Medical Evacuation Insurance – How it Works

You think it won’t happen to you when you are traveling overseas, when suddenly you find yourself needing to be evacuated for medical reasons. Medical evacuations occur more frequently than we think so getting travel insurance that covers medical evacuation is important. One international medical evacuation service performed over 14,000 missions in just one year. That averages out to about 35 evacuations per day!

Let’s look at the cruise industry. Most travelers – and there are more than five million of them each year taking cruises from U.S. ports – do not have medical evacuation coverage on their health insurance plan. The American Medical Association conducted a study several years ago and found that on average 20 passengers die each year aboard cruise liners. If these passengers had been able to get to superior medical services quickly via air evacuation, many of their lives would have been spared.

How does medical evacuation insurance work?

Generally insurance companies subcontract companies that focus only on medical evacuation. To determine if medical evacuation is warranted, the insurance companies seek counsel from the medical doctors that work at their agency, from their own personnel that specialize in this field, from the injured party or his/her representative, and from a medical professional on the ground who is caring for the patient. The insurance companies provide the client with a call-collect number in order to discuss and coordinate medical evacuation.

In all cases insurance companies will not pay for medical evacuation that is not coordinated through and by the insurance company. This makes things awkward sometimes, but the insurance companies are concerned about keeping costs down and also providing medical evacuation when it is not necessary. If the insurance companies handle the medical evacuation, this will also keep the costs down for the insured. Keeping the costs down helps all the insured because it enables the insurance companies to keep from raising the health insurance premiums unnecessarily.

In cases where necessary the insurance company will send in a plane to evacuate an individual. In other cases they will pay for several seats on a civilian carrier. Sometimes they will send along medical personnel with the individual being medically evacuated. Be assured that insurance companies are well aware of what is involved. Their staff works with medical evacuation situations from all over the world twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They have a pretty good understanding of every situation.

How much coverage is needed?

How much medical evacuation coverage is necessary? This depends on the locale of your international workers. If Americans staff your agency and all are working in Mexico, $25,000 of medical evacuation coverage should be adequate. On the other hand, if you have workers in Central Africa or Papua New Guinea, it would be wise to have a plan that provides $100,000 in coverage.

On the average, international health insurance companies charge $12-$15 a month for medical evacuation coverage. Obviously, you will pay more for $100,000 than you would for $25,000. You can avoid over-insuring in this area by always considering the countries where your employees are working when purchasing medical evacuation coverage.

Insurance for Jewelry

Besides being portable, personal jewelry has two other unique problems: Items are usually small and easily lost, and jewelry often can only be valued under a microscope. Jewelry is also subject to two policy limitations;

  • A dollar limit for theft – usually $1,000 per claim – not a limit per item
  • No coverage for the loss of a stone from its setting (a very common claim)

For managing the dollar limit on theft problem, the strategy of raising the dollar limit on jewelry coverage is available from most insurers, usually to a limit of $5,000 to $10,000. Insurers vary, but common pitfalls of this strategy include:

  • No broader causes of loss being covered.
  • A per-piece limit of $1,000 to $1,500.
  • The burden of having to prove the value of what you lost – very difficult to do with unique jewelry. If you can’t prove what you lost, you’re vulnerable to the insurance company replacing what you lost with a lesser-quality item or gem.

The insurance company normally replaces your gem with another gem, instead of cash. This claims practice significantly reduces the number of fraudulent claims for “stolen” jewelry.

The strategy of scheduling jewelry items works better because

  • Almost every accidental claim – including the loss of the stone or even the loss of the entire piece – is covered.
  • There’s no deductible.
  • An appraisal is required to schedule an item, so there’s no dispute over what you lost. You simply take the most recent appraisal to the jeweler who is doing the replacing. She uses the appraisal to closely match what you lost.

The only negative of scheduling, besides the cost and hassle of getting an appraisal, is the danger of being under-insured if the value of your jewelry increases. You can protect yourself by updating your appraisals and increasing your coverage limit every three to five years. Out of scores of jewelry claims, I’ve only had two clients get paid less than the appraised value; in both cases, their appraisals were over ten years old.

If you’ve had a piece of jewelry insured by the same insurance company since the original appraisal was done, you can call the jeweler who did the appraisal and request an updated value. You don’t have to prove you still have the piece because it has been continuously insured.

The strategy of buying the special-perils causes-of-loss coverage option is only partially effective for jewelry. Though it broadens the kinds of loss covered, it doesn’t help with the dollar-limit problem.

I find non-insurance strategies – avoid, reduce, or retain – very helpful when it comes to personal jewelry risks:

  • Avoid the risk for seldom-worn jewelry that you eventually want to pass on to your kids. Pass it on now, while you’re still here to enjoy them enjoying it – and the risk now belongs to someone else.
  • Retain (self-insure) smaller jewelry items – especially those you won’t bother replacing if anything happens to them.
  • Reduce the risk to your jewelry by putting expensive, seldom-worn pieces in a safe-deposit box. Reduce the risk of the loss of stones from their settings by regularly having the prongs checked.

There usually is no way to transfer the risk to someone other than through insurance.

The burglary risk is reduced significantly when you install a central burglar alarm. Hide expensive pieces to further reduce the risk – the first place the burglar looks is in your jewelry box. If you hide it, don’t forget where you hide it.

My recommendations for managing your jewelry risks are:

  • Retain the small stuff – especially items you wouldn’t replace.
  • Schedule items worth $1,000 or more – especially those you would replace. Don’t forget to add sales tax to the value of the item.
  • Add up the values of the items under $1,000 that you would replace, if you want them insured, and then raise the jewelry dollar-limit high enough to cover those items, or to the maximum available from the insurance company. When you talk to your agent, impress her with the technical name for this: blanket unscheduled coverage. Still get appraisals for the unscheduled jewelry items you’re covering under the blanket coverage and store the appraisals off-premises. The insurance company won’t require an appraisal from you at the time you buy the coverage as they will for scheduled items, but being able to prove what you lost will greatly enhance your claim settlement.
  • Store pieces you seldom wear – especially heirlooms – in a safe-deposit box. Insurance can only pay cash. It won’t begin to replace the sentimental value of your treasures.
  • If you have a lot of jewelry, reduce the burglary risk by hiding it and/or adding a central burglar alarm. Consider installing a safe, but be sure it’s part of the building (built into the wall or in the floor, covered by a rug).

Central Banks, Financial System and the Creation of Money (and Deficit)

In the market economy, the financial system gives money from the positive savers (i.e. depositors) to the negative savers (i.e. people with shortage of funds which need loans to buy property etc.). Furthermore, the financial systems facilitate non-cash payments. from individuals or legal entities.

The financial system has by law a monopoly of services. Only banks can accept deposits, only insurance companies can provide insurance services and mutual funds management can be done better by a large bank rather than by an individual investor.

How money is created

In the past, one of the reasons the ancient Greek states were strong was the ability to create their own currency. In the times of Pericles, the silver Drachma was the reserve currency of that era. The same applied for the golden currency of Philippe from Macedonia. Each of these currencies could have been exchanged with a certain amount of gold.

Nowadays, Fed creates USD and ECB Euro which both is fiat money I.e money with no intrinsic value that has been established as real money by government regulation and we, therefore, have to accept it as real money. Central banks circulate coins and paper money in most countries that they are just 5%-15% of the money supply, the rest is virtual money, an accounting data entry.

Depending on the amount of money central banks create, we live in a crisis or we have economic development. It should be noted that central banks are not state banks but private companies. The countries have given the right of issuing money to private bankers. In turn, these private central banks lend the states with interest and therefore, have economic and of course, political power. The paper money circulated in a country is actually public debt i.e. countries owe money to the private central bankers and the payment of this debt is ensured by issuing bonds. The warranty given by the government to private central bankers for debt repayment is the taxes imposed on people. The bigger public debt is the bigger the taxes, the more common people suffer.

The presidents of these central banks cannot be fired by the governments and do not report to the governments. In Europe, they report to ECB which sets the monetary policy of EU. ECB is not controlled by the European Parliament or the European Commission.

The state or borrower issues bonds, in other words, it accepts that it has an equal amount of debt to the central bank which based on this acceptance creates money from zero and lends it with interest. This money is lent through an accounting entry however, interest rate does not exist as money in any form, it is just on the loan contract obligations. This is the reason why global debt is bigger than real or accounting debt. Therefore, people become slaves since they have to work to get real money to pay off debts either public or individual debts. Very few ones manage to pay off the loan but the rest get bankrupted and lose everything.

When a country has its own currency as it is the case of the USA and other countries, it can “oblige” central bank to accept its state bonds and lend the state with interest. Therefore, a country bankruptcy is avoided since the central bank acts as a lender of last resort. ECB is another case since it does not lend Eurozone member-states. The non-existence of a Europe safe bond leaves the Eurozone countries at the mercy of the “markets” which by being afraid of not getting their money back they impose high interest rates. However, quite recently the European safe bonds have gained ground despite the differences in Europe policymakers whereas the Germans are the main cause for not having this bond since they do not want national obligations to be single European ones. There is also another reason (probably the most serious one) which is that by having this bond, Euro as a currency would be devaluated and Germany’s borrowing interest rates would rise.

In the USA things are different since the state borrows its own currency (USD) from Fed so local currency is devaluated and therefore state debt is devaluated. When a currency is devaluated the products of a country become cheaper without reducing wages but imported products become more expensive. A country which has a strong primary (agriculture) and secondary (industry) sector can become more competitive by having its own currency provided that it has its own energy sources i.e. it should be energy sufficient. Banks with between $16 million and $122.3 million in deposits have a reserve requirement of 3%, and banks with over $122.3 million in deposits have a reserve requirement of 10%. Therefore, if all depositors decide to take their money from the banks at the same time, banks cannot give it to them and bankrun is created. At this point, it should be mentioned that for each USD, Euro etc deposited in a bank, the banking system creates and lends ten. Banks create money each time they give loans and the money they create is money that appears on the computer screen, not real money deposited in the bank’s treasury that lends it. However, the bank lends virtual money but gets real money plus interest from the borrower.

As Professor Mark Joob stated no-one can escape from paying interest rates. When someone borrows money from the bank, s/he has to pay interest rates for the loan but all who pay taxes and buy goods and services pay the interest rate of the initial borrower since taxes have to be collected to pay the interest rates of the public debt. All companies and individuals that sell goods and services have to include the cost of loans in their prices and this way the whole society subsidizes banks although part of this subsidy is given as interest rate to depositors. Professor Mark Joob goes on and writes that the interest rate paid to the banks is a subsidy to them since the fiat/accounting money they create is considered as legal money. This is why bankers have these large salaries and this is why the banking sector is so huge, it is because the society subsidizes banks. Concerning interest rates, poor people usually have more loans than savings whereas rich people have more saving than loans. When interest rates are paid, money is transferred from poor to the rich therefore, interest rates are favourable for wealth accumulation. Commercial banks gain from investments and from the difference between interest rates for deposits and interest rates for loans. When interest rate is added regularly to the initial investment, it brings more interest since there is compound interest which increases exponentially initial capital. Real money by itself is not increased since this interest rate is not derived from production. Only human labour can create interest rate of increasing value but there is a downward pressure for salaries cost and at the same time increase of productivity. This happens because human labour needs to satisfy the demands of exponentially increased compound interest.

The borrower has to work to get the real money, in other words, banks lend virtual money and get real money in return. Since the lent money is more than the real one, the banks should create new money in the form of loans and credits. When they increase the quantity of money there is growth (however, even in this case with the specific banking and monetary system debt is also increased) but when they want to create a crisis, they stop giving loans and due to the lack of money a lot of people bankrupt and depression starts.

This is a “clever trick” created by the bankers who have noticed that they can lend more money than the one they have since depositors would not take their money, altogether and at the same time, from the banks. This is called fractional reserve banking. The definition given by Quickonomics for fractional reserve banking is the following: “Fractional reserve banking is a banking system in which banks only hold a fraction of the money their customers deposit as reserves. This allows them to use the rest of it to make loans and thereby essentially create new money. This gives commercial banks the power to directly affect money supply. In fact, even though central banks are in charge of controlling money supply, most of the money in modern economies is created by commercial banks through fractional reserve banking”.

Are savings protected?

In the case of Italian debt as in the case of Greek debt, we have heard from politicians (actually paid employees by the bankers) that they want to protect people’s savings. However, are these savings protected in this monetary and banking system? The answer is a simple NO. As mentioned, the banks have low reserves in cash. This is the reason that they need their customers’ trust. In case of a bankrun there would face liquidity problems and they would bankrupt. There are deposit guarantee schemes that reimburse, under EU rules, that protect depositors’ savings by guaranteeing deposits of up to €100,000 but in case of chain reactions, commercial banks need to be saved by the governments and central banks act as lenders’ of last resort.

What next?

The economic system as it is shaped by the power of banks is not viable and it does not serve human values such as freedom, justice and democracy. It is irrational and should be immediately changed if we want humanity to survive.