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Day: July 20, 2016

Property Tax – Pros and Cons

Property tax can be the fairest and at the same time the not so fair tax collected by municipalities.

Two of the determining factors of how it can affect what an individual will pay for this type of tax are where you live and a person’s economic condition.

Even though we all can appreciate the good points of owning a home vs. renting, when it comes to property tax, renting is by far the better option. States will collect property tax on the following:

Any additions to the property such as improvements to the land

Land itself

Any structures that are not permanent to the property

The assessment is commonly made by an exclusive county tax collector in each state. An individual’s property and land will be appraised of its value and subsequently mailed as a tax payment notice. This usually is paid through a homeowner’s escrow amount stated on their mortgage.

Many times this can negatively affect a property or land owner as the taxes in a specific state can sometimes double or triple in amount and leave the homeowner unable to afford to pay their taxes, forcing them to sell their property or land.

People on a fixed income such as Senior citizens who have retired, can be greatly affected by the increase of property tax. The value of their homes increase, but at the same time they find themselves unable to pay their taxes because of their reduced income. Unfortunately, property tax doesn’t allow much wiggle room in the event of acts of nature or personal tragedy.

Although 2.3 seems to be the average percentage for property tax, it varies greatly from state to state, making it seem highly unfair for certain states such as New Hampshire, as it is a high 4.9 percent.

It also seem unfair when states like Alabama pay 1.3 percent and yet just a little distance away in neighboring Georgia would be required to pay 2.6 percent, then even more in Florida at a rate of 3.1 percent.

So who determines how the money generated from this income is spent or in some cases wasted? The state legislatures will determine this along with the decision to increase or decrease property tax and how frequent it is collected.

Even though property tax can absolutely help states with income,the amount of property tax to be paid can be a determining factor in one’s decision where to reside to achieve the American Dream of land or home ownership.…

What Is First Notice Of Loss And Why Is It Important To Both Policy Holders And Insurers?

Most people and companies are often unaware that when they first contact their insurance provider to report theft, loss or damage that they are actually contacting a first notice of loss (FNOL) call center. FNOL call centers typically operate 365 days a year, round the clock, ensuring policy holders can easily report a loss, and further, that the respective insurance companies receive timely and accurate claim loss data.

First notice of loss operations are sometimes staffed internally, but more frequently these days, the operations are outsourced to a specialist. As one can imagine with any 24/7 by 365 day a year operation, staffing, training and accurate claims intake are challenging for any organization. There are different types of vendors which offer solutions for FNOL, some offer software, others offer a comprehensive call center based on a proprietary application, and still others customize their call center operation to accommodate any platform. These are platform agnostic vendors who claim to work with insurance companies’ existing platforms.

Why is first notice of loss important to both policy holders and insurance companies? Obviously the key function of a notice of loss is to alert the responsible insurance entity as to the theft or destruction of something which is covered under the terms of the policy. In some cases, notification will precede the filing of a formal claim. In certain circumstances, the insured may contact a FNOL representative and follow specific rules of engagement relating to the policy parameters. This is happens often when a provider underwrites different types of insurance coverage and uses a specific format for each type of policy offered to consumers. Herein lies the challenge for many insurers, and the frustration for many of those insured, as policy specifics dictate both the necessary information intake, and the resulting claims processing process. In many cases, speed is of the essence. For example, theft relating to jewelry would require very specific loss notification, and further, rapid notification to the authorities and insurance provider can help result in improved odds of recovery.

First notice of loss has also been undergoing a metamorphosis offering insurers an opportunity to demonstrate their relative professionalism at a time where their policy holders are likely upset and under stress. This is an optimum time, regardless of whether the call center is in house or outsourced to demonstrate a customer centric attitude increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Thus, first notice of loss (FNOL) is a critical component of client satisfaction and customer retention.…