Keenan & Associates, the largest privately held insurance brokerage and consulting firm in California, has announced a program to assist public agencies in applying for participation in the new Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The research, analysis and application for program certification requires some 170 hours to complete, an imposing challenge for agencies with limited internal resources.

Timeliness and accuracy are critical, because DHHS will send any incomplete or insufficient applications back to the end of the line, reimbursement requests are processed on a first-come/first-served basis, and program funding is limited.

Keenan offers comprehensive, step-by-step assistance in completing the application and certification process. In the first months of the program, Keenan has already helped 20 agencies become eligible for over $8 million in reimbursements. Of those that have completed the application process with Keenan to date, 100% have been approved. And the turnaround time for application approval from DHHS has averaged just two to four weeks.

For example, the Monterey County Schools Insurance Group (MCSIG) is a multi-employer schools health insurance pool serving nearly 6,000 participants, one-third of whom are retirees. Like most other school-based organizations, they are juggling a cascade of pressing issues including health care reform, mental health parity, ARRA and HIPAA.

“In a time of escalating health care costs when our participants are struggling to meet their out-of-pocket medical expense obligations and our member schools are facing their most difficult budget challenges ever, becoming certified to participate in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program was not an option for us, it was a necessity. We simply could not risk rejection of our application,” said Sherrell Freeman, MCSIG Executive Director. “Keenan provided comprehensive value from completion and filing of the application to collection and presentation of the claims for reimbursement, which will total approximately $1.4 million during our first two years in the ERRP program.”

Keenan support encompasses the entire process, including acquisition of data from carriers (including HMOs); review of data, projections and policies; legal support in interpreting subsidy regulations; assistance in the final reconciliation process; and participation in any potential audits. Most other services offered to plan sponsors, such as those from by insurance companies and health plans, are only partial in nature.

The Keenan technical and legal teams have been directly involved with DHHS on the ERRP program since before the regulations on the subsidy were issued. This proactive approach has resulted in rapid success for Keenan clients.

In addition, Keenan expertise in the full lifecycle of ERRP requirements, from plan design and cost reduction components to actuarial analysis and administrative provisions necessary to accurately complete the application, translates into a streamlined application process.

“Current economic conditions and revenue outlook are already putting extreme budget pressures on local agencies. This early retiree health care subsidy is a significant opportunity to relieve some of that pressure,” said John Scatterday, Keenan Senior Vice President and Public Agency Employee Benefits Practice Leader. “Our goal is to help these agencies participate in and gain important financial benefits from this program as soon as possible.”

ERRP offers reimbursement of 80% of the portion of early retiree claims paid in the plan year totaling between $15,000 and $90,000. The program is available to virtually all self-funded and fully insured employment-based plans (other than Federal plans), without regard to the source of funding. For program details, visit http://errp.gov/.

For information on Keenan insurance brokerage and consulting programs, visit www.keenan.com.

Barclays Loses Arbitration with Investment Banker

Barclays Loses Arbitration with Investment Banker-Image via Wikipedia

A 20-year investment banker, who alleged Barclays used the collapse of former employer Lehman Brothers to seek to renege on a compensation agreement, has prevailed in arbitration proceedings against the London-based banking enterprise.

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel ordered Barclays Capital Inc. to pay $715,000, plus interest, FINRA filing fees, and other costs, according to Outten & Golden LLP, counsel for Thomas D. Whalen, who filed the claim.

Attorney Laurence S. Moy, of Outten & Golden, who tried the case with Juno Turner, also of the firm, said, “Mr. Whalen was recruited to Lehman in 2006 to build and lead its healthcare investment banking group, and Mr. Whalen succeeded. His group exceeded its revenue goal for 2007 and successfully competed for several major underwriting transactions scheduled for 2008 and 2009.”

Mr. Whalen alleged that Barclays, through its words and conduct – including a general commitment in its asset purchase agreement with Lehman to pay bonuses to legacy Lehman employees for services provided in 2008 – impliedly agreed to pay Mr. Whalen a bonus. After working all of 2008 and transitioning his book of business to Barclays, the firm told Mr. Whalen in early 2009 that it would not pay him any bonus.

Mr. Moy, co-head of Outten & Golden’s Securities and Financial Services Industry practice group, added, “Barclays, like many securities firms, argued the bonus was completely ‘discretionary,’ but the arbitrators clearly saw the case for what it was: an attempt by Barclays to ignore its obligations. Mr. Whalen honored his part of the deal and expected Barclays to do the same.”

The case is “Thomas D. Whalen vs. Barclays Capital Inc. and Barclays Bank PLC,” FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitration No. 09-03587.

Attorney Contacts: Laurence S. Moy and Juno Turner, Outten & Golden LLP, New York, 212.245.1000, www.outtengolden.com.

SOURCE Outten & Golden LLP

HomeInspector.com is a new resource for home buyers, sellers, and owners who want to make smart and savvy home buying, purchasing, and inspection decisions.

This exciting free resource offers a wealth of information through its article bank and nationwide home inspector database. Sellers and buyers can visit Home Inspector and enter the property zip code to be instantly connected with qualified home inspection services in their area. Home inspectors can quickly and easily connect with interested customers to provide free quotes. “Buyers and sellers are able to share experiences and best practices, pass along valuable information, and learn from each other through the interactive site,” states a HomeInspector.com spokesperson. Moreover, customers have the chance to receive a free quote on home inspection services from qualified local inspectors in their property area.

Sellers who are working towards an advantageous home sale can discover how to maintain and prepare their home to get the best price for the market. Home buyers can learn more about why a home inspection is so important, what services come with a home inspection, how to read the home inspection report, issues to watch out for, and how to locate and hire a qualified home inspector. Home inspectors can learn more about trainings and new information to stay current in their field, and newcomers to the field can learn how to be trained to become a home inspector, as well as valuable tips for starting a successful home inspection business.

About HomeInspector.com
HomeInspector.com was started in late 2009 by Benjamin Evans to serve customers in the Real Estate and Home & Garden industry. One of the most exciting features of HomeInspector.com is the real time connection that facilitates an instant connection between seller, buyer, and home inspector. Home inspectors have the ability to build up their sales leads through connecting directly with customers through and customers can also instantly find a home inspector. For more visit http://www.HomeInspector.com

Contact information:
Benjamin Evans

CNN/Money Magazine Report Seattle 'Burbs as Best Place to Live

CNN/Money Magazine Report Seattle 'Burbs as Best Place to Live-Image via Wikipedia

The Seattle metropolitan area consistently ranks among the best regions to live and work in the country, as illustrated recently by CNN/Money Magazine’s 2009 “Best Places to Live” list. Three Seattle suburbs – Mukilteo, Sammamish and Newcastle – were ranked 10th, 12th and 17th respectively in the prestigious annual list of the best small towns in America.

The rankings are reflective of the continuously improving quality of life conditions in the Puget Sound region as a whole, which includes the Tacoma and Pierce County area just south of Seattle and King County. “The quality of life, economy and employment opportunities that the Greater Seattle area offers is simply unbeatable,” says Pierce County Realtors from Windermere Puyallup Real Estate. “This is why the Puyallup, WA real estate market hasn’t been as hard-hit by the recent economic downturn as other areas in the West Coast.”

Associates from Windermere Puyallup also cite past and recent home sales figures from Trulia regarding the local market. “While the median sales price in Puyallup has been experiencing a decline from 2007 until early 2008, overall, the sales price here has appreciated by 21.5% from 2004 to 2009.”

Puyallup has also been diversifying its economic base in the past few years. Its downtown area is currently undergoing revitalization and Boeing recently opened an aircraft assembly plant in the city’s South Hill area. The plant has been projected to bring in more than 10,000 additional jobs to the city over the course of the next several years.

Windermere Puyallup specializes in Puyallup real estate along with surrounding areas, including the cities of Tacoma, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Parkland, Spanaway, Graham, Roy and the areas South of King and Thurston Counties. For more in-depth information on Puyallup, its different neighborhoods, and its neighboring areas, visit windermerepuyallup.com, where up-to-date listings on Puyallup, WA homes for sale and other area properties are also easily available.

Internet Making Home Purchase Easier

Internet Making Home Purchase Easier

Internet Making Home Purchase Easier-Image via Wikipedia

The Internet and technology are rapidly bridging the information gap between new home agents and buyers, empowering home buyers with the tools and technologies needed to make informed decisions all from the convenience of their home PC or PDA. The days of being dragged from one new home development to another by a well meaning but all too human real estate agents may be over as technology and the internet make buying a new home online easy and informative.

One builder is betting on online technology to create buyer urgency, drive sales, reduce upfront sales and marketing costs, and obtain the number of reservations necessary to secure new construction funding, by incorporating First Release Homes Virtual Reservation Services, VRS™. (http://www.TheWarrenSacramento.com) This revolutionary online approach replaces the costly, traditional offline sales and marketing process by providing powerful online virtualization tools and technologies that provide a real world, home buyer experience online. “The VRS technology provides home buyers with the tools necessary to replicate the offline home buying experience by offering virtual technologies that gives the buyer the same experience as if they physically drove to the new home development and individually walked the homes they were interested in touring.

Traditionally, the new home buyer would have to wait for either a new home development to be built, a sales office to be available and drive by the development to get a feel for the neighborhood and location. Thereafter, the prospective buyer would then find out when the sales office is open, call to schedule an appointment with an agent for a tour. The challenge is if the development is not completed, the home buyer would have to select a home from a paper floor plan, virtual tour, or walk the pre-built model homes and should they decided to purchase, hope and prey that their views from their new home are not obstructed and satisfactory, basically purchasing site unseen. However, if the development is built, the buyer will then likely have to spend several hours, researching, scheduling an appointment to meet with an agent, walking from home to home or take multiple trips back to the development with family members in order to decide on the perfect home.

“By utilizing our cutting edge VRS™ Service, Home buyers can now research the new home development, take a virtual tour of the new home development, walk the neighborhood, review local amenities and restaurants, take virtual tours of all the homes offered, check out the views from each home, see other home buyers taking tours online in real time, have questions answered via live chat and ultimately purchase their pre-constructed home all online and without establishing a relationship with a buyers agent or leaving the comfort of their home computer. ” says James Uberti, VP of Sales and Marketing for First Release Homes, Inc.

For builders the benefits are upfront savings, the required interest necessary to secure funding via online reservations, reduced selling times, reduction of agent commissions, interest savings and HOA fees paid by selling out their project quicker than traditional sales and marketing methods. Builders and developers can now offer the same homes for a lower price while maintaining the same, if not higher profit margins, Said Uberti.

About First Release Homes, Inc.
First Release Homes, Inc., is one of the largest “coming-soon and just-released” new home resources for homebuilders seeking the best value and return on investment for advertising and marketing new homes and condos online. For more information about First Release Homes, visit them online or call 888-907-7770.

Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE) and Spansion Japan Settle Claims

Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE) and Spansion Japan Settle Claims

Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE) announced today that the claims agent appointed to resolve certain pre-bankruptcy claims has entered into an agreement with Spansion Japan, a former subsidiary of Spansion Inc., to settle all claims asserted by and between Spansion Japan and the chapter 11 estates of Spansion Inc. and its related debtors.

Spansion Japan had asserted a claim for approximately $936 million related to damages allegedly incurred as a result of Spansion’s rejection of its foundry agreement with Spansion Japan. The claims agent has been engaged in litigation with Spansion Japan over the amount of damages sustained by Spansion Japan.

As part of the agreement, Citi, which is not a party to this litigation, will purchase the rejection damages claim from Spansion Japan for $100 million in cash.  In separate transactions, the claims agent will agree to allow the rejection damages claim held by Citi in the amount of $200 million, and Spansion LLC, a subsidiary of Spansion Inc., will purchase 85 percent of the allowed claim from Citi for $85 million in cash. These transactions will become effective upon final approval of the settlement agreement by the U.S. bankruptcy court and the Tokyo District Court, which is handling Spansion Japan’s corporate reorganization proceeding in Japan.  The benefit to Spansion will depend upon the total size of the claim pool ultimately determined in the company’s chapter 11 cases and the company’s stock price.  However, the company believes the transaction will likely be accretive to its EPS.

“We believe this transaction will benefit all of Spansion’s stockholders,” said John Kispert, president and CEO of Spansion Inc.  “The settlement provides an opportunity to retire some shares at an attractive price and eliminate a potentially large selling stockholder.”

Teradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC)Enters into New Enterprise With Bank of Tianjin

Teradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC)Enters into New Enterprise With Bank of Tianjin

Leading the Chinese financial services market, the Bank of Tianjin has selected the Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse as the foundation for its enterprise-wide real-time business intelligence system. Teradata Corporation (NYSE: TDC) will help the bank provide real-time analytics to support operational and strategic decision-making.

A project manager at the Bank of Tianjin said, “Teradata is highly-regarded in China for its first-class products and its professional service. We are confident that the bank will significantly strengthen its business management with the deployment of enterprise data warehouse that can grow as the bank grows.”

The Bank of Tianjin bank needed better, faster answers to its business questions, which the legacy reporting systems couldn’t support. In addition, the legacy system couldn’t manage the unprecedented growth of data from its operations. The bank decided to build an enterprise data warehouse to overcome the challenges of data stored in disparate databases, reports with inconsistent statistical indicators, poor quality data, data duplication and the waste of information technology resources. The bank will deploy five major applications to run in the data warehouse: customer relationship management, performance management, risk management, financial management, and information management

“Deployment of an enterprise data warehouse requires the close working relationship between the vendor and the customer. Teradata has a long and successful history of becoming a solid partner for success,” said Aaron Hsin, vice president, Teradata Greater China. “We are committed to helping the bank achieve their business objectives and appreciate the Bank of Tianjin’s management team and their attention to the project.”

About Bank of Tianjin

The Bank of Tianjin was founded in 1996 and has 192 business offices. In 2006, the Bank of Tianjin partnered with ANZ, and established branches in Binhai, Beijing, Tangshan, Shanghai and Jinan successively. The Bank of Tianjin also invested and founded Rural Bank of Jixian. At the end of June 2010, the Bank of Tianjin had 172.3 billion RMB total assets, 146.3 billion RMB of deposits and 71.7 billion RMB of loans. The Bank of Tianjin ranks 463 of the latest The Banker Top 1000 World banks released by the Xinhua News Agency.

About Teradata

Teradata Corporation (NYSE: TDC) is the world’s largest company solely focused on raising intelligence and achieving enterprise agility through its database software, enterprise data warehousing, data warehouse appliances, consulting, and enterprise analytics.   Visit Teradata on the web at www.teradata.com.

Teradata is a registered trademark of Teradata Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Costa Rica Residential Community Closer to Completion

Costa Rica Residential Community Closer to Completion-Image via Wikipedia

Hacienda Matapalo, the most sought after gated community on Costa Rica’s South Pacific Coast with more than $60 million in pre-construction sales, announced today they have awarded the contract for the infrastructure construction on their property.

“Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in our progress and moves us one step closer to fulfilling our vision of creating and delivering the absolute best residential community in Costa Rica,” said Hacienda Matapalo Chief Executive Officer David Matluck.

The agreement – with one of Costa Rica’s largest and most respected builders – calls for the completion of Hacienda Matapalo’s grand entrance and the continuation of the infrastructure which connects the more than a square mile of forest, streams and mountains which are part of the 655 acre master planned, gated community.

Scheduled to recommence in November as the seasonal rains subside, the infrastructure construction phase will include: the entire water treatment facility, water delivery systems, electricity delivery systems, 11 kilometers of road and the lakes that add to the community’s beauty and serenity.

Once the roads and utilities are in place, owners will be able to take formal ownership of their home sites and begin building the home of their dreams.

“The pre-construction success we’ve experienced emphasizes people’s desire to live and invest in a place of casual elegance surrounded by picturesque natural beauty,” Matluck explained. “Being able to offer ownership at pre-construction pricing has kept the project affordable and along with our location has made Hacienda Matapalo the most desired development in Costa Rica.”

Hacienda Matapalo Executive Vice President Brian Albury, who has been at the forefront of the many architectural aspects of the project, said the breathtaking residential community boasts “an unrivaled collection of thoughtfully designed single-family homes and condominiums.” The homes and condos are available with tropical / rainforest views, mountain views and “some of the most breathtaking ocean views in all of Costa Rica!”

“The comforting sounds of the breaking Pacific Ocean can be heard from even the first ridge of the property and all the way up and throughout the 665 acres,” he said, trying to describe the experience. “The calls of exotic birds, decorated frogs and countless other incredible species that live in and around Hacienda Matapalo’s 200-plus acres of private preserve and surrounding sanctuaries are also part of the intimate relationship with the natural environment.”

Residents at Hacienda Matapalo will enjoy a resort-like lifestyle including a private beach club, equestrian center, community center and clubhouse featuring several winding and flowing infinity edge pools, tennis and basketball courts, multiple picnic and gathering areas and a fabulous playground. The natural wonders of Hacienda Matapalo include abundant waterfalls, bustling streams, lush forests, majestic mountains, tranquil lakes and access to 26 miles of virgin beach that was recently named the second-most eco-friendly beach in the world by CNN Travel and Mother Nature News.

In addition to the extraordinary lifestyle, residents will also benefit from many conveniences including gated security, rental and management services, concierge and maid services and a small retail center to support the community’s grocery, restaurant, medical, and other basic necessities and conveniences.

The grand entrance is the doorway to Hacienda Matapalo and it’s only fitting that it includes lush landscaping and water features that reflect the feel of the community and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean.

“Developing in a sustainable and ‘Green’ minded manner is and has been at the forefront in the design, engineering and planning of Hacienda Matapalo,” said Albury. “Environmentally sensitive designs have been a consideration from the beginning and continue to improve as our team works closely with our architect, engineers and biologists.”

Albury explained that the condos and homes have been designed to “blend with nature” and the use of native materials will “enhance the Hacienda Matapalo experience.” The architecture is reflective of a Polynesian style and is designed by the renowned architect, Miguel Wong.

The community’s close proximity to Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Costa Rica’s prized sanctuaries, is just another reason why buyers have chosen Hacienda Matapalo. Owners will also enjoy some of the world’s best fishing, surfing, diving and zip-lining. The recent completion of the new Pacific Coast Highway and the Autopistas del Sol Pacific Highway have made the drive from the International Airport in San Jose to Hacienda Matapalo a short and pleasant commute.

Additionally, the new full service Marina Pez Vela is now open and already home to an impressive fleet of vessels. And the new 80,000 square foot state-of-the-art Hospital de Osa is open, conveniently located just a short drive down the coast from Hacienda Matapalo.

With Hacienda Matapalo reaching its pre-construction sales goal in record time – which is quite a statement in today’s real estate and finance environment – they will soon be releasing an updated pricing schedule that will coincide with the resumption of the infrastructure construction.

Pegasus Star Limitada, the Costa Rican developer with American partners, has systematically and strategically built a team of professionals from amongst the most elite the country has to offer. No doubt, Hacienda Matapalo will be a Costa Rican landmark known throughout the country and the world.

To learn more about Hacienda Matapalo, visit their Web site at http://www.haciendamatapalo.com.

PrivateMoneyBank.com Offers Funds for Real Estate Investing

PrivateMoneyBank.com Offers Funds for Real Estate Investing-Image by TW Collins via Flickr

In today’s ”bank less” age where banks are not lending and many private individuals are lost knowing where to place their money for safe returns on their invested dollar the need for Private Equity Lending became very apparent. PrivateMoneyBank.com, LLC was created to bridge the gap between individuals and entities that have identified great real estate opportunities yet lack the capital to see the projects through to completion. PrivateMoneyBank.com, LLC bridges the gap between those who need money for their real estate investments and development opportunities with those who have funds and would like to earn a higher return then they are currently experiencing.

The average investor who places their funds into a PrivateMoneyBank.com identified opportunity can earn average annualized yields between 6 and 9%. Most loans are less than 12 months in length and monthly debt service is required by those that are borrowing these funds. This allows the investors who put up the capital to experience “Monthly” cash flow on their investment knowing that their money is secured against real property in a first deed of trust position.

Those investors worried about a continued devaluation in the real estate market need not worry as all loans require 35% cash down on the initial purchase price from the borrower. This means that the investor’s cash will only be 65% of the total purchase price of the property. PrivateMoneyBank.com, LLC places funds in all 50 states and is backed by over 50 years of real world private money lending experience. All of the due diligence, title, documentation and servicing of these loans is managed by PrivateMoneyBank.com, LLC.

Any investor looking to earn more than what they are currently receiving from their 401k, retirement account, self directed IRA, stock or other investment portfolio is encouraged to call 800-473-6051 for a private consultation. Anyone interested in borrowing funds from PrivateMoneyBank.com, LLC is encouraged to visit our landing page at http://www.privatemoneybank.com/larnold. We look forward to working with you. For any and all questions please contact the President Lee Arnold at 800-473-6051.

Real Estate Prices in Washington, D.C. Rise 9.1%

Real Estate Prices in Washington, D.C. Rise 9.1%

Real Estate Prices in Washington, D.C. Rise 9.1%-Image by casey.huggins via Flickr

In her September 2010 housing market update, Evers & Co. Real Estate President Donna Evers reports for the close-in Washington, D.C. region a 9.1 percent increase in average price in comparison to the same month last year.

“The D.C. area appears to be one of the bright spots for home sellers across the country in terms of price, with September marking the 10th month in a row with an increase in average price,” Evers noted. “The dollar volume of sales, however, is down for the third consecutive month, indicating that we’re still suffering a letdown from the spring market that was inflated by the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit.”

The months’ supply of inventory is up to 5.1 months, marking the highest inventory of 2010.

“While rising prices are a positive reaction to the big spring market, if inventory continues to grow, prices could also retreat,” said Evers. “On the other hand, with our strong local economy, record low mortgage interest rates and, most recently, an improving stock market, we should see a boost in consumer confidence, which could lead to stronger sales, lower inventory and continued price gains–a scenario which should develop, if not this fall, then certainly in early spring.”

*Statistics are taken from the Metropolitan Information System for three areas: Washington, D.C., Montgomery Country, Maryland; and Fairfax County, Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church in Virginia.

About Evers & Co.
Founded in 1985 by Donna Evers, Evers & Co. Real Estate maintains its success through a strong referral base and agents who enjoy a premier reputation for their expertise and in-depth knowledge of Washington Metro Area homes and neighborhoods. Evers & Co. is home to 80 licensed real estate professionals with decades of combined experience, who enjoy access to a first-of-its-kind Agent Resource Center. The agency is the largest woman-owned and-operated residential real estate firm in the area and a member of Unique Homes Affiliate Network, Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate and FIABCI, the largest international real estate organization in the world. In addition, the agency has an alliance with My Home In Paris, a residential real estate firm in Paris, France.

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