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Hurricane Odile Slams Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Exactly one month ago, my wife Joanelle and I were vacationing in beautiful Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Fast forward one month to Monday 9/15, Hurricane Odile left the town a ‘Demolished Paradise.’ The storm roared through as a Category 3 packing 125-mph wind.

It’s sad and disturbing to see the stories, photos and videos in the news. One video that stands out the most to me is this one of El Arco de Cabo San Lucas:

Compare this with our photos of this very same spot taken on 8/16/14:

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photo 1I’m wishing everyone who’s been affected the best and I hope Cabo can rebound quickly from the devastation to become the beautiful place it truly is.

-JK

Employers Rethink Benefits

According to the new Aflac Workforces Report, 49% of employers agree that controlling costs is the top business issue facing companies today. In 2013, as a result of Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation and rising costs, businesses:

  • Eliminated or delayed raises (32%)
  • Eliminated or cut back on benefits (22%)
  • Changed some full-time workers to part-time workers (21%)
  • Reduced the number of major medical plan options (14%)

Credit:  iamagazine.com

-JK

Loyola Marymount Alumni for Others National Day of Service

This past Saturday, Joanelle and I participated in Loyola Marymount University’s National Day of Service at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.  As volunteers, we helped assemble food packages for over 23,000 low income seniors, women with infants, and children in Los Angeles County. The food packages consist of food items like canned fruit, canned vegetables, rice, cereal, juice, and other non-perishable food items. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distributes 60 million pounds of food and product annually through a network of over 640 charitable agencies with more than 1,000 sites. The Food Bank is one of the largest organizations of its kind in the United States and it relies on the support of foundations, individual and corporate donors, agency support, government funding and volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, get more information HERE.

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Here’s a video on some of the services the LARF provides:

-JK

Governor Brown Declares Drought State of Emergency in California

From the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. 

SAN FRANCISCO – With California facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.

CA Drought“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Governor Brown. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”

In the State of Emergency declaration, Governor Brown directed state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages. The Governor also directed state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters and initiated a greatly expanded water conservation public awareness campaign (details at saveourh2o.org).

In addition, the proclamation gives state water officials more flexibility to manage supply throughout California under drought conditions.

State water officials say that California’s river and reservoirs are below their record lows. Manual and electronic readings record the snowpack’s statewide water content at about 20 percent of normal average for this time of year.

The Governor’s drought State of Emergency follows a series of actions the administration has taken to ensure that California is prepared for record dry conditions. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights. In December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations, California’s preparedness for water scarcity and whether conditions merit a drought declaration. Earlier this week, the Governor toured the Central Valley and spoke with growers and others impacted by California’s record dry conditions.

-JK

 

Top 10 U.S. Business Risks for 2014

According to the “Allianz Risk Barometer,” a survey from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE, the top 10 U.S. Business Risks are:

  1. Business interruption, supply chain (61 percent)
  2. Natural catastrophes (58 percent)
  3. Fire/explosion (24 percent)
  4. Loss of reputation, brand value (17 percent)
  5. Cyber crime, IT failure, espionage (15 percent)
  6. Intensified competition (12 percent)
  7. Quality deficiencies, serial defects (10 percent)
  8. Environmental changes (10 percent)
  9. Changes in legislation and regulation (10 percent)
  10. Market stagnation or decline (10 percent)

Loss of reputation or brand value joined the top 10 list, and was the fourth ranked business risk as cited by U.S. companies.  Cybercrime, including IT failures and espionage, were No. 5. Those rankings were lower for non-U.S. companies, which ranked cyber at No. 8 and loss of reputation at No. 6.

Source: Insurance Networking News

-JK

Minimum Wage Increases for 2014

As of December 1, 2013, 14 states, including California, have announced an increase in their minimum wage rate. In addition to California, these states are: New York, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Employers in these states should review their employees’ wage payment rates and update their minimum wage poster requirements as necessary to ensure their compliance with state regulations.

Here are the 2014 minimum wage rates for all of these states:

2014 Minimum Wage Rates-JK

2014 Marketing Ideas

As 2013 comes winding down to a close, I’ve been thinking long and hard of new ways and ideas to market myself as a reputable business insurance agent/broker. How about a sign waving mannequin in front of the agency?

This commands respect! I’m sure the neighbors in Torrance and Palos Verdes would love seeing this on their sidewalks.  And business owners will be lining up to talk about their insurance needs.

Back to the drawing board…

-JK

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