The Medicare Timeline – A Momentous CPE Course

Mary Policky discussing important exclusions to a Medicare plan.

In preparation for the upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment, beginning on October 15th, Mary Policky, Vice President in the Benefits Department at Momentous, conducted a course and webinar for our clients regarding the various components of Medicare, and how to prepare for the important enrollment timelines associated with Medicare.

Often, there is a misconception that Medicare isn’t as good as employer-sponsored insurance because it has a very limited list of providers, and doesn’t cover as many expenses. “This simply isn’t true,” said Policky, “and this myth can cause Medicare-eligible beneficiaries to miss some very important deadlines, resulting in long term financial implications.” She went on to explain that Original Medicare, which is Medicare parts A and B, has no networks of providers, and is widely accepted by a vast majority of doctors and facilities throughout the United States.  Also, with recent changes in healthcare reform, Original Medicare now covers a much longer list of preventative care services.  “It’s extremely important that brokers and/or financial advisors do a cost analysis and benefits comparison to help their client determine the best option, based on her insurance needs.”

Ms. Policky also explained the various dates of the enrollment timeline, and each of the potential penalties for failing to adhere to the timeline accordingly. For example, failure to enroll in Medicare Part B upon initial eligibility could result in a penalty of 10% of the part B premium per year, if an individual doesn’t have other employer-sponsored or union coverage.

Lastly, she went on to discuss in detail the various sorts of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement Plans, as well as the Part D Coverage Gap, also referred to as the “donut hole,” and how to calculate the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA).

Professionals who attended left equipped with the knowledge to better educate their Medicare eligible clients

This presentation was especially timely, as the fall open enrollment period will begin on October 15 and last through December 7 of 2016. The open enrollment period is the time when persons enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Part D plans chose their specific plan for the next year.  It is important to know that the coverage for these plans can change from year to year.

Medicare beneficiaries should have received their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan providers by Sept. 30. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) will also make information available to the public on www.medicare.gov.

It’s essential to carefully review any information sent to you by your plan provider, since this will go over any potential changes. For example, increasing co-pays, changes to drug formularies or changes to treatment coverage. If you need any assistance, please contact our office. We will help you find the best available plan based on your or your clients’ insurance needs.

 

 

 

 

Food Bank of Santa Barbara Selected as Grant Recipient

Jennifer Dantona, Erik Talkin, Joshua Sabrowsky and Mary Policky at the Food Bank of Santa Barbara

Jennifer Dantona, Erik Talkin, Joshua Sabrowsky and Mary Policky at the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County

Through the Nationwide Private Client Partners in Giving program, Momentous recently had the opportunity to direct $5,000 toward a local charity and selected the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County as the recipient. The donation ceremony was held on Thursday, August 25th at the Foodbank. Inside Sales Manager of Nationwide Private Client, Joshua Sabrowsky, began with a few words about the Partners in Giving Program. Since its creation in 2014, this corporate giving program has donated over $346,000, along with $400,000 pending donations. Working with independent insurance agencies, Nationwide Private Client directs their donations to organizations such as the United Way, The American Red Cross and Feeding America.

Jennifer Dantona, Senior Vice President of Personal Lines at Momentous, spoke about the honor of the opportunity to give back, specifically in a community in which Momentous has direct ties. Mary Policky, Vice President of Employee Benefits and Chairperson of Momentous’s Make It Better Committee, discussed the emphasis that the company has on philanthropic endeavors and charitable contributions.

Leslie Velez, Development Coordinator, and Erik Talkin, CEO, accepted the donation on behalf of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Talkin noted that the Foodbank distributes over 9 million pounds of food each year, through a network of 300 non-profit organizations in the area, and provides nutritional education to the recipients. The funds of this donation will be used to provide meals to hungry children through the Foodbank’s Picnic in the Park program. While children are able to receive free and reduced lunches during the school year, they are often left hungry when school is not in session. This donation will cover a week’s worth of lunches for the children in the program.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 50 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk and more. For more information, please visit www.momentousins.com.

Momentous Donates to Dress for Success

Make It Better volunteers at the Dress for Success drop-off location

Make It Better volunteers at the Dress for Success drop-off location

Momentous employees collected 261 articles of professional clothing, shoes and accessories, which were donated to Dress for Success on Saturday, August 13th. After a month of gathering and organizing, a group of Make It Better Committee volunteers dropped off the items at the non-profit’s downtown Los Angeles location. The clothes will go toward helping local women who are preparing to interview and gain employment.

About Dress for Success

Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a combined network of support, development tools and professional attire. Since their beginning in 1997, Dress for Success has served over 925,000 women worldwide in their goal to be self-sufficient and gain financial freedom. For more information, please visit www.dressforsuccess.org.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 50 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit www.momentousins.com.

 

Mitula Patel Receives SFV Business Journal CFO of the Year Award

Mitula Patel

Mitula Patel

UPDATE: On June 15th, Momentous’s Mitula Patel was honored by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal with their 2016 CFO of the Year Award! Held at the Sheraton Hotel in Universal City, CA, the award ceremony recognized the work of CFOs across multiple industries that included professional services, technology, manufacturing, retail, real estate, education, hospitality, education, healthcare and more.

The award comes just after Patel was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a finalist for Executive of the Year. The awards were held during the Business Journal’s annual Women’s Summit on May 23rd, at the J.W. Marriott at LA Live. The event featured a breakfast symposium and awards luncheon, with over 1,000 female executives, thought leaders and entrepreneurs in attendance.

Congratulations, Mitula!

About Mitula

A veteran of financial operations, Mitula brings over 30 years of experience to Momentous. Arriving to the United States from Kenya in 1985, her hard work and perseverance has led her to a number of high-ranking positions and awards. Among her accomplishments are placement on the “International Who’s Who” list of Insurance Professionals; “Insurance Woman of the Year” by the Insurance Women of LA; “Outstanding Dedication and Service in the Insurance Field” by the American Association of Managing General Agents; “President’s Award” by both Momentous Insurance Brokerage and the Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles; nominations for “Volunteer of the Year” and “Executive of the Year” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Mitula is an active leader in the insurance industry, and has held such positions as past President of the Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles, Public Relations Chair, Membership Chair, Communication and Website Liaison and Director for the California Council of International Association of Insurance Professionals. She is a member of the National Association of Female Executives; Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles, Inc.; and is actively involved in A More Balanced World, which supports education for children in impoverished areas around the world. She is also a Notary Public.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 50 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit www.momentousins.com.

The Cannes Report

Greg Jones WebBy Greg Jones

It’s a long day when you are at Cannes. You work the festival hours, and then you come back to the hotel and work your insurance hours.  But the meetings over dinner or drinks or dessert grant a solid 360-degree view of the business.

Today, bankers are the foundation of the independent production world. If they do not lend, producers do not make. For the last four years though, there has been reluctance on the part of banks to lend, as producers have been having a harder and harder time being paid on their pre-sales contracts, and the value of the contracts themselves has been falling. The last two years at Cannes, producers were very stressed about getting deals made.

This year however, that stress was replaced with a lot more sales activity. Pre-sale activity is getting stronger again. As opposed to allowing a large number of individual sales agents to vet deals, and relying on their expertise, banks are now vetting the individual sales agents better than they ever have before. The result is a much smaller field of sales agents that the banks are willing to work with, but the ones who remain have strong relationships and the wherewithal to make sure pre-sales contracts are placed in territories where the money promised will actually be paid. These specific sales agents have the trust of the bank, and so when they secure a pre-sale contract for a producer, the banks are much more confident in the integrity of that contract, and will be willing to use it as collateral.

The other outside factor at Cannes this year is the continued emergence of China as a major player in the motion picture industry. While it has been clear for some time that Chinese capital and audiences would have significant impact on studio tent pole films, it has been less clear as to whether or not China is legitimately the next frontier for the independent business.  It is now clear that it is. The Chinese investors are prepared to back independent film, and the investing rules that Chinese capital follow actually encourage larger budgets in the independents in which they invest.

The results are apparent by observing various companies’ year over year budgets and slates. One specific production company brought four films last year to the market, and none of them had a budget over 10 million. This year they brought seven, and 6 of them had budgets over 25 million dollars.

Independent film production continually renews its financing strategy as key markets and players emerge or disappear. For 2016, and looking to 2017, strong relationships between banks and a few expert sales agents, a better understanding of the various investment funds out there and the strong surge of Chinese investors are enough to see a an uptick in deals being made, and films being financed.

About Greg Jones

Greg has been in the insurance industry since 1977, beginning his career as an underwriter and later becoming a licensed broker. His main focus is production insurance, dealing almost exclusively with independent Film & TV production companies. Over the course of his career, Greg has placed insurance for over 1,000 films, TV shows and commercials. He has given lectures at the University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles and the American Film Institute; and has been featured in such publications as Black Enterprise and Insurance Journal.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 50 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit www.momentousins.com.

Mitula Patel Receives SFV Business Journal CFO of the Year Award

Mitula Patel

Mitula Patel

UPDATE: On June 15th, Momentous’s Mitula Patel was honored by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal with their 2016 CFO of the Year Award! Held at the Sheraton Hotel in Universal City, CA, the award ceremony recognized the work of CFOs across multiple industries that included professional services, technology, manufacturing, retail, real estate, education, hospitality, healthcare and more.

The award comes just after Patel was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal as a finalist for Executive of the Year. The awards were held during the Business Journal’s annual Women’s Summit on May 23rd, at the J.W. Marriott at LA Live. The event featured a breakfast symposium and awards luncheon, with over 1,000 female executives, thought leaders and entrepreneurs in attendance.

Congratulations, Mitula!

About Mitula

A veteran of financial operations, Mitula brings over 30 years of experience to Momentous. Arriving to the United States from Kenya in 1985, her hard work and perseverance has led her to a number of high-ranking positions and awards. Among her accomplishments are placement on the “International Who’s Who” list of Insurance Professionals; “Insurance Woman of the Year” by the Insurance Women of LA; “Outstanding Dedication and Service in the Insurance Field” by the American Association of Managing General Agents; “President’s Award” by both Momentous Insurance Brokerage and the Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles; nominations for “Volunteer of the Year” and “Executive of the Year” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Mitula is an active leader in the insurance industry, and has held such positions as past President of the Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles, Public Relations Chair, Membership Chair, Communication and Website Liaison and Director for the California Council of International Association of Insurance Professionals. She is a member of the National Association of Female Executives; Insurance Professionals of Los Angeles, Inc.; and is actively involved in A More Balanced World, which supports education for children in impoverished areas around the world. She is also a Notary Public.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 50 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit www.momentousins.com.

Momentous Volunteers at White Point Preserve and Nature Center

On Saturday, May 21st, Momentous volunteers traveled down to the Palos Verdes Peninsula to participate in cleanup and preservation activities at the White Point Preserve and Nature Center. Working through Big Sunday, a nonprofit organization that matches volunteers with community service projects, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC), the group spent the morning watering native plants and weeding large areas of invasive species.

Big Sunday

(Left) Momentous volunteers and their PVPLC team coordinator are all smiles after a hard day’s work; (Right) Cathy Mejia and Reyna Zelaya pose with a wheelbarrow of pulled weeds

About Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy

With the mission to “preserve land and restore habitat for the education and enjoyment of all,” the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) works to preserve undeveloped land for a variety of uses including educational, historical, ecological, recreational and scenic purposes. Since 1988, they have preserved 1,600 acres of land on the peninsula.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 50 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit www.momentousins.com.

Momentous Attends Corporate Volunteer Day at The Painted Turtle Camp

IMG_1319 (2)

Momentous volunteers pose for a photo

On Saturday, May 14, fifteen Momentous volunteers took part in The Painted Turtle Corporate Volunteer Day, in Lake Hughes, CA. Along with companies such as Hasbro, Abercrombie and Sony, the volunteers spent the day working on tasks to ready the camp for its summer sessions. Activities included digging weeds, stuffing turtle-shaped pillows, putting together furniture and making encouraging signs for the campers. Over 2,400 children and family members will attend the camp and benefit from these changes, in 2016 alone!

About The Painted Turtle

Founded by Paul Newman, The Painted Turtle is a camp for children with serious medical conditions and their families, that operates free of charge. Each program is a week-long, condition-specific session, with full-time staff, medical staff and volunteers. It allows children to participate in an authentic camp experience, without the focus being on their illnesses. The Painted Turtle has a cabin village, equestrian center, private lake with fishing and boating, archery field, pool, gymnasium, rock climbing wall, wheelchair accessible adventure ropes course, woodshop and organic farm.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 50 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit www.momentousins.com.

 

Momentous Sponsors 2016 Victory for Victims 5K/10K

On April 17th, Momentous sponsored the Center for Assault Services annual Victory for Victims 5K/10K at Balboa Park. The group of seventeen joggers consisted of Make It Better Committee members, family and friends, plus some adorable pets. In addition to the event sponsorship, Momentous also donated an exhibit table to Hope In a Suitcase, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing foster children with essentials including clothing, toys and of course, suitcases.

About Momentous

Momentous Insurance Brokerage is a top 50 firm in the United States and is dedicated to providing the highest caliber of insurance and risk management consultation. We write all lines of insurance products including personal, commercial, professional, employee benefits, specialized entertainment risk, and more.  For more information, please visit www.momentousins.com.

About the Center for Assault Treatment Services

The Center for Assault Treatment Services is a program through the Dignity Health – Northridge Hospital Medical Center. It is the only 24/7 program in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys, dedicated to providing domestic abuse collection services to adults and children. Read more.

CATS Victory for Victims

Victory for Victims 5K/10K Race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filming Where No Man has Gone Before

Winnie WongBy Winnie Wong

When it comes to filmmakers, they go “where no man has gone before” to get their story – South Africa, Brazil, China, Russia, India, Bulgaria…Space? There are evidently no “final frontiers” for film. Filming abroad can be very challenging…the language, customs and being in constant motion can result in potential risks even for the most seasoned film producer. Wouldn’t it be great if filmmakers could “beam down” to their destination, conduct their filming and “beam up” in time for supper? I wish it were possible; it would make my job much easier.

As an insurance broker, it is my job to secure a variety of coverages to protect my clients while filming abroad. The policies are as follows:

  • Production Package – provides coverage for cast, faulty processing, props, rented or owned equipment and third party locations. This policy will provide coverage for damage, destruction, theft or vandalism.
  • Foreign Package, which consists of:
    • Foreign General Liability – covers occurrences of bodily injury and property damages that the insured is legally obligated to pay.
    • Foreign Auto – covers occurrences of bodily injury and property damages due to the use of non-owned vehicles.
    • Foreign Workers’ Compensation – pays for medical care and rehabilitation for employees who are injured on the job or contract a work-related illness. Coverage is only provided for US hires and third-country nationals.
  • Guild Travel – provides accidental death and dismemberment coverage for 24-hour business travel. This coverage is required by signatories of guild associations – DGA/WGA/SAG – Aftra.
  • Kidnap and Ransom – provides coverage for kidnapping, extortion, wrongful detention and hijacking.

For a quotation, you would need to provide the following information:

  • Budget
  • Script/Synopsis
  • Provide the number of US citizens and third-country hires
  • Filming locations
  • Length of filming
  • Stunts/Pyro techniques

Before selecting the country you will be filming in, please check the U.S. Department of State travel.state.gov website.  The State Department issues Consular Information Sheets for every country that provides helpful information on vaccinations, currency or entry requirements, safety concerns, areas of instability, local laws and the location of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Presently, insurance companies have concerns with any filming that takes place in hostile, unstable countries where terrorist attacks and violent crime can occur. The insurance carriers rely on the travel warnings that are issued by the U.S. State Department.

If the intended country is dangerous to foreigners and there is a possibility of bombings, carjacking, kidnapping, home invasions or burglary, you can anticipate a more lengthy underwriting experience and a higher foreign workers’ compensation premium, since the well-being of your film crew is the underwriter’s primary concern.  As it is not the underwriter’s intent to stifle the vision of the project, risk management tools such as being accompanied by a bodyguards or security guards. You may want to consider providing Kidnap and Ransom coverage as producers, directors and cast members can be targeted.  This coverage will cover ransom payment, loss of income, and interest on bank loans.  In addition, this coverage provides crisis management to assist in any hostage situation.

Plan ahead and utilize a production service company or production studio in the country to locate reliable production personnel.  Take caution when hiring locals to assist you with the language, directions and accommodations. We have had reports that locals are occasionally responsible for lost or stolen property.

In addition, you must find rental houses that can supply production equipment. For instance, if your camera or special lens is damaged you may not be able to find a suitable replacement from a local rental house, or you may have to wait a couple of days for a replacement camera or lens to get to you.

If your film involves stunts or pyrotechnics, it is recommended that you utilize experienced technicians.  An experienced technician should break down the stunts/pyrotechnics exposures, conduct safety meetings and rehearsals.  It is important to establish safety measures to protect participants, the public and equipment.

Besides man-made perils, there are natural perils of which filmmakers need to be cognizant. Proper care should be made when your project involves filming on or near water, climbing high elevations, enduring extreme weather conditions and working around wild animals.

You are not alone when you have insurance coverage in place. The insurance company can provide:

  • 24-hour claims assistance
  • Emergency medical evacuation – arrangement for medical transport to an appropriate medical facility or to return home in order to receive care.
  • Repatriation of remains – arrangement of transportation to return remains in the event of death
  • Crisis Management – designated team to negotiate with kidnappers.

What kinds of losses have been reported on films? See examples below:

  • Car accident occurred and insured had to be transported to US for treatment.
  • Production equipment was stolen out of the car while parked in front of a local restaurant.
  • Camera equipment was stolen out of the hotel the production crew was staying in.
  • An illness put a crew member in a hospital on a ventilator. It was later determined that the illness was viral and was contracted from rat feces in the hotel room.
  • Production equipment was stolen at airport.

Let’s face it, filmmaking is hard and arduous work – but in the end, it’s worth it because your film has the potential to impact and influence an unlimited audience. So, as they say on the Starship Enterprise, “Live long and prosper.” Time to beam me up, Scotty!