Young couple meeting with a insurance brokerMany people in the insurance industry work hard to avoid the bad reputation that insurance typically carries. However, people often jump to negative conclusions about anything involving insurance. Time and time again, we come across people who have the wrong idea of what an insurance broker is and why they are actually advantageous to the consumer. We have heard they are a waste of time, waste of money, and only care about making their commission. Being a dedicated group of insurance brokers, we can tell you that those descriptions are often false! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when we hear information that is incorrect, it encourages us to step in. Do you know what an insurance broker does?

If you know the answer to, then you are already aware of all the benefits of using an insurance broker. If not, learn why you should be using one. Take the time to find a quality, reputable broker to work with you in fulfilling your insurance needs. Not only will it be time well spent in the beginning, but it will also serve you well for the entire time that you have insurance needs, whether you are working on a yacht or wherever your travels may take you.

Brokers Can Offer More of a Selection

One benefit of an insurance broker is the selection of policies and plans. Typically, brokers can help you select insurance from a variety of different companies. Different insurance companies offer different plans, so having access to plans from multiple companies can afford you the opportunity to find the coverage that fits you best.

Also, depending on the insurance brokerage they may sell different types of insurance, allowing you to have a one stop solution for all your insurance needs.

Brokers Do Much More Than Sell Insurance

While brokers may act as the middle man between you and the insurance company, they can be so much more than that. An insurance broker will conduct research for you, file and assist you with the claims process, and work to get you the best coverage option for your situation. Often times a broker has direct connections with decision makers at the insurance companies so you may not have to sit on a 1-800 line for a long time, only to learn someone doesn’t have the authority to help you. Brokers also know which carriers provide consistent service, allowing you to avoid companies that may not deliver the level of care that you deserve at time of claim.

We Work for You

As brokers, we do not work for any insurance company, we work for you! Our goals are to please you, and make sure all you questions and concerns are handled. If you think about it, with all the benefits of using an insurance broker, it is certainly better than just going out and buying a policy from an insurance agent. Will an agent fight for you and your best interests?

Having proper insurance is important in every aspect of life. Whether you are at sea needing international coverage, looking for proper life insurance coverage, going on a vacation, etc. MHG is your specialized broker. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to find the policy that works best for you. If you are interested in purchasing, or have any questions about marine crew insurance, travel insurance, U.S. life and health, expatriate insurance, or property and casualty, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. For more information on debunking insurance broker myths, read our previous blog, “Debunking 5 Myths About Insurance Brokers”.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when we hear information that is incorrect, it encourages us to step in. Do you know what an insurance broker does?

brown paper ripped showing the text uncover the factsIt seems as if every day we hear myths regarding insurance brokers. We often find ourselves debunking false statements and explaining to clients that they received inaccurate information. Sometimes, people or products get a bad reputation that is unwarranted, for whatever reason. So here are five common myths that may have given the term insurance brokers a bad name.

1. “Insurance brokers are more expensive”

Have you ever heard the saying, “brokers make you broker”? That saying could not be further from the truth. In contrast, working with a broker can actually save clients both time and money, in addition to frustration. Insurance brokers receive their compensation from insurers, but that does not (or should not) cloud the judgment of a good broker to recommend whatever policy is most appropriate to the situation as presented by you, the client.

2. “Insurance brokers work for the insurance company”

There are a lot of people who think that insurance brokers work for the insurance company, however again that is not correct. A broker advocates and works on your behalf. Basically, they work for you! Yes, they work with the insurance company in order to deliver proper coverage to people, however their concern should always be their clients.

3. “Insurance brokers are just a middle man”

While brokers may act as the middle man between you and the insurance company, they are so much more than just a middle man. In many cases, an insurance broker will conduct research for you, file and assist you with claims through the entire process, and work to get you the best coverage option for your situation. Often times a broker has direct connections with decision makers at insurance companies so you don’t have to sit on a 1-800 line for 20 minutes to talk to someone that doesn’t have the authority to help you.

4. “Insurance brokers can’t offer the best plans”

Insurance brokers can offer the same plans that an insurance company does, for the same premium as going straight to the insurance company. In fact, going through an insurance broker shouldy give you more value for your dollar simply because of all the added benefits that an insurance broker will perform for you.

5. “Insurance brokers aren’t as knowledgeable”

Insurance brokers are very knowledgeable. They spend all day, every day dealing with insurance. They know the industry, they live and breathe insurance, and they understand all the confusing terminology and phrases, which hopefully they can explain to you in a straightforward, no nonsense way. They also know the insurers, and the people who work there, which is a significant advantage over you calling a toll-free number and hoping for the best.

Having proper insurance is important whether you are at sea, or docked at a shipyard. MHG is your specialized broker when it comes to crew insurance. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to find the policy that works best for you. If you are interested in purchasing, or have any questions about yacht crew insurance or travel insurance, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. For more information on preparing to work on a yacht, read our previous blog, “Yacht Crew Insurance Terms 101”.

Sometimes, people or products get a bad reputation that is unwarranted, for whatever reason. Insurance brokers are one of them, read more.

close-up of mosquito on skinDo you have a trip planned this summer? Are you traveling to the tropics to kick your feet up on a beach somewhere with an umbrella in your drink?

Nothing beats a relaxing summer vacation to recharge you for the second half of the year. Depending on where you are going, there are some things that you need to be aware regarding the Zika Virus. The Zika Virus is a mosquito borne illness that is making headlines in the news all over the world. Since mosquitoes are most prevalent in warm tropical areas, you should be prepared and take any necessary precautions if you are traveling to or live in ones of the areas. It should also be noted, this virus is a mosquito borne illness but just because mosquitoes are in warmer areas, doesn’t mean those who live far away from the tropics can’t be at risk too.

The CDC has issued an alert for those who are traveling to areas where the Zika virus is spreading.

Prevention

Pack proper repellant! There are several different steps you can take to protect yourself from being bitten by a mosquito. Some steps include using insect repellant sprays, wearing long sleeves and pants, using bug screens on windows and doors, sleeping under a mosquito bed net, etc. There are even children’s clothes with bug repellant in them.

For those already infected, the virus can be found in the blood and can be passed onto mosquitos who aren’t carrying the virus.

The Zika Virus can also be spread during intercourse by an infected male to his partner(s). Practice safe sex, as it is not known how long the virus can stay in the semen of men who have had the virus, although it is known that it can stay longer than in blood.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of the Zika Virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Symptoms tend to remain mild, lasting several days to a couple of weeks, which is a reason many may not realize they are infected with the virus. This is a problem because becoming infected with the disease while pregnant can lead to serious birth defects including microcephaly.

Treatment

There is no vaccine or specific treatment. Focus on treating the symptoms such as getting rest, prevent dehydration, and taking acetaminophen for fever and pain. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should not be taken due to risk of bleeding.

Don’t Leave Without Coverage

Getting sick or needing medical treatment while you are abroad is a situation which no one wants to find themselves. However, having travel insurance can alleviate any stress about costs, what steps to take, and what doctors you can trust. Our insurance specialists can assist you in finding the proper coverage you and your family may need for your trip.

We wish you safe travels along your journey. If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance, or have any questions or concerns, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance brokers have the experience to assist you in selecting the right plan for you, with the best value.

The CDC has issued an alert for those who are traveling to areas where the Zika virus is spreading. Read more.

Many people consider the "Holiday Season" their favorite time of the year. With so much going on from decorating the house, to baking treats, and getting all of your holiday shopping done in time, this time of the year can also bring some stress. Especially if you have a trip scheduled!

Packing for a trip can be difficult, no matter how many times you double check to make sure you have everything, it can feel like you are still forgetting something. Going on a trip this time of year also leaves you less time to complete all of your other holiday tasks. Don’t become overwhelmed and not properly prepare for your trip, follow these tips to help get you ready to go.

1. Do Your Research

No matter where you are going for your holiday trip, it is important to do your research. Even if you have been there multiple times, it's important to see what the weather forecast and temperatures are expected to be. This will let you pack the proper clothing needed to stay warm, or cool.

Also, it's a good idea to make a list of all the items that you need to pack. Cross off each item as you put it into the bag in order to keep track of everything and minimize your chances of forgetting something.

2. Bring Cash

I'm sure you have heard this saying time and time again, "Cash is king!" Carrying large amounts of cash may not always be the best idea, but going a trip is an exception. If your credit card happens to get compromised while you are away, it will be shut down leaving you with no other way to pay for things. Also, there is a chance that some places you are going don't accept credit cards. Don't take a chance and find yourself stranded in a foreign place.

3. Carry-On Luggage

If traveling on an airplane, there are certain items that should be put in your carry-on bag. Any breakables you are taking should be kept with you at all times. Also, your toiletries should be put in your carry-on luggage in case you need to freshen up at the airport. Most importantly, any prescriptions you have or medications you are taking should be kept in your carry-on. In the event that your luggage is lost, you will still have the medicine you need.

4. Save Space

Whenever you are packing for a trip, saving space is a must. There are several different tips to help you get the most out of your luggage. Try rolling your t-shirts instead of folding them. Also, you can stick rolled up clothing inside your shoes. If you have any large jackets, it may be a good idea to wear them or carry them so they don't take up space in your suitcase.

5. Gifts and Souvenirs

If you are going on a holiday trip to see family or friends, there is a good chance that you will be traveling with gifts. Depending on the gift, it may be better to ship the gift to your destination separately. Or you can plan ahead by only getting small presents that you know will be able to fit in your luggage. Be sure to leave space in your bag for any souvenirs that you may buy, or gifts that you may receive.

Before setting off on your next adventure, call MHG Insurance Brokers at +1 954-828-1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com to obtain trip cancellation and travel insurance, along with other insurance plans that will make your trip an exciting, hassle-free experience! MHG Insurance Brokers hopes that you arrive and return safe and sound. For more holiday travel tips, read our previous blog, "Save Time and Money with These Holiday Travel Tips". Happy Holidays!

Packing for a trip can be difficult, especially during the holiday season. Follow these tips to help get you ready to go.

travel insuranceReady, SET, go! Did you know that your health insurance may not cover you while you’re traveling abroad? Although we hate to think about becoming sick or injured, sometimes it is unavoidable, no matter how much you precaution you take. Whether it’s a car accident, food poisoning, or a stroke, the lack of international health insurance coverage could expose you to serious financial liability. 


The Basics

Take the worry out of international travel with the SET plan! SET is an annual travel insurance plan available exclusively to U.S. Superyacht Association (USSA) members which offers affordable international health insurance coverage to employer groups. This plan is perfect for any companies whose employees take frequent trips outside their home country and are looking for an easy way to provide health insurance protection while traveling. One of the great benefits of the plan is that it saves you time whenever you are required to travel by not having to purchase travel insurance before each trip. All you have to do is estimate the number of days that you will be abroad for the year, and make one purchase! Another great benefits is that it gives you a peace of mind knowing that your employees will be fully covered when they are traveling internationally. This is important because many do not realize that their domestic health insurance plan does not follow them when they leave the country, which means many people are traveling uncovered!

How it Works

One of the great things about this plan is how simple it is to get signed up. Here’s how the plan works. First, fill out the Request for Proposal with some basic information. Then, select your coverage level. There are two coverage options to choose from, Essential and Elite.

Essential benefits:

  • Service and support provided by MHG Insurance Brokers
  • Purchase trips days in advance and subtract as you go
  • $500,000 plan limit
  • Global medical protection
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Hospital stays
  • $0 deductible
  • No coinsurance outside of the US
  • Acute onset of a preexisting condition for US citizens
  • Simple enrollment and administration
Elite benefits: ALL of the benefits of the Essential plan plus:

  • Upgrade to $1,000,000 plan limit
  • $100,000 Accidental death and dismemberment
  • Adventure sports coverage
Next, enter some basic details and then you purchase a block of days. Unused days will be rolled over to the following year. Coverage can be as little as $1.50 a day! Last, pack your bags, bring your passport, and go on your trip worry free! I know you must be thinking that there is more paperwork, or that you must wait a certain amount of time, but once you are finished you are good to go!

This is All Made Possible by…

A lot of people have worked really hard to bring this great travel insurance solution to you. The U.S. Superyacht Association partnered with Point Comfort Underwriters and MHG Insurance Brokers to develop this customized product that is only available exclusively for USSA members. USSA values its members, and wanted to make sure that people and organizations are offered the benefits that they deserve. Don’t fly naked, make sure you are covered by the SET plan! Go to http://www.ussuperyacht.com/ for a quote now! Safe travels!

Are You Flying Naked? Cover Up with the USSA SET Plan

Long flights tend to get a bad rep. Use these 10 tips to help you survive your next international flight, but don't leave without getting travel insurance! Contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com to find the best plan for you, your family, or group.


  international flight 


  MHG Travel Infographic

Tips to Survive Your Next International Flight

passport laying on top of a world mapAre you tired of having to turn down vacation invitations from friends and family because you don’t have a passport? It’s time to get a valid passport so that you can live your life to the fullest. The world is a big place, and not being able to leave your home country because you don’t have proper documentation should no longer be keeping you from seeing and visiting every location you have dreamed of. Having a passport is becoming a necessity more and more. For one, you used to be able to go on a cruise without a passport as long as you had valid identification, but that is no longer enough in today’s world. So follow these steps to help get you on your way to getting a valid United States passport, and get you one step closer to seeing the world!


1. Gather the proper documentation 

In order to apply for a U.S. passport, you will need to have the proper documentation: proof of citizenship and proof of identity. There are many forms you can use to prove both of these. To prove citizenship, you can use expired passports, a birth certificate for those born in the United States, or a Certificate of Citizenship for those born outside the U.S. To prove your identity, you can use expired passports, driver’s license, military ID, or other identification items that include your photo and signature.

2. Take a passport photo

A passport photo is different than a normal photograph. To make things easy, many drug stores or places that process photos can take them for you for a small fee. And I know what you are thinking, no “selfies” allowed.

3. Fill out appropriate forms

There are forms that you will have to fill out, and for most people that form is a DS-11 form. You can find this form online, print it out, and fill it in. Or you can fill it out in person when you go to the local passport authority.

4. Submit documentation and forms in person

For those that are applying for their first passport, you will have to apply in-person. You can apply at your local passport authority including most city halls, public libraries, and post offices. For those that are renewing their passport, in most cases it can be done through mail.

5. Pay the fee

A first time passport for a U.S. adult is $135. It is less money if you are renewing a passport, $110. A first time passport for a minor (under age 16) is $115.

Tips

It is important to note that you should apply for a passport well in advance of your travel arrangements. The process can take a couple of months, so plan accordingly. Also, it is a good idea to keep track of your application status online by visiting the official website. The reason being is that you only have 90 days from the application date in order to report that your passport has not arrived. Otherwise you will need to go through the entire application process again.

We wish you safe travels along your journey. If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance, or have any questions or concerns, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com. Our insurance brokers have the experience to assist you in selecting the right plan for you and/or your family for the best value. 

How to Apply for a U.S. Passport?

United StatesLand of the free, home of the vacation? Visiting the United States is a great way to spend a vacation. The country has so much to offer, from amusement parks like Disney World, to big cities like New York City and Los Angeles, breathtaking natural sites such as the Grand Canyon, even tropical beaches in South Florida! There is something to do, no matter what type of vacation you are looking to go on. That may be the reason why the U.S. is the second most visited country in the world behind only France. With so many people traveling to the U.S, people are bound to have accidents, get sick, etc. So if a trip to the United States is in your future, here are 5 reasons to make sure you have sufficient health insurance coverage during your travels. 


The High Cost of Medical Care

There are places around the world that have government sponsored, affordable or free healthcare. While the U.S. has recently attained a government sponsored healthcare system, many would argue that it is anything but affordable for those who don’t have coverage. So whatever health care plan you have in your home country, likely will not work in the U.S. But better to be safe than sorry, and up with a medical bill that’s a few thousand dollars. For example, accidents happen, and you unfortunately fell and broke your leg while walking down the stairs of your hotel. The total cost of treatment could be as high as $2,500 without health insurance coverage. And if surgery is required, you’re looking at a total cost that could be over $15,000.

Accidental Death and Dismemberment 

Accidental Death and Dismemberment is essentially a fancy way of saying life insurance. You go through the similar process in selecting a beneficiary to receive a benefit in the event of your death or dismembering injury. No matter where you are traveling, it is a good idea to protect yourself and your loved ones in the event something happens to you.

Medical Evacuation/Repatriation 

Even though the United States has some of the best medical facilities in the world, it is possible that you may need to be medically evacuated to your home country in the event of a serious injury. Being medically evacuated from the U.S. can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I think that is a good enough reason to make sure you’re covered. Also, in the event you pass away on your trip, repatriation should cover or assist in the returning of your remains to your home country. Otherwise, your family could be left to foot the bill of transporting your remains back home, which could be quite expensive.

24/7 Assistance 

While visiting a foreign country can be one of life’s greatest adventures, it can also be a scary and stressful one. Especially when visiting a country as large as the United States of America. That being said, many travel insurance companies offer a 24/7 hotline that you can call in the event something has happened to you, you’re lost, or help with any travel details. This can be even more helpful if the language spoken in the country you are visiting isn’t the same as your native tongue. 

There are fewer experiences that can be as fulfilling as traveling and experiencing different parts of the world. We hope that your trip is perfect, and that you never have to actually use your travel insurance. If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance, please contact our specialists at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com to help identify the right travel insurance plan for your particular situation. Have a wonderful vacation!

Going on Holiday to the U.S? The Reasons You Need Travel Insurance

travel insurance claimPicture it. Sun, beach, a fruity drink in hand and a cool breeze blowing your hair. You and your partner are having the best summer vacation ever, just relaxing on an exotic island in the Caribbean, a million miles away from the daily grind and stresses of life. And BOOM! Just like that you fall and twist your ankle and have to seek medical attention. Good thing you bought travel insurance! But now what? 


Be Prepared 

The best way to handle a claim, is to know your insurance policy inside and out. Knowing all of the intricacies of your policy will let you know how much time you have to contact your carrier, phone numbers to call, the coverage you have, etc. Read your policy before you go on your trip, preferably at the point of purchase.

Contact the Insurance Company ASAP 

Don’t make any assumptions when it comes to your medical coverage or the claims process. If you have an accident or become ill while you are away, contact the insurance company as soon as possible, preferably immediately. The insurance company can offer valuable travel and medical assistance services that are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They can also help you find Western-style medical facilities, medical and dental practices and pharmacies in addition to an array of other helpful services which can be a real stress reliever especially if you are in a country that you are not familiar with and where the primary language is different to your own.

Save All Documents 

When it comes time to filling out your claim form, you will be asked to provide backup documentation to substantiate the claim. Don’t worry if the documents are in a foreign language. Most international insurance companies can process claims in many different languages. Be sure to save all doctor reports, itemized bills, invoices and receipts so that when it comes time to claim, you will have all of your ducks in a row. Having the proper documents can be the difference of your claim being paid, or being denied. Keep in mind that all claims regarding illness or injury must be supported by a doctor.

Denied Claim 

You filled out and submitted your claim form with supporting documentation in a timely fashion and you just got the bad news that your claim has been denied. Understandably you are probably upset but instead of venting about it, file an appeal. You will be asked to write a letter as to why you think your claim should be covered and potentially may have to provide additional documentation to support your claim. The appeal process can take up to 90 days so remain patient. A good insurance broker will be able to assist you with this.

Not sure which plan is right for you? Speak with the insurance specialists at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0)1624 678668 or visit us at mhginsurance.com to help identify the right travel insurance plan for your particular situation. Have a wonderful vacation!

How to File a Travel Insurance Claim

adviceAs insurance brokers we are here to help! Part of that assistance is our expert advice that we provide. So we thought it would be a great idea to ask our employees, “What is one piece of advice you would give your clients?” 


Mark Bononi- Director, Luxury Yacht Division 

Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Typically, health insurance that has a lower cost will not have the same amount of coverage as one that costs more. If you are looking for health insurance that fits you best but you have a budget, seek advice from someone who knows what they’re talking about, and is experienced on the matter.

Edward “Mole” Telfer- Director, Cruise Division 

Providing a solid employee benefits package can be the key to attracting and retaining the industry’s best employees. Use a “Rolling Benefits Strategy” to build up your benefits over time.

Janine Jeffries- Director, Business Insurance Division

Give your agent a complete picture of the business and description of operations. Each business has unique attributes. The more your broker knows, or has a better understanding, the better we can do our job. Also, be sure to ask questions. You would be surprised how many needs are uncovered during a Q&A session with your broker.

Stephen Beck- Manager, Life & Health Division

I would advise our clients to not WORRY about “What if?” but to ASK about the cost of insuring themselves against each “What if?” that concerns them. Just ask, “How can I protect myself in the event of a ________________?” We have the answer.

Joanna Drysdale- Manager, Underwriting Services 

In our field, insurance isn’t just about protecting yourself against financial loss or covering your contractual obligations. It’s also about showing your employees that they’re valuable to you. Hanging on to a great bunch of crew season after season is worth so much more than the savings you make by skimping on crew benefits.

JW Haagensen- Account Executive, Inside Sales 

Disclose all current and past medical conditions when applying for insurance. Insurance enrollment forms are a contract and if you fail to reveal a portion of your medical history or provide incomplete information, the insurance company could cancel your policy. No matter how minor it may seem, it’s important to advise your entire medical history and keep a file.

Steve Jackson- Consultant, Yacht Division

Find an insurance broker who really knows their field. Having an understanding of the real life of a captain and his crew as well as the technical knowledge of the insurance industry is invaluable.

Clayton Swart- Manager, Business Development 

Whether you’re purchasing group insurance for your employees, insurance for your business or an individual plan for you and your family, it’s important to understand your policy. I know that insurance documents can be boring, but it’s really important that you read through them to make sure you understand the benefits and limitations of the plan. If you find anything confusing, it’s better to address those points before you need to use the plan.

MHG is here to help and provide assistance with all of your insurance needs. Whether you are looking for marine crew insurance, health insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, expatriate insurance or insurance for your business, we have the experience and knowledge to help you find the right policy. Please contact us at +1 954-828-1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com. Let our insurance specialists find you, your family, or group, the best insurance available for your budget.

If You Could Give One Piece of Advice to Your Clients, What Would It Be?