Check your Home Insurance to Be Sure You Are Protected From Disasters

Fewer than 22% of homeowners see changes in the environment or natural disasters as being an important factor to consider when updating their homeowner’s insurance coverage.

This information was found in a new study done by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). With the increase in natural disasters, the NAIC encourages homeowners to think about their risks and take the time to understand what coverages are included in their existing insurance policies.

For example, recent climate changes in the northern area of Nevada have been determined as the underlying cause of a catastrophic flood. State officials warn that the worst may not be over as they are preparing for additional flooding.

Another example: There is an increased risk for mud and rock slides because of erosion in the areas that have been affected by increasing wildfires.

Damage to your house or property caused by such disasters may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Instead, you’ll need a special policy that offers specific coverage for things like flood insurance coverage.

Between 2005 to 2015 natural disasters caused roughly $24 billion in insurance claims. However, the study performed by the NAIC found that 56% of homeowners have not read through their homeowner insurance policies in over a year. Additionally, 14% are not sure if they have ever evaluated their plan.

It is important you review your policy with your agent to be sure you have the coverage you need.

Prior to Natural Disasters

We recommend asking yourself these questions each year:

Is my home in increased danger of:

* Floods,
* Wildfires,
* Earthquakes?

Next ask yourself:

* Has anything changed in my house?
* Has there been any change in the total number of people living in my house or the value of the personal belongings in the house?
* Have I added any major acquisitions such as art or other valuable belongings?
* Have I had any updates to the house such as renovations, an updated security system, or any other major changes to the home?

Then ask:

* Are there any new fire prevention or protection solutions offered in my area?
* Do I have a fire safety zone around my home? Has it been adequately maintained?

And remember, our team of insurance professionals is at the ready to help you. Please reach out if you have questions.


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Can You Buy Life Insurance With a Pre-Existing Condition?

Having a pre-existing health condition such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, kidney or liver disease does not necessarily mean that you’ll be denied life insurance. However, it can create challenges including delaying the application process.

You can reduce the delays as well as ensure the best price possible if you have candid conversations with your life insurance agent and if you make sure you are working with an independent insurance agency.

These additional seven suggestions will help you streamline the process, especially if you have any medical problems in your history.

1. Plan Ahead

The process of getting life insurance is never fun so it’s understandable that you’d want to get this process done with as quickly as possible. However, if you have a pre-existing condition, it’s important to take the time to explain your needs. If you end up needing high-risk life insurance, you’re going to have to do more work to obtain this option.

You’ll likely need to submit documents including current prescriptions, letters clarifying your health, and even more comprehensive details from your doctor depending on your specific medical condition.

It’s wise to collect as much health information as possible before you speak with your independent life insurance agent so they can be as informed as possible as they work to help you find life insurance options for your specific situation.

Having this information handy will minimize any complications for your agent so that he or she can connect you with the most appropriate provider.

2. Work with a Trusted, Independent Agent

Having an independent representative is handy as these brokers can give you prices from more than one life insurance carrier. If you work with an independent agency, you’ll be able to see all of the plans you qualify for while saving you time by not having to research other insurance options on your own. Independent agents can do the work for you. (Captive agents work with only one insurance company.)

Your independent agent will guide you to the insurance carrier with the best options and most affordable premiums based on your past and current health history. The agency and agent you choose should be experienced on how to best handle your situation.

(Thankfully you can count on us to help get you moving in the right direction. If you have questions about life insurance, be sure to ask us.)

3. Be Candid About Your Health

Be as open as possible when you talk to your agent. These professionals are on your side and their actions are based on the information they obtain from you. Also remember, the best agent in the world can only act on what you’ve told them.

Detail every concern that you have. Having the proper diagnosis, treatments, and other medical details can help you a great deal. Understanding your medications in addition to your lab values is important as well. Provide the agent with anything that may be important regarding your condition.

This is crucial in getting accurate quotes and in determining if there’s in fact a life insurance option available to you based on your health situation.

4. Obtain Multiple Quotes

Take advantage of your agent’s ability to shop around for the best policy. The goal is to make sure that you have quotes from multiple companies. This comparison is incredibly important for high-risk situations because health may be evaluated differently from carrier to carrier.

After you receive quotes, ask your agent about each insurance carrier in case you’re not familiar with the company. You want to choose the company that you are comfortable with.

5. Pick the Appropriate Policy

Be mindful that with health conditions, you may be restricted in the type of insurance policy you can purchase.

For example, “guaranteed approval” life insurance policies may limit the coverage and may have higher premiums.

Have a candid conversation with your agent to fully understand your options before selecting a policy.

6. Take the Medical Exam

The best policy prices are saved for those who complete a medical examination. This is because the less that the life insurance carrier knows about your health, the more that it has to charge in order to cover the risk.

Many people who already have pre-existing conditions should still take the test because it may still flow in their favor, allowing them to secure better pricing than in a “no-exam” policy.

7. Talk to Your Doctor

Be sure your doctor knows you are working on obtaining a life insurance policy. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, an insurance carrier will likely request a doctor’s statement or APS to determine your health from the clinical documents.

Make sure that your records are accurate and current. Also, make sure your medical providers are watching for the document request(s) and that they will respond in a timely manner. This way they’ll be sure to send requested documents to the insurance company promptly.

Having any type of health problem in your medical history can result in greater scrutiny when you shop for life insurance. However, a small investment of time can expand your life insurance options while reducing the time you have to invest in the process.


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One Insurance Mis-Step Can Risk Your Business

In 2008 Leo Welder started ChooseWhat.com. Within a year he was being sued by J2 Global for using the term “e-fax”. It was totally out of the blue and unexpected. Sadly, he found his insurance didn’t protect him from this claim. Yes, he purchased insurance but was missing coverage for intellectual property litigation.

Both companies eventually settled but only after Mr. Welder had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. (How many startups have that amount of capital freely available?)

After the lawsuit, Mr. Welder decided to add an E&O policy to help protect his company from these concerns.

No matter how smart you are or how diligent you are in caring for your clients, you can still find yourself in legal and economic problems. However, even with these concerns, many startups haven’t investigated getting necessary insurance for their risk profile. (Typically because they are either trying to save money or as an oversight.)

The critical thing to understand when contemplating risk management is that problems arise from gaps in protection. With that in mind, here are recommendations from business owners and insurance experts to avoid liability problems in a business.

Cover All Your Bases

Every organization needs basic liability insurance coverage. This can protect your business from a huge number of costs from libel to customer injuries. The average liability plan is one of the least expensive types of insurance protection you can own.

Most business owners admit that they avoid insurance to keep costs low. The question to ask… is it worth it? Be sure to talk to your insurance agent and review any needed changes for your risk profile.

Here are some areas of risk to ponder:

* Do you have company cars?
* Do you or employees drive personal cars for business related activities?
* Do you attend trade shows?
* Do you store client data online?
* Is your company dependent on a key employee?

The list above is an example of what an insurance advisor will walk through with you. What you’ll end up investing in insurance is going to depend a great deal on your specific risks. (If you run a business that has low liability footprint such as copywriting or consulting you’ll have a different risk profile than if you are a construction contractor.)

If you are just starting your business, take a close look at Business Owners Plan. This could include some or even all of these policies into one affordable package. In order to qualify, you’ll probably need to have a business that employs less than 100 workers and has less than $5 million in annual sales. These policies are designed specifically for start-up companies and smaller companies. They work to decrease your risk to lawsuits.

Important: Update Your Policy As Needed

Your company is always changing and insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Be sure your insurance coverage keeps pace.

If your business size rapidly changes, if your employee count changes, if your services change… all of these are reasons to review your insurance.

The good news is that you don’t have to be a statistic. Yes, one insurance misstep can potentially damage your business. The good news is one call to our team can help you understand your risk profile and help you be certain you have the exact coverage you need for your company.


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Telling White Lies Can Void Your Car Insurance

Many motorists feel car insurance costs are higher than they want to pay. Rates are indeed on the rise. But some folks have taken to telling “white lies” to mislead insurance companies and get lower car insurance rates.

A nationwide survey conducted by a leading online financial firm showed that almost 85% of survey participants had given misleading information to keep the cost of their car insurance as low as possible. This figure is far higher than the estimates previously thought.

Drivers have come up with all sorts of creative story-telling. According to the survey quoted above, the following ranked as the basis for the top five “white” lies that drivers used to lower insurance costs:

1. Failure to accurately report on accident history and previous insurance claims.

2. Falsification of details regarding where the car is parked overnight.

3. The use or purpose of the motor vehicle – family, social, business, traveling, etc.

4. Falsification of the estimated annual mile driven.

5. Failure to properly identify who the primary driver of the vehicle is.

Why mislead on the above?

The main motivation for these little white lies is monetary. The insured knows very well that tinkering with the truth can save money on premium costs.

However, this is a risky move. Carriers are on the lookout for these and if they catch you, your insurance policy can be nullified. That can be especially problematic if you make a claim and the carrier determines you didn’t tell the truth on your insurance application. They will not honor your claim and you’ll be unprotected.

And remember, you’ll be on the hook for more than the damages to your car. You could be responsible for medical expenses of everyone involved in an accident found to be your fault.

A “little white lie” to save a few bucks simply isn’t worth the risk.

And that is not all. That little white lie could very well get you into trouble with the law. It is a criminal offense to falsify the details required by an insurance underwriter as you are seeking for a car insurance policy. Insurance fraud is a thing best avoided.

And remember, this applies to who is driving the car the most as well. Many parents think they should list themselves as the primary driver on a car that their teen mostly drives. This again is the kind of “white lie” that can result in all the previously mentioned problems.

What are the Long Term Effects of Non-disclosure?

As discussed above, failure to give all the necessary details on an insurance application can result in a claim not being honored as well as potentially being taken to court for fraud. YIKES!

And if you’re “found out”, such non-disclosures can have a negative impact on your ability to get a great rate on future policies.

The good news is that our team of specialists strive to help you find the best rates on auto insurance by obtaining multiple quotes from different carriers. We make insurance companies compete for your business and that helps you pick the best mix of budget sensitive features to fit your exact needs.

If you need to review your auto insurance, please reach out to us. We’re here to help!


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Cyber Insurance: What is it? Do You Need it?

Technological advancements have revolutionized the way online advertisements, promotions, and shopping are done. This has brought immense benefits to companies, who have now found new ways to interact with the existing and potential buyers. The opportunity offered by social media alone is rich for companies that intend to conduct exhaustive marketing activities. However, social media platforms have also become avenues of cyber-attacks. This has wrought untold financial losses to all types of companies – small, medium and large. A case in point is the latest attack from “wanna-cry’’, a ransom ware that affected businesses on a global scale. Cyber-attacks can originate from almost anywhere. Businesses large and small have to be vigilant.

There are a number of ways that companies can react to the threat of cyber attacks in order to protect themselves and their clients. Some threats are avoidable through proper implementation of policies like requiring strong passwords. Others may require more advanced software and monitoring. But regardless, if you deal with clients online, or if you keep important personal information, you likely need cyber insurance.

What is the Role of Cyber Insurance Providers?

Cyber Liability Insurance Protection (CLIC) is an insurance plan that is meant to offer protection in the event of a cyber-attack. Companies face massive losses and expenses in the event of a cyber-attack and the cyber insurance plan is meant to mitigate such eventualities. The concept of cyber insurance has grown tremendously since 2005. It is projected to reach close to $8 billion in premiums within the next three or so years. Many companies in the US have realized the need for investing in a cyber insurance policy. Presently, close to 35% of US businesses have acquired cyber insurance policies of some kind, and their number is growing daily.

The cyber insurance industry is evolving at a breathtaking rate. However, the magnitude of the cyber-attacks threat has not been fully appreciated for a couple of reasons. One, many companies fail to report the full extent of the damages they face from cyber-attacks for fear of negative publicity. Second, the nature of cyber-attacks is often changing. The two reasons straddle underwriters with a challenge on how to value the financial impact of an attack.

Generally, a cyber-insurance policy will cover the following expenses:

1. Forensics Examination

Once an attack takes place, it is vital that a forensics examination is conducted. The examination will reveal the full extent of the damage and what needs to be done to rectify the situation. The forensic examiners will advise the company on what needs to be done to successfully avert or withstand any future cyber-attack threats.

2. Expenses Arising from Lawsuits and Extortion

The policy will cater for expenses that arise from lawsuits preferred against the company. Such lawsuits may be occasioned by a breach of client confidentiality occasioned by a cyber-attack. The policy also covers any statutory fines that may be imposed on the business, the cost of legal negotiations and any costs incurred as a result of cyber extortion.

3. Service Losses

The cyber insurance policy will meet the cost of loss as a result of failure by the company to deliver service due to the cyber-attack. The service interruption may be as a result of network downtime or otherwise. Other service costs that are covered by the cyber-insurance policy include those of recovering any lost data and carrying out the necessary PR activities to repair the firm’s dented image.

4. Information Alerts

The policy caters for information alerts to customers following a breach. This also includes monitoring the credit rating of customers whose credentials and identity might have been compromised during the assault.

What do you look for in Cyber-insurance Coverage?

A number of cyber insurance companies offer a list of items that are covered by their insurance policy. The buyer can use these lists to compare and contrast various providers before they settle on the one they perceive to be most receptive to their needs. You can also leverage an independent insurance agency to help you shop for the best value. For example, because we are independent, we can shop between multiple carriers for all kinds of insurance needs. Whatever the case, you must ask about the following aspects of a cyber-insurance plan:

a. Does the insurer customize the insurance coverage plan to the needs of their clients, or does it offer a one-size-fits-all kind of policy? Of course, as the buyer, you will be more interested in an insurance firm that is willing to customize their products for your firm.

b. How do deductibles compare amongst the various insurers? Be sure to compare and contrast deductibles among various insurance providers to determine the ones with the best deals.

c. Does the insurance policy include coverage for third-party providers? What are the limits? If third-party providers have cyber-insurance, how will this influence the terms of my contract?

d. Does the insurance policy cover APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) and other network attacks?

e. Does the insurance policy offer protection in the event of a strike?

The strikes could be targeted at the company, or the company may be affected by collateral damage. How does the insurer propose to handle this?

f. Does the insurer offer E&O protection that caters for an injurious action done inadvertently by an employee?

g. For how long will the policy offer protection against the risk of APTs?

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Insurance Coverage?

A cyber-attack insurance provider expects potential clients to have put certain measures in place before they can underwrite them. For example, the buyer must ensure that they have done a risk evaluation and created a detailed cyber risk profile. They also must have solid protections against potential cyber-attacks. The insurer will request that the buyer educates its workforce on the best security practices to prevent, control, or successfully withstand a cyber-attack.

The buyer is encouraged to consult moral hackers with a view to getting an insight on the buyer’s most vulnerable spots and how to protect them.

Cyber insurance buyers may be asked to provide a detailed audit of their company’s procedures and practices. This will be to enable the insurer to assess the vulnerability levels of the company. Insurers may ask companies to change some aspects of their administrative practices if they are deemed to be a threat.

The Importance of Cyber Insurance Coverage for Businesses

Companies that partially or fully conduct their businesses over the internet need to contact a reputable insurer for a cyber-attack insurance policy. This is because such businesses stand the greatest risk of being assaulted and losing their assets. Statistics clearly show that cyber-attacks are on an upward trajectory. A shocking observation: small businesses are being attacked at a higher frequency than expected. For example, a report by two leading internet security providers found that about 30% of the cyber-attacks recorded 2 years ago targeted small businesses. Shockingly, the attacks against small businesses increased by 15% (to 45%) last year. This in itself should be a wake-up call to small businesses to safeguard their businesses against such attacks.

(It is estimated that the impact of cyber crimes on the world’s economy has skyrocketed to $580 billion per year, from the $350 billion experienced just a few years ago.)

The cost of a cyber insurance plan is dependent on how the buyer’s industry is organized. The industry dictates the policies and procedures of the firm, the kind of services offered, and their risk profile. Small businesses with profits of between $90,000 and $500,000 will have lower premiums than larger organizations.

If you have questions about cyber insurance, definitely reach out to us so that we can put you in touch with the best available resource.


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Leave a Legacy With Life Insurance

Many people are of the opinion that it is important to leave a legacy when they pass from this life. What many are unable to answer is exactly how to leave the most appropriate legacy. Many individuals do not have an idea on how to go about this. What people fail to realize is that a life insurance policy can help them leave a legacy. In fact, a life insurance plan can be used to leave a legacy for one’s children, spouse, and even specific people in the society.

Indeed, there are certain key steps that you, as a thoughtful & caring person, should take to safeguard what or who you love. If you want to leave a positive lasting impact well after you are gone, life insurance should be at the top of your list. Here is a look at how you can rely on the life insurance policy to achieve this:

1. Cater for the Needs of Your Family.

The family unit is revered in most societies as the most important unit of human existence. We are constantly trying our best to feed, clothe and provide shelter and comfort to members of our close-knit family. We want to provide for our family members in every conceivable way even after we’re gone. The key consideration here is that the quality of life of one’s dependents should not be diluted upon one’s death. And you likely want to shield your spouse and children from the uncertainties that arise from changes in the economy as well.

The best way of ensuring that your loved ones are protected is by taking an appropriate life insurance policy. The survivor benefit from the life insurance policy will go a long way in enhancing your family’s economic stability in your absence. With a properly structured policy, children and other loved ones will be able to meet long-term needs beyond daily survival such as the costs for higher education, health care, etc.

You may also choose to nominate your nieces as nephews as beneficiaries to your life insurance policy. True, the needs of your nieces and nephews may have been catered for in the life insurance policies of their parents. Still, this makes a mark when they realize you’ve thought of them. The survivor benefits they receive will make their life easier and better, and on this count, they will respect you the more. There are many ways that your nieces and nephews could benefit from the funds that you leave them.

2. Leave a Legacy to a Charity

Mainstream and social media are filled with stories of charities looking for fresh sources of funding. Be it a charity for the homeless, abused children, rescued animals, feeding the refugees, or many others, there is always a charity that will be more than glad to receive funds from you.

One of the easiest ways of donating to charitable courses is through your life insurance policy. All you need to do is to ensure that you leave very clear instructions on how much needs to go to the charitable organization that you nominate, and it will be implemented once you pass on. That way, you will have contributed towards making life better for the less fortunate in the society.

One of the simplest means to give back to a charity using life insurance policy is to create a trust fund as the recipient of your life insurance policy. Be keen to specify the amount that should be given out from your estate upon your death.

3. Establish an Academic Scholarship

Making the decision to establish a college or university scholarship is one of the most respected ways of utilizing the life insurance policy. Many people who choose to do this name the scholarship after themselves. It is a great way of ensuring that your legacy lives on even after you are gone.

Different academic institutions have different guidelines on how to go about setting up a scholarship for needy or deserving students. It is important that you contact the academic institution of your choice so that all particulars on how to establish the scholarship can be discussed.

4. Create or Fund an Existing Park

There are a number of ways that you can decide to benevolently use your life insurance policy for the benefit of your community. For example, you may choose to create a park or help fund the care and upkeep of an existing playground. (Parents are constantly on the lookout for safe play grounds for their children.)

It needs to be noted that plans for such a project call for thorough consultations with the local authority. The town or city in the intended area is bound to have some useful input that would make your work very easy. They would also need to issue you with the necessary permits and licenses for the various aspects of the project.

The life insurance policy provides the perfect avenue for you to leave an indelible, lasting legacy. It is one of the most powerful ways through which you can enhance the continuity and economic stability of your family members and large community. It is also a great avenue for you to selflessly sponsor projects that will be meant for the common good in the society.

The effectiveness of your plans will largely depend on how they are executed after you pass. It is prudent that you seek professional help as you ponder and lay down the plans. An insurance advisor and estate lawyer are best qualified to help you navigate through the various options open to you. Additionally, the lawyer will help you to effortlessly set up a foundation or trust fund that will be the conduit of your benevolent deeds.Leave a Legacy With Life Insurance


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Dealing With Suspension Trauma

Envision this situation: A building employee is changing shingles on the roof covering of a two-story house 20 feet over ground. He loses his ground as well as slides, diminishing the roof covering. He’s using a fall-arrest system, and also consequently is saved from fatality.

Yet he’s not unharmed yet.

This worker can potentially experience orthostatic intolerance– additionally typically described as suspension trauma.

Just what is it?

OSHA explains suspension injury as “the advancement of signs and symptoms such as light-headedness, bad concentration, palpitations, tremulousness, exhaustion, nausea or vomiting, wooziness, frustration, sweating, weakness and periodically fainting during upright standing.”

After a fall, an employee might remain suspended in his or her harness prior to being saved. Depending upon the length of time the employee stays suspended, the continual stability could lead to unfamiliarity and even death. This is because of “venous pooling,” a problem that takes place when a person’s legs are stable as well as blood swimming pools in the legs, decreasing the amount of blood distributing in the body.

OSHA keeps in mind that the body reacts to venous pooling by quickening the heart price in an attempt to keep adequate blood circulation to the brain. If a person’s blood supply is considerably minimized, this won’t be effective as well as the body will after that “suddenly slow down the heart rate and also blood pressure will diminish in the arteries.” In severe situations of venous merging, an individual could faint or experience kidney failure, which can be fatal.

Move fast

Speed is crucial after an employee experiences a loss. Suspension in a fall-arrest tool can lead to unconsciousness and also death in less than 30 minutes. Inning accordance with OSHA, workers who use fall-arrest tools or that might execute rescue activities must recognize:

Ways to determine whether their personal protective tools is appropriately used and fitted

Just how suspension injury might happen, along with its signs and symptoms

How you can use suitable rescue treatments and techniques to reduce threat while put on hold


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