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Insurance News / 30.03.2015

Despite the occasional snow flurry and overnight freezing, cyclists are emerging from their weather-imposed hiatus to once again navigate the roads of Maine and New Hampshire. It seems the true end of winter comes when you see bikes back on the road – and with them, a need for safer driving practices for everyone – cyclists and drivers alike. So, what do the numbers 800 and 515,000 have in common? In 2010, there were 800 bicyclists killed in the United States and an estimated 515,000 bike-related...
Insurance News / 23.03.2015

A recent news segment on NBC TV cited Maine as having among the most lax laws for those with multiple drunk-driving convictions. True? It’s hard to tell as the report cited no source but a check of state law suggests that there are somewhat serious consequences for multiple offenses though relatively short stays in jail and no prison time unless the offender is involved in a fatal crash. So, how tough is Maine? First, according to the CDC, causing fatalities while driving drunk is predominantly a...
Insurance News / 13.03.2015

Comedian George Carlin created a wonderful routine of kids trying to stump their priest. “Hey Father, can God make a rock so big that not even he can lift it? Gotcha there, Father.” That paradox always comes to mind when listening to experts trying to explain the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and employee leave management under state and federal law. That’s why Clark Insurance and KMA Human Resources Consulting co-sponsored a briefing for nearly 100 employers about the ACA and leave management. “If A and C...
Insurance News / 09.03.2015

Being in the business of insurance, we bristle at any act of fraud. We all pay for it. On some occasions, though, the perpetrator is so dumb that their apprehension is good for a laugh. Most often, however, those who cold-heartedly perpetrate insurance fraud are beyond contempt. Many of these offenders are featured on the web site www.insurancefraud.com, a service of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. So who made their list of the Eight Worst Insurance Criminals of 2014? The Long Injured Arm of the Law rock...
Insurance News / 02.03.2015

Come August, it will be 80 years since the passage of the Social Security Act. Proposed and passed under the Administration of Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, this income safety net has served hundreds of millions of Americans. By the end of the year, just over 60 million Americans will be receiving benefits; about 18 percent of the nation’s population. Has it fulfilled its promise? As President Roosevelt said of the program, “The Act does not offer anyone, either individually or collectively, an easy life–nor was it...
Insurance News / 23.02.2015

Though the calendar says spring is less than a month away (March 20th), New Englanders may start wishing for a late arrival to allow snow and ice to gradually melt. Why? Though the weight of snow and ice already may have caused havoc for some, flooding of basements and out buildings is going to be a rude awakening if it rains. “Am I covered?” you ask. Over the last month, the evening news throughout New England has featured stories of record snow falls, record low temperatures,...
Insurance News / 16.02.2015

Feeling cold? A recent presentation at the USM Corporate Partners breakfast showcased the views of three major players in Maine’s heating industry. They addressed the price and market dynamics of heating oil, natural gas and alternative fuels. With the state’s residents experiencing a bitterly cold winter, what was their consensus? All three panelists were adamant that the best first step in controlling heating costs is not to burn fuel. Said another way, much of the solution to the cost of heating is insulating homes and businesses...
Insurance News / 09.02.2015

As a matter of public policy, our state and federal governments have recognized that it doesn’t do anyone any good to have nursing home or in-home expenses wipe out savings intended for retirement. For example, if a husband’s stroke required extended nursing home care at $10,000 per month, the couple would have to spend most of their life savings to pay those costs before qualifying for Medicaid assistance. That’s where public policy comes in. In simple terms, couples who have saved less than $500,000 to help...
Insurance News / 02.02.2015

The Affordable Care Act provision to heavily tax “Cadillac” health insurance plans is scheduled to be implemented in 2018. Employer-sponsored health plans that exceed a federally-determined cost will be taxed 40 percent of the amount above the threshold. The question will be: Who will bear the cost of the “luxury” tax? Employers with multi-year contracts and generous benefits have to start planning now. For example, a three year “Cadillac” plan negotiated in 2015 with an effective date of July 1 will have a tax exposure for...
Insurance News / 16.01.2015

Though the amazing little aspirin has long been touted as a good preventive measure against heart disease, new information suggests it may have a measurable impact on reducing the risk of certain cancers. With approximately 40 thousand tons of aspirin consumed annually around the globe, what should you know about these developments and what questions should you ask your physician? Let’s start with the nature of aspirin. According to the Aspirin Foundation, “The active ingredient in aspirin, acetyl salicylic acid, is a synthetic derivative of a...

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