Even if You Aren’t Required to Have Flood Insurance, Should You Get It?

Floods are the most destructive natural disaster impacting the U.S. Ninety percent of all such disaster include floods and every state including Alaska and Hawaii have witnessed flash floods. Your representative from the Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC can help you learn more about flood insurance in Johnstown, PA. In the meantime, read up on the basics below.

How Widespread is the Danger?

Floods are at the top of the list for destructive weather-related damages in the U.S. and account for 90 percent of natural disasters. Homeowner’s insurance won’t cover flooding and a special flood insurance is federally guaranteed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The legislation was recently introduced to create a private flood insurance market to address current issues and unintended consequences of the federally backed insurance. For one thing, it makes it extremely difficult for insurance companies to voluntarily offer flood protection. The market for private flood insurance isn’t that big, but more sophisticated risk mapping has made some insurers comfortable enough to want to offer their own policies. Now, the private market can accurately predict risk, so it’s easier to reflect a price that makes it worthwhile to the company.

The federal insurance guarantee confirms Congress’s intent that mortgage lenders should accept private flood insurance in lieu of NFIP, and this will make it easier for private insurers to offer competitive, perhaps lower rates.

Contact the Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC to find out more about obtaining federally backed or privately insured flood coverage in Johnstown, PA. Make an appointment to get a quote for flood insurance or to talk to us about all your insurance needs.

 

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History of Columbus Day

Columbus Day

Early in the morning of October 12, 1492, a sailor on board the Pinta sighted land, beginning a new era of European exploration and expansion. The next day, the ninety crew members of Columbus’ three-ship fleet ventured onto the Bahamian island that he named San Salvador (now Watling Island, and then called Guanahaní by the natives), ending a voyage begun nearly ten weeks earlier in Palos, Spain.

Promontory of Florida. Photoreproduction from Theodor de Bry and Charles de la Roncière, La Floride Française: Scènes de la vie Indiennes, peintes en 1564 [facsimile of the 1564 original (Paris, 1928)]. 1492: An Ongoing Voyage. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

As a reward for his valuable discovery, the Spanish crown granted Columbus the right to bear arms. His new coat of armsadded the royal charges of Castile and Leon and an image of islands to his traditional family crest. Columbus further modified the design to include a continent beside the pictured islands.

Before his final voyage, the Spanish monarchs prepared a Book of Privileges, a collection of agreements showing how Columbus was remunerated for his explorations. In 1502, four copies of the book were known to exist. The Library of Congress’s copy of this work is one of the Top Treasures included in the online exhibition American Treasures of the Library of Congress.

The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the United States took place on October 12, 1792. Organized by the Society of St. Tammany, also known as the Columbian Order, it commemorated the 300th anniversary of Columbus’ landing.

[Christopher Columbus]. Photograph of a painting, c1908. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

The 400th anniversary of the event inspired the first official Columbus Day holiday in the United States. President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in 1892, “recommending to the people the observance in all their localities of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America…” and describing Columbus as “the pioneer of progress and enlightenment.” Since then, school programs, plays, and community festivities have been organized across the country in celebration of Columbus Day. Columbus and the Discovery of America, Imre Kiralfy’s “grand dramatic, operatic, and ballet spectacle,” is among the more elaborate tributes created for this commemoration. The World’s Columbian Exposition or Chicago’s World’s Fair, which opened in the summer of 1893, was designed to commemorate Columbus’ discovery of the New World 400 years earlier.

K.[nights] of Columbus. McGranahan & McIntyre, c1914. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

In the decades that followed, the Knights of Columbus, an international Roman Catholic fraternal benefit society, lobbied state legislatures to declare October 12 a legal holiday. Colorado was the first state to do so on April 1, 1907. New York declared Columbus Day a holiday in 1909 and on October 12, 1909, New York Governor Charles Evans Hughes led a parade that included the crews of two Italian ships, several Italian-American societies, and legions of the Knights of Columbus. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designated Columbus Day (then celebrated October 12) a national holiday in 1934.

Since 1971, when Columbus Day was designated the second Monday in October, it has been celebrated as a federal holiday. In many locations across the country Americans hold parades to commemorate the day.

Hammock. In Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, La Historia general y natural de las Indias. (Seville, 1535). 1492: An Ongoing Voyage. Rare Book & Special Collections Division

Oviedo came to America in 1514 and for over thirty years compiled detailed ethnographic descriptions of the goods, products, peoples, and customs of the Caribbean and Central America. The hammock was first introduced to Europeans during Columbus’ first voyage of 1492.

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Healthcare Coverage Requirements are Still in Place for 2018

Starting in the 2015 tax year, individual tax filers in Johnstown, PA and the rest of the country who reported they did not have their own health insurance or coverage from an employer would realize a tax penalty. Known as the coverage requirement in the Healthcare Reform Act, this federal law was changed as part of recent tax reform passed under the current President Trump administration. However, due to the way the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law was written, the healthcare insurance requirement actually stays in place for the 2018 tax year, regardless of the fact that the law passed at the end of the 2017 calendar year. That creates a bit of a surprise for some folks who assumed with all the changes that were passed they didn’t need to hold onto health insurance policies.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doesn’t kick in any removal of the coverage requirement until 2019. It also means that folks will still realize a penalty for the 2018 tax year if they are not covered. This is where the folks at Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC can help. Usually, trying to get a policy after dropping an existing healthcare coverage can be a real headache. Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC can help cut through the mess and put your coverage back in place. Doing so will then trigger the necessary paperwork a Johnstown, PA party needs to avoid the healthcare coverage penalty on their 2018 tax filings come April 2019. Don’t let your tax refund get gutted by surprise next year around tax time. Work with the pros, get your coverage in place, and avoid the nasty tax surprises that many will still find and be unprepared for due to just planning their taxes based on the 5 o’clock news.

 

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History of Labor Day

Labor Day: What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed in 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During 1887 four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1884, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founder of Labor Day

More than a century after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

A Nationwide Holiday

Women's Auxiliary Typographical UnionThe form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history

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Life Insurance Benefits & Related Taxability

If there is one thing that the Internal Revenue Service is clear about, it’s that any financial gain considered income is taxable. And depending on the circumstances for someone in Johnstown, PA or elsewhere, some types of insurance coverage payouts fall into that category. The issue has to do with what is considered a replacement of what was already owned versus what is a gain. In the case of life insurance, the coverage is a gray area because what’s being replaced is the potential income earning capability or financial stability of a person who has passed away, not necessarily a gain per se.

According to the IRS, life insurance benefits for a death are not taxable. However, where money was saved in some plans, the interest gained over time by the policy is considered taxable income to the beneficiary. This can easily happen in life insurance plans with a savings account component in addition to the basic insurance coverage. Topic 403 Publication from the IRS covers the matter in more detail, but it won’t be exactly clear on which plan type will play out a certain way for a given consumer in Pennsylvania.

That’s where help from Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC becomes essential. The experts here can go through the mechanics of each insurance plan type, point out what would actually earn interest versus be a straight benefit, and then apply the probable results to a consumer’s specific situation. So if you want to make sure that you have a financial safety net for loved ones, but you also want to make sure you avoid leaving any tax surprises for them, a good discussion with the folks at Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC in Johnstown, PA may be worth your time.

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Protect yourself from Carbon Monoxide—at Home and Work

‎Monday, ‎February ‎05, ‎2018, ‏‎5:00:31 AM | safecoGo to full article

Ventilation pipes

Every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hundreds of people in the U.S. die from carbon-monoxide (CO) poisoning—and the invisible, odorless gas sickens thousands more.

The numbers seem even more tragic when you consider that most of these deaths and illnesses are preventable. Here are tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help protect yourself and your loved ones at home and work.

At home

  1. Make sure you have CO alarms—and that they work. You should have a CO alarm on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Test them and replace batteries regularly, too. The alarms themselves should be replaced every five years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Get your chimney and furnace checked. A chimney or furnace that isn’t functioning properly can lead to CO buildup inside your home. Have a professional examination and/or service before you begin using them.
  3. Be careful with generators and grills. Neither should ever be used inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage—even semi-enclosed spaces like porches can be risky, too. Keep generators at least 20 feet away from the house when in operation.

At work
In general, the same precautions for homes apply here, but there are a few additional considerations for the workplace, particularly one where gas-powered machinery is used:

  1. Be mindful of ventilation. Every year, workers are poisoned by CO while using fuel-burning equipment in areas that don’t have adequate ventilation.
  2. Try using different tools indoors. Consider electric tools or ones powered by compressed air, and if possible, avoid using forklifts, pressure washers and other gas-powered equipment. Ensure machinery and tools are maintained properly, too.
  3. Report unsafe conditions or issues. If you see something that might cause CO buildup, or you suspect CO poisoning in you or a co-worker, get people out of the area and report the problem to your employer immediately.

Whether you’re at home or work, always be on the lookout for symptoms of CO exposure: They include dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and nausea. If you suspect an issue, leave the area as soon as possible and call 911—because when it comes to CO, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Flickr user Yutaka Seki used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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When Should I Update My Auto Insurance?

Your auto insurance policy protects your car from covered risks including liability claims and collision. A professional insurance agent can help you get reliable policies depending on the type of car you drive and the risks involved. If you live in Johnstown, PA, contact Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC to find the most appropriate auto insurance policy.

Updating Your Auto Insurance

When You Make Big Life Changes

Your life changes may cause overlaps or gaps in your auto insurance. If, for example, you get a new job, you will most likely change your commute. Your new commute could include higher or lower risks which your insurer must consider. If you are moving to another place, your new area of residence may introduce new risks or remove old ones. Either way, you will need to update your auto insurance.

When You Buy A New Car

Your new car can have a big impact on your premium rates. If you purchase a car with security and safety features or good crash test ratings, you will get discounts on your new auto insurance. Be sure to inform your insurer ahead of time. If you do not want to pay high premium rates, contact your insurance agent before buying a car and get their suggestions.

When The Value of Your Car Depreciates

If you got your existing car insurance when your car was brand new, then you are paying premium rates for the value of your car at that time. That value depreciates with time. Update your auto insurance coverage to get premium rates of the current value of your car. That way, you can save some money.

Contact Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC in Johnstown, PA to discuss an auto insurance policy for your car.

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The basics of commercial insurance.

Other than selling products or dispensing services, various responsibilities of running a business are required of the average entrepreneur. From bookkeeping, licensing to inventory management, these are all responsibilities that fall squarely on a business owner. A factor that pulls one in a variety of directions. However, things get much easier to handle when you have a commercial insurance policy that guarantees you a significant safety net when facing substantial complexities.

Before obtaining a policy, get to know the basics of commercial insurance protection. They include:

Commercial Insurance Policy Options

Regardless of industry, or the type of business, the right commercial insurance policies for your business is those which are tailored to the businesses they protect. In most instances, the best policies are founded on the foundations of general liability insurance protection. From there, a variety of coverages may be added depending on risks. These options as explained by Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC in Johnstown, PA include:

  • Commercial Auto Insurance – This policy covers a business, its employees, as well as the fleet of vehicles involved in an incident. Though this policy is not tied into law, it provides financial coverage against any actions against the organization involving company vehicles thus offering the best coverage for asset planning.
  • Commercial Property Insurance – This policy covers business assets in the form of inventory, equipment, buildings, as well as furnishing from potential risks that may include humanmade disasters such as theft or fire as well as natural disasters such as high winds and other weather events.
  • Interrupted/Lost Income Insurance – This policy covers businesses from unexpected events that may suspend operations by allowing business owners to meet finical obligations such as rent or payroll.
  • Directors and Officers Insurance – This coverage works best for large corporations as it protects individuals charged with decision-making obligations from litigation.
  • Errors and Omissions Insurance – This policy covers detail-oriented staff members in an instance where they may make an error or omission in any company official paperwork.

Reach out to Asset Planning Insurance Agency, LLC in Johnstown, PA to get a quote and get started on a commercial insurance policy. We are ready to answer your questions!

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