Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tague Alliance - We Have Been Saying The "Hard Market Is Coming"

Tague Alliance members need to be prepared for what a Hard Market brings: disruption to our books of business, more pressure on carrier appointments and production, a sharper focus on profitability and book quality, and policy rewrites. The Hard Market is disruptive and every few years the insurance cycle shifts. In our estimation, 2012 will be the transition year and possibly very disruptive.

The silver lining is that many more people will be shopping their insurance which creates more new businesses opportunities for our members. On the flip side, proactive client management is the name of the game to ensure you are retaining the majority of your client base.

Be prepared so your agency can take full advantage of the changing market place.

Below is a great article which provides some insight into the first nine months of 2011 and how the industry is doing.

Specialty Insurers Lead Way in 2011, but Industry Underwriting Results Down

NU Online News Service, July 21, 1:41 p.m. EST

Specialty commercial insurers continue to lead the way for property and casualty insurers’ underwriting results for this year’s first nine months, but results overall are down sharply compared to same period in 2010, according to a Fitch Ratings analysis.

Fitch says underwriting results for a group of 47 publicly traded P&C insurers and reinsurers it follows have deteriorated so far this year, posting an aggregate combined ratio of 105.3 compared to 96 a year ago. Fitch adds that 32 of the 47 companies posted underwriting losses for the year’s first nine months compared to 15 companies in 2010.

“These lackluster underwriting results led to anemic profitability for most GAAP filers,” says Fitch. “Fitch’s universe reported an operating profit of $8.1 billion year to date, versus $24.2 billion for the same period in 2010.”

Fitch adds that the group reported a net profit of $9.7 billion during the year so far compared to a net gain of $26.4 billion last year.

Catastrophe losses are partly to blame, with losses for the group more than doubling to $28 billion for the first nine months this year compared to last year. Additionally, realized investment gains are lower, totaling $4.2 billion in the current year so far compared to $5.9 billion in the first nine months of 2010.

While all lines are feeling the effects of the weather and economy, specialty commercial insurers have seen the best results of commercial-lines sub-segments, which Fitch says is a trend that has continued over the past several years. “The group’s aggregate combined ratio rose by 5.9 points to 98.1, but was still the only segment in Fitch’s analysis to produce an underwriting profit,” Fitch says.

The segment benefitted from favorable loss-reserve development, which trimmed 5.9 points from the aggregate combined ratio, but that favorable development is down from the 6.4 points trimmed in the first nine months of 2010.

The benefit of reserve releases across the industry is down for 2011 so far compared to 2010. The overall impact has been 2.8 points trimmed from the industry’s aggregate combined ratio in 2011 compared to 3.5 points in the first nine months of 2010. Fitch says the vast majority of underwriters in its group continued to report favorable development, but the rating agency cites Hartford Financial Services Group and HCC Insurance Holdings as two notable exceptions that saw unfavorable reserve development.

For personal lines, the aggregate combined ratio jumped from 95.7 to 102.4 as the sector was hit by Hurricane Irene on the East Coast and heavy tornado activity and winter-storm losses earlier in the year.

Reinsurers saw their aggregate combined ratio climb to 117.3 from 93.1 a year ago due to first-half catastrophes such as earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, Australian floods and U.S. storms. Reinsurers did report a third-quarter underwriting profit, Fitch says, as Hurricane Irene losses centered more toward primary writers.

Commercial diversified insurers’ combined ratio is 104.6 for the year so far, compared to 96.6 at this time last year. Fitch says only two insurers in its group for this sector—ACE Ltd. and Hartford—produced accident-year combined ratios under 100.

Pointing to trends over the year so far, Fitch says capital generation is at a standstill, loss reserve releases are moderating, catastrophe losses are compounding and there has been a sharp drop in return on capital. However, Fitch notes that signs of a pricing shift have materialized.

“Fitch Ratings believes that this price reaction is well overdue,” the rating agency says, “but it remains unclear if momentum will hold for further pricing improvement that is necessary to return the broader market to adequate return on capital levels.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tague Alliance - New California Work Comp Laws

Tague Alliance and SIAA member agencies who write commercial insurance and specifically Workers Compensation Insurance in California need to stay somewhat current on the plethora of new laws that were recently signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Take a look at this great article from the Insurance Journal:

California Workers’ Comp Institute Compiles List of Bills Signed by Brown

October 19, 2011

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute on Wednesday released a review and compilation of 20 bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2001.

The bills include:

• AB 55, Gatto: Extension of the right of entertainment production companies to use payroll firms as the employer of record to pay taxes, union dues and workers’ compensation.

• AB 228, Fuentes: Allows State Compensation Insurance Fund a limited ability to cover out-of-state employees of California employers.

• AB 300, Ma: Sets new requirements for safety, training and sanitation for those engaged in the business of tattooing, body piercing or permanent cosmetics.

• AB 335, Solorio: Calls for benefit notice changes in the content and delivery of benefit notices and other injured worker information.

• AB 378 Solorio: Sets guidelines for dispensing compound drugs to injured workers, defines when such drugs are reimbursable and reimbursement amounts, and eliminates incentives for doctors to refer patients to pharmacies in which they or their families have a financial interest.

• AB 397, Monning: Requires contractors to show proof of workers’ compensation coverage or exempt status (if they have no employees) when renewing their license with the state.

• AB 436, Solorio: Authorizes a $4.3 million loan from the Uninsured Employers Benefit Trust to the State Public Works Enforcement Fund to enforce prevailing wage requirements on public works projects.

• AB 469, Swanson: Requires private employers to give a new written notice to nonexempt new hires, with detailed wage and employment information and the name, address, and phone number of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

• AB 507, Hayashi: Revises the “Pain Patient’s Bill of Rights” and removes Department of Justice’s authority to: 1) employ a physician to interview and examine patients about the prescription, possession, or use of controlled substances; 2) require the patient to submit to the interview and exam; and 3) allow the physician to testify in administrative proceedings.

• AB 585, Fong: Extends the work-related cancer presumption given to firefighters and fire and rescue services coordinators to active firefighting members of a fire department serving NASA.

• AB 878, Berryhill: Requires workers’ compensation insurers to report the cancellation of a contractor’s policy to the State Contractors License Board and makes the violation of workers’ compensation laws a cause for disciplinary action by the License Board.

• AB 1136, Swanson: Requires general acute care hospitals to set up safe patient handling programs with trained lift teams or lift support staff and back injury prevention plans by Jan. 1, 2013.

• AB 1168, Pan: Requires the state to adopt by Jan. 1, 2013 a fee schedule setting maximum fees for services by vocational experts used in workers’ compensation claims

• AB 1263, Williams: Prohibits former State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) officers and directors from lobbying SCIF for two years after their employment ends, and requires that any consulting they do for SCIF be approved by SCIF’s board.

• AB 1425, Assembly Ins. Committee: Allows insurers to disclose with the quote (prior to acceptance) that a policyholder’s premium may be refunded on other than a pro rata basis.

• AB 1426, Solorio: Abolishes the workers’ compensation court administrator position and redistributes the duties to the Department of Workers’ Compensation administrative director and the appeals board.

• SB 457, Calderon: Requires the WCAB to determine, based on liens filed, reimbursement for benefits paid or services provided by self-insured employee welfare benefit plans, notwithstanding the Official Medical Fee Schedule, when payment for self-procured medical costs for a work injury or illness is awarded.

• SB 459, Corbett: Prohibits and sets penalties for the willful misclassification of employees as independent contractors.

• SB 684, Corbett: For policies issued or renewed on or after July 1, 2012, workers’ comp insurers must disclose when a quote is provided if they want to use arbitration to resolve disputes and make explicit that businesses do not have to agree to out-of-state arbitration/dispute resolution.

• SB 826, Leno: Allows the DWC to fine claims administrators up to $5,000 per year for violating workers’ compensation information system data reporting requirements and calls for an annual report showing claims administrator reporting compliance rates.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Breaking Down Equipment Breakdown!

Equipment Breakdown Protection

Equipment Breakdown coverage can be hard to understand! Tague Alliance wants to make sure you are able to present these types of coverages to your clients with confidence and knowledge. Read below to get the low down on the breakdown:

Many businesses use commercial property forms to insure their tangible assets. However, they also need Equipment Breakdown Protection Coverage due to some limitations found in those same forms. An Equipment Breakdown Coverage policy handles a substantial loss exposure to items such as unfired vessels - Air, steam or water tanks, refrigeration systems, rollers, steam pressers, ironing equipment, steam cookers, generators, chemical processing tanks, motors, switches and controls, compressors, pumps, gears, etc. because commercial property policies typically exclude losses involving machinery or equipment breakdowns. The breakdown form provides the following coverages:

1. Property Damage - This coverage pays for direct damage to covered property (certain types of office machinery and equipment) that has to be listed (described) in the policy.

2. Expediting Expenses - This coverage applies to extra costs insured experiences in order to make temporary repairs and to speed-up (expedites) the permanent repair or replacement of damaged property.

3. Business Income and Extra Expense – Extra Expense Only - These coverages may, optionally, be purchased together; or to buy extra expense coverage alone. For example, a covered business loses most of its records due to a breakdown of its main server. Most of the costs associated with restoring the information would be covered by the equipment breakdown policy.

4. Spoilage Damage - Spoilage damage to raw materials, property in process or finished products is covered when that property is either in storage or in the course of being manufactured, the insured owns or is legally liable under written contract for the spoiled property and a lack of or excess of power, light, heat, steam or refrigeration caused the spoilage.

5. Utility Interruption - This coverage is available ONLY when a customer also purchases coverage for Business Income and Extra Expense – Extra Expense Only or Spoilage Damage. This coverage responds to loss involving equipment breakdown created by loss of utility service (gas, electric, water or communication). Also, the loss or service must last beyond the time-limit that appears on the policy (a sort of time deductible).

6. Newly Acquired Premises - This feature automatically covers newly acquired premises purchased or leased by the insured and the period of protection depends upon the length of time selected for this coverage (i.e. such as 30 days, 60 days, etc.).

7. Ordinance or Law Coverage - The Ordinance or Law Exclusion eliminates coverage for loss created by the imposition of ordinance or laws affect the rebuilding of the damaged property. This coverage pays such costs, within guidelines in the coverage, provided any increase in the loss amount is necessary due to the enforcement of any laws or ordinances in force at the time of the breakdown which regulate the demolition, construction, repair or use of the building or structure.

8. Errors and Omissions - This coverage pays for loss or damage that would have been covered except for the insured’s error or unintentional omission in describing covered property, a failure to include any premises owned or occupied by an insured when coverage began or, the insured’s error or unintentional omission that results in the company canceling coverage at one of the insured's premises.

9. Brands and Labels - This provision pays part of a company's expense to remove and re-label its own, salvaged merchandise.

10. Contingent Business Income and Extra Expense – Extra Expense Only Coverage -. This Protection applies to loss resulting from a breakdown to equipment at premises upon which the insured is dependent upon in order to run its own operation, such as a key materials supplier.

Be sure to talk to the professionals at Tague Aliance in case you need details on how to best present this critical coverage to your commercial clients!

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2006

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Insuring Your Bling

Your clients may not know that they can insure their jewelry on their homeowners policy. This is a great article to share with them so they are educated on their options when it comes to insuring their bling!

Most homeowners policies provide very limited coverage for jewelry. The reason for this is that jewelry is high-valued (especially in relation to its size), is easily lost or destroyed and is vulnerable to theft (as well as fraud). If you only own a modest amount of jewelry (say just a few hundred dollars), perhaps the limited coverage provided by a basic policy is adequate. However, when high values are involved, consider buying special insurance coverage (sometimes called a floater). A few options are available such as buying supplemental insurance that is attached to your homeowners or tenant's policy or purchasing a separate jewelry policy.

Discussing what is needed and expected from separate coverage is very important. Does the coverage consider jewelry values that increase over time? Does it cover mysterious disappearance (when you know the property is gone, but can't pinpoint when and how the property was lost) and other causes of loss, or just fire and theft? Discussing the coverage also helps you understand the steps you must take to make sure that you keep the maximum coverage in force and whether the coverage you receive is worth the additional price.

Documenting The Jewelry's Value
If the jewelry has just been purchased, a store receipt or certificate should establish the insured value. However, as time passes or circumstances change, the insured value must be reevaluated, perhaps by seeking an appraisal (expert opinion). Getting an appraisal that affirms your jewelry's current value is an excellent way to assure that your property is properly protected. Of course, make sure that you work with a competent appraiser (check their credentials and number of years of experience). It is also helpful to talk to a potential appraiser. Does she seem to have the necessary expertise? How willing and able is she to explain her work? There are several professional jewelry and appraisal associations that can give you information on appraisers and appraising methods. All of these items are important, especially since you have to pay a fee for an appraiser's services.

Handle With Care
Once you're certain about the value of your jewelry and the adequacy of its insurance coverage, you need to properly handle your jewelry. After all, who wants to actually file a claim? If you own a significant amount of expensive jewelry you may want to look into other precautions such as:
* Get new appraisals every two or three years, sending a copy to your insurer
* Take photos of your jewelry from several angles; again, share copies with your agent or insurance company
* Consider a quality in-home security system, including a hidden vault or storage area
* Take care on where and when your jewelry is worn to try to avoid becoming a theft target
* Keep original receipts and all appraisals, especially if they demonstrate that the jewelry's value is appreciating
* Ask your jeweler whether they have access to "Gemprint," or a similar jewelry identification system that documents a jewel's distinctive markings much in the manner of fingerprinting.
* Consider storing jewelry that is rarely worn in a bank or saving institution’s vault. (Note that such special storage often qualifies for an insurance premium discount)

Again, your first step is to talk to an insurance professional since he or she shares your concern that you have the protection you need at a price you can afford.

If you have additional info regarding scheduling your client's jewelry, Tague Alliance can help you answer any questions you may have. They can be reached at 760-729-1143, or you can visit them on the web at www.TAGUEALLIANCE.com

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 1999, 2002, 2008

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Business Owner Policy

Here is a VERY educational article to read about Business Owner policies. Commercial accounts are a great way to build your book of business and are an even better way to increase your cross sales. Check out the article below to educate yourself on the basic idea of a BOP!

If you own and/or run a smaller business, your insurance needs may be properly handled by a businessowner policy (BOP). BOPs are similar to a homeowners policy, offering both property and liability protection. Businesses such as retailers, wholesalers, small contractors, artisan contractors, dry cleaners, restaurants, offices and convenience stores (including those with gas pumps) are eligible for BOP coverage. All such operations may be insured by a BOP as long as they are not larger than 25,000 square feet in total floor area or have gross annual sales greater than $3,000,000 (per location). Cooking operations, due to the higher fire and other accident exposures, have significantly more restrictive guidelines, such as being disqualified for a BOP when it square footage exceeds, typically, 7,500 s.f.

BOPs protect buildings as well as the following:

* building additions (completed or being built)
* indoor and outdoor fixtures
* machinery and equipment
* landlord furnishings,
* mowers, ladder, snowblowers, and similar maintenance property
* outdoor furniture
* floor coverings
* refrigerating appliances
* ventilating appliances
* cooking appliances
* dishwashing/Drying appliances
* clothes washing/drying appliances
* materials, equipment, and supplies
* temporary structures
* located near the insured premises

The policy's protection for business personal property (such as office equipment, copiers, desks, etc.) applies whether the property is located inside or immediately outside the covered buildings. The category also includes property you own, lease or control (i.e., borrow or control) as long as the property is used by the business.

Businessowners liability coverage provides comprehensive protection for claims or suits made by other parties. Its liability section covers losses involving injury to other persons or damage to property that belongs to others. It also provides limited protection against personal injury (slander or libel), advertising injury and losses involving an operation's products or services.
Naturally, there are certain situations that are not covered by a BOP. For instance, there is no coverage for losses involving most vehicles, money and securities; illegal property (contraband), land, water, growing crops or lawns; or watercraft.

A BOP may be supplemented to provide additional protection. Property coverage options include adding insurance for accounts receivable, valuable papers and records, earthquake, spoilage, etc. Liability coverage can be expanded to handle additional business interests, limited vehicle liability, losses related to personnel situations, liquor liability and injuries to leased employees.
A BOP may be the answer to your company's coverage needs and it may be worthwhile to get more information on the BOP from the nearest insurance professional.

Questions about BOPs? Contact Tague Alliance for additional information or check out our website!

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2004, 2008

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Much Is That Doggie In The Lawsuit?

Here is a great article to share with your clients that have pets, or are considering getting a pet. It's very important to ask your clients if they have pets due to the additional exposure they create! If you have questions about the acceptability of certain dog breeds and/or dogs with bite history, contact your SIAA Master Agent, Tague Alliance for more information!

While dogs make great companions, playmates, and protectors, they also continue to be a problem for insurers. Nearly two million people are bitten by dogs each year with around 800,000 persons requiring professional medical treatment for their wounds. Each of these incidents is a potential lawsuit.

Have Teeth, Will Bite
Tens of millions of U.S. households own dogs and biting incidents keep climbing. A key factor that contributes to these incidents is the failure of dog owners to supervise and train their pets. Another problem is that many persons, especially children, do not know how to behave around dogs. Bites may occur when:

* a person stares at a dog, which the animal perceives as a threat or challenge
people attempt to handle dogs during sensitive moments (while a dog is trying to eat or while nursing puppies)

* trespassers or house guests invade a dog's territory

* "rough-housing" with a dog escalates beyond playing.

An Issue Of Control
Insurance is still designed to handle accidents, and companies are at a severe disadvantage when policies are asked to respond to losses that are easily avoided. Dog bite claims involve the insured having control over areas such as:

* choosing to own a dog

* choosing the particular breed of dog

* raising the dog in a certain manner

* housing the dog in a certain manner

* exposing the animal to various social situations

* being knowledgeable about a dog's temperament and inclination to bite or attack.

All of the above elements can contribute to lawsuits and to action from an insurer.

The "Policy" On Dogs
If you have homeowners insurance and you own a pet, the liability portion of your policy provides protection for losses arising from pet ownership. Not only are you and your household protected, but coverage even extends to persons who have custody of your pet. However, your policy won't cover businesses that may have custody of your pet, such as kennels, obedience schools, groomers and professional sitters or walking services (they should carry their own coverage). Further, coverage could become problematic if dogs in a home are related with unreported, in-home business activity. Losses involving persons who are bitten while in a home for business reasons may not be covered.

Minimizing The Problem
Owners have a responsibility to raise and handle their dogs in a manner that reduces the chance for a loss. Steps to take include becoming knowledgeable about their breed of dog and about general principles of ownership and care. They should make certain that family members, social visitors, neighbors and strangers are protected from the owner's pets. Owners should also take advantage of resources to help them, such as tips from animal shelters, dog ownership clubs, the AKC and a plethora of Internet sources.

It may not be the fairest set of circumstances, but more insurers are choosing not to give dogs the benefit of the doubt. It is becoming more common for companies to refuse to write coverage for persons who own certain breeds of dogs. Therefore, owners must fight this trend by not taking their pet ownership lightly....because insurers aren't.

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 1998, 2004, 2010

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's The Difference?! Vacant & Unoccupied Homes

First, there IS a difference. The difference between the two is a matter of time and intent. While unoccupancy is a temporary condition and an exception to a residence normally having occupants, vacancy generally represents abandonment of property. The point is that either condition may affect your coverage under a typical homeowner policy. It is quite important to understand the consequences of either condition in order to keep your coverage intact.

Peeking At A Homeowner Policy

Generally, a homeowner policy has a couple of areas that may be affected by a home's occupancy status: damage caused by freezing, or certain property and loss due to vandalism. Let's talk about them in detail.

A homeowner policy usually protects a home from any loss that is caused by a frozen:

plumbing system
heating system
air conditioning system or

Example 1: Fern Guddyson and her family leave their home in Minnesota in January. They'll spend the next 10 weeks in Miami because Fern is teaching a graduate course in Zen awareness at Palm Leaf University. During a bitter cold spell at their home at the end of March, the water line to their refrigerator (for its ice-maker) freezes and breaks. Later, when the line thaws, it overflows and, eventually, soaks all of the home's oak flooring and carpets. Fern makes a claim to her insurer when the family returns home. The insurance company rejects the claim when they find out the home was unoccupied for more than 30 days before the loss.

Unfortunately for the Guddysons, most homeowner policies will not cover freeze-related losses that occur during an extended period in which the home is either vacant OR unoccupied. But this loss of coverage can be avoided if the homeowner takes special steps. Precautions usually involve either draining any systems or appliances of water and shutting off the home's water supply, or keeping the home heated during the absence.

A homeowner policy typically offers protection to a home that is damaged by acts of vandals.

Example 2: Fern Guddyson and her family leave their home in Minnesota in January. Again, they'll be in Miami for the next 10 weeks while Fern gets her doctorate in surfing from Palm Leaf University. A week before the Guddysons return, a group of kids breaks most of their home’s windows. They then enter the home and use tools to smash doors, floors and walls. Fern makes a claim to her insurer when the family returns home from Miami. Their insurer estimates the damage and gives Fern a check to cover her loss.

Typically, vandalism losses are covered even during periods of extended unoccupancy. However, if the Guddysons had emptied their home of all furnishings and turned off the power for the time they were gone, the vandalism loss would not have been covered.

Why Are Such Exclusions Necessary?

Homeowner policies contain such exclusions in order to avoid special loss situations. A vacated home becomes an attractive nuisance, often attracting vandals. If a home is to be vacated, it may be necessary to purchase dwelling fire coverage to protect the home. In regards to loss caused by freezing, insurers want to encourage homeowners to do a little planning in order to reduce or eliminate the chance that a system or appliance causes a loss. If an insured refuses to act responsibly toward their property, they risk the chance of an uninsured loss.

If you're facing a situation in which your home will be unoccupied or vacant for an extended period, talk to the helpful people at Tague Alliance and make sure you do whatever is necessary to preserve your full insurance protection.

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc., 1996, 2000, 2007

Friday, April 1, 2011

Umbrella Coverage – Part 2

Here is Part 2 about Umbrella Insurance - I'm sure your clients were on the edges of their seats learning about everything we had posted in Part 1!! Remember you can always direct your questions about coverage to the personal lines department at Tague Alliance! In part 2, we continue our discussion of how umbrella policies work. Umbrella vs. Excess Coverage A traditional umbrella offers broader protection, covering primary policies as well as a variety of, typically, uncovered exposures. For instance, you may have to go to court after being accused of slandering another person. The liability section of your homeowners policy may not cover this type of loss, called personal injury. An umbrella policy might include coverage for personal injury, so the loss is covered. You may also need a traditional umbrella to handle odd situations such as hobbies or activities that may increase the likelihood of facing liability losses. For example: • • you have an in-home hobby of training guard dogs and a neighbor's child is attacked • • you publish a newsletter on the Internet covering local or state politicians and one issue wrongly accuses a state senator of committing a crime • • You collect rare instruments and, as a part of the hobby, you also repair and restore such property for other people. One day you drop an antique mandolin which shatters when it hits your garage's concrete floor Generally, umbrellas provide coverage for any amount of a loss that exceeds the primary policy's deductible. However, when handling a loss that is not covered by primary insurance, a special kind of deductible called a self-insured retention (SIR) may apply. An SIR is the dollar amount you have to pay before the umbrella coverage is triggered. Of course, umbrellas don't always work as named. Your policy may just provide additional amounts of coverage to supplement existing protection. This is how an excess policy performs. Excess policies respond the same way as a primary policy. In such cases, an umbrella may "follow the underlying coverage." This means that the umbrella covers ONLY the situations handled by its underlying coverage. Only a careful evaluation of the actual policy wording will reveal the extent of the additional protection. The best way to find out if extra coverage is necessary is to discuss your coverage needs with a professional insurance agent. See Part 1 for other basic information about umbrella coverage. COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 1998, 2002, 2008

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Scoop on Umbrella Insurance (Part 1)

Tague Alliance would like to provide the article below to help you provide detailed information about umbrella policies to your clients. If you have any questions about the items discussed in this article, please call Tague Alliance at (760) 729-1143!

Let’s say you have a policy for your home and the cars driven by your family. You have just the right policy for the apartment you rent out to others as well as special coverage for your boating excursions. Your homeowner's policy even has a special, added coverage to handle the business that your spouse runs out of your home. Yes, it looks like you can be confident that you have all the coverage you need. But let’s take another look. Maybe you need an umbrella. An umbrella is the term for a liability policy that fits over your primary policies. Besides providing an additional (excess) level of coverage, it sometimes provides protection that is not available under your primary coverage.

Umbrellas are designed to be carried over a person's primary (also known as underlying) liability coverage. Primary refers to the fact that in the event of a loss, the liability portion of your auto or homeowner coverage is the first to respond. Umbrellas or excess liability policies respond to an eligible loss only after the primary insurance has paid its limit.

It's quite possible that your primary insurance limits provide more coverage than you'll ever need. However, circumstances could involve a type of loss that is not completely covered by a primary policy. For instance, your newly licensed child is driving the family car and slides on an icy highway. He ends up causing a chain collision damaging several cars and injuring a dozen drivers and their passengers. Or maybe you often volunteer to help transport members of your son's first grade class on field trips and you have an accident because you tried to beat a yellow light. If you don't have enough primary coverage, any shortage may have to come out of your personal assets.

Umbrellas generally provide additional liability coverage for the following underlying policies:

• Personal Automobile
• Homeowners / Farmowners
• Recreational Vehicles
• Watercraft
• Personal Liability

The additional coverage may often extend to providing for related expenses, also on an excess basis, such as the cost of providing a court defense. Part 2 for Umbrella Insurance will be posted in the next week or so!

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 1998, 2002, 2008

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tague Alliance 2010 Year-End Meeting

Tague Alliance hosted our members and some of our partner insurance carriers. The event was a success and our members learned a little bit about using Facebook as a marketing tool. Tague Alliance distributed over $40,000 in PMSF earned from our national SIAA insurance company relationships.

The meeting presented great opportunity for our members to network with our partner insurance companies. Our semi-annual business meetings provide everyone a chance to come together to build relationships and expand horizons.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reviewing Homeowners Policies With your Clients

Hi Everyone!

It's that time of year again! A great time to review your homeowners policies with your clients. Below is an article that we are posting for our clients. You may find it helpful as well:

Be Sure to Review Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Annually

Most Homeowners insurance companies will simply send out a reminder for a renewal of your home insurance policy when the end of the year is up for your insurance coverage. Many will also automatically renew your policy unless you call and let them know that you want to change or cancel that policy. This makes it easy for many homeowners to simply begin sending in the next set of payments for another year without reviewing the policy to make sure it adequately reflects their needs for the year.

Whether you have upgraded or remodeled the home, added a deck onto the back, turned the home into a rental property or realized that you may have problems with flooding in your area, there are several reasons to review your home insurance policy every year to assess whether the coverage still meets your needs.

Even if you have just begun a new home insurance coverage policy, it is important to review the policy as soon as you receive it to make sure the policy has the correct coverage amounts and coverage needs you have asked for. Remember that this policy will be in place for an entire year and will most likely cost between $300-$2000 so be sure that you are getting what you want.
If you asked for personal liability of others in the amount of $100,000 and the policy only shows $50,000 don’t be afraid to call the insurance agent back to have this problem corrected. The problem can simply be solved by issuing a new policy or a policy change.

Once the year time period has expired on your current policy and you are getting ready to renew again, it is always a safe bet to call the insurance agent and ask if the replacement cost value has gone up on your home or on anything in your home.

Remember that the financial market continues to increase and with this rates of building and replacement tools will go up, so there is no shame in calling to ask if the figures on your policy need to be changed.

If you have done any renovation of the home in the last year, such as replacing countertops or flooring, or even adding on a deck, it is important to inform the insurance company of these changes. This protects you from being underinsured in case of damage or loss.
If you have acquired any major purchases of personal property, it is also important to contact the insurance company about changing the coverage amount on your interior belongings. This could include major electronics equipment like an LCD television, a personal computer or laptop, an expensive piece of jewelry or fur coat, or even new furniture or a new piece of artwork.

It is also important to review your insurance coverage policy every year to determine if you have adequate peril coverage and liability insurance. Although some basic plans cover certain types of natural disaster and others cover personal liability, you may want to consider adding on specific insurance clauses for flooding, hurricanes, or tornados if you live in a high risk area.

If you started a plan out with little or no hurricane insurance but realized that the previous year brought major hurricanes to your area, then you may want to reconsider the amount of coverage. As well, some policies do not require homeowners to have personal liability insurance but this is a good idea if you are planning on having others in your home quite often.

This could include construction workers who are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom or even a babysitter or housekeeper. You will also want to change your policy if your children are starting to get older and invite over friends to play in the yard or to spend the night. Personal liability insurance will cover any accidents that happen while others are in your home.

One final reason to review your insurance policy each year is to assess discounts or possible price quote deductions that you may be able to receive. When you purchased the home it may not have had a security system installed, fire sprinklers or been equipped with up to date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

But if you have installed this equipment over the past year, it is a good idea to call and inform the insurance company to see if you this makes you eligible for a discount. You may also be able to receive a discount if you started receiving car insurance from the same company, turned a certain age, or began a membership to a certain club or organization that the insurance company recognizes and gives discounts to on a regular basis. - http://wagnerstott.com/be-sure-to-review-your-homeowners-insurance-policy-annually/ (Posted by Wagner Stott)