Monday, June 30, 2014


$100,000 Dream Big Challenge

 Dedicated to improving communities, best rated insurance company is sponsoring a contest to support great teachers.  The 2014 Contest is TWO great contests in one.

 First:     Teachers can win a $2,500 School Supply Shopping Spree

Second:  Teachers eligible for $2,500 School Supply Shopping
               Spree can apply to receive a grant for $100,000 for their

It’s all about smart moves. In addition to making people smarter about insurance, our aim is to support our teachers who dedicate their lives to making their communities smarter. We hope to activate a community to support those teachers who strive for excellence in teaching their children.  Great teachers help everybody win, the children who receive a good education, and the community that raises a generation of bright children with unlimited potential for their futures.

How Can You Help?
  1. Thank a Teacher by going to website and clicking on contest link.
  2. Rally others to vote for the teacher that was thanked.
  3. Let the teacher know they are eligible for contest and can now apply for $100,000 Grant to put towards something marvelous for their students and their school.
  4. Find a Farmer's Agent to sponsor the proposal.

Take action today. Talk to friends, neighbors, relatives, church members and club members that you are associated with. Get as many on board as you can and lead others to recruit people for votes. These are easy steps to take for a chance to win amazing benefits for your community, TEACHERS and SCHOOLS.

Our insurance agency has teamed up with Adopt A Classroom Organization and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and will team up with you in helping  you raise the bar for your community.

Contest runs May 6, 2014 to July 31, 2014.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Protect Yourself from Scam Artists

Local insurance company warns community about IRS scams.  A local Steger resident received a call saying that he did not pay his taxes and police would be arresting him soon.  He went to the Steger Police Department and gave them the number to call.  The police traced the call to a McDonald’s in  Washington D.C.
     Remember, the IRS does not call you outright in this manner.  All communication from the IRS begin with a letter to your home.  In this way you contact them directly to clear up any discrepancy.  The IRS does not operate in the function of quickly arresting people.  All processes must go through the court system and if anyone found to be in extreme violation a warrant would be issued for a person’s arrest which would be served by a county Sheriff’s Police Officer.
     BE ON THE ALERT as tax returns will be filed, there is an increased in scams of all types.  Protect your filing status and identity carefully this tax season.  Other tricks follow below.

Not all Thieves Are This Obvious
6 Current Scams Popping Up in Your Area

It is simply a shame that such things even exist. You wonder why someone would put the effort into hurting someone, instead of putting the effort into making an honest living. Following are six common scams we are seeing in this area. Please make others aware because when people catch on, PREVENTION ruins the scam artist’s game.

1.  Predator Targets Senior Citizen – An elderly person gets a phone call that a loved one is in trouble. They need to send a “money gram” right away to help. The trouble could be a false arrest, car breaking down while “out of town on an emergency,” they were beat up and dropped in an unfamiliar area, incurring expenses for help and now they need to get home, etc. The stories are endless but the pattern is the same; create panic (which causes confusion), seed a story (that tugs on the love strings) and can’t be verified, and prey on the person’s natural instinct to help.  A local woman recently received such a phone call from her supposed nephew; he gave his name and made references to family members. Speaking to her in her most used language in Spanish, he succeeded in creating panic. He would call back with information where to wire the money. Her son happened to stop by just then and she told him what happened. Suspecting something, her son waited for the phone call. When it came, he spoke briefly with the supposed nephew and then told the man on the other end that he was calling the police. The call ended abruptly. He later explained to his mother, “Mom didn’t you realize that your nephew doesn’t speak fluent Spanish?” She knew this well, but in “panic” mode; the thought of her nephew in danger would have moved her to do anything. Scammers know to create confusion, so logic gets dumped.

2. Concert or Event Tickets – This is a growing trend with two different endings.  A consumer orders and pays for tickets for a concert or event; either they never come in or the tickets are fake ones. The Chicago Better Business Bureau reported that 32,000 consumers have contacted them in the past 12 months for pre-purchase information about ticket sales/event companies.

3.  Door to Door Scams – The most common door to door scam can include magazine subscription sales, meat sales, “free” energy audits, outdoor home maintenance, medical wellness checks and voter surveys. Many of these lead to identity theft.  The BBB recommends: when in doubt keep strangers out!

4.  Moving Companies – There are many good ones out there. Beware of the ones looking to take more than your belongings for a ride. 2013 showed an increase in unlicensed and dishonest scammers, the BBB received over 1.6 million moving related inquiries and 7,900 complaints including lost or stolen belongings, damaged items, significant price increase over quoted estimate, late deliveries and goods being “held hostage” for additional payment.

5.  Travel Scams – direct mail offers for trips and cruises including look-a-like boarding passes and travelers checks. Some offers claim to include free airfare and destination vacations by simply calling a 1-800 number. Watch out for slick talkers, there are often hidden fees ALWAYS read the fine print.

6.  Seasonal Job Scams - A tell-tale sign of these scams are fake postings that offer unusually high pay for little or no effort. Some use fake interviews or job fairs that require payment by you in order to get the job. Never pay to get a position. Beware of commission only jobs, keep in mind seasonal job scams are often a front to steal your identity.

Scam Protection Alert brought to you by Jeff Sopko Insurance Agency

Monday, June 23, 2014

Insurance News for Engineers and Architects: Special Discounts on Auto and Home Insurance

Special Discounts on Auto Insurance & Home Insurance

     In this every changing economy, saving money on our everyday expenditures makes our life better. It is worth the time spent to find a great price for a great product. A program has hit Illinois that offers discounted auto insurance for engineers. This program is also extended to offer discounts on home insurance as well.

     If you are employed as an Engineer or Architect that lives in Illinois, or know someone who is this breaking news is for you.  Phase 1 is being implemented in the following cities:

Beecher            Crete              Steger              South Chicago Heights          Chicago Heights
Park Forest       Matteson        Flossmoor         Richton Park                        Olympia Fields
Homewood       Glenwood        Hazelcrest         Frankfort                              Mokena
Dolton              Harvey            Markham           Holland                                Midlothian

     Engineers with a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree or PhD Degree in engineering or a state professional engineering license to practice in the state of Illinois can take advantage of these special discounts.

     Architects with a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree or PhD Degree in architecture or those who currently hold a license to practice in the state board can also receive the benefits of these discounted auto insurance.

     Call for your Free Quote. Saving has never been easier and the protection you receive is the best in the nation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


     In April, we attended a very important high level conference concerning the direction of health care in this nation. We bring back vital information to companies on both fronts; those who do not provide health care insurance to their employees and those who currently do provide these services.
     Robert Gibbs, American Political Advisor, Commentator and Former White House Press Secretary was there to expound on the latest federal decisions and rulings. Many were attentive as Mr. Gibbs spoke about the Employer Mandate issue.
     The Employer Mandate requires all employers with over 50 employees to provide health insurance for their full-time workers or pay a monthly “Employer Shared Responsibility Payment” on their federal tax return. It is supposed that the monthly payment would go to pay expenses of those using the healthcare system but not having their own health insurance plan or being under insured.

     Thought to pass is 2014, Mr. Gibbs predicted at Colorado Conference that this mandate would not pass in 2014.  To date; the current information is that this mandate has been delayed until 2015.

On that note, we encourage companies to have a review of their health insurance to make sure they are in compliance. By taking care of this before 2015, your company can learn how to save in employee benefits and at no extra cost be assessed for compliance. For companies that do not yet carry insurance, we can offer rates at costs quite lower than the expensive fines that will be pursued by government regulators in the near future.

·         The annual fee is $2,000 per employee if insurance is not offered
·         If at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit because coverage is either not affordable or does not cover 60% of total cost, the employer is required to pay the less of $3,000 for each of its employees receiving a credit of $750 for each full-tim employee total.
·         The Fee is a monthly charge paid annually on the Federal Tax Returns starting in 2015 for a business with 100 or more full-time employees. This of course means 1/12 of the $2,000 or $3,000 required per employee.
·         This Fee is not Tax Deductible
·         Companies in Transition may qualify for “relief” during their “Transition” process.

Don’t Delay Find out where you stand and save money with a healthcare insurance plan customized to bring you every discount possible.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

NAHU Members Provide Smart Edge to Save on Health Insurance

 First off, look for a representative who is a member of NAHU. You have heard the saying “Work smarter, not harder,” and if you practice it, you most certainly reap its benefits.

 When it comes to medical insurance, you want the most affordable health insurance available.
     What is NAHU and why is it important?   It is the National Association of Health Underwriters. One of their aims is to obtain insurance for their clients who are struggling to balance the need to purchase high quality and comprehensive health coverage with the reality of rapidly escalating medical care costs.
     Members of NAHU serve Individuals and families. NAHU members also serve Employers looking to provide quality health insurance to their employees.  
They are bound by a code of ethics:

  •  To hold the selling, service and administration of health insurance and related products and services as a professional and public trust and do all in my power to maintain its prestige.
  •  To keep paramount the needs of those whom I serve.
  •  To respect my clients’ trust in me and to never do anything that would betray their trust or confidence.
  •  To give all service possible when service is needed.
  • To present policies factually and accurately, providing all information necessary for the issuance of sound insurance coverage to the public I serve.
  •   To use no advertising which I know may be false or misleading.
  •   To consider the sale, service and administration of health insurance and related products as a career, to know and abide by the laws of any jurisdiction,  Federal and State in which I practice and seek constantly to increase my knowledge and improve my ability to meet the needs of my clients.
  • To be fair and just to my competitors, and to engage in no practice which may reflect unfavorably on myself or my industry.
  • To treat prospects, clients and companies fairly by submitting applications which reveal all available information pertinent to underwriting a policy.
  • To extend honest and professional conduct to my clients, associates, fellow agent and brokers, and the company or companies whose products I represent.

     This all boils down to having YOU get the best quality health insurance and the best possible price for insurance because they are bound to serve their customers interests first. You are two steps ahead by using an agent who is a member of NAHU and has a good Better Business Bureau rating. Such an agent is driven by a motive to serve customers with honesty and integrity rather than a broker who is always looking at this bottom line.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I GOT THIS . . . Storm Tips


Don't Get Bogged Down with Red Tape of Health Insurance Guidelines,
We Take Care of That For You

     Chances are, your company qualifies for a little known Small Business Tax Credit for purchasing affordable health insurance. Companies that offer health care to their employees can increase their purchase power by benefiting from this new program.
     As a business owner, we understand it has become more and more difficult to adhere by all the government guidelines placed on your company. As CMS certified agents, we are on the front lines of understanding the changes and how to work them to your improvement of your business and your bottom line. We know you strive to give the best to your employees; though you have to have that wisdom of balance in order to operate within your budget. We differ from brokers in such a drastic way. With a broker your purchase your insurance products but must still maintain administrative duties of implementing and documenting all aspects in order to prove compliance with government agencies. As we specialize in health insurance, our services of Administrative duties come at no cost to you. Keeping you on top helps your company remain in compliance without danger of fines from government audits.
     Using a public Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), your business can take advantage of the Affordable Care Act helping to offset the cost of enrolling employees in health insurance.
     These plans are a gem and come WITHOUT the burden of additional administrative costs.  The tax credit employers will receive depends on the number of full-time equivalent employees and the amount the employer contributes toward insurance premiums.
     To qualify, a company needs to have less than 25 full time employees, pay an average of $50,000 or less per year and share one-half or more of the premium costs.

     Your company can qualify for a 35% - 50% savings. This is an amazing program that serves employers and well as employees. Call to see how much your savings will be. You employees can have the confidence of a great health coverage plan. There is no obligation for us to assess your business and provide you with a Free Quote that will save you money. This is one call you cannot afford to miss out on. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Your Business and Health Care Reform

Health Insurance Plans that meet all regulations at a surprisingly affordable cost
with Administrators to oversee compliance, so you can focus on business and
provide the best for your employees without  throwing your budget into chaos.

          Finding the best in business health insurance can be a challenge. Healthcare reform has added a whole new level of regulations and guidelines that need to be followed in order for a company to be in compliance with state and federal guidelines. Important changes are happening quicker than ever these days. At times so quickly that many are unaware of what has recently transpired. This information affects individuals, business owners and other groups such as non-profit and freelance workers.

            Complex Healthcare Reform (HCR) has many associated risks:

                        Risk #1 - The cost of non-compliance
                        Risk #2 - Confusion over HCR benefits
                        Risk #3 - Complex benefits management
                        Risk #4 - Decreased employee morale
                        Risk #5 - Overspending on benefits
                        Risk #6 - Pop-Up agencies exploiting confusion           

          We help businesses to better address these risks and control their employee benefit offerings to create a situation that best benefits employer and employee. As CMS certified agents we know our employee health plans inside and out so we can give you the best match in coverage and affordability.
          Recently, the House passed legislation that would change the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) definition of full-time employee to 40 hours per week, which would reduce the number of workers receiving employer-sponsored health coverage if enacted. 
          Take Control, Call us Today for a free quote, or to set up an appointment to have your questions answered. We are confident we can offer you the best rates on affordable health insurance. We are a trusted company with 35 years experience and an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Special Discounts Auto Brokers Don't Want You To Know About

Just as cars have changed, so
has the Auto Industry that insures them.

          When you are looking for car insurance, you want to know your agent has got your back. The privilege to shop around is really to your advantage. When you find a good thing--stick with it. There are so many aspects that have changed due to technology moving so quickly. The basics have certainly changed in reference to what we bring into our cars with us and how much more we use our autos for more than just transportation.

          Recently ABC News did a story that uncovered auto insurance discounts. Following is a table showing which companies offer the best discounts.


     As you can see,  Farmers insurance proves champion at offering discounts.  With peace of mind and a trusted company behind you, its easy to focus on the more important things in your life. Be Safe and enjoy the places you travel in your car. One more words about auto insurance discounts; I'll end with a saying from an Old Timer "The scenery is that much prettier when you've saved some money on the way out there!"