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September 2016

8 Spooky Student Loan Statistics

What's scarier...the fact that Halloween is only a month away or facing your next student loan payment? We're guessing it's the latter.

Here are some scary student loan facts from our student loan consolidation and refinance partner, SoFi. Remember to use your association's dedicated SoFi page if you're interested in the program. This will ensure you receive your special member-only benefits.

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How to Properly Respond to a Subpoena

Shutterstock_139897957You’ve just been advised that a subpoena has been served. So what do you do? Ignore it? Refuse to comply? Produce all the requested documents without question?

Properly Responding to a Subpoena

Subpoenas serve a very important function in the litigation process, and the wrong response to one can have very serious ramifications. Here are several guidelines regarding properly responding to a subpoena:

  • Determine the subpoena’s validity. It is generally recognized that a court cannot issue a valid subpoena absent a pending civil, criminal or administrative proceeding, and a subpoena cannot be used to compel a person to appear or to produce documents ex parte before an attorney, a party or a representative of the party.
  • Learn about the underlying lawsuit. It is imperative a company served with a subpoena learn as much as possible about the existence of the lawsuit or proceeding from which the subpoena was issued. Knowing the identity of the court or administrative agency and the matter’s case identification number is important to identify what case management orders or other rules may exist.
  • Determine potential objections. Generally, objections to a subpoena range from procedural defects to more substantive ones, such as privilege. Examples include lack of personal service, unreasonable response time, and service after the discovery deadline has passed.
  • Issue a litigation hold. After receipt of the subpoena, you will need to issue a written litigation hold notice requiring employees to preserve all potentially responsive documents and information.
  • Begin document collection and review. A company served with a document subpoena must produce all responsive documents within its control, and the recipient’s duty to preserve is triggered regardless of whether it believes that the subpoena is objectionable. Ultimately, it is the court (not the recipient) that determines the subpoena’s validity.
  • Don’t just blindly comply. Courts have quashed or modified subpoenas when compliance would have resulted in the public disclosure of trade secrets or otherwise confidential information. When faced with a subpoena, a company needs to understand and evaluate how public disclosure of the requested testimony or information will affect its business or operations.
  • The subpoena’s recipient should ensure that the requested documents arrive at the location stated in the subpoena on or before the return date. The party responding to the subpoena should prepare and retain proof of service in its files and present it to the court if the issuing party claims that the recipient did not comply with the subpoena’s demands.

For more information the proper way to respond to a subpoena, contact USI Affinity today.

Employer Life and Disability vs. Other Policies

Shutterstock_380394427One of the questions we’re often asked is why considering purchase a policy for life or disability when those are benefits offered by an employer. Today, we’re going to unravel that mystery.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Either/Or

Typically, employer policies are small (for instance, 1-2x salary for a life insurance policy – which isn’t nearly enough coverage for most people) and you don’t have to go through underwriting unless you’re looking for a larger amount. Premiums are usually paid on a pre-tax basis. In other words, securing this coverage is pretty quick and painless. It’s worth considering for this reason. You can then supplement this coverage with a policy outside of your employer. While most don’t realize it, your professional or alumni association can be a good source for these policies.

If you have medical conditions that make you believe you might be turned down for an outside policy, an employer plan is a very good option for at least securing some coverage.

The Downside to Employer Policies

Your Employment Isn’t Usually Forever

First and foremost, there is no guarantee you’ll be with your employer forever. These policies almost always terminate when you leave the company. If you’ve been with the company for a while, health issues may have crept up that make getting an individual policy difficult.

But What if It Is

If you retire at age 65, chances are you’ll still want to have a policy in place, but your coverage may terminate with retirement.

The Tax Man Cometh

In the case of disability coverage, employer plans present an interesting (and not so pleasant) quirk. You’ve paid for your premiums with pre-tax money and let’s say the benefit is 60% of your salary, which is about the norm. Sure, living on 60% of your salary would be tough (particularly if you’re paying on medical bills relating to your disability), but it’s reasonable to think it’s doable. But wait…there’s untaxed money out there and now is the time that the tax man cometh. That’s right, your 60% of salary benefit will be taxed – meaning you’ve got much less to live with than you may have counted on. This is not usually the case with disability policies secured outside of the employer environment because the policy was paid for with money that’s already been taxed. This allows you to realize the full benefit amount (in our example here, 60%).

You Could Probably Do Better

Since any employee can secure coverage without underwriting, there’s a chance these rates aren’t the best you can get. Underwriting ensures you’re a good risk and therefore, rates are usually less expensive when you have to go through it.

Only you know your exact circumstances and if any employer plan, external plan or both are right for your situation, but we hope this post helps you understand the differences so you can make an informed decision.