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.

Wheelchair in a doctors office Having employer based benefits is important. Not all companies have them in today’s world, so if you are someone who’s fortunate enough to receive benefits offered by your employer, count your blessings. However, even if you receive benefits, you may not have sufficient coverage. There are several different scenarios where you can find yourself needing additional coverage.

While employer based benefits are important, it may not be the best idea to fully rely on your employer to provide all of the benefits and coverage you need. What if you were to lose your job? Or maybe your company is having to make some budget cuts, and happen to cut the amount of benefits you receive. One of those benefits is disability insurance. For those that don’t know, disability insurance is a great way for your employer to give you and your family the coverage you need in the event you develop an illness or sustain an injury and are unable to work.

Coverage Options

Different coverage options for disability insurance can range from the length of coverage, to the amount of coverage you may need. A short term plan will usually provide coverage for up to two years, while a long term plan should provide coverage from anywhere after two years until retirement age, depending on the plan.

Can’t Work Due to Injury

There are several reasons you should consider disability insurance coverage. One of the main scenarios that would call for an individual disability plan is in the event your employer doesn’t offer a plan. What if you were doing some gardening one weekend and hurt your back? If the injury keeps you from being able to do your job, your company may not be willing to pay your salary while you recover, leaving you without a wage. Having an individual disability plan would provide you with a way to receive a wage in order to pay your bills and support your family.

Employer Stops Benefits

It’s no secret that the past several years have been tough on businesses. The recession forced companies to make some tough decisions. Many people lost their jobs, and many that were fortunate to keep their jobs may have lost some of their benefits due to budget cuts. In the event that your company decides to reduce your benefits, you may be left needing coverage!

Not Enough Coverage

It’s important to know whether your employer offers a short-term or long-term disability insurance plan. If your company offers short-term disability insurance, you may want to think about purchasing a long-term disability insurance plan in case you are unable to work for two or more years. If your company offers long-term disability insurance, you may want to think about purchasing a short-term disability insurance plan to give yourself coverage until the long term coverage kicks in.

It’s also important to note that disability insurance often doesn’t fully match your existing wage. Typically, employer based disability insurance will provide you with 66% of your normal wage, while supplemental disability should cover the remaining percentage. So in order to fully cover your wage amount, you may want to obtain both.

Are you interested in purchasing disability insurance? Would you like some more information regarding options that are available to you? Would you like to ask some questions to an insurance expert? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, please contact us 954-828-1819 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com and talk to one of our insurance specialists for help in selecting disability insurance and other coverage to ensure that you and your loved ones have the protection you need at every stage of life.

What if you were doing some gardening one weekend and hurt your back, keeping you from being able to work?

Close up of senior man shaking hands with insurance brokerHave you ever heard the saying, “brokers make you broker”?

Brokers and insurance companies tend to have a bad reputation. Some people immediately have negative thoughts whether they are warranted or not. In fact, when we ask someone if they know what an insurance broker is or what they do, we receive all kinds of answers, most of them being negative. It’s time to improve on the perception of an insurance broker.

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 when finding a plan, but it will also serve you well for the entire time that you have private health insurance needs, on a yacht or wherever your travels may take you.

Common Misconceptions

Insurance brokers aren’t evil, in fact they are quite helpful. It is a common misconception that brokers work for insurance companies, however that couldn’t be further from the truth. As insurance brokers, we work for you, the people!

It is also incorrect that working through an insurance broker costs the client more money. 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 judgement of a good broker to recommend whatever policy is most appropriate to the situation as presented by you, the client.

Who Can Benefit?

Everyone who works on board a private or charter yacht that is travelling internationally should have private health insurance. Whether health insurance is provided by the vessel owner, or is purchased by each crew member individually, each person needs protection from a potential financial disaster caused by an unexpected illness or accident. The challenge is that it can be quite a task to sort through all of the options allowing you to determine what plan is best suited for your needs, or the needs of your group. This is where an insurance broker can be an invaluable source of information, and most importantly a helping hand.

So What Does a Broker Actually Do That You Cannot Do Yourselves?

First, they spend all day, every day dealing with insurance. They know the insurance 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.

Second, insurance brokers evaluate and research the marketplace on a regular basis. A reputable broker knows the dynamics of the health insurance industry, what the headlines are, what is no longer relevant and which carriers provide consistent service. Nothing is more frustrating than finding an insurance plan that fits your needs, only to realize at time of claim that the company does not deliver.

Finally, a broker advocates and works on your behalf. If and when a situation arises where a shore-side helping hand is needed you can turn to your broker for assistance leaving you to continue to concentrate on your employment at sea.

How Do You know if a Broker is Reputable?

Word of mouth is the best form of marketing for a business, as well as the best form of research for a customer. There is no better way to find something than by asking someone you trust who has experience with your issues or concerns. This is also the case when finding a good insurance broker. Generally though, you want to look for a broker with experience and longevity in the health insurance business and one who certainly should be able to provide references. It is also important that the broker is specialized and experienced in the yacht crew area as it is quite different from the typical expat insurance market.

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”.

Have you ever heard the saying, “brokers make you broker”? That couldn't be further from the truth. Read more!

Man reviewing insurance claim paperworkHave you ever found yourself in a situation where your health insurance isn’t covering what you expected it would? Sometimes mistakes are made, and just because your insurance carrier isn’t paying for something, doesn’t always mean that you will be left to foot the bill. There are steps that you can use to take action and to ensure that you receive the coverage you purchased. By filing an appeal or disputing a health insurance claim, you can hopefully change the outcome. Filing an appeal can sometimes feel like a daunting task and can seem like a hassle, but by following these tips, we hope to ease the process for you, so you know what to expect.

1. Read Your Policy

The most important thing that you can do when you are filing an appeal to a health insurance claim is read your policy. You should read your policy when you purchase it, then re-read from time to time so you are refreshed on the breakdown of your coverage. It’s also a good idea to review your policy before having any procedure. Doing so could help avoid a situation where you need to file an appeal. It’s also important to assemble all important paperwork, and keep an organized record of the details of your case (Who, what, when, where, why, how).

2. Try to Have a Main Contact at the Carrier

Having one contact can make the process easier for you. By doing this, you will not have to keep explaining your case to every person on the phone. Also, you may be able to build some rapport with your contact, which may inspire them to go above and beyond to help you.

3. Be Patient Approach in the Right Manner

Patience will be required whenever filing an appeal as the process can take some time. The insurance company will conduct extensive research to determine if your appeal is worthy. Going into the situation knowing that the process can take some time may help you with expectations. It’s also important to approach the situation in the right manner. In many situations in life, handling something in a positive, respectful manner can get you a lot further than having a negative attitude or having a chip on your shoulder.

4. Contact Doctors and Hospitals

Be prepared to contact doctors and hospitals, and do a little bit of investigating on your part. You may come to find that there was an issue with the provider and it was just a simple error.

5. Act fast

When filing an appeal, there may be a limited time that you have in order to file. Similar to a return policy when you buy at a retail store, you may only have a certain number of days to make an appeal.

Beware

If your claim appeal is with a network provider, by contract the insurer usually can only pay the network provider, not you. So if you pay the bill and are awaiting reimbursement, it can be complicated. Also, if you decide to not pay any bills and wait for the appeal process to finish, your credit may take a hit. Talk to your doctor or office that you are working with and let them know the situation. Try to keep them from sending your outstanding bills to collections.

If you have any more questions about what steps you should take when filing an appeal, please feel free to ask us or comment below! 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 common yacht crew insurance terms, read our previous blog, “Yacht Crew Insurance Terms 101.”

Filing an appeal can sometimes feel like a daunting task and can seem like a hassle, but by following these tips, we hope to ease the process for yacht crew so they know what to expect.

Packing for Your Next Contract

It's no secret that those who work on cruise ships can be away for long periods of time. Contracts can last anywhere from a few months to almost a year. Being on a ship for that amount of time can be difficult to pack for. How are you to know what items you will need a month from now?  Here are some tips you should use to make packing for your next contract simpler and more efficient, after getting proper insurance of course!


  contract 


  MHG cruise employees Infographic

Packing for Your Next Contract

london The Isle of Man Maritime Group is hosting an evening reception during London International Shipping Week 2015 at historic Trinity House. LISW is one of the highlights of the maritime calendar with more than 100 industry events taking place in London from September 7-11. It is aimed at the movers and shakers from the international shipping and superyacht community. 


As official sponsors of LISW 2015, the Isle of Man Maritime Group’s “Nautical by Nature” event on September 8 will lead guests on a journey through the Island’s rich seafaring heritage to its current position of maritime centre of excellence.  Manx actors and musicians will bring to life the legacy of the Vikings; introduce the ringleaders of the Mutiny on the Bounty; remember the courage of Captain John Quilliam who was First Lieutenant on HMS Victory and set the scene for the inspiration of Sir William Hilary, who founded the RNLI

The music and drama will be showcased in the historic surroundings of Trinity House, the remarkable 18th Century headquarters of the Corporation of Trinity House, which has maintained British lighthouses since the 16th Century. Guests will be met by Isle of Man’s own sea cadets and guided up the grand, sweeping staircase to a reception on the first floor. All the rooms will be open to guests including the Pepys Room, the library and the reading room. 

Isle of Man Maritime Group Chairman, Bruce McGregor said: “LISW is the ideal opportunity for us to promote the wealth of maritime services and experience delivered on the Isle of Man. This event will celebrate our rich seafaring tradition and how we have evolved into a modern, technically astute global centre of excellence.” 

Guests at the reception will be able to meet representatives from the Isle of Man Maritime Group including the IOM Ship Registry; IOM Shipping Association; IOM Superyacht Forum KPMG; Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Isle of Man); Döhle (IOM) Group of Companies; PDMS Maritime; Simcocks Advocates; MHG Insurance Brokers; Affinity Management Services and InterManager. To register for the event please visit the group’s website at www.iom-maritime.com or contact the group at enquiries@iom-maritime.com If you would like speak to someone from the group in more detail please contact Bruce McGregor on +44 (0) 1624 664000.

LISW 

LISW will be the ‘must attend’ event of 2015, offering over 100 industry functions and unique networking opportunities for leaders across all sectors of the international shipping industry – regulators, charterers, ship owners, ship managers, bunker suppliers, lawyers, ship brokers, bankers, insurers, insurance brokers, commodity traders and brokers, ship suppliers, port operators, shipping service providers and many more. The UK is the leading centre worldwide for the supply of a broad range of professional and business services to the international maritime community, accounting for 21per cent of premiums in international marine insurance, over $64bn in committed ship finance (or 15per cent of the world loan book) and it has the largest concentration of legal service firms specialising in the sector.  London is also the predominant supplier of shipbroking services worldwide and is the major player when it comes to maritime dispute resolution. London is also home to the second biggest port in the UK. For more information, please visit www.londoninternationalshippingweek.com

The Isle of Man is "Nautical by Nature"

Doctor holding a clipboard asking a patient questionsHave you ever heard the saying, “You can learn the easy way, or the hard way!” Many say the best way to learn is through experiencing something that will have an impact on you, whether you personally experienced it, or someone close to you did. The important part is that whatever the impact was, it will motivate you to make the right decision. It could have been something bad that made you never want to go through that again, or something good that made you want to have the same result. The following is a case study of two different scenarios of clients who are experiencing the same issue. Both scenarios are handled in different ways, resulting in different outcomes.  


Scenario A

A client who takes a proactive approach to their health went in for their regularly scheduled ENG. During the screening portion of the physical, the doctor discovered a potentially harmful bacteria. Due to this client’s proactive nature of maintaining their health, the bacteria was caught before it had done any damage and they were able to have successful treatment with antibiotics.

Scenario B

A client who doesn’t like to go to the doctor decided to skip their regularly scheduled ENG because the yacht they were on did not have it as a requirement. Several weeks later, they began experiencing stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting. They didn’t think much of the symptoms they were experiencing, attributing it to a stomach bug. A couple weeks went by and the symptoms continued to get worse. At this point, the client decided it was time to go to the hospital, where doctors discovered a developing stomach ulcer, caused by Helicobacter pylori.

The Diagnosis 

Both clients had the same issue, an infection of Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers as well as stomach cancer. Much like Herpes, it is present in many people, 85% of people to be exact, and can go an entire lifetime without causing any issues. Our client from Scenario A was able to notice the infection early enough and have it treated before any symptoms presented themselves. Our client form Scenario B had a different fate that may have been avoided if they had their regular physical exam.

The Cure 

Going to the doctor can be a hassle, especially for a yacht crew member who may rarely be onshore to do so. However, getting your check-up is important to decide your overall health, as well as to detect any issues early enough so that something can be done proactively. Get a routine physical each year, even if your yacht doesn’t require you to do so. Otherwise it may be too late by the time you find out you are having an issue, even if you don’t have any symptoms. Having good medical insurance is crucial too because if any issues do arise, you may need costly medical treatment.

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.

Yacht Crew Case Study: Regular Screenings and Physicals Can Be Life Saving

yacht sailing leaving shoreCaptain: “Is everyone ready to set sail?” If you are a member of a yacht crew, hopefully you will never have to think twice about whether or not you are ready to leave shore. Don’t find yourself in a situation where you forget something, or aren’t fully prepared to be at sea for an extended period of time. Follow our list to assist you when preparing for the next time you leave shore.


1. Passport

It is important to confirm that your passport is valid before leaving shore. Not only does it have to be valid on the dates for which you are expected to visit another country, but in some cases there are countries that require your passport to be valid long after you are expected to be there. This may be because they want you to be prepared for the unexpected. For example, if you are stranded and must stay longer than originally expected, there will be no worries about whether your passport has expired.

2. Immunizations & Local Health Hazards 

Make sure all of your immunizations and vaccines are up to date. While you may know where you are headed, it is common for yachts to make unexpected stops. So it is a good idea to be updated with the vaccines of the entire area you are going to. Also, research and prepare for any medical conditions, viruses, etc. that are prevalent in the area. For example, the Chikungunya Virus which is spread by mosquitoes is spreading throughout the Caribbean. If you will be in that area, be sure to heave plenty of mosquito repellent, and wear the necessary protective clothing.

3. Locations

There is a chance that you will be heading to a place that you have never been to before. Do your research, and try to become familiar with the location. Learn any major roads or landmarks that can help you navigate the area. Know where medical facilities are located. Also, your guests may ask you for some assistance with directions, or advice on any activities and excursions that the location has to offer.

4. Emergencies 

Familiarizing yourself with the emergency procedures of certain situations is always a good idea before leaving shore. Even more so if this is your first trip, or have recently switched vessels. Different yachts can have different procedures and rules, so prepare yourself for any unexpected issues that may arise.

5. Insurance 

Even though this is the last thing on our list, it is the most important! Having the right health insurance coverage is critical when abroad. Anything can happen no matter where you are in the world, so having the proper coverage can be the difference between financial peace of mind, and financial disaster. There are many yacht owners who have the entire crew under one plan, however if you are required to find your own insurance, don’t hesitate to give us a call! 

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, or would like some advice, please contact us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668 or visit us online at mhginsurance.com

5 Things for Yacht Crew to Complete Before Leaving Shore

British Red Ensign flag waving off the back of a yachtEver wonder why a yacht or ship had a certain flag on the back of it? Or a certain city and country under the name of the ship? No, it’s not just a flag of their favorite country, or where they are headed next. Believe it or not, those flags and countries have a significant purpose in the maritime industry. A flag state, or flag of convenience, is the state that a yacht or ship is registered or licensed under. Meaning that they have to follow the laws of that state. 


Why Do Yachts and Other Vessels Need a Flag State?

If there were no flag states, then who would regulate vessels traveling through the seas? Where would their jurisdiction begin and end? Typically, a vessel needs to be registered under a flag state for international voyages. It’s considered illegal to sail the seas without being registered, much like it is illegal to drive without a license, so think of flag states like the DMV in the United States, or the DVLA in the United Kingdom.

Why Is Choosing the Right Flag State so Important? 

Choosing the right flag state is very important. There is a reason many commercial vessels register their flags offshore. It can impact how successful you are as a business, by having to follow certain employment and tax laws and other variables that can keep money from reaching your bottom line. It can also have an impact on your liability and privacy. This is why it is typical for many vessels to register offshore with a flag state that may be more “lenient” with certain laws, in order for them to make their business as successful as possible, or for owners to save as much money as possible.

Open Registry vs. Closed Registry

There are different types of registries, open and closed. Open registries allow vessel owners to be registered under their flag of convenience, and can staff a crew of many different nationalities. A closed registry is open only to vessels of that particular nation and must employ crew from that nation.

The Most Popular Flag States 

The most popular flag state is Panama, with almost a quarter of ocean vessels registering there. Other popular flags include Liberia, Marshall Islands, Malta, Singapore, and Hong Kong. For those that are curious, the most popular flag state for yachts is the Cayman Islands, and the most popular flag state for cruise ships is the Bahamas, with many cruise lines having their ships registered there. Part of the reason yachts and cruise ships are registered in these countries is because the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas have open registries, allowing them to hire large groups of people from around the world, while not having to follow strict employment laws, like the ones that exist in the U.S. or Europe. 

Do you work onboard a yacht or cruise ship and do you have marine crew insurance? For specific medical questions or emergencies you should always contact your insurance carrier directly. If you have any general questions about precertification, your current plan, or are interested in purchasing marine crew insurance, contact us at mhginsurance.com or call us at +1 954 828 1819 or +44 (0) 1624 678668. Our insurance specialists have the knowledge and experience to assist and guide you to the best coverage for your budget.

What Is the Purpose of a Flag State?

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?