Travel InsuranceYou have finally picked the perfect setting for your next vacation and are about to reserve all of your itinerary details. Right before you finish booking your trip, you are asked a routine question that can make or break your journey: “Do you want to add travel insurance to your purchase?” Most people are not aware of the fact that travel insurance is one of the smartest uses of their money when it comes to a vacation or business trip. Before we get into specifics, let’s take a look at a real world example from a client who declined the travel insurance option in the past. 


“From 2006-2009, I was flying to Europe quite often and each time I purchased a travel insurance policy. In 2008, I took a trip to Germany and for the first time decided not to purchase travel insurance. What a monumental mistake. I was walking home late one night, tripped over a curb, and tore a ligament in my right ankle. After visiting an urgent care facility, an orthopedic surgeon several times and medicine, my bill was $492 and my deductible was $500. Had I purchased my usual travel insurance policy for around $30 with a $0 deductible and $50,000 limit, I would have been out of pocket $0!” 

First, travel insurance can save you large amounts of money if you experience a medical issue while on a trip. Studies show that one out of every two travelers becomes ill during their trip and an average overseas medical bill can run between $1,500 - $2,400 dollars. Furthermore, most hospitals and physicians abroad expect payment before you can be treated. 

Other traveling mishaps that can be overcome with travel insurance include trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage (never fun!), emergency transport and even natural disasters. Trip cancellations can happen for many reasons, and when it does, travelers lose an average of $1,186 per trip. Stolen luggage is another costly endeavor, with an average price tag of $350-$400 per bag.

If you become severely injured and need medical evacuation back to the United States, be prepared to pay a hefty price tag if you didn’t invest in travel insurance. Average transport amounts run around $30,000 per traveler. Other details you should be aware of when traveling abroad is that most U.S. based healthcare policies do not cover policyholders when overseas – this is especially true for those on Medicare or other national health services.

Considering all of the benefits of travel insurance, and coverage costing an average of 4-8 percent of your trip total, isn’t it time to talk to an experienced travel insurance broker? The knowledgeable agents at MHG can explain all of the advantages of travel insurance and tailor a policy to your specific needs. They offer a variety of advanced travel insurance plans that can help you put any travel anxieties to rest. You might have waited a long time to take this special trip – don’t let a travel mishap set you back financially. Call MHG at 954-828-1819 or visit mhginsurance.com today to book your travel insurance policy.

Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

Individual Disability Income Protection If you are currently employed as a yacht crewmember, chances are you have heard about individual disability income protection. Although some reports state the economy is improving, times are still tough and salaries are not increasing the way they have in the past. In addition, with a disabling accident or illness occurring or being diagnosed every few seconds, it would be a wise choice to consider disability insurance.

 

Let’s take a look at a real life scenario about a yacht crewmember who did not purchase disability insurance: 

“Last June, we had a Chief Stewardess fall down the stairs onboard a yacht. She landed on her head and injured her spine, causing temporary paralysis. She still has a long road to recovery in terms of her coordination and strength in her limbs. She has had to rely heavily on others, including her significant other, for both financial support as well as in caring for her day to day needs. Had she purchased a disability plan, she would potentially be receiving 65% of her salary.” 

When accidents and injuries happen to those who are uninsured, it brings a financial, physical and emotional strain to those who become their caretakers. Unfortunately, not everyone has a significant other or family member nearby, and they are left to hire a home nurse or caretaker. These expenses, in addition to medical bills, can be astronomical.  

Also keep in mind that if you are disabled, you will be living on shore. This will likely result in additional living expenses such as electric and water that you may not have had while working at sea. Just like accidents, long term illness can also cause significant financial challenges.  

With a long term illness, you can also find yourself in a situation where you not only need to rely on others for support with daily activities but you may also find that the ongoing medical costs may not be adequately covered by your insurance plan due to additional deductibles, non-covered items or co-insurance. 

A disabling injury or illness has the potential to ruin someone financially. Living expenses continue to rise, as do the costs for adequate medical care. Disability income can offer you peace of mind knowing a significant portion of your income can be replaced in the event of an unfortunate situation.

Disability income protection is just one part of your overall insurance picture, so be sure to consider it along with health and life insurance. MHG Insurance Brokers specializes in insurance plans for yacht crew members. We have the knowledge, experience and relationships with top-rated disability insurance carriers and can tailor a policy to your budget and needs. Call MHG today at +1 954-828-1819 or visit mhginsurance.com  to determine which disability insurance plan would be right for you.

Income for When You Are Not Working

Clayton-SwartFort Lauderdale, FL – March 18, 2013 – MHG Insurance Brokers is pleased to announce and welcome Clayton Swart as Business Development Manager. Clayton will be responsible for promoting and marketing yacht crew insurance in addition to developing business and cultivating relationships for our US Insurance Division. 

 

Born and raised in South Africa, Clayton completed his marketing degree at the Varsity College of Natal, Durban.  He relocated to the US thirteen years ago to pursue his passion for international travel and yachting and spent seven years working aboard numerous yachts in various capacities. In 2007, Clayton joined The Sacks Group as Yacht Sales Coordinator, International Yacht Collection in 2010 and then most recently Y.CO in 2011. 

“For quite some time we have looked for a well-qualified candidate to develop new business locally and we are fortunate to have found Clayton available” said Andrew Dudzinski, Chairman and CEO of MHG Insurance Brokers. “Clayton’s out-going personality, professionalism and experience in the industry will be a great asset to MHG.” 

Clayton is very involved in the marine community and is a member of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association and Young Professionals in Yachting. He also volunteers with the Freedom Waters Foundation. 

About MHG Insurance Brokers 

MHG Insurance Brokers is a full-service insurance brokerage, assisting clients with marine crew insurance, life and health insurance, MLC 2006 and healthcare reform guidance, employee benefits solutions and business insurance.  With over 20 years of industry experience and access to multiple US and international carriers, our insurance specialists can advise which insurance and financial services providers and products are best suited to address the needs of employers as well as individuals. We are committed to providing our clients with the highest level of advice and support in order to deliver solutions that offer the best scope, service and value.

Clayton Swart Joins MHG Insurance Brokers In Fort Lauderdale

Health Care Reform

Health Care ReformRemember the old adage from Benjamin Franklin “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes…”, well, we could add one more thing to this maxim “…and health insurance”.   

 

I added this only because in 2014 there will be a new tax enforced mandate that requires all Americans to obtain basic health insurance under the ACA (Affordable Care Act), also known as Health Care Reform. So what is Health Care Reform and why is it needed?  

Let’s start by taking a long hard look at who has and who doesn’t have health insurance.  In this case 43 million-plus Americans currently do not have basic health insurance, and those that want it currently may not be able to get it because of pre-existing conditions.   

A not so nice example of this is a young pregnant woman who needs individual insurance right now would not be able to get basic individual insurance to cover pre-natal and post-natal medical support.  Sure, there may be some State programs that could help but even these are less than comprehensive in scope.

Now roll-back to 2010 which was when this individual mandate or law came in to effect. To start there were several key milestones such as:

  • Individual Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans (or PCIP’s) made available for people with certain pre-existing conditions who have been unable to obtain insurance for six months or more
  • Expanded coverage in Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ or ‘gap’ for seniors
  • Small business group  health insurance credit
  • Adult children can now remain on their parent’s insurance plan through age 26
  • Copays, coinsurance and deductibles have been removed on preventative care visits
  • No pre-existing condition exclusions for children under age 19
  • No lifetime or annual limits on “essential” or basic health benefits

Note that one of the keywords used here is “individual” insofar as the mandate makes each US citizen or resident individually responsible to show they have healthcare in place, with the compliance review being administered and enforced under the tax mandate, by the IRS. Now you are up to speed with Health Care Reform and the changes that are already in place, you might be asking what’s still to come. 

January 1, 2014 is the deadline to purchase your health insurance. Failure to do so will result in individual penalties from $95 in 2014, $325 in 2015, $695 in 2016 or 1% in 2014, 2% in 2015 and 2.5% in 2016 of your income, whichever is greater. Employers with 50 or more full-time employees who do not offer health insurance will also be subject to fines. But it’s not all doom and gloom! Here are some of the notable scheduled changes still to come.

  • Individuals with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for refundable tax credits to purchase insurance coverage through the state based exchange marketplace.
  • There will be no pre-existing condition exclusions.
  • Employers with more than 200 employees that offer insurance coverage must automatically enroll new full-time employees with the opportunity to opt out.
  • Group waiting periods for coverage will be required to be less than 90 days.
  • State-based and federally governed exchanges open beginning in 2014, which will allow people to compare and purchase health plans in the new state-based marketplace designed to make buying health insurance easier and more affordable. They will be able to use insurance brokers, such as MHG, to assist in navigating these exchanges. Plans offered on the exchanges will follow a tiered rating (such as Silver and Bronze levels offering very basic insurance and at the other end of the scale, high-end comprehensive plans.   There will also be the opportunity for supplemental insurance to be offered (also called GAP plans) which will help plug any gaps in the basic insurance package, again offered by insurance brokers as needed.

So there you have it, a snap-shot on what has happened and still to come for Health Care Reform. Obviously there are risks inherent in this change, not least of which is a possible shortage of primary care physicians and an initial influx of people with pre-existing conditions previously uninsurable.  This will place a strain on any Health Care Reform model but given the alternative of no universal insurance, or mounting premium costs, will be something that has to be dealt with in future years. 

MHG Insurance Brokers is committed to keeping you up to date with Health Care Reform changes and legislation that may affect you. Whether you are looking for Health Care Reform guidance, health insurance for you or your family, employee benefits, dental, life insurance or long-term care, schedule an appointment with the insurance specialists at MHG to discuss your particular situation by calling 954-828-1819 or visit mhginsurance.com for more information.

Health Care Reform

Maritime Labour ConventionFor those of us who have heard the term MLC mentioned over the past few years and not really paid too much attention, the time has come to finally raise our hands and ask “What is MLC?”  Not only because it concerns every owner, manager, Captain and crew member that owns, manages or works aboard a charter yacht or commercial vessel but because it comes into effect in August of this year (2013)! 


The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC2006) is an International Labour Organization (ILO) resolution, created in 2006 as the fourth pillar of international maritime law (the first three pillars being SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL). The Convention sets out seafarers' rights to decent conditions of work on a wide range of subjects, and aims to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced. 

Under the terms of the convention the word "seafarer" includes virtually anybody who works aboard an ocean going vessel with very few exceptions. However, one exception is where the vessel is used for pleasure only. The decision by the ILO to create this major new Maritime Labour Convention was the result of a joint resolution by the international seafarers’ and ship owners’ organizations, also supported by governments.

They pointed out that the shipping industry is “the world’s first genuinely global industry” and therefore “requires an international regulatory response of an appropriate kind – global standards applicable to the entire industry”. In plain language, these 3 groups, representing vessel owners (employers), seafarers (crew) and governments (all 185 ILO member countries) agreed to create legislation that would regulate all (or nearly all) aspects of working at sea. This includes the "novel idea" that those who make a living at sea should be able to expect working and social conditions at least be equivalent to those provided to those who work on land! 

The convention document includes 5 sections (called Titles).  Each Title contains general as well as specific provisions according to which each member country has to provide detailed regulations.  These are for the attention of vessel owners and other entities involved in the employment of seafarers. While each ILO member state is responsible for developing certain regulations which affect its own nationals, Flag States are responsible for providing much of the detailed regulations affecting the vessel and crew that fly its flag. 

Finally, there is a certification process which needs to be passed by every charter yacht and other vessel in commercial use as well as periodic inspections when entering ports belonging to countries that have ratified the convention. MLC had to be ratified by at least 30 member states with a total share of 33% of the world gross tonnage, in order for it to be ratified.

In August 2012, the convention was ratified by 34 states representing 68.2% of the world gross tonnage of ships. Click Here for a full list of countries that have now ratified. The convention will enter into force one year later on August 20th, 2013. MHG has been tracking the Maritime Labour Convention since 2006 and has been active since then in interpreting that part of the regulation which deals with Health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection (Title 4 of the MLC).

Not sure if the benefits you currently have in place are MLC compliant? Speak with MHG Insurance Brokers to review your current plan. MHG can provide advice and information to help you determine whether your plan is in the spirit of MLC, and whether additional benefits may be needed. We can also review your plan for competitiveness in the marketplace as well as benchmark it with other crew group plans. Call MHG at (+1) 954-828-1819, email us at: mlc@mhginsurance.com.

What is The Maritime Labour Convention?

What is an Insurance Broker?

To put it simply, an insurance broker is a professional adviser who represents you, the consumer, not the insurance company. Their main goal is to find you the best insurance policy for your needs by comparing different rates, coverage features and companies. 

 

You may be asking what the benefit is in using an insurance broker rather than an insurance agent who works for a specific company. To begin, an insurance broker works on your behalf, finding you the best package and price, whereas an agent has ties to the specific company they work for and can only offer  you a policy with that company. 

An insurance broker can also help you as an individual or your business in evaluating what type(s) of insurance is needed. For example, if a business is looking for insurance, a broker will offer expert advice regarding the risks associated with the particular business and will have access to various insurance policies, benefits and any possible exclusions. 

So ask yourself 'What is an Insurance Broker?' and 'Do I Need an Insurance Broker?' 

Having the right insurance coverage relieves any unnecessary stress if you are faced with an accident, illness, or liability claim. Because there are many types of policies, premiums and limitations, you can get easily confused or possibly wind up with insurance that doesn't offer you enough coverage. This is where an insurance broker is invaluable. 

A full-service insurance broker deals with various types of insurance, including full-time and short-term private medical insurance, disability income protection, property and liability insurance, group, travel and life insurance, among others. Your insurance broker will help explain insurance “lingo” and determine the best carrier for your budget, circumstances and coverage needs.

MHG is a well-known full-service brokerage company that works for you, the client. With plans specifically designed to meet the needs of marine officers, crew, contractors, expatriates, US residents and business owners. They will research which insurance plan will work best for you or your business, they will build a relationship with you, and they will continue to be involved after you make your insurance purchase. 

MHG is known for offering sound advice when a client has questions pertaining to their policy or the claims process. The company also understands the unique needs of individuals or groups at sea. If you are in need of full-time medical insurance, life, travel, disability, group insurance or a different type of policy, an experienced and trusted insurance broker will cut through the red tape and find the best rate and policy available.  

Whether you are on land or at sea, MHG’s resources, professionalism and expertise have earned them the reputation of distinguished insurance brokers, with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Cote d’Azur, Isle of Man, and Hamburg to better serve you.

What is an Insurance Broker?

Yacht Crew Insurance

Are you aged 19 to 30, commitment-free and looking for an extraordinary job traveling the world? Picture yourself waking up to a beautiful sunrise on the ocean, docked at an exotic destination rich with culture.  All while earning a paycheck with your expenses paid. This lifestyle provides the opportunity to save while still enjoying some splurging. Today, with the yacht industry expanding at a record rate and many yacht owners becoming more adventurous, there is hardly a coordinate on the globe that is beyond the reach of luxury yachts.

Working on yachts is not like other careers. There is no going home at the end of the day. The crew that surrounds you twenty-four hours a day are your work colleagues, your confidantes, your family, and your friends, and this certainly makes for strong, interesting, dynamic, and enduring friendships.  Many crew members work 5 ½ to 6 days a week, 16 hours per day.

You do not need a model look to work on one of these luxurious yachts but, you do need an open smile and a presentable appearance.  Most yachts are looking for crew that is genuinely enthusiastic and almost all want a crewmember that will make a concerted and conscientious effort to 'do the right thing' because a positive mindset creates a positive environment. After all, it is those crewmembers that have a real passion for the sea and are eager to learn all they can about the industry and the countries they visit and themselves and others who ultimately have the most fulfilling experience onboard yachts. The yacht gains a valuable crewmember, and the crewmember gains an invaluable experience, so everyone wins.

Once you’ve landed your dream job working onboard a yacht, you’ll have to think about obtaining an international health insurance plan if a group plan is not already in place. As an insurance broker, MHG can research the marketplace to find the best suited plan with the insurance coverage you need to fit your new career and lifestyle. Looking for a plan designed specifically for yacht crew with coverage for scuba or amateur sailboat racing? Or perhaps you’re looking for a more traditional land-based plan that you can keep even after you leave yachting. MHG’s expert staff can assist you in selecting the medical insurance plan that best fits your unique situation.

Do not let that dream job turn into a medical nightmare.  Life on the water can be hazardous, and in the unfortunate event of an on-the-job injury, you need a quality plan. As the yacht crew insurance specialists, MHG Insurance Brokers offers a variety of comprehensive medical insurance plans to meet the needs of each client. Whether you are looking for crew insurance, travel insurance, or group insurance plans, MHG has solutions to fit every budget. Contact the experts at MHG to help you choose the ideal policy for your unique requirements. Contact us today at 877-278-7400 to learn more.

Marine Health Insurance Offering

Urgent care and walk-in clinics

1) What are walk-in clinics/urgent care centers?


If you are faced with a non-life threatening illness or mild injury, an urgent care center or walk-in clinic can offer you medical attention in the event your primary care physician is not available and/or when a trip to the emergency room may not be necessary. Many urgent care clinics are often open after hours, seven days a week and appointments are not necessary.  

2) Choosing a walk-in clinic/urgent care center 

There are more than 8,000 urgent care clinics in the United States. Choosing a center often comes down to proximity, insurance and quality of care. You want to choose a center that is near your home or work and can offer you quality care and assistance in a reasonable amount of time. Consider this list of factors when choosing an urgent care center:

Location: Is the urgent care center a reasonable distance from your home, school or office?

Availability: What hours is the urgent care center open? Many walk-in clinics are not open 24 hours, however they commonly accommodate after hours, weekends and holidays. It is advisable to call ahead to confirm hours of operation and ensure it fits your schedule.

Insurance: Does the clinic accept your individual health insurance plan or group health insurance plans? Many clinics accept most insurance plans. If you do not have insurance, the clinic will assist you, but there is an upfront charge required.  

Quality: Is it too crowded? Were you treated kindly? Did you receive adequate care? These questions can be difficult to answer before you visit a clinic, but if you do not receive quality care, you should report the mishap and find another clinic for future needs.  

Recommendations: Ask a friend or relative about their experiences at local urgent care centers. Quality is easier to measure when you can learn from someone else’s experience.  

3) When to use urgent care centers/walk-in clinics 

Emergency room wait times are often high and should be reserved for emergency use only. Urgent care centers are designed to free up emergency rooms for true emergencies. Severe accidents, deadly illness, bleeding wounds and similar incidences are for the emergency room, but basic illnesses, such as a cold, the flu, a cough and even a fever can be treated at an urgent care center. 

Basic injuries such as bruising, sprains or possible minor broken bones can also be diagnosed at an urgent care center, where they may send you onto a hospital depending on the degree of injury.   Walk-in clinics offer you fast, quality medical care and, in most cases, for a lot less money than the ER. This is why it is important to be aware of your ER alternatives before you need them.

Urgent care and walk-in clinics

The arrival of winter means planning the perfect ski vacation for many people. What many people don’t realize, however, despite the hundreds of ski accidents that occur each year, is that winter sports may not be covered by their medical insurance plan. Nearly half of skiers on the slopes are not covered by vacation insurance and only 1 in 4 knows enough to ensure they are covered while skiing. 


Do you have proper insurance for your winter sport activities? 

Part of the fun of skiing and snowboarding is the element of danger involved, but you need to be certain you are protected in the event of the unexpected.  Even if you've been able to avoid an accident on the slopes, they do happen and you need to be prepared. 

You need extreme sports travel insurance, just in case you are injured, to be afforded these benefits:

Medical Expenses. These benefits cover you if you need medical care on the slopes. It will also cover care at a medical facility in any country you visit.

Emergency Medical Evacuation. These benefits will provide you with medical transportation to the nearest medical facility where adequate care can be received or back home, as necessary.

Multilingual Emergency Assistance. This service helps coordinate your emergency medical care. It will keep you, and the medical staff caring for you, in touch with your family.

You should be aware that a basic travel insurance plan may not be enough. Some providers exclude coverage for skiing and snowboarding and may require that you purchase an optional "extreme sports" rider to include winter sports insurance coverage. Also keep in mind that if you are a more adventurous skier who travels off-piste (out of marked bounds), you will want to make sure your plan includes cover for that also. Even if you are not a skier and you do not plan to hit the slopes this winter, it is important to make sure you have adequate coverage in the event of an accident or illness, regardless of the activities you may be pursing.

MHG Insurance Brokers offer a full line of individual and group insurance benefits for travelers and winter sports fans. Our wide selection of plans include medical insurance, US life and health insurance, disability income protection, life insurance, financial services, and property and liability insurance. MHG offers phone numbers from around the world so you can contact us easily and conveniently from anywhere around the world. Contact us to learn more.

Are You a Winter Sports Fan? Are You Skiing This Winter and Is It Covered by Your Insurance?

The experts say if you do something every day for 30 days it will become a habit. Summertime is the perfect time to develop healthy habits that can create positive lifestyle changes.  

 

For a healthy lifestyle one needs to eat healthy, be active, protect yourself and your family, manage stress and get regular checkups by your doctor. Eating healthy is an easy habit to develop in the summer with the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available.  Stop by a farmer’s market and try some  of the amazing fruit that is in season right now. Make sure you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day and include some whole grains.

Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. A balanced diet combined with physical activity will help keep you at a healthy weight. Children and teens need to be active for at least one hour a day and outdoor activities are plentiful this time of year.  Include activities that raise their breathing and heart rates and that strengthen their muscles and bones. Adults should be active for at least 2½ hours a week. You should also include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles. With the long summer days there are plenty hours of sunlight to get moving in.  

Physical activity helps to maintain your weight, reduces high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and several forms of cancer. Arthritis pain, depression and anxiety symptoms are also reduced by physical activity. When out enjoying the summer days remember to wear sunscreen and insect repellent.  Protect yourself and your family from injuries with seat belts, helmets, and protective sports equipment. Eating right and daily exercise will help manage stress.  

Remember to balance work, home, and play.  Everyone needs a support group of family and friends. Relaxation and meditation are great stress relievers, take time for yourself.  And strive for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, children including teenagers need even more sleep.  If you are still feeling over whelmed or depressed counseling may be needed. 

Remember to schedule regular checkups for you and your family with your doctors.  Discuss your health problems and risks and devise a plan for improvement.  Find out what exams, tests, and shots you need and when to get them. 

A little prevention goes a long way to help ensure a long and healthy life. Check with your broker to see if your health benefits plan covers for those regular checkups, tests, and shots. It is important that you know your coverage before you need it. MHG your Marine Insurance Broker offers a variety of comprehensive medical insurance plans to meet the needs of each unique client. 

Whether you are looking for specialty marine crew insurance, individual health insurance plans, family health insurance plans, or group health insurance plans, the experts at MHG Insurance Brokers have the resources to help you choose the ideal policy for your unique requirements. Contact us today at 877-278-7400 to learn more.   

Healthy Living Tips From Your Marine Insurance Broker