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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?

Unlike most other classes of business, security guard workers' compensation is a niche market and can be difficult to place. Even with every safeguard in place, there are times when an accident may happen. During these times, an employee may need compensation for medical bills, injuries, etc.

 

In the past, obtaining Workers Compensation Insurance for employees such as security guards, private investigators, security consultants and alarm contractors has not been easy due to the nature of the business. Today, anyone in this sector looking for Workers Compensation Insurance has a professional on their side.

MHG Insurance Brokers uses multiple "A" rated carriers to insure security guards and related personnel who work in this industry. The insurance carriers that work with MHG realize and take into account: - The dangers of the work environment, - Training the guard has received, - Work experience of the guard, - And what type of exposures he or she might encounter at their particular place of business. 

Insurance carriers quoted through MHG will also look beyond the class code, and take into account the types of security offered and the implementation of security procedures. Because private security is such specific market in terms of insurance, and finding the right type of coverage can prove challenging, it is important to stress how working with a broker can help. Experienced brokers, like the specialists at MHG, are able to research the varying types of coverage and explain the differences, and also help navigate the various coverage forms and help clients find the broadest coverage available to them. 

In addition to these services, expert brokers can help clients avoid coverage gaps. While captive agents (those working for one specific company) try to make clients fit into their Workers Compensation product, an experienced broker works for the client and combs the market until they find the best product that fits each client's specific needs. Clients will also find additional benefits when working with "A" rated carriers through MHG, such as wage freezes and dividends or incentives.

Wage freezes are crucial as more experienced guards are often paid higher wages. Carriers offer wage freezes with guards who have extensive experience, as the likelihood of loss is lower. In terms of incentives, MHG's preferred security guard insurance carriers may offer dividends and incentives to their clients meaning a portion of the insurance premium is returned to the client based on favorable loss history.

MHG is a leading insurance broker for the private security industry, including guards, alarm firms, private investigation and more. Their brokers deliver a variety of insurance solutions that include competitive rates, comprehensive forms of coverage and industry knowledge of the security and investigation sectors. To learn specific details about a Workers Compensation Insurance policy for security personnel or to get a free quote, call 954-828-1819 or visit mhginsurance.com.

Workers Comp for Security Employees

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?

Adventure Travel Insurance

Spring is here and enjoying the great outdoors is on your mind.  Are you traveling abroad for an adventure sport activity?  Detailed planning is important for a trip of this kind. 

 

After finding the perfect location, and purchasing or renting the needed equipment have you purchased the need protection?  Does your insurance cover you in a foreign country? What would happen if you got injured during this adventure?  Do you have medical insurance that covers you if you are injured as a result of this sports activity?

MHG Insurance Brokers have the insurance plans with the medical benefits that you need for traveling abroad and for participating in the extreme sports activities you love.  

Most traditional medical plans are not designed for international travel and usually exclude hazardous sports activities. MHG offers the Patriot Adventure/Extreme Insurance a plan designed for adventurous international travelers who intend to participate in the thrill of adventure sports and realize that their current medical plan does not cover certain hazardous sports and activities.  

With this plan you have access to 24 hour international, multilingual customer service centers ready to coordinate your emergency medical services and international treatment.  They understand the language and the currency of most countries. This plan has a low deductible of $250 and requires no coinsurance for treatment received outside the US and Canada while providing world class medical benefits for in-patient and out-patient medical expenses.   

Coverage is available for 30 days to 6 months and prices start at just $54. Visiting a place where medical care is minimum? The Patriot Adventure/Extreme Insurance plan includes coverage for emergency medical evacuation from a medical facility to the nearest qualified medical facility.  Once you are finished receiving the necessary medical treatment this plan also provides for the cost of returning to either the home country or the country where the evacuation occurred. Traveling with someone who is injured?  What if a loved one gets injured abroad while you are home?  With this coverage from MHG the Patriot Adventure also provides emergency reunion coverage, up to $10,000 for 15 days, for reasonable travel and lodging expenses of a relative or friend during an emergency medical evacuation of the insured person.   

This coverage is for either the cost of accompanying the insured during the evacuation or travel from the home country to be reunited with the insured.  

When a loved one is injured you have enough to worry about without thinking of the expenses to get to them. Before you or a loved one travel abroad for the thrill of a lifetime make sure you are covered for those sudden and unexpected accidents and illnesses.  MHG Insurance Brokers offers a variety of comprehensive medical insurance plans to meet the needs of each unique client. Whether you are looking for travel insurance, group insurance plans or business insurance, 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.

Adventure Travel Insurance

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.

Trip Insurance

Everyone is talking about watching the Olympics in London this summer, but imagine going! What a trip of a lifetime that would be.  Taking your daughter to see her favorite gymnasts going for the gold or your son watching a soccer match played by the best in the world! 

 

Watching the Olympics in person with your family would be a once in a lifetime experience.  Now imagine that your child gets too sick to travel just days before you are due to leave.  Of course your first concern is their health but your second thought is what about the thousands of dollars we spent on this trip? 

Unexpected emergencies happen and can keep you from taking that trip of a lifetime.  Protect your travel investments with trip cancellation insurance from MHG Insurance Brokers.   As your independent insurance specialists, MHG Insurance Brokers has the knowledge and expertise to help you select the coverage you need. 

MHG offers two premium plans from International Medical Group designed to provide essential coverage for trip cancellation, travel and baggage delays, and emergency medical treatment. With the Patriot T.R.I.P Travel Insurance you may recover non-refundable, unused payments and deposits when a trip is cancelled or interrupted for a variety of reasons here or where your trip is.  You are covered if your destination suffers from things such as financial default of a travel supplier, a terrorist incident, natural disaster or bad weather resulting in the cessation of the travel supplier’s services, medical quarantine, or hijacking.  

With our travel insurance you are also covered if you or a family member or your travel companion or their family member suffers an emergency illness, injury or death.  You are also covered for jury duty, employer termination or layoff or if your home or your travel companion’s home is made uninhabitable by fire, windstorm, vandalism or flood.  An auto accident on the way to your scheduled departure point; you are covered up to $20,000 per person. 

Benefits are also provided for travel delayed, baggage delays, and emergency medical treatment while you’re away from home. Patriot T.R.I.P. Elite Travel Insurance available through MHG offers top-notch services and benefits to travelers whose covered trip is cancelled or interrupted due to unforeseen circumstances. It includes all the benefits of the Patriot T.R.I.P. travel insurance with higher coverage.  For an interrupted trip you may receive 150% of the amount of your trip you elected to cover. For a delayed trip your amount is doubled to $1,000 per person, $200 per day after 24 hours or $500 for a missed connection.  If you are injured on your trip, you are covered up to $100,000 for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.  Reasonable travel and lodging expenses are also covered for a family member to be at your bedside.  

If minor children or grandchildren are traveling with you when you are stricken with a medical emergency their return expenses will be covered. Traveling can be an exciting adventure, but the unexpected could happen.  Make sure you have the protection you need with insurance from MHG.

MHG Insurance Brokers offers a variety of comprehensive insurance plans to meet the needs of each unique client. Whether you are looking for travel insurance, group insurance plans or business insurance, 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.

Trip Insurance

What is your favorite part of the Fourth of July? Is it the local parade, boating with family and friends, attending a backyard BBQ, watching the fireworks display or simply lounging by the pool? Whatever your plans are this Fourth of July, stay safe! 

 

A special study conducted by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 65 percent of firework related injuries in 2011 occurred in the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday. 

Here are a few safety tips to follow this holiday: 

Wear a life jacket at all times when boating. Last year, 533 of the 758 boating fatalities resulted from drowning, with 84 percent of the drowning victims were reported as not wearing a life jacket. Do not operate a boat under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is even more hazardous on the water than on land. The marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray – accelerates a drinker's impairment. 

Always prepare a float plan. Every vessel from a kayak, to a canoe, sport boat, fishing boat, and even a jet ski should file a float plan.  Without a float plan you are counting on someone else, a friend, neighbor, or family member to remember detailed information that rescue personnel need in order to find you.  Include the boat identification, passenger and crew list, itinerary, and emergency contact information. Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.  

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks and always have an adult supervise fireworks activities, especially if sparklers are being used. Sparklers can be dangerous and burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals! Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Light fireworks one at a time and then back up to a safe distance immediately. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.  Never point or throw fireworks at another person and never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.  After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire. 

And lastly, don’t forget about your furry four-legged friends! Never use fireworks around pets. While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals. Also remember to keep pets safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

MHG Insurance Brokers urge you to be safe this holiday. Even though you take precautions, accidents do happen and having quality health insurance is important every day of the year. Whether you are looking for health insurance, disability income, life insurance, travel insurance, specialty marine crew medical or business insurance, we can help. Contact the experts at MHG to help you choose the ideal policy for your unique requirements. Call us today at 877-278-7400!

MHG Urges You to Be Safe - Be Prepared With Health Insurance

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