Father of Insurance

Since this is the first of many of Ben’s insurance articles, a brief explanation of insurance history will help you to understand when and how this Vital business started.

According to ancient world records the Babylonians developed a system which dates back to 1750 BC and was practiced by early Mediterranean sailing merchants.  If a merchant received a loan to fund his shipment, he would pay the lender an additional sum in exchange for the lender’s guarantee to cancel the loan should the shipment be stolen.  Many years later, the inhabitants of Rhodes invented the concept of the ‘general average”.  Merchants whose goods were being shipped together would pay a proportionally divided premium which would be used to reimburse any merchant whose goods were lost during a storm or sinkage.

The Greeks and Romans introduced the origins of health and life insurance around 600AD when they organized guilds called “benevolent societies” which cared for the families and paid funeral expenses of members upon death.

Ben Franklin Helps Set Standards

Benjamin Franklin helped to popularize and make standard the practice of insurance, particularly against fire in the form of perpetual insurance.  In 1752 he founded the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire.  Ben’s company was the first to make contributions toward fire prevention.  Not only did his company warn against certain fire hazards, it refused to insure certain buildings where the risk of fire was too great, such as all wooden houses

The sale of life insurance in the U.S. began in the late 1760s.  The Presbyterian Synods in Philadelphia and New York created the Corporation for Relief of Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers in 1759; Episcopalian priests organized a similar fund in 1769.  Between 1787 and 1837 more than two dozen life insurance companies were started but fewer than a half a dozen survived.

Prior to the American Civil War, many insurance companies in the United States insured the lives of slaves for their owners.  A record search found that Nautilus Insurance sold 485 slaveholder life insurance policies during a two-year period in the 1840s.  Apparently the insurance company trustees voted to end the sale of such policies 15 years before the Emancipation Proclamation.

As you can see, Investment Protection better known as Insurance has been made available throughout the world for centuries.  Insurance is a promise of compensation for specific potential future losses in exchange for a periodic payment and is definitely worth the expense in the event of a loss.

Until next time… stay informed and stay insured!

Jan Vitale, your Investment Protector

Vital Enterprises, LLC


As I watched a YouTube video this morning about the flooding in Nashville, it struck me once again why I am so passionate about my AZPortaVault product – and how I participate in protecting others from being devastated by the loss of their vital documents.  If you have ever visited my website, you will know that as an Insurance Agent for close to 30 years, I have seen it all happen, and I know, first hand that NOT ONE OF US is exempt from experiencing a significant catastrophic occurrence in our lifetime.

Let me ask you a really serious question, “What have you done to protect yourself in the potential loss of your vital documents?  If you have ever had a wallet lost or stolen, you have experienced the nightmare that is to resolve protecting yourself from identity theft and replacement of vital documents.  Can you imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have your items all together and had to quickly evacuate your home?  The time, the cost, the emotional burden?

I am about being proactive and being personally responsible for your life choices; I am also about solutions and resources that I can provide those who support my own professional success.  It is with that thought in mind that I went in search of  a resource that you can access in that same process of being proactive in knowing what to do if/when disaster may strike you and your family.  I hope you will be somewhat relieved to know that fortunately, most important personal records can be replaced. Depending on the document you need, use these links as a starting point.

Note:  This is one of those resources where I am taking it direct from its source and giving full credit to its creator – being, in essence, the vehicle by which you are made aware and your life can be positively impacted by my spirit of belief and my spirit of generosity…

  • Address Change – When you move, be sure to change your address with a few government agencies so that you’ll continue to receive mail and any government benefits at your new location.
  • Bank Records – Financial tips and resources for disaster recovery. (.PDF | requires Adobe Acrobat Reader )
  • Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates – Get records based on the location of the birth, death, marriage, or divorce.
  • Damaged Money – The Treasury Department will exchange mutilated or damaged U.S. currency.
  • Document Restoration–Fire – The Library of Congress offers information on restoring fire-damaged documents and collections.
  • Document Restoration–Flood – The National Archives offers information on how to care for your flood damaged photos, books, papers and more
  • Drivers’ Licenses and Vehicle Registration – Find your state’s motor vehicle department to get or replace your driver’s license and register your car.
  • Federal Civilian Personnel Records – Go to the National Archives for guidance on requesting personnel records for former federal civilian employees. Current federal workers can get personnel records from their Human Resources office.
  • Green Card Replacement – Get instructions on how to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged permanent resident card (green card).
  • Medical Information Form – Download a form where you can record medical conditions and other health information for use in an emergency situation.
  • Medicare Card Replacement – How to replace a lost, stolen or damaged Medicare card
  • Military Service Records – How to get copies of military service records, to prove military service or for genealogy research
  • Passport – Lost or stolen passports should be reported immediately. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or Consulate if your passport is lost or stolen overseas.
  • Savings Bonds Recovery – Cash and replace lost, stolen, or destroyed bonds.
  • School Records – Contact your former school, or the appropriate school district if the school has closed.
  • Social Security Card Replacement – How to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card
  • Tax Return – Request a copy of your federal tax return from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


Thank you in advance for being proactive about this information – I would that you spend more of your time enjoying life than being frantic about some unforeseen loss.

Jan Vitale… your investment protector

Vital Enterprises, LLC – – where you can always find great tips, tools and resources about nutrition, vital document storage, disaster preparedness, identity theft, network marketing, networking, and travel…

I have long been an advocate of healthy living – always seeking out products that give me the edge on being personally responsible for making the best nutritional choices.  We all know the damage of sugar on our systems; we also know how difficult it is to counter that “sweet tooth.”  I went in search of a healthy alternative…

I personally turned to the Stevia sweetener once I found the FDA had finally given it the green light, and having compared it to other similar products which did not fare so well in the being fully “healthy” test.  The following is information you may not have that will help you make better sweetener choices for you and your family.  I dug up as many facts as I could – and share them with you here…

What is stevia?
Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb in the Compositae family that grows as a small shrub in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. The glycosides in its leaves make it incredibly sweet, a property that is unique among the nearly 300 species of stevia plants. Stevia has been used to sweeten beverages and medicines since Pre-Colombian times. A scientist named Antonio Bertoni first recorded its usage by native tribes in 1887.

Is Stevia safe?

Yes. Scientific research from around the world was exhaustively reviewed when the makers of SweetLeaf Sweetener® presented their case for GRAS status (a rigorous FDA designation of food safety). An independent group of outside scientists concluded that SweetLeaf Sweetener® met FDA standards for safety. In an unprecedented move to ensure the product’s safety, the makers of SweetLeaf Sweetener® consulted with a second set of independent experts. These scientists confirmed that SweetLeaf Sweetener® met FDA standards for safety. The comprehensive review included studies on toxicity, cancer, reproductive health, long-term use, use at high-volumes, the effects on blood-sugar levels and more. Furthermore, after more than 30 years of high volume use in Japan and other countries, as well as more than a decade of use in America as a dietary supplement, there have been no reported cases of ill-effects. Recent scientific reviews by the World Health Organization (2003 and 2007) support these findings.

What are the benefits of using this sweetener?
It has a delicious sweet flavor and is the only sweetener in the world that is 100% natural, with zero calories, zero carbs and a zero glycemic index.

Where is Stevia cultivated?
Stevia is cultivated primarily in China, but the leaves of SweetLeaf Sweetener® come only from South America. There are other growers scattered across the Pacific Rim. Stevia is also being cultivated in Canada, Israel, Africa, Japan and China.

Where is it manufactured?

I was excited to find that the primary manufacturer in the U.S. is an Arizona owned company!  Its founder, Jim May offers significant credentials, having previously held positions as Vice President of United Healthcare Association (UHA), Inc. and President of the United Dialysis Services (UDS), Inc. Jim has participated in numerous professional organizations and activities, including Director of the Artificial Organs and Transplant program at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Executive Director and member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Kidney Foundation and consultant to the Chief of the government’s End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) program in Washington, D.C.  He obviously shares my passion for healthy living.

What is the brand name?
SweetLeaf™ is the brand name for the first and only great-tasting, natural, zero-calorie, stevia-based sweetener offered in America. It was first introduced in 1996 as a dietary supplement. Then, after some of the most stringent scientific research on its safety and its unique, ultra-pure formulation, SweetLeaf became the very first stevia-based product to achieve GRAS status. It remains the only stevia-based product with zero calories, zero carbs and zero glycemic index.

What sets SweetLeaf apart from all other sweeteners available today?
It employs a process of extraction that uses only pure water to collect the finest, sweetest parts of the stevia plant. Other companies use chemicals, alcohols or even enzymes that actually change the make-up of the naturally occurring substances.  It has a fresh, clean sweet taste without a bitter after-taste, which is often found in other brands. Finally, the makers of SweetLeaf Sweetener®have been working with the stevia plant for 25 years, so they have decades of experience and a brand name you can trust.

What is the FDA’s position on SweetLeaf Stevia™?

In August 2009, SweetLeaf™ received a “no questions” letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in regard to the findings of the FDA expert panel of scientists, which concluded that the whole leaf steviol glycosides with rebaudioside A and stevioside, used to formulate the company’s SweetLeaf Sweetener® extract, are granted Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status.

How has Stevia been used in food applications?

Stevia is used mostly in beverages, but is growing in other food industry applications. First, it has been used as a prepackaged replacement for sugar and artificial sweeteners. Second, it has been used in various food products, including sugar-free versions of Wrigley’s gums, Beatrice Foods yogurts and even Diet Coke. It has also been used in pickles, dried seafoods, fish & meat products, vegetables, condiments, frozen foods, beverages of all kinds, confectionaries and a host of other products.

How sweet is Stevia?

High quality stevia leaves are up to 30 times sweeter than table sugar. The purified extracts of stevia (called glycosides) can be 250–300 times sweeter than table sugar.

Can Stevia replace artificial sweeteners in the diet?
Yes! For the past 30 years other countries have approved the use of Stevia as a sweetener and their populations have integrated stevia into their diet. Stevia-based sweeteners have a nearly 40% market share in some of these countries.

How many calories are in SweetLeaf Sweetener®?
None. And it is also the only stevia-based sweetener with no carbs and no glycemic index.

Will Stevia raise my blood sugar levels?
Not at all. It is ideal for diabetics, weight-watchers and everyone else too!

Is Stevia safe for diabetics?
Yes. SweetLeaf Sweetener® can be a part of a healthy diet for anyone with blood sugar problems since it does not raise blood sugar levels. If in doubt, ask your doctor.

Can Stevia be used in cooking and baking?
Absolutely! Research shows that stevia extracts are extremely heat stable in a variety of everyday cooking and baking situations. Look for the SweetLeaf Sweetener® baking formulation soon!

Where can I buy SweetLeaf Sweetener®?

The company has a store locator at – just put in your address and find the nearest Frys, Aj’s, and other health food stores carrying this amazing product; a product that I feel may change how America looks at sugar consumption!

Jan Vitale… the Nutrition Nanny

Vital Enterprises, LLC where you can always find valuable resources for nutrition, disaster preparedness, identity theft, insurance, networking, network marketing, vital document storage and travel.

History tells us that disaster strikes quickly and without warning.

That is our reality, but being the optimists that we are – we tend not to be prepared for any kind of disaster. As a society, we aren’t prepared to evacuate our neighborhoods or be confined to our homes. The question is not asked about what would happen if suddenly our basic services, such as water, gas, electricity, or telephones were cut off? Do we place too much comfort in the fact that local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster? Do we need to be more proactive and being responsible for our families?

At the end of the day, knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility. Learn more about being prepared on my website, Vital Enterprises, LLC. Taking a position of responsibility need not be overwhelming; however, it gets easier once you deal with four basic steps to being prepared for safety and developing a specific plan for your family.

BE Prepared

Learn what the greatest potential risk to your family may be, given your geographic location and the associated demographics. You can simply contact your local emergency management office or your local American Red Cross chapter. A list of those emergency management offices is provided on my website. By learning what your risks may be, you can prepare for the disaster most likely to occur in your area. Learn more by contacting your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter. Be prepared to take notes.

BE informed – ask the following:

  1. What kind of natural disasters and/or human-caused or technological disasters can affect your area.
  2. What is recommended to prepare for each kind of possible disaster?
  3. What warning signals are provided, and what are the standards of response to each?
  4. Where do you take pets if you have to move to a public shelter where they are not permitted?
  5. What special provisions are provided for special needs, elderly or disabled persons?
  6. What are the local plans for schools, hospitals and other large industries located in your area?

BE Proactive – Create a Family Disaster Plan.

Knowing what disasters are possible in your area makes it easier to talk with your family and create your own personal plan. Use the following as a sample guideline

  1. Share the information you learned from your local disaster management resource relative to the dangers of fire, severe weather, chemical spills… whatever the issue. Keep the explanations simple but remember the important details.
  2. A disaster is an extremely stressful situation that can create confusion. The best emergency plans are those with a few, easy to follow and simple to understand steps.
  3. If the treats in your area include a variety of disasters, make sure your plan includes steps specific to each type of disaster.
  4. Pick two places everyone is to meet: (1) Right outside the front door in case of a fire emergency and (2) another restaurant or well know establishment close to the home in case you cannot get to your residence.
  5. Determine how you will communicate if family members are separated , which can easily occur – remember, you don’t get to choose what time of day a disaster will happen!
  6. Designate an out-of-town relative or friend to be a central contact and make sure everyone has that person’s name, address and phone number.
  7. Make arrangements in advance for shelter if authorities require you to evacuate. Do you have local shelters? Do you have friends and family?
  8. Know what access routes are available for evacuation situations. What roads may be more likely to be blocked or closed?
  9. Plan in advance the care of your pets.

BE Cautious – Create easy to maintain checklists and contact information sheets.

Include all emergency contact information – during a disaster, there is normally not time to waste in looking up fire, police, ambulance, etc.

  1. Have a set place where this information is readily available to every family member. A laminated copy placed in childrens’  backpacks is a prudent choice.
  2. Teach family members how to turn off water, gas, and electricity at the main switches and valves and create a checklist to make sure none are missed. Painting shut-off valves with fluorescent paint is a good idea, as is attaching the necessary removal wrenches in close proximity to each of these areas.
  3. Have an annual review of your insurance policies to make sure you have adequate coverage – it is not unusual for standard policies to include any kind of “natural disaster” coverage.
  4. Have a scheduled maintenance of smoke alarms.
  5. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on location and train everyone in the household in its use. In the best case scenario, only adults should handle and use the extinguishers.
  6. Many normal household items can become hazards themselves during certain types of disasters. Assess your home to minimize damage from flying objects, in the case of earthquakes or tornados; electrical, chemical and fire hazards are also easy to identify early on and  require inspections periodically to manage potential hazards.
  7. Maintain emergency supplies and assemble a “disaster supply kit.” Every home should have enough supplies to last at least three days, storing them in sturdy, easy to carry containers – most of which will fit in backpacks or duffel bags left in the trunk of your car.
  8. Maintaining communications can mean the difference between life and death – make sure know where you keep a portable, battery-operated radio or television, and keep a healthy supply of extra batteries
  9. Consider taking first aid and CPR classes – not only are they the basics of safety, they can be fun shared activities for you and your children.
  10. Make two photocopies of all your vital documents. Keep the originals in a safe-deposit box. Keep one copy in a designated place in your home and the second copy should be given to your “contact” friend or relative. You may want to consider the PortaVault product found on my website for easy storage of these vital documents.
  11. Maintain a current inventory of your home, garage and property. Whether written or video taped, include the serial numbers, make and model, physical description and price of purchase, if possible. Store a copy of the inventory away from the home, such as in a safe-deposit box.

BE Responsible – Monitor and Practice Your Plan

Practicing your plan will help you instinctively make the appropriate response during an actual emergency. Life changes, and with that change, it is necessary to review periodically and adjust as may be appropriate Other modifications include:

  1. Replacing stored food and water every six months to ensure freshness.
  2. Test your smoke alarm once a month.
  3. Replace batteries on all emergency items at least once a year.
  4. Replace smoke alarms ever ten years.
  5. Monitor fire extinguishers to test proper pressure, following manufacturer’s instructions for replacement or recharging.

These few tips are just a beginning to understanding and being proactive in responding to disasters. The caveat… be prepared! While this is a broad overview to get you thinking, you will probably want to read future articles will provide a more in depth coverage of specific topics

Jan Vitale, your Investment Protector

My purpose is to provide you resources and that sometimes will be in the form of documentation that is not of my own creation.  This is such an item… an FTC Ruling that not only protects your identity, but also protects you from unscrupulous vendors who lure you into services under the guise of providing you the annual free credit report allowed every person.

Posted in: Identity Theft News By Mar 12, 2010 – 10:34:07 AM

Amended Free Credit Reports Rule Helps Consumers Avoid ‘Free’ Offers That Cost Money (04/01/2010)

Starting tomorrow, a new Federal Trade Commission rule will help consumers avoid confusing ads for “free credit reports” – which often require them to buy credit monitoring or other services – with the federally mandated no-strings-attached credit reports available at, or 877-322-8228.

Under the Federal Trade Commission’s amended Free Credit Reports Rule, ads for these “free” offers must have clear disclosures. For example, Web sites offering free credit reports must have a disclosure, across the top of each page that mentions free credit reports, with links to and The amended Rule also requires nationwide consumer reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to delay advertising for products or services on until after consumers get their free credit reports. The amended Rule is effective on April 2, 2010, except for the wording of disclosures for television and radio ads, which takes effect on September 1, 2010.

Information in credit reports may affect whether consumers can monitor for identity theft or can get a loan or a job, so it is important for consumers to check their reports and correct any inaccurate information. Each of the nationwide credit reporting companies is required to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit reports once every 12 months upon request. Consumers can learn more about their right to a free credit report under federal law at

Jan Vitale, Your Investment Protector

Vital Enterprises, LLC

Sometimes a good piece of information comes along that you simply must pass along.  I have no need to claim ownership of this writing; however, I do feel responsible for making it available for your awareness.

You all need to know this… identity theft is an easy thing to have happen to you if you fail to retain and destroy hotel key cards which contain far more than an access code for the room!    I have to admit, the first time I saw this – I found it hard to believe.  The same message keeps coming up from different sources.   Now is the time to share that with my loyal readers and followers.


Where identity theft danger lurks.

Ever wonder what is on your magnetic key card?


  1. Customer’s name
  2. Customer’s partial home address
  3. Hotel room number
  4. Check-in date and out dates
  5. Customer’s credit card number and expiration date!

When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner. An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense.

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee reissues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest’s information is electronically ‘overwritten’ on the card and the previous guest’s information is erased in the overwriting process.

But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!


Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them.

NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and

NEVER turn them into the front desk when you check out of a room.

They will not charge you for the card (it’s illegal) and you’ll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning device card reader.

For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash basket. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip!

If you have a small magnet, pass it across the magnetic strip several times.. Then try it in the door, it will not work. It erases everything on the card.

Information courtesy of:  Metropolitan Police Service.

Applaud yourself for taking time to read this!  Unfortunately, it remains your responsibility to protect yourself from identity theft and other such actions, but you can’t respond to something if you are unaware of it.

Jan Vitale, your Investment Protector

Understanding Insurance Replacement Values

Over the past several years, the sale prices of homes have changed substantially.  In 2006 and 2007 the price of a home skyrocketed to the point that many homes were sold as part of a bidding processes – sometimes as many as 50 plus buyers per home. However, by mid-2008, home prices began to plummet, leaving homeowners confused about the actual value of their homes and harboring questions about their insurance coverage.Every insurance company has a Home Replacement Cost Estimator built into their rating system.

Your home is broken down into separate components (framing, roofing, etc.) and valued at the cost to reconstruct each component, based on current material costs.  Replacement Cost, then, simply reflects the cost to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss.   With continuing economic shifts and natural disasters, that replacement cost data is updated regularly.

Older homes, generally built before 1950 can cost from 25% to 45% more to replace when compared to a newer home.  Older homes usually have solid wood doors throughout the home.  In addition to lathe and plaster walls and ceilings, old home architectural techniquest, custom millwork, antique carving and extensive hardwood floors contribute to increased replacement costs.

It is of Vital importance that you contact your insurance agent on an annual basis to review your dwelling coverage limit and discuss any changes or additions to your home.

Jan Vitale, your Investment Protector

Vital Enterprises,LLC

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