• Many firms have noted double-digit increases in the number of life insurance policies they’ve sold during the Covid-19 pandemic relative to last year. 
  • The increase is largely due to a fear of death and greater awareness of financial risks associated with mortality, experts said.
  • Insurance sales have been dwindling for years. In 2020, just over half of American adults reported having a life insurance policy, down from 63% a decade earlier.

© Provided by CNBC

Life insurance is enjoying something of a renaissance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Consumers, especially younger adults, have been buying insurance in elevated numbers since the spring, when thousands of Americans began getting ill and dying from Covid-19.

That result is logical, experts said, given the core use of life insurance: as a financial backstop in the event of death.

More from Smart Tax Planning:

12 million people asked the IRS for more time to fileGot a subsidy to buy health insurance? It could bite you at tax time

Closing a business? Avoid these tax surprises

For example, what if the breadwinner of a family dies unexpectedly from Covid-19? Insurance is meant to plug that immediate gap in household income.

“It’s forced the idea of financial protection and mortality to the top of mind for consumers in a way very few events have,” said Jennifer Fitzgerald, the CEO and co-founder of Policygenius, an online marketplace for life insurance.

‘Panic buying’

Insurance sales have been dwindling for years. In 2020, just over half of American adults reported having a life insurance policy, down from 63% a decade earlier.

But Google Search traffic for “life insurance” jumped 50% between March and May this year compared with the same period in 2019, said Fitzgerald, whose firm gets a large share of business from such internet

a group of people in a room

© Provided by Zee Business

We are living in an era when buying a health insurance plan has become imperative. With COVID-19, healthcare expenses have skyrocketed, emphasising the need for a health insurance policy. Even routine medical check-ups can burn a hole in your pocket. In this situation, health insurance acts as an umbrella for financial security.  

Investing in a good health insurance plan helps us to save our finances and get the best quality of health care services anytime. It not only saves money but also reduces expenses towards doctor consultation fees, costs for medical tests, hospitalisation, etc. But with the availability of various types of health insurance plans right from individual health policy, family floater to senior citizen policy, selecting the right plan can be quite confusing. Therefore, to help you understand better, here is a quick rundown of the different kind of health insurance plans with their benefits:  

Individual Health Insurance: It is the most basic and standard health insurance plan in India, which is customised for a young individual to safeguard him or her from illness, hospitalisation, child delivery expense and other health-related issues. One can also customise the policy to cover their dependents, such as parents, spouse and kids. Currently, individual health policies are in great demand owing to their medical and tax benefits. People who fall in the age bracket of 18-70 years can avail of this insurance.  One of the benefits of buying an individual policy is that it offers the individual sum insured limit for each covered member. 

Family Floater Health Insurance Plan: Families are often stressed due to their financial responsibilities with unanticipated health expenditures. In such situations, having a family floater health insurance policy can be a smart option from a financial and health point of view. All family members

A National Commercial Bank (NCB) in Riyadh. 

Photographer: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty Images

Follow us @middleeast for more news on the region.

National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest lender by assets, agreed to buy rival Samba Financial Group for $15 billion in one of the biggest banking takeovers this year.

NCB agreed to pay 28.45 riyals ($7.58) for each Samba share on Sunday, valuing it at about 55.7 billion riyals. NCB will offer 0.739 new shares for each Samba share, at the lower end of the 0.736-0.787 per share ratio agreed when the banks signed an initial framework agreement in June.

The offer price is a 3.5% premium to Samba’s Oct. 8 closing price of 27.50 riyals and about 24% higher than the price the shares traded at before the talks were made public in June. The combined bank will have total assets of more than $220 billion and a market capitalization of $46 billion.

Bloomberg News first reported the merger talks in June.

More details:

  • NCB’s existing shareholders will own 67.4% and Samba’s shareholders will own 32.6% of the combined entity
  • Expects to unlock about 800 million riyals annually fully phased in cost synergies after integration
  • Ammar AlKhudairy, current chairman of Samba, to become chairman of merged bank; Saeed Al Ghamdi, the current chairman of NCB, to become managing director and group CEO
  • NCB advised by JPMorgan Saudi Arabia; Samba advised by Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia

(Adds detail on exchange ratio in second paragraph and more details about the deal in bullets)

Source Article

Investing in the stock market is a proven way to grow wealth over time, and the sooner you get started, the better. But deciding how to invest can be challenging. If you opt for a collection of individual stocks, you’ll need to spend time researching each company and making sure it’s the right fit for your portfolio. If you go with index funds, you won’t have to put in the same amount of legwork, but you may lose out on certain benefits that individual stocks have to offer.

For many investors, index funds are actually a good way to go. But here’s why you may want to hand-pick your stocks instead.

Bar graphs on laptop screen

Image source: Getty Images.

1. You can assemble a portfolio that best aligns with your strategy

Hand-picking your stocks allows you to choose companies that fit in with your personal investing strategy and appetite for risk. Say you’re really not keen on putting airline stocks in your portfolio because you think that’s a risky prospect given the hit the industry has taken during the coronavirus pandemic. If you buy S&P 500 index funds, you’ll be stuck with airline stocks in your portfolio, whether you like it or not. By choosing your own stocks, you avoid companies or industries you’d rather steer clear of.

2. You can avoid stocks that don’t align with your ethics

Some people buy stocks because they believe in a company’s growth potential. Other people buy stocks because they believe in the products or services being offered by a particular company, or because they believe in its mission. As just mentioned, when you buy index funds, you don’t get to dictate which stocks land in your portfolio and which don’t. This means that if you have a problem with a specific company from an ethical standpoint,

A stock doesn’t get into value territory without having its share of headwinds. This is true for Enbridge (ENB), whose stock is now once again below $30. It is then up to the investor to determine if it is a value stock or a value trap. In this article, I show why I believe Enbridge the former rather than the latter, and what it makes an attractive investment at present; so let’s get started.

(Source: Company website)

A Look Into Enbridge

Enbridge is one of the largest energy companies in North America. It transports about 25% of crude oil produced in North America, and nearly 20% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. It also operates North America’s third-largest natural gas utility by consumer count, and was an early investor in renewable energy, with a growing offshore wind portfolio. As such, its business is categorized into three segments: liquids pipelines, natural gas pipelines, and utilities and power. In 2019, Enbridge generated over $38B in total revenue.

As seen below, Enbridge’s large integrated network is connected to nearly all of the major energy plays in North America. It also has a joint venture with Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) to build an offshore export terminal in the Gulf of Mexico.

(Source: Company Earnings Presentation)

To be fair, Enbridge has had challenges, not least of which is from COVID, which has impacted energy demand worldwide. In addition, the transition to renewables and opposition to energy development present medium to long term challenges. The near term challenges were reflected in the decreased volumes on its mainline (liquids pipelines), which was 85% utilized during the second quarter.

In addition, the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, in which Enbridge has a 28% stake, is at risk of a shutdown. The latest court papers reveal, however, that