22Apr

Business Insurance 101

Business owners are responsible for two families: their own and their employees’. A comprehensive insurance policy is needed regardless of the size and nature of your business especially in Hong Kong where there are part of the legal requirements to run a business. Should anything bad happen to you, a proper insurance policy can help protect your family and your business.

To get a sense of your preparedness in this aspect of running your company, ask yourself these questions:

  • What will happen to my business and family if I die or become physically unable to run the company?
  • What will happen if certain key employees die or become permanently disabled?
  • How can I attract and retain the good employees?
  • How can I help ensure that my business is equipped to stand unforeseen financial challenges?
  • What will happen to my business when I retire?

Death, disability of a proprietor and loss of a key man are three of the top threats to your business and you need to consider how to protect the business you’ve worked hard for against these events.

Death and Individual Life Insurance

This is the worst possible scenario. What will happen to your business if you die? Many business owners take out loans to help grow their businesses and often secure these loans with personal assets. If you have business loans and were to die before they were paid off you might think your family could sell or liquidate the business to cover the debts and provide financial security for them.

This, however, is an unlikely event. When the family is forced to suddenly sell the business they may have to sell at a discount or during market conditions that make the business less attractive. In other cases, the value of the business is lowered because of the loss of the proprietor. Individual Life Insurance can protect your family by covering the debts, rolling living expenses and future plans in the event that something happens to you.

We discuss financial protection with Life Insurance in one of our past blogs. Read: Financial Protection for Your Family After You’re Gone

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance replaces a set portion of your income if you were to become sick or injured and unable to work. It’s an important type of insurance coverage that is often overlooked. In addition, business owners should consider Business Overhead Insurance, which pays for overhead expenses in the event a business owner becomes completely disabled. A policy typically pays benefits for one to two years and helps cover expenses like salaries, taxes, employee benefits, rent, mortgage, utilities, equipment, malpractice premiums, etc. That could mean the difference between a business surviving or permanently closing.

What about your employees’ benefits?

Part of the decision making process for potential hires is a good benefits program. More importantly, this program is also crucial to retaining good, competent workers.

Benefits such as health and disability insurance and retirement plans are very desirable to employees, but they can also be costly for business owners. Sharing of these costs between employer and employee is a common practice that’s beneficial for both parties. There are also voluntary benefit programs that allow employees to purchase or increase their benefits, often through automatic payroll deduction.

Village Insurance can help you select the right mix of benefits and present business owners with various package options.

Key Man Insurance

Key Man Insurance is another essential component of a smart business maintenance plan. When a key person dies or becomes disabled, insurance can help cover potential lost sales or earnings or cover the cost of finding or training a replacement.

Buy and Sell Agreements

These agreements are generally covered by Life Insurance policies purchased on the lives of each of the business owners. The amount is usually specified in a contract created with the help of a lawyer. You can enter into a buy-sell agreement at any time, but it often makes sense to do so when a business is formed or when new owners are brought into the business. Because business values can fluctuate, it’s important to review the contract with your accountant at least once per year or to include a calculation method in the agreement.

Company owners can also insure against the risk of becoming disabled and unable to work. In this case, disability income buyout insurance would fund the buy-sell agreement, allowing the disabled owners to be bought out, typically after a one-year waiting period.

25Mar

Rising Cases of Breast Cancer & Better Health Insurance

According to Worldwide Breast Cancer, in 2010 nearly 1.5 million people worldwide heard their physician breaking the news “you’ve got breast cancer”. This aggressive type of cancer is the most common among women in the UK and US and they have among the highest incidence rates worldwide as seen in the data below.

Blog_-_Breast_cancer_-_graph

The most common figures say that 1 in 8 women might develop cancer in their lifetime. Sourcing the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts & Figures the age group 60 to 69 are the ones most at risk while women between 20-29 see their chances of encountering breast cancer fall to a rate of 1 in 2,000.

The Breast Cancer Hong Kong Facts Report of 2012 also gathered a similar rising trend among the population with these key findings:

·      Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among Hong Kong women.
·      Hong Kong tops other Asian countries in terms of rates of breast cancer.
·      82% of patients do not have family history of breast cancer.
·      Compared to higher-income districts, the proportion of advanced stage breast cancer is higher in low-income districts.
·      Breast cancer examinations in Hong Kong are not popular with only 15.9% conducting self examinations and 11.2% taking mammograms.

The estimates of lifetime per-patient costs of breast cancer ranges from HK$155,000 to HK$775,800 and a study from an international insurance provider with an office in Hong Kong stated that patients only expected 40% cover of expenses from their policy.

Relating these costs to expats who are currently in Hong Kong and seeking medical treatment, there should be an awareness of what to expect in terms of expenses and facilities.

Find a health insurance plan that can cover ALL breast cancer treatment expenses.  Some may cover more than others but there are policies that cater specifically to breast cancer patient needs. It is also important to find out how much of the cost of your treatment you will need to pay yourself so that you can plan ahead. We always advise clients they should make plans for the worst in such circumstances.

Ask questions about your policy. Find out if your provider has an “in-network” or “out-network” of doctors and facilities.  The former means they have a list of physicians and hospitals they can recommend that are within your policy’s coverage.

Does your policy cover office visits, blood tests, radiology exams, surgery, chemotherapy, etc.? How much of each is covered? Are there co-payments or deductibles? Are clinical trials covered as well? What about second and third opinions?

By listing down these details you will be more equipped in planning out the things you already have and the ones you still need to arrange.

Village Insurance Direct presents your best options based on your budget and your current status. Talk to our agents.  We’re here to simplify your health insurance needs.

Feel free to connect with Mark Bromhead on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter

 

Sources:

http://hkbcf.org/download/report/ar0408.pdf
http://www.cancer-fund.org/en/cancer_news_342.html
http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/QuestionsforYourInsuranceProvider.html#sthash.F9oHZDxD.dpuf

9Mar

Coping with Lost Luggage: An Emotional Journey

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Losing your luggage at the airport is a lot like a break-up you didn’t expect coming.  You think that everything’s fine and you’re even excited for the adventures up ahead and then you’re left there standing; confused and betrayed.

That little heart attack that you go through after realizing the loss of your luggage is a tragedy the constant nomad knows all too well. And no matter how careful we are (with our bags and our relationships) we still somehow end up with the shorter stick and are left to try and cope.

Stage 1: Denial

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Our nature as social beings is that we like to look at the best things about other people—airlines included.  There’s always that morsel of hope that maybe our bags just got on another belt or they have it waiting for us at the lost luggage section. And then news comes that it’s on a flight to Jamaica and you’re in Hong Kong with your heart broken over the contents of your bag. We can say the airline is mistaken or we can wait by the carousel. We’re entitled to this small period of denial and that’s okay.

Stage 2: Anger

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As the denial wears off reality emerges and we aren’t often prepared. Being placed in stressful situations with little or no resolution means feelings get expressed through anger. Psychologists say that we have to go through this stage of grief to fully move forward from a loss. Rationally we know the person on that desk is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we resent the person for causing us so much pain by telling us “you’ll get your luggage back in 2 weeks”.

Stage 3: Bargaining

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And so we stand there refusing to let the person behind us have their turn until we get some kind of compromise. We can threaten to sue or beg for a faster way to retrieve our luggage but there’s a little voice inside us that’s saying this is futile and all we can do is exhaust that poor person behind the desk with hopes of some good news; that maybe if we’re annoying or upset enough they’ll fly it back to us the next day. Sadly, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Stage 4Depression

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Your mundane routines remind you of everything. When you take a shower you remember because your bath gel smelled like lavender and the one you’re using now is making your skin dry. Then as you go through your wardrobe you remember your favorite shirt was there and that you’ve always worn it to a new place just for the novelty. As you walk through the streets, you remember your luggage once more because you saw a Hong Kong sticker that you want to pile on to the other stickers you’ve collected during your travels. This makes you sad and there’s not much to do but go through the motions.

Stage 5: Acceptance

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3 days in and you’ve visited a few places and met cool people and you start to forget you still have 12 more days (or more) to go before you’re reunited with your beloved luggage. So you think “Okay. I could mope and feel sorry about myself or I could start having some fun and make new plans.” When you choose the latter you know you’re well on your way to self-healing.

Coping with loss is ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience. It’s different for everyone but the constant thing we get out of it are valuable life lessons. Loss is an inevitable part of life. If we must go through it, at least take the journey with good friends.

…and a good Travel Insurance policy.

We’ll cope with you. Contact us here.

P.S. For a checklist of what a good travel insurance should cover, read this.

27Feb

International Family Insurance for Expats

The number of children you have is a key factor to consider when shopping for health insurance. Needless to say, buying cover for your entire family will require higher out-of-pocket costs but it will guarantee your peace of mind especially when in a foreign country.

Emergency private health care with a single night’s stay can cost anywhere between HK$100 to $2100 just for the hospital room! depending on tests, medication and type of room.  Having a family health insurance policy allows you to be prepared for sudden critical treatments such as surgery or medical evacuation.

Terms to understand about family health insurance

Deductible– The amount you pay to address covered medical expenses before your health insurance policy begins to pay for covered medical expenses each year. Most family health insurance policies have individual deductible options which can be taken out to reduce your premiums.

famil_insuranc_deductibles

Coinsurance– your share of the costs of a health care service. It’s usually stated as a percentage of the total charge for the service. Your provider pays the bigger portion. You start paying coinsurance after you’ve paid your policy’s deductible.

family_insurance_Coinsurance

Co-pay– the payment you make, usually a fixed amount such as HK$400, each time you visit the doctor or fill a prescription medication. Not all plans have co-payments.  These do not accumulate towards the deductible. Co-pay and coinsurance may be available at the same time.

We suggest choosing a plan with low co-pay if you think you will often visit your doctor or pharmacy.

Why is it cheaper in the long run to get a family health insurance?

Some special health insurance for families even offer free cover for your 2nd, 3rd and 4th children until they are 18 which can really reduce your family’s premiums.

Village Insurance is currently offering this type of family health insurance. Policyholders can also get 25% No Claim bonus on top of the free coverage for the said number of children.

You can see more of the options we’re offering here: International Family health Insurance

Feel free to connect with Mark Bromhead on LinkedinFacebook and Twitter

8Jan

What a Good Travel Insurance Should Cover

It’s important that you know which risks should be covered by your travel insurance policy to fully protect yourself. Village Insurance finds the best travel insurance for expats with the help of international providers we closely work with. travel_insurance_guid_infographic

2Dec

Expat Insurance: A Village Living Off a Suitcase

Living and working in a country other than your own presents expats with different challenges. One of which is getting an insurance policy to protect you from all kinds of risks.

Welcome to our Village

We were originally known as Village Holdings Limited. It was in 2008 that we recognised the rising need for dedicated insurance brokers to bridge the gap between expats and insurance providers in Hong Kong. What sets us apart is our targeted services for expats who live fast-paced and mobile lifestyles. 

We have always believed in keeping things simple and organized like a single suitcase of essentials that expats know so well.

Leave the work to us. What’s left for you to do is sit back and relax while we find the best insurance options from the most trusted providers in Hong Kong.

Suitcase Essentials

Whether you’re staying for a just a few days or working long-term in Hong Kong, we can find the right cover for your needs—from health insurance to corporate insurance for your business.

We can even find more specific covers such as Golf Insurance and Event Insurance because we know each type of protection you must have while living away from home.

Creature Comforts As You Go

Our services and team of insurance brokers will be there to assist you wherever you are in the world. We work with the the most reliable insurance companies within and outside Hong Kong. The comfort we guarantee to provide is peace of mind from damage, loss, and all other risks.

Get a quick look at how we keep things simple here.

You can reach us at  +852-3008-5843 or info@villageinsurancedirect.com