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Buying Life Insurance? Take This Crucial Step

 Buying Life Insurance?  Take This Crucial Step


Image source: Getty Images

It could be harder for loved ones to collect if this step isn’t taken.


Keypoints

  • Buying life insurance helps to protect loved ones.
  • Many people should buy coverage.
  • Those who purchase a policy should make sure to inform the appropriate people.

Many consumers should purchase life insurance to protect their loved ones. There are many steps involved in the process of getting covered, including shopping around for insurance quotes and deciding how large the death benefit should be.

The problem is, sometimes consumers assume they’re done with the process after they’ve found an insurer, applied for coverage, and been approved. But the reality is, there’s one more crucial step to take. In fact, it may be the most important step of all.

Don’t forget to do this when buying life insurance

One of the most important — but often overlooked — steps of buying life insurance involves letting loved ones — or a trusted attorney or other financial professional — know about the purchase.

When someone dies, the beneficiaries on the life insurance policy must actively make a claim with the insurer. This involves reporting the death and going through whatever claims process the life insurance company has outlined for beneficiaries who are requesting a payout of the death benefit.

If beneficiaries are unaware of the fact their deceased loved one has purchased a life insurance policy, they may not be aware there is a death benefit waiting for them, so they may not know about the need to make a claim. Or they may struggle to find a life insurance policy that exists. This could mean the insurer doesn’t pay out the death benefit right away.

Now, insurers are required by law in most states to check death records and try to track down beneficiaries of unclaimed life insurance policies, in order to alert them about money available. But, this doesn’t always work in every situation as insurance companies sometimes don’t find out about a death for years, if they discover it at all.

This could mean that loved ones are left financially struggling despite the fact insurance is supposed to protect them from this fate — and they may not get the money the policyholder intended for them for a long time. This largely defeats the point of purchasing life insurance, as most people buy policies to provide for the people they care about and make sure financial hardship doesn’t follow a death.

How to alert loved ones to a life insurance policy

The easiest way to make sure loved ones are aware a life insurance policy has been purchased is simply to tell them. If a policyholder is certain about who the beneficiaries will be, the policyholder can talk to those relatives or friends and let them know that protections have been put in place. The policyholder could even give beneficiaries a copy of the insurance policy so they have it available and know exactly what to do after a death.

If a consumer purchasing life insurance doesn’t necessarily want beneficiaries to know the specifics — which could happen if they may change beneficiaries later — then they can also let their attorney or other financial professional know. As long as the professional would definitely be notified of the death, this approach can still ensure a timely claim is made.

When paying for life insurance, no one wants the policy to go unclaimed — so telling someone about the coverage should be on any consumer’s to-do list after they get an insurance policy purchased.

Life Insurance Protection for You and Your Family

While many varieties of insurance coverage are designed to help protect a person’s family and assets, life insurance is a vital type of protection. The right life insurance can help protect the people that depend on you the most if you should pass away. Choosing the right life insurance policy is critical to ensure your loved ones are protected properly. We have sorted through the various options to provide you with our choices for the best life insurance policies available today.



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State ban on using credit scoring for insurance on hold as lawsuit continues |

State ban on using credit scoring for insurance on hold as lawsuit continues |


SEATTLE — A rule that would ban insurers in Washington state from considering a person’s credit score when setting rates will not go into effect this week, as previously planned, as the state and insurance industry groups have agreed to a pause while courts consider the industry’s lawsuit to block the rule.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced a temporary rule last month that would ban the use of credit scores when setting rates for car, homeowner and renter insurance. Three insurance industry groups announced a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court two days later. The rule was to go into effect Friday.

“The parties have agreed to a temporary stay until the requested hearing occurs in May,” Stephany Marquis, a Kreidler spokesperson said. She said the hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Kreidler has for years sought to ban the use of credit scores in setting rates, both legislatively and administratively. But bills he’s proposed have failed to gain traction in the state Legislature and this is the second time a court has halted, or at least stalled, his move to ban the practice through the rule-making process.

Kreidler has argued that credit scores are unreliable and an unfair way to determine rates for insurance that is, in many cases, mandatory. He’s argued that the practice is unfair to those with low income who often have lower credit ratings, a situation that might not say anything about a person’s use of insurance.

“What does your credit information have to do with how you drive your car or maintain your property?” Kreidler, a Democrat, wrote in 2020, as he urged the Legislature to act. “Shouldn’t your insurance premium be based on these factors or on how many claims you’ve filed and the cost of those claims?”

He’s said that insurers often charge good drivers with poor credit scores 80% more for auto insurance, and that people with good credit and DUI convictions often pay less than those with bad credit and clean driving records.

The insurance industry and Republicans have argued that the rule change will cause rates to go up for people with good credit, including the elderly and those on fixed incomes.

“Here we were, in the middle of a pandemic, with thousands of people unemployed, many businesses on life support, and working families struggling to put food on the table,” Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, said in a prepared statement Thursday. “And Kreidler came along and decided he wanted to give a break on insurance to people with bad credit, by jacking up insurance rates for everyone else.”

Wilson called for Kreidler to resign, after a report from Northwest News Network that he has verbally mistreated staff.

Kreidler said the rule is designed to be “rate neutral” for insurers, so any rate changes get spread across the entire pool of policyholders.

People with good credit could see a one-time rate increase, while those with bad credit would see a one-time rate decrease, depending on how much their insurer relied on credit scoring, Kreidler’s office said.

Two other states don’t allow credit scoring for both homeowners and auto insurance rates: California, which passed a ballot measure in 1988, and Massachusetts. Maryland allows credit scoring to determine rates on auto insurance, but not homeowners, and Hawaii allows credit scoring for homeowners insurance but not auto.

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Oregon embarks on ‘bridge’ health insurance plan for people facing Medicaid expansion sunset

Oregon embarks on 'bridge' health insurance plan for people facing Medicaid expansion sunset

 

Oregonians who make a little too much to qualify for Medicaid could be getting a new government health insurance plan, following a bill passed in the final days of this winter’s legislative session.

The bill creates a task force to look into options to create a so-called “bridge plan.”

It would provide basic health and dental coverage for people who get disenrolled from the Oregon Health Plan — the state’s Medicaid program — when their earnings go up.

Outside of the House of Representatives at the Oregon State Capitol, May 18, 2021 in Salem, Ore.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff/OPB

In Oregon, Medicaid is available for adults who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty line and pregnant women who make up to 185% of the federal poverty line.

The bridge plan would be for people making between 138% and 200% of the poverty line.

That includes individuals making between about $19,000 and $27,000 per year — such as cashiers, gig workers, or Oregonians who may be employed part-time.

The Oregon Health Authority says people at that income level tend to cycle on and off health insurance frequently because some years they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but still don’t have employer-provided insurance.

For that population, the bridge plan would be an alternative — or potentially a replacement — to buying insurance on the private market established by the Affordable Care Act and trying to qualify for a rebate.

During the pandemic, as part of the federal public health emergency, the federal government halted the process of removing people from Medicaid if their income changed or they were otherwise disqualified. States were awarded additional Medicaid funding to cover the cost.

That expansion during the pandemic has led to a record-high number of people with insurance — OHP membership has risen from just over 1.1 million members before the pandemic to 1.4 million today.

Health leaders in Oregon want the bridge plan in place before it has to start kicking people off Medicaid again when the federal pandemic aid dollars run out, so the bill sets an aggressive timeline for developing a proposal.

The task force must have its first meeting by March 31.

Its proposal is supposed to be completed by September 1, 2022, at the latest.

In the House, three Republicans joined the Democratic majority and voted for the bridge plan bill: Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Roseburg; Rep. James Hieb, R-Salem; and Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner.

In the Senate, it passed along party lines.

The bridge plan idea was supported by labor unions and a number of physicians’ advocacy groups.

Some health insurance providers warned that creating a bridge plan could undermine the existing private health insurance marketplace.

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Gran Turismo 7’s Hagerty Collection Will Be Dynamically Priced By The Real-World Insurance Firm

HagertyGT7


Gran Turismo 7’s Legend Cars will be dynamically priced by real-world insurance and valuation company Hagerty.

One of the key tenants of Gran Turismo is how realistic it is. Whether it’s the hyper-realistic graphics or how detailed each car is, each game in the series aims to be as true to life as possible. This has now extended to the latest game in the series, Gran Turismo 7, which will have a specific class of cars that are dynamically priced by Hagerty, a real-world insurance company.

Related: Gran Turismo 7 Review – A Pristine Driving Experience

As reported by GTPlanet, Hagerty announced the partnership through a blog post on its website. The post reveals that the “Legend Cars” dealership will feature the “Hagerty Collection”, a group of over 70 cars of “all forms, eras and performance capabilities”. To add to the realism, Hagerty CEO McKeel Hagerty will appear in the game as an advisor, guiding players through the history behind each car in the collection.

THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY


Gran Turismo 7

The Hagerty Collection will be unique in that it’llally dynamic price the cars in the collection. According to the announcement, “Players will be able to acquire cars using game progression and in-game credits, with all prices shaped by the Hagerty Valuation Tool. Prices will update throughout the year, based on the changing valuations in real life. Hagerty Valuation Tools includes more than 15 years of pricing for 40,000 enthusiast cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles from the post-war era to the present.”

Regarding the feature, Hagerty said, “To achieve our purpose of saving driving and car culture we’re laser-focused on creating on-ramps for car lovers of all ages,” said Hagerty. “The Gran Turismo franchise is such a perfect place for us to do that in a digital environment and I can’t wait to play the game and, via my in-game avatar, offer advice and comradery to gamers who stop by our virtual Hagerty Collection.”


In case you needed Gran Turismo 7 to feel even more like real-life, players in the US who are members of the Hagerty Drivers Club will be able to earn vouchers to get a free vehicle from the Legend Cars dealership, with an exclusive Hagerty livery .

Next: Gran Turismo 7’s Laid Back Vibes Are A Relief After Forza Horizon 5


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Split Nitrogen Applications? There’s Insurance for That – DTN – AgFax

 Split Nitrogen Applications?  There's Insurance for That – DTN – AgFax


Corn nitrogen application. Photo: University of Minnesota

A new crop insurance tool aims to help farmers who split-apply nitrogen to non-irrigated corn offset weather risk related to their second or third applications.

The Post Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE), still in the pilot phase, is available in parts of 11 states for the first time in 2022. Corn farmers in eligible areas can purchase the endorsement in addition to their revenue protection, revenue protection with harvest price exclusion or yield protection insurance plans, but they must decide by the March 15 crop insurance sales closing date.

“We are very excited about this new option,” Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger said in a webinar hosted by Agri-Pulse. “PACE is a great example of how the private industry can help cultivate new ideas in the crop insurance program, especially in underserved areas such as climate-smart ag. It’s scientific, based on data, and it empowers producers to use nutrients more carefully.”

PACE was developed by a coalition including the National Corn Growers Association, Ag-Analytics Technology Company, Meridian Institute and others.

Farmers must have applied 20% of their nitrogen or more before planting and share their plans for subsequent applications at the time of the sign-up. If a weather event prevents them from applying nitrogen in V3 to V10 growth stages and the crop suffers nitrogen deficiency, it will trigger an insurance payment.

Megan Dwyernutrient loss reduction manager at the Illinois Corn Growers Association, said the program insures against a weather event, not a yield loss.

“Our growers are telling us that the No. 1 reason that they are concerned about split-applying nitrogen, or are maybe hesitant to do so, is that risk of not getting that application made,” she said on the webinar.

“Anytime that we can ensure that application is made at the time when the crop needs it, we limit the amount that is going to be lost, which is obviously an economic driver for a grower.” It also makes it less likely that nitrogen will wash into waterways and contribute to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.

Premiums are based on how much nitrogen is applied during the growing season and the level of coverage a farmer chooses. For example, a farmer plans to apply 180 pounds of nitrogen, with 108 pounds going on in the fall and 72 pounds post-planting. That’s 60% pre-plant and 40% post-planting. Premiums are determined using the amount applied after planting, according to a Farmdoc analysis that you can find here.

Farmers also get to choose coverage that ranges from 75% to 90% in 5% increments. Higher-percentage elections result in higher payments when nitrogen can’t be applied, and therefore result in higher premiums. Farmdoc also has a tool to help farmers estimate their premiums. You can find it here.

Unlike other crop insurance initiatives designed to achieve climate- or environment-related goals, like rebates or increased subsidies for specific practices, PACE is a true insurance product.

“We wanted to make sure that we’re looking at an insurance product for what it’s really intended to do, which is mitigate a true risk,” Dwyer said. “A lot of what we’ve heard today comes down to being science and data-driven and being actuarially sound.”

david zanoni, RMA’s lead underwriter for PACE, said every new product goes through growing pains. PACE has a complexity and design that farmers and insurance agents haven’t worked with before.

“We want to have a good-quality product that people understand and can buy, so there was a strong desire by our board to limit the scope of the initial year to a pilot area,” Zanoni said on the webinar. Determining which areas to include in the pilot area was a balancing act. They had a sense of where the product would really be in demand based on where splitting applications is a common practice, but they also wanted to have geographic diversity.

“We’re hoping to get a good first year, and then there will be opportunities to add as we gain experience based on the feedback we get,” Zanoni said.

If you’d like to learn more about PACE, contact your crop insurance agent. You can find an RMA fact sheet here.

Katie Dehlinger can be reached at katie.dehlinger@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter at @KatieD_DTN



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