The National Security Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NSEC) releases preliminary estimates of insured catastrophe losses from Hurricanes Sally and Delta along with updated estimates of catastrophe losses from Hurricane Laura incurred by property and casualty subsidiary National Security Fire & Casualty.

Hurricane Sally

On September 16, 2020, Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama as a category 2 storm. Hurricane Sally had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph at landfall and was the eighth tropical cyclone, in the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, to impact the continental U.S.

Our pre-tax loss due to Hurricane Sally is expected to be $2,000,000, net of recoveries under our catastrophe aggregate reinsurance. Net of tax, Hurricane Sally will reduce our 2020 earnings by $1,580,000 and will reduce earnings per share by $0.62. The impact of Hurricane Sally will be reflected in our third quarter financial results. To date, we have had approximately 600 claims reported from Hurricane Sally with approximately 90% of total claims from this event incurred by our Alabama policyholders.

Based on our analysis of historical reporting patterns, preliminary post event model estimates and assessment of claims to date, we estimate our ultimate gross losses from Hurricane Sally to be in the range of $3,000,000 to $3,500,000. While we expect to recover $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 under our catastrophe aggregate reinsurance, based on our estimate of gross losses, we do not expect losses from Hurricane Sally to impact our primary catastrophe reinsurance coverage which is triggered once gross losses exceed $4 million from a single catastrophe event. This first layer of catastrophe reinsurance was reinstated for a second event following losses from Hurricane Laura.

Hurricane Laura – Revision to the Range of Estimated Gross Losses

We are revising our estimate of gross losses due to Hurricane Laura. This revision to gross losses (before reinsurance) is

Although Social Security is one of the most important entitlement programs in America, it’s also one of the most widely misunderstood, with the majority of people lacking some fundamental knowledge about how it works.

And not only do millions have knowledge gaps about their retirement benefits, but unfortunately, many also believe things that simply aren’t true. That can be a big problem if you’re making retirement decisions based on incorrect information or misconceptions, such as these three common Social Security myths.

Sad older man sitting alone at table.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Social Security is going broke

Millions of Americans worry that Social Security benefits won’t be available to them by the time they hit retirement age, because they fear the benefits program is going broke. This is a misplaced fear, though, as Social Security cannot run out of money unless its source of revenue is changed (which isn’t likely to happen, even though President Trump has indicated he’s in support of modifying it).

Currently, Social Security gets the bulk of its income through payroll taxes. As long as people are working and the tax is being collected, the program will have money coming in. What could happen, though, is that Social Security’s trust fund might run out in 2035 and the program may only be able to pay benefits out of taxes being collected. This would necessitate a 24% cut to benefits if changes aren’t made — but retirees would still get most of what they were promised.

2. Social Security benefits will go up if you claim them early

Many seniors claim Social Security before their full retirement age (FRA) — which is between 66 and 67 — while operating under the erroneous belief they’ll get lower payments now but will see their benefits go up at FRA. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the

Younger workers are concerned that social security will no longer be available for them when they retire. They fear that they have been paying into the system for years, but there will be nothing left when they retire.  Social Security Trustees released their annual report in April 2020, and stated there is a possibility that social security could be insolvent in 15 years. The current COVID-19 pandemic is likely also depleting reserves. 

Social security is paid out of a general fund; the treasury reserve has a provision for social security. For public optics, nobody in Congress or the White House wants to preside over social security payments disappearing, or social security going away. Therefore, social security will likely never disappear completely. Although young workers will probably still receive social security payments, their payments will significantly less than what current and past recipients are receiving. In the case of Medicare’s Part A, a Trust Fund provides the funding for that. That is not covered by the general fund, and this Trust Fund is expected to run out in around 2024, give or take a couple of years. Medicare and its Trust Fund is a topic for a future blog article.

The challenge of funding social security remains. One provision that helps and will continue to help is the taxation treatment of social security. Around 30% of Social Security recipients pay tax on their social security payments. They either taxed on 50% or 85% of their social security benefits. The income thresholds to determine your taxability of social security are low and have stayed the same for over two decades. Keeping these the constant is intentional, and has helped to raise revenues in order to continue the funding of social security.   

·   You pay tax on 50% of your social security

BAKU (Reuters) – British oil major BP

is looking to beef up security at its facilities in Azerbaijan after reports of alleged attacks on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, the main route for Azeri oil exports, it said on Wednesday.

Fighting between ethnic Armenian and Azeri forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region erupted on Sept. 27 and has since escalated to its deadliest level since the 1990s.

The clashes have not affected energy supplies from the region but have put energy markets on edge.

Azerbaijan said late on Tuesday that it thwarted missile attacks in the vicinity of the oil pipelines including the BTC, which accounts for about 80% of Azeri oil pipeline exports, carrying more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day.

Armenia has denied it targeted the energy infrastructure.

“We are especially worried about yesterday’s reports of a missile attack, which was intercepted and destroyed by Azerbaijan’s air defence systems in the vicinity of BTC and SCP (South Caucasus Pipeline) export pipelines,” BP said in a statement.

“While the security of all assets which BP operates on behalf of the Azerbaijan government and our partners is provided by the Azerbaijani government, we continue to work closely with the relevant authorities in an effort to take necessary measures to provide the protection of our personnel, operations and assets.”

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Moscow, Nailia Bagirova in Baku and Nvard Hovhannisyan in Yerevan; Writing by Alexander Marrow and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by David Goodman)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

Source Article

Social Security can be a complicated topic, but if you expect to depend on your benefits at all in retirement, it’s important to at least understand the basics.

THIS LESSER-KNOWN RETIREMENT SAVINGS TOOL IS LOADED WITH TAX BENEFITS

The more you know about how the Social Security program works, the easier it will be to maximize your monthly checks. And by understanding these three concepts, in particular, you’ll be able to make the most of your benefits in retirement.

1. Full retirement age

Your full retirement age (FRA) is perhaps the most important Social Security concept to understand, because it has a direct effect on how much you receive each month. If you were born in 1960 or later, you have a FRA of 67 years old. For those born before 1960, your FRA is either 66 or 66 and a certain number of months, depending on the exact year you were born.

Your FRA is the age at which you’ll receive 100% of the benefit amount you’re theoretically entitled to. If you claim before that age (as early as age 62), your monthly checks will be reduced by up to 30%. But if you wait until after your FRA to file for benefits (up to age 70), you’ll receive your full benefit amount plus up to 32% extra each month.

HALF OF RETIREES WISH THEY’D BUDGETED MORE FOR THIS

In general, once you start claiming, your benefit amount won’t change (except for annual cost-of-living adjustments). That means it’s especially important to choose wisely when deciding when to claim benefits, because you’ll be stuck with this benefit amount for the rest of