Average award for personal injury lawsuits last year was $789,784.00. While the average homeowners and auto personal liability limits are only $300,000, the need for extra coverage is very real for majority of families. What are top signs you may need to have a discussion with our team about a Personal Umbrella policy?
1. Youthful driver The presence of a youthful driver in the household is one of the main reasons for clients to purchase a Personal Umbrella policy. Young people, 15 to 19 years of age, represent seven percent of the population, and account for 11 percent of all crashes, amounting to over $10 billion in costs.2 In addition, 33 percent of deaths among 13 to 19-year-olds in 2010 occurred in motor vehicle crashes.3
Since young drivers are more likely to cause an accident, the likelihood of a lawsuit from crash-related injuries is greater.
Under a Personal Umbrella policy, personal injury also includes coverage for libel and slander. This arises more with younger generations today as social media has the possibility to ruin a person’s reputation. However, these policies are starting to exclude cyber bullying, and in that case, a separate endorsement may be needed.
2. Successful individualIt is evident famous actors, musicians, local television anchors, politicians, and the like are more probable to be served a lawsuit, however, successful individuals have assets to protect as well.
What is a "Successful Person"?
It doesn't necessary mean that you have a lot of wealth - it could be simply that there is a perception that you have a lot of money. Business Owners, doctors, attorney's there are preconceived ideas in our society that all are wealthy.
Successful people are not immune to lawsuits, and those with a home and multiple vehicles need a Personal Umbrella policy to protect the assets they have worked so hard for in the event of a claim.
3. Dog ownerWith 4.7 million dog bites annually, homeowners that own dogs are more susceptible to lawsuits if their dog injures someone. In fact, dog bites account for approximately one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims. If a client’s dog attacks someone, a Personal Umbrella insurance policy will provide coverage and defense costs beyond the limits of a homeowners policy, which would respond first. However, certain Personal Umbrella policies now exclude aggressive breed dogs, such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, to name a few.
4. Owns a trampoline, pool, or tree house Every year, there are more than 1 million trampoline-related injuries. In addition to trampolines, pools and tree houses also present numerous exposures. For instance, recently there was an injury related claim where an unattended child fell out of a tree house. Lawsuits involving children tend to result in higher settlements, making a Personal Umbrella policy an imperative.
5. Rides snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, or dirt bikesRisk does not end at kids’ outdoor activities. Those who own adult ride-on machines including snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and dirt bikes should also have added protection. If a client injures someone else, the Personal Umbrella policy will respond. Brokers should also inquire whether the client has a boat or even a small farm, as these have similar risk exposures.
Many insureds are not aware of the need for a Personal Umbrella policy. However, lawsuits that exceed the liability limits on a standard homeowners policy have the ability to bankrupt a client. For a couple of hundred dollars a year, this can be prevented.
Winter can be a risk to the continuity of business operations. Small business owners should be ensuring that their assets and operations are protected against the elements of the season. A strong handle on risk management can help to maintain stability during this season.
Here are three wintertime risk management tips for small business owners:
1. Deter threats to the physical workspace
The biggest risks typically are frozen pipes and flooding during winter months.
2. Mind the building's exterior
Another major risk ─especially for smaller retailers ─ is the prospect of icy sidewalks and parking lots that cause slips and injuries to your employees or customers. If someone falls due to hazardous conditions on the sidewalks and parking lots around your business, you can be held liable for taking care of their medical bills.
The New York Times explained that some cities will penalize companies even if no one does fall. In New York City, the newspaper points out, the sanitation department handed out 10,000 tickets last winter to those who did not clear up sidewalks in front of their buildings, with fines ranging between $100 and $350. Make sure these pathways are clear and safe at all times.
3. Have a contingency plan for operations
Small businesses might already have a telecommuting policy in place to best serve the demands of the modern workforce, but wintertime needs to be a point of focus for this policy. Companies should also have a plan in case a major winter storm or other event makes travel to and from the physical workplace unsafe for employees. If you do not have a remote work or telecommuting policy in place and reside in one of the nation's northern regions, your company might miss several days of worker productivity. This is especially true for companies outside the retail sector.
Make sure that you have a reliable method to communicate with all staff members efficiently when a storm is in the forecast. Allowing workers to work from home can allow operations to continue on regardless of weather conditions at the office.
Be safe this winter, and ensure you plan ahead to keep your business thriving well into spring!
(source: Selective Insurance)
You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide, or CO, is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas, created when fuels, like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas and propane burn incompletely. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning. It is estimated another 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning. All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning, with some groups— including unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems— being more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide. An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or idling cars left running in garages. Taking some basic, precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protect yourself by reviewing the following tips, provided by the United States Fire Administration.
credits: SERVPRO Newsline, August 8, 2017
Last weekend, everyone adopted Daylight Savings Time....(at least I hope you did)
We changed our clocks back an hour and replaced batteries in our smoke detectors, and maybe even changed filters in our furnaces.
Had you ever thought of where you put your smoke detectors in your house?
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) states that the best location for a smoke detector is on the ceiling near a doorway or stairway. As a fire burns, the smoke rises and seeks easiest route of escape. You should also have a smoke detector on the hallway ceiling outside of sleeping areas (bedrooms).
What about your attic?
Recently a home in our community was hit by lightening. The clap of thunder had homeowners going outside their homes to see what the big bang was and notice one house with a steep pitch roof had smoking coming out of the chimney. At least that is what it appeared.
Neighbors noticed a strange odder from the smoke and then noticed smoke coming out of the dorm vents. Some neighbors called 911 while others rushed to knocked on the door to make sure everyone was out of the house. When the homeowner answered there were no smoke alarms going off, and his only complaint was hat the Cable TV was messed up.
Neighbors were quick to help him exit the house and gather some personal mementos and move the car out of the garage all in about 5-6 minutes till fire department arrived to put out the fire.
Did the homeowners have smoke detectors? YES - and they were working!
Problem - fire started in attic and never got thru the ceiling in the house so smoke could set off the alarms. If it wasn't for concern neighbors this could have been much worst as the fire would have been raging in the attic before it busted thru, giving much less time to get out.
Take another look at where your detectors are located, check the batteries and test the units to make sure that they work.
This week, Equifax announced that they have been hacked (www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-07/...).
Equifax is one of three major US credit reporting companies, responsible for things like calculating your credit score. Earlier this year, hackers broke into Equifax's data through a website vulnerability. They stole the personal info of around 143 million people which is almost half of the US population. They have access to Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and even some driver's license and credit card numbers. This information could be sold to criminal and put consumers' identities at risk.
Equifax has set up a website help people check to see if they have been impacted. If you have been an Equifax customer, go to the website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact and click "Check Potential Impact" You will be directed to another page to enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your SSN and they will tell you if you may be impacted. If so, the company is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection if you (like me) are one of the people potentially affected. Please note that the last information that pops up will provide you with a date for your next action so pay attention to the box that pops up as you have to do another step at a later date.
Not sure if you have been an Equifax customer, odds are you have been because of all the different businesses that use Equifax. Banks, Insurance Companies, Credit card companies and more.
Starting a business is, well...tricky business.
In addition to the countless details that go into running a small business, it is important to consider what type of insurance your business needs. I spoke with Cardinal’s own Ed Beck, CIC, to gain some insight into this topic. Ed has been at Cardinal Insurance since 2006, is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and he works primarily with Commercial Insurance.
Here is a list of the kinds of insurance that are most important for business owners to consider:
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance will protect you from claims that can result from your business operation or premise. This includes bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury to others.
Property insurance provides coverage to business property that is within 1000 ft. of your business.
*FYI: This implies then, that if you take any of your business-related property (i.e. tools, technology, etc.) away from your place of work, it will not be covered.
Business Owners Policy
A Business Owner policy is an insurance package that combines liability and property insurance into one policy. Simple as that!
Inland Marine Insurance
Now, let’s address that FYI from above under Property Insurance. If you take your work with you in the form of equipment or merchandise, Ed recommends considering an Inland Marine Policy. This type of insurance is designed to cover valuable items and to provide coverage for business property away from the premise.
Commercial Auto Insurance
We’ve talked about this in an earlier blog (My job is to deliver pizza. Am I still covered by my personal auto insurance policy?) so I won’t take up too much time discussing it here. You need commercial auto insurance if you fall into either one of these categories: 1. You purchased a vehicle to be used specifically for your business and/or 2. You use your personal vehicle for anything other than commuting.
Regardless of whether you have 1 employee or 1,000 employees, “Workers Comp” is required for businesses in the state of Indiana. Workers comp provides wage replacement and medical bill coverage for employees who are injured on the job.
If your business requires you to offer a professional opinion or to design something, you are going to want Professional Liability insurance. This includes medical doctors, psychiatrists, attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, architects, etc. If you are presenting yourself as an expert in a field and you are paid for your opinion or designs, this insurance protects you from claims that occur because of your work.
One final note. It is important to reassess your insurance needs as your business expands and evolves. You can save yourself a great deal of money and frustration if you keep your insurance up to date. If you have any questions or if you’re interested in commercial insurance quotes for your business, we would love to hear from you!
THE AUTHOR: My name is Anna and I just started working at Cardinal. I am new to the insurance business, but I have already learned so much. I have many questions about insurance, as I'm sure is the case with many of you. While I may not have the answers - I will be picking the brains of the Cardinal Insurance Team. Shoot me an email with your questions - and I will get the answers! mailto:email@example.com
Let’s talk auto insurance for a bit. There are a number of factors that affect the cost of your auto insurance: previous driving records, history of auto accidents or lack there of, number of vehicles on the policy, zip code, how the vehicles are used, etc. Beyond the obvious factors, what else can increase or decrease my auto insurance rates?
Before we dig deeper into this topic, I do need to tell you that each insurance company is different when it comes to determining your rates. Your insurance agent will help connect you with the insurance company that best suits your specific auto insurance needs.
Alright-on we go!
So what types of things will affect your rates…
Both the number and severity of traffic violations you have will affect your insurance rates. In Indiana, police officers use a point system categorizing the severity of a violation. When you get a ticket, the points are added to your record and will remain there for 3-5 years depending on the insurance company. A minor violation is two points and a major violation is 4 or more points. Some insurance companies will forgive your first minor violation; however, there are companies that will not insure individuals who have severe traffic violations (i.e. DUI, OWI, etc.). Remember, insurance companies are focused on risk assessment. If the number of points on your driving record is high, you are considered a riskier driver. For more information on the Indiana Point System for traffic violations, here is a link to the DMV site.
Credit Score (aka insurance score)
Low credit score = higher rates. Why? Statistically, people with low credit scores are less likely to keep up the maintenance on their vehicle and/or claim a loss to their vehicle for which there is a greater payout. This isn’t the most pleasant theory, but there is evidence behind it. In 2003, the Bureau of Business Research conducted a study where they found that, “the average loss [amount of money paid out in the event of an accident] per policy is higher for the lowest credit score deciles* and lower for the highest credit score deciles” (Kellison and Brockett, 2003). In other words, after analyzing 175,647 separate policies they found that those with poor/low credit scores were more likely to file a claim and, therefore, have a greater record of loss. If you would like more information, the Federal Trade Commission also did a study that resulted in similar findings.
*1 decile represents 1/10th of the sample population.
This one feels a little more obvious, but it’s still worth noting. The age and condition of the car impact rates. For example, newer vehicles generally mean higher insurance rates because the cost of replacing parts is higher. Remember, insurance companies are assessing the value of the vehicle and the replacement cost in case of an accident. Conversely, an older vehicle that is in mediocre condition will most likely have a lower premium because the parts are cheaper. The exception is, of course, collectors vehicles. You’re 1934 Ford Custom is more unique and more valuable than my 2001 Dodge Neon; therefore, it costs more to insure. Something else to consider: Is your car customized? AKA Have you added enhancements to your vehicle that weren’t there originally? If you have custom upolstry and a lift kit , this adds to the value of the car. Your rates will probably increase, but you need to let your insurance agent know about any customization! If you get into an accident and we don’t know about these additions, you won’t be covered for them. Finally, I want to ease your mind a bit on one false bit of gossip. Contrary to popular belief, the color of a vehicle doesn’t effect the insurance. So, take a breathe all of you with those red cars!
Now for the good news!
I think that is enough bad news for one blog, so I wanted to conclude our time with something a bit more pleasant.
Here are a few discounts offered by most auto insurance companies:
Loss Free Credits
Never been in an auto accident? Most insurance companies offer discounts or credits to individuals with a clean accident history. If you are involved in an accident and file a claim, the record of that loss will remain on your driving history for 3-5 years depending on the insurance company. After that time, you may just see a decrease in your auto insurance premium.
Good Student Discount:
Good grades don't just look good on your child's transcript, but they can also save you money! Student drivers with a B grade point average or better qualify for a Good Student Discount. They are eligible through college. All you, the insured, need to do is bring a copy of your child's report card/ transcripts to your meeting with your Cardinal Insurance agent.
Multiple Cars/Packages policy
You can save money by purchasing all of your insurance (home, auto, etc.) through one company. We call this bundling! Also, some companies offer discounts for insuring multiple vehicles on a policy.
A few Ideas on How to Save Money
Here is my last bit of advice for this week. Setting up payments for every 6 months or once a year can save you money because most companies charge a $5-$10 processing fee per bill. I do understand that this may be a large sum of money leaving your bank account at one time. My recommendation in that case would be to sign up for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Signing up for EFT can save you money and help you avoid lapse in payment. Lapse in payment will result in late fees-and that is just not my idea of a good day.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this week's topic to be helpful. Most of the information was gleaned in a interview with Kevin Wheeler, CIC, CPIA. If you have any questions about insurance, our agents would love to hear from you!
THE AUTHOR: My name is Anna and I just started working at Cardinal. I am new to the insurance business, but I have already learned so much. I have many questions about insurance, as I'm sure is the case with many of you. While I may not have the answers - I will be picking the brains of the Cardinal Insurance Team. Shoot me an email with your questions - and I will get the answers! mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Even though I have only been at Cardinal Insurance for a few months, I have learned many things about insurance that I never thought I would need to know! Being a regular Uber user and knowing friends who supplement their income by delivering food, this topic was particularly interesting to me.
Let’s dive in:
My child delivers pizza, am I covered by my personal auto policy? I am delivering food for an independent food delivery service (i.e. Delivery Dudes, Door Dash, etc.), do I need business (aka “commercial”) auto insurance?
Let’s unpack this a little. As a rule, if your personal vehicle is being used for anything other than commuting, you should ask your insurance agent about purchasing commercial auto insurance.
Generally speaking - personal insurance policies don't like business exposures. The policy is loaded with exclusion for the business use of a vehicle. This means - no liability coverage to protect you if you hit someone, no medical payments coverage, no coverage for physical damage to your car and no coverage if your hit by an uninsured motorist.
Here are a few things to consider:
Does the company you work for provide a vehicle?
My name is Anna and I just started working at Cardinal. I am new to the insurance business, but I have already learned so much. I have many questions about insurance, as I'm sure is the case with many of you. While I may not have the answers - I will be picking the brains of the Cardinal Insurance Team. Shoot me an email with your questions - and I will get the answers! mailto:email@example.com
There have been a massive increase of ransomware attacks that have been spreading across the globe. Some have completely paralyzed business options. While ransomware is only one form that is burden, cyber criminals are finding more and more ways to disrupt businesses and add to unbudgeted expenses.
They are coming in all forms, and not just emails!
Our office had our phones hacked from a group when they called random phone numbers till they found an automated answering system. Once they established we had a automated phone system, they kept dialing phone extensions until they found one that did not have a password to access. Once that was accomplished - they redirected phone calls thru that extension to overseas phone calls. We were able to catch and shut it down within 30 minutes, but the criminals had racked up over $250 of phone charges in the middle of the night. Had we not caught this, it could have been thousands of dollars of expense....and no, the phone company didn't waive the fees!
A local school system had a suspicious email that went out to all the teachers from the school administrator - by the time the school IT people caught what had happened teachers had already mistakenly open their email and the virus was in the system causing havoc and disruption to the day. In fact the cyber criminals had infected the Google search for the school. When you searched for the school and clicked the link for their website, the ransomware infected your computer.
Common way ransomware hits is thru a well-designed phishing campaign that comes in a variety of email messages. Complete with legitimate logos and notices of shipment status, status of your accounts, flight itinerary notice, and more. But, the all have one thing in common - the email ends with wording referencing a password for the attached Word document. We also see hyper links to get more information too.
DO NOT OPEN THESE EMAILS. If you receive any unfamiliar email, it's best to permanently delete it. Once you click on the attachment, a program encrypts specific files on your computer and demands a payment by Bitcoin, a virtual currency. After the initial infection, it spreads to other systems within the network that haven't applied the latest Microsoft patches. This secondary infection is causing the majority of the issues you are hearing about in news reports.
How to avoid an attack.
Concerned on how to protect your business - contact one of our agents for more info.