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Health Insurance for the Small Business Owner

More and more, we see people leaving the comfort of a big organization to branch out on their own. Whether they are tired of being micromanaged or are just interested in doing something different, people are making this move in record numbers.

Becoming a business owner comes with many considerations. While small business owners face a number of obstacles, securing health insurance is probably one of the most common. Surveys report that 23% of small business owners state that the rising cost of insurance stifles success. Today, it is estimated that only about 49% of all small companies offer insurance compared to 98% of the larger corporations.

The reality for most small business owners is that the cost of insuring themselves, in addition to staff, would have a dramatic impact on the business. For some people, health insurance is provided by a spouse, but as people get to retirement age, these benefits often go away. Young people may get coverage through their parents, struggle to get and keep an individual policy, or simply go without.

Some Chambers of Commerce in towns and cities across the nation provide options. In this case, if you were a member of the Chamber, you might have some choices for health coverage, but keep in mind that many times these insurance plans are expensive. However, if there were no other resources, it would be a consideration.

While there is no perfect solution to addressing health insurance coverage in your business, the news isn’t all bad. There are a number of reputable and qualified companies dedicated to helping small business owners establish health and other types of insurance. Here are a few recommendations for your consideration:

Health insurance coverage is a big part of putting a business together, whether you intend to only cover yourself or will be offering it as a benefit to employees. Take the time to thoroughly research your options, and include your tax and legal advisors in the process. It is better to understand all the facets and come up with a solution that will remain viable as your company grows.

Life Insurance Protects Your Family

We need coverage on our homes, rentals, automobiles, and even our lives and children’s lives. You may ask what good this is while pointing out how much you do not use your automobile coverage or how much you pay in. The fact is if you get into an accident, you will be glad you have it. You may still be muttering. You will be glad you have it when the person you have gotten into an accident with comes to collect damages. The company will pay out for their repairs and injuries, so you can focus on healing. If you chose to get only liability coverage, you may still be on the hook for your own damage, but you will be glad you avoided the legal trouble in most states and writing a hefty check for the other person. The same goes for  life   insurance .

If your husband or wife were to pass away, the last thing you will want to deal with is money. Yet, funerals cost money. A little foresight will allow you to grieve without the stress of money, taking days off work and planning a funeral. You and your spouse should consider your options before tragedy strikes your home. There are many types of coverage, and depending on what you are looking for, you may want to do a little research. The most promoted policies are term and whole life. They carry different benefits. A whole life policy costs a little more but allows you to build savings. The company will offer a higher percentage rate than a typical saving plan. Another benefit is that you can often borrow against it. You can withdraw the money for a new roof and pay yourselves back. No questions asked, just call and ask for a check.

A term policy is going to cost less. The benefit is that your family can be fully insured for less money a month. You will want to talk with your agent to discuss how much coverage you need. Your agent will discuss other scenarios with you. For instance, what would happen if you were to both pass away and leave your children orphans? They will discuss how much coverage you would want for that. They will inform you on the types of  life   insurance  policies they offer that would protect your family.

Coupled with drawing up a will,  life   insurance  can be a gift you give your family. Like auto insurance, you will wish you never have to use it. If something happens and you need it, you will be glad you took the time to make this important purchase. Take advantage of this to discuss other plans to care for your family in tragedy. Be sure both spouses know where the bills are, all account numbers and any policy numbers. Do anything you can to make a terrible time easier. You will never regret taking the time.

Workers Comp Insurance Isn’t Required in Texas – Does My Business Really Need It?

Texas is the only state in our great union that doesn’t require employers in some form to carry workers comp coverage. Is this good news?

I run across many Texas businesses that choose to go bare. I hear things like, “Hey, my employees work in an office, what’s going to happen? If someone gets a vicious paper cut, I can write a check to the urgent care center. Problem solved, right?”

Educate Yourself on the Risks

Maybe. As long as you are comfortable with the risks. What else can happen to your office employees? Do they ever drive their own vehicles for business purposes? Ever drive to the bank to do a deposit or make a run to Office Depot? Ever go on a sales call? (I know after last quarter’s numbers you sometimes wonder, huh)? What happens if your employee gets in an at-fault accident and sustains serious injuries? Who pays for hospital stays, medications and lost wages if you don’t have Workers Comp? Well let’s see:

Health insurance? Nope. Automobile insurance? No again. General Liability Insurance? Excluded. You guessed it. You do!

A Risk Management Axiom

There is a risk management axiom that you should only retain the level of risk you can pay for. To throw in a little perspective on medical expenses, one of my ten year old twins recently had a little ER visit for doing a head-gravity-ground experiment while playing “touch” football. We were there for an hour and a half. The bill… Over $16,000! How much for a serious auto accident? Hundreds of thousands of dollars? More? Can you write a check for that?

Statutory Compliance

There are a couple of other issues you need to be aware of if you choose to go without workers comp coverage (this is called non-subscription). If you are a non-subscriber, then you are by law required to file a “Form 5” with Texas Department of Insurance every year. Failure to do so carries potential administrative penalties and fines. You can get a copy of a form 5 on the TDI website, or get in touch with me at Austin Insurance and I’ll be happy to send you one.

The Realistic Risk

Perhaps the most realistic exposure to non-subscription is the cost of being sued by an employee for on the job injuries. Even if you are vindicated in court, you will still incur potentially substantial legal fees. Now my attorney is a nice guy, but at $300 an hour I tend to forgo the chit chat.

Furthermore if you are sued by an employee for negligence, then you are severely hamstrung in any legal defense you employ because your attorney will not be able to use many common law defenses that are typically critical in defending negligence suits.

The Solution

The good news is that the level of workers comp fraud has diminished over the last few years and rates have come down. In fact for office workers annual rates are as low as 25 cents per $100 of payroll. Make sure you are protected!

The Perfect Mortgage Solution – 3 Steps to Success

Obtaining the  perfect  mortgage  solution  is only possible if you take your emotions out of the equation. Whether you are buying a new home or refinancing your existing home, there are certain steps you can take in order to achieve the best rate at the lowest cost. First and foremost, you need to be honest with yourself. Make financial decisions based on the facts of your individual situation. As the recent mortgage debacle has proven, too many borrowers placed themselves at risk and set themselves up for failure. Granted, the relaxed underwriting standards contributed to the problem, but the bottom line is ultimately you are responsible for your financial well being. With that being said, there are certain steps you can take right now to put yourself in the best possible position in order to obtain the  perfect  mortgage  solution .

Step #1: Get a copy of your credit report.

If you are thinking of buying a new home or refinancing your existing home get a copy of your credit report right now. You can do this on-line at any number of sites or you can contact any mortgage broker and they can run one for you. If you get yours on-line pay the extra cost to see your credit score. The average credit score in Missouri is 683. Your credit score is one major factor that is going to affect your rate. Look your credit report over very carefully. If there are any incorrect entries or any suspicious activities highlight the item or items. Towards the end of the report you will find instructions on how to dispute any items within the report. Take action immediately and be very thorough. Keep accurate notes of any person you speak with, get their name, phone number and keep copies of all correspondence, even the letters you send out. Also note it takes time to clear inaccuracies. Be patient and be persistent.

Step #2: Get Pre-Approved

The next step you need to take is to get Pre-Approved. The Pre-Approval process will let you know exactly how much home you can afford. Just because you are approved for a loan amount of $300,000 does not mean you have to go out a buy a $300,000 home. On the contrary, we recommend you take a more conservative approach and stress comfortable affordability. By that I mean you need to look at your overall financial picture and your short and long term financial goals. Be able to pay your mortgage, bills, and credit cards and have money left over every month to put into savings. At least have two months in reserves so that in case of emergency you could pay all your bills with no problem. By the way, the pre-approval process should be free.

Step #3: Educate Yourself

For most of us our homes are our largest investment so take the time to understand the various types of loans available and the ramifications of each. If you spend less time researching your mortgage than you do a car purchase or that flat screen HDTV, you are setting yourself up for failure and frankly, the consequences of a failed mortgage permeate throughout other aspects of your life. I see it far too often and if there is one piece of wisdom you will take from this, is that your long term financial success may very well depend on your mortgage. Once you have a basic understanding ask questions. If your broker does not explain each concern to your liking simply find a different broker that will provide you the answers to your questions.

These are only three steps you can take right now but do not procrastinate. Get your financial house in order today. You will be glad you did and your mortgage will not seem like a huge debt to be paid down every month but an investment to be proud of for years to come.

Construction Insurance – Importance and Coverage

Construction involves large number of manpower and huge investments of money. The workers at a construction site risk their lives working at great heights, with dangerous tools, toxic materials, heavy equipment, under tunnels, etc. Hence, construction is associated with high amount of risk for money and lives. A slight negligence or bad fortune on part of the worker or owner may prove too costly. It may lead to a huge financial loss. These unfortunate events require tools, which can bail the company out of the situation. Here arises the need of ‘Construction Insurance’, the risk management tool, customised specifically for the construction industry. Construction insurance is like any other insurance, which is used to protect the various parties associated with construction process.

A comprehensive construction insurance policy covers all the expenses that may occur due to property damage or personal injuries at the construction site. This insurance not only includes the organization owner, but also workers, employees, tenants, sub-contractors, sole proprietors and business partners.

Importance of construction insurance

As discussed above, construction involves usage of heavy equipment, materials, labour, etc. and is more prone to accidents. Since the business stands liable for any accident on the construction site, it is the business owner or the contractor that should pay for the medical treatment charges of the injured or compensation to the families, in case of death of the worker.

Material costs associated with construction are very high. Any damage to the structure or the materials leads to huge financial loss. Insured with the construction insurance, one can seek financial assistance from the insurance company.

The buyers of the flats or the constructed property will have all rights to sue the construction company, in case of faulty construction. In such cases the construction company has to pay for the remodelling or repairing the constructed site. Construction insurance protects the builders from those claims, by providing financial assistance.

Apart from the above circumstances, construction insurance provides wide coverage, providing security to the business in case of unpredicted events.

Four main areas it covers

Construction insurance is very significant in terms of its coverage. It is very comprehensive and is specifically designed to cover every aspect of construction process, to make the business process flexible. Construction insurance covers four major areas of business insurance. They are:

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance is a general insurance to be possessed by any business which involves interaction with the customers or people in general. Public liability insurance as part of construction insurance helps the businesses in case any damage to third party property or individuals is caused by employees or the tools used in construction.

Employers liability insurance

As the construction industry involves lot of risks, any worker can get injured or die at any point of time, due to the faulty equipment or negligence of supervisors or co-workers. Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees at construction site. Moreover, the employees will have every right to sue the owner and claim for compensation. In case of such unexpected events, the employer or the owner can benefit from the construction liability insurance, as the insurance company pays the medical costs or the compensation associated with the claims.

Contractors all risks insurance

Contractors all risks insurance is customised for construction businesses. It provides assistance for contract works of new houses, theft of materials or tools, damage to the materials or tools due to unexpected events, sudden stoppage of on-going works of new houses, owned or hired plants, etc. This insurance acts as a perfect help for the most commonly incurred accidents in the construction process.

Personal accident insurance

This insurance is specifically designed for managers, sole proprietors or business partners. This is useful in the cases, where the person injured can’t blame any other person for the injury caused to him. This is helpful in providing assistance during the period for which the injured person cannot get income.

Construction insurance is very important for construction businesses as the damage or the financial loss occurred is very hard to be recovered. Businesses should realise that the cost of premiums for insurance is less when compared to the compensation costs. Therefore, it can be concluded that, construction insurance is very valuable in making the business sustain for long run.

Transistors – A Perfect Solution for Amplifying Weak Electrical Signals

A transistor is a small electronic device that can cause changes in a large electrical output signal by small changes in a small input signal. That is, a weak input signal can be amplified by a transistor. A transistor consists of three layers of silicon or germanium semiconductor material. Impurities are added to each layer to create a specific electrical positive or negative charged behavior. “P” is for a positive charged layer and “N” is for a negative charged layer. Transistors are either NPN or PNP in the configuration of the layers. There is no particular difference except the polarity of voltages that need to be applied to make the transistor operate. The weak input signal is applied to the center layer called the base and usually referenced to ground which is also connected to the bottom layer called the emitter. The larger output signal is taken from the collector also referenced to ground and the emitter. Additional resistors and capacitors are required along with at least one DC power source to complete the transistor amplifier.

The transistor is the building block for modern electronic devices and preceded radios, calculators, computers, and other modern electronic systems. Inventors were actually awarded the Nobel Prize in 1956 for inventing the transistor. It can be argued that it is one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. In 2009, the first transistor invented by Bell Labs was named an IEEE Milestone. There are over a billion individual transistors that are produced each year (known as discrete transistors). However, a large majority are produced in integrated circuits along with diodes, resistors, capacitors, and other electronic components, comprising electronic circuits. Transistors can be used in a quantity of anywhere from 20 in logic gates to 3 billion in a microprocessor. Because of the low cost, flexibility, and reliability associated with the transistor, it has become extremely widely produced. To put things into perspective, there were 60 million transistors built for every person on Earth back in 2002. Now over a decade later, that number only continues to grow.

The two types of transistors are the bipolar transistor and the field-effect transistor, which have slight variations in terms of how they are utilized in a circuit. Transistors are usually used as electronic switches for both high-power and low-power applications. They can also be used as amplifiers in that a small change in voltage changes the small current through the base of the transistor. Some key advantages of transistors over other products are small size, minimal weight, no power consumption by a cathode heater, a warm-up period for cathode heaters required after power application, higher reliability, greater physical ruggedness, extremely long life, and insensitivity to mechanical shock and vibration, among others.

Top manufacturers for transistors are Maxim Integrated, Micro semi Power Products Group, NXP Semiconductors, ON Semiconductor, Panasonic Electronic Components, Rohm Semiconductor, Sanken, SANYO Semiconductor Corporation, ST-microelectronics, and Toshiba.

If you Google for best transistor components you will get many one stop shops for any transistor parts you are looking for, regardless of who manufactures it or what the purpose is.