February2018

Doing Your Shopping At The Auction

shopping can be a great way to relieve stress after a busy week at work. You get to spend time thinking about those jeans will look on you or how cool that TV would look in your living room. It gives us a chance to escape from the realities of life for just an hour or two. Thanks to the Internet, you have more options than ever when it comes to how and where you shop. Auction sites in particular have revolutionized how we think about paying retail prices for just about anything people use on a regular basis.

Auction sites are auctioning off almost anything that you can imagine. If you don’t know what you want, you can bid on a gift card that you can redeem online or at a retail establishment when you do finally figure out what you want to buy. These sites offer you an opportunity to buy a new computer or set of golf clubs for far below retail value. There are even auctions where the bids only go up a penny at a time until the item has been sold.

These penny auctions specialize in auctioning off brand name items at a substantial discount. You could potentially get a $1,000 item for as little as $5 or less if you have a good bidding strategy. The only downside to a penny auction site is that you have to pay for the right to bid. This could drive up your costs substantially. However, as long as you limit yourself to a fixed number of bids, you can keep costs in check in the event that you lose.

Auction sites are a great place to do clothes or Christmas shopping. You can buy real products from real people who will ship your goods to you within days. Whether you are in Arizona or Alaska, you can connect to sellers around the world to get the best prices on the goods that you shop for everyday. If you are into saving money, online auctions are the best place to go to get like new items at closeout prices.

Buying The Right Life Insurance Plan

Life Insurance is an important investment and irrespective of the income level, it is imperative to buy at least a basic Life Insurance plan. This helps to secure emotional and financial stability. It is very important to know and understand which plan would be ideal for an individual’s specific needs. The details that have to be considered are the financial status, assets, affordability, debts and credits, including child support expenses and any other related expenditure. The present insurance market offers a host of varying policies and it is quite difficult to make a choice.

Permanent and Term Life Insurance are the two regular Life Insurance plans. They have their own advantages and disadvantages. They should be opted for keeping in mind optimum benefits and minimum expenditure. A permanent insurance guarantees forced saving, tax-free income, paid-up additions to the benefits, provisions of extended term periods and the provision of borrowing. However, a high rate of premium is applied, to avail of these features. It covers the monetary loss incurred by the investor?s death.

Term Insurance, on the other hand, covers the beneficiary only if the investor dies during the insured period. The premium charged for such insurance is much less than a permanent insurance and it has no saving feature. According to experts, a term insurance can be the best deal if the investor saves the difference and puts that money to good use. The interest received can become an additional income in that case, maintaining a low cost insurance at the same time. Surveys reveal that twenty percent of the investors lose their policies within two years and fifty percent of them in five years, after buying permanent policies.

Investors can go through all the necessary details associated with a particular policy and then decide if it meets their requirement.

How to Find Affordable Life Insurance In Nevada

postBefore you can begin your search for affordable life insurance in Nevada you need to decide on what type of life insurance you want to purchase: whole life insurance or term life insurance.

Whole life insurance is an insurance policy that you keep for your whole life. Whatever the premium is at the time you take out the policy – based in part on the amount of coverage and your age – that premium remains constant for life.

With a term policy your coverage lasts for a certain number of years – the term of the policy – and then the policy expires and your coverage ends.

Initially term life insurance may seem like the better deal because you’ll initially pay a lower monthly premium for basically the same coverage as you’d get in a whole life policy. But at some point your term insurance will expire and then you’ll need to buy another policy with a new – and higher – age-based premium. The purchaser of a whole life policy, however, continues paying the same level premium for life.

While several things affect the cost of your insurance, there are two primary determining factors for the monthly cost of your life insurance: the amount of your coverage and your age at the time you take out the policy.

Obviously the more insurance you take out, the higher your premium will be. However, the cost of a $1,000,000 policy is seldom twice the cost of a $500,000. The higher your policy amount the better “deal” you will be offered.

The younger you are when you take out your policy, the lower your monthly premium will be – so it is better to take out a policy this year than wait for another birthday to pass.

Your health is also a concern. If you have a history of heart problems, diabetes, cancer or any other life-threatening health concerns you can count on paying a higher premium for your life insurance. If you smoke you can also figure on paying a higher premium – but if you can kick the habit not only will you save money on cigarettes, you’ll also be able to get a lower life insurance premium. Likewise, losing weight can also lower your monthly premium payment.

Make sure your credit rating is in good order. Many people are not aware of it, but your credit rating can have an affect on the amount of your life insurance premium. Pay off your credit cards and keep your credit rating high.

If you drive a sports car or a high-performance vehicle or if you have a job which can be considered dangerous you life insurance premiums will reflect the added risk the insurance company is being asked to take.

Lastly, shop around. Policies with nearly identical coverages can vary in price by hundreds of dollars each year depending on which company you choose. However, don’t choose the lowest-priced company if it is not a company that you feel comfortable counting on to be there when the time comes to collect on your policy.

Remember, when you’re searching for an affordable life insurance company in Nevada, not only is the company taking a risk by insuring you – you are also taking a long-term risk by counting on the company to still be in business when it comes time for your loved ones to collect the benefits you worked so hard to leave them.

Experts Fear Life Insurers Are Courting Reserve Risk

After more than a year studying a surge of intricate financial deals in the life insurance industry, regulators said Thursday that they had found transactions that could “give the industry a black eye,” but could not agree on what to do about them.

“There are some transactions out there that we’re not comfortable with, and we’re not sure you’d be comfortable with,” Douglas Slape, chairman of the research panel, told a ballroom full of industry representatives at a conference in suburban Washington. “We can’t go into the details because it’s confidential.”

Differences among the panelists soon became apparent as the group laid out its findings. Some expressed concern that insurers were “betting the policyholders’ money,” while others argued that the transactions were carefully vetted and safe.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners convened the research project, in part, in response to an article in The New York Times on the growing practice among life insurers of offloading huge numbers of policies into opaque, off-balance-sheet subsidiaries. The transactions, often valued in the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, can improve the appearance of the insurers’ balance sheets and free up money for other projects, or to pay shareholder dividends.

The Times article questioned whether the use of the special-purpose vehicles meant a shadow insurance industry was being created, outside the usual reach of state insurance regulators.

Diverging views among Thursday’s panel of state regulators pose a problem because the transactions often involve an insurer in one state, a subsidiary in another, and policies sold to customers in any number of other states. States, rather than the federal government, are the primary regulators of the nation’s insurance companies.

“Our entire financial solvency system falls apart if there is not uniformity” among state regulators, said Joseph Torti, a panelist from Rhode Island. “We need to be able to understand what our sister states are doing.”

Separately, New York State is conducting its own investigation of the off-balance-sheet insurance deals. This year it called on the insurers under its jurisdiction to provide detailed information about their special-purpose subsidiaries, why they had created them, and whether the subsidiaries were counting assets that the insurer itself would not be allowed to include on its balance sheet.

In recent years, some states passed laws allowing insurance companies to set up the subsidiaries, because they were perceived as creating good jobs.

Conventional state insurance regulation protects policyholders by requiring companies to set aside enough of the premium money they take in to build reserves to pay all future claims. Companies are also required to maintain a healthy surplus, and regulators can make them stop selling new policies if they fall too far short.

When the life insurers secure their policies through special-purpose vehicles, however, they can do so without building up a body of liquid, cashlike reserves, as prescribed by regulators.

Instead, they offer some form of collateral, like a letter of credit, to stand behind the policies. Some regulators said there were cases in which the collateral was inadequate and would not have been admitted under the usual regulatory standards.

Data compiled by SNL Financial, a data and news company, shows that the practice of securing life policies through a wholly owned subsidiary has grown sharply in the last five years. In 2006, the companies SNL surveyed used such subsidiaries for 31 percent of the policies they reinsured; by 2011, it was up to 45 percent.

SNL also found that while the practice was very popular at some companies, others did not use it at all. The American International Group used subsidiaries for nearly 80 percent of the life policies that it reinsured in 2011, for instance, while Northwestern Mutual used only unaffiliated reinsurers, where the terms would be set in an arms’ length transaction. Still others, like State Farm, were not reinsuring their life policies as of 2011.

New York Life, a modest user of affiliated reinsurers at 15 percent, submitted a written comment letter to the panel, warning of “a system that encourages companies to circumvent statutory reserving standards by using complex structured transactions.” It called for “strong regulation” that would allow only “clean, unconditional collateral” to backstop the reinsured policies.

New York Life also said that after artificially lowering their costs through the complex transactions, some companies were coming back to market and selling new policies to consumers at low prices.

“Although lowering prices to consumers is generally a worthy objective, doing so at the expense of effective solvency regulation is inappropriate,” the company stated. “It can result in reserves being reduced below the level needed to protect policyholders.”

The off-balance-sheet vehicles are designated “captives,” under state insurance law, even though they do not resemble conventional captives, which are typically used by noninsurance companies as a vehicle to insure the company’s own risks.

Conventional captives were not subject to the regulatory panel’s scrutiny. Some of the regulators expressed concern that the insurers were using the “captive” designation inappropriately, to take advantage of state laws that allow captives to keep all financial information secret.

The secrecy of the transactions was the biggest source of disagreement among the regulators.

“We think there are things that are legitimately held confidential,” said David Provost, the delegate from Vermont, the first state to allow captives. The captives often house just one very large transaction, and some companies say more disclosure would allow their competitors to find out their confidential strategies. Mr. Provost said insurance regulators in Vermont worked hard to keep their counterparts in other states informed.

Mr. Torti, the delegate from Rhode Island, disagreed. “I have not heard, in all these deliberations, why any of this information should be confidential,” he said. “I think it should be available to the public, available to investors. It should be out there.”