Are Pandas Taking Over Insurance?

With the increase usage by insurance companies utilizing “loveable” animal characters in their advertising campaigns, Pandas have discovered that their high “loveable” factor could translate to “big bucks”. More and more these thought to be passive, non-aggressive creatures are taking over insurance agencies across the nation…sometimes via “hostile” takeovers. Ned Porter, a veteran insurance agent from Council Bluffs, Iowa, says, “One day I’m minding my own business when one of these supposed docile creatures walks in and tells me to pack my things and leave in the next 10 minutes. It was downright unbearable. Especially when my staff just looked on and said “eh..can’t be much worse than the conditions we have to work in now.” Ned continued with a slow sigh, “This isn’t a Black and White issue nor is it an animal rights issue…first the Gecko and now this…when will it end.” The problem seems to be one that continues to grow in the industry because quite frankly.. no one gives a damn what happens to an insurance agent. If there is anything less visible than being invisible it’s being an insurance agent. “Unless this stops” according to industry big-wig Henry “Hank” Mulligan, “ the whole industry will become a jungle. They look benevolent, but you find out later they put pet insurance on your auto policy without even asking. You watch you think we piled on unnecessary coverages…these guys are ruthless…. bamboo doesn’t come cheap.” We will monitor this ever-changing story and report as more developments occur so you can prepare yourself going up against these formidable...

It’s Time for Businesses to Insure Against Data Breach

Businesses, both big and small who are privy to sensitive client information, need to protect themselves against an ever increasing risk of having computer records fall into the hands of unauthorized individuals or organizations. Healthcare practices such as doctors and dentists, law offices, accountants and bookkeepers, retailers, restaurants and financial services are especially at high risk because of the amount of information, the volume of the information, the sensitivity and the number of people having access to the information. Data Breach is defined as any loss, theft, accidental release or accidental publication of information that personally identifies someone’s protected vital records or protected health information. These include social security numbers, bank records and account information, credit or debit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, email addresses, patient history and medical records. Any of these occurrences is subject to major penalties and fines from various governmental agencies as well as major lawsuits against a company. We are all familiar with the phrase “hacking” from many news stories reporting security breaches against government and news agencies as one way Data Breach can occur. Other ways it can occur are through the theft or release due to unauthorized access from former employees or vendors, stolen or lost documents and electronic files, stolen or lost laptops, smartphones, tablets or flash drives and computer disks, stolen credit card information, and employee error or mistakes. And now as businesses move data into the “cloud”, an even greater possibility of data compromise exists. Many business insurance carriers now provide cost-effective protection against Data Breach that can help a company maintain its reputation and long-term solvency. Insurance coverage...

How Parents Can Save on Their Teenager’s Auto Insurance

Your teenage son or daughter has reached the “right of passage” by getting a driver’s license. Now comes the harsh reality of paying substantially higher premiums for their auto insurance. Here are a few ways to bring down the cost to insure them. Encourage your children to get good grades. Most carriers provide a 10-20% discount on premiums for students with a “B” or better GPA. Have your child enroll in a driver’s education course. Some carriers provide an additional discount for students completing a Driver Safety Course. Insure your child on your policy. This is a much less expensive option than having them get their own policy. Adding your child’s vehicle to your policy provides discounts for this vehicle not eligible in a monoline policy . Your child’s vehicle will receive the multi-car policy discount as well as the homeowner’s insurance discount you currently receive on your auto policy. If you are adding another vehicle for your teen driver make sure you get a vehicle deemed “safe” by the insurance industry. This usually means a somewhat older, four-door vehicle with normal power, i.e. not turbo-charged. These vehicles have a much lower rate for your teen driver. Consult your agent to get “what if” quotes to see if the vehicle you are thinking of buying is one that is considered “safe” and is also within your insurance budget. Consider raising the deductible on your vehicles or have your child contribute toward maintaining lower deductible amounts. If the vehicle is an older model, usually over ten years old, consider eliminating collision and comprehensive coverage. See if your teen can be...

I Crashed My Car into a Bridge…Really

Mona McNicols recently had a close encounter while driving on what she thought was an unobstructed roadway only to find out a bridge was in her way. She was really glad her agent Rip Packard talked her into getting a newly added endorsement on her auto policy “Immovable Object” coverage being tested in Iowa. With all the recent accidents happening to motorists since the great influx of tourists visiting the famous county bridges in Iowa, the Iowa Insurance Department decided to offer this important coverage to those drivers distracted by the great beauty of these bridges. Numerous Insurance safety studies uncovered a most amazing occurrence. It seems these bridges cause drivers to hallucinate and blinds them to the reality of the situation they find themselves in. This “idiot proof” coverage makes it easy to pre-pay for the inevitable damage to these precious bridges from “brain freezes” by those driving in “bridge country”. This “pay it forward” thinking will insure these landmarks will be around for generations to come. Mona says, “Since that mishap I had with the pharmacy drive thru I knew this coverage was right for me.” Rip Packard from Sh*t will Happen Insurance says, “In Iowa anyone driving without this coverage is just asking for trouble. At any time, these bridges will come out of nowhere and bam you’re up the creek without you know what.” ASK YOUR LOCAL Iowa insurance agent today on how you can protect yourself from the bridge just waiting to...

Items You Should Know About Your Auto Insurance

In an effort to better educate consumers about their auto insurance coverage, the Perimeter Group has put together a list of items everyone should know with regard to auto insurance here in Arizona. By knowing this information you should be able to avoid some of the pitfalls a lot of people have with their auto insurance, especially when you need to make a claim or shop for a better rate. You will pay dearly for being under-insured Purchasing state minimum coverage could result in financial ruin if you are involved in an at-fault accident. Your wages could be garnished, become a party of a major lawsuit and lose the ability to obtain credit for future major purchases. The cost to raise limits is relatively small in comparison. Excellent Credit Means Better Premiums Most Insurance carriers give significant premium discounts for clients who have excellent credit and apply surcharges to those not having good credit. If you have good credit, get quotes from those carriers who give the best discounts and if you have bad credit make sure you receive quotes from those carriers that do not penalize as much for having a low credit score. The Car Model you drive affects your premium Before you purchase your next car call your agent to find out what it would cost to insure it. Besides the age of the vehicle, the accident history of the vehicle as well as the cost of the replacement parts have a major influence on the cost of insurance. Paying your insurance premium in full or via Electronic Funds Transfer saves you money Many carriers now...

Need for Umbrella Insurance

Do I really need an umbrella policy given I already have liability coverage on my home and auto insurance? This is a question I get asked frequently by many of my clients. If you have a sizeable amount of family financial assets you might want to consider having an umbrella policy for your household. A quick way to determine if you should have an umbrella policy is to add up all of your assets such as the value of your home, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement funds and other valuable assets. If this total is significantly above your current liability limits you should consider purchasing an umbrella policy. What an umbrella policy provides: Additional liability coverage above your current home and auto liability limits Protection against libel, slander or false arrest An inexpensive investment against a high-cost lawsuit Protection against having to use your own assets in a large financial judgment The cost of adding a typical $1 million personal umbrella is around $175 – $225 annually with each additional $1 million in coverage adding around $50 – $75. Households having teenage drivers and/or a large number of vehicles and properties will pay somewhat higher rates. However, these households might benefit the most by purchasing an umbrella policy. What if a large tree on your property falls and crushes your neighbor’s home, or you or your teenager rear-ends another car and severely injures many passengers, or a child injures him or herself at a party in your backyard. If you are sued or a court judgment finds you liable for an amount over your base liability amounts, your umbrella...