always feel free to call us for further tips, information or analysis of your property at any time.