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Medicine today presents an inspiring picture of achievement over many ills.

Men argue about its greatest advance – the introduction of the wonder drugs, new heart-surgery techniques, new medicines, anesthesia agents, the improvement in diagnosis.

Which is the greatest doesn’t matter. What does is that medicine, once an art, has undergone a gradual but firm union with science so that it is now both an art and a science.

Many people believe that sickness is inevitable. If they are meant to get sick, then that’s that — and there is little they can do about it apart from keeping a handy supply of aspirins, band-aids, and cough drops.

However, there are grades of wellness and, the higher the grade we can achieve, the less prone we are to succumb to sickness and disease.

For instance, those people (whatever age) who keep relatively fit can run for the bus, bend down to do their shoes up, and generally carry out the range of everyday activities without putting their bodies under any strain.

A lot is written about how to keep healthy and it is easy to get confused when you read half a dozen quite different approaches on how to diet, how to relax, or how to get fit.

The important thing to realize is that we now know that there are many simple ways within our grasp to improve our health and lift our wellness grade. For example:

  • Watching what we eat, how much sugar, fat, and salt.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Taking time out to relax – especially on busy days.
  • Work on developing a positive self-image.
  • Limiting alcoholic drinks – avoiding drinking and driving.
  • Becoming more active – walking instead of driving, taking steps instead of lifts.

The choice of what to do to become more healthy is up to us.

Journal Med Sci provides a lot of suggestions and tips on how we can go about improving our wellness grades.

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Protection for small-business losses

Small businessmen have an important responsibility to protect themselves against losses that could undermine or destroy their financial viability.

Part of this protection can be obtained by arranging the right insurance cover and renewing it regularly, according to the Insurance Council of the U.S.

However, the task of selecting the appropriate cover is difficult, mainly because an event that may seem remote could suddenly undermine an operation.

Although insurance is a major “outgoing” for most small businesses, it should be thought of as an investment in financial security.

Few businesses could afford to absorb the losses involved if premises were destroyed by fire, if people were injured because of the owner’s negligence or if the owner’s health prevented him from working. Insurance offers protection against these situations, as well as covering a wide range of other possible accidents and events.

The prudent businessman will have enough cover to enable him to be no worse off should disaster strike.

Misunderstandings about insurance contracts are often related to the terms of reinstatement policies or the co-insurance clause (sometimes known as average).

A reinstatement policy is one that aims to replace or restore your property as new within the terms of the contract. It may provide an upper limit on the amount payable.

A co-insurance clause means that, if the property is insured for an amount which is substantially below its full replacement value, the owner may be entitled to be compensated for only part of a loss. The services of a qualified valuer will ensure that the value of assets is not underestimated and they are insured for their full value.

The council suggests consideration of the following policies:

Workers’ compensation, compulsory by law, is insurance paid for by employers for each person they employ.

The policy covers the employer’s liability to pay compensation for the injury, sickness or death of an employee when these events can be attributed to the employee’s job (in accordance with the relevant Act), whether or not the employer is deemed to be at fault.

If a claim does occur, the employer, as the policyholder, must lodge the claim; the employee does not normally, have any direct involvement with the insurance company.

Although workers’ compensation gives an automatic cover against work-related claims which are the result of negligence on the part of the employer, in some States such cover may be limited. To avoid having to pay the difference between the insurance cover and an award, the common-law cover should be unlimited or for a very high amount.

In some States, discounts are offered on the premiums, depending on the claims experience of the employer concerned.

Motor-vehicle insurance has two parts:

(1) Compulsory third-party insurance, a statutory requirement, must be taken out when a car, motorcycle or truck is registered. It protects the owner of the vehicle against any claim for personal injury to passengers or persons outside the vehicle, but usually excludes members of the driver’s family who reside with him. In some States, where the no-fault scheme applies, injuries to the owner or driver are also covered in certain circumstances.

(2) Motor-accident and property-damage insurance, sometimes known as comprehensive motor insurance. This normally caters for damage caused to your own vehicle, damage caused to someone else’s vehicle or property, towage, salvage, hiring and other expenses incurred as a result of an accident and legal costs. Some insurance companies may also offer cover for loss of income, or for compensation for the use of an additional car while the insured vehicle is being repaired, or for loss of personal belongings from an accident.

Separate policies are available for loss of or damage to the owner’s vehicle by fire or theft and damage to another person’s property, for loss of or damage to the owner’s vehicle by fire or theft and for damage to the other person’s property only.

Under the terms of most policies, the policyholder has to pay for the first part of any loss – often a fixed sum (excess). But the excess can sometimes be removed on payment of an extra premium. An additional excess is charged if the driver is under 25 years of age.

Most companies offer discounts to drivers with good driving records.

Industrial and commercial premises are normally insured under a fire policy.

The buildings, machinery, plant, stock in trade, merchandise, furniture, furnishings, fixtures and fittings, and walls, gates and fences when situated within the policyholder’s property, may be covered for fire, lightning and explosion (of boilers or gas used for domestic purposes).

On payment of an additional premium, a policy may be extended to include such additional perils as impact by vehicles or animals, explosion (other than already mentioned), earthquake, subterranean fire or volcanic eruption (excess normally applies), damage caused by aircraft or articles dropped from aircraft, riots or civil commotion, acts of malicious persons (excess normally applies), storm and tempest and/or rainwater, wind only, during construction, or leaking from any pipe or water system in or near the building, destruction or damage by electric current, and sprinkler leaks. Flood cover is available in certain circumstances.

Further extensions of a fire policy which are normally available include payment of professional fees for architects, surveyors, and so on (after loss or damage), loss of rent when the buildings become untenable after loss or damage, the cost of removing debris, demolition and any temporary repairs as a result of loss or damage, property temporarily removed from the insured building while in another part of the policyholder’s premises or anywhere in the U.S. (property in transit to and from the policyholder’s premises is normally subject to certain restrictions on the amount of cover and type of property insured), an escalation clause to offset the effects of inflation on the sum insured, computer-system records, fire-extinguishment costs, employees’ clothing and/or tools under certain conditions, and alterations or additions to buildings, fixtures and fittings, plant or machinery which may be made during the currency of a policy. All can affect the sum insured.

It is also possible to cover the additional costs of complying with by-laws or other municipal regulations, when rebuilding after a loss, by extending the policy for extra-cost reinstatement.

Items such as money, securities, stamps, documents, manuscripts, business books, patterns, models, molds, dye, plans and designs, would be required to be specially insured; they are normally not covered.

The usual policy covers the market value of the items insured at the time of loss. However, replacement costs may be considerably higher than market value and additional cover to offset this situation should be considered.

The co-insurance clause is a common feature of fire policies and means that, if the sum insured, as stated in your policy, is substantially less than the full value of the property, a policyholder may be compensated for only a portion of a loss.

Every owner, regardless of how large or small the business, should safeguard income with consequential loss insurance, designed to cover standing costs, such as rent, insurance premiums, salaries, and so on, as well as the loss of net profit and any additional expenses necessary to minimize a reduction in turnover during the period of interruption. Rent of temporary premises and purchase or hire of temporary machinery are two examples.

The cover may be extended to include accountants’ fees necessary for the preparation of claims under the normal form of the policy, and wages (other than those included in the standing costs) for staff laid off as the result of a fire.

To supplement basic fire cover, the policy should be extended to include all perils insured under the material-damage fire policy – storm and tempest, water damage and earthquake. Anyone of these perils could cause serious interruption to business.

This policy does not normally cover underinsurance against material damage, depreciation of stock after the fire, loss of goodwill, book debts which cannot be collected because records have been destroyed, any third-party or similar claim arising out of the fire, or the difference between the value of the stock at the time of the fire and at the time of replacement.

The sum to be insured is most commonly based on the anticipated annual gross profit. In estimating, the trend of the business should be taken into account, bearing in mind that it is the gross profit during the interruption period which should be insured.

As the common form of policy is usually subject to a co-insurance clause, full insurance is essential. The policy should be reviewed each year to take into account fluctuations in gross profit, availability of alternative premises and supplies of materials and equipment.

Burglary insurance covers loss or damage caused by thieves forcibly entering premises, or by any person feloniously concealed on the premises. Obviously, the insured is required to take all reasonable precautions for the safety and protection of the property.

The policy is not usually subject to a co-insurance clause and the amount insured should reflect the maximum probable value of the goods, plus an amount for damage caused during a break-in.

Premium rates may be reduced by installing an approved alarm system, or certain types of safes and premium rates may also vary in accordance with the attractive nature of your stock to burglars. In some cases, because of the type of stock involved, the insurance company will accept the risk only if an approved alarm system is installed.

Public-liability insurance will cover the legal liability for compensation if someone, not an employee or a family member, suffers an injury, damage to property or death as a result of the policyholder’s business operations.

The claim is limited to the amount specified in the policy. All charges, expenses and law costs incurred in the settlement or defense of claims for compensation would normally be covered.

This type of policy does not normally cover claims arising from the use of a motor vehicle, directly or indirectly in connection with aircraft, directly or indirectly from explosion or collapse of boilers or pressure vessels owned or controlled by the policyholder, out of faulty workmanship, out of a breach of the duty owed in a professional capacity by the policyholder, directly or indirectly, or in connec tion with the erection, demolition, alteration of and/or addition to a building by or on behalf of the policyholder, not exceeding a specified sum, caused by the nature, condition or quality of goods sold or supplied by the policyholder, except goods under the policyholder’s control, or goods sold or supplied at or from a canteen provided by the policyholder for his employees, brought against the policyholder in any country in which the policyholder is represented, bodily injury or damage to property occurring outside the U.S. (usually not applicable to anyone who is normally resident in the U.S. and who is not a manual worker or a supervisor of work), damage to any land or fixed property arising directly or indirectly from vibration, or bodily injury or damage to property caused by or arising out of contamination or pollution.

A manufacturer or a retailer should consider a product-liability policy to cover legal liability arising out of defective products. Compensation is limited to an amount specified in the policy.

The Trade Practices Commission in every State, as well as the relevant State authorities, can be consulted about legislation and regulations concerning ultimate liability for retail purchases.

Personal accident and illness insurance is ideal for self-employed people, professionals, partners, owners of small businesses and others not covered by workers’ compensation.

Plateglass insurance covers the breaking of glass in shop windows and display cases from causes which are stipulated in the policy. Rates are based on the size of the area of glass.

Money insurance normally provides cover for loss of money being taken to or from a bank or on the business premises. Extensions are available to cover money taken home overnight or deposited in a bank night safe. Rates are based on the amount insured and the extent of cover selected.

Marine insurance policies are available to cover loss or damage to goods in transit, whether by sea, land or air.

Engineering insurance gives cover for boiler explosions, machinery breakdown, loss of profits, damage to the factory, and so on.

Fusion insurance is sometimes included as an extension to the fire policy. It covers the damage caused to a motor by electric current.

Wind and water damage cover is an extension to the fire policy and covers loss or damage by storm, water discharge or leak. An extension is available to cover accidental leaks from sprinkler systems.