social-facebook-header social-twitter-header social-google-header social-youtube-header social-linkedin-header

Flood Insurance:  Don’t Let El Niño Get the Best of You

By Jennifer Johnson, Personal Lines Client Executive

clock January 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM

With the effects of El Niño in full swing, homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of the potential damage flooding can do to a home. Recent news clips feature homeowners standing in their living rooms up to their ankles in muddy water. So, it’s no wonder people are asking me what they need to do to protect themselves from a huge flood loss.

Homeowners Insurance

The first thing to note: A typical homeowners policy does not include flood coverage. While they cover water damage from a broken pipe, it does not cover damage caused by “an overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or mudflow” (1). Essentially, any flooding from the outside is not covered by homeowners insurance, unless it’s caused by a covered loss, such as wind. The only sure way to safeguard your home from a flood caused by El Niño is to purchase flood insurance.

Read More

Topics: Individuals

Why You Need a Personal Umbrella/Excess Liability Policy

By Jennifer Johnson, Personal Lines Client Executive

clock July 27, 2015 at 10:45 AM

Successful people often share a common trait: Optimism. I meet with people daily who dreamed the impossible dream, and though there were some bumps along the journey, their unwavering positivity made dreams come true.  

I’ve also noticed that when it comes to protecting their hard-earned assets, this eternal optimism can leave them vulnerable. Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society where one personal lawsuit can undo years of hard work and cause significant financial damage to even the wealthiest individuals. Without proper coverage, they can potentially leave themselves unprotected.

How Much of Your Net Worth is Exposed?

One way to assess whether you have enough protection is to consider your net worth. For example, a client has a net worth of $10M, yet their current plan only provides $500,000 underlying liability for their personal home and auto coverage. This leaves $9.5M of their personal net worth exposed.

In a lawsuit, a limit of $500,000 is almost worthless if the claim is over their covered limits. Therefore, it is wise to consider an umbrella/excess liability policy which gives you added protection if you are sued.

  • An excess liability policy kicks in when the underlying limits on your home or auto policy have been exhausted. 
  • An umbrella policy fills in the gaps in coverage.

If you are ever involved in a lawsuit, you need to be prepared. More often than not, people are sued and don’t have extra protection to block the plaintiff from going after personal assets. While it may be difficult to think of a situation where you may not be covered, consider the following real life scenarios.

Read More

Topics: Individuals

Key Person Life Insurance: Would your Ship Survive without the Captain?

By Sharon Healey, LUTCF, FSS, Client Executive

clock June 15, 2015 at 10:00 AM

In maritime tradition, the captain is said to “go down with the ship.” But must the ship go down with the captain? This is the metaphorical question behind an insurance coverage called Key Person. Key Person is insurance that protects a business in the event that a key employee dies—the company owns and is the beneficiary of the policy.

The loss of any person in an organization is devastating. The loss of a person who is critical to the company’s operations, sales or decision-making can instantly multiply the impact of that loss. What would your organization do if something happened to your CFO? Or how about that long-term colleague who is the backbone of your company? Have you ever thought about how your company would function without them? Regardless of the size of the business or organization, there is always at least one person that is critical to the firm’s success.

Facing mortality is uncomfortable for most people and planning ahead for an unforeseen loss is a difficult subject, but for those responsible for the longevity of a company, it is an important coverage to consider.

Key Person Insurance protects a business by addressing the financial impact of losing a key person in the company. With the coverage in place, a claim would provide funds to:

  • Offset interrupted or lost cash flow from reduced sales or company earnings
  • Hire a temporary substitute
  • Offset the expense of attracting and hiring a qualified replacement

Most executives overlook this type of insurance, because it’s not something they want to think about or plan for. Captains don’t think about going down with or without the ship. However, Key Person Life Insurance could be your saving grace in the event that an unforeseeable death takes place. Key Person Life Insurance can help keep a business going strong, even if tragedy should strike.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Individuals

Medicare: What You Need to Know About Turning 65

By Heather Woodruff, Client Executive, Specialty Services Division

clock March 30, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Blowing out 65 candles on your birthday cake means more than just getting a senior discount at the movies. For many of my clients it means deciding whether to stay on their group health plan or switch to Medicare. As a Client Executive, I have the opportunity to help individuals navigate through their options. Over the years, there are two questions I am often asked by clients as they reach 65.

Question 1: I’m enrolled in a group health plan and turning 65. Do I need to enroll in Medicare?

No. According to Medicare guidelines, you may continue on your group health plan if you or your spouse is working and on the group health plan that is associated with that employment.

Question 2: I’m retiring at the end of the year, enrolled in a group health plan and am over 65 years old. When do I apply for Medicare?

It is best to apply for Medicare 3 months before retirement. Because you have been on a group health plan, you will not be penalized. Once you have Medicare and supplemental coverage, this will allow you to come off your group health plan outside of Open Enrollment.

Plan Considerations

If you are turning 65 and you continue to be an active employee, we recommend that you consider your options regarding your healthcare plan. Sometimes it is less expensive to join a Medicare plan than remain on the current employer-provided group plan. Every situation is different, so it’s a matter of looking at cost, preferences and your personal needs.

There are two major things to consider when deciding to enroll in Medicare or stay on your group health plan:

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Individuals

Will ALL of Your Employees Have Health Insurance in 2015?

By Stan Lambert, Principal, Director of Specialty Services Division

clock November 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

It’s the law. The Affordable Care Act requires the large majority of U.S. citizens and legal residents to have health insurance (or pay a penalty if they don’t). Hopefully, your benefit eligible employees have joined your employer sponsored health plan or have obtained coverage through their spouse. But how are you helping your part-time employees or those who are not eligible for health insurance with their coverage? Although it’s not required for you to do so, your part-timers may feel more supported if you do!

Check out our list of important information for employees who aren’t eligible for your company benefits to help them purchase affordable health coverage for the upcoming year!


Starting November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015, individuals seeking health insurance can take advantage of the annual open enrollment period in the Public Marketplace. In addition to purchasing Public Marketplace coverage, individuals will also have the opportunity to purchase a private health plan outside of the Public Marketplace. Both of these are opportunities for those employees who were not eligible for your company sponsored benefits, or those that chose not to take your coverage, to buy a new policy or plan.


Your part-time or ineligible employees will want to pay attention to the upcoming open enrollment period of the Marketplace and private health plans, particularly if they did not enroll in your group health plan during the last enrollment period, or want to change to a Marketplace or private health plan. Additionally, employees who experienced a qualifying event but did not enroll in time after their qualifying event took place would also be able to take advantage of these plan alternatives.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Individuals

Leadership: Finding the Middle Ground

By Paul Hering, CEO & Managing Principal

clock August 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

This time of year I’m reminded of all the young adults going back to school. Reflecting on those milestone moments with my own children, I recall not wanting to miss the chance to share some of what I had learned through my own experiences.

As parents, sometimes we struggle with walking that fine line between guiding our children yet allowing them the chance to experience life and learn for themselves, hoping you have set a good example.  It can be a tough balance at times.

The same thing is true for leaders. While our colleagues and associates are obviously not our kids, there is some parallel due to what I think is a leader’s inherent responsibility -- to make a wise choice between giving specific direction versus setting an example and allowing things to unfold.

Read More

Topics: Individuals, Inside MMA

Partners for 40 Years… and Counting

By Claudette Linzey, Communications Associate, Digital Media

clock July 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Small Business Owner Jim Elliott on Choosing Marsh & McLennan Agency (formally Barney & Barney) for All of His Insurance Needs

Like most family-owned businesses, Ann and Jim Elliott, previous owners of Western Graphics, have decades of hard work behind them.  Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) was privileged to watch their success grow and today, Jim and Ann Elliott are one of B&B’s longest-standing clients.

Over 40 years ago, Jim took weekly trips from San Diego to Sacramento where he walked the halls of the capital, selling direct mail services to legislators. After two years, Ann and Jim made the bold move to start their own company. In 1974 they launched Western Graphics, a direct mail marketing company in Lemon Grove, California. Initially, the company printed and mailed newsletters for members of the Legislature. The company grew to provide consulting services, printing, and mailing for commercial and non-profit organizations as well as political campaigns. In 2007, Jim and Ann sold Western Graphics.

Jim now works for Eye/Comm as the Marketing Consultant and has taught classes on Direct Mail at SDSU, USD, and UCSD. With multiple prestigious awards under his belt, such as the Margaret Sellers Lifetime Achievement Award and the Luke Kaiser Award for Direct Mail Education, Jim is a direct marketing expert.

We recently spoke with Jim about his 40 year history with MMA.

Read More

Topics: Inside B&B, Individuals

Health Insurance And The College Graduate

By Patty Sanders, FHIAS, CAPM, Operations Director & Individual Insurance Expert

clock June 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM

A college diploma is one of life’s most important assets.

So, too, is creating a safety net to handle the contingencies life may throw at you now that you’re out of school.

For graduating college students, one of the smartest ways to protect yourself is to minimize one of the biggest liabilities out there – medical expenses that can set you back for years.

Today, having health insurance is also important for another reason: To make sure you’re not fined for breaking the law. As of January 1, 2014, the federal Affordable Care Act requires most individuals to maintain minimum essential coverage for themselves.

To help graduates, as well as current college students, Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) has a comprehensive healthcare insurance program. Here’s a brief overview of the kinds of plans available to help you make an intelligent choice.

Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Individuals

Protect Your Home from Wildfire Before it Starts

By Peter Holmes, Client Executive

clock June 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM

As an ex-firefighter, wildfire season has always been a particularly precarious time of year for the men and women trained to respond. Traditionally, dry summers and Santa Ana wind conditions have been the recipe for numerous wildfire outbreaks from June to October. This year, however, with extreme drought conditions, wildfires pose a year-round threat to residents and businesses. Homeowners who live in or are building a home in remote or rural areas need to be particularly diligent in ensuring their home and assets are protected. If you own a residence in California, it’s time to consider wildfire protection.

As large developments move further East in search of land and privacy, wildfire breakouts pose an exponentially higher threat. These areas are typically less convenient for fire fighters and flammable brush is naturally more abundant.

Removing brush to avoid catastrophic loss, however, is simply not enough. Luckily, a handful of insurance providers now provide complete wildfire protection services. Chubb, AIG, ACE and Fireman’s Fund are among these few carriers who offer comprehensive in-home consulting before a wildfire event and emergency response services to mitigate losses during a wildfire event when a threat is imminent. All of these carriers operate command centers to monitor wildfire conditions throughout the United States. These centers can plot individual insured homes and monitor fire line activity in real time so response crews can be dispatched to the most threatened homes.

One San Diego homeowner and Marsh & McLennan Agency client recently experienced the benefits of the Fireman’s Fund Wildfire Defense Program firsthand during the May Carlsbad outbreak. A Risk Services Consultant reached out to the homeowner to alert him they were monitoring the threat and were sending a contracted vendor service to his property to remove combustible material, apply a flame retardant spray to the home and remain on site until the threat had passed. Despite evacuating, the carrier’s services not only helped protect the family’s home and contents, but provided the homeowner with peace of mind during an incredibly stressful period.

Read More

Topics: Individuals

Individual Health Insurance

By Madalyn Altschuler, Manager, MarketLink & Benefits Communications

clock March 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Common Questions Employees Are Asking

Do you have employees who are ineligible for your employer-sponsored plan and still need help securing individual health insurance before the fast approaching deadline? Are you an individual having a difficult time deciding on a health care plan? For most individuals, if you aren’t enrolled in a plan by March 31, 2014, you may have to pay a penalty!

We sat down with one of Marsh & McLennan Agency's own Insurance Advocates to learn firsthand what questions individuals are asking when it comes to buying coverage. Maybe you’ve heard these questions too and could use our insight to respond to your employees’ inquiries:

  1. What advice would you give to individuals looking to reduce their insurance costs, while still reviewing the best plan options available?

First, let’s start with the basics by finding out how many people are in the household and what the annual household income is. Based on this information, we may be able to look at health plans on the public Health Insurance Exchange to find out if a subsidy would be given to help the individual pay for health coverage.

If the individual is not eligible for a subsidy, we would suggest looking at Silver plans through the Exchange, as these have lower deductibles and copayments for services. For an individual that just needs coverage to avoid paying a penalty for failing to have coverage, we would likely recommend a Bronze level plan.

  1. What should individuals consider when deciding on the best health plan?
Read More

Topics: Employee Benefits, Health Care Reform, Individuals

Subscribe to the Blog

Follow Us

Search Blog