NOT ALL THIEVES ARE STUPID

1.LONG-TERM PARKING:
Some people left their car in the long-term parking while away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the car’s registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to the people’s home in Pebble Beach and robbed it. So I guess if we are going to leave the car in long-term parking, we should NOT leave the registration/insurance cards in it, nor your remote garage door opener. This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.

2.
 GPS:
Someone had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house.. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents. Something to consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it… Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen ..

3.
 CELL PHONES:
I never thought of this…… This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc.., was stolen. Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says, “I received your text asking about our Pin number and I’ve replied a little while ago.” When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text “hubby” in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account

Moral of the lesson:
a. Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc….
b. And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back.
c. Also, when you’re being texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them If you don’t reach them, be very careful about going places to meet “family and friends” who text you.

4.
 PURSE IN THE GROCERY CART SCAM:
A lady went grocery-shopping at a local mall and left her purse sitting in the children’s seat of the cart while she reached something off a shelf… wait till you read the WHOLE story! Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call from the Mall Security to say that they had her wallet and that although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told by Mall Security that they had not called her. By the time she returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized. The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were Mall Security, they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to burglarize it.

PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

VALUATIONS

Replacement Cost -

This loss valuation method pays for the cost to repair or replace damaged items with like kind and quality without deduction for depreciation.  You will normally see this valuation with newer, occupied buildings.

Actual Cash Value –

Actual cash value is the amount equal to the replacement cost, minus depreciation to the damaged or stolen property at the time of the loss. It is the actual value for which the property could be sold, which is always less than what it would cost to replace it. This valuation is seen in vacant buildings or older buildings with no updates.

Functional Replacement Cost –

The amount which it would cost to repair or replace the damaged building with less costly common construction materials and methods which are functionally equivalent to obsolete, antique or custom construction materials and methods used in the original construction of the building.  This valuation can be applied to older Victorian type buildings or older restored buildings.

Planning to buy an electric “toy” for your tween this Christmas?

Picture this…. Dec. 25th, 13 year old, Johnny is psyched about his new electric skateboard. (pic of kid with electric skateboard) Now he can cruise around town with his friends.

He cruises up to the park to practice on it. While he’s there, he runs into someone causing them to fall and break their arm. UH OH! …….

Does your client have liability coverage to pay for the medical bills? You would assume so since you know that the homeowners liability coverage does apply to family members and this was not an excluded, intentional act. A regular skateboard would be no problem but put a motor on it and now we may have a problem, as not all homeowners policies extend liability for this type of exposure.

There are a couple of different places to look for coverage in the home policy.

“Motorized vehicles not licensed for road use”, under the liability section is a good start but that coverage applies more to a vehicle used to maintain the property (like riding lawnmowers). Those vehicles are only covered for liability if they are “on the residence premises”.

But the skateboard is really more of a toy, right?; so let’s look for “toy vehicle coverage”. Many carriers will provide property coverage with no problem.

The standard ISO home policy does not extend liability for these types of “toy vehicles” off the residence premises. However, recognizing this gap in coverage, some carriers have amended the ISO policy to cover it. There is an ISO endorsement available but not all carriers use it because they don’t want the added exposure.

It is important to read the policy since some carriers are very specific about what types of toy vehicles they will cover. One carrier states “not 2 wheels, not licensed for road use, goes no more than 15 mph on a flat road”, which provides limited liability coverage to the client.

 

Remember, any producer can handle common exposures for most individuals or families. The quality that distinguishes a great producer from an ordinary one is the ability to identify a client’s UNcommon loss exposures, like this one, then design an insurance program that addresses those exposures.

Market value vs. Insurance value

What is Market Value?

Market value is the amount that a buyer would pay to purchase a structure (home/commercial building) and its land in its current condition. Unlike estimated replacement cost, its market value is influenced by factors beyond the material and labor costs of repairs or reconstruction, such as local crime statistics, and the availability of similar structures. Also, the land itself will be included in the home’s market value.

What is Insurance Value?

Insurance value is the cost necessary to repair or replace your entire structure (home/commercial building). When you insure, your insurer will reimburse you for the cost of rebuilding or repairing your structure (home/commercial building) based on the labor and materials needed to do so.  This is normally written on a Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value Basis.

The most appropriate way to estimate the insurance value of your structure (home/commercial building) is to hire a building contractor or other building professional to produce a detailed estimate. Only the cost of the property’s structure and its associated systems, fixtures, and finishes will be included in the estimate; land value is included in a home’s market value but should not be included in the amount of insurance you buy.

The Global Insurance Industry is on the RISE!

It looks like  the global insurance industry is setup to beef itself up!

The industry is looking to grow anywhere from 3 to 4.5 in 2017 -2018!

It looks like the premiums in insurance are likely to follow the rise in the global economy , and this means we should be seeing a 2.9%  growth in 2017 and a 3.1% growth in 2018.
This growth estimate is connected with improved economics in U.S. markets and other emerging markets.

Emerging Asian markets are looking to be the best potential for growth estimated to be equal to Western markets in just a few years. Read the full article here!

7 Questions to Ask All of Your Cyber Insurance Prospects

With the increasing demand for Cyber Insurance Coverage make sure you are asking these 7 questions every time!

  1. What type of information does the applicant collect?
    • PII – personally identifiable information
    • PHI – protected health information
    • PCI – payment card information
  2. What type of data does the applicant have and where is it located?
  3. Does the applicant limit access to data?
  4. How does the applicant know who they are letting in?
  5. How is access removed from those that don’t need it?
  6. How effective is the applicant at getting rid of data it doesn’t need?
  7. Has the applicant experienced prior breaches?

You can read the full article here!

 

 

Colorado Insurance Agent Training

As an insurance agent, you’re in the business of sales. Staying on top of an ever-fluctuating market requires top-notch training and guidance so you are always one step ahead of the competition. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sites that the median salary of an insurance agent is $47,860. The highest paid insurance agents made over $119,970, and the lowest paid made less than $25,710. Between the highs and the lows, there’s a lot of factors at play. More often than not, what separates a high income agent from a low-income agent is experience, commitment, and education. If you are an independent agent in Colorado looking for valuable training, ICA has got you covered, so you can get more clients covered with your policies.

Separating Success from the Rest

Insurance is always in demand, even during times of economic trouble. Pet rocks and fashion trends fade away fast, but insurance is here to stay because, no matter who you are, accidents happen. However, just because insurance seems invincible in a vulnerable market does not mean that it is easy to sell. Just like any other industry, the insurance business is rife with competition. There are multiple insurance companies, multiple agencies, and many more individual agents within those agencies. As one agent wins a client, another agent loses one. But how do you become a successful agent with high profitability? You do it with excellent training and education to push you forward.

Continuing Education for All Agents

Not only is continuing education beneficial to your growth as an independent insurance agent, it is a state requirement. In the state of Colorado, an agent must fulfill certain education requirements by taking 24 hours worth of classes every two years; three hours of ethics, 18 hours of major lines, and three hours miscellaneous. Through continuing education hours are required for every agent, they cannot be repeated within the two year period. So what’s an eager agent to do when he or she has the insatiable thirst for knowledge and moreover, a thirst for success?

Insurant Agent Training in Colorado

 ICA is committed to helping independent insurance agents succeed above and beyond what is possible as a captive agent of a large agency. Without the support of a large agency or network, however, it is difficult to lay claim in a saturated market. That’s why ICA provides one-on-one training for individuals who want to learn the ins and outs of the insurance business.

The training that ICA provides is invaluable. A proven step-by-step process that transforms a budding agency into a full-fledged business. As a member of ICA, you will have access to one-on-one mentoring so you can skip the struggle. Learn what it takes to survive and conquer as an independent agent, and apply those techniques in your own agency.

The Agency Foundation program can help you build your business from the very beginning, teaching the fundamentals of setting up an office, client development and consultation. There are many courses and training classes within SIAA/ICA that are specifically aimed at the start-up agent. Courses go over how and what to prepare for professional submission to any and all insurance carriers. With these courses, agents leave with a profitable solid short-term and long-term plan.

Marketing Guidance and More Clients

In addition to providing independent agents with in-depth knowledge of insurance policies and procedures, ICA has a myriad of resources that cover all facets of insurance business. For independent agents who wish to brush up on their sales skills, ICA offers mentoring programs that reveal the best sales techniques so you can increase your chances of getting new clients. Marketing training covers your advertising approach and website building, both necessary in the modern age to increase visibility.

Join ICA for Invaluable Insurance Agent Training in Colorado

ICA also gives agents access to solid customer leads all while providing useful tips on expanding your client base. With a great insurance agency network to support you, you will see the rewards of working as an independent insurance agent. You’re not just another agent working for a company, you’re a part of something bigger: a network of agents who want to see you succeed.

 

How to Start an Insurance Agency

So, you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and start your own insurance agency. The perks of working for yourself versus working for an employer are wonderful, but starting an insurance agency from the ground up requires a lot of  prep work in order to make it a success. Whether you’re a savvy captive agent with years of experience or a newcomer interested in the entrepreneurial world of insurance, there are certain things you must do to ensure your agency gets off on the right foot. But no matter where you are on your journey toward independence, these steps can help you keep your goals and burgeoning insurance agency in check:

Get Licensed (If You Haven’t Already)

If you’ve jumped into insurance with curiosity and a drive to succeed, you must first commit to taking and passing state-required licensing exams before you can call yourself an agent. Every state requires anywhere between 20 to 40 hours worth of insurance education courses before you can even put pen to paper and mark your answers with confidence on the exam. In fact, you’ll need to take an exam for every type of insurance you wish to sell. Though not necessarily a requirement, taking additional classes in finance or business as well as having relevant sales experience will help you all the more on your path to owning a profitable insurance agency.

Licensing Your Agency

Depending on whether you plan on establishing your agency as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC (limited liability corporation), a corporation, or an S corporation, you might have to acquire agency licensing in addition to individual agent licensing. If you establish your business as sole proprietorship, most states will not require agency licensing unless you’re hiring other agents. However, as a sole proprietor, you are held personally liable if the agency goes under. As an LLC, there is a solid distinction between business and personal assets, meaning you won’t have to worry about losing anything from your home or your personal bank account if, for whatever reason, the business doesn’t work out.  If you wish to bring other agents in, you’ll have to consider the application and fee process involved with licensing not only your individual agents, but the agency as a whole. If you’re simply looking to hire support staff for office duties or telemarketing, you’ll be fine with just your individual license.

Form a Business Plan

You might have a grand plan bumping around in your head, but putting that plan on paper helps you to visualize your goals and understand the steps you must take in order to achieve them. Not only does a good business plan set you on a straight path, it establishes your credibility with potential stakeholders and shows insurance carriers that you know know what you’re doing. A good business plan will:

  • Introduce your agency and summarize its overall mission statement/goal
  • Explain how you plan to acquire customers
  • Detail what services/products you will provide
  • Go over target market and possible competitors
  • How you plan to stand apart from those competitors
  • Assess risks
  • Establish initial budget and project income/expenses

If you plan to expand your agency and need  to secure financing or business loans, a solid business plan is necessary. Not only does it help you stay on track, it showcases your professionalism and dedication to starting a profitable insurance agency.

Naming Your Agency

If you plan to ride solo, you may want “do business as” yourself, meaning, you use your own name to represent your agency. Many independent agents go this route. It’s simple, it works, and you won’t have to think too hard about it because it’s already your name! On the other hand, people forget names all the time, and having a unique name for your agency will set it apart and make it hard to forget. If you choose to do business as anything other than yourself, pick a name that avoids cliches, is easy to remember, and is relevant to your industry. Take your time with this one. The name is the first impression of your agency.

Getting Insurance

Police officers are expected to follow the law just like all citizens. And just as all officers of the law are expected to comply with the rules, so must an insurance agent comply with his or her own. Thus, an insurance agent must have insurance for his or her practice. You will need a BOP (Business Owner Policy) and E&O (Errors and Omission) Insurance. BOP provides property insurance for buildings and company owned equipment. There are a variety of packages that provide more comprehensive coverage in the case that you need something specific. BOP also includes business interruption insurance. Business interruption insurance protects your business and its income in the case that is disrupted by some disaster, such as a fire.

E&O is your professional liability insurance. People aren’t perfect, and E&O will ensure that you don’t take full responsibility in the case of a negligence claim (the error side of E&O). Any mistake could cause a client financial harm, and if a client were to take the case to court, E&O protects agents from having to bare the full cost of damages in the case of a loss. The omissions side of E&O protects agents in the case that they forget  to inform a client of something that could potentially create financial distress, such as policy renewal.

If you do take on a team of office staff, you may also have to look into worker’s compensation insurance. The requirements for worker’s compensation vary depending on how many employees you have and what state you are operating in.

Last but certainly not least, you must secure a surety bond. A surety is a promise by a guarantor to pay one party in the event that the second party fails to make his or her payments or does not fulfill his or her contract. The bond protects the insurance companies and your clients in case an agent runs off with their premium.

Join an Insurance Agency Network Like ICA

If you truly want to make the most of your independent insurance agency, consider joining an insurance agency network like ICA/SIAA. An insurance agency network provides independent insurance agents with the tools they need to succeed. Ideally, you would want to sell insurances of all kinds from different companies. Unfortunately, most insurance agencies won’t allow you to sell their products until you have sold a certain minimum. With this conundrum, you’re stuck in a cage of limited growth and little flexibility, which is sort of the opposite of what being “independent” dictates. Instead of trying to get by as a starving agent, and as an alternative to lowering your head and heading back into the big agency game of being a “captive” agent, join an insurance agency network. With an agency network, you jump over the red tape that prevents independent agents from reaching the best policies and services. Insurance agency networks like ICA are a collective web of independent agents. By joining an agency network, you can reach policies of large insurance companies. Insurance agency networks are great for startup agencies in many aspects, providing independent agents with

higher commission rates, discounted insurance, educational resources, sales training, support, and a plethora of tools to help your business succeed. With ICA Agency Alliance, a Master Agency of SIAA, independent agents are given the keys to big insurance providers. ICA helps independent agents and budding agencies to achieve an income higher than what is possible as a captive agent. If you’re considering breaking away and becoming an independent agent, let ICA help you reach your goals.