Archive for September, 2009

Insurance commissioner offers tips

Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine had the following tips for homeowners suffering from flood damage:

For those without insurance (Oxendine estimates that’s 80 percent of those affected):

– Start dealing with the damage, either personally or by contacting a professional. Get the wet carpet out of the house. Do not save the padding. Throw it out.

– Get air flowing in the house, but do not use the air-conditioner. Open the windows. Use large fans and dehumidifiers.

– Hope the federal government approves FEMA money to assist Georgians financially.

For those with flood insurance:

– Document the damage for your insurance company. Make sure to take photos.

– Coordinate with your insurance agent to get a restoration company to dry, clean and decontaminate everything affected.

What if a sewer or septic tank backed up?

Oxendine says bare-bones policies do not cover that, but premium policies generally do. So make sure to check on that.

In the future, is flood insurance worth …

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Power Breakfast: Floods, College Football Hall, banks, jobless benefits, iPhone

The cost of the storms and floods in lives and destruction is the major metro news, by far:

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

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What’s your experience with networking?

What has been your experience with networking groups, either for expanding your business or when hunting for a job?

What works? What doesn’t? How helpful have the sessions been for you?

Below this blog item is a column about what appears to work well for members of the Perimeter Insiders Networking Group. Can their ideas work for your group?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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The right way to network

Networking is much more of a science than an art. That became clear after I observed a networking group that’s been around for 22 years.

At 7 a.m. sharp nearly every Wednesday, the meeting of Perimeter Insiders Networking Group is called to order.

First, there’s the 30-second drill.

Each of the 28 members in attendance on a recent Wednesday stood and said his or her name, job and the kind of referrals needed for business or work. They followed up their introductions by repeating their name and job, like they would in a 30-second commercial.

“I’m Jackie Glover, a recruiter specializing in the placement of administrative support professionals. Good leads for me are companies moving into the area and job candidates with administrative skills. I’m Jackie Glover, recruiter.”

As a veteran of the group, Glover is well-known by members.  Nevertheless, just like a football player runs through the same drills at each practice, she stuck to the script. Repetition is …

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Power Breakfast: Metro storms, insurance, Census, NASDAQ

Here are some key storm-related stories you may be interested in this morning:

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

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IRS extends amnesty for tax cheats: Good or bad idea?

How should tax cheaters be treated? And does the mounting federal deficit play into your thinking?

Tax dodgers who hid assets overseas will get a few extra weeks to apply for an amnesty program that has been flooded with applications ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, the Associated Press reports.

The Internal Revenue Service plans to announce today that the deadline will be extended until Oct. 15, a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told AP.

More than 3,000 Americans have applied for the program, which promises no jail time and reduced penalties for tax cheats who come forward, said the official who was not authorized to speak on the record ahead of the public announcement, AP writes.

The program is not for drug dealers and money launderers. But if the money was earned legally, tax evaders can usually avoid criminal prosecution.

What do you think? Good or bad idea?

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Power Breakfast: Temp work, risky loans, IRS, going green

Temp work is one of the first places to look for any improvement in the job market.

Emily Carlson, area vice president for north Atlanta for Randstad, a staffing company, said some businesses are seeing more demand for products, AJC reporter Michael Kanell writes.

When they call staffing companies, they’re asking mostly for temporary or “contract” workers right now, she said.

“Companies are not ready to commit to permanent head count. So this helps them to staff up. Wait and see is the game we are in right now.”

The signal she is waiting for, Kanell reports, is the moment when companies choose “temp-to-perm” — when they take contract workers with the understanding that a good worker will be hired.

“That would be a signal that companies are much more encouraged,” Carlson said.

Unfortunately, we’re not there yet.

Also in the AJC:

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Should the government review pay at banks?

As we all know, risk-taking at banks, driven partially by their compensation policies, helped throw the economy into a tailspin.

So should the government get heavily involved in reviewing their future pay decisions?

Or will that just make matters worse?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that policies that set the pay for tens of thousands of bank employees nationwide would require approval from the Federal Reserve as part of a far-reaching proposal to rein in risk-taking at financial institutions.

The Fed’s plan would, for the first time, inject government regulators deep into compensation decisions traditionally reserved for the banks’ corporate boards and executives, the WSJ says.

Under the proposal, the Fed could reject any compensation policies it believes encourage bank employees — from chief executives, to traders, to loan officers — to take too much risk. Bureaucrats wouldn’t set the pay of individuals, but would review and, if necessary, amend each bank’s …

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Power Breakfast: Atlanta legend’s bank in trouble, housing, Peachtree Center, unemployment

Success in one business arena doesn’t always carry over to another one.

Charlie Loudermilk, a legend in Atlanta retailing for founding the thriving Aaron’s lease-to-own chain, is fighting for survival as a banker.

“I’m known as a winner,” Loudermilk told AJC reporter Paul Donsky. “In this case, I’m a loser. If the bank closes, I’m a loser. Hell, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Donsky writes that Buckhead Community Bank, which Loudermilk launched, has been searching in vain for investors or a buyer as the bank tries to keep afloat.

But Loudermilk said potential investors have been scared off by the bank’s $160 million pool of toxic loans mostly tied to real estate bets gone bad.

“We’ve turned over every stone to get people to invest,” Loudermilk, 82, told Donsky. “We don’t know what the future holds. It’s up to the [regulators.]”

Loudermilk, chairman of the bank’s board of directors, said he’s gone as far as to remind customers the …

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Study: Company debt related to CEO’s personal finance habits

Looking at a CEO’s personal finances can tell you how comfortable a company is with debt.

A new academic study found that corporations with higher levels of debt tend to have CEOs who also owe more on their own homes, according to a news release from Ohio State University.

Firms whose CEOs have home mortgages have more debt — about 4 percentage points more  — than firms whose CEOs do not take out a mortgage to finance their primary personal residence, the release said.

“It’s not just the characteristics of the firm or the industry that determine a company’s debt choices. Our findings suggest that you have to also look at the personal characteristics of the CEO to fully explain these financial decisions,” Anil Makhija, co-author of the study and a finance professor at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.

Makhija conducted the study with Henrik Cronqvist, professor of economics and finance at Claremont McKenna College, and Scott Yonker, a graduate …

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