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Insurance

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We all invest in insurance policies because we have something to protect. Whether it’s our home, the latest electronics or even our lives, we pay a fair chunk of money just to ensure that if we were to lose or break those things, we’d be able to get some compensation back. However, as honest as most of us are with our claims, some people can’t resist the temptation of making an insurance claim on some ridiculous things.


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A for arson

Tramesha Lashon Fox was a high school chemistry teacher that taught in Aldine. She was three months behind on her car payments so she thought up a “brilliant” plan to resolve the issue. She spoke to two students in her class who had failing grades and offered them a deal: torch her car and she’d give them passing grades. Needless to say, the plan failed and she was unsuccessful in her insurance claim. Sadly, she was also jailed for arson and was banned from ever teaching again.

Skype stage fright

All the way in England, a proud grandfather once held his baby grandson up to the laptop in order to show his friend on Skype. As he held the baby, they vomited all over the laptop, getting it caught between the keys and damaging the internals as it seeped into the hardware. He successfully made a claim and received a brand new laptop worth £437 ($545) as compensation. Perhaps the baby just doesn’t like being on camera?

Hail on earth

If you live in a state such as Texas or Colorado, then you’re probably no stranger to hail damage. In fact, they’re so powerful that they can punch massive holes in your home or even your car! Without a professional firm for hail damage insurance claims to back you up, you’re going to be paying a lot in repairs. Just don’t make the mistake that one man did back in the 90s. Block and Hyland Insurance received a claim from a man who claimed his car was battered by hail. His claim was ultimately unsuccessful, as the damage was discovered to have been made by a hammer and a nail, not hail!

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Alone in the dark

A British farmer found himself moving cows across his farm late at night. Due to the lack of light, he was forced to his a torch app on his smartphone in order to see where he was going. Sadly, it somehow got lost in the rear end of one of his cows and he was forced to make a claim. Although it sounds ridiculous, the claim was accepted and the farmer received full compensation for his phone.

Killer house

Due to some unfortunate accidents, a farm owner’s house burned down so he made his first claim to get a new one. However, a couple of weeks in, he noticed that insects would regularly come into the house and die as soon as they approached the basement. Upon further investigation, the farmer remembered that he had been storing pesticides in the basement, and during the fire, it dissolved into the concrete of the basement and created a toxic environment that was harmful to everything. Another claim was made, the house was demolished, and he received yet another home—this time including the basement.

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During the 2016 presidential election both candidates discussed turning around the economy. It was the one topic that all Americans seemed to agree on. In 2014, the average American family earned $53,657 a year. CNN Money reports that this was the third year that the median household income stagnated. As Americans were not seeing a speedy recovery (we seem to forget the lesson of The Tortoise and the Hare) despite “[the] improving economy and falling unemployment [rate]…” they voted for someone who promised to cut their taxes in half and bring back jobs, but it’s not that easy.

Bills, Loans and Debt—Oh My!

According to U.S. News and World Report, there are five things preventing Americans from keeping their heads above water, we’re going to take a look at four:

  1. Student Loan Debt

Close to 70 percent of four-year degree graduates are in debt, including the writer of this article that you’re currently reading. The federal student loan balance is over $1.1 trillion and has quadrupled over the last decade. American adults aged between 18-34 years old are unable to buy a house, bringing the mortgage shares of this age group down to a 30-year low. Young people are unable to move out of their parents’ house upon graduation, with 36 percent still living with their parents as of 2012.

  1. Credit Card Debt

With the average credit card interest rate being just over 15 percent, it’s no wonder the average American household owes an average of $7,281 in debt, but, excluding the households that don’t carry debt, the average outstanding balance quickly spikes to $15,609. Time Magazine reports that it is in fact unusual for Americans to pay off their credit card bill in full. As the remaining credit card balance increases, Americans find it harder and harder to pay the bill at all.

Image source Flickr

Image source Flickr

Let’s breakdown how Americans are spending their money annually:

  • Food: $6,602
  • Housing: $17,148
  • Transportation: $9,004
  • Entertainment: $2,482
  • Healthcare: $3,631

This comes to a total of $38,867. Now subtract this number from the average American family’s take-home pay, and you have $14,790 leftover. What if you experience an accident? What if your car is totaled? What if your house burns down? What if your apartment is burgled and vandalized? You can’t prevent accidents from happening. If you forgo insurance to pay for other things, can you afford the repairs and replacements?

While there are services out there that offer less than the average cost of auto, homeowners and renters insurance, bills are still bills. To afford what we need, we need to examine closely what it is we’re spending our money on.

  1. Über Consumerism

Every time Apple comes out with a new commercial about the latest iPhone, you might find yourself listing off reasons as to why you need to upgrade your plan to get it. When your friend gets a new car, you might question why you’re still driving a 2005 Honda Accord. The idea of needing the newest and best thing now is what gets us into trouble. We swipe our cards for purchase before we understand what it is we’re really getting into: bigger bills, more debt.

  1. Car Loan Debt

It’s okay to drive a vehicle that is 10-years-old. If it has low mileage and you perform regular maintenance checks, your car is going to continue to purr like a kitten for years to come. Why would you trade in a perfectly good vehicle for a newer model? Some argue it’s for the better safety features, others argue it’s because it won’t be long before parts stop being made for your car, making maintenance impossible. Here’s the thing: car loans are rising and the value of your vehicle depreciates over time. Is it really worth getting a $25,000 loan when your car won’t be worth even that in two years?

It costs money to live, but you shouldn’t be drowning in debt. Take care of yourself by taking care of your finances.

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Are you slowly sinking under the burden of your payday loans? Are you feeling encumbered and completely clueless as to how to reduce your debt? This article aims to discuss some methods or ways that can help you to find a lasting solution or at least cope with the situation better.

 

Why are personal loans better?

 

Personal loans like term loans or installment loans whether you are considering them for a long term or a moderately long term or short term are the best option if you are thinking about managing a big investment or you need to money to meet your recurring shortfalls. A payday loan can get you through a very short-term crisis but if you fail to pay the principal along with the interest, the debt will mount and you may have to pay an APR (annual percentage rate) in excess of 400%. It is one of the costliest financing options.

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On the other hand, a short-term personal loan or a term loan has a fixed repayment schedule, a fixed rate of interest, is much more transparent, provides more legal protection to the borrower and is easier to pay off as they give more time and the interest rate is manageable.

 

For example, flex loans from Cashco Financial are consumer-friendly short to moderately long term loans which provide security to the customer. It takes care of long-term needs of the customer and helps him to improve his credit score. Every time, you pay off your monthly bill, a report is filed with a credit reporting agency in Canada and this helps to significantly improve it, if you don’t default on payments.

 

You can also use flex loans for consolidating and paying off other loans that you have accrued. You can borrow a flex loan online or visit one of the stores in 62 locations across four provinces in Canada to apply for one. A soft credit check is conducted and the loan is sanctioned in most cases. It is completely hassle-free and you will be protected by Cashco’s client-first policy throughout the journey. You will also receive counseling and any legal help that you may require.

 

The company aims to provide financial service to the unbanked section of Canada by providing pawn loans. In addition to long-term flex loans, the company also provides single payment payday loans, auto loans and also pre-settlement funding to the needy.

 

Personal loans also provide a higher borrowing limit than payday loans because they are designed to take care of such financial needs that require bigger investment. The interest rate is usually lower than credit card rates as well.

 

How to pay off payday loans on time?

 

  1. Supplement your day income with additional incomes: If you think that you may fall short of meeting your financial obligation to pay off your payday loan or if you have been steadily building up a debt, you can explore the possibility of considering some income generating sources that pay you decent money quickly. Internet allows you to make quick money. You could work as a freelance writer, take online surveys, do product and app reviews, choose and use a search engine which pays you for using it, if you have a knack for art, you could sell your items on Etsy, sell your used items on Craiglist or in flea markets, work as a dog-walker, do baby-sitting, bartending or anything that suites you.
  2. Work out a settlement plan: Most scrupulous lenders have a hardship program for such clients who find themselves in troubled waters through no fault of their own. For example, if you get laid off without any prior notice after you have taken a payday loan, the lender may be willing to let your off by just collecting the principal or a smaller amount of interest. Sometimes, they will give you more time. But, it’s best not to rollover your debt again and again if you are not in a position to pay because it just adds up.
  3. Repay using your RRSP fund or your life insurance policy: It is just better to pay off your payday loan, however insignificant, rather than letting it build up. If needed, borrow money against your life insurance or registered retirement savings plan funds to pay off the loan first. If you pay before the payday loan builds up, you won’t have to lose too much on the maturity amount of your savings plans.

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If you’re lucky enough to have a motorcycle, you’re probably riding it around constantly, enjoying its economic and convenient value to the fullest. However, like all vehicles you have to park it on the street. This can be problematic depending on your area’s busyness and crime.

 

Accidents can and will happen, even when your prized motorcycle is stationary and out of the way. So what happens if your bike gets hit by another car while parked?

 

Let’s take a look below.

 

Do You Know Who Did It?

If you didn’t actually see someone strike your bike, then they are being a good Samaritan by telling you, or a good Samaritan happened to be in the right place to capture the hit-and-run driver’s info. While people shouldn’t strive to be hit and run drivers, according to USA Today, it happens more often than any insurance company or motorcycle owner is willing to admit. Assuming that either you saw it or someone saw it and let you know (a witness), you have the ability to make them pay for it. Any specifics like vehicle type and color, and ideally, a license plate number will be your best bet in getting the at-fault party to pay for damages.

Photo Flickr

Photo Flickr

 

What is the State Law?

If another driver is able to claim that your bike was parked too far out in the street, or if they can say that both parties were equally negligent (say your kickstand wasn’t secure or you were parked on a hill), then you have to be careful. According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance liability differs from state to state, and if you are even partially negligent or you happen to reside in a no-fault state, then under certain accidents and claims you might not be able to have the other driver pay (or pay fully) for their damages.

 

It’s important to know your state’s law, and also what you’re covered for when you actually obtain quotes. Your policy can always step in but you will need to compare motorcycle insurance quotes from a handful of different providers to truly know what you’re getting coverage-wise.

 

Can You Prove It?

As terrible and pessimistic as it is to say, can you prove that someone actually knocked over your bike? You obviously have the best of intentions, but what if someone made a claim against you that had no backing? Would you really want to be liable for any claim or remark that someone made about you even if they didn’t have any proof? The road goes both ways in this scenario in that if you can’t prove someone else hit your bike and knocked it over, then you may have a hard time getting their policy to pay.

 

Comprehensive Coverage?

You’ll obviously want to sort things out as quickly as possible if your bike is hit while parked, but rest assured you’ll be covered with a comprehensive package. Comprehensive coverage for motorcycles is the same as if a car was damaged during a hit and run; someone else is at fault, so they should pay. If fault cannot be determined (or you can’t prove it), then you’ll still be covered from a comprehensive point of view.

The only thing that you’ll be on the hook for in a worst-case scenario is your deductible, and you might even be able to get that back if you can prove fault is on the other party.

 

While you might get upset with the legal system of some states, and possibly even lose faith in other motorists on the road, you can at least be at ease when it comes to the protection and maintenance of your motorcycle. As long as you have quality coverage then you know you’ll be covered in any incident. Paying anything, even a few hundred dollars toward your deductible in an incident you didn’t cause, is annoying, but it’s small change compared to not having adequate coverage and having to pay big dollars should the hit-and-run driver get away scot-free.

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Today, we’re going to talk about a crucial part of your personal finances; insurance. More specifically, we’re looking at four types of insurance you need to have:

car-insurance

(Picture via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/snzzRc)

Car Insurance

This is perhaps the most well-known and talked about insurance. If you ask someone to name an insurance type, the majority will say car insurance. But, what is it and why do you need it? Basically, it insures your car against different kinds of damage. This means that if you get into an accident, your insurance provider will pay for any repairs that are needed. Obviously, this can save you a lot of money, and I mean a lot. If your car is severely damaged, you can get it fixed through your provider and save tonnes of money. Without insurance, you might have had to fork out lots of money on a new car. Plus, it’s illegal to drive a motor vehicle without it being insured. So, you have to make sure you’ve got it for your car. There are tonnes of providers out there that will give you quotes depending on a few factors. Age, gender, driving experience, and the car you drive can all have a bearing.

Home Insurance

Another type of insurance that you must have is all to do with your home. Yes, home insurance is essential for anyone that owns property. With it, you’ll get the option to protect two aspects of your house. You can get accidental damage cover and contents cover. The first of which will protect you if your home gets damaged for whatever reason. Maybe a storm damaged your roof, or someone broke your window. Either way, if your home insurance covers this, you’ll have the repairs paid for. Contents cover will protect you if your house ever gets burgled. If someone steals items from your house, you’ll be covered. Similarly, home insurances will protect your possessions if they get damaged in floods, etc. Some companies will give you replacement items free of charge. If you own a property, then you can’t forget about home insurance, trust me.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is something that no one likes to think about, but it’s very important. You see, we get life insurance to cover our family in case we die. As you can tell, this is a very sensitive topic, which is why people don’t like thinking about it. No one wants to talk about death, but sometimes you have to. With life insurance, your family will get money paid to them, if you pass away. This means they’re going to be financially stable when you’re gone. You may be the primary money maker in your house, so if you’re not there to earn money, they could be in trouble. Thankfully, life insurance ensures that your family finances are not ruined by your death. Types of life insurance can vary, some come with critical illness cover, others have certain requirements. Although you don’t like to think about it, death is inevitable. It makes sense to give your family some financial gain when you pass away.

Health insurance

(Image Source: http://goo.gl/15HNMR)

Health Insurance

One of the most important things in life is your health. If you aren’t healthy, you need to get treatment and see a doctor. Doctors can help you get better and back to feeling your best. When you have health insurance, seeing medical professions is a lot easier. In fact, some institutions only accept people that have insurance. What health insurance does is protect your health and wellbeing. It can cover the cost of doctors appointments, operations, physical therapy, etc. Without it, it’s very hard to find reliable, high level, medical care. Sure, there are some public options for people without insurance. However, the waiting times for appointments are insane, let alone the wait for surgeries. Without health insurance, you could be waiting for surgery for up to two years! But, if you have it, you can get the surgery covered by your insurer and make sure you’re seen to as soon as possible. It’s highly recommended for everyone, particularly those with a family.

Insurance is a very important part of your financial life. It can protect you from so many things and ensure you aren’t paying loads of money for different stuff. Imagine if you had none of the insurance above. Think about how much money you’d have to pay to cover things like car breakdowns, medical bills, and so on. Getting insurance can give you a more stable life, and set your family up for a comfortable future.

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Even after you have completed your sentence, if you have a felony on your record, it can still cause problems for you. You will have difficulty renting an apartment, finding a job or even getting a higher education. You might end up paying higher interest rates on credit cards or higher insurance premiums. The good news, many states/countries have procedures put in place to allow you to move forward with your life.

What is a Pardon?

A pardon is basically similar to the Monopoly game’s ‘get out of jail free’ card in that it forgives you of the crime you committed as well as the penalty applied to you. It is a way of getting that crime off yoru record. In many cases, pardons are applied for after an appeal has been denied, or a conviction failed to overturn and there are not any other avenues the person can turn to.

insurance

Photo Source: ibc.ca

How to Obtain a Pardon

Sealing your Record

  1. Know the difference between an expunged record and a sealed record. A sealed criminal record still exists, but is hidden from the general public. In some cases, a sealed record can be unsealed while an expunged record is erased permanently.
  2. Ensure you allow the right amount of time to elapse since you were convicted. It is required that you wait several years after completing your sentence before trying to have your record sealed. Also, during this timeframe, avoid any further issues with the law.
  3. Be sure to complete all forms. If in Canada, you can check pardonapplications.ca for help. You can obtain forms through your court system or probation office. The correct forms might also be found through legal aid offices. You might have other types of documents that you will need to file with your form like your final order of conviction or a copy of your criminal record.
  4. Mail or file the forms. You will be able to see right on the form who you should send them to for review. In some states, a judge reviews a petition for seal records. In others, you are able to mail them in to the probation office. If filing forms with a clerk of court, there will most likely be filing fees associated with it.
  5. If required, attend your hearing. In many states, a hearing is required before a parole board or judge seals your record. In other states, it’s as easy as having an administrative official handle it. Once the petition is granted, there is usually nothing more for you to do. Your records will be sealed automatically; however, it will take a little while for it to go into effect.

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For those that travel quite a bit, insurance can be very beneficial in the long run. Whether you do so for work or you travel for pleasure, this kind of an investment could save you money and relieve the headaches of various situations. Why should you include travel insurance within your monthly budget?

Cancelled Flights

Not every flight is guaranteed and sometimes it can be cancelled for a myriad of reasons. Some insurance plans can help you recuperate your losses in such an event reducing the money you lose. While you may not need insurance for a flight that is less than $100, an exotic cruise worth several thousand may be worth the expense.

travel-insurance

Photo Source: xltravelblog.com

Natural Disasters

Depending on your destination, natural disasters could easily cause you to vacate an area. Travel insurance plans may help you adapt financially as you evacuate a resort or even a cruise ship. The fury of nature is difficult to predict and a simple storm could easily turn into a hurricane.

Medical Emergencies Abroad

Should you fall and break your leg in a foreign country, are you able to pay for the medical expenses out of pocket? Some travel insurance plans cover such situations allowing you to relax when you suffer from medical emergencies or illnesses while in another country. Although you may be bed ridden, you won’t have to fret about exhausting your bank accounts should the unthinkable happen.

Illness Cancellations

As there are too many variables in society, it’s very difficult to ensure your health at any given time. Some travel insurance plans can cover you should an illness prevent you from traveling. The last thing you want to do is focus on wasting money for a trip while suffering from a 103 degree temperature.

Terrorist Activities

It seems that terrorist activities are more commonplace than they were a few decades ago. Insuring your vacation against such a situation could prevent some of the financial losses. Although you may be traveling to an innocent enough area for your vacation, you ever know where terrorist activities could propagate within any given locale.

Insurance of any kind can be considered an investment for stress-free living while protecting your family and assets. Speak to a local insurance agent today and discuss what kinds of plans are available for you. It could save you a great deal of money and time should something happen while you travel.

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Tax can be a minefield. As a small business owner, trying to get your head around the myriad of tax laws can be something of a minefield. Yes, it’s complicated. But, there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. What a sobering thought.

While it’s not our intention to put a dampener on things, getting to grips with taxation laws is imperative. After all, no one wants a visit from the tax man.

There are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to smaller ventures and taxation laws.

Running an SME and Taxation Matters: The Basics

When you set up as a business, you need to ensure that you are au fait with the many rules of HMRC. While the laws can be complex, you can understand taxation issues better. There is a wealth of support from both HMRC and Lexis Nexis on tax matters. This can help you save time when it comes to dealing with your tax.

One of the most important things that you can do is register, online, for Corporation Tax. You must ensure that you are registered, if your company is deemed as a limited venture. You need to make sure that your Corporation Tax is active. You have a three-month period to do this within.

In the main, corporation tax is paid via the HMRC website. This means that you don’t have to appoint an accountant to deal with your tax. You can do this yourself via the web portal. You must complete a tax return and so forth within the agreed time as stated by HMRC.


Taxation Law

This photo has been supplied by Alan Cleaver

Active Companies

Once you have declared your company as active, you need to ensure that you are making the right people aware of this. You need to give HMRC a vast array of information. This means that if you have traded under a Companies House service, you need to declare this to them. But, you should also endeavour to make sure that your company is registered for VAT and PAYE. This should be done at the same time. VAT taxation differs to Corporation Tax. As a general rule of thumb, you can claim some of your VAT back at the end of the tax year.  PAYE is ‘pay as you earn’ this means that pay tax at the end of the year. But, you must save the appropriate amount of tax ready to be paid within the end of the term.

Liability

Almost all UK businesses are liable for corporation tax. If you run a limited company, which your small venture is sure to be, then you are required to pay corporation tax. However, sole traders are not obliged to pay corporation tax. Only those who are set up as limited companies are. Ensure that you are aware of what legal structure your company operates within.  All companies must pay VAT and PAYE taxes.

National Insurance

Paying NI is vital. You need to ensure that this done alongside PAYE, VAT and corporation taxes. This is done according to the thresholds. Your annual turnover will be dependent on what you earn. Completing the self-assessment will help you with this.

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Tradesman liability insurance is something that every self-employed person must have by law. There are two main parts of this insurance: public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance. If you are self employed but do not have any employees who work for you, then you don’t need the employer’s liability insurance. Public liability insurance, while not required by law, is highly recommended and will protect you from a number of problems.

What public liability insurance covers is any claims that could be made against you by a third party. For a construction worker, this might be someone walking past your site who trips over a tool and is badly injured. For someone working as a builder, plumber, electrician, or other trades that involve entering a client’s house, this will cover the accidental destruction of property in the owner’s house, whether or not it is caused directly by the work you are doing.

 

Employer’s liability insurance

 

Employer’s liability insurance, put simply, covers the possible injury or death of your employees in the event that you are sued for damages resulting in your negligence. This will typically cover the amount that the employee or their family is asking for as well as the associated legal expenses. This type of insurance is typically sold along with public liability insurance as the two go hand-in-hand.

There are many other types of insurance that a self-employed person will need to have or at least consider depending on the type of business you have. Contractors, builders, and other construction tradesmen will probably need contractor’s all risks insurance, which will cover everything from employee’s tools; the property on which the work is being done; and loss of materials, tools, and equipment due to theft or damage.

 

Personal insurance

 

Personal insurance is something that many people overlook, but it is extremely important for self-employed people, whether or not you have employees. Also called personal accident insurance, it will cover you as the owner if you are injured and not able to work for a period of time. It will provide you with a monthly tax-free income during the time you are unable to work, hospital cash that goes toward covering hospital bills, and may include a lump sum payout depending on the injury. This is another type of insurance that is highly recommended for construction worker, but is useful for any person who is self-employed, including hairdressers and beauticians.

For those in the construction industry or those who use expensive machinery and tools, you may want machinery and tool insurance. In the construction industry in particular, there are a lot of chances for theft, accident, damage, and injury to occur as a result of the heavy machinery being used. This insurance will also typically cover damages caused by third parties.

When selecting the types of insurance needed for your specific trade, take your time and do your research. Check first to see which types of insurance are required by law, and which ones you think you will really need. It’s important also to measure the cost of the insurance against the risk of not having it. It is always better to have more coverage that you think you might need, even though if you are just starting out it may be financially difficult to have insurance.

Elliptic Vault, a Bitcoin storage service that insures deposits of the digital currency against loss and theft, has launched in London.

Elliptic Vault uses “deep cold storage”, where private encrypted keys to Bitcoins are stored on offline servers and in a secure location.

The facility’s founders say they are the “first in the world” to offer insurance for Bitcoin owners.

Stolen Bitcoins cannot be recovered as all transactions are irreversible.

Online wallets used to store Bitcoins have been subject to a number of cyber-attacks and some users have also suffered from accidental loss.

James Howells lost about $7.5 million when he threw away his hard drive, forgetting that he had Bitcoins stored on it.

Unlike money stored in a conventional bank, Bitcoins are not insured and there is no way of retrieving them once they are gone.

But convincing an insurance firm to trust the nascent currency was not an easy task.

The company is underwritten by Lloyd’s of London, which will give people “more faith in the Bitcoin system”, according to Emily Spaven, managing editor of CoinDesk, a digital currency news site.

Elliptic Vault uses "deep cold storage", where private encrypted keys to Bitcoins are stored on offline servers and in a secure location

Elliptic Vault uses “deep cold storage”, where private encrypted keys to Bitcoins are stored on offline servers and in a secure location

Insurance payouts will be calculated using the Bitcoin to US dollar exchange rate at the time a claim is made.

Elliptic’s focus is on storing Bitcoins as securely as possible, using “deep cold storage” techniques.

Bitcoin keys are encrypted and stored offline. There are multiple copies, protected by layers of cryptographic and physical security.

The copies are accessible only via a quorum of Elliptic’s directors.

Elliptic’s launch comes as Bitcoin has been making news around the world, with governments deciding how to legislate for the currency.

Singapore has become one of the first countries to issue guidance on taxation for Bitcoin businesses, although it also said it was monitoring transactions to detect illicit financing by criminals and terrorists.

Bitcoin was less fortunate in China, where the largest online marketplace, Alibaba Group’s Taobao, said it would ban virtual currencies.

In December, the country’s central bank ordered financial institutions to halt Bitcoin-related services and products.

There was a breakthrough for the currency in the US, however, where Overstock.com became one of the first major online retailers to accept Bitcoin on Thursday.

Millions of people in the US receive health insurance cover for the first time as ObamaCare healthcare reforms – Affordable Act Care – come into effect as of 1st of January 2014.

President Barack Obama’s reforms are part of his aim to ensure affordable healthcare is available to everyone.

But the policy is controversial and the roll-out of the new system has been beset with problems.

Some religious-affiliated groups won a last-minute reprieve from being forced to provide birth control cover.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporally blocked the government from forcing such groups to offer health insurance that would include contraception.

Sonia Sotomayor acted at the request of a group of Catholic nuns in Colorado, the Little Sisters of the Poor, who had earlier lost their request for a preliminary injunction at an appeals court in Denver.

They had argued that the ruling conflicted with the Catholic Church’s stance against the use of contraceptives.

Millions of Americans will receive health insurance cover for the first time as ObamaCare comes into effect

Millions of Americans will receive health insurance cover for the first time as ObamaCare comes into effect

Under the Affordable Care Act, it is now compulsory for people to have health cover – either provided for by their employer or by buying one of the private health plans now on offer.

Those who cannot afford it will get help, but those without any insurance will be fined.

As of 1st of January 2014, health insurance companies are also no longer able to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

More than 2.1 million people have enrolled so far for private health plans – short of the government’s original target.

But the phased roll-out of the new law has suffered a number of difficulties.

The Healthcare.gov website offering the new health plans was plagued with technical glitches when it was launched in October. There were long sign-in wait times, log-in difficulties, insurance account creation problems, slow page loads and outages.

Insurance companies have also announced the cancellation of millions of policies, saying they did not meet the law’s minimum requirements.

This came despite President Barack Obama’s promise that people would not be forced to move from plans they were happy with.

Barack Obama’s approval ratings fell in the wake of the problems, but the White House says things have been fixed.

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The White House has announced another delay to its healthcare law, this time to online medical insurance for small businesses.

The marketplace website allowing employers to buy health coverage for their workers will be put off by one year until November 2014.

Ongoing problems with Healthcare.gov, beset by glitches since its October 1st launch, were blamed for the delay.

It is the latest setback for the law commonly known as ObamaCare.

Enrolment for small businesses was originally meant to start in October, until the administration delayed it by a month. On Wednesday it pushed that deadline back again, by a full year.

Administration officials told reporters in a conference call that employers who want to buy healthcare plans for their workers would need to go through an insurance company or agent, rather than through a government website.

Officials said this would allow employers to buy coverage while avoiding slowing down technical repairs on the federal website, which has been plagued by errors.

The White House has promised the website will be fixed by the end of November.

The marketplace website allowing employers to buy health coverage for their workers will be put off by one year until November 2014

The marketplace website allowing employers to buy health coverage for their workers will be put off by one year until November 2014

Government health spokeswoman Julie Bataille said on Wednesday the portal was now handling 25,000 users at the same time.

She said it was on track to meet its goal of handling double that number by Saturday.

“We have a lot of work left to do in the next few days,” Julie Bataille added.

But she cautioned that some malfunctions may persist on the website beyond the end of this week.

“There will be times after November 30th when Healthcare.gov does not function properly,” said Julie Bataille.

Republicans, who have launched countless legal and political challenges to the law since its passage in 2010, seized on the latest postponement.

“With each passing day, it’s clear how much worse ObamaCare is than a website full of glitches,” Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus said in a statement.

The online portal was established under the health law to enable consumers who do not get medical cover through their employers or via government benefits to shop for coverage.

But technical problems – including slow page loads and outages – have resulted in much lower-than-anticipated initial enrolment rates.

Considered the largest overhaul of the US healthcare system since the 1960s, it aims to extend health insurance coverage to the estimated 15% of the US population who lack it.

Support for ObamaCare, whose official name is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has recently wobbled even within the president’s own party.

Some congressional Democrats are said to be worried that the mounting negative headlines could hurt their 2014 re-election chances.

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