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Do You Know what Your Child is Exposed to Online?

Being able to control everything your child is exposed to on the internet is virtually impossible to do.

Although installing parental control programs and filtering software on your PC is highly recommended, this is not a fool-proof solution for knowing what your child is exposed to online. That is, you cannot simply “set it and forget it”. Despite your best efforts, you children could eventually be exposed to something you don’t want them to see. For example, you may have strict parental control at home, but that cannot prevent your kids from accessing it elsewhere. Children can be exposed to inappropriate material, play violent video games, or chat with strangers anywhere internet may be available. Today, kids can access the internet from anywhere via smart phones, laptop computers, and tablets.  Because there are so many sources, parents can’t keep an eye on everything.

The Lesson:

Continue to use parental software at home, monitor and supervise your child’s online behaviour when possible, and make sure to have on-going discussions about appropriate and inappropriate online activities and the dangers of certain types of online activity. You can also talk to your children’s friends’ parents about what your children can do on the internet.

Monitoring Online Activities is an On-Going Process:

If you prevent your child from creating a Facebook account will this put an end to their habit of using social media? No, not at all. They will likely attempt to find some other social networking website to communicate. Some social media sites are safer and more appropriate for children than others. There are many parents who allow their kids to join Instagram and other such sites so that they can pursue their individual hobbies and interests.

The Lesson:

Monitoring your child’s online activities is an on-going process. Make sure that you are familiar with the workings of social sites before you permit your child to join them. Become familiar with the sites your child frequents and make sure that appropriate security settings are in place. It is a dangerous position to be in if your child is far more computer and internet savvy than you are.

Computers are not necessary to access chat sites

Don’t think that because your child does not have a mobile phone connection, they will not be able to chat with unknown people. Children with home gaming consoles such as an Xbox or PlayStation (or even an iPod touch) can easily access just about every chat site available to those with computers.

The Lesson:

Children do not simply use their home consoles to play video games and use an iPod for listening to music. A child may be exposed to many things online using these gadgets. Gaming consoles as well as portable gadgets also have parental controls – use them!

Nothing is Ever Deleted

You may be surprised to know that whatever you write online is essentially available forever.  Even if you write or post something that later on you regret and delete, there is the possibility that it has already been copied, forwarded or shared – and at this point the information that you initially shared is now completely out of your control.

The Lesson:

Talk to your children about the sharing of information online. Make sure that your children understand that posting information on the internet really means that they are sharing this with everyone. Also be very clear about what kind of information is acceptable to share and what should never be revealed online.


Why You Need to Monitor Your Life Insurance Coverage

Life Insurance Coverage

Depending on the policy you purchase, you could be covered for different lengths. The term could be anywhere between one year and the rest of your life by life insurance. Depending on how long you’ve had you life insurance coverage, it might no longer be enough.

As your life changes, your insurance needs change with it. Depending on events that have happened and how your mind-set has evolved since you first bought a policy, it may be a good idea to make sure you have enough coverage. Here are some signs to watch out for.

1.You’ve recently had a child. 

Research has found, it will cost you €250,000 to raise a child from birth to college in Ireland. It is also estimated that the cost of education for a child is €70,000.

If you’ve recently had an addition to your family, your spouse or partner may not be able to afford those costs if something were to happen to you. That’s especially the case if you’re the financial breadwinner.

2.You’ve bought a new home.

Two of the top five reasons people get life insurance are to cover mortgage debt and to pay for home expenses.

You do not want your family to be kicked out of your home if they can not pay this. When taking out a mortgage you need to consider what will happen if someone becomes ill, dies or unemployment occurs. Mortgage protection is put in place and designed to pay off your mortgage in such an event as death. There are difference kinds of mortgage protection so make sure you know the difference. It is very important that this is reviewed often especially when your circumstances change and to make sure you are on the right policy to suit your needs.

3.Your income has increased dramatically. 

Two-thirds of people who own life insurance bought it to replace lost income if they were to pass away. If you’ve recently gotten a significant raise or your income has increased steadily since you last bought insurance, check to make sure your insurance coverage is still enough to replace it.

4.Your lifestyle has changed.

While income increases often come with lifestyle changes, it’s also possible to get a lifestyle upgrade. This is after you’ve paid off debt or improved your cash flow in some other way. If you notice that you’ve been spending more per month than you were a year or two ago, your current life insurance policy may leave a gap between its coverage and your loved ones’ needs.

5.You’re thinking about your estate planning.

Another top-five reason people get life insurance is to transfer wealth or leave an inheritance. As you get older, you may start thinking more about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind.

If you’ve been focused on other life insurance needs, it might be time to take another look to see if you would owe any taxes upon your death or what other expenses your estate might incur. You may also consider whether you want to leave any money behind for your children. In most cases, you won’t be able to increase the coverage on your current policy. Instead, you’ll buy a new one to supplement the first.

Whatever you do, take the time every once in a while to determine whether your life insurance coverage is still enough to take care of the people you love.

If you want to review your life insurance policy we are always here to give you free advice and provide you with our expert financial and life insurance advice for your future and your family. Contact us today for a chat. 

Schools out for Summer Holidays Soon

Not looking forward to the summer holidays and wondering how to entertain the kids?

We all know that kids need to be entertained and long gone are the days when they played outside all day. It can be hard to keep kids entertained on summer holidays. Playing games like kick the can and rounders and getting up to all kinds of mischief like climbing trees and innocently mucking about. Parents can get quite stressed having to think of things to keep the kids happy and entertained all summer long not to mention the expense of it all.

It is very important to try to keep the balance as kids nowadays like to have a more structured life. There are lots of activities and summer camps that help with routine and discipline. It is ok if the kids get bored because that’s what kids do, it’s quite normal. Don’t feel under pressure to constantly put pressure on yourself. It’s great for kids to get outside and go exploring and fresh air is always good for both you and the kids.

Keep a Schedule

It’s always a good idea to try to keep them going to bed at the same time as the rest of the year even if it is light outside and for them to get up at the same time in the morning. This helps with routine and their mood. Don’t start eating junk food but it is ok as a treat. We have all seen kids after drinking a can of coke.

Adventure Time

Try do something new and adventurous and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Go for walks in the woods or the local park or have a nice picnic.

Be realistic and manage your expectations and don’t get too stressed. With the kids in the house all day, you will obviously not have as much time for yourself. If you get the kids up to bed at their regular bedtime you will then be able to recharge your batteries. Most importantly enjoy your time with your family as they do grow very fast and stay healthy, happy and positive.

It is important to financially protect your kids from sudden death or illness. The easiest way to do this is by buying a life insurance policy. Oomph provides you a policy that fits you budget and lifestyle. Get your quote here.

Women are claiming Life Insurance at an earlier age than men

Cancer is the leading cause of death and illness in Ireland as Irish Life pays out €187.8 million in claims during 2017

2,582 claims paid across Life Insurance, Specified Illness and Terminal Illness Cover

Cancer continues to be the main cause of death and illness in Ireland according to Irish Life, Ireland’s leading life insurer*. Irish Life today published its annual claims report for its retail business, confirming that it paid out €187.8 million to customers and their families affected by illness and death during 2017. The report provides a unique insight into the health of the nation, and includes an overview of the illnesses and conditions that led to payments for 2,582 Life Insurance, Specified Illness Cover and Terminal Illness claims in 2017.

The claims report highlights that Irish Life paid €129.7 million for 1,689 Life Insurance claims, €53.7 million for 853 Specified Illness Cover claims, and a further €4.4 million for 40 Terminal Illness claims. These figures represent an increase of 10% overall in the value of claims paid out to Irish Life customers compared to 2016 figures. The average payment was €76,786 for Life Insurance claims, €62,992 for Specified Illness Cover claims, and €109,534 for Terminal Illness claims, although there was a wide variation in the size of claims settled.

Cancer was once again the main cause of both Life Insurance (42%) and Specified Illness claims (62%), followed by heart-related conditions which accounted for 10% of deaths and 20% of Specified Illness claims. Overall, breast cancer was the main type of cancer for Specified Illness claimants.

Martin Duffy, Head of Underwriting & Protection Claims, Irish Life Retail, commented on the claims report; “We paid an average of €3.6 million a week last year to people and families affected by illness and death. In fact, we paid 95% of the life insurance and specified illness claims we received last year. And yet we’ve seen from a recent study by Coyne Research** that people in Ireland think that only half (51%) of life insurance claims overall are paid. So clearly, we need to make more people aware of the real benefits of life and specified Illness cover, as it can be a lifeline for you and your family in times of difficulty.

“This is further proven by the fact that over a third of our Specified Illness claims were paid to people under 50 years of age. Those payments would have helped to ease the financial burden for those people and their families at a difficult time. However, it’s a worry that the Coyne Research study also found that less than half of women in Ireland (just 45%) have some form of life insurance, serious illness cover or income protection, compared to almost 2 in every 3 men (63%). And unfortunately, this lack of financial protection among women in particular is also reflected in our 2017 claims data where women made up just 38% of our Life Insurance claims”, he said.

Gender Variations: The Irish Life claims report showed notable gender variations in relation to life insurance, specified illness and terminal illness claims for 2017. Almost two thirds of Life Insurance claims were for men (60%) compared to just 35% for women. In relation to Specified Illness claims, over half (53%) of claims were paid to men and 45% to women. The report also revealed that women are claiming at an earlier age than men; the average age for female life claims was 64 years, compared to 67 years for men, and for specified illness claims the average age for female claimants was just 51 years, compared to 55 years of age for male claims.

Life Insurance claims: The claims report highlighted that the number of people dying from cancer in Ireland remains high, as over half of women (54%) and 38% of men died from cancer in 2017. Heart-related conditions also feature as a main cause of death, with men five times more likely to die from a heart condition when compared to women.

Within the Life Insurance category, accidental deaths accounted for 7% of all claims, representing a total payment of €17.1 million. The average age for accidental death claims was just 49 years, the lowest average age on record, with more men (63%) dying from accidental death causes than women (28%). A quarter of all Life Insurance claims for those under 40 years were as a result of an accident, making it the second biggest cause of claims for this age-group again this year. €1m in payments was made to families of those who died in road traffic accidents in 2017.

Specified Illness claims: The report also highlighted that cancer was the main cause for Specified Illness claims for both men (49%) and women (77%). Prostate cancer was the leading cancer claim for men (19%), followed by lung cancer and colon cancer. Breast cancer was the main type of cancer claim for women (39%), followed by colon cancer and ovarian cancer.

Irish Life paid over 95% of all Life Insurance and Specified Illness claims received in 2017, paying out over €3.6 million a week on average. Most of the small number of claims it declined were due to non-disclosure of medical information or the illnesses not being covered. The company also confirmed that almost 2 in every 3, Specified Illness claims were paid within five weeks of Irish Life receiving the completed claim forms.

Examples of claims payments made by Irish Life in 2017:

•    The largest individual Life Insurance claim of €5,075,000 was paid out to the family of a claimant who died of cancer
•    €146,000 was paid to the family of a claimant in their 40s who died of cancer shortly after starting a life insurance policy
•    An early Specified Illness claim was paid to a claimant in their 30s who had a cancer diagnosis just a few weeks after starting their cover and received a payment of €24,000

Talk to one of our experts in Oomph today for great rates!

*Based on market share (2017)
**Research carried out by Coyne Research. 1,000 adults aged 18+ were interviewed online between 6th and 12th December 2017.

Orca Financial talks to the Independent.ie about business

Orca financial chief is man with a plan. Sean Gallagher meets owners of small and medium sized businesses. They share the lessons they’ve learnt in building their companies.

Orca Financial was set up in 2004 by John Molloy and Stephen Byrne. Orca is headquartered in The Grange Offices, on the Stillorgan Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin and with a second office in Portlaoise, Co Laois. The company employs 11 staff and this year will see their turnover reach close to €1.5m

“Ours is a financial brokerage business. It acts as an umbrella for three separate yet complementary services,” says John, the company’s managing director. “Orca Life and Pensions is our core business. As an authorised financial broker, offers Life Assurance, Pension and Investment advice to almost 3,000 clients.

“I am a huge believer in the benefit of life assurance. I have received lots of letters and emails from spouses, families and indeed businesses who have lost loved ones or business partners and whose troubles were lessened as the result of such a payment. Likewise, our pensions and investment business is about ensuring people put in place sufficient provisions to ensure they are protected for unforeseen events. This makes sure they have enough money to enjoy a quality of life once they reach retirement age.”

Second Service

Their second service, Orca Private Equity, is a separate company within the group that deals with unregulated investments. Managed by John’s business partner, Stephen Byrne, this caters for those investors looking for greater risk and potentially higher returns. “To date, we have raised significant capital for a number of property developers. Private companies such as Pre-pay Power and Homesecure are also who we have raised capital for. We are now currently raising equity for another exciting business, Urban Volt,” says Stephen.

The company’s third and most recent addition is their online service, OOMPH.ie. Oomph was launched last year to help people between the age of 20 and 40 to purchase life insurance. This provides fast and efficient online life assurance cover.

“With over 450,000 parents in Ireland with no life cover, this leaves a lot of families potentially exposed to financial challenges in the future,” says John. “Having researched the market, we found there was an increasing appetite for this service. This services enables customers buy cover in the evenings or over weekends. It provides fair and transparent pricing and provides choice rather than offering only one company’s products.”

“In addition, the lower cost online model allows us offer discounts. These discounts are on life cover rates and mortgage protection plans which also makes it more attractive for customers.”

John Molloy

John grew up in Rathfarnham in Dublin. He wanted to go to UCD, but did not receive a high enough score on his Leaving Exam. He completed a diploma in retail marketing in the College of Marketing and Design. Later that year, while deciding whether to advance his studies, John got a job selling life assurance door-to-door. While he didn’t particularly enjoy that aspect of the business, he fell in love with the sector. As a result, he postponed going back to college and joined Norwich Union as a trainee account manager. It would be later in his early 30s that he would eventually return to the Smurfit Business School in UCD. This is where he completed an executive MBA.

He was still only 20 years old when he was promoted as account manager by Norwich. He later moved to Prudential. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions where Prudential became part of the Irish Permanent Group and then the Irish Life and Permanent group. John ended up becoming head of pension distribution for the national network of Permanent TSB branches. “I had felt for a long time that there was a lack of long-term service for pension and retirement planning. In order for customers to get the most out of their investments, annual reviews should be routinely carried out to assess the customer’s risk appetite as their circumstances changed or they grew older. So in 2004, I decided to set up Orca Financial with Stephen.”

Stephen Byrne

Also from Rathfarnham, Stephen had studied IT in Trinity College before forming an IT-based startup. When the pair met, Stephen was working as a mortgage broker. The combination of their skill sets and experience seemed a perfect fit for this new venture.

“I realised that mortgage advice was going to be key and that I had little or no experience in this area, so I approached Stephen after a recommendation from a friend. He was also involved in property development and had a great handle on fundraising and private equity which would also become an important part of our business,” says John.

Starting out in a small basement office in the city centre the pair were joined shortly after by Sarah McGurrin, now a fellow shareholder and sales director in the business. Apart from customers, John emphasises the importance of a strong team.

Company’s Focus

The company’s focus on mortgages was central to their success until the market collapsed in 2008. “That was our greatest challenge and resulted in a significant drop in income in a very short term. However, we were lucky to have invested to acquire three other life and pension brokerages which we merged into the company, one each year in 2006, 2007 and 2008,” he adds.

One of the businesses they acquired had an office in Portlaoise, which they continue to use to service their many clients throughout the Midland region.

“Referrals, too, have played a key part in our continued growth and today we are proud to have €130m of funds under advice for our 3,000 clients,” he adds. “Unlike some businesses, our emphasis is on personal service where we get to know the customer rather than treating them as a policy number,” says John.

Optimistic about the future of the company, John’s short-term strategy is to grow the business by way of further acquisitions and mergers as a result of the number of smaller brokerages struggling with the increased burden of new legislation. And with his new life assurance online service, OOMPH.ie now up and running, he sees this, too, as a strong source of future revenues.