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3 days ago · by · 0 comments

Auto Insurance Agent

Insurance Agent, Do I need one?

Many insurance companies today don’t sell their policies through agents, but directly from the company either online or over the phone.  It might seem that having an agent to help you purchase auto insurance is a thing of the past, but don’t discount the insurance agent just yet.  There are some very good reasons to consider using an insurance agent for your auto policy purchase.

Agents Know Their Products

Many of the customer service representatives who handle the phones at large insurance companies know the basics of auto insurance policies, enough to help you select and purchase one.  But insurance agents, especially those who have been around for a while, understand a lot more about coverage and policy limits.

They can share with you a wealth of knowledge that will ensure you not only get the right policy but the best rate and a good understanding of what you are paying for.  An agent will help you select the best possible coverage limits to fit your needs.

Agents Are On Your Side

If the day comes when you need to file a claim, it’s always good to have someone who is truly on your side.  Especially in a complicated claim, your agent can walk you through the process and be there to answer all your questions.  An agent is also there to step in when there are disagreements with the adjuster or other involved parties at the insurance company.

Because your agent knows all about the policy and how the claims process works, they will better be able to negotiate and discuss claims issues with your adjuster.

Agents Keep Your Policy Accurate

A good agent will take the time to review your policy regularly and make sure that everything is accurate and you are still carrying the coverage you need.  An agent knows when changes in your life might affect your insurance coverage needs, such as a marriage or a child reaching driving age.  Large insurance companies simply can’t provide that level of personal attention.

Are Agents More Expensive?

There is a general view that an insurance policy purchased through an agent will cost more than one purchased directly.  That isn’t necessarily true.  The best rate for you may well be one from an agency, so don’t discount quotes from agents when you are shopping for car insurance.  You might get the best rate along with the service an agent can provide.

You might not feel that you need an agent for your auto insurance, but there are certainly some very good reasons to take the time to meet with a few and see if it turns out to be right for you.

 

Do I Need an Auto Insurance Agent

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1 month ago · by · 5 comments

How to combat Employee Theft and Avoid Hefty Insurance Hikes

Employee theft is anything but harmless.

It is a problem of considerable size for many companies.

Many corporate security experts estimate that 25% to 40% of all employees steal from their employers.

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that employee theft of cash, property, and merchandise may cost American businesses as much as $50 billion annually.

Not only does employee theft detract from potential profit and destroy trust, but it may actually increase insurance rates due to the loss of inventory, clients or even liability should data fall into the wrong hands.

Unfortunately, almost every small-business owner is likely to confront employee theft at some point and time.

Follow the three tips below to reduce the risk of employee theft, maintain profits and avoid insurance rate hikes:

Proper Screening

Whether you use an internal system or work with a third-party vendor to screen employees, preventing a problem from taking place is the best way to deal with employee theft. Positions that deal with sensitive data or expensive items may require an additional security clearance or bonding.

Security

Proper security goes beyond a few door locks. It may involve computer encryption, asset management, the phone and email surveillance, or even simple inventory controls. Depending upon the position, job duties and type of industry served, you should compare the cost of implementing security features against the potential damages in the event of a loss.

It may involve computer encryption, asset management, the phone and email surveillance, or even simple inventory controls. Depending upon the position, job duties and type of industry served, you should compare the cost of implementing security features against the potential damages in the event of a loss.

Depending upon the position, job duties and type of industry served, you should compare the cost of implementing security features against the potential damages in the event of a loss.

Communication

Employee theft is often associated with other underlying issues, such as substance abuse problems, mental or emotional health issues, or even anger control concerns. Have a written plan in place to address these concerns, then implement it equally. It is also important to have clearly defined job descriptions and protocols in place for access to critical information such as client lists or inventory.

Have a written plan in place to address these concerns, then implement it equally. It is also important to have clearly defined job descriptions and protocols in place for access to critical information such as client lists or inventory. Ask us how to write your employee theft plan today.

employee theft

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2 months ago · by · 16 comments

Coverage to Protect Your Business on the Rainiest of Days

 

Accidents happen – so savvy small-business owners plan for the unexpected by purchasing business umbrella insurance.

A business umbrella policy provides additional protection above and beyond the basics.

It’s different from a standard business liability policy that protects you up to a given amount.

For example, if your current liability policy provides $1 million of protection but you were successfully sued for more, the umbrella policy would cover the additional amount up to the policy limit.

Business umbrella policies are an excellent way to provide protection against costly lawsuits resulting from a wide variety of potential threats. Those threats can include things such as:

  • Driving accidents that result in multiple claims or extensive types of damage
  • Professional service errors resulting in inadvertent destruction or corruption of data
  • Unknown defects in workmanship or other errors that result in multiple lawsuits or claims
  • Other unanticipated events leading to a loss of life, property damage or other injuries

Many factors are involved in deciding on the appropriate level of business umbrella insurance to purchase, including the amount of existing coverage, industry, profitability and personal assets at stake.

Call us to discuss options and obtain a quote for various coverage amounts.

Coverage to Protect Your Business on the Rainiest of Days

 

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2 months ago · by · 13 comments

How to Save Money on Liability Coverage

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – especially when it comes to reducing the expense of business liability coverage.

With a little planning and preparation, it’s not as difficult as you might imagine. Simply follow these steps to start saving and minimizing the ever-rising rate increases associated with insuring your business.

  1. Put it into Writing: Make sure that every employee knows and understands what is expected and the proper protocol when dealing with equipment, injuries or other situations. Implement a chain of command and actually adhere to it. Research shows few small business owners have written safety policies and even fewer put them into action. Update it frequently and keep a signed copy showing that each employee has read the policy upon being hired
  2. Carefully Screen Applicants: The first step in maintaining a safe workplace is to hire safe employees. Employees with a history of substance abuse have been associated with everything from increased risk of injury to increased risk of driving accidents; worse, they typically have higher rates of tardiness and unemployment. Drug screening and testing may play an important role in minimizing the cost of liability insurance for your company. Ask your agent how much you can save by performing routine drug screening prior to hiring and/or testing for drugs in the event of an accident or injury during work hours.
  3. Comparison Shop: It’s always wise to comparison shop in order to obtain the best rates, but remember that rates alone aren’t enough if the company isn’t responsive to your needs. Take the time to compare price, service and satisfaction ratings by other business owners before making a final decision. It’s a good idea to review your policy at least once each year or more frequently should you encounter a major change in staffing or other business operations

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3 months ago · by · 8 comments

Protection That Keeps Your Business Humming

Business Equipment Protection

Buying business and equipment insurance is often considered little more than a necessary evil when, in fact, it might be one of the most important business decisions you make.  Business equipment insurance does more than simply protect against theft or vandalism. Depending upon the policy it can protect against most commonly encountered perils, including:

  • Equipment failure due to power surge or equipment malfunction
  • Repair or replacement cost of a covered item
  • Ancillary expenses required to restore vital parts, materials, or covered services

This is especially important when you consider the value derived from many computer storage systems or other common pieces of business equipment. For example, a computer that originally cost $2,500 may contain tens of thousands of dollars in data, client contact listings or other specialized information. Knowing how to insure both the computer and the content is essential to running a successful business, especially in today’s challenging economy.

Learn how to buy the right policy to protect your business without breaking the bank with these helpful hints and tips.

Make a list and check it twice. The first step is buying the right policy is to make sure that all your items are included in the policy. Create a list of all items, original purchase price, whether they are owned and used exclusively by the business or not, and condition. It is a good idea to take photographs whenever possible.

Decide upon coverage. Depending upon the type of asset, coverage may be limited to present value, or may pay for full replacement. Common considerations to keep in mind include whether or not the item was purchased new or used, lease terms, and depreciation schedules. Determine deductibles and your desired level of coverage prior to obtaining a quote.

Understand limitations and exclusions related to use. Employees, owners, and others should fully understand and agree to the limitations and exclusions of coverage. For example, unauthorized personal use of a business asset such as a vehicle may place the company at increased risk should an accident take place. Be sure to ask about additional riders to provide protection for dual-use items or special situations where workers use company equipment off-site or during personal time off.

Update annually. It’s a good idea to review and update insurance at least once per year. Pay special attention to newly acquired equipment and take time to update agent files related to disposed or fully depreciated property. Ask about discounts for safety measures, security systems, identification, and other steps designed to deter claims.

Weigh options and alternatives carefully. One final consideration to keep in mind is whether or not to allow employees and/or subcontractors to provide their own equipment (and coverage) or not. Not only are there important liability considerations to keep in mind, it doesn’t always save as much money as expected. Variations in quality, compatibility, and time savings may erode anticipated savings while increasing risk for the company as a whole. Carefully evaluate how employee-supplied equipment will impact your company prior to creating or purchasing a policy.

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