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New Year's ResolutionAs the clock starts to count down, the New Year is almost here. The countdown can also signify the end of the holiday season. With that comes many people wanting to start the New Year on the right track. Maybe set goals and standards to help assure that this New Year will be better than the previous. Many make New Year’s Resolutions, and most fail to keep them. Whether it’s to lose weight, quit smoking, save money, many people have forgotten their resolutions by the time February comes. So instead of worrying about what to put on your New Year’s Resolution list, worry about how to make that list a long-term reality.     

 

Pick One Thing 

When making a New Year’s Resolution, try not to “fluff” it up with little things that you would like to change in your life, instead, pick one thing. Pick something that is important, maybe something that needs to change that is affecting your health or relationships. It is easier to focus on one item at a time rather than having several different things or habits you are trying to change. Also, you will be able to put all your time and energy into it, which will increase your chances of being successful. If you are doing well after a couple months, then add something else to the list. With this strategy, you can have a whole new you by the end of the year! 

Plan Ahead 

After you have selected your resolution, start planning ahead. Make a schedule, and start thinking of how you are going to make this change, and different things you can do to be successful. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, start planning your workout routine and meals, etc. With a well thought schedule and strategy, it is easier to stick to it rather than waiting to see what comes up. Also, do your research! Read up on it, see what different techniques and tips there are, and see what would work best for you. 

Expect Problems 

Problems will always arise, they are just a part of life. So if something comes up that ruins your routine, try and start back fresh the next day. However, to make sure that there are as few issues as possible, think of all the problems that can come up ahead of time, and how you will deal with them.

Accept Failure

Many times, New Year’s Resolutions are created to break existing habits. They say it takes about three weeks to break a habit or create a new one. So expect to fail or have a setback. If you sneak a cigarette one day, it isn’t the end of the world, it is only part of the process. So, don’t give up! Learn from the failure, figure out what triggers caused the setback, and try to avoid them in the future. 

Reward Yourself

Resolution ListThe best incentive for hard work is reward. We go to work every day to be rewarded with a pay check. We try to get healthy and lose weight to be rewarded for looking and feeling better. However, sometimes hard work can leave you with no rewards to see. Which is why it is important to reward yourself, especially through those tough first weeks. Start with little rewards in the beginning, and as you achieve your goals, make the rewards fewer and farther between. Then at the end of the year, give yourself an anniversary reward such as a nice vacation or gift. Something that you will look forward to and will keep you motivated!

MHG Insurance Brokers would like to wish you, your family, and loved ones a very Happy and Healthy New Year. In order to ensure that the upcoming year is a healthy one, make sure you have the proper insurance coverage today by calling +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit mhginsurance.com for more information. Our insurance specialists have the experience to advise and assist you in selecting the best plan for you, your family, and your business.

5 Tips on How to Make a Successful New Year’s Resolution

MHG60Do you remember what life was like 10 years ago? How about 5? It’s hard to think of a world without Social Media and Smartphones, and even harder to remember that these things didn’t even exist a decade ago. Five years ago, having a smartphone was a luxury, not the norm. People were still using Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were fairly new or unknown to most, and Instagram and Google+ didn’t even exist yet. Today we live in a world where information is everywhere, and all we have to do is reach into our pocket to unlock it all. Social networking has impacted us in many ways. For one, it has made this gigantic world seem a bit smaller, with all the ways that people can keep in touch, share pictures, and make those close to us feel like they aren’t missing the big moments in our life, just because they are living elsewhere. From a business perspective, it is an essential medium for communicating with clients, and can also be utilized for customer service, lead generation, and relationship building. 

 

1. Relationships 

People like and communicate with others who are similar to themselves. For instance, parents connect with other parents, college students connect with other college students, doctors connect with other doctors, etc. Social media has changed things by flipping the marketing funnel upside down. Instead of trying to reach the masses in order to gain a few customers or followers, you try to connect to a few, who will then reach the masses for you. Which is why it is important to post material your followers or customers will feel connected to. By building a relationship with a customer he or she may feel like you understand their needs, and may feel inclined to share your material to their friends who are similar to themselves. Which is very important because that can expose your business to others who may have never heard of you and who may feel connected to you as well. For example, every few days Cigna will post an article with healthy lifestyle tips, or State Farm will have a safe driving contest, or best of all, MHG Insurance Brokers will post a Motivational Monday picture. These simple actions engage with customers and give them an incentive to follow you, interact with you, share with others, but most importantly that you care about and value them. 

2. Customer Service 

Social Media has also impacted the way customers are able to contact you. Rather than picking up the phone to dial their broker, they can now use social media to communicate with them in a quicker and more efficient way. Plus, social media gives customers an avenue to give you feedback or vent to you about a problem they are experiencing in your business. This makes it easier and more convenient for the customer, rather than having to call your customer service hotline and be kept on hold for an extended period of time. However, this new way of customers contacting you to give feedback and complain can give you a reason to be on your P’s and Q’s. Before social media, whenever someone had a complaint, they would call your customer service hotline and deal with the issue directly. They say that a person tells 10 people about a complaint, which could hurt your business if the information spread. Now the complaint is posted in a public forum for the world to see, which means it is critical that the issue is handled quickly and the customer is taken care of, or possibly millions can have a reason not to do business with you. 

3. Advertising and Marketing 

Social Media has billions of users, millions of whom use it on a daily basis. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have given insurers the power to advertise to individuals across the world, for FREE. So many companies spend millions of dollars a year on advertising for commercials, magazine ads, radio ads, etc. These ways of advertising also have limits to the amount of people that can see them. For example, they may not have a commercial in Europe that they do in the United States. Or if I don’t have a subscription to the magazine that you put an ad in, I won’t see it. Social Media does not have the limitations and constrictions that other forms of advertising and marketing does. However, there is a catch. In order to market to someone, they either have to be following your page, or already searching for you. Which, as stated before, is why it is important to build connections with people who will then share your content to their friends and followers. It is crazy to think how a post made in Miami, Florida can be seen in Sydney, Australia in a matter of seconds. 

Social Media has made the world a smaller place. Information is more accessible than it has ever been before. The world is in your pocket. Mobile phones are no longer just a communication device, they are a business device. Are you looking for relevant insurance information that isn’t boring? Whether you are looking for a competitive Marine Crew insurance plan, the latest updates on the Affordable Care Act, business insurance news or travel insurance tips, check us out on social media! Follow MHG Insurance on most Social Media platforms to see informative posts, fun content, and get to know us!

3 Ways Social Media Has Changed Insurance

Hurricane Season Preparation Hurricane season begins June 1st and runs through November 30th each year on the Atlantic coast. The National Weather Service (NOAA) releases its predictions for the season on May 23rd, but forecasters from Colorado State University are expecting a season with above-average storm activity, estimating that there will be 18 tropical storms, nine of which will be hurricanes, and four of those to be major hurricanes. 

 

Floridians know that in order to get through Hurricane season smoothly, it is important to be properly prepared. In addition to NOAA’s website, which offers an informative and helpful Hurricane Preparedness Guide, here are some important tips that are worth mentioning, as well as some that often are overlooked:

  • Have an evacuation plan and know the local routes. Share it with your family.
  • While stocking up on food and water supplies, remember to purchase a First Aid kit as well.
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof bag or case and move it to a place that you can access easily.
  • Learn the elevation of your property, and whether the land is prone to flooding.
  • Find out if there is a SPHA for the area you live in – Special Flood Hazard Designation.
  • Make arrangements for your pets, in case evacuation becomes necessary.
  • Make plans to secure your property in the event of an evacuation.
  • Take pictures of your home, inside and out.
  • Check over your insurance policies.

Not sure what you should be looking for when reviewing your insurance policies? First, become familiar with policy coverage amounts and deductibles so that you can be prepared in the event you have to file a claim. Also, what does the policy cover? 

Home owners’ insurance in Florida does not cover flood claims. You should purchase a Flood Insurance policy to protect your home from flooding due to heavy rains and storm surge. Storm surge is water that is pushed toward the shoreline by wind force during a storm. Combined with normal tides, water levels rise and can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and beyond by eroding beaches and roadways. Only a few inches of water in your home can cost thousands in repair costs and restoration. 

Having a comprehensive Flood Insurance policy is vital to recovering from a devastating hurricane. Even renters may purchase a policy to cover the contents of their home. There are two types of Flood Insurance policies available to you that can be purchased separately – Contents and Structure Only. 

MHG Insurance Brokers are well-informed about what policies are currently being offered and are able to provide you with the most comprehensive Flood Insurance policy backed by the U.S. Government. Visit MHG online today at mhginsurance.com or call at 954 -828-1819 and speak with a member of our team to get better prepared this Hurricane Season.

Preparing For Hurricane Season – What Homeowners Need to Know about Flood Insurance

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?

Gear Up

Join MHG Insurance Brokers and the Marine Industry Cares Foundation as they ‘gear up’ for their 4th annual Spin-A-Thon on Friday, April 20th at Esplanade Park in Downtown Fort Lauderdale!   

 

Proceeds raised benefit Kids in Distress (KID), a leading force in the prevention of child abuse and neglect and Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center which promotes health and well-being of children and youth with special healthcare needs. 

The Spin-A-Thon is a fun endurance challenge and a great team-building. Take part in the action by organizing or joining a Spin-Bike Team.  Team registration is $300 to secure your spot. Upon registration, each participating company or group will assemble their own team of enthusiastic cyclists. The individual team members then are challenged to seek additional support and donations to help our charitable beneficiaries. 

Teams must keep their bikes moving for 360 minutes and are welcome to have as many riders as they wish during the event. The fun begins on Friday, April 20th at noon with registration. The spinning event will take place, rain or shine at the Esplanade Park in Downtown Fort Lauderdale from 1-7pm. We will finish the night with a networking and thank you party from 5-9pm.  

If you can ride a stationary bicycle then you can spin with us!  Marine Industry Cares Foundation is also looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are looking for a way to give back to their community while having fun.

MHG is one of the founding companies of Marine Industry Cares Foundation and is excited to see how the Spin-A-Thon has grown over the past four years.  The Spin-A-Thon started in 2009 and raised $30,000 for Kids in Distress.  The next year they doubled their donation as the 2010 Spin-A-Thon raised $60,000 for Kids in Distress.  The 2011 Spin-A-Thon raised over $100,000 for Kids in Distress. This year we have 50 individuals registered so far and over 50 teams! Team Insurance Peddlers have raised $2,150 to date, 125% of their goal of $2,000!  

It is not too late to start your own team, join a team or sponsor a rider and help make this Spin-A-Thon, the best one yet. The Marine Industry Cares Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for local charities. They aim to provide a brighter future for children and families in need by uniting the generous efforts of the marine industry community. 

The MICF also serves as a model for shipping industries in other cities to use and implement where they live—bringing the maritime and local communities together in cities around the world. So "gear up", invite your friends, family or co-workers and join the ride to give kids in your community a brighter and healthier future! MHG Insurance Brokers is proud to be a part of this wonderful and meaningful event. MHG is the specializes in health insurance plans designed specifically to meet the needs of marine officers, crew and contractors, expatriates, and US residents.  Whether you are looking for travel insurance, group insurance plans or business insurance, MHG has solutions to fit every budget.  

Gear Up

You cannot watch the news lately without the graphic photos of the Costa Concordia cruise ship being plastered on your TV or computer screen. 

 

On January 13th, the Costa Concordia ran aground on a reef off Isola del Giglio, Italy and began listing heavily towards the starboard side. The ship was carrying 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members at the time of the accident. At the date this post was written, the search for 21 missing people resume. 

Espirito Santo Investment Bank released a report expecting the insured losses from the Carnival Corporation cruise ship disaster estimated to be between $500 million and $1 billion. That would make the disaster the largest marine loss in history. This number is up from the first estimate released which estimated losses around $513 million. 

The new estimate takes into consideration the liability losses as well as those stemming from the potential cleanup and environmental costs associated with the disaster. To understand where the Costa Concordia losses in context of past accidents, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker crash which included $500 million in pollution losses. 

With losses reaching at least $500 million, the claims will be spread across 10 or so different writers so no one insurance company should see more than 10% of the losses. The lead insurers for the ship are XL Group, Assicurazioni Generali and RSA Insurance Group plc. The risk is expected to be relatively fragmented considering most marine policies are written by syndicates of different companies and protection and indemnity clubs. 

The London-based Standard Club confirmed it is the lead protection and indemnity insure for the stricken ship. The liability side of the insurance can be a little more complicated due to the amount of individuals who file claims, if the captain is found guilty, etc. 

The removal of the wreckage is estimated to cost about $10 million. Considering the small percentage of passengers who were injured or deceased due to the accident, the human cost will be relatively low. Liability claims get tied up in litigation and take longer to be paid. A delay will also be made when determining if the ship’s captain Fancesco Schettino will face criminal charges. He is facing charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship; if found guilty, he could be held financially accountable for the disaster. 

While the losses are likely to be absorbed by the market, it is unclear if the disaster will be enough to change the current prices in the marine insurance market. Unlike a hurricane or serious storm where you see prices go up the next day, this would be a much slower process. 

The marine insurance industry is still absorbing costs of the damage caused by the flooding in Thailand and the earthquakes in Japan. Considering the industry is still feeling the strain from these past disasters, the Costa Concordia incident could put pressure to increase prices. 

MHG Insurance Brokers provide insurance plans designed specifically to meet the needs of marine officers, crew and contractors, expatriates, and US residents. MHG also offers yacht crew insuranceinternational medical insurancedisability insurance ,long term carelife insurance and business insurance. Our staff applies years of industry knowledge to find the best plan for each individual client, and is always a phone call or email away to answer any questions. For more information, contact MHG today.  

Costa Concordia Losses Could Reach $1 Billion, May Be Worst Marine Loss in History

Audits are an essential part of any safety management system. Whether they are audits of equipment, procedures, or the behavior of the individuals involved, audits ensure projects are safe and efficient. 

 

The International Marine Contactors Association (IMCA) has published an information note on audits, which encourage discussion to show how this process can present an opportunity for ‘business improvement’. “Audits should be welcomed as a collaborative opportunity for all parties in discussing a situation, and in leading to improvements in the safety and efficiency of the work, as well as improving the business position of the company,” says Hugh Williams, Chief Executive of IMCA.  “Marine contractors undertake many more internal audits than the number of external audits, although there are many of these too performed on them by clients and statutory bodies.” “Our members are involved at three different levels. Contractor members perform in-house audits themselves and contract external consultants to assist. Corresponding members perform audits on contractors, either using their own staff or external consultants – of course, contractors take a similar stance when auditing subcontractors. Then there are external consultants who are often IMCA ‘supplier members’ who supply services – consultancy – which is often to carry out an audit/inspection.” 

IMCA has published various audit-related documents that have feedback obtained over the past 30 years for the purpose of understanding the purpose of auditing, the beneficiaries, and carrying out audits. The IMCA firmly believes that standardizing the audit format, and the widespread use of a common format, improves the audit process and ultimately the safety and efficiency of the industry. 

One of the most important steps to business improvement is making sure you are informed and up to date on any new developments in regards to audits and insurance. MHG Insurance Brokers provide insurance plans designed specifically to meet the needs of marine officers, crew and contractors, expatriates, and US residents.

MHG also offers yacht crew insuranceinternational medical insurancedisability insurance ,long term carelife insurance and business insurance. Our staff applies years of industry knowledge to find the best plan for each individual client, and is always a phone call or email away to answer any questions. For more information, contact MHG today.   

Using Audits as a Means for ‘Business Improvement’