Archive for August, 2012

Reasons For Volunteering

Reasons For Volunteering

Many thousands of people all around the world choose to give up some of their spare time to help charities and causes close to their hearts. There are all sorts of ways people can volunteer, and for many, the tangible and immediate difference their efforts make to their chosen organisation is really appealing. Its not just about helping out at the latest fundraiser however, there are  many other reasons that people volunteer:

Getting to know people in your local community.

Volunteering often allows you to meet and work alongside like-minded people in your local community. Working for a particular cause  means that you are very likely to meet others who share your interests. Very close friendships are formed through volunteering… and some even find romance!

Improving your local area.

If you volunteer locally particularly with environmental and community charities there are often very tangible benefits right on your own doorstep.

Volunteering helps to build the sort of communities we want to live in.

Learning new skills and developing existing ones.

The skills you learn volunteering can often be applied in other areas of your life. It also allows you to use your existing talents and abilities in new, creative and interesting ways. It also helps to develop your confidence and social skills.

Improving your employability.

Volunteering looks great on your CV. As well as demonstrating an altruistic side to your character it shows get up and go. Volunteering can help people to gain some really valuable experience this can provide something different and interesting to talk about at an interview.  This is particularly useful for young people and students. Its not just for those new to the workforce however. Volunteering looks good whatever your position in a company or level of experience. Employers are looking for people with passion. Being able to talk passionately about a project you have been working with can make a real difference.

Having fun

Its often forgotten how much fun volunteering can be. This is important for all charity groups to remember. Keep it fun and keep your volunteers happy!

So there you are  there are always loads of volunteering opportunities out there: just waiting for someone like you. What are you waiting for?

Neill Wilkins

Don't overlook such car insurance cost factors as car and passenger safety

When checking car insurance quotes many drivers aren’t very conscious about the pricing mechanisms involved. Most of them tend to think that the rates they are charged with are determined by the insurer in a rather chaotic manner. Of course, it is quite the opposite since insurance companies use strict rules and formulas when calculating car insurance quotes. Many factors are used in the process, some of which the car owners simply overlook when looking for a quote. And that’s not the best way to shop around for car insurance if you want to get affordable rates. Surprisingly, one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of car insurance is car safety and security, which can play a crucial role in your final rates. Let’s look a bit deeper into this aspect to learn why it’s so important.

The aspect of security involves two categories: vehicle security and passenger safety. Vehicle security is associated with the risk of car being stolen or broken into and is affected by different factors such as local auto theft rates, the car’s security features, the place of car’s storage and others. Passenger safety determines the risk of the people inside the car getting severely injured in course of an accident and involves a whole set of variables including car model safety rating, factory-installed security features, overall passenger safety and others. Depending on these two variables your car insurance quotes may be higher or lower, since they determine the risk and amount of coverage the insurer faces when insuring your car. And it’s evident that if you take steps to improve these features you will be able to get more affordable insurance rates.

Improving the security and safety of your car

To improve the safety and security of your vehicle in fact is not so difficult as you may think. Well, it’s true, when buying a car that had all the blows and whistles coming straight from the factory, you’ll have to pay more for the extras. But you can also install additional devices on your own. For example, getting a better alarm system or additional seatbelts for your car won’t be that costly. But it sure will affect your car insurance quotes in a very positive way. The more features you introduce, the more pronounced the effect of improved safety and security will be. Still, you should always ask your insurance provider about which gadgets and features they will license and take into account and which won’t affect your rates. You don’t want to waste your money in vain, don’t you?

Volunteering in Africa

Volunteering in Africa

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Mark Twain. Most volunteers who go abroad, like to volunteer in places where they feel they can make a difference. This is what makes volunteering abroad a noble choice for many. Apart from volunteer work, there are also a number of other things that one can do in these countries. Here we will look at a number of countries in Africa and what one can do while volunteering in these countries.

 

First off we look into volunteering in Kenya. Kenya has a lot to offer a volunteer not just in terms of volunteer work but also as a tourist destination. First off on your arrival to the capital city Nairobi you will be eager to visit the Nairobi national park, only a few kilometers away from the Nairobi town center. While in Kenya you can trek the snow heights of mount Kenya, visit Fort Jesus in Mombasa, a Portuguese fort, built in The 1593,visit the ancient Gedi ruins, a historical town founded in the 13th century, do some water rafting and enjoy the sandy beaches, all within your volunteer visit.

 

Next up we move to West Africa, where we have Ghana.

Ghana being one of the faster growing democracies in Africa at the moment has a lot to of tour sites available to anyone who travels there. All from your arrival at the capital in Accra, you can head to visit the Nkuruma mausoleum. In addition to the mausoleum  you can go to any number of these famous attractions;  Elmina Castle which was a slave trading, shipping center for the slave trade to America ,the West-African museum at Cape Coast Castle , Kakum National Park with its canopy walk, the oldest mosque in West-Africa at Larabanga, the waterfall at Kintampo , sail with the ferry from Akosombo all the way up north on the Volta lake, visit the lagoons in the Volta estuary ,take a visit to Navrongo with its Roman Catholic Cathedral made out of clay  and spend some time on their  lovely beaches from Half Assini till Aflao .

 

South Africa has many beautiful places that a volunteer can visit. Doing volunteer work in Africa’s leading economy comes with a number of attraction’s that can help take your mind off of any stress you may have as a result of your volunteer work. South Africa has within it numerous sites such as the Kruger national park, which has more species of wildlife than any other one in Africa, taking in the view along the Garden Route, which runs along the beautiful coastline in south-western Cape. The narrow coastal plain is also well forested, and mostly bordered by extensive lagoons. You can also make a visit to the cape wine yards, or drive down to the Kwa Zulu natal coast for scuba diving and snorkeling, among other numerous tourist attractions in the country.

 

Lastly we take a look at Morocco in the northern end of the continent. While in Morocco then one of the best places you can visit during your volunteer work are the imperial cities of Marrakech, Fes and Meknes. Other than these famous attractions, one can take Sahara desert tours, trek through the atlas mountains, or if you enjoy beaches and the ocean just make shore excursions from Casablanca, Tangier and Agadir ports.

 

 

 

Cheap health insurance still available through Health Insurance Exchanges

For many individuals and some small business owners, the Supreme Court upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act means you will be looking into securing your health insurance through a health insurance exchange set up in your state.

If your state opts out of setting up its own exchange, you will be able to utilize a multistate exchange. Multi-state exchanges will be operated by the Department of Health and Human Services.

What is a Health Insurance Exchange? A HIX (Health Insurance Exchange) is a state based competitive market for consumers to purchase private health insurance from companies licensed by the state. The Exchange will regulate the insures to make sure coverage complies with the laws mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and offers affordable rates for individuals as well as qualified small businesses. The state requires that plans are easy to read and compare, ensuring purchasers can choose based on their needs.

Individuals whose insurance would cost less than 8% of their income are mandated to buy their own healthcare and are eligible to join a HIX. HIX aggregates small businesses along with the eligible individuals. The sheer numbers of participants allows for insures to offer plans with premiums that before could only be provided to large-scale purchasers like large businesses. If you are an employer with fewer than 100 employees, you will be allowed to participate in a HIX starting in 2014. This means your premiums and choices of plans are comparable to plans offered to multimillion-dollar national companies. Depending upon the size of your small company, you may be eligible for a tax credit. For instance, a small business with 25 or fewer employees earning under on average of 50 thousand dollars or less will get a tax credit for up to 35% of the cost of your insurance plan.

You may be asking, “How is this going to affect my cost?” “Will I still be able to get cheap health insurance?” The answer is yes and no. Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show the cost of healthcare rising approximately 5.7% a year for the next 10 years. Nevertheless, the CBO says that prediction is lower than if the Affordable Care Act did not pass. It breaks down this way. Individual premiums will rise a little bit, large companies will see a minimal drop in their premiums, and small business will remain at the same relative rate of change.

Auto insurance could be no longer cheap cause of internet rants against the niggardly insurers

Let’s look into a case of individual injustice. In June 2010, Kaitlynn Fisher went through stop lights on green. Halfway across the junction, an SUV came through the red light and smashed into her car. She was killed. The driver of the SUV was underinsured. Kaitlynn was insured by Progressive and one of the terms was a duty to pay up to $100,000 if an uninsured or underinsured driver caused injury or death. Except the law of Maryland is a nightmare. The insurance company is not obliged to pay out if its insured was in any way to blame for the accident. Hence, if a court was to find one driver 99% to blame, the 1% fault attached to the other driver would defeat her claim. This is an amazing law. To make it worse, there’s no right to sue the insurance company directly. The relatives of the deceased has to sue the other driver and get a ruling the deceased was not even 1% to blame for the accident. So that’s just what they did.

What makes this story remarkable is that Progressive sent a lawyer to the trial who addressed the judge and jury, and sat beside the defendant, offering advice. According to Progressive, this lawyer was protecting its interests and not representing the defendant. The fact the lawyer was protecting Progressive’s interests by arguing Progressive’s policyholder was to blame is irrelevant.

Not surprisingly given the adverse publicity, Progressive has now reached a settlement with the family of the deceased. However, consider the potential effects of this publicity. Progressive was able to provide cheap auto insurance as it used every possible trick in the book to avoid paying out. If it now feels the glare of the public’s attention, it may well change that business model. This would mean more generous settlements to avoid going to court and, if court action cannot be avoided, always arguing in favor of its policyholders. This means paying out a lot more money to all those insured and represents the end of cheap auto insurance rates . A mildly ironic outcome for those fighting an injustice.