By James McAluney
2015 was a record setting year for Hawaii, for the fourth consecutive year in a row. Over eight and half million people visited Hawaii throughout the year, which is a 4.1% increase from 2014. Most visitors came from the Western United States, followed by the Eastern United States. Japan and Canada produced the most tourists from outside of the states.
Tourism generates a large amount of Hawaii’s economy. 2015 brought in a record total of $15.2 billion, which was a 2.3% increase from 2014. On its own, Hawaii has a sub-par economy, and tourism is what carries the state and builds jobs and opportunities and growth, and helps maintain infrastructure.
Airlines are the main way in which people arrive in Hawaii and three new airlines joined the lineup in late 2015. Virgin America began two new routes from San Francisco, one to Honolulu and one to Maui. For the growing number of visitors from Asia, AirAsia X flies from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Japan and on to Honolulu. Jin Air flies from Seoul in South Korea to Honolulu. Although ticket prices are not necessarily getting any cheaper, there will be more flights and seats available for booking a trip.
George Szigeti, the president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority states that “This consistency of success signifies how compelling Hawaii’s brand is to global travelers. Hawaii’s marketing message is being well received in key markets and our industry partners deserve credit for how they have evolved their product offerings to match the diversified interests of today’s travelers.”
There are a few exciting new additions being planned for tourists going to Hawaii in 2016. For those who love to shop, the International Market Place is completing an upgrade in the summer. It will now house 75 retailers, 7 restaurants and a Saks Fifth Avenue department store. For outdoor lovers, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday in August. For $25, visitors can purchase a pass to see all three national parks in Hawaii: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on Hawaii Island, and Haleakala National Park on Maui.
Four Seasons Hotels completed a renovation in February and now features Hawaiian culture and history. There are 217 newly updated guestrooms and 51 suites, new dining options, an updated spa, and a new pro shop for the Jack Nicklaus Signature Manele Golf Course. Four Seasons is also opening a new resort on Oahu with reservations beginning June 1st.
What does all of this mean? If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, be sure to plan far enough in advance to get cheaper plane tickets and hotel rooms available at the places that you wish to stay. As tourist numbers grow, it will become more difficult to keep up with the demand of numbers and prices may rise. Try staying on the less visited islands or traveling during non peak seasons to keep costs down.
By James McAluney
If you are an adult living in the United States, you know that health insurance coverage is a big deal. It is required if you want to avoid paying fines and it can also be extremely expensive if you are not covered by an employer. Aside from fines for not having health insurance, you never know when an illness or injury could occur, costing exponentially more money than health insurance would have cost in the long run. Different states have adopted different policies and some are more affordable than others. Each state must at least meet federal standards, but they have the option to go beyond standards and provide better options.
Hawaii is one of the top states to offer the most affordable health care insurance plans in the country despite the fact that it is one of the states with the highest cost of living. The other top states include California, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Utah. The rate of uninsured individuals in Hawaii is only 5.3%. The state’s Prepaid Healthcare Act of 1974 is very strict, even more strict than the new federal healthcare laws. It mandates that employers must offer coverage for employees who work at least 20 hours a week or more, as opposed to federal laws which mandate 30 hours per week. Interestingly, Hawaii was the first state forty years ago to require employers to provide health benefits.
Hawaii also offers relatively cheap insurance to residents who do not receive benefits from employers through www.healthcare.gov, the most affordable being the Hawaii Medical Service Association Silver HMO. This plan has a monthly premium of $260, a deductible of $2500, and flat copays for primary and emergency room visits.
Along with affordable insurance rates, Hawaii also offers one of the best health systems in the United States. People in Hawaii are some of the healthiest people in America. They live longer than their mainland counterparts and die less frequently from diseases such as breast cancer and other cancers, even though their rates of disease are comparable to other states, if not higher.
Would you consider moving for better health insurance? According to Bankrate’s Health Insurance Pulse survey, more than 1 in 4 Americans say that they would move to another state if it meant better or cheaper health insurance. This is especially true of young people and people with lower incomes. Due to the likely lack of health insurance in these two groups, they have a lot to gain from federal healthcare laws and especially from states like Hawaii that are setting even higher standards to cover their citizens.
Governor Neil Abercrombie states, “ Hawaii has been a pioneer in health care since 1974 when the state passed the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act, but we need to do more to curb the rising costs of healthcare and ensure quality care for every man, woman and child in Hawaii. We need a system in which patients are engaged, physicians are held accountable, and all residents have access to high-quality, affordable health care.” Hawaii certainly seems to be headed in the right direction.
Mr. McAluney understands how complex the insurance industry is, so he provides routine updates on all legislative activities that could impact his clients and the commercial property and casualty insurance industry.
Customers love the outstanding services Mr. McAluney provides. He frequently accesses historical records on losses, limits of liability, premium, etc. and he reviews certificates of insurance submitted by their vendors.
As a property and casualty insurance broker, Mr. McAluney can make a big impact on his customer’s insurance policies and costs by analyzing their existing plans and providing recommendations for alternative programs that better meet the customer’s needs.
Mr. McAluney is a world traveler. He was born in Pennsylvania, lived in New England as a child, as well as spent some time in Southern California and South Central Pennsylvania. He has lived in Hawaii since 1990. Mr. McAluney has also traveled outside the United States, to the Mediterranean, Carribbean, Australia, and Ireland.
Mr. McAluney loves baseball so much that he travels to at least 1 major city each summer to watch the Philadelphia Phillies. He also volunteers for youth baseball tournaments as a public address announcer and official scorekeeper..
James McAluney is a property and casualty agent that is committed to building and supporting Hawaii’s economy by helping the community. As a dedicated full-time professional insurance agent, Mr. McAluney delivers high-quality risk coverage services to business and property owners, non-profit organizations, social services agencies, residential customers, and the environmental industry. Jim McAluney has worked hard to become a leading agent in Hawaii.
What’s great about Jim McAluney is that he cares about the community and spends as much time as needed to make sure his clients receive the coverage and service they deserve. He negotiates insurance placements and renewals, analyzes risk transfer plans, provides recommendations based on his findings, and he enjoys consulting with his customers about their various business’, self-insured programs, loss prevention and claims management.
In his spare time, James McAluney enjoys baseball. He’s a fanatic for all levels of baseball, from the local high school teams to the majors. He follows the Philadelphia Phillies. He likes other sports too, including basketball and soccer. And he’s the BBQ King. He has been told that he “often saves the BBQ at other people’s parties.”
Mr. McAluney cares a lot about his community and likes to help out in other ways than just helping people find the right insurance policy. He takes part is several groups, organizations, and charities. He’s an active member in the Honu Father-Daughter Group and is a passive member of the Hawaii Association of Environmental Professionals. James McAluney is an active volunteer and donor for Holy Nativity School and Malama Maunalua. He also helps out Big Brothers / Big Sisters and the Assets School.
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