Melania in Malawi


Staff & Wire Reports

First lady Melania Trump is greeted by Malawi first lady Gertrude Maseko and a flower girl as she arrives at Lilongwe International Airport, in Lumbadzi, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

First lady Melania Trump is greeted by Malawi first lady Gertrude Maseko and a flower girl as she arrives at Lilongwe International Airport, in Lumbadzi, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

First lady Melania Trump arrives at Lilongwe International Airport, in Lumbadzi, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Melania Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

First lady Melania Trump waves to children and others as she visits Chipala Primary School, in Lilongwe, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Melania Trump visits school in Malawi, part of Africa tour


Associated Press

Thursday, October 4

LILONGWE, Malawi (AP) — Melania Trump got a different view of educating children as she visited an African primary school Thursday that has benefited from U.S. assistance but struggles with an enrollment of more than 8,500 students. Some children learn lessons outdoors, seated shoulder-to-shoulder on loose, red dirt.

Mrs. Trump toured several outdoor classrooms at Chipala Primary School in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, the second stop on her four-nation tour of the continent. The school is among those in the landlocked country that receive education assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development, including textbooks.

Mrs. Trump was on hand as the U.S. ambassador handed over another 1.4 million books through a U.S.-funded national reading program. Malawi’s schools have received some 9.6 million books under the program in the past several years.

“I wanted to be here to see the successful programs that (the) United States is providing the children and thank you for everything you’ve done,” the U.S. first lady said at the book donation ceremony, held inside the school’s library.

“Meeting those children and understanding their different way of life is why I wanted to travel here,” Mrs. Trump said later. “I was heartened to spend time with the students and was honored to donate school supplies and soccer balls.” The soccer balls as well as tote bags donated for the teachers bore the logo of “Be Best,” the child well-being initiative she launched earlier this year and is promoting on the trip.

Back in Washington, President Donald Trump tweeted: “Our country’s great First Lady, Melania, is doing really well in Africa. The people love her, and she loves them! It is a beautiful thing to see.”

While the first lady highlighted USAID’s work in Africa, the Trump administration has been trying to cut the agency’s funding. In its first two budget proposals, the administration sought to slash funding for the State Department and USAID by roughly 30 percent. Widespread bipartisan opposition to the steep reductions in Congress, where the budget proposals were essentially ignored, foiled the administration’s plans.

Mrs. Trump toured the equivalent of second and third grade classrooms and watched as teachers conducted their lessons — helping the youngsters learn English or the Chichewa language. The school has more than 8,500 students served by 77 teachers.

Bright Masaka, Malawi’s minister of education, science and technology, said Chipala is one of his country’s best schools. He credited the partnership between the U.S. and Malawi with “significantly” improving students’ English and Chichewa reading skills.

The U.S. first lady received a joyous welcome in Malawi upon her arrival at Kamuzu International Airport, with singing and dancing by a troupe of women and scores of schoolchildren waving African and Malawian flags. The sounds of women ululating were heard at each of her public appearance. In southern Africa, ululation – a sound made with the mouth – is often a celebratory welcome by women.

But there were signs of protest, too, as President Trump is not unanimously seen as a friend of Africa.

Along the route from the school to the ambassador’s residence, a few white people held up signs. One woman’s sign said #MELANIATOO, with the “ME” in bold black. A couple held a sign that said “Welcome to Malawi. #NOTASHITHOLE!” — a reference to reports earlier this year that the president used the vulgar term to describe African nations.

Another sign said “69 Days Past the Deadline to Reunite Families.” That was a reference to the president’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that led to the separation of thousands of children from their families as they tried to illegally cross from Mexico into the U.S. Many children remain separated from their families.

Mrs. Trump opened her first extended international tour as first lady on Tuesday in the West African nation of Ghana. She also has planned stops in Kenya and Egypt.

Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter:

Paws of War Receives Donation, Aims to Help More Veterans with New Location

Paws of War will be able to help many more veterans and first responders in their new larger location thanks to community

New York, NY – (October 4, 2018) – Paws of War, an organization that helps veterans and first responders to obtain and train companion and service dogs, is moving to a new, larger location. The new location will help them provide their important services to more veterans and first responders. One local construction company, NDA Construction, lead a community effort that made all the difference. The new Paws of War location will be at 127-6 Smithtown Blvd in Nesconset, New York. They are in the same shopping center, but will now be in a new location within it. The public is invited to attend a grand opening event on Friday, October 19, 2018 at 11:00 am. Refreshments and a light lunch will be served.

“We have long outgrown our space and it was preventing us from helping more people,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “We are so grateful that NDA Construction and the community of sub contractors they brought on have stepped up to make it possible for us have a larger and more functional space. Their donation of time and resources has made it possible for us to help many more veterans and first responders. We couldn’t have made this move without their kind donation.”

The new space will be 3,400 square feet, which is double the size of the old location. It has been built out to provide more areas that will be used to help veterans during their training sessions. The group will now also be able to help those veterans and first responders who are wheelchair-bound or who use scooters. Their prior space was not sufficient for those in wheelchairs to properly participate in the training programs.

NDA Construction and its sister company NDA Kitchens have veterans working for them. The company is owned by Ed Rowland, who started it in 1992. Since that time, they have built a solid reputation for building and design. Through NDA Kitchens, they offer custom kitchen remodeling in the Long Island area.

“It would have been a real financial strain for Paws of War to try to move to a larger facility without receiving some assistance from a builder,” explained Rowland. “We believe in what they are doing and wanted to step up and help make it easier for them to continue doing it on a larger scale. We’re helping them, but then in turn they are helping people who have given a lot for all of us.”

Since the organization started in 2014, they have supported over 100 veterans with service dogs that were rescued from kill shelters and given the proper training. They have rescued 455 dogs from kill shelters and have graduated 102 dogs from the training program. Their mission is to help veterans and first responders who are in need of service dogs, whether for emotional issues, PTSD, depression, or for physical conditions. The new location will make it easier for them to help even more be able to get the assistance they need.

“I started in the program over a year ago,” says William Wurm, who is retired from the US Army and served in Iraq. “And now we are busting at the seams. This new space is going to be so ideal for all of us who make Paws of War a second home.”

Paws of War is an all-volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a donation to support their efforts, visit their site at:

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at

Merkel, Netanyahu play down differences during Israel visit


Associated Press

Thursday, October 4

JERUSALEM (AP) — The leaders of Israel and Germany, countries that have built a strong alliance since the horrors of the Holocaust, put on a display of unity in Jerusalem on Thursday, even as the two states continue to grapple with gaping disagreements over Iran and the Palestinians.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Israel for two days of joint government consultations, the seventh such trip since Israel and Germany established the tradition a decade ago.

She and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared together at a press conference where they played down their differences. Netanyahu welcomed European efforts to address Iranian “aggression” in Europe, and Merkel agreed to prod the Palestinian leader over Israeli claims that he is to blame for the standstill in peace talks and a worsening situation in the Gaza Strip.

“We agree on most things, and we disagree on something. So what?” Netanyahu said. “We have a very strong alliance.”

Despite gingerly addressing the gaps, the sides remain strongly divided over Europe’s support for the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu says the deal, which curbed Iran’s nuclear program, does not include enough safeguards to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapons capability. Netanyahu lauded President Donald Trump for pulling out of the deal this year, which Merkel and other world leaders helped negotiate.

Israel has also criticized Europe for moving forward on the Iran deal even as Iran has been accused of terror plots in Europe.

Merkel, whose rapport with Netanyahu has been cool at times, maintains that Israel will be best served by keeping the Iranian nuclear deal intact, contradicting Netanyahu’s demand that it be scrapped and stiff sanctions imposed instead.

She earlier downplayed differences on Iran, saying the sides were “absolutely in agreement” on preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear arms, specifying that the agreement itself was in dispute.

Merkel has also continued to champion the traditional approach to Middle East peacemaking, calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state and for Israel to refrain from taking unilateral steps, such as settlement construction, that could undermine peace prospects.

In contrast, Trump has largely held off from criticizing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank, recognized Jerusalem as its capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there. He also has cut funding to the Palestinians and fully pinned the blame for stalled Mideast peace talks on them.

But on Thursday the criticism was restrained, with Merkel again advocating for the establishment of a Palestinian state but agreeing to speak to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — following Netanyahu’s request — over charges that he is stymieing any new peace talks and plunging Gaza into greater crisis.

“I have promised the prime minister that in the aftermath of the German-Israeli consultations, I will call the Palestinian President (Mahmoud Abbas). I will inform him and also ask him some questions which also have to do with the situation in Gaza,” she said. “I have heard from the prime minister that we also need to encourage the Palestinian side that they come to the negotiating table and I will do this.”

Germany has also been among the European countries calling on Israel to refrain from carrying out its plans to demolish a West Bank hamlet that Israel says was illegally built. On Thursday, however, she said the issue was “an Israeli decision” and strongly denied reports that she had threatened to call off the trip if the demolition went forward.

Israel has offered to resettle the 180 Bedouin Palestinian residents of the Khan al-Ahmar encampment a few miles (kilometers) away. But Palestinians and their European backers say the demolition is aimed at displacing Palestinians in favor of settlement expansion and would deal a devastating blow to hopes for Palestinian statehood.

Germany is Israel’s largest trading partner in Europe and for the past few decades has been perhaps its staunchest supporter.

Israel was established three years after the end of World War II, and the German government has paid billions in reparations to Holocaust survivors and positioned itself as a leader in combatting anti-Semitism. Under Merkel, it has been perhaps Israel’s strongest European ally.

Merkel began the second day of her trip with an emotional tour of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum.

Accompanied by Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, Merkel took special notice of an exhibited letter that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler sent deployed German soldiers in which he tried to boost their morale by saying they were fighting “a war of existence, a war against communism and its perpetrators, the Jews.”

She then participated in a memorial ceremony for the 6 million victims of the Nazi-led Holocaust.

“The Jews in Germany suffered from hatred and violence that the world did not know was possible,” she wrote in the memorial’s guest book. “What came later is a crime that has no equal — the teardown of civilization — the Holocaust.”

From there, she went to a different ceremony in Jerusalem where she was granted an honorary doctorate from Haifa University and answered questions from local students. She also met Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and toured an innovation exhibit of Israeli and German companies with Netanyahu.

Merkel was accompanied by much of her Cabinet, a large business delegation and a new official in charge of combatting anti-Semitism. The visit focused on economic issues, with an emphasis on innovation, technology and development projects.

Merkel met Netanyahu for dinner Wednesday night and their ministers were set to sign a series of new agreements, including scientific exchanges and joint projects in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.

US blacklists Turkish firm for trade with North Korea


Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Thursday blacklisted a Turkish company and two executives for allegedly attempting to circumvent sanctions prohibiting sales of weapons and luxury goods to North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that SIA Falcon International Group and the individuals acting on its behalf “are blatantly attempting to flout longstanding U.N. sanctions” against the North. Those penalties are intended to deprive the North Korean government of revenue for its nuclear weapons program.

The Treasury said that earlier this year, SIA Falcon officials hosted in Turkey a diplomat from North Korea’s embassy in Mongolia to negotiate trade deals involving weapons and luxury goods.

The executives named in Thursday’s action are SIA Falcon CEO Huseyin Sahin and its general manager Erhan Culha. They and their company are now barred from doing business with Americans and holding property or having interests in property in the U.S.

Calls to the company’s Istanbul office went answered and there was no immediate response to an email seeking comment.

The Trump administration has imposed a barrage of economic restrictions on North Korea, and those who do business with it, even as the U.S. looks to negotiate with leader Kim Jong Un’s government.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to visit Pyongyang on Sunday, to pave the way for second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump and achieve progress on the goal of “denuclearization” that the two leaders agreed to in vague terms in June. Washington and Pyongyang have been loggerheads over when sanctions should be eased, with North Korea insisting that it will not disarm without reciprocal steps by the U.S.

Mnuchin’s statement said: “The United States is deeply committed to the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, and will continue to enforce and implement sanctions until that time.”

Associated Press writer Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.

News and articles from the Ohio Department of Aging

Don’t let your holiday shopping trip end with a tumble

November 17, 2017 in News Releases by John Ratliff

Don’t let your holiday shopping trip end with a tumble

Holiday shopping is already in full swing and Ohioans are hitting the stores looking for bargains. One thing they may not bargain for is a fall. Crowded stores, door-buster sales and decorations can easily distract you from your most important task: staying on your feet. As you plan your shopping trip, make sure you also plan to prevent falls. The Ohio Department of Aging’s STEADY U Ohio initiative and Golden Buckeye program offer these tips to ensure that your holiday shopping trip doesn’t end with a fall.

Shop at off-peak times to avoid crowds and long waits. Bring someone with you who can wait in line for you if you need to sit and rest.

Report hazards, such as spills, loose rugs or mats, and unsafe sidewalks or stairs, to store staff immediately.

Avoid walking around displays that block your view of other shoppers and obstacles.

Ask store staff for help carrying heavy or bulky packages or bags to your vehicle. Avoid carrying large, low-hanging bags that can trip you.

If you use your cane or walker at home, shop with it, too. Take advantage of the mobility scooters many stores provide if you could be on your feet for longer than you usually find comfortable.

Tell store staff if you see anybody behaving in an unsafe manner.

If you fall, even if you’re not hurt, notify store staff and management right away so that they can document the incident and take steps to prevent future accidents.

In addition, prepare for icy conditions as the days turn colder. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going and do what you need to do without rushing. Dress for the weather, but make sure you can see in all directions and move freely. Wear warm shoes that fit well and offer good traction.

One in three older Ohioans will fall this year. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths among Ohioans age 65 and older. A single fall can lead to a life-altering injury, less independence and disability. Even if they aren’t injured, some older adults will develop a fear of falling, which increases the risk of falling again.

The STEADY U Ohio initiative offers tips and resources for older adults and their families to make changes to their home, health and habits and lower their falls risk. Visit for advice, to take our online falls risk self-assessment and to learn more about programs to help you tackle your fear of falling.

About STEADY U Ohio – Falls are an epidemic among our elders and are the number one cause of injuries leading to ER visits, hospital stays and deaths in Ohioans age 65-plus. STEADY U Ohio is a comprehensive falls prevention initiative led by Governor John Kasich and the Ohio Department of Aging, and supported by Ohio government and state business partners to strengthen existing falls prevention activities, identify opportunities for new initiatives and coordinate a statewide educational campaign to bring falls prevention to the forefront of planning for individuals, families, health care providers, business and community leaders and all Ohioans. Visit

News and articles from the Ohio Department of Aging

Prevention and self-management can ensure healthy lives with chronic conditions

April 26, 2018

By Beverley Laubert, Interim Director, Ohio Department of Aging

The Ohio Department of Aging works every day to provide resources for individuals and communities to help our elders live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, in the settings they prefer. As we age, many of us will develop chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or arthritis, and with the right supports, we can continue to thrive.

Four out of five older Ohioans have at least one chronic condition, and nearly half have two or more, according to the 2015 Ohio Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. April is National Minority Health Month, and all month long, agencies around the nation have been raising awareness that there are differences in life expectancy by race, ethnicity, gender, geography, and income. For example, The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity found that, in Franklin County, there is a nearly twenty-year difference in life expectancy for older adults depending on the neighborhood where they live.

Other studies have shown that more than two-thirds of all health care costs go toward treating chronic diseases, and 95 percent of health care costs for older adults can be attributed to chronic diseases. Unfortunately, many Ohioans, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, are less likely to get preventive care and tend to have less access to quality health care when they are sick or injured. As a result, some minority groups have higher rates of preventable disease and associated disability than the overall population. We continue to assess needs in communities and plan services and programs, taking steps to reduce disparities.

Many factors predict how healthy we are as we age, from genetics to where we live, to activity levels, to what we eat, to how often we see the doctor. There are many things we can do to prevent or delay the onset of chronic conditions, but even when conditions can’t be avoided, how we live with and manage the symptoms of those conditions can determine the quality of life we can have.

Working with Ohio’s aging network, the Ohio Department of Aging offers healthy lifestyle programs throughout the state that can help all adults, but particularly minority seniors, take control of their life and health, and assume an active role in their health care and managing their chronic conditions. HEALTHY U Ohio is a self-management program that has been shown to produce significant and measurable improvements in the health and quality of life for people of all backgrounds.

HEALTHY U consists of a series of interactive workshops held over a few weeks and we have had positive feedback about the experience. Participants gain confidence in their ability to manage symptoms, understand how their health problems affect their lives, and communicate with their doctors and other health care professionals. People who complete HEALTHY U report better health and better quality of life. They are less likely to experience fatigue, shortness of breath, pain and sleep problems. Further, they report fewer days when they feel depressed or just don’t feel well. Researchers estimate that individuals who complete the HEALTHY U workshops save $714 per year in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. We are listening to learn about barriers to participation in wellness programs such as HEALTHY U. Some senior centers or other community organizations may offer transportation to assist older adults to attend.

To find a HEALTHY U Ohio workshop where you live, contact your area agency on aging. Call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community. You can also learn more about HEALTHY U and find many tips and resources on our website.

News and articles from the Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio seniors: Protect yourself and those around you from the flu

January 8, 2018 by John Ratliff

Columbus, Ohio – In response to news that flu activity in Ohio is now widespread, the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Aging urge older Ohioans and their families to be aware of seniors’ elevated risk of complications from flu and take steps to prevent its spread.

“For many reasons, older adults are more likely than younger adults to experience the flu and its complications,” said Dr. Clint Koenig, Medical Director of the Ohio Department of Health. “The flu can make existing health problems worse and can be particularly dangerous for the 80 percent of older Ohioans who have at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.”

“Flu prevention is not just a personal health issue, it is a public health priority,” said Beverley Laubert, Interim Director of the Department of Aging. “Older adults and those who spend time with them can do a lot to stave off flu and flu-related complications so that they can continue to grow, thrive and contribute.”

Flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It can cause mild to severe illness and, in some cases, can lead to death. Flu viruses are spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing or through surfaces. Symptoms of the flu may come on quickly and may include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Tips to minimize your risk of getting and spreading the flu:

Get a flu shot. Even though we are already well into the flu season, there is still plenty of time to benefit from a flu shot. Ask about special high-dose vaccines specifically for older adults. There is plenty of vaccine available across the state.

Maintain good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, manage stress and be as physically active as is appropriate for you. Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritional foods.

Wash your hands. Scrubbing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds can kill most of the flu viruses your hands encounter. When you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.

Limit your contact. Avoid contact with people who may be ill with the flu, as well as surfaces they may have touched. Likewise, if you feel you may have the flu, limit the time you spend with others until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine. Call ahead to places like doctor’s offices, nursing homes and senior centers to see if they have special visitation restrictions for those who have flu-like symptoms.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow then wash any affected skin immediately.

If you get the flu, proper care can lessen symptoms and decrease the time you are ill and able to infect others. Stay at home and get plenty of rest. Drink plenty of liquids to replace fluids lost through fever and sweating. Talk to your medical provider about medicines you can take to manage your symptoms and how they may interact with other medicines you take.

Visit for information and resources to help you fight the flu.

News and articles from the Ohio Department of Aging

Evaluating life insurance as an older Ohioan

September 26, 2018

By Jillian Froment, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance

Governor John Kasich has declared September as Life Insurance Awareness Month in Ohio to stress the importance of making sure your financial affairs are in order to protect your loved ones. A review of your life insurance needs can be an important step in providing them with a financial safety net upon your passing. For some the amount of coverage may not be as necessary as it once was; while others may be thinking of purchasing initial or additional coverage to establish security for their family. Regardless of your situation, consider the following tips as you review your own financial affairs.

A good fit

You may be considering how life insurance could provide benefits for your loved ones. The amount to purchase depends on different factors. Some questions to address are: Who financially depends on you? A spouse, children, parent, brother or sister? How will your family pay final expenses and repay debts after your death? Will there be estate taxes?

If you already have coverage, your lifestyle may have changed since you first purchased these benefits and that means your life insurance may need fine-tuning. Reviewing your current coverage with an insurance agent and answering the following questions can help you determine if decreasing coverage makes sense. Is your home paid off? Are your children financially independent? What other financial assets do you have? Do you hold significant debt or anticipate estate taxes that could affect others? What income level would your spouse need to meet expenses if you passed away?

Value for the price

There are several different types of life insurance coverage. Some policies provide a combination of the coverage types listed below. This allows you to purchase a higher death benefit at a lower cost. Discussing options with an agent will allow you to find coverage that fits your budget.

Term Life: Generally less expensive than other life insurance products and is designated for a certain time period or to a certain age. Term is named for the contract’s limited length or “term” and is pure life insurance. Term policies generally last for 1, 5, 10, 15, or 20 years, or to some specified age such as age 65 or age 100.

Whole Life: Lifetime coverage at a premium that does not increase with your age after you buy.

Universal Life: Premium amount and death benefit are both flexible. You can change the amount of your premium payments and/or death benefit after you buy the policy. Increasing your premium payments as you age is important to maintaining your universal life policy.

Purchasing coverage

After you have determined the type of policy most suitable for you and your family, compare similar types from different companies to learn who gives the best value beyond the premium. Make sure you understand the following: Do premiums or benefits vary yearly? How much do the benefits build in the policy? What portion of the premiums or benefits are not guaranteed? What is the effect of interest on money paid and received at different times on the policy? How quickly does the cash value grow? Are there special policy features for your beneficiaries?

Any policy that includes universal life coverage will require an illustration to be signed at application. A copy of this is issued with your policy and provides an outline of benefit guarantees for certain periods of time or for the life of the policy. Review your policy and illustration, if applicable, to make sure it includes the benefits you requested.

Finally, many companies offer a “free-look” (or “right to review”) provision. Take advantage of the opportunity to make policy corrections or return the policy for a full refund if the coverage is not issued as you expected.

Maintaining the policy

Insurance companies issue an annual statement for universal life policies and most whole life policies. Review this statement each year to verify your policy costs, check on the status of your cash or policy loan values, and confirm that guarantees stay active. You can request an illustration at any time to ensure that your policy benefits will last as long as you originally planned. The annual statements include information to contact the company with any questions or concerns.

Accessing the policy

Life insurance is about family so it is imperative that they be involved in the conversation and are aware of the policy’s location to access it upon your death. In addition, taking appropriate legal steps to designate a loved one with financial power of attorney authority would legally permit that person to tend to your financial affairs, if you are unable to. That person could address such potential life insurance issues as to why your policy is in jeopardy of cancellation, and make policy changes when necessary. An insurance company cannot legally communicate with anyone but the policyholder unless a power of attorney is in place.

More information

Life insurance is complicated and careful evaluation is essential, and that process should include your family, an insurance professional, and a financial advisor. The Ohio Department of Insurance can also be a resource for you. Visit our life insurance information at and call us as at 1-800-686-1526 with any questions. We also provide a service to assist consumers in locating missing life insurance policies and annuity contracts of deceased family members or of close relationship.

First lady Melania Trump is greeted by Malawi first lady Gertrude Maseko and a flower girl as she arrives at Lilongwe International Airport, in Lumbadzi, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) lady Melania Trump is greeted by Malawi first lady Gertrude Maseko and a flower girl as she arrives at Lilongwe International Airport, in Lumbadzi, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

First lady Melania Trump arrives at Lilongwe International Airport, in Lumbadzi, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Melania Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) lady Melania Trump arrives at Lilongwe International Airport, in Lumbadzi, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Melania Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

First lady Melania Trump waves to children and others as she visits Chipala Primary School, in Lilongwe, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) lady Melania Trump waves to children and others as she visits Chipala Primary School, in Lilongwe, Malawi, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. Mrs. Trump is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Staff & Wire Reports