Louisiana Department of Insurance Office of Consumer Advocay

Volume 2, Issue 2
FEBRUARY 2011

Oaks Kiwanis Club
2/8/2011
Piccadilly Cafeteria
5474 Essen Lane
Baton Rouge, LA
7:15 a.m.

Ascension Parish Council on Aging
2/10/2011
536 Irma Boulevard
Gonzales, Louisiana
2:00 p.m.

Madison Parish Council on Aging
2/15/2011
203 South Elm Street Tallulah, LA
12:00 p.m.

Franklin Parish Council on Aging
2/16/2011
714 Adams Street Winnsboro, LA
10:45 a.m.

Union Parish Council on Aging
2/17/2011
606 East Boundary Street Farmerville, LA
12:00 p.m.

PIA-Young Professionals Annual Membership Meeting
2/19/2011
Hilton Lafayette
1521 W Pinhook Road Lafayette, LA
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Community Against Drugs and Violence Monthly Meeting
2/22/2011
Scotlandville Branch Library
7373 Scenic Highway
Baton Rouge, LA
6:00 p.m.

For speaking engagements scheduled after the release of the newsletter or for more detailed information about engagements listed in the newsletter, visit our website at www.ldi.la.gov. Click on the Events tab, found in the center of the home page.

To view previous newsletters, click on Consumer Advocacy under Consumers, then click on Consumer Advocacy Newsletters.

To find out if Consumer Advocacy will be in your area or to request a speaker for your organization or group, call (225) 219-0619 or send an email to
consumeradvocacy@ld.la.gov

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter please send an email to the following address with "REMOVE" in the subject line.
consumeradvocacy@ld.la.gov

Degrees in Insurance

Last month our newsletter introduced you to many career opportunities in the insurance industry and the training required for each career.  There are opportunities to work as a producer, claims adjuster, investigator, examiner, appraiser, underwriter, actuary and in risk management.  If you have an interest in insurance but are not sure if you would like to sell insurance, prepare policies, administer policies, investigate claims or you enjoy interacting with consumers and would like to help them assess their insurance needs, take some time to research what each career involves. This month, we will focus on college and university educational and training programs.

There are many programs across the nation that offer degrees, concentrations and certifications in insurance.  There are a variety of options for taking these classes as well.  Some institutions offer programs online, others are campus-based, and some offer a combination of the two.  Having flexibility allows students and industry professionals the opportunity to design a schedule that fits their personal needs.  More importantly, by participating in an insurance degree program, individuals are trained to help future consumers assess their personal and business insurance needs, learn to prepare insurance policies, how to manage risks, underwrite insurance policies and navigate tax issues.

Insurance degree programs train students for a career in insurance and risk management on various levels.  Some degrees available and several of the required courses for each include:

  • Certification in Insurance
         ●  How to conduct a high quality risk assessment
         ●  Creating value: Risk manager as innovator
         ●  Special topics in risk management
  • Associate's Degree in Life and Health Insurance
         ●  Insurance administration
         ●  Customer relations
         ●  Insurance marketing
  • Bachelor's Degree in Insurance and Risk Management
         ●  Ethics in insurance
         ●  Personal property liability issues
         ●  Casualty risk assessment and insurance
  • Master's Degree in Insurance and Risk Management
         ●  Advanced practices in property insurance
         ●  Advanced practices in liability insurance     
         ●  Risk management for corporate entities
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Insurance and Risk Management
         ●  Research in corporate finance
         ●  Microeconomics
         ●  Capital market theory

For more information and details on specific programs and admission requirements, please contact an educational institution.

Newlyweds: Combining Your Insurance Coverage

Newlyweds have many decisions to make. Among them are where to live, which holidays are spent with the wife’s family and which are spent with the husband’s family, how finances will be managed and how to handle insurance needs.

Here are a few tips on how to decide when to combine insurances.

Homeowners Insurance
This decision will probably be relatively easy. If you have a mortgage, the house you live in will have to be insured. If you do not have a mortgage, it’s just good sense to insure your home. As a couple, you should decide together which insurance carrier best serves your needs.  If you were a homeowner prior to marriage, you may have a producer that offered you excellent customer service and wish to remain with that producer and/or insurance company. (Keep in mind that producers must be approved by a specific company to sell their products.)

If both you and your spouse are homeowners, you may want to consider which homeowners policy offers the best insurance rating when considering location, square footage, age of home and mitigation features. You may want to reside in that home and maintain the coverage on that home.

There are other things to consider, such as selling or renting the second home, maintaining the second home and adding the other spouse’s name to the mortgage or title of the home in which you will reside. Make sure you are familiar with the property laws of the state you reside in.  If you are going to sell or rent one of the homes and it’s going to be vacant for a period of time, make sure to check your policy’s exclusions and limitations.

Auto Insurance
Generally, all licensed drivers in a household are used to determine policy rates. Your premiums are impacted by the driving record and credit rating of each driver.

Consult with your producer to see if there are any options available to help you reduce your rates such as, on-line driving safety courses or higher deductibles.   Also, consider the type of vehicles you drive. As a single individual, you may have driven a sports vehicle. Now that you are married, you may want to change to a vehicle that will accommodate a growing family and possibly reduce your insurance premiums. In addition, consider which liability and medical limits are suitable for the family.

It is important to check with both the State Department of Insurance and Department of Motor Vehicles of your state to determine any licensing and registration requirements regarding a change in address or title registrations.

Health Insurance
When considering combining health insurance, the first thing to consider is your health care needs and not the premiums. If you are both employed, review the policy provisions to see which policy would provide the best coverage.  Then, compare the premiums for each.

Contact your group administrator to determine which forms are needed to add your spouse to the policy.  You may be required to provide a copy of your marriage license within a specified period of time.

Also, depending on your financial obligations, evaluate your need for disability insurance. Disability insurance provides income protection when you or your spouse is unable to work for an extended period of time due to an injury or illness.

Life Insurance
It is wise to look at your life insurance coverage once you get married.  Your life insurance coverage should fit your new family's financial needs in the event of death.  As a single individual, your life insurance policy may have only been enough to cover your funeral expenses.  As a married couple, especially with children, make sure that in the event of death of either partner, the standard of living will be maintained and future needs met. Also consider what type of life insurance (term vs. whole) is right for you.

Mortgage insurance or a mortgage cancellation rider is another insurance item that newlyweds can consider. Since, in most cases, a home is the largest financial investment, the premature death of a spouse could cause a severe hardship on the family. Knowing that you would not have a mortgage should provide great financial comfort.

Reviewing insurance protections as newlyweds is very important. Discuss policies in detail.  Also, meeting with an insurance producer, accountant or estate attorney can provide sufficient information for you to make good decisions.

EDITOR’S LETTER

February is American Heart Month!  Heart

This month Americans are encouraged to join the battle against cardiovascular disease.  According to the American Heart Association, more than 82 million American adults are estimated to have one or more types of cardiovascular disease – one in three people!  Developing heart disease can be reduced by taking measures against risk causing behaviors as well as being aware of signs and symptoms of heart disease.

So this month, while you are remembering that special someone for Valentine’s Day, protect his or her heart and your heart by getting healthy.

  • Get moving – Physical activity can improve your quality of life.  Exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight and possibly reduce your risk of heart disease.  Check with your health insurance provider for discounts at fitness centers.
  • Eat a healthy diet - Make smart choices when shopping and eating out.  Prepare healthy meals for the entire family.
  • See your doctor – Discuss a plan to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and glucose levels.  Many health insurance policies offer free or low cost wellness tests and screenings.
  • Control emotional stress – Find ways to reduce and eliminate emotional stress.  Chronic stress and/or periods of intense stress can contribute to the development of heart disease.
  • Educate yourself and share the message – Learn more about heart health and “American Heart Month” from the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.

Deputy Commissioner
Clarissa A. Preston, CIC, APIR

Office of Consumer AdvocacyP.O. Box 94214Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9214
(225) 219-0619 or (800)259-5300www.ldi.la.govconsumeradvocacy@ldi.la.gov