By: Cherry Guidry | Claims Manager
It is recommended that Beneficiary Cards be completed and updated annually on every VFIS policy. A separate Beneficiary Card can be completed by the individual for each VFIS policy or one Beneficiary Card can be completed for multiple VFIS policies. It is important that the Type of Policy (use the drop-down feature), Policyholder Name (ie VFD, ESD, County, SFFMA, etc) and Policy Number be completed for each policy on the Beneficiary Card. If no Beneficiary Card is completed on any particular policy, then a letter will be requested from the Policyholder stating such and the claim will be paid according to the policy provisions which is usually stated as follows:
If there is no designated beneficiary or no designated beneficiary is living after the Insured’s death, the benefits will be paid, in equal shares, to the survivors in the first surviving class of those that follow: the Insured’s (1) spouse; (2) children; (3) parents; or (4) brothers and sisters. If no class has a survivor, the beneficiary is the Insured’s estate.”
2020 Rural Volunteer Fire Department Insurance Program (HB 3667) - The Rural Volunteer Fire Department Insurance Program (HB 3667) is a grant program designed to reimburse eligible volunteer fire departments for the purchase of insurance from private insurance companies. Eligible coverage includes any combination of compensation insurance for firefighters (workers’ compensation, accidental death and dismemberment, group term life, accident and sickness, and/or cancer-related insurance) purchased from Texas insurance companies. The program will reimburse 100% of the actual cost of eligible insurance coverage up to a maximum of $175 per fire department member.
Recognized, non-profit volunteer fire departments operated by its members are eligible. Any part-paid/part-volunteer department is also eligible, provided the number of paid members is 20 or less. Departments may enter into agreements with cities or counties in order to qualify for coverage and/or special premiums.
All eligible departments must participate in a firefighter certification program administered under Section 419.071 of the Texas Government Code (Texas Commission on Fire Protection), or by the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Association of Texas (SFFMA), or by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).
TO APPLY, PLEASE COMPLETE AND SUBMIT BEFORE JULY 31, 2020:
1) Rural Volunteer Fire Department Application for Grant Assistance (Form TFS-FO-408)
2) Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (IRS Form W-9)
3) Roster of active fire department members.
4) Copy of a Payroll Classification Schedule Page 1 and 2, or a copy of the current paid insurance policy which provides insurance coverage during the calendar year 2020, or payment receipt for a workers’ compensation, accidental death and dismemberment, group term life, accident and sickness, or cancer-related insurance policy.
• The policy or payment documents must show the policy number, the cost or premium amount and the coverage period.
• All required reimbursement documents must accompany the 2020 grant application form.
• Applications, either complete or incomplete, arriving after July 31, 2020 are not eligible for reimbursement.
• ONLY ONE application per department will be reimbursed for the enrollment period of November 2019 thru July 2020.
All forms can be found at texasfd.com/RuralVFDInsuranceProgram or by contacting the Capacity Building Department.
SUBMIT VIA FAX, EMAIL OR MAIL FAX TO:
Texas A&M Forest Service
200 Technology Way, Suite 1162
College Station, Texas 77845-3424
Whether we like it or not, things change. Each year during the Annual Enrollment Period, it is recommended that you review your plan because one small change can mean a very large difference in out of pocket costs. Here are some things to keep in mind:
There will be multiple live events in Houston the weekend of November 16-17th. If you are interested in attending, or would like more information, please contact Jon Fuller at 801-816-0505 or email@example.com.
2020 MEDICARE & MARKETPLACE EXCHANGE OPEN ENROLLMENT
It's about you! Your Health. Your Choice. Your Time.
SFFMA members can now secure health insurance with Major Medical (Under 65) and Medicare (Over 65).
Shop Plans Now!
Get familiar with the website and plans available before open enrollment starts.
With Tropical Storm Imelda upon us, we want to remind everyone to be as safe as possible, even as the need for your services increases. With that being said, here are some resources and procedures to help after the storm.
After the Storm
Claims should be turned in ASAP. The sooner a claim is submitted, the quicker the adjusters can get the assignment. We are recommending if there is any damage to an apparatus that you take a photo showing the height of the water on the apparatus (i.e. water line mark on the apparatus). This will help the adjusters determine what will be needed: repairs, fluid replacement, or just inspection. In addition, you should set aside damaged property for inspection and assemble an inventory of damaged items. If your building is flooded, please contact a mitigation contractor immediately to start the water extraction process.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WinStar Insurance Group dba VFIS of Texas has been selected to be part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the United States participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America Big “I” “Best Practices” Study Group.
Only 267 independent agencies throughout the U.S. qualified for inclusion in the 2019 Best Practices Study. An IIABA affiliated state association or an insurance company must first nominate the agency which then must qualify based on outstanding customer retention, growth, stability and financial management. More than 1,300 agencies were nominated this year.
The Best Practices Study was initiated by IIABA in 1993 as the foundation for efforts to improve agency performance. The annual study of leading independent insurance agencies, which is conducted for IIABA by Reagan Consulting of Atlanta, Ga., documents the business practices of these high performance agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.
Hundreds of workshops and seminars have been conducted at various producer association functions, company sponsored agency meetings and national automation users group conventions.
The IIABA and Reagan Consulting jointly maintain the Best Practices Gateway website (http://www.reaganconsulting.com/research/best-practices) that provides executive summaries of the annual Best Practices Studies, the Best Practices Study Comparison Workbook tool and ordering information for Best Practices products. The Gateway, as well as the annual study, is made possible in part through the financial sponsorship of various insurance companies and industry organizations.
The 2019 Best Practices Study sponsors include: Agency Business Solutions and Amerisure, Applied, Beyond Insurance, Central Insurance Companies, Chubb, EMC Insurance, Encompass/Allstate, The Hanover Insurance Group, The Hartford, Imperial PFS, InsurBanc, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Safeco Insurance, MetLife, Nationwide, Travelers, Vertafore and Westfield Insurance.
WinStar Insurance Group LLC dba VFIS of Texas purchased the assets of Regnier & Associates, Inc. on October 1, 2016.
Regnier & Associates, Inc. was founded in May of 1982 providing coverage through the VFIS program for emergency service organizations in Texas. WinStar Insurance Group LLC also dedicates our time insuring niche industries including craft beverage, water districts, commercial ambulances, child care facilities and more and is dedicated to continuing the vision and commitment that Regnier & Associates, Inc. has provided for the past 34 years.
For more information on the Best Practices Study, contact Jennifer Becker at IIABA, 1-800-221-7917.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance – property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement precuts. Web address: www.independentagent.com.
* COVERAGE EFFECTIVE DATE IS AUGUST 1, 2019 *
OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR EMPLOYERS AND INDIVIDUALS TO ENROLL IS JUNE 1ST TO JULY 15TH
*We have reached our 500 member minimum threshold for coverage to go into effect August 1st! However, if you miss the July 15th deadline, you can still enroll at a later date. See schedule below:
Deadline Effective Date
SFFMA and VFIS of Texas have secured a Group Cancer & Critical Illness Insurance Plan that provides 24 hour (on the job and off the job) coverage.
This Cancer & Critical Illness Insurance is available to employers (paid & volunteers) and individual members.
Download a Sample Policy Proposal for Detailed Plan Info
*Initial diagnosis of covered critical illness must occur while the insured is covered under the group policy. If the insured has a reoccurrence of a prior covered illness after coverage begins then the plan pays under the, Reoccurrence Benefit: If a critical illness benefit is payable and there is a subsequent diagnosis or recommendation for the same critical illness, a reoccurrence benefit equal to 25% of the coverage amount is payable if the insured meet both of the following: The insured has been continuously insured under the group policy between the initial and subsequent diagnosis or recommendation. The insured has served a 12-month treatment free period during such continuous insurance.
Workers’ Compensation insurer Texas Mutual Insurance Co. announced plans to distribute $330 million in dividends to policyholders in 2019. The dividends will be distributed to over 55,000 business owners, who are policyholder owners of the company, in late June.
Texas Mutual paid its first dividend in 1999, and this year’s payout brings the total to $2.8 billion delivered back to Texas businesses over the last 21 years. The dividend program is the company’s way of sharing its success with its customers who prevent workplace accidents and help injured workers get back on the job. Watch the video below to find out more about how ownership pays at Texas Mutual.
Visit Texas Mutual's website by CLICKING HERE to learn more and read FAQ's on Workers' Comp Policyholder Dividends.
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease. In the US, approximately 39 out of 100 men and 38 out of 100 women will develop cancer during their lifetime.
In the United States, 1,762,450 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2019. This estimate does not include carcinoma in situ (noninvasive cancer) of any site except urinary bladder, nor does it include basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers because these are not required to be reported to cancer registries. About 606,880 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2019, which translates to about 1,660 deaths per day.
A breakdown of some of the most common types of cancer and the estimated number of new cancer cases and deaths in the US for 2019:
In Texas, 124,890 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2019 and 41,300 Texans are expected to die of cancer in 2019. To put this into perspective, the number of new cancer cases expected in Texas in 2019 is similar to the entire city population of Round Rock, Carrollton, Abilene, The Woodlands or Pearland. The expected number of cancer deaths in Texas in 2019 is similar to the entire city population of San Marcos, Grapevine, Galveston, Spring or DeSoto.
According to Forbes (contributor Arlene Weintraub on August 10, 2017), the median monthly out-of-pocket costs for cancer treatments is $703 or $8,436 annually. This is where WinStar Insurance Group can help. Cancer / Critical Illness Insurance helps supplement your major medical coverage by providing a lump-sum benefit that you can use to pay direct and indirect costs.
For more information or a free quote on Cancer / Critical Illness insurance, contact Tom Newby at 512-628-5189 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONGRATULATIONS to the following recipients of the 2019 Emergency Responder Health and Wellness Grant sponsored by VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual! We received a record-breaking 126 grant applications requesting more than $542,000. Award letters will be sent to each of these recipients in the next few days.
Applications for the 2020 Health & Wellness Grant will open in July/August 2019. Stay tuned!
VFIS of Texas NEWS
Here you will find helpful information regarding firefighters, ems responders, and updates in insurance policies.