Learn Digital Photography – Setting Goals For Your Photography

The exciting part of any new year is that the year starts on the day you decide. It is not necessarily January where you need to begin. Just be prepared to make a start and set goals for yourself. Let’s take a look at why it’s so important to make goals for your photography.As with anything in life those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Setting goals for yourself will take you further along your photographic journey and help you become a more competent and skilled photographer. Setting out what you want to achieve and by when will stop you from meandering along the journey and make you more focussed as you learn digital photography. So what should you do to set some success photographic goals?1. Determine to shoot moreIn order to become a better photographer you need to shoot more. If you’re not taking photos then you are achieving nothing and cannot learn digital photography effectively. Take small steps and make sure that you have some form of programme to either encourage you or keep you disciplined.2. Shoot a photo a dayI have a challenge I give to my students which is very effective in assisting in point one. The 365 Photo Challenge. Basically all this is is that every day you determine to shoot one image at a specific time of the day. It helps you bring discipline to your photography, learn digital photography more effectively and also keeps you shooting throughout the year. You can either shoot a random shooting programme or choose a weekly, monthly or regular theme.3. Carry your cameraEven if you don’t take your camera everywhere with you, determine that you will take it with you more frequently. If you are not carrying a camera you will lose opportunities and will not be taking photos regularly. If you’re a DSLR user take a compact if you have one and keep it in your pocket or bag.4. Read a photography book or magazine a monthReading a book or magazine a month or if you can afford it, a week, will start giving you insight and inspiration for your photography. What this does is expose you to techniques, tricks and the work of others. Discipline yourself to do this so that you are getting a constant input of new photographic information from which you can learn digital photography.5. Take a photo walk with friendsThere is so much fun doing things with friends and if you can find other friends who have a photographic interest like you, then it’s a recipe for success. People feed off each other’s energy. It is motivating to be with other photographers and you will challenge each other. Before you go, choose a theme or a few concepts to shoot so that you have ideas and a focus or plan.6. Find a mentorIf you’re a beginner, or an even more advanced photographer it pays to find a mentor who will help you move to the next level. Someone you can ask questions of and learn new techniques from and be inspired by. This can be someone you know or someone you’ve met through a forum online. It is a person you can learn from wherever they are. The goal is improving your photos as you learn digital photography.7. Practise, practise, practiseIf you set any goal that includes practising your hobby, by the end of twelve months your improvement will be dramatic. Gary Player, golfing legend and winner of every major golfing tournament, says that the harder he practises the luckier he gets. If this is the only goal you set for yourself over the year, do it. It will bring a huge reward.Setting goals in life is key to success, so, by applying this to your photography is guaranteed to bring you success. So start small and then work towards your bigger goals. This will prevent you giving up too soon into your plan. Keep going and happy shooting!

Captive Insurance Company – Reduce Taxes and Build Wealth

For business owners paying taxes in the United States, captive insurance companies reduce taxes, build wealth and improve insurance protection. A captive insurance company (CIC) is similar in many ways to any other insurance company. It is referred to as “captive” because it generally provides insurance to one or more related operating businesses. With captive insurance, premiums paid by a business are retained in the same “economic family”, instead of being paid to an outsider.Two key tax benefits enable a structure containing a CIC to build wealth efficiently: (1) insurance premiums paid by a business to the CIC are tax deductible; and (2) under IRC § 831(b), the CIC receives up to $1.2 million of premium payments annually income-tax-free. In other words, a business owner can shift taxable income out of an operating business into the low-tax captive insurer. An 831(b) CIC pays taxes only on income from its investments. The “dividends received deduction” under IRC § 243 provides additional tax efficiency for dividends received from its corporate stock investments.Starting about 60 years ago, the first captive insurance companies were formed by large corporations to provide insurance that was either too expensive or unavailable in the conventional insurance market.Over the years, a combination of US tax laws, court cases and IRS rulings has clearly defined the steps and procedures required for the establishment and operation of a CIC by one or more business owners or professionals.To qualify as an insurance company for tax purposes, a captive insurance company must satisfy “risk shifting” and “risk distribution” requirements. This is easily done through routine CIC planning. The insurance provided by a CIC must really be insurance, that is, a genuine risk of loss must be shifted from the premium-paying operating business to the CIC that insures the risk.In addition to tax benefits, principal advantages of a CIC include increased control and increased flexibility, which improve insurance protection and lower cost. With conventional insurance, an outside carrier typically dictates all aspects of a policy. Often, certain risks cannot be insured conventionally, or can only be insured at a prohibitive price. Conventional insurance rates are often volatile and unpredictable, and conventional insurers are prone to deny valid claims by exaggerating petty technicalities. Also, although business insurance premiums are generally deductible, once they are paid to a conventional outside insurer, they are gone forever.A captive insurance company efficiently insures risk in various ways, such as through customized insurance policies, favorable “wholesale” rates from reinsurers, and pooled risk. Captive companies are well suited for insuring risk that would otherwise be uninsurable. Most businesses have conventional “retail” insurance policies for obvious risks, but remain exposed and subject to damages and loss from numerous other risks (i.e., they “self insure” those risks). A captive company can write customized policies for a business’s peculiar insurance needs and negotiate directly with reinsurers. A CIC is particularly well-suited to issue business casualty policies, that is, policies that cover business losses claimed by a business and not involving third-party claimants. For example, a business might insure itself against losses incurred through business interruptions arising from weather, labor problems or computer failure.As noted above, an 831(b) CIC is exempt from taxes on up to $1.2 million of premium income annually. As a practical matter, a CIC makes economic sense when its annual receipt of premiums is about $300,000 or more. Also, a business’s total payments of insurance premiums should not exceed 10 percent of its annual revenues. A group of businesses or professionals having similar or homogeneous risks can form a multiple-parent captive (or group captive) insurance company and/or join a risk retention group (RRG) to pool resources and risks.A captive insurance company is a separate entity with its own identity, management, finances and capitalization requirements. It is organized as an insurance company, having procedures and personnel to administer insurance policies and claims. An initial feasibility study of a business, its finances and its risks determines if a CIC is appropriate for a particular economic family. An actuarial study identifies appropriate insurance policies, corresponding premium amounts and capitalization requirements. After selection of a suitable jurisdiction, application for an insurance license may proceed. Fortunately, competent service providers have developed “turnkey” solutions for conducting the initial evaluation, licensing, and ongoing management of captive insurance companies. The annual cost for such turnkey services is typically about $50,000 to $150,000, which is high but readily offset by reduced taxes and enhanced investment growth.A captive insurance company may be organized under the laws of one of several offshore jurisdictions or in a domestic jurisdiction (i.e., in one of 39 US states). Some captives, such as a risk retention group (RRG), must be licensed domestically. Generally, offshore jurisdictions are more accommodating than domestic insurance regulators. As a practical matter, most offshore CICs owned by a US taxpayer elect to be treated under IRC § 953(d) as a domestic company for federal taxation. An offshore CIC, however, avoids state income taxes. The costs of licensing and managing an offshore CIC are comparable to or less than doing so domestically. More importantly, an offshore company offers better asset protection opportunities than a domestic company. For example, an offshore irrevocable trust owning an offshore captive insurance company provides asset protection against creditors of the business, grantor and other beneficiaries while allowing the grantor to enjoy benefits of the trust.For US business owners paying substantial insurance premiums every year, a captive insurance company efficiently reduces taxes and builds wealth and can be easily integrated into asset protection and estate planning structures. Up to $1.2 million of taxable income can be shifted as deductible insurance premiums from an operating business to a low-tax CIC.Warning & Disclaimer: This is not legal or tax advice.Internal Revenue Service Circular 230 Disclosure: As provided for in Treasury regulations, advice (if any) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.Copyright 2011 – Thomas Swenson

How to Research Insurance Companies

Before you subscribe an insurance you need to understand how insurance companies work. To help understand that we have provided a detailed explanation of Insurance Companies Business Model based on internet research and talking with some friends that are experts and work on the insurance professional field. Let’s breakdown the model in components:
Underwriting and investing
Claim
Marketing
Underwriting and investingOn raw terms we can say that the Insurance Companies business model is to bring together more value in premium and investment income than the value that is expended in losses and at the same time to present a reasonable price which the clients will accept.The earnings can be described by the following formula:Earnings = earned premium + investment income – incurred loss – underwriting expenses.Insurance Companies gain their wealth with these two methods:
Underwriting, is the process that Insurance companies use to select the risk to be insured and chooses the value of the premiums to be charged for accepting those risks.
Investing the values received on premiums.
There is a complex side aspect on the Insurance Companies business model that is the actuarial science of price setting, based on statistics and probability to estimate the value of future claims within a given risk. Following the price setting, the insurance company will consent or refuse the risks using the underwriting process.Taking a look at the frequency and severity of the insured liabilities and estimated payment average is what ratemaking at a simple level is. What companies do is check all those historical data concerning losses they had and update it on today’s values and then comparing it to the premiums earned for a rate adequacy assessment. Companies use also expense load and loss ratios. Simply putting this we can say that the comparison of losses with loss relativities is how rating different risks characteristics are done. For example a policy with the double losses should charge a premium with the double value. Of course there is space for more complexes calculations with multivariable analysis and parametric calculation, always taking data history as it inputs to be used on the probability of future losses assessment.The companies underwriting profit is the amount of premium value collected when the policy ends minus the amount of paid value on claims. Also we have the underwriting performance A.K.A. the combined ratio. This is measured by dividing the losses and expenses values by the premium values. If it is over 100% we call it underwriting loss and if it is below the 100% then we call it the underwriting profit. Don’t forget as part of the Companies business model there is the investment part which means that the companies can have profit even with the existence of underwriting losses.The Float is how insurance companies earn their investment profits. It is amount of value collected in premium within a given time and that has not paid out in claims. The investment of the float starts when the insurance companies receive the payments from the premiums and end when the claims are paid out. As it is this time frame is the duration from which the interest is earned.The insurance companies from the United States that operate on casualty and property insurance had an underwriting loss of $142 Billion in the five years ending on the year of 2003, and for the same period had an overall profit of $68 Billion consequence of the float. Many professionals from the industry think that is possible to always achieve profit from the float not having necessarily a underwriting profit. Of course there are many thinking streams on this matter.Finally one important think you should consider when subscribing a new insurance is that in economically depressed times the markets have bear trends and the insurance companies run away from float investments and causes a need to reassess the values of the premiums which means higher prices. So this is not a good time to subscribe or renew your insurances.The changing on profit and nonprofit times is called underwriting cycles.ClaimsThe actual “product” paid for in insurance companies industry are the claims and loss handling as we can call it the materialized utility of insurance companies. The Insurance Companies representatives or negotiators can help the clients fill the claims or they can be filled directly by the companies.The massive amount of claims are employed by the claim adjusters and supported by the records management staff and data entry clerks within the Companies claims department. The classification of the clams are made on severity criteria basis and allocated to the claim adjusters. The claim adjusters have variable settlement authority according to each ones experience and knowledge. After the allocation, follows the investigation with collaboration of the customer to define if it is covered by the contract. The investigation outputs de value and the payment approval to the client.Sometimes a public adjuster can be hired by the client to negotiate an agreement with the insurance companies on his behalf. On more complex policies where the claims are hard to manage the client may and normally uses the a separate policy add on for the cover of the cost of the public adjuster, called the loss recovery insurance.When managing claims handling functions, the companies tries to steady the requirements for customer contentment, expenses of administrative and over payment leakages. Insurance bad faith usually comes from this equilibrium act that causes fraudulent insurance practices which are a major risk that are manage and overcome by the companies. The dispute between the clients and insurance companies often leads to litigation. The claims handling practices and the validity of claims are the escalating issues.MarketingInsurance Companies use negotiators and representatives to initiate the market and underwrite their clients. These negotiators are bond to a sole company or they are freelancers, which mean that they can rules and terms from many other insurance companies. It is proven the accomplishment of Insurance Companies goals is due to dedicated and tailored made services supplied by the representatives.http://healthnmoney.com/top-20-best-life-subjects/insurance-companies-business-model/