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.

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.

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.

Insurance Software Solutions

 Insurance  software  solutions  have changed the  insurance  market in a big way. This software is produced by a number of Internet companies and provides innovative and cost- effective  solutions  for the  insurance  field. A good insurance software package will enable a business to reduce operational costs, improve customer service and stay current on emerging business and regulatory needs.

 Insurance  software  solutions  packages often include business information and services to enhance customer service. This can include customer service management, premium-benefit issues and claims processing. The software program you select should have a proven track record and offer professional, courteous services for integration, conversion, training and support.

Softwarenetwork.com recommends the following  Insurance  software  solutions  programs:

The Gen4 Product Suite is a leader in providing integrated, full service agency, human resources and employee management solutions. Insurance companies benefit because the program offers more features, efficiency and data accuracy, as well as easier data migration and the best end-user experience to meet your companies specific needs.

Strategic Insurance Software, Inc manufactures SEMCI PARTNER – a full-featured management system that provides an integrated prospect client and policy database with features like notes, reports, word processing and marketing.

AGO Insurance Software, Inc. has computer software and services for the property and casualty industry. The packages include solutions for policy administration, claims processing, accounting, bureau reporting and expert systems. They provide implementation and on-site training on both the micro and midrange platforms, including client/server installations.

The IBQ Systems is an application service provider (ASP) focused on increasing productivity in the insurance industry via the Internet. IBQ’s products focus on the exchange of data between insurance companies and agents. Moving the industry away from paper transactions, IBQ increases the efficiency of insurance sales and maintenance, while reducing the cost per transaction. IBQ’s tightly integrated suite of products includes rating programs (Q-Rater), application software (Q-App), and administrative modules (Q-Admin) that allow you to offer virtually any type of insurance to your agent base. All products are Internet- based, and they can be used from any computer with web access.

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!

Liability Insurance For Beginners

Liability insurance, also commonly known as public liability insurance is something that all self-employed persons should consider even as early as when writing their business plan. Liability insurance should be considered a necessity for all self employed people whether they are manual, clerical or a professional trade who wish to protect their business.

The standard benefits of a public/products liability policy are that you are insured for your legal liability for injury, illness or disease to any member of the public, loss of or damage to their property occurring during the period of insurance. For example if you are a plumber and accidentally flood a property you are working on, the cost of the damage will be covered under your liability policy.

With a public liability insurance policy you normally have three standard options for your level of cover required. The limits of indemnity are £1,000,000, £2,000,000 and £5,000,000. The limit of indemnity that you are covered for simply means that the insurance policy will cover any insured peril up to the limit required ie £1 million. When choosing the level of cover you require you should consider the value of properties that you work on. For example if you work on a school you should have a public liability level of indemnity that is sufficient to rebuild the school if required. If you work on very large properties you may require a level of indemnity in excess of £5 million. This can be arranged by purchasing an additional liability policy called an excess layer. This policy is in addition to the standard policy and can increase the level of indemnity to £10,000,000.

Employers liability insurance can be added to a public liability policy. Employer’s liability insures you for your legal liability for injury, illness, death disease or nervous shock of any employees caused during the period of insurance. If you have an employee or a labour only sub contractor you are legally required to have employers liability insurance. The minimum level of employers liability insurance is £5,000,000 by law but most insurance companies have a level of £10 million. An example of an employer’s liability claim is if your employee was on a faulty ladder and fell and injured themselves . Employer’s liability claims are normally for higher levels than public liability claims.

Under a liability policy you can also have the optional extra cover of tools insurance and goods in transit cover. Tools covers are for loss or damage to hand tools and hand held portable tools owned or hired in by the insured. The level of tool cover is normally from £1,250 to £2,500 with a single article limit of £250 approximately. Tools cover can also be increased to include theft from an unattended vehicle. Goods in transit can also be included for up to £2,000 for any one occurrence.

Finally before purchasing a liability policy you should make sure the insurance company and the insurance broker are regulated by the Financial Services Authority. The Financial Service Authority (FSA) regulates all British insurers and brokers. This regulation is to protect the customer. Also due to this regulation insurers must provide what is known as key facts or a policy summary for any insurance policy they have available. These are perfect if you want a quick overview of what the policy does and does not provide cover for.

Obtaining Insurance For Cars Is Not A Daunting Task

For many people, obtaining insurance for cars is a daunting subject. With so many different   insurance  providers and  insurance  products to choose from, finding the  perfect   solution  for your needs and requirements can border on the impossible… Luckily, insurance companies are going out of their way to make the process as quick and painless as possible, which is a welcome change from a couple of years ago.

While the many different insurance providers can certainly add to the confusion, we actually need to be thankful of the wide variety that we can pick and choose from! The insurance industry is a very competitive industry and this certainly plays to the advantage of the client wanting to obtain car insurance quotes. Each insurance provider is trying to offer a better, more appealing deal than the next, which means that insurance quotes are not only very competitive, but the associated benefits and features are equally impressive!

Obtaining insurance for cars quotes online is one of the easiest ways of getting the job done! By logging onto the internet and visiting one of the many insurance portals, you can quickly and effortlessly obtain anything between 5 and 10 insurance quotes, depending on the particular insurance portal. Once you’ve collected the quotes you can then work through all the offerings from the comfort of your own home or office, before choosing your top 2 or 3 quotes. From there you can then even visit the individual websites of the companies you are interested in, and investigate further details such as the company’s history, customer feedback, claim history etc.

One thing that you have to keep in mind is that most car insurance companies will have no problem negotiating their offer. Therefore, if you receive a quote that you find a little bit steep, but you are satisfied with the company and the rest of the offerings, you should consider making an appointment with an insurance agent at the company and discussing the options with them. If you can show them quotes from other insurance companies with a better offer, even better! As already mentioned, the competition between insurance providers is fierce and such providers will generally do whatever is necessary to hook the client.

Another way to take the best advantage of the competition in the industry, is by making use of a professional insurance broker. These individuals have extensive knowledge of the insurance industry – if there is a special offer or fantastic deal, they know about it! Brokers are generally able to offer you a wide range of products and solutions from different service providers. They are also trained to structure the best package for an individual’s specific needs and requirements, which is of course vitally important! Therefore, when obtaining insurance for cars, do not frown at the number of providers trying to lure you in as a client, rather embrace the opportunity and make sure that you choose the best package for your needs and requirements. Make sure that you have your insurance in place as soon as possible – it is the responsible thing to do!

Condo Dog Potty – Owner Invents the Perfect Solution

A Condo Dog Potty is almost a “must have” when you have a dog. It makes it so convenient for both you and your dog. This is really true for dog owners who live in a high rise or condo where it is not easy to get access to a grassy area. That plus trying to get you dog outside quick enough before he has an accident.

One particular dog owner who lived in a condo realized that necessity was definitely the “mother of inventions.” He was dealing with the same frustrations that many dog owners have. He was living in a condo and had just gotten a new puppy. He did not have an accessible place for his new puppy to “go”. And after a “few” trips up and down stairs, the Porch Potty was birthed.

He named it the “Porch Potty” and the rest was history. It’s been the perfect condo dog potty solution for so many condo owners. It’s quite an innovation and its even been endorsed by Tillman the famous skateboarding Bulldog.

Tillman’s owner was very impressed with this dog potty. It’s portable, can hold real or synthetic grass, and with the automatic sprinkler system and drain on it, very little maintenance.

So if you’re looking for a condo dog potty, you might want to take a closer look at the Porch Potty. There are a lot of dog owners singing its praises and I can certainly see why. It shows you that necessity really is the “mother of invention”!

Babolat Tennis Bags Are the Perfect Solution for the Whole Team

Babolat tennis bags are seen on the shoulders of top tennis players as they walk on court.

With humble beginnings in the late 1800s as the inventor of natural gut racquet strings, Babolat didn’t start making tennis racquets, or bags for that matter, till 1995. By placing Babolat products in the hands of juniors, Babolat began a grassroots movement up the ranks until it was soon the brand of Andy Roddick and former men’s world No.1 Rafael Nadal.

The 12 pack Team is the bag of choice for the Babolat pro and junior teams, including Nadal and Roddick. The bag features three main compartments that can each hold up to three racquets. The rear thermal insulated 3 racquet compartment protects racquets and strings from heat warp. A feature that came in handy at this year’s Australian Open where temperatures crested 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The bag also has two smaller pockets for personals and accessories, a new feature that was developed in response to the difficulty of finding keys and cell phones lost in the bottom of previously designed Babolat tennis bags. The two ergonomic, padded shoulder straps are supplemented by a new grab-and-go carrying strap for easy toting whether the bag is full or empty

The red Babolat Team 135 year anniversary bag is used and signed by Nadal. Babolat currently has a promotion for a discounted ($79.95 to $29.95) Babolat Pure Drive Team bag signed by Roddick with the purchase of a Pure Drive tennis racquet.

The rest of the Team Babolat tennis bag line includes a 9 pack, a 6 pack, a 3 pack, a competition bag, a tennis backpack and a travel bag.

The 9 and 6 pack racquet bags are smaller and more manageable for those with smaller frames than the powerhouse pros. Both have two racquet compartments; one featuring thermal insulation and the other holding either racquets or court and travel necessities. All other features of these bags match their larger, 12 pack counterparts, except the inner shoe compartment.

The 3 pack racquet bag is the logical choice for the tennis player who isn’t far from home. It has one large racquet compartment for up to three racquets and two smaller external pockets for personals. One adjustable shoulder strap and one grab-and-go carry handle make carrying a breeze. This bag does not host thermal insulation.

The Babolat Team competition bag has been used by Roddick and the rest of the Babolat team as they travel the world round as a supplement to the Team Babolat tennis bags. This tennis duffel has a sturdy construction, separated shoe and clothing compartments and a large side pouch for immediate-need accessories. Babolat hosts an innovative four-point shoulder system for ergonomic support on long jaunts through airports.

The Babolat Team tennis backpack holds up to two racquets and is the only solution for the player who needs their hands free to manage a bike or motorcycle. This Babolat tennis bag holds up to two racquets, has a rain cover for one and has enough room for clothing, shoes and anything else you need at the court. One front and two side accessory pockets keep personals close at hand. The foam construction padded back panel ensures optimal comfort during a short or long ride.

All of the Team bags come in red, or black, making Babolat tennis bags the perfect solution for school, club or pro teams.