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LLoyds of London

Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 10:17AM | Post a Comment
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This month, I had a couple of interesting cases that came up and I thought I would share them with you. 

The first case involves a surgeon who owes the IRS a small fortune.   We’ve been working with him on his IRS issues and he shared with us  a couple of concerns.  The first concern was that his mother, who is in her 90’s was in pretty bad condition and she was going to leave him some assets.  The second concern, my client had an idea for a startup, but was worried that the IRS would squelch it before it had a chance to get off the ground. 

Both were valid, but at the same time could be solved in a very simple manner.  First, we needed to have mom create a trust, while she was both competent and alive.  She would need to move his inheritance into the trust right now.  With the assets she moved into the trust, the trust could fund and then start the new business.  Since the trust was structured correctly, the assets and the new business wouldn’t be considered owned by the doctor.  As a result, he could have his

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Is There a Best or Worst Place to Accumulate Wealth?

Thursday, July 10, 2008 at 02:47PM | Post a Comment
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A survey by pay experts at salary.com evaluated 69 cities with more than 250,000 people and ranked the Big Apple last. Plano came in first among American cities in which to build personal wealth. According to the survey, New York City is the worst place.

 

Although the top five cities in the survey identified the best five cities for business, it indicated that there is a price to pay for the company and the best five for business ranked in the worst for wealth building. Plano, Texas came in first among American cities in which to build personal wealth, following came Aurora, CO, Omaha, NE, Minneapolis, MN and Albuquerque NM.

 

Primary concerns in the survey were focused on salaries, cost of living and employment opportunities. Secondary factors were diversity of the local economy, education and the social environment. Another consideration was commute time from the suburbs.

 

Although New York is known for diversity and highly-educated residents, it could not rate as profitable due to the overinflated environment.

 

Following last-ranked New York were Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco.

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One Free Bite for Your Dog

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 04:54PM | Post a Comment
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Dog attacks and dog bites are in the news everywhere. The rules in insurance and in case law are now well documented and precedented and follow the “one free bite rule.” This means that a dog’s owner is not liable for their dog’s first bite. A dog owner will be found liable for his dog’s viciousness only if the owner had prior “notice” of the dog’s vicious propensity.

If the dog has had no history then the dog owner will not liable for the attack even if the injuries are disfiguring and serious. The owner would be liable, however if the dog attacked people prior in another attack issue only after the “notice.”

If the plaintiff cannot show prior attacks by notice, then the owner will not be liable since the dog has no violent history. The reasoning is that there would be no way that the owner would have any idea or belief that the dog would be violent.

The courts have ruled that it is not possible to judge a dog liable by breed. Even the appellate courts have ruled that a breed such as a pit bull does not necessarily make the dog violent.

So

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Blue Cross Settlements

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 04:57PM | Post a Comment
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Following are the key elements of our settlement proposal:

 

-- We have offered immediate reinstatement of the seven individuals the Department originally asked us to reinstate.

 

-- We offered to proactively reach out to all others whose coverage rescission were under review by the Department, and offered, at our expense, expedited independent third party reviews using the standard of review which the Department proposed. We have agreed to accept, as final, the decision of the third party reviewer. In any case where it is determined the individual's rights may have been violated, Anthem would pay all out of pocket expenses and offer coverage on a prospective basis.

 

-- We have been in discussions with the Department regarding a fine and have expressed willingness to settle on terms comparable to all other industry agreements.

 

-- In addition, Anthem offered to contribute sufficient funds to the state's high risk pool, to eliminate in its entirety the waiting list for coverage so that those in need will have access to health care thereby helping to address one of the state's most pressing health care issues.

 

Anthem Blue Cross is confident that all aspects of our offer are equal or superior to the agreements that have been reached recently

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PA Homeowners Entitled to Insurance Rebates

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 05:07PM | Post a Comment
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The law, which was spurred by the trade association Insurance Agents & Brokers, prohibits mortgage lenders from requiring borrowers to insure their property in excess of the value of structures on the land. Previously in Pennsylvania, lenders often required insurance on the full loan value. However, in the event of a loss, a homeowners' insurance policy would only restore the value of the structures.

For example, a homeowner with a $150,000 home on a $50,000 piece of land was often required to obtain a $200,000 homeowners' insurance policy. Yet, if the home burned to the ground, the homeowner would be paid for his loss - $150,000.

"This is a huge victory for consumers," said Tom McElhaney, chairman of IA&B. "Homeowners are no longer forced to pay premiums on unnecessary coverage for which they will never be compensated."

Pennsylvania homeowners are encouraged to check their homeowners' insurance policies and determine if they are paying for coverage on the full property value or on the value of structure(s) on the land. If they have questions or need to adjust their policy, they should contact their insurance agent.

"Prior to passage of this law, agents have been in a

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Is Health Care Headed for Forced Revamp?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 05:09PM | Post a Comment
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The US health care system is missing something necessary to level the playing field between the rising costs of medical care, medical research and the cost to treat all persons in emergency situations. Canada has it and Walmart has it, the United States does not. What is it?

 

It is buying power! 

Health care is becoming one of the most burdensome personal issues for Americans, including coverage for experimental treatments and drugs and long-term care coverage. The problem with the independent system is the lack of power in regards to buying with universal access to control costs in public interest. Even though we value our independent choices and the merge to a government based health care system is certainly inferior and undesirable, it would be in the public interest to create some type of system that would allow negotiating and buying power as seen in a company such as Walmart. Private-public mergers and cooperation could create massive buying power to battle negotiating, rising medical costs, well-health care, coverage for minors and experimental treatments.

 

For example, the Washington Post reports that six hospitals in New Jersey have closed in the past eighteen months and nine others are operating at a loss. Many of these closings are in urban areas where

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Know Your Accountant, Attorney & Practicioner!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 05:13PM | Post a Comment
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There has been much scrutiny in the banking and legal arena to “know your client.” It is important for everyone in every industry to know his or her client. Recently, it has become even more important to “know you lawyer.”

Current news about changes in the economy have stressed most all businesses and individuals in some way. Many professions have boards who monitor professional standards and codes of ethics. These boards are developed from within the profession and govern things like certifications and standards. These boards often set the standards in court as a guide for prosecutors and litigators.

When it comes to law, lawyers are bound the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Standards. However, the standards are likely to vary within the practice field causing proliferations of the rules for differing practice areas. Recently lawyers have sought to regulate the bar making them the advocates, the advisors and the gatekeepers as well. One lawyer is not determining how another lawyer should act ethically and morally.

Fragmentations within the American Bar tend to be handled by the federal courts leaving state regulations shattered and placing strain on attorneys and their practice fields. For example the

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Pittsburgh Steelers for Sale in the Name of Asset Protection

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 08:55PM | Post a Comment
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are a $2500 family venture, capitalized in 1933, now valued at close to one billion dollars. That is quite a family asset.

You may be surprised to hear that the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL franchise is for sale in the name of Asset Protection. The Rooney family has owned the Pittsburgh Steelers for 76 years. That is a good long-standing business now valued at around a billion dollars. Why are the Rooneys selling and why is it for Asset Protection.

Team chairman Dan Rooney, the oldest son of late team founder Art Rooney, wants to remain in the football business, but some of his four brothers want to get out of the NFL to focus their business interests on their racetracks and other ventures. Dan Rooney, and his son, Steelers president Art Rooney II, are working out a financing plan to buy Dan's brothers' shares in the team, according to the statement.

The other Rooney brothers - Art Jr., Timothy, Patrick and John - each have an ownership interest in the Steelers. Another related family, the McGinleys, also owns a minority interest in the team. The Steelers already have minority ownership interests held by the

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Uncle Sam Goes Up the Hill After Fannie and Freddie Fall Down

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 08:59PM | Post a Comment
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It appears that the two governments sponsored housing markets, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are taking a tumble. Fannie fell 13.8% on Thursday and Freddie dropped 22.0%. Although these government created organizations have shareholders, the government does not guarantee their sponsorship. It appears that Fannie and Freddie have fallen, but it also appears that the government will take them up the hill.

It is speculated that if Fannie and Freddie reach a point of undercapitalization, the government will step in. Quoting Senator Charles Schumer, (D-NY), "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are too important to go under and these markets should be assured that the federal government will stand by them.”

However, appearing before the House Financial Services Committee with Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernake, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told Congress that the regulator of Fannie and Freddie have made it clear that they are properly capitalized. This only after Paulson was bombarded with questions about backing big financial institutions, but leaving Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae exposed. This was perhaps to calm an anxious and already stressed crisis in the housing market.

At one point a while ago, Paulson stated that the government would not bail out

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Bush Bails Out Phone Companies

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 09:07PM | Post a Comment
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House Democrats reached a bipartisan compromise with Republicans supporting the provisions to grant telecommunications companies’ immunity from prosecution. Telephone companies were facing as many as 40 lawsuits for their involvement in the White House plan.

Democrats claimed that companies should not be automatically granted immunity until it was known what they did. Republicans claimed that firms who cooperated should not be punished. A compromise was reached granting a phone company immunity if it was issued a certificate from the White House stating their participation in the program.

President Bush said, "The bill will allow our intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor the communications of terrorists abroad while respecting the liberties of Americans here at home."

Democratic candidate, Barak Obama voted for the bill, but expressed written opposition on his website claiming, “I would have not written legislation like this.” He then he added, “in a dangerous world, government must have the authority to collect the intelligence we need to protect the American people". Some supporters of Obama expressed disapproval and expressed disparagement over the fact that the Senator claimed he would not vote for the bill.

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Could China's Aging Population Be Healthy for US Pharmeceuticals?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 09:10PM | Post a Comment
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What do you get with the booming economy in China? You get an enormous growth of population according to the National Population and Family Planning Commission. This means an increase in the need for food, the need for fuel and everything in between, including health care. China’s population growth is the fastest growth in human history. According to the Population Census Bureau, it is possible that India will catch up.

In China, to curb its population growth, a controversial family planning policy was implemented in the late 1970s. It is meant to limit urban couples to one child and rural families to two. However, with the emergence of a middle class in China, couples are now able to afford the fines to increase the size of their families.

Over ten percent of the families in China have over three children. China has over 1.5 billion people and over 20% of the world’s population. One main concern for China now is the health care system. This could be good for the US economy.

China has a long history of alternative medicine; that is, a very different concept from that of western medicine. As China becomes industrialized and westernized, will disease patterns of a

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Fannie and Freddie Potential Bail Out

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 09:14PM | Post a Comment
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The White House released a statement on Sunday for Fed Secretary Henry Paulson to work directly with Congress. Secretary Henry Paulson said he is seeking the authority from Congress for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to lend funds to the two companies at 2.2 percent at the same rate given to commercial banks and larger Wall Street firms. Congress will not seek to limit the line of credit. The Fed plan also involves a new regulatory role for consulting and setting new capital requirements for Freddie and Fannie to encourage home mortgages once again.

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee said today that the Bush administration’s actions were on the “right track.” The Financial Services Committee Chairman of the House, Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) said that the entire package would unfold by the end of the week providing clearance to be signed by President Bush. The package will include a foreclosure rescue with government-backed mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration creating new tighter controls for the two companies.

Fannie and Freddie hold half of the mortgages in the United States. There is mixed emotion on Wall Street concerning whether the Feds role of playing “catch up” is actually capable of

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Fannie & Freddie, IndyMac. Who's Next?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 09:18PM | Post a Comment
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SA Business News


 

SA Business News


Monday, July 14, 2008

By Staff Writer, Marc Stein

Freddie and Fannie Stumble, IndyMac Falls, Who’s Next?

Freddie and Fannie are in the midst of a government supervision and restructuring, IndyMac is under government bailout after a collapse on Monday; is there more to come?

During the late 1980’s and early ‘90’s over 1,000 banks went under. It is unknown on the private market how many banks are for sale or how many mergers we will see, but it is known that there more banks will take the tumble in the next year. Six lenders have failed so far this year with another seven making the “danger zone” list. In 1994, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation listed 575 banks that it considered troubled.

Even after the Feds announced the Freddie and Fannie bailout on Sunday, the market did not return the favor with the news of IndyMac leading the day.. With $32 billion in assets, IndyMac, a spinoff of the Countrywide Financial Corporation, was the biggest American lender to fail in more than two decades. The greatest concern is that IndyMac was not on the governments list of endangered banks last spring.

The F.D.I.C. has $53 billion set aside to

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Anheuser Busch Under Hostile Sale

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 09:22PM | Post a Comment
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It seems that though the United States is the largest consumer for beer, Brazil has the winning recipe. The Brazilian-Belgian brewer InBev has just secured its biggest deal to-date: the $52 billion (£26 billion) takeover of America's iconic beer-maker Anheuser-Busch. Days ago, Anheuser-Busch filed an injunction baring InBev from soliciting any shareholders.

So what happened to change the deal? It would seem that the brew got sweeter, and not the beer, the money. After the deal went hostile and ended in federal court in New York, InBev with their Brazilian style management has prevailed in their quest to secure the world’s largest brewing company.

InBev was formerly AmBev a Belgian company started out with a European Chief Executive, just over a year after the deal the Brazilian Carlos Brito became the boss. Back in 2001, Brazil's two largest beer companies, Brahma and Antarctica, decided to join forces.

The unsatisfied Brazilians found what they were looking for in the shape of Belgian-based brewer Interbrew, best known for its Stella Artois and Beck's beers.

The two firms merged in an $11 billion merger in 2004. Soon afterwards, the canny Brazilians proved their worth as corporate players, by out-maneuvering their European counterparts.

Whatever its exact national make-up, in

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ERISA Fails to Provide Safety Net

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 10:04PM | Post a Comment
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ERISA Law Fails to Provide Benefits
Saturday July 5, 11:31 pm ET

By Michael Hathoway

Washington (AP)  Thomas Amschwand made every effort to make sure his wife would be taken care of as he was dying of a rare form of heart cancer at 30 years old in 2001. Spherion Corp., the temporary staffing company where Amschwand worked

Spherion's denied benefits to Amschwand and his wife Mellissa Bellinger after a bizarre set of circumstances. Spherion, switched insurers after Thomas Amschwand was diagnosed with a rare form of heart cancer.

Spherion announced that Amschwand's wife would not receive any of the $426,000 in benefits she believed she was due. Mellissa Bellinger took the case all the way to the Supreme Court and was denied a hearing on June 27, 2008.

The new policy did not take effect until an employee worked one full day. His wife said if he has known, he would have suffered through one day of work. Spherion never informed Amschwand of the requirement leaving him to think that his wife was covered by Life Insurance. Amschwand's wife was refunded a few thousand dollars in insurance of which she and her husband had

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Fraud Against Seniors, Warning!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 11:07PM | Post a Comment
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(Washington, D.C.) The position of the Securities Exchange Commission is one of a bulldog. Just as a life insurance policy is an umbrella of protection, so is the SEC the protection of fraud and other violations that border on unethical in the exchange of money for promises.

Aging has become a business. The aging value and begin to take to heart all that will bequeath their wealth to the next generation. This natural desire for protection can be a risk factor for gullibility and vulnerability. The desire for protection creates a demand for insurance.

With the fiduciary responsibility over this protection comes responsibility. This is the attitude of the SEC as they monitor insurance products for the senior citizen population. The SEC makes an effort to require that the variable insurance industry provide products that meet the needs of investors and are sold in a manner that is forthright and honest.

Since there is enormous capital poured into this industry, there are a growing number of frauds and crimes targeted at the most "at risk" populations. Chairman Cox has made protecting senior citizens a priority. The Commission's ongoing initiative to protect senior citizens has several components, including educating

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White House Busy with Health Care Issues

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 09:35AM | Post a Comment
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This week Congress overrode President Bush’s veto of legislation that delays a Medicare physician payment and approved a bill that would preserve health coverage for college students.

The new Medicare law blocks a 10.6% cut in Medicare physician payments for 18 months and gives physicians a 1.1% pay increase in 2009. The law requires some private fee-for-service plans to join provider networks and eliminates payments to private insurers in the Medicare Advantage program for indirect medical education. The law also postpones for 18 months a Medicare competitive bidding program for certain types of durable medical equipment. A legislative solution to prevent future cuts could be included in a larger health care bill next year. In 2010, physicians will face a 20% payment cut.

The House of Energy and Commerce Committee clarifies, in an amendment, that insurers must provide coverage to students who change their status to part-time because of injury or illness while under full-time student status.  The coverage would be extended for one year from the time of medical leave when students change their status to part-time from the full-time vecause of injury or illness.

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Law Makers Voice Opinion on Health Care

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 10:10AM | Post a Comment
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Insurance News

July 22, 2008

Law Makers Voice Opinions on Health Care

By Senior Staff Editor, Corey May

Legislators voiced their opinions last week of heath care and cancer. Here are some of the opinions published by The Hill.

Representative Nathan Deal (R-GA): "America's health care system will achieve its full potential only when all Americans have their own affordable and portable health insurance plan, and all Americans are empowered to make the health care decisions that are truly best for them and their families. The system can be made more affordable by encouraging competition on the basis of price and quality of care.”

Acting U.S. Comptroller General Dodaro: “The U.S. government faces structural deficits of staggering proportions in the coming decades" and "the principal cause is the escalating cost of health care. The health care system needs to provide incentives to help contain costs and greater transparency about the actual value and costs of various health care options," as well as "examine how to better define, deliver and finance health care ... both in the public and private sectors. The challenge is for policymakers to act soon. There is a window of opportunity to act and phase in meaningful changes that will allow providers

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Costco Announces Lower than Expected Earnings

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 11:32AM | Post a Comment
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Business News

 

July 23, 2008

By Senior Staff Writer Edward F. Lavere

Retailer Costco Reports "Aren't Good" America's largest warehouse club chain and grocer has warned that it expects the fourth quarter earnings to be "well below" expectations.  Rising fuewl costs, inflated energy expenditure and higher food costs were sited as the reasons for the current and future predicted dip.

”Factors negatively affecting our fourth quarter earnings outlook arise largely from inflation, particularly as to energy costs,” said Richard Galanti, chief financial officer. Analysts predict that though Costco will continue to provide less expensive goods, competitors such as Walmart will contribute to the prediction that Costo will drop at least $1 per share next quarter.

 

The group also unveiled a quarterly dividend of 16 cents and said it was increasing its stock buyback program by $1 billion, in addition to the $5.8 billion previously authorized. Shares in Costco were down by 10 per cent in pre-market trading. The company’s shares have risen nearly 18 per cent in the past year.

The prediction by analysts is not exclusive to Costco, with other supermarket chains reporting similar, except for super giant Walmart expecting again, to grow.

   

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Courts Side to Protect Investor

Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 01:54AM | Post a Comment
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Recently, The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court decision that allowed an investor to keep on file a registered complaint about a Maryland stockbroker with BrokerChek at FINRA. The conclusion was a result of a case that claimed to protect the public interest to protect the complaints of unhappy consumers.

Joseph Karsner sought to expunge a complaint from the permanent record in the state of Maryland. The appeal arose when Melanie Lubin, the Maryland securities commissioner, opposed Karsner’s attempt to obliterate an arbitration case from his state licensing record.

In the case of Karsner v. Lothian, Karsner, an insurance agent recommended mutual funds that invested in unsafe stocks. According to court documents, Karsner allegedly put an investor in unsuitable investments and performed negligently in managing the investor's account, resulting in the investor losing more than $104,000.

After the investor complained, the case went to arbitration where the two sides agreed on a settlement with the investor receiving $47,000, but in exchange for the settlement the investor was asked to agree to the stipulation that all referenced about the dispute be dropped from the borker’s Cenral Registration Depository record.

"The Court agreed

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