Jeeves, the Sound of Music, and the Dust Bunnies…..

By: Louise R.


If you are anything like me, a working mom with 2 kids that need shuttling around, animals that need taking care of, and a house that needs to be cleaned regularly (ostensibly), you may have toyed with the idea of hiring someone to help you with all of that – be it a nanny or
housekeeper, live-in or live-out. And when I say “toyed with the idea”, I mean lay curled up in a ball, whimpering, while looking at the dust bunnies as they multiply at amazing rates (you know what they say about bunnies) chanting over and over “I need help, I need help…”.

So, since this is mainly an insurance, informational blog, I will not extol the virtues of laying by the pool while Jeeves brings me a fruity little concoction with a paper umbrella, as my house is being cleaned and my children are being minded and all is right with the world…..wait, one more minute….okay, I’m back and ready to school you in the ins and outs of domestic help and the workers’ compensation insurance that might be required. Remember that a workers’ compensation policy not only protects the employee but the employer as well. There are different rules in different states, so my main advice is to check with your insurance broker to find out exactly what your state’s requirements are and the best policy to go with. I went to Donna Boonjamalik in the Levitt-Fuirst Personal Lines dept. and this is what she told me:

“Domestic Workers include Chauffeurs, nannies, home health care workers, nurses, baby sitters, cooks, housekeepers, butlers, companions, gardeners and other types of regular employees working in a private household. We would normally suggest a Workers’ Comp Policy if an insured has hired a “regular” person to perform a task for hire on a regular basis Full or Part Time such as:

1) Hired a cleaning lady 2 X’s a week
2) Hired a babysitter/nanny
3) Hired a Chauffeur

There are 2 rates. Full Time and Part Time Rates and they are based on Per Capita ( how many ) Employees there are.“Regular Employees” are not covered under the Homeowner’s Policy. The Homeowner’s Policy provides Workers’ Comp for temporary work, such as:

1) Hiring a painter to paint your house
2) Hiring a roofer to put on a new roof
3) Hiring a landscaper to plant trees & bushes

Only if a Domestic Employee works 40 or more hours a week are they required to have Workers’ Comp policy. A policy for Part Time Domestic Help is not required but always encouraged to protect both the employee and the employer.”

Now that you are better educated, I can slip back into my fantasy world….. a beautiful, sunny day by the (hypothetical) pool, visions of my perfectly minded children being taught “The Sound of Music” soundtrack by a cross between Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore, my house sparkling like 1,000 diamonds and smelling like (I’ll be darned) a pine forest, and the ever-loyal Jeeves standing by with my pool-floaty…… and the peace of mind that all is covered by the insurance that I need.

Travel: To the World Cup and Beyond (Part Deux)

By P. Andersen and L. McSpedon


Earlier this week, we discussed insurance for your assets when traveling abroad. We all have items we care about, be it jewelry, golf clubs, musical instruments, or Hummels’ (you know who you are!). Helping you protect your valuables is essential to Levitt-Fuirst, and essential to your having a happy trip; but when traveling abroad, be sure to take some time to protect your most important asset – the health of you and your loved ones traveling with you.

Protecting the health of yourself and your family is far more important than protecting your wallet, so be sure to take the time before your trip to understand the steps you can take to prepare for a medical emergency.  Pre-trip planning, making wise choices to stay healthy, and knowing what to do when you get sick are all key parts of a happy travel experience.

In the month before your trip, be sure to check if any vaccinations are recommended for all locations on your itinerary. Did you know that measles cases are up sharply, primarily due to overseas travel? This New York Times article discusses the importance of vaccinations, and this CDC link gives you the information you need to protect you and your family from the medical risks a particular location poses.

Another essential pre-trip step is to call your health insurance provider at the number on your subscriber ID card, to ask what services you are covered for while traveling.  Most major health insurance companies offer some type of coverage for emergency care in a foreign country, but make sure of the rules are before you go. Be sure to pack your Member ID card and bring a claim form with you; one should be available on the health insurance carrier’s website. If you have your health insurance with Levitt-Fuirst, give us a call and we will get you the necessary forms. This article from Oxford, and this from CNN will assist you in answering some questions about health care abroad.

ALERT! Are you on Medicare or Medicaid? You likely do not have any health insurance when outside the United States, so be sure to secure Supplemental Travel Health Insurance Policy before you depart.

Traveling abroad is one of life’s great pleasures.  With a little planning, you can be sure to get the most out of your vacation, no matter what obstacles are thrown your way.

The (Literal) Value of the FIFA World Cup

By: Alan Mani

The Insurance Journal recently published an article on the insurable value of the teams playing in the World Cup.  The article states: “Lloyd’s has released research with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) that ranks each team in the FIFA World Cup based on the collective insurable value of each country’s players. The total collective value is estimated at £6.2 billion (€7.7 billion/$10.5 billion).” Lloyd’s predicted, based on insurable value, Germany should walk away with the cup in Rio.

Last week the US played its futbol nemesis, Ghana.  Coming off of two consecutive World Cup defeats to Ghana, each ending the US run in the respective tournament, the game was an important one for the US team.  The game was coming to its final minutes with the score all even at 1-1. The US received a corner, and at the 86’ mark, John Brooks scored the winning goal.  The victory put the US one win away from advancing to the next round, with Portugal next on the docket…  As we all have seen by now, we were a mere 35 seconds away from the improbable victory over Ronaldo and Portugal.  With the US holding a slim 2-1 lead in the closing minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo crossed the ball beautifully to Silvestre Varela, whose header found the back of the net before US goaltender Tim Howard could react.

The next game the US plays will be against Germany, and based on Lloyd’s prediction of Germany walking away with the cup (because of their insurable value), the odds are not in our favor.  Though complicated, there are several scenarios for a US advancement to the next round.  It is too complicated for me, so follow this link to radioalice for all of the answers…

Travel: To the World Cup and Beyond!

By Louise R.

Let’s put it out there – I work for an insurance broker. This likely conjures images of sleazy men with comb-overs and ill-fitting suits. My bosses at Levitt-Fuirst, however, have pretty nice suits, and we sell the most exciting insurance products in the world!  Okay… that MAY be an exaggeration.  Let’s face it, though – in my 22 years at Levitt-Fuirst, I’ve learned a thing or two about all types of insurance, and I can offer tips on things that you don’t know you need until, sadly, you need it.

One of the biggest things in the news today is the World Cup. Have you thought about traveling to Brazil, cheering on Team USA? Maybe just traveling to Brazil and laying on the beach, and mentally cheering on Team USA?  Or is it Europe, Asia, Canada or the Caribbean that is calling you?  Are you bringing your jewelry with you? AHA!! Gotcha! Insurance as it relates to your life…namely in the form of a jewelry floater on your Personal Lines policy. Insurance IS exciting, when it protects you from lost or stolen jewelry!

Our resident Personal Lines experts here at Levitt-Fuirst advise that any larger items (over $10,000) be “scheduled” on your homeowner’s policy, which is a nice way of saying “list it specifically on your policy”.  Do you have many smaller jewelry items you are bringing?  You should “blanket” your less valuable pieces together into one limit.

As you can see from the linked NBC News article, thefts while traveling to Brazil are a major concern…  “Rio has seen an increase of something called ‘arrastão,’ which means ‘big sweep.A wave of thieves line up along the sand and rob everyone in a lightning quick operation that is in and out before beachgoers or police can even blink.” Not something that you think about while planning a great trip. And that’s why we are here – to think about the things that you don’t, and to know what type of insurance will keep you protected.