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STORM SEASON
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

When the Unthinkable Happens, Will Your Assets Be Protected?

The unthinkable can happen at any time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans make more than 29.3 million visits to emergency rooms for unintentional injuries every year. Some of these accidents inevitably result in incapacitation—leaving the victim unable to make important decisions regarding his or her health, assets and final wishes. Though you might not want to believe it’s so, no one is invincible. Consider these important tools you must have in place should the unthinkable happen to you.

A Living Will

If you are incapacitated, and have not authorized anyone to make medical decisions for you, the law requires your doctors to prolong your life even if your condition is not curable or reversible. This means you may languish on life support for months or even years—racking up medical bills that can consume your assets and destroy your family’s financial future.

If you’d prefer to avoid this situation, you need to prepare a living will, also known as a health care directive in some states. This is a legal document that allows you to authorize or decline certain forms of medical care—like mechanical respiration, ventilation, resuscitation and tube feeding—even if you will die as a result of inaction.

HIPAA Authorization

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a law intended to protect the privacy of patients’ health information. While it does not prohibit medical professionals from sharing information about your condition with a close family member (such as a spouse) should you become incapacitated, the provider must be reasonably sure that you would approve of the disclosure and may only discuss topics immediately pertaining to your care.

Because this is such a gray area, doctors caring for incapacitated patients are not required to share information with family or friends. Should your loved ones find you under the care of such a physician, a pre-signed HIPAA authorization is the only way they would be able to obtain necessary information about your condition and treatment.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare

Much like a living will, a power of attorney for healthcare gives you some control over decisions related to your treatment should you become incapacitated. However, rather than a formal statement of your wishes regarding resuscitation and/or life support measures, this legal document—also known in some states as a health-care proxy—allows you to appoint someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you when you are unable to do so for yourself.

Durable Power of Attorney

Healthcare decisions aren’t the only concern when an accident, illness or injury leads to incapacitation. If you’re unable to look after your financial affairs, your assets could be in danger. Fortunately, a durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to authorize someone to handle financial matters on your behalf. You can customize the document to cover a narrow range of transactions or keep it broad to cover all aspects of your finances.

Incapacitating accidents, injuries and illnesses can strike at any time—and regardless of age—so it’s never too soon to plan a strategy for handling them. Consult with your financial planner or advisor and attorney about the right approach for your personal circumstances.